Saturday, April 28, 2012

Almond Crusted Stuffed Chicken Breast

So I did it...almost cried when I did, but I'm hoping this is the best purchase of my life...a VITAMIX!! If you don't know what a Vitamix is, get with it, its only the best ever high speed rocketship, I mean blender out there. You can put anything in this thing and it will blend it. All of my friends have gone crazy about it, so I thought I would get one...after I thought about it for 6 months. Why you ask? Google it, the price tag will shock you. 10 year warranty and a chance for me to get more vegetables and not even know it...worth it. So I thought I would dig in and make a few recipes and start experimenting. So far I haven't been disappointed (except when Sean decided he was going to make a smoothie and put chicken in it...GROSS, don't do this, he does strange things ;-)). Best one so far, banana, cocoa powder, 1 date, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, handfull of spinach, two stalks of kale. Yup you heard me right, kale and spinach. The smoothie tasted like a banana chocolate smoothie. I inhaled it and forgot that I even had put vegetables in it. 

Ok enough with the Vitamix. I went to Sunflower market and they had chicken on sale (the range-free kind!) so I bought some more. I seem to buy a lot of chicken so I have to think of different ways of cooking it otherwise I get sick of it and don't even want to look at it anymore. I actually had some time for once to make a recipe instead of grilling or baking it real quick so I went on a google search and I found a winner (it has bacon in it, so I picked it)! This recipe definitely takes a little bit of time, buts it worth it and you can make the stuffing ahead of time if need be.

RECIPE: Almond Crusted Stuffed Chicken Breast


  • 2 chicken breasts thinned to about 1/4 inch thick (I put each chicken piece a large ziplock and pounded the heck out of them with a mallet, great way to get rid of some agression :-)).
  • 1 onion (yellow or white), chopped
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled into smaller pieces
  • Olive Oil/Coconut Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • coarsely ground almonds 
  • Toothpicks (to hold the chicken together!)
I also added Mushrooms and Kale since I had them. Feel free to add or take out whatever you want. I feel like this recipe you can make lots of different varieties, but I would keep the bacon! Pre-heat the oven to 350 before you start. Start with heating up some coconut oil and sautéing the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Add your spinach, bacon bits, and anything else you want to. After it looks like the picture on the right that I stole from the website since I forgot to take a picture of this part, spread it on your chicken breasts. I used it all, you'll figure out how to close the chicken, don't be shy, get all that stuff in there! After you have done that roll up the chicken and secure with toothpicks or sting. I used a million toothpicks...ok that is a little dramatic, but you get the idea, you need a lot. 

After you have that little bundle all secured and looking awesome, brush some olive oil or coconut oil on it, seasoning with salt and pepper and then roll in the ground almonds. I just put a handful in my food processor and pulsed until I got it coarsely ground, don't let them get to almond flour! 

Bake the chicken for about 30-35 minutes. I just had a baking dish I used to put them in and it worked great. Make sure to check that the chicken is done and the almonds should have a brown color to them. Don't forget about the toothpicks and dig in!! 

I was pleasantly surprised how awesome this was. All of the stuffing inside complemented the chicken perfectly. The bacon gave it a little crunch, but went well with the onions and spinach and kale. The almonds on the outside are a perfect addition to the meal and you won't want to stop eating it! I served it with some Cauliflower Mash and a Kale Salad! SOO good, I will for sure make this again. Especially since I probably can do it quicker than I had. I always suggest chopping your veggies too whenever you have time since that is what takes the most time in this dish. 

If you are sick of chicken and need a new recipe, try this one out, its fantastic! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sundried Tomato Chicken Bake

So I've decided to take a break on baking. I know, sad, but it still has sugar in it and I had no self control when it came to not eating the whole batch. Whoops, paleo treats are just so tasty, I can't help it! I'll start baking again in May (I've already got some good ones), but I thought I would actually make some dinners, snacks, side dishes, etc also. Lately, I have still been grilling and making lots of burgers! They are super easy to throw on the grill and just as good for leftovers, especially with some avocado or a fried egg on top. This week I bought a bunch of chicken, so I decided to post about some great chicken recipes and a few side dishes!

I hope everyone had a great Easter! We couldn't have asked for a better day. Sean and I went mountain biking in the morning, a beautiful 70 degrees! Then we headed to Castle Rock to my Aunt and Uncle's house. I'm so lucky to have them here in Colorado, they are my only family here, and they go out of there way to take care of me! Not only did we have some amazing ham, but my Aunt even had some paleo foods for me! I never ask anyone to cater to my diet since I usually can always find something to eat and I hate when people make something special just for me. I was amazed on how sweet her and her sister were to think about me. Her sister made a Paleo Dip for fruit and it was great! I even made my family Kale Chips for Easter and they loved them!  Paleo is fantastic, but I never shove it down anyones throat since it isn't for everyone. Though it is what I know the most about and believe in. I love introducing and talking about it with people that want to know more about it. For those of you that don't know, I'm getting my Masters Degree in Nutrition and Health Education, focusing on Weston A. Price theories of Nutrition to eat nutrient dense foods based on ancestral times. I love it and can't wait to share what I learn to anyone else looking to make a positive change in their diet.

