Shakshuka — Savory Poached Eggs

Since I started getting Obsessed, I’ve been really utilizing the Fixate cooking show I get on my streaming workout system and LOVING IT.  They have been releasing some new recipes that work with exactly the portions and macros I need for the program, so that just makes my meal planning even simpler!

When I saw this recipe, I was very skeptical at first–I’m really not a huge egg fan, so I wondered how that would go as a main ingredient.  But, I love olives and I love not having to figure out a meal myself if someone else already did the work.  And I’m glad I tried it because it is SO GOOD.

Since you poach the eggs, you can really decide how runny or not-runny you want them, so just cook them longer if you don’t want runny yolks.  When you’re getting your kalamata olives, be careful to get olives that have already been pitted–I accidentally bought unpitted olives and it was such a nuisance to pit them. The recipe calls for whole wheat pita, but I’ve been eating this with my sprouted grain bread just to save a little money and not buy two different carbs when one would be fine.

The recipe calls for cooking all 8 eggs at once in a large skillet, but the idea of eating leftover eggs is really gross to me, so I cooked the sauce all at once on Sunday afternoon, then measured out the 4 different servings into different containers.  Each night when I was ready for this meal, I heated up 1 serving of sauce until boiling in a small saucepan, and then picked back up with the steps of poaching the eggs–I just used 2 eggs instead of 8.

The second time I made this, I tried to give myself a shortcut with buying a bag of pre-chopped kale, but I actually don’t recommend that because when I bought a bunch of kale and tore it up myself, I was able to get rid of the woody stalks much easier–the chopped bag had a lot of the stalk and it was hard to eat.  Next time I will get baby kale to make it simpler.

I also chopped my olives 10 at a time and kept them in separate containers since I cooked each servings separately.

**I couldn’t find a 35-oz can of crushed tomatoes, so I bought a 28-oz can and a 14-oz can and only used half of the smaller can.

Enjoy!

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Shakshuka (slightly adapted from Fixate)

Makes 4 servings, 1 cup of sauce and 2 eggs each

1 (35-oz.) can crushed tomato

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion (approx. 11⁄3 medium)

6 cloves finely chopped garlic

1½ tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1½ tsp. ground caraway

1 Tbsp. ground smoked paprika

¾ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

½ tsp. ground black pepper

2 cups chopped bell pepper (approx. 22⁄3 medium)

1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeds and veins removed, chopped

¼ cup water

2 cups coarsely chopped kale

8 large eggs

40 whole kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (for garnish; optional)

4 (4-inch) whole wheat pitas or 4 slices sprouted grain bread

 

1. Place tomatoes in a medium bowl; crush by hand (or pulse in food processor or blender) to achieve slightly chunky consistency. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in large skillet (or cast iron pan) over high heat, until fragrant.

3. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium.

4. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, paprika, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.

5. Add bell pepper, jalapeño, and water; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft.

6. Add kale and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

7. Use a spoon to make eight small wells in tomato mixture. Crack an egg into each well as you go; gently boil, covered, for 10 to 14 minutes, or until eggs have reached desired doneness. (I prefer mine with runny yokes, so about 10 minutes.) Remove from heat.

8. Garnish with olives and parsley, if desired. Serve with one pita or bread slice.

Container count: 1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 tsp

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Sweet Potato and Chicken Filling

I’ve been hunting for some new recipes while I’m doing this new fitness program, and when I first saw this recipe, I was very skeptical.  I don’t typically like mashed sweet potato, and I was a little worried about it being such a big part of this meal.  But, I thought that maybe all the other ingredients would help with my texture issue, so I wanted to give it a try.

You guys, this is SO GOOD.  I could not believe how much I loved it!  The original recipe was written for this filling to be put in a collard green leaf wrap, which I liked a lot, but the second time I made this I ate it as a salad over spinach, which was even better! This is pretty simple to make as a big batch and then eat cold throughout the week.

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Make this recipe, you guys.  It’s gluten free, it’s clean eating, and it might even be Whole30 (just double check the sauce ingredients on that one)!  You’ll love it, too!

