Chicken Fajita Bowls with Mexican Cauliflower Rice

So I’m pretty active on Instagram. I’m not the best at taking pictures of my food, so I really love scrolling through people’s Instagram feeds with beautiful food pictures. I try. I like to think I’m getting better at it, but still. Taking lovely food shots is not my forte.
 

One of my favorite types of pictures are when people do food bowls. I don’t know if this is a new trend or if it just photographs well, but they are so beautiful. The food is organized so cleanly and is usually very colorful. I can’t get enough of them!

All that was said to introduce this Chicken Fajita bowl I recently made. I’ve made similar things before and I swear I posted them on here, but I guess not. Which just means I need to make them again so I can post them again and practice taking better pictures of them! See, it all works out.

This is a super easy weeknight meal that is totally family friendly and can be customized to your tastes.

Chicken Fajita Bowl

Makes enough for 2-4 bowls, depending on how much you put in them

 

Mexican Cauliflower Rice:

– 2 tablespoons Olive oil

– ½ onion diced small

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 1 bag riced cauliflower (I used the 12 oz bag from Trader Joe’s)

– 1 ½ tablespoons (or so) of tomato paste

– ½ tablespoon each garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder

– Salt to taste     

Bowls:

Mexican cauliflower rice (you can use regular rice or Mexican rice if you want)

Shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)

½ purple onion, sliced

½ each red, orange, and green bell pepper, sliced

Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Plain non-fat greek yogurt for topping

Guacamole or avocado slices for topping

Place the onion and bell pepper slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Mexican cauliflower rice:

In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and saute until just starting to soften. Then add the cauliflower rice and cook for about 7 minutes until cooked through. Add the seasonings and tomato paste and stir together until well mixed.

 


Once the rice and veggies are ready (either the cauliflower rice or whatever rice you want to use), you can assemble your bowls.

 

You can be fancy and do layers and sections and organize the whole thing by color or whatever. Or, if you are not planning on taking a photo and you couldn’t care less what your bowl looks like before you eat it because you are just going to mix it all up anyway, you can just throw everything together and have at it.

As long as it tastes good, who care? You do you, love.

Cauliflower Mash

Who’d have thought that cauliflower was so versatile?! I mean, Fried Rice? Check! Pizza Crust? Check! And now a legit mashed potatoes substitute? BIG FAT CHECK!

I’m going to start by saying that I am a big fan of mashed potatoes. I love them. They are so warm and creamy and just plain delicious. You can serve them as a side dish to pretty much anything. The only thing is, while the potatoes themselves are pretty healthy (full of vitamins and nutrients), what makes mashed potatoes so good is also what makes them not as good for you. We’re talking butter at minimum here. Plus milk, maybe some cream cheese or sour cream. The calories definitely start to add up. Plus, they are quite carb-heavy.

For me, the person who adores mashed potatoes so much, to say these are a totally legit substitution, is saying a lot. I feel like I could have served these at Thanksgiving and no one would have known they weren’t potatoes.

AND THEY ARE SUPER EASY TOO. They take less than 10 minutes to make. These definitely fit my “Trifecta” criteria: Easy, delicious, and healthy.

Cauliflower Mash

1 bag of Steam-in-bag cauliflower

Garlic salt (to your own preferences)

2 tablespoons greek yogurt cream cheese

½ tablespoon butter

Heavy pinch of shredded parmesan cheese

Steam the cauliflower according to package directions. It will usually give you a range (like 4-5 minutes). I did the longer time to make sure they were really soft.

Dump the bag into a blender or food processor and the garlic salt. I used quite a bit, but you can use however much you like. Start off on the low end because you can always add more if you need to. Also, add the greek yogurt cream cheese. I’ve talked about this before and it is so good. And way less fat and calories than regular cream cheese. Plus it gives a punch of protein. Finally, add the butter (it’s not that much, but it helps give the dish a more “traditional” mashed potato flavor) and a heavy pinch of parmesan cheese. The cheese is optional, but I had it out already for the kids’ dinner, so I just put in a little bit.

Run your blender or processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy. This only takes a minute or two. I would recommend stopping it at about halfway and scraping down the sides.

At this point, give it a little taste test to see if you want to add anything else. If not, then you’re done! I actually let it blend a little bit longer than I needed to at a high speed to help whip in some air and make them a bit fluffier.

I swear, this is my new favorite side dish! I can’t even wait to have them again!

Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

It never really occurred to me until a few years ago that food can be trendy. I figured food is food, right? But, alas, just as with overalls and midriff shirts, food also comes and goes with the times. 

