Greek Chicken Gyros

This recipe is kind of like a Greek take on taco night. My husband really likes the Greek flavors. The kids aren’t in love with Greek flavor, but serving buffet style allows them to choose what they like and leave the rest.

Apparently traditional standard Greek flavor is lemon, garlic and oregano. I use poultry seasoning instead which has some oregano in it. Oregano is really strong and not my favorite spice, especially by itself. If you want more traditional flavor and you like oregano, use that in place of the poultry seasoning.

Ingredients:

Chicken Marinade:

  • Zest and Juice of half a Lemon
  • 1 T. minced Garlic
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 T. Poultry Seasoning
  • 2-4 Chicken Breasts

Optional for serving:

  • Flatbread or Pita Bread
  • Feta or Goat Cheese Crumbles
  • Tzatziki Sauce (find it in the deli or make with Greek yogurt, lemon, cucumber and dill)
  • Leafy Green Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Red Pepper or Mini Peppers
  • Pickled Peppers
  • Kalamata Olives

Steps:

Cut chicken breasts into strips or chunks. Add all marinade ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until well mixed. Add chicken and fold until evenly coated. Place in refrigerator while preparing remaining ingredients or up to several hours covered if made ahead.

Chop remaining optional ingredients for serving. Thinly slicing red onion, cucumber, and peppers makes for easier pita stuffing. Serving chopped veggies in pyrex or tupperware allows for easy leftover storage. Use any leftovers to make greek salads for lunch!

Place a non-stick skillet on medium high heat. When skillet is hot, add 1 T. of olive oil and swirl to coat. Add chicken and cook until no pink remains in the largest pieces. A thermometer in the center should read at least 165.

Arrange all ingredients buffet style and allow each person to make their own.

Nutrition Facts:

For one flatbread with 2 T. Tzatziki sauce, ½ oz. crumbled feta, ½ chicken breast, all the veggies and 4 kalamata olives

  • Calories: 359
  • Protein: 20.3
  • Fat: 19.8
  • Carbs: 29.3
  • Fiber: 4.5

Cranberry, Apple, Potato, Yam Casserole

It’s the night before grocery day, so we’re having clean the fridge for dinner tonight. I had 3 small white potatoes, and 3 small yams so decided to throw them together with some other flavors. If I’d had some orange juice it would have been even more delicious, but turned out pretty good even without it. I ended up serving this with some pre-made chicken kabobs, broiled in the oven and some frozen Brussels Sprouts (so lame compared to fresh ones…but it’s the end of the week and there was nothing fresh and green left in the house…)

Ingredients:

  • 3 Small White Potatoes
  • 3 Small Yams
  • ½ Small Onion
  • 1 Apple
  • ¼ C. Less Sugar Craisins
  • 2 T. Brown Sugar
  • 2 t. Olive Oil
  • 2 T. Orange Juice, Apple Juice or Water
  • Pinch Salt and Pepper

Steps:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and chop potatoes, yams, onion, and apple into very small pieces. The more evenly you chop the pieces, the more evenly they will cook. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray or wipe with a bit of olive oil. Add chopped veggies, apple and craisins. Sprinkle with brown sugar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir.

Add juice or water. Cover with a tight lid or foil. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Remove lid, stir and cook for an additional 20 minutes (without a lid). Test one of the potatoes for doneness and cook a bit longer if needed.

Using the small plates makes food look a lot bigger and they’re easier to fit in the dishwasher…

Nutrition Facts:

Based on ⅙ of this recipe made with water

  • Calories: 156
  • Protein: 1.7
  • Fat: 1.8
  • Carbs: 36.4
  • Fiber: 5.6

Tri Tip Beef Stew Crock Pot

Tri Tip Beef Stew Crock Pot

This blog is about real food and not perfect food. I leave a lot of things vague or add extra suggestions. In real life, it makes sense to use what you have on hand and spice things with flavors you like best. Following recipes with scientific precision is too much work for everyday life and really only matters if you’re making something touchy like a souffle.

My husband got a box of Tri Tip steaks from Omaha Steaks from a family reunion auction winning. This recipe was another way to use them on a class night in the crock pot. It has a lot of protein and everyone got fed and no one complained, but it wasn’t my favorite. If I had it to do over again, I would have used beef broth instead of chicken (I didn’t have any on hand…) and floured and browned the steak (I didn’t have time between work and Krav class).

Ingredients:

  • 4 5oz. Tri Tip Steaks (or other Beef for Stew)
  • 8 to 10 Small White Potatoes
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 6 White or Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1 t. or more Minced Garlic
  • Spices or Beef Stew Spice Pack (I used Garlic Salt, Onion Powder, Mrs. Dash, Parsley Flakes and a Bay Leaf)
  • 2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 C. Beef Broth
  • Crusty Bread for serving

Steps:

Chop all the vegetables and meat into bite size pieces. Be sure to use different cutting boards for the meat and the veggies for food safety. If you have time, add the meat to a ziplock bag with flour and shake until coated. Brown the meat in 2 T. oil in the instant pot or a skillet. Add all ingredients to the instant pot/crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hour and low for 2, or cook on low at least 4 hours.

