One Dish Meals: THM Pea Salad + Chicken

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This week, I’m trying to knock some domestic projects off my list, so I actually sat down and created a loose menu plan to eliminate last minute meal planning freak outs and free up my time for my to do list.

Sometimes I like to go all out and experiment with different dishes that compliment each other, but on any given weekday, I want a menu that takes as little time as possible, especially when I have other things I want to focus on. Cooking from scratch already takes quite a bit of time, so I’m always looking for ideas to get faster at meal prep without sacrificing health and flavor.

Hello, one dish meals! They have saved me so much time and stress, I have no idea why I haven’t done it more in the past.

The other day I had the idea to add protein to the Trim Healthy Mama pea salad recipe for a one dish lunch. It turned out delicious, and it was so low maintenance. It was beyond fabulous to throw thawed chicken in the oven to bake while I worked in the other room. I always struggle knowing how to make bland, white chicken breast good as a single dish, but mixing it with other flavors and ingredients saves my white meat repulsion. (Thanks, pregnancy.)

It might not look that great, but it is yummy and filling.

Ingredients:

  • Cooked peas
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • Mayo- a few TBS (I use non-gmo vegenaise from Kroger because I’m a health nut. Pricier, but worth it in my opinion)
  • Cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • Salt + pepper

Unfortunately, I can’t offer exact measurements on the peas and chicken, but it’s pretty easy to wing it without messing it up. Just adjust protein and veggie quantities according to how many people you are serving.

Instructions:

Bake chicken breasts on a greased baking dish until done. (350- 400 degrees F depending how fast you want it to be ready) Chop finely. Cook peas on stove top. Dice onion. Combine prepared chicken, onion, and peas in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a few TBS mayo (enough to coat ingredients) and mix it all up. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

CHAPATI for soup dipping

  
My creativity and ambition have been running low in my kitchen lately, but let’s get real, washing dishes with a watermelon mound pushing you a foot back from the sink + extra weight/sore feet tend take the fun out of food prep. #pregnancyproblems

I’ve been experimenting with spelt flower lately. I tried it in sweetened baked things originally, but I’m starting to prefer it savory. I found a recipe for a spelt Indian flatbread online, and I just had to try it. It looked perfect for dipping in soup, and let me tell you, it is!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spelt flour or whole-wheat flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, plus more as needed

Prep:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil and mix with your fingers until crumbly. Slowly add water and mix until the dough just comes together. If the dough doesn’t come together easily, mix in up to 2 tablespoons more water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your fingers, about 2 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth; let rest for at least 15 and up to 30 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 balls and cover with a damp cloth. Lightly flour a rolling pin and a clean work surface. Flatten 1 dough ball and roll it out, picking it up and rotating it to make sure it isn’t sticking, until very thin and about 5 inches in diameter. Transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the breads on baking sheets so they don’t touch.
  3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet, heavy skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add one bread and cook until small bubbles appear, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip, then brush the top side with a little of the remaining oil and cook until lightly puffed, 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining breads, stacking and covering them as you go to keep them warm and pliable.

My notes: I fried them all up at once on my electric pancake griddle to save time. I oiled both sides to fry them, and sprinkled the finished product with a little sea salt. 

I wanted to make up a big batch of soup for leftovers, so I turned to Chana Dahl beans in my pantry to stay with the Indian theme. Of course, I don’t have all the foreign spices that an Indian curry or soup calls for, but I just experiment with what I have until it’s delicious. Today, I added ground beef for extra protein. 

The chapatis were lovely dipped in hot soup. Try it!

Fun tip: if you have a hard time getting raw leafy greens in your diet, chop up kale or spinach and add it to your soups. I do it with pretty much every soup I make, and it is quite masked by other ingredients, herbs, and spices. Nutrition win!

Fried Eggs Revamped

I’m all for healthy food. I’m all for delicious food. When that combination also happens to be easy, it’s a jackpot situation.

