Slender Fried Chicken

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Hello Readers!!

It’s getting cold! At least where I am… I’m up in Michigan, and today we have a wind chill of -18°F. Burrrrrr! That makes today a good day to stay inside and keep warm.

Luckily, you can make yourself a tasty dinner without going out in the cold. You only need a few ingredients for this fried chicken, and it’s HEALTHY too!

It’s perfect for kids, picky eaters, and anyone who loves fried chicken but also likes to eat healthy. My boyfriend and I have this about once a week because it’s healthy,cheap, quick, and easy!

I like to dip mine in barbecue sauce (not the healthiest choice, I know), but try dipping them in my healthy honey mustard. It’s just as good and is all natural.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks or strips
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sauce for dipping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat your olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk your egg in a small bowl.
  3. Spread your flour out on a cookie sheet or plate, giving yourself enough room for coating the chicken.
  4. Dip each chunk of chicken in the egg and then coat it in flour.
  5. Gently set it in your olive oil. Be careful! The oil might splatter, and it’ll be hot!
  6. Once all the chicken is in the pan, let it fry for about 5 minutes until it gets crispy and golden brown, then flip it for another 5 minutes.
  7. To make sure it’s fully cooked, you can use a meat thermometer and make sure the chicken reaches 165°F.
  8. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and put the pieces on a plate lined with paper towels. This will help soak up any extra oil and keep your breading from getting soggy.
  9. Salt and pepper your chicken the way you like.
  10. Let it cool a little bit, and serve with your favorite sauce!

Just writing this is making me want some chicken! I like to eat mine with a  sweet potato and green beans. Yum! It’s the perfect balanced meal: healthy fats, lean protein, complex carbs, and veggies.

Enjoy! Let me know how you like it and what you like to dip your chicken in.

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Slender Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas

¡Hola!

Last night I feasted on a delicious chicken quesadilla that had whole grain, veggies, and lean protein. With Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and no cheese, it’s sure to keep you slender! If you’re really craving cheese, just add a little; don’t go overboard!

Normally, a quesadilla would include flour tortillas loaded with cheese and topped with sour cream – not exactly the healthiest dinner idea. But I’ve slenderized it for you! You can still indulge in a tasty meal without any guilt.

This is a quick and easy recipe, so if you don’t have a lot of time or energy, no worries!

I have a quesadilla maker, but you could easily make these on the stove. Here’s how:

Ingredients:

(for one quesadilla)

  • Olive oil
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 whole wheat tortilla shells
  • 1/2 cup peppers & onions (can be frozen or fresh)
  • Plain nonfat Greek yogurt, salsa, guacamole (optional)
  • Cheese (optional, only if you must have it)

Directions:

  1. Lightly oil a pan with olive oil and warm it over medium heat.
  2. Grill chicken breast until fully cooked (temperature reaches 165°F)
  3. Salt and pepper chicken breast to taste.
  4. Cut up chicken into bite-sized pieces or shred it if possible.
  5. If using a quesadilla maker, plug it in and get it warm. If using a pan on the stove, get the pan warmed up. Do NOT use any oil. You don’t want soggy tortillas.
  6. Put down one tortilla shell and evenly spread the chicken, peppers, and onions. Put the other tortilla shell on top.

    Chicken quesadilla

    Frozen peppers and onions don’t have to be warmed up ahead of time. They will thaw and heat as the tortillas brown.

  7. Again, if using the quesadilla maker, just follow the directions for it (you won’t need to flip it). If using the stove, let each side of the quesadila brown up (you’ll have to flip it at least once to see how it’s browning).
  8. Once the tortillas are nice and toasted, set the quesadilla on a plate and let it cool a few minutes before cutting.
  9. Top with Greek yogurt, guacamole, or salsa.

This is by far my favorite dinner recipe, as well as my boyfriend’s. It’s just so quick, easy, and delicious. And the best part is, it’s healthy too!!

¡Adios!

Time for Something New: Recipe Makeovers!

Hello Readers!!

I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted! I’ve been so busy.. I know, excuses excuses, right? Well, I’m trying to make more time for blogging because I really don’t want to quit! I want to keep writing and sharing with all of you.

Lately, it’s been hard for me to find the time to experiment and make new recipes. So, I think it’s time for something new! I’m going to start doing some easy recipe makeovers for you!

I’m currently working two jobs, and my boyfriend works full time. We rarely have time to sit down and have a nice meal together, so lots of our recipes have to be quick, cheap, and easy to make. Well, unfortunately, quick, cheap, and easy foods are usually highly processed frozen meals, boxed mixes, or other unhealthy foods. I’ve been trying my best to make our meals healthy while still keeping them cheap, quick, and easy.

Most of my recipe makeovers just swap a few not-so-healthy ingredients for healthier ones. These makeovers aren’t really my recipes; rather, they are someone else’s, and I’ve just made a few substitutions. I haven’t done a recipe makeover in a few days, but I’ll post each time we have a made-over meal.

