Tag Archive | chicken

Lightened-up Fettucine With Broccoli

Hey there, how’s your week going? Anyone else excited for the long weekend? I am psyched for two extra days off from classes and more importantly, Easter!(Does anyone else think that the best part of Easter are the millions of chocolate bunnies sold everywhere, or is it just me? I may or may not have a slight obsession with Easter candy). Although this is my first Easter away from my family,  one of my best friends from home just sent me a giant package full of my favorite American Easter treats, so at the moment I don’t feel so far away. Thanks Sar! Just look at this package:
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I sure have eaten my fair share of m&m’s this week…yikes! Although I know I could happily survive  living off of  Easter candy, I have been eating and cooking other things to balance all of that chocolate out, and lightened-up fettuccine alfredo with broccoli  is one of them.

You might be thinking: light fettuccine? Not possible. Guess what? Possible! Thanks to my unbelievable  Mom, this recipe has been in our family for years now. I’ve been eating this for as long as I can remember, and it seems to get better every time. Its creamy consistency and rich flavor might make you think this dish is indulgent, but it’s truly light in both fat and calories, which is a win-win in my opinion. The best part is that you can customize this dish any way you like. I prefer broccoli in my pasta dishes, so that’s what I added to the pasta base. However, if you prefer cauliflower, peppers, peas, corn, zucchinis, or another vegetable, just steam them up and throw them in. It’s your pick!

For an additional punch of protein, I breaded and baked chicken breasts and then sliced the chicken on top of each portion. This is totally optional, but it added some additional staying power to the dish. Brandon ate the leftovers 3 days in a row…looks like a winner to me!

Lightened-up Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli
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Ingredients
1 T Margarine
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 T Flour
1 1/3 cup skim milk ( you may need more, but add gradually).
2T light cream cheese
1 ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
4 cups whole wheat pasta (this time, I used rotini)
1 –2 heads of broccoli, steamed(or your vegetable of choice)
2 baked & breaded chicken breasts (optional)

Directions:
1) Boil your water for the pasta in a large saucepan. If adding a vegetable, chop it up and steam, then set aside. Once the water is boiling, add pasta.

2) Next in a medium saucepan, melt the margarine, then add the garlic and sauté for one minute.
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3) Stir in flour, and gradually add milk a small portion at a time, waiting until it thickens each time, stirring with a wire whisk until blended. (As you can see, I got some help in the stirring department!)
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4) Cook this for 8 minutes, or until thick.
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5) Stir in cream cheese, and cook for 2 minutes.

6) Add 1 cup parmesan cheese, and stir it until melted and smooth.
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7) Once your pasta is cooked and drained, place it back into the large saucepan and pour the sauce over the hot pasta, tossing well to coat. Add your vegetable(s) to the mixture and stir. Portion into bowls or dinner plates, and top with remaining ¼ cup parmesan cheese.
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8) Lastly, if using chicken, slice and add it to each portion.
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This is one of those meals that made me want to keep eating, and eating, and eating. I forced myself to put the leftovers in a container and close the fridge after my second helping…it’s that good!

Do you have a favorite “lightened-up” pasta dish?

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A rockin’ risotto

Happy weekend, all! Gosh, where does the time go? I for one was thrilled for Friday to come around. Not only did I finish my first week of classes, but I also completed my two massive final projects for my  health professionals research class. I can not even explain how excited I was to pass those in. In my four years at Bryant U., I don’t ever remember having such time consuming projects! I celebrated with a glass of well-deserved wine and a homemade pizza. It was just what I wanted!
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Know what else is perfect? Homemade risotto. Last Sunday, Brandon mentioned he had a craving for a cheesy risotto. Cheesy risotto? Yes please, he didn’t have to tell me twice! However, I prefer risotto with something other than just cheese, so we added vegetables, a source of protein, and cheese into our Sunday night risotto recipe. For vegetables,  we included broccoli, mushrooms and onion; for protein, grilled chicken; and for the star-of-the-show, parmesan cheese. I think the key to any creamy risotto is to be consistent with stirring, so make sure when you make this that you have the time to stay by the stove and stir, stir, stir! Trust me, it may seem tedious to stand over the stove for 20-25 minutes and stir, but it’s truly worth it once you take your first bite!

