Archives

Mediterranean Lentil- Chicken Bowls

I’m so excited to be back with a new post! Even though I’m pretty sure it’s just my mom and a few others that read this blog (Hi mom!), I love when I find a winning recipe that I can share. This one will be repeated for sure in our house. Despite Mr. Applebutter always being skeptical of lentils, he had seconds! I’ve been trying to work lentils into more dishes because they are an amazing source of fiber & protein with very little fat. Hence, a good replacement for meat on nights I’m trying to go vegetarian. However, I threw some leftover boneless chicken in this dish for added protein. So far I’ve done lentil taco’s and lentil soup, but I wanted to try something new this time. If you’re new to lentils, they are very easy to prepare so don’t be afraid to try them. Rinse them in a strainer and you’re set to go with however the recipe suggests that you cook them.

Enjoy!

photo-040

Mediterranean Lentil-Chicken Bowls- slightly adapted from Alida’s Kitchen

Serves: 4

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, plus 3 parsley sprigs (for cooking water)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup dried lentils, rinsed

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

1/2 cup diced cucumber

1/2 cup feta cheese, divided

salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Honey Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove

Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook in slow cooker with 1/4 cup water on LOW for 6-8 hours until cooked through. Chop chicken and set aside.
  2. Boil 2 1/2 cups water in a medium pot. Once boiling, add 1 cup lentils, 3 parsley sprigs and 1 garlic clove to cooking water. Return to boil and then simmer 20-25 minutes. Drain and discard parsley sprigs. Combine lentils and chopped chicken in medium sized bowl.
  3. Dice and chop veggies while lentils cook.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together ingredients for balsamic vinaigrette. Heat vinaigrette over low heat in same pot that lentils were cooked in. Once heated (but do not boil), pour over lentils and chicken. Add cucumbers, grape tomatoes, feta cheese, red onion, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 280 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated), 18g carbohydrate (5g fiber), 30g protein

BBQ Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Quesadillas

I found these to be perfect with a side of corn on the cob.  The smells of the dish really have me looking forward to warm summer nights!  Looks like we’re in for it, as the next few days are supposed to be in the high 80’s.  I swear this has been the strangest May I’ve ever experienced.  We’ve had some 90 degree days and then some in the 40’s!  Hopefully June will be a little more predictable.  As always, look out for a lower sodium BBQ sauce that isn’t super high in sugar.  The best compromise I’ve found at Wegmans is the Dinosaur brand.

photo-038

BBQ Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Quesadillas- adapted from Closet Cooking

Serves: 6

6 8-inch flour tortillas

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded

1/2 cup 2% colby jack cheese

1/2 cup 2% sharp cheddar

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp low-sodium barbeque sauce

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

1/4 pineapple, thinly sliced (equal to about 1.5 cups)

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and trim chicken breasts.  Cook in slow-cooker with 1/3 cup water for 7-8 hours on LOW setting.
  2. Preheat grill (I used my Cuisinart Griddler since it was a rainy day) to a medium setting.  Once hot, grill sliced pineapple for a few minutes until you see grill marks.  Set aside.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, shred and mix with the bbq sauce in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Place equal amounts of chicken mixture, jalapenos, pineapple, and both cheese’s on one half of each of the 6 tortillas.  Fold over and grill on medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Use a pizza cutter to cut each tortilla into 3 wedges.  One serving is one tortilla, or 3 wedges.

