Braised Balsamic Chicken

Braised Balsamic Chicken 1

My co-worker in the kitchen hates chicken. She’s a big meat-eater, but chicken is just not her preferred protein. It’s a little ironic because there’s not a day that goes by that we’re not grilling and serving chicken – it is overwhelmingly the protein of choice in our hospital cafeteria. Of course, this suits me just fine as I, too, love chicken.

Putting her personal preferences aside, the woman can scour the internet for the next best chicken recipe like no one else. Every time, it’s a home run.

Braised Balsamic Chicken 2

I, too, got lucky myself when I made this Fruit and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing for my diabetes cooking club yesterday (I made some changes to the recipe, but I’m going to be posting it soon – so yum!). I just happened to stumble upon it on the beloved Pinterest.

You see, the cooking kitchen at the hospital is in our wellness center/gym. So wouldn’t you know my cutie-pa-tootie trainer is loitering outside the class, hoping and waiting for leftovers. Along with the facility maintenance man…they’ve got it marked on their calendar that the second Wednesday of every month is cooking day.

And there’s usually leftovers. Lucky guys.

Braised Balsamic Chicken 3

I digress. Chicken. We were talking about chicken. This chicken dish – Braised Balsamic Chicken.

It’s one of those recipes that you consider the ingredient list and its simplicity and wonder what kind of magic it can produce. Or lack thereof. I had my doubts. But we served it at a provider function and they all wanted the recipe. Administration was swinging by the kitchen the next day to pay us compliments on the meal…always a good thing.

So, we served it in the cafe with the same results. I think we emailed out the recipe to at least a dozen employees. So, to say this meal is well-loved may be quite the understatement. Enjoy!

Braised Balsamic Chicken 4

Braised Balsamic Chicken
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Simple ingredients...big flavors! Plus, it's ready in under 30 minutes!
Ingredients
  • 4 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Season chicken with garlic salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; once hot, add chicken breasts and cook until slightly golden brown on each side, about 6 minutes, flipping halfway through. Add onion; cook and stir until onion is browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Pour diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken; season with basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme; combine well in the skillet. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and onions are very tender, about 10 additional minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from All Recipes
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 oz chicken Calories: 250 Fat: 7.6 Carbohydrates: 14.0 Sugar: 9.0 Sodium: 308 Fiber: 2.8 Protein: 27.3 Cholesterol: 55

Baby Shea’s nursery is complete after the final touch…I’m going to do a post on the room soon :) We’re ready for our shower this weekend and then we simply wait :-D

But for now, an OB appointment and then work ;)

Be well,

sig4

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 1

I’m soon-to-be 32 weeks pregnant and starting to feel every bit of it.

My stomach capacity is lessened due to the size of baby. I’ve been making my dinner plate, only to share half of it with Mr. Prevention. I wish it were more often that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but that certainly seems to be the case as of late.

So it probably goes without saying that I’m out of breath nearly all of the time…or so it seems, and the back pain is still very much so present. I told my trainer today that I was ditching him next Monday in lieu of a massage. He didn’t even give me a hard time about it, either. A mama-to-be has NEEDS.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 2

Speaking of needs, I continue to read about the importance of exercise in pregnancy. Exercise has many benefits, of course, but aiding in a successful delivery tops the list of perks for me…especially after attending our first child-birthing class last week. Tonight, the couples will be split up so the ladies learn all about breastfeeding and the guys are united with new dads to go through a “Daddy Bootcamp”. It should be interesting…

I digress. I’ve been keeping up with workouts quite well. A lot of core and strength workouts with my trainer, along with elliptical and biking for cardio. Walking continues to be the one workout that causes the most strain on my lower back and the less I can walk, the better I feel. Sadly.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 3

Along with walking, we can add standing to the list of activities that wear on my back throughout the day. My job has me up and down all day long, which has been helpful in keeping me moving, but without excess. But by the end of the day, I’m ready to be a couch potato. Literally.