Sweet Potato and Chicken Filling (from Fixate on Beachbody On Demand)

Makes 4 servings, 1 1/3 cup each

2 cups mashed sweet potato

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. melted ghee (organic grass-fed, if possible)

3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless **I cooked mine in my CrockPot with some chicken broth then shredded it

1 cup chopped bell peppers (approx. 11⁄3 medium)

½ cup chopped tomato (approx. 1 medium)

½ cup sliced green onions

Combine the sweet potato and ghee until well mixed.  Add in the chicken, bell pepper, tomato, and green onions and stir until well mixed.  Keep refrigerated.

For the sauce:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1½ tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. raw honey

¼ cup fresh basil leaves

½ tsp. + 1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt), divided use

½ tsp. + 1 dash ground black pepper, divided use

Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or small food processor.  Keep refrigerated in a small container and top 2 tbsp of sauce on filling just before eating (if eating over spinach).

If you want to make this as a wrap, put 2/3 cup filling in one large collard leaf green and wrap burrito-style–one serving is 2 wraps.  You can put 1 tbsp sauce on the filling before you wrap it, then wrap the wraps (ha!) in plastic wrap (double ha!) and keep in the fridge to hold it all together.

 

Either way you fix it, this meal is one red, one green, one yellow, one orange, and one tsp for my Portion Fix friends.  If you aren’t a Portion Fix friend and want to become one, contact me!  Let’s chat.

Grain-Free Broccoli Crust

I’ve been seeing this particular recipe floating around for about a year, and even though I really wanted to try it, I kept procrastinating.  I knew it would be a more involved recipe, and I also knew that my husband and child probably wouldn’t even try it, so it just seemed like it might not be worth it.  But inspiration finally struck and I am SO GLAD it did!  This broccoli crust is amazing and I am so excited to use it for a pizza alternative for myself.

The original recipe calls for making one larger pizza crust, but since I’m eating it by myself I opted to make two smaller crusts and just put one in the freezer after the initial bake (once it had completely cooled).  I also used half of a 15-oz bag of riced broccoli instead of chopping 3 cups of whole broccoli.

The crust is so much more flavorful than I had anticipated, and it held up really well when I put the toppings on it (I used ricotta, tomato sauce, onions and peppers, and cheese).  It was so good and even my husband commented on how good it looked and smelled!  Maybe next time he’ll actually try a bite 😉

This will definitely be a freezer staple for me–it was simple (even if it was a little involved to make) and it tastes great.  I love being able to have pizza without feeling bloated or having tighter pants the next day!

Broccoli Crust (from Fixate)

3 cups raw broccoli florets (or 1/2 15 oz bag riced broccoli)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (part-skim)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tbsp dried basil

 

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

If using broccoli florets, pulse in food processor until breadcrumb consistency–if using riced broccoli, this step is not necessary.  Steam broccoli for 5-7 minutes in a steamer basket over boiling water (or until tender).  Set aside to let cool completely.  Using a cheesecloth or heavy-duty paper towel, squeeze cooled broccoli to get rid of excess water.

Combine cooled and squeezed broccoli, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, garlic, and basil leaves. Mix well (I got the best results using my hands).

Transfer broccoli mixture to baking sheet (either as one crust or two smaller crusts)–use fingers to spread the mixture into a circle by pressing down and out and leave a “lip” on the crust so your toppings don’t slide off.

Bake crust in pre-heated oven for 18-20 min, until crust is set and lightly browned.

If freezing, let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer zip-close bag. To reheat, bake frozen in a 400 F oven for 10-15 minutes until thawed and proceed to the next step.

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Not the most amazing food photo ever, but it’s the best I can do!

Add toppings for pizza and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let cool 2 minutes before cutting and enjoy!

 

My Go-To *Healthy* Sweet Snack

I have been obsessed with this recipe since my friend Laci brought these treats with us on our trip to New Orleans this summer–chocolate, peanut butter, and coconut are three of my favorite treat ingredients, so a treat that fits my meal plan, packs some awesome nutrition, and has very few ingredients?  #winning

This recipe comes from the great Danielle Natoni who I had the pleasure of meeting during our New Orleans trip–she is amazing!  So thank you, Danielle, for this awesome recipe.  This has quickly become a staple for me to help me with my sweet cravings, and is so easy to throw in my bag and carry around with me if I find myself hungry and no healthy options to turn to.

