30 Day Clean Eating challenge Day 5: Dinners

If you’re like me…dinner is always when I get stumped for a new and delicious meal to end my day.  Over the years we have fallen into a few staples…that now feel like a chore to make.  So I headed over to Clean Eating Magazine’s site and drooled over the vast number of new recipes to try.  I found a few that I cannot wait to try in the next few weeks.  There are so very many, I will be trying out new recipes there for months on end before I run out of new ones to try.  They have tons…


Chicken & Pineapple Skewers with Pineapple Sweet & Sour Sauce

2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp low-sodium tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated, divided
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1/2 lb fresh pineapple, cubed
12 cherry tomatoes


1 lb fresh pineapple, cubed
Zest and juice 1 lime
Zest and juice 1 lemon
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp freshly grated ginger, divided

In a large bowl, whisk together onions, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger. Add chicken and cover, leaving it to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  If you’re using an indoor grill, pre-heat the grill to high or heat a medium-sized pan on your stove top over high heat for at least 3 minutes. Drain chicken, discarding marinade, and using 12 skewers of about 6 inches in length, alternate cubes of chicken with cubes of pineapple, capping each skewer off with 1 cherry tomato. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until browned.

Prepare sauce: Place all ingredients into a food processor fitted with a standard blade. Chop until well blended, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Nutrients (1 skewer and 2 tbsp sauce): Calories 80, Total Fat: 1 g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Carbs: 10 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 8 g, Protein: 8 g, Sodium: 120 mg, Cholesterol: 20 mg


Penne with Chicken Sausage, Tomatoes & Spinach


8 oz whole-wheat penne pasta
Olive oil cooking spray
3 3-oz all-natural, fully cooked low-fat chicken sausages, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (any variety)
Pinch sea salt
2 pinches fresh ground black pepper or to taste, divided
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 tbsp double-concentrated tomato paste (from tube)
1 1/3 cups jarred or boxed chopped tomatoes (TRY: Pomi Chopped Tomatoes)
7 oz baby spinach
1 oz low-sodium Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook penne to al dente according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet on medium-high and coat with cooking spray. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Add oil to skillet and heat on medium-high. Add onion and season with 1 pinch each salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, pepper flakes and tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Add half of spinach, stirring until beginning to wilt. Stir in remaining spinach and simmer until tender and most liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with a pinch of black pepper.

To pot with pasta, add tomato mixture, stir well to combine and cook on low until heated through. Spoon into serving bowls and top with Parmesan, dividing evenly. Serve immediately.

Nutrients per 1 1/2-cup serving: Calories: 401, Total Fat: 11 g, Sat. Fat: 3 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g, Carbs: 53 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein: 23 g, Sodium: 488 mg, Cholesterol: 58 mg



Smoky Pork Chops with Maque Choux-Style Vegetables


1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
4 5-oz bone-in pork chops, trimmed of
visible fat
1 tbsp safflower oil, divided
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup diced onion
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

In a small bowl, combine paprika, oregano, onion powder, ¼ tsp salt and black pepper. Sprinkle pork with spice mixture. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high, tilting skillet to coat bottom lightly, and cook pork for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until slightly pink in center. Transfer pork to a serving platter; cover to keep warm.

Prepare vegetables: Return skillet to medium-high. Add remaining 2 tsp oil and tilt skillet to coat bottom lightly. Add corn, onion, bell pepper and jalapeño. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes, until tomatoes are just tender. Remove from heat, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp salt, cover and let stand for 2 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Serve vegetable mixture over top of pork or vice versa, as desired.

