Posted in Food, Menu Planning, Recipe

Crunchy garlic chicken

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The other night, Jeff and I tried out a new recipe from Jamie Oliver. This crunchy garlic chicken recipe was great!! We got the idea from pinterest and served it with baked potatoes and honey crisp apples.

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The breading has just the right mix of flavors… Butter, parsley, lemon, salt and pepper.  When lightly fried, it tastes absolutely decadent.  Go make it. 🙂

Posted in College, Life + Living, Self-Reflection

Choices: compromise for success

I figured out last night that they shut off the a/c at 8, and the lights at 9. I studied by the glow of my computer until about 9:30 and then called it a night.

Being an adult is hard, lol..

There are days when I kick myself for going to work instead of finishing college first. But, the thing is, I love the work that I do, the people that I work with, and the opportunities that I have to grow and progress in my career. No, it’s not easy to do it all, when it all is so much some times, but I am glad that I have the opportunity to do so, and the support from all of my family and my friends.

I also figured out why freshman gain 15 pounds their first year–“dinner” last night was Nutter Butter Bites and a Pearson’s Nut Roll.  Had I gone home, I would’ve had baked salmon with lemon and pepper, but I also wouldn’t have gotten as much done.  These are the choices we make.

Posted in Food, Life + Living, New Food, Recipe

Tuna Stuffed Shells (Recipe)

Hey guess what!

If you guessed that my computer crashed, you would be correct.  The signs have been there for a little while now, but we just don’t have it in the budget to go and get a new hard drive at the moment.  I had to bring my work laptop home in order to finish my homework for my business class, but so far, so good.  I passed the first half of the final with 100% and some kind remarks from the instructor.

Not long after my computer crashed, the monitor for Jeff’s computer decided to go on strike… so, we took the working parts of my computer and used them to replace the broken parts of Jeff’s computer and voila! We’re back in business.

It’s a good thing too, because now I can share this idea with you.  I kept coming across ideas on Pinterest.com for stuffed shells recipes, but it has been entirely too hot to turn on the stove.  Instead, Jeff and I decided to make a summer version of Tuna Stuffed Shells.  It’s super cheap, quick, and easy:

Summer Tuna Stuffed Shells:

Ingredients:
Jumbo Shells
Starkist Chunk Light tuna in water (drained)
Alfredo sauce with bell pepper
Onion
Celery
Garlic powder
Pepper

The amount of each ingredient really depends on your taste preference and how many people you’re feeding.  Jeff and I wanted about 4 shells each plus some extra so we started by boiling half a box of the shells.  While that was happening, I took a mixing bowl and combined 4 regular-sized cans of tuna with about 2 tablespoons of alfredo, 1/4 cup each of onion and celery, and sprinkled garlic powder on top.  Stir it up and set aside. Heat the remainder of the alfredo sauce in a small sauce pan until it’s bubbly–about 5 minutes or so.

When the noodles are cooked, strain them and then place on waxed paper to cool.  Jeff worked on that part while I sliced up an orange bell pepper to go on the side.  When you’re ready, stuff the cool tuna mixture into the shells and spoon alfredo sauce over top.  Sprinkle with pepper (optional, but a really nice addition), and garnish with a side of orange bell pepper.

Posted in Fitness, Food, Life + Living, Strength Training

PT, S’more’s and an evening walk

Today was a good day.  My co-worker had read my blog entry on s’mores in a tin  and was inspired to bring s’mores to work today.  LOL  Yay for microwave s’mores!

Microwave S'more
Microwave S’more

Have I mentioned I love s’mores?  Have I also mentioned I’m trying to lose weight?  Good thing I can balance, right?  Most days.

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It was my 3rd meeting with Emily for some PT.  She and I worked out a deal that makes personal training affordable.  She’s terrific–willing to accept payment after-the-fact to get me started.  We talked our way through the work out and it was over before I knew it.  We did our warm-up, I did the presses, lunges, bridges, “kick-stands,” the thing on the cable machine, plank… etc.  And suddenly she says “let’s stretch out”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Emily: “what?”

