Spinach Stuffed Chicken

thighsWhen I’m prepping for meals there is nothing that brings me more inspiration than chicken thighs.  There are so many ways to dress them up and keep them from being boring and they don’t take forever to cook!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Thighs

  • 6 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs (about 8 oz each)
  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 375° F and spray the bottom of a 13 x 9 Pyrex Baking Dish with Olive Oil Spray.  Mix together your spices in a small bowl.

Toss Spinach with 1 TBLS Olive Oil and 2 tsp of your dried spice mix in a medium bowl.

Sprinkle each thigh with some of the spice mix and massage into both top and bottom.  Leave about 1 tsp of spice mix to sprinkle over tops at the end.

Gently lift the skin away from the meat and make a pocket for the spinach leaves.  Stuff each thigh with the spinach leaves until equally distributed.

Place the thighs in the baking dish and spray tops lightly with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle remaining tsp spice mix over thighs and put into preheated oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes divide the Parmesan cheese evenly between the breasts and put back into the oven until cheese is melted and begins to brown, about 15 minutes more.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 Thigh)

  • 306 Calories
  • 22 g Fat
  • 1 g Carbs
  • 24 g Protein

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

1My favorite thing about chicken is the many different ways it can be served and the many different flavors that can be combined with it to keep it from being boring when you eat a lot of it, like I do.

This dish is perfect for anyone who follows the Keto or Paleo diet, you make it in your air fryer and it’s super quick & easy!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

  • 6 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs (About 1+1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 4 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 Medium Limes (Cut 1 in 1/2 & 1 in qtrs)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • Olive Oil Spray

Pat your chicken thighs as dry as possible with paper towels, then sprinkle all over with the baking powder.

Mix together your spices in a small bowl.  Sprinkle your spice mixture evenly between your chicken thighs.  Make sure to gently lift the skin away from the meat (without removing entirely) and massage some spices into the meat below the skin as well as into the skin.  Put a few leaves of cilantro beneath the skin if desired.

Cut one of your limes in half and squeeze the juice over the thighs.  Lightly spray the basket of your air fryer with olive oil spray then place the thighs, skin side up, in the basket. Give the skin side of your thighs a light spray with your olive oil spray, set your temperature to 380° F, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.  Turn the thighs over 1/2 way through your cooking time to assure even browning.

When thighs reach 165° to 180° F remove them and serve with wedges of lime & sprinkled with the fresh cilantro.

Nutrition Information:

  • 435 Calories
  • 29 g Fat
  • .5 g Carbs
  • 32 g Protein

Protein Packed Meatballs

proteinpackedmeatballs

I am guilty of not getting enough protein in my diet and need to take every chance I can to pack extra grams in where I can.  These #KetoFriendly meatballs can be served as an appetizer, between meal snack, light lunch main with a salad or vegetables, or even added to a sauce with zoodles for a perfect #KetoMeal.  Of course, if you aren’t Keto, feel free to add them to any rice, potato, or pasta dish you choose!

Protein Packed Meatballs

Combine everything except the ground beef in the container for your blender, food processor, or Vitamix.  Set your speed to the lowest, or start with a pulse, to begin chopping your spinach up.  Once the spinach is broken down, turn the speed up to medium to make sure your ingredients are combined but not liquified.  It should only take about 15 – 20 seconds.

Put your ground beef into a medium mixing bowl and pour/scrape the blender contents on top.  I put on rubber gloves at this point and use my hands to mix everything thoroughly.

Give the bottom of the basket of your air fryer a very light, quick spritz with olive oil spray.  Roll balls with about 1 TBLS of the meat mixture (doesn’t have to be exact) and set them into your air fryer basket.  Leave a bit of space between them, you want the air to circulate around them so they cook evenly.

When you’ve filled your basket with 12-15 about 1″ meatballs (that’s how many fit in my Dash Deluxe 6 Qt Air Fryer basket), set your timer for 9 minutes at 375° F.

Shake your basket at about 6 minutes to make sure the bottoms release and get browned.  When they’re lightly browned all over, remove them from the basket and cook the rest of the meatballs.  You should end up with about 30.

If desired, serve with your favorite low-carb / sugar free marinara sauce.  Some good ones are Rao’s, Newman’s Own and Yo Mama’s.  You can see all of them (and their nutrition information) at this link#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 5 Meatballs)

  • 231 Calories
  • 15 g Fat
  • <1 g Carbs
  • 18 g Protein

 

Broiled Flat Iron Steak

broiledflatironsteakWhen I’m meal prepping, I like to multi-task.  Often I have something in the air fryer, the pressure cooker, in the oven, and even in the broiler simultaneously.  It’s easy to do that when you pre-plan your meals and know your timeline.

I love this marinade for flat iron steak (or any cut of beef) because it allows me to do other dishes while the meat sits in the bag to absorb all of the flavors for four hours.  If you marinate the steak while you’re at work during the day, you’ll be ready to have a great meal on the table for your family in under 30 minutes.  Steam a package of vegetables in the microwave and it’s a simple clean up as well!

Broiled Flat Iron Steak

  • 2 Pounds Flat Iron Steak
  • 2/3 Cup Red Wine (I used full-bodied Westerly Merlot)
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a gallon sized zip bag then add the raw steak to the bag.  Push out as much air as you can then zip the bag closed.  Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the meat to marinate for 4-6 hours.

Set the oven temperature to broil.

Line a broiler pan with foil and top with either the broiler pan top or a roasting rack if one fits on top of your pan.  My oven is a Kitchen Aid and didn’t come with a broiler pan.  There was an option to order one by mail or $49 + Tax and shipping.  I searched the part number on Amazon and found it (with the included roasting rack) for $34.51 + free shipping!  I use it all the time!

