Foil Pack Chicken Meals

foil pack chicken 1

Today, I am sharing two different ways to prepare chicken in a foil pack. I also did this with fresh cod, potatoes, onions, garlic, lemon and parsley on Friday night and it was easy & delicious too! These should take about 10 min to prep and 30 min to cook. If you are doing fish though I would turn the temp up and lessen the baking time. More like 15 min at 450 degrees.

*This first one has mostly ingredients from Trader Joe’s and the second from Aldi*

I used some of their frozen pearl onions, frozen tri-colored fire roasted onion & peppers and chicken but you can use whatever brands you have of course. I also used their red lentil pasta which I just adore. I am thinking Max (my 8-year-old son) would really like this meal even if he picked around the peppers and onions he would like the pasta and chicken.

For this recipe follow these few simple steps (makes 2 servings):

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Place a handful of pearl onions, frozen peppers on the bottom of a foil sheet

Place one piece chicken breast on top of the veggies (you can, of course, use fresh)

Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder, paprika and chili powder to your liking. Add a tbsp of olive oil and spread with your hand over the chicken

Wrap the foil packet up tightly and place in oven for 30 to 40 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken

Cook pasta or rice to serve with it when finished. Sprinkle some shredded cheese or fresh herbs as well

foil pack chicken 2

For this one, I used some traditional Mediterranean ingredients

Most of these ingredients came from Aldi

To make this foil pack chicken (2 servings) follow these few easy steps:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Make a dressing with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp pesto (jarred from Aldi) and the juice from 1/2 lemon

Take 1/2 cup each of cherry tomatoes sliced in half, kalamata olives (jarred from Aldi) and sliced red onion divided into two portions on the bottom of each of the foil sheets. Also, add some minced garlic to your liking

Salt & pepper the chicken then place it on top of the tomato, onion & olive mix

Pour half of the dressing over each piece of chicken  & add a slice of lemon. Then wrap them up

Bake in oven for 30 to 40 minutes depending on their thickness

While that is baking make potatoes, rice, pasta or something to serve it over.

Put it over your carb and add fresh mozzarella (got from Aldi) or feta with some fresh chopped parsley

I hope you enjoy these foil pack chicken ideas and will give them a try with your own spin or use my versions for dinner soon! I really think the possibilities are endless here. It doesn’t matter where you get your ingredients. I just wanted to share that there are some amazing options at both Aldi and Trader Joe’s that I found and keep going back to, using them in different dishes and different ways. 

xo, Adrienne

Pesto Chicken Lasagna

Hey all, I wanted to share my recipe for pesto chicken lasagna that I made this weekend. I will try to break it down by each layer to make it pretty simple. It is chicken based so it is protein packed. I went easy on the cheeses and used some Greek yogurt to add moisture and flavor as well.

First: here is everything that I used in this picture. I had boiled and shredded the chicken the day before.

  • 4 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms & white onion with some EVOO
  • 1 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3 or 4 medium chicken breast boiled and shredded
  • 4 medium stem tomatoes sliced and salt & peppered
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, 2 cups ricotta cheese & a blend of mozzarella, Gruyère & parmesan cheese….or whatever you have 😉 you don’t need that much
  • Homemade pesto or a small jar (about 8 or 10 oz.)
  • Lasagna noodles-I used 9/4 bottom then 3 and 3 for the next 2 layers
  • Seasonings like parsley, red pepper flakes, oregano & basil, salt & pepper

pesto-lasagna-1

Second:  cook your mushrooms, onions and warm half of the already cooked chicken in a skillet for about 15 min on medium heat with a little bit of olive oil. Then add half of the pesto and season with parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano to your liking. Meanwhile, boil your noodles according to package directions.

pesto-lasagna-2

Third: pre-heat your oven to 350 & begin your assembly line by having your tomatoes sliced and ready, your spinach close by, noodles, the other half of the shredded chicken mixed with the rest of the pesto and the 1 cup of Greek yogurt. Your can of fire roasted tomatoes ready with the liquid (don’t drain) and your 2 cups of ricotta cheese along with the shredded cheese options near by.

