Updated: Nov 20
I recently spent some time in Chicago celebrating St. Patrick's Day the true Chi-town way! We are talking river dying, green beer, all green everything! Other than all the green, something I noticed was the community that Chicago has around this holiday. It was truly amazing to witness and be a part of such an atmosphere of gregarious people who are all out and about, people and families of all ages, to simply gather, connect and cheers to life!
I came home feeling inspired to put together some green meals to get you in the St. Patty's mood this year & hey, why not get in your actual greens at the same time! Here are 3 quick easy meals you can make at home that are packed with your green micronutrients to get you in the (healthy) spirit of the holiday!
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Your micronutrients are made up of vitamins & minerals, both made within the body or that need to be supplemented within your dietary routine. In this blog, I am going to highlight the vitamins and minerals that are commonly made up by our GREENS!
There can be this connotation that greens are dull, dry & bland, but by enhancing them with other micronutrients, you can really have yourself a delicious way to eat your greens & have a nutrient quality meal,!
Many of our greens commonly include these micronutrients: :
Stay with me. Here’s why adequate intake of these are important & where you can find them.
The greens that are high in these vitamins and minerals are your dark leafy greens such as: kale, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, Brussels sprout as well as your uncommon 'fruits' such as avocados & tomatoes. Having an adequate intake of dark green 'fruits' & vegetables in your nutritional regimen is essential for basic bodily functions such as:
Muscle protein synthesis & muscle contractions
We can both agree that these are all vital to literally just staying alive [and well] to be able to do the activities we enjoy with the people we love! These 3 meals can be spiced up any way that you'd like or follow them to a T and you'll be dining like me. Okay enough with the bad rhyming jokes, let's get to the greens!
Green Avo Smoothie
Prep/Blend Time: 5 mins
Servings: 2 (share the deliciousness)
2 handfuls of frozen berries (I like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
1 ripe banana
1/4 ripe avocado **option to add full 1/2 avocado & reduce or omit almond/peanut butter
1 heaping tablespoon of all natural peanut butter or almond butter (Kirkland brand is my favorite- can purchase on Amazon!)
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 handful of kale
2 dates (pitted) or 1/2 teaspoon of all natural agave
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 scoops/servings of chocolate or vanilla protein powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your milk of choice)
Toss all ingredients into your blender. Blend on low and increase to high for a total of just under 60 seconds or until spinach and kale are fully blended.
Pour into your favorite glass, share with a friend & enjoy! Don't be fooled by the charcoal color, this is because of the frozen berries taking over in pigment- this is a macro & micronutrient packed meal! You can opt to omit the berries & sub for a more tropical fruit such as pineapple or mango to get the more green color!
2. 10 Min Greens Chicken Salad
Prep Time- 10 mins
Cook Time- 30 mins
Time until eating your delicious creation: 30 minutes!
6 boneless, skinless, sliced chicken breasts
Organic spring mix
Grape tomatoes (a mixed color pack would be perfect)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and begin to marinate your chicken using my easy 3 seasoning chicken recipe: oregano, Old Bay & Kinders: The Blend. In a pan pour some olive oil and wash each breast then place onto the pan and season.
Toss your single serving of spring mix as the base of your salad into a bowl. Chop 1/2 - 1 whole scallion, your tomatoes and 1/2 and avocado and add to your bowl.
Place the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes if doing full breasts & 20-25 minutes if doing sliced breasts.
Once chicken in done, let rest about 5 minutes before cutting into strips and serving.
Once cut into strips, place 1/2 of a whole breast or 1 whole thinly sliced breast on top of your salad. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and enjoy!
3. Green Machine Chicken Parm Spaghetti
<-- Full instruction video!
Prep time- 10 mins
Cook time- 30 mins
1 ½ lbs chicken breast
1 bag of spinach
2 bunches of green onions
1 bell pepper (your choice of color, I like orange for this one!)
Handful of cilantro
1 large handful of grape tomatoes
1 large handful of pre-sliced mushrooms
3 tbs of pine nuts
4-6 garlic cloves (depends how garlicky you like it!)
Fresh basil leaves (can use dried if you don’t have fresh)
½ pack of Barilla Protein Pasta - we used angel hair (this or spaghetti would be best type)
Shredded parmesan (1 medium container) or can sub for nutritional yeast
Salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, Italian seasoning, Old Bay seasoning
Start by pouring some olive oil on a sheet pan- this will be to oven bake your chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees & start your pasta water on the stove top.
Season your chicken with pepper, reliant seasoning and a little bit of Old Bay seasoning (less is more). Place in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes. When you remove it, you want your chicken to be at about 160 degrees if you have a food thermometer.
While the chicken is cooking, chop up your vegetables and place the white & firmer parts of the scallions, bell pepper, mushrooms (chopped), and tomatoes in a pan to statue on low.
Add your pasta to the water and cook on medium until it boils.
Meanwhile, add ¾ of your spinach bag to a blender along with the green part of your scallions, cilantro, pine nuts, garlic cloves, 2 large pinches of shredded parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves if you have them. Set aside before blending until pasta is finished and ready to be strained.
Pull your chicken out of the oven and begin to slice or shred.
Strain your pasta, but ensure you have a bowl under your strainer to save the pasta water- this will be used as the liquid for our sauce (in the blender).
Add your pasta back to the pot with some oil and mix thoroughly. Add in the sauteed vegetables, don't mix until we add the sauce.
Grab a cup of pasta water and pour into the blender. Blend until smooth. Add pasta water if needed to thin out the sauce.
Optional step: Place shredded chicken in the same pan the vegetables were in with some oil and statue to give the chicken a little char.
Add the chicken to the pasta and then the sauce. Mix it all together and add salt, pepper, dried basil and additional seasonings of choice.
Serve and slip your delicious, high protein, green machine pasta! Store in your refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Try these out and comment below with your favorites, what you enjoyed and any substitutions or additions you made to any of these recipes to make it your own!
Seeking greater meal prep support? Check out my FREE Meal Prep 101 video guide & downloadable workbook to support you in building a meal planning strategy that works with your schedule, saves you time, and is one you crave every week!