Category Archives: Dinner

Almond “Breaded” Chicken Tenders

Have you ever had a craving for some good ol’ fashioned chicken strips?? I did the other night, and after scouting out a few recipes I found one that I liked, jazzed it up a bit, and went to town making a healthy version of chicken strips.

Almond “Breaded” Chicken Tenders

Adapted from EatingWell 

  • 1 lb of chicken tenders (or chicken breast, sliced into smaller strips)
  • ¼ cup almost slivers
  • ¼ cup rough chopped roasted almonds
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup Panko crumbs
  • 1 ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • Cooking spray



Directions

1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with foil (this helps with cleanup, I would NOT skip this!). Coat a wire rack with cooking spray and place it on top of the foil-covered baking sheet.

2. Place almonds, flour, Panko crumbs, and spices in a food processor; process until the almonds are finely chopped and the seasonings are well distributed. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.

3. Whisk eggs in a second shallow dish. Add chicken tenders a few at a time and make sure they are each coated in the egg mixture. Transfer tenders one-by-one to the almond mixture; turn to coat evenly. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture after you are done…yuck).

  1. Bake the chicken fingers until golden brown, crispy and no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.

These are not fried chicken strips by any means, but they are tasty and an excellent healthy substitute for when the craving hits ya :)

Enjoy!

-Melissa

Tagged , , , , , ,

WIAW: A Grown Up Kids Meal

Hooray for another WIAW post! I’m just thankful that I remember to take pictures of all of my meals once a week. That is a miracle, my friends.

I decided to spice things up about on the breakfast routine. Usually I enjoy my own version of the McMuffin, but lately I’ve been craving sweet potatoes, so I concocted my own sweet potato hash to accompany my eggs in the morning (recipe coming soon!). It…was…awesome.

I mixed up the hash with one egg and 1/2 cup of egg whites and a touch of cheddar cheese. Yum. Then, it was off to work where I got hungry at the usual 9:45. I snacked on a ThinkThin bar, which is full of protein and tastes delicious. I needed the extra protein to prep for my heavy leg workout that evening. ThinkThin bars are fairly yummy, especially the Creamy Peanut Butter flavor. They contain sugar alcohols, which can upset some stomachs, but for a quick snack they’re perfect.Lunchtime rolled around, and I found myself staring at a protein-less fridge when I came home. Luckily, I had tons of veggies from my Sunday Night Prep, so I mixed those up with a small breakfast sausage (that was supposed to be for my husband…oops…what’s mine is yours, right?), some avocado, and half of a whole-grain English muffin. This turned out to be one of my favorite lunches. The avocado made everything so creamy, and the veggies were super tasty.

My afternoon snack was a fairly big one for me. I knew that I needed to seriously fuel up for my workout, so I went down to the kitchen at work and toasted up the other half of the whole-grain English muffin from lunch, topped it with 1 TBS of Peanut Butter, a banana, and cinnamon. It was delicious, and really helped me get over my afternoon slump.

After my heavy leg workout, I came home and was REALLY in a nostalgic mood. I just had to have chicken fingers and mac’n’cheese. HAD TO. So, I whipped up my own healthy version of chicken fingers, paired it with some Annie’s and green beans and called it a day.

This was definitely a “grown up kids meal” and I loved it. Sometimes you just need a little comfort food :)

What did YOU eat today? Anything that brought back some memories?

Talk to you soon!
-Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WIAW – Memorial Day Weekend Cleansing!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! We are so blessed to live in a country that values personal freedoms, and that we have men and women choosing to fight and lay down their lives for those freedoms.

My weekend was jam-packed, to say the least. It started on my Friday off, when I drove down to Houston to watch one of my best friends and old college roommate graduate from MEDICAL SCHOOL!! That’s right, Sarah became Dr. Sarah. It was such a great moment for her, and I’m so glad I got to be there. It also was a rude awakening, that we had been out of college for 4 years already :(. Ha!

Hey graduate!

What made an amazing moment even MORE amazing, was that as soon as my best friend walked across the stage to graduate, I got a text saying that my precious little niece had been born! I am officially a first-time aunt, and I could NOT be more excited! So, after spending Friday night celebrating Sarah’s awesomeness, I woke up Saturday morning and immediately trucked back up to Dallas to meet sweet Georgia Eve.

She is the most precious gift!

After spending too short of time with my girl, we headed off to Tyler, TX to spend the remainder of the weekend with friends at the lake! Needless to say, as jam-packed as the weekend was, it was FULL of blessings and friendships and I wouldn’t of changed one thing about it!

