The process of planning out a dinner for the BF and I usually involves 1-3 hours of research, googling, cookbook flipping, blog reading and a substantial amount of quality time spent on allrecipes.com. This will result in a list of 3-6 options with corresponding website links and/or attached photos, which I will then email to the BF for his consideration. If I’m lucky he’ll rule out 1-2 items on the list that aren’t striking his fancy and then leave the final decision up to me. More often than not, he’ll respond that all the items on the list in question look fabulous and that “everything you cook turns out delicious” (LIES!!!!!) and then leave the final decision up to… you guessed it. Moi. This is a little game I like to call For the Love of God Will You Make a Decision, Man, or FTLOGWYMADM, as we say.
I wouldn’t say I’m indecisive. The problem is my decision making abilities are clouded by my gluttonous desire to eat the world once over. When I do finally reach a decision I stick to it with a supernatural stubbornness, but getting to that point can be a wee bit exhausting. Decision making on an empty stomach is horrid after all, and I’ve mentioned a time or five before that bad things happen when I don’t eat.
All I want is a plate full of deliciousness.
A mound of this, perhaps:
After playing our normal round of FTLOGWYMADM and going through the subsequent mental debate, I decided to go with this recipe for Bruschetta Chicken pasta I saw on Iowa Girl Eats. It’s really not much of a recipe, and that makes me love it all the more.
This pièce de résistance of this dish is the balsamic drizzle. Simply simmer a cup of balsamic vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes. The vinegar will reduce by about half, and once removed from the heat it will continue to thicken as it cools.
While I waited for the balsamic vinegar to reduce, I got to prepping my veggies.
The asparagus was for the pasta and the sprouts were our side dish. Love me some veg.
Jarred bruschetta sauce is the secret behind the simplicity of this pasta dish. Thank you Trader Giotto
This pasta was so simple, in fact, that I decided to squeeze in a little nap.
Before I fell asleep at the pan, I cut the chicken into big chunks, seasoned with S&P, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder and tossed into a saute pan with 2 tsp olive oil. Then I dropped 6 ounces of penne pasta into boiling water.
Once the chicken was cooked through, I sautéed the veggies with garlic salt, black pepper, and 1 tsp olive oil.
When the pasta reached al dente, I combined the chicken, asparagus, jar of bruschetta, and penne in the skillet and sautéed until everything was heated through.
Last but not least, I topped the pasta with a little balsamic drizzzzzzle:
This pasta was DELICIOUS, filling, and balanced, and the tangy balsamic drizzle wowed my tastebuds. I will definitely be adding this recipe to the playbook.
Bruschetta Chicken Pasta Ingredients List (serves 4)
Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats
Reasons why you should never judge a recipe by its cover.. err title:
Say whaaaaa? What the crap is “larb”? Google tells me “larb” is a type of meat salad. Good to know, Google. Good to know.
Had I known this fun fact, I might not have hesitated to clip the recipe for “Chicken Larb” out of one of my issues of Cooking Light. But lucky for my belly, I looked past the gag-reflex-prompting title and filed this puppy away in my big black book.
I tweaked the recipe slightly and scaled it down to one delicious serving. First up, toss the following in a food processor:
Give it a quick buzz in the food processor, and you’ll end up with this crazy orange colored ground chicken:
I’m still amazed that I can make my own ground meat at home. It’s the little things, I guess!
Saute the chicken in a pan coated with nonstick spray over medium heat. I occasionally added a tbsp of water to the pan to help moisten things up.
Meanwhile, combine the following:
Thing of beauty:
Once the chicken is cooked through, combine the chicken with the cucumber mixture and then spoon onto romaine lettuce leaves, and juice a quarter lime over top:
Looks crazy good, am I right? I had a big serving of roasted broccoli on the side:
This was super tasty and SUPER healthful. I decided mid-meal to grab a tablespoon or so of fat-free plan Greek Yogurt to dollop on top. It really was the icing on the larb
This was my first time using red curry paste, and the paste along with the cilantro really made for a tasty combo.
There’s a recipe on the back of the paste bottle for Red Curry Shrimp. I need to try that STAT!
A delicious dinner enjoyed on my newly assembled patio furniture:
It’s nice to have a little helper. Or a 6’4” helper… either way
Stats on the Chicken Larb + 1.5 cups broccolee broccolye brocco-lee-hee: 221 calories, 19g carbs, 1g fat, 27g protein, 4g fiber
I can’t believe how outrageously low cal yet still tasty that meal was – next time I may beef it up with some beans or avocado.
Soooooo did you catch the broccoli reference?!?! PLEASE take 4 minutes and watch this. You won’t regret it. And as an added bonus you will now know the song I sing to myself every time I chop up broccoliRead More
Do you guys every go through phases where you just don’t want anything to do with certain foods? Lately, that’s how I’ve been feeling about meat. I just have not been craving it!
Over the weekend, I cooked one of these patties up in the oven and had it on a Pepperidge Farm 7 grain deli flat.
No sauce. No veggies. Just the faux meat and bun.
It was glorious. It seriously reminded me of the chicken pattie sandwiches from high school. I know that sounds disgusting, but in this instance it’s actually a very very good thing.
