Smoked Chicken with Scalloped Potatoes

I love carbs. I think we talked about this before.My last post was about zoodles – which has become a staple in my house. What happens though when you have a craving for carbs and a huge pot of vegetables just won’t do?

I found this awesome recipe for scalloped potatoes. I know, I know they are usually heavy in cheese and butter and cream and you feel guilty for just looking at them. Would I really give you a recipe like that? No. These scalloped potatoes are just as creamy as the ones you remember but they are so much better for you. It is all about the substitutions.This recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons of butter! I used a combination of skim milk and chicken stock for the sauce and added a bunch of garlic, thyme and onions for flavor. I also may have put in a little bit of nutmeg for some extra flavor. The cheese is low-fat and sharp so there is extra flavor along with some parmesan. Finally I added some smoked chicken for some protein. My Dad actually got me hooked on this stuff. I hate ham, I don’t know why, I just do. He found this at a local shop and bought it for me to try. I love it. It gives me a smokey flavor of ham without the dryness that I always get from the stuff.

If you follow me on Instagram (@ aheartyjourney) you saw this recipe straight out of the oven. It was bubbly and cheesy and oh so yummy. If you don’t follow me – well you should! You never know what is going to show up there. I made my meal complete with some vegetables and trust me, I was not left unsatisfied. I learned a little trick that I think you guys will find really useful. When you are eating, eat the most healthy option on your plate first. That way you are filling up on the good stuff first! I started doing this recently and I have really saw a difference in the way I eat.

Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think. Also go over Gimme Some Oven. This was the recipe I used with some little tweaks of my own.

Until later my friends!

Smoked Chicken and Scalloped Potatoes

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups milk (skim)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 4 pounds potatoes
  • 1 pound smoked chicken or ham diced into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp low fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan

 

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Heavily grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.Grab a large saute pan and melt 3 tablespoons of butter into it. Add the onions and let cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Chop your garlic and add it to the onions. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the flour to the onions and garlic and cook until it incorporates. Slowly add the milk and chicken stock to the mixture and bring to a boil. Remember to stir! Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and thyme. Set aside.

Slice the potatoes and dice the smoked chicken or ham. Layer half of the potatoes first, then the ham and finally the cheese and sauce. Do this one more time and finish off with the cheese. Cover with foil and back for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additonal 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the cheese is bubbly.

ENJOY!

 

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Happiness Project Week #4

I want to talk about affirmations today. My step-daughter started her last first day of high school today and it got my thinking about my past a little bit and how happy I am now.

An affirmation is just a fancy word for a type of positive saying.

I try to be as positive of a person as I can be but a lot of the time I catch myself thinking negatively.

On one of my many study sessions about energy  I came across the term ‘affirmation’ and I was immediately intrigued. I started researching and I found this was something that I was missing throughout my day. I have added this to my morning routine and it has helped me become a more positive person, and stay focused on what really matters. There are some times where I go through the day and I don’t stop to appreciate the small things. I am alive. I have a great group of friends and family. I have a roof over my head and food to eat on my table. Not everyone can say that about their lives.

I am in no means able to help out everyone no matter how I wish to do so. What I can do is be grateful for all the things I do have.

For those of you that think that you have no time for this, you do. In the morning while I am drinking my tea I take five minutes to go over my affirmations.

I follow Louise Hay on Instagram. Let me tell you her blog is amazing. It is inspirational and uplifting. Go check her out! Tomorrow go to her Instagram account and take a look at her affirmations. I promise you won’t regret it.

Zoodles

I love pasta. LOVE IT. However, pasta is not the healthiest option for me. Carbs in general are not healthy for me. I have been trying to come up with alternatives to unhealthy side dishes. My family loves pasta, mashed potatoes and rice and I honestly do too. My father texted me while I was at work one day and asked if he would like zoodles. I love that he always asks me if he would like something. He loves squash so I told him I didn’t see why not.

Oh, what are zoodles? They are zucchini noodles made with this awesome machine called a spiralizer You can eat them raw in a salad, or cook them and cover them in your favorite sauce. It doesn’t have a lot of carbs like pasta and its a vegetable so its so much better than traditional pasta. If  you don’t want to invest in a spiralizer you can always buy your zoodles at the store. More and more grocery stores are starting to sell them.

This week I made my first homemade zoodle meal and I had so much fun doing it! The zoodles were so easy to make and it took no time at all. I decided to take some garlic, and some tomatoes from my garden and I came up with a delicious dish. I even got my husband to try it and he didn’t hate it. Which is a total win in my book.

Zoodles with Tomatoes, Garlic and Parmesan

  • 2 zucchini squash
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 small plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt & Pepper

To Make the ZoodlesIMG_3205

Take your zucchini and cut the ends off of them. Attach them to your spiralizer and get to crankin! (there is a clip of me doing this on my Instragram account @aheartyjourney)

Sprinkle the zoodles with salt and let sit for a half of an hour. This is a really important step. You need to get the moisture out so you won’t have soggy noodles. Squeeze any extra water out of the zoodles before cooking.

