Monday is here and I just started Prep Week for Beachbody’s Transform20. I’m sure most of you have heard of Shaun T, and if you haven’t – do a quick search. He has the most exhilarating workout programs (Insanity!) and is such a motivator. The new Transform20 program only calls for 20 minutes of your day, perfect if you’re the type of person who loses interests after a half hour of hearing a trainer yell instructions and moves. Plus you can lose up to 20lbs in just 6 weeks! If that’s not convincing enough to give it a try, I’m not sure what is.
(Check out the program here if I’ve sparked your interest. We start in a week!)
I’m not in my best shape. My eating may be OK and I have lost 5lbs in the past 3 weeks, but I’m not IN shape. We’re in the middle of having our home gym area remodeled and so I can’t use any of my go-to equipment. So every pound I’ve lost lately has been due to eating clean and cutting down on snacks and sweets. This week is especially an exception because while I will be doing quick prep workouts, I also will need to focus on remaining on my clean-eats path!
Starting the week off right with this salad.This particular salad is packed with plenty of vegetables and protein! I don’t like fish myself, but I love a good can of tuna with some light mayonnaise. Add it into a salad and you’ve got even more of my attention. But I feel as though I see a lack of tuna recipes on the internet. I guess maybe there are only so many ways that you can incorporate it into a meal other than just the by using it in staple recipes.
It’s awfully colorful too, and I know that can be appealing to some. I like pretty food. It’s more photogenic and it also meal-preps wonderfully which should always be the exception. We don’t necessarily have the time to prepare our foods daily and in order to stay on track, you’re guaranteed to succeed with your personal goals if you’re preprepared.
½ cup whole wheat pasta
1 can of tuna, drained
2 cups Romaine lettuce
1 stick of celery, diced
1 can of tuna, drained
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ red onion, chopped
¼ cup sweet corn
¼ cup cucumber, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp water
pinch of salt and pepper
Cook pasta accordingly and drain. Set aside.
Using a small bowl, add all dressing ingredients; whisk well. Set aside.
Divide ingredients between 2 plates, lettuce and pasta first followed by vegetables. Lastly add tuna and drizzle dressing onto.
When the weather has turned hot, I just can’t seem to get enough of salads. Often I try to mix it up a little so it’s not the same ol’ and I’m trying a different combination of veggies or protein. I’ve been especially trying to get my vegetables in this week since starting this new nutrition program where dinner should be 75% veggies and 25% protein. This meal is right on target for that!
Honey Mustard Chicken and Bacon Salad
Marinated honey mustard chicken served over a bed of spring greens, veggies and bacon crumbles. A drizzle of homemade honey mustard dressing tops it off.
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup crumbled cooked bacon, about 4 pieces
- 4 cups spring salad mix
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup sweet corn
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced
- 3 tablespoons mustard
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium size bowl, add ingredients for the marinade/dressing. Divide half into a separate shallow dish and add chicken breasts. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum. Refridgerate the other half for your dressing.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large size skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken; searing each side for about 3-5 minues. Repeat until chicken is a golden brown and is cooked through. Remove from pan and allow to cool momentarily. When chicken is cool enough to handle, slice into pieces and set aside.
- Divide 4 cups of salad into 4 bowls or plates. Add bacon, tomatoes, corn and onion. Next add your chicken and drizzle the honey mustard dressing you had set aside earlier.
Big sports fan here. Bigger Cleveland Cavaliers fan, and with tonight’s game against the Raptors; I needed something to snack on that isn’t my fingernails (yuck!). Usually it’d be a bowl of fresh fruit or a fruit-infused popsicle, but I wanted something different and so I picked up a few ingredients at the store earlier to throw together a small bowl of guacamole that I can enjoy tonight and as a small snack sometime tomorrow.
I wasn’t always a fan of guacamole, probably because I don’t think the store-bought kind necessarily tastes that good or I haven’t found a brand yet that I care for. Infact, I didn’t realize how much I liked guac until I had a batch of the stuff that someone had prepared for a party.
No more store-bought guac.
Quick and easy recipe for homemade guacamole using just a few key ingredients.
- 2 avocados, halved and pitted
- 1 large tomato, diced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- pinch of fresh black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime
- Cut your lime into halves. Set aside.
