Healthier Eggplant Parm

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

Delicious might not be the first word that comes to mind when you hear the words: big, purple, mushy, sponge. These words are commonly used to describe an… eggplant! Eggplants are weird, everybody knows it. What everybody doesn’t know is that they are also totally delicious. Sometimes people find this veggie to be too intimidating and strange to even give a chance. I used to be one of those people, but man am I glad I’ve crossed over into eggplant land.

Eggplant parmesan is often the gateway dish for eggplant noobs. It’s dunked in breadcrumbs, slathered in sauce, covered in cheese, and it is darn delicious. It’s also pretty darn bad for you. Bummer, right? Well, have no fear! I have created a much lighter version of eggplant parm that is still totally yummy and satisfying.

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

So, how do you create a healthier eggplant parmesan? It’s simple – choose healthier ingredients and omit what you can. Typically an eggplant parm recipe would call for some type of bread crumb, and lots and lots of ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese in addition to the parmesan. Instead of using breadcrumbs, try substituting almond flour or almond meal. They will provide a delicious crunch and flavor without the guilt! Next, nix the extra cheese. Yes, cheese is delicious and makes everything better, but it’s also full of fat and calories, and isn’t super great for your body. In this recipe, I omit the extra ooey-gooey cheese, but keep the parmesan around. It’s also important to be weary of the sauce you choose to use. A lot of canned or jarred sauces have extra ingredients like sugar or cheese. Try to avoid those and instead choose sauces with cleaner ingredients.

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

 

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

A lighter take on classic eggplant parmesan

  • 1 large eggplant (cut into 3/4 inch rounds)
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup  almond flour or almond meal
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 24 oz tomato-basil sauce
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • olive or avocado oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice eggplant into 3/4 inch rounds.
  3. Place raw eggplant in a bowl and add 2 TBSP coarse salt, then toss. Let sit for 10 – 20 minutes. This allows the eggplant to expel excess water.
  4. While the eggplant is sweating it out, whisk the eggs in a bowl and combine the almond meal, cayenne, salt and pepper in another bowl or plate.

  5. Once the eggplant has sat long enough to expel some water, coat the slices in the egg wash and then dip into the “breading”. Each slice should have a light coating of the mixture.
  6. Pan fry the slices on the stove top over medium heat – about 1-2 minutes per side.
  7. Remove pan-fried slices from the skillet and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  8. In an oven safe dish, pour in the tomato-basil sauce and spread evenly across the bottom of the dish. Submerge the eggplant rounds into the sauce.
  9. Top the dish with 1/2 cup parmesan. Bake for 20-30 minutes until sauce is bubbly and parm topping has browned.

 

Happy Munching : )

**I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

 

 

One Pan Lemon Cod with Brussels Sprouts and Kale (Whole30 compliant)

One Pan Lemon Cod with Brussels Sprouts and Kale

One Pan Lemon Cod with Brussels Sprouts and Kale

One Pan Lemon Cod with Brussels Sprouts and Kale is a simple, easy and healthy meal option for a quick weeknight meal. Depending on how fast you chop, this dish can be made in as little as 20 minutes! That’s my kind of weeknight meal.

I don’t know about you, but I am still playing catch up from the Holidays. The endless river of incoming pastries and chocolates is flowing a little slower now at the office, but I’m still fighting cravings for holiday sweets and hearty (cheesy and indulgent) dishes. Having quick, simple and delicious recipes in my back pocket is definitely helping me get back on track!

This recipe is Whole30 compliant, so if you’re on the January (or anytime) Whole30 this is a great option for you. Though you don’t have to be on a round of Whole30 to enjoy this yummy meal for lunch or dinner.

One Pan Lemon Cod with Brussels Sprouts and Kale

One Pan Lemon Cod with Brussels Sprouts and Kale

As always, my Hungry Harvest* delivery was packed full of beautiful veggies this week, and had my (current) favorite vegetable – brussels sprouts! If you haven’t eaten shaved, pan-fried brussels yet you are totally missing out. They are great in this recipe or even for breakfast.