Nutrition Facts:

I calculated these based on one tri tip steak and ¼ of the remaining ingredients (not including crusty bread).

  • Calories: 455
  • Protein: 37
  • Fat: 10.5
  • Carbs: 54.3
  • Fiber: 8.3

Berry, Kale and Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. Frozen Mixed Berries
  • 1 C. Fresh Kale (torn and large stems removed)
  • 1 Scoop Protein Powder
  • 1 to 1.5 C. Cold Water

Steps:

Add ingredients to blender in the order listed. Start blend on lower speed and increase to highest. Start with 1 C. water and add more if needed for desired consistency. Blend on high for at least 1 minute. Pour into glass with straw and serve. (Bonus if you use a re-usable straw..)

Nutrition Facts (using Vega 1 Vanilla Protein):

  • Calories: 227
  • Protein: 21.9
  • Fat: 5.1
  • Carbs: 26.1
  • Fiber: 9.7

Other variations to try: The variations you can have with a smoothie are really endless. Try using different frozen fruits depending on what’s on sale. I like mixed peaches, pineapple and strawberry. I LOVE cherries, but they’re usually expensive and higher in sugar. My daughter likes strawberry banana. You can also mix up the greens based on what you have like spinach, power greens or mixed greens.

Class Night Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

I do Krav Maga class 2 nights a week, so I’m always making recipes that can either go in the crock pot before I leave for class, or in a casserole that I can assign to the hubby or the kids to put in the oven while I’m gone. I forgot we were off for the holiday this week, but decided to make this one anyway cause everyone in my family loves taco night. I serve everything buffet style so everyone can make theirs how they like best. If you’re saving carbs, eat a salad instead of a tortilla or a shell. If you’re saving fats, go easy on the cheese and avocado and skip the sour cream.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • ½ White Onion Chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • ½ pack of Taco Seasoning or your favorite taco spices (I like Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cumin, Salt and Black Pepper)
  • ½ to 1 Cup Water

Optional to Serve:

  • Small Flour Tortillas, Taco Shells or Tortilla Chips
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Green or Red Onion
  • Avocado
  • Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa or Hot Sauce

Steps:

Place chicken breasts in crock pot. It’s fine if they are still frozen. Add chopped onion and garlic. Add taco spices and about ½ cup water. Cook on low until chicken is fully cooked, about 3 hours. Shred with 2 forks and serve with optional ingredients.

I used frozen chicken and added about 1 Cup of Water and it was too watery when it was done
Buffet Style, save dishes by serving from the cutting board if you’re not having company…

Nutrition Facts:

This is based on the plate I made for myself. Your facts will differ depending on the size of the tortillas and what you add to them. I had 2 fajita (small) sized tortillas with ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1 chicken breast, iceberg lettuce, 2 cherry tomatoes, ¼ of an avocado, a few diced red onions and Cholula hot sauce.

  • Calories: 523
  • Protein: 28
  • Fat: 19.8
  • Carbs: 44.6
  • Fiber: 2.7

Three Eggs with Veggies Breakfast

I’m starting to count macros this week. I haven’t tried this before, but I have less than 10 pounds to lose and really want to gain some muscle, especially in my arms and back. Someday I want to be able to do pull ups…

This recipe has good protein but also about 28% of my daily fat allowance. If you need less fat, substitute in some egg whites for one or two of the eggs.

Mix up the vegetables in this recipe based on what you like, what’s in season and what you have leftover from dinner.

Ingredients:

  • Avocado Oil Spray (or other non-stick, no calorie spray)
  • 3 Eggs beaten
  • 1 t. Mrs. Dash or other spices you like
  • 1 C. Mushrooms chopped
  • 2 T. Red Onions diced
  • 1 C. Power Greens
  • 6 Broccolini tops leftover from dinner

Steps:

Chop and dice all the vegetables into smallish pieces. Place a small skillet on medium heat and add a shot of non-stick cooking spray. Add the veggies that take longer to cook (mushrooms, onions, garlic, peppers, carrots etc.). Saute and stir/flip until desired doneness. For mushrooms I like to wait until some of the juice comes out and edges get a little brown. For onions, cook until they get kind of translucent but not too brown. Add the quick cooking veggies like leftovers from dinner that were already cooked, Power Greens or Spinach just until wilted. Stir the eggs quickly with the spices and add to the skillet. If you know how to lift the edges and flip to make an omelette, do that. Otherwise just stir and scramble until no raw egg remains.

I like to serve with a piece of fruit like an orange, two kiwi or a glass of pomegranate juice.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 240
  • Protein: 21.5
  • Fat: 15
  • Carbs: 5.4
  • Fiber: 1.8

My Favorite Quick Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ Cup Quick Cooking Rolled Oats
  • ⅔ Cup Water
  • 2 t. Almond Butter
  • 2 T. 50% Less Sugar Craisins
  • Pinch of Salt
I love the baby measuring cup I found at Target to measure 2 tablespoons….

Steps:

Place oatmeal in bowl. Add water. Microwave for 1 Min and 30 sec. Add Almond Butter, Craisins and a pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 30 seconds or so until almond butter starts to melt, stir and enjoy.

