We made a bruschetta chicken zucchini dish at my most recent Pampered Chef show, but in my own life I am not eating pasta or cheese, so I had to come up with my own version. I cooked up some lean ground beef and measured out 4 ounces. Then I used 1/3 of a zucchini and made zucchini strips with my veggie strip maker, covered them with water and microwaved for 5 minutes. Then to my manual food processor, I added 2 chopped Roma tomatoes, 2 pressed garlic cloves, 2 T olive oil, and about 1/3 cup basil leaves, and processed it until it was pretty chopped up (I don't like big chunks). I put the ground beef in the bottom of a bowl, added the zucchini "noodles," then put 1/2 of the tomato/basil mixture on top. SO GARLICKY (garlicy? garlic-y?) but SO GOOD.
Today I made two pies for my family, and in the midst of baking realized I needed to eat lunch. I steamed some brown rice and broccoli, threw in a little cooked chicken, a tiny bit of soy sauce and some sriracha. SO GOOD.
In case you hadn't noticed, I basically eat everything in a bowl these days and I'm totally fine with that.
I've lost 31 pounds in 8 weeks, guys. Pretty exciting! That is with ZERO exercise. Overhauling your diet is an amazing thing. I feel so much better! I'm always looking for new ways to make meals interesting, so here's what I came up with tonight. (Full ingredient list at the bottom.)
I pressed three very small garlic cloves into a big skillet with some olive oil and onion, then heated this on medium until the onions were cooked.
Next, I threw in some cut green pepper, broccoli, and halved cherry tomatoes. Meanwhile, I threw 5 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins into my large micro-cooker (they were frozen, mind you) with a little water and some crushed red pepper flakes. I microwaved it for 5 minutes, then took it out of the microwave, cut it into bite-sized pieces, then put it back in the microwave for 2 more minutes. Then I cooked some brown rice in my small micro-cooker for 10 minutes.
I added a small can of no sodium tomato sauce, the chicken, and the rice to the pan.
Then I put some into a bowl and added some lite salt and some black pepper. Can you tell I like pepper?
My Chicken Cacciatore
Makes 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Eat time: 5 minutes HA!
5 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloin pieces
2 cups brown rice
3 small garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 white onion, chopped
3/4 green pepper, chopped
5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 small can no-sodium tomato sauce
1/2 T crushed red pepper
1/4 t lite salt
1/2 t black pepper
Pampered Chef products used:
coated santoku knife
executive non-stick stir-fry skillet
bar board (cutting board)
I got a spiralizer tool and it's pretty fun, actually. Proof I need more of a life. Anyway my spiralizer instructions say your vegetable has to be at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter in order to get noodles. No problem with that, considering my zucchini plant produces monsters. I thought I "spiralized" enough, but after throwing them in the boiling water, it definitely wasn't enough then I was grouchy. Ha.
Anyway, I boiled the zoodles for 3-4 minutes then drained them and rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking process. I cooked a turkey brat and sliced it up, then threw in a pressed garlic clove, 1 T olive oil, a chopped tomato and the zoodles. Tossed it all together and ate it all up. Beautiful color!
For those of you playing along at home, the soup I made last Sunday is NOT my favorite. Since it's made with zero salt, it's super bland. I powered through it Monday. I even put a little cayenne pepper and lite salt in my lunch serving Tuesday and it didn't help AT ALL. So I scrapped the soup on Tuesday night and made 3 servings of egg salad (6 hard boiled eggs, 3 T mustard, 3 T lite mayo (I intended to use 3 t but it was too dry), one packet of Splenda, a dash of black pepper. I portioned all of this out into three servings.) I'll eat it on lettuce leaves to save my two starch servings for breakfast (trusty piece of 45-calorie toast with lite margarine is now my favorite breakfast ever) and supper. Wednesday's lunch was egg salad on lettuce with an apple. Thursday's lunch I ate 1/2 c 1% cottage cheese and 1 hard-boiled egg, some raw cauliflower and an apple. Today (Friday) I had a salad (fresh spinach & lettuce, one sliced green onion, 2 hard-boiled eggs and 2 T lite ranch) with an apple for lunch.
My goal last Sunday evening was to lose JUST ONE POUND this week. I had been stuck at 21 pounds the prior week and I was annoyed. As of Monday I'd lost another, and as of Thursday another two....grand total 24. YESSSSS. Glad I got rid of the soup, it wasn't good and there was no point in me eating something I didn't enjoy.
So I did make it to my 20 pound goal, and actually reached 21 pounds lost on Sept 8th. So from Aug 8 to Sept 8, I lost 21 pounds. YES!!
The soup I blogged about last week wasn't bad for making it up on the fly. I was able to divide it up into 5 servings, which I took to work each day for lunch. They weren't huge servings, but each serving had 4 turkey "meatballs" in it, so it worked well for a quick lunch. One day I also brought a lettuce salad with 2 T lite ranch dressing along with my soup, but the other days I only ate the soup for lunch.
Here's what I'm working on for this week's upcoming lunches.
Chicken Crockpot Soup (and yes, I'm winging it once again!)
7-8 skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders (mine were frozen)
2 pressed garlic cloves
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups zucchini, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
3 mushrooms, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup asparagus, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped with skin on
1 can green beans, rinsed (everything I used was fresh except for the green beans, only because I didn't have any fresh ones!)
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
3 cups water
1 T rosemary
1 t black pepper
1 t Italian seasoning
1 shake of cayenne pepper
I turned my Crockpot on low and am letting the soup cook all day. It smells super! Once the chicken is cooked, I'll chop it up and throw it back in. Here's to another week's worth of lunches (I'll freeze however much soup is left after I take out 5 portions for this week)!
