21 Day Fix: Chicken Mac and Cheese

So I am one week into round 3 of the 21 Day Fix and could not be happier with my results:

11.7lbs down and 12″ gone

Holy crap. I only just started this journey on September 2nd!! I was so excited when I saw those numbers!

The week prior was crazy busy with a lot of meals out so I really stepped it up this past week by following the meal plan to a T, portioning out my food using the 21 Day Fix containers, and got in some double sessions with Autumn’s DVDs in the morning and classes at my gym at night.

I did still squeeze in some time for fun and went out with friends on Friday and Saturday night but I stuck to vodka sodas and made sure to sneak in a few waters here and there. We gotta have some fun right?

I am currently in the second week of co-hosting my own 21 Day Fix challenge group on Facebook and it is SO much fun! Some of the challengers are brand new to the 21 Day Fix while others are well into their multiple rounds. It is so inspiring to hear my challengers success stories, amazing results, delicious recipes and see how they motivate each other each and every day! It is also a great place to get that extra push I need on those days I am struggling to press play on my workouts.

If you want to join in on the challenge group fun I will be co-hosting another round starting on November 3rd. This rounds theme will be “Healthy for the Holidays!“. Leave a comment on this post and I will get you all of the details!

Healthy for the Holidays

As the days are starting to get shorter and colder it makes me really want some comfort food and what is more comforting than mac and cheese? However, comfort food does not have to blow your waistline and make you feel bloated after eating it! This recipe for chicken mac and cheese has no butter, no salt and no creamWHAT??

I usually poach and shred my chicken in large batches so I can use it in meals and salads throughout the week so feel free to increase the quantities listed in the recipe and make a lot at once :)

Do you have any good shredded chicken recipes?

Chicken Mac and Cheese

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 small chicken breast (will portion out to 1 red)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup whole grain pasta shells  2 yellow
  • 1 cup baby spinach  1 green
  • 1/4 cup cheddar and american cheese, mixed  1 blue
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Pinch of onion powder
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Squirt of lemon juice

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken breast and cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Transfer to a cutting board or plate and shred. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika. Portion out 3/4 cup (1 red) and set aside.

Bring another pot of water to a boil. Add 1 cup of whole grain pasta shells (2 yellow) and cook according to the package direction. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Add the cooked pasta back to the warm pan along with 3/4 cup of shredded chicken (1 red), 1 cup of baby spinach (1 green) and 1/4 cup (1 blue) of cheddar and american cheese, mixed. Add in the reserved pasta water as needed to help wilt the spinach and melt the cheese.

Season with a pinch of garlic and onion powder, freshly cracked black pepper and a squirt of lemon juice to taste and enjoy!

Chicken Mac and Cheese

BAM!!!

Who said you can’t have comfort food on the 21 Day Fix?Chicken Mac and CheeseChicken Mac and Cheese

Henrietta’s Table

This post is looooong overdue, and unfortunately it is not the only one. Summer fun in Newport then immediately getting started with Beachbody coaching and the 21 Day Fix in September kept me from keeping up with my posts.

Totally worth it.

Back in August my friends and I decided to take advantage Dine Out Boston (formerly Restaurant Week). I love Dine Out Boston because twice a year in March and August participating restaurants put together a pre-fix coursed lunch and/or dinner menu for these fantastic prices:

Lunch:  $15/$20/$25

Dinner:  $28/$33/$38

I think it is a great opportunity to try a new restaurant or visit an old favorite. Some restaurants even price in wine pairings to take your dining experience to the next level!

After hearing rave reviews from friends and coworkers about Henrietta’s Table I jumped at the chance to make a reservation here with my girlfriends. Located within The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA this farm-to-table restaurant has been wowing guests for 15 years.

To start I chose the New England Salt Cod Cake with arugula, lemon herb vinaigrette and tartar sauce. It was nice and light and I loved the tang from the tartar sauce.