When oven has reached it’s temperature, place the pan under the broiler and cook for 6-8 minutes per side.  If you have a nice thick piece of steak you should get a medium end result.  Adjust your time up or down to fit your desired degree of doneness.

For most tender result, slice diagonally across the grain.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (8 – four ounce servings)

  • 331 Calories
  • 26 g Fat
  • 3 g Carbs
  • 21 g Protein

Salted Lime Sweet Potato Chips

sweetpotatochipsI’m a savory snack girl, but don’t want to completely derail my hard earned Keto gains by cheating with a bag of store bought potato chips.  What’s a snacker to do?  This snacker chooses to spend her carbs on a healthier version of sweet potato chips, without the store bought preservatives and additives.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Salted Lime Sweet Potato Chips

  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes (or yams)
  • 1 TBLS Corn Starch
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • 4 Limes
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425° and place oven safe cooling racks on 2 baking sheets.
  2. Wash sweet potatoes and thinly slice with a very sharp kitchen knife or mandolin.
  3. Place sweet potato slices in a bowl and cover them with warm water and corn starch. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the water and dry very well with a paper towel.
  5. Lay a single layer of potatoes on each rack and spray each side of the potato slice with olive oil spray.
  6. If you have a small spray bottle, fill it with your lime juice & spritz top side lightly with the lime juice.  If you don’t have a spray bottle, drizzle the lime juice lightly over your potatoes.
  7. Lightly salt the tops then bake for 15 – 25 minutes (depending on thickness of slices), flipping the potato slices half way through the baking process. Check the potato chips frequently, it may take less time if your chips are sliced extra thin, to make sure that they don’t burn! Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1 oz):

  • 24 Calories
  • 0 g Fat
  • 4 g Carbs
  • <1 g Protein

Sausage, Spinach & Feta Egg Muffins

MuffinStack1I eat a lot of portable egg breakfasts on Keto, like: Bacon Wrapped Omelettes, Pizza Egg Cups; Crustless Veggie Quiche; and Pressure Cooker Egg Bites.  I add in days of berries and yogurt but getting enough protein at breakfast is hard if I don’t include eggs.  Unfortunately I get tired of the same foods, so I need to keep experimenting in the morning.

Sausage, Spinach & Feta Egg Muffins

  • 12 Large Eggs
  • 12 oz Raw Ground Breakfast Sausage
  • 1/2 of a 5 oz Bag Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup Feta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Half & Half
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (if desired)
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Spray jumbo muffin tins with olive oil cooking spray & pre-heat oven to 375° F.

Roll spinach leaves and slice thinly.  Combine spinach, feta and raw, crumbled sausage in a bowl and combine.  Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin tins but do not pack down.

Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl, beat in the spices, and then the half & half.  Divide the egg mixture between the muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes (if using jumbo muffin tins) or 25 minutes for standard sized muffin tins.  Egg muffins are done when they brown around the edges, pull away slightly from the sides and are set in the middle.

muffintin

Nutrition Information (1 egg muffin)

  • 108 Calories
  • 4 g Fat
  • 1 g Carbs
  • 8 g Protein

Muffins can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a week or the freezer for a month.  Heat in the microwave 30-45 seconds.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Skip the Take-Out Beef & Broccoli

Clean eating isn’t hard if you put a little thought into it.  I love Chinese take-out but hate all of the carb-heavy thickeners and calorie bomb, sugary sauces that are used in restaurant fare.  A few tweaks, and a little make-ahead prep, lets me put this weeknight staple on the table in under 15 minutes after work!  The substitutions I made are also #KetoFriendly, which is something this busy Keto girl definitely loves. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

BeefAndBroccoli

Keto Beef & Broccoli

  • 3 TBLS Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil (I used garlic infused)
  • 2 TBLS Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 2 TBLS Clam Juice
  • 1 TBLS Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Freshly Grated Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients EXCEPT the Xanthan gum and set aside.

  • 1 Pound Lean Beef Sirloin, Boneless Ribeye, Flat Iron, or Flank Steak, sliced very thinly across the grain
  • 2 Cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 TLS Olive Oil
  • 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves (I use 2 tsp jarred crushed garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 TBLS Sliced Green Onions  (Scallions)
  • 2 TBLS Sliced Almonds (if desired)
  • 1 TBLS Toasted Sesame Seeds (if desired)

Put the sliced beef and 1/3 of the marinade in a quart sized zip bag, seal and put in the refrigerator to marinate for 4-6 hours (while your’re at work all day) or overnight.

Do ahead tip:  Stir fry the broccoli until it’s just crisp-tender (3-4 minutes) in 1 – 2 TBLS olive oil over medium-high heat, then remove from pan to a large zip bag or covered bowl and put in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to assemble your dish, using a large skillet, (I use my 4.5 quart high sided Dutch oven) heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Discard the marinade and place the beef into your pan.  If you’ve sliced your beef nice and thin, it should take only 2-3 minutes per side to brown.  Remove the beef to the bowl with the broccoli and add the reserved 2/3 marinade, salt & pepper to the pan.  Cook for about 2 minutes then stir the Xanthan Gum into the sauce.  Cook another minute or two, or until the sauce has thickened to a desired consistency and add the meat & broccoli back to the pan to coat in the sauce and warm through.  Add the Green Onions in the last few seconds of cooking.

Serve over cooked cauliflower rice and top with sliced almonds & toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Nutrition Information (Serves 6)

  • 203 Calories
  • 14 g Fat
  • 1.3 g Carbs
  • 15.5 g Protein