Cheddar and Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Apple Cheddar Stuffed Chicken - bordered

Hey there gang, it’s Joe Stapleton here again with another post and recipe! I came across this one while digging through some old cookbooks, and after trying it just have to share it with you all! I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to make un-breaded chicken breasts more appetizing without going overboard on the calories, and this one certainly fit the bill. It’s essentially a lower carbohydrate version of chicken Kiev, with a prosciutto wrap replacing the breading. Even with the prosciutto wrap it still ends up being about half the calories, carbs, and fat of chicken Kiev, with more protein!. The real fun is on the inside though, where it just screams New England! It’s stuffed with a blend of shallot, cheddar cheese, and green apple, yum!

What little carbs are in this entrée come from the Granny Smith apple, so they’re the kind of carbs we like over here at Practical Nutrition. You know, the ones that come from fruits or vegetables, can be organically and locally sourced, and that come with a myriad of health benefits along for the ride! Believe it or not, that old adage popularized by Benjamin Franklin ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ isn’t all that far from the truth! Apples are high in fiber, which can increase your satiety, keeping you full longer. They are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, both of which are powerful antioxidants that can lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Green apples have two extra benefits over their more commonly consumed red cousins: the first being their potassium content. Granny Smith apples have even more potassium than other apples, which can further reduce risk of heart disease and help to stabilize your heart rhythm! Lastly, while both red and green apples can help your teeth if you can’t brush after a meal, green apples are even better at this job! Both varieties stimulate saliva production from chewing their tough, fibrous skins, but the tart flavor of a green apple stimulates this even more, and saliva is our first line of defense against cavity causing bacteria in our mouths! Just remember to have a glass of water after an apple to wash away the sugar and acid leftover from your delicious treat!

Let’s get back to the real reason you’re reading though, the recipe! When we prepared this dish last weekend we made it with gratin dauphinoise (French scalloped potatoes) and grilled asparagus, paired with a nice Italian trebbiano and some hopeful wishes of melting snow and warmer weather. (Given the fact that it’s been beautiful all week and some actual honest-to-goodness grass is peeking out of the snow, it looks like someone out there answered our prayers, so you’re welcome!)

Oh, and for anyone using PN Rx for their macronutrient counts, one full stuffed chicken breast equals roughly 2 proteins, 2.5 fats, and only 0.5 carbohydrates. The full nutritional breakdown is in the recipe. Enjoy!

Cheddar and Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts
 
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Author:
Recipe type: entrée / dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 thick skinless boneless organic chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. dried sage
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 cup shredded Vermont sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 slices of prosciutto
  • sea salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly oil a small roasting pan.
  2. Put a chicken breast on a cutting board, rounded side up. Use a small, sharp knife to cut a pocket along the length of the chicken breast, cutting as deep as you can without cutting through to the other side of the ends. Repeat with the remaining breasts, then cover and transfer to the refrigerator.
  3. To make the stuffing, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, celery, and sage and sauté, stirring, for 3-5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in the apple and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft but not falling apart. Stir in the cheese and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide the stuffing among the chicken pockets. Wrap one and a half slices of prosciutto around each breast. Then rub the tops with the remaining oil and sprinkle with pepper.
  5. Transfer the chicken to the prepared pan and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices are piping hot with steam rising and run clean with no sign of pink when the tip of a sharp knife is inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 3-5 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 breast Calories: 329 Fat: 13 Saturated fat: 6 Carbohydrates: 8 Sugar: 5.2 Fiber: 1.5 Protein: 35

Maple & Toasted Coconut Breakfast Delight

Hi everyone!

By now you all know I love all things coconut. Well, I recently found (and fell in love with!) “Dang” Coconut Chips. All I can say is …Dang! If you like coconut, you’ll do what I did and find a way to sneak these into every meal/snack of the day. Although coconut is high in fat, I’m okay with it! Eating enough healthy fat actually reduces your cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates…both things we should try to avoid eating. Additionally, coconut is known for it’s immune boosting, skin enhancing, heart healthy, and mood boosting properties- so how can you say no?! 

