Healthy Recipes to Keep You Fit and Fabulous

Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

Healthy Enchilada Casserole + Wedding Dress Shopping

Last week, my mom and sister both drove to Orlando to visit!  We had big plans for Tuesday- it was time to find my wedding dress!

When they both arrived on Monday, we spent some time catching up, and then I got busy on dinner.  I decided to make a recipe that I knew is a crowd pleaser- my Healthy Enchilada Casserole!

Healthy Enchilada Casserole

Servings: 9

Ingredients:

6 whole wheat tortillas, cut into triangles

2 cups low-fat shredded cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend)

1 can reduced-sodium black beans

1 can Vegetarian Refried Beans

1 can Mild Rotel Tomatoes

1 can Diced Tomatoes

1 can Low-Salt Corn

1 can Enchilada Sauce

1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded OR

4 cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking dish, spread 1/4 cup of the Enchilada Sauce in the bottom.

After cutting the tortillas into triangles, make a single layer of them on top of the sauce.

Using the back of a spoon, spread each slice with a small amount of refried beans, using 1/3 of the can.  (It does not need to cover each piece completely)

Next, combine the black beans, corn, and both cans of tomatoes in a mixing bowl.  Use a spoon to spread about 1/3 of the mixture on top of the tortillas and refried beans.  Top with 1/3 of the shredded chicken, and then a 1/3 cup of shredded cheese.  Pour 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce over everything, and then repeat these steps (starting with the tortillas) until you have 3 layers.  Sprinkle an extra layer of cheese on top of the last layer.

Place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.  For the last 2 minutes, turn on the broiler.  Remove from the oven, and cut into squares using a spatula.  Serve with hot sauce, salsa, or fat-free sour cream!

**************************************************************************************************************************

Later on, my party animal of a sister managed to convince me to go out with her and Corey’s brother, Drew, and his friends, to one of the bars down by UCF.  I agreed, and left my responsible fiance at home in bed, since he had work the next morning.

My friend Daniel came with us, so I wasn’t the oldest person in the place.  Wait…he’s younger than me, so…yes, I was.

We had fun, but Lauren was not a happy camper when I woke her up bright and early for a day of shopping!  Muahahahaaa…

I don’t want to reveal too much about my dress, because I do plan to explain everything about it in full detail after the big reveal, also known as…our wedding!

Let’s just say that the day was a success.  My bridal consultant said I was the fastest bride she’s ever had!

Here’s a little teaser to hold you over for the next 5 months:

🙂

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Grill Pasta

Happy Friday Eve, everyone!

This week has flown by, which makes me extra happy, since I am wearily counting down the days until I am done with this hellish class!  4 more weeks, for those who want to count down with me 🙂 .

Workouts

On Tuesday, I did a solid cardio session, starting out on the treadmill with 30 minutes of running intervals, followed by 15 minutes on the elliptical.

I have been seriously missing strength training in my routine!  I inadvertently took a week-long break from weights, so I was excited to get to a BodyPump class yesterday.  It felt good to be back, and I am definitely feelin’ it today!  After class, I did 15 minutes on the elliptical before heading home.

Breakfasts

Look out, smoothies– I have a new go-to breakfast! At least for this week.

I’ve been making lots of oats!  I’ve switched from my usual packets of flavored oatmeal to using “old fashioned oats”, cooking a serving (1/2 cup) with either water or almond milk in the microwave, and then stirring in some flava!  The “flavor” part has been in the form of peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, or all three!

I love oats because they keep you full for a longer period of time, which has been great, since I now have less opportunities to eat throughout the day during the week.

Lunches

Go-to breakfasts have been followed by go-to lunches lately.  It’s actually starting to get a tad on the boring side, but I’ve found that this routine is helping power me through my looong class, so I’m going with it.  Enter: Salad with Ginger Dressing.

Romaine lettuce, bell pepper strips, and a serving of Naturally Fresh Ginger Dressing.  On the side, I enjoyed a Granny Smith apple and a spoonful of peanut butter.

Dinners

On Tuesday, Corey and I went to Dexter’s for “$1 Burger Night”.  Nope, you didn’t read that wrong.  It literally is $1 for a burger.  Can’t beat that!  I ordered mine with bleu cheese and mushrooms.

