Protein Packed Nachos

Now that the new Quest Nutrition chips are in stores, I finally got my hands on a couple bags so I could try them out. First up: sea salt and sour cream and cheddar.

I’m not a giant chip eater– I really only grab a few chips if there’s a bowl sitting in front of me at a party. Other than that, they are something I could definitely live without (…and pretty much do). Because of this, I didn’t really feel like just eating the protein chips straight out of the bag.

Unfortunately Fortunately, I was starving and I needed to throw something together quickly. Quest Nachos it was!

To Make: (1 serving)

You Will Need:
1 bag of Sea Salt Quest Nutrition chips
4 oz. ground meat of choice (I used 99% lean ground turkey)
1 oz. cheddar cheese (shredded or chopped very small)
1/4 of a red bell pepper
1 slice onion
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
Shredded lettuce
4 cherry tomatoes
Hot sauce
Seasonings of choice (I used garlic powder, chili powder and cayenne pepper)

Before cooking

Before cooking

To Make:
Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, sauté meat with seasonings until halfway cooked. Add peppers, onion, mushrooms and stir occasionally until fully cooked.*

Empty bag of chips onto a baking sheet lined with foil and spread so they are flat.

Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over the chips.

Spoon meat mixture over top of the chips, spreading evenly.

Top with lettuce, tomatoes and the remainder of the cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes or until all the cheese is melted.

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*To cook my meat, I use a cast iron skillet. I add the meat and cover the bottom of the pan with water. I then add spices and cook most of the way, add in extras and cook until no pink remains.

Chicken Salad Sushi

There’s a sushi place near my house that’s All You Can Eat everyday. It’s actually the best restaurant in the area and not just because you can stuff your face with sushi, sashimi and all the accompaniments (seaweed salad and edamame, please) but because everything is fresh, beautiful and absolutely delicious.

The only thing about eating there is that you have to be hungry enough to make it worth it. While reasonably priced for lots of special rolls, it’s not exactly cheap for an all-the-time kind of thing. Also, the magical experience doesn’t happen if you don’t eat a few appetizers, eat a few rolls, then maybe decide you’re feelin’ some more miso soup.

I was craving sushi the other day but didn’t have anyone to dine with at the time and I wasn’t quite hungry enough anyway. My practical side also reminded me that I had prepped chicken for the week and I needed to save money and eat it.

This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a “throw everything together” kind of thing but it works, and it’s delicious so it’s happening.
IMG_3972Chicken Salad Sushi (makes 2 sushi rolls):

1 piece grilled/baked chicken (this week, I prepped my chicken by rubbing it with a tiny bit of mayonnaise, seasoned with Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning and baked in the oven for about 25 minutes)
1 stalk celery
1/2 slice onion
1 tsp. mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s Canola Mayonnaise)
1/2 TBL. Franks Hot Sauce Ketchup*
1/4 of a cucumber, sliced into thin sticks
1/2 cup baby spinach
2 sheets nori
Small bowl of water

Begin by cutting chicken, onion and celery into small chunks. Place in food processor with mayo and ketchup and process until ground and sticking together (add more mayo/ketchup to taste/consistency if needed).

On one sheet of nori, arrange spinach leaves across the sheet about 1 inch from the bottom. Using your fingers or a fork, gently spread chicken salad on top of spinach.

Place cucumber sticks on top of chicken salad and press down lightly.

Beginning from the bottom, tightly roll nori over the filling and wipe across the sheet with a little water on your finger tip.

Continue rolling to the top and seal with a bit of water.

Repeat with second sheet of nori.

Slice using a sharp, wet knife.

*If you cannot find/don’t have hot sauce ketchup, you could probably use a little more mayonnaise and regular hot sauce.

Tuesday Thoughts

Loving this quick article about being happy with gaining weight. Not about scale progress, about mental progress.

This Buzzfeed article on Instagram Food vs. Real Food is perfect. Love it.

I don’t think any dessert could be any more perfect than these s’mores cakelettes. Now in my bookmarks bar.

Obsessed with this song lately. The lyrics are perfection.

Two words. Pumpkin. Push-pops.

 

What I Ate Wednesday

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday with Jenn from Peas and Crayons

What I Ate Wednesday: Short Sentence Addition

This past weeks eats started with this. What is this? Homemade coffee Oreo ice cream. Yes. I went to work, was talking about how I planned to buy an ice cream maker and lo and behold, we had one in the back. I’ve made about 6 batches of ice cream so far including 2 batches of this coffee Oreo, chocolate coconut, blueberry brown sugar graham cracker, chocolate chip and a few failed attempts at almond milk ice cream.

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My newest obsession: Carrot Cake Oatmeal. It’s creamy, delicious and tastes like a carrot cake. I’ve had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner all on different days. I’m all about vegetables in my oatmeal normally so this is just a vitamin and nutrient win.

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The perfect pick-me-up. Find this chocolate bar–it is perfection.

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Not working consistently has left me plenty of time to bake. This Pumpkin Protein Cake was the first thing I attempted this week and it came out delicious. I’ll be sharing this recipe soon.

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I also made these protein brownies–not ready yet but not terrible.

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Cucumber rolls–not a baked good of course but harder than they look!

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and these sweet potato cupcakes of course.

