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Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad and my First Encounter with Feta

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A couple of days ago, I showed you this tasty picture without giving you a recipe or even telling you what it was!

This meal of Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad is a fabulous week night dinner that is tasty enough to be impressive, yet simple enough that it can be whipped up in no time.

When I headed to the grocery store last weekend, feta cheese sounded delicious.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use the feta in during the week, but I knew it sounded great so I tossed some into the cart.

Whenever I think of feta cheese, I can’t help but think of my first encounter with feta.  When I was in high school, one of my best friends was very Greek.  On one occasion when me and our other friends were at her house hanging out, we were hungry and wanted something to snack on.  Upon opening the fridge, I saw a giant white tub with a clear lid full of some sort of giant white block.  I had no idea what it was, but I knew that I was not going to eat whatever that mystery block was.

The tub looked much like this, but with a clear lid.

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When I questioned what the tub was full of…FETA was the answer.  At that moment I simply knew that I did not like feta and I never would.  Well, I was wrong.  Because after actually tasting the salty, crumbly cheese I realized I couldn’t get enough of it!

So, after throwing the feta into my cart last weekend, I needed to figure out a meal to pair this delicious cheese with.  Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad fit the bill.

Scrumptious Greek Chicken with Quinoa Salad

Yields: 2 servings of Chicken, and 2-3 servings of salad, can easily be doubled

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Greek salad dressing, can be purchased OR recipe follows
  • 2 chicken breasts, thawed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomato, quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat feta


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Coat the chicken breasts with half of the Greek dressing while poking holes into the chicken with a fork to get some of the dressing inside.  Place in the baking dish and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the quinoa salad.  The quinoa can be prepared at an earlier date or right before serving this meal, allowing that it has time to cool.  Prepare the quinoa according to package directions by placing 1/2 cup of the uncooked quinoa into a sauce pan along with 1 cup of water.  Cover the quinoa.  Allow the quinoa to come to a boil and turn the heat down to low for 12-15 minutes, or until the water is gone.

If preparing the quinoa right before the meal, stick it in the freezer to allow it to cool while the chicken is cooking.

Chop the tomato, onion, and cucumber.  Place in a large bowl with the spinach, feta, and the remaining Greek dressing.  Once the quinoa is cool, combine the quinoa into the feta and Greek dressing mixture.

Remove the chicken from the oven, serve along side the quinoa salad and enjoy!

Homemade Greek Dressing:

  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp evoo
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix until combined, and serve over salads or use as a marinade.

ENJOY!

*This recipe is being entered into the Mr. Food Ultimate Weeknight Meal Contest.  Keep your eyes peeled for voting opportunities!

Healthified Chicken and Dumplings

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Dinner tonight was a winner for sure.

With the crisp air and cool breeze a meal that will warm me inside and out is just what I was craving.  One of the first complete dinners that I remember making totally from scratch and for my entire family all by myself is chicken and dumplings.  I remember going to Cracker Barrel as a child and only wanting chicken and dumplings as my meal.  In my hometown, Fort Wayne, we have an annual fall festival called the Johnny Appleseed Festival.  The two things I look forward to at that festival are the homemade cornbread (it doesn’t taste like any other cornbread) and chicken and dumplings.  I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason I really like chicken and dumplings.  I also really like to put my own little touch on classic recipes such as this.   So, tonight I made my version of chicken and dumplings.

Chicken and Whole Wheat Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of chicken stock (can be homemade, stock in a box, whatever is your favorite!)
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sized red potatoes, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1 Tbsp lemon juice
Preparation:
Pour the 8 cups of chicken stock into a large pot.  Turn the burner on high heat and cover for about 3 minutes to allow the broth to warm up.
 
Place the chicken breast in the broth and allow to boil for 6-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.   While the chicken is cooking in the broth, chop all of your vegetables (potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots).  Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove the chicken from the broth and allow to cool before shredding it while the vegetables are cooking.
Carefully put the vegetables in the broth.
Cover the vegetables and leave the burner on medium-high heat.  allow the vegetables to cook for 10 minutes or until tender. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the dumpling dough by mixing together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and milk with lemon juice.  This will form a thick dough.  Once the vegetables are tender, add the chicken back into the broth and place about 8 dollops of the dough onto the broth.

That would be dumpling dough on top of the broth

Cover the pot once again and allow the dumplings to cook for 4 minutes.  Once you raise the lid, the dumplings will have magically cooked!
Scoop into bowl and enjoy 🙂
Makes 6-8 servings depending on your appetite!
Now, I’m off to enjoy doing some pinteresting, blog reading, and desperate housewives watching.  I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Monumental Labor Day

Today was a “monumental” day in Indianapolis.  In the center of the city, there is a place called Monument Circle, which is literally a traffic circle with a giant monument in the center of it.

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They took the top portion of the monument “Lady Victory” down to be restored, and it was in the circle today for people to get an up close look.  Apparently, this is the only time we will be able to see it in our life times!  And I got a picture 🙂

There she is!

