Tag Archive | chicken

Lunch!

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Lunch!

Yum!
Sauteed or stir-fried:
Leftover Chicken tenderloins, zucchini, squash, tomato, celery, carrot. Coated lightly with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with garlic salt and wheat germ. Cooked in a pan coated with nonstick cooking spray.

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Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake

This recipe is an unexpected blog post. I figured it’d taste good, I had no idea it would be THIS good!
The original plan was grilled chicken on the Foreman, roasted red potatoes and broccoli. Grilled chicken just wasn’t sounding appealing to any of us so I decided to go a different route. Leave it to SparkRecipes to lead me in the right direction. (I’m becoming addicted to that site for healthy recipe ideas.)
We (my daughter and I) decided on mashed red potates instead of roasted, leaving the oven now open for baking the chicken rather than grilling. The idea of baking lead me to the option of a broccoli and chicken casserole type of dinner.
I try to stay away from using condensed soups because of their sodium content, but I decided tonight I’d make an exception. Besides, not adding rice or pasta to the casserole means you only need one can!
As I said in the opener, this blog post was not planned which is usually the case with recipes. If you haven’t guessed, this means there are no photos to go along with the recipe. 😦 I even had a thought to snap a couple of photos, but I ignored my instinct and finished preparing dinner. Of course, now I’m regretting that decision.
Here it is, my Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake:

Ingredients (makes 6 serving)
1 1/2 pounds boneless/ skinless chicken breasts
1 pound frozen broccoli florets
1 can Campbell’s Healthy Request Cheddar Cheese soup
1/4 of a 1 pound block mild cheddar cheese, finely shredded

1) Clean any fat off chicken and cut into cubes.
2) Preheat oven to 375*.
3) Cook broccoli until fairly soft. Drain, set aside. (Reserve some water.)
4) Saute chicken until no longer pink. (I seasoned mine with garlic powder and used non stick cooking spray.)
5) Mix cooked chicken with cheese soup until pretty evenly coated. Add about 1/4 cup broccoli water and stir. Add a couple tablespoons of the shredded cheese, stir.
5) Gently stir in cooked broccoli until nicely coated.
6) Spray baking dish with non stick cooking spray.
7) Pour chicken and broccoli mixture into dish. Spread evenly.
8) Top with shredded cheese.
9) Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned.

Here’s a screenshot of the nutrition facts per serving from my Lose It! app:

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Nutrition Facts for Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake

I Made My Own BBQ Sauce!

Here’s how it happened:
I knew we were having chicken breasts for dinner, but I didn’t have the slightest idea how to prepare them. As I was sitting down at the dining room table yesterday morning, sipping my coffee, my brain was cycling through my mental rolodex of chicken ideas. When it flipped to slow cooked bbq chicken I was stuck. I couldn’t get past that one, it sounded so delicious. (We LOVE bbq around here.) The last time I made it I happened to have a bottle of Annie’s Organic Hot Chipotle BBQ sauce and it was perfect for the slow cooked recipe. Yesterday though, I didn’t have any sauce. Not even the house favorite, Sweet Baby Rays.
I remembered that my awesome, super local (walking distance), discount grocery store (DWP Discount Food and Produce) had a couple of big bottles of Sweet Baby Rays the last time I was there. Following that memory was the memory that I didn’t have any money. I was thinking I could probably scrounge up enough change and run over there real quick. (I really, REALLY wanted bbq chicken.)
That’s when I had a light bulb moment. One that I’m very proud of. One that shows how far I’ve come since I decided to start cooking real food.
I could make my own! I knew it could be easy, as long as you have a few basic ingredients; ketchup, vinegar, sugar; of which I have all. 🙂
Next was a simple Google search. Keywords: easy bbq sauce.
Oh yes, I could definitely do this! I even have apple cider vinegar, which I found to be called for in several recipes. I found a few that were up my alley, but one that the basics were just right. Cider vinegar, ketchup, water, sugar, salt. As per the usual, I scanned through the comments to get ideas of other add-ins or substitutions. Some noted using brown sugar instead of white sugar, which made sense to me considering this was a molasses-free recipe, and guess what? I have light brown sugar! Another mentioned adding honey, while a couple added crushed red pepper flakes and even chili powder. I must say that all of these ideas were sounding great to go together. I love a sweet and spicy sauce. Of course there were other suggestions, but of ingredients I don’t have on hand, like worstershire (sp) sauce.
I made a 24 serving recipe, which was about 3 cups total, since I needed enough for the chicken in the slow cooker, and maybe extra for serving. The flavor turned out amazing. I had each kid do a little finger dip taste test and they were pleased.

