Protein Style Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries – Husband Approved!

Protein Style Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

Protein Style Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

The hubs is a total carnivore, so I have to come up with healthier versions of his favorite not-so-great meals often, but this time he actually recommended having burgers sans the bun! No convincing necessary! So we tried it out with some baked sweet potato fries and it was SO GOOD. Super easy too.

You’ll need…

  • Burgers & toppings (whatever kind you fancy…)
  • Lettuce for wrapping (something like green/red leaf or butter)
  • 2 med sweet potatoes
  • vegetable oil
  • coarse salt & black pepper

Fries – Crank the oven to 400. Peel and slice your potatoes into fry sized chunks. Line a baking sheet (with sides) with foil, and arrange the slices best you can without too many touching. Drizzle with vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper flip over and sprinkle again. If they are too dry, not enough oil, they will get soggy instead of crispy. Make a foil lid that fits tight, you’re going for steaming effect here so no holes if possible. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Take the pan out and remove foil lid, place back in oven for 10 minutes. Remove one more time and flip fries, put back in the oven, 5 – 10 minutes depending on how crispy you want them.

Burger and Fries

Burgers – We ALWAYS barbecue our burgers, but you can cook them however you like. We typically use either fresh lean ground beef and make our own patties with husbands special seasoning skills or we use the Private Selection (from Ralphs) pre-made ones. Once they are cooked and have cheese added (totally optional.. but uh… weird without! ha) let them cool for just a minute before placing on the lettuce. Grab 2 -3 pieces of lettuce big enough to wrap around both sides of the burger patty. Layer them together and lay them flat out on a plate. Place your burger and add your normal fixings. We use avocado, mustard, ketchup, light olive oil mayo and pickles typically. Fold your lettuce over and you’re ready to eat!

Enjoy! xo

Chipotle Chicken Bowls

I love Chipotle. What I don’t really love, is the price and the calories/fat. So I came up with my own cleaner version that also happens to store pretty darn well in the fridge for meal prep!

You’ll need… (for 4 servings)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • 4 chicken breast tenders or 2 small/med breast pieces
  • salsa to taste
  • suggested: avacado, plain greek yogurt (use as sub for sour cream), lettuce, stir fry veggies, olives the possibilities are endless.

Cook the quinoa according to the package. Season the chicken with Mrs. Dash chipotle blend (or whatever suits you!), bake or saute until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. I typically do my chicken in the crock pot. 2 large chicken breasts (or 4-5 tender pieces) either frozen or fresh, 1 cup of your favorite salsa. You can also use additional seasoning or spices depending on how hot you want it. Throw them in the crock pot on low all day and it shreds as soon as you touch it with a fork! So good, we use this for tacos, taco bowls, on top of salads basically anything  you can think of!

Open and drain the corn and black beans.

Divide the quinoa into 4 containers, layer in 1/4 can of the corn (about 2 tbsp full) and a 1/4 can of the black beans (about 2 tbsp full). Dice up the chicken and layer that on top. Now  you can go ahead and add your salsa and cheese, but remember that you will most likely warm this up, so I keep mine in pre-portioned snack size baggies until after I have heated and am ready to eat, but you could always go ahead and throw it on now.

If we eat these at home, I throw lettuce in the bottom of the bowl and then layer, and we usually add greek yogurt (or sour cream) and avacado slices to the top.

Enjoy!

xo

Meal Prep Sunday

Okay, so I have whole-heartedly embraced this meal planning and prepping thing. While the hubs was away, I would prep breakfast, lunches, snacks and dinners. Since he is home right now, we are just prepping breakfast, lunches and most snacks.

