Tag Archive | carrots

Super-Crunchy (Baked!) Chicken Tenders

Hi there friends! How’s your week going? There are a couple of special birthday’s being celebrated back home  in my family this week, so first and foremost:

Happy 85th birthday to my dear Boppa…
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…and Happy 28th birthday to my oldest sister Christie:077
I love you both SO much! 17 days : –)

Anyway, this week is what I consider to be one of the most tiring weeks of the year as a student: “study week.”  I am trying to stay positive, rested, energized and hydrated. So far, so good! However, in the midst of studying for four finals, there is very little time to cook. At first, I was unsure if I’d even be able to make one or two decent dinners, but it just so happens that a little box I received in the mail a few week ago would save my life on weeks like this!
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Last month, I was contacted by Alex at Little Box of Yum, an Australian-owned company, and I was immediately intrigued.  Little Box of Yum is just what it sounds like: A little box of yum delivered to your door each month. I’m going to do an entire post devoted to the box I received, but essentially how it works is that you subscribe for what’s called a ‘Discovery Box’ which contains a variety of diverse food items each month. Each month you’ll receive a new box with new items, and included along with your box of items is a Discovery Booklet, which helps you learn about the food and the people who make it. Little Box of Yum also features recipes throughout the month on their website and Facebook page using the food in the boxes in order to give you ideas and inspire you to use the products.  It’s perfect for busy people who don’t always have the time to explore markets or shops for new products. Plus, I’ve found that it’s perfect for making a simple meal feel like a gourmet one!

The first product I tried from my box was a sauce called ‘Roza’s Sweet Mustard with Apricots & Macadamia Nuts’. I love mustard, and I adore apricots and macadamia nuts so I had high hopes for this. The ingredient list is minimal and it’s gluten/dairy free too, which is a plus for people with those intolerances! I used the Discovery Booklet for some inspiration, and decided to make homemade chicken fingers, using the mustard as a dipping sauce. All I had to do was combine the mustard sauce with two spoonful’s of natural yoghurt. That’s it! So simple.
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I don’t know about you but as a child, I loved chicken tenders. Although I still love them, as I’ve gotten older and smarter with my food decisions I prefer to bake my own rather than order a fried option out at a restaurant. Plus, when there are so many healthy and tasty breading options available at the store, who needs to fry them anyway? I stumbled across this Kellogg’s Cornflake Mixture at the store last week, and snatched it up immediately.
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You probably don’t know this about  me, but cornflakes hold a special place in my heart. You see, for six summers growing up I worked at an ice-cream shop and BBQ barn with some of my closest friends, including Monique! One of the most popular things we served at the BBQ was “cheesy potatoes” which boasted a cornflake topping. So when I saw this at the store, I obviously HAD to have it.  Plus, I don’t have a food processor in Australia, so rather than crushing my own cornflakes (which you could easily do to make this topping!) this pre-made mixture made my life during finals 100 times easier. I decided to combine my love of cornflakes with my love of panko crumbs to make some super-crunchy baked chicken tenders, and we loved them. These are simple, delicious, and far-more nutritious than any fast food chain out there!
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Super Crunchy Panko & Cornflake-Crusted Chicken Tenders
1lb lean chicken tenders
1 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup Kellogg’s Cornflakes Mixture (or make your own by using a food processor!)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Salt (to taste, if needed)
1/2 cup wholemeal flour (or any flour would do)
3 egg whites, whisked

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit (or 218 degrees Celsius).  Line baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2)  Combine panko crumbs, cornflakes mixture, salt and pepper into a shallow mixing bowl. Then place flour in a shallow mixing bowl, and whisk the egg whites in another mixing bowl. Assemble the bowls in a row: First flour, then egg whites, then panko/cornflake mixture.
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(I used egg whites, but this is an old picture!)

3) Clean your chicken, and then begin breading it. Roll it in the flour, then the egg whites, then the panko mixture. Then place on baking sheet. Repeat these steps until you’ve covered all of the chicken.
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4) Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes on each side, flipping in-between, until browned.
5) Serve along with steamed veggies of your choice. We opted for carrots, along with some fresh corn, too!
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While we definitely loved the chicken, the Roza’s Sweet Mustard with Apricots & Macadamia Nuts Sauce was easily the hit of the meal. It paired perfectly with the crunchy chicken, and made me feel like I was eating gourmet chicken fingers in mere minutes!

Thank you so much to the folks at Little Box of Yum! If you’re interested in learning more about Little Box of Yum, visit them here.

Well, I’m off to study. Have a good day, friends!

Do you subscribe to any food delivery services? If so, what? If not, would you consider?
I’m definitely considering subscribing to Little Box of Yum. I think this will help add variety to my meals and force me to try new things!
Do you like “healthy” chicken tenders?

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tex-mex inspired sweet potato shepherd’s pie

Hey friends! How’s your weekend going? I’m off to work shortly for my last shift of the weekend, but wanted to share this recipe just in case anyone is in need of an idea for their Sunday-night dinner. This is the casserole recipe I highlighted on Thursday that I am slightly obsessed with. I ate it for 3 days straight, which saved me A LOT of time on the cooking front last week. Less cooking time=more study time, which is just what I needed!

I’m guessing shepherd’s pie probably isn’t a “new” recipe to you, but I switched this up a bit to include a tex-mex twist on the traditional recipe. Quite simply, all I did was make taco-seasoned meat (I used a reduced-sodium taco seasoning packet, but Kelly makes a great-sounding, healthier homemade version!), added-in steamed carrots, peas and corn, and then topped it off with homemade mashed sweet potatoes. Voila, a casserole was born in under 30 minutes. 
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My favorite thing about this casserole was the combination of sweet potatoes and taco meat. Honestly, I now understand why Mexican restaurants sell sweet potato fries. (I really never understood it in the past, I always thought chips and salsa were much more menu-appropriate!) However, the flavors and spices go so well together. I am hooked!