Dang Coconut Chips come in many flavors- Sea Salted Caramel (my favorite!), Lightly Salted, Greek Yogurt, and Dark Chocolate Coated (haven’t tried this one yet, but it might be neck to neck with Sea Salted Caramel…guess I’ll have to find out!)

As far as packaged snack food goes, it’s hard to find a healthy choice…but these certainly fit the bill! With a short ingredient list of words I can pronounce- only organic coconut, coconut sugar, and sea salt,  you can’t really beat it. Throw these yummy delights on a salad, eat them plain as a snack, add to a trail mix, or put on top of a yogurt or smoothie as shown below. Check out Dang’s website for a free recipe book by clicking here (they have things like Coconut Pad Thai, Grain Free Cranberry Granola,  and Coconut Roasted Brussel Sprouts!)…I can’t wait to try some of these myself! By the way, these are available at most large grocery stores so you should have no problem tracking them down.

Enjoy!

As always, stay well, eat well and have a beautiful week!

Ana :)

Maple & Toasted Coconut Breakfast Delight!
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I like Wallaby Organic)
  • 2 Tbls Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ Cup Dang Coconut Chips
Instructions
  1. You guessed it! Place yogurt in a bowl. Add maple syrup to yogurt and top with coconut chips (or do it the other way around!). Most importantly...enjoy the goodness!

 

Gluten/Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Covered Rice Cakes

It’s a pretty snow day here on the east coast….which in my mind automatically translates  into “stay in my PJs all day and taste test some yummy new recipes!” Even though it’s not February yet (national chocolate month, and national heart health month!), I was looking to make something chocolatey that I would feel really good about eating (and give me some extra energy to shovel the 24 inches of snow off the walkway!).

These dark chocolate covered rice cakes really hit the spot…I used Lily’s baking chips, which contain no sugar, are certified organic, and absolutely delicious! Here in CT you can get them at TFC Health Foods in Farmington for a great price.  I also used Lundberg’s brown rice cakes, which also are certified organic, and a super “clean” grain that gives this treat a nice crunchy texture. We don’t do tons of grains here at PN, but when we do have them we like to make sure they’re gluten free, as unprocessed as possible, and consumed in a moderate portion.

When I have a treat I avoid eating something that will drain my energy or cause me to “crash” 15 minutes later- that’s why I love having unsweetened dark chocolate and treats with no refined, white sugar in them.  Having a way to nip the sweet tooth in the bud  is important…that’s why I’m planning on keeping a few of these chocolate covered rice cakes in baggies at my desk as a mid day pick me up, sure to help beat the winter blues!

Enjoy a sweet little indulgence…have an amazing week!

Ana and Amanda :)

Gluten/Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Covered Rice Cakes
 
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Author:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 10 Brown Rice Cakes (we use Lundberg brand)
  • 4 TBLS Coconut Oil
  • 1 Package Unsweetened Dark Baking Chips (we use Lily's brand)
  • Toppings as desired (sea salt, coconut flakes, nuts/seeds, cacao nibs, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Line a baking pan with wax paper.
  2. Put the coconut oil and chocolate chips in a medium sized pot on medium/high heat. Stir continually until the chocolate is melted and well combined (take off of the heat as soon as it is melted).
  3. Use tongs to dip each rice cake into the chocolate sauce and lay on the wax paper lined baking pan (I broke each rice cake in half so make more servings- this is up to you).
  4. Sprinkle toppings on top as desired (I used coconut flakes)
  5. Allow to cool in fridge for about 2 hours, and then store in a plastic baggy or container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  6. Sampling while making these IS permitted.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
PN Rx:
2 fats and 1 carb per ½ cake

 

 

Classic Cobb Salad (with a PN twist!)

Cobb salads are delicious and full of high protein, healthy ingredients! However, they are one of those foods you don’t really want to order at a restaurant. It’s hard to know that you’re getting  healthfully sourced ingredients, such an unprocessed, uncured bacon from humanely raised pigs, a dressing made without any vegetable/canola oil or fake mayo, and free range, organic eggs and chicken! Finding a restaurant that values the integrity of all of the main ingredients of a Cobb salad is tough- that’s why I love making these at home! The dressing is my favorite part…check out the recipe and let us know what you think!