I adapted my all-time favorite Cooking Light Risotto recipe to include our ingredients of choice, and it turned out just as we hoped. You’ll notice that this recipe only uses one cup of rice, but believe me, you will have leftovers, and leftovers of risotto=bliss!
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Parmesan Chicken, Broccoli & Mushroom Risotto
Inspired by March 2010’s Cooking Light

Ingredients:
4 Cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 T butter
½ cup chopped onion
1.5 tsp. minced garlic, divided
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
2-3 cups thinly sliced mushrooms ( I used pre-cut white mushrooms)
1 large head of broccoli
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
2 grilled or baked chicken breasts, chopped

Directions:
1) In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth to a simmer, then keep warm over low heat.
2) While your broth is simmering, prepare your vegetables by washing and chopping the broccoli, mushrooms, and onion, and then set them aside for the time being.  I steamed the broccoli in the microwave for 3-4 minutes and set it aside, so that step was complete!
3) Now in a separate skillet, melt your butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 tsp. garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Now add the  rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
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4) Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in ½ cup broth; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes). Set aside. *Tip: I kept the broth right next to the simmering rice so that it was super simple to ladle the broth right into the mixture, and there’s less chance of spilling!*
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5) Now spray butter spray on a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms, and sauté until tender. Add the remaining garlic.  
6)Lastly, stir the cooked mushrooms, broccoli, chicken, ¼ cup cheese, and pepper into risotto; cook for 3 minutes on low heat. Serve, and sprinkle each serving with additional cheese if desired.
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Doesn’t it look yummy? Brandon took the duty of cooking the chicken while I stirred the risotto, and I was grateful for the help!  I do think it would be easiest to have your chicken cooked before you start the risotto, but it’s not a requirement. This dish is filling, yet healthy; just a little cheese goes a long way! Only 1/4 cup in the entire batch, and you can taste it in every bite. We ate ours with a side salad, and it was the perfect Sunday meal. Hope you try this tonight! 

Do you like risotto? If so, what are your favorite risotto ingredients?

Crockpot mexican chicken stuffed pepper medley

Well, that recipe name is a mouthful…sheesh. Sorry about that. I really don’t know what to call it, but I promise you this was a delicious (and nutritious) meal . Since Brandon graciously bought me a crock-pot upon my arrival, I’ve been trying to use it once a week for two reasons: 1) because it’s so darn easy, and 2) so that he can’t say I don’t use it! Hahaha just kidding kind-of..not really.

Anyway, I’ve always enjoyed using a crock-pot for no-fuss dinners, but it’s particularly coming in  handy here in Australia due to the god-awful humidity we’re experiencing.  As much as I love cooking and baking, I can’t say I thoroughly enjoy it in 90 degree+ temperatures, so my crock-pot is coming to the rescue!

This week, chicken breasts were on sale (Amen), so I knew I wanted to make something that incorporated this source of protein. After searching Pintrest for inspiration, I stumbled across a “skinny chicken taco” recipe that I just couldn’t pass-up. After making a few tweaks of my own, and deciding that I’d incorporate it into "stuffed peppers” for dinner,  here’s what I assembled. 