The other morning, I switched up the boring, salt and pepper (and maybe garlic powder) fried eggs routine. This, my friends, is the way to resurrect the flavor of an everyday breakfast: add some cheese, spinach, sliced cherry tomatoes, and adobe seasoning to cooking eggs, then flip to fry the other side. Amazing!

It’s not only more delicious, but you’re also getting an extra veggie nutrition blast to go with your egg protein. Perfect.


Try it!

Fresh Mex Lunch Ideas 

My general stress level is decreased by a whole lot when I know in advance what I’m making for a meal. There are days I put in extra time for an special dish depending on my creativity level or when I’m tired of thrown together lunches. Most of the time though, lunch is just that: thrown together.

As long as there’s a primary protein, veggie, and often a carb like brown rice or quinoa (pronounced “kēn-wä” FYI) I’m happy. Sometimes I get really repetitious and boring though. How many different ways can chicken be prepared before it gets absolutely old?

When I’m lacking creativity, I’ve found falling back on staple Mexican main dishes is a good way to keep normal ingredients from being boring. Take Chipotle restaurant for example. There are a lot of solid ingredients and healthy toppings to choose from, and the combinations are endless. It’s never Plain Jane flavor because it’s never the same twice.

If all creativity has left me, I fry cubed chicken breast in olive oil, sea salt, and Mexican style seasonings. A few of my options are black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and a favorite that goes on anything: adobe seasoning.

I’ll often cook 20 min rice with sea salt and herbs. Parsley, basil, or cilantro for the mex flavor. Fresh is best, but it doesn’t always happen.

Black beans get cooked with sea salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and most importantly cumin. Sometimes I mash them for re-fried beans, and sometimes I leave them whole.

If I happen to have a ripe plantain, those slices get fried in olive oil and sprinkled generously with sea salt.

To be authentic, I could saute peppers and onions in a fajita season mix, but I’m usually too lazy to go ALL out. 🙂

Hot dishes taken care of, I usually get out a lettuce/ greens mix of some sort for a veggie serving.

A foodie page on instagram inspired me to make tacos so for this particular meal in the photos, I made this faithful paleo tortilla recipe. Seriously, it’s ridiculously easy and healthy. I use it for breakfast burritos too.

Also, I usually base my decision of a Mexican lunch on whether there’s a ripe avocado (or two) in the house. Guacamole takes fresh Mex dishes to a whole other level that just wouldn’t be the same without it. I can’t really offer you solid measurements, but my general process involves a mashed avocado or two mixed with sea salt, black pepper, fresh squeezed lemon juice to taste, and a few teaspoons of water to get it the right consistency. Simple and amazing.

Once all the ingredients are ready and set out, I let my husband craft whatever combination he wants, along with toppings, and I do the same. The photos in this post are the same lunch ingredients put together different ways.

  • 2 tortillas
  • chicken
  • black beans
  • lettuce
  • sliced cherry tomatoes (for me)
  • guacamole
  • Greek yogurt to sub for sour cream I didn’t have
  • chipotle hot sauce

As you can see, I went too small with the tortilla. 🙂 After we ate our taco/burritos, we finished the rest of the ingredients salad style, which is what you saw in the first photo.

May you always have the inspiration to make nutritious and delicious food. Don’t we all need it? 🙂

 

 

Baked Buffalo Wings

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My latest pregnancy craving was buffalo wings. This weekend I picked up what what I needed to make them. Today was no super bowl Sunday, but we had wings for lunch anyways. No one ever said pregnancy was traditional. 🙂

I searched google for recipes, and ended up loosely following the instructions from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen.

Here’s what I did.

Ingredients:

  • Approx. 1 lb chicken wings (10-15 wings)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup real butter
  • 1/2 cup wing sauce- I used Heritage Fare wing sauce 00791166011053_full

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Line a baking dish with foil. 3. Coat wings in olive oil, then sprinkle generously with sea salt, garlic powder, and a bit of pepper. 4. Bake approx. 30 minutes. 5. Bring wing sauce and butter to a boil in a sauce pan and stir. 5. Coat wings with sauce and return to oven for 10 more min. Transfer to a serving dish and coat with extra sauce.

