Low Carb Chicken Tetrazzini – and a giveaway!

I really love the Del Real Foods company.

Two years ago, I participated in a recipe contest using Del Real products, and although I wasn’t one of the winners, they gave me a free trip to Los Angeles to film my very first recipe video! (If you haven’t checked out my awesome video, click here.)

In addition to Del Real just making great food  – authentic Mexican food that only requires heating – they are also a caring and thoughtful company. A few months after I filed the video, I began treatment for Stage 2 breast cancer, but Del Real Foods didn’t forget about me … they even sent me a huge box of free, delicious, easy-to-cook food! It was such a blessing to me to have healthy and tasty food that I didn’t have to spend precious energy cooking.

So in addition to being a great company that makes healthy food, they are also just good people.

Recently, I came home to this.


Isn’t that a beautiful sight?

Yep, I knew right away that it was packed full of delicious Del Real food, but it also contained a cool lunch box, a sweet reusable shopping bag, a couple of water bottles and two awesome t-shirts. And the good people at Del Real Foods want to share the same box with one of my lucky readers!

But first, here is my favorite new recipe using Del Real Foods shredded chicken.

I first got the idea for this recipe from a video I saw on the Fit Men Cook Instagram page, where they used spaghetti squash and rotisserie chicken to create a low-carb (read: no pasta) chicken tetrazzini. I adapted this recipe to a) add Del Real pre-cooked shredded chicken, b) add red onion and “zoodles” (spiralized zucchini) to the spaghetti squash (for extra colors and flavors), and c) I cooked it all in little acorn squash bowls, just to make them adorable.


Low-Carb Chicken Tetrazzini

(adapted from Fit Men Cook)

  • 1 package of Del Real shredded chicken;
  • Two acorn squashes, with the tops sliced off and the insides scooped out;
  • 1 spaghetti squash, sliced into rings
  • 1 zucchini, spiralized
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk (can substitute coconut milk or other milk)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 panko or breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. diced rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp. parsley
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

First, slice the spaghetti squash into rings and remove the seeds inside. Lay each slice on a baking sheet (with a spray of olive oil) and bake for about 20 minutes at high heat. Let it cool; then you can easily remove the “spaghetti” on the inside.

(Note: unless you are using your spaghetti squash for a “boat” or something, this is probably the easiest and fastest way to prepare it. Save time and try it this way the next time you make spaghetti squash for anything!)


Mix the squash, the zoodles, the herbs and half of the parmesan cheese, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, sauté the garlic and onion with olive oil and let cook until the onions are translucent. Add the milk, the cheese, and the chicken broth and let simmer until it thickens slightly.

Blend the squash mixture with the milk mixture, then add in the shredded chicken. Then fill the acorn squashes (or mason jars), cover with more parmesan cheese (and optional breadcrumbs) and bake at 300 for about 20 minutes until the cheese and crumbs form a crust on top.


Note: This mixture is quite tasty by itself and can be used as a healthy side dish as well as baked in a large casserole dish for a party or large dinner. I decided to use mason jars and squash, mostly so I could use the mason jars for an easy lunch, but this recipe is totally adaptable.

Pin or save the recipe card here:


Now, for the giveaway.

The Del Real Foods company has offered to let one of my lucky readers get this huge gift box full of food, t-shirts and water bottles, as well as this totally adorable lunch box and grocery bag. (I told you they were nice!)


Here’s what the lucky winner will receive:

  • Two (2) Del Real Foods water bottles;
  • Two (2) Del Real Foods t-shirts (“Home is where the Tacos Are”);
  • One (1) Del Real Foods lunchbox with utensils;
  • One (1) Del Real Foods twine reusable grocery bag;
  • One variety pack of delicious Del Real Foods food products (actual products may vary)

(Note: when a winner is randomly selected, I will be contacting the winner for their mailing address. The box will be shipped to the winner by Del Real Foods.)

Click this link and enter as many options as you can to increase your chances of winning!


Fit Foodie 5k Post-Race Giveaway

Hello, dear readers!

As promised, I have a giveaway of some awesome swag from the Fit Foodie 5k this past weekend … maybe you will be the winner!

(Note: this giveaway is limited to San Diego area residents only – we will have to coordinate a time to meet for you to pick up the bag!)

