30 Minute Chicken Enchiladas

chicken enchiladas

Cooking Light has done it again, friends. This recipe really does only take 30 minutes at most! I found this recipe in my July issue of Cooking Light Magazine. If you don’t have a subscription, I highly recommend this publishing. It’s in my top five healthy living magazines.

This chicken enchilada recipe only takes 30 minutes of work because you cook all the ingredients upon preparation so everything is hot when you put the enchiladas together! I would advise you to cook the chicken ahead of time, season it with Mexican spices, and shred it immediately after cooking. This will save you time when cooking this delicious meal later in the week.

I tweaked this recipe slightly to make it more flavorful, but what you will read below is almost word for word what Cooking Light wrote in the July issue.



1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium size onion)

1 cup chicken broth

1 T flour

1 & 1/2 T chili powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp red pepper, crushed or flakes

1/4 tsp salt

1, 15 oz can tomato sauce

3 cups shredded chicken (about 15 oz)

1, 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 T chopped fresh cilantro

12-15 (6 inch) corn tortillas

Cooking spray

3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese


1. Preheat broiler to high. Coat a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine first 9 ingredients in a large saucepan (through the tomato sauce). Stir with a whisk while bringing to a  boil over high heat. Cook a few minutes until sauce has evidently  thickened, stirring occassionally. Once thickened, set aside 1 & 1/2 cups of sauce mixture to use later.

3. Add chicken, beans, and cilantro to the sauce remaining in the pan. Cook until chicken and beans are heated thoroughly, around 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Stack 15 tortillas and wrap in paper towels. Microwave the stack for 30 seconds, flip the stack, and microwave for 20 more seconds. Heating the tortillas makes them more pliable so they don’t break when filling.

5. Using a 1/3 cup measuring tool, spoon 1/3 cup of enchilada mixture into each tortilla. Wrap each tortilla and place in baking dish, seam side down. Fill tortillas until all of the mixure is used.

6. Take the set aside 1 & 1/2 cups of sauce and pour over the top of the enchiladas. Spread to coat the entire dish with sauce. Top with 3 oz cheddar cheese.

7. Place enchiladas in broiler for only a few minutes, until cheese is bubbly.


Cooking Light recommends topping with sour cream, but I recommend topping them with this guacamole recipe, a Covarelli staple.

Without sour cream or guacamole, one enchilada is around 135 calories. You can’t beat that!
If you do add toppings, be sure to measure portions carefully! (Yes, even good-for- you guacamole)

Enjoy this recipe! It really is simple and delicious- Two of my favorite words.

Are You Eating Enough Protein?


It is amazing how many of us do not eat enough protein on a daily basis. To be honest, I still work to eat enough protein to keep my body at optimum health and performance levels.

The idea for this blog came from my sweet and super healthy friend Hayley at work. She and her husband are extremely healthy, and she often teaches me things about health and fitness. She recommended that I write about protein consumption because so many of us are uneducated in this area.

1. What is protein?

Protein is composed of amino acids that and other elements that are essential for muscle repair and building and are essential for cells to function properly in our bodies. In fewer words, protein is ESSENTIAL to keep our bodies healthy.

2. What foods contain protein?

  • Eggs (7 grams of protein each)
  • Meats and Fish (4 oz can contain close to 30 grams of protein)
  • Whey Protein Powder (20-30 grams per scoop depending on the brand- make protein shakes for snacks or as part of a meal!)
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Dairy/Greek Yogurt (be wary of assuming all dairy contains enough protein to be beneficial- choose carefully!)

Animal products are the best sources of protein from the list above because animal products contain complete proteins, which means the protein is made up of all the essential amino acids we need.

3. How much protein should I eat?

The FDA recommends that an adult consume 60 grams of protein per day. I’ll be honest, that’s a terrible recommendation. 60 grams per day is not going to help your body perform at its best.

You should consume around 3/4 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight you contain. For nearly all of us, that means we should be consuming 100-150 grams of protein per day!

