Eggplant Parmesan

Happy Friday!!! I am working overtime this weekend, again, to make some extra cash for our *potential* new house but decided to spice up my “weekend” with some new recipes!!

My husband said this one was the BEST dinner recipe I have made for my blog thus far. That’s saying something because he raves about all my cooking. Yes, we are newlyweds so that could just be him being nice to me but somehow I think he is being honest since he gobbles up everything I make…or at least that’s what I choose to believe! ūüôā

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Since we started our super healthy eating this week we have felt so much lighter and healthier, my skin has cleared up more, and we are sleeping better. We will be continuing the diets into next week for as long as possible with one cheat meal per week on the weekends. We are allowing ourselves alcohol tonight and tomorrow (mostly to keep myself sane with working 7 days a week) but not in excess. Trying to stick to red wine vs. beer but it is super hard with my husband being obsessed with IPAs and keeping the fridge stocked at all times!!

If you are following along with us on this diet, I am curious to see if you all would be interested in meal plans or workouts being posted for an entire week? Would that be helpful or would you prefer to do your own thing??

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Back to the eggplant….this tasted exactly like eating a big slice of lasagna to me. It was DELICIOUS! I think the sauce had a lot to do with the taste being so similar. If you aren’t an eggplant fan – be sure to give this a try! You can’t taste the eggplant at all in this dish…it tasted like eating pasta. Yum!! You could serve this with a side salad and have a well-balanced, carb-less meal!

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Eggplant Parmesan

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups ground turkey pasta sauce¬†(or any store-bought pasta sauce will do if you want vegetarian)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese, plus 1 Tbsp. for breading
  • 2oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 1 eggplant, washed
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. basil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350¬įF. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil or grease it.
  2. Slice eggplant with a mandolin into 1/2 inch thick slices. Set aside.
  3. In medium bowl whisk eggs together. In separate mixing bowl, add breadcrumbs, basil, garlic powder, 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Dredge eggplant slices through eggs, letting excess drip off, then dredge through the panko mixture coating evenly and place onto baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and softened.
  5. In 8×13 (or large) casserole dish, layer first the eggplant slices then 1/2 pasta sauce and 1/2 of parmesan cheese. Then add another layer of eggplant, pasta sauce, and top with the remaining parmesan and cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is only slightly browning. Enjoy!

And the winner is…

Thank you all SO much for entering my contest and playing along!! It really helped to get my blog’s name out there which is excellent.¬†As much as ya’ll share this blog with your friends and family the better I can make the blog for all of you in the future!

The winner of the NUTRIBULLET contest is…

JANE@FIDLERNET.COM

I will be emailing you to get your contact information in order to send it to you!! CONGRATS! I know you will absolutely love it and use it a lot!!

On a side note, more recipes will be posted this week/weekend. I have good things in store!

-Keri

Chicken Lentil Stew

cs2If you are new to receiving my blog’s emails – Welcome!! Remember to sign up for the NUTRIBULLET contest by midnight tonight in order to be entered to win!! If you don’t know what I’m talking about simply click here to view more information on how to be entered to win. cs5

Alright, back to the food. I was inspired by a vegetarian magazine I was reading on the treadmill the other day at the gym (because who doesn’t read about food while working out?) to make this savory chicken lentil stew. Obviously, I added chicken therefore making the vegetarian part of the dish null and void but you could just as easily omit it if desired.

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This stew smelled so amazing cooking in my crock pot all day. It was really hard to resist tasting…because I definitely didn’t do any of that. None at all. Seriously, give this dish a try. I had never had lentils before but they are very yummy! They offer lots of protein and fiber but aren’t a complete amino acid so I added chicken in order to round out the ingredients and add a lot more protein.

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NOTE: I used 2 1/2 chicken breasts because that’s what I had on hand that was defrosted. Please feel free to add more chicken as desired…3 chicken breasts would be a good amount to start with.

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Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 chicken breasts
  • 32oz¬†(1 container) low-sodium Pacifico Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried¬†thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 jalapenos (may substitute with green chiles if desired)¬†
  • 2 cans no-salt added diced tomatoes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, add all ingredients, stir to make sure to cover all vegetables and chicken with the broth.
  2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 hours or high-heat setting for 5 hours.
  3. Serve topped with cheese, avocado, or greek yogurt as desired. Enjoy!

Nutrition: 1 serving (~2 1/2 cups) has 376 calories, 3.7g fat, 722mg sodium,  42.8 carbs, 9.2g fiber, 10.9g sugar, and 43g protein.

 

Diet begins TODAY, you with me?!

Today is the first day that my husband, Jarratt, and I embark on our new “diet”. I use it with quotations because it is more of a tweak in our lifestyle than any one diet. We have been allowing too many splurges as of late and in order to get back to where we want to be for summa time we are going to be more strict with what we eat.

I will call the diet a mixture between normal, healthy eating with some practices of Whole30 and Paleo diets. We decided that we don’t want to do¬†the entirety of the Whole30¬†or Paleo¬†diets because we believe that whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet and thus weren’t willing to cut them out completely. With that said these diets do pique my interest as they focus not on counting calories or fat but on¬†what you are putting into your body and making sure you are eating whole foods (ie. nothing processed).

Look out for some DELISH recipes this week!! I know I have been slacking recently but have been working a lot of weekends and just didn’t have the time or energy to make all new recipes and post about them. All that will change this week – I promise! I have done some research on new recipes and have some amazingly tasty dishes to serve up to you all!

These dishes that I will be making/posting about this week will all follow along with the diet plan that I will be sticking to for at least the next month…if not longer!!

Main things to keep in mind if you want to start along with us:

  • Whole grains allowed (brown rice, quinoa, 100% whole wheat bread, etc).
  • Dairy allowed (skim milk only, organic free range eggs, 0% fat greek yogurt – plain, etc.)
  • No processed sugars (cookies, cakes, pies, etc.)
  • No junk food (pizza, chinese take-out, tacos, chips, etc.)
  • Limit alcohol consumption (We are doing NO alcohol Sun-Thurs. and then allowing ourselves some alcohol on Fri and Sat but don’t over do it). Note: You can cut out alcohol completely but for us right now that’s unrealistic!
  • Eat more lean proteins, vegetables galore, and fresh fruits
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Only drink coffee or tea black…no added sweeteners!

Good Luck!! I will keep you posted on my progress. Remember that health is more than a number on the scale but do weigh¬†yourself today so that you can easily track any progress. You could also measure yourself to track your progress that way as well. Comment below if you’re joining us and what modifications, if any, you will be making!!

Whole 30 or Paleo Diet

Ever since making my New Year’s resolution to¬†lose more body fat this year,¬†I have been considering trying out the Paleo¬†or Whole30 programs. Heard of them? I’m sure you have. They are all over the news now-a-days. I am particularly interested in them because they seem to focus more on consuming REAL foods that are unprocessed rather than starving yourself or working out like a fiend. This way of eating is, in my opinion at least, the only real way to become healthy and fit for long-term results.

All other fad diets just leave you feeling hungry, exhausted, and overwhelmed by counting endless amounts of calories. These two programs focus on what the human body needs in order to be HEALTHY. That is what I think all women (and men!) should strive towards. Not being skinny…but healthy and fit! Very different, yet a lot of people assume if a person is skinny that they are healthy. That is not the case. I wish more people understood that concept instead of beating themselves up about their weight and going on one crash diet after another.

Instead, try to focus on¬†eating real foods, getting a good amount of sleep, drinking lots of water to hydrate your body, and exercising to keep your muscles functioning properly. I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done, right?!¬†I may be a bit over-zealous about this topic but¬†it is only because I have experienced the changing power of health and want to share it with you all!

I got off on a little rant there. Let me get back to the topic at hand. Will you guys be up for joining me in trying out the Whole30 program or Paleo diet for 30 days?! If so, comment which one you are interested in below!! We can get a group together because, you know, there is power in numbers and it will hold me accountable!!

This is a great way to kick-start any diet if you are just starting out and also a great way to shape up even more prior to the upcoming summer season!

Have a happy Saturday!!

-Keri