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Healthy Foods to Always Have on Hand

I eat a lot of the same foods. I consume different variations of the same thing for breakfast, lunch is usually protein and veggies and dinner is usually something similar. Until recently, I never found the need to meal prep, but lately, I’ve figured out how handy having things ready to eat truly is. Besides having food already in the fridge, I also make sure to keep a fully stocked cabinet of foods for snacks, condiments and additions to every meal.

My Top 5 Staples:

1. An Orange Carb Source: Butternut Squash/Sweet Potatoes/Kabocha Squash (when I can find it)
Even though it’s a little more expensive, I always buy the pre-cut butternut squash at the store. Peeling a butternut squash is more hassle than it’s worth and makes my meal prep a lot more difficult. I simply buy a package of squash, throw it on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until it’s soft. Sometimes I sprinkle half with cinnamon for something different. Having plain roasted squash is perfect for adding to salads, lunches, dinners or even mashing for something like pancakes.

As for sweet potatoes, I buy a few and cut each one into differently so I can identify one potato. Usually I’ll do fries, wedges, rounds and chunks. I usually peel the chunks but not anything else. Like the squash, I simply throw them on a baking sheet and cook until soft. I LOVE cold sweet potatoes but they are also easy to just warm up.

2. Lean Ground Turkey (or chicken)
I usually buy a package of 99% (or 97%) lean ground turkey and put the whole thing in a pan right when I get home. I add a little water, a ton of chili powder, cayenne and paprika and cook it through like taco meat. Having ground meat in the fridge is an easy way to throw protein into stir-frys, wraps, omelette’s or anything else.

3. Mustard
I might be weird, but I love mustard on everything. In my opinion, it’s the perfect condiment. I put mustard on my salad as a dressing, put it on meat and dip my sweet potato fries in it. I use it like this because I simply love mustard but a plus is that it’s essentially a “free” food–only about 5 calories per serving.

4. Peanut Butter
I have so many jars of peanut butter that it’s a little ridiculous although I personally believe you can never have too much. Peanut butter is an easy way to add satiating fat to any meal. Peanut butter goes great on oatmeal and tastes delicious drizzled over squash or sweet potatoes. Not only that it’s easy to find little squeeze packets of PB to keep in your bag in case you’re starving with nothing around.

5. Rice Cakes
I eat rice cakes as my pre-workout snack almost everyday. They also go hand in hand with the peanut butter. When you need a quick breakfast before a workout, a couple rice cakes with peanut butter and a banana works great. They are perfect as a snack and as a post workout meal, I’ll occasionally break one up with almond milk and eat it like cereal. Although I usually buy plain ones, I love the apple caramel ones for something sweet and cheddar for something more savory.


Of course I always have other things in my pantry but these are all constant and they make grabbing something to eat a lot easier when time is tight or when I don’t feel like making anything.

 

What are your staples?

What I Ate Wednesday

Thanks Jenn for hosting What I Ate Wednesday! 

The alternate title to this post is: In the week of Valentines Day, consume lots of chocolate.

I was on a chocolate roll this week.

First, I finished my chocolate bread from last week.

I added cocoa powder to my oats almost every day (and sprinkles for Valentine’s Day)

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I made this little chocolate cake for a Valentines Day treat (with peanut butter, chocolate peanut butter and whipped cream). Which I ate while watching The Notebook. Totally cliche.

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It was so good, I decided to make another one the next day. Fun fact: I don’t have a microwave so these mug cakes are more than just 1 minute cakes.

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Besides my love for chocolate, I have a deep love for anything graham cracker or s’mores, although I’m not the biggest marshmallow eater. The idea of a s’mores lava cake came to me the other night while I was sleeping and I HAD to make it that next day.

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oh yea.

lava cake

I baked it a little too long so the lava didn’t ooze as much as it should have but it was my first lava cake so I’m cutting myself some slack.

Luckily for you, after I make this again, tweak a few things and make sure it does in fact erupt properly (ha lame lava joke…) I will share the recipe. Even a bit overcooked, I ate the whole thing.

I also found a ginger Chocolove bar this week. I wish I didn’t because I keep eating it.

I’m thinking I should probably cut back a little on chocolate this week to compensate buttttt, dark chocolate is good for you, right?

What did you eat this week?

Spaghetti Squash Bake

I love when recipes are easy and tasty at the same time. Set-it and forget-it type meals also always work. They’re simple, quick to throw together and you can forget about them until the timer goes off.

Spaghetti squash called my name at the grocery store the other night when I went to pick up my beloved butternut so it went into the cart instead. I knew I didn’t just want a bowl of plain squash topped with sauce so I made a baked version instead which worked perfectly.

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(Sorry for a terrible picture. I dug in too quick the first time I ate this)

 

You’ll Need:

1 spaghetti squash

2-2.5 cups of tomato sauce (either homemade or jarred)

1/4 to a 1/3 lb. of ground beef or turkey

1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

To Make:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice the squash in half length wise and place inside-up on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the squash is tender.

While your squash is cooking, prepare the meat for the dish by browning up the ground beef in a skillet on the stove. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until there is no pink. 

When the squash is done, remove from oven and lightly hold top using a towel or pot holder. Using a fork, pull the meat of the squash downwards until all strands have been pulled. Put squash in a baking dish. Do the same with the other half.

Pour sauce, almost all the cheese and meat over the squash and mix well. Top with remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the top begins to crisp a little and the cheese has melted.

Remove from oven, scoop into dishes and serve. This meal reheats well and is also good eaten cold.