Perfectly cooked Chicken Breasts – All Phases

I find baked chicken breasts to be too dry for my liking. So I found this method to be the best when you want you chicken breasts to be perfectly cooked and juicy. This can be used in pasta, salads, soups or anything else you like. You can even marinate the chicken breasts before doing this technique. If you are using this for Phase 1 or Phase 2, skip the olive oil. It doesn’t given you browned or grilled flavor (for that, try the grill or a grill pan), but it does give you plain and basic yet super juicy chicken breasts to slice for lunches and salads.

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast (or 2 per pan)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional) – for Phase 3 only.

Method:

Pound the chicken for even thickness. I did not bother pounding these chicken breasts when I was in a hurry and it still turned out fine. Lightly salt and pepper them on both sides. Heat the saute pan over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Turn the heat down slightly to medium and add the chicken breasts. Cook them for about 1 minute to get them a little golden brown on one side. Then flip the breasts over. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat to low. Don’t lift the lid and don’t peek. Set a timer for 10 minutes and walk away. The chicken is getting poached from the inside out in it’s own juices. Then turn off the heat. Let it sit for another 10 minutes. It has to stay covered the whole time. After the 10 minutes are up, take the lid off the pan and your chicken is done. Slice up the chicken to put in your salad, pasta or anything you like. No more leathery dry chicken breasts!

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Savoy cabbage with peppers and bacon – Phase 2

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This is my own recipe using savoy cabbage as a side for a phase 2 meal. The turkey bacon I used was just for flavor, not much in quantity. So pair this dish with a protein like marinated chicken breasts.

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon caraway or cumin seeds
4 cups thinly sliced Savoy cabbage (1 head)
4 pcs uncured turkey bacon, cooked and chopped into bits
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper or 2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable stock or defatted reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Heat a large pot. Add 2 tbsp. broth and garlic, green chillies and caraway or cumin seeds. Stir for about a minute, then add bell peppers. Allow bell peppers to turn crisp-tender, takes about 4 or 5 minutes. Add cabbage, toss and cover pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the cabbage is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Then add mustard; toss to coat evenly. Stir in bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Egg white baked casserole – Phase 2

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Phase 2 breakfasts are the most time-consuming to prepare and painstaking too. As a result, I usually never have my breakfast within the first 30 minutes of waking up as Haylie stipulated. And its painful because since you can’t use any oil in this phase, cooking egg whites without having them stick to my pans are impossible. I threw out all my non-stick pans years ago owing to their toxicity. I have had several omelettes turn into scrambled eggs. But now I have finally found a Phase 2 breakfast that I can make the day before. This is also from Haylie’s blog. I’ve made it twice so far – the first time with turkey bacon and the second time with sliced chicken sausage. This casserole can be refrigerated and reheated. I use a glass casserole which really helps with the non-stick element. It makes 4 servings – so the husband and I can have these for breakfast on both days of phase 2. Now I just have to reheat it every morning, eat it and go on my morning hike.

Ingredients:

2 Tbls. vegetable broth or water
6 ounces (about 2 cups) sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped asparagus tips (optional)
2 tsp. any seasoning blend you like – oregano, thyme, tarragon
2 tsp. minced fresh jalapeños (optional)
2 1/2 cups (packed) fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh arugula, roughly chopped (optional)
4 ounces turkey bacon, cooked and chopped or 4 ounces chicken sausage
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
9 egg whites (I use one 16 oz. carton of liquid egg whites)
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 7-by-11-inch baking dish with parchment.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth or water, the mushrooms, red bell pepper, organic seasonings, and optional jalapeños. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are nearly tender, about 3 minutes.
Add the spinach and optional arugula. Cook until the spinach is cooked down and bright green, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the turkey bacon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spread the spinach mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Whisk the egg whites, then pour them over the spinach mixture. Scatter the green onions on top.
Bake until the egg whites are set, about 25 minutes. Test by poking a small sharp knife into the middle of the casserole and taking a peek — it should be moist inside, but not liquidy.
Let the casserole sit for about 5 minutes, and then cut into pieces and serve. (The leftovers reheat well in the microwave — just cover and refrigerate.)

Garden meatballs (Veggie and meat kofta) – Phase 2

This is my go-to Phase 2 snack from Haylie’s cookbook. You can find two versions of the meatballs on her site: Italian garden meatballs and regular garden meatballs.

