Tag Archives: salad

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

21 Jun

Without question, the combination of fresh mozzarella, plump tomatoes, and fragrant basil is divine.  Caprese salad is the quintessential summer salad; summer being the peak season for each component.  It is refreshing and satisfying without weighing you down. 

What better recipe to share for the first day of summer than a chicken dish inspired by this delightful salad?   

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 4 slices of fresh mozzarella
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, diced
  • 2 Tbsp pesto
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice chicken breasts open on the side so that a nice, long pocket forms.

Cover the interior of the chicken breast with one tablespoon of pesto.  I used Buitoni.

Next, slice the mozzarella and dice the basil. 

Insert one slice of mozzarella and one tablespoon of basil into each chicken breast.  Season the exterior of the breasts with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Sear the breasts for one minute per side then cook the breasts on a greased baking sheet for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top each breast with about two tablespoons of tomato sauce.  Cook for another 15 minutes and then top the chicken with a slice or two of mozzarella.  Cook for another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

This dish was so flavorful!  The pesto on the interior of the chicken breast added so much to the dish but the true star of the show was the mozzarella.  It was perfect melted both on top and inside the chicken.  I’ll definitely be making this dish again!

Have you ever had caprese salad?  Do you have any derivations from the traditional recipe?

Up and at ’em

7 Jun

After a rather busy and productive weekend, I threw myself into this week with the same vigor.  At 6:15 yesterday morning my alarm woke me out of a deep slumber to remind me it was time to workout.  So workout I did.  I went to the gym in our building and pounded out 3.25 miles in about 30 minutes. 

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet, but this weekend I’m running a 10K.  It’s been about a year since I ran a race so I’m a little rusty but I couldn’t say no to the NY Mini 10K.  This year will mark the third year I’ve run this race, in just as many years.  It’s a women’s only race which always pumps me up!  And the course is beautiful.  Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll have good weather!

Shortly after getting ready for the day, I whipped up a fantastic breakfast smoothie.

In the mix:

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 organic frozen strawberries

I’ve been using Wild Harvest organic strawberries for most of my smoothies lately and I have to say I love them!  They are huge so only a few make a big difference and they create the creamiest smoothies!  I need to replenish my stock, pronto.

For lunch, I went with an old classic; a salad.  After weekend of lots of carbs and cheese, fresh veggies were just the thing my body needed.

Today’s salad included:

  • Baby spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Egg whites
  • Roasted chicken
  • Fat free honey dijon dressing

And I also munched on a delightful fruit salad. 

I’m so glad summer’s here because I’m so ready for copious amounts of fresh fruit!

One problem with being out of town is that it doesn’t leave me time to grocery shop!  So for yesterday’s snack, I decided to try a free protein bar I got when I joined the gym.  One of the samples they gave me was the Iced Oatmeal Blueberry dotBAR.

The stats are fairly decent albeit a little high in calories, but 15 grams of protein is something I can get behind.  The ingredient list was a little long for my liking but it was free, so why not?

Ordinarily a blueberry flavored protein bar is not something I’d buy myself.  If I eat a bar, I usually opt for the peanut butter chocolate variety.  And after trying this sample, it confirmed that I should stick with what I like.  This flavor was just not good.  It smelled vaguely of blueberries but didn’t taste like much of anything.  I did like the texture as it reminded me of cookie dough but that was about the only good thing.  I will not be buying these for myself.

When I got home for work, I had a very pleasant surprise waiting for me…

… a new refrigerator!  Our last one started making really loud noises so after discussing it with the landlord, she went ahead and bought us a new one.  There are lots of perks to renting 🙂

Dinner was super quick since we were low on pretty much everything.  I made some ground beef tacos with homemade taco seasonings.

For dessert I had a handful of chocolate chips and some warm, cinnamon milk to help me knock me out.  I need all the sleep I can get, haha.

Do you like Mondays or do you tend to have the Monday blues?  I’m usually prone to the blues, but this Monday I felt great after working out.  It looks like there is something to working out in the morning after all!

Dessert for Breakfast

25 May

I started the day off on the right foot; I had dessert for breakfast.

Looks like a brownie sundae, right?  Well, it’s probably the healthiest sundae I’ve ever eaten.  For the “brownie” part, I made a chocolate protein muffin a la Smoothie Girl Eats Too.  This recipe is seriously great.  The “brownie” always comes out moist and chocolatey!  The only change I made was to add a boatload of cinnamon.  I love that stuff.

