With only a few more days left on my Clean Eating Journey I have to say, my feelings are bittersweet. “Bitter” because having a plan is always helpful to guide you in making the right decisions, giving you new ideas and making meal time mindless. But what will be sweet about closing this chapter is that my kitchen will be clean again :) With 5 extensive meals a day, my fridge is chock full of food (to the point where things fall out every time I open it). Also there seems to be an everlasting sink of dishes (no matter how many times I run the dishwasher…full!). It has also been very time intensive and therefore I spend most of my evenings cooking for the next day until the wee hours of the night. By now, I am a bit overtired and in need of some rest. The bed is calling my name. So before I fall asleep at the keyboard, let’s take a look at my most recent collection of meals…
1. Breakfast: 1 cup Greek yogurt, 15 grapes, halved, and 1/2 cup Muesli.
2. Snack #1: 1 apples, sliced with 1 tbsp peanut butter.
3. Lunch: 1 serving Chimichurri Steak and Sweet Potatoes with Creamy Avocado-Apple Salad and 3 cups lettuce, 1/2 cucumbers, sliced, 3 cherry tomatoes, halved, 2 tsp red wine vinegar and 1 tsp olive oil.
4. Snack #2: Banana and bottle of coconut water.
5. Dinner: 1 serving Crispy Panko Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes & Peppers (recipe below)
Highlights: Dinner was definitely the highlight of the day. The chicken was delicious. Crunchy and moist and full of flavor (thanks to the Dijon which brought a nice kick). The potatoes turned out great and I am excited to have learned how to roast them (something I have never tried before…usually too busy mashing). The peppers brought a nice sweetness to the meal. I couldn’t help but fill up my fork with each component before launching a big bite into my mouth. I am a firm believer in creating a sampler platter with each mouthful :)
Lowlights: Freddie and I both agreed that breakfast kind of ended up tasting like paste. The Muesli was a bit dry and when mixed with the yogurt turned into something you might want to hang wallpaper with. But the grapes were pretty good!
1. Breakfast: Sweet Mango Smoothie (1/2 frozen mango, peeled, pitted and diced, 1/4 cup cooked oatmeal, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 cup crushed ice, 1 tbsp vanilla protein powder, 1/2 tsp honey) and 2 large egg whites, scrambled with 1 oz Swiss cheese.
2. Snack #1: Avocado-Tomato Toss (1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, 1/2 cucumber, chopped, 1 oz avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped, tossed with 1 tsp olive oil)
3. Lunch: 3 oz deli turkey, 1 tsp Dijon on 1 whole wheat English muffin served with Asian Slaw (1 cup shredded green cabbage, 1/2 cup shredded celery root, 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 2 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 5 Thai basil leaves, chopped)
4. Snack #2: 1 cup diced pineapple, 1 banana, 14 walnut halves.
5. Dinner: Loaded Potato (3 oz ground turkey sautéed with 3 oz tofu seasoned with 1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder and sautéed in 1/2 tsp olive oil until turkey cooked through served on 1 sweet potato, baked) and 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli, steamed and seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed with olive oil.
Highlights: Today’s highlight was a tie between breakfast and dinner. The mango smoothie was super refreshing and delicious. And I love the idea of a loaded sweet potato. The turkey/tofu mixture was an unexpected, yet scrumptious topping.
Lowlights: As much as I had hoped the Asian slaw would be the perfect side dish, it was a bit boring and bland. But I am not giving up on it. It has potential. It is just about finding the right thing to jazz it up a bit.
Crispy Panko Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes & Peppers
1 lb baby redskin potatoes, scrubbed well
4 whole plus 2 chopped cloves garlic, divided
12 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
Sea salt and ground black pepper
4 tsp Dijon mustard
4 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
1 cup sliced yellow onion
1 1/2 red, yellow and/or green bell peppers, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a roasting pan, toss potatoes, 4 whole cloves garlic, half of thyme, 2 tsp oil, salt and black pepper. Roast on lower oven rack, stirring halfway, until potatoes are tender and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.
2. About 30 minutes before potatoes are done, spread Dijon on all sides of chicken and season with black pepper.
3. On a parchment -lined baking sheet, spread panko. Bake on center oven rack, stirring halfway, until golden, about 5 minutes. Press all sides of chicken into panko. Arrange chicken on sheet and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium. Add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add bell peppers and sauté for 2 minutes. Add remaining thyme and 2 chopped cloves garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup water, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, strip leaves from thyme in roasting pan and sprinkle over potatoes, discarding stems. Transfer potato mixture to a large bowl and roughly mash with a potato masher. Serve chicken with smashed potatoes and bell pepper mixture.
Recipe from Clean Eating
This was Freddie’s favorite meal yet. It was a great, clean take on comfort food. Baked, breaded chicken, garlic potatoes…right up his alley! I am sure he will be requesting this meal a lot :)
As we head into the holiday weekend, I am excited to finish off strong. There are some super yummy meals lined up that I can’t wait to indulge in. And if all goes well, I might have to whip up another clean eating dessert. Because what is a holiday weekend without a little sweetness?
Happy Friday everyone!