No, I didn’t get lost. No, we didn’t fall off the bandwagon.
Yes, we’re still eating more healthily and truly enjoying it! But life has been busy too. I’ve found as empty nesters, we just don’t need “daily” meal plans. There is almost always leftovers so we’ve been cleaning out the fridge for starters. We have been out of town and skiing a bit, so full kitchen prep simply hasn’t been in the cards. Making wise selections in a restaurant, or even in the produce aisle at the grocery store with some packaged salads has simply been a reality at times. Yes, sometimes life gets in the way of our meal plans but it doesn’t mean we have to give up on our goals. Another thing that has kept me focused is I know for a fact that one (minor) cheat meal out of 21 very focused meals is not going to ruin it all. Sometimes we need a little encouragement to stay the course.
Recently when we were home for an evening meal, I found an interesting recipe for Cauliflower Parmesan in the Delish online magazine, but it wasn’t going to be sufficient for us without some (meat) protein. We are not, and never will be vegetarians! Originally, all I wrote on the recipe was “add chicken!” In the end, I revised a great deal of the recipe AGAIN because of what I had on hand and what is on my “approved” food list. For instance, the original recipe called for 1 1/2 c. marinara sauce. I’m really not to be eating tomatoes at all right now, and honestly, I’m not a big fan of a ton of sauce anyway. So, reducing it to only 1 cup was sufficient. I think I could even go down to 3/4 of cup and it would be okay. If you do need the moisture to protect those chicken breasts, consider cutting the marinara sauce with some water. You’ll save money and calories, still having plenty of good flavor. By the way, it turned out beautifully and I would make it again in a heartbeat! Better yet, there’s a second meal waiting in the fridge.
Chicken Cauliflower Parmesan
- 12 oz riced cauliflower
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I used caramelized garlic olive oil)
- salt & pepper
- 1 lb skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 c marinara sauce
- 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 1 c shredded mozarella cheese
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 375° and prepare an 11×7 baking dish.
- Layer the riced cauliflower on the bottom of the dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Top with thin chicken breasts (consider cutting at least in half horizontally) or chicken thighs and marinara sauce.
- Sprinkle with mozarella and half of the Parmesan.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Top with remaining Parmesan, basil and red pepper flakes.
- Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese are turning golden brown. Double check your chicken for doneness with a meat thermometer before serving.
I served a fresh green salad on the side with a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar and oil. Beautiful color and a very easy meal. I hope you enjoy it as well.
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