Now, the “ice cream” part was none other than greek yogurt ice cream.  I mixed 3/4 cup of plain greek yogurt with about 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk and 10 drops of vanilla stevia.  Then, I poured the whole mixture over my “brownie”, dressed it with some fresh organic blueberries, and dug in.  This breakfast sure made for a sweet morning.

On the way into work, Alex and I passed a group of Jamba Juice employees passing out new samples of their natural energy drinks.  I ended up with the Pomegranate Blueberry flavor.  The nutrition facts aren’t too bad as the ingredients appear to be real food.  What I don’t love about the stats is the high sugar content.  Most fruit juices have a large amount of sugar.  I usually don’t drink anything besides water, herbal teas, and the occasional glass of wine for that reason.

But, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to try it.  In truth, I didn’t really like it.  The first sip wasn’t so bad but by the third or fourth sip all I could taste was the sugar.  The drink had a very strong berry flavor and left a strange aftertaste.  I highly doubt I’ll drink it again, even if it’s another free sample.

Moving right along to lunch.  Today I ordered another salad!

Shocking, I know, but seriously salads are such a great way to eat lots of veggies.  And since I’m going away for a few days, I’m not sure how many veggies I’ll be consuming in the near future.  Today’s salad included:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Green peas
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Grilled chicken
  • Egg whites
  • Low fat tex mex ranch dressing

It was delicious and protein packed 🙂

When snack time rolled around, I had one thing on my mind.  Another protein muffin.

Seriously.  So good.  Have I mentioned that?!

And I also had some fruit salad…

After work I headed to the gym for another Chisel class.  Tonight’s class was taught by a great instructor.  She’s only a sub so I’m never sure when I’ll get to see her but I’m glad I made her class tonight.  She made us work!

For dinner, I knew I needed something protein packed to refuel and it also had to be quick.  So I made pasta with meat sauce.  It’s the easiest thing to make since PB&J.

First up, I chopped up half an onion and sautéed it over medium heat for about five minutes.  Then I added 1lb organic grass-fed beef and cooked it until the beef browned.  After draining the fat, I added about 1 to 2 cups of tomato sauce and cooked it on low until it was heated all the way through.  Meanwhile I prepared some whole wheat pasta and steamed broccoli.  It was ready in less than 20 minutes and it was darn tasty!

Now I’m snacking on a small bowl of Kashi GoLean, almond milk, and blueberries.  I’m heading to bed very soon since we’ve got an extra early wake up call tomorrow!  See you from North Carolina!

Have you ever had dessert for breakfast?

Jelly Bean Cookies

26 Apr

Today was a great day!  The sun was shining, Alex and I got to sample the menu for our reception, and I got a chance to bake some really fun cookies.

The morning started off like most mornings; with a yummy yogurt parfait.

Today’s parfait included:

  • 6oz of Fage Total 0% greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of Kashi GoLean cereal
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • a sprinkle of granola
  • a healthy spoonful of homemade peanut butter

After breakfast was devoured, Alex and I walked to our respective offices.  It was gorgeous outside!  Spring is most definitely here and I’m more than ready.

At work I plugged away and booked some flights for a couple upcoming trips.  I’m very excited.  There is just so much going on over the next few months!

Eventually, it was lunchtime!

Today’s salad included the following:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Chickpeas
  • Grilled Tuna
  • dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
To be honest, this salad wasn’t so great.  The tuna was very undercooked (as you can probably tell from the picture) and most of it tasted very fishy.  I know that sounds like a dumb thing to say but there is such a thing as fish tasting too much like fish, and that’s what happened today.  Oh well, my next “meal” was pretty awesome!
 
Alex and I got the chance to taste a sample of what we’ll be serving at our reception.  I don’t have any pictures because I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that I think our guests are going to be more than pleased with our choices.  Each day I just get more and more excited about our upcoming wedding!
 
After some much-needed relaxation, I decided to bake some cookies.  Even though I’m 27, I was lucky enough to be visited by the “Easter Bunny” this weekend.  What a coincidence that my mom was visiting this past week, no?!  Included in my goodies was lots and lots of Jelly Belly jellybeans.  I love Jelly Belly’s!  If I’m not careful, I can eat my weight in jellybeans, haha.  As I was munching away this weekend, I thought it might be fun to make something with the jellybeans.  Insert Jelly Bean Cookies here!
 
 
These cookies did not disappoint!  The jellybeans added so many fun flavors and the dough was soft and buttery.  If you’re looking for a way to use up the rest of your jellybeans, I highly recommend this recipe.  Heck, this recipe is good enough to justify going to buy a new bag of jelly beans!
 