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Keep in mind, you can make your own tweaks to this recipe; crock-pots are so versatile, that’s one of my favorite parts about them. If you don’t have kidney beans, use black beans. If you don’t have chicken, use beef, etc. Use what’s in your cupboard! This helps make it a budget-friendly and a waist-friendly meal.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Stuffed Pepper Medley
Ingredients
-2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
-1/2 onion, chopped
-1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or your bean of choice)
-1 10 oz can salt-reduced diced tomatoes
-1 jar salsa (I used mild, but spicy would work too!)
-1/2 jar tomato sauce ( you can use the whole jar, but this is all I had)
-1 10 oz. bag frozen corn
-1 packet reduced-salt taco seasoning
-3-4 chicken breasts
-about 1/2 cup reduced-salt chicken broth (use enough to cover the chicken)
-1 TBSP of chile powder (optional—this is if you want it spicy!)
-Peppers for stuffing (optional)-I bought 3 large green and 1 large red
-Brown rice (optional)
-Part-skim shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions
1) Spray crock-pot with cooking spray, and turn it on (I forgot to turn mine on for 20 minutes, this is why I’m reminding you!) Chop sweet potato and onion.  Then add these, along with remaining ingredients through the taco seasoning, to the pot. Mix to combine.
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2) Clean your chicken breasts, then add them to the top of the pot (just mesh them in with everything else).  Then, add the chicken broth so that the chicken breasts are mostly covered with liquid.
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3) Cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 10 hours, stirring every hour or so, until chicken is cooked and fork-tender. Side-note: our crock-pot is new and ridiculously fast, so mine was done in 4.5 hours. Depending on your crock-pot, you may need 6+ hours, just judge the time based on the chicken.  Once tender, remove chicken and place in a bowl. Shred with two forks, then place back in crock-pot and stir-in. Turn off crockpot, and if you’re ready to eat now, dig in! This would be great as-is topped with low-fat cheese, and stuffed into a wrap, on a salad, or by itself. I wanted to stuff green and red peppers with the medley, so I’ll outline that next.
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4) Turn your oven to 400 degrees (about 204 degrees Celsius). Wash your peppers, then cut tops off and remove cores from inside. Assemble on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
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5) I had brown rice on hand that I needed to use up, so I added a small layer (about 2-3 tablespoons) of that to each pepper as a base. Then I filled each to the top with the crock-pot Mexican chicken medley, and topped each with part-skim shredded cheddar cheese (or your cheese of choice). Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly.

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6) Let them cool for a few minutes, and then enjoy! We ate ours with a side of steamed cauliflower and a garden salad. Healthy, nutritious, deeeelicious. The best part about this meal is the amount of leftovers you’ll have…perfect for lunch or dinner.  Hope you like it as much as we did!
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Crockpot Salsa-Chicken Lettuce Wraps

The weather in Australia is nothing short of amazing…but god it’s hot! We’re on opposite seasons here, so while normally I’d be dusting off my winter jackets and sleeping in flannel sheets back home, here we’re entering summer and I’m finding it difficult to even blow dry my hair!  Talk about a night and day difference.

With such hot temperatures, cold and easy-to-prepare meals have been sounding more and more intriguing. So it was perfect when I caught a random craving for lettuce wraps yesterday. To be honest, I haven’t been able to eat lettuce wraps since eating them a few years ago and getting VERY ill afterwards. Due to that not-so-fun fact, I made my own version that I thought would sit well in my stomach and Brandon’s stomach too!  I decided to try out our new crockpot(hooray for new appliance!s) to make a Mexican-themed lettuce wrap filler. This was super easy and smelled delicious simmering away all day. Give it a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Ingredients

1 package chicken tenderloins(you could also use chicken breasts)
1 jar salsa(we like medium in this household)
1 can beans-drained and rinsed (I used a 4 bean mixture)
1 cup frozen corn
Enough chicken broth or Vegetable Stock to cover the chicken (water would work too!)—I used 3/4 cup

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Optional toppings ingredients
Mushrooms & onions
red peppers
Shredded cheese(we had cheddar)
Extra salsa!

Directions

1. Spray crockpot with cooking spray, then wash chicken and cut off any excess fat. Place in crockpot.

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2. Cover chicken with broth or water. Cover with Salsa. Set crockpot on high and let it simmer for 3-4 hours, or until chicken is cooked (Mine only took 3.5 hours because the chicken tenderloins were thin. If you use thicker chicken, it will take longer!)

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3. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Place back in crockpot.

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4.  Add the can of beans and corn, turn crockpot to low, and simmer for another hour or so, until corn and beans are cooked through.

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5. Let cool, then place in fridge.

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6. Wash your lettuce leaves, assemble your other toppings, and enjoy!

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I sautéed some mushrooms and onions, red peppers, and shredded some cheese for additional toppings. Super simple,very satisfying, and really fun to eat!  We have a bunch of leftovers, too. I’m thinking this will go great in a quesadilla or on-top of salad, too.

What’s your favorite way to use-up leftover chicken?

