Healthy Mustard Chicken Fingers

A healthy, gluten-free, version of every kid’s favorite meal: chicken fingers.

 

Growing up chicken fingers are a staple in every child’s diet. Back in the 90s these things were served at every sleepover, birthday party, post game tailgate, or restaurant table. It is the only thing every single kid enjoyed eating and a food that parent’s could guarantee their child would finish. Now that I have grown older and more focused on what ingredients are going into my body, I cannot remember the last time I ordered chicken fingers. While chicken is still a staple in my diet, there is no need for the excess batter and fried oil that comes along with this order. It wasn’t until my Whole30 experience, where I actively was restricting all fried food, that I realized I kind of missed them. You always want what you can’t have, right? It wasn’t even necessarily the grease aspect, but mainly the crunchy and crisped factor that encases the chicken and the option to dip them in delicious sauces. With the evolution of my taste palette steering away from fried foods, as I got older I also fell in love with an ingredient that I grew up despising: mustard. As a kid, I used to hate when my mom would spread mustard on a Philly pretzel at a sports game and now I would do just about anything for that combination. I mean it, in my kitchen, mustard goes on everything. Not only is mustard a great dipping option for these healthified (making up words) chicken fingers, it is also a main ingredient in the batter to make sure every bite has that spicy and tangy taste.

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One Sheet Meal: Baked Chicken with Roasted Broccoli, Carrots, and Mushrooms

Often times people’s number one excuse for not meal prepping is that they do not have time. Trust me, I understand, time is freaking precious and hard to come by. However, that is not an excuse to sideline the act of meal prepping. Plus, once you decide to tackle this somewhat daunting activity, it will save you an immense amount of time throughout the week. Time you didn’t even know existed! Got home from work late? No need to worry about what you are going to try to scavenge from your fridge and spend time cooking or scrolling through Seamless to try and find the healthiest but still not great delivery option, just pull this meal out of your fridge, heat it up, and BAM! Dinner is ready in 5 minutes. Not only does this meal save time throughout the week, but it is SO simple to make and provides you with a healthy and delicious option for lunch or dinner. Plus, with only using one sheet, this baby seriously minimizes the number of dishes you have to clean. Because what is worse than finishing meal prepping and realizing you have a mountain sized pile of dirty dishes in your sink. To really bring this meal to the next level, I used the new sprayable ghee oil that adds in the perfect amount of butter taste but, in unison with the theme of this meal, requires minimal effort. Just take the cap off and spray away. Really, it’s that easy. Stop reading and go cook already!!

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@Freckledfoodie’s Guide to The West Village

If cooking in the kitchen is my one true love, dining out is definitely my side piece. The excitement of trying a new restaurant and sharing the experience with the ones I love, combined with the unique atmosphere and menu that every worthwhile restaurant provides, makes my stomach and heart do a happy dance. With every restaurant I dine at and enjoy, I immediately place it into a sub-category in my mind (or the ongoing 5 page note on my iPhone) and mark it for a future date. Fortunately for my friends, when I receive texts asking for restaurant recommendations for specific neighborhoods or occasions, I am always fully prepared and equipped with a quick response. With my love for sharing dining experiences of all kind and making sure all of my friends and reader’s never waste a meal at an un-enjoyable restaurant, I have created a new venture on my blog: Freckled Foodie & Friends Favorites, a neighborhood guide from foodies you can trust.  These aren’t your typical yelp reviews or google searches, but instead recommendations from food bloggers all over the country; people who take their food very seriously and who, I hope, you trust. Each guide will focus on recommendations from the writer’s specific neighborhood, because, what’s better than insight from a local!

To kick things off, the first guide will be to the West Village and written by yours truly, myself. Not only is this area filled an massive amount of NYC’s top restaurants and bars, but also the place I have been fortunate enough to call home for the past 4+ years.

