Category Archives: 21 Day Body Makeover

Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 50mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

The other day my wife and I picked up some Zoe’s on the way home from work. Generally, we order the chicken kabobs and maybe some hummus. But the lady taking my order asked if I wanted to try this baked feta app that consists of sliced cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives cover served with fresh basil and olive oil over a slab of Feta cheese. That is baked off until the cheese is slightly melted and served with pita chips. It’s really simple but tasty.

So I was trying to come up with a recipe for dinner and that app popped into my head so I thought I would try to incorporate a little pasta and some grilled chicken and make a meal out of it. Kind of like a Greek version of a chicken divan, chicken spaghetti, or a favorite in Texas the King Ranch Casserole. It’s got to be healthier than the later but maybe not by much.

This turned out really tasty. You get the punches of salty tang from the feta and kalamata olives balanced by the sweetness of the fresh tomatoes and red onions atop a hearty chicken pasta dish.

Ingredients:
Penne Pasta
2 chicken breasts (free range, air chilled)
Container of cherry tomatoes
Handful of spinach
Handful of mushrooms
4 tbs of diced red onion
4 cloves of garlic diced
1 tbs of fresh diced basil
Dashes of dried oregano and red pepper flakes
1 tbs of butter
1 tbs of flour
1/4 cup of chicken stock/broth
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
Paprika for the chicken
Block of Fresh Feta Cheese
Kosher Salt
Pepper

Directions:
Prep: dice your garlic, red onion, mushrooms. Slice about half of the cherry tomatoes. Assemble three bowls based upon cook times.. 1. Red onion, whole cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. 2. Garlic and spinach 3. Sliced tomatoes, olives, basil, vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes.
1. Preheat oven to broil but use the bottom rack.
2. Get a pot of boiling water going and follow the directions of your favorite pasta. Pull it out right before they say to do so. Set aside a cup of pasta water in case you need to add moisture later on.
3. On to the chicken… Heat up a cast iron skillet with some olive oil in it. I used medium to medium-low heat. I salted, peppered and paprika my chicken breasts and cooked them so that they were done with a nice color.
4. Remove your chicken to rest.
5. In that skillet add butter and your bowl of mushrooms, whole tomatoes, and red onion. Sweat them out.
6. Now add flour to the pot to build a rue that will help us thicken the sauce. When it’s golden brown add your second bowl of garlic and spinach for 30 seconds and then quickly add the chicken stock and stir until thickened. About three minutes.
7. While your mixture thickens cut up your chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.
8. Now add your pasta and chicken to the skillet and turn off the heat. Crumble and stir in half the feta cheese and slowly stir to get everything well coated with melted cheese and sauce. If it looks dry, add some pasta water and stir until it has the consistency of mac n cheese.
9 Pour that mixture into an oven ready dish. Top with the third bowl of halved cherry tomatoes, olives, basil with the vinegar and spices. Lastly, top with the remaining block of Feta and crumble it over the top. Put it into the oven uncovered for about 4 to 5 minutes so that the feta takes on some brown color. It won’t melt like other cheese but it is soft despite looking like it did when it went into the oven.

Serve with pita bread or anything else that you come up with.

Roasted Herb Chicken and Roots

Roasted Herb Chicken and Roots

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 2hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Roasted Herb Chicken and Roots
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This recipe is deliciously simple and sadly boring. It is gluten free, clean, Paleo etc.. It’s healthy and passes almost any diet tests. Roasting fresh food is just delicious. It just concentrates flavors while creating great textures from crunchy to pillow soft. Everything on the plate was 100 natural and either raised or grown without chemicals or additives. I added Zucchini but didn’t like it as well as the carrots and potatoes. Just preference.

Ingredients:
2 air chilled chicken breasts
Several Carrots
1 zucchini
handful of potatoes
Fresh rosemary and Thyme minced
juice of a lemon

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and on a sheet tray add your washed and prepped carrots, potatoes and zucchini.
Squeeze the lemon juice over everything. A few glugs of olive oil (optional). Top with minced herbs, Kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
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New Year Greens and Black Eyed Beans

New Year Greens and Black Eyed Beans

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 3hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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New Year Greens and Black Eyed Beans
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I am a sucker for collard and mustard greens. If I see them on any menu they will be ordered. To me the best greens are cooked to death and super tender with zero give or tooth to them. I also like them mostly savory and salty with a touch of acid. I am not a fan of drowning them in vinegar pepper sauce.

