Catching Katy

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Crock Pot Chicken & Butternut Squash

This may be my favorite Whole30 meal and it was one of the last of my official Whole30 meals. It was the easiest and the most filling! It was easy for me because I bought pre-cubed butternut squash….if you have to cut your own add some time. There isn’t much to it but the flavor was great. I also made some sweet potato “noodles”, but you can serve with any side you want!

The meal doesn’t make for pretty pictures, but don’t let it fool you. The crock pot bags also don’t help with pics, but man, do they help with clean up.

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cooked in the crock pot!

sweet potato "noodles"

sweet potato “noodles”

happy plate

happy plate

Crock Pot Chicken & Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts (or 3-4 if they are small)
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb. bag baby carrots
  • 1 butternut squash peeled, seeded, and diced (I used 2 bags of pre-diced)
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Side: sweet potato (1 large per serving); or whatever side you want

Directions

Place chicken breasts in the crock pot and splash the vinegar on top. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the carrots and butternut squash around and on top of the chicken. Season with Italian seasoning and more salt and pepper.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

When chicken is done or close to done, make your sweet potato(es)

  • Option 1: peel the potato then use the straight blade on your spiralizer for a wider, flatter spirals
  • Option 2: peel the potato, then continue using the peeler on the whole potato. you end up with flat, kind of thin ribbons.

To cook, heat ~1 Tbsp. oil (I use coconut or olive) in a large frying pan. Toss in sweet potatoes, seasoning with some Italian seasoning, and sauté for about 5 minutes (or until potatoes are softened).

I served my chicken over my sweet potatoes or serve on the side!

*I obviously had leftovers, but the chicken was a little dry when reheated. I’d suggest saving some of the liquid from the crock pot when you store it (I think that’s ok, right??).

[from $5 Dinners]


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Whole 30 Wrap Up

My last week of the Whole30 was pretty uneventful – just chugging along at this point. Apart from my cheat, my breakfasts and lunches were pretty much the same as in week 3 (slight variation on the taco chicken to cilantro lime chicken). Told ‘ya I was keeping it simple! I did have a couple new dinners:

marinara sauce w/ ground turkey + zoodles. this was good and easy – I’ll definitely keep this recipe on hand.

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slow cooker chicken & butternut squash + sweet potato. this was delicious and I’ll post the recipe this week!

happy plate

And my final overview. I am ending my Whole30 a couple days early, but with good reason. Unfortunately I have not had such a positive experience with it as most people. Unfortunately, my digestive system has been off-kilter the entire time. I wanted to give my body time to adjust but it only did literally in the past 2 days. Although I figured out the Whole30 may not have been completely at fault for this, it is true that many veggies are more difficult to digest and I think the increased intake was just too much.

As I’ve said, I did feel mentally better simply eating better, but the other downside was that it was difficult to have the energy to do my typical workouts. I know it’s possible, since other people do it, I just don’t have the time or money or commitment to continue to keep dramatically changing my diet. I obviously don’t want to go back to eating a bunch of crap. The plan is this: limit my dairy, grains, sweets [as in never buying any myself, only indulging for special occasions]. And honestly, my typical diet is not that bad (apart from my long binge between Thanksgiving and New Years).

I don’t regret doing the Whole30, but if you’re considering it and know you have a sensitive stomach, consider it very carefully. It may help or it may hurt. I hope it helps! If you’ve been following my Whole30 journey – thanks! I do still post pretty regularly on my blog apart from these posts, so hang around and I hope you continue to follow!


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Crock Pot Marinara

This was super easy and has a good flavor. You can eat as is, or cook up some protein and add it in at the end! This recipe is good for Whole30 or non-Whole30, just change what you serve it on. For Whole30 I served over zoodles…..and threw in a sweet potato as I do to most meals. And don’t worry….I definitely went back for seconds!

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Crock Pot Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (leave out for Whole30)
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • optional protein: ground turkey, ground beef (I used ground turkey)

Directions

Chop the onion and mince garlic (or use pre-minced). Place in bottom of crock pot.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

If adding a protein, cook the meat and season with Italian seasoning when it is close to 8 hours. Once cooked, pour into crock pot and stir to combine. Recover to let finish heating or let it sit on warm for 20-30 minutes.

[modified from Budget Bytes]


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Whole30 Cheat

Hi, my name is Katy and I blatantly cheated on my Whole30 and I am ok with it. There was never going to be a full 30 days that I didn’t have some excuse to not do it. So I just went with January, knowing that I had already signed up for my favorite race of the year: the Hot Chocolate 5K. I’ve done it every year it has been in Atlanta and the whole point of racing (aside from the sweet sweatshirt) is the amazing treat at the end of the race – hot chocolate and chocolate fondue with all the dip-ins.

My Whole30 is not a full lifestyle change – I’ve known that from the start. It is to reset my habits and get used to leaving some things out a majority of the time. Perfect example: sweets. The goal is to only have sweets for the occasional treat – which is exactly what this was. And it actually worked really well – I had some chocolate, was completely satisfied and had no desire to keep eating it (as I normally would have)! I’d call it a success!

If you haven’t checked out the sweetest race, I highly recommend it.

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Whole 30 – Week 3

I think I’m finally getting the hang of this. I think I just wasn’t eating enough for my metabolism and/or workout habits, and I think the biggest downfall was breakfast. So I simplified it and have way more energy this week. I also simplified all my meals (save one dinner as I had shrimp that needed to be used) by using the crock pot so the week was way less overwhelming. I’m not going to lie, though – we cooked dinner at a local transitional shelter and baking cookies was the WORST. Definitely the biggest temptation so far.

Here’s the breakdown from Week 3 – 9 more days to go!