Dinner

Growing up, and still today, my mom has always been one to make a themed meal for the holiday.  I really wanted to make something summery refreshing and crisp since I feel that Labor Day is kind of the last “hurrah” for summer.  The chilly weather almost steered me away from making a totally summer meal, but I stuck to my guns and went with it.

I made a salad of spinach and romaine lettuce topped with apples, blue cheese, candied pecans, grilled chicken, red onion, and red bell pepper.  So light and delicious!  Just what I wanted 🙂  I topped it with Balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, black pepper, and basil.

Brian and I then went on a little bike ride around a very cute residential area downtown in Indianapolis called Lockerbie.  The houses are so cute, historic, and some resemble brownstones.  It is just a quaint little area, and the nip in the air really made it feel like fall.

One of my faves!

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I realize that I forgot to do a Yoga Pose of the Day, but it is a holiday…there will be one tomorrow 🙂

Birthday Cake!

Today, my mom came over for the day with our puppies.  I call them puppies, but they are actually quite old for puppies.

Rosemary is on the left and Quigly is on the right.  They can be a bit of a handful sometimes, but I still love ’em!

Mom helped me figure out my apron pattern.  The fabric is all cut out and ready to go!

Mom then left with Dad to go back to hear more music at Rib America Festival, and Brian and I went to his parent’s house in Greenwood to celebrate his Mom’s birthday.  His parent’s house is literally 20 minutes away from us, so it is very convenient.

For Kate’s (Brian’s mom) birthday, she asked me to make a cake…white on white.  I had baked boxed cakes before, a layered homemade carrot cake, and numerous homemade cupcakes so I thought that I could handle a birthday cake.   I searched for the perfect recipe, and here is what I came up with.  Although it wasn’t perfect and I made a list of things I will change for next time.  I still think it turned out pretty tasty!

White on White Birthday Cake (original recipe from How Sweet Eats)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 35o.  Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs together until light and fluffy.  Add in the vanilla extract completely.
Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Add half of the ingredients until combined, then mix in the milk.
Once mixed, add the rest of the dry mixture until completely combined.
Pour into two round cake pans (or one large sheet pan).  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
White Frosting for White Cake (also from How Sweet Eats)
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup margarine (I think mine was a little melty because I used margarine instead of butter)
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
Preparation:
Mix together margarine and powdered sugar, gradually adding the powdered sugar.  Add the milk gradually along with the vanilla.  Continue to add the milk and powdered sugar until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.
The cake was super yummy, but I think that next time I will use real butter for the frosting to see if it has an effect on the meltiness.
For our dinner, Brian’s dad grilled chicken, made caprese salad (good thing Brian and I like the stuff…this is our third time having it since Friday 😉 ), and spaghetti salad.  The chicken was made into chicken sandwiches, but I had mine sans bread.  I topped it with a tomato, swiss cheese and sriracha aioli.They also had black olives on the side.   It all tasted amazing!
This weekend was the perfect way to spend the last official weekend of summer.  I got to spend it with my family, Brian, his family, and friends…what more could I ask for (Brenna and Kenny to be here next time!??!)

The Return of Guy Food

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Hello everyone!

Brian and I have been working hard to bring the next episode of Guy Food to you for your viewing pleasure.  This week:

Chicken Salad Three Ways

When I make Brian lunch, most of the time it is chicken salad.  It is easy, it can make a big batch all at once, and it can be made in many different ways.  Brian asked me if I could teach him how to make chicken salad all the way down to cooking the chicken.  Here is our step-by-step guide to the perfect chicken for chicken salad.

Step 1: Put water in the bottom of a glass baking dish (about 1/4 inch)

Step 2: Place a chicken breast in the pan (can cook more than one at a time if needed)

Step 3:  Season with salt and pepper or any other spices you have on hand

Step 4: Place in preheated oven (350 degrees for thin chicken and 400 degrees for thick chicken)

Step 5:  Set the time to 20 minutes

Step 5:  Remove chicken from oven and cut in the center to see if it is done.  Check to make sure there is no pink

You chicken is made!

You will then want to let it cool, and chop it up into small bite sized pieces if you are making chicken salad with it.

Chicken Salad #1:  “Classic” Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Hellman’s Dijonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp of either Low-Fat Miracle Whip or Low-Fat Mayonnaise (I am a Miracle Whip girl and Brian is a mayo guy)
  • 1 chicken breast (may use less, depending on the size)
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/4 apple sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red onion
Preparation:
After chopping the veggies, combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Taste to make sure that it is seasoned properly.  May serve with crackers, on a wrap, as a sandwich, or may eat with a fork!

Chicken Salad #2:  Buffalo Chicken Salad

Brian likes to take credit for this one because it was his idea 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Low-Fat Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise

    He was worried that it might be hot!

  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to taste ( I like a lot, Brian likes a little)
  • 1/8 cup blue cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 chicken breast (may use less depending on the size)
Preparation:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve the same way as “Classic” Chicken Salad.
Chicken Salad 3#:  Curry Chicken Salad
Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp Low-Fat Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp red onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 chicken breast (depending on the size you may use less)
Preparation:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy just as the other two chicken salad recipes.
**These all make one serving
Enjoy!!! Feel free to add in other vegetables (bell peppers, tomato, carrots, whatever you have on hand!).  You can also add nuts or seeds such as pecans, walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds.