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You can use any flavor Shakeology with this recipe, but I highly recommend chocolate because, well, chocolate.  And peanut butter.  Go big or go home, right?  These are so easy to make and they keep really well in the fridge.  Good luck not eating all of them at once, because I could literally do that.


Vegan Chocolate Shakeology Balls (from Danielle Natoni)

1 scoop Vegan Chocolate Shakeology

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup raw, local honey

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a rubber spatula until well mixed.  Put in fridge for 5 min before forming into balls.  Roll into balls about the size of the circle your thumb and forefinger make if they are touching.  Keep in a plastic baggie in the fridge for about 1 week.  **This recipe will make about 7 balls, enough for one for each day of the week as a sweet snack.

Busy Mom Chicken-Stuffed Peppers

I love my Fixate cookbook–I have a handful of recipes from it that I make all the time (Grandma’s Tomato Sauce and the Clean Eating Sloppy Joes are a couple of examples), and now there is a Fixate cooking show on Beachbody On-Demand that I watch every week to get new recipe ideas!  I was watching it last week and got reminded of this stuffed pepper recipe that is so good, but also a little involved and complicated.

On the show, Bobby Calabrese (the chef) mentioned that instead of buying chicken breasts and cutting them up into bite-sized pieces to cook, you could just get ground chicken to save some time and energy.  GENIUS!  I’m not sure I would ever have come up with that on my own, but it’s such a simple tip!

The original recipe calls for quinoa and corn, but I opted to leave those out because 1) I don’t really like corn, 2) I didn’t want that many carbs in this meal, and 3) I was being lazy and didn’t want to add quinoa.  If you love corn and don’t care too much about the extra carbs, feel free to add 1 cup cooked corn and 2 cups cooked quinoa to the filling when you add the black beans.

If you want to make this recipe even easier and quicker, you can skip the whole baking step and slice your peppers into large strips and use them as a chip alternative.  You could also skip the peppers altogether and just eat the filling alone, or in taco shells or with tortilla chips.  Check your grocery for pre-chopped onion and minced garlic in the jar.  That saves a few steps, as well!  Last, instead of chopping the cilantro I usually just tear it by hand as I add it to the dish and that is a lot faster, as well.

Enjoy!

Busy Mom’s Chicken-Stuffed Peppers (adapted from Fixate)–serves 4

4 bell peppers (any color), cut in half and seeds/ribs removed

2 tsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb ground chicken (can up this to 2 lbs to bulk up the filling if you prefer)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp paprika

Salt, to taste (at least 1/4 tsp)

1 cup tomato sauce (I used plain canned tomato sauce, no salt or sugar added)

5 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp lime juice

Optional: 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

Optional: Hot sauce, to taste, for serving

Preheat oven to 375F. Place peppers skin side down on a baking dish (spray with cooking spray).  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add onion and cook for 5-8 minutes, until soft and translucent, stirring frequently.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add ground chicken, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked all the way through and no longer pink.

Add tomato sauce, black beans, cilantro, and lime juice and reduce heat to medium low.  Stir together until all ingredients are fully mixed and heated through.  Remove from heat and turn heat off.

Scoop a heaping 1/2 cup of filling into each pepper half.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, until peppers are soft.  If desired, top each pepper with cheese and bake for 3-5 more minutes uncovered until cheese is melted.

Let cool about 5 minutes before serving. Top with hot sauce if desired.  Each serving is 2 pepper halves!

 

Clean Eating Orange Chicken

I love Chinese food, especially orange chicken.  When I saw this paleo orange chicken recipe, I made it just a few days later!  This is a pretty involved recipe, so it’s definitely not a quick weeknight meal, but I made this one afternoon when I was home alone and then ate on the leftovers for a few days.  This would be a good meal to make on the weekend and then save it for a quick Monday night dinner.

I did switch out some ingredients based on what I had on hand, so the way I made it isn’t Whole30 approved or necessarily paleo.  I switched the tapioca starch for cornstarch and used coconut oil instead of avocado oil because that is what I had on hand.  I served this with brown rice (the instant kind you cook in the microwave for a minute) over a bowl of fresh kale.  This would be great with broccoli tossed in, served with cauliflower rice, or with fresh spinach.  It was a great mixture of sweet and spicy!