20120530-121323.jpg

Speaking of jam-packed…my weekend was ALSO jam-packed full of unhealthy eating :( Between road trips, celebratory dinners, and meals on the lake, I came home Monday night craving fruit, veggies, and my healthy eating routine. I spent Monday night grocery shopping and food prepping, so when Tuesday rolled around I was ready to go.

Breakfast was amazing, per usual. It is my FAVORITE meal of the whole day. I had my own version of a McMuffin, with one whole wheat english muffin topped with 1 egg and 1/2 cup egg whites (scrambled!). I also added a tiiiny bit of breakfast sausage to give it some extra yummy-ness. Oh, and coffee. Duh!

A few hours later, I was working away and got hungry again (naturally), so I grabbed a Luna Bar. I was SUPER excited about this one: Peanut Honey Pretzel. All of my favorite things rolled into one bar. It was more amazing than I thought it could be. I highly recommend this flavor!!

For lunch, I was able to go home and put together a bowl full of some veggies that my awesome husband grilled for me, and one Al Fresco Chicken Sausage (sun-dried tomato is my favorite!). I topped it off with a little bit of cheddar and I was good to go.

I was still pretty full by the time 4:00 rolled around (heck, I was probably still full from the weekend!), but I knew I needed to grab something to eat before I headed to boot camp, so I snacked on a banana with 1 TBS of PB2
(powdered peanut butter…if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly suggest you do!).

20120530-123420.jpg

That snack definitely helped fuel my body for my ridiculously hot, humid, intense, cardio-filled workout. I was DYING the entire hour, but so glad that boot camp has started back up! There is honestly no better workout, in my opinion. But I definitely had to pause a few times to keep that banana down, if you know what I’m sayin’ :).

Due to my near-death experience at boot camp, I wasn’t in the mood to whip up an extravagant dinner by ANY means, so protein smoothie it was! I blended some Advocare Vanilla Meal Replacement Protein, ice, water, 1 banana, 1 TBS PB2, and 1 TBS cocoa until smooth, and slurped that bad boy down. It was so refreshing after the super hot workout.

20120530-123351.jpg

So, there you go! That was my first day back to normal eating. I woke up today feeling much better about myself, all after one day of eating well!

What are some ways that you “detox” from a food-filled weekend?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crockpot Chicken Taco Stew

Some of my favorite meals come from crock pots (despite how not-so-easy they can be sometimes :)). They’re fix-it-and-forget-it and they make a TON of meals, so I’m good to go for quite a few lunches and dinners. This week, my husband Preston requested that I make my Chicken Taco Stew, since he was craving something healthy and warm. So, I thought I’d share it with all of you!

Crockpot Chicken Taco Stew
Adapted from Skinny Taste

You will need:

  • 1 white onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 16-oz can black beans (drained slightly)
  • 1 16-oz can pinto beans (drained slightly)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 12 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 3 bell peppers (I used green, red, and yellow) chopped coarsely
  • 2 14.5-oz cans Rotel tomatoes w/ chilies
  • Several tbs (3-4) of homemade taco seasoning
  • 24 oz of chicken tenders (I feel better using tenders as opposed to breasts…then I know they’ve cooked thoroughly :))
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional!)

What you do:

Throw beans, onion, bell peppers, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.

Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.

IMG_2983

Chicken, taken out of the slow cooker to be shredded

IMG_2985

Post-shred process! Just take some forks to it and get to work.

Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro. Stir it all up and enjoy!!

IMG_2991

I like to eat mine just as it is, in a big ol’ bowl with some fresh avocado on top of it. I’ll even stir in some plain Greek yogurt sometimes to give it a more creamy texture. Other options would be to bake up your own tortilla chips to serve with it, or top yummy brown rice with the mixture. The possibilities are endless!

What are some of your favorite recipes from the crockpot?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

Tagged , , , , ,

Sunday Night Prep

I’m an odd bird (in more ways than one), but sometimes I actually crave the consistency and routine of the workweek. It is so nice to know what your schedule is going to be (food/exercise-wise, not necessarily while AT work!). So since I can easily plan what and when I’m going to eat during the week, I try to use Sunday nights as my “prep night”. This is usually only for lunches, as dinners are usually prepared by both my husband and I (yes, he’s amazing and helps me cook!) and we can’t ever decide what we want until that day!