Serving Size (per serving): 300 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated), 32g carbohydrate, 26g protein

Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan

I was so excited to find this one because I know when it comes time to counsel gluten-free patients, it’s going to a be a bit of a challenge.  So much of my diet is focused around wheat products for their rich nutrients, that I don’t really explore the gluten-free world.  This recipe is a great spin on the classic that saves you some carbohydrate in place of extra protein.  I just hope my Italian grandfather isn’t looking down from heaven ashamed of me for leaving out the pasta!  This recipe is gluten free as long as you do not include the whole wheat breadcrumbs.

photo-036

Although the above picture looks like a lot of cheese, it’s really only 1 cup total which is a reasonable portion divided by the six servings.  It always gives me a good laugh when I see pins on pinterest that consist of a meal loaded with cheese with a few vegetables scattered underneath and the pin claims a “healthy meal.”  Please be cautious when you see this!  A meal with an abundant amount of cheese is a red flag to a false claim.

photo-037

Baked Quinoa & Chicken Parmesan– very slightly adapted from Prevention RD

Serves: 6

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 (14.5 oz) can low sodium tomato sauce

1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 tsp. dried basil

2 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

Black pepper to taste

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

1.5 cups water

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup reduced fat (2%) mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided

1 oz parmesan cheese, shredded

3 tbsp. whole wheat breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean and trim chicken, place on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  Set aside.
  3. Increase oven heat to 375 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  4. Place rinsed quinoa and 1.5 cups water in a medium pot.  Cover and bring pot to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked, about 15 minutes or as per package directions.
  5. To make the sauce, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Stir in the onion and cook until tender, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the balsamic vinegar, scraping off the bottom of the pan and cook 2-3 minutes until liquid is almost fully absorbed.  Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning and black pepper to taste.  Bring to a low boil and simmer until rest of the meal is prepared.
  6. Once chicken and quinoa have finished cooking, add to sauce pan (turn heat off) and mix thoroughly.  Place half of the mixture in the baking dish and top with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.  Add other half of mixture and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, 1 oz parmesan, and 3 tbsp. whole wheat breadcrumbs.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake for 10 more minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 336 calories, 9.5g fat, 32g carbohydrate (5g fiber), 30g protein

Easy Peasy Chicken Fingers

Sometimes, the heart wants chicken fingers.  I get it.  As a child, it was always chicken fingers for me.  Instead of running to the drive-thru for a deep fried, high fat version- take 15 minutes to make these. :)

photo-028

Easy Peasy Chicken Fingers

Serves: 4 (3 chicken fingers each)

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

2 tbsp. ground flax seed (or “flax meal”- same thing)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast tenderloins, rinsed and trimmed of visible fat

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Cooking spray

Barbeque sauce to drizzle on top (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Lay raw chicken out on cutting board and lightly salt and pepper.
  3. Lightly beat egg in medium sized bowl.  Combine flax, panko and whole wheat breadcrumbs on a plate.  Mix well.  Spray medium sized cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Line them up in a line in the above order.
  4. Carefully dip chicken fingers one at a time into egg, then flour mixture, and place on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake in 350 F oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping chicken fingers over after about 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with 1-2 tbsp. drizzle of barbeque sauce if desired.

Suggested Side: baked sweet potato fries and a mixed greens salad.

Nutrition Facts (per serving- bbq sauce not included):  230 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 12g carbohydrate (2g fiber), 30g protein

Chicken Waldorf Salad

Traditionally I don’t incorporate fruit into dinner.  You may disagree, but for me fruit is more of a breakfast, lunch, or snack food.  While this recipe works best as a lunch, I think it made for a delicious and filling dinner as well.  The best part of this is that it’s loaded with lean protein, fiber, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Another major plus, if you slow cook the chicken while you’re at work, this will take 10-15 minutes to prep when you get home, with very limited dishes.  Healthy AND quick, that is a huge win for me!

photo-024

Chicken Waldorf Salad adapted from EatingWell

Serves: 4

3 cups [about 1 lb] chicken breast, cooked & shredded (*see step 1)

1 cup 0% fat plain Greek yogurt

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

1 medium gala apple, diced

1 cup red grapes, halved

1 cup celery, diced

2 tbsp. chopped walnuts, unsalted

2 tbsp. reduced fat crumbled feta cheese

6 oz fresh mixed greens

salt and pepper to taste

_

Ingredients:

  1. Slow cook chicken on LOW for 8 hours.  Like I said, set this up while you’re working and you’ll be ready to go when you get home!  Don’t have a slow cooker? Simply bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes.  Once cooked, shred chicken.
  2. Combine yogurt, lemon juice and salt in a large bowl.  Mix until combined.
  3. Add chicken, apple, grapes, celery, walnuts and cheese to bowl.  Mix until combined and add a little salt and pepper to taste. Divide into 4 equal portions and serve over equal portions of mixed greens.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 349 calories, 10g fat, 17g carbohydrate (3g fiber), 48g protein

BBQ Southwest Chicken Burritos

These are GREAT for a weeknight.  There is hardly any prep involved at all, and they are done within 10 minutes.  I dislike that summer is the only time of year people think of having BBQ, so I like to throw it into my menu in the winter too.  Barbeque sauce is traditionally very sodium heavy, but by using small amounts to get the flavor, and choosing low-sodium versions, you can still get the taste you love.  These burritos have beans for added fiber, Greek yogurt for added protein, and fresh mixed greens for added veggies.  I think the warming and cooling tastes make for a great match.  Let me know what you think!

photo-021

BBQ Southwest Chicken Burritos- adapted from eatingwell

Serves: 6

1 lb BBQ rotisserie chicken breast, diced (Wegmans sells a 2lb whole bbq chicken that I removed the breast meat from.  If you only have a plain rotisserie chicken available that will work fine,  or if you prefer cooked chicken breast done in the oven or slow cooker, that will work too!)

1/2 cup low-sodium bbq sauce

1/2 large red onion, diced

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 (14.5 oz) can reduced-sodium black beans

6 8-inch flour (or whole wheat) tortillas [I used flour because I had leftover from another recipe but whole wheat is best!]

Cooking spray

2 oz. mixed greens

1/2 avocado, pitted and diced

6 Tbsp. 0% fat plain Greek yogurt

_

Instructions:

  1. Heat large non-stick pan with cooking spray over medium heat.  Add red onion and saute 2-3 minutes until softened.  Add chicken, black beans, corn & bbq sauce.  Cook 5-6 minutes until warmed through.
  2. Assemble burritos by dividing the mixed greens, avocado and Greek yogurt evenly between the 6 tortillas.  Once chicken mixture is warmed, divide evenly between the 6 tortillas (about 1/2-3/4 cup each).
  3. Roll up like a burrito and serve with a mixed greens salad of your choice.

_

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 379 calories, 9g fat, 46g carbohydrate (7g fiber- more if whole wheat tortillas), 30g protein

Creamy Chicken Pumpkin Soup

As much as October is “pumpkin month” to me, this one caught my eye and I had to have it.  Even though it is December – yikes, how did that happen so fast!  As always, I’m sad to see the fall go.  I find January-April the worst time of year.  Everything is dead.  No farmers markets.  No warmth in the air.  No exciting holidays.  Just, yuck.  Luckily the next few days are my favorite of all 365, so I will definitely be enjoying them while they’re here.  Hopefully you will, too! :)

photo-013

Creamy Chicken Pumpkin Soup– adapted from Picky Palate

Serves: 6 as main course – 8 as side

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 chicken breasts (1-1.5 lbs)- see step #1
32 oz reduced sodium vegetable broth
14.5 ounce can organic pumpkin puree
1/3 cup light cream
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker with about 1/2 cup of water.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours.  I would recommend putting it on in the morning and then when you get home from work it will be ready to go for the rest of the recipe.
  2. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots, stirring and cooking for about 15 minutes, until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add shredded chicken, vegetable broth, pumpkin, cream, salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir to combine and heat over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. Once hot, stir in cheese to melt. Taste and season accordingly.

Nutrition Facts (per serving for main course): 344 calories, 15g fat (4g saturated), 16.3g carbohydrate, 33g protein, 593 mg potassium!