healthy chicken and bell peppers with goat cheese

Hi, everyone! Happy Thursday! Hope your week is thrumming along nicely. ūüôā

A little while ago,¬†I promised you this recipe that my mom made for dinner one night during our family reunion in Pittsburgh. Not only is it easy, healthy, and delicious, I love this recipe because it is full of flavor and easily customizable.¬†Don’t like goat cheese? Substitute feta or parmesan, or leave out the cheese altogether. Mom served it over orzo pasta; I like it best over quinoa. Whatever suits your fancy! This also makes great leftovers and heats up well. Hope you enjoy!

chicken and peppers

chicken & bell peppers with goat cheese

– 2 large chicken breasts, or a package of chicken tenders
– 1/2 cup flour
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 bell peppers; I like the combination of orange and yellow
– 1 small onion
– 1 can diced tomatoes
– 1 small can tomato sauce
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– fresh basil, to taste
– goat cheese {or feta or parmesan, if you prefer}
– salt and pepper, to taste
– pasta or quinoa, for serving

1. Slice the bell peppers and onion into chunks and set aside.

2. Cut the chicken into small pieces. Pour the flour into a pie pan or shallow dish so it is an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. With your fingers, roll the pieces of chicken in the flour until they are evenly coated.

3. Pour the olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, pour in the chicken and saute until cooked through. The flour will create a nice golden-brown crispiness. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

4. In the same olive oil, saute the bell peppers and onion for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the onion is translucent.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, minced garlic, and chicken. Cover and simmer on low.

6. Finely chop the basil. Just before serving, add the basil and goat cheese, to your taste.

7. Serve by itself, or over pasta, rice or quinoa.

Cheers! {We enjoyed this for Mother’s Day dinner, pictured below!}

mothers day

fabulous friday #42

Happy Friday, friends! Hope you’re having a good one!

It’s a typical Friday for me… this morning I headed to one of my fave yoga classes, now I’m getting some work done on the computer, and later this afternoon I’m tutoring a few great kiddos.

We have been getting LOTS of rain here the past couple days… they say it’s one of the biggest storms we’ve had here in five years! Fortunately we are all safe and sound here. If it’s stormy and bad-weathered where you are, please be safe!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. The Lucy Hale song “Mistletoe.” It’s been bopping around in my head off and on since I heard her sing it on the “CMA Country Christmas” TV program, and this week I finally went and ordered it on iTunes. Love it!

2. This interesting and thorough article Allyn sent me with tips for staying calm and managing stress {especially useful in this often-stressful holiday season}: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140805002649-50578967-how-successful-people-stay-calm

3. Speaking of the holidays, here are two socially impactful, beautiful gift ideas if you are doing some holiday shopping:

4. I’ve been craving veggies — carrots, celery, bell peppers, kale — even more than usual lately. For example: last night, I sliced up half a bell pepper as part of my dinner, and ended up going back to the fridge and polishing off the rest of the pepper later that night as a snack! I’ve never craved bell pepper before, but there you have it! I believe our bodies tell us what they need, so I’ve been riding the veg-tastic train all week. This is an interesting NPR article about how what you eat affects your mood:¬†http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/07/14/329529110/food-mood-connection-how-you-eat-can-amp-up-or-tamp-down-stress?

5. This quinoa veggie salad from Costco. Tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, lentils, beans, quinoa — healthy, light and filling. It’s made a great quick lunch on a couple days this week when time got away from me and I was a little rushed to get out the door.

quinoa salad

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I’m gonna leave you with this beautiful John Gardner quote my brother sent me:

greg quote

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

dairy-free butternut squash quinoa mock risotto

I am SO excited to share this recipe with you today! A few months ago, I had a delicious butternut squash risotto at a local Italian restaurant, and when I went to the grocery store last weekend the butternut squashes were calling to me. So I thought I would do a little experimenting in the kitchen and see if I could come up with a healthy, dairy-free, quinoa-based “risotto” … and I was super pleased with the results!

{My family was pleased, too … this dish makes great leftovers, which did not last very long in our house!}

butternut squash quinoa risotto

– 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
– 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
– 1 bay leaf
– 2 cups roasted butternut squash, mashed
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 cup baby spinach
– 1 cup arugula
– 2 tsp minced garlic

Optional toppings:
Р slivered almonds
Р dried cranberries
– feta cheese
– salt & pepper to taste

1. Cook the quinoa in the low-sodium chicken broth with the bay leaf for seasoning.

2. While quinoa is cooking, warm the garlic in a bit of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the mashed butternut squash and cook on medium-low.

