So, life has happened and I wasn’t able to get week two of the meal plan out on time. I’m cutting it close on week three so I’m going to just combine them into one post. Things are going well for Operation Make My Pants Fit Again. While there is a lot of work involved to get everything planned and prepped, I really love having all of the food ready to go throughout the week. It’s one less thing on my to do list and takes away a little bit of stress. I’m happy to report that there were no cheat meals the past couple although I definitely had the opportunity during out of town training. There have also been a few times that I really wanted to go out and get something calorically reasonable from a fast food chain but knowing I had a prepped meal at home really curbs that desire. Cheat meals aren’t always such a bad thing, by the way. If they are worked in once every two or three weeks, it can actually help you on your diet plan. Let’s be honest, if you have a craving for something that you know you shouldn’t eat, you won’t be satisfied with anything until you get it. This could lead to over-eating on other things while you try to fill the void for the food you’re craving. Going over your calories once does not completely wreck your diet. Food is to be enjoyed just as much as it is meant to fuel our bodies. Just enjoy it responsibly. By eating a reasonable amount of your craved food and getting right back to your regular eating plan, you really haven’t done harm to your diet. The scale may tell you differently the next morning but it’s only temporary. If you want to look at another take on reduced calorie eating, I encourage you to look up information on calorie cycling. Basically, you eat varying amounts of calories per day while averaging a set number of calories per week. If you find yourself in a weight loss plateau, this can help kick start your body again. Since this is a food blog and not a weight loss blog, I’ll let someone else explain all of the ends and outs to that and I’ll get to the food.
I love cabbage rolls. I really love to find a recipe that embodies the cabbage roll flavor without all the work. Believe me when I say that I’ve tried many different versions of cabbage roll style recipes. This one is the closest to my ideal of the perfect cabbage roll flavor. I lightened up the recipe by only using a half pound of ground beef. I also left off the cheese because no cabbage roll I’ve ever eaten had cheese and it saved me calories.
So, I didn’t exactly follow the recipe for this meal. I picked up a package of garlic and herb seasoned chicken breasts from Walmart and used them in place of the chicken cooked as the recipe says because I was lazy. I don’t recommend it. I couldn’t even eat all of the chicken because I disliked the flavor so much. Just go with the recipe.
The pictures with this recipe looked good. When I made it, it looked like mush. I did not have high expectations but I’m please to say that it was actually quite tasty. I’d recommend cooking the steak and the cauliflower separately or at least cooking the steak first so that it can get the delicious brown bits on it. This meal is on the higher end of where I like my calories to be but it was pretty filling. It’s a great option for those following the Keto diet.
Day 4 – Green Chile Pork and Rice Bowls
I’m a huge fan of burrito bowls. There are all kinds of recipes out there for burrito bowls but I just made it up as I went. I cooked a pork loin in my pressure cooker with a couple cans of green chilies. I served it with brown rice, corn salsa, tomatoes, and cotija cheese.
Day 5 – Asiago Chicken Thighs with Roasted Broccoli and Brown Rice
I told you you’d see the Asiago chicken come back! It’s seriously so good. I pared it with roast broccoli and brown rice for a quick meal.
If you are on a low carb diet, this is definitely a good option for you. The only real differences I made to this recipe was I left out the mushrooms and I cooked the sliced roast beef in a pan with oil before putting it in the pepper halves. It was good!
Day 7 – Steak Fajitas
You saw this one on the menu from last week. This time I skipped the rice and beans and just went for the meat and veggies.
Day 1 – Fish Fry Breaded Chicken, Creamed Spinach, and Roasted Squash
Let me preface this by saying I hate fish/seafood. But have y’all ever put fish fry on chicken then baked/fried it? It is so good! I seasoned the chicken with Buffalo Wild Wings Chipotle BBQ seasoning then coated them with Louisiana Fish Fry and cooked them in my air fryer. They do have a chicken mix but I just stick with the fish mix.
Day 2 – Creamy Steak Bites and Cauliflower
I decided to give this one a go, again. This time around, I cooked frozen cauliflower florets instead of riced cauliflower and I cooked the steak and cauliflower separately. It looked so much more appetizing. Still tasted the same which is just fine by me. It’s pretty high in calories for my typical meals so I think next time I try lightening it up with pork chops in place of steak and half and half instead of heavy cream.
Day 3 – Crunchy Onion BBQ Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Corn
I didn’t have enough chicken breasts to make this according to the recipe so I cut them into strips and then followed the recipe. By doing this, I added more calories because there was more surface area for the breading to stick to. I think it would be much better as a whole chicken breast. I would also probably skip the BBQ sauce in exchange for a dry rub to still get the flavor without the additional calories. It was good but needs some tweaks for me to bring it back into rotation.
Day 4 – Asiago Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Brown Rice
Are you tired of seeing this on the menu? Me, too. This batch didn’t taste as good at the others so I’m going to take a break from it for a while. (We were on a break!)
Day 5 – Pizza Chicken
Remember when I had planned this meal for week one then went out for buffalo wings instead? Well, since I had the ingredients, I went ahead and brought it back. I loaded the chicken with turkey pepperoni and it was great. FYI, I don’t recommend cooking it in an air fryer with the pepperonis on it. They just fly all around the basket and get burned to a crisp. For lunch, I ate it as is but, for dinner, I cut it all up and made a salad out of it. Also, really good.
Day 6 – Big Mac Salad
I came across the Big Mac salads when I tested out the Keto diet. I loved this salad. I’ve never had a Big Mac but it really does taste like a burger and I love burgers. I don’t make the dressing you find with these recipes because they are so sickly sweet. I just drizzle a fry sauce over the salad. You can make your own fry sauce (it’s basically just mayo, ketchup, and seasoning salt but there’s all kinds of ways to jazz it up) or you can use a bottled version. I use a bottled version that I pick up from Freddy’s Custard and Steakburgers.
Day 7 – Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs and Brown Rice
This was really good. I just dumped all of the ingredients onto sheet pans and baked it instead of putting it on skewers. I really liked the sauce that went on them which was just pineapple juice and a BBQ rub mixed together. I mixed in brown rice to fluff it up a bit and soak up some of the extra juice.
And there you have it. I’ll try to get week four out on time. Have you tried to do meal planning/prep yet? I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with it but, so far, I’m really liking it!