New England Salt Cod Cake

New England Salt Cod Cake

I was really excited about my choice of the Ozark Mountain Grilled Smoked Pork Chop with apple sauce and appleJack demi. I struggle to cook pork at home because sometimes it comes out perfectly and other times it is overcooked. I now have a meat thermometer in the house so hopefully that will solve my cooking issues.

Henrietta’s Table’s pork chop was PERFECT!

Ozark Mountain Grilled Smoked Pork Chop

Ozark Mountain Grilled Smoked Pork Chop

The mashed potatoes made from locally grown potatoes were out of this world. Seriously, I have never had mashed potatoes as yummy as these. They were unbelievably creamy!!

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

While I was stuffed to the brim I had to try the fresh, warm, Blueberry Almond Crostata served with vanilla bean ice cream. I usually steer towards chocolate for dessert but I am so glad I chose this. The crust was so flaky and the vanilla bean ice cream was the perfect match to the tart blueberries.

Fresh Blueberry Almond Crostata

Fresh Blueberry Almond Crostata with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I loved everything about Henrietta’s Table – the food and atmosphere were both comforting and cozy. I will be going back in the near future to check out the ever changing, seasonal menus!

Check out Henrietta’s Yard Sale on Sunday – Thursday offering two pre-fixed coursed menu options: 2 courses and 1 side for $32 OR 3 courses plus 1 side for $37. AWESOME!!

Henrietta’s Table
One Bennett St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

617.661.5005

21 Day Fix: Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Toast Croutons

 This past Friday I was lucky enough to visit the Xhibition Kitchen located within Stetson Hall West at Northeastern University. I had been anticipating this event for WEEKS. The guest was none other than my favorite blogger Jessica from How Sweet It Is! Read her blog, she is such a talented cook and writer. I laugh out loud reading her posts and want to be her best friend.

I had pre-ordered Jessica‘s cookbook ‘Seriously Delish‘, read through all 298 pages and marked off which recipes I wanted to make right away. So off I went, cookbook in hand, to meet my all time favorite blogger and recipe creator. I wish I could paste in every iPhone emoji right here to show my true excitement about this!! Instead here is the picture I took with Jessica that day- she even signed my book!

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The one on the left was the signed bookplate she sent me for pre-ordering the book

One recipes I had marked off in the cookbook was for Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Toast Croutons. I was so excited when I found out this was one of the dishes Jessica was cooking during the demo demo AND that we got to taste it. I was blown away with the ease of the recipe and the depth of flavor – it just screamed IT’S FALL!!

Here are all my photos from the demo:

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Jessica Merchant from How Sweet It Is

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Whipped Goat Cheese with Warm Vanilla Berries on Toast and Amaretto Butternut Squash Soup

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White Cheddar Apple Crisp

If you have been following along the past few weeks you know I have been loving my 21 Day Fix journey. I am actually on my 2nd round of the program and will be excited to share this rounds results come October 13th.

This is NOT A DIET.

It is a lifestyle change that has completely changed how I feel mentally and physically and I love every second of it! What has made it the most fun for me is taking recipes and tweaking them to work with the 21 Day Fix yet still be packed full of flavor.

Since this is more of a long term goal for me I do splurge here and there (hello movie theater popcorn this past Sunday) but it is not every day and the splurges are small. In this recipe I splurged by making the Cinnamon Toast Croutons that are part of Jessica’s recipe. They are out of this world and take this soup to a whole new level. Feel free to leave them out to truly make this 21 Day Fix-approved.

As mentioned in previous posts, the Shakeology shakes that come with the 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack really do help curb all cravings so it is rare for me to crave sweets or really salty junk food now. It’s a miracle!

Starting Monday, October 13th I will be co-hosting a 21 Day Fix Challenge Group on Facebook and am always looking for more people who want to lose weight and learn portion control all while having fun and sharing great tips and recipes with other people with similar goals in mind! I lost 7lbs and 9.5 inches during my first round of the 21 Day Fix and could not have done it without the support of my amazing group :)

Can you believe this this amazing looking soup is 21 Day Fix-approved?

