Sunday, January 31, 2016

Gourmet Marinated Chicken Breast

We are having these chicken breast grilled on salads tonight for dinner but they could just as easily be used to make a great sandwich.  

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

    Instructions
  1. In a gallon-sized freezer bag, combine the oil, the vinegar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, ginger and paprika. Gently shake the bag to mix. Then set aside.
  2. Carefully cut the chicken breasts lengthwise through the center to create two thin halves out of each breast. Place the six chicken cutlets in the bag with the marinade, seal the bag and shake to ensure the meat is coated. Set in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes or up to several hours to marinate.
  3. Preheat a grill pan or grill over medium-high heat.
  4. Lightly coat the pan with cooking spray (if cooking on the stovetop), and then add the chicken to the pan or grill. Discard the marinade. Grill until there are prominent marks on the bottoms, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan or grill and grill for another 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through. Chicken is done when juices run clear or the internal temperature is 165 F.

To Freeze:
Place chicken in the marinade, seal bag, and freeze immediately. Thaw in refrigerator before cooking, as the chicken thaws it will soak up even more marinade 

(I froze each breast individually and divided the marinade between freezer bags so that we could easily grab single servings)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad. AKA FOOTBALL FOOD!!!!

Let me start by saying I am an Indianapolis Colts fan.  Because of this I have a lot of love for Peyton Manning and therefore am EXTREAMLY excited to see him win (power of positive thinking right) the Super Bowl with the Broncos in two weeks.  



Yesterday hubby and I had this salad as our football food and it totally hit the spot. 

I'm even going to use this as a dip for carrots and celery for an office dip-off party we are having for the super bowl.  It was really easy to make and the taste is perfect for a healthier version of the popular buffalo chicken dip.  

I don't think it can stand on it's own as a meal, you need a lettuce salad or something to go with it.  Personally I found it a little to spicy to eat by itself.  

Salad

·         1 cup quinoa
·         2 cups water
·         3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
·         1 cup broccoli florets
·         3/4 cup shredded carrots
·         3/4 cup shredded cabbage
·         1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish
·         4 green onions chopped, save half for garnish
Dressing
·         1/3 cup olive oil
·         1/2 cup hot sauce (I recommend Franks)
·         1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Instructions

  1. In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse quinoa well and drain. In a medium pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking make the buffalo sauce dressing and cook the chicken and broccoli. In a measuring cup or small bowl combine the olive oil, hot sauce, and seasoned salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Heat a medium size skillet over medium high heat Add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the broccoli for about 5 minutes. You want it to just start to soften, but still be crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the same pan and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Add 1/4 cup or so of the buffalo sauce and cook until the chicken absorbs the sauce.
  4. When the quinoa is ready add the chicken, broccoli, carrots, shredded cabbage and as much of the dressing as desired (I ended up using all of the dressing, but we like things extra saucy) toss well. Add the blue cheese and half of the green onions. Toss again and serve warm with extra blue cheese crumbles and green onions.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Taco Chicken Bowls

Ingredients:
1½ lbs. chicken breasts
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
½ lb. (8 oz.) frozen corn
¼ Cup water
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp cumin
½ Tbsp minced garlic
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
cracked pepper to taste

Serve With:
2 cups dry rice
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Diced Avocado
Sour Cream
½ bunch cilantro (optional)

Instructions
·       Add ingredients to slow cooker, making sure that chicken is covered by mixture.
·       Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs.
·       After 8 hours of cooking stir with fork to shred chicken. 
·       Prepare two cups of rice according to instructions on package. Fluff with a fork before serving.
·       Build the taco bowls by placing rice on the bottom, then the taco chicken mix, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro.


If freezing-either freeze ingredients before cooking then thaw before cooking or freeze after cooking and heat while rice cooks for serving.

I froze my ingredients before cooking.  This makes 8-10 servings and is 100% 24 Day Challenge/10 Day Cleanse friendly if you serve it with brown rice and omit the cheese & sour cream.  


