Zao Chicken Bowl Copy Cat Recipe

We recently got a yummy, healthy restaurant down the street from our house called Zao Asian Cafe. It is SO yummy!! However, we are really trying to be more aggressive in sticking to a budget and paying off our debt, so eating out is off limits for awhile. I've been CRAVING the Zao chicken bowls though, so I made my own version at home! They are pretty dang amazing, if I do say so myself!

Zao Chicken Bowl Copycat

Zao Chicken Bowl Copy Cat Recipe

This chicken bowl has a lot of different components! It's not hard to make but it is busy, as you're attending to a lot of different items at the same time. Good luck and enjoy!

Chicken

Place chicken tenders or chicken breasts in a pan and sprinkle with salt and Trader Joe's Chili Lime seasoning. Cook each side over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. Remove and cut into small bites.

Green Beans

Blanch the green beans in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. Strain the water, then pour the beans into the pan that you cooked the chicken in. Toss with salt and a little more Chili Lime seasoning, scraping up the brown bits on the pan as you stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

Corn

Heat up one can of organic corn - optionally season with salt and Chili Lime seasoning.

Rice

You can serve this over rice or rice noodles. We use white jasmine rice and cook 2 cups. Cook as much as you'd like according to package directions. For paleo or low carb, serve over Cauliflower rice.

Carrot Slaw

Shred up some carrots and some daikon (I couldn't find daikon, so I chose Jicama instead). Use equal parts of each vegetable. Place them in a bowl and season them with 1 lime, juiced, and some salt. Stir and set aside.

Toppings

Chop up cilantro.

Turn a pan without any oil onto medium high heat. Add some chopped cashews or peanuts and toss until toasted. Remove from heat and stir in some salt.

Yellow Curry Sauce

In a pot, place 1 tablespoon avocado oil over medium heat. Add 1 large chopped shallot, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger. Stir and let cook for a few minutes, then add 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder, 1 teaspoon coconut sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Next, stir in 1 can of full fat coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, and use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce.

TO ASSEMBLE

Start by placing rice in a bowl. Next add chicken, green beans, and corn. Ladle a spoonful of sauce over the rice, chicken, and vegetables. Next, top with Carrot slaw, cilantro, and toasted nuts. Eat and enjoy!

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The "We're out of ingredients" Salsa

This salsa recipe is adapted from @wholesisters blender salsa. I call it the "We don't have all the ingredients but hate jarred salsa" Salsa πŸ˜‹

Blender Salsa

The "We're out of ingredients" Salsa

Makes 1 quart.

28 oz canned tomatoes
1/2 white onion
1 bell pepper
1 tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon real salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
3 drops lime essential oil
2 drops cilantro essential oil

Combine ingredients in a high speed blender (I use β€ͺ#β€Žblendtec‬) and pulse until combined.

Sure, fresh cilantro would make this a whole lot prettier but my cilantro essential oil saved the day πŸ˜‚ Tastes delish - give it a try if you're running low on ingredients too!

Gluten Free Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

Go make these - NOW. But warning: you will be tempted to eat them all!!
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Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

GF Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

Makes about 24 biscuits.

2 1/2 cups gf flour blend (use this one!)
1 teaspoon real salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian spices
12 tablespoons cold butter
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Then cut in butter. Stir in cheese then add milk to form a sticky batter. Drop by spoonfuls onto a pan and bake for 15 minutes. While cooking, melt additional butter and garlic over stovetop and then brush on biscuits when you pull them out of the oven.

Enjoy every bite (even if the dairy messes up your stomach haha!) - worth it.

Easy Sauteed Garlicky Greens

So, as you all probably know by now, I have a love affair with Costco! There are so many great healthy (organic!) options and one of my favorite things to purchase is organic greens - they are SUCH a great price. The only problem? The bag is HUGE and even though we make A LOT of smoothies, inevitably some of it goes to waste. And I HATE that! Sometimes, when I'm on top of my game, I'll put the greens in small ziploc baggies then freeze them to pull out for smoothies, but sometimes they just go bad and I have to throw some away. (Raise your hand if you're guilty of that too?)

 
costco finds
 

Well, I am embarrassed to admit that although I LOVE sauteed greens, I rarely make them! However, the idea popped into my head to add these along with our dinner and they were SO delicious. I've found a new, super easy way to accomplish two awesome things: 1) get more greens into our diet in a yummy way and 2) reduce waste (because the greens cook down A TON, so you use a lot in one shot!).

So here's my method - maybe you already know how to do this, but if you don't, read on!

(And look!! I got out my nice camera for you guys! What a difference that makes!)

