Recipes

Chicken Avocado Wrap Recipe

by Katie on August 20, 2014

In the midst of the chaos known as the back to school season, I’m planning to try out new recipes each week that would either be a good fit for a healthy dinner option after school or a packable lunch for consumption during the school day.  In this case, the chicken avocado wrap recipe doubles for both purposes.

I originally made this recipe for dinner, and used the same ingredients (minus the onions) to create a healthy lunch for our boys to take to school with them.  It’s an easy recipe that’s full of flavor and packs a nutritious punch as well.

Chicken Avocado Wrap

Chicken

4 chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice and zest of 3 limes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Whisk together olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Place chicken breasts in a large ziploc bag.  Pour mixture over chicken and marinate for at least 2 hours.

Avocado Spread

2 avocados
lime juice
kosher salt

Mash avocados, and add lime juice to desired consistency.  Add salt to taste.

Other Ingredients

burrito size tortillas (I used Azteca brand)
sauteed red onions (I sauteed these in a skillet with olive oil and kosher salt)
mozzarella cheese
cilantro

Spread avocado mixture down the center of the tortilla.  Top with chicken, sauteed red onions, cheese, and cilantro.  Roll tortilla and enjoy!

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Inside Out Tacos Recipe

by Katie on July 14, 2014

Tacos are one of my all-time favorite meals.  They’re easy to make, everyone can choose their own toppings, and they’re relatively healthy….at least most of the ingredients.

I typically make my tacos with chicken and lots of veggies and beans, all of which are healthy choices.  And since tortillas seem rather small and very thin, I incorrectly assumed that they couldn’t pack too much of an unhealthy punch.  However, when I flipped over the package and looked at the nutrition information, I found that there were 180 calories and 5 grams of fat per tortilla.  And I’d love to say that I usually only ate one taco, but that’s not exactly the case.

So, instead of deleting tacos from my menu plan, I decided to find a way to avoid tortillas while still enjoying all the traditional flavors of tacos.  By combining seasoned chicken and all my usual taco fixings on a salad, I’m able to enjoy inside out tacos even while eating healthy.

Inside Out Tacos

2-3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or tenders
(1) 16 oz. jar of salsa
(1) packet taco seasoning mix

Combine all ingredient in crock pot.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.  Remove chicken, shred, and serve with taco fixings.

I always have a variety of options available for our tacos – diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, black beans, avocados, red onions, corn, and fat free sour cream.  I use spinach as a base, and add everything on top to create my inside out tacos.

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Now that summer is in full swing, I have more time to experiment with new recipes for our family.  My hope is to come up with at least one new recipe each week (mostly by trial and error!) to add into our monthly dinner menu rotation.

The majority of these recipes will most probably be grill or slow cooker related to avoid heating up the whole house on hotter days.  This week’s new recipe was a huge hit for our family, and is ideal for the grill.

Since cilantro, lime, and avocado are three of my favorite ingredients, I knew I wanted to put them together with chicken for a fresh summertime dinner.  Here’s my take on this combo:

Cilantro Lime Chicken

3 tablespoons of olive oil
zest and juice of 3 limes
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons cilantro
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
3-4 lbs. boneless chicken breasts

Whisk together all ingredients except the chicken in a medium bowl.  Pour mixture over chicken, and marinate for at least 2 hours (I typically put the chicken in a resealable bag, pour the marinade over it, and just pop it in the fridge until we’re ready to grill it).

Discard the marinade and grill the chicken for 6-8 minutes per side until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Once the chicken was done on the grill, I sliced it into strips and added it into a salad made up of spinach, tomatoes, avocados, and colby jack cheese, and topped it with this recipe for avocado lime dressing:

Avocado Lime Dressing

1 bottle of low-fat ranch dressing
1 large avocado
juice of 1 lime

Mash avocado until it’s of spreading consistency.  Add avocado and lime juice to ranch dressing, and whisk together until smooth.

This recipe will definitely make it into our regular meal rotation, as it was a big hit with everyone in the family.

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Healthy Banana Muffin Recipe

by Katie on April 10, 2014

I’m always on the lookout for new healthy recipes to add into our family’s meal plan.  So, when my sister came across a recipe for healthy banana muffins, I knew I had to try it.  A few tweaks later, and this recipe has definitely become a keeper for our family.  While the muffins are not super sweet, they are a perfect combination of flavors and are hearty enough to keep me going throughout the morning.

Banana Muffins

4 mashed bananas
1 cup skim milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix bananas, milk, eggs, baking powder, oats, vanilla, blueberries, and cinnamon in a large bowl in until combined.  Pour batter into muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until well set.  Serve warm.

There are a few things to note with this recipe.  First off, our oven bakes really fast, so if your muffins do not look set after 15 minutes, I’d suggest leaving them in for a little while longer.  Also, if you’re not a fan of blueberries, you can skip them and add 3 tablespoons of almonds or walnuts (I prefer walnuts with this recipe).  And lastly, I don’t always measure my cinnamon for this recipe although I typically use about a teaspoon – I’m more of a sprinkle and go kind of girl when it comes to cooking and baking!

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Turkey Chili Recipe

by Katie on April 2, 2014

Since winter was so cold this year, chili has made its way into our menu rotation quite frequently over the past several months.  However, my old chili recipe wasn’t exactly diet friendly, so I tweaked it a bit to come up with a recipe that everyone except our oldest son loves (he has a dislike of anything that has beans in it….he also hates peanut butter….I have no explanations!).

