Monday, the first day that I actually am beginning to feel as normal as normal gets for me. After spending the majority of the past week either caring for someone sick or being sick myself, I was able to actually sleep soundly through the night with a cough here and there and wake up feeling refreshed enough. I had my entire weeks menu as well as my workout schedule all ready to go last week and so today I had the motivation to be productive. Happy to say I succeeded!
I started off my morning with a Egg McFitFun, a fun and healthy version of what you can find at most fast-food restaurants and discovered via my FitGirlsGuide 28 Day Jumpstart ebook. After that, I did my BBG 1.0 leg workout (FINALLY!) and proceeded to make this fantastic lunch that I stumbled across on Pinterest that this post is mostly about. Little did I know that this meal itself was big enough and as much work as an entrée is; something it would probably be more perfect for – but what the heck, I made it anyway and stashed the extra portions in the refrigerator for the next few days worth of lunch!
If you haven’t gone outside the box and made rice with anything but what the directions tell you, let me tell you – you are MISSING OUT! Don’t get me wrong, rice in itself can be delicious, but it’s a whole other world when you’re cooking it with broth and spices. I know you’ve probably already looked at number of instructions in the directions and thought “Whoa! That’s a lot!” and I thought that myself too, but the end result is absolutely worth it.
I think my favorite part about this recipe is the fact that it’s based on the combination of Ranch and BBQ sauce. Anyone else use to order a side of ranch and a side of BBQ sauce to mix together and dip their fries and chicken nuggets in as a kid? I still do it at 34. So this Hidden Valley Ranch dressing is like a dream come true for me.
BBQ Honey Ranch Chicken and Vegetable Bowl
If you haven't tried a ranch and bbq sauce combo, it's about time you did! Why not try it over this salad mix?
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into tender size pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup onion, diced
- 1 ½ cups long grain white rice
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- I can black beans, washed and drained
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 16-ounce bottle Hidden Valley Ranch Honey BBQ Dressing
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced thin
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced thin
- 2 cooked ears of corn, kernels cut off cobb
- 1 avocado, sliced
- cilantro, optional
- In a large ziplock bag, add chicken pieces and 1 cup of Hidden Valley Ranch Honey BBQ Dressing. Allow marinating in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- In a medium size saucepan over med-high heat, add olive oil and allow to momentarily heat up. Next add onion and rice, stirring often; 3-5 minutes or until rice appears a light shade of brown. Add chicken broth, black beans and cumin. When rapid boiling occurs, lower heat to low setting, cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes. After, remove from heat , sitting for 5 minutes before fluffing rice mixture with a fork. Set aside.
- Using a medium size skillet, add pepper and corn with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté vegetables for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Well grease a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, allowing to cook on each side for 5-7 minutes or until chicken has grill marks. Flip and cook other side. When chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat.
- In 4 bowls, add rice mixture followed by peppers, corn, cucumber and avocado. Add chicken, cilantro and drizzle additional Hidden Valley Ranch Honey BBQ Dressing on top.
What is it with the beginning of the school year and illnesses? Both kids have been sick and now I seem to have caught it, so as I type this up I am “enjoying” a cup of hot alka seltzer and praying that my throat won’t feel as awful as it does now in the morning. Talk about not much of a productive past 7 days.
Anyhow – my husband is out of town, and while I had originally planned on slow-cooking some barbacoa for this Taco Tuesday, I felt it would be a waste if I had a 3lb chuck roast all to myself. Instead of spending more money at the grocery and dragging said sick child #2 out, I worked with what I got and I have to say; I was extremely pleased with the results!
I was introduced to lentils via FitGirlsGuide a couple years back. I haven’t met a bean I didn’t like and I’ve used potatoes in place of meat before, so paired with pico de gallo, I can totally see why this combination can work great if you’re trying to do without meat or you’re a vegetarian. Just make sure you don’t go light on the lentils! They’re high in lean protein and a great source of potassium.
Lentils and Potato Tacos
Skip the meat! A delicious take on tacos using lentils and potatoes.
