Keto adventures, Recipes

Four weeks of Keto-recap!

We’ve been doing the Keto diet for 4 weeks now. While I’ve wanted to cheat with soft pretzels at Disney and chips with my work lunch’s, I’m proud to say I’ve refrained from it all!

I am down 4.5 lbs and my hubby is down 13+ lbs!! I still have five lbs to go and happy with the slow and steady loss.

Our weekend was quiet and today was another glorious day in the sun at our neighborhood pool!

Dinner was baked wings and cauliflower mash.

How was your weekend?

Cheers!

Michelle

Recipes, Uncategorized

Mexican spiced chicken stew over gluten free rotini

As part of my effort to compile all of my recipes this year (I started this effort in 2014), I will be blogging more of the magic food I create in my kitchen.  Please keep in mind some of these recipes may seem almost too simple…But that’s the joy of cooking-especially on week nights!  Creating simple, healthy, and tasty meals without having to really think!  Win WIN, right?

I think so!

Tonight I had approximately 40 minutes upon arriving home from work to create a tasty dish before piling the family in the car to attend my youngest Mover’s school production.  That’s plenty of time, right?  Even better, I was able to speed walk for 2 miles at an incline while this yummy goodness simmered!  Triple win!

Pic credit: tobreatheistowrite via google
Pic credit: tobreatheistowrite via google

On the menu was:

Mexican spiced chicken stew served over gluten free rotini pasta.  This is a great dish on a cold, damp, winter evening!

Top with crème fraiche, sour cream or yogurt!
Top with crème fraiche, sour cream or yogurt!

Here’s what you’ll need:

One package of boneless skinless chicken thighs (feel free to use white meat if you prefer, to me the dark meat has so much more flavor)

Four cups of vegetable stock, separated into three cups/one cup mixed with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken

One russet potato, peeled and cubed (sweet potato would be great too, I just didn’t have one!)

One white onion, diced

One large carrot, halved and chopped

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

2-3 teaspoons (to taste) of taco seasoning (I buy pre-made from my local mart)

2-3 teaspoons (to taste) of chili powder

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Crème fraiche, sour cream, or yogurt and chives to garnish. (This helps cut the heat of the stew)

Here’s what to do:

Take a Dutch oven or soup pot and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat

Add your chicken, and season with salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, taco seasoning and chili powder.  Sauté until cooked through, and add your three cups of stock and vegetables.  Mix well, and add your additional one cup of stock that has been mixed with cornstarch.  Bring the stew to a boil.

As the stew cooks, you will need to continually taste and season accordingly!

Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

I served over gluten free rotini pasta cooked according to the package instructions, but this dish could definitely be served on it’s own.

Enjoy!

Question!  What are some of your favorite weekend night meals? How do you balance work, kids, and healthy cooking?

❤ Michelle

 

food, goals

Two things, Tuesday…Soup and dreams

Tonight’s dinner was a new recipe I came up with after several rough days at work. I wasn’t sure what I would make with the chicken thighs I pulled out of the freezer, but I knew it would comforting regardless.  And what’s more comforting than a yummy soup to warm the soul after chilly temps and a few harsh days at work.

ONE:

Chicken and gnocchi soup

Who doesn't love a good bowl of soup?
Who doesn’t love a good bowl of soup?

What you’ll need:

4 chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces

4 cups of low sodium veggie stock

4 cups of water

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire  sauce

2 tablespoons of butter

2-3 tablespoons of garbanzo/fava flour (can be found in the gluten free section of your local market)

1 red pepper, diced

1 red onion, diced

2 celery stocks, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Cayenne pepper, taco seasoning, cilantro, oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup of grated parmesan to garnish

I used store bought gnocchi, but plan on learning to make this from scratch

In a large sauce pot, add your butter, and flour and cook through stirring with a whisk.  Add in your veggie stock and water, stirring well.  Bring the liquid to a rolling boil, and add your heavy cream.  Season with salt, pepper, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce the heat to a simmer while you prepare the ‘meat’ of the soup.

In a separate pan, add extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat the pan) and bring to a medium/high heat.  Cook your chicken through, seasoning with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning.  Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

Drain the grease from the pan, but don’t wipe any excess oil.  Add a splash of oil, and add in all your veggies.  Season with salt and pepper until cooked 3/4 of the way.  You still want a slight crunch to your veggies.

Add your chicken to the large sauce pot with the stock as well as oregano, basil, cilantro and parsley and let simmer for 20 minutes.  While this is simmering, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.  This takes about 7 minutes.

