Friday, May 30, 2014

Honey Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken

 By far our favorite weeknight meal.  So easy, so incredibly good and healthy!  I make this at least once a week and will probably make it even more now that summer is here and we will be grilling constantly.

This is actually based on my recipe for Honey Lime Chicken Skewers, but I think I grilled the chicken on the skewers that one time and never did it again.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  Too much preparing...the cutting, the skewering, no thanks.  I also added cilantro to this marinade because I lately cannot live without cilantro.  You can also leave out the Sriracha if you don't want it spicy.      

The marinade makes enough to prepare the chicken and to save some for after it's cooked.  We always eat this with brown rice, then drizzle the extra sauce over the top of the grilled chicken and rice.  Once you make this dish, I know you'll have it on repeat as well!   

Serves 4

Honey Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (optional)

In a 2-cup mixing cup, combine the soy sauce, honey, olive oil, cilantro, lime, garlic and Sriracha sauce.  Whisk until everything is combined.  Pour half into a large zip lock plastic bag and add the chicken breasts.  Seal bag and shake to ensure all the chicken breasts are coated.  Place the bag in a bowl (just in case there is a leak or spill!) and allow to sit in the fridge for an hour.  Place the other half of the marinade in the fridge until ready to use. 

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  Grill chicken for 6 to 8 on each side, until juices run clear.  Serve over rice and with the extra sauce drizzled over or as a dip. 

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Healthy, kid-approved little bites of goodness!  Like an oatmeal cookie, but in mini muffin form so they are adorable as well.  You won't be able to keep these around for more than a day or two - may I suggest making a double batch?!   

Feel good about giving these to your kids - no flour or eggs and the sugar is optional (but even then, I used coconut sugar which is way healthier than white sugar).  You can also omit the chocolate chips and double the raisins.  It's only 3 tablespoons though, and the combination of the chocolate with the chewy raisins is an absolute favorite of mine.    

How cute are these?!  Poppable little bites of awesomeness.  I mentioned before that you can omit the sugar altogether.  My sweet tooth is kind of out of control, so I wanted to add it.  Between the bananas and peanut butter, these may be sweet enough for you without the sugar.  Taste the mixture before you add it.  

Yields 16 mini muffins

Mini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 over-ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup oats
3 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  In a medium bowl, stir the banana and peanut butter together.  Add the other ingredients and mix until combined.  Using a small cookie scoop, drop the mixture into the cups of the muffin tin.  Press down on the batter to smooth out the top and fill out the muffin cup.  Bake for 14 minutes.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.    

(Source:  Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Blueberry Muffins with Pecan Crumble

I haven't been doing a lot of baking lately and truth is, I've been trying to justify baking sweets when my family and I have been trying to watch what we eat for the past couple of weeks.  Well, I am here to tell you that there is a way to give into those sweet tooth cravings and maintain that healthy lifestyle.  And this is one of those treats...     

These blueberry muffins are out of this world...they are moist, sweet and chock full of berries.  Not to mention the pecan cinnamon crunch topping.  And guess what?!  They are made with all clean eating ingredients.  

My children love them and I don't feel bad about letting them eat these for breakfast or a snack.  I used whole wheat flour, coconut oil, even coconut sugar.  I think that's why they are a bit darker in color than regular muffins would be.  Coconut sugar is dark, like brown sugar, but you use it as 1:1 ratio to regular white sugar.     

And, if you've never heard of coconut sugar, your're not the only one.  I was researching alternatives to sugar and came across it online.  I was shocked when I saw it in my regular old grocery store!  I thought I was either going to have to order it or get it from Whole Foods, which I'm proud to say our quaint city of Savannah just recently got.  Look at us, getting all sophisticated and grown up.  

Makes 12 muffins

Blueberry Muffins with Pecan Crumble

2 cups white whole wheat flour, divided
2/3 cup coconut sugar, divided
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed)
1 egg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

For the crumble
3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon organic unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a 12-count muffin tin with liners.  

Make the crumble by combining everything except the butter in a small bowl.  Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and mix with a fork until just moistened.  

Make the muffins:  in a large bowl, whisk the flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Gently stir in the blueberries.  In a medium bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk and oil.  Add to blueberry mixture and stir until just moistened.  Spoon into muffins cups, filling about 3/4 of the way full.  

With your fingers, crumble topping over each muffin.  Bake, rotating halfway through until edges are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center, 18-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove muffins from tin and transfer to a cooling rack.  Serve warm and store remaining muffins in a sealed container in the fridge (they are very moist and keep better chilled).  

(Source:  Adapted from Clean Eating Mag)

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Zesty Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken

This is another freezer meal I made the other week.  I am in LOVE with those.  Make them in advance and stash them in your freezer.  Then you almost forget about them until you just absolutely can't come up with something for dinner (or just don't have the time!) and voila!  There's your meal!  

