There’s not much better on a cool, autumn day than a bowl of warm stew!
And as busy as our lives are with two kids, their sports and activities, two working parents, two businesses, (geez… we do a lot in pairs around here…) but anytime I can use the slow cooker to provide a delicious and nutritious, healthy meal for our entire family… You know I’m gonna!
Check out this fall classic and health dish where we’ve taken chicken thighs that can take plenty of cooking without getting tough or drying out, (which makes them perfect for the slow cooker); braise them in Guinness stout along with hearty vegetables, with just the right amount of bacon for added savoriness.
This recipe is good for about 8 servings. Let’s get right to it…
- 6 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 pieces bacon, chopped
- 1 2/3 cups Guinness beer or other stout (14-ounce can)
- 1 pound whole baby carrots or large carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 8-ounce package cremini or button mushrooms, halved if large
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
Preparation (Active prep 45 min | Ready in 4 hours)
- Combine 6 tablespoons flour with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge chicken thighs in the mixture to coat completely; transfer to a plate.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until well browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side; transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Reduce heat to medium and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and chicken thighs. Arrange the chicken in an even layer in the slow cooker.
- Add bacon to the pan and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour over the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Add stout and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Add carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme, spreading in an even layer over the chicken. Pour broth over the top.
- Cover and cook until the chicken is falling-apart tender, 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low.
- Stir in peas, cover and cook until the peas are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes more. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Make Ahead Tip: Trim chicken, chop bacon; prep onion and garlic; defrost peas. Refrigerate in separate containers.
- Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker
- For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.
Basic Nutritional Information:
- Serving size: about 1 1/3 cups
- Per serving: 366 calories; 13 g fat(3 g sat); 4 g fiber; 28 g carbohydrates; 30 g protein; 7 g sugars; 0 g added sugars
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The South’s version of creamy polenta, grits are easy to make on a weeknight—especially when topped with quickly broiled shrimp and scallions. Use the sharpest Cheddar you can find for these cheesy grits. Serve with: Sautéed greens and a tall glass of iced tea.
INGREDIENTS: 4 Servings
- 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup quick grits, (not instant) (see Shopping Tip)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
- 3/4 cup extra-sharp or sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp, (16-20 per pound; see Shopping Tip)
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.
- Bring broth and water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in grits and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, toss shrimp, scallions, oil, garlic powder, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Broil, stirring once, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Serve the grits topped with the broiled shrimp and scallions.
- Shopping Tips: Look for quick grits near oatmeal and other hot cereals or near cornmeal in the baking aisle.
- Shrimp is usually sold by the number needed to make one pound. For example, “21-25 count” means there will be 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound. Size names, such as “large” or “extra large,” are not standardized, so to be sure you’re getting the size you want, order by the count (or number) per pound. Both wild-caught and farm-raised shrimp can damage the surrounding ecosystems when not managed properly. Fortunately, it is possible to buy shrimp that have been raised or caught with sound environmental practices. Look for fresh or frozen shrimp certified by an independent agency, such as Wild American Shrimp or Marine Stewardship Council. If you can’t find certified shrimp, choose wild-caught shrimp from North America—it’s more likely to be sustainably caught.
- Serving size: 3 oz. shrimp & 2/3 cup grits
- Per serving: 338 calories; 13 g fat(5 g sat); 2 g fiber; 30 g carbohydrates; 25 g protein; 116 mcg folate; 164 mg cholesterol; 1 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 641 IU vitamin A; 5 mg vitamin C; 227 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 1090 mg sodium; 340 mg potassium
When you’re in a pinch but want real food… try these high protein, healthy snack combos:
(1.) Small whole wheat flour tortilla + heaping spoonful of cinnamon-raisin peanut butter + banana
(7 grams of protein)
(2.) Large hard boiled egg, halved + dollup 2% Greek yogurt + little shake of smoked paprika
(7 grams of protein)
(3.) Piece of whole wheat toast + cottage cheese + bit o’honey
(11 grams of protein)
(4.) Big piece of beef jerky + hit of guacamole + squeeze of lime juice
Hey guys, Mikah here and welcome to What’s Cooking Wednesday. This week I’m sharing with you a tasty, still healthy version of a Korean Chicken Lettuce Wrap.
Let’s Dive Right In!
1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Place 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Add chicken slices to remaining soy sauce mixture in bag; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours.