Add the butter or olive oil to a skillet. Heat and then add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook until soft. Add the zoodles to the tomatoes and garlic and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until cooked. Add some salt and pepper and some cheese and you are good to go! This can be used a side dish or if you are me and alone for the night a complete meal.

 

 

Happiness Project Week #3

I have always wanted to try yoga. I follow a lot of awesome ladies on Instagram who are always inspiring me. I thought that yoga would be a really great low impact exercise for me to start and end my day with.

I was wrong. I actually hate yoga and I am not very good at it. I tried every at home yoga program I could find including YouTube videos and Instagram posts. I even found an adorable graphic of bunnies in yoga poses. I tried for awhile thinking I just wasn’t giving myself enough time and that I would eventually get the hang of it. I can do the simple poses that are more like stretching than anything else.

So instead of doing yoga in the morning and at night I have switched up my routine to just do a series of stretches. Maybe one day I will have the time to go to an actual yoga class. But, until them I am content in what I am able to do. I believe that my stretching is giving me the same satisfaction and purpose of yoga and that is all that really matters to me.

In week three of my happiness project I have really learned that it is okay to try new things – and it is also okay to realize you do not like them, or like me that you suck at them. I mean how will you ever know if you don’t try?

Have you ever tried something and it just wasn’t a good fit for you? Comment below and let me hear your stories!!

Happiness Project Week 2

I have never been a morning person.

Ever.

While I was in highschool I was a normal teenager who didn’t want to wake up in the morning. When I became an adult I was either working a 11-7 shift or a 6-2 shift and I could never get into a morning routine. Now that I have a ‘normal’ 9-5 job I thought it was about time to have some sort of morning routine instead of getting up 20 minutes before my alarm and rushing out the door. I have been doing this gradually for the past couple of months. Each two weeks I have been getting up 5 minutes early. SMALL STEPS FOLKS!! I know I need to get used to those 5 minutes before I could even think of doing more. Doing it this way allows me to better stick to something like this. My goal is to eventually be up at 6 am. That would give me roughly and hour and half before I head to work. It will give me some time to drink my tea, do my morning stretches and my favorite thing in the morning :: my affirmations. 

One of the things I have realized about myself is that I cannot enjoy things in the present moment. I am always thinking about the next thing I have to accomplish. I love sleep as much as the next person but I really do not need 10 hours of sleep. It’s completely unnecessary. 

The one app that I found really useful is CHILL. It gives me an inspirational quote every morning that I use for my affirmation. It also notifys me three times a day to be happy in the present moment. I was really reluctant about this at first but even using it for a week has changed my outlook on things. 

Small changes my friends. Make small changes so they are not overwhelming and you can stick with them. If you put too much on your plate there is now way you can keep it balanced. 

Balance 

I keep a journal of everything that I eat and drink, my moods and also exercise. I also write down some words during the day about how I feel. Yesterday I wrote about how I ate a piece of pizza and I how I wasn’t going to feel sorry  about it. The pizza sounded good so I ate it.

Yes pizza isn’t healthy. I get that, but also I don’t eat pizza everyday. It has now become a treat for me. I feel like if I wouldn’t have eaten it, the next day I would have had three pieces and that my friends is not a good idea. I am still coming to terms with balance. I am trying to not be too hard on myself. Somedays I am going to do really well and other days I know that I’m going to not want to go to the gym or I’m going to want a cupcake. I hope one day I can truly come to terms with that. Until then I will continue to try everyday to better myself. 

So friends! Don’t feel bad if you eat that piece of pizza or that cupcake. Shit.Happens. Just do better the next day! A heathy lifestyle is more than just eating salad and starving yourself. It is about having a healthy mind body and spirit. Balance my friends … it is all about balance. 

Happiness Project: Week 1

I went into this Happiness Project knowing that some of the things on my list wouldn’t make me happy.

I know … that doesn’t exactly make sense. Let me explain…

I am one of those people that will say they do something and make up an excuse not to do it. When I was trying to lose weight before my wedding I remember driving home from work and talking myself out of working out. I was like “it’s only me, I am not disappointing anyone else”. But there was my biggest flaw – I wasn’t treating myself like I mattered. In doing so I would be disappointing the one person that mattered the most – myself.

See this is why I knew I would be doing things that in the present moment that wouldn’t make me happy. Does working all day and coming home to go to the gym make me happy? No. Will finally being able to fit into skinny jeans make me happy? Yes. I know it is shallow but I want to be able to look in the mirror and like what I see. Plus, going to the gym is good for my heart and I need to keep moving because I sit at a desk all day.

The success of both running and meditation lies in the ability to handle our motivation. The point of handling our motivation is not necessarily to channel it into as drive to be successful; that would be ambition. Rather the point is to allow ourselfs to see what is possible — Running with the mind of Meditation.

I am only going to be able to motivate myself – no one else. This is about  making better choices and they may not make me happier at the start – but my goal is to be healthy in all aspects of my life. So I need to continue to push myself. No matter how much I hate cardio.

So this upcoming week I am going to be working on a better morning routine, continuing cardio and meditation. I may have some fun apps as well to share!