Clean Eating Orange Chicken (slightly adapted from Food Faith Fitness)

Serves 4-6

For the sauce:

3/4 cup 100% orange juice (I used fresh Cara Cara oranges to squeeze my own)

Zest of half an orange

1 tbsp coconut aminos

1 tsp rice vinegar

Pinch red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp hot sauce

 

For the chicken:

2 tbsp coconut oil

3 tbsp cornstarch

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb chicken, cut into cubes (I used boneless skinless thighs, but you can use chicken breast or tenderloins)

 

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, zest, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet, melt the coconut oil (for the sauce) on medium heat.  Sautee the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in the orange juice mixture and cook on high, stirring constantly.  Meanwhile, put 1 tsp cornstarch in the now-empty medium bowl and set aside.

Once the orange juice mixture is boiling, add 2 tsp hot sauce to the cornstarch and stir together until smooth. Whisk into the boiling sauce and continue to whisk for 2 minutes.  Lower heat to medium and cook until sauce is thick and glossy, stirring constantly.  Pour into a bowl and set aside to thicken while you cook the chicken.

Melt the coconut oil (for the chicken) in the skillet (or in a larger one if you prefer).  Put cornstarch and salt/pepper in a large ziplock bag and shake to mix.  Put chicken cubes in bag and shake to completely cover  chicken with cornstarch mixture.

Put covered chicken in skillet (don’t overcrowd them–you may need to cook the chicken in multiple batches).  Cook chicken until browned on the outside and fully cooked (an instant-read thermometer should read at least 165 F), 2-3 minutes per side, turning once.

Once chicken is cooked, put in a large bowl and pour the thickened orange sauce over it.  Gently stir/toss the chicken with the sauce to completely cover each chicken piece with the sauce.

Serve with rice, broccoli, cauliflower, or greens.  Enjoy!

 

Reverse Meal Planning

I love to cook.  I love looking up new recipes to try, experimenting with different ingredients, and trying to think like a chef as I throw things together.  But sometimes that causes us to spend more money than we wanted–at the grocery to get the needed ingredients, or eating out because my experiments didn’t go well.  Oops.

This month my husband and I are challenging ourselves to spend less money on food, both eating out and at the grocery.  So, I decided to try something new this week based on a tip I saw on a Facebook moms group I’m in.  Instead of making a meal plan and then going to the grocery, I went to the grocery first.

No list. No meal plan.  It felt SO backwards to me–how will I know how much food I need?  What if I don’t buy enough?  What if I buy a bunch of random things and then won’t know how to put it all together?  It was so foreign to me to go shopping without a list, but it ended up being really fun.

First of all, I needed to have a little more faith in myself–in my knowledge of the staples we use up every week and of my ability to throw foods together to make something yummy.  I’ve been cooking and following food blogs for years now, and I’ve got a good arsenal of information in my brain to help me.

So, I got the pantry staples and produce staples that we use up every week, and then I shopped for produce and meats that were on sale.  I had already looked through my grocery’s app to look at the weekly ad and their digital coupon options and downloaded the ones I thought I might use–which means I skipped the ones for highly processed, unhealthy foods.  I’m trying to save money, but also still eat healthy.  We’re not suddenly eating unhealthy foods because there are more coupons for those kinds of foods.

I ended up with the list you see below.  I was AMAZED at how much less I spent.  We got good, healthy foods (although you can see some of the unhealthy treats my husband picked up) and spent about $30 less than normal.  I saved almost $25 between sales and coupons!  I was shocked at how much I saved this way.

 

So with these ingredients, these are the meals we made this week:

Gluten-free spaghetti with ground turkey (with sauce from my freezer)

Clean-eating sloppy joes

Smoked whole chicken with green beans and roasted red potatoes (this made a ton of food that we ate off of for several meals!)

Clean eating taco bowl with ground beef

 

It was actually a lot easier to come up with these meals than I thought it would be, and we had enough food to last us almost every meal all week.  We did eat out a couple of times, but that was in our budget, too.

I’m excited about trying this reverse meal planning more to see how much I can get and how much I can save!  Do you always shop with a list, or have you tried this way of shopping before?