Tag Archives: quick and easy

Quinoa Crusted Chicken.

Happy new year (eleven days late)!!

Now that it’s January I, along with most of the rest of the world, have once again resolved to live a healthier life this year.  Last year’s plans were derailed once I found out that I was expecting the Baby Burrito in February.  I only managed to gain 8 pounds while pregnant, but I’m still heavier than I’ve ever been.

The only way I’m going to be able to manage to do this is to not eat out or order in as much.  You’d think this would be easy for someone who loves to cook, but with two little ones under foot and a super busy schedule, things don’t always go as planned.  But cooking my meals and being able to control exactly what I’m putting into my body is really the only way to go.

In my mind, eating healthy means that food that is bland and devoid of flavor.  But I’m slowly learning that doesn’t have to be the case.  This chicken was incredibly flavorful thanks to the dijon and thyme, and the crunchiness added from the quinoa crust almost felt like I was eating fried chicken.  Almost. And the best part?  Not only was it incredibly delicious, each serving is less than 250 calories!  Double win.

Quinoa Crusted Chicken.


  • 1 Cup Quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped + more for serving
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray


Preheat oven to 300.

Add quinoa and chicken broth to a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, about 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread cooked quinoa onto the parchment and bake until lightly toasted, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool then transfer to a bowl.

Increase the oven temperature to 425. Combine the chicken, dijon and thyme in a bowl and mix to coat. Dip the chicken into the quinoa, pressing to coat on both sides then transfer to a baking sheet. Spray the chicken lightly with cooking spray and bake about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with additional thyme before serving.

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Turkey Cutlets with Parmesan Crust.

I have to admit that I’m already lagging on my goals for the year.  We had a rough week with the Fruitaholic who has decidedly absolutely entered the terrible twos, and as a result we ordered in most of the week.  I definitely gorged on super unhealthy food for the majority of my meals.  But now I’m trying to get back on track again, and this week’s healthy themed Recipe Swap was just the kick in the pants I needed.

This may have been the first time I’ve ever purchased turkey cutlets.  Unless it’s Thanksgiving, I don’t really eat much turkey.  But I was definitely up for the challenge!  This meal came together quickly and easily with minimal ingredients, a wonderful meal on those days when you just don’t have the energy to make a complicated dinner.  I served it alongside a new quinoa recipe (coming soon!) which cooked at the same time as the cutlets, meaning dinner was on the table within 20 minutes.   The turkey cutlets were light and full of flavor, and just the thing to make me consider becoming a more frequent turkey eater.

Turkey Cutlets with Parmesan Crust – very slightly adapted from The Cooking Nurse

  • 4 Turkey Breast Cutlets (4 oz. each)
  • 2 Egg Whites, beaten
  • 2/3 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • Lemon Wedges, for serving

Season the turkey cutlets with salt and pepper.  In a shallow dish, mix together the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Place the beaten egg whites in a small bowl.  Dip the turkey cutlets in the egg whites, then coat with the bread crumb mixture.  Shake off the excess.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium.  Add the cutlets and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, until the turkey is golden brown and no longer pink inside.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash.

As you all know, with the start of a new year, we all make resolutions.  We all have some sort of goals that we set for ourselves that are inevitably broken by the time February rolls around.  I’m pretty sure mine are much like yours:  eat healthier, exercise more, lose some poundage, be a better person, blahblahblah.

I don’t typically set out to make resolutions, but new year or not, I’ve decided to take my health into my own hands.  I’ve always been of bigger stature, and much like most of us, I’ve failed many times at dieting.  But on January 2nd, when the scale told me that I now weigh five pounds more than I did when I was nine months pregnant, it was the kick in the pants I needed to make a real lifestyle change.

Christmas 2K11. Yep, it's time for a change.

So this year, I’m hoping to eat a more plant-focused diet (despite my love of bacon).  I’m aiming to work out at least three times each week (there’s really no excuse… I have a treadmill and an elliptical at my disposal in my basement).  I’d like to finally complete the Couch to 5K program with the goal of being able to run my very first 5K this Spring or Summer (as it stands now, I huff and puff going up and down the stairs).

