Monday Meals: Chicken Ranch Tenders

If you have kids and your family loves chicken, you will love this meal. I found the base recipe at 5dollardinners.com, and in my kitchen fashion, I modified, even a pretty healthy recipe, to make it even healthier. Here’s the link to the original recipe if you’d like to check it out. ($5 Dinners: Ranch Chicken Dippers)

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Chicken Ranch Tenders

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 20-25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package skinless, boneless chicken tenders (I made about 12 tenders)
  • 2 jumbo eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I used homemade, whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 – 1 oz. packet Original Hidden Valley mix for dipping (I used Hidden Valley for this test run, but I will probably try to make my own ranch mix and/or look for a Tastefully Simple gluten-free mix)
  • Marinara sauce for dipping (I used an all natural marinara jarred sauce because of time constraints, but if you have some homemade, even better.)
  • Served with steamed broccoli

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet with non-stick spray, or line a cookie sheet with non-stick baking mat.
  • Whisk the 2 eggs and milk in a small bowl. Mix together the bread crumbs and ranch mix in another bowl.
  • Dip each chicken piece into the egg, then coat in the ranch-bread crumb mixture. Place on the cookie sheet, and repeat until all chicken pieces are coated.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until all chicken pieces are cooked through and have turned slightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.
  • Serve tenders with marinara sauce and other side dishes.

This meal is way easy to prep, way easy to cook, and it’s a HUGE hit with the kiddos. Fantastic substitute for chicken nuggets or any breaded chicken dish. This is definitely going in my regular rotation. Enjoy!

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Success Saturday: Mason B.

Mason is the husband of one on my online running mom friends. Together, they joined my Insanity challenge group in May. Throughout the last 9 weeks, I’ve seen Mason blow this challenge out of the water with his main driving force keeping him inspired, his family.  I hope you are inspired by his story as I’ve been to see it unfold.
before and after Insanity
1. Why did you decide to lose weight/change your lifestyle? (Any and all reasons)
  • I let myself go after having open heart surgery back in December 2009 to repair a failed aortic valve and a massive aortic aneurysm. I ended up having to get an artificial aortic root and a mechanical valve. Prior to this, I was traveling to several states competing in 100 mile ultra-endurance mountain bike races. When you compete at that level, you are CONSTANTLY training and eating thousands of calories a day. When you get sidelined and can’t exercise as hard, your body still thinks it needs all the calories you used to give it. 3 years and 30+ pounds later, I was sick of the excuses. My oldest son was 4 and my twins were 2 months old when I had my surgery. They are 8 and 3 now. I am 46 and they need me to be around and to be an active part of their lives. So I decided to challenge myself to take my fitness level up a few notches and keep it there. Insanity helped me accomplish that goal and gave me a great platform to continue training for a better life.
2. What exercise did you do? (List everything)
  • Primarily Insanity. I also did some good mountain bike rides and the occasional run/ walk on the treadmill.
 3. How did you change your eating?
  • I followed the Insanity meal plan as close as I could. Eating 5 small, healthier meals a day instead of 3 larger meals. I also cut out all fast-food and only drank water, coffee, no calorie sports drinks, or milk.
4. Did you use any nutritional supplements?
  • I took a men’s multi-vitamin formulated for heart health, and drank protein powder after my workouts. Unfortunately, I cannot drink certain supplements because of the high level of vitamin K. Vitamin K is what the body uses to aid in clotting blood in case of injury. I am on “blood thinners” to keep me from clotting so the mechanical valve stays smooth and clot free.
5. Did you have support? (Group, friend, online community, etc.)
  • I had plenty of support! My wife was my #1 inspiration, doing the Insanity program with me and helping me eat better. I also had online support from Carin Schaab on Facebook, used MyFitnessPal to keep record of my meals, and lots of self-discipline.
6. What do you feel is the top thing you’ve gotten out of your journey?
  • I feel great about myself again, and am not afraid to take my shirt off at the beach! I know this is exactly what I need to do to be able to be active with my children for as long as I can.
7. What is your next goal?
  • My next goal is to shed the remaining 8lbs to get to my goal weight of 180lbs. I am incorporating some light weight lifting to get lean definition, and will continue with Insanity and possibly T25.

