Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lemon-Garlic Chicken

I did it! I made it a little over a week without my Charlie-girl. It helped to stay as busy as possible- being at home was the worst because it just feels like the house is quiet and something is missing. I went up north my first weekend without her and camped (in a tent) for three days with my boyfriend Matt... we competed in a CrossFit competition in Traverse City, hiked the sand dunes and chatted by the campfire. I have not camped since I was really young so I was not that much of an asset to the campsite itself but I tried. 

We made the french pressed coffee too because you have to have coffee :)

After camping last weekend and then BBQs this weekend I need to get my eating back on track. I start work tomorrow so I wanted to make sure I was ready to go home and food-wise. I have plans for this chicken... it'll be on top of a salad for work tomorrow and served with a baked sweet potato for dinner. 

Lemon-Garlic Chicken

- 4 Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts (mine were HUGE so I used 3)
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1/4 Cup Chicken Stock (or dry white wine)
- 1 Lemon (1/3 cup juice)
- Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Place the chicken in a 9x13 glass baking dish. 

2. Juice the lemon, and whisk the remaining ingredients. 

3. Pour over the chicken and bake 35-40 minutes depending on how thick your breasts are. Juices should run clear. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Overnight Oats- Two Ways!

Today starts the longest time I will go without my Charlie-girl. She is heading to North Carolina with her dad and I won't see her for 8 days. It will be so hard-- I know she will have fun, but this part of being divorced never gets easier. I have been on the verge of tears all day. I plan to stay busy though- heading North to Traverse City to compete and camp this weekend, various appointments next week, I will be at the gym a lot, head into work a bit, and I have a HUGE list of things I need to do around the house! I can do it- here we go...

With work starting in a week I am trying to figure out meals for after the gym rushing to work, or just easy things to make in general. I am bringing this camping with me because it also seems like a good thing to eat before a competition- carbs and easy on the stomach- that's what I like. :)

I made these in my mason jars- the one just bigger than the typical "jelly" jar. 

Banana Bread Overnight Oats

(serves 1)

- 1/2 Cup Old-Fashioned Oats (not quick cooking)
- 1/2* Cup Milk (I use just shy of a 1/2 cup because I like mine a little thicker)
- 1/2 Ripe Banana, mashed
- 1 Tbsp Almond Butter
- Dash of Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Tbsp Sliced Almonds
- 1 Tbsp Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

1. Pour everything into a jar or sealable container and shake. 

Let it sit for 6+ hours or overnight. Stir and enjoy hot or cold!

*** Cinnamon Raisin Oats **

(serves 1)

- 1/2 Cup Old-Fashioned Oats (not quick cooking)
- 1/2* Cup Milk (I use just shy of a 1/2 cup because I like mine a little thicker)
- 1 Tbsp Almond Butter
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Maple Syrup
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Tbsp+ Raisins

1. Pour everything into a jar or sealable container and shake. Let it sit for 6+ hours or overnight. Stir and enjoy hot or cold!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Easy Ratatouille

Enjoying my last few mornings home before going back to work... my mom took this picture of her french press coffee, fresh fruit, and one of my granola recipes... tasty breakfast, beautiful morning, why does it have to end? :)

Tis the season for summer vegetables like squash, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. They are cheap, fresh, and everywhere! A lot of ratatouilles have eggplant in them too, but I don't care for it and didn't have any so I omitted it. :) I also cheated with this dish and didn't make my own marinara with my tomatoes or use fresh garlic/onion, but I found a brand of marinara with not much added to it and didn't want to get another pan dirty sautéing onions and garlic. Lazy. I ate this as a side dish to grilled chicken, added some sweet corn that I had left over another day... with a family I assume it won't last more than one meal!

Easy Ratatouille 

- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Yellow Squash
- 1 Bell Pepper
- 3/4 Cup Marinara or Tomato Sauce (check labels for sugar)
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.

1. Using a mandolin (I had mine set to 1/16"), slice the zucchini and squash- if you don't have one just do very thin slices with a knife.

2. Cut the pepper into thin strips. 

3. In a glass baking dish, or pie dish, spread the marinara and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes. Alternating with the zucchini and squash, start on the outside and over lap the slices working your way towards the middle. 

Top with the pepper strips. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Double Chocolate Cookies (nut-free)

Funny thing happened the other day... I was headed to the box, stopped at a light, Charlie was in the back with my phone taking pictures, and a police officer was behind me. My hands are pretty beat-up right now with rips and calluses and I was picking at them while I was driving and stopped- I know, it's gross- but it's become a habit and I have to get the skin off. ;-) When the light turned the officer pulled me over- I was thoroughly confused because I didn't think I had done anything wrong. So when he asked, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" I honestly answered, 'No, actually I don't.' Turns out he thought I was texting and driving because me picking at my hands appeared to look like that. He laughed when I showed him my hands, my child obviously had my phone and said he had never heard that before but believed me. With that it was 'have a good workout' and I was on my way.

