Built in the Kitchen; Sculpted in the Gym.

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FitMenCook
Author Author / 457 Posts
My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is truly a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and enjoying adequate exercise. By experimenting in the kitchen and openly sharing my meals, I learned that healthy eating is hardly boring and that by making a few adjustments, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my personal fitness goals. Our bodies are built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym.
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One of my favorite recipes for cooking chicken in bulk, but this time using flavorful chicken thighs.  Since chicken thighs are not as lean as chicken breasts, it’s important to purchase skinless thighs and trim large, visible pieces of fat in order to reduce the amount of fat in your diet.

Spiced Chicken Thigh Recipe

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 3lb chicken thighs, skinless and fat trimmed
  • Veggies
    • 1 tablespoon safflower (or olive oil)
    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped
    • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • Seasonings
    • 1 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • pinches of sea salt & pepper (then to taste AFTER cooking)
  • Garnish
    • freshly chopped mint
    • cracked pepper

 

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 420F.
  2. Season the chicken thighs in a bowl and set aside and allow to marinate (at room temperature).
  3. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of safflower oil.  Once hot, toss in the garlic and veggies.  Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the edges of the veggies are lightly seared and softer yet still crunchy.  Be careful NOT to burn the garlic.  Set the veggies aside.
  4. Using the same skillet, lightly spray with oil (if needed), then add chicken thighs to the skillet.  Sear on both sides for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  5. Add the seared veggies back to the skillet and add a pinch or two of cracked pepper on top.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Tip: set the oven to broil for the final 2 minutes of cooking.
  7. Once finished baking, garnish with mint and pepper.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 8 servings (of 6oz chicken):

253 calories, 3g carbohydrates, 33g protein, 12g fat, <1g fiber, 1g sugar

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Whether you’re trying to impress someone for the first time, or you’re trying to boost the romance in your existing relationship, here are few “rules” that I try to abide by:

  • Keep it simple. This is especially true if this is one of your first dates. Make a recipe that is not so complex and really focus on the presentation. Remember, we eat with our eyes FIRST.
  • Keep the portions to a good fist size. By not stuffing the person (or yourself) with food, you allow room for another course such as dessert and/or alcohol and wine.
  • Avoid foods that tend to bloat or make people gassy. This is self explanatory.  While your dream date may be eating pizza – which is perfectly fine to do if that’s what you want – remember that you want your date to feel good about herself/himself. So, loading them up on cheese or dairy may run counter to that goal and could kill the romance after a delicious meal.  Think about it – have you ever had someone try to be affectionate but you’re not feeling well?  It’s uncomfortable and slightly annoying…
    • To that end, you don’t have to stuff yourself.  A polite idea is to say something like, “This is so good, I’d love to take some of this home with me. Would you mind if I packed some up for my lunch and dinner?”  Now, the etiquette police out there may advise against doing this because it can be seen as tacky; however, I find that it is flattering.  “The food is so good I want more of it.”
  • Always be grateful.  When someone cooks for you, it really is a way to show love and affection. And, for some, it can be very personal and vulnerable.  Be sensitive to this and be mindful of your comments and gestures. If it doesn’t taste that great, then keep reminding yourself how much someone cared to take time out of their schedule to make you feel special.
    • This has surprisingly only happened once for me. She surprised me with a picnic and we had ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread. To this day it’s still one of my most memorable dates ever.
  • Never show up empty handed. Bring a beverage, a salad, wine, flowers, dessert, etc – anything! Just don’t show up with an appetite.
  • Brag on her/him. Compliments in the moment do go a long way, but if it’s someone you’re trying to establish a real relationship with, then don’t be afraid to make a modest social media post bragging on your woman/man for whipping up some stuff in the kitchen.
    • It doesn’t have to be right away but it should be public (unless the person is a sidepiece – remind them of their role ON THE SIDE).
    • Public recognition is ESPECIALLY true if a dude is cooking for you! Lol There’s nothing like getting public love from someone who has captured our hearts – strokes the male ego.  And if you’re trying to get your man to do MORE cooking, then definitely brag on us (just don’t overdo it though).

 

Remember, food does more than satisfy our appetites.  It creates moments and memories that can stay with us for a lifetime.  You decide which kind of memory you want to create – the “spatula” is in your hand…

Tweet me your date night tips!

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I’ve been experimenting a lot in the kitchen recently to prepare for my upcoming book. Not everything I make is going to make the final cut to go to print but it doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of a little link “love.”

Here’s a recipe I made with a calorie-conscious date-night in mind.