Shocked yet? How many of us really consume that much protein?

4. Won’t lots of protein make my muscles bulky?

Nope! Lifting weights makes your muscles toned, eating protein keeps your muscles repaired and healthy. The proper amount of protein keeps your cells healthy, your muscles strong, and your body rejuvenated. No amount of protein will magically give you big muscles… lifting weights and hard work does that.



Count your protein grams throughout the day.

  • Are you eating enough?
  • Do you need to eliminate some carbs and replace them with protein?
  • What will you put in place to ensure you eat enough protein to stay healthy?


Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet potatoes finished

A couple of weeks ago I posted my favorite black bean burger recipe. The sweet potato chips recipe below is my favorite side dish with black bean burgers, grilled chicken, a beef hamburger, or any main entree.

You should eat a serving of sweet potato almost every day. These orange potatoes are better for you than a white potato because they are packed with fiber and beta carotene. One serving of sweet potato is 4 ounces and contains 100 calories, 20 grams of carb, 2 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber.

Potato and burger

Serves: 4 people


2 medium sized sweet potatoes (count about 1/2 potato per person at the meal)
Olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

2. Wash sweet potatoes and peel. After sweet potatoes are peeled, cut horizontally to create circle shaped chips that are about 1/4 inch thick. Each sweet potato will yield several chips.

3. Place sweet potato chips in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Only use enough olive oil to lightly coat the sweet potatoes after being mixed and tossed in the bowl.

4. Place lightly coated chips on the foil so chips don’t overlap or do so just barely if necessary. Sprinkle salt and cinnamon on all chips, you decide how much flavor you want. I tend to do only a little bit of salt and lots of cinnamon! So good.

5. Place sweet potato chips in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until soft.

Enjoy! You could also cook the sweet potato chips on parchment paper. The parchment paper keeps the sweet potatoes softer while the foil makes them crispier and more chip-like. You decide what sounds best!

Get cooking! Let me know how these turn out.


Weight Lifting: 7 Insane Moves for Better Legs



Last week, I told you about my adventure in weight lifting by sharing an amazing triceps and shoulders work out. I have also shared in the past WHY you should be lifting weights and HOW to get started. You can find my post about the necessity of weight lifting HERE if you missed it!

Today I will share a “guaranteed results” leg workout with you. This takes anywhere from 35-45 minutes when done in full, resting between sets and super sets. I must give credit where credit is due: my friend Hayley Sample, walked me through this workout and taught me these exercises. She is amazing!

A “set” involves one exercises where you take a 1-1.5 minute break between sets.
A “super set” involves two exercises done back to back where you do not rest until you have performed both exercises. Both exercises together is considered one time through.


Warm Up

Warm up your knees and hips on the bike for 2-3 minutes at around a level 10. Don’t make it easy! This will help prevent injury or strain while lifting.

Exercise 1: Set

Activity: Goblet Squats
Duration: 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps in each set.
Tutorial Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrVgpDOLlgM

Goblet squats involve holding a dumbbell or kettle bell close to your chest while doing squats. Your legs should be  a little further than hip width apart, with feet angled outward. While holding the weight close to your chest, slowly lower by bending the knees and sticking your butt behind you. Go all the way down and squeeze your glutes and rock your hips forward at the top!
Don’t let your knees come in front of your toes and always keep your back straight as opposed to relaxing those back muscles.

Exercise 2: Super Set

Activity: Straight leg dead lift & Seated hamstring machine
Duration: 3 sets: 10 reps of EACH activity in this super set
Tutorial Video:
Dead lift: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCptXVjRTAA
Seated hamstring machine: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seated-hamstring-curl/MM00746

Because this is a super set, you do both activities back to back and THEN rest for about a minute. Do not step between these two exercises.

Straight leg dead lift: Grab two dumbbells ( I started with 10′s in each hand and worked my way up). Feet should be hip width apart and you need to bend your knees so your quads are in the beginning stages of a squat. Holding the dumbbells in front of your thighs, slowly roll the dumbbells down your leg, bending as you go. Once the dumbbells get to the middle of your shins, your back should be a straight line, parallel to the ground. Slowly roll the dumbbells back up your legs, keeping knees bent the entire time. That is one rep.
You should feel this in your hamstrings!

Seated ham string machine: Make sure your seat is positioned properly so that you gain the optimum benefits from this exercise. See tutorial above. You can do this one leg at a time or both legs at a time per set. I recommend changing it up during your workouts!

Exercise 3: Super Set

Activity: Split Bulgarian Sqauts using bench & Seated leg press machine
Duration: 3 sets: 10-12 reps of EACH activity in this super set
Tutorial Video:
Split Bulgarians: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s_70Nm3Nw4
Leg Press Machine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LKoZOl7nx4

Split Bulgarians: With a bench behind you, place one foot on the back of the bench and jump forward so your other leg is a couple feet from the bench on the ground. While keeping one foot on the bench, you will do a squat using the leg on the ground. Wiht your back straight and arms at your side, slowly lower into a squat. Make sure your squat forms 90 degrees at the bottom of the squat. If it does not change your distance from the bench. Repeat exercises with other leg on the bench and on the ground.
To add difficulty as you get stronger, hold weights in each hand while squatting.

Leg Press Machine: Use the leg press machine to target ONE LEG AT A TIME in this super set. Be sure the chair is the correct distance from the foot holds, and slowly push away from your foot, using only one leg at at time. You should not ever lock your knee at the top of the exercise. Slowly lower back down, but do not let the weights hit on the machine. That is one rep. Do 10-12 reps and then repeat with other leg.
To change it up, use both legs on occasion for variation.

Exercise 4: Super Set

Activity: Seated Leg Extension machine to target quads & Walking Lunges with dumbbells
Duration: 3 sets total: 1 set is 10 reps of leg curls PER LEG and 20 walking lunges (10 per leg)
Tutorial Video:
Leg Extensions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XcVxzv_DBU
Walking Lunges: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HflELi3M4Ys

Seated Leg Extension: This machine targets your quad muscles. You will do ONE LEG AT A TIME!  While seated you will place your ankle behind the bar at your feet and slowly raise your leg to extend the knee. Slowly lower back down. This is one rep. Do 10 reps, switch legs, and repeat.

Walking Lunges with Dumbbells: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, you will do walking lunges. Start with 10 pounders and go up from there! Make sure your back is straight and your shoulders are back the entire time; your lunges should end in a 90 degree angle at your knee. As you walk step out wide rather than just forward- this will target more muscle groups! In between steps, do NOT allow both feet to touch the ground, but continually step from one lunge into the next lunge, regaining balance at the top.
Be sure to do at least 10 lunges per leg!

END WORKOUT! You did it!

I hope you have found this helpful. Many people have asked for detailed weight training workouts.
Let me remind you, you SHOULD be sore and it SHOULD be hard. Do not be afraid to lift heavy and push yourself. The benefits are worth every bit of pain!

Quick and Easy Breaded Chicken

breaded chicken

Who doesn’t love the words “quick” and “easy” when it comes to meal preparation?

Today’s recipe is a very simple recipe I watched my mom make over and over again as I was growing up. Simple breaded chicken, pan fried to perfection. Cheap, light, healthy, and delicious. This chicken recipe is great by itself, in salads, on top of spaghetti, and any other way you want to eat it!



1 pound chicken, breasts or strips
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 TBLSP olive oil


1. Rinse chicken and cut any extra fat, tendons, or veins from the chicken.

2. In a bowl, whisk milk and egg together to form what will be the coating for the chicken. Place bread crumbs, salt, and pepper on a small plate and mix together to form chicken breading.

3. Take each piece of chicken and dip it into the milk and egg mixture. Then take the chicken and dip and roll in breadcrumb mixture to coat each piece. Continue until all chicken is coated and breaded.

4. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Wait for oil to be extremely hot before putting chicken in to cook. When your oil is hot, the breading adheres to the chicken and crisps rather than falling off during cooking.

5. Reduce heat to medium and place chicken in olive oil. Cook chicken, covered, close to 5 minutes per side. Chicken may need to cook longer depending on the size and thickness of the chicken. Chicken is done cooking when juices run clear.


This is a go-to recipe for those of us who like a quick and delicious fix during the week.
Chicken also makes a great snack as 4 oz of un-breaded chicken is 120 calories and 22 grams of protein.



Weight Lifting: Shoulders and Triceps Workout

shoulder workout

Another weight lifting workout to share today! A couple of weeks ago it was a fantastic leg workout, which you can find HERE. Today, I will share some amazing shoulder and tricep exercises that will have arm jiggle saying “Goodbye!”

This takes anywhere from 30-35 minutes when done in full, resting between sets and super sets. I must give credit where credit is due: my friend Hayley Sample, walked me through this workout and taught me these exercises. She is amazing!

A “set” involves one exercises where you take a 1-1.5 minute break between sets.
A “super set” involves two exercises done back to back where you do not rest until you have performed both exercises. Both exercises together is considered one time through.


 Exercise 1: Single Set

Activity: Seated Military Press
Duration: 10 reps per set, 3 sets
Tutorial Video: http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/seated-dumbbell-press

Using a bench, sit down on the bench, sitting up perfectly straight. Take a dumbbell in each hand and lift arms beside head so elbows form a 90 degree angle. Slowly lift arms above your head and full extend, tapping weights together and then bring arms back to 90 degree angle. This is 1 rep.
Be sure to keep your arms at a 90 degree angle and push all the way to the top of a rep so you feel the burn in your shoulders and triceps. I recommend starting with 10-20 pounds and building strength from there.

Exercise 2: Super Set (do the first activity and go right into the next activity before resting between super sets)

Activity: Seated Rear Delt Fly and Seated Incline Skull Crushers
Duration: 10-12 reps per set per exercise, 3 super sets
Tutorial Video Seated Rear Delt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vmF1WuEuuw
Tutorial Video Incline Skull Crushers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arnKDKoUhw4

Rear Delt: This is a machine at the gym that works your shoulders and triceps. Watch the tutorial video for a visual of this machine and how to use it! I recommend starting with 20 pounds and going up from there.
Incline Skull Crushers: Adjust a bench to a 45 degree incline and grab two dumbbells. I would start with 10′s and either go down or up from there. Seated on the bench, fully extend arms with one dumbbell in each hand. Slowly bend at the elbow, keeping arms parallel to your head and concentrating the tricep contraction.

Exercise 3: Super Set

Activity: Shoulder Fly with Rope Cable and Bench Dips
Shoulder Fly- 10 reps per set, 3 sets
Bench Dips- 15 reps per set, 3 sets
Tutorial Video Shoulder Fly with Rope Cable: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u2LbQBx6Vc
Tutorial Video Bench Dips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0326dy_-CzM

Shoulder Fly: The video above shows a shoulder pull at chest level. You can also adjust the machine so the rope cable is at your feet and you can pull up from there. Make sure your core stays tight as you pull the rope across your body and higher than your shoulder until you feel the burn in you shoulder. Repeat to start, and that is 1 rep.
If you only have dumbbells, do this exercise as a standard shoulder fly with weights!

Bench Dips: The tutorial video is excellent to show beginner to more challenging. You can do this exercise anywhere there’s a chair!

Exercise 4: Super Set

Activity: Shoulder Raise with Dumbbells and Shoulder Swings with Dumbbells
Duration: 10 reps per set per exercise, 2-3 sets
Tutorial Video Shoulder Raise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phj3UiCz0ME

Shoulder Raises: This video shows one arm at a time. I recommend holding both dumbbells at your side. With palms facing your body, slowly raise both arms to shoulder level. At the top turn dumbbells in so palms are facing down (weights should clink together). Slowly turn weights back and lower arms to sides. This is 1 rep.