Next, add in your veggies, stir well, and prepare to plate.  Just before serving, add your gnocchi to the soup, stir gently, and serve!

I garnished with parmesan cheese!

TWO:

As most of you know, my ultimate dream is to work in the food industry.  Be it as a Chef, a writer, a critic, or restaurateur I know my place is in the food industry.  As I was driving home from work today, I had my one on one time with God and asked for His ultimate guidance.   I hate the feeling that although I have a good life, I long for so much more for my family.  I chased that dream recently with my MasterChef audition, but sadly that journey was short lived despite months of preparation.  So as my family hunkered down to watch the season premier MasterChef Junior I couldn’t help but to have to fight with that nagging tug at my heart.

photo credit, shinegroup.tv
photo credit, shinegroup.tv

That tug was quickly replaced with a renewed sense of pride in the children of today’s society. One young Chef presented raw chicken, and instead of competitive hatred, these kids rallied around this little Chef and I found tears pouring down my face.  My youngest sat nestled in the crook of my arms, and she squeezed me a little tighter when she saw what the kids did to comfort the little Chef.  So at the end of the day, I may not be a MasterChef…but I am teaching my kids a love for great food, compassion, and the importance of dreams.  Despite an ache in my soul some days…I know ultimately my dreams are still very real.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am still choosing to be content with the gifts God has given to me.  But I do refuse to settle.  I’ll keep chasing those dreams…just watch me!  🙂

Keep movin’ forward gang.  Always.

❤ Michelle

 

food

Mid week recipe

I came home from work with no idea what to make for dinner. I had taken out chicken to thaw but couldn’t decide what to make. An easy casserole sounded great on this crisp day.
Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
I package of chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
I small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 hot chili pepper, finely diced
1 head of broccoli, chopped
5 baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
Add all this to a wide pan and sauté in extra virgin olive oil for about ten minutes. Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and oregano to taste.

Prepare 1 cup of jasmine rice, cooked al dente.
1 can of cream of mushroom soup, mixed with one can of water and a dollop of sour cream. Add salt, pepper and cumin and stir.

Layer the casserole with rice first. I sprinkled some dry cilantro on the rice.

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Next after draining any remaining grease, add your chicken and veggie mixture on top of the rice.

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Lastly, add the soup mixture by pouring evening over the top of the casserole. I topped it with some Parmesan cheese and parsley.

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Bake for 30 minutes and serve!

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Tip: spray your casserole with cooking spray for a quick and easy clean up!!

How do you come up with creative mid week meals?

dedication, food, goals

Gosh has it really been a week?

Last week I logged 3 runs, and kept my eating on par…well, until the weekend where I chowed down on chicken wings while watching the World Cup soccer game…ooooooops…

I started my week strong with my hubby, running a very humid and hot 5k to get us moving. It was hard, admittedly. There were plenty of swear words and more sweat then we could even quantify, but we kept moving…

Back to work today, and let’s just say at 9 pm I have finally finished my work day. Talk about exhausted…who wants to lift weights for me?

BUT…I’ve missed cooking. With the hubby gone last week our meals here were pretty simple…

Yet the best part of tonight was creating a yummy and healthy dinner and in less than 30 minutes. Now…what to name this dish, LOL.

Braised chicken thighs

Here is what you’ll need:

4 chicken thighs, bone in, patted dry.
1 small white onion diced
1 pepper diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons of capers, diced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 cup of Sauvignon blanc (Fiddlehead cellar is my all time favorite)
Seasonings:
Pinch of Rosemary, sage, thyme, kosher salt, black pepper and roasted red pepper flakes

Here’s what you’ll do:
Season your chicken with salt and pepper and sear on both sides in a pan coated with extra virgin olive oil, until they are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside. (Do NOT cook through). In the same pan, add your onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, capers, wine, and seasoning and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add back your chicken, coating them in the sauce, and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Simmer for at least 15 minutes!
Simmer for at least 15 minutes!

Instead of serving over traditional pasta, I served over yellow zucchini noodles. What a hit!

Finished dish!
Finished dish!

How did I make these cool veggie noodles? My new favorite kitchen gadget!

Vegettie...don't laugh.
The Vegettie…don’t laugh.

Tonight’s work out? Arms…
arms

Back at it with running tomorrow!

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

❤ Michelle

dedication, food, goals, moving forward

New kicks, and first double run today

Weekends always seem to fly by in my house. There is so much to get done in the short two days we call “the weekend.”