Me: “We’re done?”

Emily: “yeah!”

Me: “No, like, with *all* of it?”

Emily: “Yeah, we did the warm up, the plank, the [listed all of my exercises which I can’t recall at the moment…]  and now we’re done!”

Me: “… Wanna do it again?”

It was great.  After work I was tired out, hungry, etc. and on any other day, I would have just called it a day and went home–but Emily was waiting for me so I had to at least show up.  By the time I left, I was happy, energetic, excited.. It was good.

Unfortunately, Jeff and I still didn’t get our grocery shopping done, so dinner tonight was a salad from Wendy’s:

Apple Pecan Chicken Salad - Wendy's - Google Chrome_2012-06-05_23-14-37
Apple Pecan Chicken Salad – Wendy’s

Jeff and I ate dinner when I got home, watched an episode of Supernatural, went for a good 40 minute walk and then watched a couple more episodes of Supernatural. I’m about to hit the hay, but here are some pics from our walk:

Pretty white flowers along the side of the path
Pretty white flowers along the side of the path
Giant, untended Rhubarb
Giant, untended Rhubarb
Manicured Hill
Manicured Hill
Herd of Geese
Herd of Geese

[Sidebar:  Guys, I use my phone to take the pics for my blog, and lately, the quality has been suffering.  The replacement phone that I got works great as a phone but the camera is hinky.  It flashes when I have flash disabled, the auto-focus is unreliable, and the exposure is defaulted to something that is too dark, so unless I compensate, the photos don’t even turn out.  Based on the poor quality of the photos from my walk, among others that were too bad to publish, I think I’m going to contact Verizon again and ask for another replacement 😦 Hopefully you guys will have better pics in the near future 🙂 ]

Posted in Food, Recipe

BLT+C=Happy Me

Tonight’s menu called for “Grilled Chicken Sandwiches.”  It was going to be ho-hum until I got it in my mind that bacon goes awesome with chicken and so does tomato.  While Jeff and I were at the grocery store on Monday, I bought a pound of center-cut bacon (tried to get some with minimal fat, but, c’mon, it’s bacon…)  I also picked up 1 beef-steak tomato so that we could have it on our sandwiches.

It was after assembly that I realized that we basically had BLT’s + Chicken.  It doesn’t matter, though, what you call it–I call it delicious dinner.

BLT+C

This recipe can be scaled based on the number of people it is intended to serve.  Basically just cook chicken, cook bacon, assemble on a sandwich with your favorite fixings.  More direction given below:

  • Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Center-cut Bacon
  • Beef Steak Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Sargento Colby Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Miracle Whip
  • Silver Spring Beer n’ Brat Horseradish Mustard
  • Pepperidge Farm Dark German Wheat Bread

If the chicken breasts that you bought are anything like the ones that I bought, you can easily cut them in half and still have a good-sized portion (4-5oz).  I bought a pack of 5 chicken breasts on sale for $5 and got 10 servings out of it.  We have definitely got more than enough to last us for a while.

After adjusting the portions of your chicken, go ahead and start cooking it.  I used a covered skillet on the stove-top over medium heat, but if you like to grill–tis the season!

Go for it.  Speaking of seasonings–season the top of the chicken before you cover it and then let it cook for about 5-8 minutes per side. I cook mine until the juices run clear and the center is no longer pink, but if you’re the “just so!” kind of chef, cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  The length of time needed will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts.

While your chicken is getting started, fry up the bacon.  Be careful to watch for grease splatter–that stuff hurts!  If you prefer, there are methods of cooking bacon in the oven or in the microwave, but I didn’t go that route.