For Christmas I was in charge of cooking a Thanksgiving like menu given some of our family didn’t get to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving. I cooked a spatchcocked turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and needed a green. I have been doing a lot of Brussels sprouts lately and they are great but my Mom lives about 30 minutes away and by the time I get over there they change their texture so I decided to depart and try something else. I landed on Collard Greens. I figured we are so close to New Years that I would do an extra lucky side that combined collards and black eyed peas. Only my Mom and I are avid collard fans but everyone raved about them.

The trick here in my opinion is cooking them to death. Drop them in a slow cooker and walk away for 3-4 hours. Depending upon your palate you can adjust the acid vs salt but here is how I made mine.

Ingredients:
6 bunches of collard greens
4 carrots (diced)
1 onion (diced)
1-2 cans of black eyed peas
3 cups of chicken stock
1/4 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 ham steak (diced)
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
1 tbs of Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:
1. Dice your carrots and onion. Remove the spine from your greens and then lay them on top of each other and chop them into ribbons like you would do to make tortilla strips.

2. Put everything in a slow cooker and turn on high for 3-4 hours. Taste and adjust your seasoning. Tabasco is great on them but not for a crowd.

Roasted Ranch Chicken, Green Beans and Purple Potatoes

Roasted Ranch Chicken, Green Beans and Purple Potatoes

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 1 hr.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Roasted Ranch Chicken, Green Beans and Purple Potatoes
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Sunday is my day for planning the week’s meals. Lately I have been finding myself calling audibles the day of and cooking something different or picking up something instead. Because of this, I have several bags of vegetables that were planned for other dishes but were never used.

So tonight I honor all those forgotten vegetables and put them to use in a one pan roasting extravaganza. I could have gone the Italian dressing route or lemon but settled on Ranch Seasoning. I picked up a little jar of Ranch seasoning on my last Penzey Spice run. I thought I would put it to use on this experiment of a meal. Boring but healthy and tasty because roasting makes everything taste great.

Ingredients:
Fresh Green Beans
2 chicken breasts
Purple potatoes
3 cloves of garlic
3 pats of butter
olive oil
Ranch Seasoning (Penzey’s)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut your potatoes into bite sized pieces and trim your green beans. Load it all up in a baking dish and top with seasoning, garlic and three pats of butter. Roast until cooked and tender which is somewhere in the 40-55 minute range.
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Pan Roasted Herb Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots

Pan Roasted Herb Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pan Roasted Herb Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots
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I am getting behind on my posts and have several queued up. This one is pretty boring and simple but I think it goes to show you can create a healthy meal without a lot of fuss but that passes the taste test. I think roasting chicken is probably my favorite way to cook it. Somehow it comes out with concentrated flavors and retains its juices really well. The root veggies come out with little crispy edges with super tender inside.

Ingredients:
2 free range chicken breasts (I went boneless skinless but for more flavor go bone in and skin on)
Two potatoes (cut into same sized pieces)
2 carrots (cut into same sized pieces)
Fresh Rosemary and thyme
Kosher Salt and Pepper
splash of chicken broth

Directions:
1. This is a bit embarrassing because it’s stupid simple. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a pan add your chopped carrots and potatoes along with the chicken breasts. Rub your chicken breasts and veggies with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Roast until the juices run clear. I add a splash of chicken broth about half way through when I flip everything.

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Sombrero Salad with Grilled Chicken

Sombrero Salad with Grilled Chicken

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 50mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sombrero Salad with Grilled Chicken
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I was leafing through one of my Rachael Ray’s magazines and spotted an interesting salad that had roasted corn, grilled chicken and avocado. Before I go any further, I must say regardless of what you think of Rachael Ray she puts out really simple but delicious recipes. I don’t watch her shows or anything but I do have her cookbooks and take her magazine. She cranks out so many recipes it’s insane to comprehend. I rarely disappointed in anything I try from her. She, Ina and Rhee really have a knack for churning out great recipes that turn out well.

So I saw this salad in her magazine but didn’t really want a lettuce intensive salad. Interesting tidbit, some guy released a report about salads and how they aren’t that great for you. He states that they are mostly water and when compared to other vegetables the nutrient ratio is super low. Meaning if you eat a big salad without a lot of other stuff in it you are eating low nutrition water. When you look at how spinach and other greens cook down so much it kind of makes sense. Most fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water, heck proteins. But it’s interesting to consider water to nutritional value ratios.

