Monday is here and I just started Prep Week for Beachbody’s Transform20. I’m sure most of you have heard of Shaun T, and if you haven’t – do a quick search. He has the most exhilarating workout programs (Insanity!) and is such a motivator. The new Transform20 program only calls for 20 minutes of your day, perfect if you’re the type of person who loses interests after a half hour of hearing a trainer yell instructions and moves. Plus you can lose up to 20lbs in just 6 weeks! If that’s not convincing enough to give it a try, I’m not sure what is.
(Check out the program here if I’ve sparked your interest. We start in a week!)
I’m not in my best shape. My eating may be OK and I have lost 5lbs in the past 3 weeks, but I’m not IN shape. We’re in the middle of having our home gym area remodeled and so I can’t use any of my go-to equipment. So every pound I’ve lost lately has been due to eating clean and cutting down on snacks and sweets. This week is especially an exception because while I will be doing quick prep workouts, I also will need to focus on remaining on my clean-eats path!
Starting the week off right with this salad.This particular salad is packed with plenty of vegetables and protein! I don’t like fish myself, but I love a good can of tuna with some light mayonnaise. Add it into a salad and you’ve got even more of my attention. But I feel as though I see a lack of tuna recipes on the internet. I guess maybe there are only so many ways that you can incorporate it into a meal other than just the by using it in staple recipes.
It’s awfully colorful too, and I know that can be appealing to some. I like pretty food. It’s more photogenic and it also meal-preps wonderfully which should always be the exception. We don’t necessarily have the time to prepare our foods daily and in order to stay on track, you’re guaranteed to succeed with your personal goals if you’re preprepared.
½ cup whole wheat pasta
1 can of tuna, drained
2 cups Romaine lettuce
1 stick of celery, diced
1 can of tuna, drained
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ red onion, chopped
¼ cup sweet corn
¼ cup cucumber, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp water
pinch of salt and pepper
Cook pasta accordingly and drain. Set aside.
Using a small bowl, add all dressing ingredients; whisk well. Set aside.
Divide ingredients between 2 plates, lettuce and pasta first followed by vegetables. Lastly add tuna and drizzle dressing onto.
I know it probably looks like the majority of recipes I post are salads, but it has been such a HOT summer already and a salad is so refreshing on a humid summer day — especially one with a citrus based dressing! And on the plus side it’s peach season. Whatever peaches you have left from not grilling or just having as a snack, try in a salad. They add a sweet and flavorful punch as well as compliment whatever vegetables you’ve also added to your greens.
Peach and Cucumber Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
A sweet citrus salad that's perfect to enjoy in the middle of a hot summer.
- 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- ½ cup cucumber, diced
- 1 peach, thinly sliced
- 2 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
- 1 tsp honey
- 3 TB fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp lemon zest, minced
- 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp thyme
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Using a small mixing bowl, add all vinaigrette ingredients and whisk well. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, add all salad ingredients. Drizzle vinaigrette overtop and enjoy.
When the weather has turned hot, I just can’t seem to get enough of salads. Often I try to mix it up a little so it’s not the same ol’ and I’m trying a different combination of veggies or protein. I’ve been especially trying to get my vegetables in this week since starting this new nutrition program where dinner should be 75% veggies and 25% protein. This meal is right on target for that!
Honey Mustard Chicken and Bacon Salad
Marinated honey mustard chicken served over a bed of spring greens, veggies and bacon crumbles. A drizzle of homemade honey mustard dressing tops it off.
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup crumbled cooked bacon, about 4 pieces
- 4 cups spring salad mix
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup sweet corn
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced
- 3 tablespoons mustard
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium size bowl, add ingredients for the marinade/dressing. Divide half into a separate shallow dish and add chicken breasts. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum. Refridgerate the other half for your dressing.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large size skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken; searing each side for about 3-5 minues. Repeat until chicken is a golden brown and is cooked through. Remove from pan and allow to cool momentarily. When chicken is cool enough to handle, slice into pieces and set aside.
- Divide 4 cups of salad into 4 bowls or plates. Add bacon, tomatoes, corn and onion. Next add your chicken and drizzle the honey mustard dressing you had set aside earlier.
