Category Archives: Squash

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

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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

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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!

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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!).

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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.

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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

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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.

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Chicken, taken out of the slow cooker to be shredded

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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!!

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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

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DIY Taco Seasoning

JUST SAY NO!!

…to packaged seasonings, that is!

The first time I made my own taco seasoning, I was actually annoyed with myself. Why hadn’t I done this sooner? The ingredients make plenty, it’s way cheaper than buying taco seasoning in the package, and it cuts WAY down on the sodium in your dishes. Win, win…win (subtle reference from The Office, anyone?).

Helpful hint, buy the below ingredients in bulk at your local Whole Foods, Central Market, or Trader Joes (or maybe you’re super lucky, and your neighborhood Kroger or Publix carries bulk spices as well!). It saves money since you aren’t paying for a brand or packaging, plus it’s easier to control how much you’re buying.

Anywho, without further ado, please read the below recipe, create, and repeat.

DIY Taco Seasoning:

1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/8 cup ground cumin
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs sea salt

Put ingredients into a cute mason jar and shake, shake, shake! I say mason jars (or any jar, for that matter) because the seasoning can seep into plastic containers and stain them, plus I feel like glass jars just hold the freshness better. So trust me, glass jars 🙂 Plus, they’re cute!

***FYI: 3-4 heaping tablespoons of this will equal your average packet of taco seasoning!***

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*Just a note, the ingredients above make MUCH more than what is pictured in my jar. I just use it ALL of the time!

These make great little gifts/stocking stuffers/etc. I poured some of the seasoning into tiny jars for my mom, sister in law, and mother in law, and they loved them!

So, as I said before…just say no! And make your own seasoning today…like, now!

Smile

What are some of your favorite DIY seasonings or spice mixes?

Talk to you soon!

-Melissa

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