The West Village Guide

DIY Poke Bowl Bar

Poke. The trend that is slowly trying (and both sadly and happily failing) to turn NYC into the laid back coastal city of San Francisco. If you are from California, then I am jealous of you for many reasons. One being that you are fortunate enough to have already enjoyed this refreshing dish for the many years it finally took us New Yorkers to get our shit together and hop on board. I love all forms of seafood: grilled fish, sushi, sashimi, shellfish, raw bars (my form of heaven), and creatures that many scurry away from (I’m looking at you baby octopus with all 8 tentacles attached). That being said, I had never experimented in the kitchen with preparing and consuming raw fish. Is it because I live in Manhattan and don’t fully trust the seafood I purchase enough to eat it raw? Honestly, probably. So with the combination of my summer weekends spent at the beach near the ocean / much more trustworthy fish, and the inspiration of my good friend, it was time to test my kitchen skills and tackle poke bowls. After a weekend filled with hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, and one too many scoops of ice cream, Sunday night called for a light, yet also somehow filling, dinner to start the week off right. I set out that afternoon and headed to the fish market both bloated and determined to impress my parents. The result of this excursion was a DIY poke bowl station that took under 45 minutes to prepare but won the title of “one of my dad’s top 3 favorite meals this summer”. Boom. Mission complete.

Recipe

Zoodles with Peanut Butter Sauce and Shredded Chicken

By now, I don’t think I need to justify or explain my love affair with peanut butter. But in case you are a new Freckled Foodie fan and are unaware, I freaking love it. It is a staple in my kitchen (I have quite the collection) and I believe it serves a purpose in every single meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert. You name it, peanut butter belongs there. One thing I do not love about peanut butter (GASP) is all of the brands that are filled with unnecessary ingredients, specifically sugar. Peanut butter should have one ingredient. You guessed it: PEANUTS. This is one of the many reasons that Crazy Richards has quickly won my heart in the lineup of a thousand different nut butter brands. Continuing my effort to prove that peanut butter serves a purpose in all times of the day, I decided to incorporate this delicious jar into an even tastier sauce to accompany my go-to weeknight zoodle dinner.

Check out more information on Crazy Richards PB and my featured recipe here

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Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Pesto and Spicy Coconut Salmon

Ever since starting Freckled Foodie and continuously photographing my meals, I’ve noticed one stand out consistent meal: zucchini noodles and salmon. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bowl of pasta. In no way am I going to tease you to believe that this will replace the hearty, comforting, nap induced bliss you feel after a bowl of hot pasta. However, what I can tell you, is that there are many of nights I actually prefer to have this meal instead (I know, blasphemy). I was always skeptical of “zoodles” for this exact reason. Refusing to accept them as a form of pasta, I changed my mindset to view them as simply another delicious option for a meal, which is exactly what they are. This meal’s pulling force that continues to suck me in on a weekly basis is the place it lands on the taste / effort scale. This meal is exceptionally easy to make, especially if you follow some of my prepping tips below, and requires minimal effort in the kitchen. It also is a refreshing, light, and delicious dinner or lunch option while seemingly impressive to dinner guests. Plus, these zoodles are simply aesthetically pleasing when they so perfectly resemble long ribbons.

Recipe

Taco Bar with Gluten & Grain Free Cauliflower Taco Shells / Tostadas

Cinco de Mayo gave me the perfect excuse to try new recipes, throw a “build your own taco bar” dinner party, and chug kombucha filled margaritas. In an effort to maintain this gluten and grain free lifestyle, I have been a huge fan of the Siete tortillas and tortilla chips. Combining that love with my recent use of a Cauliflower Foods pizza crust, and curiosity, I set out on the goal to create my own cauliflower based taco shells. After setting an extremely low bar for myself, prepared to either be impressed or laugh at this epic fail, and a cabinet filled with back up options, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. These shells were a lot easier to make than one would think and, I can guarantee from my experience, you will without a doubt impress your guests. Trust me, my bragging ability of these bad boys only got louder and stronger with every margarita I had. Note: while they can fold to form a true “taco shell” and maintain their shape, I actually enjoyed eating them as tostadas.

Recipe