Tex-Mex Inspired Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients:
1lb. lean ground beef (I’m sure ground chicken or turkey would be excellent, too)
1/2 onion, diced
1 packet reduced-sodium taco seasoning (or homemade like Kelly’s)
1 cup steamed peas
1 cup steamed corn
1 cup chopped, steamed carrots
3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, chopped, steamed,and mashed
1/4 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese for topping (or any cheese)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (or 204 degrees Celsius) and spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. (I used a 12 x 9 pan.)
2) I prepared my vegetables first to get that step out of the way. I chopped up about 3 carrots, and then placed the carrots, peas, and corn in the vegetable steamer with a little bit of water. Then I chopped up the sweet potatoes and placed them to the side in a bowl with a little water, and covered it with plastic wrap. Lastly I chopped the 1/2 onion to add it to the taco-meat.
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**Side note, how cute is this purple vegetable steamer my Mom got me for Christmas this past year? LOVE!!!

3) Next, using the stovetop, sauté the onion and then prepare your meat according to the taco-seasoning packet.
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4) While your meat is cooking, steam the vegetables in the microwave. Then, steam the sweet potatoes. (I always steam my sweet potatoes by chopping them up, adding a little bit of water, covering them with plastic wrap and placing them in the microwave because I love how easy it is). Since I used about 3 large sweet potatoes, I cooked these on high-power for about 5-6 minutes. Once they seemed soft enough, I mashed them in a large mixing bowl, and added a bit of butter and cinnamon.

5) Finally, I layered the meat, the vegetables, and the sweet potatoes into the casserole dish, added shredded cheese to the top (Thanks to Brandon for shredding it!), and cooked it for about 15 minutes, or until slightly browned.
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This was delicious, and it lasted for days! I’ll be making this again soon, I’m sure of it.
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Are you a shepherd’s pie fan?
I am, but as I’ve grown older I much prefer it with sweet potatoes!
Ever order sweet potato fries at Mexican restaurants?
I will be now!

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Veggie Soup

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Veggie Soup

A simple Sunday calls for a simple soup…and it doesn’t get more simple than a crockpot soup. Today I was craving a classic: chicken noodle soup. This was super simple to make and it’s a perfect meal for lunch or dinner. To me, the best thing about preparing a crockpot meal is that you can wing it…as in throw anything into it and make it work…hence my desire to throw in all of my almost-spoiled vegetables. Plus, I improvised the recipe even more, tweaking it to involve certain ingredients I had on hand and needed to use. To be truthful, I didn’t feel well enough to leave my house today, so I had no choice but to use what I had! For instance, I didn’t have any celery on hand, so I substituted a sweet potato instead. Also, I used whole wheat linguine instead of egg noodles, because that’s what I had in my pantry.

I do believe I’ll be eating this soup for the next 5 days…join me!! 

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Veggie Soup
Ingredients

1/4 onion, finely chopped
15-20 mini carrots, thinly sliced
1 sweet potato, chopped (or a rib of celery)
1 cup cauliflower
salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 thin chicken breasts
1 large container of low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup water
Whole wheat noodles of your choice

 

1) Wash chicken breasts. Place in crockpot, and cover with chicken broth.
2) Cut carrots, onion, sweet potato, cauliflower, and mince garlic. Add to crockpot and cover with remaining broth. Add water and noodles.

the start of the soup!

3) Cook on high in crockpot for 4-5 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste

cooking away!

4) Remove chicken breasts once tender and shred with two forks. Add back into soup, stir, and serve!

Done and done!

I have a feeling I’m going to be awfully sick of chicken noodle soup after this week…but for now, I’m okay with it!

Chicken soup warms the soul :)

Barley Beef Stew

Barley Beef Stew
Crockpot Sunday=Easy Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday!! I swear, a crockpot meal helps me get through the work week. Plus, as the cold New England weather rolls in, a piping hot, comforting stew sounds enticing, right? I think so. This stew smells great, tastes great, and is chalk-full of protein-filled lean red meat and nutritious vegetables. ( I adapted this from a Cooking Light recipe). Plus, the hardest part about making this meal is chopping the vegetables. In less than 40 minutes, everything was chopped and in the crock-pot…easy for a meal that will last me all week! This is a healthy comfort food at it’s finest. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 package mushrooms (whatever kind you prefer, I used white button mushrooms)Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced ( I didn’t have any, so I used a tsp of garlic powder!)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ -2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon thyme
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups cubed peeled white potato (I used 1 cup white, 1 cup sweet potato)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup barley

Directions
1) Spray cooking spray or heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Place in crock-pot. Re-spray pan with cooking spray, and sauté carrots. Add to crockpot.

veggies!

 

diced carrots

2) Peel potatoes and then pierce potatoes and cook in microwave 3-5 minutes to soften. Cut into cubes, and place in crock-pot.

3) Place flour in a shallow bowl or plate. Dredge beef in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned beef to crock-pot.

floured beef

browning beef!

4) Add wine, beef broth, thyme, bay leaf, and barley to crock-pot . Stir everything in the crockpot, cover, put heat on high, and cook for 5 to 6 hours or until beef is just tender.

the spice line-upBarley time

I am SO excited to eat this tomorrow night…and the next night, and the next!
What’s your favorite crock-pot meal?

cooking away in the crockpot!