 

Classic Cobb Salad (with a PN twist!)
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 cups organic mixed greens
  • 4 slices all natural, uncured bacon (cooked crispy and crumbled into bits)
  • 2 organic hardboiled eggs (sliced into pieces)
  • 1 medium organic roma tomato
  • 1 medium organic chicken breast (you will need 1 TBLS coconut oil, 2 TBLS coconut flour, 4 TBLS coconut flakes, and 1 egg if you're not using leftover chicken)
  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 carrots (sliced)
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 4 TBLS fresh dill (finely chopped)
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • Pinch sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. First cook your chicken breast, or slice some leftover chicken you have into strips. I like to cut mine into strips, batter it with 1 egg and 2 TBLS coconut flour and then sauté lightly in ½ TBLS coconut oil in a pan in coconut oil for about 4-5 minutes, or until brown. I then place the strips on a baking sheet on the other ½ TBLS coconut oil and top with coconut flakes and bake for about 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees (no longer because you don't want the chicken to dry out). If you don't like coconut chicken you can do this same process with olive oil and sea salt/pepper.
  2. Next, place the mixed greens on your plates and top with all of your vegetables, crumbled bacon, and sliced egg. I like to do it in rows, but you can do different style of layer depending on your visual preference.
  3. Lastly, to make the dressing simply mix all of the remaining ingredients together until well combined. Add a touch more oil and lemon juice if you like it thinner. When the chicken is done, place the strips on your salad while still warm, put the dressing on the side in a small bowl, and enjoy!
  4. PN RX (per salad): 4 free veggies, 1.5 protein, 3 fats

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara

Sometimes I crave a good old pasta and marinara sauce dinner! It’s hard to find a recipe that is tasty AND health promoting. Having a bit of high quality protein, veggies, and healthy fat is the best way to make sure you leave a meal feeling energized and satisfied. Amanda and I  have been loving this Gluten Free Black Bean/Mung Bean Pasta lately (like most of our suggestions, you can find this pasta in the Gluten Free section at most major grocery stores). This pasta, combined with this clean and simple homemade high protein marinara sauce, is the perfect alternative to the typical “refined” white pasta you grew up on- and will taste better too! Enjoy!

Quick and Tasty Wheat Free Pasta with Veggie Marinara
 
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Try this quick and easy pasta dish when you're craving pasta or something with an Italian feel! Feel amazing and light after you eat it as it's full of fiber, B Vitamins, and protein!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ Bag Black Bean Spaghetti*
  • Sauce:
  • ½ Bag Ming Bean Spaghetti*
  • 6 and ¼ cup water
  • 1 Jar Organic, No Sugar Added Tomato Sauce (made with olive oil)
  • 1 Small Can (6 oz.) Organic Tomato Paste
  • 4 TBLS Italian Seasoning (We like the brand Frontier Organics)
  • ⅛ Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Handfuls Organic Spinach
  • 1 Cup Raw Mushrooms
  • 2 TBLS Chopped Garlic (fresh or from the jar)
  • 1 Avocado (for garnish) and Pint Organic Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Pound Baked Free Range Chicken, Chunked
  • Any Other Vegetable You Love!
  • * Find Gluten Free Black Bean or Mung Bean Pasta at most major grocery stores or local health food store!
Instructions
  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in medium pot. In the mean time, combine olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, and mushrooms in a medium sized skillet on the stove top at medium heat. Allow to sit on stove for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly browned and softened. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, and spinach to the skillet. Once water is boiling, add dry Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta to the water and allow to boil for about 7-10 minutes until soft, "pasta like" consistency is reached. Drain the pasta when finished and set aside. Allow your sauce ingredients to simmer for about 10 more minutes or until mixture has come to a slow boil, and the spinach has cooked down/is well combined into sauce. Add chicken chunks (or other desired protein) to the sauce until they are warm throughout, and serve over the Black Bean/Mung Bean pasta. Top with chunks of avocado and cherry tomatoes- enjoy!
Notes
PN RX for ¼ of the sauce and 1 Cup Pasta: 2 Carbs, 2 Fat, 1 Veggies, 1 Protein

Horseradish Almond Crusted Chicken

Chicken

This recipe was inspired by a mustard crusted chicken my Mom used to make when I was growing up. I think it had breadcrumbs and a bunch of other seasonings including ground mustard. I really wanted to replicate an even healthier, gluten-free version. This recipe is very simple and easy so even if you are new to cooking you will be able to handle it. It tasted good cold on a salad too! Enjoy!