Jelly Bean Cookies
(adapted from razzledazzle recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup jelly beans

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix butter and both sugars in a large bowl until smooth & creamy.
  3. Stir in egg, baking soda, baking powder, salt & vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Stir in flour & oats. Mix well.
  5. Stir in jelly beans, mix well.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of batter about 2 inches apart on a GREASED sheet.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes and allow a few minutes to cool.
Do you like Jelly Belly jellybeans?  What’s your favorite flavor?  Mine is definitely the sour blueberry.  Makes my mouth pucker every time.  Love it!

 

Lettuce Talk About Lunch

24 Mar

More often than not I eat salad for lunch.  It’s convenient, nutritious, and delicious!  More importantly, by making salad my go-to lunch option I know I’m doing something good for myself by eating a variety of vitamins and minerals.

With all that said, I want to make it clear that I’m not eating some wimpy salad with only lettuce, carrots and a couple tomatoes.  Oh no.  That certainly isn’t going to last me as I number crunch the afternoon away.  (Note the calculator in the picture above <– nerd alert!)

Here are the basics to building a salad that has staying power:

  • Protein – this is a must!  It doesn’t have to be meat, you can easily add grilled tofu or beans for vegetarian or vegan options.
  • Healthy fats – I usually go with avocado because it adds creaminess which means you can use less dressing and it tastes amazing, so why not?  Other good options are nuts.  They add great crunch!
  • Fiber – without getting into too much detail, I think it’s common knowledge as to what fiber does.  But aside from that, fiber helps you feel full longer.  Most vegetables are a great source of fiber but some of the best are avocado, beans, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

Aside from the above, I love to incorporate lots of color.  By including a variety of colors, I know I’m getting a variety of nutrients, flavors, and textures.

One of my favorite places is Chop’t, the Creative Salad Company.  The selection at Chop’t can’t be beat.  In addition to their classic salads that are always on the menu, they rotate three seasonal salads that incorporate ingredients that are currently in season.  You can also create your own salad if none of their pre-designed salads float your boat.

The Chop’t founders have a great vision for their restaurant.

“We’ve always been focused on it’s freshness and quality and made it our mission that only premium, ultra-fresh ingredients would be served at Chop’t.  Nothing processed.  No trans-fat.  No pre-cut or pre-shredded anything.  Just wholesome, delicious, farm-fresh food that would delight, inspire, and nourish.”

I definitely recommend checking out Chop’t if your ever in midtown and looking for a fresh, quick lunch option!  And, no, I wasn’t paid for my review, I just think it’s a great company that I’m happy to support 🙂

What do you usually eat for lunch?  Do you like salads?

Grilled Sirloin Salad

20 Mar

Hi there!  How’s your weekend been?  Mine has been so nice.  It’s been the type of weekend that I need every so often.  The type that allows me to recharge my batteries and take care of some things around the apartment.  Here are some of this weekend’s highlights:

  • Slept in on both Saturday and Sunday
  • Did a killer upper body workout (more details to come!)
  • Baked more cookies (yum!)
  • Caught up on some of my favorite NBC comedies (Parks & Recreation and 30 Rock, naturally)
  • Brainstormed for our wedding (so much fun)
  • Played around with my new Macbook Pro (LOVE)
  • Devoured some vegan french toast
  • And spent some quality time with this guy…

It’s so nice to have a weekend to re-cooperate.  It makes Monday that much more bearable!

Moving onto another fabulous recipe.  This salad is great.  There are so many textures and flavors involved, that it’s sure to please everyone.  Also, it is so easy to pull together.  While the steak cooks on the grill and quinoa cooks on the stove, you can prepare the salad quickly.  It’s also incredibly adaptable.  Feel free to change up the ingredients to suit your liking!

Grilled Sirloin Salad
(adapted from Jillian Michael’s Making the Cut; serves four)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1lb lean boneless sirloin steak, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 8 cups salad greens (I used kale)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients; rub over both sides of steak.  Heat grill to medium-high heat.  (I used my George Foreman.  Love that thing :-))
  2. Once the grill is warm, add steak.  Cook about 4 minutes per side.  Chop steak into thin, bite-sized pieces.
  3. While the steak cooks, prepare quinoa per package instructions.
  4. Meanwhile, as the steak and quinoa cook, prepare your salad.  Massage kale with olive oil.  Add red bell peppers and lemon juice.  Toss to coat.
  5. Top salad with quinoa and steak.  Enjoy!

Give me one highlight from your weekend!