Thursday, January 21, 2016

24 Day Challenge Check In

So today was day 11 of my 24 day challenge.   This is my third challenge since March 2015 when Hubby and I signed up as distributors for the discount.   Last year I lost a total of 18 pounds and dropped a full pants size + (12's were tight on me in January 2015, now 10's are loose and I can wear 8's but I'm not comfortable in them yet.)
Today I weighed myself and I have lost another 3 pounds, 1 inch on my waist (which means the 8's probably actually fit me now, 3/4 inch on my hips, and 1/2 inch on each of my thighs.   
I cannot express how much I love the Advocare products and how glad I am that hubby and I have found a program that works for both of us.   The food lines up with my normal eating habits, (with the exception of cutting some of my sugary-food-vices) and has really taught hubby the importance of a balanced diet and helped expose him to a better idea of what healthy food really is verse "healthy" frozen dinners and ranch dressing.   He is now truly 60+ pounds lighter than he was at this time last year and for the first time in our relationship he has lost the weight at a safe rate and continued to loose without massive rebounds.   I am so proud of him and so excited to see where we end up.  If you had told me 4 years ago he would be at this point and I would be ok with him continuing to lose weight without looking like someone who is terminally ill I would have laughed...I am amazed by the difference losing weight the right way has had in his appearance.   

We have started going to hot yoga, (we had 1 month unlimited groupons) and when the month is over we are going to start working with weights.  Hubby is also training for a marathon (it will probably be in the fall) and we are going to do the same 5k we did last year in May so I'm going to start using the elliptical more regularly until the weather gets a little nicer then I will start C25K again running to the park down the street.  My goal will be to beat last years time of 38 minutes (wish me luck!)

That's all for now.  I hope you are enjoying the fun 24-day challenge friendly recipes!!!

Amazing turkey meatloaf

I divided this into two loaves thinking I could get 4 servings per loaf (1 pound of meat / 4 servings made sense to me!) but hubbys reaction both times I've cooked it so far has been "That's all I get" so I think next time I will double the recipe and make 3 loaves total so that they are a little bigger because we certainly don't need a full 1/2 pound of meat per serving.   


Meatloaf with quinoa, Lima beans, and homemade sauerkraut. 

Ingredients
  • 2lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Garlic powder
  • Pepper
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ Cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Ketchup (I used a natural one but I am sure any would work)
  • Instructions
  1. Mix together and form it to the baking dish (about 2½ inches thick). 
  2. Put ketchup on top and bake at 375 for about 1 hour or until cooked through
To Freeze: 
Mix together and form loaf.  Wrap in butcher paper or waxed paper then again in plastic wrap or foil (or vacuum seal) and freeze.   
When ready to cook thaw in baking dish then cover with Ketchup and bake.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuscan White Bean Soup

This soup is delicious!  Make sure you let the beans soak long enough and cook long enough if using dried beans (just knowledge from a history of making bean soup) but it is absolutely delicious.  The beans are tender and the cashews let a nutty/meaty note to the flavor that makes you not miss the pork traditionally found in bean soups in the southern/Midwestern US like the ones I had growing up.   




Ingredients

  • Drizzle of olive oil (I used the oil from the sun dried tomatoes!)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1½ tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3½ cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups white beans, such as Cannellini or Great northern
  • 1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I prefer the ones packed in oil)
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 cups shredded kale
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Optional: Roasted red pepper flakes

  • Directions
  1. Soak cashews in water for 6-8 hours (or in hot water for 1-2 hours). Drain, rinse and set aside until ready to make the soup.
  2. If using dried beans soak beans in water according to package instructions.
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil (or the oil from your sun dried tomatoes) in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and sauté until translucent. Add the basil, sage, salt, broth, beans, and tomatoes. Simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the soaked cashews and water in a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Add the cashew cream and kale to the soup and mix to combine. Cover and turn the heat off. Let sit for about five minutes. Soup is ready to serve once the kale has started to wilt.
  6. To serve, spoon the soup into individual bowls and sprinkle with extra salt and pepper, as well as red pepper flakes, fresh basil and/or fresh sage, if using, to taste.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chicken burritos

I love Mexican food...I especially love Mexican food that I can grab and run with when I don't have much time.  These burritos totally fit the bill.  I did learn the hard way if heating from frozen forget the oven and go straight to the microwave the first time I reheated them from frozen I already had the oven going so I threw my burrito in there and 30 minutes later the middle was still froze despite the suggestion from the recipe card...so yea...but since making them I have already had 3 and hubby has had 2 and we both love them!  





Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (about 1 lb) chicken breasts, diced or shredded (I used the breast from a chicken I boiled to make stock)
  • 1 packet store-bought mild taco seasoning (or homemade taco seasoning)
  • ⅔ cups water
  • ¾ cup cooked black beans (or half of 15 ounce can of black beans, drained)
  • ¾ cup frozen corn
  • ¾ cup cooked brown rice
  • ½-1 cup mild salsa (adjust to taste)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (I love cheese but I didn’t use nearly this much, I used about 1 TBSP per burrito and it was just enough)
  • 8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
    Instructions
  1. Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to large skillet. Preheat over medium to medium high heat.
  2. Sauté chicken until cooked through (no longer pink), about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add water, taco seasoning, black beans, corn, brown rice, and salsa. Turn heat down to low and let mixture simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Assemble burritos. Add a generous ⅓ cup meat mixture and 3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese to each tortilla. Pull in each end of tortilla and roll up tightly.
  5. Warming options:
    1. Wrap tortilla in foil and heat through in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. (From frozen, 20-25 minutes)
    2. Wrap tortilla in a moist paper towel and warm in the microwave in 30 second increments until heated through.
  6. Serve with your favorite Mexican toppings
    Freezer Meal Instructions:
    To Freeze:
    Complete recipe through Step 4. Wrap each individual burrito in foil and place in gallon-sized ziptop bag. Place in freezer.
    To Prepare:
    Thaw burrito(s) in the refrigerator overnight (preferred method) and then warm through according to Step 5a directions. Another thaw option is to remove foil, wrap burrito in moist paper towel, and microwave in 30 second increments until heated through (about 2 minutes depending on microwave). Open up the burrito halfway through reheating, to allow the inside ingredients to get warmed.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Life happens

True to form I started a great blog project then got busy and forgot.  I have recipes from over the weekend to post but it was recruitment weekend for the Phi Mu chapter I help advise and I completely forgot to update the blog.
The good news: I stuck with cleanse friendly food 98% despite running around like a crazy person (I had fried chicken, but didn't eat the skin and 1 bite of a mini cupcake) 
More good news: the ladies did a great job and next weekend will be pinning 37 new Phi's.  Super exciting!!! 
So as a learning experience - all 24 recipes will be uploaded, I just might miss a day or two here and there. Especially on the weekends. 
This is my shocked face. 🙃☺️

Friday, January 15, 2016

Green Soup

I'm not saying this is a bad dish...but it isn't a yummy as I had hoped.   Don't make this soup unless you really like split peas and greens, you will be disappointed.   Once I added extra lemon juice it tasted much better.  I think the addition of some red pepper flakes during cooking would also go far to brighten the taste and though optional I think it should be served with Greek yogurt or sour cream to give it some tanginess.   


Ingredients
 1 onion, chopped
 4 cloves garlic, chopped
 3 carrots, cut into chunks
 1 sweet potato, cut into chunks
 1/2 cup split peas, rinsed and drained
 6 cups water
 8 ounces mushrooms, halved
 2 pounds chopped greens—any combination 
 2 teaspoons oregano
 1 teaspoon celery salt (optional)
 1 teaspoon thyme
 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh or frozen basil (or about 2 tablespoons dried*) 
 1 tablespoon cashew butter (optional, but good)
 1 tablespoon lemon juice
 salt to taste
 –Optional Garnishes:
 Lemon slices
 Plain soy or Greek yogurt
Instructions
1. Place the first 6 ingredients into a large pressure cooker, seal, and bring to high pressure. Reduce heat to maintain high pressure for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to come down naturally while you prepare the remaining ingredients. (For stove-top cooking, simmer until split peas are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.  I used the stove top method)
2. When the pressure is down, use a hand blender to puree the soup. Or, blend in batches in a regular blender—be careful because this is hot and splatters easily. Add the next 6 ingredients (*and the dried basil, if you’re using it) and cook for about 30-45 minutes, until greens are completely tender. Add additional water if necessary to prevent soup from becoming too dry.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and use your blender again to puree the greens and mushrooms until fairly smooth. Check seasoning and add salt as needed, and thin with a little water if you find it too thick. Serve with additional lemon or try it with a spoonful of yogurt stirred in.
Servings: 4 officially, I think more like 6-8 because who wants 2+ full cups of this for a meal?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Water Kifer

Today's recipe isn't one of my freezer meals -- sorry!
A lot of people have trouble drinking enough water every day. Even people who do hit their water goals get sick of drinking so much water and want an alternative option.  
For this reason I thought I would share my favorite water Kifer recipe with you today.  

I added 1/4 C raw sugar dissolved in 1/2 C water and 2 Tbsp water Kifer grains to a 1 quart mason jar. Then I added slices of lemon and filled the jar the rest of the way with coconut water. 
I then loosely fitted the lid on the jar and let it ferment at room tempature for about 36 hours. After 36 hours the grains had ate most of the sugar from the coconut water and sugar water.  I strained the liquid into a glass bottle and added 1/2 Tbsp of raw sugar to the bottle. I sealed it and placed it in the refrigerator for an additional 24 hours giving me a slightly carbonated delicious low sugar lemonade-ish drink.  The probiotics produced by the Kifer grains continue to eat the sugar and ferment the beverage so you're finished product has much less sugar than was added initially. 



