Week 13 Bonus:) SIMPLE and Delicious Chicken Saltimbocca


A total of 20-25 minutes makes this simple but delicious main course! Chicken Saltimbocca
A total of 20-25 minutes makes this simple but delicious main course!
Chicken Saltimbocca

I decided to make this simple and fast recipe along side the kale spinach salad with bacon and egg in case we did not like the salad.  Ha!  Not an issue it was amazing, and while I was not sure the two would go together well, my family thought otherwise. This chicken would be delicious with a simple rice, quinoa or pasta and veggie just the same.

EIGHT ingredients and 20 or so MINUTES?  Yep!  That quick and easy and so tasty!

Chances are you have 6 of the 8 ingredients at home and you just need to pick up the sage leaves and prosciutto.   The fresh sage can be found in the grocery section fresh herbs in the produce section or often as a plant at your local farmers market.  I do not grow my own, but kudos to you if you do!

As for the prosciutto, it can be pricey and is often sold as a 3-4 ounce package.  Honestly, I knew I needed 4 thin slices for 4 chicken pieces and I ordered just that at the deli counter.  Less than $1.50 later, I had just the amount I needed, so pick it up that way if you can.  It was just about 1.5 ounces:)

This recipe uses butter.  If you are super opposed to it, extra olive oil can do the trick…

INGREDIENTS

2 Large chicken breasts (8 ounces or so, or use 4 small 5 ounces or so)

1/2 tsp ground pepper

4 thin slices of prosciutto

4-6 fresh sage leaves

3 tsp whole wheat flour (all purpose will work:)

1 1/2 TBSP butter

1 1/2 TBSP  extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cup dry Marsala

DIRECTIONS

1. Put the chicken breasts between pieces or plastic wrap or wax paper and use a rolling pin or the flat side of a meat mallet to hammer them to about 1/3 inch.  If you prefer a very thin version, you can go to 1/4 and reduce your cook time a bit.  Do not hammer them too hard or they will break!

2.  You now have a nice big couple of pieces you may cut to form 4 pieces total.

3. Season with pepper and wrap a prosciutto around each piece.  Tuck a sage (or two small)  leave into each.

Tuck a sage leaf into each prosciutto wrapped chicken piece.
Tuck a sage leaf into each prosciutto wrapped chicken piece.

4. Lightly dust each piece on both sides with the flour, I used a pinch for each side.

Just a light dusting of flour over the chicken breast..
Just a light dusting of flour over the chicken breast..

5.  Heat your butter and oil over medium heat.  Cook the chicken first on one side for about 3 minutes, then flip it and cook it for 3 more minutes.  You goal is NO PINK.  If you poke a knife into it, the juice should be clear with no pink.  If it is not, flip the chicken again and cook for one minute per side until it is done. My total cook time was 4 minutes per side (one extra “round”), but I kept my chicken thicker at around 1/3 inch.

6. When the chicken is done, transfer it to a warm plate and cover it.  Add marsala to the pan you were using and cook it over high heat until it is thickened some and reduced to about half.  This was about 4 minutes for me.

7. Serve with the sauce over the chicken–about 2 TBSP per piece.

Serves 4.  Based on portion sizes and added ingredients I can estimate that each serving will contain  350 calories, 12 grams of fat, 12 carbs and 25 grams of protein.   You can find other nutritional information by adding each ingredient and portion for the whole recipe into an online calculator or fantastic app like my fitness pal.

ENJOY!

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The Experiments Week 13: Kale & Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette & Eggs AMAZING!


 AMAZING!!! Kale, Quinoa, & Spinach Salad with Bacon & Eggs
AMAZING!!!
Kale, Quinoa, & Spinach Salad with Bacon & Eggs

Holy Cow.  Seriously.  This is UNBELIEVABLE.  Delicious.  Amazing.  We loved it.

Yes, it has some fat.  Let’s just put that out there.

Then let’s talk about the kale, quinoa, spinach, avocado–and loads of protein!

I served this with a chicken dish I wanted to try, recipe coming soon, but it is A MEAL all by itself!

Let’s talk about how to make it!  The recipe below will serve 4, but it is easily cut in half for 2.

