Skinny Chicken Parm

Skinny Chicken Parm — YES!

I absolutely L O V E Chicken Parmesan.  That is my go-to when out at an Italian restaurant.  Sometimes, those heavy dishes are simply worth the indulgence and calories they come with.

*Side Note:  Some restaurant portions of chicken parm have up to 72 grams of FAT!  To put this into perspective, check out MayoClinic’s article on how many grams of fat you should be consuming each day.

Other times, we are looking for that soul food that fills our tummy and tastes like heaven WITHOUT all the c r a p.  You know me, I cook EASY, HEALTHY recipes.  So when I found a “skinny” Chicken Parm recipe that I was able to tweak and make my own — I started mass producing it.  Okay, not really…but we have a solid 3-4 servings at all times in the freezer for an easy reheat dinner mid week!

Ready for how easy this is?

Ingredients:

6 small chicken breasts

3 slices sharp thick cut provolone

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp oregano

salt/pepper to taste

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

parmesan cheese

1/2 jar tomato sauce of choice

 

Directions:

  1. Start with 6 small chicken breasts, fat trimmed.  Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray, and lay out your chicken breasts.
  2. Mix your spices together — garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and oregano.
  3.  Cover chicken breasts evenly with the spices.

 

4.  Next, cover the chicken breasts with 1/2 a jar of tomato sauce.  I prefer to use a low sugar option.  Sprinkle top with parmesan cheese.

5.  Take your 3 slices of thick cup provolone cheese and break each in half.  Place half a slice of cheese on each chicken breast.

6.  Evenly distribute the whole wheat bread crumbs over the cheese.  Sprinkle with parmesan.

7.   Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  This is the secret to JUICY chicken breasts!  Low temperature/long time frame = dry meat.  High t

emperature/short time frame = juicy, tender meat!

8.  Pair your Skinny Chicken Parm with a carbohydrate (suggested: brown or basmati rice) and a vegetable (suggested:  spinach/onions, broccoli, green beans).  Voila!  An easy, quick, SKINNY, chicken dish with just enough indulgent ingredients to give you that soul food feel with less than half the fat and calories.

 

 

If you are looking for additional easy, healthy chicken dishes, check out these recipes!

Thai Peanut Chicken

Bruschetta Chicken

Fruit & Veggie Toddler Muffins!

As a fit mama, I am always playing with new healthy recipe ideas for my daughter!  Enter — HEALTHY TODDLER MUFFINS!

Is it just me or is it darn near impossible to find something that a toddler will CONSISTENTLY eat?!  They L O V E something for  24 hours…then…it suddenly becomes toxic and the second they see it, it’s flung across the room!  Feel me, mama?  DRIVES ME NUTS!!

So, when I found these muffins and my daughter loved them for more than 24 hours (and STILL loves them today! — thank you Jesus) I was hooked.  These will be made  E V E R Y week in our home.

These muffins can serve as a well-balanced breakfast OR a healthy snack!

The perfect balance of fruit//veggies//fats//and healthy carbohydrates that your kiddo needs to give them the fuel they need for the day — like they don’t have enough already…

Here’s what you will need:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 pure maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1 large handful spinach

1 large handful blueberries

*to be added after blending!

Add your ingredients in the following order:

-flour

-oil

-eggs

-mashed bananas (pre-mash the bananas prior to adding them!)

-baking soda

-pure maple syrup

-cinnamon

-spinach (I used a large handful, but use as much or as little as you like!  I love the idea of sneaking veggies into the muffins so I added a good amount!)

Next, it’s time to blend!  I used an immersion blender (L O V E immersion blenders!!!) and blended the mixture until the spinach was completely broken up and all ingredients were well mixed.

Once the batter has been created, fold in your blueberries.  I added a large handful to the batter and saved some additional blueberries for the tops of the muffins as well.

Last, pour the batter into a muffin tin.  I was able to get 9 muffins out of the batter, more than enough to last us the week (if stored in fridge to ensure freshness!).  Remember, if you want to add additional blueberries to the top, now is the time!

