Pesto, spinach, and goat cheese stuffed chicken and garlic asparagus recipe

I am working on growing an herb garden in our new house, but birds keep eating my herb sprouts. I put out a bird feeder, so hopefully that will deter them. Along with fresh cilantro and chives, I am really looking forward to fresh basil! I love making pesto and I enjoy eating it even more. This week I was craving some pesto goodness so I decided to pick some up and use it for a stuffed chicken recipe (and maybe a quiche recipe too).

I haven’t made stuffed chicken in a while, and it did not disappoint! This pesto and cheese and spinach stuffed chicken is a yummy and rich meal. Whoever said you can’t eat delicious food while still eating healthy doesn’t know what they are talking about! My husband was happy that it was grain-free and had goat cheese, and I was happy merely because it had pesto.  It may seem like too much work, but it’s all in the preparation. After you put it together, you can stick it in the oven and forget about it for a while!

I paired the chicken with a garlic asparagus side, recipe below as well.
stuffed chicken

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This week’s meal-plan (1/14-1/18)

It’s mid-January; how is everyone’s health resolutions coming along? How is shopping for healthy foods while trying to save money, working out?

I’m still learning and figuring out what works the best for us, what is available in our area, and how to make our meals the most nutritious they can be.

Our local farmers market is closed for the winter and so is one of the local CSA’s, so we are still a little behind with the produce.

We did find eggs from pastured hens through Craigslist, though! And we found a great grass-fed meat provider near us as well.

While I can wait for the hot weather to come back to town, I look forward to planting my first real garden at our first house! I especially want to grow and can tomatoes.

We have been getting back to eating healthy and recovering from the sugar over-load of the holidays. My husband has been working long hours and I have a wiggly 8 month old, so our meals are easy to prepare or quick to cook.

  • Monday: Chicken fajita salad (fajitas made in crock-pot)(chicken, bell pepper, onion, romaine and spinach, cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado, lime juice)
  • Tuesday: Grilled sirloin steaks with broccoli and sweet potatoes
  • Wednesday: Chili with no beans, topped with avocado and cheese
  • Thursday: Lemon pepper chicken, beets and carrots, green salad
  • Friday: Stew with onion, carrots, and sweet potato

Lunches: Leftover dinner from the night before

Breakfast: Eggs and bacon, cheese omelet, eggs and linguica

Spinach, Pepper, and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Dessert

We had a pretty low-key Valentine’s Day; we ate a lovely dinner and splurged with homemade lava cakes and cookie dough ice cream. We exchanged some notes and treats and called it good.

I decided to experiment with pepper stuffed chicken breasts and I’m so glad I did! They tasted great even for leftovers. We paired the chicken with some asparagus grilled with butter, lemon juice, lemon pepper, and a little bit of garlic (my favorite).

Wish I had a better photo, but I was too hungry to try!

Spinach, Pepper, and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
I made about 5 servings, but ingredients can be easily altered to make more or less
Bake at 425 degrees

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I Love My Crock-Pot! Stew and a Whole Chicken

Saturday I made stew and yesterday I made a whole chicken in the crock-pot. It’s so easy cooking with a slow-cooker!

I made a different slightly different version of the stew I have posted before. Stew is so versatile, I think sometimes it would be hard to mess up!

Easy Saturday stew:

  • 2 packs stew meat
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup baby or diced carrots
  • 1-2 cups diced or small potatoes
  • 1 bottle of beer or 2 cups broth
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian seasonings
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Season meat with salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional – sear meat before throwing in the slow-cooker
  • Mix beer or broth, tomato paste, and a generous shake of Italian seasonings in the slow-cooker.
  • Add diced vegetables and meat (if you don’t like you vegetables too soft, throw them in half-way through the cooking process)
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours
  • You can also assemble the meal all together and freeze in large zip-lock baggies

Yesterday I also made a slow-cooker whole chicken like THIS ONE. I didn’t have any lemon, so I seasoned it heavily with garlic and paprika and tossed it in with a little bit of butter.

After I pulled the chicken out of the slow-cooker, I added about 5 cups of water to juices left in the crock-pot, 1/2 onion, carrots, and celery and a bay leaf and let cook on low overnight. I then strained the mixture and put it in the fridge to use today in a chicken chili recipe I’m going to try!

My Favorite Homemade Chili

I once found a random vegetarian chili recipe and with my own changes and additions it’s the only “chili’ recipe I make. I know that technically chili doesn’t have beans but for the sake of convenience, I call this chili. I’ve tried plenty of chili (especially with my old job and all the fire department chili cook-offs I attended), but I have stuck to this recipe or a slight variation of this recipe, ever since I tried making it. I generally make it without meat, but I am trying to up my protein intake so this time I added grass-fed ground beef.

Lulu’s Sometimes Vegetarian Chili

Makes approx. Seven, 1 cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, diced (comes in a can, I also like to add extra sauce from it as well)
  • 1 TBSP + 1 tsp (or 5 tsp) Cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprikia
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Olive oil or bacon grease
  • 1 pound grass fed ground beef (usually 80/20 around here) optional
  • 1 bottle of beer (most anything would work, but I would stay away from chocolate stouts) or 12 ounces chicken or beef broth
  • 1/4-1 cup chicken or beef broth for extra liquid if needed (I used about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 can or 2 cups cooked black beans (if using canned, rinse and drain)
  • 1 can or 1.5 cups cooked red kidney beans (if using canned, rinse and drain)

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Easy Breakfast Casserole

My husband wakes up quite early to get ready for work and sometimes he gets tired of eating eggs and bacon every morning (and since being pregnant, I am not a fan of the smell of bacon lingering in our home, either).

Last night he prepped and cooked a simple, grain-free breakfast casserole (inspired by this recipe) and had it ready to go the next morning. It was a quick, easy, and healthy solution to breakfast!

Grain-free Spicy Breakfast Casserole

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Crock pot chicken and broth

I’ve used the crock pot now 3 times this week – still loving it. I was babysitting my 7 month old Godchild yesterday so the crock pot made dinner prep super easy. My husband loved this chicken. It was juicy and pretty much cooked in it’s own juices all day.

All the liquid in the crock pot? That's all from the chicken.

Crock Pot Chicken and Broth

Ingredients:

  • one whole chicken (preferably organic and pastured)
  • Juice from a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

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Crock pot roast beef

I’ve been enjoying the crock pot lately; it’s just so easy to use. Simply brown the meat, throw it in the crock pot with some liquid and leave it alone all day.

Tonight we had roast from a local grass-fed beef supplier. Roast beef isn’t my favorite piece of meat but I still find it edible if it’s moist and flavorful. Here’s tonight’s recipe:

Crock pot roast beef

Roast beef with the cooking juices

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