 
Ingredients
5  cups kale, all stems discarded
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Sea salt
4 cups spinach
2 cups quinoa
6-8 slices bacon (6 for the salad dressing and a bit to add on top as garnish) (reserve the grease)
4 tbsp pear chardonnay vinegar (Red Wine or another will work just as well)
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
4 tsp honey
4 egg
1 avocado, diced
Black pepper to taste
Directions
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.  You will use about 2 cups cooked.  Once it is complete, place it in the refrigerator (or freezer if you are pressed for time:) to cool.
Cook the bacon in a pan until crispy. When done, reserve the bacon grease and place the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Crumble  all but two slices into pieces.  Cut the two extra in half.
Put the  kale in a large bowl and top with the olive oil and sea salt. Massage the kale leaves with your hands until they become soft and lose their bitter flavor, about 3-5 minutes.
Kale in olive oil with salt
Kale in olive oil with salt
Add the spinach to the bowl and stir the mixture up.
Kale, Spinach Mixture
Kale, Spinach Mixture
Scoop about 3 tbsp of the bacon fat left in the pan into a small saucepan and turn heat to low. Now you should whisk in the vinegar, mustard, and honey. All you need to do is let this warm on low while you cook the eggs.
Cook your fried eggs: spray a small nonstick pan with olive oil spray. We left the eggs still a bit runny as the “juice” soaked our salad as was AWESOME.   If you do not like them this way, fried or hard boiled will still be tasty.
Now add the crumbled bacon pieces into the warm dressing and stir.
Gently stir your cooled quinoa and chopped avocado into the salad greens and top with fresh ground paper if you wish.
Now pour the dressing over the mixture and toss gently.
Place portions on each plate and top with your eggs and a half slice of bacon.
ENJOY!!!!!
This is a BURST of so many FLAVORS!  I considered some feta or other cheese, which would still be good, but it just plain does not NEED it!

The Experiments Week 12: THE Lighter Chicken Pasta Carbonara


A Skinny Take on an old favorite.  Wheat Pasta, Greek Yogurt and a whole lot less fat!
A Skinny Take on an old favorite. Wheat Pasta, Greek Yogurt and a whole lot less fat!  Add Chicken for fun!

Who doesn’t love a nice bowl of Pasta Carbonara?  What usually gets us is the guilt…

Guilt no more with this recipe!  I healthier spin on an old favorite!!!

SUPER easy to make, this is a great, yummy and satisfying weeknight or quick weekend meal!

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz. box of Whole Wheat Pasta (you can use quinoa or another of your favorite instead)
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 6 ounces of turkey bacon, chopped into bite sized pieces (truth be told, I am using REAL bacon next time:)
  • 2 TBSP. of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup  milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (plus some extra for topping)
  • 1/4 to 1/2  tsp.  black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (dry is OK if you don’t have it on hand)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Start by bringing 4 quarts of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. While water is heating up, cook the chicken and bacon in a large non stick pan or skillet with the olive oil over medium high heat.  Begin with your chicken and add your bacon about 3 minutes later.  Cook until chicken is cooked through and the bacon is  crisp. Add your garlic and stir the mixture for one minute and then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Once your water is boiling, cook the pasta as directed
  4. While your pasta is cooking, combine your egg, milk, yogurt and pepper.
  5. Once al dente, drain the pasta and add it to your bacon and garlic mixture.
  6. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
  7. Next, Add your milk/egg/yogurt mixture to the pasta and toss constantly until sauce thickens, about 5-6 minutes. 
  8. Serve immediately!   Garnish with chopped parsley and extra Parmesan cheese to your liking.

Optional:  Don’t feel like chicken or don’t have any in the house??? Leave it out!

Optional:  Add 1/2 cup of cooked peas to at at the time you add your milk mixture.

I used Turkey bacon the first time I made this and everyone liked it a lot.  I think using regular bacon instead will send it to off the charts tasty!!!

The Experiments Week 12: Skinnier Mini Banana Muffins


Made with Honey in place of sugar, no butter and half whole wheat flour!
Made with Honey in place of sugar, no butter and half whole wheat flour!

I have a banana muffin recipe that I LOVE.  It is made with lots of sugar, lots of butter, and–well you see where I am going with this, right?

Today, after watching my kids fill up on Easter Candy (HOW do they DO that???), I decided we needed a lighter quick breakfast bite this week!  These are the result.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2  teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cup ripe bananas, mashed {about 1 1/2 cups}

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons light olive oil

2  egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 Tbsp. Plain Greek Yogurt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray your mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray, I like olive oil.

