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, 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

Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry

I hope everyone has been enjoying the summer weather!¬†It’s been great to be able to swim, go for walks outside, grill, and just generally forget that snow exists. However, I’ve been a little lax with making¬†new recipes because it’s hot and I don’t always feel like cooking. So I’ve been defrosting a lot of meals or making quick kebabs on the grill. I made this recipe a little while back and want to share it! It was from the Skinnytaste Cookbook¬†and, like all the other recipes in there, it¬†was delicious! I added some stir fry veggies,¬†served it over rice, and it was so yummy¬†– tasted like take-out!

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Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry

Adapted from: Skinnytaste Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3/4 lb.¬†stew beef, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tbsp cashews, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1 bag frozen stir fry veggies (about 5 cups)
  • 1 tbsp¬†minced garlic
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked

Directions:

1.) In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, 1 tbsp soy sauce, the rice wine, and 1 tsp sesame oil. Add the beef, coat with marinade, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. While that is marinating, dice the ginger and chop the cashews. Steam the frozen (or fresh if desired) veggies.

2.) Once beef is done marinating, heat a large skillet over high heat and add 3 tsp sesame oil and the beef with marinade. Cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

3.) In the same skillet, heat the last 2 tsp of sesame oil and add garlic, ginger, and cashews. Cook about 30 seconds, then add the veggies, brown sugar, and remaining soy sauce for about 1 minute. Then add the beef and stir to mix well. Serve 1/4 of the beef mixture over 1/2 cup brown rice.

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

Calories 400
Fat 12 g (3 g saturated)
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 45 g
Sodium 913 mg
Protein 27 g

Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Bake

I haven’t been able to post recipes as quickly or as often as I would like to lately – my life has been so busy! Between work and plans with friends and family, it seems like I’ve been running around non-stop. So my recipes to share with you¬†have been piling up! I made this yummy dish about 3 weeks ago. I based it off of¬†this recipe, which I had made when I was doing Paleo and really liked it. Simple and¬†delicious! This time I added Brussels sprouts and baked them with the sweet potatoes. It was so yummy and great for leftovers too! Feel free to switch¬†it up with different spices and veggies too – it’s a very versatile dish.

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Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs. chicken¬†sausage, ground (or take links out of the casing and crumble)
  • 3 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 bag Brussels sprouts (about 20 sprouts), chopped
  • 1 cup chopped peppers and onions (I use frozen)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a large baking dish with oil and add the diced sweet potato and chopped sprouts. Drizzle with about 3 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft.

2.) Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp oil to a skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft. Then add the sausage and cook until no longer pink.

3.) Add sausage, onion, and peppers mixture to the baking dish. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, stirring everything together. Season with any desired spices and serve hot.

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

Calories 356
Fat 19 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 23 g
Sodium 699 mg
Protein 24 g

Shrimp and Veggie Fried Rice

I can’t even remember the last time I had Chinese food, which is sort of sad, but I love the fact that it’s so easy to make food that tastes like take-out at home. One of my favorite things is fried rice, so I decided to whip up some at home. I bumped up the nutrition factor by using brown rice and adding tons of veggies. I used shrimp for protein, but you could also do chicken or pork or beef. It’s such a versatile dish too, so feel free to add any extra veggies or other ingredients. So quick and easy and much better for you than actual take-out!

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Shrimp and Veggie Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4 servings
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry brown rice (I use instant)
  • 1/2 pound cooked, deveined shrimp (frozen)
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bag frozen stir fry veggies (about 3 cups)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vinegar

1.) Cook rice according to package. Defrost shrimp. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or dutch oven, add olive oil and heat on medium. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, then add bag of steamed stir fry veggies (or veggies of choice). Cook for about a minute with the garlic, then add the soy sauce and stir. Let simmer.

2.) Once soy sauce is simmering, add the two eggs. Stir everything together to scramble the eggs with the veggies. Then add the shrimp and rice and stir everything together. Enjoy!

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

Calories 306
Fat 8 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 4 g
Carbs 44 g
Sodium 1184 mg
Protein 15 g

Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Tomato Sauce

Meatballs are the perfect comfort food. Loaded up with lots of sauce and cheese over pasta…how could you not love that? I could probably eat Italian food every day for the rest of my life. But I do like to experiment with lightening it up, that way I can enjoy all the deliciousness without all the guilt. Introducing…turkey meatballs! Using ground turkey breast keeps¬†these very low in fat, while adding¬†chopped¬†carrots and onion keeps them moist and tender. So they still taste just as delicious!

To keep calories even lower and add some nutrients, I used spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I usually¬†love spaghetti squash in any traditional pasta dish, and it doesn’t disappoint here! However, I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t make pasta often because it’s “bad” or because carbs are “bad.” Because veggies have carbs too! However, 4 cups of spaghetti squash has the same amount of carbs and less calories than only 3/4 cup of whole wheat pasta! So as much as I love pasta, and do use it in a lot of dishes, in this case I used spaghetti squash because I like the taste, plus it allows me to have more calories to splurge on the meatballs and sauce ūüôā

For the sauce, I kept it simple and just used a jar of sauce. I think people assume that because I’m Italian, I must make a fabulous homemade pasta sauce that I slave over for hours. But the truth is, I don’t have the time for that, and I also haven’t managed to make a sauce¬†that tastes much better than the jar kind¬†(but recipe recommendations are always welcomed!) My favorite is Newman’s Own Sockarooni – it’s a very flavorful blend of spices, onions and peppers, and chunks of tomato. I added a bag of spinach to it for an added nutritional punch. I topped it all off with some shaved parmesan cheese…perfecto! This is also a great freezer meal; I put two servings right into the freezer so I would have them for nights that I don’t feel like cooking!

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Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: 4 servings
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Adapted from: Hello Healthy

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb¬†ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup¬†Italian seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup matchstick carrots, chopped
  • 1/8 cup minced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp¬†Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp¬†garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 4 cups raw spinach
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 4 cups baked spaghetti squash

1.) Preheat oven to 400 F.¬†Cut spaghetti squash in half, length-wise. Scrape out seeds and pulp. Spray inside of each half with olive oil spray and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake on a cookie sheet, inside facing down, for about 45 minutes, or until the insides are easily scraped with a fork. Let cool, then scrape the “spaghetti” out into a strainer or large bowl lined with paper towel (to soak up excess liquid).

2.) While spaghetti squash is baking, prepare the meatballs. Chop the carrot and onion, then combine with the egg, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Add in the ground turkey breast and mix everything with your hands. Form into balls and place onto a well-greased cookie sheet. Once squash is done, lower oven to 350 F and bake meatballs for about 30 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. This recipe makes about 18 meatballs.

3.) While meatballs bake, heat olive oil over medium heat and add minced garlic. Add spinach, in bunches, until it is all wilted. Then add jar of sauce and let simmer. Feel free to add your own spices or other veggies to it!

4.) Once meatballs are done, add them to the simmering sauce and heat through for a few minutes. Serve 4.5 meatballs over 1 cup of spaghetti squash. Top with a hearty serving of sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

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

Calories 374
Fat 13 g (2 g saturated)
Fiber 8 g
Carbs 34 g
Sodium 831 mg
Protein 35 g

Shrimp Parm Over Spaghetti Squash

It feels like forever since my last post – I’ve been busy busy! I have finals this week, so I am beyond ready for summer to begin. I also found my own apartment – yay! However, I move in this weekend, so I have been scrambling to find time to both study and pack; not easy. Therefore I have been relying on¬†salads and freezer meals recently…a pat on the back to me for, at some point, making extra food and stashing it in the freezer! However, at the beginning of last week I made this yummy shrimp parm recipe. Another delicious and¬†easy recipe from Gina at Skinnytaste! I decided to make spaghetti squash to go with it; however, she used zucchini noodles, or you could use your favorite pasta! I doubled the original recipe so I would have enough for the week. I also added pesto to a few of the leftovers and it was really good, so I may add that next time when I cook the sauce. My spaghetti squashes made a lot of cooked “spaghetti” so I made each serving of shrimp over 2 cups, which was very filling, but feel free to adjust that to your liking. Enjoy!

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Shrimp Parm Over Spaghetti Squash

Adapted from: Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb jumbo raw shrimp (buying peeled/deveined will save you time! Sadly, I did not do this)
  • 10 cups spaghetti squash, baked¬†(about 5.25 lbs raw)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • Italian seasoning and salt, to taste
  • 5 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2.5 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.) Prepare spaghetti squash – see here for instructions!

2.) Preheat oven to 450 F. Spray a glass baking dish or cookie sheet with oil.

3.) In a small bowl, whisk the egg. In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, panko, and grated parmesan. Dry the shrimp, then dip each one in egg and  roll in breadcrumb mixture until fully coated. Place shrimp on baking dish and spray them with oil.

4.) Bake until golden brown, crispy, and cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning the shrimp over about halfway through.

5.) While shrimp are cooking, heat the crushed tomatoes in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbly. Add Italian seasoning and salt, to taste. Once shrimp are done, serve over spaghetti squash and top with sauce, mozzarella, and shredded parmesan.

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

Calories 292
Fat 6 g (2 g saturated)
Fiber 8 g
Carbs 36 g
Sodium 741 mg
Protein 26 g