Tuesday, May 14, 2019

chicken bacon brussels sheet pan

I am so into sheet pan meals right now.
After work when I have zero motivation to cook, it's just so easy to throw whatever we have onto a sheet pan, season it up, and roast it all together.
No fuss, easy clean up.
The perfect weeknight meal!

Pro tip: do this on aluminum foil and you won't even have to wash the sheet pan afterward.
That's how easy I'm talking, people.

Also, sheet pan meals are so versatile.
You can seriously use whatever protein and veg you have.
I have made many varieties of this meal lately (and I'll definitely post more on those later), but for now, let me tell you about my current favorite combo.

Chicken.
Bacon.
Brussel sprouts.
Balsamic glaze.

How can you go wrong here?!?!

Spoiler alert: you can't.


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breast, diced into cubes
  • 1 - 1.5 lbs brussel sprouts, quartered
  • 4-6 slices of bacon (I opted for 6, obvi)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder - to taste
  • balsamic glaze, for drizzling
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. Cut the ends off the brussels, and then quarter them - cut in half, then cut in half again.  Spread them out on the pan.
  3. Dice chicken, and evenly distribute the cubes on the pan.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and brussels, and sprinkle on seasonings.  I use maybe 1 tbsp of each, give or take?  We like a lot of seasoning around these parts, but you do you.
  5. You have two options with the bacon:
    • Dice the bacon and evenly distribute onto the pan to roast with everything else.
    • Cook bacon separately, and sprinkle on at the end.
      • I only had pre-cooked bacon on hand, so I went with the latter option and sprinkled on at the end.  Both ways are equally delicious!
  6. Place the sheet pan in the oven, and roast everything for 22-24 minutes.
  7. If you chose the latter bacon option like I did, sprinkle crumbled bacon onto everything and gently stir.
  8. Serve it up, and drizzle with balsamic glaze at your leisure!
This is my favorite balsamic right now, if you need a recommendation on that.  It is deliciously thick and sweet, perfect addition to a savory meal (or your avo toast!!!).

Image result for nonna pia's balsamic reduction

I have made this many times without the balsamic, and it's super tasty either way.
But personally, I think the pop of sweetness takes it over the top.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

We just got back from vacation with the kiddos, so I am desperately trying to get us back on track food-wise.
I won't lie though - I had the best coconut shrimp of my life on that trip (I see you, Shrimp Basket!) and it was worth every single calorie.
#noregrets

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

turkey taco bowls

Confession: I ate taco meat for dinner Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday last week.
All in different forms (a bowl, a tortilla, and a zucchini boat), but still.
That's a lot of tacos!

I am always looking for new ways to spice it up when it comes to tacos.
I have added vegetables to the mix, tried all the meats (traditional beef, ground turkey, chicken, steak, pork...), put it in casseroles/skillets/various shells, you name it.
Since we've been eating low carb, we've had a lot of the lettuce cup variety...and I mean, a lot.

Like, a lot.

A girl can only eat so many lettuce cups, ya'll.
So lately, I've just been throwing it all in a bowl and calling it a day.
It seems so simple, to just throw it all in a bowl.
I don't know why I didn't do this sooner - mostly because it gives me free reign to add as many toppings as I want without the mess! (Surprise - lettuce tacos aren't thaaat topping-friendly.)

I fully realize that I'm basically telling you to make a taco salad - what an epiphany - but bear with me.
Sometimes we all need a reminder that salads CAN give you the Mexican fix you are craving!


Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or you can make your own - I like this one!)
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • toppings of choice
Directions:
  1. Brown the ground turkey in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. When the turkey is cooked through, drain, add diced bell pepper and taco seasoning, and saute for 20-30 seconds.  Add some water (about a cup or so) and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone.
  3. While the meat is simmering, prepare your toppings. Here's what I like:
    • chopped lettuce
    • shredded cheese
    • this salsa
    • this avocado mash
    • If I wanted to get crazy, maybe a sprinkle of sauteed corn or black beans? Or some crunchy tortilla strips?
  4. When the meat is ready, layer up!  I do equal parts lettuce and meat, then sprinkle the rest on top at my own discretion.  Enjoy!
This is definitely a simple recipe, but for a quick weeknight dinner, you can't beat it.

I mean, unless you're eating real tacos in a flour tortilla.
Or nachos...

Okay, you can't beat it if you are watching your carb intake.  How about that?

This girl has been loving taco meat lately too.


💕💕💕

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

bacon-wrapped stuffed mini peppers

I said it in my last post, but in case you are wondering my status - SURPRISE! Still in a food rut!

We have been keto-ing for awhile (can I use that as a verb?), and while I've been feeling great, I am SO. TIRED. OF. CHICKEN.
At the beginning, I was all ambitious with our meals.  Super motivated, going all out, making all kinds of complex dinners.
Naturally, that tapered out #becauselife. Working, mothering, doing laundry, keeping life together in general - all of these things took over my motivation, and somewhere along the way we started having a protein + roasted veg every night.
And I mean every night.
A girl can only eat so much chicken, ya'll.

Help!
What are your favorite low carb meals? And/or snacks?
I am still on the workout train (love you Pure Barre Cumming 💓), but food-wise I need a major re-haul.

Full disclosure: I made waffles over the weekend, and I don't regret one bite of those.  Not one.
They were the Kodiak Cakes protein waffles (buttermilk flavor), and if you haven't had them, run don't walk to get them now!
They are so versatile! They're great plain but can easily be dressed up, which I love.
I added chocolate chips for Tuck's birthday breakfast, and Saturday morning we had them with strawberries and syrup!
The greatest part is that, depending on how you make them, they can have up to 21g of protein!

Also, can we talk about how great waffle makers are?  I honestly think that's my most-used wedding gift.

*steps off the waffle soap box*

By Sunday, I was ready to get back to the grind.
So, in an effort to pull myself out of this rut, I took a quick survey of all the groceries we had left in the house and decided to spend a little time making a fun snack.

You guys, these were delicious!
IMO, this would be even better with a jalapeno in place of the pepper (I love stuffed jalapenos so much), but we had a bag of mini sweet bell peppers on hand, so I went with it.


Ingredients:

  • 8-10 mini bell peppers
  • 4-5 strips of bacon
  • your favorite pimento cheese (feel free to make your own! I used Palmetto Cheese w/ Jalapenos to spice it up a little)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry the mini peppers. Slice in half and clean out any seeds.
  3. Put a spoonful of pimento cheese in each pepper. Make sure to smooth it throughout the whole pepper half!
  4. Cut all of the bacon strips in half.  Wrap half a strip of bacon around each pepper.
  5. Put a baking rack on top of a sheet pan, and line the peppers up (seam down) on the rack.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes (or until bacon is at desired level of crispiness) and enjoy!
I sort of wish I brushed these with a smidge of BBQ sauce at the end and tossed them back into the oven to let it caramelize for a few minutes...

However, they were delicious as-is!
And just what I needed to spice up my currently boring dinner routine.
I served these as a side to BBQ chicken cutlets, but they would be great as a pre-dinner appetizer as well!

What fun snacks are you making these days?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

cheesy chicken and broccoli

This is a lazy recipe.
I'm just gonna go ahead and throw that out there.
But it's lazy in a good way, and it's delicious, and easy, and you should make it because we all have chicken and broccoli and cheese on hand (even when all we want is takeout).


Ingredients:
  • 1 lb of chicken breast, diced into cubes
  • 1-2 tbsp of your oil of choice (I used avocado oil this time, EVOO is perfect too!)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb broccoli florets
  • handful of shredded cheddar cheese (maybe a cup? Make it as cheesy as you like!)
Directions:
  1. Cut chicken breast into cubes, and season with salt & pepper to your liking.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat, and saute chicken with minced garlic for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Before the chicken is done cooking, add the broccoli.  Continue to saute until the chicken is cooked through and broccoli is tender.  (This would be a great time to add cauliflower rice too, if you wanted some extra veg!)
  4. Drain any extra liquid that has accumulated.  Add cheese and stir for a few moments, until melted and delicious.  Enjoy!
We are still trying to eat mostly low carb meals, but this would be great served over white or brown rice.
I really wanted to add cauliflower rice to ours, but somehow we were out.  Isn't that how it always happens?  I feel like I'm always missing one ingredient if I don't actually meal plan.
We had this for lunch one weekend when I was refusing to grocery shop, but it turned out great and was super quick (which means it would also make a great weeknight meal).

Lord knows I've been looking for easy weeknight meals lately.
Do you have a meal you are loving?
Please share if you do.  I am in the biggest of food ruts.
Especially for breakfast.  I cannot eat one more egg!!!!
#sendhelp

This is an exciting week in the D household.
Tuck is turning 3 tomorrow (HOW?! WHY?! MAKE IT STOP!), and I started my part-time schedule at work to get more time with the kiddos.
Moms in the Atlanta area, what do you do with your kids?

