getting back on the horse

I still remember my first experience with cooking chicken.  The recipe revolved around coconut milk, jarred bell peppers, hot red pepper flakes, and—of course—chicken.  There were other ingredients too, but these were the key components.

I thought the dish sounded divine.  I thought the dish smelled divine.  I thought the dish was the most heavenly thing on earth.  Until I took my first bite.

Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten the salt and added in sugar.  It was intensely sweet, and not in any sort of good way.  Think of what cotton candy would taste like with your favorite chicken dish, and you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.  I quickly dumped the contents of my frying pan, vowing that never again would I make chicken. 

But really, who was I fooling?  My parents raised me to get back on that horse, and so I did. 

My second experience with chicken resulted in a masterpiece.  I’m convinced that stuffing a chicken warrants you an instant gourmet status, whether or not you spent hours (or +dollars) on the dish.  Despite being one of the simplest chicken recipes I’ve made, this chicken has the persona of being all fancy schmancy.  It does not, however, come along with a hefty price tag of ingredients, nor does it demand that you spend hours upon hours in the kitchen. 

This dish will always hold a special spot in my file of recipes, both for being irresistibly delicious and for being my first successful attempt with chicken  The family loves it too, which is just another added bonus. 

I bet you will too. 😀

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
As seen in “Health” magazine (with minor tweaking 😉 )

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • black pepper
  • 1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 oz. bottled roasted red bell peppers, divided
  • 1 T. butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (I made my own with whole wheat bread, toasted until dry in oven, processed, and mixed with Italian seasoning)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, oregano, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper; cook and stir until onion is soft (about 5 minutes.)  Remove from heat and add spinach, stirring to combine; set aside.
  3. Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally, using a sharp knife.  Place bottom halves of breasts in a 9×9-inch baking dish, setting top halves aside.  Divide spinach filling evenly among breasts; top each portion with one-fourth of roasted red peppers and replace top halves of breasts.
  4. Brush top half of each chicken breast with melted butter; sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Add 1/4 c. water (avoiding breadcrumbs) to baking dish and bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked.
  5. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Have you ever made a big mistake in following a recipe?  Did it still come out *good* or did it taste horribly wrong?  I’m pretty sure mistaking sugar for salt or vice versa will never result in a good thing. 😉

summer meets autumn

Fun thought for the day: If your body’s temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and you walk outside into 98 degree weather, why wouldn’t this feel like the “perfect” temperature?—courtesy of dad 😉

“Un” overnight Oats in a Jar!

In an almond butter jar.  Full of creamy, ooey-gooey, swirls and globs.  Stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth delicious. 😀 

Trader Joe’s knows how to make a mean almond butter.

I’ve noticed that along with being able to handle a slow increase in running mileage, my stomach is slowly being able to handle heavier meals before a run.  I love when this happens.  It means that I don’t cramp up after eating breakfast, which leaves me feeling more energized and fresh.  No heavy, lead-filled legs or side stitches either.  Just perfect.  It also means that I don’t have to rely on a simple orange or a date before a run, which means more fuel for those (eventual) longer runs.

Needless to say, today’s 3-miler was fun and energetic. 😀

Morning Snack: kashi crackers and Justin’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Lunch

I’ve been craving roasted chicken lately.

Something to do with the cooler summer weather.  Something about early autumn making its first appearance in a brilliant yellow leaf.  I’ve been craving roasted chicken.

It has something to do with something, but when all was said and done, it didn’t really matter what the temperature was.  The oven was turned on to 350, the chicken was cooked for 2.5 hrs with an onion, and voila.  My roasted chicken cravings were fulfilled.

I wanted salad too, so I decided to combine the two into one meal.  Roasting a chicken and making a summery salad might seem a little odd at first.  But it was a little like setting up a blind date for summer and autumn to meet each other (because you just know they’ll get along once they start mingling) and watching them fall in love.  The salad was crunchy and full of fresh, the chicken was tender and filled with flavor.  The cranberry sauce added the “pow” factor and tied it all together.  Love.

Leftover pasta salad on the side!

+ a heep of watermelon!

Afternoon Snack: Homemade Granola Bar

I used my original recipe, but subbed in almond butter for the pb.  I also added some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Definitely one of my favorite batches yet! 😀

Did you know that the recommended amount of egg yolks to eat in one week is 3?

You’ll find a lot of controversy over that statement, as some people feel this amount should be expanded and others think it should be reduced.  I personally feel that eggs do a whole lot more good for our body then bad, but I don’t recommend loading up on them either. 😉  But don’t be afraid to include that yolk now and then, for its high content of healthy vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, selenium and riboflavin!

For some reason, yesterday’s egg over salad left me wanting eggs again.  I went with a “sweet” version this time in the form of cinnamon raisin French toast.  Topped with a creamy, super ripe banana. 

Can’t forget the veggies!  Roasted cauliflower and onions (425 degree oven for 25 minutes, 2 tsp olive oil + paprika) because I was still craving autumn. 😀

Time to finish up on some homework before tomorrow’s Preclinical Training.  I need to look over a case study on Muscle Wasting in Heart Failure.  It seems interesting but tricky!

Happy Hump Day! 😀

Question: Can you eat right before a workout?  Do you stick to something light or can you handle something larger?