- Using a medium size mixing bowl, add avocado and mash using a whisk. Add tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper to bowl. Squeeze juice from lime halves. Mix well and serve immediately.
- To refrigerate, store in an air-tight container.
It’s the first week of 80 Day Obsession for me and as a newcomer to food and workout blocks, I was searching high and low for some unique recipes to try out. I specifically choose this particular recipe via Brownell Bootcamp for an in-between snack prior to my workout. You can’t really go wrong with zucchinis as they’re delicious no matter how you cook or bake them. I remember having a couple squash plants out back a few years ago that produced some of the most gigantic zucchinis I had ever seen! You could easily make 2-3 loaves out of bread out of just one.
This recipe isn’t like most bread recipes simply for the fact that you’re not using any flour, sugar or butter. It’s about as clean as clean eating can get, which is exactly what my week 1 meal-plan calls for.
Flourless Zucchini Bread
- 6 cups zucchini, peeled and grated (about 6-7 zucchinis)
- 1½ cup old-fashioned oats
- 12 eggs, beaten
- 3tsp vanilla extract
- 6tsp ground cinnamon
- 1tsp ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Well-grease a 9x9 baking dish and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; making sure to mix well.
- Add mixture to baking dish, baking for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clear.
- Set aside to cool for a minimum of 10 minutes before cutting. Tastes great with a teaspoon of butter.
- This recipe is perfect for 21DayFix or 80 Day Obsession. One serving equals up to 1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 tsp.
What is it with the beginning of the school year and illnesses? Both kids have been sick and now I seem to have caught it, so as I type this up I am “enjoying” a cup of hot alka seltzer and praying that my throat won’t feel as awful as it does now in the morning. Talk about not much of a productive past 7 days.
Anyhow – my husband is out of town, and while I had originally planned on slow-cooking some barbacoa for this Taco Tuesday, I felt it would be a waste if I had a 3lb chuck roast all to myself. Instead of spending more money at the grocery and dragging said sick child #2 out, I worked with what I got and I have to say; I was extremely pleased with the results!
I was introduced to lentils via FitGirlsGuide a couple years back. I haven’t met a bean I didn’t like and I’ve used potatoes in place of meat before, so paired with pico de gallo, I can totally see why this combination can work great if you’re trying to do without meat or you’re a vegetarian. Just make sure you don’t go light on the lentils! They’re high in lean protein and a great source of potassium.
Lentils and Potato Tacos
Skip the meat! A delicious take on tacos using lentils and potatoes.
- 4 6-inch corn tortillas
- 1 cup lentils, boiled
- 2 medium potatoes, diced small and cooked
- 3-4 tablespoons pico de gallo
- ½ cup shredded monterey jack cheese
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cilantro, thinly chopped
- sour cream, optional
- salsa, optional
- Using a small pot, bring 1 cup of lentils and 4 cups of hot water to a slight boil over medium heat. Allow to cook 25-30 minutes, or until lentils seem tender. Drain and set aside.
- At the same time, using a large skillet - add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set heat to medium. Add diced potatoes, making sure to stir with a spatula to prevent burning. Cook until potatoes seem crispy. Set aside.
- When both lentils and potatoes are ready, assemble your corn tortilla - beginning with potatoes and followed by lentils, 1 tablespoon of pico de gallo, cheese and cilantro. Top with sour cream or salsa, if desired. Repeat step with each tortilla.
A gas range is something I am still getting used to. No one quite understands the difference between an electric stove and a gas range until they actually go from having one to the other. I’ve always heard that a lot of food not only tastes different when using a gas stove (or oven), but also cooks much quicker. It’s still too early for me to validate the taste answer, but I can absolutely attest to the cooks quicker one! I learned just how quick after burning french toast.
Since we are now officially in the new home, I can settle in more comfortably and get back into the swing of things – meaning actually cooking again; something I desperately missed both mentally and physically. I always feel so much better about myself when I know where my meals came from and who prepared them. Don’t get me wrong, eating out every once in awhile is nice but not only does it get expensive but it’s also most likely not healthy.
Tonight’s dinner was a late one due to schedules so it had to be something more on the simple side. It’s been some time since I made a marinara sauce and pasta can be both satisfying to all tastebuds and a quick clean-plater. I had most things already on hand, aside from the tomatoes which I happily walked over to Whole Foods to acquire. It’s awesome just how good even a basic marinara sauce can taste. Those tomatoes really do their job!