Check out some of my “rules” to creating a memorable date night with food.  This is a low-carb recipe with higher fat so it is satisfying.

shirataki shrimp stir-fry

Shrimp Shirataki Noodle Stir-Fry Recipe

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 14oz jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined and raw (OR your choice of protein such as tempeh, chicken, beef)
  • 16oz tofu shirataki noodles (drained, patted dry on a paper towel)
  • Stir-fry:
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 celery stalk, thinly and diagonally sliced
    • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy
    • 1 tablespoon hot Chinese mustard (or jalapeño Dijon)
    • 1 teaspoon agave (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
    • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot starch (optional, as a thickener)
  • Garnish
    • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
    • sesame seed
    • 3 green onions, thinly and diagonally sliced
    • lime

 

Steps:

  1. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray with a little olive oil or cooking spray.  Once the pan is hot, toss in the raw shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes until it is no longer pink.  Set the shrimp aside and using the same skillet, add safflower oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, toss in the bell pepper and celery.  Cook until the outside edges are seared and the veggies are still crunchy.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set it aside.
  4. Add the cooked shrimp and noodles to the skillet and toss the mixture together for about 1 minute.  Reduce the heat, then move the mixture to one side of the skillet and pour in the sauce.  Once the sauce begins to simmer/bubble, toss everything together in the skillet.
  5. Cook for about 1 -2 minutes more, then plate. Add the garnish (if desired) and enjoy.

Approximate macros for 2 servings:

344 calories, 29g protein, 13g carbohydrates, 24g fat, 4g fiber, 5g sugar

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As part of my partnership with Pronamel, they asked me to create content with the theme “Twice as Good” in mind – something that can serve two purposes.

First thing that came to mind was obviously, food!  But here’s my take/twist.

One thing I like to do is purchase produce and products from my local farmer’s market and nearby small businesses.  By doing so, I’m investing in my community and so it can flourish and provide newer, better “goods” for all of us.

Similarly, that’s how food should be.  It should nourish our bodies and push us closer to our wellness goals, all while tasting delicious!

With that in mind, I purchased some produce from my local farmer’s market to create some delicious, natural salad dressings just in time for the spring!

HEALTHY SALAD DRESSING RECIPES

 

ORANGE RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE RECIPE

natural salad vinaigrette

Ingredients for 14oz (14 servings of 2 tablespoons):

  • juice from 4 oranges (~1 cup orange juice)
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave (or raw honey)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves (1 sprig)
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil for flavor (or just add more olive oil if allergic to peanuts)
  • pinch of pepper

 

Steps:

Add all ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor, then blend until smooth.

Season to taste with sea salt & pepper…and other fresh herbs of your liking.

 

Approximate macros for 2 tablespoons serving size:

131 calories, 3g carbohydrates, 13g fat, <1g protein, <1g fiber, 3g sugar

 

SESAME CARROT VINAIGRETTE RECIPE

natural salad vinaigrette

Ingredients for 16oz (16 servings of 2 tablespoons):

  • 2 large carrots (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 ounce fresh ginger (or 1 1/2 tablespoon ginger paste)
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy
  • 1 tablespoon agave (or raw honey)
  • 1/8 cup red (or white) onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil for flavor
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon raw turmeric (optional)

 

Steps:

Add all ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor, then blend until smooth.

Season to taste with sea salt & pepper…and other fresh herbs of your liking.

 

Approximate macros for 2 tablespoons serving size:

119 calories, 4g carbohydrates, 12g fat, 1g protein, <1g fiber, 2g sugar

 

 

ROASTED PEPPER VINAIGRETTE RECIPE

natural salad vinaigrette

Ingredients for 16oz (16 servings of 2 tablespoons):

  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, skin, seeds and tops removed
  • 1 roasted shallot (or 1/3 roasted red onion)
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon agave (or raw honey)
  • pinch of sea salt & pepper
  • fresh dill to taste

 

Steps:

Set oven to 400F.

Chop the tops off the red bell pepper.  Place the bell peppers and shallot on a baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Roast in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes (careful not to let it burn). Or broil for 15 minutes for a faster solution.

Remove the skin and the seeds from the peppers, as well as the skin from the shallot/onion.  Let them cool to room temperature.

Add all ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor, then blend until smooth.

Season to taste with sea salt & pepper…and other fresh herbs of your liking.

 

Approximate macros for 2 tablespoons serving size:

100 calories, 2g carbohydrates, 11g fat, <1g protein, <1g fiber, 2g sugar

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One of the most important aspects of any healthy eating journey is variety – it keeps us all sane and satisfied.  I draw a lot of inspiration from various cuisines around the world.  It’s not as complicated as you may think – it’s just a matter of pairing different spices and herbs together, and when necessary, incorporating regional sauces/spices.