So. Here is what this week looked like for 2 people.

missing just a few snacks mostly fruit

missing just a few snacks mostly fruit

His meal prep for 1 week:

  • 3 – mason jar salads with chicken and hardboiled egg (2 alternate days are sandwiches made the night before)
  • 5 – breakfast sandwiches
  • 5 – pre/post workout protein bars (homemade)
  • 2 – apples (cut up the night before with almond butter for dipping)
  • 2 – (giant!) oranges
  • 2 – avacado
  • 3 – mixed fruit baggies (this week, fresh pineapple, mango and strawberries)
  • 2 – apple sauce to-go pouches (sugar free!)
  • pre-measured shake mixes as needed

My meal prep for 1 week:

  • 3 – greek yogurt chicken with green beans and brown rice
  • 2 – chipotle bowls (chicken with quinoa, black beans, corn, salsa and cheese)
  • 5 – pre/post workout protein bars (homemade)
  • 2 – apples (cut up the night before with almond butter for dipping)
  • 5 – breakfast sandwiches
  • 3 – grapefruit
  • 2 – mixed fruit baggies (this week, fresh pineapple, mango and strawberries)
  • pre-measured shake mixes as needed

Non-prepped dinners for the week:

  • PIZZA!! (hey we all deserve a little cheat now and again)
  • Taco salad
  • Chicken teriyaki meatballs (post soon!)
  • Wednesday… something extra special (post soon!)
  • left over spaghetti (with quinoa instead of regular pasta)
  • whatever is left in our fridge

This week is a tad different in that we are leaving for vacation on Saturday morning so we have to clean out our fridge and cupboard. So meals are kind of thrown together with whatever needs to be used up. But still healthy, delicious and easy!

Enjoy!

xo

Clean Eats – Breakfast Sandwiches

I saw a pin (of course) on pinterest of how to prep breakfast sandwiches for the week. They looked so good! And so horribly fattening! So I took that notion and made it a bit healthier.

A healthier alternative.. to well.. a lot of things

A healthier alternative.. to well.. a lot of things

Clean Eats – Breakfast Sandwiches.

You’ll need… (for 1 week – 5 days)

  • 5 whole wheat english muffins
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites (or liquid egg whites)
  • 5 slices of turkey bacon
  • 3 slices of  cheese

Slice and lightly toast your english muffins, set aside to cool. Combine the whole eggs and egg whites, now this is where it can get a bit tricky if you don’t have one of those fancy circle egg mold thingys, which I don’t. I tried using a mason jar lid, which would have been perfect if my warped old skillet was flat, but alas it is not so it leaked egg out the sides. What I ended up doing is just coating the bottom of the skillet with a layer of the egg and then later just cutting it into quarters (or whatever size will fit your english muffin best). Basically you just want to cook the eggs and make them into 5 single servings. Don’t scramble them while cooking, that would make for a messy sammy!

Cook your bacon (or turkey bacon if you are being good!). The trick here is to not make it too crunchy or it will crumble too much in your hands. Slice the cheese in half, and yes I prefer triangle method :). Let everything cool before you start layering.

Once everything is cool layer it up, I did english muffin, egg, bacon, cheese english muffin. Wrap them up in wax paper or parchment paper and secure (tape, string, duct tape…). Stash them in the fridge (if you are going to eat that week) or in the freezer. For fridge warm up zap in the microwave for appx. 30 seconds, or in a griddle for just a minute on each side, or heck the oven at 300 for just a couple minutes would work too!

Enjoy!

xo

Homemade Granola – Protein Bars

Okay, it’s official… I suck. Haven’t posted in like 2 weeks because well.. I’ve been busy.

Hubs finally returned from the trip-that-never-freaking-ends last Saturday so we haven’t spent the last week trying to remember who we are and what we are doing in life, and I spent every waking hour of the week before either at the gym, walking the dog, sleeping or working. So.. anyway enough excuses. My sister and I made these the other night and they are SO FREAKING GOOD. And not horrible for you!

Homemade Granola (minus the granola) protein bars!

Delicious and good for you!!

Delicious and good for you!!

You’ll need…

  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 almond butter

Line a 9×12 pan with parchment paper (baking paper).

In a blender, nutri-bullet, food processor whatever you’ve got combine the nuts (feel free to change these around to fit whatever you might have on hand or whatever is on sale, I think next batch I will swap cashews for walnuts) coconut, and dates until they are a coarse like sand. You could also add in dried fruit if you are feeling so inclined!

Melt together the honey, almond butter and vanilla, just enough that you can pour it and it will mix in easily with the other ingredients. Combine with the nut/date mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Now this is where sis and I took a wrong turn. We thought, “oh, those are a bit big for chocolate chips lets add them to the food processor with the nuts..” “oh, that does’t look like very much chocolate… lets add more…”, well let me tell you that after we mixed it together with the warm honey/butter mixture the chip pieces all melted and now the bars are SUPER chocolaty this time. Don’t let the 1/2 cup fool you.. it’s plenty!

