My Meal Plan this Week!

Good Morning!  I hope everyone had a great Halloween!  I know more than just a few of us are glad it’s over 🙂  Now, onto November and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!  Today I’m sharing whats on the menu at our house this week.  As you can tell, we’re trying to be Low Carb.  We were eating so healthy leading up to our wedding and then really fell off the bandwagon after so trying to get back to being healthy 90% of the time.  You know there will be some wine and candy mixed in there for the 10% non-healthy!   Please feel free to share any recipes we should try in the comments section!

Monday: Skinny Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  This is a go to in our house.  It’s SO easy, healthy and super satisfying.  I sometimes serve it as an app if we’re having people over but for just the two of us, it’s dinner.

Skinny Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps! #healthy and #delicious

Tuesday:  Taco Salads.  Nothing too exciting here, just taco beef over salad topped with tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado and black beans.

 

Wednesday: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Best Chicken Stir fry via Designer bag and Dirty Diapers.  Looking forward to trying this one!

Gwyneth Paltrow's Best Chicken Stir Fry! via Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers.  Looks amazing!

Thursday: Steve’s Healthy Spaghetti Squash Casserole!

Healthy Spaghetti Squash Casserole!  Gluten Free and Low Fat but so Delish!

Friday: Out!

Have a great Tuesday!!

Annie

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On this week’s menu!

Hi and Happy Tuesday!  I’ve recently been trying to be better about planning our menu for the week ahead of time.   We have a tendency to fly by the seat of our pants each night for dinner which means the inevitable back and fourth about what we’re in the mood for, last minute trips to the grocery store and eating out way more than we should.   So I thought this week it would be fun to share what I have on the menu because I am trying some new and different recipes.  Hope you enjoy!

Monday: (Leftover) Turkey Chili.  I made this recipe this weekend to have with some friends on Saturday night before we all went to my 10 year High School reunion!  It’s a recipe my sister found and I recently tried and fell in love with.  Its a little different than your standard turkey chili and is amazing!  I followed the recipe to a T and only added a can of Kidney beans.

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Tuesday: Easy Beef and Broccoli from Damn Delicious because a week doesn’t pass without making some sort of Asian inspired dish.  Served over Cauli Rice from TJs.  Trying to step out of my usual Skinny Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Peanut Chicken.

Damn Delicious Beef and Broccoli

Wednesday: Out, we’re going to a concert with some friends so we are planning to go out to dinner all together before

Thursday: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats from Pinch of Yum. Planning on leaving out the Turkey and having a vegetarian meal.

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Friday: Grilled Chicken Breasts and Brussels Sprout Gratin + Big Salad.  I told my mom I’d bring this Gratin for Thanksgiving so I want to make sure to try it before serving it to everyone on Thanksgiving.

Brussels Sprout Gratin!

Saturday: Out!

 

We usually eat leftovers for lunch since we both work from home 🙂

Question: What recipes are on your normal weekly meal rotations?? I’m trying to get out of my rut of cooking the same 10 things so I’d love some ideas!  You can see our other recipes/meal ideas here.

Have a great day!!!

Annie

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Quick and Easy Lunch Idea – Healthy Pizza

Thanks to my mom, I have been eating the most delicious, quick, easy, and healthy lunch for the past couple of weeks. I am so obsessed I wanted to share. It’s not a recipe, but more of an idea. Check it out…

First off, I take low carb tortillas, put them on a baking sheet, and spread my favorite BBQ sauce all over it.

Easy and healthy lunch idea - low carb pizza

Then, I add my toppings. I typically use rotisserie chicken, black beans and black olives.

Easy and healthy lunch idea - low carb pizza

Lastly, I top with mozzarella cheese and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

Easy and healthy lunch idea - low carb pizza

The crust gets really crispy, which I didn’t believe at first, but it does! So it’s really like a thin crust pizza. This is the perfect lunch or even dinner. You can make any kind of pizza you want – for Matt I make a more traditional red sauce and pepperoni pizza. Yummm!!