Tomato? Tomahto? Marinara is a personal preference. I happen to like mine sweet so cherry tomatoes that were roasted in an oven were sure to give my marinara a sweet taste. I made sure to marinate them with some olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt, italian seasoning, oregano and fresh basil leaves before I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours. And if you don’t want to get out the whisk and crush your tomatoes after they’re done roasting; you can puree them the lazy (and super smart) cook way – in a blender! Just make sure to pulse for less than a minute if you would like to have some “chunk” pieces to your sauce.
What would you add in your marinara sauce?
A lot of meal plans that I have seen in the past have included a hard boiled egg at some point, be it with an entree or as a mid-day snack. I’ll be the first to admit that while I do tend to eat a lot of eggs for breakfast or as a quick and easy snack, I do not necessarily like them. I never have and I’m way past the “you just may grow to like them” stage. However, there are some circumstances where they taste a little more enjoyable to me, and in a cobb salad is one. I’m not sure if it’s because of the dressing or the ingredients that they’re paired up with; they’re just much more tolerable.
But if you’re an egg lover, then chances are you’ll love this salad as well. It’s simple to make, and really doesn’t take much preparation effort aside from cooking the bacon and hard-boiling the eggs. And the dressing is light and delicious.
Funny thing about these pictures – if you’ve already scrolled down and looked at the recipe ingredients, you know that it calls for blue cheese. Yes, that’s shredded mozzarella cheese in the picture. I had full intentions of eating this Cobb salad with blue cheese and didn’t pick up any at the grocery this week because I made my list knowing that I had a container in the refrigerator whose expiration date wasn’t even close to today’s date.
Don’t trust those expiration dates.
After preparing everything and assembling, I got to the part where I add the cheese and went to open the container. The FOULEST smell, hit me so hard it almost knocked me out! Not to mention that the entire amount was covered with more blue than you typically see. Again, expiration date? The end of August. There was no way I was using that, so I tossed it in a plastic grocery bag and walked it to the garage dumpster verses even taking the chance of smelling that in the trash container in the house. So gross. So THAT’S why I used mozzarella cheese. Tastes good with this version, and you know – if you don’t like blue cheese, you can always substitute it with other cheese choices such as goat cheese, mozzarella, or feta. Whatever is on your plate is always your pick of the crop! Enjoy.
Good ol' fashion cobb salad recipe with a homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing.
- 2 cups romaine lettuce
- 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 6 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled
- ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
- ¼ cup avocado, optional
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon pure honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Using a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for dressing with a whisk until well combined.
- Align a plate with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, turkey bacon, egg slices and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle dressing overtop.
Running short on time during the busy holiday but need something to bring to a party? Use star shaped cookie cutters for watermelon and add red/blue colored fruit to give a fruit salad a patriotic look.
4th of July Fruit Salad
- 1 seedless watermelon
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 pint strawberries
- 3 gala apples
- 1 pint raspberries
- ¼ cup agrave or honey
- fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- Combine all clean and prepped fruit into a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lime juice and lime zest. Add to fruit bowl and stir well.
It’s watermelon season! And because so, I challenge you to make this salsa and serve it at your next party; be it the 4th of July or potluck. Just make sure not to tell your family and friends what’s in it at first! Chances are they won’t suspect those small delicious red cubes to be watermelon.
A sweet way to enjoy your favorite summer past-time snack. Don't let the watermelon fool you though, this salsa has quite the kick to it!
- 3 cups seedless watermelon, diced into small cubes
- 2 jalapenos, deseeded and diced
- ¼ cup red onion, minced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup lime juice
- pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl. Serve chilled with tortilla chips or baked cinnamon tortilla triangles.
It should be mandatory for all salads to include at least one fruit topping. I happen to love fruit so the more, the better in my case. So with that being said, I present to you the holy grail of fruit in a salad:
Paired with chicken, slivered almonds and feta cheese.
Balsamic Chicken and Fruit Spinach Salad
- 4 cups baby spinach
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup fresh strawberries
- ½ cup mandarine oranges
- 3 tablespoons feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Add all salad ingredients into one large bowl. Drizzle dressing over-top and divide between two large bowls.