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Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is cookbook Seriously Delish

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Cinnamon Toast Croutons (omit for this recipe to be 21 Day Fix-approved)

  • 2 slices of whole grain bread, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup amaretto
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons raw slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 scallions, sliced

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Preheat your oven to 400 F.

Cut 2 slices of whole grain bread into cubes. Spread them on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.IMG_4430

Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and crunchy. Let the croutons cool on the baking sheet and set aside.IMG_4433

Dice up 1 small sweet onion.

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Mince 2 large garlic cloves.

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Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or coconut oil) over a medium low heat and add the onions. Saute until soft and translucent, approx. 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour in the 1/4 cup of amaretto and cook down for 5 minutes until all of the alcohol has cooked off the liquid has reduced by half, stirring occasionally.

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While the amaretto is cooking down peel and cube your butternut squash (or do this in advance to save time!)IMG_4450

Add to the pot with the onion, garlic and amaretto mixture along with 2 cups of organic vegetable stock, 2 cups of water and 4 fresh sage leaves. Cover the pot and reduce the heat slightly.

Let simmer until the squash is soft, approx. 20 minutes.
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While the squash is simmering add 2 tablespoons of raw slivered almonds to a small pan. Heat over a medium-low heat until they start to turn golden brown and release their flavor. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.IMG_4456

When the squash is done simmering remove the pan from the heat. Remove the sage leaves and carefully pour the mixture into a blender (you might have to do this in batches depending on how large your blender is).

Puree until creamy and transfer back into the pot you cooked the squash in. Keep warm over a low heat.

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Stir in a 1/2 cup of canned coconut milk and freshly cracked black pepper.IMG_4462

Serve with a few extra drops of coconut milk, toasted almonds and sliced scallions.IMG_4465

21 Day Fix: Spinach and Colby Jack Stuffed Chicken Roll-Ups

I LOVE THE 21 DAY FIX.

So much so that as soon as I hit Day 21 on my first round I started up the next day for a whole new cycle – any takers to jump in and do this round with me? Let me know I would love to add you to my team :)

This time is even more exciting because I am familiar with the meal plan, know what true portion sizes are, and I know how to meal prep for the week so nothing goes to waste. Since the challenge kit comes with the portion control containers there is no weighing food or counting calories – if it fits in the container, you can eat it!

I also love, love, LOVE my Shakeolgy shakes and can’t imagine starting my morning without one. Most importantly, I am getting in better shape and can see and feel the difference. This cycle I am doing my 21 Day Fix DVD’s in the morning and adding in 60 minutes classes at my gym at least 3 times a week. The classes range from Group Kickboxing and Power, to Barre, Hip Hop Cardio, Spinning and a Foam Roll and Stretch class.

I feel so much stronger and on days I know I am doing a double at the gym I will drink half a Shakeology shake in the morning after my DVD workout and then another half a shake in the afternoon before the gym. It really helps to give me that extra boost of energy for my evening workout.

The recipe I am going to share today was a spur of the moment trial that came out amazing – I love when that happens! Since I wasn’t sure how this was going to come out the ingredient list is for a single serving but feel free to up the quantities to make a larger batch. This dish goes perfectly served alongside whole grain pasta, brown rice or quinoa and an extra side of veggies.

I am still shocked every time I make a dish full of flavor that contains NO SALT and NO OIL. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Spinach and Colby Jack Stuffed Chicken Roll-Ups

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast   1 red
  • 1/4 cup of fresh baby spinach   0.25 green
  • 2 tablespoons of shredded colby jack cheese   0.5 blue
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Large pinch of garlic powder
  • Large pinch of onion powder
  • Large pinch of paprika

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Place your chicken in a plastic ziplock bag or between two pieces of saran wrap. On a cutting board using a the flat side of a meat mallet pound your chicken breast until it is a thin, even thickness. Season the side facing up with freshly ground black pepper.

Place the baby spinach and colby jack cheese on top of the chicken close to one end. Roll up the chicken and secure with as many toothpicks as needed to keep the chicken rolled.