Update: I'm one pound away from losing 20 pounds in 4 weeks. Tomorrow is the official 4-week date from when I started eating semi-clean. Woot woot!
I found some great recipes in the latest Cooking Light magazine that I'm anxious to try. Right now I've got some malt-and-vinegar zucchini chips baking. Hope they turn out!!
I'm also currently working on some soup. I don't even know if it'll come out, because I'm a dump-and-pour cook. I'll let ya know!
3/4 big box of unsalted chicken stock
equal amount water
1 shallot, chopped
1/3 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
handful of spinach, chopped
couple shakes of crushed sage
couple shakes of rosemary
couple shakes of Italian seasoning
3 turkey brats, sliced and casings removed
Throw it all into a pot and let it boil. Turn down to medium for awhile, then simmer until turkey is done. With the combo of turkey, celery, sage and onion, it smells like Thanksgiving dressing in here. YUM.
I'm a loser and forgot to photograph breakfast and lunch, but I can tell ya what I had! Breakfast was my toast w/ lite margarine. Lunch was the 1/2 cup blueberries I never ate for breakfast, plus 4 oz 1% cottage cheese, 1 hard-boiled egg, a handful of raw cauliflower, some grapes and a little less than 1/2 cup of green beans (because they were in the fridge and it was all I had left from a few days ago). Then for an afternoon snack my mom brought me some little bbq twisty things that had 15g protein (I think) so I scarfed them.
I didn't have much time to eat between work and going back for cheer practice, so I threw some lean ground beef into my microwave cooker (best invention ever, literally in 6 minutes I had crumbled, cooked ground beef). I drained it and threw it into a crockpot with 2 garlic cloves, 1/3 chopped onion, 1/4 chopped green pepper, 1/4 chopped zucchini. My mom gave me this sloppy joe seasoning from her S4L stash, so I added it (it didn't have any salt in it), with 3-4 cups water. Cranked the crockpot on high. I tasted it before I left for practice and it had ZERO taste, so I added 1/4 cup of no-salt tomato sauce, some cayenne pepper, black pepper and a little salsa. When I got home two hours later, the whole house smelled good!! Now I wish I wouldn't have added so much water so it would've been more like chili, but instead it was like vegetable beef soup. I took two ladle-fulls and ate it with 1/2 t lite salt and a plain piece of toast (I didn't miss the margarine since I dipped the bread into the soup). The best part is this soup goes a LONG WAY! I have at least 2-3 more servings.
45-cal toast with lite margarine, and 1 sliced apple. And coffee with stupid skim milk. Boo on skim milk. Haha.
Side note on the toast: I'm not a big breakfast eater IF it's before 7:30am. I am physically nauseated every day of my life early in the morning for some reason. One time when I was a high school kid at cheer camp, a camp counselor wanted me to go talk to the head counselor about an eating disorder (all because I wouldn't eat breakfast, BECAUSE I'M TOO NAUSEATED TO EAT BREAKFAST BEFORE 7:30AM!!) Anyway, this 45-cal bread is perfect and is now my go-to breakfast because I can eat it on my way out the door, even if I'm a little nauseated. Normally I take my fruit with me to work and eat it later, but Sunday I was able to eat it all together because it was AFTER 7:30. Haha!
After church I whipped up my go-to salad. I use 1 cup of spinach leaves, 1/2 cup strawberries (or blueberries), 2 hard-boiled eggs, and 2 T of fat free dressing (I've been using either fat-free vidalia onion dressing, or fat-free raspberry vinaigrette). Plus a shake of pepper! It's got protein, it's got fruit, it's got veggies and it's got a little fat. Check, check, check and check.
I didn't photograph supper, but I was at my parents house and didn't think about it. Mom made some shredded chicken with a little taco seasoning (I got onto her for using it since it contains salt, haha! I'm sure she wanted me to shut it.) Anyway I took a 6-inch corn tortilla, cut it into strips and broiled it until it was crisp. I put the shredded chicken on my plate, then added chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, salsa (I made sure it didn't contain sugar or salt), and then the tortilla strips. Taco salad!
Breakfast was 1 slice of 45-calorie bread, toasted, with a tiny pat of lite butter, 2 eggs microwaved with pepper (and some sauteed onions I had cooked the previous evening), 1/4 cup blueberries (I added 1 packet of sweetener to them, but they didn't really need it), coffee w/ skim milk.
Lunch: I got creative and made egg salad.....kinda. Of course it isn't like normal egg salad, but I'll take what I can get, and I try to be creative so the food that I CAN have doesn't get boring. I took 2 hard boiled eggs and mashed them up with 1 tablespoon of mustard (I can have that!) and a little lite mayo. I could've added a packet of sweetener (I like my egg salad sweet) but I forgot about it until after I had gobbled it down. I spread it on 1 piece of 45-cal bread cut in half, with spinach leaves. Plus 1/2 cup strawberries.
Note: I could've had plenty of egg salad for one sandwich by just using 1 egg, but I wasn't sure as I was making it, so I used 2. Bell Biv Devoe, now I know.
For supper I sauteed onion in cooking spray, then added zucchini and summer squash. Sliced two turkey sausages and added them to the pan, but they weren't pre-cooked so I had to throw the lid on for awhile to cook the sausages. Oh yeah, once the vegetables cooked down I could tell it wasn't enough to meet the daily requirement, so I steamed some broccoli in my microwave steamer and threw it on top. Added lite salt & pepper, and chowed down.