With all the New Year’s resolutions to start the year off right by getting back in shape, healthy recipes are in high demand. You can work out as much as you want, but if you don’t pair it with a healthy diet you will likely see minimal results. I will be the first to tell you that I have eaten nothing but junk this holiday season. It is so hard to eat healthy when there are so many temptations around you. I don’t know about you, but cookies are my absolute weakness. I can’t resist them, which can be a bit of a problem when your trying to make healthy choices. In the last year, I was very strict with exercising and eating right to look my best for our wedding. Now that our day has come and gone, I find myself slipping and making bad choices. Exercise is something that is important to me and it takes a great amount of commitment to see results. Not only do you see a change in yourself physically, the changes in your emotional being become very prevalent. This is one of the biggest reasons I enjoy being active. I’m at my best after I have exercised. This is something I need to consistently remind myself of when I just want to go home, sit on the couch, and watch Netflix for 5 straight hours.
I’m not going to lie, I am a little angry with myself for losing the progress I worked so hard for over the last year. However, life is all about balance. You can’t obsess over everything you put into your mouth or how many hours of exercise you completed in a week. Everyone deserves to give themselves a break from time to time. In the words of my favorite entertainment 720 mogul, Tom Haverford, and boss lady, Donna Meagle, “TREAT YO SELF”. Any Parks and Recreation fans out there?! Now, I’m not saying that you should eat junk food and do absolutely nothing for months on end. I just think it’s important to know that the world is not going to end if you give yourself a break. What’s important is recognizing when to pick yourself up off the couch, turn off Netflix, and get back to it!
My favorite in-home workout is the Kayla Itsines, Bikini Body Guide (BBG). This is a 12 week program that requires minimal equipment and utilizes your own body weight in a scheduled series of workouts. I completed the entire program last year and saw amazing results (just a forewarning, you may or may not be able to walk from soreness after the first day). My plan for this new year is to complete the entire program again. Nothing gets me more pumped up for these workouts than a great music playlist. Recently, the *NSYNC Pandora station has been my jam. I’m pretty sure more dancing and singing happens than actually working out, but that burns calories right? I completed the first two days of the BBG program this weekend and followed it up with my favorite form of exercise, yoga. If anyone is looking for an in-home program, I highly recommend Yoga with Adriene. She has her own YouTube channel with dozens of videos that cater to all levels. Erin Motz’s YouTube channel is my other favorite. Yoga is hands down the best exercise that gives me a major confidence boost. To give these yoga programs and BBG a try, find where to start at the end of this post.
Now that the holidays are over, all of the junk food is gone out of our house. This was the perfect opportunity for us to shop for fresh and healthy ingredients. Once I start incorporating exercise into my daily routine I crave healthy and nutritious foods to fuel my body. I want to share one of my favorite healthy recipes with you so that you can also start this year out on the right foot! This Bruschetta Chicken paired with spaghetti squash is absolutely guilt free and packed with flavor. If you are as obsessed with garlic as I am, keep reading. My favorite substitutes for pasta are spaghetti squash or zoodles, aka zucchini noodles. You can use either for this recipe. I typically pair this with spaghetti squash.
Whenever I cook with chicken my first step is to tenderize with a meat hammer. This is also a good way to take out any pent-up aggression you may have 😉 Once you have tenderized, place the chicken breasts into a gallon size Ziploc bag.
In a separate bowl combine the oregano, thyme, parsley, black pepper and sea salt.
Julienne the basil. These handy herb cutters from, Sur La Table are my best friend. I use these bad boys all the time, they make cutting herbs so much fun AND easy!
Add olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, fresh basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, black pepper and salt into the Ziploc bag the chicken. I recommend putting this together in the morning and allowing it to marinade all day. This allows the chicken plenty of time to soak up all the juices and it bursts with flavor.If you don’t have time to make this in advance, place the chicken in the marinade at least one hour before cooking.
Next, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F for the spaghetti squash. These take a while to bake so I like to get them in the oven before I start anything else.
Cut open the squash and remove the guts. Lightly oil the insides and add a sprinkle of garlic salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes.
When the squash is finished, use a fork to scrape out the inside. In a serving bowl, toss with garlic olive oil, pepper, salt, and a sprinkle of parsley. Set aside.
To make the bruschetta topping, place your chopped and seeded tomatoes, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper, and sea salt into a bowl. Mix all ingredients together and let sit on the counter top to marinade at room temperature.
This recipe is one of my favorite meals to throw on the grill during the summer, however, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to the cold. In the winter months I prefer to utilize my stove top to sauté the chicken.
Heat a sauté pan at medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil three turns of the pan.
Using tongs, remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and place into the sauté pan. Discard excess marinade.
Cook on medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked thoroughly.
Serve the cooked chicken over the spaghetti squash and top with the bruschetta mixture.
Oh! Don’t be like me and forget to garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Lets be honest, what is bruschetta chicken without a little bit of cheese?!