Sandy's Kitchen: chicken

Showing posts with label chicken. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chicken. Show all posts
This was delicious! The important part is to make sure your shredded chicken is already seasoned. Nothing is worse than plain old chicken without any seasonings. I used rotisserie chickens form the grocery store to save time. Then I removed the skin, the bones, and shredded the chicken breasts only. The meat is already seasoned and made for you so it makes this meal quick and easy! You all know how I love those kind quick and easy meals!

Put the shredded chicken at the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Sprinkle dried basil and dried oregano over the chicken. Then combine the light laughing cow cheese with plain Greek yogurt in a small bowl. You may need to heat up the laughing cow cheese for about 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave so that it blends well with the yogurt. You could also use 6 tbsp of light cream cheese in place of the light laughing cow cheese, but I prefer the laughing cow cheese because of the variety of flavors they come in. Spread it over the chicken.

Spread blended Italian diced tomatoes that is less than 5 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup. Great Value from Walmart is a great choice!

Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until cheese has melted. A yummy quick meal that pairs nicely with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. You would need 1 cup of zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash per serving of Italian Chicken Bake to complete your Lean and Green meal! Enjoy!

Italian Chicken Bake

12 ounces shredded chicken breasts, cooked (2 Leaner Leans)
1 tsp dried basil (1/2 Condiment)
1/2 tsp dried oregano (1/2 Condiment)
1 1/2 cups Great Value Italian diced tomatoes, blended (3 Greens)
6 wedges of light laughing cow cheese - any flavor will do (3 Healthy Fats)
1/2 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt (1/3 Leaner Lean)
2/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (2/3 Lean)
1/4 cup grated reduced fat parmesan cheese (2 Condiments)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Place shredded chicken at the bottom of prepared dish.  Sprinkle basil and oregano over shredded chicken breasts. Use any additional garlic powder, salt, or pepper to season your chicken if it isn't seasoned already. I used store bought rotisserie chicken so it was already seasoned.

Combine light laughing cow cheese and yogurt in a small bowl. 
You may need to microwave the laughing cow cheese for about 10 to 15 seconds to soften it up a bit so that it blends easier with the yogurt. Spread yogurt mixture over chicken. Then spread tomato sauce over yogurt mixture. Top with parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the casserole begins to bubble and cheese is melted.
Divide into three equal portions.

3 Servings with 
1 Lean, 1 Green, 1 Condiment, and 1 Healthy Fat per Serving

I love crock pot recipes and for good reason! Being a busy mom of two little ones always feels like there is never enough time in the day, especially for cooking! But of course.... we got to eat! I don't want to resort to unhealthy choices for my family and I because of lack of time or planning. All you have to do is throw these recipes together and just forget about it.

This recipe has  lot of flavor so you aren't eating plain old shredded chicken from the crock pot! Also, the meat is moist and tender as long as you don't over cook it! I cooked mine for about 7 hours, but it will depend on your slow cooker. Not to mention this makes 5 servings so you have some left overs! I served this chicken with grated cauliflower (as rice) my first night and had it as lettuce wraps and zucchini chips my second night. Variety is key when trying to eat healthy so that you never get bored with your meals. 


Crock Pot Thai Chicken


40 ounces raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 Leaner Leans)
1 1/4 cup lite coconut milk (5 Healthy Fats)
1/2 cup PB2 aka powdered peanut butter (4 Snacks)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lite soy sauce (1 Condiment)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (3 Condiments)
1/2 cup salsa (8 Condiments)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)
1 packet stevia - optional (1 Condiment)
Chopped cilantro for garnish


Place raw chicken in the crock pot.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. 
Stir until mixed thoroughly. Pour over chicken.
Cook on High for 3 to 4 hours or on Low 6 to 8 hours.
When cooked, shred chicken breasts with a fork.
Stir the shredded chicken with the sauce.
Divide into 5 equal portions.

5 Servings with 1 Leaner Lean, 3 Condiments, 1 Healthy Fat, and 0.8 Snacks per serving

I love Trader Joes! I especially love their grated raw cauliflower. It is about time someone created already grated cauliflower for us to purchase! It is so convenient and I don't have to worry about cleaning up my food processor and the mess surrounding my food processor :) For some reason, I always tend to get bits and pieces of cauliflower on the counter, the floor, and in my hair (don't know how that happens). Already grated cauliflower just makes my life so much easier! Not only do I love using it in place of rice, but I also use it to make my cauliflower pizza crusts. If you haven't tried the cauliflower pizza crusts yet, then you don't know what you are missing! You can get that recipe HERE.