Easy Sauteed Garlicky Greens

Easy Sauteed Garlicky Greens

2 tb avocado oil
1 tsp minced garlic
Big bunch of mixed greens
1/3 cup water
Flaked sea salt

In a large fry pan, heat avocado oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and stir until aromatic. Next, add a TON of mixed greens to the pan (add more than you think - it really shrinks down!). Pour 1/3 cup of water over the greens, then place a lid on the pan to steam the greens. Steam for 5-10 minutes, removing the lid at the end to let any extra water evaporate. Stir and season with flaked sea salt, to taste.

We served this with chicken, brown rice, and roasted sweet potatoes and it was PERFECT! For a grain free meal, simply omit the brown rice - for vegetarian, omit the chicken. Easy peasy, and SO healthy!

Allergy Free Thanksgiving Round-Up

 
 Photo by Minimalist Baker

Photo by Minimalist Baker

 

I know I'm late to the game but I thought I'd share some of the recipes I'll be using for our allergy free Thanksgiving Menu! We will be avoiding gluten, soy, refined sugars, and eggs because of food allergies and intolerances in my family. Click the titles to go to the recipe.

Roasted Turkey

Green Beans

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

Gluten Free Rolls

Gluten Free Stuffing

Vegan Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Gluten Free Apple Pie

Gluten Free Apple Pie

Need an allergy free apple pie this Thanksgiving? I've got you covered! It is so yummy and free of allergens!

 
gluten free apple pie
 

Gluten Free Apple Pie

For the crust:

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon real salt
2/3 cup butter or palm oil shortening
5-7 ice cold water

Combine flour, salt, and butter/shortening in a food processor and process until the butter is fine like sand. Pulse in ice cold water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Place dough into a gallon size ziploc bag, flatten into a disk, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. When ready to use, roll out between pieces of parchment paper. Makes 2 pie crusts.

For the filling:

1 1/4 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons gluten free flour blend
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
6-7 cups peeled tart apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and spices. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Add the sugar mixture to the apples and toss to coat. Line a pie plate with the first rolled out pie crust. Form edges. Pour the apple mixture in and spread evenly. Next, place the second pie crust on top, pressing edges to seal and cutting a few slits to vent. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes with the edges line with foil to avoid burning. Remove foil and continue baking another 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

(If desired, you can brush the crust with an egg wash before baking. If eggs are a problem, spray with olive oil to get a similar browning effect)

Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie

Dear friends, please excuse this hideous picture - I promise it was beautiful and tasted amazing! I am not a food photographer and while I appreciate and love good photos, that is not yet a priority for me...sooo...take my word...it tastes amazing! Thank you daylight savings for the poor lighting.

 
Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie
 

Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie

Based on the recipe by The Pioneer Woman

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon real salt
2/3 cup organic butter or palm oil shortening
5-7 tablespoons ice cold water

Combine flour, salt, and butter/shortening in a food processor and process until butter is fine like sand. Pulse in ice cold water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Place dough in a gallon ziploc bag, flatten into a disk, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes - 1 hour. When ready to use, roll out in between pieces of parchment paper. Makes 2 pie crusts.

For the pot pie:

2-3 organic chicken breasts, cooked and diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
4 tablespoons organic butter
1/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon real salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme

Cook chicken, dice, and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large cast iron pan over medium heat, saute celery, carrots, onion, and butter until soft. Sprinkle with gluten free flour and stir to coat. Pour in homemade chicken stock and stir until thickened. Next, add cooked chicken, peas, salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove pie crust from refrigerator and roll out about 1/4 inch thick between parchment paper. Place pie plate on top, trace, then cut. Lay the crust into the dish, then spoon the chicken and vegetable mixture into the crust. Take the scraps of the pie crust, form into a ball, then roll again between pieces of parchment paper to make the size of the pie plate. Carefully place on top of the chicken mixture, press edges to seal, cut a few holes, then either brush with an egg wash or with olive oil to aid browning. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove, cool, slice, and enjoy!

Gluten Free Soft Flour Tortillas

Tortillas were one of the first foods that we QUICKLY learned to just live without when we had to go gluten free for my son back in early 2011. I remember we bought brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe's and sat down to have them as burritos and basically just cried as we realized they were practically inedible. We've lived without tortillas for years and it's been fine, but I finally decided to try my hand at making them! I am happy to say that my FLOUR BLEND worked sooo well in this recipe! I adapted the recipe from here. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!  This is part of my Real Food On A Budget Challenge where I am trying to spend only $500 on food for a family of six during the month of September. See my plan HERE!

Gluten Free Tortillas
Gluten Free Tortillas

Gluten Free Soft Flour Tortillas

Makes enough for a big family, plus leftovers

4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour blend
2 tablespoons organic white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon real salt
4 teaspoons xanthan gum
4 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening
1 1/2 - 2 1/4 cups water

Mix together the flour blend, sugar, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Cut in the shortening until it is small and resembles sand. Add the water and mix well, adding more water as needed until a nice dough form. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat. Roll out tortillas with plenty of flour, then cook each one until done. 

*I have not tested this recipe with any other flour blend