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Easy BBQ Sauce

Frozen chicken breasts placed in the slow cooker, poured in about 3/4 of the sauce and let it cook about 8 hours. Then I shredded the chicken, returned it to the cooker with the sauce, and let it cook while we waited for the sides to finish.
It wash delicious and definitely hit the spot!  Everyone loved it! (We didn’t need the extra sauce. It was perfect.) I served it with brown rice and a Normandy blend of vegetables. My son and husband put the chicken on whole wheat bread and made a sandwich.

Here’s the recipe:
1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
6 tbs light brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2-1 tsp honey

Whisk all ingredients together. 

*For a 12 serving batch, cut all ingredients by half.

** After using the desired amount in the slow cooker, I put the extra in the refrigerator, in a sealed container. Tasting it later, the vinegar seemed to be more pronounced than before refrigeration. I’m still a novice in the kitchen so I have no idea why this happened. It did not happen during the cooking process, though.
If anyone has any insight on this I would greatly appreciate the lesson. 🙂

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Just call meet Slacker Blogger plus Dinner is Cooking- Slow Cooker Chicken & Veggies

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Slow Cooker Chicken & Vegetables (Part 1)

I choose to not look back and see how long it has been since I last posted. I already know it has been too long. Life is busy, kids are on summer vacation, I’m on a health and fitness mission, we’re remodeling this house… If I wanted to get in depth, the list could probably go on forever. I’ll spare you the ramblings of our life. You’re welcome!
I’m posting today to share my creation for dinner tonight. Hopefully it turns out delicious and I receive no complaints from the peanut gallery. I am not following a recipe here, just a few tips I’ve grabbed from around the web. I know there are a lot of you who may think this is no big accomplishment; whipping up something simple in the slow cooker is easy peasy. For people like me though, cooking without instructions is a HUGE deal. 😛 So here it is. I had just over a pound and a half of bl/sl chicken breasts that really seemed to want to be part of a slow cooker dinner. That’s where it started. Next was a quick scan of the fridge, particularly the veggie drawer, where I find that I have several yummy add-ins. I choose not to use broth in my soups and stews to keep our sodium intake under control. My beautiful big sister taught me that you don’t need broth to make soup, just water, seasoning and creativity. 🙂 Browsing the web for ideas, I found a suggestion to brown the chicken before adding it to the cooker. I love this idea because my husband cannot stand to eat an onion so this allows me to lock in some onion powder flavor. A little garlic powder and Italian seasoning to really make it complete. I also cut a little green bell pepper to saute with the chicken. (Nothing beats the flavor of sauteed bell peppers.) I cut up some carrots and celery, placed them in the slow cooker. Added the chicken and peppers. Next I added 4 cups of water. The following step is either going to make this amazing, or weird. I squeezed half of a lemon (partially) and half of a lime into the water. Now this is set to low to cook all day. Later I will be adding sliced zucchini and sliced yellow squash. I will also be making brown rice for the first time to serve with it. I’m still deciding if I’m going to attempt to add it to the slow cooker or just cook it on the stove. I think that will depend upon the consistency the chicken and veggies have in a few hours.
**Fitness Time** I have completed 2 weeks of BodyRock.tv’s February Challenge. Today I re-take the fit test to see if I’ve improved. Wish me luck! *Question Center* Add the brown rice or cook it separately… What’s your opinion?

*UPDATE*
I decided to cook the rice on the stove, then mix it in with the chicken and veggies before serving. It turned out delicious!