My typical lunches while at work consist of one of the following meals:

…I think you’re seeing the trend here. Basically a protein, a whole grain (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup), and veggies. Since I try to bring my lunch 4 out of the 5 workdays (or 3 out of 4 if it’s my Friday off), it’s easier to prep my food all in one night, divide it up into containers, and then just grab and go in the mornings!

Sunday mornings I’ll run to the grocery store and grab the essentials for the week, then come straight home and spend maybe 30 minutes or so on my prepping. That’s IT!

First, I dice up all of my veggies into chunks. My go-to veggies include squash (duh!), zucchini, bell peppers (of ALL colors!), onions, snap peas, carrots, and occasionally broccoli and broccoli slaw. I then throw them in my HUGE wok (thanks, wedding registry!) and sauté away! I try to use as little olive oil as possible, but some is necessary to get a good sear on them! A lot of times I’ll add a little low-sodium soy sauce to give it some flavor (actually, I do this MOST of the time!) The result is a LOT of veggies!

SUndaysunday2

Next comes the protein! 9 times out of 10, I can sucker my husband into grilling me chicken on the outdoor grill, but this time he was feeling a little under the weather, so I grabbed a rotisserie chicken at the store and he gladly ripped it to shreds for me Smile.

sunday1

Next, I boiled a pot of water and cooked up some quinoa (my grain of choice for the week). I usually do about 1.5 cups of dry quinoa to cover 4 meals.

Then…VOILA! All done! I pack it into 4 separate containers, pop them in the fridge, and enjoy the rest of my Sunday!

Some people find it hard to eat the same thing every day for lunch, but to me it helps me stay on track! It’s also nice to not to have to worry about what I’m going to bring. Also, I always leave at least one workday where I can go out with coworkers and eat lunch with them, so as not to be completely anti-social Smile.

A side note: the TONS of vegetables that I sauté are definitely not just used at lunch! Preston and I incorporate them into our dinners too. Check out these yummy veggie tostadas we whipped up for dinner tonight!

sunday3

Do you have a “Sunday night prep night” as well? What are some of your favorite bulk meals to whip up?

Until next time!

-Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

JALEO + Last Day in Sin City

On our second night in Vegas, Preston and I knew that we wanted to go somewhere yummy and semi-fancy for dinner (I always drag him to ONE fancy dinner on vacations…they’re my thang). We browsed around the restaurants in the Cosmopolitan until we saw the menu for JALEO. I thought it looked yummy, and Preston liked the price, so we made a reservation and went back to change and get ready for the night.

Upon arriving, the place was bustling with super trendy people. Immediately we knew that this would be an EPIC people-watching night. They led us to our table, which just happened to be a one sided booth…meaning we had to live out our personal nightmare of being “that couple” who sat on the same side of the table Winking smile Like I said though, the people watching was on POINT that night, so we didn’t mind too terribly.

v16

Notice a theme here of Preston and his hatred of photos?

Everyone who worked at JALEO was super nice. The waitress brought over an iPad (yes, a freaking iPad) to show us what our drink selections were for the night. You better believe Preston spent forever scouring that baby for the best priced bottle of wine Smile

photo 4 (4)

photo 5 (2)

The wine guy (sommelier?) even came over and helped us with our selection. I wish I could remember what we picked, because it was delicious. You can definitely tell a difference between good wine and cheap wine. But heck, I’m perfectly fine with the cheap!

Once we ordered the bottle and started looking at the menu, it dawned on us why the prices had looked so affordable on the menu. JALEO was a tapas restaurant…

…meaning small plates…

…meaning that the price we saw per plate was actually x3, if we wanted to be somewhat full after eating.

I could see Preston start to sweat, after just ordering a pricey bottle of wine and now learning that our semi-affordable meal was slowly turning into a multi-digit nightmare.

We ended up laughing it off (the wine helped that, I’m sure) and ordering just 3 small plates to share. We figured that if we were still hungry afterwards that we would run and get a burger or something. Luckily, the wine and tapas did the trick, and we left JALEO happy and satisfied and spent the rest of the night trying our luck at roulette.

v17Maybe I enjoyed the wine a little too much?

v18

And maybe he did too? Smile

Our last day in Vegas was very similar to Day 2, in that we spent the morning at the pool and the afternoon in the casino.

Okay, this is MY blog, and I know I’m all about fitness, health, etc. on here…but I’m also all about balance, so I suppose I should be honest and give you a preview of what our breakfast on Day 3 looked like…

IMG_1714

I know, I know. I’m not proud. That was all him, by the way. Mine looked slightly tamer, but still just as obnoxious:

photo 1 (2)

Sigh. Balance, right? Remember my breakfast from Day One?? So I was okay splurging on my last day in Vegas Smile We barely made dents in that breakfast, but man, was it GOOD. It was from the Hash House A Go Go in the Imperial Palace. If you ever make it to Vegas, GO THERE. It is delish.