While you are waiting for the bacon and chicken to cook, slice the beef steak tomato and ready leaves of lettuce!  We used this dark wheat bread that is hearty and soft at the same time.  Check it out: Pepperidge Farm Dark German Wheat Bread

Spread with a little bit of miracle whip, some spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato, cheese…. then bacon and chicken!  Serve with summer fruit on the side.

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Here’s the daily summary from http://www.myfitnesspal.com:

Posted in Food, Menu Planning, New Food, Recipe, Weight Watchers

Orange Chicken

Yeeeaaaahhh… My version of orange chicken turned out almost nothing like the picture that I pinned on my pinterest foodies board.  When I was at the grocery store, a friend in need called and I missed out on a couple of ingredients such as the  sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and scallions.  We made due with what we had, though, and it turned out pretty wicked (in a good way).

After going through this process, I would say that there are some things to be desired in the recipe, as far as instructions go.  Here is how the recipe was published on laaloosh:

Orange Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch strips
2 cup cooked white rice, kept hot
Rind of a small orange sliced into thin strips
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup canned chicken broth, reduced-sodium
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 medium scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or 1 dried chili pepper, minced
1 tbsp sesame seeds

**For added nutritional value, substitute the white rice with brown rice

Directions:
In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, broth, sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and vinegar, then set aside.
In a large skillet, heat peanut oil on medium-high heat. Add orange rinds, scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the chicken and cook for approximately 6 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown.
Now mix in the sauce and let simmer until the chicken is cooked all the way through and the sauce starts to get thick, this should take approximately 3-4 minutes. On a plate, serve chicken and sauce over rice and garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds

Serving size = 1 cup of chicken and 1/2 cup of rice

Here is what I learned by doing:

– Cook the rice according to package directions.  Then strain the rice because there’s still too much liquid when it’s done.

– Use an itty bit more oil.  It was pretty well gone before the chicken even got there.

– Dice the orange rind if you intend to eat it.

– On that note, add a little bit more sugar to the sauce recipe so that it caramelizes a little more.

– Dried chives are not the same as fresh scallions.

– Rice vinegar, though, is a good substitute for white wine vinegar.

– Use the pulp from the orange that you chopped up in a fresh house salad to serve alongside your chicken:

All in all, this recipe has got lots of potential, but we just need to refine the way that we cooked it a little and actually use all of the ingredients called for 🙂 We will probably make this again.  1 serving has 6 points on a popular weight loss program.

Posted in Food, Menu Planning, New Food, Recipe

Day 3: Garden Vegetable Tortellini

Garden Vegetable Bake - Raw

“I really liked working with Mike on this one.  He chopped a lot of the vegetables, I chopped the chicken and the peppers… it all just came together, add this, add that… done.  It took about 45 minutes to get everything done, but a lot of it could have probably been done ahead of time… the recipe says that you can just do it all a day or two in advance and just throw it in the oven when it’s ready to cook.”  -Jeff

Since Jeff has more time at home than I do lately, he’s really been stepping up and volunteering in the kitchen.  He mastered the art of slow-cooker Enchiladas* and today he and our room mate Mike tackled the Garden Vegetable Tortellini. For this weeks menu, jump back a couple entries to Menu Monday: Pinterest Edition.  So far, he says that cooking this week has been pretty fun.

*Note about the enchiladas–we added about a pound of lean ground beef and it made about sixteen enchiladas instead of twelve.. but.. I don’t see anyone complaining 😉  We had them for dinner last night (which is why you don’t see a Day 2 Post).

Garden Vegetable Bake

There were no complaints to be found regarding the Garden Vegetable Tortellini, either!  Well.. Jeff complained because I missed a few ingredients on the grocery list… but.. oh well *sheepish grin*

This dish was great.  The roasted tomatoes were perfect and I couldn’t imagine leaving them out.  The mushrooms were kind of lost in the mix, but the pea pods were really good too.  We can’t take much credit for the Tortellini, but it was delicious (we used the Roundy’s brand of cheese stuffed tortellini).  Jeff cut the chicken to 1″ cubes and the rest of the veggies were cut to bite-sized pieces as well.  Jeff cooked the chicken, carrots, peas, etc. before it could be baked in the oven and he did a really great job–they were not over or under-done at all. Both Gloria and I vote for more veggies next time, they were so good.  An idea just popped into my head… this would be awesome with crispy bacon pieces on top.  Like a garnish.  And I’m not talking about bacos.