2. Cook rice according to package directions.
3. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken. Place 3 tablespoons rice in each lettuce leaf; top each lettuce leaf with 1/3 cup chicken mixture, 2 cucumber slices, and about 1 1/2 teaspoons green onions. Serve with reserved 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture.
Alright… Welcome to a special Super Bowl Edition of Mikah’s Kitchen…
Just in time for the Big Game, here are three healthier versions of some of our favorite gameday favorites!
LIGHTENED – UP ASIAN TURKEY SLIDERS
Loaded with protein and veggies, these Southeast Asian inspired sliders are perfect for a hungry crowd!
- 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 lbs ground turkey (not lean)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 24 thin slices of cucumber (From 1 small cucumber)
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 24 large Bibb lettuce leaves
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- lime wedges
- 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- Sriracha sauce (optional)
Special equipment: a 10-by-15-inch broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet
Position an oven rack 4 to 5 inches from the heating element, and preheat the broiler. Brush a 10-by-15-inch broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet with oil.
Put the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, scallions, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl, and mix gently, just enough to incorporate evenly. Drop mounds of the mixture all around the prepared baking sheet, and press them into an even layer. Score the meat into 24 even squares, cutting down almost all the way. Brush the top with the hoisin sauce. Broil until the meat is browned and glazed and registers 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer, 8 to 9 minutes.
Carefully pour off any excess liquid from the cookie sheet. Rescore the meat into 24 sliders, then follow the score lines with a spatula to divide. Top each slider with a cucumber slice and a cilantro leaf.
While the sliders are cooking, arrange the lettuce, remaining cilantro, carrots, onions and lime wedges on a serving platter. Put the peanuts and Sriracha if using in small serving bowls. Slide a spatula in the pan and let guests build their sliders with their desired toppings.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/lightened-up-asian-turkey-sliders.html?oc=linkback
SWEET POTATO SKINS
We love the combo of sweet potato and spice salsa verde in this healthy version of an appetizer classic.
- 6 medium sweet potatoes (about 2.5 lbs)
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup salsa verde
- 1/2 avocado, pitted and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup black bean chips, crushed
Position an oven rack in the top of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Put the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until fork-tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely. (The potatoes can be baked, cooled and refrigerated a day ahead.) Split each in half lengthwise, and scoop out most of the flesh, leaving about a 1/4-inch border all around. (Save the scooped-out flesh for making mashed sweet potatoes later.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put a rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the potato skins skin-side up on the rack, and brush with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake until the skins are slightly browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely, then cut each in half crosswise.
Arrange the pieces skin-side down on the rack, and sprinkle each with mozzarella, Parmesan and scallions. Bake until the mozzarella melts, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the potato skins from the oven, and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Top each with some salsa verde and avocado. Sprinkle with crushed chips.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/sweet-potato-skins.html?oc=linkback
LIGHTENED- UP SLOW-COOKER CHICKEN BUFFALO DIP
This party did usually comes with bragging rights for an indulgent amount of fat. This slow cooker version is full of the same big flavors but with fewer calories and less fat.
- Two 8 ounce packages reduced fat cream cheese, cut into small pieces
- 2 cups shredded white meat from a rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded
- 2 cups shredded low fat cheddar (about 6 ounces)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- Celery and carrot sticks (for serving)
Put the cream cheese, chicken, Cheddar, buttermilk, hot sauce, flour, Worcestershire, cayenne, garlic powder and onion powder in a slow cooker, and stir to roughly combine.
Cover, and cook on high for 2 hours; the mixture should be bubbling and the Cheddar melted. Stir until smooth and combined. Sprinkle with the parsley and blue cheese, reduce the heat to warm and serve with celery and carrot sticks.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/lightened-up-slow-cooker-chicken-buffalo-dip.html?oc=linkback
Hey Guys! Welcome back to Mikah’s Kitchen!
Today I’m going to share with you one of our family favorite, quick, healthy recipes that is super simple to create as well as healthy and fits into our Low Carb, Fitness Lifestyle!
You know, one thing Michael and I have done throughout our marriage is: Make time for dinner!
Call us old-fashioned, but we both value and appreciate our time around the table with the kiddos. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are evenings when it feel almost impossible to make this happen what with both of us working, training, and the kids’ ever growing busy schedules. But it’s important to us for the obvious reasons as far as increased family time, time away from all of life’s clutter and did you know that research shows that eating meals together has shown to boosts kids’ grades, lead to healthier eating habits, and (believe it or not) helps relieve parental stress… all ok by me!
