Friday, July 22, 2016

Healthy Snacks!

Here are 15 simple, protein-rich snack combos to provide satisfaction and fuel as soon as hunger strikes, all with about 125 calories or less. Which ones will you pack this week?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Five Ingredient Lemon Chicken with Asparagus


serves: 3-4 (nutrition is for 4 servings)

·         1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
·         ¼ cup flour
·         ½ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste
·         2 tablespoons butter
·         1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
·         1-2 cups chopped asparagus
·         2 lemons, sliced
·         2 tablespoons honey + 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
·         parsley for topping (optional)

1.    Chicken: Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound until each pieces is about a ¾ of an inch thick. (NOTE: If your chicken breasts are really thick,you can just cut them in half horizontally to make thinner pieces rather than pounding. Works like a charm.) Place the flour and salt and pepper in a shallow dish and gently toss each chicken breast in the dish to coat. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat; add the chicken and saute for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown, sprinkling each side with the lemon pepper directly in the pan. When the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, transfer to a plate.
2.    Asparagus and Lemons: Add the chopped asparagus to the pan. Saute for a few minutes until bright green and tender crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Lay the lemon slices flat on the bottom of the pan and cook for a few minutes on each side without stirring so that they caramelize and pick up the browned bits left in the pan from the chicken and butter. (NOTE: adding a tiny pat of butter in with the lemons also helps prevent sticking and promote browning.) Remove the lemons from the pan and set aside.
3.    Assembly: Layer all the ingredients back into the skillet - asparagus, chicken, and lemon slices on top.
The lemons are going to be bitter, especially if you really let them caramelize like in the first picture in this post. With that in mind, you can use them just as a garnish (pretty!), or you can eat them if you like bitter things, or you can try to make them less bitter by boiling them for a few minutes before adding to the pan. I opted for the garnish.

For the honey butter sauce, I just melted additional butter and honey in the hot pan after caramelizing the lemons and poured it over the chicken. This mixture definitely picked up some of the residual lemon flavor from the pan, so if that isn't your thing, be sure to melt the butter and honey in a separate pan.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


serves: 10

·         1 cup uncooked wild rice
·         1 pound chicken breasts
·         2 cups mirepoix (chopped celery, carrots, and onions)
·         6 cups chicken broth
·         1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
·         ½ cup butter
·         ¾ cup flour
·         2 cups whole milk
·         a few tablespoons white wine (optional)
·         up to 2 cups additional milk or water

1.    Rinse the wild rice. Place the uncooked wild rice, raw chicken, mirepoix, chicken broth, and poultry seasoning in a crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. The chicken should be cooked through and the rice should be soft. There will be extra liquid in the crockpot; do not drain.
2.    Remove the chicken breasts from the crockpot and allow to cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot.
3.    When rice and chicken are done cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and let the mixture bubble for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the whole milk until a thick, creamy mixture forms. Stir in the wine.
4.    Add this to the rice and chicken in the crockpot and stir to combine. Add extra water or milk to adjust the consistency as you like it. Season with additional salt and pepper.
The poultry seasoning is a mix of several things, including thyme and sage. Even though it's only a teaspoon, do not omit this because it adds a lot of the flavor. If you don't have any, just use any other herb seasonings that you like. Thyme and sage are the best in my opinion.