For more info on Kifer/fermented beverages visit
http://www.gemcultures.com/water_kefir.htm
Gem Cultures also sales Kifer grains. Or if you email me shanonrenee@gmail.com I would be happy to share my grains with you if I have extras since they grow so fast!

Sometime in the future I'll share my favorite milk Kifer smoothie recipe!!! 


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pumpkin Chili

This is a recipe I make all the time.  For that reason it is very fluid and every time it turns out slightly different but it is also delicious and hubby and I LOVE it.

1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb ground meat
1 large can pumpkin purée 
1/2 onion chopped
1 can rotel (or another can of tomatoes depending on your preferred spice level)
1Tbsp cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp nutmeg 
Salt & Pepper to taste (I omit) 

Brown meat & sauté onion with meat.  Drain fat and add all other ingredients.  Simmer until heated through or cook in crock pot on low 6-10 hours. This is a recipe that really gets better with the more time the flavores have to meld together.  

The pumpkin gives this recipe a great smoothness that makes it super yummy and makes it so that you don't need cheese or sour cream! 




Here is a picture of my bowl of chili from lunch yesterday!  

Honey Lime Chicken

Last night (and again tonight) for dinner hubby and I had this delicious Honey Lime Chicken.   I gave it an Asian flare by serving it in bowls with stir-fried vegetables (cooked with soy sauce, sesame oil and a splash of rice vinegar).   It was delicious.   This is a recipe I will be keeping in our freezer meal rotation and making again in the future.   It has a comfort food feel and would be great on a cold night with rice and vegetables, so it would be great in summer since it is so light that would be great with a summer salad as a side.


Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts (I cut mine into bite sized cubes)
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp Oil (I used sesame)
1 20-oz can pineapple tidbits (reserve the juice)
1/4 C honey
3 Tbsp lime juice (about 1lime)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch

Instructions:
Cut the chicken into strips or bite sized pieces and sprinkle with garlic salt.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high and add chicken.
Cook chicken until golden brown
Drain the pineapple, keeping the juice.
Add ¼ cup of the pineapple juice to the skillet.
Cover and simmer 6-8 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan.
Add honey, lime juice, soy sauce, cornstarch and remaining pineapple juice.
Bring to a boil stirring constantly.
Cook and stir until thick and clear, about one minute.
Add chicken and pineapple tidbits last and heat through.


To freeze: cook as directed, cool then freeze and reheat on stove in sauté pan after thawing.

Serving Suggestions:
Rice
Chow Mein noodles
Lime Wedges
Stir Fry vegetables
Summer salad

Monday, January 11, 2016

Chicken Chili Verde

Today for lunch hubby and I will be having this delicious Chicken Chili Verde and salads.  Last night I pulled two single-serving frozen packages (oh yes, I froze single servings, that is key!) from the deep freeze and we each made salads to up the veggie quotient.   Unfortunately I can't remember when I got this, (well pretty much all of the recipes I'm blogging about this month) recipe from, but since I made a few changes to make it Cleanse-Friendly (the original recipe included whole-fat dairy cream) I don't feel guilty about not linking to the original    So here it is:   


Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion-diced

4 cloves garlic-minced
2 whole bone-in, skinless chicken breast halves
1 lb. dry white beans (great northern)
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp ground cumin
½ Tbsp oregano
½ tsp cayenne powder
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
salt and pepper to taste
 Serve With:
Shredded cheese (I omit for challenge)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Diced avocado
Salsa
Sour cream (I omit for challenge)
Lime wedges
Sliced jalapeno
Frozen corn niblets
Diced tomatoes

      Instructions 
  • In a large pot cover beans with cool water (at least 2 inches). Refrigerate overnight then rinse the beans.
  • Saute onion and garlic in large pot with olive oil until softened.
  • Add the chicken breasts, beans, 6 cups of fresh water, herbs & spices to the pot. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce to medium and simmer one hour.
  • Remove the chicken breasts, allowing soup to boil and remove chicken from bone.  Shred the meat and discard bones returning meat to pot.
  • Add green chiles to the pot. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Simmer until thickened (about 30 min) then mash some beans to help thicken.
  • Serve each bowl of chili topped with shredded cheese and fresh cilantro leaves.

Prepare then freeze in portions.  Reheat on stove or microwave after thawing.

Edited to add picture of lunch today!