IMG_0908I love food. And I used love to cook. There was a time when I used to try a few new recipes on a weekly basis. If you were to look in my cupboard where I keep my cookbooks, there are stacks upon stacks of paper with watermarks, oil stains and crinkled corners. I used to love whipping up new tastes and dishes. And then…I had kids.

Mealtime presentations started to be met with cries of, “Ewwww. Gross!” And, “I’m not eating that. It has vegetables!” Or even worse…the silent slide of the plate across the table all while pouting in resistance. What the heck? I’m a health coach. And my kids are supposed to eat healthy food. We are supposed to be the ideal image of healthy, balanced eating. And yet, all I hear are protests regarding anything green and good for you.

But I am not giving up. The truth is, the majority of what is out there in our grocery stores is full of additives and ingredients that are not good for us. Trips to the store have evolved from the earlier stages of reading the labels on everything to uncover the mystery to sticking with what I’ve learned is free from anything that I don’t want my family eating. It was work initially but has certainly become easier over time.

So now, I want to rekindle my love for cooking. And let’s get real here for a moment. Food companies want for us to believe that cooking is adding water, stirring, and serving. Maybe even adding an egg or two. Sometimes, you even have to drain or sauté! Most of us no longer rely on “from scratch” cooking and instead turn to convenience. But what will be very inconvenient down the road are the host of illnesses that all of that extra added junk can lead to.

So let’s get real (food, that is)! I’m going to show you how to make an easy meal that will take you one hour from start to finish – clean-up included. This recipe is straight out of our Cooking Wise FirstLine Therapy® cookbook that we sell right here in the clinic. Throw on some music, get your pots and pans ready and away we go!

Dinner is Served…Italian Chicken Style

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves 4

Calories per serving: 314

Fat per serving: 16g

Carbs per serving: 5g

Protein per serving: 38g

Dinner is Served…Italian Chicken Style

FirstLine Therapy servings: 1 1/2 protein, 1 oil, 1 category 1 vegetable

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 whole breasts divided)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 4 slices part-skim mozzarella

Instructions

Combine the ricotta and oregano in a small bowl; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F. Rub each chicken piece with some garlic powder. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the chicken, cooking for about 8 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place chicken in a 13" X 9" backing pan. Spoon 1/4 of each of cheese mixture and crushed tomatoes onto each chicken breast. Top each with a slice of mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes.

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I’ve added a few extra pictures of the prep process so that you can see the progress from start to finish. One thing to note…I like to pound my chicken flat so that it cooks more evenly and stays juicy. I place the chicken between a layer of plastic wrap and hit it with the mallet until it is uniformed thickness. You’ll also see that one of the pieces of chicken was made with pesto instead of the crushed tomatoes. This is how I got my girls to indulge. And they also got spaghetti. Why? Because they won’t eat asparagus. And that’s okay.

Pulling out this cookbook and smelling garlic and crushed tomatoes reminded me of how much I really do miss this whole cooking thing. And the added bonus, MY KIDS LOVED IT! I ended up having to share my chicken because they both ate all of theirs and wanted more. Watch for a future post on some of my favorite kitchen utensils and tools that make cooking both fun and easy! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for notifications on future updates.