Success Saturday: Erin B.

Erin is a long time friend of mine, and came to me a few months ago for some help to get healthy for herself, her husband, and her two adorable girls. We worked on her nutrition and she started on an exercise plan that she could also do with her girls at home, while working on her Master Thesis and her doctor approved of her doing.  Here is a little bit of her story while she is still working on meeting her goal!

 

Erin B. Nutrition + Exercise + Support + Success!!!

Erin B. Nutrition + Exercise + Support = Success!!!

 

1. Why did you decide to lose weight/change your lifestyle? (Any and all reasons)

After having my second child in Dec 2011, and gaining a bunch of weight in 2012, I decided to make 2013 the year that I got healthy. It wasn’t about a size or a number on a scale, but about feeling better and being a better mom and wife as a result. Of course I want to fit back into those old skinny jeans in the back of the closet, but my focus has been on feeding my body the right fuel.

2. What exercise did you do? (List everything)
I walk 30 min a day on the treadmill.

3. How did you change your eating?
So far I have lost over 30lbs since Jan by cutting my calories and exercising. Shakeology for lunch has been critical to my success. It is quick, easy, low calorie, low carb, versatile, etc.  As a mom of two kids I don’t have time or energy to worry about my lunch!
4. Did you use any nutritional supplements?
Nope
5. Did you have support? (Group, friend, online community, etc.)
My family supports me in my efforts, as well as my fabulous Beachbody coach Carin Schaab! Carin is always there for me when I have questions or need a boost 🙂
6. What do you feel is the top thing you’ve gotten out of your journey?
 A commitment to myself. Before, I never had time or money to diet, but once I made the decision that I would MAKE time and FIND the money for ME, I have been more committed than ever to my health.
7. What is your next goal?
I would like to lose apx 30 more lbs, but the number is not as important as watching my body transform and shape up and gaining extra energy!

How It All Began

All my life, I had been a fit athlete. Even after having children, one of my priorities was to get back and stay in shape anyway I could. I was always muscular and 150 was my average weight, but I knew muscle weighed more than fat, so I never really paid it much attention.

In December 2008, my brother was KIA in Iraq, 4 days before his scheduled return date from his second and last tour. Throughout the funeral and weeks following, including Christmas, I forgot about taking care of myself and balanced taking care of my family and my parents. After the New year, I basically crashed and went on auto-pilot. I got up, worked, took care of my boys and went to bed. At the end of January, I realized my largest clothes barely fit. I no longer looked like the soccer player I had been for years. I got on the scale and realized I was 175, the heaviest I had ever been. Even at the end of my two pregnancies, I did not weigh that much.

With the number 175 burned in my mind, I decide to do something about it. I started walking and running 4-5 times a week. I slowly retaught myself about nutrition. Within 2 months, weight started coming off quickly. By my birthday, I was back at 150. I didn’t want to stop there. I wanted to be in the best shape of my life.

I researched and found a soccer league to join. I loved it! Doing my first passion combined with running, I thought I was in heaven, but I knew I needed some training. I found P90X. I did a few of the workouts here and there combined with the rest of my training. I continued to drop weight slowly…down to 140.

I maintained140 for 2 years. Yet, I still never completed a full Beachbody workout. In May 2011, I fell ill with a kidney stone from dehydration. After a month of recovering, I decided to Bring It! with P90X to rebuild my strength for my soccer season starting in August. I fell in love again. By month 2, I was back to full strength and no longer modifying exercises. By month 3, I was in the best shape of my life, and I could see the results of my hard work on the soccer field and in my running. I didn’t lose weight, but I lost inches  gained muscle in a way I never have before despite all my previous training.

During my P90X journey, I became a fitness coach with Beachbody. I found encouraging, motivating, and helping others make changes towards a healthy life motivated me even further. I fine tuned my nutrition. I moved onto P90X2 in January 2012. I became leaner, meaner, and fitter than I ever have in my life. As of June 2012, I busted through a plateau and dropped several inches and 9 pounds down to 131. That’s a weight I have never remembered seeing before! I continue on every day, motivating and encouraging others, because it keeps me motivated!

Halfway through my journey. Left: Sept. ’09. Right: June ’12