I have all this extra time that I didn't have before, and I want to do all the things!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

green protein smoothie

I am super into smoothies right now.
Particularly on Saturdays.  I get home from working out at prime chaos time with the kids - everyone is hungry, needs a nap, and I could use approximately ten extra hands to get everything done.
A protein smoothie is the perfect option for something quick, nutritious, and filling enough to get me to dinnertime.

The pictures for this aren't glamorous or anything (I don't have any fancy glasses to pour this in like a proper food blogger would), but you get the gist.
Mostly I just wanted you to see what a pretty green it is!


Like bright green grass in the springtime when it's warm and the freezing cold rain we've been having for months has ended.
No? Just me? I might be a little bitter about the rain...

In my defense, it seems unfair to keep two children indoors for an entire weekend.
We need to run! Play! Ride bikes! Get our sillies out in the great outdoors!
Never have I ever been an outdoor person until I had kids, but Lord please hear my springtime prayer.

I digress.

Here's a smoothie for you to drink while you dream of warmer days.


Ingredients:
  • 3 cups spinach (I just fill my blender to the top with spinach!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein
  • 2 tbsp MCT oil, optional
Directions:
  1. Fill your blender with spinach, and add water.  Blend until spinach is liquified.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (almond butter, yogurt, protein, and oil), and blend for a few seconds.
  3. Add ice and blend until you've reached desired consistency.  I like to use about 2 cups of ice, as I prefer my smoothies to be a bit thicker.  Totally your preference!
  4. Pour into glasses and enjoy!
Recipe makes enough for two smoothies, so share with a friend!  Or, cut the recipe in half for one serving.

Also worth noting: I originally started making this recipe by adding a banana as well.  SO GOOD.
If you are not on the keto diet, add that banana and rejoice in the delicious drink you have made.
However, bananas are not really keto-friendly, so skip the banana if you're strictly keto.

Not going to lie though, sometimes I still add half a banana if I want to have a real treat. 😍

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

the most perfect cheesy eggs

Can we talk real quick about this "snow day" that's happening in Georgia right now?
My office closed (which hardly ever happens), and it's currently sunny with no clouds.
What on earth?!

I won't lie, I am enjoying the surprise day at home with the kiddos!
But working from home with two small children is a whole thing, ya'll.  I think I could go a lifetime without seeing another Mickey Mouse Christmas movie.
An actual lifetime.

In the spirit of being "snowed" in, staying in pjs all day, and hopefully having the time to make some breakfast in your own kitchen for once (I swear, it is such a luxury to me to make breakfast at home on a weekday - it's what I look forward to on work from home days!), let's talk about cheesy eggs!

Eggs are such a tricky thing.
I don't think I've ever really been good at eggs, honestly.  Mine were always too dry, or had that weird film they get if the pan is too hot when you pour them in, or were just generally meh.
Then one day years ago, Joe decided he wanted to be good at eggs and did some research on how.
Quick question - why did I never think to Google it?
So anyway, he taught me the magic of cooking eggs "low and slow," and boy, does that make a difference.
It takes a liiiiittle bit longer, but it's so worth it.  And when I say longer, I mean it takes like 3 minutes instead of 1 minute.

I will say, I remember him telling me once that you shouldn't season the eggs ahead of time.  I think I prefer to season them pre-cook because it ensures the seasoning is evenly distributed, but they are a little prettier if you don't.
Let's not make this more complicated than it needs to be.
Do we even really care when S&P is added if there's cheese involved?

Didn't think so.


Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 eggs
  • shredded cheese of choice (I used a Mexican blend - sharp cheddar would be tasty too)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions:
  1. Heat a skillet on low/medium-low heat, and melt butter.  I'd say juuust under 2 tbsp for every 3 eggs you're making. (I think the butter is key and takes them to another level! It's going to look like a lot, but trust me on this.)


  2. Whisk the eggs with some salt and pepper, to taste.  Really whisk them up - put some muscle into it!
  3. Pour them into the butter, and slowly stir until they begin to come together.
  4. When they are still wet in the center, add your cheese of choice.  Add a healthy handful, between 1/4 - 1/2 cup.


  5. Stir a few more times, and take them out of the pan early.  When my gut says they need 10 more seconds, I take them out and they tend to be perfect! (They'll still cook a little on your plate from residual heat.)
I think whisking them up quickly makes them fluffier (am I making that up?), and then cooking them in butter, slowly, and taking them out before they can overcook makes such a difference.
They are so delicious!
And here's the good news - the keto diet encourages you to have butter...and cheese...AND EGGS.  So eat these and bask in your healthiness.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

protein coffee

I am an avid believer in morning workouts.
Mostly because if I don't do it before noon, I convince myself I'm too busy/tired/insert excuse here and I skip it.
So, many weekday mornings, I'm up at 4:55am to make it to a 5:30am barre class.
I know it sounds hard, but trust me - this is the best way to start the day!!!  The world is quiet, everyone is still asleep, and I can spend some time serving myself before I serve others.  I have found this to be key to my sanity as a working mom.