Maggie

 

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The best summer salad

A few weekends ago some of my best friends’ mom’s threw me the most fun bridal shower of all time!  It was a cooking class shower and it was everything.  Stay tuned for a full post about that but in the meantime I MUST share the recipe for the salad we made that was absolutely the most amazing salad I’ve ever had.  It’s a combination of melon, prosciutto, arugula and Parmesan and its truly amazing how all the flavors come together and compliment each other so well.  It would be one of those salads you could easily throw together with some grilled chicken for a week night dinner but would also really impress your guests for a dinner party.IMG_0943

Prosciutto and Melon Salad

Serves 2 (you can easily double/triple this recipe) 

4 slices of prosciutto

1/4 of small to medium sized cantaloupe

1/4 of small to medium honeydew

2-3 cups of fresh arugula

1/2 small red onion

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

4 leaves of fresh basil

Salt and Pepper

Dice melons and red onion.  Mix together in a small bowl.

Add sherry and olive oil.  Chiffonaide bail and add to bowl with melons and vinaigrette.

Lay down about a cup or a little more of arugula on each plate.

Slice prosciutto and place on top of arugula.

Spoon melon mixture with vinaigrette over each plate.

We topped with a Parmesan Crisp with is so easy to make in the oven following these steps

 Amazing summer salad of Arugula, Melon and Prosciutto!

Hope you enjoy!! xoxo

Annie

 

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Healthy Thai Basil Chicken

Happy Tuesday everyone!  I am constantly craving all Asian food… see some of my other favorites here.  But with my wedding right around the corner (5 weeks away!) I can’t afford to eat salty, high calorie take out.  So I’ve been recreating some dishes at home.  My new favorite is this Thai Basil Chicken adapted from SkinnyTaste.

ThaiBasilChicken

Skinny Thai Basil Chicken

serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cups of broccoli (I bought frozen and steamed)
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 Serrano chili, diced (remove the seeds if you don’t like heat)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cups of Thai or regular basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable)
  • Jasmine rice or Cauliflower rice (we buy this in the frozen section of trader joes)

Chopped veggies

Put chicken strips, and all veggies except garlic cloves into a bowl.  Cover with oyster sauce and soy sauce.  Mix so everything is coated.  Place in fridge for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.

Heat coconut oil in a large saute pan or wok and add garlic.  Cook until fragrant (1 minute).  Add chicken and veggie mixture and water chestnuts and cook on med-high, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender, 7-9 minutes.  Turn heat down to med-low and add basil leaves.  Cook until they are wilted (1-2 minutes).

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Serve over steamed rice.

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Nutrition facts without rice:

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Enjoy! XoXO,

Annie

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My favorite Summertime Dish!

Easy, healthy and fresh summer dish! #Ratatouille

I’m going to be bold and say the Ratatouille is one of my favorite foods.  Since the rest of my favorite food list comprises of french fries, bagels, and pizza it’s surprising to find such a healthy, veggie dense dish next to all those carbs.  For those of you who have never tried it or haven’t seen the movie (guilty! I haven’t seen it), Ratatouille is a french countryside dish that is usually served as a side but can just as easily be your main course over pasta or with some crusty french bread.   It’s another recipe that is great when you have copious amounts of fresh veggies available pretty inexpensively.

To make Ratatouille you roast a lot of summer veggies with basil, maybe even pesto and some EVOO.  It doesn’t get much simpler but topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese you will be in heaven with this dish.   Below is my mom’s recipe that can be easily adapted based on your veggie preferences or what you have on hand.  Because this dish pretty much is all veggies with very little fat, it is very low in calories, fat and carbs.  So fill up on those veggies!

Ingredients 

1 medium sized eggplant

2-3 yellow squash

1-2 zucchini

1 yellow onion

1 red bell pepper

1 head of garlic

1 can of whole, peeled tomatoes

2-3 tablespoons of pesto

a few sprigs of basil

1-2 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roughly chop the first 5 ingredients.  They cook down a good bit so I tend to make the chunks about 1 inch or so

Layer chopped ingredients in a casserole dish.  Top with individual cloves of garlic.  You don’t need to peel the garlic, it gets really soft in the cooking process.

Top with can of tomatoes, juice included, basil (torn up in to pieces) and pesto.   Drizzle with olive oil and finish with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Easy Summer Ratatouille!

Mix everything together with a big spoon and place in the preheated oven.  Let good for 1h 15 minutes until the garlic is tender to the tip of a knife.

Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  It is great on top of angel hair pasta or with a good crusty french bread.

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Enjoy!!

xoxo,

Annie

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Easy Skinny Eggplant Parm

I have recently discovered my love for eggplant and have been making this recipe for Skinny Eggplant parm over and over.  It’s perfect for this time of year when you have tons of fresh produce and want something light.  We actually have eggplants growing in our garden so I can’t wait to make this with an eggplant I grew myself!

I adapted this recipe from SkinnyTaste.   Usually Eggplant Parm includes a lot of breading and sometimes fried eggplant.  I don’t feel like you miss any of that in this recipe and served with garlic bread or a good salad it makes for a well rounded and filling meal.  Also feel free to serve with a delish red 🙂

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Easy Skinny Eggplant Parmesan via SkinnyTaste

Serves 8

Calories per serving: ~270

  • 1 large eggplant (2 lbs), or a few smaller ones
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz fat free ricotta
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 cups reduced fat mozzarella (I used Sargento)
  • 3 cups your favorite marinara sauce (I prefer roasted garlic Classico)
  • salt
  • fresh basil for garnish

Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. Lightly salt the slices and put in a colander to release excess moisture for about 1/2 hour. Lay on paper towels to soak up any extra moisture.

Preheat oven to 450°. Brush eggplant lightly with olive oil on both sides and place on cookie sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through until eggplant is golden brown.  Don’t skip this step, it ensures the casserole won’t get soggy.

In a medium bowl combine ricotta, egg, parsley and 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

In a 9×12 baking dish, put a little sauce on the bottom of the dish and put a layer of eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese and sauce. Add another layer of eggplant and repeat the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and sauce until everything is used up. Top with sauce and the mozzarella cheese and the remaining grated cheese.

Cover with foil and bake until cheese is melted and everything is bubbling, about 30 minutes at 400°. Remove foil and bake an additional 8-10 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting. Top with basil and enjoy! !

 

Be sure to check out some of our other recipes including Skinny Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Easy Friday Night Dinner, Grilled Artichokes,  and how to impress your guests with this easy dessert! 

 

xoxo,

Annie

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Friday Five!

Happy Friday everyone!  I swear I enjoy the shorter weeks following a long weekend more than I do actually having that extra day off!  This week absolutely flew by.  Steve’s sister is in town for a wedding this weekend so we will have our first house guest.  Luckily it’s family because we are about 15% moved in and still painting.  Our plans for the weekend include lots of work on our house, Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, Candler Park Food and Music festival and hopefully some time to relax at some point!  Now on-to 5 things I’ve been loving this week.

ONE |  Shine! I recently stumbled upon this app on Instagram and love the idea.  Every morning you get a text that is some sort of motivation or affirmation and sometimes a funny GIF.  It’s completely free and I’ve been loving them this week.  Check it out!

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TWO |  Artichokes.  My family has always been a big artichoke family.  When we were growing up my mom would steam a few, melt some butter and we would go to town for snack time.  I never really thought about it not being a super common snack until Maggie was asking me how to make/eat an artichoke.  They’re a healthy and delish appetizer or snack and I highly recommend everyone tries it!  One of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta, Houstons, serves grilled artichokes with an amazing remoulade dip.   Last week we decided to recreate them at home and they turned out AMAZING.

artichokes 1

artichoke2

Quick steps:

5-6 small artichokes, steamed then cut in half (size of your fist of a little bigger, Trader Joes sells them in a bag)

2 tablespoons butter, melted and mixed with a little garlic power

We used this recipe for the remoulade sauce and left out anchovy and capers

Brush flat side of artichoke halves with the butter/garlic mixture.  Take the steamed, halved artichokes and put on a hot grill for about 2-3 minutes until they have some slight char and grill lines.   Serve hot with the remoulade sauce.

In case you need it, how to eat artichokes.   Don’t forget the heart, its the best part!

 

THREE |  The Plum Tree.  I cannot stop with this book, it’s so so good.  I am a little addicted to WWII novels and I’ve really loved this one because of the unique perspective of a German family just trying to get by in a small town in Germany.   I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a good read!