Lunch was nonexistent (see above photos if confused as to why that is), and dinner was a casual affair at some café in the Bellagio. The rest of the night was spent at the Blackjack and Roulette tables.

We had SUCH a great time in Vegas. Seriously, it’s not at all what some people think. Yes, there is drinking and gambling and all that fun stuff, but there are so many things to do and see and EAT! I’m so glad we went.

v20

Thank you to the elderly gentleman who did not know how to use the iPhone camera function Smile

v19

One last treat before heading home

And that, my friends, was our trip to Vegas in a nutshell. Hope you enjoyed Smile

What are some things that we did NOT do that you think we definitely should do on our next Vegas Vacation?

Have any of y’all SEEN the greatness that is Vegas Vacation?!?!

-Talk to you soon! Mel

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Ole!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!! After a successful morning boot camp session, I’m off to spend the day at the pool with friends, but I thought I’d leave you guys with some yummy treats to make today (or ANY day, in my opinion!)

Last night, hubs and I had our own “Quatro de Mayo” party to celebrate him landing a huge job at work. He’s been at his company almost a year and is already kicking butt and taking names…I couldn’t be more proud of him! After I got the good news, I went straight to Whole Foods to pick up items to make some of his favorite things: guacamole, homemade tortilla chips, and chicken pizza. I also grabbed a 6 pack of one of his favorite beers, Shock Top.

shock

Now, I am NOT a beer drinker. I’ve tried to be, trust me. Drinking beer is not only cheaper than most other alcohol options, it’s also available pretty much everywhere. Plus, girls who drink beer are super cool in my book. Sadly, despite the apparent perks, I just can’t bring myself to drink it. So I whipped up my own beverage in the form of a frozen Strawberry Daiquiri!


Simple Strawberry Daiquiri for One

3-4 oz of frozen strawberries

1 3/4 oz of Sweet & Sour Mix

1 1/2 oz (or 2, if you’re feeling it!) of rum

1/2 TBS of sugar (I used unsweetened strawberries, so I found that this added a slight touch of sweetness to the whole drink)

Handful of ice cubes

Directions: Throw it all into a blender, blend until smooth, then enjoy Smile

Following our drinks, I put together a quick appetizer of DIY Tortilla chips and guacamole (for two!). Guacamole recipes always come in such large quantities, but when you’re only making it for two, and leftover guac is nearly impossible to keep fresh, it’s nice to have a quick and easy recipe available to throw a small batch together.

Date Night Guacamole for Two



1 large avocado (I prefer Hass) halved, seeded, and peeled

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of chopped onion

1/2 of a lime, juiced

1 small Roma tomato

Scant 1/4 tsp salt

Optional: 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/8 tsp ground cumin, cilantro

Directions:  In a medium bowl, place the avocado pulp and the lime juice and mash together (I used a masher similar to what is used for potatoes). Add in salt, mash until blended. Fold in onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Taste it and season to your liking; I always add a little more lime and salt at the end.

Yum, guacamole is definitely one of my favorite foods. When it comes to what to eat with it, I always try to make my own tortilla chips. Packaged brands always tend to overdo it on salt, processing, etc., and can get pretty pricey for just two people. Plus, if you buy a whole bag for one occasion, then you’re stuck with that bag for a loooong time…and it will sit there, mocking you, until you eat the entire bag while sitting on the couch watching BravoTV reruns (not that this has happened to me before or anything). Try this easy, easy “recipe” for tortilla chips (if you can even call it a recipe, it’s so simple)!

DIY Tortilla Chips

Corn tortillas (I prefer La Tortilla Factory yellow corn tortillas) – for this occasion I used 2

Olive oil (I used my Misto Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer…love this thing!)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tortillas into desired since/shape:

Spread them out on a baking sheet, and mist on both sides with olive oil (or Olive Oil cooking spray if you have that):

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes…it’s important to keep an eye on these to make sure that you don’t overcook them (i.e. burn them). Everyone’s oven is a little different! Mine came out looking like this:



Yummm, warm tortilla chips and fresh guacamole!!

I’ll save the Chicken Pizza recipe for a rainy day…or maybe just for tomorrow :)

Hope you all have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo, or even just a wonderful Saturday!

What are some of your favorite Mexican foods?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

This or that?

