BBQ Chicken & Quinoa Bake

I have had this blog on my to-do list for about a week. I’ve actually had a lot of tasks on my to-do list for about a week.  It is that time of year: summer is ending and a new school year approaches. I am excited to meet my new students in exactly two weeks, but I still have to accomplish quite a bit before I’ll feel ready for my 11th year of teaching.  Wow.  Now I feel old.  Here is a look at some of the task to-be-accomplished in the coming weeks:

  • I need to lesson plan/create my calendars for September for my 5 different classes.
  • I need to set up my 3 classrooms.
  • I need to finish our One Book, One School text (Brothers Forever) and finalize my class discussions and assignments for it.
  • I need to meet with my new co-teacher (probably my favorite list item!) to lesson plan and brainstorm a great year.
  • I need to coordinate drop-offs, picks-ups, and childcare for all three children who, for the first time, will be attending three different schools/facilities.
  • I need to continue meal prep.

You read that right: meal prep.  I have been doing two or three simple meal prepping tasks a week to help me find success and ease this coming school year–especially during those chaotic mornings when five people and 2 dogs need to be settled for the day.

I’ve made batches of clean pancakes and muffins that are now sorted and in my freezer.  I’ve made an assortment of meatballs–traditional turkey, Kung Pao chicken, etc–that are portioned and frozen as well. And I’ve started experimenting with meals that can be made ahead or that yield abundant leftovers.

One such winner is this BBQ Chicken & Quinoa Bake.  It is a simple casserole filled with fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients. It is clean comfort food, so to speak, that will be perfect on a fall night when you long for a taste of summer but crave the warmth of a wholesome dinner.

What is quinoa? Quinoa is a grain discovered thousands of years ago by the Incas.  It has gained popularity recently because it is a complete protein, is higher in fiber than most other grains, and is naturally fortified with vitamins and minerals.  You can use it like you would rice or even oatmeal. My son and I even like it cooked and turned cold with milk–a deliciously filling cereal! It adds bulk to this casserole without adding empty calories.  You won’t need a large portion of this meal to not only feel full, but to reach your nutritional goals for the day.

I used a rotisserie chicken for this recipe.  I’ve become slightly obsessed with rotisserie chicken because it is so easily shredded and turned into awesome, easy meals.  You could easily throw chicken breasts in the crock pot and shred those if time allows!  Whatever you choose, this dish will not disappoint!

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BBQ Chicken & Quinoa Bake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A hearty, healthy one-dish dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked to package directions (makes about 3 cups)
  • 6 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth, plus more for baking if you prep ahead of time
  • 3/4 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Mexican cheese blend, as much as your little heart desires

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray an 9×13 in casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare quinoa per package directions. While it boils, shred your chicken and dice your veggies.
  3. Once quinoa has cooked, spread it evenly throughout the baking dish.  Top with shredded chicken, then all of the veggies and beans.
  4. Pour the chicken broth evenly over the entire casserole. Give everything a gentle toss, then top with BBQ sauce and cheese.
  5. Bake for approx. 25 minutes.  Serve immediately!

Tell me what you think of the recipe and if you change it up in any way.  I may make it another time Hawaiian style, with pineapple!  This can easily be prepped on Sunday and baked a day or two later, just add more chicken broth to make sure the quinoa and chicken do not dry out.  Quinoa absorbs so much water!

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“Cheat” Chinese Chicken Fried Rice

I am going to keep the anecdotes to a minimum tonight.  First off, I am blogging rather late at night, but for a few good reasons: it is Tasty Tuesday and I have yet to post; it has been a week since my last post (hello, crazy working mom mode!); I have had this recipe requested for quite some time.  Second reason to make this quick: you will want this recipe immediately.  At least, you would if you could smell the garlicky aroma wafting through my house still–two hours after we ate. Yum!  But then again, this isn’t a blog post by me if it lacks a little backstory.

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My husband loves fried rice.  In fact, he would eat hibachi almost every night.  His entire family–and I mean his mom and her seven siblings and all of their spouses and kids (and now grandkids!)–go to a hibachi restaurant every Easter.  I have always dreaded it.  I do not enjoy the oily smell that lingers on my clothes, in my hair, and on my handbag.  I seem to be the only one getting the downdraft of the giant exhaust fan–no matter where I sit.  I despise eggs, so seeing them cracked and topping all the other food on the grill just gives me the heebie jeebies. But it is always one of Mike’s favorite days with his favorite people and his favorite food.

A few years ago, Mike got the idea to try to make his own fried rice.  He’s played around with the recipe–and has even left out the eggs for my benefit–and has come up with a combo of flavors that we find ideal.  This “cheat” Chinese meal is mainly clean and mainly healthy, but it definitely not on the menu every week as it packs more of a caloric and sodium punch than we want on the reg.  It sure beats the fat and salt content of true takeout, though, so I still count it as a dinner win.

You can easily adapt this by trading out the veggies for those to your liking.  We stick to carrots and zucchini mainly because we love them, our kids love them, and we always have them on hand.  You could also trade out the chicken for steak, shrimp, pork, whatever!  It is quite versatile.  You could even add the egg if you are so inclined.  I disagree wholeheartedly, but I know my husband would gladly come make this for you and dine with you if you allowed the egg addition. 🙂

Mike preps everything in its own pot/pan, then combines everything in our large saute pan. This meal requires a lot of space and a lot of dish-washing, but to mimic the hibachi experience, you have to go there.

The portions below perfectly feed me, my husband, and my two young kids without leftovers.  We often double this if we make it on Sunday night so Mike has lunches for a few days.  Plus, our five-year old daughter always wants seconds and thirds.  This is her favorite meal.

Extra tip: I recommend chopping the veggies with a hand-chopper (I use one by Pampered Chef) to dice them to the perfect size.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups brown rice, cooked (You could use white if you prefer!)
  • 1 chicken breast, diced into tiny pieces (as small as you’d like)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped small
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped small
  • 1 tsp butter (The one and only time we use it anymore!)
  • Himalayan sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Sesame seeds, to taste
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  1. Prepare the rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and saute, moving it frequently, for approximately 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit as you prep the veggies and finish the rice.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Heat garlic for 30 seconds.  Add the carrots and zucchini and stir for approx. 1-2 minutes, or until softened.
  4. Add the rice, then the pre-cooked chicken, and combine.
  5. Lower the heat.  Add the butter, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, and soy sauce (to taste!), and then toss all ingredients together.

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This may require many pieces of cookware, but it is still quick and delicious!  Very worth the try!  I look forward to hearing how you modify this, or how tour taste buds enjoy my husband’s creation as-is!

Clean Steak & Chicken Fajitas

Want to know the worst part of my family’s new love of clean eating? Doing so many dishes and running the dishwasher daily. But do you want to know the best part? I always have fresh ingredients on hand that I can easily throw together to create a healthful, flavorful meal on a whim. This benefit far outweighs the number of minutes spent at my sink or unloading the dishwasher.

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This can save you in a pinch when your meal prep or meal plan has failed you. We are humans–many of whom are raising mini humans–and life happens! Don’t let life cause you to stop at a fast food joint when in almost as much time as the drive-thru would take you can get creative and make something yummy and clean in your own kitchen.

This pinch-hitting dinner came into play a few weeks ago. I had planned on making stuffed peppers Monday night, but ended up using the ground turkey I had on hand for a potluck recipe the day before instead.  I swore this dish would create enough leftovers for dinner but, alas, it was just too good.  Clean recipes tend to be that way. I was left, then, with a series of peppers and onion and no dinner plan on the first day I returned to work post-maternity leave.

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I pass Pancheros–a delicious Chipotle-style fast food joint–every day as I drive home with the “big kids” from their school. I so wanted to pull in the parking lot and get something, but I didn’t for a few reasons: 1. How much of a pain is that with two kids and a newborn? 2. We are striving to eat clean and save money! 3.I had some awesome ingredients awaiting me and my new-found kitchen creativity awaiting me in my own kitchen! I decided then to head home and figure out how to make fajitas–something I have never made before nor ever really desired to eat before.

