Tag Archives: gluten free diet

Hellbent Chicken – Chicken with Dried Chilies


ribs something

Part of my healthy eating habits is to eat high protein with vegetables and gluten-free carbs.  So this dish fits the bill perfectly.  I love Mexican food.  I like the spice and the flavors.  I like a burrito without the flour tortilla, all the rice, the cheese and the refried beans. Pretty much, it’s the chicken that has been braised in a flavorful, deep rich sauce that I love.  And that was my inspiration when I was looking for a way to cook chicken with vegetables, with good spice, deep flavoring, and be able to eat it with rice or tortillas.

entero chilis in bowl

Dried Calfiornia Entero chilies is the key ingredient in this dish.  I can get them in most supermarkets here in Northern California. If you cannot get them. you can use also known as Guaijillo chilies, which look very similar but are a bit spicier in flavor.  Or, you can find California Entero chilies online here.  The dried chilies are added whole – stem and all – and get reconstituted in the sauce which starts with peppers and onions and garlic sautéed in oil, then has chicken stock and canned tomatoes added with other seasoning.  I also add chili powder to the sauce. I use a red chili powder called California chili powder, also known as chili pequin molido, which is spicier than typical chili powder.

entero chilis

I use a mix of red bell peppers, Anaheim peppers and jalapeno peppers.  I like Anaheim peppers because they not as sweet as bell peppers and nit as spicy as the jalapenos, so they add a nice flavor.  The secret ingredient to this special sauce is cocoa powder. I add a little bit to smooth out the spiciness and of the chili peppers and balance the acidity from the tomatoes. This dish is petty spicy, if you prefer it less spicy, use fewer jalapeños and a darker (mild) chili powder.  You can also add a teaspoon of sour cream for serving.

HB chciekn inpot newWhen making chicken with dried chilies, pureeing the cooked chilies is the key to unleashing the flavor.  When the dish is about two-thirds done, I take out the peppers from the pot (often times they break into a couple of pieces), throw away the stems and puree them in a blender with a cup of the cooking liquid.  It becomes a nice thick sauce — almost like the consistency of tomatoe paste.  I then add this back to the main pot and stir it through. This turns the sauce into a rich deep hue with good flavor and consistency. I often eat it like a stoup, with tortillas on the side.

Hellbent Chicken

Serves 6.


12 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

4 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into ¼” strips

4 Anaheim peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into ¼” strips

3 jalapeno peppers, sliced, stem removed.  If you want to lessen the spice, seed them

1 large onion, halved and sliced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons oil (I use EVOO)

1 28oz oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, sliced, or crushed tomatoes

2 cups of chicken stock

1 teaspoon cayenne powder

1.5 tablespoons of Californial chili powder (or chili pequin molido powder ) – or  regular chili powder, to lessen the spice

4 dried California Entero chili peppers

½ tablespoon of cocoa powder

salt and pepper to taste

sour cream – optional

Add the oil to a Dutch oven or heavy pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and add half of chichen to pot to sear, 2 minutes on each side.  Repeat with remaining chicken and set onto plate.  Add the peppers, garlic and onion to the pot and sautee until they are semi soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Lower heat to medium/low, and add chicken, chichen stock, tomatoes, cayenne powder, chili powder and the dried California entero peppers, whole, stems in tact.  Cover pot and cook 40 minutes on a simmer.  Uncover pot and take out the California entero peppers (they might be in pieces).  Discard stems.  Add the peppers with 1 cup of cooking liquid to a blender and puree.  The paste will be pretty thick.  Add it back into the pot and mix it through.  Add the cocoa powder.  Cover post and cook 20 more minutes.  Serve with rice or tortillas.