Season the top of the chicken with more freshly ground black pepper and a large pinch of garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Rub the seasonings in so they really stick.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F. After 20 minutes turn the broiler on high and broil for an additional 3-5 minutes until the top of the chicken becomes golden and crispy.

Remove the toothpicks before eating.

 

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21 Day Fix: Pork Chops over Whole Grain Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce

Today is Day 21…the final day of my 21 Day Fix challenge! I cannot believe how fast it flew by and I am so proud of myself and my friends who did it with me for completing it.

The 21 Day Fix program promises that you will lose 5-15 lbs in 21 days and I am so excited to share that on Day 21 I have lost 7 lbs and 9.5 inches!!! The real excitement came when I put on a pair of jeans that used to be too tight and now fit great – no better feeling than that!

While I am still not at my final goal, my roommate and I are starting round 2 first thing tomorrow and I can’t wait to update you as to where I end up after another 21 days. This round is going to be tough as I need to travel for work for almost a week starting on Saturday. Luckily I can bring my DVD’s and Shakeology with me on the road because I can’t even imagine a morning now that doesn’t start with a shake!

Since I loved the 21 Day Fix program and my Shakeology so much my coach Colleen encouraged me to become a Beachbody coach myself. At first I was hesitant but after reading all about it I realized it was a great opportunity to talk with other people interested in trying Shakeology or any of Beachbody‘s programs and to help them get started.

One of the parts I liked best about these past 21 days was being part of a Facebook group of people from all over the country completing the 21 Day Fix at the same time. It was such a fun place to share our successes, get motivation and of course share recipes and photos! So if the 21 Day Fix, Shakeology or any of Beachbody‘s amazing fitness programs sound exciting to you please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I would love to chat with you about it and share my experience as well as add you to our ever growing Facebook group and we can do another round together :)

To see a full list of Beachbody’s products check out my coach link here. If any of these appeal to you I encourage you to order right through the link to take advantage of the discount pricing.

Today’s recipe is a Pork Chop and Whole Grain Penne in a Butternut Squash Sauce. Don’t let the pictures deceive you – this looks like it is coated in oil and cheese but IT’S NOT. This dish is packed full of flavor and is a great healthy comfort food option.

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SAUCE

    • 1 small butternut squash
    • ¼ teaspoon olive oil, pepper
    • 1 cup of water or organic vegetable broth
    • ¼ teaspoon of olive oil
    • ¼ cup shallots, diced
    • 2 fresh sage leaves
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese
    • Pinch of nutmeg
    • 1 cup of whole grain pasta, cooked according to package directions  2 yellow

PORK CHOP

    • 1 Boneless Pork Chop  1 red
    • ½ teaspoon olive oil  0.5 spoon
    • Paprika, pinch
    • Garlic Powder, pinch
    • Dried Thyme, pinch
    • Pepper, pinch

Preheat your oven to 400F

Halve and seed your butternut squash. Rub the ¼ tsp of olive oil and pepper on the halved squash

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and roast the squash cut side down for 40 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.

Let cool and scoop the squash into a blender (or magic bullet – you might have to do this in batches).

Blend adding the water or organic vegetable stock in ¼ cup increments until smooth.

Sauté the ¼ cup of shallots and the 2 fresh sage leaves in the other ¼ tsp of olive oil for 4-5 minutes over a medium low heat until translucent

Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the pureed butternut squash, parmesan cheese and a pinch of nutmeg

Add more water or organic vegetable stock if needed to thin out the sauce.

Scoop out 1 cup (1 green) container of sauce and serve over 1 cup (2 yellows) of cooked whole grain pasta.

**Since you are cooking the sauce in such a large batch I did not count containers/spoons for the olive oil and cheese. These get distributed through the sauce and each portion will have minimal amounts.

 

Season the pork chop with paprika, garlic powder, dried thyme and ground pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium low heat.

Add the pork chop and cook for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the second side is browned.

**If the pork is not fully cooked through, place in a 350F oven for 5 more minutes until cooked through.

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