*The link above is a referral, and if you click it and order, you will receive $5 off of your first Hungry Harvest order! Never heard of Hungry Harvest? Check out my post: 5 Reasons I Love Hungry Harvest

One Pan Lemon Cod with Brussel Sprouts and Kale

A quick and easy weeknight meal. 

  • 1 cod fillet
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts (shaved or chopped)
  • 1 cup kale (chopped)
  • 2 TBSP ghee
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  1. If using whole brussels sprouts and kale leaves, finely chop or shave the sprouts and tear the kale leaves into small pieces.

  2. Season each side of cod with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt 1 TBSP ghee, preferably in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add brussels sprouts to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the kale and two lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook the veggies, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 minutes or until the sprouts start to brown and soften.
  5. Using a spatula, push the sprouts and kale to the sides of the pan to create an open area in the center of the pan, occasionally stirring throughout the rest of the cooking process.
  6. In the center of the pan, add 1/2 a TBSP of ghee and add the fish to the pan. Place 2 fresh lemon wedges on either side of the fish. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan briefly to add the rest of the ghee, then return the fish to the pan to cook on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  7. Remove skillet from the heat. Transfer veggies to the serving dish and top with the fish. Squeeze one of the lemon wedges over top the dish and serve.
  • If you don’t have cod, have no fear! Several fish varieties, such as salmon or tilapia, would be tasty as well.
  • Don’t forget to stir the veggies occasionally to help the cook evenly, about every 3 minutes. Stirring too frequently will prevent those yummy brown edges from developing, though.
  • The cooking time of your fish will depend on the thickness of the cut; thinner pieces will take less time than thicker pieces.
  • If you like this recipe, you might like some of my other simple fish dishes:

 

Happy Munching : )

**I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

Turkey & Chickpea Freezer Burritos

Turkey & Chickpea Freezer Burritos

Turkey & Chickpea Freezer Burritos

It’s that time of year again… New Year’s resolution time. My resolutions this year really are not changing much from last year. I’m simply aiming to lead a healthier life by staying active and making healthier choices, like eating more greens.

In the last year I’ve found that the most helpful recipes for staying on track are freezer-friendly recipes.  They’re there for you on the days that you just don’t have your sh-t together. Forgot to go to the grocery store? Don’t have time to cook? Overslept? Don’t worry, the freezer is there for you.

Turkey & Chickpea Freezer Burritos

Turkey & Chickpea Freezer Burritos

This recipe is not much different than my Turkey & Black Bean burritos, just swap the black beans out and toss in the chickpeas. The first time I made these I was actually planning to make the black bean recipe, only to realize that I didn’t have any black beans in the pantry. I was a little worried it would be weird with the chickpea substitute, but they turned out to be delicious!

Improvising in the kitchen can be risky. You don’t always know how it will turn out, but I encourage you to go with your gut and get creative! What you create might be extra tasty.

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Turkey & Chickpea Freezer Burritos

 

Turkey & Chickpea Freezer Burritos

A lifesaver of a recipe when you’re in a pinch for a quick and delicious lunch!

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1 large tomato (diced)
  • 1/2 summer squash (yellow or green) (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp cooking fat
  • 8  whole wheat tortillas
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne (to taste)
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • Optional: (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 heaping handful fresh spinach (chopped)

Burrito filling:

  1. Warm a cast-iron skillet or regular skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add oil, onions and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the veggies (tomato, squash, chickpeas, spinach), season with salt and pepper, cook until veggies begin to soften – about 5 min.

  4. Remove veggies from pan and set a side.
  5. In the same skillet, brown the turkey meat over medium or medium-high heat.
  6. Once browned, add the spices and combine, then add the veggies into the mixture. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Remove burrito filling from heat, add cilantro and set aside.

Assembly:

  1. Place a single tortilla on your work station, add a sprinkle of cheese, then spoon on the filling. The amount of filling you use depends on the size of the tortilla.

