Piña Colada Chicken

When I first moved to South Boston I frequented a Mexican Place up the hill from my place called Salsa’s. The first time I was there I ordered the Piña Colada Chicken and never looked back. I love the taste of coconut and this dish was the perfect combination of creamy coconut, sweet pineapple, just a touch of spice, and texture from the addition of slivered almonds.  You can imagine how devastated I was when Salsa’s closed its doors for good last year.  Although I’ll never be able to completely mimic the taste of my beloved Piña Colada Chicken (I’m sure it was loaded with fat and sugar anyways), this version is healthy, delicious, and simple to prepare with the help of the crock pot. Serve with brown rice (we added cilantro and lime to ours) and a vegetable for a complete meal.

IMG_2696

Piña Colada Chicken

Ingredients  

  • 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 can (14 oz.) light coconut milk
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups diced pineapple
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Combine chicken thighs, coconut milk, onion, pineapple, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro in crock pot. Set on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  2. Once the chicken is done cooking, turn off crock pot and add in lime juice.
  3. To serve, remove chicken and pineapple from crock pot. Spoon the desired amount of sauce on top and sprinkle almonds and coconut on top.

Weekly Meal Plan #1!

The name “What I Ate This Week” was starting to sound very conceited to me, so we are going with another name for now. Anyways, here is the meal plan last week. It is very rare for me to go out to dinner 2 nights in 1 week, but we had a snow day thrown in the mix which threw things off. There were also a disproportionate number of traditional Irish-American meals thrown in because of St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s how the week went:

Sunday: Rosemary Lemon Chicken Thighs with Mashed Potatoes and Pickled Cabbage

Michael actually made most of this dinner since I was working until 6 and then we were rushing to catch a movie at 7:45 (which we missed by the way. It’s okay though because there was an 8:20 showing). We used the recipe linked above but used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead. The mashed potatoes were made a healthier by using 1% milk and a small amount of Earth Balance “butter”. You are probably thinking that pickled cabbage is a weird choice of a side, but we had a half a head of purple cabbage in the fridge that we seriously needed to get rid of. I love pickling my own vegetables, and they look so beautiful in their jars!

Monday: Shepard’s Pie

I saved some of the mashed potatoes from Sunday night’s meal to top this Shepard’s pie off with, which made it much easier to put together. This served as dinner and lunch for me, Michael, and his co-worker the next day!

shep pie

Tuesday: Out to dinner!

Michael was staying in a hotel Tuesday night because of the snow storm we had in Boston. Since the gym closed early, I was able to join him! I spent the day drinking lattes and doing work in the hotel lobby, enjoying some wine and cheese, and going out for dinner at J.M. Curley’s downtown. I got a grass-fed burger with a side salad and possibly a beer or two.

Wednesday: Brussels Sprout Pizza with Goat Cheese

We decided we wanted to try out Brussels sprout pizza after seeing a Hello Fresh delivery at our friends’ apartment in New York. I love experimenting with pizza toppings and love Brussels sprouts and goat cheese, so this was a perfect new combo to try! As usual, I made a homemade whole wheat pizza crust to serve as the base.

Thursday: Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

As you may recall from my last post, I prepped this meal on Monday so it was ready to throw on the crock pot when I left for work in the morning. Corned beef may not be the healthiest protein choice, but it was paired with plenty of vegetables including parsnips, carrots, onion, and cabbage.

corned beef

Friday: St. Patrick’s Day!

No cooking on Friday. Instead, I was out with some friends drinking Guinness and eating nachos! Balance, my friends.

Saturday: Lasagna

St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Southie is nuts. I had intended on going grocery shopping on Saturday but quickly realized that if I moved my car I wouldn’t be able to find a parking spot until Monday. Luckily, I always keep some pantry staples like jarred tomatoes and pasta in my cabinet! I had some leftover ricotta and mozzarella cheese too so I decided to throw a lasagna together. I didn’t follow any sort of recipe, just layered cooked lasagna noodles with a quick tomato sauce, parmesan/mozzarella cheese, and dollops of reduced fat ricotta and baked for about 45 minutes.

1 Hour of Food Prep

I’m not one to set aside time on Sunday to do food prep for the week. Instead, every time I make dinner I try to utilize the time as best as possible and prep as much food as I can in the time that I have. Earlier this week I decided to document just how much you can accomplish in one hour when you’re focused and have a plan! Full disclosure, I gave myself an hour and 10 minutes to prep all this food so I could take some time to take pictures. Here’s what I prepped:

-I started off browning lean ground beef for shepard’s pie. We were having it for dinner that night and it needed time in the oven to cook, so preparing the beef and vegetables was the top priority. Once the beef was cooked through I set it aside on a plate.

beef

-Next I chopped and sautéed the vegetables for the shepard’s pie. I added the meat, broth, and other ingredients back into the sauté pan and let it simmer for a while.

veggies

-While the vegetables were cooking, I grabbed a gallon bag filled with vegetable scraps to make homemade vegetable broth. I let it simmer for the remainder of the hour.

broth1

-Afterwards, I mixed up some whole wheat Irish soda bread muffins and poured them into muffin tins. They needed to some to bake in the oven so I wanted to make sure they were prepped before I started my next endeavor.

