Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Skinny Seven-Layer Taco Dip!

Need an appetizer for a holiday party?  We are taking this one to a New Year's Eve party this evening. 
All the taste, without all of the guilt! 

Skinny Seven-Layer Taco Dip
Bean Layer:
    • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
    • 1/4 cup salsa, low sodium
    • 1 tsp. all-natural taco seasoning mix (I make mine homemade, using this recipe.)
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
White Layer:
    • 1-1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, non-fat
Salsa Layer:
    • 1 cup salsa, low sodium
Guacamole Layer:
    • 3 medium avocados, pitted & skin removed
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp. taco seasoning
    • 1/2 small jalapeño, finely diced
Other Layers:
    • 3 cups iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
    • 1 cup Tex Mex, Colby Jack or Cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted & sliced
  1. In a small bowl, mash beans with a fork. Add remaining Bean Layer ingredients and mix. Spread the mixture in 8 x 11 baking (clear) dish or onto any other large serving platter.
  2. Spread White Layer over the beans followed by a Salsa Layer.
  3. In a small bowl, mash avocados with a fork and add remaining ingredients from Guacamole Layer. Mix and spread on top of Salsa Layer.
  4. Place a layer of lettuce over the Guacamole Layer and top with cheese. Garnish with black olives. Serve immediately with any healthy tortilla chips.
This recipe was adapted from ifoodreal.com. 

An estimate for the 21 Day Fix with 8 servings:  1/2 a green, 1/2 a red2 blues, 1/2 a yellow.

If you would like to participate in one of my monthly 21 Day Fix online accountability groups, get in touch with me here, or email me directly at chrispechulis@gmail.com!

Give this one a try, and let me know how you like it!

Have a healthy and happy New Year's!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan: 12/29 - 1/4 .... Why Wait? Starting [or keep] eating healthy NOW.

Better late than never!

I am "down for the count" with acute bronchitis right now, so NO exercise until these lungs heal.  Boo.

BUT, the one thing that I CAN control is what I eat.  So, back to the meal plan -- that always helps.  Writing it down, in one way or another, is the BEST WAY to get or stay on track!

So, here is our plan for the holiday week:

Monday: Leftovers (the boys are headed out to a hockey game tonight, sick girls will stay home)
Tuesday: Bolognese Sauce with Whole-Wheat Pasta and "Zoodles" (pulled from our freezer)
Wednesday: New Year's Eve Party (hopefully I can attend, even if just for a bit!)
Thursday: Brown Sugar and Dijon-Glazed Pork Loin with Baby Potatoes and Asparagus
Friday: Heading to a holiday party and bringing this dish - Spinach and Orzo Salad
Saturday: Italian Turkey Burger Soup
Sunday: Fend-For-Yourself

Let me know what YOU'RE making this week -- would love to hear it!  And, if you ever try any of the recipes that I post, I would love to hear your feedback. 

Why wait until January 1st to start making a plan?  Eat healthy NOW. 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

TWO Yummy Recipes for You!

TWO Yummy Recipes for You!

I've decided not to do a weekly menu-plan for Christmas week, as I'm sure we will all be doing "our own thing" that week, whether it be entertaining at our own homes, or visiting with friends and family.

BUT, I wanted to share two recipes I made this week, that were:
  • super-easy
  • healthy
  • delicous
  • and, family-friendly!
The first one is our standard "chicken tender" recipe.  I HATE giving the kids store-bought chicken tenders (even though they definitely like them!) -- they are full of chemicals and preservatives.  Yuck.  And, this recipe is so easy to make for dinner, or even to make ahead and freeze for when you don't have a lot of time.

Healthy Baked Kid-Friendly Chicken Tenders

1 lb. chicken breasts
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut chicken breasts into "chicken tender size pieces".  I usually get 4 tenders per chicken breast. 

Combine 2 eggs into a bowl, and mix until combined. 

Combine panko, cornflake crumbs, and spices into a separate bowl.

Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, then into crumb/spice mixture.  Place onto a baking pan that is topped with a baking rack (crucial for chicken tenders that are NOT soggy on one side). 

Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.

