Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dijon Chicken with Spinach

If you like Dijon mustard you will love this recipe! I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into large strips to sautee. Cook the chicken in 1 tsp olive oil until brown on both sides. Add 1/4 cup water and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Remove chicken and cover to keep warm. Add another 1/4 cup water to pan, as well as 2 cloves garlic finely minced, 2 TB Dijon mustard, 2 tsp rice vinegar. Bring to boil and simmer for about 3-4 minutes. In a separate bowl mix 4 cups spinach leaves, 5 large croutons crumbled and sliced almonds. Place spinach on plate and put chicken on top. Drizzle with mustard sauce and serve.
Dijon Mustard Chicken- Two 3 block servings.
3 oz chicken (3 blocks protein/ 1 block fat)
2 cups spinach with croutons and almonds (2 blocks carb/ 1 block fat)
Dijon sauce (1 block fat)
I added 1/2 piece of bread to balance out the carbs. Post thoughts to comments.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sausage & Pepper Pizza

I used some leftover turkey Italian sausage for this which gave it a really good flavor. I sauteed 1/2 link de-cased and broken into small pieces. As is this pizza is low on carbs so you will need to add a small side to balance your carbs and fat.
Sausage and Pepper Pizza-3 blocks
1 whole wheat pita round (2 blocks carb)
1/2 turkey sausage link (1 block protein/ 1 block fat)
1/2 red bell pepper sliced (1/4 carb)
2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (2 blocks protein)
1 tbl pizza sauce (negligible on all markers)
Add small side of 1 carb and 1 fat block to balance (I had a small salad with olive oil dressing). Post thoughts to comments.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pork Loin Chops with Apple Relish

I got this recipe out of a magazine and made some really simple changes to make it Zone friendly. It ended up to be really good and pretty simple to put together. The apple relish makes enough for two servings, so if you need more double the recipe.
Apple Relish- 1 block (1/2 block each serving)
1 Granny Smith apple peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbl apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until apples start to soften (about 3-4 minutes) Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Pork Chops- (I used thin cut with bone still in)
Season pork chops with salt and pepper to liking. Cook in a large skillet over medium high heat in about 1/2 tbl olive oil. Cook until browned 4-5 minutes each side. Serve with apple relish on top.
3 oz pork (3 blocks protein/ 1 block fat from olive oil)
1/2 apple relish- (1/2 block carb)
1 cup green beans (1 block carb)
2 cups spinach salad with kidney beans and olive oil dressing (2 blocks carb/ 2 blocks fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Soup

I used some leftover grilled chicken in this which gave it a really good flavor. However, use whatever protein you like or have that is handy! I used 3 cups of chicken broth as the base and literally threw everything else in the pot and let it cook. The recipe will make a whole pot of soup, so you will most likely need to add carbs and fat to balance the meal. I was able to measure the chicken in my serving, but the veggies are a bit more challenging. I figured that 2 ladles full were about 2 blocks of carbs, but that may be generous. The entire pot will make a 3 block serving, but it is a lot!
Chicken Vegetable Soup- 3 blocks (3 1/2 carb blocks)
3 cups organic chicken broth- (negligible on all markers)
3 oz grilled chicken cut into bite size pieces- (3 blocks protein)
1 yukon gold potato chopped- (1 block carb)
1/4 cup chopped onion- (1/4 block carb)
1 cup celery chopped- (1/2 block carb)
1 1/3 cup zucchini sliced-(1 block carb)
1/2 cup peas (1/2 block carb)
1/2 red pepper chopped (1/4 block carb)
I ate this with 1/2 toasted English muffin and hummus to balance.
Post thoughts to comments.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Turkey Sausage Stir Fry

I used Italian turkey sausage in this to give it a little extra flavor, but you could use any protein, or keep it vegetarian and use it strictly as your carbs. I sauteed the sausage and onions together until done and added in the vegetables.
Turkey Sausage Stir Fry- 3 blocks
1 1/2 turkey sausage links uncased and crumbled-(3 blocks protein/ 3 blocks fat)
1/2 cup chopped onion-(1 block carb)
1 cup zucchini (1/2 block carb)
1 1/2 cups broccoli (1/2 block carb)
1 red pepper cut into strips (1/2 block carbs)
1 cup snow peas (1/2 block carbs)
Post thoughts to comments.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Keep it Simple