The hubby and I got new kicks this weekend for his upcoming half marathon training, and what will more than likely (unless I sign up for another before hand) my 10th half marathon this fall.
5-18newkicks
I got two pairs of shoes-both Saucony-the fast witch 7’s for shorter runs, and the Guide 6’s for distance. After shoe shopping we headed out to lunch as a family, saw the movie Godzilla (great movie!) and then came home to do a few hours of yard work. We live on an acre and a half lot, so while the hubby mowed, the girls and I trimmed hedges, planted seeds, and weeded the garden. I have an electric hedge trimmer, and I’ll admit my arms were on fire this morning after 2 hours of trimming, LOL! I am so glad we are finally seeing spring weather!
I was woken up by my hubby this morning after letting me sleep in until 9 am for our run. We had 5-6 miles on deck, and I am so beyond proud of my husband for logging 6 miles today. It wasn’t easy, but he didn’t give up. I had him try Sport beans for fuel at the four mile mark, which he quickly spit out, LOL. I guess we need to research fuel for him!!
5-12meandbrian

6 miles, BOOYAH!
6 miles, BOOYAH!

For dinner, we had roasted chicken with a cucumber salad and Brussels sprouts.
5-18foods
Here is the recipe:
You’ll need:
8 skinless/boneless chicken thighs
The juice of 4 lemons
2 sprigs of Chinese celery chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard

Whisk all the ingredients (minus the chicken) together, and pour over your chicken in a sealable container. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Roast at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes and let rest.

Brussels sprout recipe:
You’ll need:
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 strips of bacon, diced
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
3-4 cups of Brussels sprouts cleaned, and halved
Sautee your onions, garlic, bacon, and red pepper flakes until crispy.
Add your Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned

Cucumber salad recipe:
You’ll need:
8 mini cucumbers, halved and diced
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 of one small red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
dash of salt, pepper, oregano and basil
dash of white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving

I needed a couple more miles to keep up with where I’ve been, so after dinner I laced up my new Guide 7’s with an added surprise of having my eldest ask if she could join me. We did an easy 2 miler, and although she struggled with her breathing I am so proud she decided to run with me tonight.
5-18runwithJ

Guide7's
Guide7’s

And, at the end of the day I find myself counting my blessings. I don’t have the picture perfect family with my kids getting uber grades or winning amazing awards in sports or music. They struggle with grades, school, social crap that I think we all struggle with in life. BUT…we struggle like champs…we don’t pretend to be something we’re not…we take the good with the bad, and we continue to hang on to each other which I believe has made us stronger.
BUT…we keep movin’ forward, and that is what counts, right?

food, goals, moving forward, running, strength

Two things, Tuesday…Gluten Free goodness and more!

Something…is different. But we will get to that a bit later.

Topic number one is….DINNER!
As I spoke about in my last post, I am working making quick yet healthy meals during the week since my work hours no longer allow 2 hours of prep time and cooking in the kitchen.
Although I am not gluten intolerant (at least by what I know medically) I do know that avoiding it has helped my IBS tremendously. I try to buy all gluten free pasta, quinoa, rice, sauces and dressings when I can find-them which is more times than not as the selection has truly grown 10 fold in the last few years. I picked up some gluten free soy sauce last weekend, and figured a nice stir fry was in order for dinner tonight.
What you will need:

A Wok for the stir fry
A sauté pan for the chicken
1 pot to boil your water for the noodles

Ingredients:
1 package of skinless chicken thighs, cubed into 1 inch pieces (place in a bowl)
ADD to the chicken:
2 teaspoons of Chinese all spice seasoning, pinch of kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Mix well, and set aside to marinate

Veggies:
What is in your fridge? The selections are limitless!
I used:
2 cups of shitake mushrooms, sliced
6 radishes, julienned
1 baby Bok Choy, sliced at an angle
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
2 cups of fresh broccoli
2 scallions, chopped, and set aside for garnish

Pasta:
One package of Gluten free rice Pad Thai noodles

Next, fill 4-5 cups of water in your pot to boil for your rice Pad Thai pasta…
Then, quickly sauté your chicken in a skillet until cooked through, and set aside, should take about 10 minutes.