Charlie and I also went to Cook's Dairy Farm with my parents this week... cows and ice cream make for a great summer afternoon. :) 

These cookies took me a bit to get right. Cooking with coconut flour is tricky. They are not very sweet so if you need sweet maybe amp up the sugar, or take a risk because you are baking, and add honey. For me they were a perfect treat and went well with my coffee. Tapioca flour is made from the cassava plant and makes baked good chewy and things like pizza dough crisp up- basically it improves the texture of paleo cooking. PLEASE DO NOT substitute coconut flour for it... you will regret that decision when you get a horribly dry, inedible cookie out of the oven. :)

Double Chocolate Cookies

(Makes 16 Cookies)

- 1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
- 3/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, melted
- 1/4 Cup Grass-fed Butter, melted* (I have used coconut oil instead of this and the cookies are fine- just a touch less chewy)
- 3/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/3 Cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips (non-dairy)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1. Whisk the flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, or measuring cup, whisk the eggs, oil, butter, and vanilla. 
3. Slowly pour the wet into the dry ingredients until a glossy, dough is formed. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

4. On a parchment lined baking sheet, drop 1 Tbsp sized balls of dough a couple inches apart. Bake 12-14 minutes. 

 Let them cool before storing in an air-tight container. I like to keep mine in the freezer!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Zucchini "Pasta"- Ravioli and Lasagna!

This summer I didn't get my garden going-- I don't know what happened, just in a funk maybe- but the positive is that I have friends who did! Tomatoes are in season in Michigan right now, so I took a break from swimming to pick some... plus some fresh basil and cucumber! 

I tossed all of them together with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper... doesn't get more fresh than that! The rest of the basil will become pesto. :)

I was reading a few recipes with a favorite summer vegetable, zucchini, and thought instead of my normal preparation of spiralizing it into "zoodles" and making a homemade meat sauce (see my recipe HERE) I should try something different and still pasta-like. (I saw the raviolis as a raw recipe with squash... might be interesting to try??) In both of these dishes the zucchini maintains its al dente texture... mushy veggies... yuck! I used real cheese in my lasagna because I LOVE ricotta... there are some great cashew cheese recipes online if you want to keep it strictly paleo. 
I made both of these dishes with the same pound of ground chicken. If I were making the ravioli for more than two people, I would use the whole pound there and cook separate meat for the lasagna.
I also made my own marinara sauce- this recipe omitting the meat- but you could easily buy it- just read labels! 

Ground Chicken and Spinach

-  1 lb Ground Chicken
- 2 Cups Baby Spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning

1. In a skillet over medium heat, drizzle in a little olive oil. Add the onions and garlic (a pinch of salt and pepper) and cook until translucent. 

2. Add the chicken and cook through, breaking it up as much as possible. Add the seasoning. 

3. Turn off the heat and add the spinach. It will wilt quickly and you're done! 

Zucchini Ravioli Pouches

(makes four pouches- serves 2 adults)

- 1 Large Zucchini
- 1/2 Chicken-Spinach Mixture
- 1 Cup Marinara Sauce 
- Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Preheat the over to 350 Degrees. 

1. Using a vegetable peeler, or the thinnest setting on a mandolin, cut the zucchini into thin strips. 

2. Using 2-3 strip per side, lay them out creating an "X"

3. Place a few tablespoons of the filling in the middle. 

Fold up the bottom, both sides, and then the top. 

Pour a 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a glass baking dish.

Flip and place folded side down the dish. Repeat with the remaining strips- I made four large "pouches"

Top with the remaining sauce

... and with cheese if you want!

Bake 30 minutes. 

Zucchini Lasagna

(Serves 4)

- 1 Large Zucchini
- 12 oz. Part Skim Ricotta
- 10 oz. Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed, squeezed
- 1 Egg
- 2 Cups Marinara 
- 1/2 Chicken-Spinach Mixture Mixture 
- Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. 

1. Using a vegetable peeler, or the thinnest setting on a mandolin, cut the zucchini into thin strips- I used my mandolin on 1/8".

2. Mix the ricotta, spinach and egg together. 

3. Mix the chicken and marinara together

- this should be thick. 

4. In an 8' x 8' baking dish, add 1/4 cup of the meat sauce. Layer with half the zucchini slices. 

top with 1/2 the ricotta mixture

half the remaining meat sauce

repeat one more time

Top with Parmesan if you want... 

bake 30 minutes. Let it cool a little before cutting.