In the Kitchen | Mom’s Chicken & Rice

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I made my mothers chicken and rice the other day and I decided to film and share. This is a delicious one pot meal that also works well within meal prep with protein, carbs and veggies.  This is also a meal that cooks itself, I often go for a quick run while my food simmers away. I hope you try the recipe, and please share your recipes for Chicken and Rice with me!

Mom’s Chicken & Rice

Serving Size: yield’s 4 portions

Ingredients:

2 tbsp OliveOil
4 Chicken Thighs
1 cup Brown Rice
1 medium Onion
2 stalks of Celery
2 cups Chicken Broth/Stalk
2 tsp minced Garlic
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Warm olive oil in pan over medium heat.

2. Salt chicken on both sides and add to warm pan. Let the chicken brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side).

3. Remove chicken and set aside. Add onion, celery, and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent.

4.  Add brown rice and spices. Stir continuously for one minute.

5.  Add chicken broth, bay leaf and chicken. Bring the mixture back to a boil.

6. Taste. Cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the chicken falls off of the bone.

Fluff the rice and Enjoy!!!

Tip: If you want the recipe to be even simpler, add 2 Tablespoons of Poultry seasoning when you add spices, but don’t forget to salt the chicken.

Mason Jar Salads | My Favorites

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photo 2-1This summer, up until September I have been eating salads that I take to work in Mason Jars for lunch. I was able to eat a different salad each week, which kept me from getting bored and happy to try this again next summer. I thought I would just share some of my favorite ingredients for those who want to get into Mason Jar Salads.

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Protein:
Chicken
Roast Beef
Quinoa
Black Beans

Veggie’s:
Heirloom Tomatoes
Green Onion
Yellow, Red, Orange Bell Pepper
Cucumber
Avocado

Fruit:
Strawberries
Grapes
Dried Cranberries

Nuts:
Slivered Almonds
Pecans

Cheeses:
Gorgonzola
Blu Cheese
Herbed Feta

Lettuce:
Spinach
Organic Girl Power Green
Romaine

I tried other ingredients, but the above are my favorites. My salad ingredient ratio combo is usually:
Protein
2 Veggies
Optional Fruit
Tablespoon Nuts
Tablespoon Cheese
Serving of Greens

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I never put my salad dressing in the jar, so I will do a separate post about my favorite salad dressings. Plus I always use quinoa and beans together for a great dose of protein. I kept a box of plastic forks and paper plates at work all summer, and was asked just about every day what salad and dressing I was eating that week.  These salads are quite high in good, healthy, sustainable calories. They are multi-vitamins in a jar, they are filling, they look gorgeous and are very easy to take to work.  Give it a try! What are your favorite’s?photo 3-4

My Go To Breakfast Choices

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I have finally conquered breakfast. After trying many things last year, I keep certain choices that make my stomach happy:

1. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

I love to combine Plain Greek Yogurt, fruit and flax granola. I buy a tub of Greek Yogurt from Trader Joe’s, it can last 5 days with leftovers, as I only use 1/2 a cup. Then I buy some berries (strawberries, blueberries and/or blackberries), prep them and store them in a container in the fridge. I freakin’ love Whole Foods Flax Granola varieties. I simply get some from the bulk foods section and put it in one of my Mason Jars in the pantry. I add a 1/3 cup of Granola and a 1/3 cup of berries to my Yogurt. I finish it off by adding a sprinkle of Cinnamon and Tupelo Honey for a flavorful sweet touch.

Nutrition: Protein, serving of fruit, oil, gluten free and more
Calories: 238

2. Cereal in Almond Milk

Lately (meaning like the whole month of March) I have turned back to a favorite of mine. Remember last year I discovered Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Cereal and I fell in love. Well, I have discovered that all of the Ezekiel cereal varieties are pretty darn great. I use Almond Milk because I really just do not like the taste of Cows MIlk, and then I add a banana for sweetness and more flavor. I just follow the serving size recommended by using a 1/2 c of cereal and 1 cup milk. I do not add any sweeteners because the almond milk and fruit are sweet enough together.

Nutrition: So much nutritiousness here! Protein, oils, fruit, grains, gluten free, etc.
Calories: 355

3. Eggs w/toast and bacon

Another quick and easy favorite is two eggs and toast with two strips of bacon. Sometimes I put the eggs on the toast, other times I put peanut butter on the toast and eat the eggs separately. I really do not add anything here. Its a simple and quick breakfast. Nutritious, tasty and filling.

Nutrition: Protein, brains, oils, etc
Calories: 295

4. Cream of Brown Rice Farina w/fruit and seeds

The last, but certainly not least ideal choice for breakfast is Cream of Wheat/Farina. I use almond milk to cook the cream of wheat and once done I add 1/3 cup of fruit and chia seeds. This little bowl only contains 3 tblsp of COW, 3/4 cup of milk, and 1 tblsp of seeds.

Nutrition: Wheat, Protein, Fruit
Calories: 236

I occasionally have the full southern breakfast as a treat (grits, eggs, bacon, pancakes/waffles), maybe once a month or more. Regardless, these breakfasts are fillings, low in calories, tasty, customizable and very satisfying. I usually drink a cup of lemon water alongside breakfast. All of these meals also make great post workout meals. I prefer to exercise in the morning on an empty stomach and these meals are a great way to start my day of healthy eating.

Meal Prep | Jan 27-Feb 2

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Saturday I made red lentil soup (video will be up Thursday), made some meal plans and a grocery list.

