Some running, some rain, and some Moroccan-Style Chicken Thighs

So, in preparation for track Tuesdays and tempo Thursdays, Carla and I have already started meeting on those days to run. Our local running store does “6@6” on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at the store. (For those who don’t speak that language, 6@6 means 6 miles at 6am.) Fun! We get to run together but we get to meet new people, too! And, many of these runners are fast – like “blink and you’ll miss them” fast! – and that is good for 2 girls who need to get faster. 🙂 Tuesday’s run was great! This morning’s run, however…



Good times.

On to happier thoughts – food!


I love food. I do. I especially love food from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region. I love the spices. I love the fresh vegetables. I love the flavor. I just love it! So, when I discovered I had a recipe for Moroccan-style chicken thighs, I just knew I had to make it. The recipe suggests serving over couscous but I opted for roasting some baby yellow potatoes, instead. You could certainly serve with brown rice, quinoa, or pasta, if desired. Om nom nom!!


Moroccan-Style Chicken Thighs
Makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups (1/4-inch) sliced zucchini
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl; rub chicken with cumin mixture.. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and saute 3 minutes on each side. Add chickpeas and tomatoes; cook 5 minutes. Add zucchini and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.


Calories 338; Fat 10.8g (sat 2.1g, mono 4.7g, poly 2.5g); Protein 34.9g; Carb 25.9g; Fiber 3.1g; Sodium 625mg

Recipe from Cooking Light, October 2003

– jennifer

A shake-out run, smallest expo ever, and meatloaf muffins!

Want to know how cold it was this morning? 38 degrees! While I’m not afraid of cold weather – in fact, I prefer it to hot and muggy – but we left 80 degrees in Pensacola. Crazy temperature difference! So, we got out for a 2 1/2-mile shake-out run this morning. It was beautiful but the altitude made us huff and puff a bit. We finally settled in and were able to talk more and breathe better. I’m glad we got it done. We feel pretty confident about tomorrow.


Then, breakfast! There was a Corner Bakery and Cafe just down the street. Yum!


The expo was the smallest race expo I’ve ever been to. Seriously, it didn’t even take up the whole room! There are only 1300 marathon bib numbers! Small race! But, the vendors were decent and we met the pacers we might try to stay with tomorrow. Super friendly! I normally don’t buy much at the expos but I snagged an awesome race jacket today. It’s definitely going to come in handy post-race while we’re hanging out at the party.

Also at the expo was a banner for everyone to sign and share thoughts and prayers about Boston. They’re sending it to the Boston Athletic Association. Very cool. Here’s me leaving my thoughts:


So, for your recipe fix, here’s another from my previous blog. Cute little meat loaf muffins! Om nom nom!!

This recipe comes from the Cooking Light magazine, March 2006 issue – diner meat loaf “muffins”. Sounds interesting, right? Well, they are! And, they were easy too! Something I need to add here is that I am not a huge meatloaf fan. I know some people LOVE their meatloaf and even turn them into sandwiches – yes, mom, I’m talking about you. I never did that and I was always less than thrilled when meatloaf showed up for dinner. I was not as disgusted as when liver showed up (EW!) but I never did a “yay meatloaf!” dance. But, I have grown into the comfort food aspect of it and when prepared properly, meatloaf can be quite tasty. So, when I saw meatloaf in muffin form, I knew I had to try it.

As already stated, the recipe comes from Cooking Light so you know it’s not going to be laden down with fat. Make sure you buy extra lean ground beef. I found 96% lean at my grocery store – I know that I’ve seen 97% lean ground beef in some stores. If you can’t find that, get the leanest available. Be aware that if you can only find 80/20, the calorie and fat count is going to be much different and you will likely have to remove the muffins from the pan prior to serving to help eliminate some of the fat that will be in the muffin cups. Anyway, lean, lean, lean ground beef. You can certainly add some ground pork to the mixture for a flavor difference. If you opt for ground turkey breast, it will definitely be lean but it will also be dry so be sure to mix in a small amount of regular ground turkey or ground pork and a little extra liquid for moisture. Dry meatloaf is NOT tasty.

So, on to the meat of my story…. (ha! Okay, sorry, bad pun.) This recipe was really, really easy to put together and from start to finish took up about 45 minutes of my time. There’s some chopping at the start – onion, carrot, garlic – and a short sauté prior to mixing but once that’s done, it’s all in the oven and you have time to rest, read an email, play Words with Friends, whatever. With a small amount of pre-preparation, this recipe makes for a great weeknight meal that will come together in just over 30 minutes. Seriously, just chop up the onion, carrot and garlic the night before and all you have to do is preheat the oven, mix the ingredients, fill the muffin cups and bake!

Cooking Light often gives “serve with” suggestions and for this one, they suggested roasted potato wedges and green beans. Sounded good to me so I went that route. You, of course, could do mashed potatoes or whatever you want. The final product? These little muffins o’ meat were pretty darned tasty! Even Things 1 and 2 liked them, although Thing 2 would have preferred no ketchup on the top. She thought they had a sloppy joe taste about them and that dish ranks high on her yuck list. But, she’s crazy. They don’t taste like sloppy joes. They taste like meatloaf with ketchup on the top.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. Happy cooking, eating and drinking!


Diner Meat Loaf “Muffins”

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 ½ pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.

3. Combine onion mixture, ½ cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.

4. Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 “muffins”)

Calories 276 (28% from fat); Fat 8.6g (sat 3g, mono 4g, poly 0.8g): Protein 28.7g; Carbohydrates 21.7g; Fiber 1.8g; Cholesterol 131mg; Iron 3.9mg; Sodium 759mg; Calcium 48mg

Baked Ziti and Summer Vegetables

Thing 1 and I made dinner last night. We don’t often cook together but we really should. It gives us a chance to talk, she gets to learn about cooking and I don’t have to do everything, especially after a long day. 🙂  You don’t always have to take your kids places and spend money to have quality time. Cooking meals, coloring pictures, walking the dogs, or whatever – all these things are great ways to hang out with your family. Just don’t forget to open your mouth and talk! 🙂

I found a recipe for a baked ziti dish low on fat and calories and chock full of delicious veggies. You know, when you throw loads of veggies into your pasta dishes, that tends to take up the space for a whole bunch of extra cheese. Now, don’t get me wrong, cheese is great. Especially Brie. I. Love. Brie. But, too much can certainly take a dish from healthy to not in an extremely short amount of time. And, I’m a runner – runners love pasta but we don’t often appreciate all that fat making us feel sluggish out on the road. This dish won’t make you feel that way, I promise! And, it’s guaranteed to make your sailor (and maybe even your kids) ask for any leftovers to be put in a lunch container for the next day. Hearty yet light, the summer veggies add fabulous and delicious pops of color to this ziti. What are you waiting for? Grab a family member or even a friend and get to cooking!


Baked Ziti and Summer Vegetables
Makes 4 servings
Recipe from Cooking Light

4 ounces uncooked ziti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow squash
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Cooking Spray

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini,  and onion; saute 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella,  herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. (Okay, fine, I used an oval stoneware dish. Worked out petfectly!) Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Per serving:
Calories 301; Fat 12.1g (sat 5.3g, mono 5g, poly 0.9g); Protein 16.5g; Carbs 32.8g; Fiber 4.1g; Cholesterol 65mg; Sodium 640mg; Calcium 291mg