Last night, we concocted a little something I’m referring to as “Grill Pasta”.  I’ve found that grilling food takes it to a whole different level.  I would much rather eat grilled vegetables than steamed, and I would much rather have chicken cooked on the grill than in the oven or a skillet.  Corey grilled some vegetables and chicken, and I got busy making a simple sauce.  We tossed everything together and sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and it was just delicious.

Grill Pasta

Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

1/2 box whole wheat spaghetti

2 cups chopped broccoli florets

1 large Vidalia onion

4 chicken cutlets

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes

1/2 cup white wine

1 tablespoon Smart Balance

3 garlic cloves, diced

1 pinch red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried chives

Directions:

Slice the onion in half.  Chop one half, and slice the other half into wedges.  Place the onion wedges and broccoli in tinfoil, spray with non-stick spray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Prepare the chicken for grilling, any way you like.  Place vegetables and chicken on the grill until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain.

In a skillet over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray and add the chopped onion.  After 2 minutes, add the garlic.  Add the Smart Balance and then the white wine.  Add the sundried tomatoes and other spices.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.  Add the hot pasta to the sauce.  Cut the grilled chicken into bite-size pieces, and add that and the grilled vegetables to the pasta and toss everything together.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

You could add any grilled vegetables and meat you like to this dish, and it would still be great- and the best part- it’s ready in minutes!

Back to Shchool…Back to Shchool…

Every time I embark on a new “first day of school”, I can’t help but sing to myself…

Back to shchool, back to shchool, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight…” 

I started my last nursing pre-requisite class yesterday, and let me tell ya…this is gonna be a looong six weeks.  I’m still getting used to my new schedule, so please forgive the lack of posts thus far!

Let’s recap some yummy meals…

Breakfasts

On Sunday, I made a batch of Fiber One pancakes, topped with fresh strawberries and sugar-free syrup.  I noticed some bacon in the fridge that looked like it needed someone to eat it, so I volunteered.

On Sunday, my little sister, Lauren, was driving back up to Tallahassee for school from Ft. Lauderdale.  She stayed the night at our house, and I took her to breakfast at Einstein’s the next morning.

I went with a whole wheat bagel thin topped with eggwhites, turkey sausage and a slice of cheese.

Lunch

Yesterday’s lunch was a little something I like to call, grab-whatever-you-see-and-stuff-it-in-a-pita.

I heated up some leftover roasted broccoli and put it in my pita, followed by deli turkey and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.  Not the best tasting thing I’ve ever created, but it worked for the time crunch I was under!

Dinner

Our dinner last night was a mini fiesta!  Corey grilled some sliced chicken breasts and 1 large onion, all mixed in taco seasoning, while I prepared some brown rice and taco toppings.

I had two soft tacos topped with avocado slices, salsa and a little cheese.  I also topped my brown rice with salsa and cheese, for extra flava.  I love me some Mexican food!

Stay tuned tomorrow- I’ll be revealing pictures from me and Corey’s engagement photoshoot!  

Spinach Mushroom Risotto

Corey and I skipped our Wednesday morning BodyPump, with plans to try out the class at the gym closer to our new home on Thursday.  That’s exactly what we did!

Workout

We invited Corey’s younger brother, Drew, to come along with us for his first BodyPump experience.  I have to say, I was highly disappointed.  The class sucked.  The instructor was not in shape at all (which always bothers me for some reason), she made the strangest faces, and barely gave any instructions, which made it hard for us, as regulars, to follow along, so I can only imagine how Drew felt.

To make matters worse, the gym closest to our house is geared more towards an older crowd, so the instructor did not teach release 77- she pretty much made up her own, easier routine, which was utterly terrible.  What a fail!

After class, I really wanted to get in some cardio, since I felt that I barely got a respectable workout in.  The boys weren’t feelin’ it, but I was able to get in 10 minutes of running on the treadmill before they forced me out the door.

Breakfast

It was only 6:45AM when we left the gym, so Corey offered to treat Drew and I to breakfast at Einstein’s.  I ordered the same thing I had on Tuesday– the Mushroom, Asparagus and Swiss Thin- but without the tomato spread.

I also had an iced coffee with skim milk and Splenda.