It’s chicken for dinner for the majority of the week, however I’m trying to cook it various ways to make it more enjoyable. Tonight I threw together what I refer to as a “Superfood Salad.” It consists of carrots, broccoli, red onion, tomatoes and strawberries over a bed of spring mix lettuce. For my dressing, an organic lite italian basil dressing. The best part though is this almond crusted chicken. It is so delicious that I wish I had another pound of chicken in the fridge so I can make some more for dinner tomorrow night!
Almond Crusted Chicken
These chicken tenders taste great in a salad, topped with marinara sauce on a plate of spaghetti or just by themselves dipped in honey mustard
- 1 lb chicken tenders
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ himlayan salt
- black pepper, for taste
- Preheat oven to 450. Well grease a cookie sheet or large pan and set aside.
- Add egg and egg white into a medium size bowl. Use another medium size bowl and bring together almond meal, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- First dip each chicken tender in the egg mixture, covering well. Second dip each chicken tender in almond mix, coating both sides well until completely covered. Add each strip to cookie sheet or large pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until chicken is a golden brown and cooked all the way through.
- Enjoy with salad, spaghetti or on it's own.
Tuna is a good source of protein if you’re looking to temporarily ditch the chicken. I’m always interested in anything that ends with the word salad; chicken and tuna both, but I’m especially interested when you can cut the calories in half by using yogurt. And while yogurt is ideal, it can also lack a little bit of flavor. This is where apple and celery come in. The sweetness of diced apple pieces and the crunch of celery make this meal an easy repeat offender.
Apple and Yogurt Tuna Salad
A healthy spin on tuna salad, fruit and veggies included.
- 1 small apple, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- ¼ cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
- 5-ounce can of tuna, drained
- 1 tablespoon lite mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- squeeze of lemon juice
- salt, for taste
- pepper, for taste
- Add all ingredients into a medium size bowl. Serve over whole-wheat bread, a bed of lettuce or in a pita.
I spent the middle of my March Madness-on-a-Saturday afternoon online looking for some new healthy recipes for the week that I could give a try. Pinterest never fails, I found this easy (and super delicious) recipe from Gimme Some Oven that I just had to prepare for my lunches. Not only does it include just a few simple ingredients – the dressing is extremely tasty and blends well with the pasta and vegetables.
Meal prep keeps me on my toes. I’ve always believed that if you don’t plan accordingly, you’re setting yourself up to potentially slide off the path.
Luckily – this pasta salad holds well for several days. Prep away.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Quick take on a Mediterranean style pasta dish that's best served cold.
- 12-ounce box of farfalle pasta
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves
- 4-ounces crumbled fat-free feta cheese
- half of a medium size red onion, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best!)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon organic honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Cook pasta accordingly. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta can be handled.
- Meanwhile, prepare lemon-herb vinaigrette dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Using a large bowl, add your pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion slices. Mix well. Carefully fold feta cheese into mixture, followed by drizzling the lemon-herb vinaigrette dressing overtop. Toss salad well so that dressing is evenly spread.
- Divide between 4 bowls and serve with additional feta cheese if desired.
- The original recipe calls for olives. I don't care much for them, but if you do, feel free to add a handful to the ingredients.
Have you ever passed by the marked down aisle of food at the grocery store and wondered what you could do with any of the marked down bread? So much! Yesterday I bought a bag of french loaf pieces that was marked down to 49 cents with the intentions of making croutons out of it. I’ve got a salad planned for my lunch this week, as well as a soup and croutons go well with both.
Anyone can make their own croutons with just 4 basic ingredients and an oven. Add some spices or parmesan cheese to give them a more flavorful taste to match whatever entree you have planned to incorporate them in. I promise you won’t buy store brand croutons again!
Homemade Garlic Croutons
You can make your own croutons with just 4 ingredients and an oven.
- 4 cups of bread, cut into small cube shapes
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add bread cubes to a large bowl. Sprinkle both garlic powder and sea salt overtop, gently stirring. Next drizzle olive oil overtop and carefully fold; making sure to coat all bread.
- Using a cookie sheet, add bread; spreading out evenly so none overlap. Cook for 10-15 minutes depending on how quickly they brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before adding to your recipe or storing in a gallon size ziplock bag.
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.
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.
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.