Pastalicious Pasta with Chicken and Green Beans

I did it! I did it! I whipped up a dinner with what I had on hand!
I know this doesn’t sound like a great feat, but for me it is. Like I’ve said before, I’ve never been a woman able to just throw a delicious meal together. My mom is a “work with what you got” whiz. Unfortunately that skill didn’t rub off on me growing up. At least not in the cooking department.
Tonight I was planning grilled chicken salads when I opened my veggie drawer to find we only had romaine and tomatoes. That won’t cut it around here. I had to figure something out.
This idea almost sent me into the usual panic. I scoured the fridge, cabinets and freezer. I’ve used up all the packaged foods in my quest to be healthier and a better, smarter cook. All of my typical backups are no more. No mac & cheese, no frozen dinners, no canned crap. I have to stop, think, think, THINK. I do have thawed chicken tenderloins, I do have pasta (unfortunately it’s NOT whole grain, but it’s better than nothing), and I have the internet.
Search terms: easy pasta dishes, easy chicken and pasta dishes. Using Google’s awesome recipe thing, I can eliminate items I don’t have and check things I do. I find a tasty looking recipe, which I don’t have all of the ingredients for. Figures. Just then, something began to happen. My mind started working in new ways. I started to visualize the ingredients I do have; chicken, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes; then remove the items I do not have; lemons, parmesan cheese; the item I can swap; penne pasta for my linguine. Wow, that sounds pretty tasty, actually! I think I can pull this off!
I look back to the recipe for cooking instructions and decide to check out the reviews. One of them stated they’d added a veggie to the dish during the step of garlic, red pepper flakes and oil sauteed. Now that is something I would love to do. As luck would have I had leftover, uncooked, fresh green beans from my sister’s visit. 🙂 Perfect! I’m feeling like I have made so much progress in this short amount of time. I cooked the dish, served it to the kids, and asked for reviews. But first, here’s my recipe. 😀

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Pastalicious Pasta with Chicken and Green Beans

1lb pasta
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1+ cup fresh green beans
3 gloves garlic, sliced or chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3+ tbs extra virgin olive oil
Italian seasoning
Seasoning of choice for chicken

Cook pasta according to package. Drain.
On George Foreman, or in pan, cook chicken until done. Remove from grill or pan. Slice.
In large pan, add garlic, red pepper flake, green beans and olive oil. Saute until desired doneness.
Place cooked pasta in pan. Turn off heat. Mix well. Pour pasta into large bowl.
Add chicken to hot pasta. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Optional: Season dish with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with parmesan.
Serve with Italian dressing to be stirred in individually.

It was a hit! Both kids added parmesan cheese, one also added salt and pepper and Italian dressing. I added a tiny bit of salt and pepper. I asked what we should call it and my son suggested Pastalicious.

Now my husband just got home from work. I reheated the dish in a stir-fry fashion and served it up. Success! He’s loving it with a little salt and pepper.

*Exercise note for today:
I walked for one hour, 3.62 miles, burning 303 calories.
Yesterday I biked for 8 miles, about 45 minutes, burning 330.
I’ve been toying with the idea of trying out bodyrock.tv. I’ve been a little hesitant because I’m really a huge chicken. Today I downloaded their new app and tomorrow I will take the fit test, then start on the May 30 Day Challenge. Wish me luck!

Oh, My Delicious Dinner!

First off, let me apologize for not getting a photo of this insanely easy and tasty meal.
Here’s the story:
We make baked bbq chicken quite often using skinless, boneless chicken breast, breast filets or tenderloins. We love it and it always comes out perfect.
That was last night’s dinner plan.
I’m watching calories and was cutting it close to my daily budget so was just having a big salad and our daughter is working towards a vegetarian diet, so that means there’s going to be extra. (Maybe the boys can handle it?!) She asks if she can have a veggie burger instead, which then leads to my son asking for one, too. Surprisingly, he loves those things! Now this means only one person is having chicken, and I just put 4 breast filets in the baking dish and smothered them in bbq sauce.
Leftovers… We’re not good with leftovers. We almost never eat leftovers. I try to cook just enough food because I know that most leftovers will be wasted.
But it was too late. The dish was already prepared and headed for the oven. I had to think of something. I’m not (yet) a woman that can throw things together and create a wonderful meal for her family. I need directions, a recipe, something. Usually.
Thanks to a recipe I tried very recently, I was actually able to think up (think up? is that really the best I can do? it is right now) a leftover dinner ON MY OWN.
I present to you:

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Leftover bbq chicken, cut into very small pieces
6″ corn tortillas, 2 for each quesadilla
Shredded cheese, Mexican blend or your choice (due to availability we used cheddar)
Optional, choose any or all:
Fresh Spinach, chopped tomatoes, chopped bell pepper (I’m thinking red sounds awesome), any fresh veggie that sounds good to you.

When I was putting the chicken into a container last night I made sure to scoop out lots of the bbq sauce so the chicken would still be smothered. This made the quesadillas absolutely delicious

Okay, on to the cooking instructions. I used a flat, square skillet(?). To be sure I have plenty of room to flip the quesadillas I only make one at a time. There’s room for two, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’m not a pro.

