One of the most difficult aspects of dieting, for me, is ensuring I stay within my calorie limits. I also have found it difficult to plan out meals ahead of time. While I know it doesn’t take much effort, I just don’t take the time to do it. Perhaps there’s a little artist in me that prefers to work without pre-conceptions and simply let inspiration drive what I create? Or – maybe I’m just inherently lazy when it comes to cooking. So I get around this by often working from a template or “tool box” (read more on this system here.) I follow the rule of thumb for creating a healthy meal: “protein the size of your palm (4oz), Carbs the side of your fist, and vegetables in the size of your cupped hand”. This rule works as long as you cognizant of sauces and the calories they can add. For this delicious chicken, rice and vegetable meal I used:
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, sliced laterally.
- 1 Package Knorr Rice Sides Teriyaki Chicken
- Red and yellow bell pepper
- Yellow squash
Start the rice first. It will take about 20 mins or so. 2 cups of water in a pot, bring to a boil , dump in the rice, stir it up, reduce to a simmer and cover. Don’t stir during cooking. I leave the top askew to let more steam escape thus helping water dissipate. The Knorr rice sides are delicious and great, quick carbs – but be careful as some of them have higher calories and sodium. You have to pick carefully.
Next start the vegetables. Slice to your preference and put in a skillet with either a small amount of olive oil or a small amount of balsamic vinegar. I usually season vegetables with some form of herbal seasoning. Most often I’ll use one of the French combinations from Penzeys, either Sunny Paris, or Herbes de Provence, or Herbes Parisienne. Sunny Paris is very light and freshly aromatic –in my opinion it returns a sense of the natural raw veggie flavor to cooked veggies. I will also use a Florida Pepper seasoning or a Bavarian seasoning – especially if paired with beef. For chicken, I tend to stick to herbal varieties. Once sautéed to your taste (I prefer lightly sautéed where they still have just the slightest touch of firmness – I abhor soggy veggies!) then pull from the pan and reserve in a bowl.
Next start the chicken (or you can do it at the same time in a second skillet – match cooking times to the rice however as a general guide.) I use olive oil generally as a cooking medium to keep the chicken from sticking to the pan or skillet. I cook the chicken on a medium heat and general season with a pepper based seasoning or perhaps one of the McCormick’s blends. Smoked Maple is a favorite …because …well…MAPLE! who doesn’t love that?! So once completed, combine your ingredients on a plate and serve. Voila, you are done in less than 30 mins from start to finish and you have a delicious dinner. Bon Appetit!
Knorr Rice Sides Teriyaki Rice: 280 calories per cup prepared (552 mg sodium, or 23% daily value)
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, 4 oz., sautéed in small amount of olive oil: 184 calories
Vegetables, sautéed in small amount of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, 1.5-2 cups, 116 calories
Total Calories: 580