Work Week Meal Prep

Sundays are my favorite day to meal prep for the week, and after last weekend–it was needed! I love any form of eggs (egg muffins, scrambled, hard boiled), but this week I decided on egg muffins, one of my favorites.

The reason why I am so drawn to egg muffins and hard boiled eggs is because they are the perfect compliment to my morning shakes. They give you nutrition and the satisfaction of something to eat.

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Egg Muffins: Feel free to use/swap whatever ingredients you like–mushrooms, spinach, etc.
-5 eggs
-1/4-1/2 cup bell peppers (whatever color desired)
-1/4-1/2 cup diced ham
-1/4-1/2 cup turkey sausage crumbles
-1/4 cup shredded cheese
-1/4 tsp desired seasoning (I used pepper)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of the muffin cups with nonstick spray or butter. Mix your eggs in a bowl, add seasoning if desired. Dice and chop whatever ingredients you desire to have in your muffins. Fill the bottom of the muffin cups with your ingredients, evenly distributing between the cups. Fill the cups about 3/4 full with the egg mixture. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top if desired.

Bake the muffins at 350 degrees until they were firm and golden brown. Let them cool and remove from the tins and into a container or plastic bags. They are great warmed up and will last all week.

Lunch: 
For lunch this week, I prepped chicken and rice, enough for the week.

Baked Chicken:
-2 lbs fresh chicken breasts (trim the fat)
-1/2 tsp pepper or your choice of seasoning

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Trim excess fat from the fresh chicken breasts. Line a pan with aluminum foil (not necessary). Spray the foil or pan with nonstick spray. Lay the chicken on the pan and sprinkle with pepper or your desired seasoning. Bake until chicken is fully cooked throughout. Let cool before placing in fridge.

Brown Rice:
-2 cups jasmine brown rice
-Rice cooker

Directions: Pour your desired amount of rice (I did about 2 cups) into the rice cooker. Fill the cooker with water so the water level is a half finger tip high over the top of the rice. Place cover on rice, cook until soft. If the rice isn’t cooked all the way through, you can add a bit more water and continue to cook. Let the rice cool before placing in the fridge.

As for my shake recipe, this is the recipe I have been making lately for breakfast to go with my egg muffin.
Morning Protein Shake:
-1 scoop protein powder (Chocolate Whey)
-1 tbsp PB2
-3 ice cubes
– 2 cups skim milk

Blend together and enjoy!

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Baked Caprese Chicken Recipe

Last night I made this baked caprese chicken recipe and it was AMAZING. I can’t wait to give this one a go again. It was quick and easy, without a lot of cleanup. We made, ate, cleaned up and watched a movie after work–all before 9 p.m. rolled around.

I paired this recipe with a garlic and olive oil couscous. Perfect for a light and tasteful side. Image result for garlic couscous Baked Caprese Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:
-3-4 chicken breasts (or however many you wish to make)
-1/2 cup fresh basil (1/4 c will be chopped, other 1/4 will be laid on top in full leaves)
-2 roma tomatoes (you can also use chopped canned tomatoes)
-2 tsp fresh garlic (I used minced garlic from a jar)
-1/4 c balsamic glaze (1/8 c to brush on chicken before baking, 1/8 c to top off recipe at end)
-8 ounces fresh mozzarella (cut into slices)
-1 tsp dried oregano (I used an Italian seasoning with the basil and oregano in it)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line the bottom of a pan with aluminum foil. Then spray the foil with nonstick spray.
  3. In a small bowl, combine garlic, 1 chopped tomato, fresh chopped basil, oregano; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  4. Combine the garlic mixture on top the chicken and around the sides. Sprinkle any additional seasonings you wish.
  5. Place pan of chicken into the oven and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven and top each piece with a slice of mozzarella, a basil leaf and a tomato slice.
  6. Return to the oven until cheese is melted (you may choose to broil until cheese is melted).
  7. Serve immediately, topped with tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic reduction and garnished with basil, if desired.

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    My finished product on a bed of garlic and olive oil couscous. 