So today I'm sharing one of my favorite and super duper fast and easy recipes I got from Everyday Paleo! They have some great recipes that Sarah Fragroso has created and I have yet to taste a bad one. She also has a book out called Everyday Paleo that has some amazing Paleo recipes too I recommend checking out. I've made this a few times when I want leftovers and have a lot of chicken. My friend Eric introduced me to this one and raved about it, so it was my turn to try.

RECIPE: Sundried Tomato Chicken Bake

Around 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (I get the good chicken, organic, range-free, etc), cut them to the thickness you like (I cut them in half).

8.5oz jar of julliane cut sun-dried tomatoes. (Make sure to get 8.5oz)

8 Garlic Cloves (sliced thin)

2 Tablespoons Dried Basil (This seems like a lot, but you need all of it!)

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Yup thats all the ingredients you need! The jar might be a little hard to find, but I found it in the produce section on the bottom shelf under the tomatoes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Throw the chicken in a baking dish and then add all the spices and mix around. Then put the garlic on top followed by the whole jar of sun-dried tomatoes, oil and all! These are what make the dish amazing. Next time I might add another half a jar because I get really cranky when I get to the last chicken and there is no more sun-dried tomatoes left (Ok I might pick some off and eat them, which could be the reason why)! Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20min and then take the foil off and bake for about another 15min until you see the tomatoes are crispy and the chicken is done!

YUM! (photo credit Eric Chin)
The chicken stays super moist and the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes taste amazing on the chicken along with the crispy tomatoes. The basil is also a great touch and doesn't over power the taste at all, which I thought it might since you use so much. The dish has tons of flavor and I usually pair it with some spinach and a paleo side dish like cauliflower mash. For a quick, simple chicken dish this one is great! You will be amazed how something so simple can taste so good. I can't fine my picture, but here are some others that looked just like it!  :-) Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kale Chips

Eric's Paleo Cakes and cookies
Ok, I'm going on a baking hiatus for a little bit. I've just baked a lot and than ate a ton if it, which is never good. My sweet potato brownies were a hit at the CrossFit party until Eric showed up with his most amazing cakes on the planet. I couldn't make these cakes if my life depended on it and they were all gluten-free, and for the most part paleo! So our CrossFit party on Saturday night was ridiculous fun. My CrossFit gym knows how to party and well we did, until the wee hours of the night. I decided that I was going to have a few adult beverages since I'm usually always the DD and this night I wasn't. Well, once I get a few of those in my bloodstream dancing just takes over. I danced for about 3 hours non-stop and it was fantastic, even though I'm sure I was making a fool of myself, which made it that much better. I'm not saying I'm a good dancer or anything, but I sure had a lot of fun letting loose and having a great time with even greater people! Though the whole point of the party was to congratulate everyone that finished the CrossFit Open and to wish our team good luck at CrossFit Regionals! (May 4th-6th in Castle Rock..BE THERE! BUY TICKETS HERE!!)

Also, real quick for those people that didn't compete in the open or are thinking about it next year..DO IT!  Last year I could only do about 2 of the 6 workouts prescribed. This year I was able to do all of the workouts and it gave me the urge to want to get even better. I realized I should have done it last year even though I couldn't do it all..learn from my mistake and sign up next year no matter what.  Saturdays were CrossFit days during the open and it was inspiring. The camaraderie, support, and everyone working out, gives you the strength to do a lot more than you think you can. Don't think, just do and every time you go to the CrossFit gym from here on out, work as hard as you can, you will surprised how much better you will get ;-).

So here is a super easy recipe that EVERYONE should make. I know it might sound scary at first. Kale..ahhhh thats healthy and sounds gross. I will show you how you will want to make this amazing vegetable a staple in all your meals. I couldn't tell you how many of my friends that I have showed how to make this recipe have become obsessed with them. Most of them are non-paleo or vegetable haters too..yea they are that good! (Find Kale by the greens in any grocery store!)

Why Kale is amazing: Eating a variety of natural, unprocessed vegetables can do wonders for your health, but choosing super-nutritious kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol. Here is a link that explains the 9 Health Benefits of KaleKale is a superfood!

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
2. Rip the leaves off the stalk (you can even keep them on the stalk too, but I'm not a fan of stalk)
3. Rip the leaves in 'chip sizes' Don't get to technical here, they shrink, so don't worry to much about the size of all the leaves.
4. Spread out on a cookie sheet, try not to have too much overlapping as then some end up a little soggy instead of crispy how you want them. I usually make a few batches
5. Add a little bit of olive oil and mix around with the kale on the cookie sheet, just enough to coat
6. Add sea salt (and anything else you want like pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, etc)
7. Bake for about 10-15min. I usually just check them a lot after 10min until I see them getting brown and they look nice and crispy! You should be able to pick one up and it shouldn't be floppy. 
8. Eat them all and wonder why you didn't know about this recipe sooner! I guarantee you will want to make more right away.

They don't take long and are a perfect side for anything you are making. They are also great when you have guests over to show them how easy to cook and how good kale is! If you haven't made this yet, go to the grocery store, grab some kale and enter into the kale obsession! Yum Yum, I think I'm going to make some now :-).