Lunch

My sweet tooth was in overdrive yesterday.  By the time lunch rolled around, I was in no mood for veggies or a sandwich- I wanted something sweet!  I got creative, and decided to attempt making one of me and Corey’s favorite breakfasts at Powerhouse Cafe.  They have a phenomenal breakfast pita, with peanut butter, banana, strawberries, granola and honey, all instead a homemade whole wheat pita.

My finished pita included: one half spread with Lemon Chobani Greek Yogurt, the other half spread with peanut butter, topped with banana slices, a sprinkle of granola, and a drizzle of honey.

It was almost as delicious as the pita from Powerhouse Cafe, but I definitely missed the tanginess of that the strawberries give to it.  Next time!

Dinner

When Corey got home from work, I sent him out to the grill with some chicken breasts that had been marinating in Kraft Vidalia Onion Dressing overnight, along with some fresh asparagus.  While those were cooking, I got started on a veggie-ful risotto!

Risotto is one of my favorite side dishes, or meals, period.  A lot of people have the misconception that it is a really heavy, fattening dish, and that is understandable- its creamy texture would lead you to believe that it has tons of calories!  However, the creaminess actually comes from continuous stirring, and the slow addition of chicken broth or stock- the stirring helps release the starch in the rice, resulting in a creamy, rich dish, without all the fat.

Spinach Mushroom Risotto

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 cup Arborio rice

3 cloves garlic, chopped

4 1/2 cups no salt chicken stock (or broth)

8 oz. sliced mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Smart Balance spread

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Heat a skillet over medium heat, sprayed with non-stick spray or EVOO.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.

Add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the chicken stock or broth to a pot, place over medium heat, and keep warm (not boiling) while following the next steps.

Spray the skillet with nonstick spray, place over medium heat and add the rice to the skillet.  Move the rice around with your spatula and toast for one minute, being careful not to burn.

Add the white wine, stirring the rice until the wine is completely absorbed.

Add a ladle or measuring cup of warm chicken stock or broth (I did a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup at a time) to the rice, stirring continuously until it is absorbed.

Repeat this step until you have added 4 1/2 cups to the rice.  This process should take approximately 20 minutes.  Remember to stir continuously.  You will know you are finished when the rice plumps, and when you taste it, it is not mushy, yet not crunchy.

At this point, lower the heat, add the fresh spinach and stir until wilted.

Add the cooked onion and mushrooms that were set aside.

Add the salt, Smart Balance and parmesan cheese, and stir.

Serve immediately!

This dinner was just fabulous.  We both agreed that grilled chicken is far superior to baked chicken.  We’re so happy to have a grill back in our lives!

To-Do

Yesterday was very productive!

Workout

Wednesday mornings = BodyPump.  Class was great, although, I made a pretty poor decision by choosing the only spot in the whole room that did not have a mirror in front of me or to the side- I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but I soon realized that not being able to see your form in the mirror really makes it difficult to do the class! I won’t be setting up there again.

After class, I hopped on an elliptical for 20 minutes, while flipping through the Southern Living Weddings magazine I got in my Easter basket.

I’ve decided that the only way to have your wedding featured in any wedding magazine is by having it outside and using something vintage as your theme.

"Look at us...we're so vintage and outdoorsy."

Source

Breakfast

Breakfast was a fabulous smoothie, if I do say so myself.

Into the blender went:

-1/2 cup almond milk

-1/4 cup Chobani Lemon Greek yogurt

-1/3 cup frozen blueberries

-7 frozen strawberries

-1 scoop Chocolate Muscle Milk Protein Powder

-1 packet Truvia

-Handful of ice

I really like the addition of Lemon Chobani- it brings out the sweetness of the fruit!

*Note*: I discovered that whenever I insert bullet points into my posts, it messes up my font and spacing, like in this post. Is this happening to any other WP users?

Lunch

Lunch was simple.  I melted half a slice of swiss cheese onto a whole grain sandwich thin, and then added some sliced deli ham and Dijon mustard.  

On the side, I had a salad made with Romaine and a drizzle of Kraft Toasted Sesame Dressing.

After lunch, I had a few things to get done in order to begin crossing things off my daunting “To Do Before June 1st” list that is hanging on the fridge.  June 1st is the deadline for my nursing school application to be turned in.

The List

Not sure if that last one is gonna happen, but I keep my eyes peeled whenever I walk down sidewalks 🙂 .

First on the list: get my fingerprints done!