  2. Once cheese and filling are added to the tortilla, roll into a burrito. Eat fresh or store in freezer.

Freezer storage:

  1. Wrap burrito in tin foil, label and store in freezer.

To reheat:

  1. Remove from freezer.

  2. Remove tinfoil.

  3. Wrap in damp paper towel.

  4. Microwave for 3 min.

  5. Remove paper towel and let rest 1-2 min.

Happy munching! : )

**I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

Eat Green 2 Week Challenge

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Diets aren’t fun. We all try them, we all want them to work, we all hate life when we’re on one, and we all too often fall off the diet train before we see any results. Maybe the reason diets often fail is that they are viewed as a negative more than a positive. They’re all about limiting what you can and cannot eat. No sugar, no carbs, no red meat, no cheese, no fun, no happiness, no life, no, no, NO. It’s not fair, is it? Raise your hand if you’re tired of having to cut things out of your lifestyle to see a positive change in your diet or appearance.

What if we changed the way we think about making healthier choices? What if we stopped saying “no” to typical anti-diet foods and started saying “more” to healthy foods? Instead of saying “I can’t eat that”, how about saying “I need more!” …I’m talking about vegetables, green ones specifically.  I’m not a nutritionist or anything fancy like that, but I know that green vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients, and I know that most people should be eating more of them.

So, I’m challenging YOU to make a positive change to your lifestyle for two weeks. Are you up for it?

The Eat Green Challenge:

This challenge is simple. All you have to do is add one or more green vegetables to each of your meals, everyday, for two weeks. That’s it! I’m talking spinach, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, avocado, asparagus, green beans, peas, etc. in your breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This is not a less is more challenge. It’s a more is more challenge! Beef up all of your meals with green veggies for two weeks and see how you feel at the end. The goal of this challenge is to help you learn to enjoy eating a diversity of green vegetables, and (hopefully) have you craving them. The more vegetables you eat, the less room you have in your belly for “no” foods. You’ll feel better, and, in time, look better.

You can do it! It will take some thought, creativity and commitment, but it’s possible. To help you get started I have included some recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner below.

I’ll be taking the challenge at the start of 2018 from January 3rd to January 16th. Follow along on Instagram!#fullbellywholeheart #fullbellyeatgreen

Breakfast:

Adding leafy greens or other green vegetables to your breakfast might seem a little odd, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not fill up on nutrient-rich green goodness?

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl (Whole30)

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl

Brussels sprouts for breakfast is my new favorite way to eat brussels sprouts. My coworkers look at me like a crazy person, but that’s just because they don’t know what they’re missing out on. 😉

Spinach, Feta and Sun-Dried Tomato Egg Muffin Cups

These egg cups by Happy Go Lucky Blog look absolutely scrumptious. You can even make these egg cups over the weekend in preparation for the work week to make weekday breakfasting easy. Try serving these with a side of fresh spinach or roasted asparagus to add even more greens to your breakfast!

Kitchen Sink Frittata

Similar to my Veggie-Dump Frittata, the Kitchen Sink Frittata by Whip and Wander is a great way to throw all kinds of veggies into an easy, make-ahead breakfast or to serve a large crowd.

Breakfast tips:

  • Add a side of leftover veggies from the previous night’s dinner to your breakfast. I love eating asparagus along side a frittata in the morning.
  • Spinach is an easy green to add to breakfast. Throw it in a wrap or burrito, or serve it along side your meal.
  • If you’re a smoothie drinker, try adding greens into the mix:
  • When in doubt, put an avocado on it or wrap it in collard greens.

Lunch:

Spring Power Bowl

Holy yum this looks so good. It has not one, not two, but three different green veggies! A home run in my book. Thank you Simple and Savory for inspiring my lunches for the next week!

The Prettiest Harvest Salad Ever

harvest salad recipe

Salads don’t have to be boring and repetitive, and they are a super easy way to add more greens to your diet. This recipe by Mom Wife Foodie hits the nail on the head for being flavorful, interesting, and full of greens. It doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty, either. 😉

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Using greens in place of breads not only increases your green intake, but also decreases your bread intake. Win win, am I right?

Lunch tips:

  • Eat leftovers for lunch. Cooking two separate meals every day can be exhausting and time consuming. Simply throwing leftover meat and veggies on top of salad greens makes a great lunch!
  • Collard greens are your friend! Use them to make a wrap instead of a tortilla.
  • Add leftover sides to your lunch. Pair a sandwich with leftover broccoli as a side instead of chips. Here are some green side ideas:

Dinner:

Courgetti Aglio E Olio with King Prawns

I know zoodles (zucchini noodles) are not the same thing as pasta, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious. This zoodle and shrimp recipe by Emma Eats & Explores is full of green veggies and looks super tasty.

Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie “Enchiladas”

Collard Greens Chicken & Veggie "Enchiladas"

These enchiladas are a staple in my house – I absolutely love them. They are great to make in large quantities for family dinners and reheat well for lunch. Don’t knock it ’till ya try it.

One-Pan Chicken Alfredo

Adding veggies to decadent meals is one of my favorite ways to indulge. This recipe by The Gluten Free Homestead adds veggies and ditches the pasta, but still remains rich and flavorful. You’ve got to give this one a try.

Dinner tips:

  • Love pasta? Try beefing up your favorite pasta dish with extra veggies and lots of spinach.
  • Roasted veggies (broccoli, brussels, asparagus, etc.) are a simple and easy side to serve with dinner.
  • Prep your veggies ahead of time. Cut and roast them in advance, and the reheat them in a skillet for dinner.

YOU CAN DO IT! <3

Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram January 3rd to 16th when I take the challenge! If you decide to take the challenge too use the hashtags #fullbellywholeheart and #fullbellyeatgreen so that I can cheer you on!

Good luck and stay green!

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl (Whole30)

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl

Brussels sprouts for breakfast? …Hell yea! Some people raise their eyebrow a bit when I say that I love to eat brussels sprouts (and other green veggies) for breakfast, and that’s okay. I know it seems a little weird. But I am telling you now, green veggies most certainly belong in your breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day, after all. So why not start the day with a meal loaded with nutrients instead of a greasy, fatty breakfast sandwich?

Thinly slicing brussels sprouts and pan frying them has become my new favorite way to prepare those delicious mini cabbages. It switches things up from the normal roasted brussels sprouts and cuts the cooking time down significantly. This is especially great for breakfast when time is of the essence. But please, don’t limit your shaved sprouts usage to breakfast – they are perfect in any meal, any time of the day.

You can find pre-sliced brussels at most grocery stores, or you can slice them up at home. Recently, my Hungry Harvest* deliveries have included tons of brussels sprouts, so I’ve been slicing up a storm here at home. Thank you Hungry Harvest!

*The link above is a referral, and if you click it and order, you and I will each receive $5 off of our next Hungry Harvest order! Never heard of Hungry Harvest? Check out my post: 5 Reasons I Love Hungry Harvest

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl

So what makes this breakfast bowl spicy, you ask? Primal Kitchen’s Chipotle Lime Mayo! That stuff is seriously like crack. It is so good, and Whole30 compliant. Smothering your brussels sprout breakfast bowl in mayonnaise might sound a little weird, but trust me, it’s delicious. It creates such a creamy texture and adds so much flavor.

Spicy Brussels Breakfast Bowl

A creamy, filling and delicious breakfast option for your Whole30 or everyday!

  • 1 chicken breast (shredded)
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts (shaved)
  • 3/4 cup carrots (thinly sliced)
  • 2 TBSP  Chipotle Lime Mayo (Primal Kitchen's )
  • 1-2 eggs (per serving)
  • Chili flakes (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1-2 TBSP oil (olive or avocado)
  1. Preheat stove-top skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the skillet is hot, add oil to the pan, then toss in the shaved brussels and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally to cook the veggies evenly. Stirring too often will prevent the veggies from crisping up. Pan fry the veggies until cooked through and browned, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the shredded chicken to the veggies just before the veggies are finished cooking to heat the chicken through. Adding the chicken too early in the cooking process may cause it to dry it out.

  4. Remove veggies from heat. Cook eggs to preference.
  5. While the eggs cook, transfer the veggies on to the serving plates.
  6. The mayo can be served as a dollop on the side or mixed in with the veggies.

To serve: Top the veggies with the cooked eggs and sprinkle with chili flakes.

     

    **I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

     

    Candy Cane Cocoa Mix

    It’s that time of year again! You know, when the holidays are fast approaching and you’re stressing out, broke, and running out of time? Yeah, that time. If you’re like me, you have lots of lovely people in your life that you’d love to give a holiday gift to, but you also have… no money.

