Category Archives: Entrees

Spinach, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

To get back on track after the craziness that was January/February – I’ve been eating a lot of salads lately. It’s partly in an attempt to detox and get back on a healthy track – but also because I’m absolutely fallen in love with this salad. I think I’ve eaten this exact salad for lunch on the weekdays for the past 3 weeks or so. It’s getting a little out of control, but in a totally great way.

I saw a few different salads in the food magazines I subscribe to that included goat cheese, spinach and beets and took what I liked best from the salads and made one of my own! I forget the exact magazines, because I get too many, but what resulted was a deliciously balanced and healthy salad – and it’s so easy to put together! I always keep nuts, particularly walnuts, in the house and I always have canned sliced beets on hand because I can’t stand the mess of roasting and peeling beets – but I love the flavor. Using these ingredients, I’m already halfway to a yummy salad lunch!

I don’t measure out the ingredients for this salad exactly, I just sort of throw it together (and I usually put 5 together in storage containers for the week during Sunday food prep). I also make a big batch of a simple lemon salad dressing at the beginning of the week and then portion it out as I need it for weekday lunches.

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Spinach, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Makes one salad. Measurements are approximate – have fun with it!

    – A couple handfuls of fresh spinach, about 2-3 cups, depending on how big you want your salad to be
    – 1/4 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
    – 2-3 tablespoons walnuts
    – 1/4 cup cooked and cooled sliced beets (I use canned – so quick and easy!)
    – 3-4 tablespoons crumbled or sliced goat cheese
    – Juice of a lemon
    – 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a salad bowl or container. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil to serve. Alternatively, whisk lemon juice and olive oil in a container until emulsified and store until ready to use as dressing.

I can’t get enough of this salad. The tang of the goat cheese pairs so great with the sweet beets and the earthy spinach and walnuts. Plus, it’s so quick to throw together! I hope you enjoy 🙂

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Lemon-y Salmon Cakes

Well today I want to share with you one of my favorite, quick and easy, go-to dinners!

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I always keep canned salmon in the house just for this purpose. First of all, it can be hard to find Wild-caught Alaskan salmon in the fresh seafood department – and when you do find it, it can be really pricey. Most of the time what you see is Atlantic Salmon, which is all farmed and significantly lower in nutrients (and usually dosed in antibiotics). However, most canned salmon (and it will specify right on the label) is wild-caught Alaskan salmon. I was so excited when I found this out! And I was even more excited when I finally perfected my recipe for these salmon cakes – they really are a perfect quick and easy dinner!

Sidebar: I’ve seen recipes like this that call these Salmon Burgers, and you can do that if you like but to me – if it has breadcrumbs in it, it’s a cake, not a burger. Sidebar over.

Lemon-y Salmon Cakes
Makes four cakes.

    – 2, 5 ounce cans of salmon, drained
    – 2 eggs
    – 1 tablespoon grated or finely chopped onion (or 2 teaspoons granulated onion)
    – 1 tablespoon lemon juice + 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    – 1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic)
    – 1/4 cup fresh dill or parsley, chopped (or in a pinch use a few teaspoons of dried dill)
    – a pinch of red pepper flakes
    – 1/4 – 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (start with 1/4 and add until the cakes come together, it seems like I need a different amount of breadcrumbs every time)

Mix all ingredients together, adding the breadcrumbs at the end. Start with 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and continue adding until the mixture comes together. Form the mixture into four cakes. The cakes are relatively delicate – so just form them the best that you can. Heat a few tablespoons of oil (I use olive) in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Serve the cakes on buns, by themselves, or on top of a salad – all three options are delicious! I also like to mix a little lemon juice into some mayo and serve that on top. These salmon cakes plus a quick vegetable side or salad make for a quick and nutritious dinner!

Homestyle Chicken & Tortellini Soup

I’m so excited that it’s Thanksgiving week! 🙂 Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it combines some of my favorite things – food and football! And family of course 🙂 We don’t have a lot of extended family in town for Thanksgiving so it’s just me, my sister, and our parents. It’s a nice, relaxing way to celebrate the holiday. And this year my Steelers play Thanksgiving night which should be the perfect way to cap off the day!

