Chicken Veggie Bake

So leading up to our vacation this summer, I really wanted to get myself in shape so I could feel good about myself. I signed up for a virtual challenge through a friend of mine which emphasized being physically active and eating clean.

I was a little hesitant about the clean eating part of it (it has nothing to do with the 5 second rule people) and while it’s not necessarily always going to be something sustainable for me personally, it really challenged me to find some new recipes and gave me a new outlook on food and how it fuels my body.

I found Pinterest to be a great resource for inspiration, which lead me to one of our new favorites – even when we aren’t aiming to eat clean! It is my go-to recipe for a crazy weeknight when I have other stuff to get done – like preparing other meals for the week or getting a workout in. It’s filling and packed with protein and flavor. It takes 10 minutes to prep! Oh, and the best part? It only takes 1 dish. You chop everything, throw it in a dish, stir it and bake it. No messy bowls, pots and pans to worry about – just the dish you cook it in.

So recap:

Easy – check!

Quick (and you can get other stuff done while it cooks) – check!

Healthy – check!

Delicious – check!

1 dish – check!

You’re welcome.

Chicken Veggie Bake (Serves 2 – 8 WW Pts./Serving)

Ingredients_ChickenVeggieBake

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray.

12 oz. raw boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces

4 oz. red potatoes, diced

1 cup asparagus, trimmed and chopped

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced (I halve some of the slices to spread the love)

1/4 medium red onion, diced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. dried rosemary

2 tsp. dried Italian herb seasoning

Salt and pepper

Add chicken and vegetables to your baking dish. Add olive oil, garlic, rosemary, Italian herb seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Stirandcook_ChickenVeggieBake

Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. Take this 30 minutes to check something off your list. Get in a quick workout. Make your lunch for the next day. Call your mom. Take a bubble bath. Pay your bills – the possibilities are endless people, because your work is done when this thing goes in the oven!

I add a side salad…and usually a side of wine too.

Chicken Veggie Bake_cookingonthebrightside

Let me know if you try this and if you love it as much as we do.

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Greek Pasta Salad

I have a confession to make.

I am completely obsessed with Pharrell’s song “Happy” – and I know I’m not alone. I swear, it just makes me want to stop whatever I’m doing and break out into a dance. Which I have actually done. In the comfort of my home. While folding laundry. And getting the side-eye from my husband. Sorry for letting the music guide my soul babe.

Anyways, the other day my co-worker and I were talking about just the little things that get us through long and/or tough days. A big one was our girl friends and just getting to spend time with them – which we were both lamenting over the fact that we just don’t get to do enough. But then later that day she sent me a message about how the musical score to Harry Potter was making a tedious project almost enjoyable. Which was funny, because I was listening to my Harry Potter (Film Score) station on Pandora and it really is just amazing how music can help shape my mood.

I think the “Happy” song really just brings out my inner happiness, no matter how much it seems to be hiding that day. You know what else brings out happiness for me? Cooking.

Seriously, I know some people hate it. Dread it. View it as a necessary evil in order to provide nourishment. But hello, I have a blog about cooking on the BRIGHT side because I think preparing food for yourself or for others can bring so much joy.

So, in light of all of this talk of happiness and brightness, I’m sharing a delicious and beautiful dish with you – Greek Pasta Salad. This is totally an “eat with your eyes” recipe – and it tastes at least as good as it looks…

Close Up_GreekPastaSalad

Greek Pasta Salad (6 servings / 7 WW points per serving)

Ingredients_GreekPastaSalad

6 oz. whole wheat or enriched Rotini pasta (I used Barilla Plus)

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 medium cucumber, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped (I didn’t quite use a whole onion)

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

8 Tbsp. sliced black olives

4 oz. fat-free Feta crumbles

Dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to directions.

While the pasta is boiling, chop your veggies and make your dressing by whisking together the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. I personally like the level of “tang” in this, but if red wine vinegar has too potent of a taste for you – maybe start with 1/8 cup and work your way up. I like the pizzazz.

Veggies-Dressing_GreekPastaSalad

When the pasta is done cooking, drain and add to a medium bowl. Let cool for about 5 minutes.  Pour your dressing over the pasta. Then add your chopped vegetables, sliced olives and crumbled feta. Using a rubber spatula, mix until all ingredients are combined.

AssembleSalad_GreekPastaSalad

Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. I made a batch of this one Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a beautiful, vibrant and healthy lunch every day that week. Honestly, how can looking at this awesome pop of colors not make you happy?!

Greek Pasta Salad

Have a great weekend y’all!

Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

So the first thing I thought of when I woke up today?

This epic scene from Friends. Because we all know I can’t go a day without something relating back to the best show of all time. Could I be any more predictable?

So Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my readers – I love y’all to chocolate-covered pieces!

Obviously, today is a day to let the love flow. I’ve never been a huge fan of a big outing or major to-do on the holiday, but I think any day designated to tell the people you love just that can’t be all that bad.

In addition to a silly card and a bag of the hubby’s favorite candy (anything peanut butter and chocolate) I usually plan a nice meal in for us to celebrate. One year that involved my Mustard Glazed Lamb – and another year that involved us ordering pizza. It is what you make it people.

This year I have a special little treat – which I won’t divulge quite yet since I have a good hubby who reads my blog – but I’ll have to share it with y’all next week. Too fun.

Anyways – obviously I try out a lot of new recipes on my husband. Some good. Some not. Some “meh” – but I always look for an honest response from him on whether or not I should put it in our regular rotation.

Well a few weeks ago, I tried a new recipe from Cooking Light and it was pretty good. The next week I found myself with some ingredients to use up and figured I’d make the same recipe again with some modifications. It must have been better the second time around, because the hubby took a bite and said “Whoa, tell me about this one!”…like he had never had it before. It certainly made me chuckle, but it also made me smile that I didn’t have to coax out an opinion. Clearly, this one was a keeper – just like the Mr. (Awwwww).

Plated Pork Chops

Give it a try and let me know what you think! It’s pretty easy to throw together and the time it spends in the oven gives you time to clean up, assemble sides, etc.

Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops (Serves 2 – 8 WW points/serving)

Original recipe from Cooking Light found here.

Ingredients

2 6 oz. boneless lean pork chops, trimmed

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

2 Tbsp. orange marmalade

1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 red onion cut into chunks

1 Tbsp. dried rosemary (or 4 fresh sprigs)

1/2 tsp. canola oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

In a small saucepan, whisk orange juice, marmalade and mustard together. Bring to a boil, reduce slightly and cook about 10 minutes, allowing it to thicken.

While sauce is heating, season your pork chops with salt and pepper on each side. Add oil to an ovenproof skillet and heat to medium. Cook chops 5 minutes. Sprinkle with rosemary turn and add onion wedges. Pour the sauce over the chops into the pan and bake 10-12 minutes until cooked through.

Glazed Chops - Add Sauce

Plate chops and spoon sauce and onions over top. This is great with some roasted veggies and any sort of potatoes or bread.

Orange Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Hope y’all have a great weekend…and Happy Valentine’s Day!