I’ve noticed, though, that the more cleanly my family and I eat–meaning, the more whole, real foods I cook with and snack on–the more adventurous I am becoming in the kitchen.  My palate is definitely expanding.  I now crave flavors I didn’t know existed: fresh citrus squeezed onto a bed of greens, cayenne pepper tossed into a homemade soup, the differing tastes of various onion varieties.  Beyond that, I am more confident playing Martha Stewart or Julia Child as well.  I am starting to be better aware of the relationships between foods, to understand how certain spices or flavors or textures compliment and contradict one another.  I believe all of these new cooking mentalities led to my fajita-making endeavor.
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I knew I had plenty of peppers and onion, and Mike always picks up at least one steak and a few chicken breast each Sunday.  What we don’t use within two days, we freeze.  I also knew that we had Ezekiel tortillas in the freezer that could make a yummy fajita roll-up or just as a starch of sorts under and the seasoned goodness.  As soon as we got home, I got the kids set up with some coloring, began defrosting the tortillas, and began my prep.

This meal took no more than 15 minutes from start to finish: 5 minutes to wash and chop/slice and 10 minutes to saute the veggies and grill the steak.  This turned out to be a new favorite of mine.  I have made it twice in the past two weeks. Yum!

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INGREDIENTS
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
1 lean steak (ranch steak is the perfect size), sliced thin
1 chicken breast, sliced thin
1/2 Ezekiel tortilla per fajita
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (optional, to taste)
1/4 cup fresh or jarred salsa (optional, to taste)
1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese (optional, to taste)

(Ok, lots of thin slices–but the thinner the better!)

SEASONING
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin

  1. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Toss in veggies and stir frequently for 3 minutes. Adjust heat as needed.
  2. Preheat grill pan over medium heat. Drizzle olive oil over steak and chicken, and then grill for approximately 2-3 minutes each side.  Keep a close eye on this, though, as size and thickness make a big difference.
  3. Add seasoning spices directly to saute pan, tossing veggies to coat.  Continue cooking until onions are translucent.
  4. Break up 1/2 tortilla on plate (or stuff!), top with veggies, and then protein of choice (I had a little of both!).  I then sprinkled cheese over it all, and dolloped a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top in lieu of sour cream.  Add salsa as well if you choose.

That’s it! Simply, scrumptious, and just the right amount of spicy.  Please comment below with your thoughts or variations!

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Lick-the-spoon Protein Cookies…and a Salad

I’ve missed cookies.  Cookies and ice cream are my two biggest weaknesses.  Since I’ve started drinking Shakeology every day, I no longer miss having a bowl of ice cream.  I have found so many recipe ideas online and just by playing around that I pretty much start each day with a chocolate or coffee milkshake.  This shake, though, is full of super foods and vitamins and the protein my body needs to burn fat, build muscle, and feel properly full.  But I’ve missed cookies. IMG_6953

Thank heavens for Pinterest and Facebook.  Between these two sources, I’ve found various recipes for energy bites and clean cookies that I am starting to satisfy these cravings with healthful, whole snacks.  Yesterday, I stumbled upon my favorite yet while mixing ideas from a few other recipes–and a faulty ingredient leftover from the weekend.

I am calling these Lick-the-Spoon Protein Cookies because you will do just that: lick the spoon clean after you finish portioning them on your cookie sheet.  They are eggless, so the batter is safe to eat raw, and they are gluten free if you use the right kind of old fashioned rolled oats. Plus, these took maybe two or three minutes to prepare.   Combine that with a 15 minute bake time, and I was munching on a few in less than 25 minutes.

What inspired the cookie creating?  I am currently running a Clean Eating Accountability group on Facebook and am on the lookout for some clean snacks to share with the ladies and one gentleman participating.  I found a basic recipe for banana oatmeal cookies that seemed simple and yummy enough alone, but the recipe lacked protein.  I have found protein to be so beneficial to my overall health and fitness that I wanted to make the cookies more worthwhile for me, my goals, and my participants.  Plus, I had just finished eating the most delicious and clean citrus chicken salad that I knew I could afford a cookie or two–the right cookie, anyway.

To up the protein ante, I added two ingredients: raw homemade almond butter and a little bit of chocolate Shakeology.  The almond butter addition came out of my desire to really live a clean lifestyle.  I attempted to grind down a cup of almonds for a Super Bowl Sunday snack, and my first attempt didn’t go well.  Instead of turning into a crumbly topping like I envisioned, the almonds became moist, dense, and chunky in my Nutribullet.  I succeeded on a second cup of almonds by using my blender instead, but the initial serving of almond “buttery” something just sat on my counter unused.  When I was mixing together the ingredients for the cookies and took a jar of almond butter out of my fridge, I remembered the forgotten blend from the day before and used that instead.  This added a crunch to some of the cookies as well, which I am not complaining about.