In medium to large bowl, stir all dry ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, whisk honey, olive oil, egg whites, plain greek yogurt and vanilla together until combined.  Add your mashed banana to the this bowl.  Feel free to use your mixer on low if you have banana “chunks”.

Add your dry ingredients and stir  or mix until it is all combined.

Spoon into prepared pans (I had them about 7/8 full)  and bake  for 10 minutes.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove them from the pan.  You can store these at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge for about a week.

Yield:  30 Mini Muffins

Total Time to Prep and Cook: 20-25 Minutes

Each Muffin will contain about 50 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.

The Experiments Week 11: Homemade (AKA CLEAN & Preservative Free) Hamburger Helper

Homemade AKA Clean and Preservative Free Hamburger Helper

Homemade AKA Cleaner & Preservative Free "Hamburger Helper"
Homemade AKA Cleaner & Preservative Free “Hamburger Helper”

Let’s face it, we all have those nights that a boxed dinner sounds way too good because it is SO easy,  but we are wiser now and know that it is full of “stuff” we know we should not eat.  I will also admit, my kids LOVE that boxed junk.  I have found a super simple make it myself version that stands up the boxed “hamburger helper” test.  It is super easy to pull the few ingredients out of the pantry, but if you prefer the ready to go version, consider adding the dry ingredients to a mason jar.  I even put the directions on a label in case someone other than me is doing the cooking.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (organic grass fed is my preference)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat or quinoa pasta
  • 2 cups milk of your choice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp onion salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 to 1 cup (if you desire a topping) sharp cheddar cheese (cubed or shredded)
  • Salt and/or Pepper to Taste
  • Additional Melted to Cheese if desired (Topping)

Instructions

  1. Brown beef in a large skillet (large enough to fit all the above ingredients) and drain.
  2. Add the add pasta, spices, flour, and cheese. 
  3. Next, stir in the milk and water and carefully mix.
  4. Return the skillet to the  burner over medium-high heat.
  5. Bring to a boil (stir consistently) and then reduce the heat to simmer.
  6. Put a lid over the skillet and let simmer until the pasta is cooked (about 10-15 minutes). Be sure to stir frequently.

This makes the equivalent of one box of the regular Hamburger Helper–serves about 4.  My mason jar hold 1 1/2 the above recipe to feed my 5 plus a little leftover:)

The sharp cheese is key as it adds the most flavor.  Some may like to add a layer of cheese to slowly melt on the top of the dish.

The Experiments Week 10 SNACK! Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Protein

Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Protein


Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Protein

These are super simple to make and two of my three children loved them, I had to stop them from eating 3 in one afternoon! These are not a protein FILLED bar, I have made the heavy protein bars and you can REALLY taste the protein powder and that does not work for my kids (can not say I am a big fan either), but there is SOME added protein.  You can omit it all together if you prefer or add some extra. I find it makes the bars a bit more dry, so you may want to add a tad more almond milk and honey if you add extra.

I have made other recipes that are no bake that are super yummy and sweet, but they tend to fall apart at room temperature. These were a nice solid bar that I was able to wrap in saran wrap and send as snacks and in lunch boxes.

These are gluten free, egg free and contain no added sugar.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats (I opted for organic rolled oats but you can use quick oats too)
  • 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (I used whey)
  • 1 Tbsp. flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter–I used a creamy natural peanut butter to avoid the added sugar)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2cup vanilla almond milk (or any milk you prefer–I used low sugar almond milk)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare an 8×8 baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, flax, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, honey, almond milk, and vanilla. Miix well.
  4. Now pour your wet mix into the dry mix and stir until fully mixed and add half of you chips (combined flavors if you used both).
  5. Pour into prepared baking pan. Using a spatula or your hands, spread the mixture evenly in the pan, pressing down firmly.  These are nice and solid so if you have to use a bigger pan, you can mold it to form your own edge (filling only part of the pan).
  6. Press the remaining chips along the top of the bars so they are “attached” but still visible on top, these looks tasty when they are done!
  7. Bake for 16-18 or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.

My notes for next time, please let me know in the comments below if you try any of these or your own options/ideas.