Wheat Belly – Lose the Wheat, Lose the Belly

wheat belly

There is such a phenomenon around gluten-free these days.  It’s everywhere…new products are popping up in the grocery store, bakeries and pizzerias have gluten-free options.  And it’s more than celiac disease that is driving this trend.  According to Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly – Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find your Path Back to Health, wheat is the cause of many health problems such as obesity, fatigue, arthritis, gastrointestinal distress, and cancer. My friend Candy, who has suffered from arthritis for most of her adult life, stopped eating gluten at the suggestion of her acupuncturist and now has no pain when she gets up in the morning.

Dr. Davis identifies the over processing of wheat that has been done for mass production as the root cause.  He says that the wheat of today is not the wheat our grandparents grew up on, as it has been genetically modified for mass production.  The end product of the modification results in elevated blood sugar which leas to fat, specifically around the abdominal area. He writes “the higher the blood glucose after consumption of food, the greater the insulin level, the more fat is deposited.”


The book goes into technical explanations about wheat and its effect on the body and it is quite interesting. It’s helped convince me to stay away from gluten most of the time. Dr. Davis mentions a wheat available today that is most similar to the wheat of generations ago, without the genetic modifications and therefore without the elevated blood sugar levels.  It is known as Einkorn wheat (see recipe for flatbreads) and it is perfectly fine for gluten-sensitive people, though those with Celiac disease should not eat it.

My Female Body Breakthrough – Part Two: Eating Right


I mentioned The Female Body Breakthrough, the Revolutionary Strength Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want by Elizabeth Cosgrove, in an earlier post about the inspiration and direction it provided for my weight work outs.   The book offers more than eight exercises, it also offers some guidelines for healthy eating…that are really helpful.   I don’t follow all the advice — I’m just not a protein shake kind of gal… But I do follow a lot of the guidelines…. And all the exercises. It’s like having a personal trainer…really!

Some of the healthy eating guidelines I follow are:

  • Eat something within 15 minutes of getting up to start your metabolism
  • Eat something every few hours
  • Always include a protein and a fruit or vegetable at every meal – including snacks
  • Stay away from gluten
  • Keep within the guidelines 90% of the time (85%-90% is fine by me)
  • Workout in the morning

This book really has changed me.  And I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to be fit, toned and strong… You do need to have a certain amount of determination and motivation…. But the results you start to see within weeks should do the trick.

Grilled Flank Steak with Pepper Lime Cilantro Marinade


I like red meat.  I know it isn’t as healthy as chicken or fish, but as I say, the Hellbent Living way is eating healthy 85%-90% of the time.  Which leaves a little room to splurge.  This recipe isn’t actually that big of splurge in my book…or blog.  In fact, when I make this recipe I count it as an 85% meal not the 10%-15% of meals where I’m really splurging.  I often save those for when I am eating out or having a dinner party.  This recipe calls for my Pepper Lime Cilantro Marinade which is low in oil and has no sugar. I portion out 4-5 oz for my serving so I do not overdo it with the calories.

Flank steak is a tough piece of meat so it needs tenderizing. The lime juice in the marinade works well to break down the protein and tenderize the meat.  This recipe calls for 2 lbs of flank steak. It can serve 4-8 people depending on serving sizes. I use half the marinade to tenderize and flavor the meat before grilling and the other half as a salsa served on top of the meat.  I serve the grilled flank steak with grilled onions and red peppers, and warm corn tortillas.  Rice would also go well with this dish instead of the tortillas.

steaktacosw. greensaucejpg

Flank Steak with Pepper Lime Cilantro Marinade-Salsa


2 lbs flank steak

Pepper Lime Cilantro Marinade

Serving suggestions:

3 red bell peppers
2 onions
corn tortillas

Make marinade.  Put flank steak in a gallon size plastic bag, add half the marinade and move it around the bag to cover the steak. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

green sauce flank steak in bag

To grill: Take steak out of refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Heat grill and to medium high and grill 10 minutes on each side. While the steak is grilling, cut up 3 red bell peppers in strips and slice 2 onions and put those on the grill in tin foil…and grill until they are soft.

Warm tortillas, if serving.