I went to the local police station and had my fingerprints taken and placed on a card.  Apparently, my fingers are so freakishly small that it’s hard to get good prints.

I’ll never forget when I got my engagement ring sized and the jeweler couldn’t believe that my ring size was a 3 1/2.  That’s like…circus midget size.

The prints were a success, but getting the ink off was another challenge.  Ew.

I needed to mail the print card to Tallahassee, and I also had some other forms to mail to the school, so I went to the post office.  My total was only $1.88, which was great until I saw one of these:

Lucky for me, the post office just happens to be located in the back of a big store that sells everything from artwork to homemade sauces and wine.  I decided to peruse the store to see if I could find something worthwhile to bump up my purchase total.  It didn’t take me long to find the food, and I walked out with a jar of Salsa Verde!

I decided to try out my purchase with some whole grain Tostito’s Scoops topped with a slice of melted swiss cheese, like less-fancy nachos.

It was spice-ay.  And delicious.

Dinner

After merking my Microbiology final, I was ready for dinner!

I placed two chicken quarters, which were a Publix Ready-to-Go meal, in the oven to roast for an hour.

Before

After

I served the chicken alongside steamed spinach and yellow squash.

I used frozen yellow squash, which I will never do again.  It was a weird texture and tasted horrible.

In less than 12 hours, I will be done with finals!  Then, it’s onto the next task…packing up the whole apartment to get ready for our move this weekend!

I See the Light

I SEE THE LIGHT!

2 finals down, 2 more to go…tomorrow night at 7PM I’ll be done with the hardest semester of classes I have ever experienced!  Can I get an AMEN?!

Workout

On Monday, I was feeling extremely stressed out.  The fun holiday weekend was over, which left me with no groceries in the fridge, tons of studying ahead of me, and an Easter-candy-induced stomach ache.  I considered skipping my workout, but as soon as I walked in the door from my class, Corey was in workout clothes and convinced me to head out for a run with him.  I felt much better afterwards, and I was happy to get in a little sweat sesh to relieve some stress.

Tuesday, however, was way too busy, so I did end up taking the day off from working out.

Breakfast

After all the rich food and pounds of candy that was devoured over the weekend, my body was craving something healthy for breakfast ! On Monday, I whipped up some scrambled egg whites with chopped green pepper, topped with a little salsa.

Yesterday brought about the return of my breakfast smoothie!


I love the addition of cooked oats- it thickens up the smoothie, and makes me stay full for much longer.

Lunch

On Monday, I didn’t have much to work with in the lunch department.  I ended up putting together a little snack plate for lunch, including rolled up turkey, swiss cheese and Dijon mustard, with pear slices.

Yesterday’s lunch was a 6-inch Turkey sub from Subway, which was the remainder of a footlong that I got on Monday for dinner. My sub included lots of veggies: spinach, tomato, green pepper, banana peppers, and pickles.  Pickles are vegetables.

Dinner

Monday’s dinner, like I said, was the other half of the above sandwich from Subway.  Corey and I decided to grocery shop Monday night, but decided we weren’t in the mood to wait for dinner to cook, so we walked over to grab sandwiches, instead.

Last night, I was craving pasta like whoa.  I have a new theory- I think that studying really hard for many hours is the equivalent to your body of running long distance.  Anytime that I study for more than a few hours, I feel exhausted and starving, as if I just worked out really hard!  Anyone have any thoughts on that?

I’m sure that my theory isn’t right, but it makes me feel a lot better to pretend that studying burns the same amount of calories as running, so let’s just go with it.

I cooked two Publix Ready-to-Cook breaded chicken cutlets, while waiting for some whole wheat bow tie pasta to finish cooking.

I tossed the pasta with 1/3 cup Publix Fresh Basil and Tomato Marinara and 1 tablespoon of Philadelphia Cooking Creme in Savory Garlic, to make it a little creamier, sort of like vodka sauce- minus the good part.

I cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and topped the pasta with it.

This definitely hit the spot, and made me feel re-energized.  Which turned out to be a bad thing, since I ended up going to bed about 30 minutes later.

One thing I’m really looking forward to in my post-school life is going back to eating dinner at a normal time!  It’s never a good idea to go to bed full of pasta.

Back to the grind!

