Monday, April 29, 2013

Balsamic Chicken Bake

You know that one infomercial with that one overly tan man, with a joker-esk smile, is talking about baking chicken, steak, pork chops, corn on the cob, meatloaf (barf), and well lets just everything he can think of... And he says... just "Set it and Forget it!!" Oh so corny... but that's all I could think of when I did this dinner. I just wanted to put the food in the oven and forget about it.... thank god for easy recipes!!

Ingredients: Feeds 4-6
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup basil
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Walden Farms Balsamic dressing
1/4 cup water
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 package cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray with cooking spray a glass baking dish. Place chicken breast in pan. 

In a bowl combine garlic, basil olive oil, Light Balsamic dressing, water, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Spread over the chicken and bake until the chicken is cooked, about 35-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.

We served our chicken bake with sauteed brussels sprouts!! YUMMM...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Melt In Your Mouth Pineapple Chicken

So,  you know I have this special relationship with my Crock Pot! Today I wanted something easy that wouldn't give too much clean-up either. So I took a little peek in my refrigerator and here's what I did....

Crock Pot Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients: Feeds 3-4

3 chicken breasts cut into strips or large chunks
3/4 cup Pineapple Juice
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar


1.  In your crock pot, throw in the chicken to cover the bottom.

2. Over the top of the chicken, pour the pineapple juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Give it a good stir.

3. Let the chicken cook on med- high heat for about 2-3 hours. The chicken should still be able to stir when ready but will melt in your mouth with the first bite!!

Serve hot with quinoa and broccoli as we did below!!  Such a quick and easy, HEALTHY, meal for the Fam. Enjoy!!!

TIP: pour a little of the extra juice over the chicken when served on the plate.... give it that extra pineapple flavor! So DE-lish!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Bacon

So... If you have followed our cooking for sometime and know me, then you know I have a not-so-secret obsession with Spaghetti Squash. I love the stuff!! I wish I could cook it every night for dinner but the Man of the House would have no part in that. I am surprised he was up for what I had on his plate this time around. But.... he took one bite and tried to play it all cool like "ya... it's good!" He even tried to hide back and little eyebrow lift, but I know deep down his stomach was doing the tango! Hehe
Who wouldn't dance for this dinner!  It has bacon.... let's face it, life is better with bacon, in moderation of course ;). So here ya are folks, one of my fave delectable Spaghetti Squash creations....
Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Bacon
Ingredients: Feeds 5
1 Large Spaghetti Squash
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into bite size chunks)
5 strips of bacon (chopped in small strips)
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
2- 2 1/2 tbsp of basil pesto (bought ours from costco- all natural GOOD stuff)
Salt and pepper to taste 
3 tbsp Fresh grated parmesan cheese (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half length wise, remove seeds, and place face down in a large baking dish. Fill the dish with water about halfway.

2. Bake for about 40 minutes. Squash should be able to fork out easily.

3. While the squash is cooking(about 20 mins into it), Cook your bacon. Melt about 1 tbsp of coconut oil over medium heat and cook bacon until it starts to crisp. Pour out the access juice and fat that is filling the pan.

4. Add the chicken, salt and pepper to taste into the bacon pan, and continue cooking all the way through. Turn the heat to low.
5. When the squash is done, use a fork to scrape out the strands and add it to the bacon and chicken mixture. (Note: I recommend using an oven mitt to hold the squash, those things stay hot for awhile)
6. Stir in the pesto until all is well combined and heated all the way through. Adjust with more pepper is needed and serve hot!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chipotle Cinnamon Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes with Easy-peasy Salmon

Get that Handy-Dandy Crock Pot back out!  That thing saves me every Monday. I wanted to try and make sweet potatoes in the crock pot this week and see how it turned out. It was good and it didn't take me an hour to cook dinner... Hallelujah!! Plus I came home after the last boot camp class of the day to my entire house smelling of cinnamon.... Yumm!

Except the Beagles were none too pleased with me as they weren't allowed to indulge in the sweet smells... Poor girls!
Look at those sweet faces... It's hard to say 'no' to them when they look like this!!!
But the Vet did say that they are the healthiest beagles she has ever seen!!! This 'no table scraps" rule must be doing the trick!!

Chipotle Cinnamon Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes


2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil, melted
3 Sweet potatoes, cut into 2 inch cubes (mine were cut a little too small, it made them too soft)
1 red onion, diced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Potatoes:
1. Grease your crock pot with about 1 tbsp of the olive or coconut oil.

2. Add sweet potatoes, onion, chipotle pepper, cinnamon, salt and pepper to crock pot.

3. Drizzle with the remaining amount of oil and stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.

4. Set crock pot to med. heat for about 4-5 hours. Or if you need to cook them longer, set on low for 6- 7 hours.  You can turn the crockpot to warm until you are ready to serve the potatoes. 

I decided to serve my potatoes with salmon and an extra side of steamed veggies (broccoli and green beans). The salmon is super easy and I didn't have to dirty any extra dishes.... I hate doing the dishes after cooking. Is that why people eat out so much? To avoid the dishes??? They may be on to something :)

Wild Caught Salmon Filets (I cooked 2  6oz pieces, but only ate a 3 oz piece and handed the rest over to the man of the house)
2 tbsp Low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 large piece of tin foil
Pepper to taste

Directions for Salmon:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, add brown sugar and soy sauce and mix well.

2. On a large piece of tin foil, place the salmon (skin faced down) in the center of the foil. Fold up the sides of the foil, making a large lip on all sides so the soy sauce mixture does not spill over.

3. Pour over top, the soy sauce/brown sugar mixture and sprinkle over top the salmon the desire amount of fresh cracked pepper. Close up all open areas of the tin foil so it completely surrounds the salmon.

4. Place salmon on the center rack and bake for about 10-12 mins.  Pull the salmon out and open the foil at the top so you can completely see the top of the fish.  Turn your broiler on and place the salmon back in for another 2-3 mins. 

Voila.... the easiest marinade you will ever have to mix for fish! It adds a nice sweet and salty flavor to the salmon. Let me know what you think!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Menu Planning... More Easy Dinners In Store

Hey Guys!! I hope our recipes and meals on our blog have kept you busy at home cooking for you and your families. There's nothing like a good 'ol home cooked meal. Knowing that you are not over-doing the portion sizes and calories is worth the extra effort you put in the kitchen. There is no substitute for a good diet and no matter what you do.... You can NEVER make up for a bad diet at bootcamp, it just doesn't work like that. That will only set you back.
   So... I have come up with some more interesting meals and dinner ideas to keep you motivated to stay in your kitchen and out of the restaurants! Check it out....

Monday: Chipotle Cinnamon Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes with the Easy-peasy Full-Flavored Salmon
Tuesday: Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, Bacon and Pesto
Wednesday: Chicken Ropa Vieja over Brown Rice and Quinoa with Garlic
Thursday: Sweet Potato and Quinoa Hash with Easy Grilled Chicken

Grocery Shopping List: Prepare of Success

Chicken Breast ( We bought 5 chicken breasts for the whole week)
Wild Caught Salmon (each serving should be about 4-6 oz)
1 can tomato paste
4 Sweet Potatoes
1 bunch Cilantro
2 Red Onions
1 large spaghetti squash
1 can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce finely chopped
Basil Pesto (we bought pre-made from CostCo)
Quinoa and Brown Rice (I suggest buying the Certified Organic Seeds of Change brand at CostCo)
Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
White Wine Vinegar
Sea Salt
Minced Garlic
Garlic Powder