Italian Chicken Burgers – Whole 30 Day 6

My favorite part about Saturday is the time I take to sit down and plan my menu for the upcoming week, write a grocery list, and then go grocery shopping. I LOVE grocery shopping. Something about it just makes me happy, not to mention that the Giant I shop at was recently remodeled, and it’s awesome.

When I go grocery shopping, I only shop the perimeter of the store. First I hit the produce for my veggies and fruit, then I head to the dairy section for my eggs, and then to the meat section to finish up. The only time I really venture into the middle of the store is for sparkling water, coffee, spices, and olive oil. It’s so much easier to shop when I have my list in hand and I don’t venture up and down the aisles aimlessly. That always ends up with me standing in front of a cart full of things I have no recollection of even picking up. Mint oreos — what?

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized (or rather, my stomach reminded me) that I didn’t plan any meals for today. I ended up reheating frozen chili for lunch, and scouring my pantry for something to throw together for dinner.  Introducing: Italian chicken burgers!

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It was actually super simple – I took a pound of ground chicken and mixed it with half a diced onion, a handful of chopped sun dried tomatoes, a couple leaves of chopped fresh basil, and some salt, pepper, and oregano. Seriously – that’s all. Form them into patties…

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…and bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. These would taste even better if they cooked in a grill pan on the stove top (or better yet – throw ’em on an actual grill), but I deep cleaned my stove this morning and there was no way I was going to muck it all up again. I served my burger on top of some roasted red peppers and topped it with sliced tomato and another basil leaf. These would be fantastic with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic on top, too. I’m just sayin’.

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I made roasted butternut squash and fresh green beans on the side. Super easy, not a lot of clean-up, and it tasted delicious. Plus, I have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow and a quick protein snack sometime in the next couple of days. Win!

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ITALIAN CHICKEN BURGERS

made 4 burgers

You’ll need:

1 lb ground chicken (turkey would be good too)

1/2 yellow onion, diced

approx 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

4-5 fresh basil leaves, torn or coarsely chopped

salt, pepper, and dried oregano to taste

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375 and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil – this minimizes clean-up, which I’m all about.

Toss all the ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine. This works best if you use your hands.

Form the mixture into four patties – it will be somewhat sticky, but it works, trust me.

Bake at 375for 25-30 minutes.

Fini!

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The Whole 30 – The Intro

So, it literally took me almost 2 hours to get this blog set up. Yeah, I’m not exaggerating. It’s an understatement to say I’m not the most technologically advanced person out there — although I’m going to blame that (mostly) on the five years I spent overseas and disconnected from what was going on. Twitter? Instagram? Yeah – I still don’t know how to use either. But maybe I shouldn’t admit that…

But, I digress. Let’s talk about the Whole 30. I’ve already completed one, from 03 Jan – 04 Feb 2013, and although I finished it, I’ll be the first to admit that I made a few slip-ups that I know of, and probably some that I don’t. But at the end of the 30 days I definitely felt better, I was looking better, I was sleeping AWESOME, and my work-outs were stronger. So, what IS the Whole 30, you ask? You’re right, maybe I should have led off with that. Well, essentially it’s resetting your body through good nutrition and eating how our bodies were meant to be fed – that is, the “caveman” way of eating. Therefore, it’s 30 days without grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, and alcohol. Basically, you eat meat and vegetables and fruit, with some healthy fats like coconut oil thrown in. (You can read all about the Whole 30 at http://www.whole9life.com – I’d insert it as a link but I’m still learning this whole blog/wordpress thing)Yeah. It sounds daunting, right? And trust me, I was TOTALLY against it in the beginning – The Significant Other was trying to get me to cut out grains and dairy for ages – telling me all about the science behind it and why they are bad for our bodies and all that jazz. It went in one ear and out the other.  I started eating Paleo about a year ago, but I was about 70% — I like cheese, and hummus (chickpeas are legumes!) and rice and wine and the occasional burger with a bun. Cutting out all of it? 100%? Please, do not sign me up.

Then came the Holiday season, with cookies and candy and mulled wine and cookies and dark beer and appetizers and cookies and potatoes and dinner rolls and did I mention cookies? – and I was done. So, I decided that come January, I would give it a shot. Just to see if I could do it. Just for myself. And you might not know this, but I am Very competitive. Even with myself. So when I made the commitment to do this, it was done. And I survived!

Now, the point of the Whole 30 is that when it’s over, you continue to make good choices, and eat as whole as possible, with some reintroductions. I did fine, in the beginning. Then, slowly, I started to backslide. A glass of wine here, some cheese and crackers there, and before I knew it, I was starting to feel not so great with all the unhealthy food I’d been eating. So came the decision for the Whole 30 round 2, which brings us to now.

So now that you have the general idea (no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, no alcohol), let’s talk about what I’ve been eating for the past week. Breakfast is usually some variation of eggs, with either veggies or sweet potatoes on the side. Sometimes I’ll add protein – like the pulled pork carnitas down below. (Excuse the pictures, I’m still only using a small point and shoot) I have yet to get too creative that early in the morning.

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Lunch is simple — when I make dinner, I almost always have enough for leftovers and will have that for lunch the next day. On the days I don’t have leftovers, I’ll usually have a salad with some type of protein, lettuce wraps, or sometimes just a smorgasbord of whatever is left in my fridge. I don’t usually take pictures of lunch since A) I’m at work and B) it’s pretty boring.

Dinner is where I can vary or experiment. As you might imagine, meat and vegetables can get pretty boring if you don’t add a little bit of creativity, so I like to try new things every once in a while, in addition to the meals that I know have worked. I also like to check out different blogs or recipe pages for new ideas (see my links page). Take a look at my dinners from the past five days:

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african spiced shrimp, roasted brussels sprouts and red peppers, roasted cauliflower and garlic soup on the side (unpictured)

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coconut-macademia nut crusted chicken breast, fresh green beans, and sauerkraut

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buffalo chicken drumsticks, salad, heirloom tomatoes

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cuban spiced steak, roasted brussels sprouts, carrots and shallots, and sauerkraut

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broiled tilapia, salad, and roasted cauliflower and garlic soup

This past week had more repeats than I normally use, both because I had a lot of leftovers to use up (the soup, salad fixings, etc), and because I didn’t spend as much time on my weekly menu as I normally do. (Blog post to follow on my menu planning and meal prep!) However, it’s still enough variation to keep things interesting for me, and everything tasted delicious.

One week down, four to go!