How do I cook the raw cauliflower? I just throw it in the microwave. It is the easiest and fastest way to cook cauliflower. Add 1 tsp of water to help steam the cauliflower and make sure you cover the microwave safe container with a pieces of clear film or lid. I usually cook it for about 1 1/2 minutes but it depends on how much cauliflower you have in the container. A whole head of cauliflower could take about 3 minutes.You could also saute the cauliflower with a tsp of oil (1 Healthy Fat) if you have an extra Healthy Fat to spare on the stove top. When sauteing cauliflower, I love using the flavored oils such as Luscious Lemon, Valencia Orange or Roasted Garlic from Stacey Hawkins. This is a great way to add some flavor to plain cauliflower rice. You can purchase her products HERE.  She has a great collection of seasonings, oils, etc on her site!

Another product I love from Trader Joes is their pineapple salsa. It is delicious! The addition of pineapple in the zesty salsa adds a little bit of sweetness and medium heat. It works perfectly with this Pineapple Salsa Chicken! I absolutely love crock pot meals since some days I just don't have time to cook. You just throw everything together in the crock pot and dinner is ready a few hours later. Gotta love it!

Measure out 27 oz of raw chicken breasts and place it in the crock pot.

Add 1/2 cup of pineapple salsa, 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of chicken broth to a small bowl. Mix it all up.

Pour the mixture over the raw chicken breasts. Cook on LOW for about 4 to 6 hours. I cooked it for 5 hours. Shred the chicken and serve it our cauliflower rice. Easy and delicious! Enjoy!

Crock Pot Pineapple Salsa Chicken

27 oz raw chicken breasts (3 Leaner Leans)
1/2 cup Trader Joes Pineapple Salsa (8 Condiments)
1 tbsp soy sauce (1 Condiment)
1/4 cup chicken broth (1/4 Condiment)

Add chicken breasts, salsa, soy sauce and chicken broth to a crock pot.
Cook on LOW 4 to 6 hours. Shred chicken when cooked. 
Divide into 3 portions.
Serve each portion over 1 1/2 cups cooked riced cauliflower 
or any approved Greens of your choice.

3 Servings with 1 Leaner Protein and 3 Condiments per Serving
1 Healthy Fat is still needed. 
Some great options are 1 1/2 oz of avocado, 2 tbsp of guacamole, or 2 tbsp of sour cream.

I had been feeling slightly under the weather this past week. Getting over a cold is no fun! No fun at all! Who has time for a cold? I know I don't. They are just horrible inconveniences that I NEED to get rid of quickly!

Luckily, no one else in my family has caught this yucky cold. I absolutely hate seeing my 4 year old and 3 month old boys get sick. It just breaks my heart. As for my husband? Well... if he gets sick, he can fend for himself. Just kidding! He definitely can act like a big kid when he gets sick, but I guess he would say the same about me. We all like to be pampered, spoiled and taken care of when we aren't feeling so well.  Thankfully, my family hasn't gotten sick too often (knock on wood!).

So what is the best thing to help a cold? Mama always said chicken noodle soup and I agree! It helps clear nasal congestion and has a mild anti-inflammatory effect that can ease some cold symptoms. It also provides hydration from the broth. I love chicken noodle soup even when I am not sick. It is just one of those soups that will always remain a classic.

"Noodles" made from zucchini and/or yellow squash, aka zoodles are a wonderful low-carb alternatives to pasta and they taste wonderful in soup! They are also a good sources of potassium, manganese, vitamin A and C.

The easiest way to make noodles from zucchini or yellow squash is by using a spiralizer. This is the spiralizer I have. It is the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade, but I think they have a 5 blade one for almost the same price which is under $30! If you don't have one already, I highly recommend them! Making "noodles" is so much easier with this gadget and I use mine often. Click HERE, if you are interested in purchasing one. 

Once you have your "noodles" set aside, dice up your cooked chicken breasts. I like to use a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to save time, plus if you are sick like me, you just do not feel like cooking!

When making the soup, add the chicken and spices to the chicken broth. Then bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add your squash "noodles". Simmer for about 5 more minutes or until the squash is soft or to desired tenderness. That's it! Quick and easy chicken "noodle" soup! Keep it simple with just a few ingredients. Enjoy this soup! Hopefully, not when you are fighting a cold like me!

Chicken Zoodle Soup

1 1/4 cups or 162.5 g spiralized zucchini or yellow squash (2 1/2 Greens)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1/2 Condiment)
1/4 cup celery or 25 g, chopped (1/2 Green)
6 oz rotisserie chicken breast, skin removed,cut into 1 inch pieces (1 Leaner)
2 cups chicken broth (2 Condiments)
1/2 tsp dried basil (1/4 Condiment)
1/4 tsp dried oregano (1/4 Condiment)
1/8 tsp black pepper (1/4 Condiment)

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add garlic and celery and saute until tender. Add chicken broth, basil, oregano, black pepper and chicken. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add squash and simmer for 5 more minutes or until squash is soft or to desired tenderness.

Makes 1 Serving
Each serving provides 
1 Lean, 3 Greens, 3 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat

With the football season, I know that it can be difficult to find delicious appetizers that will appeal to everyone! But trust me... there ARE healthier food options out there that actually taste good! I mean... yeah... I still love buffalo hot wings, a yummy bowl of chili with all the fixings, burgers, sub sandwiches, chips, etc, but I have found some pretty tasty alternatives to my favorite party foods. This is one of them! I love spicy jalapenos mixed with ooey gooey cheese and the creamy goodness of Greek yogurt and cream cheese. Adding chicken packs this dip with extra protein and makes it more filling so you can have it as a complete meal with veggies!

What makes this dish even better is that you can prep your chicken ahead of time. Prepping your chicken ahead of time makes this dish so easy to put together right before game time! No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen during game time! Come on! You can always buy a rotisseries chicken from the grocery store. Remove the skin and bones and shred it up.

If you want to prepare your own chicken, my favorite way to cook chicken breasts is in the slow cooker. The slow cooker always gets the chicken breasts really moist as long as you do not over cook it. This is how I make my shredded chicken breasts:

Quick and Easy Crock Pot Shredded Chicken

3 pounds of chicken breasts or tenderloins (6 Leaner)
1 cup chicken broth (1 Condiment)
Seasonings of choice ~ subtract from your Condiments
(I like salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder)

Season the defrosted chicken and then place them in the slow cooker.
Pour chicken broth over the chicken.
Cook 6 to 8 hours on LOW or 3 to 4 hours on High.
Drain the chicken and shred the chicken with two forks. 
All done! Now you have enough chicken for a few meals!

Makes 6 Servings
Each serving provides
1 Leaner (Condiments will vary)

Weigh out 6 ounces of chicken and then place the portions into Ziploc baggies. Usually I put a few bags in the fridge and the rest in the freezer for later. These little baggies are great when I am craving chicken or need them for a recipe.

This recipe calls for 12 ounces of cooked chicken so I used my awesome scale to do all the measuring for me. Not to mention if you try to eyeball how much chicken you think you should have, it may not be accurate. You may be cheating yourself of some much needed protein or you may be eating too much.

Now that your chicken is measured out, you can add all the other ingredients except half the cheese which is for the topping. Give it a good stir because you wouldn't want any pieces to feel left out!

Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Spread it out evenly. Then top with the remaining cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

The entire dish makes 4 servings. I took out my portion and put it in my own personal ramekin and served it with sweet mini peppers. Those darn veggies are addictive! This dip would also make a delicious wrap because they have a thick consistency like chicken salad. Enjoy!

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Dip

12 ounces cooked shredded chicken breasts or use the breast meat from a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (2 Leaner)
3/4 cup Fage low fat plain Greek yogurt (1/2 Leaner)
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese (4 Healthy Fats)
6 slices turkey bacon cooked and crumbled (1/2 Lean)
3 ounces canned jalapenos, diced (3 Optional Snacks)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp onion powder (1 Condiment)
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (4 Condiments)
1 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided (1 Lean)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine shredded chicken, yogurt and cream cheese in a medium sized bowl.
Add crumbled turkey bacon, diced jalapenos, garlic powder, onion powder, parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
Stir until combined. Pour mixture into a baking dish.
Top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Makes 4 Servings
Each serving provides 
1 Leaner, 1 1/2 Condiments, 1 Healthy Fat and 3/4 Optional Snack

This is Not Your Mama's Alfredo Sauce for a reason. This recipe doesn't have all the cream, butter, flour and other unhealthy ingredients that traditional Alfredo recipes might have. It actually has only a few ingredients, but with those few ingredients, it packs a ton of flavor.

What I like most about this sauce is that it is smooth, thick and creamy. It really sticks to the squash noodles and chicken. No watery sauce for me!

I used my Ninja to blend the ingredients together but you can use any small blender you like. You just want to blend until all the ingredients have a smooth texture, resembling sauce. I added cottage cheese, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, unsweetened almond milk and black pepper. That's it! You are done! Easy peasy!