I digress again. I took some chicken out in the morning and poured in some lime juice, cilantro stems, chili seasoning, oil and a little tequila and I let it marinate for a few hours. The acid from the lime tenderizes it. I picked up some poblanos, corn, avocados, shallots, cherry tomatoes, 1 can of organic pinto beans. That was the base of my salad. As for the dressing I simply took some sour cream and mixed in some adobo sauce and lime juice.

This ate kind of like a cold version of Chipotle bowl minus the rice. The roasted veggies and adobo sauce gave it a smokey element and the corn popped with sweetness and the beans and avocado added a creamy element. For crunch I did crumble 3-4 tortilla chips.

Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts (free range / air chilled)
1 avocado
3 ears of corn
2 Poblano Peppers
Handful of cherry tomatoes
1 can of organic pinto or black beans
1 bunch of cilantro
1 small purple onion
2 limes
Shot of tequila
Chili seasoning
1/4 sour cream
1 adobo pepper with 1 tbs of sauce
a few tortilla chips
Goat cheese or Feta or Cojita Cheese

Directions:
1. Marinate your chicken breasts for three hours up to overnight in the juice of one lime, shot of tequila, about 1 tbs of chili seasoning and the stems of your cilantro.

2. Fire up a grill pan or your grill on medium high heat and put your shucked corn and poblano’s on the pan (no oil). Put a char on them and pull them off when nicely blackened. Set aside the corn and put the peppers in a bowl with plastic wrap to steam. After both cooled. Remove the skin of the peppers, seed them and dice them up. Cut the kernels from the cobs.

3. Rinse the beans, dice the tomatoes and red onions. In a bowl combine these with the corn and peppers you blackened. IMG_0546

4. Mix your sour cream, juice of half a lime, and adobo peppers and sauce. Stir it into your veggies to coat them well.

5. Back to the chicken. On that same pan, turn down the heat to medium and cook your chicken until done. When done, let it cool and then cut against the grain at a 45 degree angle

6. Plate it by crushing some chips in the bottom of a bowl. Spoon the veggie mixture into a mound and place your chicken and avocado on top. Sprinkle some cilantro and goat cheese to finish. You could spoon in some salsa but really the salad is kind of a chunky salad.
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Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Green Beans

Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Green Beans

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 50mins
  • Difficulty: medium
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Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Green Beans
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We have been eating a lot of chicken lately and it’s always a challenge for me to come up with new ways to prepare it. When rustling through the fridge I spotted a jar of pesto and some goat cheese. Perfect pairing. I decided to stuff it, roll it and baste it white wine and a little butter.

This turned out better than I expected. Super moist and tender with that punch of pesto and tang from the goat cheese in every bite. I pared it with some roasted green beans and shallots and a few cherry tomatoes. Admittedly I haven’t done a lot of stuffing proteins because when I tried it years ago I kept finding the inside a little raw or the stuffing oozing out everywhere. So I decided to tie it up versus the toothpick method to get a proper seal. I also butterflied my chicken breast and pounded it out fairly thinly to ensure even cooking.

This recipe will go into my rotation. And similar to my hand pocket, I can see endless possibilities for my stuffing.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (free range/air chilled)
2 tbs of Goat Cheese
2 tbs of Jarred Pesto
2 tsp of butter
2 tbs of olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup of white wine
Kosher salt and Pepper

Green beans
1 shallot
Cherry tomatoes (optional)
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1. Get the beans going by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Wash, clean and trim your beans. Chop your shallot and toss the veggies in a roasting pan and cover with olive oil, Salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes.
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2. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice your chicken by making slow and shallow strokes. You want make a long stroke until butterflied. If you make a hole you didn’t do it right 🙂 Place your breast under plastic wrap and slowly pound it into a consistent thickness. Smear the pesto on the inside over the entire breast. Add your goat cheese and roll it up so that pesto and goat cheese are sealed up. I used string to keep it sealed.
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3. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat put some olive oil in the pan and cook it on all sides for about 5 minutes each. Now when all sides are seared, add your wine and butter. It will loosen any bits. While it reduces, baste the chicken keeping it nice and moist. IMG_0538
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