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Yummy Fixins: Happy, healthy eating in 2015

Growing up in Louisiana I was surrounded by some of the most amazing cuisine, but it was my move to California that really ignited my passion for cooking. The variety of seasonal produce, coupled with California’s natural diversity brought my culinary spirit to life.

Last year I made the decision to follow my passion for food and started my personal chef business. I take inspiration for recipes from my life experiences; learning to make tapas while traveling in Spain, hand-rolling pasta during cooking school in Florence and making roux with my mom for our family gumbo recipe. I love to make people happy with food whether it’s introducing global flavors, showcasing the local farmers’ market ingredients, or modifying dishes to meet dietary needs such as vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free; it’s all about the food. I hope the recipes I share will inspire you to try something new and help you make healthy food choices.

Many people made resolutions on New Year’s Day to improve their health. If you’re like most people, you made goals to eat healthy, exercise and lose weight. By the end of January most people have given up on their resolutions. As we approach February, ask yourself if you held true to your goals. I find the first step to healthy eating is making small changes and substitutions to what you are cooking at home. It can be as easy as adding more vegetables into your meals, using ground turkey instead of ground beef, or swapping out the white rice for brown rice. Stick to your healthy eating goals with this easy and tasty recipe.



Arugula Pesto Chicken and Rice Bowl



Ingredients

Makes four servings.

2 tbs olive oil

2lbs of chicken breast

1/4 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, diced

2 small portobello mushrooms, chopped

3 cups of cooked rice

Arugula Pesto

3 cups of arugula

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1 garlic clove

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil

Place the arugula, almonds, garlic and lemon juice into a food processor and pulse until it makes a paste. Slowly pour in the olive oil while pulsing on low until it becomes a smooth pesto. Add more olive oil if needed. Cover and place the pesto in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Prepare your vegetables for the rice bowl; chop the bell pepper, onion and mushroom caps. Dice the garlic and set them all aside. Carefully cut the chicken breasts into one inch cubes and sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the chicken and onions. After about three minutes, or when the onions become translucent, add in the garlic, mushrooms and bell pepper. Cover and cook on low 10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the rice and arugula pesto. Make sure to coat the rice evenly with the pesto, careful not to over stir the rice. Serve warm and enjoy!

• To my vegetarian and vegan readers, leave out the chicken breast and swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit http://www.yummyfixins.com or call (530) 539-4504 to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you.


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