Chicken Fried Rice

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I love recipes that call for rotisserie chicken. Not because it makes cooking slightly easier, you can always cook your own rotisserie chicken instead of buying one from your local grocery store. But because of the taste of a rotisserie chicken. 

We don’t necessarily have a good local take-out, or I haven’t found one yet. So as someone who personally loves fried rice, I’m always excited when preparing this one. I’ve been meal-prepping meals for fitness programs that I have been doing and Chicken Fried Rice is an awesome, low-calorie lunch. You’re getting your protein, vegetables and a healthy grain all in one dish.

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Chicken Fried Rice
Serves 4
Tastes better than take-out!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Rotisserie chicken, divided into shredded pieces
  2. 2 cups brown rice
  3. 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  4. 1 cup onion, diced
  5. 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 2 eggs
  8. ¼ cup soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Cook brown rice according to package. While doing so, divide a rotisserie chicken into shredded pieces and set aside.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic cloves, cook 3 minutes. Add frozen peas and carrots, cook 3-5 minutes. Push vegetables to the side of skillet. Crack eggs and scramble.
  3. Add skillet mixture and chicken to rice. Pour soy sauce gently overtop and mix well.
Notes
  1. Use whatever remaining leftover rotisserie chicken you have for another dish.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Pesto Pasta Salad

pestopastasalad
The thing I love about pesto is the variety of ways you can use it. It’s common for us to use it during the summer for a healthier version of grilled cheese for adults. I say adults because I cannot imagine either kid liking pesto and so I am saving myself the trouble of even wasting such a delicate and tasty sauce.

This Pesto Pasta Salad is a branch off of a Balsamic Mozzarella Tomato, or bruschetta salad. You’re welcome to use any sort of pesto sauce that you like, but I recommend making your own. 

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Pesto is pretty easy sauce to make. I prefer to make my pesto over purchasing it because I like to know everything that goes into it. A classic pesto recipe only requires a few things and just takes you a few minutes to make. Add each of the following ingredients (except cheese) into a blender until everything combined resembles a paste. Remove from blender and add cheese.

Pesto Sauce:
4 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried off with a papertowel
½ cup olive oil
¼ pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Note: If you’re making 1 day ahead, transfer sauce to a small bowl and refrigerate. 

 

Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves 4
Penne noodles with a homemade pesto sauce, diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
23 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
23 min
Ingredients
  1. 8-ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  2. fresh mozzarella cheese
  3. 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  4. 1 cup pesto sauce, homemade recipe above
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook according to package. Drain and let cool water run over pasta until chill.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, mozzarella and tomatoes. Add pesto sauce and stir well. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a well-concealed container to chill.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Egg, Sausage and Potato Breakfast Casserole

breakfastcasserole

How delicious does a breakfast casserole sound? Not to mention the convenience of it already been prepared. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and enjoy for the remainder of the week. Perfect if you’re like me and prefer to prep your breakfast and lunches for the week on Sunday. Afterall, if you “fail to plan, plan to fail” and I refuse to fail with just a little over fifty days left until summer!

So of course, a casserole is the way to go if you want a little bit of everythin’, There really is no wrong ingredient. I used turkey sausage for mine to keep the healthy factor still there. I basically use turkey for everything though..

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Eggs, Sausage and Potatoes Breakfast Casserole
Serves 6
A delicious breakfast casserole that can be prepped and enjoyed for an entire week, or served at brunch.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½ cubes
  2. 1lb turkey or italian sausage, chopped
  3. 1 small onion, diced
  4. 1 red pepper, diced
  5. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 6 eggs
  7. 1/3 cup skim milk
  8. 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  9. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Well-grease a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Over medium-heat, boil a medium sized saucepan until water is boiling. Add diced potatoe cubes and cook for 5-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage until lightly browned. When sausage appears done, add onion, red pepper and garlic to skillet. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add to greased baking pan and set aside.
  4. Using a large bowl, add eggs, milk, 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, and black pepper. Whisk well. Next add your egg mixture to the potato and sausage mixture in baking pan. Make sure to stir so that all ingredients are combined well. Sprinkle additional ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese ontop and cover with foil.
  5. Add baking pan to oven and cook for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes are up, remove foil and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cook off momentarily before serving.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Quick “Beef” Tostadas

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A lot of households, including my own, participate weekly in “Taco Tuesday” or “Taco Thursday” if you’re running behind on schedule and refuse to miss out. I don’t want to say that eating tacos grows old, because quite frankly I don’t see any truth in that. It is nice however to mix it up a little here and there. You can still use your taco shells and taco seasoning. Just think of it as “dressing your taco up differently.” Change is OK. It’s not permanent unless you like it. 