Here’s a delicious Moroccan-inspired lamb burger recipe using a sauce you can find in most grocery stores – harissa. It’s spicy, with a subtle smoky peppery flavor, kind of like smoked paprika.

I like using ground lamb because it is higher in fat and has CLAs and omega-6 fatty acids, which is helpful at the moment since I’m following a cyclical ketogenic diet (meaning I’m on it for a few weeks, then I move off of it). If you are trying to keep the fat in your diet much lower, then I suggest using a leaner form of ground meat.  This will also result in a higher amount of protein as well.

Moroccan Lamb Burgers Recipe

Ingredients for 4 burgers:

  • Burger patty
    • 1lb ground lamb (I purchased Private Selection brand from Kroger, Ralph’s, Fred Meyers)
    • 2 teaspoons harissa sauce
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (or minced garlic)
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 2 tablespoon fresh chopped mint
      1 teaspoon cayenne
    • pinch sea salt & pepper
    • olive oil spray
  • Yogurt sauce:
    • 1/2 peeled cucumber, diced very small
    • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
    • 6 tablespoons 2% Greek yogurt (or coconut/soy yogurt if you want a dairy free option)
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
    • fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)
    • fresh dill to taste (optional)
  • Garnish
    • Mixed green salad
    • Red onion slices

 

Steps:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the yogurt sauce.  Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the lamb burger.  Once mixed, form 4 equal sized patties.
  3. Lightly spray a nonstick skillet with olive oil and set it on medium heat.  Once hot, add the patties to the skillet and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, ensuring that each side is seared and the inside of the patty is completely cooked.  You can also sear the patties on each side for 1 to 2 minutes, then immediately place in the oven on broil for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Serve/enjoy immediately with a mixed green salad and yogurt sauce.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 4 servings (WITH yogurt sauce without garnish):

312 calories, 22g protein, 2g carbohydrates, 24g fat, <1g fiber, 1.5g sugar

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Just because you reduce the carbohydrates, gluten and dairy in your diet, doesn’t mean you have to lose out on a lot of flavor.  Here’s one of my favorite low-carb recipes that’s both filling and flavorful.

Shrimp Pasta Recipe

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 3/4 lb giant shrimp
  • 2 large spaghetti squash (roughly 20oz when baked and pulled out of rings)
  • Cream Sauce
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut oil)
    • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
    • 1/3 cup red onions
    • 1 cup coconut cream
    • juice from 1 lemon (or to taste)
    • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
    • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Garnish:
    • chives
    • fresh dill
    • coarse pepper
    • lemon
  • spray olive oil or coconut oil

 

Steps:

  1. set oven to 400F.
  2. Using the sharpest and largest knife you can find, cut spaghetti squash into rings.  Remove the insides, then place the rings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Brush or spray the rings with olive oil and add a pinch of sea salt & pepper. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.  Once the squash has finished baking, allow it to cool, then gently pull the spaghetti out of the rings and set in a bowl.
  4. Set a nonstick skillet on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add the shrimp and cook until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  While the shrimp is cooking, add a pinch of sea salt & pepper.  Set the shrimp aside.
  5. Using the same skillet, add olive oil and saute garlic and red onion for about 3 minutes, being careful not to let the onions or garlic brown.  Then, add the remaining ingredients for the sauce.  Once it begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook for about another 1 -2 minutes.
  6. Add a serving of pasta to a plate, then a serving of shrimp, then pour part of the sauce over it.
  7. Garnish, then enjoy immediately!

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 2 servings:

546 calories, 39g protein, 27g carbohydrates, 32g fat, 5g fiber, 2g sugar

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Today, I’m taking a walk down memory lane and REMIXING one of my first YouTube videos – baked oatmeal for meal prep.

This version is redone in order to: 1) stay moist throughout the entire week, whether you heat it up or not; and 2) help you practice better portion control and give you “just enough” to help curb cravings.