If you have any ideas for recipes I can makeover, let me know in the comments below! I’m always looking for new ideas; even Pinterest leaves me wanting more!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Monday Munchies: Clean Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

sweet potato fries

Ingredients:

(For 6 servings)

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1.5 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cut potatoes into french fries, leaving peels on.
  3. Toss potatoes and oil in a large bowl until evenly coated.
  4. Put fries on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
  5. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, turning fries after 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven.
  8. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

Clean Zucchini Poppers Recipe

zucchini poppers

Ingredients:

(For 24 poppers)

  • 1 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of pepper

Directions:

  1. Put zucchini and carrot into food processor and pulse until it is finely grated (or grate them both by hand).
  2. Pour zucchini and carrot onto a paper towel and blot moisture off as much as possible.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine zucchini and carrot mixture, onion, flaxseed, egg, and all spices.
  4. Stir until completely combined.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  6. Make small balls of zucchini mixture and place them on a GREASED cookie sheet. They’ll stick like crazy if you don’t use enough oil.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  8. Let cool slightly before serving, and enjoy!

These are a great side to a clean turkey burger, a perfect afternoon snack, or a delicious appetizer when dipped in clean marinara sauce!

Clean Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe

mashed potatoes

Ingredients:

(For 2 servings)

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Using a fork or knife, poke holes all over the sweet potatoes.
  2. Set potatoes on a paper towel in the microwave and cook them for about 8 minutes (or until soft).
  3. Leave them setting in microwave for about 5 minutes to allow them to cool off a bit.
  4. Cut potatoes into large chunks (including skins) and put them in food processor.
  5. Add honey, almond milk, and cinnamon.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Serve warm.

These taste more like dessert than a side dish! If you want a creamier result, add more milk a little bit at a time. I ate these for dinner with a clean turkey burger, and I’m very very very satisfied!

Substitutions to Make Almost Any Recipe Clean

Like I’ve mentioned many times, eating clean isn’t always easy. Many recipes call for ingredients that aren’t clean, like white flour, sugar, butter, and cream. Lots of our favorite comfort foods are full of unhealthy fats and sugars, so they are hard to make clean. Even though not all recipes can be made clean, many can! With these recipe substitutions, you can learn how to clean up almost any recipe.

Ground turkey for ground beef. Lean and extra lean ground turkey can be used in place for ground beef, reducing your fat intake.

Plain nonfat Greek yogurt for mayonnaise or sour cream. Greek yogurt tastes almost exactly the same, but has no fat, and has protein.

Whole wheat flour for white (all purpose) flour. Since whole wheat flour is more dense, use 7/8 cup of whole wheat flour for every cup of all purpose flour in a recipe.

Olive oil for vegetable oil. Olive oil is natural and has a high dose of healthy fats.

Unsweetened applesauce for sugar. Use the same amount of applesauce as you would sugar, but reduce the liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup for each cup of applesauce used.

Crushed flaxseed for breadcrumbs. Flaxseed is full of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

Rolled oats for breadcrumbs. If you don’t have any flaxseed, oats add extra fiber too.

Avocado puree for butter. Replace those unhealthy fats with beneficial ones.

Mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes. Get an extra serving of veggies while cutting back on starchy carbs from potatoes. Just don’t add all the butter and gravy like you would on potatoes.

Mashed banana for butter. Avoid the fat in butter, and add an extra serving of fruit instead!

Cacao nibs for chocolate chips. If you can handle the bitter taste of 100% cacao, go for it!

Whole wheat pasta for white pasta. Add extra fiber and avoid processed carbs by making this switch.

Nuts and seeds for croutons. Instead of using processed croutons on your salad, add nuts or seeds instead. You’ll get the same crunch, but with added nutrients.

Pureed fruit for syrup and jelly. Fruit is naturally sweet and flavorful, so add it to your pancakes, toast, waffles, and biscuits to naturally sweeten them up!

Honey for sugar. Just use half the amount of honey that you would sugar.

Spinach leaves for iceberg lettuce. Even though iceberg lettuce is clean, spinach has way more vitamins and minerals!

Homemade bread for store-bought. Make your own whole wheat bread, biscuits, and tortillas instead of buying them at the store. The hard part is finding a good recipe and making sure your baked goods get eaten before they get moldy.

Fresh fruit for store-bought fruit juice. Juice at the store can hardly be called juice; it’s mostly processed sugar!

Fresh fruit for canned fruit. Canned fruit can be full of preservatives and sugar, especially if it’s canned in syrup.

Spices for condiments. When adding flavor to your food, don’t reach for processed ketchup, barbecue sauce, or dressings. Use spices to enhance your food. My favorites are cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper.

Quinoa for rice. Quinoa is a complete protein, has lots of fiber, and is full of nutrients.

Peanut Butter Exposed

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is good for you, right? Not necessarily. Peanut butter is full of healthy fats and protein, but most kinds have added sugars, oils, and salt.

I love peanut butter. LOVE it. I’d live off the stuff if I wouldn’t die from malnutrition. I eat peanut butter like it’s going out of style, and I’d marry it if I could.