I might add a tad more honey, the kids are SO used to the sweeter bars and I think kids number 3 would be more into them if I could add a tad more sweet.  This is a very versatile recipe, so I am thinking of trying it with dried pineapple and shredded coconut (in place of the chips) with almond butter instead of peanut butter.

The Experiments Week 10: Chicken and Avocado Stuffed Pitas

Chicken and Avocado Stuffed Pitas

Light and refreshing, these are a simple weeknight meal or lunch option.
Light and refreshing, these are a simple weeknight meal or lunch option.

OK.  Total Photo fail, I know.  Where is the chicken?  It is BEHIND the veggie mix–as directed in the recipe, but it doesn’t photograph as well!  Feel free to mix the whole ingredient list prior to adding to your pita if you want to see your chicken:)

This was SUPER EASY, especially is you use my “leftover” chicken approach.  The recipe calls for either shredded or diced chicken.  My husband has a weird aversion to shredded chicken so I used diced.  Your options are many.  You can use part of a rotisserie chicken, grill extra one night prior (my preference) and either shred or dice, or bake chicken just for these pitas. I use the leftover option, just put an extra 1 1/2 in when you cook or grill earlier in the week and use that!

Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 Lb. Shredded or diced chicken

1/2 cup to 6 oz (why not use a small carton?) of Plain Greek Yogurt

1 tsp. Cilantro

1 large avocado peeled and diced in bite size pieces

1-2 tsp. garlic salt

8-10 cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters or thirds

4  Slices of White Cheese (I used provolone, but swiss is often used)

1/2 Lemon (for the juice:)

4  Pita Pockets

1 TBSP. olive oil

Directions:

1. In a bowl, combine your greek yogurt and garlic salt.  I went with 1 tsp initially but ended up adding a whole tsp more.  So, do this to taste.

2. In another bowl, combine your avocado, tomatoes, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of cilantro.

3.  Put your precooked chicken into a skillet with your olive oil and 1/2 tsp of your cilantro.  Allow to warm and brown for 4-5 minutes on medium low.

4. Place 1/2 piece of cheese in each of the 1/2 pita pockets (you will make 8 halves total). I opted to place the pitas with cheese in the oven on 350 (or toaster oven) for just a few minutes to warm the pita and slightly melt the cheese.  This is optional, it can be served cold as well–but I prefer warm with the cold veggies:)  Yum!

5.  Assemble by adding 1/8 of the chicken to each pita half, drizzle with the yogurt dressing and add a  good size spoon of the avocado and tomato mixture.

The Experiments Week 9: SOFTEST Ever Chocolate Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies: Cream Cheese is the Key!

Softest Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

SOFTEST EVER CREAM CHEESE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
SOFTEST EVER CREAM CHEESE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

 

Softest Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever
Softest Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever

IMG_0232

Softest Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie
Softest Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie

Recipe Found on:  www.momsweeklyrecipe.com

I have tried a lot of fancy cookie recipes.  I have chopped, melted, crushed caramel, pretzels, etc. and they have been good. But hey, sometimes you just want to make some simple cookies that the kids can help with AND that taste like a dream come true.  Here they are!

A couple “secret” ingredients turns these into the most perfect chocolate chip cookie ever–nice and fat, but not “cakey” and dry like margarine will make them.   How? What? Cream cheese. You won’t taste it, but you will taste the results…delicious!  You will use it in place of about half your butter.  And cornstarch, to help make them soft.

You want some right now don’t you???  Yum…

Let’s get baking!

This recipe yields 24 nice sized cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup (usually one stick) of butter, softened

1/4 Cup of Cream Cheese (regular or light will work–just do not use fat free or whipped)

1/4 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Egg

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 tsp. cornstarch

2 1/4 Cup Flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg and vanilla in your mixer.  Beat until well creamed, I used the medium setting for 5 minutes on my stand mixer.  The hand mixer might take a couple minutes longer.

Now add your flour, baking soda, corn starch, and salt and continue mixing until all ingredients are mixed in.

Add you chocolate chips and mix them in so they are evenly distributed throughout your dough.

Grease your cookie pan, I like a bit of olive oil spray, and place large piles (a cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop works great here).  Then flatten slightly with the back of your scoop or spoon.  These cookies will NOT spread or flatten much so you want to give them a little help.  Here are some pictures of my dough pre-cooked.