- 4 6-inch corn tortillas
- 1 cup lentils, boiled
- 2 medium potatoes, diced small and cooked
- 3-4 tablespoons pico de gallo
- ½ cup shredded monterey jack cheese
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cilantro, thinly chopped
- sour cream, optional
- salsa, optional
- Using a small pot, bring 1 cup of lentils and 4 cups of hot water to a slight boil over medium heat. Allow to cook 25-30 minutes, or until lentils seem tender. Drain and set aside.
- At the same time, using a large skillet - add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set heat to medium. Add diced potatoes, making sure to stir with a spatula to prevent burning. Cook until potatoes seem crispy. Set aside.
- When both lentils and potatoes are ready, assemble your corn tortilla - beginning with potatoes and followed by lentils, 1 tablespoon of pico de gallo, cheese and cilantro. Top with sour cream or salsa, if desired. Repeat step with each tortilla.
It’s September and to me that’s basically fall. AKA apple pickin’ time. Last year we visited a local apple (and various other grown fruits and vegetables) farm and picked enough to make a serious amount of slow-cooker apple sauce and some cute little mini apple pies. However, I think that this year I would like to branch out a little more with my apple recipes and try some new things. This little dip recipe isn’t new, but it sure is delicious and takes less than 5 minutes to whip up for a quick mid-day treat.
Having fruit for a snack is a for-sure way to stay on the healthy path. Especially if you’re eating apples as they contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber. Pair them with some peanut butter for protein and greek yogurt for your nutrients and you have an extremely good-for-you dip.
Easy Apple Yogurt Dip
- plain greek yogurt
- small apple of your choice, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of cinnamon
- Add each ingredient in an amount to your liking. Stir well and enjoy with fresh apple slices.
Experimenting with a variety of overnight oat flavors this week, I decided to start the week off bold with raspberry and lemon. I originally got the inspiration off of this Raspberry Lemonade slushie that my husband gets at our local Graeter’s Ice Cream. You know a combination works well if it’s a repeated bought treat. Luckily, that same combination works just as good for some overnight oats!
Chobani is my favorite, favorite yogurt brand. I haven’t met a flavor I don’t like, so it was the obvious choice to go with their lemon greek yogurt. To add a more fresh side, I threw in a handful of raspberries and zest of a lemon. Because I’m doing the overnight oats, I used old-fashioned oats but this would also do wonderfully with some granola if you’re not an oat kinda gal or guy. Just make sure you add a little bit of almond milk to help soak the oats. I don’t imagine dry oats are too delicious.
Raspberry Lemonade Overnight Oats
- 1 container of Chobani greek lemon yogurt
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- handful of fresh raspberries
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- Using a mason jar, layer overnight oats with old fashioned oats followed by almond milk, lemon yogurt and raspberries. Top with lemon zest and store in a refridgerator for up to 3 days.
If you’re like me, you’ve gone through your Pinterest feed for what feels like a gazillion times looking for some sort of “different” kind of lunch to prepare for the week. I often like to base my mid-day meals around salads or something close to, as lunch is when I like to get the majority of my greens and vegetables intake.
With today being Labor Day, the kids being home from school and a local Arts Festival going on; I wanted to get my grocery shopping done early yesterday so that I could successfully complete all my Sunday chores today and not having some spill over into the first of the week and delay any fun or relaxation for today. I started my meal-plan planning extra early because so. (Remember… fail to plan, plan to fail!) – and while things didn’t go as planned (one child is sick), my food was still ready today so I didn’t have to worry about screwing up on my new dietary!
I don’t feel like I get my share of enough egg-protein, or at least I don’t feel like I have lately. So when I opened my laptop this morning I made sure to search for a recipe that would require at least one egg or more. I can always make the staple recipe for egg salad; I could prepare it blind-folded, but I wanted something that had a little more taste to it. One where by Tuesday afternoon, I’m already sure that come Wednesday’s lunch time I will be wanting anything BUT what I’ve already got prepared. And so I ran across this recipe for a Cobb Egg Salad from Lemon Tree Dwelling that had one key ingredient that won me over – dry ranch dressing mix. I like to use my dry ranch with yogurt for a healthier take on ranch dressing for dipping some veggie sticks in. If you love ranch, you can’t really go wrong with this dressing mix.