This recipe is super easy and is quick to make if you’re pressed for time:

Turkey Chili

1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey, browned
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 cans beans (I usually use a mix of pinto and black beans)
2 cans diced tomatoes
chicken broth (amount depends on how hearty you prefer your chili)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook onions in olive oil over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Add browned ground turkey, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and cinnamon.  Stir until combined.

Add beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  Simmer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes.  Serve with low fat cheese.

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Some of my favorite recipes tend to be the ones that I make up as I go along.  A few weeks ago, I was feeling totally uninspired when it came time to make dinner.  I had chicken and fresh zucchini in the fridge which I used to put together one of our newest favorite meals - inside-out chicken, black bean, and zucchini enchiladas.  It’s incredibly easy to make, and it’s a hearty meal especially on chilly days.

Inside-Out Chicken, Black Bean, & Zucchini Enchiladas

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
5 medium-size zucchini, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can  green enchilada sauce
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Colby jack cheese

Warm olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or until softened.  Add the zucchini, cumin, and chili powder, and cook until the zucchini is tender (about 6-8 minutes).

Add black beans, enchilada sauce, and chicken.  Cook until warmed through.  Top with cilantro and cheese.

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French Apple Pie Recipe

by Katie on November 27, 2013

Apple pie is one of those mandatory desserts on Thanksgiving for our family.  Of course, according to my mom, I cheat a little by using store bought crust.  I’m surprisingly okay with that!  Here’s the recipe I use for our apple pie:

French Apple Pie

refrigerated pie crust
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
7 cups thinly sliced apples
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup firm stick butter, cut into chunks

Lie pie crust with refrigerated pie crust and crimp edges to form a decorative pattern (or decide to not even try if you have no talent in decorative pie edges….like me!).  Mix sugar, nutmeg, and apples and toss gently.  Spoon into pie crust.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly (I use a whisk for this, but a pastry cutter or two knives will work as well).  Sprinkle on top of the apples.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Bake for an additional 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees or until the apples are tender.  As a side note, I often tent the pie with aluminum foil after the first ten minutes to prevent excessive browning.

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Thanksgiving Dressing Recipe

by Katie on November 27, 2013

Although I’m not always a huge fan of stuffing, I love our family’s recipe.  I make the stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, and combine the wet and dry ingredients on Thanksgiving morning.  You can prepare the stuffing in its entirety on Thanksgiving, but I prefer to accomplish the bulk of the work the day before.

The one change I made this year was to use whole grain bread instead of my usual white bread.  Also, the recipe listed below is for one batch.  Since we have 15 people coming for Thanksgiving, I made 1-1/2 batches instead.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

12 cups bread cubes
1 cup butter
3/4 cup minced onion
1-1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sage (I typically use just 2 teaspoons)
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup butter
chicken broth

Tear slightly stale bread into small cube-size pieces (I usually purchase the bread the weekend before Thanksgiving, and let it sit out on the counter until I make the stuffing).  Let bread pieces sit uncovered throughout the day, stirring occasionally to rotate.

Melt 1 cup of butter in large pan over low heat.  Add minced onion, chopped celery, salt, pepper, and sage.  Saute on low until just slightly crisp.

In a separate pan, melt 1/2 cup butter.  Add sliced mushrooms and saute until tender.  Add mushrooms to the onion and celery mixture, and stir until combined.

At this point, I let this mixture cool, cover it with foil, and place it in the refrigerator.  Before the end of the evening, I cover the breadcrumbs with plastic wrap as well.

On Thanksgiving morning, reheat the vegetable mixture on low heat.  When warm, gradually add to the breadcrumbs, stirring lightly after each addition.  Once combined, gradually add chicken broth until the mixture is slightly moist.

At this point, the stuffing can either be loosely stuffed into a turkey, or placed in a greased casserole dish, and baked at 350 degrees until warmed through and slightly crisp on top.  This amount of stuffing is adequate for approximately a 12-pound turkey.

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My New Favorite Chicken Salad Recipe

by Katie on October 1, 2013

So I have a confession to make…I have a slight addiction to salads.  Whether it’s lettuce, chicken, taco, or otherwise, one of my favorite meals is a fresh salad.  I tweaked a chicken salad recipe that has become one of my new favorite lunches.

Chicken Salad Recipe

2 large cans of chicken (I use the 13-oz. cans from Sam’s Club)
3/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 green onions, chopped

Drain chicken and flake apart with a fork.  Add sour cream, lemon juice, and green onions.  Stir to combine.  Serve over romaine lettuce.

I typically add one or more of the following to the salad – tomatoes, avocados, or red grapes.

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Vegetable Egg Casserole Recipe

by Katie on September 16, 2013

Since I’ve always been a cereal and milk girl for breakfast, the transition to an egg-based breakfast was not an easy one for me.  However, I’ve adapted several recipes that I now really enjoy each morning.  One of these recipes is the Vegetable Egg Casserole.  It’s a meal that can be personalized to your own preferences and is easy to make ahead of time for the upcoming week.

Vegetable Egg Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 pepper, chopped
1 cup low fat shredded cheese
18 eggs
1/4 cup skim or 1% milk

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for 1 minute.  Add zucchini, squash, tomato, mushrooms, and pepper.  Saute until tender crisp.  Spoon mixture into the bottom of an 11×17-inch baking dish.  Top with shredded cheese.  Scramble eggs and milk together.  Pour over cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set.

You can also scale back on the proportions to make a smaller version of this casserole.  It works well for our family since several of our children like to eat it for breakfast as well.

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