Asian Peanut Chicken

So this recipe was sort of a last-minute experiment, but somehow those always end up tasting the best!¬†I wanted a protein/veggie combo for lunches this week, rather than my usual salad. So I decided on roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and some sort of chicken. I had recently seen a Pinterest recipe for a peanut sauce on noodles, so I figured “why not try making that with chicken instead?” Let me just say it is SO YUMMY and tastes like something you would get for take out, but much healthier. The sauce is so peanutty, yet a little salty and spicy, with the perfect consistency – even reheated. You could switch up the protein, make it over rice, quinoa, zucchini noodles, veggies, or serve with veggies and potatoes like I did! I like meals that I can make quickly yet also customize – since I tend to crave different things every other minute ūüôā

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Asian Peanut Chicken

Adapted from: Kelley and Cricket

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp diced onion
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sweet chili sauce (or sriracha)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Directions:

1.) Over medium heat, melt butter in a skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent.

2.) Add olive oil and chicken cubes to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes. Turn heat to medium low and add peanut butter, vinegar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, maple syrup, and sweet chili sauce. Stir until chicken is fully cooked.

3.) Remove from¬†heat and add sesame oil. Stir again and add another tbsp soy sauce, if you’d like it to be a little more salty!

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Chicken, Spinach, and Feta Pizzadillas

Ladies and gentlemen, I present…the pizzadilla. Where pizza¬†meets the quesadilla in a¬†delicious, cheesy, heavenly combination that’s perfect for dunking in marinara. The best part is that it can be ready in about 10 minutes! Go crazy with whatever pizza toppings you like…I picked my go-to combo of chicken, feta, and spinach and added¬†some extra tomatoes and garlic. Holy yum. I used brown rice tortillas which I found at Trader Joe’s…I usually use whole wheat, but these had less ingredients so I figured I would try them. They are less soft than regular tortillas, which worked perfectly here; it made the pizzadillas more crunchy and crispy. I made them in my quesadilla maker, which is basically a Mexican George Foreman grill that puts the indentations into the quesadilla so you know where to cut it. So quick and easy to make! These would be great as appetizers too; you could make a bunch of different combinations and have them out for people to enjoy. Or you could eat them all yourself, like I did here. Whatever¬†your heart (and stomach) desires!

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Chicken, Spinach, and Feta Pizzadilla

Ingredients:

  • 2 tortillas
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza “toppings” of choice!

Directions:

1.) Cook pizza toppings (I sauteed the veggies and added cooked chicken) or use them cold. Take 1 tortilla and lay it on a plate. Spread a thin layer of marinara on the tortilla and add a sprinkling of mozzarella. Add pizza toppings and sprinkle with more mozzarella. Put other tortilla on top and place in quesadilla maker, pressing top down, or cook in a skillet, flipping once cheese starts melting.

2.) While pizzadilla is cooking, heat a small bowl of marinara sauce in microwave. When cooked, let pizzadilla cool, then cut into 6 triangles. Serve hot and dip in marinara!

Chicken, Couscous, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

So sometimes you have a meal that combines two delicious foods into one, leading you to believe¬†it will be awesome and even better than eating each item on its own. For instance, the bacon cheeseburger pizza or chili cheese fries. However, sometimes this is an epic fail, and you wish you just had one of each item rather than both of them combined into one item that kind of sucks. For instance, the chili cheeseburger (way too messy) and taco pizza (lettuce on pizza never works). This recipe right here was one of those fails. I love stuffed peppers, as well as goat cheese and chicken anything, but the combo just didn’t work for me in this dish. I didn’t think the filling tasted good with the pepper (maybe it’s just me). However, there is good news! The stuffing for the peppers was SO GOOD, so I ended up taking it out of the pepper and plopping it on an arugula salad with some dried cranberries, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. YUM! I also think it might be good in some corn tortillas for a fancy taco or in little filo dough cups as an appetizer. So while I may not make these stuffed peppers again, I would definitely make the stuffing again for salads or a party! However, I will post the recipe as I made it in case you want to try the peppers – maybe I just was having an off day ūüôā

PS: Don’t they look like little pumpkins? I love pumpkins. Sort of excited fall is on its way…but enjoying summer while I can!