Another great thing about egg salad is how quickly you can prep it. Sure, if you’re not much of an hard-boiled egg peeler it can take *some* time, but I promise with practice and correct technique you’ll get the knack of doing it. Afterall, it took me months but I finally got it and I can proudly say that today I peeled 6 eggs in under 10 minutes. That’s an accomplishment! The rest of the ingredients though – super easy to assemble and throw into a bowl. Almost too easy.
Ranch-Style Cobb Salad
If egg salad and cobb salad were to meet in an alley, and egg happened to have brought ranch with him and cobb, arugula lettuce - this would be the outcome. Enjoy this recipe with rye crackers, as a salad or on a sandwich. Perfect for both parties and for meal-prepped lunches for the week.
- 6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
- 4 pieces cooked turkey bacon, crumbled into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
- ½ dry ranch dressing mix
- ¼ cup grape tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup celery, diced small
- ¼ teaspoon green onions, sliced thin
- ¼ cup chopped arugula lettuce
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Hard-boil your eggs; bringing your pot of water and eggs to a raging boil over medium-high heat. When this has happened, turn off heat and cover pot with a lid allowing to sit for 12 minutes. Run cold water over eggs before attempting to peel. After eggs have been peeled, chop into small pieces.
- Using a large mixing bowl add eggs, bacon, tomatoes, arugula and cheese. Next add mayonnaise and dry ranch dressing mix, stirring gently but combining well. Serve or store in a tight-closed container for later.
- Original recipe can be found at Lemon Tree Dwelling (www.lemontreedwelling.com) - I added a few extra vegetables, etc of my own to their own delicious recipe.
A gas range is something I am still getting used to. No one quite understands the difference between an electric stove and a gas range until they actually go from having one to the other. I’ve always heard that a lot of food not only tastes different when using a gas stove (or oven), but also cooks much quicker. It’s still too early for me to validate the taste answer, but I can absolutely attest to the cooks quicker one! I learned just how quick after burning french toast.
Since we are now officially in the new home, I can settle in more comfortably and get back into the swing of things – meaning actually cooking again; something I desperately missed both mentally and physically. I always feel so much better about myself when I know where my meals came from and who prepared them. Don’t get me wrong, eating out every once in awhile is nice but not only does it get expensive but it’s also most likely not healthy.
Tonight’s dinner was a late one due to schedules so it had to be something more on the simple side. It’s been some time since I made a marinara sauce and pasta can be both satisfying to all tastebuds and a quick clean-plater. I had most things already on hand, aside from the tomatoes which I happily walked over to Whole Foods to acquire. It’s awesome just how good even a basic marinara sauce can taste. Those tomatoes really do their job!
Tomato? Tomahto? Marinara is a personal preference. I happen to like mine sweet so cherry tomatoes that were roasted in an oven were sure to give my marinara a sweet taste. I made sure to marinate them with some olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt, italian seasoning, oregano and fresh basil leaves before I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours. And if you don’t want to get out the whisk and crush your tomatoes after they’re done roasting; you can puree them the lazy (and super smart) cook way – in a blender! Just make sure to pulse for less than a minute if you would like to have some “chunk” pieces to your sauce.
What would you add in your marinara sauce?
I understand most would think that with it being still summer, the temperature outside may just be a little on the “too hot” side for a bowl of soup. However, just because summer is still here doesn’t mean that we can’t feel under the weather and crave some chicken noodle soup.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
A delicious homemade version of Chicken Noodle Soup cooked over the stovetop in just 30 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup carrots, peeled and sliced
- ½ cup celery, sliced thin
- ½ cup yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon pepper,
- 6 ounces wide egg noodles
- 1 cup shredded cooked rotisserie chicken
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- salt, to taste
- Heat a large saucepan with 2 tablespoons olive oil over med-high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion and allow to saute for 8 minutes. Stir continuously. Add garlic and allow to saute an additional 2 minutes.
- Next add chicken broth, thyme, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Check to make sure vegetables are softened, cook additional 2 minutes if not.
- Add egg noodles, stirring often for 10 minutes or until noodles appear thoroughly cooked.
- Throw in rotisserie chicken, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Cook an additional 2 minutes so that chicken combines with broth. Serve.