Bake in the oven at 355 degrees for 13 minutes!  I had originally planned to bake them for 15 minutes but realized at 14 minutes that they were done — I think 13 minutes would leave them perfectly moist!

Notice there are only 7 on the plate — hehe…Addison and I each ate one before I could even plate it! Oops ;).

I hope you enjoy these healthy, tasty toddler muffins!  xo

Skinny Bruschetta Chicken

Say H E L L O to my new favorite chicken dinner — skinny bruschetta chicken!!

I got a ton of feedback on my Thai Peanut Chicken (still a fav!) so I had to share another dynamite chicken recipe!

My husband and I could eat chicken every single night of the week — no problem.  Since we love it so much, we are always looking for new, healthy recipes!

Enter — SKINNY BRUSCHETTA CHICKEN!

I found this recipe and tweaked it a bit to make it more waistline friendly.  It turned out DELICIOUS and I can’t wait to share the recipe!!

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts (pounded thin)

4 tbsp fresh basil

2 tsp garlic

1/4 red onion

4 Roma tomatoes

3 tsp italian seasoning

2 tbsp olive oil (separated)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

salt

Your first step is to make the bruschetta mixture in a small mixing bowl.

  1.  Take your fresh basil and chop it into small pieces.  Roughly measure out about 4 tbsp.
  2.  Dice all 4 Roma tomatoes into small chunks based on the size you desire.
  3.  Mince the 1/4 of a red onion.
  4.  Add 1 tbsp olive oil.
  5.  Include 1/4 cup parmesan cheese — freshly shaved is best!
  6.  Salt to taste.
  7.   Combine all ingredients.

Next, you want to sear your chicken.  

  1.  Coat a hot pan with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  2.  Place all 4 chicken breasts onto the pan after pounding them thin.  Note:  I did NOT pound them thin which resulted in a much longer cooking time — lesson learned!!
  3.   Add 1.5 tsp of italian seasoning and 1 tsp minced garlic to the breasts and let sear for about 5 minutes — flip and repeat.
  4.   Check chicken temperature periodically with a meat thermometer.  You want the internal temperature to reach, but not exceed, 165 degrees.

I just loved how searing the chicken in such a small amount of oil still gave them that crispy, crunchy exterior — mmmmmm!

Last step — assemble!

Last but not least, take your seared chicken breasts and top them with equal parts bruschetta mixture and pair with your favorite carb and veggie!  We did a quinoa/brown rice mixture as well as sauteed snap peas — perfect!

 

E N J O Y!

Thai Peanut Chicken!

This has become a STAPLE in our household!  In my opinion, Thai Peanut Chicken is a recipe that consists of a whole bunch of ingredients that just don’t seem like they could ever taste good together, combined, to make….perfection.  Add on the fact that it’s a crock pot meal and this busy mama is IN!

My husband originally found this recipe and I tweaked it to make it a bit more waistline friendly and up our alley!

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

3/4 cup mild salsa

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp reduced – sodium soy sauce

2 tsp ground ginger (or grated fresh!)

First, start by lining your crock pot with one of these handy dandy crock pot liners!

Then, after trimming the fat off your chicken breasts, place them in the crock pot on top of the liner.  

Next, it’s time to put together that tasty Thai sauce that sounds super strange but actually tastes like heaven!  Add all of your remaining ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until all ingredients are combined.

          

Lastly, ladle one big spoonful of sauce over each chicken breast until all 4 are covered.

Time to crock it up!

Now, the original recipe stated that this should be cooked on low for 8 hours.  However, my crock pot is a BEAST and I started cooking it later in the day so I put it on high for 2 hours and it was perfect!  Know your crock pot! If you will be at work or you are cooking it over night — definitely use your low setting.  If you’re like me and forgot to put it together in the morning and you’re making it mid afternoon — use your high setting, just keep an eye on it!

We paired the thai peanut chicken with some simple brown rice and broccoli!  I bet this would be SUPER yummy with pineapple as a side…definitely trying that next!

ENJOY!

Meal Prep For Dummies!

One of the questions I get asked the most is how I stay on top of my health and fitness routines as a working mama!

I have ONE answer to this question — MEAL PREP!