What you get:

(1) John Hancock  reusable grocery bag;

(1) package of Rhythm Superfoods kale chips;

(1) package of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cacao mix;

(1) pack of various coupons and stickers;

(1) pack of Wild Planet tuna;

(1) pair of sunglasses from Steaz;

(1) pack of Rishi tea;

(1) can of Bruce Cost ginger beer:

(1) pack of Neocell Beauty Bursts;

(1) package of Mrs. Thinster’s cookie thins;

(1) package of RW Garcia tortilla chips; and

(1) package of Advocare Rehydrate powder.

*Note: actual varieties/flavors may vary from what you see in this photo.


To enter, please follow this link and complete as many of the below entries as you can before October 15!

Good luck!


The Fit Foodie 5k is tomorrow!

I am really excited, you guys. I am honored this year to be a Fit Foodie Ambassador for this year’s John Hancock Hosts The Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Festival & 5K at Liberty Station in San Diego.

Me last year with the Recipe Renovator team

That means that I and a crew of my friends will be representing Starbright’s Kitchen tomorrow – and we are super excited!

I’ve been training for weeks to get ready. It’s great exercise – the 5k is on an easy track – but it’s not just the race … it’s also the food! Don’t leave when the race is over, because the fun foodie part is the best…

The Fit Foodie 5k will also feature cooking demonstrations, celebrity guests, and tons of free swag from the many amazing sponsors.


Be sure to check back to this page after the race for a cool giveaway. 🙂

If you still want to register, it’s not too late!

Visit http://www.fitfoodierun.com and use my code “STARBRIGHTFF” for $10 off of registration!

The Migraine Relief Plan

Migraines and related health problems affect millions of people every day. My friend Stephanie Weaver, a food blogger, wellness coach and public health expert, came up with the Migraine Relief Plan, a brilliant plan to ease the pain of migraine sufferers.

This amazing plan starts by identifying and experimenting with certain “food triggers” that directly cause or intensify headache symptoms. When you adapt her plan to your specific needs, it lays out a clear path to better health and fewer migraines.

Although as a food blogger, I was focusing on the cookbook section of this book and all of the relatively easy and fun recipes, the book is really a multi-pronged guide to help migraine sufferers reduce their symptoms and eventually lead a healthier life. It’s not just a cookbook; it’s a plan to eat healthy and be healthier.

I loved the trigger-free and super-easy recipes like the rice bowl … we’ve all made something similar, right? Use up your leftover cooked rice and chicken as well as any fresh veggies you have on hand, and top it with the easy-to-make smoky mustard sauce, and you have a super-easy and healthy dinner, perfect for a busy weeknight.

You can’t beat an easy, quick recipe that also keeps you healthy; and every recipe in this book is low-sodium, gluten-free, and sugar-free … and can be adapted to a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Like the fish in parchment paper. This is probably one of my favorite things to make and eat – I really love how the parchment paper keeps the fish nice and juicy while making sure it gets cooked all the way.

If you’re not a person who cooks fish very often because of the unease of making sure the fish is cooked thoroughly without it being dry, this is for you.  You simply slice veggies (the recipe calls for carrot, spinach, zucchini and bell pepper), wrap the vegetables and fish inside parchment paper, and bake.

Recently I started a ketogenic diet, and I got a whole bunch of delicious fresh-caught tuna from my friends at Catalina Offshore Seafood Products.

Tuna salad to the rescue! This is a super-easy, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, and really delicious meal. You can make it into a sandwich (if you’re not keto or paleo) or just serve it over a bed of greens or cucumber.

I even made my tuna salad ahead of time and used mine for workday lunches.

Anybody can write a cookbook, but I love how this book creates a full plan for better health.

Check out the book here!



Easy Keto Chocolate Truffles

These delicious snacks are the best: chocolatey, rich … and sugar-free.

You will need to make these ahead of time; they require at least a few hours of refrigeration. But then they last for a long time if you keep them cool.

These are an excellent way to use up those avocados that aren’t bad, but too brown or extra-ripe to be appetizing anymore. (And make sure you scrape the healthy goodness from the inside of the avocado!)

First, a word about the cacao nibs: they taste awful by themselves. They resemble chips of tree bark and in general, do not taste remotely chocolatey. However! Once you boil them, add things to them and then allow them to cool, the chocolate flavor comes out much more.

These are perfect if you’re on a paleo, ketogenic, or just low-carb diet. It helps curb those sugar cravings without cheating.

