Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baked Lemon Herb Chicken w/ Lemon Sauce

Um, so I was supposed to post this recipe up last week! I need to stop promising posts by a certain time. Sorry if you were looking out for this!  Ended up not having the free time I wanted.

It's that time of the year for Shia Muslims to observe the month of Muharram (the beginning of the new Islamic year), which unfortunately is a more somber observance for us as we reflect on the history and stories of that time, and life gets super busy!  Between work, cooking, errands, and making it to the mosque on time, I barely have had enough time to just sit these past 10 days. Just the other day, I came home, threw my purse on the kitchen table, opened the fridge and started cooking dinner because I literally had an hour before having to meet up my friend so we could drive from one side of the city to the other for a sermon at the mosque.  I didn't sit until I got in the car.  If you were wondering though, I whipped up my super fast citrus baked chicken fajitas.

This is another flavorful baked chicken dish that can be whipped up if you are ever in a rush and need to get something on the table to feed growling bellies.  And duh, it's healthy!

Lemon Herb Chicken w/ Lemon Sauce and Orange Veggies (sweet potatoes & carrots)

Baked Lemon Herb Chicken w/ Lemon Sauce:

4 chicken breast cutlets
1 lemon, zested and juiced (reserve the juice separately)
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves off
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less)
sea salt
black pepper
olive oil
1 tbs. butter
1 tbs. minced garlic
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 tbs. corn starch
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
fresh parsley, chopped, or lemon slices, for garnish

For the chicken, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and lay down chicken breasts.  Brush olive oil on both sides of the chicken breasts.  In a small bowl, combine the zest, thyme leaves, rosemary, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and black pepper. Generously sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with the seasoning.

Bake chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes.  They'll cook quickly since they are thinner slices of the breast.  Always check the thickest cutlet for done-ness.  Remove the baking dish from the oven, and let the chicken rest as you make the sauce.

Now on to the SAUCE.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic.  Cook until garlic is fragrant being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock to the pan, and stir cornstarch in to the remaining half of the stock, and then pour that in as well.  Add the Worcestershire, reserved lemon juice, and bouillon cube to the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickness.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Transfer the sauce to your blender/bullet and blend the sauce until smooth.

Serve the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with fresh parsley or top with a lemon slice, and enjoy!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Spicy Turkey Chili and Jalapeno & Cheddar Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

Hey readers, it's been a bit since my last post.  Things are well in life, no complaints.

It's been a crazy few weeks with birthday celebrations, for the young and older, and as much as I adore birthdays, I am birthay'd out!  No more stuffing balloons in my little car, baking cakes, or fishing for a candle in my kitchen drawers.  I need a mini break.  But don't worry friends, if I love you so much, you will still get a birthday cake :)

A little update on the clean eating/healthy lifestyle, judging from my first progress picture to the one I took 4 weeks later, there is a MAJOR difference in my pooch.  So yay for that!!  My shirts fit a lot better with almost nothing sticking out, so that was a major win. My face looks a little thinner and I feel great!

Although I did not work out at all this past week, I did fine with food, a little more cheating on the weekend, but stayed pretty much in line during the week. It's hard to work out when all you're craving is chocolate and salt and having so many emotions... #girlprobs.  It's back to work this week though with some high intensity interval workouts (HIIT), which will do a number on your legs.  I couldn't walk normally for 2 days.  It was one of those "it hurts so good" feelings, so at least I know I did the exercises correctly and really pushed myself. These are great workouts that can easily fit into a busy schedule and can definitely be done at home. Just Google HIIT workouts, and you'll come across a bunch of different workouts.  So much more efficient than just being on the elliptical for an hour watching Netflix.

The weather is getting cooler day by day, which is great. I love fall and spring, those in between seasons have the best weather.  It's perfect for comfort food and nights by the fire pit, which by the way, I re-painted and am super excited about it.  Those things rust quickly, but with a little work, I have revived the pit.  You know what else is great when the weather gets cooler? Cuddling. And lots of it!  I view comfort food as cuddling for the stomach.

The following recipe is just something I threw together in my cast iron pot while the hubs was away on a work trip.  It's a clean, healthy meal that makes enough to last the whole week for lunches and leftovers and best of all, it's comfort food! I also made some sweet potato hashbrowns which were super easy to whip up to eat along with chili.

Spicy Turkey Chili:

2 tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (I kept the seeds for spiciness)
1 bell pepper, seeded, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
2 tbs. cocoa powder
chili powder
cayenne powder
red chili flakes
ground cumin
sea salt
black pepper
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans (or any beans), drained
hot sauce

Heat olive oil in a a large pot or cast iron pot on medium. Add onion, jalapenos, bell peppers, and garlic and cook until the vegetables have softened and the garlic is fragrant.

Add turkey and cook until no longer pink.  Add all of the spices to your liking and cook for a few minutes with the meat and veggies.

Add the canned tomatoes, beans, beer, and as much hot sauce as you like.  Bring everything to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer, partially covered, for 45 min-1 hour.  Add more spices after tasting.

Top with shredded cheddar, sour cream, avocado, whatever your heart desires!  I did mine simply with shredded cheddar and a dollop low fat sour cream, and some more hot sauce :)

Jalapeno & Cheddar Sweet Potato Hashbrowns:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, shredded
1 jalapeno, seeded, diced
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
chili powder
garlic powder
2 tbs. wheat flour

Combine shredded sweet potatoes, jalapenos, cheese, spices, and flour, until well incorporated.  Spray a medium pan with cooking spray.  Form the sweet potato mixture into small patties and fry 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Serve on top of chili.

Enjoy this dish and enjoy the weather!