 

FOUR |  Affordable Summer Sandals.  I don’t like to spend a ton on sandals because usually by the end of summer they are destroyed from trips to the pool, beach, and getting caught in a summer shower.  I love having a few affordable pairs I can throw on and go from pool to lunch and usually throw out at the end of the summer.  Here are some of my favorites!

shoes


FIVE |  Houzz.  I may be late to the game but I’ve recently discovered Houzz and I’m loving it.  It’s kind of like Pinterest just for home stuff.  Similar to Pinterest, you can save pictures you like and shop from the pictures.  We have a planter on each side of our front door that I wanted to spruce up with some flowers/plants or something.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted or where to start so I went over to Houzz and searched front patio planters and got lots of ideas.

Pretty flowers on the front porch

Enjoy your weekend!! xoxo

Annie

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My go-to Asian Inspired Dishes

I love all Asian food and crave it weekly if not daily.  I would be happy having Chinese/Thai/Japanese takeout every day, but that won’t do for my waistline or budget!  So, with that in mind, I’ve turned to recreating my favorite dishes at home and have found a few that I go back to time and time again.  These recipes are ones I’ve made at least 4-5 times each and keep in pretty constant rotation.  Also, I know it seems like you have to buy a few random ingredients (sesame oil, rice vinegar) but once you have them in your pantry you only have to buy 1-3 ingredients per meal.  I’ve linked up the recipes I use and also included my edits/changes.

I also bought these Asian type dishes from World Market a year or two ago and love using them for these meals 🙂

Asian Inspired Dishes from World Market
Asian Inspired Dishes from World Market

 

Easy Skinny Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps (or as we call them ACLW) adapted from Skinny Taste

When Steve and I first started dating we had these at least once a week and sometimes twice.  We eat them as our main course and usually almost finish the meat in 1 meal.  They come together in about 15 minutes and are so satisfying! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package ground chicken (about 1 lb)
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry or rice vinegar
  • 1⁄2 tsp sugar
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 iceberg lettuce leaves, rinsed (careful not to break)
  • 2 tbsp diced scallions (optional but nice for color)

For the Hoisin Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (creamy)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 splenda packet (or 1 tbsp sugar)
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar or sherry
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp siracha
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl.

Combine ground chicken and water chestnuts into a bowl. Pour sauce mixture over chicken; mix around. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
While that marinates, Mix Hoisin Dipping Sauce ingredients in another bowl. Set aside
Heat remaining sesame oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add garlic; cook about 10 seconds. Add chicken mixture; stir fry until browned, breaking the chicken up as it cooks, about 4-5 minutes.

To serve, spoon 1/4 cup of the chicken into each lettuce leaf. Garnish with scallions and a spoon a little Hoisin Dipping Sauce onto each one.Serves 4-5 (depending on if you serve as an app or main course)


Thai Peanut Chicken + Jasmine Rice (or Cauli rice)
Damn Delicious Blog Thai Peanut Beef
Damn Delicious Blog Thai Peanut Beef
This is another SUPER quick weeknight meal that we love.  I usually only have to buy the chicken because we have everything else on hand in the pantry.  The recipe linked about is actually for Thai Peanut beef but I prefer this recipe with chicken.  I used 2 chicken breasts and cube them then saute in pan until cooked all the way through.  I usually get those Uncle Ben’s Jasmine Rice pouches that you microwave for 90 seconds to serve the chicken over.  Or if we are being healthy we will get Cauliflower Rice from the frozen section of Trader Joes which is awesome.  You don’t even miss the rice.

Cauliflower Fried Rice by Eat yourself skinny
{Healthy} Cauliflower Fried "Rice" | Eat Yourself Skinny
Fried rice is one of my favorite dishes!  Growing up for my birthday dinner’s I always wanted to go to Bennihana or Mo Mo Ya (both Hibachi places) mainly because I love their fried rice.  With our recent obsession with Cauliflower rice this recipe has become a regular at our house.  The only thing I change about this recipe is I usually add chicken and a little butter and I use the frozen cauliflower from Trader Joes.  This recipe is about 130 calories per serving before butter and chicken so pretty light an healthy!  Also a tip for the cauliflower from Trader joes… they run out of it really quickly because its so popular.  I recommend asking when they usually get their shipments in and going to TJs that morning to stock up on Cauli rice.  I buy it by the box.  If you don’t have a Trader Joes in your area its pretty easy to make with a food processor.
Looking for other healthy and easy dishes?  Check out some of our other favorites here, here and here!  You can also see my other Trader Joe’s picks here.
xoxo,
Annie
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New Recipes and Summertime Drinks

 

Oh. My. Goodness. Y’all I just finished eating a brand, spanking new dinner that I made tonight thanks to my girl Chrissy Teigen. I just got a copy of her new cookbook, Cravings, in my most recent PopSugar Must Have Box and let me tell you, it is on point. My favorite thing about this cookbook is the section she dedicated to dishes that people are scared to make. This is so genius because everyone has that one item (or 5) that they have been afraid to try. For me, scallops have always been on that list. Lo and behold, Chrissy talks about how simple it is to cook these little delicious suckers. So, I gave it a whirl. Alongside of the scallops, I made her finger lickin’ good coconut rice and a side of glazed green beans with shallots. We have kind of gotten in a rut with our meals lately; so, this was a fun and different recipe to shake things up a bit.

Chrissy Teigen Cravings Cookbook

 

Here’s the scoop:

For the Seared Scallops:

  • 10 large scallops
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter and swirl together. Pat scallops dry on one side and coat with salt and pepper. Place scallops in pan, coated side down. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Pat other side and coat with salt and pepper. Turn scallops and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Ta-da! All done!

For the Sweet and Salty Coconut Rice:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

In a dry saucepan, toast the coconut flakes for a few minutes until they brown. Place toasted coconut to the side. Add full can of coconut milk, 1 can full of water, sugar, rice and salt to saucepan. Stir and bring to low boil. Cover and cook just like you would any other rice. Once done, fluff and add toasted coconut to the top. Serve!

For the Glazed Green Beans and Shallots:

  • 1 bag of fresh, trimmed green beans (I got the “ready to microwave” bag from the produce section of my grocery)
  • 4 shallots sliced into tiny pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • Slivered almonds

Add 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar to medium skillet. Once hot, add shallots and green beans and salt. Cover and cook for about 12 minutes. Uncover and add butter and almond slivers. Serve it up!

This post was supposed to be about summer cocktails and some of my favorite drinks right now. But, this meal stole the show for sure. But, I don’t want to leave you all empty handed (literally); so, here is a MUST HAVE cocktail to go alongside of this meal.

Summertime Coconut Spritzer

  • La Croix Coconut Sparkling Water
  • Kettle One Vodka
  • Fresh mint
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grab a fun glass (I chose a copper mug) and fill with lots of ice. Add your respectable amount of vodka (I usually go for 1 1/2 shots). Slice and squeeze lime and lemon into the drink. Add 3-4 mint leaves. Add La Croix till your cup is filled to the top. Mix and enjoy! No joke, this is so refreshing and literally one of the lightest drinks you could ask for going into bathing suit season.

Summertime drink lowcal drinkSummertime Drink Low Calorie drink

And if you are a wine drinker, here are a couple of bottles I highly recommend right now:

If you like red:

  • Rayun Cabernet Sauvignon – $7 at Whole Foods –> easy drinking and easy on the pocket
  • Banshee Pinot Noir – $22 at Whole Foods –> great quality and super tasty
  • Saddleback Zinfandel – $42 at Saddlebackcellars.com –> If you haven’t heard of Saddleback I suggest trying it. I learned about these guys during a trip to Napa last year. Needless to say, I am part of the wine club now Smile.

Red Wine

If you like white:

White Wine

I am so sorry I didn’t snap some photos of the meal. My camera died and I ate it way too fast. I promise it’s worth a try. And really, it wasn’t even an expensive meal. I got the scallops for $10. I think altogether I spent around $20 for the meal.

I would love to hear what recipes you have tried recently! If you want more cooking ideas, check out Maggie’s Go-To Weeknight Recipes and Annie’s Healthy Spaghetti Squash Casserole.

Keep it lush y’all!

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