Shoulder Swings: Holding two dumbbells at your side with palms facing the body, you are going to swing your arms up in front of you to shoulder level and quickly pull weights towards you, bending arms at the elbow. Forearms should keep parallel to upper arms as you pull weights towards your body. Quickly press weight back in front of you and swing arms back down. This exercise should be quick and concentrated, unlike the shoulder raises, which are slow.

Exercise 5: Cardio Burn

Activity: Jumping Jack with Dumbbell Press
Duration: 50 jumping jacks per set, 1-2 sets

Take light dumbbells (3-5 pounds to start), and raise them next to your head so arms from 90 degree angle. Begin doing jumping jacks so that your arms are fully extended in the air as your legs are spread wide at the finish of one jumping jack. Each time your legs move, your arms should move at the same time. Complete quickly to finish your workout with a fat burning cardio move!

You’re done!

YOU DID IT! Let me know if you have any questions about these exercises. I am more than happy to answer them and give guidance or clarification as needed.


Photo: http://www.fitnessrxwomen.com/training/workout-tips-advice/shoulder-shapers/

Quick and Easy Kale Chips


kale chips

This is a favorite in our house, and we make this recipe almost weekly. Quick and easy kale chips!
As you may know by know, kale is a super green food that you can find at most supermarkets. You can buy a full head of green kale for $1.50 inorganic or $2.00 for organic. I recommend organic for only 50 more cents! Kale is a super food, high in Vitamin K and full of fiber.



1 head of kale
Olive oil, to drizzle
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut or tear kale into medium sized pieces. Be sure to get rid of the stems the kale grows on. Place kale on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (it makes cleanup easier).

3. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the kale. Toss kale to coat. Sprinkle kale with salt and pepper.

4. Place kale in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Take kale out and stir kale to turn. Bake for 7-8 more minutes until crispy but not blackened.


Enjoy! Kale is an amazing superfood, and it only contains 35 calories per cup!

9 Mistakes Fit People Make


Even people giving their best effort to be healthy make mistakes. I can always be healthier, make better eating decisions, push harder in my workouts, and learn more about being healthy in every area of my life. And you can do the same.

One of my newest magazines favorites is Muscle and Fitness Hers. This magazine has the most legitimate workout and eating plan advice, and you can subscribe to the “Hers” version or the “His” version. This week’s blog was borrowed from and inspired by Muscle and Fitness Hers, and you can find the original online article HERE.

9 Mistakes Fit People Make

1. They skip the lower intensity workouts.
While you need to be doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) and Tabata training (shorter more intense circuits with little rest in between). you need to slow it down sometimes.If you only do high intensity exercise, you consistently put stress on your heart and your muscles. You need to work in lower intensity training as well: lifting weights with rests in between and yoga are great for this.

2. They skip rest days.
Your muscles have to rest. You need 1-2 days of solid rest a week with little to no exercise at all. When you rest, your muscles can repair and rebuild so you come back stronger the next time your workout.

3. They don’t use a foam roller on their muscles.
If you don’t use a foam roller, there’s no better time to start. Foam rolling helps massage your muscles and keep them loose. Start by foam rolling at your calves and work the foam roller up to your shoulders. When you get to a sore or tight spot, spend more time rolling out that muscle.

4. They don’t have variety in their diet.
You should stick to a rigid eating agenda, but still change things up. Eat different meats, types of grains, and eat fruits and veggies that are in season! Produce that is in season is rich in flavor, and you consume all different nutrients your body needs when you change your produce consumption with the seasons.

5. They could be eating healthier snacks.
While protein bars and protein shakes are still good choices, we can make better choices when we eat non-packaged or processed foods. Try a salad with chicken or fruit with nut butter to add some variety to your snack choices.