Having a couple "fall back" meals that you put together without having to think about is very important. This is a really simple 1 block breakfast or mid morning snack. No measuring required and comprised of foods that most "Zoner's " will have on hand.
Egg Sandwich- 1 block
1/2 whole wheat English muffin toasted ( 1 block carb)
1 egg cooked to your liking ( 1 block protein)
3 almonds (1 block fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bacon Caesar Wrap

This is a really easy and versatile lunch with a lot of flavor! I added shredded chicken leftover from another meal, but you could use turkey, pork of mozzarella cheese just as easily.
Bacon Caesar Wrap- 2 blocks
1 whole wheat carb balance tortilla (1 block carb)
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce (about 1 block carb)
3 strips turkey bacon crisped and broken into pieces (1 block protein)
1 oz shredded chicken (1 block protein)
1 tsp Caesar dressing (2 blocks fat)
Mix last 4 ingredients together and wrap into tortilla! Post thoughts to comments.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into large strips for this recipe because it keeps the chicken moist. For the coating I mix 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (it is easier to make your own in your blender), 1 tbl garlic powder, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken strips in a light dusting of whole wheat flour first and egg, then lightly coat with Parmesan mixture. Heat 2 tbl light olive oil in a pan over med high heat and cook chicken just long enough to crisp the outside. Place chicken on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 20 -25 minutes or until cooked throughout.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken- 3 blocks
3 oz chicken (3 blocks protein)
1 1/2 cups green beans (1 block carb)
2 cups mixed green salad ( 2 blocks carb)
Olive oil from searing and salad dressing (3 blocks fat)
Post thoughts to comments

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mediterranean Tostada

This recipe was forwarded to me by Katie Amos of Crossfit Santa Cruz Central. I believe she served it chilled, but I sauteed the onions, peppers and chicken before mixing it with the salad. It would be great either way! This was very tasty and really simple to put together...thanks for a good one Katie!
Mediterranean Tostada- 3 blocks
1 whole wheat pita cut in half (forming two circles) grilled ( 1 block carb)
2 cups shredded lettuce (1/2 block carb)
1 red pepper sliced (1/2 block carb)
1/2 cup onion (1/2 block carb)
1/8 cup kidney beans (1/2 block carb)
3 oz shredded chicken (3 blocks protein)
2 tbl hummus (1 block fat)
Olive oil/ balsamic vinaigrette (2 blocks fat)
Toast pita bread and spread hummus on pita. Mix greens and all other ingredients and mix with vinaigrette. Place salad on top of pita and hummus and serve.
Post thoughts to comments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Grillin'

I used pork ribs for this recipe because they tend to be a bit leaner, but it is really your preference. I put a rub on the ribs made up of: 2 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp celery salt, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Mix and rub slabs of ribs on both sides. I wrapped the slabs (stacked) tightly in foil and baked them for about 2 hours at 300 degrees. You can probably skip that step, but it makes the ribs really tender. Grill over medium heat adding whatever rib sauce you prefer (if any) for about 5 minutes each side.
Pork Ribs and Zucchini- 3 blocks
3 oz of ribs (make sure you are trimming the fat off as you go)-(3 blocks protein)
2 cups zucchini sauteed in 2 tsp olive oil and 1/2 cup onion (2 blocks carb/ 2 blocks fat)
1/2 whole wheat pita and hummus (added later when I realized I was low in carbs and fat) (1 block carb/ 1 block fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Little Tex-Mex

I found this recipe in a magazine and made a few simple changes to make it zone friendly. It was really good and very quick to put together. You can pair this with any carb you like, but the bread in this is 2 carbs so try and make it a carb that you can have quite a bit of to make your meal more satisfying. I mixed 1 pound ground turkey, 1 tbl olive oil, 1 tbl chipoltle sauce, salt and pepper. Make 4 hamburger patties and grill 4-5 minutes each side. Melt 1 slice pepper jack cheese on each patty and serve topped with salsa.
Tex-Mex Turkey Burgers-
1 3oz turkey burger (2 blocks protein)
1 slice pepper jack cheese (2 blocks fat)(3rd block of fat comes from the olive oil in burgers)
1 slice whole grain bread or 1/2 roll of you liking (2 blocks carb)
2 1/2 cups broccoli and cauliflower (1 block carb)
Post thoughts to comments.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