I added the Shakeology, and just a little bit, to add a chocolate flavor and some more health benefits, but this step can easily be left out or even subbed for cocoa powder if you aren’t interested in additional protein.

I’ll get to the actual recipe in a minute, but first, you have to earn it.  Here is the recipe for my clean citrus chicken salad.  I combined ingredients from various meals from the week to create an unplanned, accidental, delicious lunch that I cannot wait to have again today.

CLEAN CITRUS CHICKEN SALAD INGREDIENTS

I combined all ingredients in a bowl and enjoyed every bite.  This didn’t need any dressing, but if you find it to be dry, squeeze the juice out of one of the orange segments.  Keep it clean and light. 🙂  This salad will make you feel like you are vacationing in California–something my parents are currently doing–which this Jersey girl appreciated on a gray February afternoon.

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Drum roll, please. It’s cookie time.

Lick-the-spoon Protein Cookies

  • Servings: 12-18
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cookies so good, you'll forget they are healthy!

Ingredients

  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup organic old-fashioned rolled oats, certified gluten free if necessary
  • 2 tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 tbsp. chocolate Shakeology
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used dark mini chips)

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Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray  (I used coconut oil spray and the aroma is to-die-for and also vacation-like!).
  2. Combine the bananas (I mashed mine with a fork), oats, and almond butter until smooth.  If you are adding the Shakeology or cocoa powder, combine that now as well.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.  Spoon even rounds onto the cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until firm.  Allow to cool for one minute on the cookie sheet and then for 3 minutes on a cooling rack.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in your fridge–if you have any leftovers!

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This is an easy and yummy dessert that even your kids can enjoy.  A cookie without butter and eggs isIMG_6957 my new favorite kind of cookie.  Share your thoughts below or of any changes you made to the recipes.  Cooking and baking should allow for creativity.  Have confidence to play around with recipes and you will find true joy in the kitchen!
If you do not want to make your own almond butter, I have found this brand works very well for baking, for my Shakeology, on apples, and on Ezekiel toast.  It does have a rather nutty flavor, but it spreads well and doesn’t separate.  

If you like this recipe and want more healthy lunch and snack ideas, join my next FREE 5-day clean eating challenge!

 

My Why

I have been a mom for over five years, but nothing has motivated me to take control of my family’s health and wellness as much as Kellen’s CCAM. While I was pregnant this third time, countless people–from friends to family to complete strangers at the grocery store–felt the need to impart their feelings on “being outnumbered” with three kids: You’ll be lucky to get out of the house! Try to remember to eat! How will you keep their names straight? The laundry! But you already have your boy and your girl! These such positive and supportive comments truly helped ease a mind already panicked at the baby’s health and worried about the impact a newborn would have on a 3-year old and 5-year old.

I am a bit of a control freak. I am the type of person who rearranges the dishwasher after my husband loads it. I adjust the way my mom has placed one of my child’s shirts on a hanger when helping me around the house. I am by no means a neat freak or a clean freak, but I need to be in control of so much of the minutia in life to feel any sense of inner balance. Kellen’s diagnosis really shook me at my core. Not only was his health in question, but my ability to be in control–and, this time, about something so vital, so real–was virtually non-existent.

As I neared and then passed my due date, I realized just how little control I had over many of life’s biggest moments. I couldn’t predict or plan this baby’s arrival.  I couldn’t will him a perfect lung.  I couldn’t even control how he would change the lives of my other two children.

I’ve mentioned my maternal grandfather, Vince, on this blog a few times.  “Let it go” was his signature phrase, one that ties us to him still.  After we learned the CCAM CVR was only a .21, I became open to letting go of so much stress and worry and emotion.  I continued to carry so much weight and so much internal pressure to get everything right, however, in the other aspects of my life. The moment Kellen was born and I heard him cry the most robust, gorgeous cry, though, I finally let it go.  All of it.