Dinner has to be quick and easy. HAS TO BE. Otherwise, take-out is sounding better and better all the time (and why I continue to crave lunch meat, I’ll never know…all I wanted yesterday was a Beach Club from Jimmy Johns and I probably haven’t had one of those since college).

Quick and easy dinners are something like this Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry — one pot meal that’s ready in 30 minutes or less. Yes…please! Of course the flavor was great, too…and healthy to boot.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 4

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 (not including rice)
 
A new take on classic stir-fry...plus, a meal ready in minutes!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 4 tsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp hot sauce
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed and stalks cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow squash or zucchini, sliced
  • Hot cooked rice, optional
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, whisk to combine the cornstarch, chicken broth, peanut butter, lime juice, dijon mustard, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper.
  2. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; remove chicken and keep warm.
  3. In the same skillet, heat remaining teaspoon of oil. Once hot, add the asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes. Next, add the bell pepper and cook 2-3 minutes before adding the squash/zucchini. Cook vegetables until crisp-tender. Return chicken to pan and stir sauce; toss vegetables and chicken with sauce to coat; cook 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice, if desired.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 308 Fat: 11.5 Carbohydrates: 18.0 Sugar: 8.8 Sodium: 351 Fiber: 4.3 Protein: 32.8 Cholesterol: 55

 Busy day…busy WEEK. But can’t wait for our baby shower on Saturday! :-D

Be well,

sig4

It’s published! Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour! + Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies {gluten-free}

Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies 1

That’s right, a gluten-free cookbook by yours truly is published and out! I think the actual release date is tomorrow, August 5th, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble have had it in stock for at least a week now, I’ve been gushing over my copies, and I’ve received lots of reader emails saying copies are arriving on doorsteps and have been for several weeks.

How. Freaking. Exciting.

Last August when my first cookbook, Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking, came out it was one of those pinch me moments. Like, “Yeeeaah…it doesn’t feel real.” And I think I’m still there, quite honestly. To see book #2 hit shelves is just, well, surreal.

If you’re curious, “Why gluten-free, Nicole? You’re not gluten-free,” I wondered the same thing for quite some time. But the simple fact is: I’m a dietitian and the issues surrounding gluten are no dying issue. It’s my job to help people and it was time I rolled up my sleeves and learned all that I could about living gluten-free so that I could do just that. That said, I’m not an expert at gluten-free anything, but I can confidently say that 1. I love almond flour 2. its health benefits are abundant, and 3. I can sure whip up some mean dishes (both sweet and savory!) using almond flour.

Mission…accomplished.

Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour 1

In short, I couldn’t be more proud of this cookbook and the impact I can only hope it will have on not only the gluten-free community, but those looking to eat healthful, delicious food. This time last year, I was spending every weekend experimenting with gluten-free flours and recipes and failing at each attempt an embarrassing number of times before creating a winning recipe. And then I would aim to perfect the recipe until it was…perfect, of course. I did that over and over again, through 75 recipes that, in the end, were published in Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour. All new recipes in one precious little cookbook.

If you’re familiar with my first cookbook, you’ll likely appreciate that each recipe offers up the nutrition information, as well as various comments, suggestions, and tips for each and every recipe. There is a color photo to accompany every recipe, as well as an index to help you navigate to recipes that suit you best. There’s even icons to help easily show which recipes are Paleo, vegetarian, dairy-free, vegan, and so on.

You could all pinch me right now, simultaneously, and I promise you this still wouldn’t feel real.

Thank you for your loyal following and support. Thank you for reading, cooking, and for all of your feedback on all things Prevention RD — from blog to book. This would have never, ever in a million years been possible without the best readers in the world. FACT!

On that note, I’m beyoooond excited to share with you one of my most favorite recipes from my new cookbook — Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies. After making this recipe last summer I felt a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I had broken ground with almond flour and we were finally understanding one another – no easy task. I bit into these cookies and sighed with enjoyment as I tried to shove one down Mr. Prevention’s coconut-hating throat to confirm my success. Even with coconut, he praised the recipe and I knew this book would be a success. So, while not only a monumental turning point in my gluten-free “career”, but also a recipe that is through and through Nicole, I just know you’ll enjoy these, too.

Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies 2

Coconut-Oat Cranberry Breakfast Cookies {gluten-free}
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 22 breakfast cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. To the eggs, whisk in the oil and applesauce.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. The almond flour will slowly absorb the liquid and will become cookie batter-like. Fold in the cranberries and coconut.
  5. Using a ¼-cup portion, scoop batter onto cookie sheets, allowing 2 inches between cookies. Slightly flatten the cookies into a ¾-inch thick, round cookie. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on baking sheet for several moments before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftover cookies can be frozen up to 6 months.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cookie Calories: 209 Fat: 12.6 Carbohydrates: 21.6 Sugar: 9.4 Sodium: 280 Fiber: 3.6 Protein: 5.2 Cholesterol: 17

 Please share my book release with all of those you know who are gluten-free. I hear there’s a lot of them on Pinterest? ;) If you’d love a copy (which I so hope you do!), they are available in select stores tomorrow (B&N has a great little zip code search option so you can find the nearest store retailing the book!), as well as online at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

THANK YOUUUUUUUUUU for…EVERYTHING!

Tons of love,

sig4

 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce 1

Confession: I’ve never wanted a glass of wine more in my life. A chilled glass of pinot grigio with dinner, or a dry glass of Chianti with some pasta? Gaaah!!

I know a few ounces of wine late in pregnancy is controversial and not quite the banished behavior it was once thought to be, but it still hasn’t been worth the risk to me. I have the occasional non-alcoholic beer which hits the spot…for beer. But wine or a yummy summer cocktail? Yeah, I want one. Badly.

Note to self: STOP PINNING DELICIOUS-LOOKING COCKTAILS.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce 2

Alcohol in cooking, however? Bring it. So much flavor and not the risk to baby Shea.

I bought mini bottles of dry white wine for cooking so opening an entire 750 ml bottle wasn’t necessary…or there to tease me.

Booze? We have a limited stock of tequila, vodka, bourbon, and whiskey…with a lot of Captain Morgan — Mr. Prevention’s favorite. The bourbon hasn’t been touched in years, but Google told me it was good to go.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce 3

As we prepared for weekend guests, I took survey of our booze stock and perused Cooking Light, coming upon this recipe and instantly drooling. Despite meat not being my most loved food during pregnancy, meat with big flavor is tempting regardless. Add to that those slow-cooked onions, garlic, and peach preserves?

Heavenly. And very much so summer.

We served this pulled pork on the beloved burger bun, but the sky is the limit. Quesadillas? Tacos? Stuffed into a baked potato? Adorning a salad? Straight-up with a fork? Want, want, want.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce 4

5.0 from 3 reviews
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 (about 3½ oz pork)
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1¼ tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3½ lb) bone-in pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup unsalted chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ cup peach preserves
  • 2 small onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper; rub evenly over pork. Coat hot skillet with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 10 minutes, turning to brown on all sides; transfer to an electric slow cooker.
  2. To the skillet, add stock and next 4 ingredients (through crushed red pepper); bring to a boil over medium heat. Add preserves, stirring with a whisk. Pour mixture over pork; top with onion and garlic.
  3. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until pork is very tender. Remove pork from pan, reserving liquid; cool slightly. Shred with 2 forks. Remove onion with a slotted spoon; add to pork.
  4. Discard half of the reserved liquid and heat remainder in a sauce pan over medium heat; stir bourbon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half. Combine cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; add cornstarch mixture to sauce, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in remaining ¾ teaspoon salt. Drizzle sauce over pork; toss gently to coat. Serve on buns, if desired.
Notes
Recipe from Cooking Light
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3½ oz pork Calories: 203 Fat: 5.3 Carbohydrates: 11.6 Sugar: 5.8 Sodium: 420 Fiber: 2.6 Protein: 24.8 Cholesterol: 78

 Busy, long day ahead….go!

Be well,

sig4

 

Goat Cheese and Marinara-Stuffed Zucchini + Weekly Menu

Goat Cheese and Marinara-Stuffed Zucchini 1

An hour ago, I was at the beach with Mr. P and Lily. My weather alerts kept threatening storms, but it was sunny and hot and perfect beach weather…for all of about 30 minutes. 40 minutes, tops. I was reading, baring my ultra-white pregnant tummy to the sun gods when I started to feel rain drops. Just a few, as I willed them away with happy, dry thoughts. And then a few more…and then a few more.

If you know me, you probably know I HATE rain. I hate rain so much so that I skipped class in college when it was raining. Is there anything worse than having to sit in a boring lecture when you’re sopping wet?

Hardly. But rain drops when you’re at the beach is no fun, either.

Goat Cheese and Marinara-Stuffed Zucchini 2

But that wasn’t our only beach disaster of the weekend (and at least we made it home before the HAIL that came soon thereafter).

Mr. Prevention also decided it would be a good idea to have a bonfire on the beach last night. A good idea, in theory. Except Lake Michigan + surrounding nature + dusk and dark = MONSTROUS EVIL MOSQUITOES. All summer long he’s been begging me to accompany him to the beach for a fire and last night I caved, knowing my friend Mary who was visiting likes doing fun things.

Needless to say, they were calling it quits after about 15 minutes and dozens of mosquito bites. Of course I had to get in a few, “Ummm…I told you so’s.”

Nicole – 1. Mr. Prevention – o.

Goat Cheese and Marinara-Stuffed Zucchini 3

Mr. Prevention is also obsessed with the idea of a jet ski. Never mind the fact that we’re 4 weeks away from summer’s end (WHA?!), but we have a baby on the way and jet skiing is a one-person activity. He’s gone as far as to install a trailer hitch on my car and get quotes for a jet ski. I was getting nervous with his commitment to the idea, I’m not going to lie. But I think I’ve talked some sense into him. At least for the time being.

Nicole – 2. Mr. Prevention – 0.

My winning streak continues with a whole bunch of winning recipes off last week’s weekly menu, but this one tops the yum charts. I generally post recipes in the order in which we make them (correction, I make them)…but the best of the best deserve to be shared sooner rather than later. So, here we are.

Do not mistake the simple ingredient list and easy preparation for simple flavors and lack-luster results. Mr. Prevention ate THREE SQUASH for dinner. And lucky for us, our garden and CSA are putting out squash at a rapid pace. I plan to fill every last one with goat cheese and marinara and enjoy every last bite.

Goat Cheese and Marinara-Stuffed Zucchini 4

Goat Cheese and Marinara-Stuffed Zucchini
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 (1 zucchini boat each)
 
My summer addiction. I could eat these every day, quite literally. Healthy, simple, and summer...yes, please!
Ingredients
  • 4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • ½ tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 5 oz goat cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven or grill to 400F.
  2. Scoop out the seeds of the halved zucchini, leaving the zucchini hollowed out. Season with salt and black pepper and place on baking sheet.
  3. Using half of goat cheese, spread a small amount in the bottom of each zucchini. Spoon marinara sauce on top, then sprinkle with remaining goat cheese to finish.
  4. Grill or bake until the marinara is hot and the zucchini is fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the zucchini. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe ever so slightly adapted from The Wicked Noodle
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 zucchini boat Calories: 81 Fat: 5.0 Carbohydrates: 6.1 Sugar: 2.8 Sodium: 288 Fiber: 1.6 Protein: 5.9 Cholesterol: 8

 Weekly Menu: July 27th – July 31st

Grocery store and workout ahead. Why do I always try to be productive after the beach? It’s always a struggle.

Be well,

sig4