Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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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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Cilantro Lime Chicken

This was another easy crock pot recipe I found – but it is very similar to my taco chicken (which should have been obvious). Both are delicious, you just probably don’t want to make them in the same week like I did! Similarly, you can do many things with this chicken once it’s cooked. I served over some zoodles (sauteed and seasoned with chili powder) and with some sweet potatoes – didn’t really go together but I need the sweet potatoes as a was running a 5K the next morning. Enjoy!

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Cilantro-Lime Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 C salsa (I made my own or you can find some without added sugar for Whole30 – read labels!)
  • ~12 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 2 limes (save the rinds)
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • dash or 2 cayenne pepper
  • dash of salt & pepper

Directions

Juice both limes and set the rinds aside.

Place chicken in bottom of crock pot. Add lime juice, chili powder, and salsa.

Tie or band cilantro together. Drop cilantro and lime rinds on top of chicken.

Cook on low 8-10 hours (or high for 6 hours).

When chicken is tender enough, remove the lime rinds and cilantro. Shred the chicken in the pot using two forks.

Stir well and add remaining seasoning. Continue to cook or simmer for about 30 minutes.

[from eatlivegrowpaleo.com]


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Rosemary Almonds

I’m not a huge fan of raw nuts, but on the Whole30 that is a good quick snack when needed. I bought a giant bag of almonds at Sam’s Club and wanted to season & roast them somehow. Most of the roasted almond recipes out there are for amazing cinnamon sugar almonds – which I obviously would have loved to do, but alas could not. But I did find this one with rosemary and a kick of pepper. They are delicious and easy to make!

gather what you need

gather what you need

toss it, spread it, bake it

toss it and spread it

Rosemary Roasted Almonds

Ingredients

  • 2 C whole raw almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (I cheated and used dried)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • dash of cayenne pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place almonds in a large Ziploc bag, drizzle in the olive oil, and toss to coat.

Sprinkle rosemary, paprika, salt and cayenne into bag and toss to coat.

Spread almonds into a single layer and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Let cool and store in an airtight container. Or I divvied mine up between snack size Ziploc bags.

[adapted from Go Dairy Free]


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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!