Anyway, once everything is mixed together, pour mixture into the prepared pan and smush it into an even layer. Place in the frige until cooled, remove, slice up bars into desired size (I made 12 from my last batch). You can either wrap them individually, or layer them in a container with wax paper or parchment paper between layers. I keep mine in the fridge because with all the chocolate in them they tend to get melty/soft if left out. If you didn’t double the chocolate and then melt it like I did, they should be fine left in an air tight container (mason jar individually wrapped and ready to grab perhaps??), in a cupboard or on the counter.

There really are a ton of different ways to change this basic recipe around, different type of butter (peanut, sunflower, nutella??), different nut combinations, dried fruit, white chocolate chips?? Obviously I was trying to go for the healthiest version I could with almond butter and dark chocolate.

Delicious and good for you!!

Delicious and good for you!!

Enjoy!!

Super easy Salmon & Asparagus

nothing beats salmon on the bbq... seriously

nothing beats salmon on the bbq… seriously

Since the hubs and I just finished up our 5 day Usana Shake Reset, we don’t want to fall back into our unhealthy ways. So our first dinner, post diet was super healthy. Plus we love fish we regularly eat it at least once a week.

I bought Salmon fillets at our market, we used 4 simple ingredients for seasoning the fish and just coconut oil and a bit of pepper for the asparagus. I used 1 whole bunch of asparagus and about 1 lb of fresh salmon fillets.

We almost always grill our fish (hubs is the BBQ master around our families, so we bbq everything… EVERYTHING!!) Make sure you spray your fish basket with non-stick spray or give it a quick rub with some coconut oil. Hubs never measures any of his spices, so I just have best guests here…

  • 2tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1tsp. parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp. lemon pepper
  • pinch of salt

Get the grill clean and going at a med-high temperature. Let the fish come to room temperature before putting on the bbq. Season the fish, balsamic, parsely then lemon pepper and a touch of salt. We use a fish basket for our bbq, but you could just as easily make a little foil tray if you don’t have a basket. If you do have a basket… I’m sure you know this already, but liberally spray it with cooking spray so the fish doesn’t stick! That means both sides of the basket! NO spray needed for the foil, since the juices will stay in there it will help to keep it from getting messy.

make sure to use cooking spray on your fish basket for better looking, non-sticky fish!

make sure to use cooking spray on your fish basket for better looking, non-sticky fish!

Place it skin side down on the barbecue and let it go to town. It will need about 5-8 minutes on this side. Once the skin is starting to look a little burnt (see photo…) you will want to turn it over. It will only need just a few minutes 3-5 on the second side.

Hubbys helpful tip: when you take the fish off the bbq, make sure you take the lid off immediately, otherwise it will tend to stick more!

Asparagus: Easy peasy, clean and trim your spears, turn your pan on to med-med high heat, pop a spoonful of coconut oil in once the pan has some heat to it. Once the coconut oil is in, go ahead and throw in the asparagus, put the lid on so it can steam. Turn your heat down to medium. every couple minutes give the asparagus a quick stir so you get color on all sides. Total cooking time is about 10 minutes for the asparagus.

so quick and easy, you could even add some Mrs. Dash for extra seasoning!

so quick and easy, you could even add some Mrs. Dash for extra seasoning!

Serve hot with the bbq salmon! We also have added rice to this dish (oooh saffron rice would be delicous!) or some quinoa.

Superbowl Party – Part 2

Okay, I realized that quite a bit of time has passed since Superbowl, but I still wanted to get these super delicious recipes out there, so here they are. Better late than never right??

Soft Pretzels with Dipping Sauces

Soft pretzels with dipping sauces

These were a HUGE hit with everyone. A bit of work involved, and a little messy, but if you are going to splurge, it’s totally worth it right?? Right!! I have already been asked by a few people to make them again for the next party we have. Yum!!