Here I am, all alone on a Thursday night, blogging and watching Mad Men on my DVR. And why am I alone, you ask? Oh, that’s because my RIDICULOUS husband got offered tickets to the MAVS PLAYOFF GAME tonight! Are you kidding me?! He is such a bandwagon fan, and he always gets to go to games! He’s got some pretty sweet seats, too. Sigh.

Bitter, party of one.

Despite my lonely evening (totally being dramatic here, by the way…I actually LOVE a little “me time”), I’ve had a fairly good day. After my yummy breakfast, I was fairly full until lunch rolled around. I am lucky enough to be able to go home sometimes during lunch (I live roughly 7 minutes away from my office), so I decided to head to the casa and whip up another random meal of sorts. I had a tiiiiny bit of filet left from my birthday dinner, so I sliced that up and placed it in between two corn tortillas, added a little cheddar cheese, and made myself a quesadilla. Added on some carrots and black beans and I had myself a pretty decent lunch!

I love throwing together leftovers and making something completely new out of them! Plus, I hate wasting food!

The rest of my day consisted of a pre-workout snack of a banana and peanut butter, followed by a killer weights workout at boot camp. Love, love, love weights days! Please take a look at what my slightly OCD very organized husband did to my trunk while I was in Florida:

Yup, he organized my mats/weights in a bin so that I can easily transport my gear from camp to camp. Thank goodness for him, because I am so far from organized it’s not even funny! Speaking of not funny…check out the temperature in my car after my workout:

Yup….106. It’s May 3. Help?

The rest of my night will most likely consist of a Meal Replacement Shake from Advocare (vanilla, with 1 TBS of PB2, 1 TBS of cocoa powder, and 1 banana), Mad Men, and an early bedtime. Definitely not cooking dinner for just me, plus I need the protein the shake provides. Me time = bliss :)

I got this fun little survey from Beyond Bananas, a fun blog I discovered not too long ago. It seemed like something to do to help pass the time :)

Coke or Pepsi?

Unfortunately, neither now! I gave up Diet Coke almost two years ago and I’ve never looked back! Every once in a while I’ll have a Sprite, and recently I tasted that new Dr. Pepper 10 and that stuff is GOOD…I’ll need to stay away :)

Lemonade or Fruit Punch?

Fruit punch, hands down! Lemonade is too tart for me :)

Caramel Apple or Cotton Candy?

Neither, to be honest! Caramel Apples hurt my teeth, and Cotton Candy is too sugary (if there is such a thing?!?)

Butterfinger or Snickers?

Neither…Twix!

Pudding or Jell-O?

Pudding! Absolutely!

Turkey or Chicken?

Chicken!! I eat it every single day almost!

American or Provolone Cheese?

Neither…cheddar (and NOT the orange kind…do you know what makes it orange?!?)

Crackers or Cookies?

If I’m being honest…….cookies :)

Pretzels or Chips?

Pretzels!!! I don’t care for chips, UNLESS they are tortilla chips. Then it’s game on.

Mexican food or Japanese food?

Mexican food! If my husband and I could have it for every meal, we would!

Chinese food or Italian food?

Italian :) yay pasta!

Pie or Cake?

If we’re talking the cold-pie variety, like ice box pies, or chocolate pies, then definitely pie :) but if I had both sitting in front of me, I wouldn’t discriminate…I’d eat both!

Ice cream or Cookies?

Frozen Yogurt! Ice cream makes my tummy hurt. I’ll put a few cookies IN my frozen yogurt though!

Pasta or Pizza?

Pizza. Definitely.

Soda or Juice?

Tea!

Chocolate Bars or Chocolate Truffles?

Chocolate Bars I guess, but I can’t eat too much of one or I’ll get sick

Apples or Bananas?

Banana’s!

Salad or Soup?

Salad!

Cauliflower or Broccoli?

Broccoli…roasted, with lemon and garlic :)

Onion Rings or French Fries?

Sweet Potato Fries!

Blizzard or McFlurry?

Blizzard, hands down. There are FAR more options with the Blizz.

Fried or Poached Eggs?

Scrambled! I suck at this quiz!

Crepes or Pancakes?

Pancakes….big fluffy ones

Hashbrowns or Roasted Potatoes?

Hashbrowns with ketchup….yup, I said it. KETCHUP.

Oatmeal or Cereal?

Oatmeal! I’ve developed a new love for simple rolled oats…who knew?

Thanks for reading :) Talk to you tomorrow

-Melissa

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers