Easy Peasy Paella

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Paella is basically food of the gods…or the beautiful people of Spain, so basically the same thing. Lindsey (one of my best friends) and I are totally obsessed with all things Spanish. She spent about 9 months in the gorgeous city of Granada & since we’re both International Studies majors with focuses in Spanish our ideal Friday night involves us watching La Reina del Sur, drinking Spanish or Argentinean red wine, and cooking paella. Nothing is better.

Now I’m sure true Spaniards would cringe at my recipe. Although authentic is pretty much always the way to go, we have no patience when it comes to paella. When something tastes this good it’s really tough to wait the full 6-7 hours that a traditional paella would take to make. So, our recipe is a much faster, much easier version of this beloved Spanish dish. TexMex paella for the win!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 1/4 c brown rice
  • 3/4 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. shrimp
  • 1 tsp EVOO + spray
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • handful of chopped parsley (about 1/3 c.)
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 c. quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 1/2 chicken breasts (12 oz), cut into chunks
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas

MAKES 4 servings

Start by cooking your rice (ideally in a rice cooker so you can ignore the rice while cooking everything else). Season the chicken and shrimp with salt & pepper and sauté the chicken in a large skillet with 1 tsp. olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic. Add in the shrimp after the chicken has turned white. If you need more oil, feel free to add olive oil spray.

Begin chopping up the veggies. Remove the chicken & shrimp from the skillet after fully cooked, and add in the veggies. Spray with olive oil and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is caramelized.

Next add the rice, paprika, saffron, chicken & shrimp to the skillet. The anticipation should be building – it’s practically paella. Let all the flavors sit together (for at least 5 minutes, I know patience is a virtue) and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Stir it up and serve each plate with a lemon wedge and top it off with chopped parsley. QUE RICO.

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Paella is definitely one of my all-time favorite foods. That said, it’s not the most diet-friendly meal, but I’ve made it much healthier than most traditional recipes. This paella ranks in at about 576 calories a serving which may seem like a lot, but the good thing about paella is that not an ingredient in it is bad for you! If you’re hoping for something a little lighter, you could replace the chicken with more veggies (asparagus & bell peppers are great in this) and use only olive oil spray. This just happens to be the way we like to make it and let me tell you, it’s seriously addictive.

Enjoy! Be sure to comment if you have a favorite way to make paella or if you try out the recipe and become an addict like us. Salud!

-SkinnyGirl

Click here for nutrition facts 

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Friday Food Find: StayFit Salad Kit

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Happy Friday everyone – congrats on making it through another week! Today I wanted to share a recent purchase I made from Amazon. I decided a couple of months ago that I really needed more salads in my life. I had been buying the pre-packaged kind you get from the grocery store until I realized how much money (and calories) I could save by making the salads myself. So, I did what any reasonable person would do and searched the internet for the best salad bowls I could find. That’s when I came across the StayFit Deluxe Salad Kit.

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What I love about this product is that it comes with 3 compartments: one for the lettuce, one for toppings and another for dressing. Gone are the days of wilted lettuce or making huge messes by attempting to put dressing in a Ziploc (which I’ve definitely done before). On top of that, the toppings compartment doubles as a freezer tray keeping everything cool! Basically there’s not enough good things I can say about this salad kit. It’s BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, and makes eating salads so much easier, especially since it’s perfect to bring to work!

On a side note: I’ve finally seen the light on how much better salad tastes when you shake it as opposed to just pouring the dressing on top. Since the lid snaps on, you can shake up all the ingredients together, allowing you to use less dressing while coating all of the salad evenly, and what’s better than that?

So that you too can bask in all the glory of a tasty salad, I decided to share the salad I had for lunch today.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls of romaine hearts
  • 1 serving (about a cup) of roasted veggies
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar (use Organic if possible – it tastes so much better!)
  • 1/4 lemon

If you didn’t see my last post, I made some delicious oven-roasted veggies which I’ve thrown into this salad. Once you’ve roasted your veggies, mix them in with your romaine lettuce, top with 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar and squirt with the juice from 1/4 lemon. Shake up your salad and it’s ready to eat!

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I love using balsamic vinegar and lemon as a salad dressing because its so light, low in calories, and adds a fresh, tangy flavor to everything! Wishing you all a happy weekend and happy eating!

-SkinnyGirl

Friday Food Find: When Life Gives You Lemons…

I’ll admit I’ve gotten a lot of ‘lemons’ from life lately – nothing to REALLY complain about, just that I’ve been more busy than I could ever imagine with classes. I also got a bit dehydrated in this hot hot Texas sun and went through a whole ‘hmmm what is wrong with me?’ freakout at the doctor’s office. Luckily nothing is seriously wrong – I just had an infection which dehydration made much worse, and was forced to temporarily lay off the caffeine, alcohol and sugar (yes, everything good in life). I was also told to drink as much water as is humanly possible.

The thing is, I’m just not a huge H20 drinker – normally I’ll have maybe a glass or two a day (I know, that’s horrible). Regardless, I’ve been forced to change my ways. I’ve been drinking about 8-9 glass daily now, and after going on an “all water” beverage diet, I was looking for something else to drink…which is when I discovered this wonderful lemonade!

Let’s be honest, the bottle is definitely what caught my eye.  I picked up the diet version wondering (and hoping) that it was made with Stevia as opposed to Aspartame or some other artificial sweetener and to my surprise it was! I was pleased to find that there was only one ingredient on the list that I was unfamiliar with – erythritol, which I later read occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods so I figured it can’t be that bad right?

The lemonade is super refreshing and delicious – and only 20 calories a bottle! Another thing I liked about it was the fact that I could see bits of pulp from the lemon juice floating around the bottom of the bottle, which in my mind showed that it was REAL lemonade. I think this would make for a wonderful cocktail mixer as well as just being an awesome drink on it’s own!

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I for one agree with the bottle caps – Hubert’s Lemonade causes joy (for me at least) so try it out!

Drink up & enjoy!

Pearl Couscous

Herbed Pearl Couscous

It’s been a crazy back to school season and all I want to do is go back to summer. However, one of the upsides to school starting means that I’m back in my own apartment with more people to cook for, and my own little basil plant! I decided to make good use of it so I whipped up this pearl couscous salad and let me warn you – it’s highly addictive. If some of you have never cooked with pearl couscous before, it is essentially normal couscous on a much larger scale. It looks like little balls of pasta and it tastes like pasta – so even if you don’t like normal couscous you would probably like this.

Pearl Couscous

Pearl Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 c. whole wheat pearl couscous
  • 5 tsp. EVOO
  • handful of basil (about 15-20 leaves)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice from one lemon
  • handful of chopped red onion (about 1/4 c.)
  • salt & pepper

YIELDS 2 side dishes or 1 main dish

Start by cooking the pearl couscous according to its instructions. Then put your lemon juice, garlic, basil, EVOO and rosemary into a food processor and blend!

Herb Mixture

Herb Mixture

Just stir the herb dressing over the couscous and add in chopped red onion. You’re done – easiest recipe ever.

Pearl Couscous

Pearl Couscous

Everything tastes so fresh and flavorful in this couscous salad, which is why I love it so much! Eat it up at 304 calories a serving! This would be a great side to pair with baked fish or grilled chicken!

Click here for nutrition facts