Baked Chicken Nuggets

In my plight for boyfriend-friendly recipes, I came across one for baked chicken nuggets. The ingredients reminded me of chicken parm, which is one of his favorites, so I decided to pair these bites with marinara sauce and pasta.

Ingredients
Original Eganita Adjustment
16 oz (2 large) skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into even bit sized pieces About 1 lb. of chicken breasts/chicken tenders, cut into even bit sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste Pinch of salt and pepper
2 tsp olive oil 2 tsp olive oil
6 tbsp whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs 6 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (I could not find whole wheat)
2 tbsp panko 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
olive oil spray (I used my Misto) olive oil spray
Directions
Original Eganita Adjustment
1) Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. 1) Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
2) Put the olive oil in one bowl and the breadcrumbs, panko and parmesan cheese in another. 2) Put the olive oil in one bowl and the breadcrumbs, panko and parmesan cheese in another.
3) Season chicken with salt and pepper, then put in the bowl with the olive oil and mix well so the olive oil evenly coats all of the chicken. 3) Season chicken with salt and pepper, then put in the bowl with the olive oil and mix well so the olive oil evenly coats all of the chicken.
4) Put a few chunks of chicken at a time into the breadcrumb mixture to coat, then on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the top with olive oil spray then bake 8 – 10 minutes. Turn over then cook another 4 – 5 minutes or until cooked though. 4) Put a few chunks of chicken at a time into the breadcrumb mixture to coat, then on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the top with olive oil spray then bake 8 – 10 minutes. Turn over then cook another 4 – 5 minutes or until cooked though.

Source: Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

This is my go-to recipe for making chicken parm! BF doesn’t mind the bites, vs. the large piece of chicken that traditionally comes with Chicken Parmesan. Maybe one day I’ll tackle a more traditional recipe, but for now, this works well!

These bites are best fresh out of the oven. They’re ok the next day, but they can get a little soggy. It’s best to heat them up using a toaster oven (or actual oven) if you have one, so they maintain crispiness.

Posted in 4/5 stars, Boyfriend approved, Chicken, Dinner, Eganita Kitchen Approved, Main Dish | 1 Comment

Quick Marinara Sauce

Per BF request, I took a shot at making marinara sauce. The jar sauce does leave something to be desired, but I guess I always assumed making sauce would be a long and painstaking process. When I saw the recipe for a QUICK marinara sauce, I thought I would give it a try! I’ve made it several times since and really enjoy the flavor. It goes well with pasta, mozzarella sticks, and even works well as a pizza sauce.

Ingredients
Original Eganita Adjustment
1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed 2 cloves garlic, smashed (If you use big pieces, it’s easier to pick it out at the end if you want to do so. Otherwise, chopping or mincing it would be just fine as well)
28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I like Tuttorosso) 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I stuck with the Tuttorosso recommendation but may try another brand sometime)
1 small bay leaf 1 small bay leaf (I used the dry kind from the spice aisle, as I didn’t see any fresh ones at the store)
1 tsp oregano 1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil 1.5 tbsp chopped fresh basil, as 2 tbsp was a bit overpowering (I used the kind in the tube (still in the produce section), as the grocery store was actually OUT of fresh basil – shame on them! This worked well, though, and it keeps much longer than regular fresh basil)
salt and fresh pepper to taste pinch of salt and pepper
Directions
Original Eganita Adjustment
1) In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. 1) Smash garlic. Separately combine the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf.
2) Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add fresh basil. 2) In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn.
3) Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add fresh basil.

Source: Quick Marinara Sauce

It definitely is quick, as advertised, and is also very easy to make. One pot of sauce is enough for about 4 servings of pasta, with a little left over for mozzarella sticks, mini-pizzas, or whatever else you like!

Posted in 5/5 stars, Dinner, Eganita Kitchen Approved, Vegetarian Friendly | 1 Comment

Easy Asparagus

This is a very easy side dish with little prep required (don’t you love that? I DO!).

Ingredients
Original Eganita Adjustment
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed 1 lb asparagus (so I basically halved the recipe overall)
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 2 gloves garlic, sliced thinly
Coarse salt and ground pepper Pinch of salt and pepper
Directions
Original Eganita Adjustment
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus with oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper. 2) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Toss asparagus with oil and garlic and place on baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to season.
3) Roast until tender and browned in spots, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 3) Roast until tender and browned in spots, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Garlicky Roasted Asparagus

Posted in 4/5 stars, Eganita Kitchen Approved, Side Dish, Vegetarian Friendly | Leave a comment

Guacamole

Ingredients
Original Eganita Adjustment
3 medium hass avocados, halved 3 medium avocados, halved (Not sure if they were hass or not; it was just the only kind at the store!)
1 lime, juiced 1 lime, juiced
1/3 cup red onion, minced 1/3 cup red onion, minced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
kosher salt and fresh pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
Directions
Original Eganita Adjustment
1) Place the pulp from the avocados in a medium bowl and slightly mash with a fork or a potato masher leaving some large chunks. 1) Place the pulp from the avocados in a medium bowl and slightly mash with a fork or a potato masher leaving some large chunks.
2) Add lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro and red onion and mix thoroughly. 2) Add lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro and red onion and mix thoroughly.

