Saturday, March 7, 2015

21-Day Fix Thai Inspired Chicken and Vegetable Soup



I am on day 21 of Beachbody's 21-Day Fix with Autumn Calabrese and I can not say enough about it!  The combination of the meal plan and workouts is key and I had great results.  Not only am I more energized, I lost 3 pounds, 3 inches in my hip measurement and 2 inches in my waist measurement. My skin, my hair and my nails are nicer than they have been in years (since I can remember??).  AND, honestly, before this, I considered myself a healthy eater.  I also worked out regularly.

I tried poking around online to find a great description of what the program is all about but everything was very focused on weight loss and that's not why I'm doing it, although that is a desirable outcome of the program as well (if that is your goal). I chose to do this for the clean eating guide and 30-minute DO-ABLE workouts. I had just about all I could take of staring at a wall while running on the treadmill. I would try to eat clean and end up not getting the correct amount of proteins, veggies, healthy fats, etc., and be STARVING by 3:00. What I love about this program is that I am never hungry. If you are hungry, Autumn encourages you to add an additional green (veggie) or red (protein) to your day. When I first looked at the program at Christmas time, I was very close to doing this minus the meal plan because it looked confusing. Fast forward 2 months of comfort food later, I knew the meal plan was just what I needed and it is EVERYTHING. The workouts are great but my energy level and mood completely changed after starting the clean eating portion. It's not a diet, it's a lesson on how to eat the correct amount of calories and foods/portions based on your specific caloric needs with an appropriate calorie deficit to keep your metabolism going. (She gives a simple formula in the beginning of the book). 


I lost 3 pounds and a total of 5.5 inches! I lost 3 inches in my hip measurement and 2.5" in my waist measurement.  On February 27, 2014, I gave birth to my 4th daughter via my 4th c-section.  I have struggled to regain muscle strength in my ab muscles after those multiple surgeries.  It is a very difficult area for me to work and in the past, I would feel very frustrated by my lack of strength in those muscles.  I can’t believe the definition and strength I gained in my ab muscles in those short 21 days. 


I can not believe the changes that took place for me both mentally and physically in a short 21 days.  I am truly amazed.smile emoti I will link up some informational videos in the comments but I just wanted to add my 2 cents because a lot of what they talk about focuses on weight loss but it is really so much more than that. I loved this program so much, I jumped in and signed up to be a Beachbody Coach! Right now, I'm running a Challenge Group on Facebook where I am supplying all of my grocery lists, menu planning spreadsheets and links to the recipes I have used. It is a great group and support system that is keeping everyone accountable! This group runs until March 21st, and on April 6th, I am running a SECOND 21-Day Fix Challenge group.  While the one I am running now is a group anyone could join whether they are doing the 21-Day Fix or not, this second one will be specifically for people doing either the 21-Day Fix or the 21-Day Fix Extreme.  In this challenge group, I will provide you with all of the tools necessary to succeed! Send me your email if you wish to be added to the private, secret group (i.e. no one will see your posts or see that you are in the group). Email me at:  hello@jaimesheridan.com


April 6th may seem far away but remember, it takes a little over a week to get your 21-Day Fix video, book, containers, etc. It also takes some planning and organizing.  Getting a jump on all of it will definitely be to your benefit. 


I can't believe I'm sharing my un-showered, very much in need of a tan before and after pics here! It's not a huge transformation or anything but great progress in only 21 days. I can specifically see the 3 inch difference in my hip measurement in the pictures. 


This recipe is an adaptation of one I found on Allrecipes.  The original recipe calls for potato but I didn't want to use up any yellow containers for the soup.  I also made a few other small modifications!  I really loved the sweetness and Thai flavor the peanut butter added, but you could easily skip it for a more traditional chicken vegetable soup recipe!  Enjoy!

21-Day Fix Thai Inspired Chicken Vegetable Soup
a 2 cup serving = 1 red, 1 green, 1 teaspoon

Ingredients
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups diced, cooked chicken meat
4 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 broccoli head, chopped
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 stalks celery chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons of dried parsley
dash of salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Spray the bottom of a soup pot with cooking spray. Sauté all vegetables until slightly tender.
2. Add broth and parsley and bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes or so until veggies are as tender as you like. 
3. Stir in peanut butter and simmer until well combined (5 minutes or so). Add salt and pepper as necessary/wanted.




Thursday, March 5, 2015

21-Day Fix Shrimp Quinoa Salad


I'm on day 17 of the 21-Day Fix with Autumn Calabrese and I am LOVING every second of it.  If you are feeling the weight of this cold weather and snow on your body and energy level, I highly suggest you look into this program. It's not a gimmick or quick fix, it's a lesson on how to incorporate  clean eating and fitness into your busy lifestyle in a way that will transform your body and mindset. If you want to hear more about it, please feel free to email me at hello@jaimesheridan.com.

Shrimp and quinoa salad is a healthy, filling lunch that comes together quickly and makes for some easy grab and go lunches during the week.

