Kung Wow (That's a lot of Celery) Chicken

*Or how I learned to stop worrying about eating raw celery sticks with hummus and love chopping copious amounts of celery.


This recipe was inspired by a trip to Costco. I hadn’t been in years, but when my friend offered to take me to pick up a ham for Christmas, I was in there like swimwear. To be polite, I kept my browsing to what I felt was a minimum. This was my first trip to Costco where I didn’t browse every aisle. Or fill up the cart. What I did grab were pre-cut celery sticks! I love to eat them with hummus, but they rarely go on sale and I don’t like to cut my own sticks. (Shoutout to my misen knife making chopping celery a breeze!) And I got about half a million pounds and between all the Christmas celebrations, ate about four celery sticks with hummus. So I found myself with tons of celery threatening to die in my fridge, no hummus and no desire to eat celery soup. (Google, wtf?) Thankfully, I recalled that Kung Pao chicken has celery and well, here we are.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 400g celery, sliced
  • 3/4 cup brown rice*
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2/3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce**
  • 1 tsp sesame oil***
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sake
  • 1 Tbsp ACV
  • 3 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (I used Wegman’s Tom Tom sauce)

Directions

  1. Prepare brown rice according to the package.
  2. Toss the chicken chunks with cornstarch, salt, pepper, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sake. Make sure all the chicken is coated. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
  3. Over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Once it’s hot and shimmering, add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the celery and bell peppers. Cook until bell pepper has softened. The celery will soften, but not as much.****
  4. Push the celery and peppers to the side. Lower heat to medium and add the chicken along with any remaining marinade. Cook until chicken has been cooked all the way through.
  5. Stir in the chili garlic sauce.
  6. Serve over rice!

* Or white rice. The macros for white and brown rice are about the same.
** The crazy salty one
*** The dark, toasted one
**** Of course, I didn’t chop everything before this step, so I definitely finished all this by the time the chicken was done. Had you done all the chopping ahead of time, you will want to wait until there are about 5 – 10 minutes left of marinating time before starting all this. The upside was, it was perfect timing to finish all the food at the same time as the rice!

Macros!

Calories: 425
Carbs: 38
Fat: 17
Protein:
27
Fiber: 4


Serves 4

Ground Turkey Quesadillas with Chipotle Ranch Dip

Super quick and easy! I was surprised when I looked at the clock and realized I was done in about 20 minutes! You’ll wind up with a bunch of leftover seasoned ground turkey. It was either that or have half a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes open and what would you do with them besides adding them to ground turkey? I guess you could make some killer queso dip, but you’d probably think the dip was a great way to use up the ground turkey too. I wound using mine for pizza and it was awesome. Do the same!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 93/7 ground turkey
  • 1 can Ro-Tel fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2.5 servings of shredded Mexican cheese
  • 4 flat-out wraps*
  • 4 Tbsp Greek yogurt ranch dressing
  • 2 Tbsp chipotle hot sauce

Directions

  1. Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and add ground turkey. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the meat into crumbles. Once the turkey is about 75% done, drain the can of Ro-Tel and add to ground turkey. Continue to cook until meat is cooked through.
  2. Transfer the turkey mixture from the skillet to a bowl.
  3. Prepare tortillas!
  4. Divide half of the turkey amongst the four wraps. Keep the meat on the bottom half, top with cheese, then fold the tortilla. One at a time**, place the tortillas on the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat until cheese melts and tortilla crisps, about 2-3 minutes each side.
  5. While the tortillas crisps, prep the dipping sauce. Mix the ranch and chipotle. Taste and adjust as needed.
  6. Once the quesadillas are done, slice and drizzle with half the dip. Use the rest for dunking!

* Or whatever low calorie, high fiber wrap you have ** Two at a time if your skillet is big enough and your quesadilla flipping skills are on point. I attempted that at first, but each flip, I lost some filling and was spending lots of time restuffing my quesadilla.

Macros!
Calories: 467
Carbs: 33
Fat: 23
Protein: 42
Fiber: 13

Serves 2

Greek Yogurt Jiffy Corn Muffins with Strawberry Compote

Greek yogurt in everything! I’m not sure Greek yogurt really changes the taste too much in these muffins, and it’s not packing any protein punches in this recipe, but it’s a nice swap for people like me who rarely have milk in the fridge. Pro-tip for the compote, have someone else make it while you sit on the couch yelling instructions a la Vincenzo on The Golden Girls.



Ingredients
For the corn muffins
  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
For the strawberry compote
  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 2 oz orange juice*
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Line a muffin pan with 9 silicone muffin liners.
  2. In a bowl, mix the box of Jiffy mix, egg, and Greek yogurt until combined.
  3. The batter will thick and slightly lumpy.
  4. Fill muffin liners approximately 1/2 – 3/4 full.
  5. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
While the muffins cook, prepare the compote.
  1. Remove stems and quarter strawberries.
  2. Place the quartered strawberries, orange juice, and sugar in a pot over medium heat.
  3. Stir occasionally until strawberries begin to break down and the mixture thickens.
  4. Once the compote has thickened, turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds.
  5. Allow to cool and serve once the chia seeds plump up!

*I used low sugar orange juice. Well, at that point, it’s probably called “orange drink”, but the label assured me it was at least 40% orange juice.


Macros!
Calories: 163
Carbs: 26
Fat: 5
Protein: 4
Fiber: 2

Serves 9

Blueberry Grilled Cheese

Another grilled cheese! I made this for National Grilled Cheese day. It worked out really well because now ripe blueberries are starting to appear in stores and they are on sale. All the flavors work well together. Even the American cheese. As a matter of fact, the super meltiness of the American cheese keeps the blueberries from falling out of the sandwich when you flip it. And the honey, aside from tasting awesome, also helps the blueberries stick to the bread before the cheese melts. This makes a great dessert or breakfast grilled cheese.