 

Baked Oatmeal Recipe

Ingredients for 48 mini-muffins (UPDATED):

  • Dry ingredients:
    • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 cup cacao powder (or dark chocolate powder)
  • Wet ingredients:
    • 2 ripe bananas
    • 1 small ripe avocado
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
    • 1/3 cup agave (or raw honey)
  •  Garnish
    • 12 tablespoons dark chocolate chunks (1 tablespoon should be enough for 4 mini-muffins, about ~2 chunks on each mini-muffin)
    • shaved almonds (optional)
    • coarse sea salt

*** – You can use a regular-sized muffin pan.

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 350F.
  2. Peel the ripe bananas and mash them up with a fork in a large bowl.
  3. Add ripe avocado to the banana and mash  together.
  4. Beat in two eggs, then add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix together and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients, then slowly add to the bowl of wet ingredients. Gently fold everything together using a spatula.
  6. Spray a mini muffin pan with baking spray, then add about a tablespoon of the mixture to each one. Top them off with 2 chocolate chunks and a pinch shaved almonds. Garnish with a pinch of sea salt on top.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until you can pierce them with a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  8. Let them slightly cool, then remove them from the muffin pan and place on a cooling rack or a plate to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container or sealable bag.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 48 muffins:

64 calories, 8g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 1.5g protein, 2g fiber, 4g sugar

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One of my favorite recipes to start the day and get your house smelling pretty darn good. I know it’s a simple recipe but I always feel accomplished when I make something just as good a store-bought versions.  And you will too!

Feel free to make this your own and use your favorite raw nuts and/or seeds as well.  Also, they now have quinoa flakes in stores that look a lot like rolled oats and they’re also gluten-free! So, that’s another option.

You definitely DO NOT have to add as many nuts to mine as I did. Lolol I kinda like for my granola to be slightly close to trail mix and higher calorie, in order to curb my appetite. But again, that’s me…

 

Here’s the base recipe to make your own!

Granola Recipe

Ingredients for about 5 cups of homemade granola:

  • Dry Ingredients:
    • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
    • 1 cup raw pecans
    • 1 cup raw cashews
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    • pinch of sea salt
  • Wet Ingredients:
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or olive oil)
    • 1/3 cup Simple Truth raw honey (or substitute maple syrup, agave or apple honey)
  • Optional garnish:

 

Steps for Homemade Granola:

  1. Set oven to 325F.
  2. Add raw nuts to a sealable bag and crush them up (using your hands or another object).
  3. Add the raw nuts to a bowl, then add the rest of the dry ingredients.  Mix together.
  4. Then add the wet ingredients to the bowl.  Thoroughly mix everything together using a spatula and ensure all the rolled oats are covered in oil and honey.
  5. Add parchment paper to a baking sheet, then spread the granola out on the pan.  Make sure there are no large clumps, you want it flat.
  6. If desired, drizzle a little more honey over the top of the granola, then sprinkle cane sugar on top for crunch.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Careful not to let the oats or nuts burn.
  8. After baking, allow the granola to completely cool, then easily break it into pieces.
  9. Store the granola in an airtight container and it will be good for several weeks.

 

Serving size – 1/4 cup.  Approximate macros for 1 of 20 servings (with optional ingredients):

176 calories, 18g carbohydrates, 10g fat, 3g protein, 8g sugar

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I’m following up on a FAQ –

“What are some lunch meals you can enjoy that don’t have to be reheated?”

Here are four easy lunch ideas to help inspire your next meal prep! This is a continuation of the 5 cold lunch mash-up that I did last year.

When it comes to eating food cold (or at room temperature), keep it simple! Here are some guidelines I live by:

  •  Protein:
    • poultry (chicken, turkey, boiled eggs)
    • some fish (I like fatty fish such as salmon and swordfish on occasion, fully cooked cod also does well)
    • lean steaks such as flank and London broil
    • grilled, firm tofu (tempeh is good as well – just make sure it’s seasoned and cooked through)
  • Avoid meals with fatty ground meats or fatty melted cheeses – the cold texture of grease isn’t as pleasing or appetizing (of course cold pizza is the exception!)
  • Chopped salads > regular salads – I find they are more enjoyable and when chopped together, so long as you have a good mix of wet/dry and firm/soft ingredients, really don’t require a lot of dressing. Plus, you can easily make sandwiches, pitas, wraps out of it too!

 

Cold Lunch Recipes

 

Sweet Kale, Bean & Quinoa Salad

cold lunch - kale bean quinoa salad

Ingredients for 1 serving of salad:

  • OPTIONAL: your choice of 3oz – 6oz cooked protein (chicken, turkey, tofu, tempeh, etc)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped kale, wilted/steamed
  • 1/3 cup black beans (or Simple Truth Tri-Bean blend)
  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • Seasonings:
  • 1 teaspoon Simple Truth maple syrup (or you can use 1/2 packet Stevia in the raw)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • juice from half small orange
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • add-ons:
    • red pepper for spiciness
    • pinch of smoked paprika to compliment cumin
    • substitute orange for lemon
  • spray olive oil

 

Approximate macros for 1 salad (without 6oz chicken):

