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Easy oven baked fried chicken

This recipe is so easy. And it is a healthier alternative to fried chicken. I’ve tried other oven baked fried chicken recipes and they usually involve buttermilk and eggs. This is even easier. It takes just a few minutes to prep, then you stick it in the oven and walk away for a half hour. Brilliant. I also like to make roasted broccoli with it, because it goes in for the exact same amount of time and temperature as the chicken!

Here’s what you’ll need for the chicken:

– 1 lb chicken breast tenders

– 1/2 cup panko

– 2 tablespoons light mayo

– paprika

– garlic salt

– basil

– spray oil

For the roasted broccoli side you’ll need:

– 4 cups broccoli florets

– 2 tablespoons minced garlic

– spray oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the chicken tenders on a plate. Sprinkle them with the paprika, garlic salt, and basil. I also ended up throwing on a little cayenne pepper; you can really customize this to whatever flavor you want. Sometimes I will even sprinkle some hot sauce on the tenders with my spices.

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Once I’ve added the spices, I take one tablespoon of light mayo and apply it to the tenders. Once I’ve covered them in a thin layer, I flip the tenders over and add the spices to the other side and then follow with the second tablespoon of mayo

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Put the panko into a bowl, then take the prepped chicken and dip it into the panko, making sure both sides get covered. Place into a baking dish, and spray a little spray oil on top.

To prep the broccoli, grab a second baking dish or oven pan and use a little spray oil to coat the bottom. Add the broccoli florets and then add the minced garlic. Now spray a little more of the spray oil on top.

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Now everything is prepped and ready. Put both in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. That’s it! Delicious and healthier alternative to fried chicken.

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I love this meal because it takes such a small amount of effort and it has a comfort food vibe. Great home cooked meal that can be thrown together easily during your busy work week.

Easy oven baked fried chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons light mayo
  • ~1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • ~1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ~1/2 teaspoon basil
  • spray oil
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Add spices to one side of chicken tenders, spread 1 tablespoon light mayo
  3. Flip chicken, repeat addition of spices and mayo to second side
  4. Dip chicken in panko, fully covering tenders, then add to baking dish
  5. Lightly cover chicken with spray oil
  6. Now for broccoli - add spray oil to an oven pan
  7. Add broccoli to pan, then add the minced garlic to the pan
  8. Lightly cover broccoli with spray oil
  9. Put both in oven and bake for 30 minutes
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Road trip

Gearing up for a road trip! Really excited to go on an adventure with my husband, visit family, and knock back a few books on tape during the drive. As always, there is the element of staying on the right path with food and exercise running in the back of my mind.

Plan established ~

Food: Can be a little tough when on the road. I don’t want to get stuck with fast food or gas station snacks. Our long drive is broken up over a couple of days so we are putting together a smart snack bag and cooler. Going to make a few sandwiches (I’m pretty obsessed with Sara Lee’s 45 calorie whole wheat with honey), bring a big bag of baby carrots, and plenty of water. We also have a bunch of mixed nut and dried fruit snacks. I’m also lucky that after the road portion and during most of the trip we will be at my sister’s, she and her family eat well too with lots of cooking at home rather than eating out.

Exercise: I’m making sure to hit the gym a couple times before we go, and the hotels along the way have gyms as well. I am a member of 24 Hour Fitness, and there happens to be one around the corner from my sister’s place so it will be easy to keep up with my routine. Since we are driving it’s easy to pack extra work out clothes and gym gear. My husband and I are also big fans of walking adventures, we intend to spend vacation time parking and exploring parks, zoos and more on our trip. Plus we are spending most of our vacation chasing around an awesome, hyper little 2 year old, so I think that will keep us moving.

Adventure time – READY!

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Cookbooks

A big part of my path to healthier living has been the choice to cook more at home and to make healthier choices in ingredients. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I love food. Eating out is easy (and we used to do it a lot). Before we joined the gym and started exercising, my husband and I decided we wanted to eat out MUCH less and make more of our own food. It was our ‘step one’ in this whole lifestyle shift. We had a lot of recipes that we liked, and we started by tweaking some of those with slightly healthier options. For example, my spaghetti sauce was updated to use ground turkey sausage instead of standard. My husband updated his meatloaf with a mixture of turkey and sausage instead of beef and sausage. Little tweaks.

We wanted more options though. That led us to go to the bookstore and check out some recipe books. We started with one Cooking Light book, and since the first one we have bought two more. We own Fresh Food Fast, Fresh Food Superfast, and The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook. Incredible. The recipes are usually quite easy, and they are low in fat and calories. And as you can infer from the titles, some of them are very quick to put together, so they are perfect for people like us who both work and don’t have hours to dedicate to cooking.

There are so many options. We already plan to buy more of those books, the ones we own get used practically every day. They are covered in splashes of sauce from cooking and post it notes from our weekly meal planning. It’s fun to meal plan with them too, each recipe has a photo so we browse through before our big grocery store trips as if it’s a delicious restaurant menu. The recipes are good as well; they aren’t misleading and they are easy to follow. Aside from one or two semi-lame ones, all the ones we have tried have been so yummy. Bonus: most of the recipes from these books are already preloaded into MyFitnessPal‘s database. Tracking the food remains simple.

Pinterest is another place I find recipes. Have to be honest, these can sometimes be hit or miss. But it’s a great resource for inspiration, and sometimes a real gem is found there. One of my favorite sites for cheap and easy recipes that I found as a result of pinterest is Budget Bytes (The dragon noodles are one of my favorite recipes!).

This takes effort, but the effort is more in the meal planning. My husband and I set aside a few minutes once or twice a week to plan out a few meals and hit up the grocery store to buy everything we need. If we are both tired after work, we already have the ingredients – that way there is no excuse.

We both like the way we feel after cutting out a lot of the over-processed fatty foods we had been eating regularly too. It’s funny, because now even when we do eat out we tend to try to find healthier options. When we have a random fast food meal we both get kind of sick afterwards. Not going into details, but it’s not pretty. Our bodies are clearly rejecting that junk. I feel like my body is running more efficiently, and even though I view food more as fuel these days it’s very tasty fuel!

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Shrimp & avocado salad

Simple fresh salad. You can customize it however you want.

shrimpsalad

I usually make this in order to meal prep and bring a healthy lunch to work for 4 days (I chop and mix the veggies each day and only precook the shrimp, but you could also just view this as enough for 4 servings). Add or subtract veggies from this recipe per your tastes, but here’s what I do:

– 1 lb uncooked shrimp

– 2 avocados

– 2 cucumbers

– 2 tomatoes (I like the ones still on the vine!)

– head of iceberg lettuce (spinach would also be excellent)

– dressing (I use about a tablespoon of sesame oil, or about a tablespoon of poppy seed dressing per serving. Once again, this can be totally customizable.)

I saute the shrimp, either with cooking spray or a pad of butter if I feel like splurging. Once they are cooked through, I generally sprinkle them with some pepper and garlic powder (no need to go overboard, just a little). Now stick them in the fridge, this is meant to be a totally cold salad. I like to meal plan with this, so I add 1/4 of the total veggies listed above to 1/4 of the cooked shrimp to bring to work for lunch each day. I precook the shrimp, but I chop the veggies each night or morning before work so they don’t get gross being chopped up for too long by the time day 3 or 4 rolls around. When I’ve chopped veggies and added the shrimp to that portion, I drizzle a little dressing on, shake it up… and boom. Delicious, fresh, reasonably healthy lunch!