Shrimp and Quinoa Salad
Equals: 1 Red, 1 Green, 1 Yellow and 1 Orange

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa (rinsed and cooked according to package directions)
1 15 oz can chick peas
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 container of grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, diced
1 cup broccoli, diced
2 scallions, diced
1/4 of a red onion, diced
1 pound raw shrimp or cooked shrimp cocktail

Dressing:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon tarragon
3 teaspoons dijon mustard
dash of salt and pepper
5 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions and let cool.  If using raw shrimp, spray a sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Cook the shrimp until no longer opaque in the middle (just a few minutes).
2. Add quinoa, beans and all veggies in a large bowl.  Stir together.  Add shrimp and mix to combine.
3.  With a fork or whisk, mix together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour over salad stirring to make sure the dressing is well distributed.
4. Separate into 5 containers to eat as individual servings! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

21-Day Fix Slow Cooker Chili


It's been a long winter with lots of snow and lots of comfort food. I'm bored of the treadmill and miss our active days outside, grilling and overall lighter fare. I've been feeling so sluggish lately and I think it is in part of our over indulgence in treats, treats and more treats!

I've been eyeing the 21-Day Fix with Autumn Calabrese for a couple months now.  When it went on sale this month I decided to buy it strictly for the workouts as I thought organizing the clean eating meal plan might be too much work.  After reading over the guide and watching some of her videos on her clean eating plan, I decided to go for it!

I sat down and planned all 21 days worth of meals and snacks. I made Excel spreadsheets for the daily menus and grocery lists for each week.  I organized a Pinterest board with the recipes and I now am ready to go!

I always do better with these challenges when I have friends to join me but I didn't have any takers this time around! So, for those of you that are interested, I created a challenge group on Facebook and am doing this a second time on March 9th.  It is a closed, private group so posts can only be seen by members and will not show up in other's news feeds. Here, I will share all of the documents I have organized and all of the planning I have done! It will be a support forum for everyone to stay motivated, discuss workouts and share recipes. The official challenge begins March 9th but feel free to join the group before then!

For the record, I will not be getting on any kind of soap box lecturing about clean eating! Velveeta and Rotel happen in my house. Ice cream sundaes happen and so does bacon. I am just struggling to find a balance lately and want to go into spring feeling healthy and fit.  I think this program is just what I need as a kick start.

Hope to see lots of friends join me!!

Here is my 21-Day Fix approved dinner for Monday and lunch for Wednesday!

Two Cups of Chili= 1 Red, 1 Green and 1 Yellow container

Slow Cooker 21-Day Fix Chili
Ingredients
1 lb turkey meat
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup of frozen, sweet corn
1 can Rotel
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

Direction:
1. Brown turkey meat with pepper, onion and garlic. Drain
2.  Add browned turkey/pepper mixture to slow cooker pot and add all remaining ingredients.  Cook on low for 4 hours.
Enjoy!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

freezer meals for busy weeknights




Right before Isla was born last year, I started doubling our dinner recipes on occasion and storing half of the dish in the freezer. I saved them until after she was born and had a bunch of pre-made dinners ready to go as we adjusted to life as a family of 6! It made life so much easier during those crazy weeknights when the older girls went in a million different directions.

Fast forward one year later and I'm still making a habit of having a variety of frozen dinners stocked in our freezer to make our weeknight evenings slightly less chaotic!

I thought I would share what our freezer looks like today and some of my go-to recipes for doubling and freezing!

1.  Grilled Chicken Breast
Well, this is not a recipe obviously and the batch that is pictured is not actually grilled but oven baked instead! I prefer having grilled chicken breast in the freezer but our grill is currently buried under 2 feet of snow.  I grill/bake boneless chicken breast with a little salt and pepper, individually wrap them and store them in the freezer.  They're so nice to have on hand to defrost and throw in a salad or make some quick quesadillas.

2.  Glazed Meatballs
I prepare the meatballs and freeze them. The day before we're going to eat them, I put them in the fridge to defrost. Before I put them in the oven, I mix up the glaze (the PW glaze is our favorite) right in the pan, stir in the meatballs and pop them in the oven.  I like to serve these with carrot sticks and potatoes of some kind.

3.  Broccoli Cheddar Soup
I love this Skinnytaste version!  This defrosts quickly in the fridge. I serve it with a salad and bread.

4.  Chicken Taquitos
This site has a great chicken taquito recipe that I love to use!  I follow her directions for freezing and baking.  She suggests writing the cooking instructions right on the freezer bag.  I do this for all of my freezer meals. This way, I don't need to go and look up the recipe to find out how long and at what temp it needs to be cooked.

5.  Pioneer Woman Turkey Chili
I have tried lots of chili recipes and I always go back to this one.  I use turkey instead of beef and add a can of rotel to the recipe.

6.  Amazing Pork Tenderloin
This is really good. Pork tenderloins always come two in a pack.  It's so easy to mix up the marinade twice and freeze one, raw, pre-marinated tenderloin.  I defrost it in the fridge the day before I am going to make it and dump it all in the slow cooker the next day! If you are opposed to using dry onion soup mix, you can make your own using this recipe.