Beef Tostadas are basically just an open taco.  

Quick Beef Tostadas
An open-faced taco on baked tortilla.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1lb ground turkey
  2. one taco seasoning packet
  3. 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  4. 1 medium tomato, diced
  5. shredded colby jack cheese
  6. romaine lettuce, shredded.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat a well greased large skillet over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until brown. Drain excess grease in a strainer. Return ground turkey to skillet and add taco seasoning with 1/3 cup of warm water. Mix well.
  3. When meat and taco seasoning have been well combined, add black beans. Reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Using a cup, trace the cup's edges on top of a tortilla, carefully cutting around with a knife. Add each tortilla cut-out to a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove tortillas, add ground turkey mix to each. Top with a fair sprinkle of colby jack cheddar cheese and return to oven to cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or when cheese appears melted.
  6. Top each tortilla with diced tomatoes, romaine lettuce. Add salsa or sour cream as well if desired.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Green Juice: Benefits + Recipe

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Need to increase your energy? Leafy greens to the rescue! The quickest way to help get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables without eating a salad, or side of grapefruit is by drinking an 8-ounce (at least!) glass of green juice.

By digesting raw vegetables, you’re able to fully absorb all their nutrients verses getting bits and pieces broken down when vegetables are steamed, grilled or broiled. For starters, greens contain loads of calcium, potassium and iron; all important must-haves for a healthy body. But that’s not all – you can also get an abundance amount of vitamin B, C, E and K from them as well.

So what can you expect in a green juice? Most recipes call for a base:  (Spinach. Kale. Chard. Collards) with additional ingredients to help build a flavor: (Banana. Pineapple. Apple. Celery. Carrots. Beets) 

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Green Juice
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium banana
  2. ½ cup pineapple
  3. ½ teaspoon chia seeds
  4. handful of baby spinach
  5. 1 cup coconut water
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into a blender. Enjoy chilled.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Spaghetti Carbonara

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When we think of pasta, we imagine a tomato sauce deliciously overlapping noodles. Spaghetti Carbonara is a little different, but the good kind of different.

The dish that originated out of Rome simply consists of egg, bacon, black pepper and cheese tangled between thin pasta noodles. Add in additional meat, vegetables to even greater the flavor.

Perfect for those with the intention of having a light dinner, or needing a quick meal to put together.

 

Spaghetti Carbonara
Serves 4
The healthier version of pasta!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  5. Whole grain spaghetti
  6. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  7. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  8. pinch of red pepper flakes
  9. 4oz deli-fresh ham, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  10. 8 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
Instructions
  1. Fill a large saucepan 2/3 full with water for spaghetti noodles. After water is brought to a boil, cook noodles according to package.
  2. While noodles are cooking, whisk together eggs with 2 tablespoons cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a medium skillet, add oil and cook garlic for 1 minute over medium heat. Next, add red pepper flakes and ham and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. After draining noodles, add to egg mixture, stirring well with a large spoon to combine well. Add garlic and ham mixture and stir again, combining well.
  5. Divide among 4 plates. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese on top, along with another pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Baked Denver Omelette Quiche

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Meals should almost always be about variety. We don’t eat the same dinners each night, right? And if we did, I assume we wouldn’t look forward to doing so. However, there can be exceptions! Take a quiche for example. When I make a quiche, it’s usually with the intention of eating it for breakfast every day for the next week because it’s nutritious and so good.

This particular quiche doesn’t ask for much of you, and even with the simple ingredients; it’s still packed with a lot of flavor. Best next thing? It takes a whopping 10 minutes max to put it together and after doing so, you get to sit back, relax and engulf the delicious smell as it bakes. 