Source: Gucamole

This was very tasty! I learned a new tip from Skinnytaste; store the pit with the guacamole and wrap tightly (or store in a plastic Tupperware-esque container). The guac won’t turn brown this way – magic!

guac

Final product – some yummy guac!

Posted in 5/5 stars, Eganita Kitchen Approved, Side Dish, Vegetarian Friendly | 1 Comment

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites!

Bacon makes everything better!! My boyfriend and I have been hosting some Steelers gatherings lately and wanted to make some good football-viewing finger food (With the way the Steelers have been playing lately, the only thing we have to look forward to on game days is a good snack!!!). When I came across the (VERY SIMPLE!) recipe for bacon-wrapped chicken bites…. I WAS SOLD!!

Ingredients
Original Eganita Adjustment
1.25 lbs (3) boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in 1-inch chunks (about 30 pieces) ~1.25 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast/tenders, cut into ~1-inch chunks (about 30 pieces)
10 slices bacon, cut into thirds ~10 slices center cut bacon (Make sure to get that kind, as you will be pleased with its calories and fat levels compared to the other kinds of bacon!)
Directions
Original Eganita Adjustment
1) Preheat oven on to 375°F. 1) Preheat oven to 375°F.
2) Wrap a piece of bacon around each piece of chicken; secure with a toothpick and place on a baking sheet (use foil for easy cleanup). 2) Cut the chicken into 30-40 pieces (doesn’t have to be exact). Wrap a piece of bacon (About 1/4-1/3 piece of bacon, depending on the size of the chicken bites – again, it doesn’t have to be exact) around each piece of chicken; secure with a toothpick and place on a baking sheet (use foil for easy cleanup). DEFINITELY use the foil! Trust me!
3) Bake on the lower rack turning halfway about 25 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked and browned. Blot on a paper towel and serve right away. 3) Bake on the lower rack. About 12.5 minutes in, flip each piece of chicken (the toothpicks don’t get hot, so you can just grab the toothpicks to turn them). Bake for an additional 12.5 minutes or until thoroughly cooked and browned. Blot on a paper towel and serve. The bites are tasty once they cool off as well, though (we even preferred them that way). Note that the original recipe just said to “turn halfway” – I interpreted that as flipping the pieces of chicken, but feel free to experiment with just turning the baking sheet, if you wish.

Source: Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

I served the bites with BBQ sauce and Thai Kitchen Pineapple and Chili Sauce – that worked well for our mixed crowd of adventurous and not-so-adventurous eaters! Unfortunately, it seems the Thai sauce has been discontinued (so go get it now, and it will be cheap!!!), but in the future, I would serve it with another one of their sauces if I could not buy that one.

pre bacon

Pre-oven

BACON

The finished product! Make a lot; they will fly off the plate (Pigs can fly, I guess). 4 of us polished these off!

Posted in 5/5 stars, Appetizer, Boyfriend approved, Chicken, Eganita Kitchen Approved, Main Dish | Leave a comment

Healthy Mexican Lasagna

Here’s another Hungry Girl recipe which I enjoy. I also do like traditional Italian lasagna, but it was nice to mix it up a bit. I thought this recipe was pretty easy to make, and the end result was tasty.