My kids love these!  Even my 10-year-old son, who is not a big fan of chicken in general, eats these up!

In addition ......

We also tried a recipe for Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal for breakfast this week.  Really delicious!  It was a hit with 3:4 of my family members -- and my daughter is not a fan of oatmeal in general, so she didn't like it. 

Easy to throw in the oven while you're getting ready in the morning (or working out, like I did) -- and then breakfast is DONE! 

Enjoy!  And, thank you for reading and being a part of my life!

The gift of love. The gift of peace. The gift of happiness. May all these be yours this holiday season.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Who Says That Fried Rice Can't Be Healthy?

One of the best things about this recipe ..... besides the fact that it is good for you ..... is that you can use up your refrigerator's leftovers!

And, you basically just throw everything into your slow-cooker.

This makes for an easy, family-friendly dinner, that covers all of your macronutrients, too.

Healthy Clean Eats Slow-Cooker "Fried Rice"
Approximately 6 servings

2 cups leftover brown rice (you could also sub quinoa instead of brown rice)
2 tbsp. organic coconut oil
2 tbsp. coconut aminos or Bragg's liquid aminos (soy sauce substitute)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Pink Himalayan salt
1/2 of a diced yellow onion
2-3 cups of leftover vegetables (I used carrots, onions, celery, and asparagus)
2-3 cups of leftover cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1-2 eggs (with no shell)
Mix everything together, and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or on low for 3-4 hours.  You are simply cooking the egg(s) and heating everything up.  This is SO good and I love having the leftovers in the fridge afterwards, too!
(21 Day Fixers, count 1/6 of this recipe as: 1 yellow, 1-1/2 tsps., 1 green, and 1 red.)

If you would like to participate in one of my monthly 21 Day Fix online accountability groups, get in touch with me here, or email me directly at chrispechulis@gmail.com!

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know!  I would love to hear how it went, and if you came up with any variations as well!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan: Week of 12/15-12/21

Weekly Meal Plan: Week of 12/15-12/21

Why do I "Meal Plan"?
  1. It helps us to eat healthier, as a family. When you already have a menu of the foods you're going to prepare for the next several days, you won't have to resort to eating out or ordering takeout.
  2. I grocery shop more efficiently.  This is because I already have a list of the ingredients I need even before I go the supermarket.  I know if I need bread crumbs, cumin, or cooking spray!
  3. I save money.  When we eat out less, we naturally save money.  I also stick pretty closely to my list when shopping.  I don't deviate much from the list.
  4. We get to enjoy variety!  Instead of eating the same dish five times a week, I plan our menu so that we are often enjoying something new, but yet still loving our old favorites.
  5. I can make it a "family affair".  This is particularly helpful if you have children who are picky about their food. You can also ask for their preferences when planning meals so you can be sure they will like to dishes you serve them.  They are also more likely to try NEW foods.

So, here is OUR plan for the week ahead!

Monday:  Salad with Brussel Sprouts and Grilled Chicken (Adding grilled chicken for protein.)
Tuesday:  Fend-For-Yourself
Wednesday:  Honey-Soy Baked Chicken Thighs with Brown Basmati Rice
Thursday:  Quinoa Turkey Taco Bake with a green salad
Friday:  Easy Make-Your-Own Omelet Night (Self-explanatory, right? Made with leftovers.)
Saturday:  Dinner Out (For ME, anyway .... LOL!)
Sunday:  Italian Turkey Burger Soup

AND for something a little extra, I'm making a Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal recipe for our breakfasts this week -- sounds yummy, doesn't it?

Accompanying grocery list:

I would love to hear about YOUR meal plan for the week .... AND, if you happen to try any of these recipes or this plan, please drop me a note and let me know!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Breakfast Sausage Taquitos - 21 Day Fix Style!

These are FANTASTIC! 

I make plenty of them at one time (usually the night before), and they reheat quite well.  Great recipe for "batch-cooking"!  And, family-friendly, too.  If you give them a try, please let me know!

