Chilaquiles con Pollo y Salsa Verde

A buddy from Texas introduced me to these this weekend and I was immediately hooked.  I had to see what I could come up with as a fairly healthy recipe for them so I did what I usually do and scoured recipes on the internet and then built my own version with suggestions or ideas from all the others I found.   Pronounce chil-a-KEE-less and Spanish for “friggin’ delicious” there are a lot of variations to be found – con pollo, con carne, verde, rojo, etc.  Since the ones I tried were chicken with green salsa that’s what I tried to recreate.

I don’t claim my recipe is anywhere near authentic, but it is good.  If you’re watching your sodium you might want to tweak this one some, there’s a lot of salt in the taco seasoning.  This is awesome for breakfast or brunch, serve them with a sides of beans and you’re set.  You can add a salad and you’ve got a great, healthy dinner.

If you try this recipe please let me know what you think, if you have any suggestions for tweaks or variations please feel free to share those as well.

Chilaquiles con Pollo y Salsa Verde 

Chilaquiles con Pollo y Salsa Verde

SERVES 4

Ingredients

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 packet dry taco seasoning mix
1 cup chicken stock
6-8 small, yellow corn tortillas
½ small sweet onion, chopped fine
4 oz queso fresco (Mexican crumbling cheese)
4 Tbsp Mexican crema (substitute sour cream thinned slightly with milk if you can’t get crema)
4 Tbsp salsa verde (Herdez brand is good)
3 large whole eggs
Liquid egg whites equivalent to 3 whole eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Water

Preparation

Coat chicken breast on both sides with ½ of taco seasoning mix.  Heat a large pan on medium high and spray with non-stick spray.  Add chicken breasts and brown on each side.  Add chicken stock to pan and remainder of taco seasoning and the diced onion.  Turn heat to low and cover pan.  Chicken will need to cook slowly for 2-3 hours, check it frequently and break into pieces as it cooks, when done chicken should shred easily, add more liquid (water will suffice) as needed to keep chicken moist.

When chicken is almost done cut the corn tortillas into 1” wide strips.  Pan fry or bake the strips to crisp them, use a little oil if necessary.  Once tortillas are done add them to the shredded chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes until tortillas become soft but not mushy.  Before adding the tortillas their should be a small amount of liquid to be absorbed, once cooked with the tortillas the mixture should be moist with no visible liquid.

Mix eggs and egg whites in a bowl with about 2 Tbsp of water, salt and pepper.  The combination of eggs and whites gives you the flavor of whole eggs but cuts down on calories and cholesterol, of course you can use all whites if you like.  If possible get fresh eggs from a local farmers’ market as they have a more rich egg flavor.  Thanks to my buddy Stan for this tip.  Scramble eggs in a pan taking care not to overcook them.

Plate ¼ of the chicken mixture and top with ¼ of the scrambled eggs.  Pour 1 Tbsp crema over eggs and crumble 1 oz of the queso fresco over that, top that with 1-2 Tbsp of salsa verde.

Chilaquiles are excellent served with black beans or refried beans.  Great for any meal, especially Sunday brunch.  Add a small side salad for a delicious and healthy dinner.

Tips, tricks and shortcuts

  • You can use tortilla chips in this recipe and save the steps of cutting and cooking the tortillas.  Mission sells tortilla strips that would be perfect for this.
  • Buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and shred it then add the taco seasoning and stock and cook down.  Get plain rotisserie flavor or mojo if available.
  • As mentioned above you can use sour cream thinned with milk to a heavy but pourable consistency if you can’t find Mexican crema or simply choose not to use it.

BASIC NUTRITION INFO (per serving)

Calories:  404
Carbohydrates:  23 grams
Fat:  11 grams
Protein:  37 grams
Fiber:  3 grams

No One But You Can Find Your Motivation

I’m a member on a few weight loss and health forums and I’ve noticed a couple of common themes that come up with people starting (or trying to start) their fitness journey.   One BIG one I hear/see is, “I just can’t get motivated.”  Or even, “I need someone to get me motivated.”  No one but you can be your motivation.  Other people can be motivational, but they cannot be your motivation.

From personal experience I can say that there were many, many times I tried to get in shape and failed.  I would see people say that you’ll only succeed when you were motivated enough to make it happen.  I used to get so angry at this, I felt like I was motivated, I know I really wanted to get in shape.  But over time I found out there’s a difference in really wanting something and having the motivation to make it happen.  My breaking point was around the holidays last year.  I’d gone through a divorce a couple years prior and it really depressed me, I stopped going out with friends and just really quit giving a damn about much of anything.  I didn’t feel good about me at all but rather than making the moves to change it I allowed my mental state to give me an excuse to slide even further.  By the end of 2011 I felt the absolute worst I’d ever felt in my life – physically, mentally and spiritually.  I hit my rock bottom, and that was my motivation.  I couldn’t do the things I used to love doing.  Even going to a museum or the aquarium made me cringe as walking was so difficult that I didn’t know if I’d make it through, I was very close to needing one of those ride-on carts just to go about my daily activity – and I was not going to let that happen.  Getting started was hard and I had some ups and downs, I made some mistakes and still had a few excuses left over.  But now I am 100% motivated to make my life better in every aspect, for me.