GC1

Ingredients

  • 2 slices white bread
  • clover honey
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • handful of blueberries
  • butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F*
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Drizzle about a teaspoon of honey on one slice of bread (non-buttered side) and apply blueberries. The honey will help them to stick. Layer a slice of American cheese on the blueberries, followed by the cheddar cheese and the other slice of bread.
  4. Place the sandwich, buttered side down, in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook 1-3 minutes until cheese starts to melt and bread toasts, then flip and repeat on the other side.
  5. Transfer the sandwich into the oven, (or place on your now hot cyookie sheet!)
  6. Bake about 5 minutes. The blueberries will start to roast.
  7. Slice, admire the purplish roasted blueberry juice and cheese pull, then devour.

*If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, or don’t want to use one, place a baking/cookie sheet in the oven at this point. Let it get hot!

Serves 1

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This dish came about after reading a review of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Dip tubs on one of my favorite junk food review websites. (Now you see how I spend my time.) So once again that special combo of impulse buy + sale was achieved and I found myself with tubs of the Buffalo Style and the Southwest dips. (Oh hai Ragin’ Cajun Creamy Chicken N Shrimp Pasta!) Now after I put them in the fridge, I immediately forgot about them as I wasn’t sure what would be my vessel of choice for dip. And because my friend Sumit makes an AMAZING buffalo chicken dip, I certainly can’t just eat this tub dip when I’m used to hot chicken filled crock pot dip. And the Philadelphia website barely acknowledges that their dip line exists, so that source provided no guidance. Thankfully, I also had some buffalo chicken sausage in the freezer, I love pasta, and the other pasta worked out so well, and here we are! And right in time for the end of March Madness! I’m very shocked by how well this came out, and I’m wondering if cream cheese should just be the base of all non-Italian pasta sauces.

pasta2

Ingredients

  • 4oz rigatoni*
  • 10oz can of fire roasted dice tomatoes and green chiles
  • 10oz tub Philadelphia Buffalo Style with Celery Cream Cheese Dip
  • 10oz Thin n Trim Buffalo chicken sauage links, sliced
  • 6oz fresh baby spinach
  • 2oz reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles
  • hot sauce for drizzling

Directions

  1. Prepare pasta according to directions on box. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the Philadelphia Buffalo Style with Celery Cream Cheese Dip and fired roasted tomatoes. Stir until combined and smooth.**
  3. Add sausage links and mix until heated.
  4. Lower heat and add the baby spinach. Continue to cook and stir occasionally until the baby spinach has wilted.
  5. Turn off the heat and toss in the pasta.
  6. Add reserved pasta water until the desired sauce consistency is reached.***
  7. When ready to serve, top with crumbled blue cheese, drizzle with hot sauce and enjoy!

*Penne or medium shells would also work great here.
**This might happen instantly. My dip had previously been frozen and cream cheese is not as pretty once it defrosts.
***I only wound up using about a tablespoon, but to each his own.

Macros!
Calories: 375
Carbs: 29
Fat: 16
Protein: 26
Fiber: 3

Serves 4

Prosciutto, Provolone and Fig Grilled Cheese

Prosciutto, provolone, and pilsners! All the Ps. The sandwich brought to you by the leftover prosciutto in my fridge.


Ingredients

  • 2 slices Fiber One multigrain bread
  • 4 slices (54g) prosciutto
  • 2 slices reduced-fat provolone
  • 1/2 cup (14g) arugula
  • 1 Tbsp fig jam

Directions

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, add prosciutto. Cook until warm and fat starts to render.
  2. Once the fat has rendered, remove prosciutto from the skillet. Dip one side of each slice of the bread into the skillet to soak up some fat.
  3. Add the arugula to the skillet. Cook until it starts to wilt and turns bright green. Remove arugula from the skillet and place on top of a slice of bread.
  4. Continue assembling the sandwich (making sure the sides of the bread with prosciutto fat are on the outside) layering the arugula with cheese, prosciutto and fig jam. Return the sandwich to the skillet and cook until toasted. About 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Enjoy with a refreshing beer!

Macros!
Calories: 383
Carbs: 38
Fat: 16
Protein: 28
Fiber: 7

Serves 1

Blueberry Bran Muffins

There’s nothing I love more than a good sale and the promise of being health AF. Which is how I wound up with a bag full of beautifully packaged Bob’s wheat bran and no plan on how to use it. I was happy to let it sit in the cabinet, but then one day, I found myself looking for oatmeal (probably to make cookies) and discovered A. I had no oatmeal, B. I owned oat bran and, C. My kitchen cabinet clean-out wasn’t as successful as I thought. (It turns out I do have oatmeal, it was just hidden somewhere else. Thankfully it was discovered before buying more.) Anyways, the pressure was on to find a way to use this oat bran. And ironically, despite wanting oatmeal, I did just make it like oatmeal. Instead, I decided on muffins because now I can have muffins that are undeniably not cake like. Most of the recipes I found online only called for about 1/4 a cup of bran. But that’s not gonna help me power through the bag and it’s also barely a bran muffin at that point. The barefoot contessa of all people gave me the base for my recipe.

I did these because of the texture. They are chewy and remind me of a warm cereal (duh) especially when warmed.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1.5 cups of blueberries
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk the eggs, applesauce, yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract until blended.
  3. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, wheat bran and flour.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Gently fold in blueberries.
  6. Spoon into muffin tins and bake 25-30 minutes. The muffins will be done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean

Macros!
Calories: 142
Carbs: 26
Fat: 3
Protein: 6
Fiber: 3

Makes 18 muffins

*Inspired by https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/blueberry-bran-muffins