The thing about morning workouts, though, is that I'm usually ravenous afterwards.
I'm one of those people that wakes up ready to eat a full breakfast, regardless of the time.
So after a tough workout, I am ready to eat anything and everything in sight.
Lucky for me, there's no time for that.
Between getting myself ready, getting the kids ready, prepping bottles for daycare, making sure we all have everything we need for a successful day (in an hour's time, by the way), I rarely have time to cook breakfast at home on a weekday.
And by rarely, I mean, never.

Enter the idea of protein coffee.

I am not the first person to have this idea (thank goodness).
There are tons of threads online about this very notion with tips and tricks, most of which say "whatever you do, do not add protein to hot coffee because it will clump."

And listen, I love iced coffee just as much as the next person.
It's really my caffeine vehicle of choice, if available.
But it's SO COLD outside right now!!!!
I cannot drink iced coffee in a cold car on the way to work in 20 degree weather.  My bones need to be warmed!

I asked this question on Instagram the other night, and so many of you had great ideas.
- Use a frother (I ended up doing this!).
- Use collagen peptides instead (I already do this sometimes, but I had a very specific idea in my head of something new here).
- Try different kinds of blenders and proteins.

So many good things.

So I woke up Tuesday on a mission to try, and it worked!  It wasn't quiiiiite sweet enough, so I tried again today and I think I'm getting closer!
But it's at a place where I think I can share it with you as a base idea, and you can fancy it up however you please.



Ingredients
  • 2 splashes of half and half
  • 1/2 scoop of vanilla whey protein (I used Simple Truth brand for this, but I love Vega brand Protein & Greens too!) 
  • 1 splash vanilla extract - optional
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee
  • sweetener to taste (I used monk fruit sweetener, sugar would work fine too!)
Instructions
  1. Add the half and half, protein, and vanilla to your frother (or in a cup, if you have a hand frother - I used this one instead)
  2. Froth together until foamy and perfect
  3. Fill your mug with coffee, add a little sweetener, and pour the protein froth on top
  4. Mix and enjoy!
Here are some things I've found:
- A full scoop of protein made the froth kind of pasty...at least for me it did.  It was still delicious, but it wasn't as light and foamy as I personally like it to be. Go with 1/2 a scoop and work your way up - I'm sure some protein brands react differently!
- The particular brand of protein I used is not as sweet as you'd think - I would say the vanilla flavor is extremely subtle - so if you like your coffee sweet, definitely add sweetener!
- The only thing I forgot this morning was a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.  I think that would make this even more of a treat, so do that if you want to get fancy.
- The key is frothing the protein with a cold liquid first, because in this case, the internet wasn't wrong - protein will clump in hot coffee if added in powder form.

Have you ever tried this before?  What was your outcome?
Do you have a favorite way to make coffee?
Please tell me!

And for anyone interested, this is the sweetener I used.
Joe and I have been following a keto diet for a few weeks now, so I'm still learning what we are and aren't allowed to have, but this is a sweetener I have been referred to many times!


Found it here on Amazon if you are interested.

Monday, January 21, 2019

I'm baaaaaaack

Well, it only took me 4+ years to muster the energy to get back on track here.  Guess it could be worse.

Or could it?

A lot of life has happened since I blogged last.  I got married, got a job I love, built a house, had not one but TWO babies, and, well, just turned into some version of an adult, I guess!
I mean some days I do look in the mirror and think "oh my god, who left me in charge of two human lives, I'm just a child myself!"
But then I remember I'm 31 now.
HOW did that happen?

Alas, here I am.
I've spent these last 4 years growing up, becoming a wife and mother, navigating so many new responsibilities...but one thing has stayed constant.  My love of cooking.
I've practiced, failed, triumphed, majorly failed (ya'll, do not put raw garlic into cauliflower mash...trust me on this), and triumphed again.  I am so ready to share with you all that I have learned!

I have so much more to talk about these days, too.  My number one goal here will always be recipe sharing, but I want to chat with you about life things too!  Kids, marriage, motherhood, what it's like to be continuously trying to lose baby weight (oh hi, last 2 years of my life).

Let's be friends again, okay?