Sunday Food Prep – what went down in my kitchen (12)

Hello!

Happy (dreary) Monday!

Are you in an area that got slammed with ice and sleet last night and this morning? Ugh. All we have here is rain. Rain, rain, and more rain. It’s a little disgusting.

But, it’s not freezing so … it could be so much worse. I’m not complaining.

Since I’ve been feeling better, I’ve gotten my motivation back.

Boy, did it really tank last week!

That’s why there was no Weekly Workout post on Saturday. I only went to CrossFit twice and I wasn’t really thrilled about either time. That’s so not me. You know I love CrossFit. It was just way more fun to come home and drink bourbon. 🙂

Okay, seriously, I only drank a little bourbon last week.  I had too much school work to do. Lots and lots of reading!! And, unfortunately, passing out into a book or my computer certainly wouldn’t help me get As in all my classes (see 2015 goals).

But, this week, I’m raring and ready to go and I totally got my food prep on yesterday.

In case you’re new and/or wonder where I found my inspiration to start food prepping on the weekend, you should totally check out Lindsay’s blog over at the Lean Green Bean. She food preps like a mad woman – it’s really pretty impressive all that she gets accomplished!  She’s even shared tips here on how to get started, foods that freeze well, and how to eat healthy during the week. Just imagine how much money you could save without all those trips out to lunch or to the snack machine during the week! Plus, if you’re eating food you’ve made, chances are it’s going to be much better for you than anything you could get at a fast food joint so you’ll definitely be doing your body a favor, too. 🙂

All it takes is just getting started. Make a plan and start small. See what works for you and your family. You can do it!

Okay, so here’s what happened in my house yesterday.

I made some of Lindsay’s Quinoa Breakfast Bars.  Seriously, I cannot get enough of them. I didn’t make them last week because I didn’t food prep and boy, was I bummed during the week! So delicious!

I also made 2 Overnight Quinoa and Blueberry Oatmeals (ugh, that’s a strange word) for grab-n-go breakfasts/mid-morning snacks.

I haven’t done overnight oats in a while (and I LOVE them) and when I saw that recipe (on Pinterest, of course!) that included quinoa, I figured since I was cooking quinoa for the breakfast bars, I would give them a shot. So, that’s what in those 2 mason jars.

image

I had one today as my post-spin class meal and, well, the jury is still out.  It’s pretty good but I think I need to tweak it some. Like, maybe add some almond butter or something. I’m not sure. It needs something. I added roasted almonds and blueberries to the jar when I was ready to eat. Still needs something.

I picked up an organic whole cut-up chicken at Harris Teeter and cooked it in my crockpot. I sliced up some red onion and put that in the crockpot first. Then, I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder and into the crockpot it went. Cook on high for 5 hours and, ta-da! Beautifully cooked chicken to be used in sandwiches, in salads, eaten whole, etc!

image

Finally, I made a huge batch of chili!  It served as dinner last night and will provide some nice leftovers during the week. For an extra protein punch (because 2 pounds of meat and 2 cans of beans doesn’t give enough – #sarcasm), I tossed in the remaining cup of cooked quinoa I had. Shh….don’t tell. 🙂

image

Not pictured are the veggies I chopped/sliced/etc – red bell peppers, cucumbers, and carrots.

That should get us through the week. Now, if I could just get my sailor to remember to actually TAKE the lunch that’s been made for him. *sigh*

Talk to me: Do you have a family member that forgets to take his lunch? What’s your favorite way to use a mason jar?

– jennifer

Sunday food prep (2) – what went down in my kitchen

Hello!

Happy Monday!

Did you have a good weekend?

It rained all weekend over here. Seriously. My grass is so tall!

If it doesn’t stop raining every weekend, my grass will soon get tall enough for this….

lion in the grass

source

Just sayin.

We did date night on Saturday – haven’t had one of those in a while!

Dinner and a movie.

Or, actually, movie and dinner. 🙂

We saw Lucy. Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

Then, we went to the mexican restaurant across the street where I had a margarita as big as my head!

image

And some guacamole that was advertised as “made fresh at your table” but she just brought us the bowl. Guess the guacamole maker didn’t want to push his little cart to each table. Oh well. At least it was fresh!

image

And not at all spicy. Le sigh. We had to ask for the jalapeno. Oh well. At least the margarita was as big as my head! 😉

Then, I got down to business on Sunday and did some food prep for this week.

Dude, I was EXHAUSTED by the time I was done.

Probably didn’t help that I was doing laundry, cleaning, and trying to pull out a ginormous weed that was threatening to take over my a/c unit at the same time.

First thing that went down were some hard-boiled eggs.

Not for me. Blech.

My sailor and Thing 2 love them. They will be quick grab and go fuel perfect for a sailor’s lunchbox. 🙂

image

 Then, I made some trail mix.

I like the idea of making our own trail mix because we can control the ratio of ingredients. AND, we’re not stuck with what somebody else prefers or some generic trail mix blend.

I used roasted almonds, shelled pistachios, roasted unsalted peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried berry blend (blueberries, cherries, and strawberries – YUM!), and some M&M’s (my sailor really only buys the trail mix for the M&M’s so he can fool me into thinking he’s eating healthy. 😉  He just doesn’t know I’m on to his little trick.)

