Tag Archive | Pistachio Nuts

Tasty Tuesdays – Pistachio & Panko Crusted Chicken Strips

Yum, this tasty twist on the classic chicken finger recipe is incredibly delicious!! It is also much healthier than the standard deep fried restaurant or the frozen store bought varieties. I found the original recipe here and made a few modifications of my own.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup pistachio nuts
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 large chicken or turkey breasts (skinless and boneless)

Directions

  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush a thin layer of olive oil on it.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°, and put the baking sheet in the oven while it heats up.
  • Finely chop the pistachios.  In a bowl combine the pistachios, breadcrumbs, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • In another bowl, thoroughly mix the mustard, olive oil and honey.
  • Slice chicken or turkey breasts into strips.
  • First coat the meat with the mustard mix, and then dip into the breadcrumbs.
  • Pull out the baking sheet and place strips spaced out.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes and then flip the strips.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Interesting Facts

Raw honey has been harvested for many thousands of years for both food and medicine (Zumla and Lulat, 1989).  This natural nourishment for honey bees contains many minerals and vitamins, and comes in a variety of colours, textures and tastes based on which flower nectar the bee collects (Bogdanov, 1997).  This viscous sweetener is available year round but it is freshest in the summer and fall (Wine, 2008).  There is a great deal of literature discussing honey as a natural ergogenic aid (exercise performance enhancer).  An early study by Burke et al., (1988) gave weight-lifters honey, sugar or maltodextrin following an intense workout.  The results showed that those athletes who consumed honey maintained ideal blood sugar levels following the workout and showed advantageous glycogen restoration.  Another interesting property of honey is its ability to act as a topical antiseptic.  Recent research has revealed it to be capable of effectively treating burns and ulcers (Molan, 2006).  A study by Subrahmanyam (2005) looked at the outcomes of participants with superficial burns treated with conventional treatment (silver sulfadiazine gauze) or honey.  It was found that 91% of the individuals treated with honey did not have infections after one week, while only 7% of the conventionally treated patients were infection free.  Furthermore, the people treated with honey had quicker tissue reproduction when compared to the other group.  These exciting results have been replicated in other studies examining the healing process of caesarean sections and hysterectomies.  These studies found that utilizing honey as a topical antiseptic led to increased wound healing, decreased use of antibiotics and a lessened hospital stay (Al-Waili and Saloom, 1999).  Clearly, this health promoting natural liquid, often used as a term of endearment, also has some stupendous implications for modern medicine

This will be my final Tasty Tuesdays post of 2012.  Be sure to come back in 2013 for even Tastier Tuesdays.

I hope your holidays are wonderful!!

Tasty Tuesdays – Moroccan-Style Couscous Salad

This couscous salad includes some unique ingredients that complement each other incredibly well!  The original recipe is from 30 Minute Meals: A Commonsense Guide and I have tweaked it with a few healthy adjustments. Although there are many components to this salad, the preparation is fairly straightforward.  My fiancé has mastered this recipe and it is delicious both warm and cold.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/3 cup toasted pistachio nuts
  • 8 dried apricots or figs
  • 1/3 cup green olives
  • fresh mint
  • fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout (to create this spice blend yourself please find recipe here)
  • 2 chicken or turkey breasts
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mint
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tsp honey

Directions

  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush a thin layer of olive oil on it.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°, and put the baking sheet in the oven while it heats up.
  • Cut the chicken or turkey breast into strips and coat with the ras el hanout.
  • Once the oven has reached 350° place the strips on the baking sheet.
  • Cook for 12-15 minutes, flip and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • While the chicken is cooking heat the apple juice in a pot until hot.
  • Put the couscous in a heat-resistant and pour the apple juice overtop.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • During this time thinly slice the red onion, apricots (or figs) and green olives.
  • Fluff couscous with a fork and add the onion, pistachios, apricots and green olives.
  • Roughly chop a handful of mint and parsley to add mix in the salad.
  • The final step is to make the yogurt dressing.  Combine the yogurt, chopped mint, ras el hanout and honey in a bowl.
  • To serve, fill a bowl with a generous amount of the couscous salad, lay some strips of chicken or turkey on top, then add a spoonful of the yogurt dressing.

Interesting Facts

Mint comes in many varieties that are available year round (Spirling and Daniels, 2011).  The two most common mints used for cooking are peppermint and spearmint (often simply labelled mint). These aromatic herbs are well known for aiding with intestinal ailments and symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, indigestion and bloating.  Research has shown that mint’s soothing qualities are due to its ability to lessen smooth muscle contractions in the intestines by blocking calcium channels while also decreasing the passage of calcium into cells (Baliga and Rao, 2010).  Interestingly, a double blinded placebo-controlled study found that ingesting peppermint oil capsules prior to a colonoscopy lessened procedure time, colonic spasms and pain (Shavakhi, et al., 2012).  A great deal of research has also shown positive results surrounding the topic of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  A study by Cappello, et al., (2007) completed a double-blinded study with participants ailed by IBS.  They were given either peppermint oil capsules or a placebo for a series of weeks and results showed an evident decrease in IBS symptoms among 75% of the group taking the peppermint oil capsules.  These results have been mirrored in other studies and are very promising for individuals who unfortunately suffer IBS and other gastric disorders.  Mint has also been shown to improve cognitive functioning.  A noteworthy study demonstrated that peppermint aroma increased both alertness and memory among 144 participants who were randomized to various aromas (Moss, et al., 2008).  In addition to improving cognitive performance, peppermint has an abundance of healthy minerals and vitamins such as fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, B and C (USDA, 2012).  Taken as a whole, this breath freshening (Zirwas and Otto, 2010) herbal plant is not only healthy to consume but can be fantastically versatile in fresh fruit salads, mains and soothing tea.

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