Pre-Cooked Softest Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pre-Cooked Softest Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_0229

 

I have heard the suggestion to place the ready to bake cookies in the fridge for a few hours to keep them nice and fat and soft, but who has that kind of time–especially with anxious kid helpers?  At our house, we put the first pan in the freezer while we make the second and then switch them out.  I suggest 15-20 minutes in the freezer while your oven preheats to 350 degrees.

Place your slightly frozen cookies in that 350 degree oven for 10 minutes–keep an eye out at the 9 minutes mark as oven times do vary.  Take them out at eleven minutes even if they look at little undercooked in the center, they will “finish” a bit while they cool and if you leave them too long, your cookie will be way too firm:(

Allow cookies to cool and you can store them in an airtight container for about one week.  If you prefer your cookies nice and fresh, you can save the dough “balls” for 4-5 days in your fridge and bake them as directed but remove a minute sooner from the oven as they will not be as “frozen” to start.

These are so tasty, I want to try them with wheat flour, or half and half, and my husband has already requested an oatmeal version…I will update you if I try, but please comment below if you try this one and have suggestions or if you try any modifications we might all love!

 

Happy Baking!

 

SOFTEST EVER CREAM CHEESE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Got to COOK it, BAKE it, MAKE it!!!

The Experiments Week 8: Cleaner Eating Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

A simple and delicious experiment that was loved by all!

Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas–The “Cleaner” Version

 

Super Easy, healthier and tasty Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas
Super Easy, healthier and tasty Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

 

Found on: http://www.momsweeklyrecipe.com

Probably like many of you, I adore those cheese covered, creamy soup and sour cream filled enchiladas…Yum!  I am happy to say these were a much healthier, super easy replacement for the less than healthy version I fondly remember.

I kept the spice to a minimum for the kids, but you can definitely “turn up the heat” if you so desire!

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts

1 cup salsa (fresh from the deli or homemade is best–heat as desired:)

10-12 small GMO free (if you prefer) corn tortillas

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons of Whole Wheat Flour

2 Cups Chicken Broth

1 4 oz can of green chilies

1/2 Cup milk

3/4 to 1  Cup Cheese (I used a sharp cheddar)  divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup

Directions:

Cook your chicken as desired–some like to boil it, I opted to cook it in the oven.   Shred your chicken.  I have recently started using the paddle on my good old kitchen aid to shred chicken and it works like a charm and in seconds!  Mix in your salsa and set aside.

Shredded Chicken with Salsa for Chicken Enchiladas
Shredded Chicken with Salsa for Chicken Enchiladas

Spray  or coat a 9 by 13 inch pan with olive oil.  Place 1/10 to 1/12 of the chicken in each of the tortillas and roll it up.  Place it in your baking dish and repeat until done–I went with 10 as they fit great in my pan.

Filled Corn Tortilla for Chicken Enciladas
Filled Corn Tortilla for Chicken Enchiladas
Tortillas all rolled and ready for the sauce
Tortillas all rolled and ready for the sauce

 

In a medium saucepan (needs to hold about 6 cups), add your oil and flour.  Stir this constantly over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.  Add your chicken broth whisk until it starts to thicken.

Add your can of green chilis, milk, and 1/4 cup of the cheese and stir until the cheese melts in-add extra up to another 1/4 cup of cheese if you need to thicken the sauce a bit more, remove from the heat.  NOTE:  In place of the milk and the 1/4 cup of cheese, you can use a cup of plain greek yogurt.  I stumbled upon the easy milk and cheese recipe when I was out of yogurt and it was plenty yummy!

Pour the sauce over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until heated through.  You can broil on low the last couple minutes if you prefer a crispy browned cheese topping.

Top with cilantro if you like and enjoy!!!

Taste of the Irish–Creme De Menthe Cupcakes, a SIMPLE & TASTY St. Patrick’s Day Treat!

Creme De Menthe Cupcakes

Must Try!  Simple, refreshing and delicious Creme De Menthe Cupcakes
Must Try! Simple, refreshing and delicious Creme De Menthe Cupcakes

Though I previously posted our homemade Chocolate “Wacky” Cupcakes with fudge icing, I am planning to do a series of cupcakes over the next month.

These are a “cheat” cupcake in that they are SUPER easy to make (cake mix with a kick easy) and OH SO YUMMY!

The full details are on the Desserts…Yum!!!  LINK TO PAGE HERE