Ingredients
Original Eganita Adjustment
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (I like the steam in bag ones the best, though they are a little pricier)
One 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained One 10-oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained (This was easy-to-find in the canned area of the store, by the other tomato products. I always try to buy the low sodium versions when available)
Five 6-inch corn tortillas Five 6-inch corn tortillas (I’ve discovered recently that I highly prefer corn tortillas to flour.. I think the corn ones have more flavor and are still pretty low calorie).
1 1/2 cups frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the kind by Boca or Morningstar Farms) I substituted Trader Joe’s soy chorizo for some extra flavor and a bit of spice. The calorie count is a bit higher in the end, but I thought it was worth it! I think low-calorie ground beef or turkey would work fine as well (make sure to cook the meat before adding, though).
2 tsp. taco seasoning mix I omitted this since the soy chorizo had enough flavor on its own. I would include this if I used ground beef or the ground beef crumbles that HG used in her recipe, though.
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (I think this was about one medium/large pepper)
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper (I think this was about one medium/large pepper)
1 cup finely chopped onion 1 cup finely chopped onion (about one medium/large onion)
1 cup canned fat-free refried beans 1 cup canned fat-free refried beans (I did make with these beans, but I am not a huge fan of them. I think I’ll use black or pinto beans next time, instead. If you like refried beans, though, go for it. I still liked the recipe with them in it, but I would love it with a substitute, I think)
1 cup enchilada sauce 1 cup enchilada sauce (I just bought a reasonably priced one with decent calorie stats)
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese
Optional toppings: fat-free sour cream, salsa I do not consider these as optional toppings! I used fat free sour cream, a sweet pineapple salsa (which was ok, but I may try something different next time.. even a tomatillo one would be good), and some cilantro to freshen things up.
Directions
Original Eganita Adjustment
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray. 1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
2) In a medium bowl, mix corn kernels with the drained diced tomatoes with chiles. Cut each tortilla into 4 wedges for a total of 20 wedges. 2) In a medium bowl, mix corn kernels with the drained diced tomatoes with chiles. Cut each tortilla into 4 wedges for a total of 20 wedges.
3) Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add soy crumbles and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Cook and stir until well mixed and hot, 2 – 3 minutes. 3) Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add soy chorizo. Cook and stir until well mixed and hot, 2 – 3 minutes.
4) Transfer soy crumbles to a second medium bowl. Remove skillet from heat. Clean skillet, if needed. Re-spray and return to medium-high heat. 4) Transfer soy chorizo to a second medium bowl. Remove skillet from heat. Clean skillet, if needed. Re-spray and return to medium-high heat.
5) Add bell peppers and onion to the skillet, and cook and stir until slightly soft, 6 – 8 minutes. 5) Add bell peppers and onion to the skillet, and cook and stir until slightly soft, 6 – 8 minutes.
6) Remove skillet from heat. Add beans and mix well. 6) Remove skillet from heat. Add beans and mix well (again, will probably not use refried beans again.. they just look so yucky to me! They make the beautiful peppers and onions look so brown and tired!
7) Evenly spread and layer half of each ingredient in the baking pan: veggie-bean mixture, corn-tomato mixture, soy crumbles, tortilla wedges, enchilada sauce, and cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients. 7) Evenly spread and layer half of each ingredient in the baking pan: veggie-bean mixture, corn-tomato mixture, soy chorizo, tortilla wedges, enchilada sauce, and cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients.
8) Bake until lasagna is hot and cheese has melted, about 25 minutes. Eat up! 8) Bake until lasagna is hot and cheese has melted, about 25 minutes. Eat up!

Serving size: 1/6 of recipe
Source: Lasagna Gets Mexi-ified!
Here are some photos of the different stages of the dish. I wish I took a photo of the final product… next time, next time!

Step 2!

Step 5 or so.. right before the veg made it to the pan! I like how colorful the dish is.

At the end of Step 7! The only thing left is to bake the stuff!

Posted in 4/5 stars, Dinner, Eganita Kitchen Approved, Main Dish, Vegetarian Friendly | Leave a comment

Mediterranean Roasted Broccoli & Tomatoes

Broccoli and tomatoes are two of my favorite vegetables, so I was happy to find a side dish incorporating both as main ingredients. On a side note, I wasn’t sure if I should call tomatoes fruits or vegetables, as I’ve seen them classified both ways. I was surprised to read that the Supreme Court declared tomatoes as vegetables! Who knew this debate would make it to the highest court?

Ingredients
Original Eganita Adjustment
12 ounces broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets (about 4 cups) About 4 cups bite-sized broccoli florets. Note that a head of broccoli yields about 4-5 cups, so that’s what I have been using lately. Giant Eagle also sells bags of broccoli florets which is about the right amount and what I had been using in the beginning. The last time I bought them, though, the bag was ROTTEN, so I don’t think I will buy them again. I will save some money and put in just a few minutes of time to cut up the broccoli myself.
1 cup grape tomatoes 1 cup grape tomatoes (a pint of grape tomatoes is more than enough. I usually buy one of those and then use the remaining grape tomatoes in a salad)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (I usually just buy one lemon.. it’s plenty for the required amount of zest and juice. I then typically just use the leftover lemon for cooking chicken).
1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I usually just buy one lemon.. it’s plenty for the required amount of zest and juice. I then typically just use the leftover lemon for cooking chicken).
10 pitted black olives, sliced Omitted – I am not a big fan of olives
1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed (optional) Also omitted.. I would be curious to try this sometime, but honestly, I didn’t even know where to find this stuff in the store.. haha! I love the recipe without the olives and capers so will probably stick to that for the time being.
Directions
Original Eganita Adjustment
1) Preheat oven to 450°F. 1) Preheat oven to 450°F.
2) Toss broccoli, tomatoes, oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the broccoli begins to brown, 10 to 13 minutes. 2) Toss broccoli, tomatoes, oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the broccoli begins to brown, 10 to 13 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, combine lemon zest and juice, olives, oregano and capers (if using) in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables; stir to combine. Serve warm. 3) Meanwhile, combine lemon zest and juice and oregano in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables; stir to combine. Serve warm.

Serving size: about 1 cup. Recipe makes about 4 cups.
Source: Mediterranean Roasted Broccoli & Tomatoes

Here it is, pre-roast! YUM YUM YUM!

Posted in 5/5 stars, Dinner, Eganita Kitchen Approved, Side Dish | Leave a comment