Easy Paleo Almond Chicken Tenders. (GF)

These chicken tenders are coated in almond meal and baked for a healthy take on traditional chicken fingers!

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Ever want a no-fuss dinner that you know everyone will love?
All the time, right?
Add this one to your weekly rotation.
Oh yes, I said weekly.
If you know me well, you know I RARELY cook anything twice, but I’ve already made this dish numerous times because it’s such a crowd-pleaser.

I mean, everyone loves chicken tenders, right?
Exactly.

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Thankfully, these are much more heart-healthy than what you’d order in a restaurant or buy at the store because they’re breaded in almond meal instead of flour, and they’re baked, not fried.

Let’s be honest, usually when something is baked, that’s code for “not-as-good-as-fried”, but this chicken turns out perfectly cooked and amazing. Plus, it’s so much easier than frying since you just stick the whole pan in the oven at once and you’re done!

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Before baking, I dipped the chicken in a beaten egg and then in a spicy almond meal mixture. A lot of fun spices come together here like cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. There’s a bit of heat from the pepper but it’s not overpowering.

I used Trader Joe’s almond meal for the breading. Depending on what brand you use, you may have different results. 1 cup of almond meal is perfect for 2 pounds of chicken. Your chicken should be perfectly cooked in about 25 minutes, making this a great weeknight meal option your whole family (even picky eaters) will love!

Easy Paleo Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1/2 tsp if you don’t want it spicy)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • cooking spray

1). Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a pan with foil for easy clean-up if desired, and spray with cooking spray.

2). Cut the chicken breasts into long strips about 1-2″ wide.

3). In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly.

4). In a larger bowl, combine the almond meal with all of the spices.

5). Dip each piece of chicken in the egg, letting the excess run off. Then dip into the almond meal mixture, coating well. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with leftover chicken. Tip: don’t overcrowd the pan! For crispy chicken tenders, there has to be space between them for the air to circulate. 

6). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Enjoy!

Servings: about 8. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 214 Carbs: 4g Fat: 11g Protein: 28g Fiber: 2g Points+: 6 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

 

 

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites + 2 Year Blog Anniversary! (GF, DF, Paleo)

Slightly tangy but sweet, these coconut lime energy bites are a perfect light dessert or healthy on-the-go snack option!

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My blog turns 2 today, and I’m celebrating with a healthy little sweet treat: coconut key lime energy bites! If you’ve been reading Audrey’s Apron from the beginning, you know this blog idea had been a long-time dream of mine since college and I finally put it into motion 2 years ago today. A lot has changed in the 2 years that I’ve been blogging. I’m thrilled that so many of you follow this little cooking journey of mine. And it really does make my day when you comment that you made a recipe and loved it!

The biggest change on the blog this year? Probably my photography skills! It’s still a work in progress, for sure, but at least I’m not taking pictures with my phone camera anymore! OH the horrors! My ever-supportive husband got me a real, legit DSLR camera for my birthday this year and it has been so fun using it!

So, I just want to say THANK YOU for following, reading, commenting, tweeting, etc. I love sharing our culinary successes together!

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Back to this yummy recipe. I found these to be a perfectly delicious paleo substitute for key lime pie. They’re much healthier, and bite-sized, so that’s a win!

The coconut is totally optional, by the way.
I just love how it makes them look sort of like little snowballs.
Or truffles.
Yum!
So for all you coconut-averse readers, just know it’s more for aesthetics and you can definitely leave it off.

A word of wisdom: make sure that your dates are in fact pitted before you throw them in your food processor and turn it on.
Otherwise it will begin to jump wildly all over the counter while making an AWFUL noise.
Don’t ask me how I know, just promise me you’ll double check, ok? Ok.
P.S. The dates I bought from Costco most definitely did have pits in them. #IwishIwouldhavedoublechecked.

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So the great thing about this recipe is that the food processor does all the work for you! Throw in some cashews, almonds, dates (pitted!), lime zest & juice, and turn it on! Then all you have to do is form the mixture into little balls and roll them into coconut if you so choose.

Pack them in your lunch, serve them as dessert, or keep a few in your purse for emergencies–these chewy energy bites are perfect for whenever you need a quick boost!

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • Zest and juice from 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut for rolling, optional

1). In a food processor, add the cashews and almonds. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.