 

Horseradish Almond Crusted Chicken
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2lb Organic Chicken Breast Tenderloins
  • ½ cup Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour
  • 4-5 Tbsp Horseradish (I like plain old Stop and Shop Brand)
  • 1.5 Tbsp Organic Butter/Coconut Oil
  • .5 Tbsp Garlic Powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Melt the organic butter or coconut oil (on stove top or microwave).
  2. Place your chicken in a large, glass baking dish and cover with butter/coconut oil.
  3. Now sprinkle the ½ cup of almond flour and garlic powder over each piece of chicken. Spread horseradish over each piece as well.
  4. I sprinkled everything on top then mixed it all together when I put the horseradish on top so everything is combined. You can do this with your fingers to make it easier.
  5. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until center is no longer pink.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4oz Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 2g Protein: 28g

Chicken Parmesan With Mung Bean Fettuccini

It’s a snowy day in New England and on snowy days when I’m stuck at home I like to cook! I can remember growing up and every time we were stuck in the house because of the snow my Mom would start cooking up a storm of good food. I had some organic chicken that I got on sale, marinara sauce, and this Mung Bean Fettuccini so I decided to make chicken parmesan. It came out SO good! I used tapioca flour before I breaded them this time and it really made a huge difference. The breading didn’t fall off at all and they came out a lot crispier. The Mung Bean Pasta is from this brand Explore Asian. They have a ton of different types of pastas made from beans and seeds. They have very few ingredients (usually just the bean and water) and taste great! They also have a lot of protein and fiber in most of the different types, which is a plus. I definitely recommend trying some out! Enjoy the recipe!

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Chicken Parmesan With Mung Bean Fettucini
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Serves: 13
Ingredients
  • 2.5-3lb Thinly Cut Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca Flour
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1.5 cups Rao's Marinara Sauce*
  • 1Tbsp Basil
  • 1Tbsp Oregano
  • 1Tbsp Onion Powder
  • ½Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • ½Tbsp Thyme
  • 4-5Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Bag Mung Bean Fettuccini
  • Spinach to plate
  • Herb Goat cheese (or any other) to top with
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prepare 3 bowls for dipping and breading chicken. Bowl 1: tapioca flour; Bowl 2: 2 eggs, whisked; Bowl 3: almond flour and rest of seasonings. Place a plate at the end of the bowl station. Then place a large glass baking dish next to that to put the chicken in after you pan fry them.
  3. Heat large pan with 2.5Tbsp of butter or coconut oil (so a total of about 5Tbsp for 2 batches). As soon as you turn your pan on start preparing the chicken strips.
  4. First, cover with tapioca flour, then dip in egg, then cover with almond flour mixture. You can place the chicken on the plate until the pan is ready.
  5. Fry chicken 2 minutes on each side. I did 2 batches of the chicken breasts in a large pan.Once the chicken is done browning on each side place in the large glass baking dish.
  6. Get a large pot and set up on stove. Fill pot with water to cook pasta in. Turn burner on high.When water boils at add pasta and lower heat to medium for 7-8 minutes.
  7. Bake chicken in oven for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
  8. When pasta is done, strain in colander and set aside.
  9. To plate take about ⅔ cup pasta and place a handful of spinach on top. Then place 1 chicken strip or 1/13th of recipe (mine had 13 strips) on top of the spinach and top with your favorite cheese. I used about an ounce herb goat cheese that tasted delicious.
Notes
*You can use any pasta sauce you want. I just like the Rao's Homemade Marinara that I found at Stew Leonard's because it doesn't have any sugar or vegetable oils in it.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 527 Fat: 24 Carbohydrates: 26 Protein: 62