Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage and Veggies

This recipe is super fast to throw together, tasty and easy to clean up. You can change the veggies for anything in season. Using Chicken Sausage saves on some fat and calories. I sadly only had a few Broccoli florets so we had to divide them up between us and didn’t get as many green nutrients this night. Try to eat more green veggies if you have them.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pack of Chicken Sausage Links any flavor (I used Simple Truth Apple Maple)
  • 1 small bag Red Potatoes
  • ½ small bag Baby Carrots
  • 1 C. or more Broccoli Florets
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parsley, Poultry Seasoning or other dried green herbs you like

Some Other Veggie Ideas:

  • Any kind of potato
  • Zucchini or Yellow Squash
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Onion
  • Parsnips
  • Butternut Squash

Steps:

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a foil lined baking sheet with non-stick spray (I use Avocado Oil). Chop Potatoes and other veggies into bite sized pieces. Slice Sausage Links into circles and keep in refridgerator until later.

Add longer cooking vegetables like potatoes and carrots to half the pan. Spray with avocado oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, add some green herbs and stir.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Stir the vegetables that are on the tray. Add the shorter cooking vegetables like Broccoli or Zucchini, spray with avocado oil, add spices and stir. Add the Chicken Sausage.

Bake for 15-20 minutes more until everything is slightly browned and cooked through.

Nutrition Facts (for 1 Sausage Link, 1 C. Potatoes, 1 C. Broccoli and Carrots):

  • Calories: 418
  • Protein: 19
  • Fat: 9
  • Carbs: 66

Instant Pot Ground Turkey Chili

This is another easy class night dinner that can simmer away for several hours while you’re busy. It’s a versatile recipe that you can swap out pretty much any of the ingredients depending on what you have in your fridge and pantry. Mine turned out a little watery, so next time I’ll use only half a can of water and it was pretty bland. If I’d had a white or yellow onion or fresh garlic around, I definitely would have thrown some in. And though I intentionally make it not spicy for the kids and add in hot sauce later to my own bowl, this one could have used some chili flakes or just a pinch of cayenne for better flavor. If you don’t have an instant pot, brown the turkey in a skillet and use a crock pot instead. Or if you are going to be home the whole time, you can also use a dutch oven.

Ingredients I Added:

  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Water
  • 1 Can Black Beans (Drained and Rinsed Well)
  • 1 Orange Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Onion Flakes
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin

Other Ingredient Ideas:

  • Jalapenos
  • Green Chiles
  • White or Yellow Onions
  • Minced Garlic
  • Pinto Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Flavored Tomatoes
  • Red or Green Bell Peppers
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Hot Sauce
  • Chili Flakes
  • Cayenne Pepper

Steps:

Raid your pantry and fridge for all the chili ingredients you can find.

Turn the instant pot on the “Brown” setting, spray with non-stick spray and brown the ground turkey. If you use beef or anything with fat, you will add calories and need to drain after browning, but it’s not necessary with lean turkey.

Chop any veggies you’ll be adding while the meat browns. Add any veggies like onions, garlic or peppers and continue browning for a few more minutes. Add all the spices you like and stir.

Add the canned items, including some water (I used a whole can after adding the tomatoes, but would only use half next time). Stir. Close the instant pot lid, but do not pressurize. Turn the setting to crock pot low and add enough time until you return from class or being busy. I needed about 3 hours, but set mine to 3.5 just in case. Serve with any chili toppings you like. We did taco night ingredients.

Nutrition Facts: (1 Serving of this recipe split 4 ways without any toppings added)

  • Calories: 332
  • Protein: 30
  • Fat: 16
  • Carbs: 32

Oven Baked Italian Chicken or Fish

This recipe was inspired by Parmesan chicken. My middle daughter loves Parmesan chicken, but I don’t always want to eat mozzarella cheese when I’m watching my nutrition. So this night I made some chicken with cheese and some fish without any cheeses. Double bonus for getting some healthy nutrients from the fish and making my non-fish eating family happy without adding much extra work. I didn’t take many pictures of this meal, but did end up serving it with roasted cauliflower and mini penne pasta. I had leftover fish and cauliflower to eat for lunch later in the week.