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Chicken, Couscous, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Adapted from: Cooking Light magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 large bell peppers (I used orange), tops cut off and set aside, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous, cooked (about 5/8 cup dry)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 2.5 oz goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

1.) Cook couscous according to package. I used chicken broth instead of water to add some extra flavor. I also made extra couscous and froze it!

2.) Place oven rack in top third of oven. Preheat broiler to high. Line a clear baking dish or cookie sheet with foil. Set peppers on their sides on the foil and coat with cooking spray. Broil 8 minutes, turning after 4 minutes, until slightly charred. Remove peppers from the oven, keeping it on broil (high). Stand the peppers, cut sides up, in the baking dish.

3.) Combine couscous, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, spices, and chicken in a bowl. Stir in about 2 oz. goat cheese. Spoon the mixture evenly into the 4 peppers. Top peppers with the tops and broil for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven, take tops off, and sprinkle the extra goat cheese on top. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 313
Fat 9 g (3 g saturated)
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 34 g
Sodium 490 mg
Protein 22 g

Running My First 5K and Conquering My Fear of Grilling…

I have been so busy recently that I have been neglecting blogging¬†and it makes me sad.¬†But I wanted to do a quick catch-up of my life lately! I’ve been settling into my new apartment quite well; I love having my own space and a nice big kitchen of my own! I had a friend over on Sunday and we fired up my grill for the first time. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous to use this grill for the first time. It was left by the previous tenant, and while it looks pretty new, I had this fear that I would turn the gas on and light it and it would explode. I have lots of irrational fears like this. But I decided¬†that I just needed to try it and it would all be fine. I told my friend I wanted to grill us some lunch, so we¬†made some chicken and veggie skewers…so yummy. I brushed the chicken with pesto and it was delicious. Oh and the grill didn’t explode (of course it didn’t). Now I can’t wait to start grilling all sorts of things!

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I also ran my first 5K race on Saturday! It was the Narragansett Summer Running Festival, which was held at Stonehill. I signed up for it awhile ago because I wanted to challenge myself – I’ve never run a full 5K before, just a mud run (which is basically half running, half climbing and getting dirty). I generally despise running, but I wanted to push myself and I figured running around my alma mater would be a nice distraction from the actual running! Going into the race, I had only run about 2.5 miles outside, so I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to run the whole 3.2 miles. However, I found it to be a lot easier than I thought, and the pretty campus and a great playlist of tunes certainly helped. I ran it in about 36 minutes, so my timing was pretty good! I won’t say I love running now, but perhaps I could be swayed into running another 5K. I enjoyed the rest of the weekend staying on campus and pretending to be a college kid again!

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One of my best friends is getting married this weekend, so I have a busy week ahead of me, but I know it will be a blast! ūüôā

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

So once¬†again, we started off the week snowed in! We are running out of places to put it all, so¬†I’m ready for it to¬†stop any time now. I’m also getting tired of shoveling and my car sliding all over the place. Is it summer yet? At least it’s given me some time to whip up some new recipes!

Yet¬†again I looked to The Skinnytaste Cookbook for inspiration, and once I saw these enchiladas I looked no further. Yummy Mexican food…but better for you…need I say more? These were delicious and the recipe made 8 enchiladas, so I froze half to enjoy another time – win win! I made a side of Mexican rice to go with them and it was the perfect meal.

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Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Adapted From: The Skinnytaste Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato or marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 10-12 oz chicken breast tenderloins, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese
  • Fat-free plain Greek yogurt, guacamole, or other toppings (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat olive oil over low heat in a skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, stirring frequently.

2.) Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, cooked chicken, 1/4 cup of cilantro, seasonings, and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.

3.) Spray a 13×9 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Put about 1/3 cup of chicken mixture into each tortilla, roll them up, and place seam side down in baking dish.

4.) Pour enchilada sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve enchiladas with a side of Mexican rice (recipe below) and top with Greek yogurt, guacamole, avocado, etc. and enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per enchilada, without toppings, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 302
Fat 12 g (2 g saturated)
Fiber 5 g
Carbs 31 g
Sodium 785 mg
Protein 20 g

Mexican Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1 cup frozen corn (I used roasted corn from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1.) Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve warm as a side for the enchiladas!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 141
Fat 2 g (0 g saturated)
Fiber 3 g
Carbs 29 g
Sodium 0 mg
Protein 4 g

Chicken Quinoa Chili

Happy New Year’s Eve! I am excited to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be turning 25, finishing another 2 semesters of grad school, and hopefully doing more traveling! I also plan to just enjoy life as it happens, save more money, and make more time for friends and family, despite my busy schedule.

This post about 15 things to STOP doing in 2015 also really struck me, since I could agree with all of them!¬†Especially “stop saying yes all the time;” this is something I’m very guilty of. Looking forward to trying to cut down on¬†these things in the new year.

This week has been freezing here in New England, so I wanted to cook something warm and filling for dinner. I found a recipe for chicken quinoa chili on Pinterest and adapted it a bit. It was delicious and perfect for this chilly weather!

Chicken Quinoa Chili

Adapted from: iFoodreal

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs. chicken breast tenderloins (I used 2 lbs and thought it was a lot)
  • 1 cup frozen diced peppers and onions
  • 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can black beans, drianed and rinsed
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • cooking spray/olive oil
  • shredded cheese for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray/olive oil and place raw chicken in it. Top with a sprinkle of the taco seasoning and bake about 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is done.

2.) While chicken is baking, spray a large deep skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add peppers and onions and saute until soft, stirring occasionally.

3.) Add remaining ingredients, except cheese, and stir. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is ready (it will look like it has popped open).

4.) Remove from heat, add in cut-up chicken, and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve warm with shredded cheese on top!

**I used my Dutch oven and it wasn’t big enough, so I couldn’t add the chicken since I thought it would overflow. I ended up adding the chicken once I had portioned out the chili into 7 containers. But if your skillet is big enough, I would recommend adding the chicken once the chili is done and then let sit.

Nutrition Info With A Sprinkle of Cheese (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 479
Fat 12 g
Fiber 11 g
Carbs 52 g
Sodium 945 mg
Protein 42 g

Lightened-up Chicken Parm with Spaghetti Squash

I love chicken parm, and this recipe from Skinnytaste was perfect! Another win for the Skinnytaste Cookbook ūüôā The whole wheat bread crumbs add great flavor, as well as all the benefits of whole grains, and since it’s baked and not fried you save a ton of calories! I decided to serve it with spaghetti squash to keep the calories low. Enjoy!

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Lightened-up Chicken Parm with Spaghetti Squash

Adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 12 chicken tenderloins (about 27 oz)
  • 2/3 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • Shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1.) Cook squash (see oven instructions here). I like to cook the squash a day ahead, if I have time, and let it sit in a baking dish with paper towel overnight to soak up moisture. I didn’t have time to do that this time, so I just baked the squash before cooking the chicken!

2.) Preheat oven to 450 F and spray a baking sheet. Combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan in a small bowl. In another small bowl, melt the butter, then add olive oil.

3.) Brush butter and oil on both sides of chicken tenderloins, then dredge chicken in bread crumb mixture. Put tenderloins on greased baking sheet. Lightly spray top of chicken. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning over halfway through.

4.) Heat up marinara sauce on the stove or in the microwave.

5.) For each serving, top about 2 cups spaghetti squash with 2 tenderloins. Serve with marinara and mozzarella cheese!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 347
Fat 12 g
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 28 g
Sodium 910 mg
Protein 37 g