The sauce is actually a great source of protein because of the cottage cheese and it doesn't have a lot of fat! It is right up my alley!

You can kind of see the thickness in this photo. Feel free to add a little more almond milk if you don't want the sauce as thick.

Slap on that sauce!

I chose to serve the sauce on spiraled yellow squash and zucchini so that it resembled pasta. My favorite spiralizer is Paderno which I got from Amazon. Right now it is running about $35 with free shipping, but the price is always changing so check it out. They are really simple to us. You just press the zucchini against the blade of the slicer and crank the handle. As you crank the handle, the spirals come out on the other side. The best part about this machine, is that you don't have to worry about your hand coming in contact with the blade while you are spiraling. Also, this machine will take out the core of the squash which has the seeds. The seeds prevent the noodles from holding together, so you want to make sure the core isn't included.

Another option is the Veggetti which is also on Amazon but I think you can find it in some of the big box stores such as Target and Bed Bath and Beyond. This runs around $13.

You can also use any julienne peeler you like and get great results. These are easy to find and run around $10 or less. If you use one of these peelers, you would pass the peeler down the side of the squash, lengthwise. When you approach the seeds, turn the zucchini and slice another side.

Chicken Alfredo never looked so good! With added color from the squash, healthy nutrients from using veggies instead of pasta, and creamy sauce packed with protein... what more could I ask for in kick starting my weight loss? Enjoy!

Not Your Mama's Chicken Alfredo

4 oz grilled or baked chicken, sliced or diced (2/3 Leaner)

For Alternative Pasta:
1 1/2 cups yellow squash and/or zucchini, spiralized (3 Greens)
1 tsp olive oil (1 Healthy Fat)
1/4 tsp dried basil (1/8 Condiment)

Alfredo Sauce:
1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese (1/3 Leaner)
1/8 tsp salt (1/2 Condiment)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)
1 tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 Condiment)
1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (1/16 Condiment)
1/8 tsp Fresh ground pepper (1/4 Condiment)

Prepare your squash. You can peel your squash so that it resembles pasta or leave the peel on to add more color to the dish. I like to leave it on because the peel has extra fiber that can regulate your digestive system. Cut the ends off and discard. Next decide which gadget you want to use to make your noodles. Measure out 1 1/2 cups.

Add 1 tsp olive oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add spiraled squash to the oil and cook until squash gets tender for about 2 minutes. Add basil and any other additional seasonings such as salt, pepper, or garlic powder if desired. Put on a plate and set aside.

To make Alfredo sauce, combine cottage cheese, salt, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, almond milk and pepper in a small blender until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour into a microwave safe dish and heat until warm (about 45 sec to 1 min), stopping the microwave every 15 seconds to stir. Make sure the cottage cheese doesn't get too hot because cottage cheese and heat do not mix well. It will start to separate, get stringy, and watery. Once it was mixed with the squash and chicken, I had no problems with re-heating.

Place cooked diced chicken over squash noodles and then pour warm sauce on top. Enjoy!

1 Serving with 
1 Leaner, 3 Greens, 2.5 Condiments, and 1 Healthy Fat

 Here is a simple dish if you enjoy eating Frank's hot sauce on EVERYTHING! This recipe has cooked spaghetti squash, shredded cabbage, cooked chicken breasts, Frank's hot sauce, ranch dressing and mozzarella cheese! If you don't want to add the cheese, just use 6 oz of cooked chicken instead of the 4.5 oz so you can get a full Lean for the day. For a short cut, use the breast meat from a store bought rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. The ranch dressing is the healthy fat, but another variation to try is using 2 tbsp of light cream cheese instead of the ranch dressing. Stir the cream cheese into the spaghetti squash mixture to give it a creamy texture. Just leave out the ranch dressing if you decide to do this. Also, this recipe only makes 1 serving, but feel free to increase the amount of servings by doubling, tripling, etc!

The spaghetti squash and chicken are already prepared. I just grilled the chicken and chopped it up into pieces. If you would like a tutorial on how to cook spaghetti squash, you can check out this post Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Pesto.

In a skillet, add the spaghetti squash, cabbage and spices. Then add the chicken and Frank's hot sauce. Mix it all up until it is combined. Top it with yummy mozzarella cheese! Then drizzle with ranch dressing. If you prefer to bake this instead, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 12 to 15 min or until the cheese is melted and the squash is heated through. Then drizzle the ranch dressing on top before serving.