Cauliflower “Fried Rice” is one of those current food trends. I can’t say for sure, but from my extensive research on the subject (meaning about 10 seconds doing a Google search), it would appear that cauliflower was the “It Girl” of the 2015 food world and that star-status has not yet faded out. 

As anyone who knows their way around Pinterest can tell you, there are about a trillion and one ways to use cauliflower to make it more flavorful and fun. Which is good, because on its own, it’s pretty gross (in my opinion). You can make pizza dough out of it, “tater” tots, mashed “potatoes”, alfredo sauce, and “fried rice” (like I’m going to show you). You can even cut it into steaks and grill it. I always viewed cauliflower as basically white broccoli, but it’s actually a lot more versatile. It is a really healthy substitute for carbs and starches. And when prepared correctly, really delicious. 

I tried making this “fried rice” a while back and it was not good. I don’t know what I did. I don’t remember what ingredients I added or didn’t add. I just know that I tried it and it was no bueno. I just figured I must not like cauliflower after all and I should just cut my losses. 

Fast forward to this week. Ever since my nutrisystem slim down success, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching clean and healthy eating. I feel like maybe I know a little more about the world of healthy eats now so I thought I’d give the “fried rice” another go. Besides, I really like the buffalo cauliflower so that sort of negated my theory about not liking cauliflower altogether. 

Like I said, I don’t remember what I did or didn’t do the last time, but this time I made sure to write it all down because it was SO FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS!! I made this twice this week. My hubby loved it. I made too much and ended up eating it as my main meal (which is fine with it being pretty much all veggies), but it would be a good side or entrée. I haven’t tried making a big batch to reheat later because I’m not sure it would reheat very well, but if any of you have any experience with that, please let me know. 

The best part? This is so easy to throw together. Trader Joe’s makes PRE-RICED cauliflower! Another reason Trader Joe’s is the greatest place on earth. They have it in the refrigerated section and the frozen section, so I just grabbed a few of the frozen bags and keep them on hand. There are a few other things I want to try with this riced cauliflower that hopefully I can sneak into the kids’ food.

This recipe is more a method than a hard and fast set of instructions. You can change up the veggies. You can add meat or seafood. It can be enough for a couple entrées on its own or four entrees with added chicken or shrimp (for example). Or it could be divided up even more as a sidedish. It’s entirely up to you and your tastes. The amounts are eyeballed, so again I say, use what you want and however much of it you want.

2 tablespoons oil

2 eggs, beaten

½ zucchini, diced

½ leek, diced

½ cup baby carrots, diced

½ cup frozen peas

1 to 1 ½ cups riced cauliflower (pretty much whatever looks good with the amount of vegetables you have in your pan)

½ tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

½ tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

*Tip: Since this is basically a stir fry, it will cook fast over high heat. Make sure all your veggies are prepped and ready to go before you start.

In a skillet, put ½ tablespoon of your cooking oil. I used the garlic infused olive oil from Trader Joes, but you can use regular olive oil, or canola oil, or even coconut oil if you want. Add your eggs and scramble. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of your oil and the veggies. Start with what takes the longest to cook. I started with the carrots and then added the zucchini and leek. Sautee until soft.

Add your cauliflower and peas and cook until just about soft. Add the egg back in and then add the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Mix together and continue cooking until the cauliflower is nice and fluffy (like rice) and cooked through. You can taste it at this point and more of whatever you want.

This is a fun dish to play around with so try it with the flavors you like. Any tips? Pass them my way!

Buffalo Cauliflower

I don’t think I’ve ever been more committed to a diet. Ever. 

I also don’t think I’ve ever eaten more vegetables in my life. Ever. Which means, I’m now on a daily quest to up my veggie game. 

As I mentioned before, I am currently obsessed with roasted veggies (zucchini, bell peppers, carrots). Just some no-calorie cooking spray (or olive oil) and garlic salt and I’m all set. I also LOVE roasted broccoli, prepped the same way but with a sprinkle of Parmesan. I can’t get enough!

In an effort to change things up a bit, I “borrowed” this recipe from my dear friend Stacie, who I’ve recently learned is on the exact weight loss journey I am on. It’s nice to have a support system for this sort of thing! 

I will warn you, though, not only is this super easy, it is also very addictive (if you like buffalo sauce).

All you need is some cauliflower florets (not frozen) and some Frank’s Buffalo Sauce. *Note: it has to be Frank’s because that is the only one that is zero calories. If you aren’t on a specific plan and aren’t so worried about calories, you can use whatever you want.

Put your cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet.


Pour however much sauce you want over the top and brush it on to cover the florets with the saucepan. 


Put in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.


They really did turn out so delicious! You almost don’t miss the fried chicken this sauce is usually on.

Almost… :0)