Chicken, Spinach and Tomato Skillet

The other day I made this skillet–and it was fantastic. I am not a spinach fan by any means, but I feel this recipe is perfect for those that want something healthy but don’t particularly enjoy spinach. Sauteed Chicken Spinach Tomatoes_1007x545.jpg

Serves: 6 Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ingredients: 

-2 Tbsp canola oil
-1 1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins (you can use frozen–thaw first or thawed)
-1 clove of garlic (or 1 tsp canned minced garlic)
-1 large fresh tomato or 1 can (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes (drained)
-1 tsp pepper
-1 tsp Seasoned Salt
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach leaves

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  • While the garlic is cooking, place thawed chicken in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and inside is completely cooked.
  • Add tomatoes and baby spinach leaves and seasoning to the skillet. Turn the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 4-5 minutes (or until heated through)-stirring occasionally. The spinach will wilt.
  • When the chicken is done, pour the spinach and tomato mixture on top the chicken and enjoy.
Comparable recipe can be found here.
Nutrition information (Amount per serving)
  • Calories: 220
  • Cholesterol: 73mg
  • Sodium: 431mg
  • Protein: 28g
  • Total Fat: 8g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Carbohydrate: 9g

Are You Cooking With The Right Oil?

There are many different types of oils out there, and many people don’t realise that some are better suited for certain cooking methods than others. Today, I am focusing on some of the more common or ‘healthier’ oils and highlighting some of the pros and cons of each:

Olive Oil

Pros

  • OIive oil is considered as a ‘heart healthy’ oil as it helps to raise good (HDL) cholesterol and lower (LDL) bad cholesterol.
  • This type of oil is best suited to cold dishes and salad dressings as it doesn’t do too well being cooked over a high heat. My favourite salad dressing in the world is extra virgin olive oil mixed with lemon juice OR balsamic vinegar. I am of Greek heritage and this is very traditional.
  • If you are unsure which type of olive oil to buy, I would recommend extra virgin olive oil as it has a higher amount of antioxidants and I think it tastes better too.

Cons

  • Olive oil can go rancid (‘off’) quite easily so it is best to store in a cool, dark place.
  • As I mentioned previously, this oil is not suited for high temperature cooking as it breaks down when heated at high temperatures, which creates unhealthy trans fats. If you plan to cook with olive oil, I recommend using it only at a low heat.

Coconut Oil

Pros

  • This is one of my favourite oils, but not necessarily just for food. Coconut oil is also a great moisturiser and hair treatment!
  • Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is a special type of fatty acid believed to improve cholesterol.
  • It is great in meals that require cooking over low to medium temperatures, such as soups, stews, curries, baking, and raw desserts.
  • Can be stored within your cupboards for months without going ‘off’.
  • Definitely a great variant to other typical oils if you want to use it a few times per week.

Cons

  • Coconut oil is very calorie dense, and has a higher saturated fat content in comparison to other oils.
  • It also has a very distinct flavor, which can alter the taste of the overall dish.

 

Canola Oil

Pros

  • In comparison to other cooking oils, canola oil is lower in saturated fat.
  • It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for good health.
  • You can use this oil over high heat, making it quite versatile for a number of cooking methods.

Cons

  • A large portion of canola oil available within stores is derived from genetically-modified (GM) crops. Should you use it within cooking, then I recommend selecting an Australian GM free version. It is not an oil I regularly use at home because there is a lot of controversy surrounding its use.
  • Canola oil can go rancid quite easily, so store in a cool, dark place.

Peanut Oil

Pros

  • This is another great one to cook over a high heat, as it has a high smoking point.
  • Peanut oil can be quite strong in flavour, and is well suited to Asian stir frys and similar dishes.
  • It contains heart healthy phytosterols (an essential plant fat) known to lower cholesterol.

Cons

  • As its name suggests, it is not so good for people with nut allergies.
  • Like most nuts and nut oils, peanut oil has a high energy content.

These are just some general facts about typical cooking oils. They all have a variety of uses when it comes to cooking. I always try to select the oil that is best suited to the cooking method and flavour of the dish. Regardless of your choice of oil, it is important to remember that they are quite calorie dense and therefore should be used in moderation. As I said, I am Greek and for me Extra Virgin Olive Oil is very typical and something I always have a lot of at home. For me, I am 100% confident in its health benefits therefore it is undoubtedly my most used oil.

 

Article from Kayla Itsines: http://www.kaylaitsines.com.