Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year, New Recipes!

Sooo now that I have been getting back into my healthy groove (trying to), I am looking at new healthy recipes to try.  During the busy holiday season I have been sticking to my already memorized go-to recipes (like paleo beef stew and santa fe chicken).  I want to try a few new things each week and build up my recipe bank! A few on my list are pizza with cauliflower crust, spaghetti squash and I would also like to come up with another good soup concoction. Soup is definitely a winter favorite of mine! But, in the mean time, one of my most recent experiments was chicken and spinach stuffed sweet potatoes (quite frankly, because it was all I had in the house since I hadn't grocery shopped since vacation).  I have never been a huge sweet potato fan until the past two months after I gave up potatoes and rice, which we would usually have one of the two with dinner, but since then, sweet potatoes have grown on me. Also spinach has become part of just about all of my meals...with eggs for breakfast, in my salads for lunch and incorporated into dinners. So, this recipe worked out because I had the ingredients in the house and it turned out great! It's definitely a keeper! :)  (Don't let the lengthy directions scare you away...they are specific but not too time consuming)!

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
3 sweet potatoes 
3 boneless chicken breasts 
1/4 cup olive oil (next time I am going to try with coconut oil)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
1 tablespoon cilantro 
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder 
2 cups spinach 
Optional: shredded cheese on top 

Preheat oven to 350. 
Wash sweet potatoes, prick with fork all over and bake for 1 hour.

Place chicken in a baking dish, rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Place in oven with potatoes for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool. When cool, chop into small pieces.
Meanwhile, while the potatoes and chicken are cooking, combine olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, chili powder and set aside. (It sounds spicy but really isn't).
When sweet potatoes are done, cut in half and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then scoop the insides of the sweet potatoes out leaving a good size layer of sweet potato still on the skin. (I put the insides aside and put some cinnamon on it and gave it to the kids).
Turn oven up to 400. 

Heat skillet on medium heat and wilt spinach, then add in the chopped chicken. Brush the liquid mixture onto the inside of the potatoes and bake for 10 minutes until crisp.  Add the remaining mixture from the small bowl to the chicken and spinach in the skillet and allow 5 minutes to blend together in the skillet. Then remove the skins from the oven, stuff with your chicken spinach combination and bake for another 10 (if you choose to top with cheese you sprinkle cheese at this point before placing in the oven). I opted for the cheese. ;)
There you have it!  A perfectly balanced meal with no side dishes necessary!  I will definitely be making this again!  You could substitute the spinach for broccoli or any other vegetable that you like...maybe even both spinach and broccoli! Mmmm...maybe next time! :)
What are your favorite go-to recipes?  I'm looking for some new ideas!
~Erin Leigh


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