Jar Version to Make Ahead:

I like to make this version when I have to go into the office. Some coworkers will look at you like you are crazy and some will think you are brilliant and ask you for the recipe.

Add all ingredients except for water to a jar with a lid. Place in refrigerator until ready to eat. Use the hot water spigot from the coffee machine, water cooler, or microwave regular water in a cup for 1 minute 30 seconds until very hot. Add hot water to jar. Allow to sit for a few minutes until water absorbs into the oats. Stir and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 221
  • Protein: 6.6
  • Fat: 7.3
  • Carbs: 34
  • Fiber: 9.5

Easy Ravioli Lasagna

I got the idea for this recipe from a pre-made dinner that is sometimes available for purchase at Costco. The problem with the store version is that it can feed 10 people and has too much cheese to be reasonable in calories.

I’m not counting calories today. Sundays are my rest days and also the days I eat what sounds good. Something with cheese is almost always on the list. I’m planning on starting a new workout routine and seeing if I can count macros starting tomorrow. So tonight we’re having something covered in gooey mozzarella.

I’ll be serving this casserole with a side of roasted broccolini and some pull apart white dinner rolls. I’ll throw those both on a sheet pan in the oven for the last 10 minutes or so and have dinner on the table in no time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 9 oz. packages of any flavor fresh ravioli from the deli (or you can also use part of a bag of frozen ones)
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 4 T. Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • One 6 oz. package of fresh snack size mozzarella (or use ~1.5 C regular shredded mozzarella)

Steps:

Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the mozzarella bits in half or quarters. Using an 8 or 9” square baking pan, spread a big spoonful of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add half of the ravioli trying not to overlap the pieces too much. Add half of the parmesan cheese and half of the mozzarella bits. Spread a few more spoonfuls of sauce on that layer. I try to mostly get the edges of the raviolis so they won’t be too crispy after baking. Repeat the layers, ending with sauce again, but leave some of the mozzarella bits uncovered so they can get melty and brown on top. Cover with foil and bake in 375 degree oven until bubbly hot, about 55 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes. A thermometer in the center of the dish should read at least 165. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Easy Ravioli Lasagna, broccolini with garlic and dinner rolls

Nutrition Facts:

These numbers are for 1 out of 6 servings, based on using 2 packages of Sprouts Grilled Chicken and Prosciutto Ravioli, ⅘ of a jar of Classico Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce, 6 oz. BelGioioso Mozzarella Snacking Cheese and Private Selection Shredded Parmesan.

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 19.3
  • Fat: 13.4
  • Carbs: 32.6
  • Fiber: 3.3
  • Sodium: 745

Easy Chicken Broccoli Soup

This is a super easy and versatile recipe that is one of my go-to’s when I’m counting calories. It’s easy to make, fills you up (see if you can even eat the whole bowl), and makes you warm from the inside. It’s as easy as making a bowl of ramen noodles, but with actual nutritional value…

I make this for lunch when I’m tired of salad with chicken. I make it for dinner when the kids are eating MacD’s or mac and cheese or something else that won’t fit into my day. I eat it when I’m saving calories for something special like dinner out with my husband.

This recipe is super budget friendly if you can buy the chicken from Costco or use leftovers from another meal, but you can change the ingredients to whatever you have on hand and make more expensive versions if you’re not counting cash along with your calories.

This recipe has a lot of sodium from the bouillon and canned chicken. If you are watching sodium, be sure to use a low sodium broth and leftover baked chicken from home.

Easy Chicken Broccoli Soup

Basic Recipe

  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cube or other broth
  • 2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Broccoli
  • 1/2 of a 12 oz. can of Kirkland Chicken Breast drained or any 4-6 oz. leftover chicken (baked, rotisserie, etc)
  • Spices or Hot Sauce to taste (I like garlic, pepper, dry mustard and poultry seasoning)

Steps:

Add 2 cups of water and bouillon cube or broth and water to make 2 cups liquid to a small saucepan. Heat on high until boiling and bouillon dissolves completely. Add chicken and broccoli and continue cooking until broccoli is hot but still fairly crisp (about 3 minutes from frozen). Add spices to taste. Pour into a really big bowl and allow to cool a bit before taking a bite.

Add-in option ideas:

If you’re not on a super tight budget or have other things to use up in the kitchen you can try some other options. These are just ideas, use whatever you like:

  • Use any frozen vegetables like mixed veggies, cauliflower, asparagus or Brussels sprouts
  • Use any broth like vegetable broth, beef broth or bone broth (I’ve even used the sauce packet from a package of ramen in a pinch…)
  • Add a handful of fresh spinach or power greens right at the end
  • Add fresh minced or canned garlic or some green onions
  • Add diced fresh or canned mushrooms
  • Only if you want to add more calories/carbs: Add leftover cooked quinoa, brown rice or farro

Recipe nutrition facts for Basic Recipe:

  • Calories: 172
  • Protein: 25.3
  • Fat: 2.95
  • Carbs: 13.08
  • Fiber: 4.7
  • Sodium: 1267.5 <–That’s almost a whole days worth!!
Basic Chicken Broccoli Soup with a handful of spinach. Yum!