pesto-lasagna-3

To assemble:

  • Coat your pan with a spray or whatever non-stick option you like
  • Spread some fire roasted tomatoes and liquid on the bottom
  • Place 4 lasagna noodles overlapping each other’s edges just a bit
  • Place warm chicken & mushroom mixture on top
  • Add a layer of ricotta cheese and shredded Gruyère cheese
  • Then add a layer of spinach leaves and sliced tomatoes
  • Top that with 3 more noodles
  • Then the chicken, pesto and Greek yogurt mixture (this can be room temp)
  • The rest of the ricotta cheese and the shredded parmesan cheese
  • Another layer of spinach and sliced tomatoes
  • Finish with 3 more noodles, the rest of the liquid and diced fire roasted tomatoes and shredded mozzarella cheese

pesto-lasagna-4

Cover with foil and bake for 30 min in 350 degree oven, then remove foil and bake for another 25 to 30 min. Let cool for 30 min before cutting.

pesto-lasagna-6

I hope you will try this and I really hope you enjoy it!

xoxo, Adrienne

 

Market fresh ideas from me to you

 

Doesn’t that salad look fresh & satisfying? This post is for those of us that are running out of ideas and inspiration to answer the question, what should I eat this week? It’s fall here in Pittsburgh and I am pretty much pumpkined out except I did buy a batch of pumpkin bagels and I am not sorry about that because I also bought a bunch of really nutritious items as well. It’s about balance and I think this picture shows balance. Yes, bagels. Yes, pie. But look at all of those colors in the produce….

grocery-haul

I am going to share a few ideas I have to use up all of these goodies in this post. First, to get this out of the way. Carbs, we need them and I do not feel guilty about those bagels and the honey butter I bought along with it. In fact, I had one as soon as I got home from shopping. It was super satisfying and delicious of course. I plan on eating one each morning because I need food in the morning, lots of it if I am going to make it through the day without turning into a mommy monster or the hangriest lady at Target. I know you know what I mean. It will give me energy to work, mother, wife, think, exercise and function for the day.

bagel

 

I really wanted to make salad this week so I stocked up and made this huge chopped salad which I will share and bring some for dinner to my parents tonight (along with that pie) and I also made 4 small containers to store and grab. I made the dressing ahead of time too but kept it separate. I may add tuna, salmon or hard boiled eggs to these as well. Because I already have them on hand. Plus protein is important!

Dressing:

  • sunflower oil, olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, water, honey, mustard, garlic, ginger, salt & pepper

Salad:

  • Dice everything as small as you can-honey crisp apple, cucumber, bell pepper, celery, carrots, red onion, walnuts, dried cranberries, arugula, romaine & napa cabbage

salad-2

I will attempt this week a recipe that I saw on The Chew for apple stuffed acorn squash so that’s happening. I also want to make a mashed root veg out of the yams, baby reds (that I already have) and the parsnips. I will add some of that honey butter to both of these dishes. I also plan on having smoothies in the afternoon with the Greek yogurt that I have and those bananas once they ripen. Wednesday for dinner, Max and I are going to make mac n cheese and I still need to decide what I am going to do with that artichoke! Sometimes it’s fun to buy things without a plan. I was inspired by it at the store so I threw it in the basket. Suggestions welcome. The cottage cheese is a favorite pre-bed snack of mine. I add cinnamon and eat it out of the container. I also prepped some celery and carrots to dip in that hummus.  I will share the mashed root veg, the acorn squash and artichoke on Facebook when I make them this week. I hope this gave you some inspiring ideas to have fun with your food & change up your variety a little!

I am excited to eat these yummy foods this week that are healthy but also extremely tasty. Balance is the key so I encourage you to cook, I encourage you to move your body and I encourage you to be positive and happy. Life is hard, complicated, unfair and crazy unless you step back and realize it actually can be very simple! xoxoAdrienne

 

Make ahead balanced breakfast

 

make ahead balanced breakfast

Hello sunshine! I made this make ahead breakfast today to store overnight and eat for the next few days. It is so good and a very balanced and satisfying meal. Fruit/oats/Greek yogurt/flaxseeds and a few add ins. Yep, that’s protein and good cards with some fiber and omega-3. I like that combo to start my day for sure!