All Rolled into One All Rolled into One

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Sorry for only one post today!  My computer has been super slow lately, and I really needed to clean things up, so my computer was dumping most of it’s information onto my external hard drive for a good portion of the day.  So far, it seems to be moving pretty smoothly, so let’s hope it stays that way!

Workout

I ran 7 miles today!

That is 100% real sweat on my face

Sadly, I forgot to stop my timer at the end of the 7 mile run so I’m not sure how fast I ran it, but I know it was under an hour.

Breakfast

For breakfast I cooled off with a delicious PB and J smoothie bowl:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • pinch of xanthum gum
  • 2 packets of splenda
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • water and ice cubes for volume
I call it PB and J because the addition of strawberry mixed with the peanut butter tastes like strawberry jelly and peanut butter!  It’s very tasty 🙂
After breakfast, Brian and I went to mass and then he got down to studying.  This is the week before his first set of monthly exams and he is getting a little nervous.
While my computer was doing it’s thang I spent a good portion of the day preparing meals for the week and working on my project for the family reunion this coming weekend.
Dinner
Suddenly, it was dinner time!  Originally, I was going to make this meal part of the Guy Food series, but Brian was busy studying so I made it myself!  This meal is great because when making it for two, there are leftovers that are easily frozen or refrigerated for later in the week.
White Chili
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup of purple (or red) onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 4 oz can of green chilis
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 8oz cans of great northern beans
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cans of chicken broth
  • 1 cup water if needed
Preparation:
In large pot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.  Add chilies and seasonings.  Mix thoroughly.  Add beans, chicken and broth to pot.  Add water to reach desired consistency.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Serve topped with grated cheese, chopped fresh tomato, salsa or guacamole.  Serve with tortilla chips.

I also had a chance to use the bread maker my mom gave me about a month ago for the first time today!  It made the apartment smell amazing, and the bread tastes great too 🙂

Whole Wheat Bread from the breadmaker

Tomorrow is my last day working for Emmis fitting children with bicycle helmets.  I feel like I have really enjoyed my time working with my co-workers and it will be strange not to see them on a weekly basis anymore.

 

Right now, as a Sunday night tradition, I am watching Next Food Network Star in bed.

What are some of your Sunday night traditions?

Just a Tuesday Night

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Tuesday night means Core Intensity class.  Here is the workout:

This workout takes place on the indoor track at your gym

 

 

Warm Up: 

  • Run two laps around the track

Lunges around the track stopping at  first corner with weights in hand

Corner 1:

  • Crunches with legs up (15 count slow can use weight)
  • All 4s, extend arm out to R and L leg out back (in and out for 10 counts) switch sides

Running with high knees stopping at corner weights in hand

Corner 2:

  • Bicycle Crunches (15)
  • Lie in bridge, extend arms with weights straight above as raise L leg, lower leg and hip and arms straight out to side to hover (12 reps) repeat on other side

Sideways shuffle around the track switching sides in the middle, weights in hands

Corner 3:

  • Dead lift squat with weights in both hands (15 reps)
  • Abs balancing on butt and twisting weights side to side (30?)

Run two laps with weights in hands

Corner 4:

  • Crunches with legs straight up (20)
  • Squat deep for 3 counts with weights then lift leg (do 15 on both sides)
Final Set of Abs in the Room
3 sets of 8 counts of each exercise
  • Regular Crunches
  • Crunches with legs in 90 degrees
  • Bicycle Crunches
Cool Down
Half Marathon Training
After teaching class, today I was scheduled to run 3.5 miles.  I mapped my run out and was ready to go.  I put my teaching stuff in my car, and I realized that I had no where to put the key…I had to get a little crafty.

I tied my key to my shoe!

 It was sooo hot and humid outside that the end of the run was prrrrreettyy rough, but I got through it.  I drank soo much water afterward.
Dinner
I then came home and it was time for dinna!
I made a strawberry, chicken, blue cheese salad.  Instead of using glazed almonds or pecans like I usually see in restaurants, I used honey roasted peanuts.  They did the trick and added that little extra crunch.  I put all of these yummy toppings on top of a bed of romaine and spinach and topped it with Balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, and pepper.  This salad was dddeeelliish!
At night while making dinner, I pack a lunch for Brian and usually myself as well.  Since we had blue cheese with dinner, Brian was really cravin’ blue cheese in his lunch tomorrow.  I used leftover chicken from dinner to create Buffalo Chicken Salad.
I mixed together the following ingredients (the measurements are estimates because I was just pouring and mixing):
  • 1 chicken breast cut up into small pieces
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 2 tbsp of mayonaisse
  • 2 tbsp of reduced fat blue cheese
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce to taste
  • Salt and Pepper
Makes roughly 2 servings
Now Brian and I are just relaxing and watching Everybody Loves Raymond…I haven’t seen that show in forever!!  It feels nice to just sit here on a Tuesday night 🙂