While creating the daily routine of exercising can be challenging at first, it becomes second nature and those 30 minutes a day are well worth the benefits.

However, eating a balanced diet — that is where the real challenge lies!

Enter, MEAL PREP.

You guys, without meal prepping on the weekends I can promise you that I would be a hot mess.  Hot. Mess.  Knowing that my breakfast, lunch, and dinner are planned and prepped on Sunday, prior to my week kicking off, not only sets me up for success, but it also honestly makes me feel super duper accomplished and like a super mom/wife/human.

SO! I have to share my tips.  Check out some of my pointers as you begin meal prepping for the first time, or if you’re someone who has been trying to get the hang of it but just can’t seem to find your groove!

Let’s start with breakfast.

Shakeology. Boom. Every single morning I blend one scoop of Chocolate Vegan Shakeology, 1 small banana, 8 oz unsweetened almond milk, and 3 ice cubes in my Oster Blend – N – Go and drink it on my way to work.  Sometimes I get fancy and add some PB2 or a dash of peppermint extract (haaaaay thin mint shake!).  A one handed breakfast is necessary when you have a baby on your hip, am I right, mamas?!

Onto lunch!

Salads.  Beautiful, nutrient dense, colorful — SALADS!  Snag your fav tupperware containers and get started! I measure out 1.5 green containers from Portion Fix  of spring mix and the remaining half of the container with some fresh cut veggies.  Keep it simple — some of our staples are grape tomatoes, squash, zucchini, shredded carrots, and snap peas.

We make 10 salads total for my husband and I to get us through the week days!

***TIP — when prepping salads for the entire week, use spinach or spring mix!  Romaine lettuce is MUCH more likely to wilt and go bad, where as spinach/spring mix will last you through the week!

We also wash and cut any fruits that we would like to pair with our salad for the day.  Apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, melon, you name it.  I typically have 1 purple container of fruit along with my salad each day.

 

What’s for dinner?!

Prepping dinners has made a HUGE difference after having my daughter.  Come dinner time, she is a clingy mess of a small human, so having something that I can reheat/defrost and pair with some already prepped veggies is a LIFE SAVER!!!!

We make large batches of our favorite recipes and throw them in the freezer to use for the week!

Some of our staples are:

Mexican Lasagna

-Skinny Chicken Parm

-Turkey Chili

-Thai Peanut Chicken

-Maple Dijon Pork Loin

-Taco Quinoa Skillet

Find some of your favorite healthy recipes and cook up 2 large batches on the weekend.  Freeze ’em up and use them on a busy night where the LAST thing you want to do is cook!

We also eat a lot of stir fry meals!

Fish or shrimp, chicken, brown rice, shredded carrots, snap peas, chopped onion (chop it during meal prep!), seasonings of choice, one scrambled egg– throw it in the skillet and voila — an easy and tasty dinner!

**TIP:  Wash, cut, and portion your veggies ahead of time!

          

Last but not least — SNACKS! 

Portion out those snacks on the weekend.  Put together some easy grab and go options that will keep you from hitting up those fast food chains that are your waist line’s nemesis.

Here are some of my go-to’s:

-Almonds (12)

-Baby carrots (10)

-Fruit

-Kirkland brand protein bar (mock off Quest Bar for a fraction of the price! Found at Costco!)

-Greek yogurt sweetened with truvia (1 red container)

-Rice cakes with 2 tsp. almond butter

Not too hard, right?!

All those small steps like washing and cutting your fruits and veggies the day of takes away priceless time from your (already) busy lifestyle.  Take 2 hours on the weekend, throw on some tunes, jam out, and meal prep!  It may take a week or two to get into the swing of things, but I promise that the few hours spent on the weekend preparing will free you up exponentially throughout the week.

Stay tuned for more recipes and tips to come!!

Pizza – 21 Day Fix Approved!

Does anyone else just feel like pizza on a Friday night is a necessity?  I always grew up eating pizza on a Friday night, as did my husband.  So when we got married, what did we do?  We ordered pizza on Friday night of course!  We both looooove a big ole white pizza with lots of garlic, cheese, and veggies.  Mmmm…that just screams Friday night to me.  Garlic breath and carbs.  Sign me up!