2). Add the dates and lime zest and juice. Pulse until the dates are finely chopped and the mixture begins to clump together.

3). Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture out and roll it into a ball. Roll in shredded coconut if desired, then repeat with remaining mixture. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days, or in the fridge. Enjoy!

Servings: about 15. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 74 Carbs: 9g Fat: 4g Protein: 2g Fiber: 1g Points+: 2 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Chicken with Mustard and Prosciutto. (GF, DF)

An elegant French-inspired chicken dish easy enough to make on a weeknight, and show-stopping enough to serve to company!

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See that?
That’s pure culinary enchantment, friends.  And a perfect Valentine’s Day dinner idea. Because French food is automatically romantic and inviting.

This is an adaptation on a French classic: tender chicken nestled into a savory mustard and herb sauce. With prosciutto. A very Italian ingredient. Sooo, this is really more of a French-Italian fusion dish, but the prosciutto is important–it’s salty character really brings out all the flavors of the dish. Don’t have proscuitto? No worries, use bacon or pancetta instead.

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If you like the flavor of mustard, you will really enjoy this dish because it uses both a classic dijon and a grainy mustard. The chicken gets coated in it and it’s also used in the sauce. Don’t worry, it’s not overpowering at all, though!

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Thyme is another main ingredient here. I don’t cook with thyme very often, mostly because I never have it on hand, and because the dried version is overbearing to my pallette. In this case, the fresh thyme blended beautifully in the sauce, so if you have any reservations about using thyme, leave those aside and try the recipe as-is. I think you’ll love it!

A few more important notes about this dish:

  1. There are a few steps involved, but none of them are difficult, so don’t let the somewhat lengthy instructions below derail you from making this recipe. It’s a lot of “cook this in the pan, remove it, now add something else, remove it, now add it all back together”.
  2. I used a mixture of both chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you can use what you want.
  3. You will need a skillet with a lid for this dish.
  4. Cooking nerd here, but one of my favorite steps in this recipe is deglazing the pan! It allows you to get all of the flavor off the bottom of the pan and into the sauce.
  5. If you can tolerate dairy, add 2 tablespoons at the end right before serving for a creamier sauce. Honestly, I didn’t miss it and don’t think it needed it, but I’ll leave it up to you!
  6. This dish is best served HOT and fresh!

Chicken with Mustard and Prosciutto

Ingredients:

For the chicken “marinade”:

  • 2 lbs chicken (I used breasts and boneless, skinless thighs)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or sweet)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup diced prosciutto (or bacon, or pancetta)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 2 Tbsp grainy mustard

1). In a large bowl, combine the chicken “marinade” ingredients well.  Add the chicken and coat evenly in the mixture. Set aside.

2). Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced prosciutto, stirring frequently until it starts to crisp up and brown slightly. Remove from the skillet and put in an empty bowl.

3). In the same pan, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir until soft and translucent. Add the thyme and after a minute, remove from the skillet to the bowl with prosciutto.

4). To the same pan, add the other 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken for a few minutes until browned on one side, then flip and cook a few minutes more. Remove from the skillet onto an empty plate.

5). Time to deglaze the pan! Add the broth to the hot, empty pan and scrape all of the crispy brown bits off the bottom of the pan using a flat edged wooden spoon. Add the chicken, onions, and prosciutto back to the pan. Cover and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes. Be sure to turn the chicken a few times. Check to make sure it is cooked through before proceeding to step 6.

6). Remove the chicken from the pan to stir in the grainy mustard into the sauce. Add the chicken back to the pan, give it a few quick turns in the sauce, and serve!

Servings: 6. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 246 Carbs: 2g Fat: 11g Protein: 38g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 1g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Roasted Red and Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary. (GF)

Red potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted together with rosemary make a simple, easy side dish perfect for any meal.

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I recently fell in love with the flavor combination of rosemary and sweet potatoes. There’s something so earth-y and wonderful about the two that make them go together so well. It’s a simple combination, really, but not one that I made at home before, and this dish lived up to all of my expectations. It’s hard to go wrong with potatoes though, am I right?

Even though I 110% adore sweet potatoes, for whatever reason I equally wanted red potatoes when I made this dish, hence the decision to mix them together. This also made my husband happy since he typically prefers red potatoes over sweet any day. All that to say, every potato lover in your family will be happy when you serve them these! You can also use regular white potatoes if you prefer, or even use only sweet potatoes!