So, anyway, without further ado, this week on “What’s Cooking Wednesday” we’re creating a Light Chicken Caesar Salad!
Here’s what all you’ll need:
- 4 cups cubed day-old crusty bread (preferably whole wheat)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 1 small clove garlic
- 2 anchovy fillets
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- kosher salt
- 2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
- freshly ground pepper
Now that we’ve got all our ingredients, let’s start cookin’!
We’ll start by making the croutons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the bread cubes in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, tossing halfway through, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, let’s turn our attention to the dressing: Puree the yogurt, 2 tablespoons parmesan, the garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, mustard and 2 tablespoons water in a mini food processor or a blender.
Next, time to pound the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap with a heavy skillet until 1/2 inch thick (Or you can save time like I do by simply buying the skinny chicken breasts from the store). Brush a rimmed baking sheet with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; add the chicken and season with salt. Brush evenly with 1 tablespoon of the dressing and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons parmesan. Broil, undisturbed, until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
Time to assemble: toss the lettuce, croutons and the remaining dressing and 3/4 cup parmesan in a large bowl. Thinly slice the chicken into stips. Divide the salad among bowls, top with the chicken and season with pepper.
And voila! There you have it. A sensible, healthy take on the tasty Chicken Caesar Salad.
Nutrition Analysis (Per Serving)
- Calories- 368 cal
- Total Fat – 15 g
- Sat Fat – 4 g
- Protein – 37 g
- Total Carb – 21 g
- Fiber- 6 g
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/light-chicken-caesar-salad-recipe.html?oc=linkback
Simply put… here are 100 calorie portions of my favorite foods (and some other examples clients have asked me about)… ENJOY!
Cube Steak 2.5 oz
Flank steak 2 oz
Roast Beef 3 oz
Round Steak 2.5 oz
Sirloin Steak 2 oz
Venison/Elk 2 oz
Cottage Cheese 1/2 cup
Egg substitues 1 cup
Egg Whites 4 whites
Greek Yogurt 3/4 cup
Lean Ground Meats
Ground Beef (extra lean) 2 oz
Ground Chicken Breast 4 oz
Ground Turkey (99% fat free) 3 oz
Duck breast 2 oz
Chicken Breast (skinless) 3.5 oz
Chicken Thighs (skinless) 3 oz
Turkey Breast (deli) 3 oz
Turkey Breast (skinless, not deli) 2.5 oz
Whey, Egg, Soy, Rice, Hemp 1 scoop
Salmon (canned) 3.5 oz
Salman (fillet) 2 oz
Sardines 4 sardines
Tuna (canned) 3 oz
Tuna (fillet) 3 oz
White Fish 2.5 oz
(catfish, cod, flounder, grouper, haddock, halibut, polluck, see bass,
snapper, sole, swordfish, trout, tilapia, tllefish, branzino)
Clams (raw) 5 oz
Lobster/shrimp 4 oz
Tempeh 2 oz
Texturized Vegetable protein 2 oz
Tofu 4 oz
Port Tenderloin 2.5 oz
Brown Rice Tortillas 1 tortilla
Corn Tortillas 1.5 tortillas
Ezekiel 4.9 Breads 1 slice
Ezekiel 4.9 English Muffin 1/2 muffin
Ezekiel 4.9 Tortillas 3/4 tortilla
Whole Grain Bread 1 slice
All Bran 1/2 cup
Fiber One 3/4 cup
Kashi Go Lean 1/2 cup
Kashi Good Friends Cereal 1/2 cup
Kashi Heart to Heart 3/4 cup
Low Fat Granola 1/2 cup
Old Fashioned Oatmeal (cooked) 3/4 cup
Steel cut Oatmeal (cooked) 3/4 cup
Amaranth 1/2 cup
Barley 1/2 cup
Bran 1/2 cup
Buckwheat 1/2 cup
Brown Rice (cooked) 1/2 cup
Millet (uncooked) 1/8 cup
Oats 2/3 cup
Popcorn 3 cups
Quinoa 1/2 cup
Wild Rice 1/2 cup