It has been very cold and windy in DC lately, which means I’ve spent a lot of time hiding inside from the cold weather. In addition to that, I picked up a cold this past week that made me want to do nothing but sleep. It was a little bit of a set-back fitness wise, but this week I’m looking forward to getting back into it! Yesterday I tried out Jillian Michael’s ’30 Day Shred’ DVD for the first time and truly enjoyed it. I didn’t think I could get that sweaty from a workout in my own home! I’m tempted to take it home with me for Thanksgiving along with a set of dumbbells. Because traveling with your dumbbells isn’t weird or anything. #fitnessbloggerproblems

Also, this year my family has decided we’re going to do a family 5k on Thanksgiving morning. Instead of doing an official race, we’ve decided to just map out a path together at a local park. I think it’s going to be a great healthy activity to start off the day! Considering in past years our morning activities have consisted of mimosas, this is a step in the right direction. Not that we’re not going to have mimosas once we’re back from the 5k! 🙂

Another way I’ve been fighting off this wintery weather is with the ultimate winter food – soup! Nothing truly warms me up like hot soup for dinner. Plus soups (at least broth-based soups) tend to be low-calorie foods. Perfect for my under-active winter I’ve had so far. For dinner last week (right in the middle of my terrible cold), I whipped up this quick and easy Homestyle Chicken Soup that was perfect for how I was feeling. This soup is a super easy basic recipe that you can customize with whatever you have on hand. I made this version based on several things I had around the house that I needed to use up. (I’m telling you – that’s pretty much always what I’m doing)

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Homestyle Chicken & Tortellini Soup

– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 cup carrots, chopped or sliced (shredded carrots work here too)
– 1 cup frozen green beans (or other veggie)
– 1 teaspoon dried dill
– 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (or oregano)
– 1 cup cooked chicken (I used leftover chicken that I keep in the freezer from making stock)
– 3 cups chicken stock (I used homemade)
– salt and pepper, to taste
– 1 8 ounce package tortellini or half a pound of dried pasta or egg noodles (your choice!)

Heat up a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and carrots to a tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper the vegetables, and cook until tender – approximately 8 minutes. Add the dill, marjoram, frozen green beans, chicken, and stock and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and boil according to package directions. I decided to use tortellini since I had some in the fridge and it was a delicious decision! But regular noodle, or egg noodles, would work just as well.

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Such a quick and easy soup! And you can customize it with whatever vegetables you have leftover, on hand. It’s perfect for post-Thanksgiving leftover turkey and vegetables! I know I’ll be using the leftover turkey bones to make some more stock! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A Running Crisis & Cheese and Herb Stuffed Chicken

I’m having a little bit of a running crisis lately. I’ve discussed it in detail with a few of my friends and the problem is that mainly – I’m not a big fan of running.

Sure, once a week or every other week I get the urge to go out for a run. But I definitely don’t like it enough to run the 3 times a week (minimum) that would be required for proper training. So here I am, 5 weeks into my training plan that should have gotten me through a 10k in November and then a Half Marathon in February and I just don’t want to do it anymore. Through the first weeks of this training plan, I’ve made excuses to skip more runs than I can count which has resulted in only working out 3, sometimes 4 days a week. In contrast, during the months of July-August I gave myself permission not to run at all and focus on yoga, weight lifting, and cycling and I was working out 5-6 days a week without really even noticing it. Probably because I was participating in activities I truly looked forward to and enjoyed.

This situation has left me in a yo-yo argument with myself of “just don’t run the races – there’s no reason to dedicate yourself to something that you don’t enjoy” to “don’t be a quitter” and back again. I’ve had numerous friends tell me you can do it. But it’s not so much that I think I can’t do it as that I don’t want to. And isn’t it silly to force myself to do something half-heartedly when there are activities I’d gladly dedicate myself whole-heartedly to?

In this spirit, I think I’ve decided to skip the 10k in November, and possibly knock the race in February back to a 10k (if Disney will let me switch). There are circumstances surrounding the February race that make it hard for me to not go at all, so I’m hoping to still participate in some way that weekend.

Now, on a less existential note: a recipe! 🙂

bacon cheese chicken

I came up with this recipe as a way to use up some leftover cream cheese I had in the fridge, as well as some bacon and chicken breasts that I had picked up on sale. Also, lately I’ve had a thing for blending up cheese in my food processor.

Bacon-Wrapped, Cheese & Herb Stuffed Chicken
Serves 4.

    – 4 boneless chicken breasts (or you could use thighs I suppose)
    – ¼ cup cream cheese
    – ¼ cup ricotta cheese (I’m sure you could use all cream cheese, this is just what I had on hand)
    – 1 tablespoon dried herbs of your choice, I used oregano and thyme
    – 4 slices bacon
    – Salt and pepper

Cut a “pocket” into the fat side of each chicken breast. Salt and pepper the chicken and set aside.

Add cheeses and herbs to the food processor and process until smooth.