What is it? Everything I can’t and shouldn’t attempt to control, to micromanage, to perfect. The irony in this is that just as quickly as I let go of what I couldn’t control, I became more aware of what I could control: my health, my happiness, my confidence, my ability to provide these for my family.

This is my why, my reason for making healthier choices and for making myself a priority. First, I joined a boot camp, this first thing I have done solely for me in a very long time.  This inspired me to rekindle my love of writing and to launch this blog.  The catharsis it allows me is priceless.  Both of these new endeavors have equated to more accountability in my choices.  I am sticking to my workouts and to clean, balanced eating not simply to lose the baby weight or to write about it.  I want my confidence and my control in the most healthy way.  I want to be almost as strong as Kellen.  I want to be a role model for my daughter.  I want my middle child to love cooking healthy meals with me, not just baking cookies. I want all of my children to grow up in a house where we follow our dreams and support one another and don’t stress about the rest. That is why I’ve taken the step to become a Beachbody coach–to inspire my children and other people as well.

I’ve let go of much of my panic and embrace my life’s chaos and unpredictability.  I’ve let go of bad eating habits and perpetual snacking and have made room for healthful choices and real meals.  I’ve let go of the me who held herself to an impossible standard and welcomed the work-in-progress me.

In doing this, I realize I have real time on my hands.  Yesterday, I spent two hours at a hair salon highlighting my hair.  It is something I have wanted to do for years, but chickened out with worry of how I’d look.  At least that was the excuse I said out loud. The truth?  The idea of doing something alone and just for me and at such a cost made me almost sick.  I am a working mom and my husband would never tell me I couldn’t pay for something like that, but I still felt such guilt. The expense! The time away from the kids! I let these excuses weigh me down.  I let go of such excuses on November 11th.  And I still had time for life.  I spent the morning at CHOP for Kellen’s follow-up (all is perfect!), took my daughter to get her new glasses, did some laundry (with the help of my mom and I didn’t fix any hangers!), and made two meals, one for dinner and one for lunch for the week. I am not listing this to brag. I then ended the night working on my Beachbody coaching business plan and doing some training while watching the Iowa caucuses and college hoops with my husband.  I didn’t get a long workout in, which I would have liked to do, but I had me-time, family-time, husband-time, and healthful-time regardless.  I will celebrate victories, especially Kellen’s, and not pay attention to what didn’t work or didn’t happen.  I’m thrilled with what I can control and the rest, well, I’ve let that go.

One-Skillet Weeknight Chicken

Made one of the easiest meals I’ve managed to cook last night!  My husband was working late and I had a special shrimp meal planned that he loves but it does not reheat well. I knew I would make that once he got home for the two of us, but I needed something quick for the kids.  I had planned on making this while the kids were at school to have as grab-and-go lunches, but in a pinch it made the switch to dinner. This dish was a victory all around! My kids loved it, it was clean and nutritious, and it all happened in one skillet.  This recipe also yielded plenty of leftovers that I plan to eat over baby spinach for my 21 Day Fix lunches this week.

I am going to keep the monologue to a minimum with this post.  The meal is simple; the blog should be as well.  Here goes!

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INGREDIENTS

  • Two tomatoes (I used tomatoes-on-the-vine) chopped, ribs discarded
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in thin spheres
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut in thin spheres
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth
  1. Chop tomatoes and place in a bowl.  Top with one tablespoon EVOO, sea salt, and basil leaves.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.
  2. Heat remaining tablespoon EVOO over medium heat in the bottom of a deep skillet. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add the ground chicken and cook until brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Once browned, add the zucchini, squash and chicken broth, stirring to combine. Add tomato mixture, toss once more, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover, and allow the juices to combine for approximately 5 minutes.  Then serve over greens or as-is.

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This dish has basic, fresh flavors, but could easily be doctored for your family’s preferences.  You could add chili powder or cayenne pepper for some kick or even add eggplant to make it even more hearty. I sprinkled it with part-skim shredded mozz when I served it to my kids.  Let me know in the comments how you made this your own. 🙂

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Baked Chicken ala Yummy

I have a confession to make: I love chicken. That’s right, folks.  I am obsessed. This may seem like no big deal to you, but up until about a month ago I would have told you I don’t eat chicken.  I have never had the taste for it–unless if was processed and formed into a nugget and half-eaten by one of my kids and I snatched it up before scraping it into the garbage disposal.  When I’d make chicken parm for my family, I’d make eggplant for myself.  Chicken or fish at a wedding?  Fish, please.  This all changed at the start of 2016.