Breakfasts: Hard boiled egg(s) + 2 sausage patties + strawberries + blueberries + banana. The number of eggs (1 or 2) and whether I had a banana or not depended on my workout for that day. Strenuous workout = more food. 🙂 I did some scrambled eggs on the weekend but basically kept everything the same!

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Lunches: taco chicken + lettuce + bell peppers + shredded carrots + avacado + salsa. I tried to use romaine as a taco shell the first day, but that proved to be way too messy – especially since I usually eat and work at the same time. So the rest of the week was “taco” salad. And it made enough to get me through the weekend also!

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Dinner: sticky shrimp + steamed broccoli/cauliflower + sweet potatoes. I haven’t had time to post the shrimp recipe (maybe later) but it’s linked to where I found it. It was definitely not an ‘easy’ one but I had shrimp I had to use – and it was VERY good. I also had fun cutting the sweet potatoes using my  still new-ish spiralizer.

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Dinner: “creamy” chicken & tomato soup. A yummy crock pot recipe. Makes so much I’ll probably use it for lunches next week. One night I stirred in some mixed greens. One night I ladled it onto some zoodles. Yum.

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Dinner: cilantro lime chicken + zoodles + sweet potatoes. Another great crock pot meal (I’ll post the recipe this week)! Normally would go on rice, so I just sautéed some zoodles with some chili powder. And the sweet potatoes totally didn’t fit but I needed something with carbs since I was doing a 5K the next morning. Random-looking but all delicious!

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There were of course little snacks of Lara bars or nuts when needed. I did find a very delicious roasted almond recipe that I will post soon. Heading into the home stretch!


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Taco Chicken

I absolutely love the crock pot. And I can’t believe I’ve never posted this recipe since it is one of my go-tos. And it’s Whole30 appropriate (with one small variation). I’ve posted a reuse of this recipe since it’s good as is or to make a lot of other things – tacos, burritos, enchiladas, salad, soup – you can get creative! And since it’s a crock pot recipe it’s SO easy!

This week I’m using it for lunch – chicken “tacos” (with romaine lettuce as the shell) and taco salads. Top with whatever you want!

Crock Pot Taco Chicken

Ingredients

  • ~6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can modify depending on the size)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 jar salsa (16 oz)
  • 1/4 C or 1 packet taco seasoning*

Directions

  1. Place chicken breasts in bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Chop the green pepper and onion and put on top of the chicken.
  3. Mix the salsa and taco seasoning together and pour on top of the chicken and veggies.
  4. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours.
  5. Shred chicken with a fork.

 

*I normally use Penzey’s original taco seasoning, but it is not Whole30 compliant, so I found a recipe for a homemade taco seasoning while doing Whole30. I went ahead and doubled the recipe and stored the leftover.

Homemade taco seasoning (from Whole New Mom)

  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper

 

whole30 chicken "tacos"

whole30 chicken “tacos”


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Whole 30 – Week 2

So, things didn’t just simply get better as I hoped. Not to scare anyone, but this thing does take a lot of work. I got a little overwhelmed in week 2 with time (planning, shopping, prepping) as life has gotten a little crazy. And I’m still pretty tired, so I’ve been working to adjust my meals – I am sure it is user error. I’m still feeling great about eating better in general. I know it’s been good in this stressful week, I normally would have been chowing down on all kinds of sweets and junk.

I wanted to switch up breakfast and lunch in week 2 and not just do the same thing for all 30 days. And yes, that took more time. I’m still not loving breakfast – I definitely miss my greek yogurt – but we’ll see what week 3 brings! I’ve realized I’m I think I’m trying too hard – typically my meals are pretty simple, so I need to move in that direction for this – simplicity. The plan for week 3: making sure I’m using up food I have already (it’s easy to go crazy and buy new stuff when you have plenty) and using the crock pot. I have high hopes (and the 3-day weekend will surely help)! I’ll get this eventually – even if it takes me until Day 30!

Here’s the breakdown from week 2. Sorry, I’m not going to have time to post every recipe, so some are just linked to where I found them, but I’ll try to still post a couple of my favs each week!

Weekday Breakfasts: Egg muffins + strawberries + clementine + turkey bacon + 1/2 an avocado (added mid-week). These egg muffins were ok. I think I liked my Week 1 casserole more, though I’m still not sure it’s enough. The avocado was good to add to help me make all the way to lunch.

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Weekday lunches: Turkey-zucchini poppers w/ salsa + carrot sticks + 1/2 an avocado.  I sometimes threw in a handful of cashews also. And one day I had the rest of my butternut squash soup (delicious to dip the poppers in). Still might need a little more substance so will revisit a plan for week 3. (sorry, work was a little nuts this week so I forgot to take a pic)

Dinner: Zoodles with cashew cream sauce + baked chicken breast. This was delicious but was a little time-consuming. Check out the full post for details!

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Dinner: Pork tenderloin + roasted mashed cauliflower. This was good – again a little messy work and was not my best cooking. I roasted my cauliflower too long and I could not find Dijon mustard without white wine as in ingredient, so I just used yellow mustard. The taste was still great. The cauliflower tasted good but looks questionable. I might try a different way to do mashed cauliflower next time. Haven’t posted this recipe yet – I’ll get there eventually. Add a green veggie side to mix up the color a bit (see my leftover zoodles on this night)

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Weekend breakfast: sweet potato hash + eggs + fruit + coffee

 

I also had my first successful dinner out! My mom’s birthday was this weekend, so we went to Bonefish Grill for dinner. This was pretty easy – grilled ahi tuna & steamed broccoli. The menu lied a little bit and said it came with a seasonal veggie (in additional to my chosen broccoli side) but it came with a risotto instead – definitely would have asked for double broccoli had I know that. So the meal wasn’t super filling but it was still a success – I didn’t even mind missing the bread!