When I first made an effort I was so discouraged at the results.  I would get on an exercise bike and would be totally worn out within 3 minutes, that is not an exaggeration.  I would walk around the block and almost hyperventilate walking up the slight incline on my street then I would have to endure horrible leg cramps, muscle aches and general pain all over my body.  I couldn’t sleep because I hurt so much… but I pressed on.  Today I’m proud to say I’ll hike on the weekends and I love it.  I can walk around the block with no issue at all and my 3 minute bike rides went to 5 minutes, then 10, and now I’m riding at 30 minute intervals sometimes twice a day.  About a month back I challenged a friend to do 100 miles on our stationary bikes in one week, I rode 101.7 miles that week.  I still find new muscles that I haven’t used before and have to suffer through them hurting over a few workouts until they get a bit used to being used.  I have to be careful what hikes I take as I still have a ways to go before I can tackle big hills, but I’m steadily on my way.

Wanting to enjoy every day of my life more than I did the day before is what motivates me.  I want to run, climb, jump and go, go, go!  I can do this.  I will do this.  I have the desire and I have the motivation.  I am motivated to change me and I hope others find my journey motivational.  But I cannot be your motivation.  Don’t allow yourself to hit bottom before finding your motivation.  Find something now to be motivated about.  Grab hold of it and do not let go.  Tell yourself every day that you can do it and make sure to believe in yourself.  Never compare your results to someone else, only challenge yourself to be better than you were the day before.  Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.”  If you’re just starting out and you compare your fitness level to an athlete you will feel like a failure, but if you work harder every day and compare what you did last week to what you are doing now you will see what an amazing success you actually are.

Smoothies, smoothies everywhere.

The Kitchen Sink Smoothie

Since originally writing this post I’ve had some issues wit the NutriBullet, see my update here.

I’ve always enjoyed smoothies.  I get them out sometimes and make them at home as well.  However up until recently my blender was a pain to make a smoothie in, it would always get “stuck” and I’d have to poke at it with a spatula to get everything blended together.  Grrr!  Now I know I could get a Vitamix or Blendtec and take care of that issue but I just struggle with paying $400.00+ for a blender.  Even if Blendtec does have some really cool uses for their blenders.

About a month ago one of my friends picked up a NutriBullet blender after seeing an infomercial on it.  I’m always skeptical of things sold on infomercials, I’ve got some real duds before.  But then my buddy started talking about how much he loved it.  Then another friend picked one up and gave the same review, he loves his NutriBullet.  I use Amazon a lot to check out items as the review there seem to be pretty accurate, I just look for a seller that has the most reviews on said item and see what others have to say.  Reviews were mostly positive with an overall 4 out of 5 stars on 91 reviews.  So I bit the bullet (LOL, I’m so funny!) and ordered one myself directly from the NutriBullet website.  A warning if you order one, when you checkout you have to go through about half a dozen screens where they try to upsell you stuff.

To make a long story short I got my NutriBullet in and I love it.  Rather than a blender they like to call it a Nutrition Extractor.  Oooh, fancy.  It blends smoothies very quickly and cleanup is much easier than with a full-size blender, plus you don’t have to dirty the blender and a glass since you blend in the glass with the NutriBullet.  It also blends things very smoothly – including nuts, seeds and tough leafy greens like kale.  I was always frustrated with some of the chunks when using kale in my smoothies.  I’ve also found a couple other uses for it.  You get a blending blade and a milling blade with the blender.  I’ve used the small cup and the blending blade to mix spices in with eggs for an omelette, the Bullet adds air to the eggs and they cook up very light and fluffy.  I’ve also used the small cup with the milling blade and poured in whole oats, spices and some fresh grated Parmesan and made my own Shake and Bake coating for some chicken.

NutriBullet Loaded Up and Ready for Action

It probably won’t seem like it but I didn’t intend this post to be a review for the NutriBullet but rather to talk about smoothies and smoothie recipes.  I’ve read up a LOT on ingredients for smoothies and I’d really like a recipe that’s an all-in-one smoothie.  I found a lot of recipes that said this smoothie is for weight loss and this one is for circulatory health and this one is for vision, etc.  Soooo… I solved that problem by making what I call my Kitchen Sink Smoothie, it’s got a bit of everything in it.  It tasted great, lots of the cocoa comes through, and is very thick in consistency as is.  You could leave out the avocado and add more liquid which would cut fat and calories and thin it down quite a bit.

I’d also like to hear any great recipes others have or if you own a NutriBullet what you think of it and any interesting uses you’ve found for it.

Kitchen Sink Smoothie

This lady’s pic was in the NutriBullet recipe book. I don’t know what she put in her smoothie but I need to get me some of that.

  • 1 cup Baby Spinach
  • 10 Blueberries
  • 3 medium Strawberries
  • 1/2 small Cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp PB2 powdered peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Goji Berries
  • 1 Tbsp dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 oz Crystallized Ginger
  • 1/2 medium Banana
  • 1/2 Mango
  • 1/2 medium Hass Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Fat-free Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Directions

Blend everything together and drink. ;-)

Basic Nutrition Info per serving (Recipe makes one LARGE serving, can definitely be eaten as a meal.)

  • Calories = 532
  • Carbs – 86 grams
  • Fat – 20 grams
  • Protein – 18 grams

You could drop the avocado and save 125 calories and 11 grams of fat if those things are a concern.  You could also substitute protein powder for the avocado and keep the calories close to the same but gain another 20’ish grams of protein while cutting about 10 grams of fat.

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a doctor.  Always consult your physician on dietary changes.  Some nutrients can interact with certain medications.  I’m just sharing this recipe because I like smoothies and thought this one was pretty good.