Make it your own as usual with my recipes but here is the general idea:

1 chopped honey crisp apple

1 cup mixed berries/cherries (frozen or fresh)

1/2 cup cranberries (frozen or fresh)

2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tsp wheat germ

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)

mix together and store in a tight container overnight

Makes 4 servings

You can add nuts or more spices-I just used what I had on hand but there are lots of possibilities here. I had a bag of frozen mixed berries and cherries but you could use any fruit you wanted to. If you like it sweeter you can add honey just before eating it.

Enjoy!!

xo, A

Coconut & Mango Chicken Thighs

coconut mango chicken thighs

What you will need:

6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 peeled cubed carrots

1 large peeled and cubed sweet potato

2 TBSP honey

2 TBSP butter

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 TBSP tomato paste

1/2 cup mango chunks

Seasonings/Spices:

salt & pepper

nutmeg

cinnamon stick

coriander

ginger

cayenne pepper

lemon zest

shredded coconut flakes

parsley

How to make:

Pre-heat oven to 365 degrees.

On the stove heat a dutch oven or pan to med heat with 1 tbsp. of butter.

Add your carrots, onion and sweet potatoes to start to soften and cook for about 10 min.

Next add your seasonings: coriander, cayenne, ginger, nutmeg and salt/pepper (use about 1 TBSP of each but if you want to make this spicy add more cayenne and blk pepper)

Add tomato paste and stir then add chicken broth and coconut milk and cook for an additional 5 min to 10 min on med heat. At this point add a touch more of each seasoning and add your cinnamon stick that you will later remove after it comes out of the oven.

Pour mixture into an oven safe pan (use the other tbsp. of butter to coat the pan with and then add chicken thighs. Next add the mango chunks around the chicken thighs.

Bake for about 45 min.

When it comes out of the oven remove the cinnamon stick and add parsley, lemon zest and coconut flakes for garnish.

I made couscous on the side and served it over that but you can eat this just as is or even over rice. I even thought about pureeing the mango into the chicken broth and coconut milk so maybe I will try that next time!

This makes 6 servings.

I hope you enjoy it!

couscous and chicken thighs

Everyone in my house loved the chicken-it was flavorful and so moist!

I had it again for lunch today and the couscous was amazing after soaking up most of the coconut milk sauce.

xo

Adrienne

Bacon, Avocado & Panko Bites

bacon avocado panko bites

These were delicious! Bacon.Avocado.Panko…. need I say more?

How to make:

Cook the 4 strips of bacon (cut in half) about 3/4 of the way through then pat the extra grease off.

Slice a whole avocado into moon shaped pieces and toss in panko breadcrumbs.

Wrap avocado bites with the bacon and use a toothpick to hold together.

Cook on tray for about 10 to 15 more min in a 365 degree oven until the panko turns a bit darker and the bacon is crispy or to your liking. Avocado will be soft and warm at this point. You can spray the panko with a little bit of oil to help this along before you place them in the oven.

Pat the grease off of the bacon one more time and you are good to eat!

Enjoy!

xo

Adrienne

Fresh Greek Summer Pasta

fresh greek summer pasta

We had this tonight for dinner and it was delicious! I have to share it with you! It’s a Greek themed super easy pasta that requires little work! You will need tons of fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh basil! If you like kalamata olives and feta cheese then you are going to love this!!

Ingredients:

3 cups halved cherry tomatoes

15 leaves of basil-cut into ribbons

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

Red pepper flakes to your liking

Garlic powder or freshly minced to your liking

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 cup kalamata olives

3 to 4 servings of the Pasta of your choice-we did a really thin long noodle

How to:

Mix the first eight ingredients together gently in a bowl, cover with clear wrap and leave on counter or a few hours.

basil tomato salad

Cook the pasta when ready to eat then top with tomato basil mixture and lastly add the olives and feta, then serve. Makes about 3 to 4 servings.

There are so many yummy combinations you could do with this!