This makes a lot of shredded chicken.  My husband and I had a sandwich each the first night, the second night, I made nachos for the kids because we were going out to eat ourselves.  There's still some left over for at least 2 more sandwiches for lunch or dinner again!  

I love that there is bottled barbecue sauce, but then some added ingredients typically found IN barbecue sauce.  It's almost intensifying the flavor.  And those dark brown edges on some of the chicken pieces?  Amazing!  Almost like the chicken was grilled - it has this smoky flavor that is out of this world.  

Serves 4

Zesty Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken

3 large chicken breasts
1 (12 oz) bottle BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of cayenne (or more to taste)

To prepare as a freezer meal:  add all of the ingredients to a resealable plastic freezer bag.  Seal and shake to combine all of the ingredients.  Lay flat in the freezer.

To prepare from frozen in the Crock Pot:  take out of the fridge for about an hour in advance.  Dump everything into the Crock Pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high 4-5 hours.

To prepare fresh in Crock Pot:  add all of the ingredients to the Crock Pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high 4-5 hours.  

Shred chicken and return to the pot, mixing it in with the sauce.  Serve on good rolls.  

(Source:  Recipe adapted from Over the Big Moon)

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Magic Bars

 Oh my goodness.  Seriously, OMG.  That's how I feel about these magic bars.  Chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut and marshmallow.  Ridiculously good.

I have another version of Magic Bars on my blog, but those are the ones that people typically think of.  Coconut, butterscotch chips, walnuts...and those are good, but these peanut butter/marshmallow ones will be replacing those for a little while...  

So gooey, melty and downright decadent.  If your marshmallows aren't quite melted at the end, stick them under the broiler for a minute or so.  And don't forget about them like I did, as you can see they got a little crispy.  But honestly, I don't know if I would make them any other way.  

Makes 24 bars

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Magic Bars

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a 9 x 13-inch pan, melt the butter in the oven.  Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the melted butter, then pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the entire pan.  Top with the remaining ingredients, ending with the marshmallows.  Press down firmly.  Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  Place under the broiler for a minute to further melt the marshmallows if desired.  Cool and chill and cut into bars.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Crock Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken

I love everything about this meal.  Not only was it one of the freezer meals I made a couple of weeks ago, so there was absolutely no work for me last night when I made it, but it's so good and good for you!  I literally took it out of the freezer, peeled off the freezer bag and placed the brick of frozen food into the Crock Pot on high.  That's it.  Yes, at one point I did take a wooden spoon and separate everything after it started to cook, but that was the only time I touched it.  

You can serve it over rice or eat it in tortillas - we did both.  We topped ours with extra cilantro and a squeeze or two of lime juice (my two favorite summertime flavors).  Chopped red onion, sour cream, cheese or salsa would also be great as toppings.

My husband and I are really starting to watch what we eat.  We never really ate a ton of processed foods to begin with, but I'm learning a lot more about clean eating and finding that it's not difficult and it doesn't have to be tasteless!  This dish is amazing - and only calls for chicken, veggies, lime juice, black beans and fresh cilantro.  Serve it with brown rice or wheat tortillas and not only is it yummy, it's so good for you!

Serves 4

Cilantro Lime Chicken

2 large chicken breasts (or 4 small)
Juice from 2 limes 
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons cumin

To prepare as a freezer meal:  place all of the ingredients in a resealable freezer bag.  Seal and shake to mix all of the ingredients together.  Place in the freezer laying flat.  

To prepare from frozen in the Crock Pot:  Place in the fridge 24 hours in advance to thaw and cook on low 8 hours.  Or thaw 1 hour and cook on high for 6-7 hours (I didn't thaw it at all and it took about 6 hours on high). 

Shred chicken and return to the pot to mix everything together.  Serve over rice or in tortillas with additional cilantro, lime juice, sour cream, salsa or other fixings to your taste! 

(Source:  Adapted from Fabulously Frugal)

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spicy Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes

You'll probably start to notice my blog take a turn toward eating healthier in the upcoming months...which is a good thing!  However, before you run screaming, just know that I made a pan of brownies last night so I'm taking baby steps.  Sometimes you just need brownies...

This was my first time preparing and even eating quinoa.  Seems a little intimidating, but to be honest, it's not hard at all.  You do have to rinse it first to remove the bitterness, but I found it very similar to preparing rice.  To make this salad, it was simply cooking all the other ingredients, then adding it to the cooked quinoa. 

Once the weather starts to turn warmer, I immediately become obsessed with all things lime and cilantro.  This quinoa dish is spicy from the ancho chile powder and jalapenos, but you get this freshness from the cilantro and lime juice tossed in right before serving.  The sweet potatoes add this chunky bite of sweetness.  So many flavors in this dish that all compliment each other so well!    