201 calories, 11g protein, 38g carbohydrates, 1g fat, 7g fiber, 7g sugar

 


Frittata (Sausage) Muffins with Avocado Toast

cold lunch - egg frittata avocado toast
cold lunch - egg frittata avocado toastcold lunch - egg frittata avocado toast

Ingredients for 6 frittata muffins:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 lean chicken sausage (optional; or choice of cooked, lean ground meat)
  • 1 cup broccoli crowns (or choice of fibrous vegetable)
  • 1 colorful bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 6 tablespoons reduced-fat mozzarella
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon thyme
    • pinch of sea salt & pepper
  • 1/2 medium ripe avocado
  • 1 serving of toasted sourdough (or whole grain bread)

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 6 muffins:

106 calories, 11g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 5g fat, 1g fiber, 2g sugar

 

Approximate macros for 1 slice of sourdough + 1/2 medium avocado:

195 calories, 5g protein, 19g carbohydrates, 14g fat, 9g fiber, 2g sugar

 


Sticky Steak Rolls with Cilantro Jasmine Rice

cold lunch - sticky steak rolls
cold lunch - sticky steak rolls

Ingredients for 3 steak rolls:

  • ~6oz lean flank steak or London broil, sliced into thin 2oz pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/3 cup onion, cut into strips
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into strips
  • Steak seasonings:
    • 2 teaspoons onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • pinch pepper
  • Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze (or 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon raw honey)
    • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
    • Add an extra teaspoon of honey if you want it extra sticky or sweet (OPTIONAL)
    • Also, consider adding: red pepper for spice or swapping soy sauce with fresh lime juice
  •  Rice:
    • mix cooked jasmine rice with chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 3 steak rolls:

127 calories, 13g protein, 12g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 1g fiber, 7g sugar

 

Approximate macros for 1/2 cup jasmine rice:

103 calories, 23g carbohydrates, 0g fat, 2g protein, 1g fiber, 0g sugar

 


Chopped Salad Jar…with Bacon and Sweet Lemon Vinaigrette

DSC02255-5

Ingredients:

  • 5oz cooked chicken breast (OR your choice and serving size of lean protein)
  • 3 thick butter lettuce leaves
  • 2 leaves Romaine lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro (or to taste)
  • Optional:
    • 1 slice thick cut bacon, crumbled
    • 2 tablespoons feta crumble
  • Vinaigrette
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • juice from 1 lemon
    • 1/2 teaspoon agave or raw honey (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    • sea salt & pepper to taste

 

Approximate macros for 1 jar (with bacon & feta):

368 calories, 14g carbohydrates, 9g fat, 55g protein, 3g fiber, 7g sugar

 

Approximate macros for vinaigrette:

139 calories, 6g carbohydrates, 14g fat, 0g protein, 0g fiber, 4g sugar

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The first time I had butter chicken I was in Washington, DC at my friend’s parents’ house. I was thrown off a bit by the name because I actually imagined chicken covered in butter…which actually doesn’t sound too bad.

But I soon learned that it was better than I could have ever imagined.  And it introduced me to a new ingredient, ghee, which is where the “butter” name comes from I imagine.

The traditional recipe is pretty calorie dense, and while it may be worth every bite, it may not (necessarily) push you closer to your wellness goals. Here’s my calorie-conscious version that takes about 15 minutes.

 

Healthy Butter Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts (chunks)
  • spray olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • Sauce:
    • 2 tablespoons ghee
    • 1/3 cup red onion, diced or chopped
    • 1 tablespoon ginger (fresh or powder)
    • 1/2 tablespoon garlic (minced or powder)
    • 14 oz crushed tomatoes
    • 2/3 cup coconut cream
    • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • 5 tablespoons coriander
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or garam masala)
  • Garnish:
    • chopped cilantro
    • cinnamon

 

Steps:

  1. Set a nonstick skillet on medium heat and spray with olive oil or coconut oil.
  2. Add the chicken and cook it in the skillet for about 5 minutes, until the outside is no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
  3. Using the same skillet, add ghee and let it melt. Then, toss in onion, ginger and garlic.  Let it cook for about 2 minutes and be careful not to let the garlic burn.
  4. Add the seasonings and “bloom” them or gently sauté them in order to boost the flavors.  After about 1 minute (or until the spies are fragrant), add the chicken chunks, coconut cream and freshly squeezed lemon.
  5. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes then add the tomato.  Cover and simmer on low for about 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Season to taste with sea salt & pepper and garnish with cilantro.

 

Approximate macros for 1 of 4 servings:

288 calories, 9g carbs, 16g fat, 29g protein, 2g fiber, <1g sugar