21 Day Fix Breakfast Sausage Taquitos

4 tbsp. coconut oil
1/3 cup yellow bell peppers, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
3 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
8 oz. Al Fresco Apple Maple Breakfast Chicken Sausage
6 large eggs
1/4 cup salsa
4 large low-carb tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. Italian Seasoning
 Pink Himalayan salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large sauté pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat.  Add peppers, onion, mushrooms, and sauté under tender.  Add all spices, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate pan, over medium heat, brown the Al Fresco sausage.  Once the sausage is cooked all the way through, drain and combine with cooked vegetables.

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and salsa, and fork whisk until blended.  Add the egg mixture to the meat and vegetable mixture, and cook until the eggs are scrambled.

Lay the tortillas flat, evenly divide the cheese into 4 portions, and put a layer of cheese down the center of each tortilla.  On top, layer one-fourth of the scramble mixture down the center of each one.  Roll the tortillas tightly, packing the ends with any extra scramble mixture. 

Place rolled tortillas on baking sheet, fold side down.  They should not be touching.  Spray the tops of the taquitos with cooking spray.  Use additional spices to sprinkle the top of each tortilla.
Bake on the top rack in your oven for approximately 10-12 minutes.  Flip each roll over, spray once again with cooking spray, and cook for 10-12 minutes more, or until nice and crispy on both sides. 
Allow to cool and cut each one in half before serving.
Makes 4 Servings.  For the 21 Day Fix, each serving = 1 yellow, 1/2 a green, 2 reds, 1 blue, and 1 tsp.

If you would like to participate in one of my monthly 21 Day Fix online accountability groups, get in touch with me here, or email me directly at chrispechulis@gmail.com!

The original inspiration for these was taken from Peace + Love + Low-Carb


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dinner Menu Plan for the Week of 12/8-12/14

Dinner Menu Plan for the Week of 12/8-12/14

Welcome!  I hope that you find this more detailed menu-plan helpful!  It will include links to the relevant recipes for the week, in addition to a grocery list for our week. 

I am experimenting as I go here, so feedback and helpful hints are surely welcome.

If you have any questions about how I do this (I use Pinterest A LOT), please let me know.

For breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, I buy or always have on-hand the following:  plenty of fruits and vegetables, a big "box" of mixed green salad, whole-wheat bread and nitrate-free lunch meats, eggs, nuts, healthy granola/snack bars, yogurt, oatmeal, and of course, Shakeology!  We also eat plenty of leftovers for lunches.

So our dinners for the week of 12/8-12/14 will include:

Monday:  Thai Chicken & Pineapple Stir-Fry
Tuesday:  Fend-For-Yourself
Wednesday:  Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats
Thursday:  Vegetarian Minestrone
Friday:  Turkey Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries (I most often use Butterball Turkey Burger Patties)
Saturday:  Leftovers OR Dinner Out
Sunday:  Taco Casserole Bake (made with whole-wheat tortilla chips)

This list is the "main entrée".  I always serve the entrée with 1-2 vegetable side dishes or a large mixed green salad.

I've created general, categorized grocery list for this menu-plan, assuming you have the usual pantry items.  Next week, I'll include more about the "pantry items" and specific amounts of each item if that would be helpful.  Here it is:

Again, I hope that you find this beneficial.  Comments are welcome!  And please, do let me know if you try any of the meals! 

Thanks for your patience.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mashed Cauliflower - Don't Knock It .....

Mashed Cauliflower - Don't Knock It ..... Until You Try It!

There are a ton of mashed cauliflower recipes out there ..... and believe me, I have tried most of them!

THIS one is my favorite.  What I really like about THIS recipe is that the cauliflower is steamed in, and then puréed with, CHICKEN BROTH. This adds a ton of flavor and eliminates the need to add cream or really any sort of dairy (substitute coconut oil for the butter) to smooth it out.

Mashed Cauliflower with Chicken Broth
(Inspired by a recipe from: Once Upon a Chef)

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks (I have also used coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil. Add the cauliflower; bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and steam for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is very tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of chicken broth from the pot, along with the butter (and/or coconut oil). Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add thyme and parsley, and process until just combined.

    Now you have a "base" for a healthy shrimp scampi, a substitute for mashed potatoes, or simply a way to get a extra vegetable into your day.

    I make this once per week and enjoy it all week-long as a side.