A nutritious and delicious meal stuffed with protein and veggies. I love finding and creating recipes to my liking and making them as healthy and flavourful as possible. I used to eat plain grilled chicken for lunch and dinner when I was bodybuilding. I thought I needed to sacrifice eating delicious foods to look good on stage. Eating an entire year this way was so plain and dull that I needed to spice it up.
Learning to spice things up was a trial and error process for me. All I used to do was grill chicken, throw on some Mrs. Dash, and voila! How boring, right? Now that I was no longer competing and there was less pressure to watch every little thing I put in my mouth, I decided to change it up and pick seasonings that wouldn’t leave me feeling guilty or bloated, yet still be packed with flavour.
To start, I knew I loved bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but didn’t like the extra empty carbohydrates that came with it. Why not add it to my meat? It turned out to be a smash hit with just that alone. But I couldn’t just can’t stop there, adding my favourite yummy veggies pairs nicely with the tasty mix. Adding them into the chicken itself was a brand new option to keep the chicken moist and soaking up all that amazing flavour. Since then, my spice cupboard has grown much bigger. Here are a few of my favourites:
1) Cinnamon – This is great on oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and tea. It’s also quite healthy because it boosts your metabolism to help you loose weight.
2) Cayenne Pepper – This literal spicy addition is great in soups, on chicken, and even on your vegetables. It aides as a cleansing agent and helps soothe the stomach.
3) Paprika – Another of my favourite spicy spices, add it to your Mexican style dishes and hard boiled eggs. Paprika is rich in Vitamin E which helps prevent blood clots.
4) Garlic – Gives any dish a new spin! It helps lower cholesterol and benefit the cardiovascular system.
5) Cumin – use this spice as a rub on any meat and it’ll get absorbed and taste amazing. Cumin is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Below, I have a delicious recipe that turned out to be an even bigger hit with my family and boyfriend, who are always my taste testers for new recipes.
Pepper and Artichoke-Stuffed Chicken
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of roasted bell peppers*
1 jar of roasted artichoke hearts*
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 tbsp of Balsamic Vinagerette
1 tbsp of Italian Seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
* If you don’t like bell peppers or artichoke hearts, you can replace them using marinated mushrooms or your favourite vegetables!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly grease a 9×12 Pyrex pan.
- Slice each chicken breast length-wise, stopping about ¼ inch from the opposite side.
- Open the chicken breast and place it in the Pyrex pan. Sprinkle ½ tbsp of the Italian Seasoning inside the chicken. Place 1-2 slices of bell peppers (should be about 1 inch thick). Add 2-3 artichoke hearts.
- Fold over the chicken and add the remaining Italian seasoning and sprinkle garlic salt, salt, and pepper over the top. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette on top as well. You can add the remaining bell peppers and artichoke hearts to the pan or snack on them while you wait.
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately with a lovely green salad!
Change It Up!
Vegetarian? Replace chicken with Eggplant or Portobello Mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 35 minutes.
Enjoy this Italian explosion of flavour that will leave you craving more! You can pair this with a lovely mixed green salad topped with a light vinaigrette dressing for a well balanced meal. It is a lovely addition to add to your own ‘healthy eating’ recipe arsenal. Goes to show that you don’t have to sacrifice flavour and taste to eat well.