Now, let me assure you that my husband and I treat ourselves within reason.  But we found that there were so many ways to recreate our favorite unhealthy foods and make them a bit more waist line friendly, and pizza just so happened to be one of them.

I pulled out Fixate, a cook book written by the creator of the 21 Day Fix, Autumn Calabrese and I started flipping the pages.  PITA PIZZA.  Boom shaka laka.

As per the usual, I couldn’t just follow the recipe.  I had to make the recipe…mine!  Below is how we now make our garlicky, cheesy, veggie loaded, delicious, pita pizza….every Friday! Enjoy!

*Note:  21 day fix containers are used to prep and complete the meal.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. herbed oil

1/4 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 pitas

2 blue containers mozzarella cheese (1 per pie)

2 green containers chopped broccoli and onions (1 per pie)

2 red containers pulled rotisserie chicken (1 per pie)

3 tbsp. part skim ricotta cheese (1.5 tbsp. per pie)

Directions:

Start by laying out your pitas on a baking sheet.  No need to spray the baking sheet!  Below is the pita we have been using, but feel free to use the pita of your choice.  Remember to take into account the size of the pita if you are counting containers for the 21 day fix.  A small pita would account for 1 yellow, where are larger pita (like we use), would account for 2 yellows.  I go for the larger pita because…yum.

 

Next, mix up your oil and herbs.  Start by pouring 2 tsp. of the herbed oil into a small bowl.  I LOVE Wegman’s Basting Oil.  It’s a bit expensive, but it is just so perfect on these pita pizzas.  It really kicks up the flavor.   Next, add in your herbs.  This is where you can play a bit if you’d like.  You want oregano?  Go for it.  You want more garlic? Go for it.  Hate parsley?  Cool, leave it out.  Make the oil yours!  After you have added in all of the herbs, mix it thoroughly until you have a thicker liquid.

 

Next, start to spread the oil and herb mixture onto your pitas.  Half of the mixture on one pita, the remainder on the second pita.  You will notice that it is difficult to spread.  This is because we are not slathering our pitas with oil!  This is simply to adding some flavor and, when baked at a high temperature, some crunch.  I use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture across the pita.

 

After you have spread the oil mixture as even as possible over both pitas, it’s time for the CHEESE.  Love me some cheese.  Mmmm.  Fill up your blue container and spread the mozzarella evenly across the pita.  This will create a very thin layer of cheese.  You will look at it and say, “Umm…I need more.”  You don’t.  I promise.  Once it melts, you will see that it is plenty.  And I LOVE cheese.  So much.  So just trust me.  After you have put your cheese on pita #1, repeat with pita #2.

Okay, it’s veggie time.  Chop up your broccoli and onions into small pieces.  Remember, this is going on top of your pizza so the smaller, the better.  You want to chop up one full green container of broccoli and one full green container of onions.  I used a white onion, but if you like more of that bold onion-y flavor feel free to use something that packs more of a punch.

After you have chopped your veggies, steam ’em up!  You can absolutely saute them, but this typically calls for more oil, and let’s remember this pita pizza should be waist line friendly, so I steam mine.  Steam those veggies until they softness you desire.  We like them to be rather soft, so I keep them in the steamer for a bit longer than most probably would.

 

When your veggies are steaming, pull some rotisserie chicken off the carcass (HATE THAT WORD).   We get our rotisserie chicken from Wegman’s or Costco.  Honeslty, Costco rotisserie chicken is BANGIN’.  It’s bigger, more moist (another word I hate), and just totally succulent.  Both are $4.99 so you just can’t beat NOT having to cook your own chicken at that price.  So much easier.  

After your veggies are done, fill your green container with a mixture of the onions and broccoli and put it onto your pita.  Repeat with pita #2.

Then, add 1 red of pulled rotisserie chicken to each pita as well.

Next, top each pita with 1.5 tbsp of ricotta.  I’m classy and usually just use my finger to plop little bits all over the pizza.  Ricotta MAKES this pizza!  Don’t skip this step!

