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Monday, January 14, 2008

Chicken Fingers and Veggies

I needed something easy for dinner since it's just me and the boys, but I needed them to have a decent meal after a weekend of not such good eating. I came down with a stomach bug on Friday. Thankfully, it was short lived, but it still took me all of Saturday to recover. Food was not on the top of my list of things to think about. You don't realize just how many commercials involve food until you're sick or you're pregnant and have constant morning sickness. We're definitely a gluttonous society and we like our cheap and nasty food.

Anyway, dinner tonight...
I whipped up some of "my" chicken fingers. I use the recipe from the book The Sneaky Chef. If you watch Oprah and saw Jessica Seinfield on promoting her new book Deceptively Delicious, you know the idea of pureeing certain veggies and/or fruits and slipping them into your meals as a way to get your kids to eat their veggies without having to fight with them about it. The book I have, The Sneaky Chef, is very very similar.
Anyway, the recipe is very yummy and I've made it several times. The breading is a mix of ground almonds, whole wheat bread crumbs, wheat germ and parmesan. I'm probably forgetting something. If you're thinking of making it, definitely check into the book. The vegetable puree you use is sweet potatoes and carrots. You dredge the chicken tenders in whole wheat flour, then dip in the puree with egg mixed in, and finally dredge in the breading. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once and they're done. These are really very tasty and if you hate the above mentioned vegetables, don't worry, you can't taste them at all. I think they really are way better than any frozen chicken tenders or any from a restaurant, and my kids love to eat them dipped in honey. I've also sliced them up for myself and topped a mixed salad with them for a more adult way to eat them. Tonight I just ate them like the boys do, honey and all. I'm very happy eating and feeding my kids something like that; packed with whole grains, vegetables, and a lean protein.

We also had a side of TJ's Brittany beans, yellow beans, and carrots, seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan, and TJ's 21 seasoning salute. You can find the Brittany Blend in the frozen section.
So there you have it...
With David gone for the next 7 nights it will be interesting to see what I come up with for me and the boys.

On a side note, I met my "goal" of working out 4 times last week! Woo hoo!
Now I'm on to this week. I got my workout in today, so 3 more to go. Shouldn't be hard to do.
I've felt great today. Tons of energy...just all around goodness. I woke up at 6:30 ready to take on the day! The lunches were packed before 7am! I thought it would be fun to play overachiever for a day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Vegetable lasagna

So, here it first post on my "foodie blog." After being in a serious cooking "slump" over the holidays, I'm back in business in the kitchen and enjoying it. Hence, the idea for a food blog. I think about food a lot. It's a big part of my life and I'm constantly learning more about it. I thought this blog would be a good way for me to keep track of things I've made. And I'll be honest here as well. If I've made something that wasn't all that great, I'll keep it real and let you know. I'll most likely focus most of my health and weight loss posts here as well. I may play around with both blogs for awhile before I figure out what will work best, so hang on for the ride.

For dinner tonight, I made the vegetable lasagna from Cooking Light, Oct. 2007 issue, (pg. 173). If you're googling it, it's probably under "Colorful Vegetable Lasagna." I got crazy and even made the huge batch of homemade marinara sauce that it calls for. I made that around lunchtime while the boys were at school, and let me tell you, my entire house smelled like Heaven. It was amazing! I ended up using about 3 cups of the sauce for the lasagna and froze the rest for future meals. I'm glad I did because I was able to store about 8 cups in the freezer. I'll definitely be using that for my baked penne pasta in the future.

I used whole wheat lasagna noodles for this recipe. I always use something other than just plain white pasta. I feel so guilty using the white stuff and to me, the whole wheat pastas, or even quinoa pasta taste just as good or even better than the over-processed pastas.
The recipe also packed colorful bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini.

The recipe called for fat free ricotta, but I tend to stay away from fat free items. I opt for the part-skim.

It turned out great! I also served it with a tossed salad topped with pears and TJ's candied pecans, and toasted whole wheat sourdough bread (also from TJ's).
Yes folks, our bellies are full tonight. And there's tons of leftovers. We should have had people over for dinner to help us eat it!

As a special dessert (especially for the boys), we had cupcake sundaes. I picked up a pack of 4 chocolate cupcakes from the frozen section of TJ's. Cut each one in half, topped it with vanilla ice cream, cherries, and let the boys go to town with the sprinkles.
What I loved about this meal was the process of making it. I've always loved making Italian food. There's something soothing to me to sauté garlic and onions in a pot, add the tomatoes, spices, and let it simmer. The smells are amazing.