Love buffalo chicken, but need a little break from the buffalo chicken dip you have at parties? I stumbled upon this recipe while searching for something simple and easy to prepare for lunch this week since I will be back and forth between two houses before we move. I was not only surprised at how almost effortless these tortilla rollups were, but how good they were! You really can’t go wrong with buffalo anything and while this is very similar in ingredients to the buffalo chicken dip; it still has it’s own unique taste.
Because we do tacos once a week, I often have an abundant amount of flour tortillas in the pantry and hate to see them go to waste. I try to come up with new and different ways to use them rather it’s just an easy microwaveable cheese rollup, or homemade cinnamon tortilla “chips” to enjoy with a side of fresh fruit. Your tortilla options are endless! This called for 4 tortillas, but let’s say you were to prepare this recipe for a game-day; you’d only need a few to make a plateful of little tortilla rolls. Best part is the prep time is 5-10 minutes max if you’re using rotisserie chicken!
Buffalo Chicken Tortillas
Simple buffalo chicken tortilla rollups using a few key ingredients and a quick assemble. Great as a game day appetizer!
- 1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 4-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup frank's buffalo sauce
- 1/8 cup blue cheese crumbles
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 2 6-inch flour tortillas
- Using a medium size bowl, combine cream cheese, blue cheese crumbles and sour cream. Stir so that all are mixed together well.
- In a separate medium size bowl, add rotisserie chicken and buffalo sauce. Combine so that chicken is evenly coated with sauce.
- Using parchment paper on a solid surface, lay tortillas flat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cheese mixture to tortilla, spreading evenly to all edges. Next add 2-3 tablespoons of chicken mixture, spreading evenly on-top of cheese mixture. Roll tortilla, tightly, and remove from parchment to a plate. When all tortillas are rolled and plated, place plate in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to allow tortillas to "cool." This makes it easier for cutting.
- When time is up, remove tortillas from fridge and place onto a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice into each tortilla to make small rollups that are not too large, but not too thin so that they fall apart.
- Serve chilled with green onions for garnishing, if desired.
I always purposely plan meals that I know my husband or children will not eat on days when they aren’t home so that I may enjoy them for myself. It’s totally worth it, even if cooking what could be considered a big meal for just one individual sometimes doesn’t seem like it.
No one in this house likes tuna fish but me. Actually, I don’t think I’ve met a kid who likes tuna yet. But this is a meal that I can remember my mom making every once in awhile. Definitely not the same recipe, but the same concept is there.
Aside from waiting for your egg noodles to cook, this entree really doesn’t take long to make. And I love the fact that instead of traditional tuna noodle recipes that use cheddar cheese, you’ll be using parmesan. It gives the meal a lighter taste to it so you aren’t left feeling heavy and full when finished. That’s always a good thing 🙂
Creamy Tuna Noodle
- 6-ounces wide egg noodles
- 1 cup cooked sweet peas
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups whole milk
- 5-ounce can solid white tuna
- ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Bring a large saucepan full of water to a rapid boil and then cook egg noodles accordingly.
- In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, add butter and stir until it has melted. Add onion, garlic and black pepper; stirring frequently until combined well. Next add milk. Continue stirring frequently and allow to cook until sauce has thickened and is bubbling. Remove from heat, adding both tuna (drained), cooked peas and parmesan cheese. Stir well.
- Add tuna sauce to your large bowl of drained egg noodles. Combine well until all noodles appear to be lightly covered with tuna sauce. Serve warm.
This may be the easiest salad I have ever prepped before! Aside from washing blueberries, the only thing you really have to put together is the dressing and that’s easy when you have a salad mixer. This one from Crate and Barrel is fantastic; I love how well it combines the ingredients together.
Arugula Power Salad with Blueberries and Honey-Lemon Dressing
A delicious salad made of power greens, blueberries, sliced almonds, feta cheese and a honey-lemon dressing drizzled overtop.
- 5-ounces arugula, kale, butter and spinach lettuce
- 1½ cup fresh blueberries
- 2-ounces feta cheese
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons pure honey
- 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of black pepper
- Add all salad ingredients into a large bowl prior to making dressing.
- In a smaller bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk well. Drizzle over salad. Toss to cover evenly and serve.