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Breakfast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Grilled

Cheese

Sandwich

w/strawberries

Cream

Of

Wheat

w/Chia Seeds

Snack

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Fruit

Lunch

Lentil

Soup

w/small

salad

Turkey

Sandwich

w/veggies

and hummus

Turkey

Sandwich

w/veggies

and hummus

Bean curry

w/fruit

Turkey

Sandwich

w/veggies

and hummus

Green

Smoothie

w/toast

Green Smoothie

w/toast

Snack

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Options:

Granola

Popcorn

Chips&Salsa

Dinner

Mahi Mahi

Quinoa

Green Beans

Roasted

Veggies

Quinoa

Bean Curry

Basmati rice

Beans

Mahi Mahi

Quinoa

Sweet potato

Pizzadilla

Salad

Tilapia

Quinoa

Green Beans

Tomato

Bisque

Pita Bread

Sunday I went grocery shopping and did my usual meal prep, which only took an hour this time.

meal prep2Tonight I plan to make enough quinoa and basmati rice for the week. Starting at the far left, the jars contain pizza sauce and curry sauce. The blue containers contain broccoli and cauliflower, green beans, and sliced strawberries. The green containers are holding red bell pepper, carrots and a roughly chopped sweet potato. The right containers are specific meal prep; the ziploc bag has a piece of Mahi Mahi,the container directly under holds one serving of lentil soup, the top purple container holds pizzadilla fixings (mushrooms, pepperoni, onions), and the bottom purple container holds a veggie mix for roasting (red cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, onion).

I made the granola a couple of weeks ago, it resides in two mason jars placed in my kitchen, and I have fruits and other snacks just lying around my house. This whole meal prep thing is pretty simple, and it truly cuts down on time throughout the week. I have healthy meals planned, and I am sticking to them.

The Refrigerator | 90 Day Challenge

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I have decided to take on the idea from my last post for 90 days. Every week I will religiously prep and plan (which I do for grocery shopping anyway).   I plan to use Mason Jars and Glass Lock containers like these:

 

The meal prep containers will contain exactly that, preparatory food for the week. That means that these containers will have the ingredients that I usually use in my dinners plus whatever I need for meals that week, the usual prep ingredients will include:

  • sliced red onion
  • pre-cut broccoli (sprouting lid)
  • pre-cut cauliflower (sprouting lid)
  • cubed bell pepper
  • cubed sweet potato (in filtered water)
  • red cabbage (sprouting lid)

In the eat containers, I plan to keep my regular fruits and vegetables, which include snacks and lunch sides. I LOVE fruit, so I will keep some fruit in my fruit basket on the counter as usual, but I also plan to keep a seasonal berry and another fruit that needs to be refrigerated in the fridge, these include:

  • celery sticks (in filtered water)
  • sliced bell pepper
  • berries
  • pineapple (melons, etc.)
  • boiled eggs

Lastly, the ready to go portion of my refrigerator will include:

  • Curry Sauce (homemade)
  • Vegetable broth (homemade)
  • 5 oz leafy greens
  • Pesto
  • Hummus
  • Lunch (which is often left over dinner)
  • Greek Yogurt

My crisper drawers will hold overflow for refilling, cheese, and herbs. Combined with the changes I have made to my pantry, this should work quite well to keep my eating clean. I tested this idea yesterday for snacks and dinner, I have tangerines and apples lying around, so I snacked on them and nuts (homemade granola recipe review coming soon). My tester began Sunday when I made an Indian curry sauce and put it in my fridge:

curry sauce

I took it out of my refrigerator, a can of beans and my pearl couscous from the pantry. I set the couscous to cooking and threw the beans in a pan covered it in curry sauce for warming, and 5-10 minutes later, I had a complete meal. Next time I will add bell pepper and record the process.

meal prep

It was so easy!!!!!!! My snacking was pretty brainless, and dinner included a grain and protein, next time I will add a veggie for a completely nutritious meal in no time. The great thing about curry sauce is that it can be used on beans, meat, and veggies and I use curry sauce often, so its something I feel safe keeping in my refrigerator. Plus I can make many different types of curry sauces thus keeping things interesting.

I was on the fence before last night, but now, I am pretty sure that this is a good step for me. Anyone else wanna join me and tell me your experience with this method along the way? The original blog that I found this pic on that explains the premise behind this idea is “Our Mindful Home.”

The Refrigerator | Plans

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I will do a full year in review post, including pics by Monday, but in the mean time I thought I would talk about what I am working on right at this moment. I am trying to determine what I really need in my refrigerator,I mean, meal prep, snacking, dinner, etc on a daily basis. Right now my pantry is all set, I really have solidified what I need in my pantry and cabinets to lead a healthy lifestyle. I completely reworked what lies within my kitchen cabinets this year, and as the new year is approaching, I have decided that the next step in this journey will be revamping my refrigerator. I suspect his endeavor will take up most of next year as did the cabinets, but to give you an idea of what I mean, check this out:

 

I was surfing pinterest and ran into that picture and stopped in my tracks! Talking about a perfect idea! I am trying to determine how I want to take this idea and make it mine. I bought a couple of large Mason Jars for a homemade Indian Curry and Vegetable broth. I am trying to decide if I want to buy more mason jars or if I want air tight glass or plastic tuperware containers for the items on the other shelves. Regardless, this could work. I plan to do a  90 day challenge working with the above refrigerator idea. Like I said, I am still flushing out the details, but regardless, come January 1, I will start a 90 day challenge. Is it weird that I am excited about this idea? What do you think? Practical? Too expensive? a good start?