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Stuff each chicken breast with cheese mixture and wrap in a single bacon slice. Place in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and sear on each side before transferring to a 350 degree oven to cook for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

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I served the chicken breasts with some steamed veggies on the side – such a quick and easy, delicious dinner! I also suspect that these would freeze well. You can stuff and wrap the chicken breasts, then seal in a freezer bag for future dinners! 🙂

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Oh dear – it’s been almost two weeks since I posted! Not that you noticed, but I do want to make it clear that I didn’t die or disappear – I just fell into a black hole of overtime and stressful days at work that left me at a point where the last thing I wanted to do was look at a computer screen. So I took a little break and tried to unplug. I think it has done wonders to re-energize me.

To catch up, over the past two weeks I worked a lot of long hours, but still managed to whip up some delicious (homemade!) food. And I did remember to take pictures of (most) of it. And I can’t wait to share the recipes with you! Up first, a recipe that is a great use-up for leftovers, but can be a little time-consuming if you’re making it from scratch. In this instance, I had leftover rice (some wild rice that I had made for a previous dinner, and some white rice from Chinese food take-out) and some chicken and stock from my big day of broth making. I have to say that this recipe could be really versatile and definitely work with any leftovers you have (I’m thinking couscous or quinoa could be an interesting twist!). The original recipe is from MichelleMarieFit and I didn’t change it up too much when I made my version.

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Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Serves six.
Based on MichelleMarieFit

    – 2 cups leftover cooked chicken
    – 2 cups leftover cooked wild rice (or a combination of wild rice and white/brown rice)
    – 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
    – 1/2 cup chicken stock
    – 2 cups leftover cooked vegetables (or you can sauté them really quick before adding to the casserole – I used a combination of celery, garlic, carrot, onion and edamame)
    – 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients (cooking anything that isn’t already cooked beforehand) in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

This was such an easy dinner to throw together! I was really happy with it – and I even froze a bunch of single serving size portions in small containers to use as “heat and eat” style lunches for days when I don’t have anything planned!

Recipe Roundup: Slow Cooker Recipes

Happy Friday everyone! Yesterday afternoon was absolutely beautiful here in the DC area, so I decided to skip the working-out part of my day in favor of laying by the pool catching up on my Entertainment Weekly magazines (however, the stack of Time magazines on my coffee table remain untouched). It was really peaceful and a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

Then, I decided to be super blog-productive in the evening and make myself a new header, courtesy of Pic Monkey. What do you think? I think it’s a big improvement over the old one!

Today I decided to do a recipe roundup post (inspired by Julie at PB Fingers and the Healthy Living Blogs weekly emails). I’m hoping to make this a monthly post (each with a new category) as a chance to highlight some of my past recipes, and to give you all an opportunity to share some of your favorites.

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(Image Source)

Slow Cooker Recipe Round-Up

slow cooker recipe roundup

Cincinnati-Style Chili

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Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate

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Indian-Spiced Lentil & Vegetable Stew – Vegan and Vegetarian!

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Slow Cooker “Refried” Beans – Vegan and Vegetarian!

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Each of the pictures above is linked to the post with the original recipe. Feel free to share your favorite slow cooker recipes in the comments! 🙂

Also, I found this very applicable article from Prevention about making a pork roast in the slow cooker – then using it in recipes for a whole week!

Naan Bread Pizza

This week for Meatless Monday I made a dinner I was a little too excited about…Naan bread pizza!

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First, I have a well documented love, well let’s say obsession, with Naan bread. It’s just so pillowy and tangy and delicious. I always buy some to eat with my tandoori chicken, but it worked out that I finished eating the chicken and hummus and tabbouleh before I ran out of Naan bread. Now this is a crisis I can deal with! 🙂

I’ve seen a handful of pins floating around Pinterest about using Naan bread to make pizza. It seemed like the perfect way to finish off my leftover Naan while using up other foods that I had around the house!

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I heated the oven to 450 (my standard Naan-warming temperature) and cooked the Naan for 4 minutes on the first side. Then, I removed it from the oven and topped it with some leftover garlic scape pesto, sliced tomato, and mozzarella cheese and cooked it in the oven for another 4 minutes just to heat it through and melt the cheese. So simple and delicious! The Naan was a unique crust – with all the tangy, chewy flavor that I love – and the garlic scape pesto was nice and garlicky without overpowering the sweet tomatoes.

I’m in love with this recipe! It’s so easy to throw together and it gives me yet another excuse to buy Naan bread – which may be a bad thing! 🙂

Question of the Day
There are so many options for pizza styles/toppings out there! 🙂 What are your favorite combinations?