I am currently 2 1/2 weeks into an online fitness boot camp in an attempt to do the dreaded “lose the baby weight” thing.  I love working out and I love eating fruits and veggies, but I’ve also let being a mom–especially a working mom–break so many of my disciplined habits.  I became a perpetual snacker who hardly ate real meals, a woman who felt guilty leaving the house for even a 20 minute run, and a person who heard the slightest child-whine or baby-cry in the distance and immediately turned off any workout DVD I had managed to begin. Yes, I would have still considered myself fit and healthy, but I wasn’t as fit and healthy or happy as I could have been. I’d play outside with my kids and run with them in my double-jogger and enlist them to help me blend my morning green smoothie.  But, I was often tired. I lost my patience rather easily. I resented my husband’s longer hours at work. I was pretty normal.

This boot camp is changing all of that.  It allows me to find accountability, motivation, and mindfulness through a group of women all embarking on a virtual fitness journey.  It encourages me to workout and to invite others to join me, like my husband, sister-in-law, and my kids.  It inspires me to pay attention to my eating and to really make the most of it by eating clean.  I have lost 3 1/2 pounds since I started the boot camp, and I attribute this to a combination of regular workouts, a true support system, and smarter eating.

What does this have to do with chicken?  Just about everything.  My online fitness coach helped me realize that I was lacking protein in most of my meals. This caused me to feel hungry, to be sluggish, and to crave sweets. As I did my own research on foods rich in protein and lower in fat, chicken repeatedly appeared.  Turkey, beans, lentils, nonfat plain Greek yogurt–these were already favorites of mine.  But chicken? Bleh. I sucked it up, though, and found that when stripped down and incorporated into healthful, clean recipes, chicken may be my new favorite thing.  Need proof?  I am lunching on crock pot salsa chicken over mixed greens and avocado right now.

I am now a meal-eater.  My husband and I were revealing in that fact last night. I have nearly cleaned my plate at every meal since January 4th when this began.  I know my metabolism is revved up, but I am also not filling myself with needless snacks. I am incorporating protein in every meal as well, which keeps me fuller longer and helps my body break down the fats and carbs I do consume.  Last night’s dinner–which I am calling Baked Chicken ala Yummy–was a perfect example of all of my new habits coming together. I ate chicken. I finished my meal. I woke up still full. 🙂

In full disclosure, this is an old recipe I happened upon years ago, maybe from a cooking show or online, that I tweaked to make my own.  I hadn’t cooked in ages, though. When Mom doesn’t want to eat chicken, Mom hardly cooks chicken.  Perhaps the best part of this dish is just how yummy your house smells while you bake it, hence the name.

I served this with a side of zucchini spaghetti, so I’ll include those directions as well.

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Baked Chicken ala Yummy

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A tasty, simple chicken dinner the whole family can enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut thin (or 4 cutlets)
  • 1 slice nitrate free turkey bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly slice
  • 1 tomato on the vine, diced
  • 1/3 cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lemon for juicing, halved.
  • 1 large zucchini, spiraled into spaghetti (I use the Veggetti)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a large baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Place the 4 cutlets into your baking dish. Top with bacon, tomato, and garlic slices.  Sprinkle evenly with cheese.  Squeeze the juice of one-half of the lemon over the chicken.
  3. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes uncovered, then cover with foil for another 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and your home smells good enough to eat.
  4. During the second phase of baking, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add zucchini spaghetti and boil for 6-8 minutes, depending on the consistency you prefer.  Drain, and top with the juice of the other half of the lemon.
  5. Serve warm.  Enjoy!

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You can play around with this recipe in countless ways: use traditional bacon, eliminate the lemon juice and drizzle everything with olive oil, add onion as well, you name it!  Before I was eating clean and trying to avoid as many processed foods as possible, I would serve this with a side of pre-packaged mashed potatoes or refrigerated crescent rolls or something of that sort. I have really been able to eliminate much of these types of foods and feel less bloated and overall much healthier. Give it a try and I am sure you will have similar benefits.

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Please comment below with ways you made this recipe your own! Happy cooking!