Beans (boiled or low sodium canned) 1/2 cup
Lentils (cooked and boiled) 1/2 cup
Soybeans (edmame) 1/4 cup
Soy Nuts (roasted, light salt) 3 Tbsp
Brown Rice Pasta 1/2 cup
Couscous 1/2 cup
whole Grain Pasta 1/2 cup
Beets 1.5 cups
Carrots 2 cups
Parsnips 1 cup
Potatoes (russet/red/gold) 3/4 cup
Rutabagas 2 cups
Sweet potatoes/ Yams 2/3 cups
Corn (fresh) 2/3 cup
Peas (fresh) 1 cup
Apples 1.5 apples
Apricots 6 apricots
Banana 1 banana
Berries 1.5 cups
(blackberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries)
Grapes 1.5 cups
Grapefruit 1 grapefruit
Kiwi Fruit: 4 count
lemons 5 count
Avocado 1/3 cup
Nuts and Seeds
Almond butter (with salt) 1 Tbsp
Almonds (raw) 1/5 Tbsp
Peanut Butter (with salt) 1 Tbsp
Pecans (raw) 1/5 Tbsp
Sesame Butter 1.25 Tbsp
Sesame Seeds 2 Tbsp
Sunflower Seeds 1.5 Tbsp
Walnuts (raw) 1.5 Tbsp
Flaxseed Oil 1 Tbsp
Olive Oil 1 Tbsp
Flavorings 30-50 calories
Butter spray 5 sprays
Balsamic Vinaigrette 2 Tbsp
Chili Paste 2 Tbsp
Chili Sauce 2 Tbsp
Extracts (eg. almond, peppermint, vanilla) unlimited
Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette 2 Tbsp
Fat Free French Dressing 2 Tbsp
Fat Free Mayo / Low Fat Mayo 2 Tbsp
Hummus 2 Tbsp
Hot Sauce 3 Tbsp
Ketchup 2 Tbsp
Lemon Juice 3 oz
Lime Juice 3 oz
Low Fat Italian Dressing 2 Tbsp
Low Sodium Chicken Broth 1 cup
Low Sodium Soy Sauce 2 Tbsp
Marinara Sauce 1/2 cup
Mustard 3 tsp
Salsa 1/2 cup
Tomato Paste 3 Tbsp
Tomato Sauce 1/2 cup
Vinegar (eg. cider, red, white wine) unlimited
Worcestershire Sauce 2 Tbsp
Beverages 100 calories
Almond Milk (unsweetened) 2. 5 cups
Coconut Water (pure) 2 cups
Coffee (black) unlimited
Soy Milk (unsweetened) 1.25 cups
Tea (black) unlimited
Tea (green) unlimited
Tea (herbal) unlimited
Tomato Juice 2.5 cups
Water (flat or sparking) unlimited.
Happy 24-Day Challenge everyone! I’m so excited to kick off this challenge so I have put together a menu that is completely Advocare friendly AND delicious– much more than just grilled chicken and veggies every night!
Many of these recipes were pulled from my friend Jenny’s blog… Check it out!!! –> www.JennyCollier.com
Monday– Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Salmon with spinach salad
Tuesday– Sweet & Sour Chicken with brown rice
Wednesday-Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
Friday– Spinach Zucchini Ravioli
Saturday– Creamy Tuscan White Bean Soup
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there! Since I made my grocery trip earlier than normal this week (so I didn’t have to go on “my” day!) I picked out many already marinated or seasoned meats to grill or bake this week.
I’m excited to know I won’t be spending my evenings in the kitchen, but playing with my crazy kiddos outside on the patio/trampoline, because these are fool-proof, simple, delicious and healthy meals this week!
Sunday- Michael’s choice :)
Monday- Grilled Seasoned Shrimp and Jerk marinated Salmon skewers over a Spinach Salad w/ dried cherries and almonds
Tuesday- Spicy Hawaiian Chicken Burgers (minus cheese) http://www.the-girl-who-ate-
Wednesday- Chicken Parmesan Meatballs http://www.skinnymom.com/2013/
Thursday- LEFT OVERS :) (my favorite night)
Friday- Seasoned Grilled Chicken http://www.kalynskitchen.com/
Saturday- Reward meal
I have been spending more time on an airplane over the last several weeks than in the kitchen, so I have decided to make a “Michael-proof” menu, so that he and the kids can eat healthy, even when I’m out of town! I’ll be in Houston this week, so here we go…
MONDAY: Shrimp tacos with salsa verde
TUESDAY: Worlds best Chicken w/ spinach salad
THURSDAY: Crispy black bean tacos
FRIDAY: BBQ chicken burgers