    Spoiler alert: If you know me, it’s likely you’ll be receiving this as one of your holiday gifts this year. Surprise!

    Last year, a colleague of mine made Mexican hot chocolate mix for the office. Smart, right? Cocoa powder and mason jars are inexpensive, which makes this gift easy to make for loads of people. I thought it was such a great idea that I’ve made my own spin on it this year. Instead of making a spicy variety of hot cocoa, I’ve gone ahead and added my favorite holiday flavor to the mix – peppermint mocha!

    Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

    Candy Cane Cocoa Mix

    Using real candy canes was a lot of fun. I wasn’t able to find fine-ground peppermints/candy canes at the store, so I ended up buying a bunch of giant candy canes from the store and blending them up in a blender. My best guess is that you’ll probably need to do the same. I’ve included photo links to Amazon below for the main items you will need. I also decorated each jar with a pretty red ribbon.

     

     

     

    Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

    Candy Cane Cocoa Mix

    Candy Cane Cocoa Mix

    A simple and easy holiday gift!

    • 6 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 5.5 cups crushed peppermint candy
    • 2 cups raw sugar
    • 12 1/2 pint mason jars
    • 2 yards ribbon (cut in 14.5 inch pieces)
    1. To crush candy canes or peppermint patties: break candy canes into pieces and transfer to blender. Pulse blender until candies are crushed into a powder.
    2. In a large bowl, add 6 cups cocoa powder, 2 cups sugar, and 4.5 cups crushed peppermints. Reserve 1 cup peppermints for later. Mix ingredients thoroughly.
    3. Evenly distribute the cocoa mix into 12 1/2 pint mason jars.
    4. Use remaining 1 cup peppermints to top the cocoa mix.
    5. Place the lids on the jars, seal tightly.
    6. Wrap ribbon around each jar, tie in knot or bow.
    7. Serving instructions: add 2 spoonfuls to hot milk of choice & stir.
    8. Voila! Now you have 12 beautiful and simple gifts to give for the holidays.

     

    **I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

    Sweet Potato & Bacon Breakfast Burritos (Freezer Friendly)

    Sweet Potato & Bacon Breakfast Burritos

    Sweet Potato & Bacon Breakfast Burritos

    I can’t believe I’m actually saying this… but I think I have kicked the habit! I don’t crave cream cheese bagels for breakfast anymore! I never thought the day would come. While I don’t crave those additive, delicious jerks anymore, I unfortunately still eat them when I’m unprepared in the morning – but I don’t enjoy them nearly as much as I once did. I’d call that progress.

    Usually I’ll prep a giant frittata or large hash at the start of the week to avoid going bagel town. But sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t have the time to prep, and to bagel town I go. In effort to decrease my trips to bagel town, I’ve started prepping breakfast back ups, similar to my lunch time backup Turkey and Black Bean freezer burritos. They have been a total lifesaver. I’ll prep a bunch at a time and store them in the freezer until I need them, and they only take 3 minutes to reheat! So now instead of eating a bagel after I run out of frittatas, I have a healthy, nutritious breakfast burrito waiting for me in the freezer.

    Sure, there are plenty of breakfast options that you can purchase from the freezer isle at the grocery store, but I really love having total control over the ingredients I consume (and don’t consume). This particular recipe is simple and nutritious – wheat tortillas, sweet potatoes, spinach, bacon, and eggs – that’s it! You could also amp it up with a little bit of cheese and maybe some Primal Kitchen’s mayo.

    Sweet Potato & Bacon Breakfast Burritos

    Sweet Potato & Bacon Breakfast Burritos

    Making burritos for the freezer is also a great way to use up produce before they turn. I subscribe to Hungry Harvest, which is a produce service that sources unwanted fruits and veggies before they hit the trashcan. Sometimes I accumulate too much produce in the fridge, and making freezer staples is a big help!

