Simone Get's Fit!

Getting Fit 101: I'm Choosing Better Food Options!

So the New Year is here and WELL underway and not stopping for anyone! If you are like most of us, you've probably reflected on a few things that you could have done MUCH better. BUT, trust me, there are some things that you excelled in, even if you tried to down play it!

HOUSTON survived Hurricane HARVEY...man, that was rough. We're here and I promised myself that I would treat my body MUCH better than I did in 2017. I definitely said YOLO, way too many times....with food. One piece of fried chicken too many, one more donut than I should have had, "treating" myself way too often! 2018 is the year of a new "mindset."

I'm challenging myself, and you, to not only make sure it tastes good, but that it IS good for our bodies. I went back to the basics...whole grains, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, and lean proteins. Although I'm treating my body better, that doesn't mean it has to be boring! We are going to step outside the box and get creative with our food while still being nutritionally sound AND tasty!

First Up! Ditch the Pre Packaged Stuff!

 

The most effective way to really know what you're eating, is to make it! So before you just grab that bag off the shelf, lets gather up the ingredients and make it ourselves. MOST times, I'm sure you can beat that price too! The recipe below is adapted from The Food Network.

Simon's Granola

What You'll Need:

  • 3 cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup HEB Cran Slam Mix

Simon Says:

  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts ,and brown sugar.
  • In another small bowl, combine maple syrup, honey, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and distribute onto one sheet pan. Cook for an hour, checking occasionally to ensure even color.
  • After an hour, increase the oven temp to 350 degrees and let it brown an additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Add in the cran slam mix
  • Allow to cool
  • My favorite way to have this is on top of vanilla Greek yogurt with fresh berries!
  • Simon Says, EAT!

 

The Perfect Brunch: Shrimp and Grits

I have a serious love for brunch food, and i think that everyone else has caught on too! We can all agree that along with chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits remains a brunch staple item. 

Soooooo....I had a few shrimp on hand and decided to jazz up my usual grits for something more exciting! So let's jump right into this recipe!

 

Shrimp and grits

What You'll Need:

  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • 1 stalk green onion
  • 1/4 purple onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb. xl shrimp
  • Smoked sausage or andouille 
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup quick grits
  • 4 oz gouda cheese
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Simon Says:

Grits:

  • Bring chicken stock to a boil
  • Add grits, heavy cream, and butter and whisk in to avoid lumps for about 30 seconds. Be careful because the grits will pop during this process.
  • Reduce the fire to medium, cook for about 5-8 minutes and cover.
  • Add corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garlic and herb seasoning 

Shrimp:

  • Add 1 tsp butter to skillet, red and green bell pepper, onion, chopped sausage. 
  • Add shrimp with garlic and herb seasoning, cook until they are pink. 
  • Plate grits,  and add shrimp mixture to top of grits
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and green onions
  • Simon Says, EAT!
image2.JPG

Let me know how this dish comes out for you! Of course, you can adjust the recipe to our liking, adding more corn, different type of sausage! I'd love to hear from you!

Cheat code: Pazookie's at home!

Am I the only one that finds joy in recreating some of my favorite restaurant items?! Well, I'm sure that most will agree that one of the MAIN reasons they visit Bj's Brewhouse is to order a delicious PAZOOKIE!

This post is for the "ballers on a budget" or the "I want something good but I'm lazy!" I'll admit, sometimes I am a combination of the two! I like to call my cooking shortcuts the "cheat code!" Most times, with the right cooking accessories, you can get the restaurant experience right at home! Lucky for me, my husband came home with the handy little skillet and I put it RIGHT to work.


What You'll Need:

Simon v. Bj's!

Make your own pazookie at home!

  • 5 in Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tollhouse Ultimates Chocolate Chip Lovers
  • Bluebell Homemade vanilla
  • Whipped Cream
  • Caramel sauce
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Pecans

Simon Says:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees 
  • Grease your skillet, combine 4 cookie squares in your skillet
  • Place your skillet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes
  • Top with ALL your favorite items
  • Simon Says, EAT!

Not only is this quick, easy, and delicious....BUT it is waaaayyyyy cheaper than having this at the restaurant. I was able to make my pazookie for $1.60 as opposed to the $7 you'll spend on this dessert item at Bj's!

Do you have a cheat code?

Share it with me!

 

Simon's Potbelly Chicken

The Common "What's for Dinner?" Struggle

It's the end of a work day and ALL you want to do is get home and eat something really good. BUT...you don't want to eat out, AND you're really not too enthused about going to the grocery store either. What's a girl to do??

