seven simple ideas for chicken dinners

Chicken tends to be the classic weekday meal.

It also tends to have a reputation for being boring.

But it can make a great dinner – most of us can agree on that, right?

We always have some organic chicken thighs (Costco!) in the freezer for weeknight meals, but chicken on a regular basis requires some creativity!

Here are my top seven ways (with ideas and recipes for each) to make chicken for dinner!

Stir-Fry: frozen vegetables + bottled sauce | thai ginger | saucy coconut

On/In a Salad: caesar | fall chicken salad | tomato + avocado

Cheater Chicken Parmesan: top cooked chicken breast with marinara sauce and a slice of mozzarella; broil until golden brown

Coated with Crumbs: panko | italian breadcrumbs | almond meal

Slow-Cooker: bbq sauce | tikka masala | asian chicken

Grilled: citrus | yakitori | mediterranean kebabs

Mexican: fajitas | tacos | slow-cooker chicken mole

Anything to add to the list? 

daily eats: 8.5.13 {bikini edition}

So. I’m leaving for Jamaica this week. And like most, I vainly want to look good in my bikini uniform that I plan on wearing the entire trip. So what do I do when I’m looking to lose a few pounds/flatten my belly?

  • Bump up the workouts a bit
  • Decrease the refined carbs and flour
  • Build meals mainly around protein and vegetables

Because eating out is one of my obsessions/favorite things to do, I planned a few healthy dinners out at Chop Stop, Malibu Fish Grill and Chipotle which helped to break up the protein + vegetable dinners. I haven’t lost any weight but I think my stomach is a little flatter…

workout: 30 minutes elliptical, 20 minutes walking hills on the treadmill

coffee: dunkin donuts hazelnut k-cup (Why aren’t they available to buy online?! My Mom had to ship from WI.) + 1/2 & 1/2

breakfast: flapjacked protein pancakes. I’ve mentioned these before, and I’m still loving them. I top mine with a touch of maple syrup + almond butter.

coffee 2: I’ve started an unfortunate cold-pressed iced coffee concentrate obsession. It’s another expensive habit that I really don’t need…but it’s fun. And delicious.  I mix a  few ounces concentrate + 1/3 cup 2% milk + splash of 1/2 & 1/2.

lunch: salad with chicken. I topped a bunch of salad greens with mushrooms + shredded carrots + tomatoes + sunflower seeds + dried cranberries + roasted chicken (side note: I tried the roasted, sliced chicken from trader joe’s – totally paying for convenience but I’m a fan) and a blue-cheese vinaigrette.

snack: carrots + cheese stick + almonds that I didn’t end up eating

walk: I was planning on a quick barre3 workout when I got home, but I ended up chatting on the phone, not getting on the bus and walking home from work. Four slow miles.

dinner: I annoy myself with dinners sometimes. Ok, a lot. I always have things planned and then I change my mind. Tonight was supposed to be chicken + cucumber noodles with a peanut sauce. I didn’t want that and decided meatballs sounded good. Then I realized the marinara sauce had mold and I had no canned tomatoes (another side note: who doesn’t have any canned tomatoes?!) so I settled for turkey meatballs with a bit of parmesan + kale & chard sauteed in ghee + sauteed grape tomatoes.

Oh, and a splash of wine!

dessert: one square dark chocolate

approximate nutrition stats: 1,712 calories, 80 grams fat (41%), 146 grams carbohydrates (33%), 38 grams fiber, 51 grams sugar, 115 grams protein (26%)

See you back in LA! I’ll probably be instagramming up a storm…I apologize in advance. :)

summer harvest salad with grilled chicken {trader joe’s copycat}

I don’t buy salads from Trader Joe’s on a regular basis, but every once in a while, when they look particularly good and fresh, I’ll grab a few for a convenient lunch.  A few weeks ago I tried one that I loved.

Today I’m here to recreate the Harvest Salad with Grilled Chicken. This is a perfect salad for summer, as it takes advantage of summer produce and is nice and light- perfect for summer lunches or dinners. Salad greens are topped with green beans, corn, hard boiled egg, white cheddar cheese and some freshly grilled chicken, all dressed with a creamy dijon dressing. YUM!

Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll raise your eyebrow at the white cheddar cheese. On a salad?! I’ll take my cheddar with summer sausage and crackers please…but on this salad, it totally works so don’t be too nervous.

And now I’m obsessed with corn…

 

 

Summer Harvest Salad with Grilled Chicken

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: grill entree salad gluten-free high protein chicken summer

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

For the Salad

  • 1 lb chicken breast or thighs
  • 3 heads romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • 12 oz hericots verts, lightly steamed
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted corn
  • 2 oz white cheddar cheese
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

For the Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp grainy dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • salt, pepper

Instructions

For the Salad

Grill chicken until cooked and roughly chop.

Start building salads by topping romaine with green beans, corn, chicken, hard boiled eggs, cheddar and green onions.

Drizzle with dressing.

For the Dressing

Blend together all ingredients until smooth.

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parmesan crusted chicken


Can I share a total midwest recipe with you?

I know, I live in LA – land of green juice and salads – and I want to share a not-so-healthy recipe that is comprised of mayonnaise and cheese. But we can call it parmesan crusted chicken and pretend it’s fancier than it really is.

As much as I drink the “green juice and salad” kool-aid there are times when I enjoy some good old comfort food.

And an easy dinner. I know everyone loves an easy, no-fuss recipe for busy weeknights. It’s simple: mix together mayo + parmesan cheese, top chicken (or salmon – also amazing on salmon) and bake! Truthfully, it’s not made with the healthiest of ingredients, but its really not that terrible calorie-wise so I’m not concerned.

The original recipe from Hellman’s calls for bread crumbs, but I left them out both times and still loved the results! I think it is the juiciest chicken I’ve ever made. Just another reason to make it… 

 

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake entree gluten-free high protein low-carb chicken

 

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut in half (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (try smoked)
  • pepper

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix mayonnaise, parmesan and seasonings together.

Spread parmesan mixture over chicken and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

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