    *The link above is a referral, and if you click it and order, you and I will each receive $5 off of our next Hungry Harvest order! Never heard of Hungry Harvest? Check out my post: 5 Reasons I Love Hungry Harvest

    Ingredients (6 burritos):

    • 2 medium sweet potatoes
    • 8 eggs
    • 1 cup fresh spinach
    • 6 strips bacon, cooked
    • 6 soft “taco” tortillas (wheat)

    Instructions:

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    • Poke raw, whole sweet potatoes with a fork a few times. Place the potatoes on a pan and bake for roughly 40 minutes, until fork tender. Once soft, remove from the oven to cool. Cut in half, scoop the flesh away from the skin and mash.
    • Cook bacon on stove top or in the oven. Scramble eggs.
    • To assemble, layer ingredients in a tortilla and roll up into a burrito.
    • Wrap the burrito in tinfoil, label, and store in the freezer for up to a month.
    • To reheat: remove tinfoil, wrap in damp paper towel and microwave for 3 minutes. Unwrap and let cool 1 min.

    Happy munching! : )

    **I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

    Simple Seared Duck Breast and Veggies

    Simple Seared Duck and Veggies

    Simple Seared Duck and Veggies

    Hello, delicious! The photo above is giving me the best kind of writer’s block. I can’t stop looking at it and drooling as I reminisce about devouring that delicious duck breast earlier this week. Not only does it look gorgeous on the plate, it tastes amazing!

    My boyfriend recently purchased a portable light box, which is one of the reasons this picture looks oh so tasty. It really captures the textures and colors on the plate, regardless of the time of day. Now that Daylight Savings has taken away all of my good evening light this thing is truly a lifesaver. If it wasn’t for the light box, this glorious duck dish wouldn’t have made it onto the blog any time soon.

    Actually, if it wasn’t for my boyfriend this post definitely wouldn’t exist, since he’s also the one that bought the duck. We have a special deal where he buy’s the meat and I’m responsible for the Hungry Harvest* subscription. This week’s box had loads of my favorite vegetables: broccoli, purple cauliflower, brussels sprouts and white asparagus to name a few. Purple cauliflower and white asparagus! Am I the only person who thinks that’s cool?

    *The link above is a referral, and if you click it and order, you and I will each receive $5 off of our next Hungry Harvest order! Never heard of Hungry Harvest? Check out my post: 5 Reasons I Love Hungry Harvest

    Simple Seared Duck and Veggies

    Simple Seared Duck and Veggies

    Now, I am definitely not a duck expert. This was actually my first time cooking duck breast. I was initially intimidated by the foreign meat and let it hang out in my freezer for a week or two before I decided to give it a go. Since this was my first attempt at cooking duck I obviously went to Pinterest for help. There I came across a video by Gordon Ramsay that gave simple and easy instructions for searing duck breast. Thank the lord for Gordon!

    I’ve included the video below. One thing you’ll notice after cooking the duck, is that there is a lot of leftover fat. Gordon advises to save it for later, maybe for potatoes. I say save it for 30 seconds and cook your asparagus in it. Just a thought, though.

    Most of my meals lately have consisted of a protein and a large portion of veggies. This recipe is no different. You’ll have a delicious, satisfying meal in no time! There aren’t any complicated tasks or weird ingredients either.

    Ingredients (serves 2-3):

    • 2 duck breasts
    • 1 medium head broccoli
    • 1/2 head cauliflower
    • 1 bunch (1 lb) asparagus
    • 1/2 onion or leek
    • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
    • S&P to taste

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Chop broccoli, cauliflower and onion into bite-size chunks, toss in oil, S&P. Roast for 30-40 minutes on top rack of oven.
    • While the veggies roast, cook the duck breasts per Gordon’s instructions in the video above in a cast-iron skillet. I’d tell you how to do it, but he’s the expert. The duck can go in the oven while the veggies cook – place it on the middle rack.
    • Once you remove the duck from the oven, place it on a cool surface to rest.
    • While the duck rests and the veggies continue to roast, cook the asparagus in the same pan used to cook the duck over medium heat on the stove top. There will be a lot of fat leftover in the skillet. If there’s too much, simply pour what you don’t need into a glass jar and save it for later use.
    • Cook the asparagus for about 5-7 minutes.
    • The veggies in the oven will likely be finished at this point. The broccoli and cauliflower are done once the edges have become brown and crisp.
    • Remove the veggies from the oven, remove asparagus from heat when done, and slice the duck on an angle in thick slices. Plate, then serve!

