• Leigh

In the Kitchen -- December 1


Menu for the Day

Pineapple Cabbage Slaw

Peanut Butter Chicken

Brown Rice

Peas

Pumpkin Muffins

How about something different with a bit of African influence? The peanut butter chicken is cheap (it uses chicken thighs), quick, and nutritious. If you like heat, feel free to add some cayenne or, better, chopped fresh ginger. The amount of ginger depends on your taste, but start with a small amount—a teaspoon—and add more, if you like. The brown rice and peas (use frozen peas and zap them in the microwave) are low fuss, as is the pineapple cabbage slaw, which not only can be made in advance but tastes better if it’s allowed to sit in the refrigerator before serving. The pumpkin muffins—which (oh, horrors, please don’t tell!) start with a cake mix, can be mixed up in just a few minutes and baked while the rest of the meal cooks. The muffins are good enough for dessert, but they’re low in fat and calories!

Pineapple Cabbage Slaw – Serves 4-6+

You can’t get much easier than this. The slaw starts with a bag of shredded cabbage (you can certainly shred your own, if you prefer) and gets a tangy yogurt-vinegar dressing. The pineapple, dried cranberries, and red onion add sweetness, bite, and color.

1 16 ounce bag of shredded cabbage

½ cup of light mayonnaise

½ cup of plain, fat-free yogurt

2 tablespoons of sugar

¼ cup of cider vinegar

½ cup of drained crushed pineapple

¼ cup of dried cranberries or raisins

¼ cup of chopped red onion

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate the slaw, preferably for at least an hour before serving it.

Peanut Butter Chicken – Serves 4+

This is easy and quite good. You can certainly use chicken breasts, if you’d prefer, but I think the thighs hold up to the longer cooking better and stay moister. Serve this luscious chicken with rice to catch all the juices, and, if you’d like, sprinkle additional cilantro, green onions, and peanuts on top for added color, freshness, and crunch.

1 ½-2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 large red bell pepper, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup of peanut butter

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

zest and juice of one lime

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained

½ teaspoon of chicken flavored “Better than Bullion” or bullion granules

¼ cup of reduced sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons of dried cilantro

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

¼ cup of fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

2-3 chopped green onions (optional)

¼ cup of chopped peanuts (optional)

Pumpkin Muffins – Makes 24

You can’t get much easier than these muffins, which are great for breakfast, brunch, dessert, snacks, or general hungries. You can certainly use a spice cake mix instead of a white cake mix, if you'd like, but I prefer the taste of the yellow cake with the “do it yourself” spices. Feel free to substitute raisins for the cranberries and other nuts for the walnuts. Or just leave them out. The muffins are great “as is.” The recipe makes a large batch, so you’ll have plenty to share.

1 (14-15 ounce) can of pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1 box (18-19 ounce) box of white or yellow cake mix

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ginger

½ teaspoon of allspice

½ teaspoon of nutmeg

½ cup of chopped walnuts

½ cup of dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat 2 12-count muffin tins with nonstick spray or line the tins with cupcake liners (and spray the liners). Mix the pumpkin puree and eggs well. Add all the other ingredients and mix them together gently until combined. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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