If you follow me on instragram (@simonesayseat), you got a chance to watch me prepare this dish on a whim, with things I already had, on hand, at home! Since I love you guys so much, I'll go ahead and share the list here as well! I like too keep the following things in my fridge so that dinner isn't always dependent on a trip to the grocery store!

Must Haves

  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Bagged salad
  • Any frozen vegetable
  • Chicken
  • Ground Turkey
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken broth

So I'm sure you asking "what did you come up with Simone?" Well, I was able to create this delicious sausage, rice, and bell pepper stuffed chicken breast, and it was a HIT! Since, I made it up as I went along, this recipe was written after.

 

What You'll Need:

  • 2 Bone- in Chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup smoked garlic sausage
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp of parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (maybe less)
  • 1 cup cream of chicken (based on preference of consistency)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp of each Flavor God ( Garlic lovers, everything, spicy seasoning)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2.5 tbsp. butter
  • toothpicks

Simon Says:

  • Melt one tablespoon of butter in your skillet (you know I used my handy dandy cast iron), and add in bell peppers and chopped sausage for a quick sauté, about 2-3 minutes
  • .Add the rice to the skillet, and then add your cream of chicken. I recommend starting with two heaping tablespoons. Add more if you'd like it to be more creamy. Remove from skillet.
  • Prepare your chicken breast by cutting into the middle of the breast, from the side, as to create a pocket. You will then place your rice mixture inside and keep it together by placing toothpicks through the top and bottom of your cut.
  • Season both sides of your chicken with salt, pepper, flavor god, and pinch of parsley
  • Melt the rest of your butter in the skillet and then place your chicken breast in, skin side down, on medium high heat for about 4 minutes (n each side). Depending on how large your breast are you will need to turn them to make sure all sides get brown!
  • Once you are satisfied with the color achieved, turn the breast over (the bone will be on the bottom of the pan), and add in your heavy whipping cream and two more tablespoons of cream of chicken, and a little water. The water will allow you to achieve you desired gravy consistency! Mix it together in your skillet.
  • Place your covered chicken in the oven at 325 for 45 minutes.
  • Be sure to remove the toothpicks! Garnish with additional parsley.
  • Simon Says, EAT!

 

Simon's Potbelly Chicken

Simon Says: No cans please!

If you would have asked me if I liked creamed corn before this past Christmas, I would have responded with a resounding, "NO!" I came up with this recipe after a video of crockpot creamed corn ran across my Facebook feed! While it seemed simple enough, I ended up creating my own recipe that you'll find below!

As you can see, I ditched the crock pot and opted for my enameled cast iron pot that could get the job done faster, especially on a weeknight!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg (16 oz) organic sweet corn
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (or preference)
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • fresh green onions

Directions

  • Place corn frozen corn in medium sauce pan or 4 quart enamel cast iron pot, warm for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat, or until corn is no longer frozen and at about room temp.
  • Add the heavy whipping cream and butter, and bring to a boil.
  • Add in salt, pepper, and cream cheese. Mix well until cream cheese is dissovled. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Optional: remove about 1/4 of corn and liquid and puree it in a blender. I used my nutribullet.
  • Add the puree back into the pot and stir it in.
  • Cook for an additional 10 minutes on low heat.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings as you like.
  • Top with chopped fresh green onions and a little more pepper!
  • Simon Says, EAT!

Cast Iron Skillet Potatoes

Do you find yourself on "default" when it comes to side dishes? Maybe some steamed broccoli, warm up some corn, sauté some fresh green beans when you're feeling fancy! That get's a little old, doesn't it...I know. I find myself thinking, "How can I make this food new?'

I often start with "What do I want it to taste like?" Pick an ingredient and run with it!

Time to spice those side dishes up a bit with this recipe! 

potatoes.png

Ingredients

  • 3 large russet potatoes 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp garlic butter
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste) 
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley (or fresh)
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper 
  • 1 tsp garlic and herb 

Directions

  • Wash, peel, and cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Melt butter in your cast iron skillet and place potatoes in the skillet in a circular pattern so that they will all fit.
  • Season potatoes, cook for about 5 minutes, add heavy whipping cream.
  • Cook an additional 10 minutes on medium high heat.
  • Cover with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 35 minutes at 375 until tender. 
  • Garnish with parsley.
  •  Simon Says, Eat!

Keep in mind, you can ALWAYS adjust the seasonings based on preference. I'll be whipping up some more exciting sides if you all would care for me to share! Be sure to "like" this post if you want more!