7.  Baked Ziti
Two of our girls don't like baked ziti and prefer plain pasta with butter.  I double the recipe and bake one 9x11 pan and use the leftovers for either lunches or another dinner that week.  I take the second half of the recipe and divide it into 3 separate loaf pans.  This way R and L can have either gluten free or buttered pasta and the loaf pan is just enough for the rest of us!  Also, this recipe calls for sour cream but I use ricotta instead.

Thanks for taking a peek inside my freezer today! Have a great week!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

This week's menu!

I thought I would link up this week's menu items!  The recipes are all really easy and can be prepped ahead of time, of course!

Sunday: Prep Ahead:  Season up the chicken Saturday night and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Slow Roasted Chicken, Steamed Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes
This is one of those rare recipes that is a hit with everyone!  It's so easy and so good!

Monday: Prep Ahead: This is so easy to prepare.  You can do it quickly the morning of or get everything ready the night before and store your slow cooker insert in the fridge.  That's what I usually do.
Slow Cooker Pulled PorkPortuguese Sweet Bread in the bread machine (scroll down for recipe), Carrot Sticks

Tuesday: Prep Ahead: Make the meatballs Monday night after the kids go to sleep and store them in the fridge overnight.
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs , Salad
We were supposed to have these last week but we ended up having bread machine crescent rolls with turkey and cheese.  I don't have a link to this recipe but if you want it, let me know! It's a great one.

Wednesday:  Prep Ahead: Defrost the picadillo meat in the fridge overnight.
Picadillo Quesadillas, Snap Peas
A couple weeks ago I tried a slow cooker picadillo recipe and I have to admit, it wasn't a keeper for us.  I felt like we were eating chili that needed more flavor.  It made a ton though so I froze it in 1 cup containers and we will use it for quesadillas!

Thursday: Prep Ahead: Prepare the entire recipe Wednesday night and store in fridge. I have actually made this recipe 2 days ahead of time and it was still great.
Baked Ziti, Salad
I love this recipe but if you don't cover it while it bakes, it dries out.  Also, I always double it and get two pans out of it.  It freezes really well!

Friday: Prep Ahead: Set the bread machine up with the ingredients in the morning and use the delay timer to have the dough ready at 5:00pm. I usually set the dough to be ready about an hour before I actually want to eat dinner.  This way, it can rise for a half hour and the girls can have time to prepare their pizzas.
Make Your Own Pizza , Cucumbers, Red Peppers, Carrot Sticks
The girls like to make their own little creations.  Talia actually prefers to make a copycat version of Domino's cheesy breadsticks.

Saturday: Prep Ahead: Mix everything in the morning and store in the fridge until ready to bake!
Tomato Basil Shrimp , Brown Rice, Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

lightened up butter-less shrimp scampi




Here is a great weeknight recipe! Super flavorful, lightened up shrimp scampi! It comes together in about 20 minutes!  I promise you will not miss the butter!

Prep Ahead Plan:  Take the time to peel and devein the shrimp the night before and leave them in a bowl in the fridge.  Chop the parsley and garlic the night before too! That is really the most time consuming part of the whole recipe.

Lightened up Shrimp Scampi
adapted from the Weight Watchers

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 lb raw shrimp, large, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt-free lemon & herb seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
8 oz cooked linguine (I use Dreamfields)
¼ cup fresh parsley chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried)

Directions:
 1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Stir in  fresh lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning and salt and pepper.
2.  Add shrimp and sauté until bright pink, stirring frequently, just a few minutes.
3.  Add wine and simmer about 1 minute.
4.  Dissolve cornstarch in chicken broth in a small cup and whisk until blended;
     add mixture to skillet and simmer 2 minutes, until sauce thickens.  If using dried parsley add it now (if using fresh, wait until serving).
5.  Add cooked linguini to the shrimp and scampi sauce mixture (if using fresh parsley, mix it in before serving).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sweetened Guinness and Teriyaki Grilled Steak



Sweetened Guinness and teriyaki steak for St. Patrick’s Day

With our combined Sheridan and Eagan Irish ancestry one would think we would be serving up some corned beef and cabbage for tomorrow night’s St. Patty’s Day feast. Nope.  We love the idea of that traditional Irish dinner but unfortunately, neither of us like it very much!  In the past we’ve celebrated with Guinness bbq chicken or Guinness braised short ribs  Tomorrow, we’re serving up another Guinness flavor infused dish.  Very easy and very flavorful!  Sweetened Guinness and teriyaki grilled steak!

Prep Ahead Plan:  Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag either the night before or 6-8 hours before grilling!  Marinate in fridge!


Sweetened Guinness and Teriyaki Grilled Steak
Ingredients
½ cup of Guinness beer
¼ cup of teriyaki sauce (I use Kikoman reduced sodium or if I'm extra ambitious, I use the homemade recipe found HERE)
2 large cloves minced garlic
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 pound steak (Whichever cut you prefer.  NY strip, t-bone and steak tips work well.)

Directions
1.     Combine everything except for steak in a bowl or large Ziploc bag.  Mix well.
2.     Add steak to marinade, moving it around to make sure the marinade is all over the steak.
3.     Refrigerate overnight or for 6-8 hours.
4.     Grill over medium-high heat on a covered grill 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium doneness depending on thickness of steak and how you like your steak cooked!