Even without bacon though…. each of us went back for more.  I’d say there’s about 8 1/2 good-sized servings in this dish.  We nearly finished it off… There’s just enough to compliment lunch tomorrow.

I licked the bowl...

Posted in BTHR, Food, Menu Planning, New Food, Recipe

Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls

Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls by Giada De Laurentiis featured on Giada at Home on the Food Network.

Woo hoo! I’m continuing my adventures in new food with Goat Cheese, Lentils and Mint.  I think I’m going to add Brown Rice to my list of new foods because I hadn’t had it before the healthy eating program started at work last year… yep yep yep! 

Lessee… Mr. and Mrs. Roomie sorted out the lentils… had them cleaned and rinsed and simmering before I got home from work.  When I got home, I teamed up with Mrs. Roomie to finish up the rest of the meal.  The chard (‘nother new food!) that I bought on Sunday, though, was all limp and sad looking.  Awwe… poutface. My grandma taught me a trick, though, that you can re-crisp greens by putting them in ice water.  I went one step further and put them in ice water and then into the freezer while we took care of the other greens.  Mrs. Roomie chopped up the arugula and I chopped upEverybody in!the mint.  Gosh! It calls for half-cup of chopped mint and I honestly think it was way too much… Also–I think I bought brown lentils instead of green ones. Not sure what the difference is…

We mixed everything up in the bowl then pulled the chard out of the freezer… removed the center stem, sliced them in half, filled them with the mixture and rolled them up.  Popped them into the oven for about 30 minutes or so… and then stared at the mess of mixture that we had left over.

We used the ratios that were mentioned in the recipe, but we went wrong some where because we only had enough chard for 6 rolls but we had enough mix for about 2-3 more batches than the one we made. I tried to get creative by putting cheese on top and then popping that in the oven for a bit… but really, it didn’t work.  Mr. Roomie followed a waste-not-want-not idea and used the left over mixture as a chip-dip.  Hey! Whatever floats your boat, right? Now our house smells like a high-end Italian restaurant.. Yep–we’re the ones stinking up the building’s hallways. Guilty as charged and unashamed!  It was a delicious meal! 3 out of 4 roomies liked it.  Mrs. Roomie bought dinner from the gas station.

Posted in Fitness, Food, Recipe

Recipe: New Orleans Style Stuffed Peppers

So, instead of skipping my workout and going home to make dinner tonight, I stayed at work and did a Zumba DVD.  Before I went, though, I e-mailed the recipe for tonight’s dinner to Rah-rah and asked if he could make it happen.  Mr. Roomie got home before Rah-rah did though, so Mr. Roomie made it instead.  It was pretty tasty and really filling! One problem, though: he didn’t cook any of the filling =P he just kind of mixed, stuffed and baked and cut out the first few steps.  Lucky enough it was alright in the end 😀 45 minutes at 350 still cooks it alright.  Next time will be EVEN Better!

