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
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

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.

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!