Here are some that I have thought of (add to the tomatoes as a base & olive oil/seasonings):

Chickpeas, zucchini, parsley and shredded carrots

Basil, pine nuts, yellow pepper and mushrooms

Chicken, red pepper, onions, balsamic vinegar and spinach

Sunflower seeds, Asparagus, radishes, fresh mint and yellow squash

I will be making this or some version of it a lot this summer!

fresh greek pasta finished

I hope you enjoy it too!

xo-A

5 balanced snack ideas for you!

5 delicious snack ideas

“What should I eat for a snack?”

I am asked this question often so I put together this post to show you 5 examples of some healthy delicious snacks that I often have. A typical day for me is breakfast, lunch and dinner with 2 snacks in between, But, every day is different and sometimes it is breakfast, 2 snacks, pre workout, dinner and then another snack or breakfast, lunch, pre workout snack, dinner. It just depends on what I am doing that day. Most days I have a smoothie at some point either as a meal or a snack.

A lot of folks freak out about eating too much or too little and count calories but you know what? I strongly believe that is not the way to go.  I think that if you stick to these rules you will end up satisfying your mind and body as far as eating goes. (not to mention your sanity)

Eat when you are hungry (make sure it is actual hunger and not a result of being bored, dehydrated or tired) I have heard people say if you are truly hungry you will eat an apple>>point being it is not a craving or being bored or tired. If you are hungry you will want to devour that apple. Think about it.

Make sure you are drinking half of your bodyweight in oz of water daily-more if you sweat for 20 to 30 minutes or more or drink alcohol that day.

Balance your meals and snacks-each one should include carbs/fiber, protein and good fats.

After a workout get protein in your system within 30 min of finishing. Your muscles are begging for it and that is why protein powder comes in handy but if you plan accordingly you don’t have to use it.

Don’t feel guilty about certain foods. Just keep it positive and make sure you are getting your carbs, protein, fats and water balanced throughout the day. If you have a grilled cheese or some chicken wings-enjoy them and don’t punish yourself the rest of the day because you chose to enjoy those foods. You have a choice with everything you eat so don’t think good vs bad, I fell off the wagon with that meal, etc. Just be aware and chose what makes you feel healthy, alert, alive and energetic.

Focus on building muscle and the fat will go away. You are an athlete so act like one. Make your goal to be stronger, faster, lift heavier, squat lower, run/walk longer, jump higher….this is what will change your body.

Ok-finally, some snack ideas!!!

#1. A smoothie with spinach, banana, protein powder, ice and milk or water

#2. Apple slices or rice cakes or seed crackers with nut butter (1 to 2 TBSP) Right now I have cashew and sunflowerseed butter on hand.

#3. 1 cup Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fruit-sprinkle with cinnamon, yumm!

#4. Nutritious bar-when you really are on the go this is a good option. If you are sitting at a desk or home all day then chose something from the fridge or pack from home. I do try to limit bars so that I can get more fruits and veggies in too throughout the day.

#5. Avocado and orange salad-dress with a bit of sea salt and dash of oil-whatever kind you like to use.

I would love to hear back from you on your favorite snack ideas that help you live a balanced & happy lifestyle!

xo, A

5 delicious snack ideas

Sweet peppers & chickpea dip

sweet pepper and chickpea dip

Combine:

one 15 oz can of low salt chickpeas

4 to 5 sweet mini peppers-tops cut off

2 to 3 tbsp. chopped red onion

2 tbsp. orange juice

1 tbsp. mayo

Seasonings-black pepper, cumin, garlic powder and parsley to your liking

Drizzle in grapeseed or olive oil as you blend the mixture in food processor

Blend until smooth!

Enjoy! A

Adrienne’s Greek Yogurt Salad Dressing

This is a dressing I make a lot and you can even do it without the Greek yogurt. I use a lot of the spices listed below because they help with the digestion process and of course it makes it taste delicious! Today I made this mixed up salad (not sure what else to call it) with corn, feta, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, thinly sliced cucumber, chopped celery, shredded carrots, avocado, chickpeas and tomatoes and when I eat it I will top it with this dressing.

MIXED UP salad

I hope you enjoy this dressing! xo, A

greek yogurt salad dressing