Easy Keto Chocolate Truffles

  • 1 cup cacao nibs
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 large ripe avocado (or 2 small ones), mashed
  • cinnamon, crushed nuts or coconut flakes for the outside (optional)

Put the cacao nibs and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil rapidly for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chips are soft. (Note: they will not melt, but they will get soft). Strain out the water. Briefly (about 1 minute) chop using an immersion blender. Slowly add the mashed avocado and peanut butter.

Once the mixture is semi-solid, scoop with an ice-cream spoon and form the balls in your hands. Let cool for at least 3 hours and then dust with cinnammon or roll in coconut or crushed nuts.

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Smoked Fish and Vegetable Chowder

I love soup and I love to make it … and this is probably one of my favorites.

Why? It’s easily adaptable (use whatever fresh vegetables you like or have handy), it’s super fast and easy to make, and it’s delicious! The heartiness of the vegetables, the creaminess of the mushroom base, the tenderness of the smoked fish and the lemony zest at the end all marry perfectly together.


First, let’s talk tuna. You can certainly grill or bake it, but if you have a smoker (or any way to quickly smoke a piece of fish – like this from Alton Brown), the flavor and tenderness you get from smoking the fish is incomparable.

I also recommend if you can to start with a tuna steak like this one, complete with skin and bones. They are very easily removed after the fish is smoked, and they keep the fish from drying out during the cooking/smoking  process. I smoked a few tuna steaks this weekend, and I saved an extra one for this recipe. Feel free to substitute any white and flaky fish.

The skin comes off instantly; and I usually (put on some gloves and) flake the fish by hand to make sure there aren’t any bones when I add it to the soup pot.

Next, the vegetables. I used kale and green beans for this recipe, then another time I used kale and broccoli. Feel free to substitute any fresh vegetable you like. I think the kale gives the otherwise creamy and soft soup a nice fibery crunch, and I love fresh green beans and broccoli. But use whatever you have on hand or whatever is fresh.

What you shouldn’t adapt is the mushrooms and the cream of mushroom soup, which gives it this awesome creamy texture — and of course, the smoked fish.

Smoked Fish and Vegetable Chowder

(15-20 minutes, including chopping)

  • 2 cups shredded tuna, cooked or smoked* (and cooled)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (concentrated)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh kale*
  • 1 cup chopped green beans*
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • lemon juice and fresh lemon wedges
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper(*see notes above)Chop the onion and put it in a soup pot with the garlic and olive oil. Sautee until the onion is translucent. Add the vegetable stock and the rest of the fresh vegetables, bring to a boil. Let boil for 3-5 minutes, then add the cream of mushroom soup and milk. Cook for another 5 minutes at a low simmer and add the tuna, then the lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedge.

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There’s a new Booch in town

There’s a new booch in town!

As you all know, I am a huge fan of kombucha. It has amazing health benefits – especially for the guts of sugar-loving Americans. Those sugary, processed foods we eat every day do a number to our guts and their internal flora, which can lead to all sorts of health problems.

I love storebought types (especially GT’s or Boochcraft, which is both a healthy probiotic and packs the alcohol content of a good craft IPA), and I love to make the low-alcohol version at home.


The Starbright’s Kitchen “fermentation station” of homemade kombucha.


This past month, I went to the Mission Valley Craft Beer and Food Festival, an awesome annual event at Qualcomm Stadium’s practice field where a flat entry fee gets you all the beer and food samples you can stuff into your face within a few hours.



Needless to say, I worked hard to get my money’s worth.

One of the tastiest samples we had there was a new one: Babe Kombucha. We had several tastes of the Moroccan Mint flavor, and my boyfriend and I really loved it.



A lot of people are turned off by the slightly … shall we say, funky … aftertaste that kombucha often has.  The fermentation process uses a culture of yeast and bacteria called a SCOBY, which is similar to a vinegar mother and often imparts a slightly vinegary taste into the tea as it ferments into kombucha.

I have a lot of friends who love alcohol and other fermented beverages but don’t like that “extra something” in kombucha. I think even those people would love Babe’s milder flavors.



Babe Kombuchas have very mild flavors, and if you didn’t know it was kombucha, you’d never know it was kombucha. I think my favorite flavors are the Moroccan Mint and the Cali Gold (very citrusy and peachy) – although the blueberry is very good – just a little too sweet for my taste.

Babe offers a great deal for local kombucha fans – they’ll deliver within San Diego for free, and it’s only $20 for two 32-oz. growlers of your favorite flavor! I really enjoyed getting an easy delivery of some freshly-made booch.

Follow Babe Kombucha on Facebook (click here) or Instagram, and check out all of their refreshing flavors.