Hey there, friends! Happy Thursday! I have always loved Thursdays. They are so close to the weekend, but you still have the whole thing in front of you to look forward to. And I have a lot to look forward to this weekend…mostly because I will be heading up to New York City tomorrow right after work to spend the weekend celebrating my friend Vic’s birthday. I can’t wait to see all of my friends again! I haven’t seen a lot of them since Memorial Day, so it will be really nice to get together with them all. Then I will come home for two days, pack up all my stuff, and jet set over to Roma, Italy. I’ve got a lot of fun stuff on my agenda right now, that’s for sure!
However, I do have some sad news to share with you guys. Remember those cookies I made earlier in the week? You know, the healthy, delicious, zucchini ones with cream cheese icing?
Uh, yeah. That would be the tupperwear bin the cookies were stored in. Empty, on the floor, and licked clean. Ugh!! I can’t believe Jack ate all those! There were so many in there 🙁 I guess it’s good though, since I didn’t really need all those cookies anyway. Still, it was sad.
I’m haven’t been following my bootcamp lately, if I’m being honest. Like I said earlier this week, I never got around to printing out the workouts and writing down reminders of what each move is supposed to look like for this week’s exercises. I wish I was one of those people who could just read the name of one of the exercises (such as “Standing Cable Chest Fly” or “skullcrusher” for example) and understand what that means, what proper form is for that move, etc. But I’m not. Fitness knowledge, like everything else, accumulates over time. And I’m still new. For now, I can’t picture what an exercise is supposed to look like without clicking the demonstration link, writing down the name of the move, and drawing a picture to remind myself later when I’m at the gym. I have to do this for each exercise, of which there are many.
The thought of spending about 30-45 minutes just writing down the workouts hasn’t been high on my priority list this week. It honestly feels like homework that I just don’t have time for right now, with my hectic schedule. I made time for it in the beginning of the bootcamp because I was excited, however my excitement at writing them all down has worn thin. Now that the bootcamp is half way over, the thought of sitting there and clicking on each link for each exercise and writing down the moves and then drawing them out….it just seems like such a time suck. So for this week, I have still been working out, but I’ve been following my own routines and repeating some of the work outs from last week.
I’m not sure what this will mean for the rest of my boot camp experience, but I have a feeling that by the time I get back from Rome I will be motivated again to pick it back up and follow the plan to a tee. I’ll need to burn off all the carbs I consume of course! For now though, running three miles in the morning and completing my own workouts at the gym has been suiting me just fine.
Anyway, now that I have blabbed your ear off, I want to share this recipe with you today. Ok, it’s not exactly a recipe, more like the-thing-I-threw-together-for-dinner-the-other-night, but hey. It was delicious, so I thought it was worth sharing.
This recipe came about when my grandmother handed me a jar of her homemade fig preserves last weekend when I visited her (yes, I’ve been talking about the visit all week. Are you tired of it yet?). The fig preserves are incredibly sweet and delicious and I was already imagining it combined with something salty, like feta cheese.
And so when I was making dinner on Tuesday evening, I racked my brains for something delicious that could combine the sweet homemade fig jam and salty feta. Thus, the chicken & fig panini was born.
First, I combined some fat free feta cheese with some other yummy ingredients including basil, lemon juice, and honey. I mixed it all up and let it sit for a while so the flavors could meld. Yum.
While the flavors were getting all happy, I cooked up a boneless skinless chicken breast on my George Foreman grill. Just as an FYI, I always plop my chicken breasts on the foreman when they are still frozen and just cook them for about 5 minutes. It is super simple and as long as you don’t overcook the chicken, it comes out juicy every time.
Once the chicken was done cooking, I cleaned off the George Foreman grill and began prepping the rest of the paninis.
First I laid out my whole wheat bread and spread each side with a little butter. I used Brummel & Brown since it’s made with fat free yogurt.
Then it was time for the assembly! I flipped the bread over so the outside of the sandwich was coated in the butter, and laid out the ingredients. First came the feta mixture, then a little bit of shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese (for that ooey gooey part of the paninis), then the chicken (chopped), and finally the fig preserves, which got spread onto the top piece of bread.
Yummmm. Check out all that ooey gooey cheese. The flavor combination of the sweet figs and salty feta was incredible. This literally was so delicious that I almost made the exact same thing for dinner the following night. It was that good. Ugh I am dreaming about it now…note to self: do not write these posts while hungry.
- 4 slices of whole wheat bread
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
- 4 tbsp. fat free feta
- 1 tsp. basil (fresh or not)
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. light buttery spread (I used Brummel & Brown)
- 2 small handfuls reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp. fig preserves
- Combine feta, basil, honey, and lemon juice in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Cook boneless skinless chicken breast until center is no longer pink and juice runs clear. Chop chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Spread buttery spread onto each slice of bread. Flip bread over.
- Spread feta mixture onto two slices of bread. Top with mozzarella and chicken.
- On the other two slices of bread, spread fig preserves.
- Top the sandwiches with the fig-covered slices of bread.
- Place the sandwiches on a panini press or George Foreman grill and cook until bread turns light brown and cheese melts.
- Remove bread from pan, slice in half, and serve.
The recipe was so simple, but the flavors were out of this world. I served it up with some roasted potatoes and spinach, and ate every last bite. It was fantastic!
So tell me, what are some of your favorite simple recipes?