    Happy munching. : )

     

    **I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

    Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

    Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

    Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

    Who doesn’t love crispy chicken stuffed with cheese and ham? That’s right, no one. Chicken cordon bleu is delicious – but like many other delicious dishes – it’s fairly unhealthy. It’s stuffed with cheese, coated in bread or flour, fried, and often served with a heavy cream sauce. Why do so many yummy meals have to be bad for you? It’s just not fair. Giving up your favorite foods in effort to be healthy really sucks sometimes.

    But you can go ahead and wipe those chicken cordon bleu tears away, because I have created an absolutely delicious and healthy spin on chicken cordon bleu. It tastes amazing and is guilt-free in my book. What I love about the ingredients in my recipe is that they don’t deviate all too far from the traditional cordon bleu and the meal still feels indulgent.

    Say what? If the ingredients aren’t different then HOW is this healthy?

    Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

    Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

    For starters this recipe takes a solid pass on the heavy cream sauce that is often served with chicken cordon bleu. In my opinion it really isn’t necessary, especially if you don’t overcook the chicken. The use of cheese in this recipe is also minimal. There’s enough of it in there to add great flavor and ooey-gooey texture, but not so much that its going to clog your pores and make you feel icky. However, you could totally leave the cheese out if you’re not about that dairy life. I bet it would still be as tasty as ever. I also take every opportunity to add something green to my meals, so you better believe I stuffed some spinach in there with the ham and cheese.

    Additionally, I upgraded from a flour or breadcrumb crust to almond meal. Almond meal is my new favorite option for a healthier “breading.” And instead of using an egg wash to adhere the almond meal, I chose to use a combination of dijon mustard and mayonnaise. That’s right – I said mayonnaise. Not just any mayo (or mustard), though. It’s all about the ingredients in the sauces, and this recipe calls for Whole30 compliant options. I’m a big believer that it’s all about the quality of the ingredients you use – not how many calories are in them. The brands I use are pictured below, they are 100% free of icky ingredients. Click the images to shop!

           

    Before I teach you how to make this beautiful meal, I wanted to touch on how darn fancy it looks. SO FANCY, right? It’s only a slightly complicated to put together, but totally worth all of your hard work. You’re friends or family will be impressed, your tastebuds will be dancing, and your belly will be happy. Serve it along side some greens and veggies and call it a day!

    Ingredients (4 servings):

    • 4 chicken breasts
    • 2-4 plain deli ham slices
    • 2-4 swiss cheese slices
    • 4 TBSP avocado oil mayo
    • 4 TBSP dijon mustard
    • 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
    • 1/2 cup almond meal
    • Olive oil, for skillet

    Instructions:

    • Mix mayonnaise and dijon together, set aside.
    • Butterfly each chicken breast by carefully slicing the breast nearly in half. Place each butterflied breast in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet (or other heavy object) to tenderize and thin out the meat. This will make the chicken easy to roll.
    • Remove chicken from plastic wrap. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper, and then spread 1 TBSP of the condiment mixture across each butterflied breast. Reserve the remaining condiment mixture for later.
    • Layer the stuffing ingredients on the chicken. Starting with the spinach leaves, then ham, then cheese – as pictured above. I’ve found that the amount of cheese and ham needed varies with the size of the chicken. For a smaller breast, use 1/2 a slice of ham and cheese; for a large breast, use a full slice of each. Using too much cheese and ham will make it difficult to roll up.
    • Now you’re ready to roll up the chicken! Starting on the end with the ham and cheese, carefully roll the chicken. Use the photos above for reference. Toothpicks can be used to stabilize the roll-ups if needed.
    • Use remaining condiment mixture to coat the top of the rolled breasts.
    • **If prepping a day ahead of time, stop here. Place the chicken in an air tight container and refrigerate over night.** I’ve found letting the chicken rest overnight allows the meat to absorb the condiments and helps prevent the chicken from drying out in the oven. This is not a necessary step, though.
    • To cook:
      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      • Preheat oven-safe or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
      • Evenly coat the top half of the chicken roll-ups with almond meal, gently pressing it onto the chicken.
      • Add a shallow layer of olive oil to the skillet, then place each chicken roll-up top side down into the skillet. Panfry the chicken for 4-5 minutes, then flip. The almond meal should have formed a brown, crisp crust.
      • Once flipped, transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until an internal temperature of 165 degrees – about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.
      • Remove from oven and rest for at least 5 minutes. Immediately cutting into the chicken will result in the cheese oozing out. No body wants that!