This recipe could be easily done in the crock pot and left to cook all day. I simmered it stove top for about 2 1/2 hours and it turned out good as well. The traditional form of Chicken Cacciatore is served over rice. I put it over broccoli slaw that was sauteed in some of the Cacciatore sauce. You could eat it by itself as well.
Chicken Cacciatore- 3 blocks
3 chicken breasts- (shred into 3 block portion of protein)
1 can Italian stewed tomatoes- (negligible on all markers)
1 green bell pepper sliced- (1/2 block carb)
1 red bell pepper- (1/2 block carb)
2 cups broccoli slaw sauteed with sauce from Cacciatore- (1 block carb)
Combine first 4 ingredients and simmer for 2-3 hours on low.
Mixed green salad with kidney beans, nuts and olive oil vinaigrette-(1 block carb/ 3 blocks fat)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lovin' the "Cheat Day"

Saturday is generally my "cheat day" for the week because I do not work out on Sunday. Having one day a week to take a break from weighing and measuring and worrying about blocks is a valuable thing. Anyone who is staying strict on the zone is working hard to maintain that no matter how long you have been "zoning". I treat my cheat days more as a "relax" day. I do not necessarily go crazy and eat a whole chocolate cake (yet, anyway) but I let myself eat what I am craving (Carne Asada was the focus tonight). Another benefit that I have experienced with my cheat days is that when I do go crazy (especially with sugary treats) I feel so bad after, that I WANT to get back in the zone. It acts as a great reminder to me just how good I feel when I am monitoring what goes into my body, and makes staying there much easier. I would love to hear your thoughts and habits regarding "cheat days" and what your cheat foods are. Post thoughts and cheats to comments!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Milk...It Does a Body Great

I think milk is a perfect food. It is perfectly balanced and incredibly good for you! I have had some questions regarding the difference between whole, skim and 2% milk on the Zone. Whole milk and 2% are pretty balanced as they are. The ratios of fat to carbs to protein are almost perfect. However, if you are drinking 1% or nonfat milk you will need to add fat in some other area to balance out what you are missing in the milk fat. Milk is a great addition to an afternoon or late night snack, but make sure if you are being strict that you count each cup of milk as 1 block of each marker. Drink up and post thoughts to comments!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Think Ahead

I generally make turkey taco meat once a week for a dinner. It is a very versatile use for ground turkey and the leftovers can be used for a variety of recipes. This is a pita taco which makes a great quick lunch!
Pita Taco- 2 blocks
1/2 whole wheat pita (1 block carb)
3 oz turkey taco meat (2 blocks protein)
1/2 oz cheddar cheese (1 1/2 blocks fat)
Sugar Snap Peas (1 block carb)
1 tbl hummus (1/2 block fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Compare and Contrast

The photo above shows the difference between the USDA Food Pyramid which is what most of us grew up learning, and the Zone Food Pyramid ( I apologize for the poor quality of the photo, but I wanted a side by side comparison). The vast difference at the top and bottom of the pyramid are a large reason why so many people struggle with their weight and energy levels. I would love to hear your comments on this one! Let me know if and how the Zone has changed your health. Post thoughts to comments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yummy Halibut

Annie Sakamoto sent this halibut recipe and photo to looks awesome! The recipe would make four 4 block servings of halibut so you may need to scale down your portion sizes to allow for fewer blocks. It is a little high in fat due to the olive oil rub and sauce, but that fat content is spread throughout all the portions, so it may balance out in the end.
Halibut- 4 blocks
4 six oz halibut filets (4 blocks protein each)
In a small bowl whisk together :
2 TBL extra virgin olive oil (4 blocks fat)
1 TBL finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (negligible on all markers)
1 tsp grated lemon zest (negligible on all markers)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
Rub halibut filets with paste on all sides, wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.