Serve with carrots, celery, and dipping sauce. – I used Annie’s brand cowgirl ranch dressing.

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This was my first time making buffalo wings, and I couldn’t be more hooked. They are so simple and delicious. I think I will go partake in an afternoon snack of leftover wings. 😉

Happy Rest Day!
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Chicken Cobb Salad

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How about starting a new week with a little menu inspiration? Chicken cobb salad loaded with big flavors sounds good to me!

I made this salad for the first time when I was starting to regain my appetite in the second trimester, and it is still my favorite way to get a solid greens and protein combo. It is just so delicious.

The original recipe is from Danielle Walker’s 2013 Against All Grain cookbook. (You should probably pick it up if you want to drool over gorgeous food photography and get recipes for wholesome, delicious meals.)

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Ingredients- toppings listed in the order pictured from L to R:

  • Leafy greens- I used an organic spring mix of lettuce, spinach, arugula, etc.
  • One avocado- cubed
  • Cooked bacon- six slices chopped fine
  • Two marinated/grilled chicken breasts- cubed
  • Four hard boiled eggs- diced
  • One large carrot- shredded
  • One small bell pepper- diced

Danielle’s original recipe called for halved cherry tomatoes and chopped artichoke hearts, but I adapted with the bell peppers and carrots I had on hand. Either combo would make a nutritious colorful salad, but my hubby happens to prefer tomato-less salads. 😉

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Chicken Marinade + Instructions:

  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBS Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt.
  • pinch black pepper

How I did it:

Cut breasts into strips, then marinade in a shallow dish for 30 min. or more. Grill over medium/high heat until done a.k.a. until the appropriate, gourmet looking grill marks are are seared onto both sides. :p

Dressing:

I didn’t have the ingredients for the salad dressing that was included in the original recipe, but I made the yummy discovery that the chicken marinade ingredients make a killer, vinaigrette type dressing when diluted with water. (It’s too concentrated otherwise.)

A triple recipe with added water adjusted to my taste preference usually fills this dressing bottle. Tada!

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Happy eating, and have a great week!

 

Zesty Crabby Salad

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I call it crabby salad, but there’s no crab. Earlier this year my husband caught a shark on a fishing trip, and I finally got around to making it.

Shark meat is definitely not the healthiest fish, due to the mercury risk, but I assume this recipe would be delicious with tuna, salmon, and other types of fish that contain health boosting nutrition. I’ve made similar recipes with shredded chicken too.

I opted for a salad type dish, full of flavor and spice to cover up the fishy taste. I’m not a die hard fishy person, but I when I do make it, I dress it up good and proper.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease baking dish with butter or olive oil.. Bake thawed shark (or fish of choice) until flaky, along with 1/4 to 1/2 medium onion, chopped. Transfer meat and onion to a medium sized bowl. Shred fish with a fork, then add 1 or 2 stalks diced celery, sea salt and black pepper to taste, juice from 1 small lemon, approx. 2 TBS chipotle hot sauce, and 2 TBS vegenaise. Mix it up!

I am guesstimating on the measurements. Recipes are just skeletons, and I always tweak the seasonings until the taste is perfect. I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe exactly when it comes to embellishments. 🙂

The hot sauce, lemon juice, and sea salt are definitely the three flavors that make this salad come alive, so keep that in mind. Over seasoning isn’t a good idea though, so start with less, and build on it until the taste suits your preference.

Serve over spinach or other green combination. Drizzle a little extra lemon juice over the whole thing to top it off. That’s all I need for a dressing, plus the meat mixture itself is coated in enough wet ingredients. It won’t hurt to throw an extra dollop or two of vegenaise on top for all you dressing freaks though.

The vegenaise and hot sauce can be found in the health food section of Krogers in case you were wondering. Both are favorites in this house. A little pricey, but we try to make it last.

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Enjoy your Thursday!