Baked Denver Omelette Quiche
Serves 4
A crowd pleasing crustless quiche packed with lots of flavor.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 eggs
  2. ½ cup fat-free milk
  3. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  4. 1 cup chopped fully cooked ham, diced into small cubes
  5. ½ cup onion, chopped
  6. ½ cup green pepper, chopped
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. 2. Grease well a quiche pan, or 9x9 casserole pan. Set aside.
  3. 3. Whisk together ingredients in a large size bowl, adding to a greased pan after combined well.
  4. 4. Bake for 25 minutes.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

 

 

The Importance of Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” I often wonder if the individual who thought it up was trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy is not easy. There’s several components that go into the equation when it comes to trying to reroute your daily diet into something that your body will appreciate more than those greasy drive-through french fries. The most important components? Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep. Lets face it though. Not everyone loves meal-planning and not everyone loves cooking. I think you have to enjoy both in order to have a deep and committed relationship with planning a menu and looking forward to prepping food. And while meal planning can be time-consuming and meal-prep, a process (think 2-4 hours spent in your kitchen on a Sunday morning) they’re also the key to a successful healthy lifestyle.
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When I started out on my journey towards becoming more fit and healthy one year ago, I actually looked forward to the process of meal-prep. I was following an e-guide program that lasted 28 days and came with an already scheduled meal-plan for the week, grocery list to check off, which foods I was prepping on what day and what my workout was. Everything is easier when simply laid out for you. But doing so, this taught me how to continue making healthy choices when the program was over. I just had to follow two rules

1. Allow yourself 5 meals a day. That’s right. FIVE!:

Now before you get all bug-eyed, hear me out. I understand you’re either looking to lose weight or maintain. Eating 5 meals a day isn’t going to contribute to weight gain if you’re eating correctly and not just anything and everything in the fridge or pantry – in fact, 5 meals allows your body to use energy stores and burn more fat.

The easiest and most foul-proof way to do it is to fit one small snack in after breakfast and another after lunch. This leaves less need to over-indulge at dinner and less chance of finding your hand in the chip bag. That’s right – no more Doritos fingers!

2. Prep twice a week.

Yes, my friends. When I say twice a week, I mean you will be eating left-overs. I’m sure when you were younger the thought of eating last night’s dinner again for dinner tonight gave you the hebeegeebees. Not anymore! Left-overs are now your body’s best friend. Please don’t imagine microwaving frozen pizza. That’s not the kind of left-overs I meant.

It’s a lot more easier for you to schedule repetitive meals for a few days. This calls for less overall prepping and saves you some cash at the grocery store. It also rids you of that “what should I cook for dinner tonight?” headache. I, personally, meal-prep on Sunday and Wednesday. That means Monday-Wednesday I eat the same breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Thursday-Saturday, same thing. Sunday is my exception day. I try to maintain healthy choices, but don’t have a set plan.

Seems easy enough, right? Everything is as enjoyable as you allow it to be. Prep and dice your vegetables while listening to music or use Pinterest to find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. And don’t forget the tupperware! Not only are you going to need plenty of it, but you get to pick some out in all shapes and sizes. The cute little dressing ones are my favorite!

 

(Pictured above is ingredients for Chorizo Breakfast Burrito)

Natural Marinara Sauce

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Spaghetti is a household staple as far as dinner for at least 2 nights per month. Sometimes even as frequent as once a week, depending on how good the spaghetti itself (or sauce) is. I like to compliment my pasta with homemade meatballs that have been soaking in marinara sauce for hours ala crockpot.

 
Because I’m doing my best to avoid as much processed food as possible, I’ve decided that spaghetti for me is best as natural as possible. The kids’ aren’t especially big on raw tomatoes, so they stick with the traditional spaghetti marinara, but I can get my husband to eat his spaghetti natural because he does like raw tomatoes. Phew, nothing like a night where you AREN’T the only oddball plate at dinner.

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The great part about natural sauce is you can mix and choose whatever ingredient to add to it as you like. I, personally, like just a slight hint of kick so I add crushed red pepper to mine. That also helps it to not taste too bland, as it can; tomatoes are good, but let’s be honest, they aren’t really flavorful.
 
Suggested Ingredients: 5 diced roma tomatoes, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper, dried oregano, dried italian seasoning, crushed black pepper, salt.
 
Directions
1. Add all ingredients into a processor and only process for a few seconds. This allows the mixture to not only mix, but liquify just slightly. You do want some whole tomatoes.
 
 
Note: Processing is optional. Sometimes I just mix in a bowl and eat as is.