3. After about 3 minutes, pour in the water and stir. The consistency of the squash will becoming more like a thick sauce.

4. Add the spinach and arugula and continue cooking on medium-low until the greens are fully cooked, stirring frequently.

5. Once the quinoa is fully cooked, remove the bay leaf. Pour the butternut squash mixture over the quinoa and mix well to form a “risotto.”

6. Top with slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and feta cheese if desired. {To make this recipe dairy-free, simply skip the feta cheese.}

There you have it! An easy, healthy, filling and nutritious meal! This has been my go-to lunch of the week.

butternut squash quinoa

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy these recipes:
cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken
veggie-filled pasta bake
pumpkin pasta

MPM-Spring
This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday!

cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope your week is going great!

I’m excited to share this quick & healthy dinner recipe with you today: I adapted this recipe from LaaLoosh¬†and made it a little heartier by adding chicken. {Her post lists it as a side dish; Mike and I ate it as a main dinner dish.}

cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 cups fat free vegetable broth
  • a 4oz can green chiles
  • 2 tbsp lime juice {I used the juice of one lime}
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional:¬†1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped {I did not use a jalapeno because I am a wimp when it comes to spicy things, but I’m sure it would be tasty if you’re feeling daring!}

1. Spray a pot with non-fat cooking spray and set over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, chicken and garlic and sauté until tender and fragrant, about 7-8 minutes. {If mixture sticks to the pan, add in a bit of the broth to deglaze.}

2. Stir in chiles and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add in quinoa and remaining broth and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed {about 25 to 30 minutes.}

5. Add in remaining ingredients and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.

This smelled SO good cooking! Mike and I were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of our bowls before we began to eat. All I have for you is a picture of the meager leftovers in a Tupperware container, ready to go into the fridge for lunch the next day.

quinoa

You’ve just gotta trust me … it was delicious!!

This recipe is definitely a make-again for us! And with the mix of quinoa and chicken, it’s a healthy dish that will also keep you satisfied — perfect to get a healthy start on the new year.

What are some of your favorite healthy yet hearty recipes?

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
chicken & quinoa salad
honey-lime chicken enchiladas
crock-pot chicken w/black beans & corn

This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday!

MPM-Winter

chicken & quinoa salad

A few weeks ago, Mike and I went down to Indianapolis for the day. We went to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch, one of my favorite restaurants — I used to eat there all the time when I lived in California, but since moving to Indiana the closest one is in Indianapolis about an hour away. Whenever we go there, I always get my favorite pizza, the Barbeque Chicken Pizza. This time I tried something a little new: the Hawaiian Barbeque Chicken Pizza {pretty much the same pizza, but with pineapple added. YUM!}

Another item on the menu, however, did catch my eye: a healthy and delicious-looking chicken quinoa salad. I ended up sticking with my tried-and-true fave pizza, but I made a mental note to sometime come up with my own version of the salad inspired by the CPK version.

I tried out this recipe tonight, and it turned out great! Both Mike and I give it two thumbs up!

{This recipe currently serves two people, but can easily be modified to serve more.}

chicken & quinoa salad

– 2 chicken breasts
– 1 cup uncooked quinoa
– 1 and 1/4 cups water
– 4 cups arugula {or your choice of lettuce}
– 1 cucumber
– 2 roma tomatoes
– 1 tsp chopped garlic
– feta cheese to taste
– pine nuts to taste
– salad dressing to taste {I used fat-free sesame; I think a balsamic vinagrette would be nice, too}

1. Cook chicken in a pan on the stove until golden brown; I used a nonstick pan, but you might want to use a little olive oil if you’re worried about it sticking to the pan.

2. While chicken is cooking, boil 1 and 1/4 cups of water. Stir in quinoa and garlic and cook about ten minutes, until all the water is absorbed.

3. Slice up the roma tomatoes and cucumber and cooked chicken.

4. Serve quinoa and chicken warm over bed of arugula. Top with tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, pine nuts, and salad dressing.

YUM!

————————–

Time spent: 25 minutes
Cost: about $6.00