Despite my immense propensity for “getting bored,” I never seem to tire of healthy foods. I’m enormously thankful for that, as I am scarcely exempt from getting cravings. Fortunately a giant bowl protein and vegetables is generally enough to derail those venomous “you know you want a cookie”s, but it doesn’t mean it is always easy! My willpower is tightly tied to my goals – I do my best to adhere to those, and focus on the end result as much as I can, which helps me see past the immediate satisfaction I *think* I’ll feel.
Eating protein DOES help – you are providing your body with a slower-digesting source of fuel that registers as “satiety” for a longer period…and I definitely need that! If not, I’d be in trouble – after my late 20s, food started to “stick,” whether I protested or not. Staying well hydrated helps to stave off cravings as well, which helps me stick to my goals as best I can.
Lately my protein choices have changed (just a hair!) – since I eat a lot of the same foods, it isn’t at all surprising! That said, it also isn’t so dramatic a change, my body will have any issues processing. I’ve swapped out chicken breasts and tenders for ground chicken. At least for now. I can’t say why specifically, but it totally hits the spot! 😀 Regardless of the protein source (salmon, shrimp and mild fish are other favorites!), I will always add vegetables.
I add a few veggies into this recipe, but I add even more with it for a meal – I probably go through about 8 lbs of vegetables a day. Yes…I said A DAY. You know those enormous 4 lb frozen mixed vegetable packages at the supermarket? I go through at least two a day (sometimes I use one, along with several smaller packages, varying the “mix.”) Veggies add healthy, less calorically-dense VOLUME and, because I love to eat, volume is key. My favorite picks are:
- California Blend – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. (I use these for the bulk)
- Italian Blend – broccoli, cauliflower, Italian green beans, zucchini, carrots
- Asian Blend – broccoli, snap peas, water chestnuts, red peppers, mushrooms
- Ranchero Fiesta – broccoli, white beans, chickpeas, carrots, red peppers, dark red kidney beans, Italian green beans. (I generally use half a bag, mixed with less starchy vegetables, but I love these for the extra fiber and protein (which, again, helps you stay satisfied longer!))
Those aside, my favorite vegetables to prepare with the ground chicken are organic red, yellow, and orange peppers (sweeter than the green), sliced baby bella mushrooms, and fire roasted tomatoes. Sometimes I also add baby spinach, but I’ll toss it in towards the end if I do so it doesn’t get cooked too much and lose nutrients.
I slice the peppers into small strips, after removing the stem and seeds, and quartering. The mushrooms just need to be rinsed, and that’s it! I will heat the stove on high and toss all the veggies with some salt and pepper into my snazzy Curtis Stone pan (which I don’t have to use any oil with! 🙂 ) I generally put the cover on and let them simmer, stirring occasionally, for about six or seven minutes.
Then I put two pounds of ground chicken (Whole Foods can grind breast meat for you if they are out!) into a second, larger pan, over high heat – again, no oil is necessary, but I do sprinkle Jane’s Mixed Up Salt on both sides (it’s easy to sprinkle on one side while in the package, then when you place it in the pan face down, you can add to the second side.) I give it about two or three minutes on high to let one side brown gently, then I flip. I’ll give it a minute or two and then start to chop it with my spatula, and flip as necessary.
I DON’T like dried-out meat, so I will get it cooked about 75% through, then add in the vegetable mixture, which is softened by now, but not overcooked. I’ll let that simmer on a medium to high heat mixing periodically until it’s cooked through.
And voila…easy as that. The whole thing doesn’t take more than about 15 minutes or so, and it lasts me through a few meals. I DO tend to eat “dinner” a few times at Night, though… 🙂 It really is like feeding a raptor.
For more of my Nutritional Choices… 😀