    Happy Munching!

    **I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤

    Ham, Mushroom & Spinach Egg Cups

    Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Egg Cups

    Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Egg Cups

    The past few weeks have been absolutely hectic for me. First I started a new job, in addition to my full time job and this blog. Juggling all three is proving to be a challenge. To make my life even crazier, my boyfriend also came home from his six-month deployment last week! So we have been busy getting him settled in and getting back into our groove. A few days after he arrived to Maryland, we had a new roommate move in up stairs. He had been receiving his food from a paleo meal service while living in another state, and asked if I’d be interested in meal prepping for him. Obviously I said YES, with out hesitation.

    After I said yes, reality set in and I remembered that I have two jobs, a blog, a boyfriend who now lives in the same house as me again, and now two extra mouths to feed. Talk about overwhelming! If meal prepping wasn’t already a necessity for me and my healthy eating quest, it sure is now. That’s where these Egg Cups come into play.

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    Fancy looking, right? I’m super pumped on this new creation of mine. They are really appealing to look at, are simple to make, and are a nice change of pace from my weekly frittatas. All you need is a silicone or metal muffin tray and a couple of simple ingredients. Like frittatas, egg cups are easy to make in large quantities, and that’s important when you need to prep a handful of breakfasts for 3 people!

    Before we move on, lets hit pause and talk about some frittata recipes for a second. If you’re needing some recipes to mix up your frittata game, check out my two favorite recipes: Cholula Chicken Frittata and Veggie-Dump Frittata!

    Ok back to the Egg Cups. This particular recipe calls for specific veggies (spinach and mushroom), ham, and eggs (duh). While this combination is a delicious mix, I can think of about a million other combinations that would be tasty too. Try mixing up the ingredients with what you have on hand, or mix and match the cups to bring some variety to your breakfasts!

    These cups can be as healthy or unhealthy as you please. However, this recipe is full of goodness and is just shy of being Whole30 compliant, as the ham I use has the tiniest smidge of added sugar. I use Applegate Farm’s Slow Cooked Ham most often. Even though the sugar prevents it from being Whole30 compliant, it doesn’t contain any chemicals or other icky ingredients. If you know of any Whole30 compliant deli meats, please share in the comments below. : )

    Over the weekend I served these bad boys with some roasted breakfast potatoes and salmon bacon. I didn’t know that salmon bacon was a thing, but it is, and it’s way to expensive for how mediocre it tastes. Don’t buy it. Anyway, keep on scrolling to for the Egg Cup recipe!

    Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Egg Cups

    Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Egg Cups with Potato Hash and Salmon Bacon

    Ingredients (12 egg cups/6 servings):

    • 11 eggs
    • 12 slices deli meat
    • 1/2 package of sliced mushrooms
    • 1 cup fresh spinach
    • 1 TBSP chili flakes
    • 1 TSP onion powder
    • 1 TSP garlic powder
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions:

    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    • Sauté sliced mushrooms in a skillet over medium heat, set aside.
    • In a bowl, whisk eggs with the spices listed above until the yolks and whites are combined.
    • Assembly:
      • Lightly grease muffin tray or line the tray with paper liners.
      • Place 1 slice of deli meat in each muffin cup. It is okay if the edges of the meat over flow from the indentation. As the Egg Cups cook the meat will decrease in size and crisp up. Try to avoid tearing the meat to prevent the egg from leaking out. However, if it leaks, no biggie.
      • Place 4-5 spinach leaves in each cup and top with sautéed mushrooms.
      • Fill each cup with the egg mixture.
    • Place the muffin tray on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes until the eggs are set (no longer jiggly).
    • Remove from oven, let cool and remove from tin.

    To reheat simply microwave for ~1 minute.

    Happy Munching!

     

     

    **I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