2 TBL extra virgin olive oil (4 blocks fat)
2 TBL fresh lemon juice (negligible on all markers)
2 TBL finely chopped oil packed sun dried tomatoes (need to see the label for blocks)
2 TBL capers
1 TBL fresh Italian parsley finely chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp kosher salt.
Grill filets over direct high heat until opaque at center (about 8-10 minutes). Pour sauce on top and serve with side of your choice!
Thanks for the recipe Annie!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Asian Beef Stir-Fry

I used some leftover flank steak (from the steak subs) and chopped into small pieces. I added broccoli slaw, snap peas, onions and Soyaki sauce (a mix of teriyaki and soy sauce). The whole thing took about 10 minutes! As is this is low are carbs so you will need to add some to balance.
Beef Stir Fry- 3 blocks
3 oz flank steak cut into small pieces (3 blocks protein)
2 cups broccoli slaw (1 block carb)
1/2 cup snap peas (1/4 block carb)
1/8 cup onions (1/4 block carb)
1 tsp Soyaki sauce (negligible on all markers)
1/2 tsp olive oil (1 block fat) used to saute meat and onions
1/2 toasted pita and hummus (1 block carb/ 2 blocks fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Steak and Pepperjack Sub

This is my husbands favorite Zone meal. I use skirt steak, but it would be great with flank steak or tri-tip as well. Just make sure you slice the meat into small strips so it is easier to eat on the sandwich. Place a 1/2 slice of pepper jack on the roll before you put the meat and peppers and place another 1/2 slice on top. Place the rolls in the oven (400 degrees) for about 5-6 minutes.
Steak and Pepper jack Sub- 3 blocks
1/2 whole grain roll- (1 1/2 blocks carb)
3 oz skirt steak cut into strips- (3 blocks protein)
1/2 green pepper and 1/2 red bell pepper sauteed- (1/2 block carb)
1 slice pepper jack cheese (2 blocks fat)
Serve with salad or side carb of your choice. Post thoughts to comments.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back to Basics

I downloaded this off of the Zone website because I think it is such a great visual tool to have. Portion size and balancing meals are real challenges for most people. If you can remember that your protein should be about the size of your palm and your carbs should be about twice that amount it will serve you well if you cannot weight and measure your food. Fats should be used sparingly in this mix.

Post thoughts to comments.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Chicken of the Sea

This would be a great lunch to make on the go or to take to work. It is easy and would be easy to pack.
Tuna Pita- 2 blocks
1/2 can drained tuna (2 blocks protein)
2 tsp light mayo (2 blocks fat)
1/2 stalk celery (negligible on all markers)
1/2 whole wheat pita (1 block carb)
1 cup raspberries (1 block carb)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jerk Chicken

I have found that if I make extra portions of whatever I am grilling it makes it so much easier to put together lunches for the week. If your protein is already cooked and ready to go, the rest of the meal is easy! I used a Caribbean Jerk marinade on this chicken, but you can flavor it to your liking.
Jerk Chicken- 3 blocks
3 oz grilled chicken-(3 blocks protein)
1 cup green beans- (1 block carb)
2 cups broccoli slaw with slivered almonds-(1 1/2 block carbs/ 1 block fat)
1 1/2 tsp olive oil (2 blocks fat)
I sauteed the broccoli slaw in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste. I was about 1/2 block low on carbs on this one, so you could add in some pita bread or melon to make it up.
Post thoughts to comments.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Zone Pizza

This was a very quick and tasty way to make zoned pizza! I used whole wheat pita bread and turkey pepperoni, but you could easily make this a vegetarian pizza by adding peppers or Hawaiian style by adding Canadian bacon and pineapple. I had this for dinner, but it would make a great 2 block lunch as well.
Pita Pizza- 3 blocks
1 whole pita (2 blocks carb)
1 1/2 tablespoons pizza sauce (negligible on all markers)
2 oz mozzarella cheese (2 blocks protein)
8 slices turkey pepperoni (1/2 block protein)
Spinach Salad
1 cup spinach (1/2 block carb)
1 tablespoon feta cheese (1/2 block protein/ 1 block fat)
1/8 cup kidney beans (1/2 block carb)
olive oil dressing (2 blocks fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Taste of Summer

Summer is such a wonderful time of year to find great snacks such as fresh strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Take advantage of the season and enjoy some of your favorites!
Quick Berry Snack- 1 block
1 cup mixed berries (1 block carb)
1 mozzarella cheese stick (1 block protein)
3 cashews (1 block fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Turkey Tostada