Very Berry Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowl.png

This post will be short and sweet! You ever find yourself, REALLY wanting to try make something new but talk yourself out of it...everytime? That's me and smoothie bowls! I kept thinking that mine would be too watery and all my toppings would just sink to the bottom and it would be ugly and nasty...dramatic! I know!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/3 cup almond milk*
  • 1/2 medium banana 
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • toppings (strawberries, coconut, dried cranberries, etc)
  • add additional liquid depending on preferred consistency

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a Nutribullet (that's what I have)
  • Blend for about 1 minute 
  • Top with desired toppings! 
  • Simon Says, EAT!

Before you go, check out this cute little video I made! I was excited about this too!

Chicken Pot Pie

Honestly, I probably would have never made this, had Travis not expressed his LOVE for chicken pot pie. My only experience with them are passing by them in my grocery freezer section...ha! So as a lot of us do...I resorted to Pinterest for something that didn't seem too intimidating! 

I think it did pretty darn good! I've made this about two times now, and it's a hit with the mister! Check out the recipe below.

 Recipe adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen!

Recipe adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stem fresh rosemary (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk (or almond)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 bullion cube
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 1 egg, beaten slightly with a fork

Directions

  • Allow puff pastry to thaw at room temperature and then gently unfold.
  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat.
  • Add onion, celery, carrot, and salt and sauté until onions are translucent and vegetables start to get tender.
  • Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Gradually whisk in milk, heavy cream and and Better Than Bullion, and bring to a slow boil.
  • Simmer gently over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken (5 minutes).
  • Turn heat to low, and add chicken, peas and thyme.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pour chicken mixture into a 8 x 8 baking dish.
  • Cut puff pastry into 12 equal strips, using fold lines as a guide.
  • Lay puff pastry strips over chicken mixture, weaving it together to form a lattice pattern.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush egg onto the top of the puff pastry.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes. The top of the puff pastry will be a deep golden brown color.
  • Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Simon Says, Eat!

Remember, if you like more veggies, add it in! Same goes for the chicken! Let me know how you guys like it or what you have found to be the key for a great pot pie!

Cajun Shrimp and Crawfish Alfredo

If you know me, you know I have a deep love for seafood! I was introduced to this seafood alfredo dish by Boudreaux, one of those friends that became family back during my Baylor University days! I have to say, he's one of the first people that cooked for me and it felt like I was eating in my grandmothers kitchen.

Since I first had this dish, I've put my own spin on it, and actually upgraded to making my alfredo sauce from scratch! I'm so proud! In my old age, I've also decided that fresh veggies are required now; so I threw in some fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes too. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did!

Cajun Shrimp and Crawfish Alfredo

Alfredo Sauce

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese 
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp butter 
  • 1 tbsp garlic butter 

Protein

  • 1 lbs xl shrimp (or more, depends on how you like it!)
  • 1 lbs Crawfish
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning 
  • 1 tsp olive oil 

Additional items:

  • Pasta of choice 
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh spinach (chopped)

Instructions

  • Prepare pasta as stated on package, drain, and set aside.
  • In a skillet, sauté shrimp and Crawfish in olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and cracked black pepper. Remember that seafood doesn't need much salt, if any, due to sodium already present! 
  • Place your fresh spinach in the skillet with your seafood once it's cooked to let it wilt a bit, about two minutes. 
  • Prepare your Alfredo sauce by adding the two cups of cream to a saucepan on medium heat, add butter, cream cheese and allow it to melt. Next add your salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and lastly your Parmesan cheese being careful not to let it stick to the bottom, allow sauce to thicken.
  • Combine pasta, seafood, and sauce in an oven safe dish and top with Italian blend cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes to allow the cheese to melt and flavors to marry.
  • Garnish with cherry tomatoes
  • Simon Says, EAT! 

Mr. Smiths' Project: The Funnel Bar

 Apple Cinnamon Funnel Cake

Apple Cinnamon Funnel Cake

Who doesn't love carnival food?! One of the best things about going to a carnival is the food, with FRIED everything, in HUGE portions...pretty please! But what are we supposed to do when that's all over and they pack up and leave us?!

Well, I have Travis and he makes funnel cakes from time to time and he's back at it! So last night I had the pleasure of putting the finishing touches on his Apple Cinnamon cake, with fresh apples in the batter, and it was delicious!

Now, I know what you're saying, "How can I get me a Travis?!" Well, I'm sad to say, there's only one and he kind of belongs to me! Buuuuutttttt, he's planning to have them available to you later this year, in several varieties!

Stay tuned for updates on this project! until then, take a look at hashtag #thefunnelbar on Instgram!