Your water should be boiling now, but before your drop in your pasta, heat some light oil (avocado or Grape seed) in your Wok on high heat.
Drop your pasta in salted boiling water (cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente), and then stir fry all of your veggies in your Wok. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, and a dash of the gluten free soy sauce. The last 2 minutes add your chicken to heat through
Drain your pasta, and serve the delicious stir fry mixture over the top! Garnish with the reserved scallions, and serve! Quick, and easy and on the table in about 30 minutes.
1-IMG_6645

Topic number 2…are you ready?
I have been retired from the Air Force for almost 3 years now. In those 3 years I have felt lost, tired, and have lacked more motivation then I care to admit. Frankly, it was tough to hang up my uniform, and put on a different ‘hat.’
It’s early to judge…but so far, I am really liking my new hat. I am letting go of things I can’t control, and embracing the future.
It is a pretty cool feeling…

Sweet dreams, Movers…

❤ Michelle

food

BBQ chicken #whatsfordinner

My husband and I LOVE to watch cooking shows…it’s pretty much the only television I watch anymore. Last night we watched, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” as they featured a place we used to eat when we lived in San Antonio, Texas.

This immediately made us hungry for good BBQ. Sadly you can’t find a lot of good BBQ up here in Chiberia, so you know what that meant, right?

Right…I decided to tackle making homemade BBQ sauce-something I’ve never attempted. As always, I don’t ‘measure’ exactly, more so I use my pallet to judge how much of each ingredient I need. So take these ‘measurements’ with a grain of salt. lol, no pun intended.

BBQ Sauce-what you’ll need:
2 cups of ketchup
1/2 cup of brown sugar
a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
a few splashes of apple cider vinegar
Dash of cayenne pepper
kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Mix together in a bowl, transfer into a sauce pan, and simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes.

Chicken prep:
Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees
Pat chicken dry, and season with salt and pepper
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan to medium/high heat
Seer both sides for 3 minutes or so until golden brown (do not cook through)
Place chicken in a casserole dish (I line mine with aluminum foil for easy clean-up) and liberally cover with the BBQ sauce you’ve prepared.
Cover with foil, and bake for about 90 minutes to 2 hours.

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Serve with your favorite sides! I sautéed veggies, and made homemade chips! Although I did fry the chips, I used peanut oil which is a little better for you? I only had a few!! LOL!

Enjoy!

dedication, food, goals

Throw in the towel, or run/cook? I choose to Move

There are some days in our lives, where we just want to throw in the towel and hide under the covers. Today…was one of those days of me. My 3 a.m. alarm seemed to be a little louder than normal, and my covers seemed to have an extra tug to them, enticing me to hit the snooze button just one more time.
Subzero temps called for a 3rd day in a row of long johns, and as I pulled them on accompanying them with scrubs, I struggled getting myself movin’.
Yet I made it through the work day successfully, and after picking up my youngest Mover I did dinner prep, and hit the treadmill for a couple much needed miles.
Dreadmill miles, are NEVER easy for me….just sayin’….
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Great part of the dinner recipe, is that I used left over chicken. Score! I hate wasting food!
So for the chili, I use Sawyer’s Gluten free mix, but any will do.
Sautee 2 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion, and one bell pepper for about 3-4 minutes. Add in 4 cups of water, and season with kosher salt, pepper. Bring to a boil and add in your chili mix. I added dried cilantro as well. Simmer for about 25 minutes, and drop in about 2-3 cups of cooked chicken (breasts or thighs). Cook another 10 minutes, and serve!
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I made my own “tortilla chips” by taking spinach tortillas, cutting in strips, and drizzling with extra virgin olive oil, and seasoning with kosher salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes!
Dinner was a success, and I spent the last the last 3 hours applying for jobs. Win/win!

food, Uncategorized

Bacon wrapped chicken thighs, served with steamed asparagus

I was admittedly feeling a little low after work today. Not knowing the future can be tough, and although my mantra is to keep movin’ forward, it can be a challenge when you are unsure of how you will provide for your family in a monetary sense.

So what do I do when I’m feeling low besides go for a run? I cook.
There was no running outdoors today with negative wind chills, and the dreadmill, well, just looked dreadful. I did a circuit work out, my AB challenge, and hunkered down in the kitchen.
1-1-21-14baconwrappedchicken

I seasoned 4 chicken thighs simply with kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper and a dash of garlic powder. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
Cut 4 thin pieces of Pepperjack cheese. I normally avoid dairy, but this is one of the few cheeses I can stand.
Take 4 pieces of nitrate free/low sodium back and separate.
Put one piece of cheese inside each chicken thigh, and wrap tightly, then seal by wrapping tightly with the bacon, securing with toothpicks. Repeat the process, and place in a 9×11 pyrex baking dish. Drizzle lightly with evoo, and back at 375 for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
Steam your asparagus lightly so that it still has a crunch, and season with kosher salt, and pepper. I topped with a little parmesan cheese, to entice my kiddos to eat it, 🙂