Grilled Chicken and Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

As you probably are aware by now, I’m totally gluten-free and dairy-free.  I’m going on roughly a month and a half and I feel awesome.  I am sleeping through the night, I have energy throughout the day, and I literally have ZERO cravings for candy, chocolate, cookies, and the like.  It’s really crazy because I used to be the Queen of Cupcakes.  Last summer, I literally went to Gigi’s Cupcakes every week and probably tried everything on their menu at least twice.  They knew me by name.  During the school year, I couldn’t make it a day without popping one if not two Lindt chocolate truffles into my mouth by lunch time and who knows how many after that.  I had a secret stash in my desk that my students kept replenishing around Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Teacher Appreciation Week.  But since I began eating clean, the cravings for these things have vanished.  Sure I smell a donut and think to myself, “Man, that sure does smell good.”  But then I remember how it made me feel and it just totally isn’t worth it.

But anyway, you aren’t here to read about my vanishing cravings, you are here to get a yummy recipe.  I promise I shall not disappoint!  As I was mentioning earlier, I have been on this clean-eating thing since July 1.  The only major thing that I’ve noticed is that I have to do a lot more cooking which means a lot more weekend prepping.  But let me reassure you that a few hours spent in the kitchen on Saturday or Sunday is well worth it mid-week when you are running late from work, you have to run the kids to and from practice, and you still need to get to the gym.  Dinner can literally be done in under 20 minutes if you do all the prepping beforehand.  Such is the case with this cauliflower fried “rice”.

On Saturday, I took an entire head of cauliflower and trimmed the florets away from the stems.  I put the florets in the food processor and pulsed them about 10-15 times until the cauliflower resembled pieces of rice.  It took me about 3 batches because I didn’t want to end up with mashed cauliflower.  Mashed cauliflower fried rice sounds nasty.  I put it all in a tupperware on Saturday and didn’t think about it again until Monday night.

Fast forward to Monday night.  I get home from school around 4 PM, my husband is still working, expense report needs to be done, and I need to balance the checkbook.  It is now 5:15PM.  I have to get my run in for the day and the dog needs to get walked.  Fast forward to 7 PM.  My husband is finishing up mowing the lawn and I’m getting ready to prep dinner.  Literally this meal is ready from start to finish in 20 minutes and that includes prep time.

The first thing you need to do is heat up the grill for about 10 minutes.  While that is going on, take 2.5 pounds of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs.  Place the chicken on a large baking sheet or platter smooth side up.  Then brush each chicken thigh with olive oil and generously sprinkled each one with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a touch of sweet paprika.  Then flip them over and repeat on the other side.

I like to put foil down for easy cleanup!

I like to put foil down for easy cleanup!

Set those aside.  Go to the refrigerator and take out the cauliflower you prepped a few days earlier and pop it into the microwave for roughly 2-4 minutes so it’s slightly heated through.  Trust me, you want to do this.  In a large saute pan, heat a teaspoon of coconut oil (olive oil works if you don’t have coconut oil).  Add 1/2 of a chopped onion to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Add to the pan 1/2 chopped zucchini.  (At this point in time, go ahead and put your chicken on the grill)  Turn up the heat on your saute pan to high, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and let it melt.  Add all of your cauliflower and stir, stir, stir.  To that, while you are stirring, add 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos and some salt.  Keep stirring for about 3 minutes.  Boom – done.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

Don’t forget you have chicken on the grill, go ahead and flip those over and let them grill for another 3-4 minutes or until the juices run clear.  Bring the chicken inside and let them sit for a hot minute while you prep your “rice”.

So at this point your rice can be done, but if you like to be fancy you could sprinkle a little bit of sesame seed oil on top, toss in a few toasted sesame seeds for grins, and garnish with chopped green onions.  Top it off with 1 or 2 pieces of your grilled chicken and VOILA your meal is done!

This meal has plenty of options.  If you’d like (which I did) go ahead and beat 2 eggs with 2 teaspoons of coconut aminos.  Scramble them ahead of time and set aside.  After you add the cauliflower to your pan, mix those in at that time as well.  Don’t like zucchini? Steamed broccoli and sliced carrots also work well in this dish.  Don’t have a grill or don’t know how to use one?  No problem!  Heat your oven to 400 degrees and bake in a single layer for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear. (Of course that ups the time it takes for the meal to get on the table.)  Thawed frozen vegetable medleys would probably work in this too.  Whatever you choose – just make it work for you.

I ate it with one piece of chicken, my husband had 2.  Completely your choice.

I ate it with one piece of chicken, my husband had 2. Completely your choice.

Grilled Chicken Ingredients
2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt
pepper
garlic powder
sweet paprika

Cauliflower Fried “Rice” Ingredients
1 large head of cauliflower
2 large eggs (optional)
2 teaspoons of coconut aminos (for eggs)
2 tablespoons of coconut aminos
coconut oil for sautéing (or olive oil)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 cup fresh zucchini, chopped
2-3 scallions, dark green tops only, thinly sliced (optional)
2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil (optional)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Made enough for me to make 2 school lunches for the week, plus a ton of extra chicken to do other fun recipes with!

Made enough for me to make 2 school lunches for the week, plus a ton of extra chicken to do other fun recipes with!

**Recipe was adapted from the Well Fed cookbook by Melissa Joulwan**

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About Food4Thought

I am no fitness expert. I am simply someone who has found joy in fitness and nutrition. I am a certified group fitness instructor. I’ve been teaching at the local health club for about 3 years now. While Zumba was my first love, I have since added Total Conditioning, Bodyworks plus Abs, and Core to my repertoire of classes. I work with a personal trainer to help me reach my fitness goals that I cannot obtain through group fitness alone. This year I ran my first 5K and plan to run my first 10K in March. To further my knowledge in the fitness realm, I have begun reading Strong Women Stay Slim, New Rules for Lifting Abs, and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women. On my list to read next is Wheat Belly. I am always looking for new ways to further my education and knowledge to better serve the members that take my group fitness classes. Lately, I have started tinkering with recipes, buying healthy cookbooks, and finding easy, tasty, and healthy foods to make. Like I mentioned earlier, I am by no means an expert, but the things I share with you have helped me tremendously with my fitness journey. It is my hope that with these easy tips and recipes, that you too can make these tiny steps and see big positive changes in your life.

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