Chicken and Smoked Garlic Sausage Rotini

It's Monday evening, and you had a serious case of the Monday's! You want something that doesn't take too long, but that will be filling and delicious....AND lets just say, we can put it all in one bowl. PASTA, of course! Take a look at the recipe I have for you below!

Chicken and  Garlic Smoked Chicken Rotini

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Chicken breast (thin sliced) 
  • 1 pkg Chapel Hill smoked garlic sausage 
  • 1 head of fresh broccoli
  • 2 jars Classico Alfredo sauce 
  • 1 tsp grated Parmesan

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken to taste, wrap in foil, bake for 40minutes.
  • Bring water to boil in about a 6 quart pot, add about one tablespoon of olive oil, add pasta, cook for about 12 minutes.
  • Use half of the link of sausage and cut it into 1 inch thick pieces. Cook in tour skillet and set aside.
  • Sauté your broccoli in a skillet with garlic butter, add a little water and steam if for about 5 minutes until softened, yet still crisp. 
  • Remove chicken from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before slicing it.
  • Add sauce, pasta, sausage, chicken, and broccoli together in an oven safe dish and toss! Top with Italian blend cheese.
  • Bake in the oven at 375 for about 10 minutes.
  •  Simon Says, EAT!

Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats

Are you "hangry" by 10am?? You skipped breakfast, didn't you? Shame! I, almost always, eat breakfast "on the go!" My solution is to have something prepared at night that I can just grab and go with, and that just happens to be overnight oats. Everything is already mixed in, so it doesn't need to be all fixed up in the morning. Have a look at the recipe!

Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup plain fat free greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 tsp agave nectar
  • ½ cup apple
  • 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • makes two servings for those of us watching our waistline!

Directions:

  • Combine oats, milk, yogurt, nectar, apples, and additional ingredients
  • Mix together in mason jar
  • Cover and let sit overnight, or at least 5 hours
  • Top with additional fruit ,and pecans if you’d like!
  • Simon says, Eat!

Red Beans and Rice with Sausage

We got a few days of cold weather down in Houston, so i QUICKLY decided to have some beans! This dish isn't for those in a hurry, you'll need a couple hours for these to get all good and tender. Snuggle into the recipe below.

Red Beans and Rice with Sausage

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Bell pepper (large)
  • 1/2 White onion (large) 
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic (chopped)
  • 1 1lb bag of red beans
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 pkg Chapel Hill Original Smoked Sausage (sliced)
  • 6 quart pot (mine is an enameled cast iron) 

Soak beans overnight if possible (will shorten cook time)

Directions:

  • Chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic
  • Rinse red beans
  • Add veggies and beans to a 6 quart pot along with 6 cups of water. Should be enough to adequately cover the beans. Keep in mind if you don't add enough water the beans will be more like a dry "mash".
  • Bring pot to a boil, and then reduce to low heat.
  • Cook for roughly 40 minutes and then add half of the sausage, chopped.
  • After a total cool time of 1 1/2 hours add the other half of the sausage. Check the "doneness" of the beans by mashing a couple against the side of the pot. If the beans mash easily, they are done! Adjust seasonings as needed! 
  • Prepare rice of choice, follow directions listed on package. Parboiled rice is more user friendly for beginners! 
  • Simon says, Eat! 

Sriracha Honey Chicken Wings

Because who doesn't want wings?! I had the pleasure of making these wings for Superbowl Sunday, and they did NOT stand a chance. I decided to make these this week since I still had the ingredients for my sauce available! See the recipe below!

Sriracha Honey Wings

Makes about 8 whole wings (16 wings portions)

Sauce:

  • 4 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wings:

  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1tbsp Soulfitgrill " Creole Kick"

Directions:

  • Pre heat oven to 250
  • Pat wings dry, and place in a mixing bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and sprinkle with baking soda.
  • Arrange on your wire rack that will be atop of your baking sheet. Be sure you line your baking sheet with foil for easy clean up!
  • Place wings in the oven at 250 for 20 minutes
  • Increase oven temp to 400 for 40 minutes, skin should be crisp and brown.
  • Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl.
  • Heat up one tablespoon of butter in a skillet, pour your sauce in the skillet.
  • Add chicken wings to the skillet and cover in your sauce, cook an additional 2-4 minutes to allow sauce to caramelize on your wings.
  • Simon says, EAT! 

** if you want more of a sweet profile, add honey. If you're going for an additional savory kick, add garlic powder, little more salt (or Cajun seasoning), smoked paprika! Don't be afraid to season that chicken either, your seasonings are a complement to the sauce!