6. They don’t use the scale in a healthy way.
When you weigh yourself every morning or only go by the number on the scale, you can build a false sense of success. Your weight can change quickly from day to day, so stick to weekly or bi-weekly weigh -ins.
Additionally, 140 pounds of muscle looks very different from 140 pounds of skinny-fat. The number doesn’t always tell you how healthy you are.

7. They don’t get good sleep.
Sleep keeps your muscles healthy, helps them repair, and keeps your immune system strong. If your body doesn’t feel good and you aren’t resting well, you may need to skip the early morning workout and sleep another hour. Listen to your body!

8. They don’t change the direction of their workouts.
Take your lunges, squats, dumb bell exercises, and circuit training to another level. Don’t do the same motion in the same direction every time you work out. Try side squats, cross over lunges, and change the direction you press your dumbbells. You have to change your exercises to keep building and toning your muscles.

9. They don’t organize the intensity of their workouts.
Your week of workouts should contain intense HIIT, circuit training, heavy weight lifting, and low intensity training. You need to change up the intensity of your workouts which can mean slowing things down or speeding things up. Plan your workouts so you are doing workouts of differing intensities.

Oven Roasted Carrots with Garlic

photo 3

Today’s recipe is another simple yet delicious way to prepare a great vegetable.


Carrots are high in fiber and beta-carotene, a win-win when choosing your side dish. This recipe roasts the carrots which brings out a sweetness in them. Anytime you roast a veggie in the oven, the natural sweetness of the vegetable shines through.

Oven Roasted Carrots
Serves: 2 


10-12 full length carrots, cut to 1/2 inch thickness
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
Garlic powder


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cover baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.

2. Peel carrots and slice into pieces that are 1/2 inch thick. Coat carrots with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I do just enough to lightly coat the carrots.

3. Place carrots on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

photo 1

photo 2


10 Excellent and 10 Terrible Sources of Protein

You probably are not consuming enough protein every day. While many articles will say you need anywhere from 50-80 grams a day, I’m calling that terrible advice. Any legitimate muscle and fitness resources will tell you that you should be consuming close to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

You should try to consume 20-30 grams of protein per meal and snack you have during the day. Snacks lacking protein will not stabilize your blood sugar and keep you full. You will find my blog about the basics of protein HERE, where I go into more detail about the topic of today’s writing.

Why Do I Need Protein?

1. Protein keeps you full and satisfied- (no mindless munching).

2. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids your body needs for muscle repair and building- (your muscles  get stronger and more toned).

3. Protein stabilizes your blood sugar- (no energy slumps or hunger headaches in the middle of the day).

Is Any Food that Contains Protein a Good Choice?

While foods like nuts, cheeses, and milk do contain protein, be sure to consume these in moderation. There is nothing wrong with nuts and dairy- you need these nutrients, but they are higher in fat!

Because nuts are very high in fat, you could easily overdo it on the fat before you ever consumed enough sustainable protein. (Note: nuts are full of GOOD fat that your body needs, but you still have to consume the fat in moderation).

How Do I Find Great Sources of Protein?

Use this chart below to find some excellent sources of protein along with some NOT so excellent sources of protein.

protein sources

Notice that lean meats, fish, egg whites, and a great protein powder are good sources of protein. I firmly believe in the benefits of eating meat, as animal proteins contain all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle building. Many other sources of protein are incomplete proteins.

How Do I Eat Enough Protein During the Day?

  • Breakfast- 2/3 cup of egg whites, 1/4 cup steel cut oats, 1 banana, 1 T almond butter (25+ g protein)
  • Snack- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 T almond butter (30 grams protein)
  • Lunch- 4 ounces lean meat, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 apple (26 grams protein)
  • Snack- 4 oz lean meat on a bed of spinach (25 grams protein)
  • Dinner- 4 oz lean meat, 4 oz sweet potato (25 grams protein)

I use the above guide as my starting place for meals and snacks every day. I add in other fruits and vegetables as I see fit, but this is a great place to start when you are looking to get enough protein during the day!

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