You’ll need…

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp brown super
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 4 1/2-5 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)
  • coarse salt for seasoning

Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer mix together brown sugar, melted butter, yeast and warm water. Quick mix only and then let it sit for 5 mins until it is a bit puffy. Add in salt and slowly add in 4 cups of flour while the mixer is going on low until the dough is starting to pull away from the sides. Add the remaining 1/2 cup until the dough is not super sticky (this is where you might have to add in the extra 1/2 cup if your dough is still really sticky). Remove dough from bowl of mixer and knead on a clean work surface for 3-5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

Place the ball of dough into a medium bowl greased with oil. Flip the dough around to coat all sides, cover and let rest for about an hour or until the dough doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large pot bring 2 qts of water to a boil. CAREFULLY and slowly add in the baking soda (think science project here… it will bubble and foam at you!). Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a long snake (yay! for playdough flashbacks!) and cut into 1″ or so sections, place on ya clean plate next to your baking sheet (about 3 snakes worth will fit on a standard size baking sheet).

Cover the rest of the dough when you aren’t working with it. Make your eggwash (beat together 1 egg and about a tbsp of water) and set it by your baking sheet with brush ready. Boil 10-12 pieces of dough in the water for about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the baking sheet. Once your sheet is full brush each piece lightly with the eggwash, and sprinkle with salt.

Put these suckers in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they are deliciously golden brown. Repeat with the remaining dough. I would start the next batch once the first one has been in the oven for about 7 minutes.

Serve warm with dipping sauces. I made these two (which also come along with pretzel recipes but I only used the dips), Cheesy sauce, Sweet Mustard sauce.

Recipe Source Baked by Rachel

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

SONY DSC

Super simple and quick.

You’ll need…

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 package of bacon (thin is better than thick for this)
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse and trim your asparagus spears. Group together 2-4 spears depending on how thick the asparagus is. Take a slice of bacon and starting at the bottom of the bundle, wrap it around working your way up. Place your bundles on a baking pan with sides (I used my normal metal brownie pan). Lightly drizzle or brush the bundles with EVOO, sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper, and pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes.. you’ll have to start checking on them every couple minutes after that to see when the bacon is cooked to your taste.

Sliders

Create a toppings bar to go with them and they are a great snack during half time!

Create a toppings bar to go with them and they are a great snack during half time!

Delicious easy way to make sliders without having to stand at the grill and miss the game!

You’ll need… (makes about 12 sliders or serves 6 at 2 each)

  • 2lbs lean ground beef
  • 12 pack of slider buns (I used Kings Hawaiian rolls)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 6 slices of your choice of cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400°. In a bowl, mix ground beef, bread crumbs, onion and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place mixture into a 9 x 13 pyrex (no need to spray or grease, the meat will give off enough grease to make it pull away easily), pat down into a flat large patty. Use a fork and poke holes throughout the large beef patty. Put in the oven until fully cooked, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and drain grease from pan (don’t let the meat break apart when draining!), top with cheese slices and return to oven just long enough to melt the cheese.

I cut mine into 15 "sliders" because I had smaller Kings rolls

I cut mine into 15 “sliders” because I had smaller Kings rolls

Cut into appx. 2″ squares or just big enough to cover whatever size slider buns you bought. Serve alongside a “toppings bar” for people to make their own unique sliders.

Recipe source Better Recipes

Football Brownies

Who's ready for some football!!

Who’s ready for some football!!

OMG so easy you wont believe it!

You’ll need…

  • boxed brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Fudge something-or-other)
  • 1 betty crocker whipped chocolate frosting
  • basic powdered sugar frosting (4 tbsp powdered sugar, 1 tbsp soft butter, 2 tbsp warm water)

Bake the brownies according to the box directions and let them cool. When they are cool enough to handle cut them into ovals (or footballs!). I didn’t have an oval cookie cutter, so I used a circle biscuit cutter and squeezed the ends to make my shape, hey you do what you’ve gotta do right!?

Circle shaped cutter was all I had :( I guess you could free hand it with a knife as well...

Circle shaped cutter was all I had :( I guess you could free hand it with a knife as well…

Once they are all cut out and cooled completely, frost them. I just did the top, but you could do the whole thing if it makes you happy. Mix together your powered sugar frosting and use a ziplock baggy or frosting bag to pipe on the laces. Done!