Healthy & Easy Mexican Dinner
It's no secret that 90% of fitness is what you eat. You can't cover up a bad diet with a barre class or even 5 hours a day on the treadmill. Eating healthy can feel like a chore- especially when you'd rather just go out and grab a quick burrito or pizza instead of taking the time to make a nutritious dish, but if you plan ahead, you can save time, money, and calories while still enjoying a delicious meal at home!
I had been craving Mexican food, tacos specifically, but I'd just finished up a great workout-week, and didn't want to sabotage my hard work. In theory, tacos sounds pretty healthy- it's really just meat and veggies all wrapped up, with a little fiber on the side (beans are my favorite!). Somehow, anytime I order them though, I feel so heavy and full with all of the grease. I know the tortilla isn't the healthiest, but other than that- it shouldn't be a fattening meal, right? So I thought, let's go without the tortilla and grease tonight and see if I can satisfy my craving without ruining my diet!
Chicken Taco Lettuce Wraps
It took about an hour total- I am a slow (& inexperienced) cook. Plus my boyfriend and I made it into our activity for the night, so we were goofing around, red wine in-hand, and some sporadic puzzle breaks in between veggie-chopping and washing. ((Side note- we've been working on this puzzle for weeks now, and it's incredibly addicting and relaxing. It might sound dorky, but if you're looking for something stress-relieving to do, maybe you'd be into it too!! Pictured at the bottom of this post)) Anyways, here is what we did...
Gather the following ingredients:
- 1 head of Iceburg lettuce
- package of chicken breasts (we got a bulk-sized package to last throughout the week, but just a regular sized one would work!)
- green bell peppers
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 ripe avocado
- Salsa (we just grabbed pre-made pico de gallo from Safeway- but if you're feeling more ambitious than we were- bonus points to make your own!)
- Canned black beans (1 can should be enough)
- Olive oil
- Spices: Cayenne, red chili pepper, garlic powder, salt
- Optional sour cream (or greek yogurt for a healthier option)
1. First, we cut the chicken breast into smaller strips, about 1 inch wide and 2-4 inches long. In a separate container, we mixed equal parts olive oil and water, and a few shakes of each of the spices listed above for the marinade. You can also squeeze some lime juice into the bowl, and even throw the rhines into the marinade! We transferred all of the chicken into the marinade, stirred it together, and topped it off with a few more shakes of the spices to coat the top layer of the chicken. Set that aside.
2. Next, we chopped up the bell peppers and onions to sauté on medium-high heat with a couple dashes of olive oil. We used a nonstick skillet, and kept going until we got them a little browned. We didn't have a big enough/ shallow enough skillet, which would've been more ideal, so ours were a little softer than we'd have liked, but still delicious!
3. While the fajita veggies are cooking, you can start cooking the chicken, also in a nonstick skillet (or skillet with olive oil), on low-medium heat. When you see the edges turning white and then golden, you can flip them over to cook through the other side. Be careful you allow them to cook all the way through. Always check that there is no pink in the middle when you cut through the thickest part. If needed, you can season more thoroughly.
4. Now that you have everything cooking, you can prepare the lettuce as cups if you want to use them as wraps, or shred it up if you'd prefer a salad. My boyfriend and I did one of each. For the cups, I found it easiest to flip the head over so that I was looking at the stem, and make a cut at the base of each leaf before peeling it off.
5. Now the avocado can be sliced, and the cilantro chopped. Once the veggies and chicken are about finished, you can heat up the beans in a microwave or on the stove.
Almost there... The only thing left to do is put it all together!
6. In your lettuce cup, add the chicken, fajita veggies, beans, salsa, avocado slices, cilantro, and sour cream! Or you can try a little trick I like to use, and substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream. I can barely tell the difference, and you'll be getting your probiotics and some added protein!
Nothing fancy, but an easy and satisfying meal! Let me know what you think :)