The Husby is out of town this week for work so I’ve been left to fend for myself.  And usually when that happens, I end up ordering in or eating out.  But not this time.  I packed up the Fruitaholic and we headed to the grocery store, determined to make and eat the majority of my meals at home this week.

Wanting to keep things easy since I’d just be cooking for me, I bought a couple prepackaged salads, a couple chicken breasts, a ton of fruit for snacking, and a small spaghetti squash.  I’m not sure what caused me to buy the squash since the first time I tried it, I had some kind of small reaction to it.  But there it was right in front of me, begging me to bring it home.  And so I did.

But what to do with it?  I knew I didn’t want to drown it in pasta sauce.  Even though it shares a name with and is touted as a pasta substitute, it’s not pasta!  I knew I wanted it to be healthy and full of flavor.  And my oh my, it certainly was!

I had originally planned to cook up one of my chicken breasts to go alongside it, but once it was ready (quickly and easily, I might add), I realized I didn’t need it.  I had half of the squash and it was super filling, but so tasty to the point that I would’ve (and since it’s healthy, could’ve) eaten the other half as well.  I may have even moaned as I was eating it, soliciting dirty looks from the Fruitaholic (who wouldn’t touch it, sigh).  I’m anxiously awaiting the leftovers for lunch tomorrow, and to making it again many, many times during the course of the year.

Cheers to a healthy, flavorful 2012!

Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash – slightly adapted from Gourmet Magazine via Epicurious

  • 1 3-4 Lb.  Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter, unsalted (to make this dish Vegan, substitute a Vegan butter spread or Olive Oil)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 Cup Golden Raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, chopped

With a small knife, pierce the squash all over to prevent bursting.  Place the squash on a microwave safe plate and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, then turn the squash over and cook an additional 8-10 minutes, until the squash is soft.  Allow to cool 10-15 minutes.  Alternately, place the whole pierced squash in a baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

While the squash is cooling, melt the butter and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 1 minute.  Stir in the spices and salt and remove from heat.

When the squash is cool enough to touch, carefully halve lengthwise.  Remove and discard the seeds.  Scrape the flesh with a fork to release the strands from the skin.  Add the toasted almonds and golden raisins, then toss with the spiced butter mixture and top with cilantro.

Pan Fried Shishito Peppers.

Hello?  Is there anyone still out there?

I’m back from my blogging hiatus and ready to get cooking once again.  The Husby was working for an extended period of time in Seattle and the Fruitaholic and I joined him on the last week of his trip.  While I had access to a small kitchen, it’s just not the same as being in the familiarity of my own kitchen.  We ate the majority of our meals out and now that we’re back home, I’m itching for some good ol’ fashioned home cooking.

I first came across shishito peppers at Girl & The Goat, Top Chef season 4 winner Stephanie Izard’s restaurant.  I’ve had the pleasure of dining there twice now (with full intentions of returning again and again and again once I can get a table!!) and without question ordered these little bad boys each time.  It’s an incredibly simple dish that packs a ton of flavor.  So when I saw a pint at the farmer’s market (from the same stand Steph does, no less), they started calling my name.  A huge grin spread across my face from cheek to cheek as I placed them into my bag (after paying for them, of course) and returned back home with a skip in my step.

I don’t have Stephanie’s recipe and it has been months since we last dined at The Goat, so I improvised.  And while my peppers don’t even hold a candle to Stephanie’s, I have to admit they were pretty damn good and will definitely be made again and again and again.  And I don’t even have to book a table months in advance to enjoy them. :)

Pan Fried Shishito Peppers – inspired by Girl & The Goat

  • Shishito Peppers (the pint I bought yielded about 20 peppers)
  • 2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Kosher Salt

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot.  Add the peppers and, stirring occasionally, cook until they begin to pop, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and salt and continue to cook until the peppers blister, about another 3 minutes or so.  Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with additional salt.