Reason #274 why I love this dish: I love any excuse to gather fresh rosemary from our back yard. If you’ve ever wondered if you should plant a rosemary bush, the answer is a resounding yes! It’s so convenient to never worry about running out.

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These potatoes roast low and slow in the oven, leaving you with plenty of time to focus on the main dish while they do their thing in the oven. It’s brutally cold and windy out, and this side dish screams warm and cozy, which is exactly what I want in my life right now! I hope you enjoy it!

Roasted Red and Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary (GF)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter (or olive oil for dairy-free/vegan)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2-2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the butter in a 9×13 pan and put it in the oven for a couple minutes to melt the butter. Remove from oven and add the remaining ingredients, tossing well to ensure even seasoning.

2). Roast for about an hour, stirring 2-3 times, until the potatoes are golden and tender.

Servings: about 8. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 159 Carbs: 26g Fat: 5g Protein: 3g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 4g Points+: 4. Recipe adapted from here.

Paleo Italian Stuffed Peppers.

Perfect for a weeknight meal, these paleo stuffed peppers are easy and healthy!

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It’s January! Everyone is looking to clean up their diets this time of year, and this is the perfect recipe to fit any new year’s resolution that is clean-eating related. This dish is paleo, Whole30 compliant, gluten-free, and overall delicious. You won’t even miss the rice that is traditionally included in stuffed peppers.

The real star of this show is the meat. So savory! So flavorful! It was absolutely perfect. There’s a hint of Italian fare from the basil, but it is not overpowering. I added lots of chopped spinach to get as many veggies in as possible.

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Did I mention this recipe is super simple and easy? While the peppers are doing their initial bake, cook the meat and vegetables. Once the peppers are out of the oven, stuff them with the meat mixture. Then you can either put them back in the oven for a few minutes, or, if you don’t mind firmer peppers, eat them as-is. Also, if you don’t mind adding dairy, I think a sprinkle of parmesan cheese would be fabulous here! I’m already thinking of other ways I can use this meat mixture (tacos, perhaps?) because it’s soo good!

Paleo Italian Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1lb grass-fed ground beef (or turkey)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, chopped (or 1/2 can diced tomatoes, or 4 small tomatoes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1). Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Place the bell peppers, cut side down, in a large baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes.
2). While the peppers are baking, add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Season well with salt and pepper.
3). Add the chopped tomatoes and garlic to the pan. Cook for a few minutes and then add the basil and spinach. Cook until wilted. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
4). Evenly distribute the meat mixture into each pepper half. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or eat!

Servings: 4. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 240 Carbs: 7g Fat: 15g Protein: 24g Sugar: 4g Fiber: 2g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here.

The Best of Audrey’s Apron in 2014: The 10 Most Popular Recipes!

Here are the top 10 most popular recipes of 2014 based on your views and comments! Some of my personal favorites are in the mix (especially #1, #2, #3, and #10).

I hope you will use this list to jump start your cooking in 2015 with some new recipes! Click the title above each picture to view the recipe. Thanks for a great 2014!!

1). Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes (GF, DF, Vegan)

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Wow, did this recipe ever take off this year! This was by far the most popular post, and for good reason–these are one of my favorite ways to prepare sweet potatoes. One comment said, “These were so good! It was like eating CANDY!”

2). Parmesan Upside Down Baked Potatoes (GF)

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This recipe was the #1 most popular recipe of 2013, and I’m not surprised to see it in this year’s top 10 post because it is awesome! Sandy left a comment that said, “I made these tonight as part of a Pinterest meal blog post. They were very good. I added the rosemary, which is a favorite of mine with potatoes. Thanks!”

3). Lemon and Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken (GF, DF, Paleo)

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Hands-down, this is my go-to favorite marinade for grilled chicken. It’s super easy (5 ingredients!) and light–no oil needed here!

4). No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls (GF, DF)

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Don’t let the terrible photo fool you–these are SO, so good!! You probably have everything you need in your pantry to make these sweet treats right now. 1 bowl and 6 basic ingredients is all you need!

5). Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad (GF, DF)

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Love all the colors in this salad! It’s a great side dish or main dish for vegetarians/vegans. It’s also a fabulous option for a potluck or picnic as it does not need to be refrigerated like a traditional potato salad.

6). Baked Chicken Taquitos (GF if using corn tortillas)

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Eat them whole as a main dish or cut them in half for an appetizer–either way they are amazing! I love this recipe and I think your whole family will, too! Bonus: they reheat well!

7). Pappasito’s Fajita Steak Marinade (DF)

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This simple marinade mimics the flavors of the famous Pappasito’s fajita steak! It’s delicious and so simple–just 3 ingredients!

8). Oven Baked Corn on the Cob (GF, without butter: DF, Vegan)

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A great, easy way to perfectly cook corn for a crowd! It’s ideal for cookouts because you can leave the corn wrapped in foil to keep it warm after it’s cooked.

9). Roasted Parmesan Sweet Potatoes (GF)

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Love this simple way to cook sweet potatoes! It’s easy and delicious.

10). Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing + A Salad Idea (GF, DF, Paleo, Vegan)

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That title says it all–this salad dressing is quick, easy, and healthy! I’ve made this numerous times whenever I want a change from my balsamic vinaigrette.

And there you have it: the top 10 most popular recipes for this year! Thank you so much for following along my cooking journey–I’m looking forward to a great 2015!

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Cups. (GF, DF)

A rich gluten-free, dairy-free dessert without refined sugars! Keep a stash in your freezer to satisfy your next sweet tooth!

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Um, guys?

This recipe is a game-changer. I’m struggling to find the words to accurately convey to you how incredibly awesome these little chocolate almond butter cups are! The flavor. The texture. The chocolate!

They. Are. Delicious!!

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And the best part? This is a guilt-free dessert that doesn’t taste like one. Don’t you hate biting into a “healthy” dessert only to be left wishing for the real deal? Not here. My husband and I were absolutely SHOCKED at how good these were, and not in a that’s-good-considering-it’s-a-paleo-treat kind of way. These are just plain ol’ GOOD. I made these after having eliminated refined sugars for two months and I was on a mission to make something that tasted great but was not full of sugar. The only source of sweetness in these chocolate cups comes from a minimal amount of maple syrup, so they are refined-sugar free. But again, you’d never guess it!

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To make these amazing little cups of yummyness, combine almond flour, a touch of maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond butter. One taste of this mixture and you know things are headed in a great direction. That all gets pressed down into muffin tins.

I used a regular muffin pan, but if you want to make them more bite-sized you can use a mini-muffin pan if you have one.

Then, the chocolate sauce.

Confession time.

I had no idea making chocolate could be this easy! Just mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup for sweetness, and pure cocoa powder. The result? Silky, rich chocolate sauce! Pour this on top of the almond butter mixture, top with flaked sea salt and/or sliced almonds, and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Seeeee? Easy! These are my new favorite dessert.

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You do need to keep these cold so the chocolate doesn’t start to melt, but I love having them in the freezer and pulling one out on occasion for a satisfying dessert made of real ingredients and minimal sugar.

P.S. I know these aren’t traditional Christmas cookies, but I think they’d be a great addition! They would cater to every family member’s special dietary needs (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, etc.) and still taste amazing. Plus, you can make them ahead of time!

Here’s a quick video I made explaining how to make them!

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (GF, DF, Paleo, Vegan)

For the almond butter base:

  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup, warmed if refrigerated
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt, to taste

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, warmed if refrigerated
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt, to taste

Optional toppings: flaked sea salt, sliced almonds, coconut, etc.

1). Line a muffin pan with liners and make sure there is enough room in the freezer for the muffin pan.

2). In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the base. The dough should be a little bit sticky similar to the texture of cookie dough.

3). Equally distribute the dough into the bottom of the muffin pans (I got 9 thick cups). Press down until it is smooth and flat.

4). In a small bowl, combine the chocolate sauce ingredients, whisking together until smooth. Equally spoon the chocolate over the base of the cups. Top with flaked sea salt and/or sliced almonds, coconut, etc.

5). Place the muffin pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes before enjoying. Store remaining cups in the freezer until ready to eat. These are delicious straight from the freezer!

Servings: 9 (large) cups. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 266 Carbs: 11g Fat: 21g Protein: 6g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 8g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here.

Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.