Do you think studying burns calories? (Say yes)

Artichoke Dip for One

I decided to skip a Tuesday blog post, because Monday’s meals didn’t deserve their own post.  In fact, I feel the need to apologize in advance if my posts for this week and next week are scattered and the meals aren’t up to par- this may happen due to several factors.

  • This week and next week are my final exams.
  • We’re moving this weekend and next weekend.
  • I’m too stressed to grocery shop!
Not kidding about the stress thing.  I’ve been very good about keeping myself organized and pretty stress-free throughout this semester, which has been the hardest of my life to date, but now that it’s down to the wire, I’m feeling the heat!  It is imperative that I do very well on all exams during these final two weeks, because the nursing program I am applying to is super competitive.  Wish me luck!
Workout 

On Monday, we woke up early and went to the gym for a semi-easy workout.  I ran next to Corey on the treadmill for 20 minutes, completing an interval workout that he came up with.  We walked for 1 minute, ran for 2 minutes at 6.0, ran for 1 minute at 7.0, then walked for a minute at 4.0.  We repeated it up to 20 minutes.  I hopped on the elliptical for 15 minutes while waiting for Corey to complete his weights workout.
I planned to go to a spin class yesterday morning, but I went to bed not feeling like myself, and woke up feeling the same way.  I felt tired and lazy, and decided to take the day off from working out.
Breakfast

Monday’s breakfast was my out-of-groceries go-to meal, peanut butter on a whole wheat bagel thin:
Yesterday, I had the rest of a big tub of 0% Chobani Greek Yogurt, sweetened with Splenda and topped with a 1/4 cup of Kashi 7 Grain Puff Cereal.  I also had a big orange on the side.
Lunch

Monday’s lunch came in the form of leftover Pei Wei from Sunday night.  Vegetable and tofu fried rice:
Yesterday’s lunch was in three parts.  I came home from my afternoon class starving, as usual, but, like I said, we’re low on groceries!  I grabbed the first thing I saw, which happened to be broccoli, heated it up and drizzled Kraft Toasted Sesame Dressing on top.
A little later, I started getting snacky, and went in the kitchen on a mission to find something else to eat.  I settled with some chips and salsa:
I liked the whole chips-n-dip idea, and ended up creating something fabulous! I spotted a lonely can of artichoke hearts in my pantry, and decided to try making my own artichoke dip, which happens to be one of my favorite appetizers at restaurants.  I gathered up some other ingredients:
Chopped garlic, reduced-fat feta cheese, and Philadelphia Cooking Creme in Savory Garlic.
I threw the ingredients into the blender, gave it a whirl for a minute, and poured the dip into a dish.
I sprinkled a little fat-free shredded cheddar over top and microwaved it for 45 seconds.  Voila!  My own personal artichoke dip.
I served my dip with one serving (6 chips!) of blue corn chips.
*Tip*: To avoid accidentally eating multiple servings of chips, which easily adds a ton of calories, measure out the serving size, and then break them up so it feels as though you’re eating more chips than you actually are.  Besides, the dip is the good part, anyways!
Artichoke Dip


                                              Servings: 1-2 (could easily be doubled
or tripled and baked in the oven for a party appetizer)
Ingredients:
1 can artichoke hearts
1 tablespoon reduced-fat feta cheese
1 tablespoon Philadelphia Cooking Creme in Savory Garlic (could substitute plain Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon fat free shredded cheddar
Directions:
Add all ingredients to the blender and blend for 1 minute.  Pour into a dish and sprinkle the cheddar on top, microwave for 45 seconds, serve!
After lunch, I headed to my night class.  I wish I had stayed home, because I spent 3 hours dissecting this little guy:
Sorry, Wilbur 😦 . I’m about 97% sure I no longer eat pork.
Dinner

On Monday, I wasn’t in the mood to cook and decided to pick up Chipotle for Corey and I.  I had a chicken salad with black beans, fajita veggies, corn salsa, mild salsa and a little cheese.
When I got home last night, I really wasn’t in the mood to eat meat, for obvious reasons.  Corey made dinner- he picked up some almond-crusted chicken tenders from the Publix Ready-to-Cook section, and baked them.  I had one piece, and filled up on Steamfresh Broccoli and Rotini, instead.

For dessert, I had two chocolate chip cookies that we made over the weekend, and a glass of almond milk.
Time to hit the books!
Are you a vegetarian?  
Why or why not? 

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