I started using coconut oil as a substitute for vegetable oil (again, healthy kick!), so just know that you can use vegetable oil in this dish if you prefer.  Also, since I love lime juice so much, I definitely used at least 2 tablespoons, but start with 1 tablespoon and keep adding to suit your taste.    

Serves 4

Spicy Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons quinoa
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided in half
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced 
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse completely through two times.  Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan and add 3/4 cups chicken broth, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the red onion and garlic and cook until slightly softened.  Add the chile powder and cumin and cook, stirring and cooking for about 1 minute.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth, the jalapenos, sweet potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 15 minutes.    

Add the sweet potato mixture to the quinoa, then add the cilantro and lime juice and toss.  Season with salt to taste.  Serve warm.  

(Source:  Adapted from the Food Network)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cadbury Mini Egg Blondies

Wondering what in the world to do with all the leftover Easter candy?  I say turn it into a cookie!  These blondies are out of this world.  They were gone in less than day.  

Cadbury Mini know those chocolate eggs with the candy shell?  They are mixed throughout a buttery blondie batter.  I'll say it again, seriously, out of this world. 

And now I'll tell you the real reason I'm posting this after Easter.  Because I had every intention of posting this before Easter to share with you all!  My oven went caput two days before the Holiday.  Actually pretty much as I was trying to bake my first batch of these.  They were taking forever and I didn't realize that my oven was barely hot!  In fact, I finally took them out after 35 minutes because the top seemed done but they were complete mush underneath. 

Well, we ended up needing a new element, and I just had to make these again when my oven was fixed.  From the little taste of the corner that I got from the ruined batch, I knew that these were sure to become an Easter tradition in our house!  Can't wait until I can get this candy next year! 

Makes 16 bars

Cadbury Mini Egg Blondies

2 sticks butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (10 oz) bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each one.  Add vanilla and mix to combine.  

In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Gradually add flour mixture to wet mixture until combined.  Remove bowl from stand mixer and add chocolate eggs, stirring by hand.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top to make it level.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.  It's best to leave these underdone so if you use a toothpick to check the center, it shouldn't come out completely clean. 

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Making bagels at home seems hard, but I can assure you, it's really not!  I love having different varieties in my freezer at all times.  Sometimes I feel like I can't make them fast enough for my family!  

Cinnamon raisin has always been a family favorite.  Heck, we really like them is my recipe for Everything Bagels - and Salt, too!  Same basic dough recipe.  You can create any flavor you like if you have this up your sleeve!  

The dough is mixed with raisins and swirled with cinnamon, which makes it look so pretty and tasty!  This is the dough after it's been resting for about an hour.  

Butter or cream cheese?  Toasted or not?  I actually like to eat these still warm from the oven with a slather of cream cheese.  Go ahead, try it.  Quite tasty freshly baked, right?  

Makes 8 bagels

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast 
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon cinnamon 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the ingredients needed for the dough.  Mix on low until all the flour is incorporated, then turn it up to medium speed and mix for about 5 minutes.  Once you have a pretty smooth dough (the dough should have pulled away from the sides and bowl should be pretty clean), sprinkle the raisins and cinnamon over the dough.  Use your hands to knead and mix throughout the dough, for about 2-3 minutes.  Turn the dough out and spray the same bowl with non-stick cooking spray.  Return the dough to the bowl, giving it a turn or two to coat in oil.  Let rest, covered with a clean dish towel for an hour.  

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 8 equal pieces.  Roll into a ball and use a finger to press and stretch a small hole through.  Allow them to rest for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil.  Spray an 11 x 18-inch baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Place the bagels into the boiling water (2-3 at a time depending on how big your pot is) for 45 seconds to a minute on each side.  Remove and place on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat until all the bagels have been boiled.  

Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden.  Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  Or freeze for up to 6 months.  

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Cake Batter Fudge

If you're like me, you're addicted to cake batter flavored everything!  This fudge is amazing and so easy to make anytime you're hit with one of those cravings.

I cut these into pretty big bite size pieces, but you could easily get 36 squares out of this dish.  They will be more of a one-bite dessert, but perfect if you are making this to feed a crowd! 

Serves 16 (or more)

 Cake Batter Fudge

2 cups + 2 tablespoons yellow cake mix
2 cups powered sugar
1 stick of butter, cut in pieces
1/4 cup milk
2/3 white chocolate chips
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Spray an 8 x8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and powdered sugar.  Add milk and butter but do not mix.  Microwave for 2 minutes and immediately mix everything together until the butter is fully melted.  Fold in white chocolate and sprinkles.  Be careful not to over mix as the sprinkles tend to bleed their color.

Spoon into baking pan, making sure it is level and smooth on the top.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Cut into squares and store leftovers in fridge.

(Source:  Recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction)

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I'm a super busy mom of 3 and a Beachbody coach. Follow along as I try to find a balance between eating good food and keeping my family healthy and happy! We eat mostly clean with a few fun treats thrown in every once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

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