Heat pan over medium-ish heat.
On a flat surface (I used a large cutting board to prep four at a time) lay out bottom tortilla.
Stack with desired amount of cheese, chicken, and any veggies.
Top with second tortilla.
Spray heated pan with cooking spray.
Using hands, or wide spatula, place quesadilla on heated pan.
Heat until browned and cheese is beginning to melt or melted.
Flip, carefully and quickly. This will be trickier (is trickier a word?) the more you have in it. Hence, the reason I choose to cook one at a time.
Once browned, remove from pan.
Re-spray and repeat for remaining quesadillas. They cook pretty quickly and it gets smoky after a few.

You may want to dip in salsa, sour cream, or guacamole. Maybe all three!

They turned out much better than anticipated. I’m very happy with the results and so is my husband!
The kids, of course, had theirs a little different. Child #1 had cheese quesadillas, and kid #2 likes his with cheese and salsa on the inside.

Each one, depending on your chosen ingredients, is under 300 calories. To keep it low cal, I suggest having a nice side salad with it. We actually had two quesadillas each, plus some homemade tortilla chips as an appetizer.

If you try this recipe I hope you enjoy it! If I left anything out, or you have a question, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.
Good night!

Smoothie Lovin’

Smoothie success is happening! Maybe not financially, or famously, but in my home. Yesterday my daughter asked if I’d make her one for breakfast when I made mine. Then, after telling that to my husband he asked me to make him one, too! I haven’t even been able to get him to taste one! Getting that man to eat breakfast can be difficult. When I’m able to he usually wants a bacon egg and cheese bagel sandwich, or a classic egg breakfast with bacon and toast. Drinking fruit and yogurt for any meal seemed less than appealing to him, I think. You can imagine my surprise when those words crossed his lips. So today I kept the smoothies basic; strawberry banana. Everyone loved them (my son tasted his sister’s) and asked that they have them more often. 🙂

Husband’s Smoothie To-Go


Yes! Sweet, sweet victory!
This one actually follows another victory from the night before. We ate grilled chicken salads for dinner. I do this quite often, and my daughter also loves salad as the meal. My husband, however, has always looked at salad as a side to the main course. Several nights ago he ate his salad first and was surprised to learn that he was quite satisfied and really didn’t even need anything else. He proceeded to tell me that he may be ready to try grilled chicken salad for dinner. That makes me a happy girl! I LOVE hearing my family make healthier choices on their own.
Last night was the night. I sent him a text asking if he was ready and he said yes.
Hours later: Dinner time! I cleaned and cut the boneless chicken breasts. I started filling up four big bowls with different veggies depending in who’s bowl was who’s. Everyone received fresh shredded romaine and cucumber. Some had sliced zucchini and squash, tomato, red bell pepper, green and black olives (I also like to slice carrots but we were out.
When the salads were mostly put together I started heating up the George Foreman. That thing has become a staple in my kitchen since I started changing my diet (and I remembered that we owned one). Now the chicken is cooking, everyone has their bowls and is throwing on their last few items; shredded mozzarella, bacon bits, croutons, and of course getting choice of dressing. Chicken is done in minutes and I’m bringing it to the table. Well, after I measure out my serving so I can accurately log it on Lose It!.
Everyone enjoyed their dinner!! My daughter, who’s working towards becoming a vegetarian, had hers without the chicken, my son took his chicken on the side because he likes to dip it in ranch dressing, my husband and I actually had grilled chicken salad, and he loved it!
So two victories, two meals in a row. Woo woo!

I have to briefly talk about the smoothie I made yesterday. I decided I wanted to try a smoothie with cantaloupe. I started out thinking just cantaloupe and banana would be good. Shoot, I probably wouldn’t even need the sweetener packet! (I went ahead and froze the cantaloupe the night before. It was very juicy and I didn’t want it thinning down the drink any.) I wasn’t too fond of the flavor without the sweetener so I added that. Then it was too sweet and missing something. I added some sliced strawberries. That was exactly what it needed! This turned out to be one of THE best smoothies! Recipe? Sure thing!

1c frozen cantaloupe
3/4c sliced banana
1/2c sliced strawberries
1/2c Oikos nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2c Silk Original Soy, Light
1packet Stevia sweetener

Calories 256
Fat 1.3g
Cholesterol 7.5mg
Sodium 98.8mg
Carbs 53.1g
Fiber 6.3g
Sugar 35.9g
Protein 15.6g