-Once the beef and vegetables were done simmering, I put together the shepard’s pie. We had mashed potatoes the night before so all I needed to do was spray a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray, spread the meat and vegetable mixture on the bottom, and top with the leftover mashed potatoes. The shepard’s pie and muffins went in the oven at the same time.

shep pie

-Crock pot corned beef and cabbage was on the meal plan this week too (can you sense a pattern…?), so I wanted to get the meat and vegetables ready. That way, I could just throw the crock pot on in the morning and head to work.

crock pot

And that was 1 hour! I was able to make 2 dinners, vegetable broth, and muffins for breakfast throughout the week! Not to mention, both dinners that I prepped were also lunches for the next day!

 

 

What I Ate Last Week #9

I really need to think of a better name for these posts. Ideas? Anyways, here are the meals we ate for dinner last week!

Sunday- Enchilada Casserole

I’ve been making this casserole for a few years now. I usually leave out the tortilla chips because I think it tastes just fine without them. For people looking for a meatless meal option that still includes some protein, this recipe is for you. We had a ton of leftovers, so this ended up being lunch for a few days too!

Monday- Chicken Rollatini with Spinach alla Parmesan with a side salad

chicken rollatini

I love making chicken rollatini because it looks fancy but is actually very simple to make. I had spinach in the fridge that was on its last leg, so cooking it and hiding it in this recipe was a great way to use it up. Even with the spinach incorporated into the rollatini, I needed a little more veggie power so a side salad rounded out the meal.

Tuesday- Clean Eating Fish Tacos

This is typically a recipe I make in the summer, but we had a whole bunch of purple cabbage in the fridge and I knew a slaw would be the easiest way to use some of it up. As you can probably tell, nothing goes to waste in our house! Unlike the famous fish tacos in “I Love You, Man”, the tortillas are not made in house.  I really like Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran, and Whole Wheat Tortillas.

Wednesday- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Whole wheat pasta is not hard to find, but at the local Stop and Shop there is really only whole wheat ziti and spaghetti. I made a special trip to Wegman’s the weekend before and was delighted to find a large variety of whole wheat pasta available like farfalle and orzo! We had slowly been accumulating the ends of our loafs of bread, which we throw in the freezer to save. To use them up, I made croutons for the pasta salad! Again, never let anything go to waste! This recipe is good for dinner, but would also make a great side to bring to a BBQ once summer rolls around (which can’t be soon enough- I’m typing this as a blizzard is going on outside).

Thursday- Baked Quinoa Chicken Parm

Thursday’s dinner was a breeze because we had quinoa chicken parm in the freezer from when we made it a couple weeks ago! All we had to do was pop it in the oven and enjoy!

 Friday- Veggies Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

veggie burgers

Veggies burgers are another great meatless meal option. I’m not a huge fan of the frozen veggie burgers you get at the grocery store, but love homemade versions! I served them on top of whole wheat buns and with a side of homemade sweet potato fries

Mediterranean Rice Muffins

Mediterranean Rice Muffins

Makes 20 muffins

rice muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 3 oz. sundried tomatoes
  • 4 oz. sliced olives
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease 20 cupcake tins.
  2. Dry the artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers by pressing in between paper towel.  Chop artichoke hearts and pepper.
  3. Combine artichokes, roasted red pepper, sundried tomatoes, olives, cooked rice, yogurt, feta cheese, and eggs in large bowl. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour mixture into cupcake tins and bake covered with foil for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 5.
  5. Remove, let cool for a few minutes, and serve. Leftovers can be frozen in a Ziplock bag.

What I Ate Last Week #8

Hey guys! Here’s what was on the meal plan last week:

Monday- Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella with Greek Yogurt Coleslaw

rollatini

I’m not a huge fan of just plain chicken breast, so I need to jazz it up a little. I like these rollatinis because they’re easy to make and sneak in an extra dose of vegetables. I had coleslaw mix leftover from last week, so I made Greek yogurt coleslaw to serve on the side. Greek yogurt is such a versatile ingredient, and made this coleslaw so creamy!

Tuesday- Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo with Shrimp with Raw Pralines

gumbo

Last Tuesday was Fat Tuesday! We celebrated New Orleans style but without all the sugar and fat. The gumbo was easy to put together with the help of the crock pot. Normal pralines with loaded with sugar and butter, but these were sweetened with dates and a little bit of honey, and got their creaminess from coconut oil and peanut butter. This is definitely not a low calorie dessert, but delicious and lower in saturated fat and free from refined sugars.

Wednesday- Portillo’s Chopped Salad

I’ve only had a real Portillo’s Chopped Salad once when I was visiting Chicago, but I’ve made this salad over and over again. It’s perfect for summer time, but since it has been so warm I decided to make it last week. I made the recipe a little healthier by using turkey bacon and whole wheat pasta.

Thursday- Mediterranean Rice Muffins

rice muffins

Recipe coming soon!

Friday- Sushi

Michael was at a bachelor party for the weekend, so I picked up sushi and a pint of Halo Top ice cream from Whole Foods and called it a night!