Then, the other night I had a VISION: Faux Chicken Parmesan… Healthified, no less:
Shut the front door!!!!
First up, grab a spaghetti squash and halve it…
I swear, every time I try and halve a squash I have flashes of severing a finger. I think to myself, “is this it?” Is this the day that I lose a finger in the name of squash??
Once it’s halved, scoop out the seeds, and pop this puppy onto a cookie sheet into a 415 degree over for 30 minutes. I ‘m no fan of mooshy squashoodles.
Next, I grabbed some leftover pasta sauce from the freezer. This was Nature’s Basket Roasted Garlic:
Why do I get such joy from stock piling individual servings of goods in the freezer? It’s uncanny really.
I defrosted the sauce a bit in the microwave, then tossed in a pan and added a hodge podge of seasonings including: red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, parsley.
Once the squash was done, I pulled it out of the oven and used a fork to scrape out the innards. Then popped 1 chicken pattie and some broccoli into the oven to do their thang.
Once the pattie was cooked through, I combined all my delicious and oh-so-easy ingredients:
I am in love with these patties… seriously, if you haven’t tried them DO IT. Just make sure you cook them in the oven (and not the microwave) and you’ll get a crispy delicious bit of faux-meat-heaven.
This WILL be making frequent appearance in my tax season dinner diet. For sure.
Stats on 1 serving faux chicken parmesan (1/2 squash, 1 pattie, 1/2 cup sauce): 274 calories, 44carbs, 7g fat, 12g protein, 8g fiber
Lest we not forget….. the winner of my Luna Bar giveaway is…….
Meagan! Yay!!! Email me with your mailing adddres and I’ll get the bars to you ASAP!Read More
So, did everyone else know how crazy easy it is to make your own ground meats? I had no idea until I saw a blurb in Cooking Light about putting chicken breast in a food processor. Sound odd to anyone else? I was intrigued so I decided to give it a go over the weekend.
Take a looksie at these chicken tacos I made!
I don’t mean to brag, but that may be the most beautiful taco I’ve ever laid eyes on. What’s even more beautful was how super easy it was to make. First I started by tossing 1 jalapeno and 2 tsp minced garlic into a food processor:
I gave that a good pulse:
Then added 8 ounces chopped chicken breast:
And literally 10 seonds later I had my very own homemade (slightly green tinted) ground chicken breast!
Isn’t it funny how something so simple can give you such a great sense of pride and accomplishment?
I threw the ground chicken into a pan and seasoned with S&P and some cayenne pepper:
The meat cooked up in no time!
Next I sliced up some fresh avocado. Delicioussssssssnesssssss:
I used some Tumaro’s Low Carb tortillas (only 60 calories a pop) for my taco base, then added 2 ounces of the chicken, some chopped red onion, tomato, shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro, a little dribble of fat free sour cream, about 2 tbsp of avocado, and a little drizzle o’ lime:
A little overboard on the toppings? Perhaps…
I also added some Frank’s red hot for good measure (its hiding under the veggies)
8 ounces of chicken made me enough for four tacos. I ate two for dinner, and wrapped the remaining two up in plastic wrap for dinner the next night (by the way, the tacos were equally delicious cold ).
So tasty and SO colorful!
Stats on 1 taco: 194 calories, 21g carbs, 7g fat, 19g protein, 10g fiber
Stats on dos tacos: 388 calories, 42g carbs, 14g fat, 38g protein, 20g fiberRead More
Talk about a happy accident!
Once I got home from the grocery store, I was on a mission: to make the couscous stuffed chicken featured in this month’s Cooking Light. I had even pre-snipped the recipe out and hung it up at the stove:
I was pretty excited to try this recipe for a few reasons. First, I have a giant tub of Rice Select Tri-Color couscous in my cabinet that has been begging to be used. Second, I love any excuse to use my meat mallet.
Let’s be honest… I like any excuse to type “meat mallet”
Even though the ingredients list is fairly long the dish came together pretty easy. First, I pounded the chicken breast out to about 1/4 inch thickness and sliced in half. For the couscous mixture, I brought 1/4 cup of fat free low sodium chicken broth to a boil then added 1/4 cup of the couscous. Then you cover the couscous, remove it from the heat, and let it hang out for about 4 minutes.
Then add in the flava:
The Cooking Light recipe called for olives (BLEGH!) and olive oil, which I omitted and instead subbed in sundried tomatoes and spinach. Divide the couscous mixture between your chicken breast halves:
And them roll them up jelly roll style…. Easy right?
Ummm not so much. I had a couscous blow out and half of the filling fell out! So, I went with my guts and seared the chicken on all sides, then plopped into a baking dish and kind of mashed the extra couscous mix on top of the chicken.
Then I popped it into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Couscous crusted chicken!
The couscous got a little crispy in the oven, and it reminded me a lot of breaded chicken!
Of course I had a salad on the side.
Overall, the couscous crusted chicken idea is AMAZING. Now I just need to come up with some sort of sauce to go along side… Hmmmmm……
Stats on 1/2 of the Couscous Crusted Chicken Recipe: 203 calories, 16g carbs, 4g fat, 26g protein, 1g fiber
Couscous Crusted Chicken Ingredients List (Serves 2)