I’m Feeling Healthy

Chicken Paillard (ish)

chicken-paillard-ish

Chicken paillard is one thing I see on a menu and always just keep on scrollin’.  In most circumstances, I don’t really want a pounded-thin breast of chicken atop ‘lightly dressed’ greens when I’m out to dinner. Lightly dressed? I LOVE RANCH. The full fat kind.

But recently, I’ve been trying to cook more simply during the week. Simple stuff. Relatively healthy. Not 7 million sides. And I opened my eyes and heart to chicken paillard and you know what? It’s just lovely. I breaded mine, but you could easily skip that step. I’m just trying to make sure I hang on to those last 4 pounds of baby weight.

Recipe

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin or butterflied
  • 1 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • s&p
  • olive oil
  • 1 bag butter/bibb lettuce
  • sunflower seeds
  • This lemon vinaigrette

Start by coating each of the chicken breasts in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Coat a large nonstick pan with olive and heat to medium high.  Working in batches, cook the chicken breasts about 3 minutes per side.  While the chicken is cooking, toss the lettuce with some sunflower seeds and lemon vinaigrette (I like to ‘heavily dress’). Serve the chicken ‘atop’ these greens.

Greek Fajitas

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I absolutely love eating my dinner in a tortilla. I’ll eat anything in there. Anything at all. A few examples:

  1. tacos (duh)
  2. quesadillas (duh)
  3. BBQ chicken quesadilla (ok)
  4. peanut butter quesadilla (woah)
  5. Egg burrito (yep)
  6. and the best….Pizzadilla (wow! idea courtesy of my BIL circa 2005)

So we’ve decided to move our Greek chicken pitas out of the pita and into the fajita. A Greek version of our favorite Mexican dinner. My only regret is that we didn’t think of this sooner, and the only thing I’m lying about is that dollop of Tzatziki shown in that photo. I use like 75 dollops.

Recipe

Chicken Marinade

  • ~2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Greek vinaigrette (your favorite store bought)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (optional)

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 container plain yogurt (about 5 oz)
  • 1 container 2% Greek yogurt (~7 oz)
  • 1/2 cup seeded & chopped cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ~1 clove garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Fajitas

  • 2 small yellow/white onions (to caramelize)
  • Feta cheese (for topping)
  • 1/2 chopped cucumber (for topping)
  • 4-8 of your favorite tortillas

Mix the marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 8.  Mix all tzatziki ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

To caramelize the onion, slice thin, combine into a pan with a drizzle of olive oil and touch of salt, and cook down for about 20 minutes.

Grill the chicken (about 5-6 min/side for thicker cuts, 3 min/side for cutlets); let stand for a few minutes and then slice pieces about 1/4 in thick.

Assemble fajitas on your tortillas with caramelized onion, chicken, and top with chopped cucumber and fresh feta. Serve with sauce.

 

 

 

my-favorite-healthy-egg-salad

I feel like one of the hardest parts of working full time is coming up with lunch solutions. Pack a lunch? Eat out every day? Skip it altogether? Tough answers to some tough questions. As a side note – I’ve always had a strange admiration for people who say ‘I forgot to eat lunch today.’  I mean. How? How did you forget? Weren’t you starving? Weren’t you counting down the hours/minutes/seconds until you got to eat something good? Isn’t lunch the highlight of an otherwise mundane day? I don’t get it, you guys, and I’m intrigued.

But the reason lunch is important during the week is two-fold: 1) obvious nutrition requirements and 2) it gives you something to look forward to. If I didn’t have lunch I might just simply quit my day after breakfast.

This egg salad is one of my ultimate go-to’s for lunch. It’s healthy, it’s easy to make, and you can make it in larger batches to have all week. You can put it on toast, you can put it on crackers, or you can just eat it with a fork like I do most days. It’s delicious.

Recipe (1)

  • 4 eggs (will be using 1 whole egg, and 3 egg whites)
  • 1 tablespoon light mayo
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pickle
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickle juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ~1/8 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt, more to taste
  • pepper

Hard boil the eggs. I do mine by placing them in a pot and covering with water, bringing them to a boil, then turning off the heat and covering for 10 minutes. I then drain the water and replace with ice water. The ice bath for a minute or two ensures the yolks stay yellow.

Peel the eggs and slice one whole egg, and 3 egg whites into a bowl. Discard the remaining yolks. Mash the egg and egg whites with a fork. Mix in the mayo, pickle, pickle juice, mustard, S&P. Serve warm or refrigerate to cool down.

Zoodle Piccata

zoodle-piccata

More zoodles! We can’t stop!

It rained all weekend here, which was so nice. Seriously, it’s never super rainy here for several days in a row. Aside from it squashing our plans to go to the park yesterday, it was a great excuse to stay in all weekend and be lazy (I use the term “lazy” lightly these days, with two mobile babies). And eat sandwiches. I ate lots of sandwiches this weekend. PS- if you’ve never tried pepperoni on your turkey sandwich, I highly recommend.


Chicken Piccata has long been a favorite of mine, and I’ve made similar recipes here and a sour cream version here. Oh and more lemon butter here and a lemon dijon butter sauce here.  This is a very basic white wine lemon butter sauce, so easy and so quick. We loved it with the zoodles because they suck up every ounce of flavor in the sauce.