What I Ate Last Week #7

Sunday- Mediterranean Roasted Red Pepper Pizza with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

We made this pizza using this homemade whole wheat pizza dough. I don’t have a picture because as I was putting it in the oven, I accidentally dropped the pizza stone and half the toppings fell onto the stove door. We were able to salvage most of the pizza, but the results didn’t exactly look great. Still tasted good though!

Monday- Baked Quinoa and Chicken Parmesan with Green Beans

I’ve been making this recipe for years now and still love it. The recipe makes a ton of food, so I baked half and froze the other half.

Tuesday- Crock Pot Apple Cider Pulled Chicken and Apple Slaw over a Baked Sweet Potato

apple-chicken

I still had apple juice leftover from a recipe I made the week before, so I used the rest for this chicken. I liked it, but didn’t love it. I made sandwiches with the leftover chicken and slaw all week.

Wednesday- Beef and Barley Soup

There was some frozen beef and barley soup leftover from a few weeks ago, so since I was working late I brought it to heat up during my break. Cook once, eat twice!

Thursday- Baked Falafel with Hummus, Tzatziki, Veggies, and Pita

mezze

Falafel is typically an unhealthy “healthy” food, meaning people think it’s a nutritious choice but it’s typically high in fat and calories. This falafel is baked instead of fried, making it a much better choice! I decided to make it a sort of “mezze” plate with a bunch of different veggies and dips!

Friday/Saturday- out in New York!

Healthy Eating is about balance, right? We were off in New York for the weekend celebrating our friends’ engagement and had my fair share of pizza, beers, and bagels (whole wheat though!).

Apple Crisp Baked Oatmeal

This baked oatmeal is so good it could pass as apple crisp (hence the name). I had some leftover apple juice in the fridge, so instead of sweetening this oatmeal with honey or sugar I used the apple juice. This recipe is perfect to make ahead of time and eat throughout the week.

apple-crisp-baked-oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 3 apples
  • 4 tsp. cinnamon (divided)
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 ½ cup apple juice
  • 3 eggs, whisked in small bowl
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Core and chop the apples into bite sized pieces and place into a large bowl. Toss with 1 tsp. of cinnamon. Pour apples into the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes until apples are soft.
  3. While apples are cooking, combine oats, walnuts, raisins, and baking powder in the bowl. Stir to combine. Add in milk, apple juice, eggs, and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  4. Pour oat mixture over apples and spread evenly. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until oatmeal has set.

What I Ate Last Week #6

I can’t believe I’ve already done 6 of these posts! I know some of you are getting good recipe ideas from them, so I’ll keep going!

Sunday- Chicken and Dumplings

dumpling

Chicken and dumplings can be high in fat and refined carbs, but this recipe doesn’t include any butter and uses whole wheat flour. I also used my homemade vegetable broth to make it lower in sodium (and to save money and reduce food waste)!

Monday- Indian Spiced Lamb Burgers with Roasted Grapes and Carrots

turkey-burgers

This was a delicious, perfectly spiced meal! Turkey burgers are a staple in our house, so it was nice to mix it up with lamb this week.

Tuesday- Valentine’s Day Cheese Plate!

valentines-day

We decided to go out to dinner on Friday instead of on Valentine’s Day, but still wanted to do something special. I put together a cheese board with cheddar, goat, and blue cheese, prosciutto and soppressata, Nut Thin Crackers, bread, dates, dried apricots, and chocolate covered almonds. I made some apple chia jam to pair with the cheese as well. To finish it off we enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries and clementines.

Wednesday- Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto and Roasted Grape Tomatoes

pesto-pasta

We had a lot of parsley in our fridge, so instead of doing the classic basil pesto I went with parsley. The roasted grape tomatoes give it a bit of sweetness and juiciness.

Thursday- Cajun Red Beans and Rice

red-beans-and-rice

Michael and I took a trip to New Orleans a couple years ago and fell in love with the food and culture there.  A lot of the food there is very rich, but this this recipe is low in fat and filled with vegetables.

Friday- Out to Dinner

Michael and I ate at Bricco in the North End. We shared an arugula salad with burrata with bread and oil to start. I got the brodetto (like a seafood stew) and Michael got the veal valdostana. We ended the night at Café Vittoria with some gelato and cannolis.

Saturday- Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos

chickpea-tacos-rotate

I made the recipe above but without the cabbage or jalapeno. It was a nice twist on your typical meat filled taco.

Have a great week!

Indian Spiced Lamb Burgers

There is a restaurant in South Boston that has the best Greek-style lamb burgers that we go to time and time again. I knew I could never recreate those to perfection, so I decided to make an Indian spiced burger instead. These will not disappoint- very flavorful with just the right amount of spice. I served mine alongside these roasted carrots and grapes. Enjoy!

turkey-burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • Dash pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

For the cilantro- yogurt sauce:

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded cucumber

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Form into 4 equal sized patties.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan and place on stove over medium-high heat. Place burgers in pan and cook about 5-6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  3. For the sauce: add ingredients to bowl and stir.
  4. Serve burgers on whole wheat hamburger buns or English muffins. Top with cilantro-yogurt sauce.