Nutrients per serving (3 oz pork and 1/2 cup vegetables): Calories: 282, Total Fat: 10 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5 g, Carbs: 13 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 2 g, Protein: 33 g, Sodium: 328 mg, Cholesterol: 79 mg



The Clean, Lean, Protein Pizza Frittata


1 organic hot Italian chicken sausage
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Handful button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup egg whites (or 8 egg whites)
1/8 tsp dry mustard
Garlic powder, sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 1-oz slice whole-wheat bread, crust removed and discarded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, optional
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Remove casings from sausages and crumble filling into a large oven-safe nonstick pan on medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally. After about 5 to 7 minutes, when sausage is golden brown in color and almost cooked through, add bell pepper and mushrooms. Continue to sauté until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat as low as possible (or remove from stove if using a gas range). In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with mustard, garlic powder, salt and black pepper using a whisk or handheld mixer. (Don’t overdo it and make a meringue; simply incorporate flavors with eggs and lighten them up a bit.)

Distribute bread evenly over sausage-mushroom mixture, if desired. Then pour egg white mixture evenly over top. Increase heat to medium-low or medium (return pan to heat, if removed). Sprinkle cheese over top. Once egg whites start to set and turn opaque, transfer pan to oven.

Bake until cheese browns and bubbles, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate to slice and serve.

Nutrients per serving (half of frittata): Calories: 232, Total Fat: 6 g, Sat. Fat: 2.5 g, Carbs: 13 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 28 g, Sodium: 556 g, Cholesterol: 43g   



Pomegranate-Glazed Stuffed Roast Turkey    


2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Zest 1 lemon
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 14- to 16-lb turkey, defrosted and brought to room temperature
Olive oil cooking spray
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 recipe Mushroom & Leek Stuffing, at room temperature


1 1/2 cups 100% pomegranate juice
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup no-sugar-added strawberry jam
2 tbsp honey

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a small bowl, stir together rosemary, lemon zest, pepper and salt. Set aside.

Prep turkey, following the Step-By-Step Turkey Prep Guide.

Transfer turkey to oven and roast for a total time of 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours. While turkey roasts, make Pomegranate Glaze. After 2 hours of cooking, loosely cover turkey with foil to prevent over-browning. When turkey is 20 to 30 minutes from being done (meat temperature registers about 160 F), uncover and baste with half of Pomegranate Glaze. The turkey is done when juices run clear and a meat thermometer registers 180 F when inserted into the deepest part of the thigh and 165 F when inserted into the center of stuffing in the body cavity.

Remove turkey from oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to remaining Pomegranate Glaze and reheat on low until hot but not bubbling. Spoon stuffing out of neck and body cavity and transfer to a serving bowl. Remove turkey skin and carve. Drizzle each serving with 2 tsp Pomegranate Glaze and serve.


In a small saucepan, combine pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup broth, jam and honey. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture reduces by half, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow glaze to thicken.

Nutrients per serving (4 oz skinless white meat, 1/2 cup stuffing, 2 tsp glaze): Calories: 320, Total Fat: 4 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Carbs: 36 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein: 25 g, Sodium: 530 mg, Cholesterol: 60 mg.



Seared Chicken with Maple glaze


2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
8 baby gold or fingerling potatoes, quartered (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 medium zucchini, chopped

In a large skillet on medium-high, heat oil. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until soft. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute, still stirring occasionally, until thyme is fragrant. Add potatoes, broth and maple syrup and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender. Add zucchini and cook for 1 minute, until crisp-tender.

Nutrients per 2-cup serving: Calories: 300, Total Fat: 6 g, Sat. Fat: 1.5 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 33 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 12 g, Protein: 28 g, Sodium: 340 mg, Cholesterol: 65 mg

Today I also met with a couple of the trainers at my new Anytime Fitness gym, and A.) I love that gym.  The owners are amazing, it just feels like home.  It’s a new place for me…but it just feels to awesome to be there with people who are there to work, and not stand around and stare at other people.  It’s clean…just awesome.  And B.) Got my butt kicked by Patrick.  wooo.  My arms were shaking at the end of that back and biceps workout.  It was rockin.  He said I have great form, and it just reaffirmed that what I am doing is right on.  Just think…in 5 weeks from now…I could be in the 120s and toned.  I can’t wait.

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