New Orleans Style Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients:
1 package sausage, diced2+ cups brown rice
3 jalepenos, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
1-2 Table Spoons EVOO
Directions:
Move the oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat to 350.
1) Prepare brown rice per directions on the box (make at least 2 cups.. can make extra as a side-dish if desired)
2) while rice is cooking, dice sausages, garlic, onion and jalepenos and heat in a skillet with a little bit of EVOO
NOTE:  use the food-processor to dice to save time and teary eyes while dicing ingredients.  Remember to remove seeds from jalepeno unless you want us to be mad at you for making it too hot =P (food processor is in the cupboard above the fridge.  Good luck.)
3) Once rice is done, mix 2 cups rice with diced ingredients.
4) Cut the tops off of the bell peppers, de-seed and de-vein.
5) Stuff the peppers with the mixture and bake in a cake-pan or appropriate container at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until the bell pepper is done.
Posted in BTHR, Fitness, Food, Menu Planning, Recipe, Strength Training, Warrior Dash

Meatless Monday! P1W2D1 ST + Veggie Chili

I feel as if the more I do that is ‘mature’ or ‘adult’, the more I feel matured and like an adult, and the easier it is to do those things.  As an example, I made the menu for our household yesterday and got the grocery shopping done.  Originally, we were going to have stuffed peppers for dinner tonight but when I realized that I wasn’t going to be home this evening (Gotta get my Warrior training in!), I switched things up.

Before I even changed out of my pajamas this morning, I was in the kitchen loading up the crock pot for vegetarian chili.  It is such an easy thing to do… open up 10 cans of  various types of beans and sauces, add chili powder, add veggies, cook for 10 hrs on low.  🙂  Note to self: 6 Quarts of Chili is probably too much for 4 adults.  Since I wasn’t going to be home to cook dinner, I got it cooking before I even left the house.  Aren’t I nice? 😛

I thought that the chili had really good flavor.  I’d mix it up a little and add probably twice as many mushrooms next time and half as many black beans.  Total cost for this recipe was only around $20, though, and it makes 24 1-cup servings.  Not a bad deal!

Veggie Chili:
3 16oz cans Bush’s Best Chili Beans (Hot Sauce)
3 16oz cans Bush’s Best Dark Red Kidney Beans (Rinsed Well)
3 16oz cans Goya Black Beans (Rinsed Well)
1-2 pounds white mushrooms (Quartered)
46 oz Campbell’s Tomato Juice from Concentrate
Chili Powder to taste

Toss it all in a crock pot and cook for 10 hrs on low.

I tried to take a picture of it, but honestly, the lighting was not great and it was not so visually appealing.  I think this might even be a vegan dish if you skip the sour cream or cheese on top, but I don’t know enough about vegetarian- or vegan-ism to know for sure.  If you know, please chime in!
The rest of the day went really well as far as my eating goes.  I only had 1 “slip up” where I bought a pack of Sour Patch Kids, but the rest of my food was on-par.  I had my oatmeal for breakfast, an apple and peanut butter for snack, 1/2 sandwich and cottage cheese for lunch, sour patch kids in the afternoon, HELLIFIED WORKOUT!, banana, apple, 1.5 cups vegetarian chili.

Feels so good.  Now about that hellified work out… This is the 3rd round of strength training so far.  Just starting Phase 1, Week 2, Day 1 and I’m using the same methods as we were working on last week.  This time I made it all the way through the workout and didn’t skip any sets.  The gym was closing by the time I was done, though, so stretching and hitting the showers was kind of out of the question.  When I came home, I approached Rah-rah and asked if I could have a “Nice big sweaty hug!” and he said “Sure!” and swung his arms open for me.  Then he retracted and said “Uh.. how about you go through the shower first?” I didn’t notice, but apparently I had a big line of sweat on my front and a big patch of sweat on my back.  Are you workin’ hard or hardly workin’?

After I cleaned up, it was time for dinner (8pm by now) and I listened to my roomie’s reviews of dinner.  They missed meat and commented about throwing in some beef or bacon and a stick of butter next time.  They’re tolerant of my cooking adventures, but they definitely have their preferences in place.  I hate to admit how appetizing bacon chili sounds…

All in all, it wasn’t too bad at all!

[Edit: Cassie at BTHR is doing a give-away!  She opened a new online shop.  Check it out, show some love, get some swag: http://backtoherroots.com/2011/09/19/bthr-on-your-sleeve-giveaway/]