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Sautéed Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are a woefully underrated cut of chicken that packs lots of flavor and is very hard to overcook. Seared and sautéed with onions and peppers is one of the easiest ways to prepare this dish. And at roughly $4 a pack, this is a easy dish to double or triple up for the week and easy freezer meals.

If you don’t want to eat it the same way all week, it is easy to prep the base chicken the same way and consider reserving a few thighs to shred for tacos, salad toppers or as a protein for loaded French fries or loaded mashed potatoes. I am a big believer of one-day a week meal prep, and you can find more tips and tricks on how I do it in my Foundational Meal Prep e-book that can be found here.

Check out the recipe for the sautéed chicken below.

Serves 3-4

  • 1 packet of chicken thighs (boneless/skinless if preferred)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup of sliced bell pepper of choice
  • 3 cloves of garlic pressed or 1 tbsp minced
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water

Directions:

  1. Remove skin from thighs and trim excess fat. Wash hands.
  2. Peel and thinly slice onion. Cut bell pepper in half, remove core and thinly slice half. Slice and store remainder for other uses.
  3. In a large pan, add oil over medium heat. Season chicken with half of the seasoning. 
  4. When oil sizzles, add chicken seasoned side down and season the remaining side. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until brown and remove to a plate or cutting board.
  5. Add onions and peppers to pan. Press in garlic or add minced and stir well. Add in liquid to remove bits from the pan and to soften the veggies. 
  6. Add chicken on top of veggies, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. (This protects the coloring and seasoning on the chicken)
  7. Enjoy.
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Planning for Meal Prep

Meal prep made easy

Its that time a year where meal prep is critical, or as the kids say, clutch! I am a big fan of giving myself variety through meal prep and dinner bowls are not only cost effective, but offer variety. At a lofty $3.50 per serving, these beans, greens and grains bowls are tasty and cost effective. I made enough for the week, to share and to freeze. The trick is to break it into the basics.


Grains: I like to explore new seeds and grains and for these bowls I used a quinoa, bulgur wheat mixture for some varied nutrients. This served as the base for the bowls and a side for a couple of other meals.


Greens: As a Southerner, I love a good pot of greens. I made huge pot mixing kale, turnips, collards and mustards with a bunch of garlic and onion. It should be cooked until tender which is usually 20-30 minutes with the pre-chopped bags I used.


Proteins: Stewed black beans with fire roasted tomatoes are a great addition for vegetarian bowls or chicken fajita bowls (adding optional avocado). I also baked fish and sautéed two chicken breast for varied bowl options. 


Tip: Cut onion ahead of time and freeze it. I dice, slice and finely chop onion and store it in small freezer bags to have on hand. I do the same with bell pepper! This made it easy to caramelize onions and peppers for the chicken fajita bowl option.


Cooking:

  1. Start with the greens. With 1 1/2 diced onion and a head or two of minced garlic, add it to a large pot with a cup of water. Rinse a large bag of greens and add to the pot. Preheat the oven for the fish.
  2. While that cooks, start the grains, following the cooking instructions on the bag or your usual method if using a favorite. I used half stock, half water for some extra flavor and a few cloves of minced garlic.
  3. Stir greens and season well with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders and cayenne. Start stewed tomatoes on stove top and cook down for a few minutes before adding a cup of water and a can of beans. Season well. 
  4. Bake fish of choice with some fresh thyme and lemon and a drizzle of avocado or olive oil. While that bakes, season a sear the chicken breasts (or thighs).
  5. Optional: use pan from chicken to caramelize onions and peppers for the chicken fajita bowls.
  6. Remove fish from oven and turn off stove tops. Let food begin to cool before adding to storage containers.
  7. Freeze or share additional portions.
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Easy Meal Prep

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Prepping ahead goes a long way toward helping you stay on budget and curbing the need for take out under the notion of “I don’t have any thing easy to cook at home.” It’s helpful to always keep a couple of quick cook options stocked in the freezer whether leftovers from a large batch of beans or meat sauce, or pre chopped veggies and seasoning that can be added to your protein of choice. Seasonal vegetables like squash, zucchini and potato can last for several months in the freezer and make an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner meal in a pinch. I’ve added sausage and have also smothered it with onion and garlic to go with chicken. It can also be seasoned a variety of ways to keep things interesting.

A quart size bag makes 2 to 3 servings and a gallon would make roughly 6-8 servings. It’s best to chop and freeze it in your preferred quantity. You can always add bell pepper and/or onion (green, white or yellow) to your mix for added flavor. Personally I prefer a higher ratio of the squash and zucchini to the potato for a higher fiber, lower card ratio.

After thoroughly rinsing the veggies, I chopped roughly a cup to 1 1/4 of squash and zucchini and a 1/2 cup of potato. when adding the onion and bell pepper, add only a cup of the first two veggies to make sure the quart size bag has space.

As some of you may have seen last week, I am attempting to add a videos to support these post. That will be a work in progress :). Please share your thoughts and happy prepping!