Ingredients:

For the Chicken Recipe:

  • 3 4 oz. chicken breasts
  • Avocado Oil Spray
  • ½ C. Garlic or Italian Flavored Breadcrumbs
  • ¼ C. Parmesan Cheese (chopped fine)
  • 1 ½ C. Jar pasta sauce (I used Classico Fire Roasted Garlic)
  • ¾ C. Shredded Mozzarella
  • Salt or Garlic Salt
  • Pepper

For the Fish Recipe:

  • 3 5 oz. Orange Roughy or other white fish fillets, still partially frozen
  • Avocado Oil Spray
  • ½ C. Garlic or Italian Flavored Breadcrumbs
  • Salt or Garlic Salt
  • Pepper

Steps:

Preheat the oven to 375.

Sprinkle salt or garlic salt and pepper on all the chicken and fish fillets.

Finely chop the parmesan cheese if needed. Add parmesan cheese and ½ C. Breadcrumbs to one shallow bowl, add ½ C. Breadcrumbs to another shallow bowl. Spray the chicken and fish fillets with avocado oil. Dip each chicken into the crumbs with cheese and flip and spray the other side with avocado oil. Flip and pat until well coated. Do the same with the fish in the crumbs without cheese and be sure to wash hands in between so as not to cross contaminate.

Place the chicken and fish fillets on a sheet pan covered with foil. You can make a fold in the foil to make a barrier in between the chicken and fish, although it’s not really necessary. I was afraid my fish juice might get over on the chicken side, but the juices didn’t stray too far.

Bake 15 minutes. Flip each of the pieces carefully and bake about another 15 minutes. If your fish was fully thawed or very thin pieces, you may need to remove them earlier than the chicken pieces. Use a thermometer to see if the chicken is at least 165 degrees and test the fish with a fork for flakiness.

Add ½ C pasta sauce and ¼ C. mozzarella cheese to each piece of chicken. Broil under oven broiler until cheese is melty and slightly browned. (You can either leave the fish if it’s still on the pan to get it a little crispier, or turn the pan to only broil the chicken side if the fish is crispy enough already)

Nutrition Facts Chicken (including pasta sauce and mozzarella):

  • Calories: 387
  • Protein: 39
  • Fat: 13.3
  • Carbs: 22.7

Nutrition Facts Fish:

  • Calories: 188
  • Protein: 25.8
  • Fat: 2
  • Carbs: 14.6

Hard Boiled Egg Snacks 2 Ways

It’s important to eat enough protein. Sometimes it’s difficult to get enough protein in the day without also eating a lot of fat too. We could just go around eating bacon all day, but it wouldn’t be good for digestion or heart health. I sometimes make a batch of hard boiled eggs on Sundays and then use them for higher protein snacks throughout the week. I like to come up with different ways of eating them cause plain old hard boiled eggs are pretty boring.

First up is an easy lower fat take on Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 2 T. 0% Fage Yogurt (or other low fat Greek style yogurt)
  • 1 t. Dijon Mustard
  • 1-2 t. Pickle Juice or Red Wine Vinegar
  • Spices to taste (I like garlic, onion and celery powder, salt and pepper)

Steps:

Peel the eggs. Cut them in half carefully and place the yolks in a small ziplock bag (or in a bowl if you want to be more green and have time to wash dishes later). Add the remaining ingredients to the bag/bowl. Start with 1 t. of pickle juice or vinegar and add more if the consistency of the mixture is too dry after the next step. Squish the ingredients together until well blended. Cut the corner of the bag and use it like a pastry bag to fill the egg whites, or use a spoon to fill the eggs if you used a bowl.

Nutrition Facts:

  • Calories: 151
  • Protein: 14
  • Fat: 9.5
  • Carbs: 1.3
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt stands in for the traditional mayonnaise without adding extra fat
The ziplock bag doubles as a way to mix the ingredients and pipe the filling into the egg halves. If you are making eggs for more than one person this also works using a larger ziplock.
This day I could have used another teaspoon of pickle juice as these turned out just a tad on the dry side

The second recipe is one I like to have for breakfast when I’m not feeling like My Favorite Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1 Whole Wheat Hamburger Bun (or English muffin or Thin Type Sandwich Rounds)
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Mustard
  • Mild Pepper Rings or Pepperoncini
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps:

Toast the bun/bread in the toaster. Slice the egg using an egg slicer or carefully using a sharp knife. Place the egg slices on the toast (eat the ones that don’t fit), add mustard, peppers and a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fruit or veggies for more nutritional value.

Nutrition Facts (not including fruit):

  • Calories: 280
  • Protein: 20
  • Fat: 12
  • Carbs: 23
Mustard and pepper rings add flavor without adding calories

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