Barbeque Crock-Pot Chicken

I have to admit…sometimes I crave pulled chicken. Sounds strange, right? Well I blame it on my 6+ summers of working in a barbeque barn. For six summers straight, I pulled countless chickens–breasts, thighs-you name it, we pulled it— every single Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday of every summer, so of course, we naturally ate it too. The “we” I’m speaking of are my favorite girls—my twin sister, and my beautiful friends Tiffany and Monique. I think we all agreed,  you don’t get barbeque chicken more tasty than chicken straight from a smoker! …or at least, that’s what I thought. Now that I’ve made this crock-pot recipe, I’m having second thoughts.

Not only is this simple to make, but the minimal ingredients make it fairly inexpensive, too. Plus, this will last you the work week and it’s extremely versatile. I ate it all week as a main dish, on top of salads, in sandwiches, and in wraps—your chicken, your choice J It’s just.so.tasty. Make this now!

Barbeque Crock-Pot Chicken

Ingredients
-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used 8 thin chicken tenderloin strips)
-1 can Campbell’s French Onion Soup (10 1/2 oz.)
-1 cup ketchup
-1/4 cup cider vinegar
-3 tbsp light brown sugar
-1 bottle smokey bbq sauce (or bbq sauce of your choice—I used honey barbeque)

Directions:

1) Mix soup, ketchup, cider vinegar, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.

2) Once your chicken is washed and in the crock-pot, pour the mixture over chicken.
All in!

3) Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours, or high 4-5 hours,  until done.

4) Remove chicken from slow cooker. Cool slightly, then shred using 2 forks.

5) Return chicken to slow cooker & add bbq sauce. Mix and reheat through, about 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Dig in!

Someone please tell me they had a difficult time pulling away from this chicken so that I’m not alone…I am addicted! In a month, I made this 3 times…whoops! Hope you like this as much as I did : )

What’s your favorite chicken dish?

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 :)

Cereal Coated Crispy Chicken Fingers

Crispy chicken fingers, crunchy French fries…heart attack on a plate?! While typically unhealthy fare, it doesn’t have to be, and it can still be delicious. Growing up, fast food was a rare occurrence in my household. I never understood why my Mom didn’t want us eating these types of foods on a daily, weekly, or even a monthly basis until I started to care about nutrition and whole foods. When I was younger, this led to over-ordering and extreme excitement whenever I walked into (or drove through) Wendy’s or another popular fast food chain. Why get a small fry when you can super-size for only .50 cents more? But something occurred over and over again: I always loved eating the food, but I hated how I felt afterward. I’d have a stomachache, indigestion, heartburn, the list goes on! About mid-way through college, I stopped eating fried foods (except for the occasional sweet potato fries-can’t help it!) because of these feelings. However, I really missed my chicken fingers. When I stumbled across this recipe from cooking light, I knew I wanted to recreate it, while putting a spin of my own on it too. Quaker Honey O’s cereal seemed like the perfect addition to add an extra “crunch” to this chicken. Don’t believe me? It’s so crunchy, I refuse to eat it at work, in fear that my co-workers will hear me chomping away! I was right…it added an extra crunch and a hint of honey that blended well with the spices and additional panko mixture. This has become a weekly staple in my cook book. It’s a great dinner dish, but also spruces up salads and sandwiches, too. You won’t think it’s healthy…it’s that good!

Ingredients

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup whole-wheat panko crumbs
¼ Quaker Honey O’s cereal (crushed in a food processor)
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or one package of boneless, skinless chicken tenders)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
Cooking spray

Preparation

 

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish; Wisk and place egg whites in a bowl.

3 simple steps

3. Blend honey O’s in a food processor until fairly smooth. Place with panko in a shallow dish.

Honey O's

 

blended honey o's

4. Dredge 1 breast half in flour mixture. Dip in egg whites; dredge in panko/cereal mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, flour mixture, egg whites, and panko/cereal mixture.

5. Coat large ovenproof skillet with cooking spray. Heat ½ tablespoon oil in pan as well over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes. Add remaining ½ tablespoon oil. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes. Coat chicken with cooking spray; place pan in oven. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes.

stovetop strips!

cooked n' crispy

 

full plate!