 

Last, but not least, pop those pita pizzas into the oven at 425 for 9 minutes to crisp up the pita and melt that cheese.  I top mine with some Frank’s hot sauce because I top everything with Frank’s hot sauce.  And….voila! You have yourself a delicious Friday night pizza that is not going to leave you feeling like a walking carb!  You’ll still have the garlic breath.  Just rock it.  It’s worth it.

21 Day Fix Containers:

2 yellow (depending on size of pita)

1 green (veggies)

1 red (chicken/ricotta cheese)

1 blue (mozzarella)

1 tsp. (oil)

 

Mexican Lasagna!

I love cheese.  I love Mexican food.  And I love to eat healthy.  So when I found this 21 day fix approved Mexican Lasagna, I was intrigued.  Intrigued soon turned to OBSESSED after making it for the first time.  Now, after having made it AT LEAST 10 times in the past year, I am HOOKED.

Right here folks is my very favorite 21 day fix dinner recipe!

 

Ingredients:

1 package lean ground turkey

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles (I use mild but if you like it spicy, go for medium!)

8 ounces pico de gallo (I use Wegman’s freh pico – delish!)

2 tbsp. taco seasoning (making your own is always best, but if you are in a pinch – be sure to get low sodium!)

1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 can black beans

12 corn tortillas

Steps:

  1.  Saute your ground turkey with the taco seasoning until it is a golden brown.  I do not use any oil, I simply spray my pan with cooking spray.
  2.  After the turkey has browned, add in your can of drained/rinsed black beans, the fresh pico de gallo, and the Rotel tomatoes and chiles
  3.  Stir together and let simmer so flavors mix.
  4. Next, lay six corn tortillas in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish (they will overlap slightly).
  5. Scoop HALF the meat mixture onto the tortillas and spread out evenly.
  6. Top meat mixture with 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  7. Repeat.  Six corn tortillas, meat mixture, cheddar cheese.
  8.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve hot, and enjoy!  Makes 6 servings.

*Optional toppings:  Greek Yogurt, Franks Hot Sauce, Cilantro.

 

21 day fix container equivalents:

1 yellow

1 red

1 blue

1 green

Shakeology Balls!

 

Meet my very best friend.  This little ball right here saves the day midweek when my sweet tooth is off the hook and I desperately need some kind of indulgence!

Ingredients

3 scoops vanilla or chocolate Shakeology

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup nut butter of choice

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup chocolate chips or cocoa nibs

How to Make

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  With slightly wet hands (this is important!!) form into small balls and place on parchment paper.  You should have approximately 15 balls when done.  Refrigerate or freeze.  Enjoy!

*For my 21 day fix friends – 2 Shakeology balls is equivalent to 1 yellow!*

Protein Pancakes, Anyone?

When I was pregnant with our daughter, Addison, something happened.  I become OBSESSED with pancakes.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  And I didn’t want just plain old pancakes, ya know?  I wanted them to be dripping in syrup and topped with deliciousness.

So, after I gave birth I thought this would obsession would come to an end.  False.  Give me all the pancakes.

My husband and I decided to try to play around with some of our own healthier pancake recipes.  We tested out a whole bunch of different recipes and mixes and came to the conclusion that our absolute FAVORITE is Kodiak Cakes!

These tasty pancakes were absolutely delicious, packed with protein, and came out nice and fluffy – not flat and blah, ya feel me?  These guys were the TICKET!  I was impressed by the nutrition label as well.  Not only were they packed with protein, but they were low sugar/fat as well.  Sign me up.

Now like I said, it’s not just about the pancake.  It’s about the toppings as well.  One of our favorite syrups is a 0 calorie/0 sugar syrup made by Walden’s Farms.  It’s not a “clean” product but if you’re someone counting your macros, these syrups will be your new BFF’s.

Top those suckers with some syrup, a sliced banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and you have yourselves a pretty fine Saturday morning breakfast!

Note:  The recipe states that one batch makes several small pancakes.  We like to make one big fat monster pancake. 🙂

*If you’re feeling extra fancy, add some unsweetened cocoa powder and a dash of almond extract to the batter.  You’re welcome.*