Easy Mexican Salsa Chicken Recipe & Meal Planning.

Last night’s little dinner party was a great success. I loved hosting some friends for a get together…makes me feel like a grown up. I decided to make I used my crock pot and made Mexican Salsa Chicken, loosely adapted from the Gooseberry Patch recipe I mentioned yesterday. While I like starting with recipes, I like to create my own meal.

Crock pots are amazing and I don’t use mine nearly as often as I should. You can just throw basically anything into the crock pot and let it cook all day. Then all you do is scoop out its contents and you have a tasty meal! Here’s just a little trick my mom introduced me to: use crock pot liners. They make clean up a breeze so you’re not scrubbing food residue off the bottom of the pot when you’re finished. Without further delay, here’s what I put in to the crock pot:

Mexican Salsa Chicken
Serves about 6 

3 frozen boneless skinless whole chicken breasts
1 Can of black beans, drained and rinsed to remove excess water and sodium
5 Tablespoons of medium salsa
2/3 Cup of frozen crinkle carrots
1/2 frozen cut leaf spinach
1/8 Cup of Vidalia Onion
3 Fresh Sweet Basil leaves

I set this on a low setting and cooked it for about 8 hours. Around hour 6, I took a fork to the chicken to shred it so that smaller pieces would soak up the mix a bit more.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:
Calories: 190, Total Fat: 2.7g, Sat. Fat .7g, Cholest. 36.7mg, Sodium 661.8mg, Carb. 20.9g, Fiber 8g, Sugars 5.9g, Protein 20.2g.

While I’m not much of a chicken person, this dish did come out delicious. If you’re thinking about making this, consider using this as recipe to make burritos and have whole wheat tortilla’s on hand. I had a tiny serving of this easy crock pot dish, paired it with some fresh veggies and a simple spinach, cucumber and hard-boiled egg salad.

On to today’s plans…As I discussed on my last Friday Refine, I’m really focusing on a strict grocery budget. This means taking stock of the things I do have on hand and only purchasing things necessary to make complete meals. Because it’s a brand new week, this is the perfect day to start my budget and meal planning. I’ve gone through my pantry, fridge and freezer to take note of what I have and what I need for a week’s worth of food. I’ve also thumbed through some coupons to use for the items I need in order to stick to my strict budget. For accountability toward my goal, I’ll report back to you my receipt total in tomorrow’s post.

While I keep my exercise calendar online with my email account, I’m going to keep my meal plan calendar on a hard copy calendar in my kitchen. This way it doesn’t “clutter” up my online calendar. This also would allow me to be flexible in case something comes up in the week where I need to adjust my meal plan, though I’m going to try my hardest to stick to it. I just don’t want to compromise opportunities to spend time with friends over a meal should that come up unexpectedly. I’m sure I’ll have to refine my meal planning system, but I decided I needed to simply start implementing this and improving my system as I go along. Remember my one of my favorite motivation quotes is this: “If you wait for the perfect conditions to start something, you’ll be waiting forever.” Don’t wait any longer. Just do.

Well, I’m eat my breakfast, head to church and grocery shop. I may swing by a store on the way home to look for some new work clothes. Since hitting my weight loss goal, things are starting to look a little frumpy on me and it’s time to update my look with the new me. I’ll be looking for good deals.

Wishing you all the best. katie

Do you plan your meals? If so, what’s your meal planning system?
Do you stick to a strict grocery budget? How do you ensure you stay within budget?

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