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

1 cup cooked spaghetti squash (2 Greens)
1/2 cup cabbage, chopped - Use tri color cole slaw mix and take out the carrots to save time (1 Green)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (1/2 Condiment)
1/8 tsp onion powder (1/4 Condiment)
4.5 oz of grilled, baked or cooked chicken breasts, chopped into pieces (3/4 Leaner)
2 tbsp Frank's buffalo hot sauce (1 Condiment)
1/4 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/4 lean)
1 1/2 tbsp light ranch dressing (3/4 Healthy Fat)

In a non-stick skillet, add spaghetti squash and cabbage over medium high heat.
Add garlic powder, onion powder, chicken and Frank's hot sauce and stir until combined and heated thoroughly.
Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and let melt.
Drizzle ranch dressing on top before serving.

Makes 1 Serving
Each serving provides
1 Lean, 3 Greens, 2 Condiments, and 3/4 Healthy Fat per serving (for the chicken)

If you prefer to bake this instead, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 12 to 15 min or until the cheese is melted and the squash is heated through. Then drizzle the ranch dressing on top before serving.

I am a huge pesto sauce lover! I usually make my own pesto using olive oil, basil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts, but I wanted to try it with an Italian salad dressing in place of olive oil for added extra flavor! It was a success!

This recipe uses all the usual ingredients when making pesto except the olive oil. In place of olive oil, I used Italian salad dressing. Ken's Steakhouse makes a wonderful basil and romano dressing that is perfect for this recipe.

Using this dressing instead of olive oil, allows you to use 2 tablespoons instead of 1 teaspoon as one healthy fat with chicken! The more the merrier!

I used my magic bullet to make the pesto sauce. First I added the dressing.

Then I added the chopped fresh basil.

Finally, I added the parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic.

Blend away until you get that desired consistency.

Yum! Look at that creamy goodness! Set aside until ready to use.

Spaghetti squash is one of those veggies that make a wonderful alternative to pasta. I love the slight crunch and sweetness of this veggie. Actually, I use it quite often when I am craving a pasta substitute. You can't go wrong with only 40 calories and 8 grams of carbs per 1 cup! Not to mention it is sooooo easy to prepare. The microwave is my preferred cooking method.

First, poke some holes around the spaghetti squash so steam  can be released. Otherwise, your spaghetti squash just might explode in your microwave! You can use a knife but I used a metal skewer. Place the squash on a plate and microwave in 3 minute intervals, turning the squash around between intervals so that the squash can cook more evenly. You know when it is done when it begins to get soft. Mine usually takes between 9 to 11 minutes, depending on the size of your squash.

 Let the squash cool before handling. Cut the squash in half lengthwise.

Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard.

Make sure you remove all the excess strands and the seeds.

Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to loosen the spaghetti strands into a bowl or plate.

Spaghetti squash noodles!

Gather all your ingredients together... 2 1/2 cups prepared spaghetti squash, grilled or baked chicken chopped into pieces, 1/2 cup Italian diced tomatoes (not pictured) and 1/3 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese (not pictured). You don't have to use mozzarella cheese but I am a firm believer in cheese making everything taste better :) If you want to leave the cheese out, then use 12 oz grilled or baked chicken.

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and add the spaghetti squash, chicken and pesto over medium high heat. Toss the squash and chicken with the pesto sauce until evenly coated. I added the diced tomatoes at the last minutes. Divide the mixture into two portions and sprinkle with mozzarella.

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken and Pesto

For the Pesto:
1/4 cup Kens Steakhouse Lite Northern Italian with Basil and Romano Dressing (2 Healthy Fats)
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped (1 Condiment)
2 tbsp reduced fat grated Kraft parmesan cheese (1 Condiment)
40 pine nuts (2 Condiments)
1 tsp minced garlic (1 Condiment)

For the Chicken Spaghetti Squash Dish:
10 oz grilled or baked chicken (1 2/3 Lean)
1/3 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese (1/3 Lean)
2 1/2 cups spaghetti squash strands, cooked (5 Greens)
1/2 cup Great Value Italian diced tomatoes, drained (1 Green)

To make pesto, combine all the ingredients for the pesto in a small blender or food processor. I used my magic bullet. Blend until desired consistency. Set aside.

Lightly spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti squash, chicken and pesto. Stir until combined and heated thoroughly. When heated, toss in the diced tomatoes. Divide the mixture into two portions. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese between the two portions. Enjoy!

2 servings with 
1 Leaner Lean, 3 Greens, 2.5 Condiments and 1 Healthy Fat per serving

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