I’ve made these thrice already. Each time with some slight differences. The first time I tried the Italian version but increased the amount of mushrooms, used asparagus tips since I did not have enough spinach, had no green onions, but added some finely chopped green chillies, and used some spices. I also used equal quantities of ground beef and ground turkey – 1 lb. each. The second time I did the Italian version but skipped the oregano, but followed the rest to the T. The third time I added some chopped celery and chicken meat instead of turkey. While they all tasted very good, the chicken meat was too soft, so I had a hard time forming meatballs with my hands. The meat sticks to my hands and it was just too slimy. One of the reasons I make these for every phase 2 snack is because my husband LOVES them! The other reason is, as I already mentioned before, phase 2 falls on the weekend for me. And I like to go on hikes during the weekend, so carrying these meatballs is very easy. So here’s a rough version of the ingredients I used and you can mix and match as per your taste. They make about 24 meatballs – which is good for 2 people and 4 snacks. That’s 8 servings – 3 meatballs each serving.

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground turkey
4 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
4 green onions (scallions), finely chopped, white and green parts
1 bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 green chillies, finely sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon middle eastern 7-spice powder (optional)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.
With dampened palms, roll the meat mixture into golf-ball-sized meatballs and transfer them to a 9-by-13‑inch baking dish or a baking sheet. (you can line it with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.)
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through. I noticed that after 20 minutes, the meatballs have oozed out a lot of liquid that has filled the tray. I take them out and use kitchen towels to absorb all those juices. Discard the towels and put them back in for another 5 minutes. This will help brown the meatballs a bit.
Serve warm or room temperature. These meatballs also freeze well. You can also serve these meatballs with some cilantro-mint chutney.

Indian baked chicken breasts – Phase 2

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I wanted these chicken breasts to taste like chicken tikkas. One of the main ingredients that make chicken tikkas so tender is yogurt, which of course can’t be used in this diet. So I used a lot of lemon juice to tenderize the chicken.

Serving size is 1/2 chicken breast.

Serves: 8

4 pcs Chicken breasts

8 cloves of garlic

1 inch piece of ginger

Lemon juice from 2 lemons

2 tsp Chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tsp garam masala (or 1 tsp each of ground cardamom, cinnamon and cloves)

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash the chicken breasts and pat them dry. Butterfly them into halves. Score the chicken breasts to aid absorption of the marinade. Put them into a gallon ziploc bag. Grind the remaining ingredients in a blender (or indian mixie in chutney jar). Pour the mixture into the ziploc bag and seal. Now massage the marinade into the chicken breasts from the outside of the ziploc bag.

You can store this bag in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. Ideally, marinate it for 3 to 4 hours, at least. I marinated it for 1 hour and it still came out tender and juicy.

Bake in the oven in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil for 18 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. If you have a grill, you can grill these instead of baking.

Serve with a salad or grilled veggies.

Foil wrapped Cilantro-chilli-lime fish – Phase 2

You can use any white fish that is allowed in Phase 2 for this recipe. I used lemon sole fillets. It’s easier to marinate the fish beforehand and refrigerate.

Serves 2

2 fish fillets – Sole/halibut/flounder/dory fish/cod/scrod

1 bunch cilantro

1/2 a lemon’s juice

2 cloves of garlic

2 green chillies (leave out if you dont like the heat)

small bunch of dill (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Score the fish fillets for better absorption of the marinade.

Blend all the ingredients except fish of course. Then spread evenly on the fish fillets. Refrigerate until 20 minutes before meal time.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a roasting pan with foil, with more left to cover the fish. Place the fish fillets on the foil. Cover the foil over the fish and close into a nice airy packet. Do not pack the foil tight, make sure the foil is not touching the fish, so the fish has room to steam within. Bake for 20 minutes.

Tip: You can also add some phase specific vegetables to the fish, like bell pepper strips and zucchini, but up the temperature to 400 or 450.

I served this in Phase 1 too over quinoa.

Mint-cilantro chutney – All phases

This is a popular Indian green chutney that you would use with a lot of Indian snacks. This is perfect to go with Phase 2 snacks. It can be used in any phase really.

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch mint leaves

1/2 a Lemon’s juice

1 tsp cumin seeds

tiny piece of ginger (1/4 tsp)

tiny clove of garlic (optional)

small bunch of dill (optional)

pinch of stevia (optional)

salt to taste

Method:

Blend all ingredients in a blender/indian chutney mixer. Store in the refrigerator and serve cold.

You can also add a small teaspoon of pomegranate seeds in phase 3.