Chicken Feta Fajita Salad

Hot summer days call for light summer salads! We were totally craving Mexican food yesterday to go along with all the heat, but figured we’d replace the carbs from the fajita tortilla shells with a couple of Coronas 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts (450 g)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 10 drops tabasco sauce
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • 60 g light feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime

DIRECTIONS

  • Slice chicken into long strips.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large frying pan.
  • Add chicken strips and stir until all sides are cooked, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add in chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, pepper and tabasco.
  • Add bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Stir and cook until vegetables soften. Remove from heat.
  • Divide baby spinach among serving plates and top with chicken and veggies, followed by avocado, feta and cilantro.
  • Serve with lime wedge on the side and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 386 calories, 18 g carbs (4 g sugar), 14 g fat, 43 g protein, 8 g fibre , 334 mg sodium

THE BEST BREAKFAST: Steel Cut Oats and a Side of Egg Whites

I can’t tell you how excited I am to make this post! This recipe is held very dear to me as it’s what Dave and I eat without fail every morning for breakfast.

I often hear people say they just don’t have time to do a hot breakfast in the morning, but the trick is to make everything the night before so that breakfast makes itself while you get ready for the day with literally a flick of a switch and a couple of stirs.

With such little hassle there’s no reason not to take advantage of a hot and healthy breakfast. A big bowl of oats is such a comforting way to start off your day (we all deserve a little spoiling) and with all that water, fibre and protein pumping through you, you’re sure to stay full well into late morning. Oatmeal (plain instant or large flake) itself is a super healthy breakfast option as a whole grain packed with heart-helping fibre, but I find the steel cut variety, being the least processed of them all, also offers a thick, hearty, chewy texture that’s truly hard to beat.

And what’s a bowl of oats without a super sidekick of protein!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1 very ripe banana, sliced
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (I keep a bag of frozen on-hand at all times)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 plain low fat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup (366 g) egg whites

DIRECTIONS

  • Assemble all ingredients but yogurt and egg whites, in a medium pot, mix well, cover and let soak over night. The soaking isn’t necessary, but it sure beats chopping and measuring in the early morning!)
  • Pour egg whites into a microwave-safe dish. Store in fridge over night.
  • First thing when you wake up in the morning, take egg whites from fridge and place into microwave.
  • Stir oats and cook at temperature 3 (low-medium). Go hop in the shower and get ready for the day!
  • Stir once after 30 minutes and let cook for 1o more minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.
  • Microwave eggs on high for 4-5 minutes, depending on your microwave.
  • Use a fork to release egg from edges of dish. Turn dish upside down onto plate and divide into servings.
  • Crack a whole lot of pepper on the eggs for flavour, or explore your spice cupboard.
  • Place oats in serving dishes and top with yogurt.
  • Serve and enjoy the best way to start the day!

 

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings (of which Dave eats 3!).

Oats & Yogurt

Per serving: 249 calories, 47 g carbs (11 g sugars), 3 g fat, 7 g protein, 8 g fibre

Egg Whites

Per serving:  43 calories, 10 g protein and that’s it!

Yogurt Protein Snack

This is the super power snack that Dave and I use as a midmorning pick-me-up, though it’s substantial enough to eat as a breakfast too. This snack is packed with nutrients:

  • cinnamon – lowers cholesterol; regulates blood sugars; natural food preservative; great source of magnesium, fibre, iron and calcium; and is known to boost cognitive function and memory
  • protein powder – contains essential amino acids for a healthy body (muscles, ligaments, hair, nails, teeth, body fluids, organs, glands); weight-loss friendly (high protein, low sugar, low fat = lots of calories burned in digestion); stress relieving (slows production of cortisol)
  • figs – high in fibre (control blood sugars), calcium (strong bones), potassium (lower blood pressure) and iron
  • yogurt – source of probiotics (healthy intestine); low lactose (easier to digest than milk); good source of calcium and vitamin B; and high in protein
  • cottage cheese – high in protein, calcium and vitamin B
  • olive oil – monounsaturated fat (controls LDL cholesterol)
  • blueberries – extremely high in antioxidants (highest of all fresh fruits), and high in fibre

The cinnamon and blueberries give it just enough flavour and sweetness to avoid using sweetened yogurts and protein powders, and the figs are little tasty treasures floating in a sea of sweet calcium. I love that the protein helps keep me full all the way until 1 PM – so I can make it through lunchtime yoga without passing out.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 scoop 100% natural whey protein powder
  • 3 dried figs
  • 1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (or fresh)

DIRECTIONS

  • Add cinnamon, protein powder, figs, yogurt, cottage cheese and olive oil to a liquid-tight container.
  • Stir well.
  • Mix in blueberries.
  • Pop the top on and take it to work! Or, if you want to enjoy it right then, defrost the blueberries in the microwave before mixing them in.
          
  
Thanks, Dave, for being my hand model

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

The above recipe is for what Dave eats. Since Dave has about 50 lbs on me (and I’d like to keep it that way!), I like to cut all ingredients, but the protein powder, by half. I’ll also skip the olive oil and figs on days I’m not working out.

Per serving (full recipe): 548 calories, 50 g carbs, 18 g fat, 51 g protein, 11 g fibre

Fennel, Cannellini Bean & Prosciutto Salad

I got a reservation at Noma!!! I cannot believe my luck! Noma in Copenhagen is, for the 3rd year in a row, rated the #1 restaurant in the world.

Dave and I are taking a trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm in September, so naturally we had to do a bit of research on the food we’ll be exploring over there. We marked our calendars for June 11th, 2012, reservation day for the month of September at Noma. We weren’t expecting success as an estimated 20,000 people try to get a reservation on reservation day, and we only have a 4-day window in town, but somehow, at 2 AM (10 AM Copenhagen time), after 7 minutes of Chrome browser refreshes we got through to find but a single time slot left that works for us! Lunch date at Noma on September 4th!

So because I was feeling so stoked all day, I thought I’d keep the mood light and fresh with a delicate summer salad for dinner. Fennel, cannellini beans, peas, carrots, egg and prosciutto made for a playful combination of flavours and an extraordinarily satisfying salad, packed with protein, fibre and healthy fats.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 can cannellini or white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 handful fresh dill, loosely chopped
  • 4 tsp whole grain dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar (or white/brown sugar)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices lean prosciutto

DIRECTIONS

  • Discard tough outer layer of fennel and slice thinly. Submerge fennel in an ice bath and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook eggs for 9 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and plunge into cold water.
  • Meanwhile, blanche peas and carrots in another pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and plunge into cold water.
  • Combine fennel, peas, carrots and beans in a large bowl.
  • To assemble dressing, mix lemon juice, dill, mustard, olive oil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a small dish.
  • Toss fennel salad with dressing.
  • Warm a drizzle of olive oil in large frying pan and cook prosciutto until crispy.
  • Arrange salad on serving plate, garnishing with quartered egg and prosciutto.
  • Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 480 calories, 50 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 17 g fat, 31 g protein, 16 g fibre

And what to do with the fennel tops you now have lying around? Pop them in a vase and you have an instant green centrepiece!