We mixed it all up in a big container and then portioned some out into 2 mason jars so we could each have one at our desks at work.

 Pretty fancy, huh? 🙂

image

 We totally chowed down on Lindsay’s Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins last week but I wanted to do something different.

 So, I figured I would give her Quinoa Breakfast Bars a try. HOLY. YUM.

image

I couldn’t wait for them to cool completely to try one – they smelled so good! They even got a 2 thumbs up from Thing 2!

Shhh….don’t tell that there’s quinoa in them. It can be our little secret. 😉

I took her suggestion and individually bagged each bar for easy grab-and-go in the mornings.

And, they don’t have to just be for breakfast – I have one today for my PM snack with a couple of clementines.

Is it snack time yet? 😉

As you know, I ❤ the sweet potato so I decided I would wedge up 3 and roast them for lunch/dinner combos.

I can seriously eat a sweet potato every day so I’ll be surprised if these actually last 3 days.

image

 

These are super easy. Scrub, wedge, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, roast at 425 degrees for 25-35 minutes (depending on how big you make your wedges), gobble let cool, put into container for later.

We totally used up all the chicken I roasted last week so I decided to do it again.

Harris Teeter had organic whole chickens in stock this time so I grabbed one and made use of my crockpot.

image

 5 hours later (on high), I had a perfectly cooked and seasoned bird ready for slicing/shredding.

We’ll use it for sandwiches, salads, etc this week.

 Finally, I decided to make some burgers.

As I said earlier, it pretty much rained all weekend so I was glad I have a cast iron grill pan. 🙂

image

I used the recipe from my Abs Diet Cookbook.

I had one for lunch today (on its own – no bun) with some of those sweet potatoes, some spicy (for real spicy!) guacamole, and some veggies. Om nom nom!!

So, that’s what happened in my kitchen yesterday. What happened in yours?

Talk to me: When was the last time you had a margarita as big as your head? What movies have you seen lately?

Mango Barbecue Chicken!

Hello, hello!

We just had a MAJOR rain storm blow through here.

graphics-thunderstorm-604416

And, apparently, a cold snap is following right behind. Like, the temperature is supposed to drop so far so fast that it might even snow. SNOW! Mind you, it was 82 degrees on Sunday. It was about 70 this morning and it is presently 64 degrees (according to my weather app) so the temp is definitely dropping. Rumor has it that it could be in the 30s tomorrow morning! I’m not prepared for a freeze! Oh, those poor little flowers I just planted!!! 😦

Bright side – the pollen has been RIDICULOUS and the rain at least washes it away some. Seriously, the puddles are rimmed in YELLOW!

cat sneezing

Bless you!

And, insert witty segue here…… nope. Got nothing.

So, we grilled a lot this weekend.

Besides grilled cheese – really. cheese on the grill. it was AMAZING! – we threw down some pretty awesome barbecue chicken.

image

Mango Barbecue Chicken, to be exact. 🙂

As in, make your own Mango Barbecue Sauce and slather it on some chicken.

om nom nom gif-3

I found the recipe in my Clean Eating cookbook and the Harris Teeter had mangoes on sale so it was a total no-brainer!

(Side note – I heart Harris Teeter. Especially their produce section.)

Anyway, Mango Barbecue Sauce. It was pretty darned delicious. The only thing I am going to do differently next time is add some heat. And I don’t mean cook over a fire heat – I mean jalapeno pepper or red pepper heat. It definitely could be kicked up a notch.

But, that didn’t stop us from gobbling it all down. (no pun intended! ha!! I crack myself up.)

image

Mango Barbecue Chicken
serves 6

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 mango, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Sucanat (I used raw honey)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used a whole, cut up fryer we got at the farmer’s market. YUM!)
1 lemon, halved
olive oil cooking spray
freshly ground black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato, mango, apple cider vinegar, honey (or Sucanat if you actually have that), mustard and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to blender or small food processor and process until smooth. Please note that the sauce will be thick. Pour 1/2 cup barbecue sauce into a bowl to brush on the chicken while grilling and reserve remaining for passing at the table. (Or, put as much barbecue sauce on the chicken as you want which is what we did. We’re not big “pass the bbq sauce” kind of people.)

2. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium.

3. Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towel and arrange in a single layer on a tray. Squeeze juice from half a lemon over the chicken and then lightly coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn chicken over and repeat.

4. Grill chicken according to what kind of pieces you are grilling (boneless breasts can take 10-15 minutes total depending on how thick they are. bone-in pieces require different cooking times (breasts about 8-10 minutes per side).) Brush with barbecue sauce during last 5 minutes of cooking. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. Good luck with that, by the way. 🙂 If you’re a “sauce on the side” group, while chicken is resting, reheat remaining sauce and serve with the chicken.

image

5. Count the days until summer because this recipe will make you think you’re already there. 🙂

image

 

Talk to me: What’s your favorite flavor barbecue sauce? Do you barbecue only when it’s warm or are you a year-round griller?

We are definitely year-round grillers. We do a turkey on the grill during the holidays and I’ve shoveled my way to the grill before. Nothing stands between a girl and her grilled food! 😉

We prefer a Kansas City style barbecue sauce but this Mango sauce, once I heat it up, will likely become a regular.

– jennifer