I use a whole wheat flour tortilla for this, but you can certainly use corn tortillas if you prefer the taste. Just note that they are generally a bit higher in carbs. I crisp up the tortilla using cooking spray instead of olive oil so that I do not use up fat blocks unnecessarily.
Turkey Tostada-3 blocks
1 whole wheat carb balance tortilla- (1 block carb) crisp to your liking
2 cups mixed greens- (1/2 block carb)
1/8 cup corn-(1/2 block carb)
1/4 cup black beans- (1 block carb)
3 oz ground turkey taco meat- (2 blocks protein)
1 oz cheddar cheese- (1 block protein/ 3 blocks fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Breakfast Pita

This is a quick, easy and filling 2 block breakfast. To make it 3 blocks use both halves of the pita and add one more egg and a slice and 1/2 more of turkey bacon.
Breakfast Pita- 2 blocks
1/2 whole wheat pita pocket (1 block carb)
1 egg (1 block protein)
1 1/2 strips turkey bacon (1/2 block protein)
1/2 oz cheddar cheese (1/2 block protein/ 2 blocks fat)
1 cup strawberries (1 block carb)
Post thoughts to comments.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pulled Pork Wrap

I cooked the pork loin roast in the crock pot for about 10 hours with some Red Hawaiian Salt and about a tablespoon of liquid smoke seasoning (thanks Gigi for that tip). Pork is a great staple that can be used in a variety of different recipes.
Pulled Pork Wrap- 3 blocks
1 whole wheat carb balance tortilla (1 block carb) I cut mine in half to make two servings
3 oz pulled pork loin ( 3 blocks protein)
1 red bell pepper (1/2 block carb)
1 green bell pepper (1/2 block carb)
1/4 cup black beans (1 block carb)
1 tsp olive oil (3 blocks fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!!

I am having a non-Zone day on July 4th. Lots of family, friends and great food! I hope your day was an enjoyable one. Back to the Zone tomorrow...
Post thoughts to comments.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Teriyaki Slaw

I was experimenting with broccoli slaw and made this one up as I went turned out pretty good! I sauteed the broccoli slaw in 1 tablespoon of teriyaki to add flavor and put the marinated chicken on top.
Teriyaki Chicken and Slaw- 3 blocks
3 oz teriyaki grilled chicken cut into strips (3 blocks protein)
2 cups broccoli slaw (1 block carb)
1 toasted pita cut into wedges (2 blocks carb)
2 tablespoons hummus (1 block fat)
6 cashews (2 blocks fat)
Post thoughts to comments.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Classic

Meatloaf is an easy, tasty family favorite in my house. There are many different versions of Zone meatloaf out there (Zone website, books etc...) but even a family recipe can be modified easily with a few simple changes. Using ground turkey instead of beef, pork or veal is a great first step. Ground turkey takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking and is a much leaner type of meat. Cut the bread in half in whatever recipe you are using, and make sure you are using a whole grain bread ( I also soak mine in milk to make blending easier).
Turkey Meatloaf with Greens- 3 blocks
3 oz turkey meatloaf (2 blocks protein)
1 cup green beans (1 block carb)
2 cups spinach salad with egg, black beans and olive oil dressing(1 block carb/ 3 blocks fat/ 1 block protein)
Post thoughts to comments.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Eating Out on the Zone

Eating out on the Zone is a particular challenge for some, and is a dilemma which I personally face frequently because my family owns restaurants (notice the shameless plug). While the ideal is eating your pre-measured portions of low fat proteins and cheeses and a bounty of fresh veggies, that is not always realistic. Eating out and maintaining the Zone is very do-able. I think most restaurants are quite willing to make the substitutions necessary if you ask. The pictured meal is one I ordered and made some simple changes to in order to make it Zone friendly.

Substitute salad with olive oil vinaigrette instead of french fries.
The plate came with two chicken tacos. I placed all the chicken and lettuce into one of the tortillas in order to cut my carbs in half.
Chicken Tacos
1 tortilla (2 blocks carb)
Approximately 3 oz chicken (3 blocks protein)
Sprinkling of cheddar cheese (1 block fat)
Side salad with olive oil (1 block carb/ 2 blocks fat)
Post thoughts and tips to comments.

CrossFit Santa Cruz Central