Recipe

  • 1 1/4 lb chicken cutlets (butterflied breasts, alternatively pound them thin)
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 tablespoon flour, divided
  • 1 1/4  teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup good white wine (such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 package  Veggie Noodle Co. Zoodles (or several zucchinis spiralized)
  • 2-4 tablespoons capers

Start by preparing the chicken. Make sure they are either cutlets or pounded thin. Place 1/2 cup of the flour in a shallow bowl.   Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper to taste. Coat each piece in flour, shaking off the excess.  Heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a large pan. Working in batches, cook the chicken – about 3 minutes per side (for thin chicken). Set aside. Add butter to the pan and melt. Whisk in 1/2 tablespoon of flour. Add in wine and lemon juice, whisking to remove lumps, and then let it reduce for about 10 minutes. Whisk in remining 1/4 teaspoon salt, Dijon mustard and capers and remove from heat. In another pan, cook the zoodles for 2-3 minutes.  Plate the zoodles, top with chicken and sauce.

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Do you remember your first fajita experience? I do. I was in Arizona for a training camp with my gymnastics team. Our beloved coach, Jodi, spent the weeks leading up to it raving about Chili’s and our plans to eat there while in Scottsdale. Being from small town Wisconsin and growing up on standard comfort food, the idea of a restaurant that served Mexican like Chili’s seemed so exotic and exciting to me. And sure enough, it was. The fajitas came out on a sizzling skillet. They had flavored lemonade. Chips and salsa. Queso. Brownie sundae (again served on a skillet). Honestly it is one of the most vivid memories burned into my brain and was truly the start of a long and intense love affair with Mexican food. PS- it’s worth noting that our gymnastics team did not follow the rigid diet guidelines of those you hear about in the Olympics. I could also tell you about the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet we had at the hotel, but I’ll save it for another time.


So now that my husband and I are home bound more often now, we’ve gotten in a pretty consistent habit of carrying out fajitas on Friday night. We love them. Actually last week we discussed if we should consider doing some sort of fajita crawl to figure out our favorite. But until we get around to doing that, we also decided it would be a lot easier to make our own fajitas than to pick them up every weekend in Friday traffic.

You guys, I didn’t take this task lightly and we take fajitas very seriously. My husband has a very discerning/picky/annoying palate. We loved them so much I honestly have to say we will be opting for these going forward. Plus – EASY. Plus- HEALTHY (except when you wash them down with a DQ Dilly Bar after).

Recipe

Marinade

  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 large)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon jarred minced)

 Fixins’

  • 3 bell peppers (I used one red, yellow, and green)
  • 1 large sweet/yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt
  • Thin flour or corn tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese (Cheddar or Monterey Jack are good)

Start by marinating the chicken – at least 2 hours but hopefully 4-8. Whisk together lime juice, oil, Worcestershire, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, salt, and garlic. Pour into a large Ziploc bag and add chicken. Refrigerate. 


When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium-high.  Slice the peppers and onions into thin strips.  Toss with olive oil and salt. I cooked ours in a cast iron skillet on the grill, but feel free to use a grill pan or aluminum foil.  Grill until veggies are very tender and cooked down, about 30 minutes. Our chicken breasts were on the thick side, so they required about 5-6 minutes per side. Typically chicken is about 3-5 per side. Slice the chicken breasts, and build fajitas with peppers, sour cream, and cheese of course.

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I need some new TV show recommendations. Anyone? All of ours (and there are A LOT), are either off season or we flew through them on amazon/netflix/HBO. Some of my recommendations: Bloodline, Stranger Things, Nashville, Homeland (duh), Big Little Lies (double duh), and the MISSING – creepiest most addicting show I’ve seen in a long time. Typing all those shows out, you’re probably thinking that I’m a couch potato and maybe I should pick up a book. And quite frankly, it turns out I do have some couch potato in me and I love TV. Plus we’ve been subbing pasta for zoodles so I can lay around all I want.

I’m going to spare you the zoodle talk, because everyone who’s had them knows how amazing they are. Amazing and sneaky. There aren’t many substitutions in this world that are truly maybe for the better. But this one is. They really soak up the sauce so much more than regular pasta, and you can pair them with a semi-indulgent cream sauce like this one because you’re saving yourself 400 calories. Sorry, guess I’m not sparing you the zoodle talk. I can’t help myself! Love these things.


Recipe (for 4-5)

  • ~1.5 lb zoodles (I used two of the 10.7oz noodle co. containers)
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 container sliced mushrooms (the normal size..think it’s 8 oz?)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour or corn starch
  • 1 clove garlic (I used 1/2 teaspoon of the jarred minced garlic)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1.5 cups half & half
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese 
  • 3-4 cooked/grilled steaks, chicken breasts, or salmon fillets

I started by getting the veggies ready first; I simply cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, then steamed them in a bit of water in the microwave for 4 minutes. I put them in an ice bath immediately after to conserve the bright green color. I dry-sauteed the mushrooms in a sauce pan for about 8 minutes to cook through and remove excess moisture.


Next, I made the sauce. Create a roux by melting the butter over low heat; add the garlic to cook. Stir in the flour with a fork, then add in the white wine. Cook for a minute or two over low heat, careful not to burn.  Slowly add in the half & half and milk, and whisk to combine (it can be lumpy at first – keep whisking). Add salt. Stir and cook over low heat to thicken; add in the parmesan cheese. Stir in the zoodles and veggies (about 2-3 cups) and cook for 2-3 minutes until the zoodles are cooked but crisp.


We grilled steaks seasoned with plenty of salt (About a teaspoon per steak) and pepper.  Grills vary but our New York Strips cook in about 8 minutes,  flipping halfway through. Would be great with chicken or salmon on top!

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