But, a few months ago, I realized that almost all the peanut butters at the store, even all natural and organic brands, have more ingredients than just peanuts. Desperate to get to the bottom of peanut butter’s dirty little secret, I did some digging to find out which kinds are healthiest and which ones won’t break the bank.

I went to Meijer today, and took notes over all 11 different brands of peanut butters labeled “all natural” or “organic.” I probably looked like a crazy person standing in the aisle for a good 15 minutes with a little notebook writing down all the brands, prices, and ingredients, but it was worth it to find out which peanut butter is best for eating clean.

I graded each peanut butter on two criteria for a healthiness score: number of ingredients and NuVal score. (The NuVal System measures the nutritional quality of foods and scores them from 0 to 100). The fewer ingredients, the higher the grade. The higher the NuVal score, the higher the grade. I weighted the grade for ingredients twice as much as the NuVal Score since clean eating is all about eating whole foods.

For example, Skippy Natural Peanut Butter has four ingredients, earning it a 70%. It has a NuVal score of 16/100, or 16%. To calculate Skippy’s final grade, I added 2(0.7) + 0.16 = 1.56, and then divided 1.56/3 = 0.52 or 52%.

Below is a list (from highest to lowest healthiness score) of the 11 kinds of natural or organic peanut butter I found at Meijer. Just a reminder that these prices are based on Meijer’s regular pricing and might be different depending on stores or sales.

And finally, the results you’ve been waiting for!

83% Krema Natural Peanut Butter

  • 1 Ingredient (peanuts)
  • NuVal Score: 49
  • Price: $3.49

75% Meijer Natural Peanut Butter

  • 1 Ingredient (roasted peanuts)
  • NuVal Score: 24
  • Price: $2.99

67% Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter

  • 2 Ingredients (peanuts, salt)
  • NuVal Score: 22
  • Price: $3.29

54% Planter’s Natural Peanut Butter

  • 4 Ingredients (roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt)
  • NuVal Score: 23
  • Price: $2.69

54% MaraNatha Organic Peanut Butter

  • 4 Ingredients (dry roasted organic peanuts, organic palm oil, organic unrefined cane sugar, sea salt)
  • NuVal Score: 23
  • Price: $5.99

53% Peter Pan 100% Natural Peanut Butter

  • 4 Ingredients (roasted peanuts, sugar, fractionated palm oil, salt)
  • NuVal Score: 18
  • Price: $2.79

53% Meijer Organic Peanut Butter

  • 4 Ingredients (dry roasted organic peanuts, organic palm oil, organic pure cane sugar, sea salt)
  • NuVal Score: 18
  • Price: $3.99

52% Skippy Natural Peanut Butter

  • 4 Ingredients (roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt)
  • NuVal Score: 16
  • Price: $3.19

48% Smart Balance All Natural Rich Roast Peanut Butter

  • 5 Ingredients (peanuts, dried cane syrup, natural oil blend, salt, molasses)
  • NuVal Score: 25
  • Price: $3.49

47% Jif Natural Peanut Butter

  • 5 Ingredients (peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt, molasses)
  • NuVal Score: 20
  • Price: $2.99

41% Simply Jif Peanut Butter

  • 6 Ingredients (peanuts, fully hydrogenated vegetable oil, mono & diglycerides, molasses, sugar, salt)
  • NuVal Score: 23
  • Price: $2.99

To sum up, if you’re looking for the healthiest peanut butter for clean eating, Krema takes the cake! Scoring 83%, this peanut butter knocks the others out of the water. Simply Jif is the least healthy on this list.

If you’re looking for the lowest price on natural peanut butter, Planter’s is for you! It only beats the others by a few quarters, but it can add up. Avoid MaraNatha if you’re on a budget; $5.99 a jar is a bit pricey.

Now that you’ve got the real facts, you can make a wise choice about your peanut butter. The lesson of the story is, always read the ingredients label. I can’t stress that enough. And now that I’ve got you craving peanut butter, go have a spoonful or two!

Clean Tortilla Chip Recipe

Clean tortilla chips

Ingredients:

Directions:

In a frying pan, heat a tiny amount of olive oil on medium heat. If using a non-stick pan, you don’t really need olive oil. Cut tortilla shell into bite-size chip pieces. Place tortilla pieces in pan, not overlapping. It might take a few batches to heat all the chips. Heat the pieces for about 45 seconds, then flip them over and heat for another 45 seconds. Watch them carefully; they will turn brown fast! Only heat them until they are crisp and turn golden brown. Allow the chips to cool on a flat surface, and enjoy them with some clean guacamole or black bean & corn salsa!

Clean Guacamole Recipe

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 small tomato (or ½ large tomato)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped red onion
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of pepper

Directions:

Pit avocado and put in medium-sized mixing bowl. Mash it until smooth. Dice the tomato, and add to the avocado. Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well. (You can always add more to your desire).

Store guacamole in the fridge, but be sure to eat it before it turns brown. I like to use guacamole as a condiment, and I add it to lots of foods to get my healthy fats. Try them with some clean tortilla chips!

If you don’t know how to pit an avocado, watch this helpful video: