Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloin Copycat Recipe

Little known fact:  When I was in college, I worked at the Cracker Barrel Country Store as a server.  I actually worked there for like a year and a half.  Seriously.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating at the Cracker Barrel, it’s known for it’s Southern cooking and is a traveler’s favorite.  They literally have maps of where all the Cracker Barrel locations are in the state… and you can plan your stops accordingly.

It also has a huge local following.  I was amazed at how many regulars we’d have at the restaurant, especially on Wednesday nights… when the vegetable of the day was Macaroni and Cheese.  Seriously.

My memories of working at Cracker Barrel are actually pretty funny.  I was a silly college kid and had a few friends that worked there, too.  Honestly, I’m not sure why we did… coming home at the end of a long night with $25 in tips is not exactly a moneymaker.  Just the same, we stayed… and served up the beans and greens and ate more cornbread and biscuits than anyone should.  Although, there was something fun about wearing a brown apron with your name written on it with stars on it (no, really… there is nothing about that either.)

After working there as long as I did, I kept a fondness for their food.  They have AMAZING biscuits and gravy, delicious parmesan peppercorn dressing, and the chocolate cobbler is to die for.  My favorite dish they make, however, just might be their grilled chicken tenderloins.

The chicken is simply marinated and grilled, but there’s something crazy-delicious about the marinade.  I’ve googled a copycat recipe in the past, but last week was the first time I ever made it.  Yum-O!

Cracker Barrel’s Grilled Chicken Tenderloin

From A Hen’s Nest via Pinterest

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. chicken tenderloin or chicken breast (boneless)

1/2 cup Kraft Light Zesty Italian

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. fresh lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Mix all ingredients in a ziplock bag.  Store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

2.  In a large non-stick skillet over med/high heat, add the entire mixture with chicken to the pan.

3.  Braise chicken on all sides until golden but not dry.

4.  Serve with your favorite side dish or even sliced over a nice garden salad.  ENJOY!

Amazing combo!

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Lightened Up Baked Creamed Spinach

I’ve cooked a lot over the past few weeks and have SO many recipes to share with you guys…. but I’ve had so much other news to tell you about that I haven’t gotten around to sharing the good eats. I made a really awesome marinated chicken dish last week that was SO good.  And, I promise to post the chicken recipe soon, but holy cow…. the spinach comes first!

I’ve always loved creamed spinach; however, I’ve usually eaten the frozen variety.  Last week, I made it homemade.  Yep, it was amazing… and it was a Weight Watchers recipe, so you can INDULGE!  It was the PERFECT side dish for this chicken.  So creamy and delish.

Baked Creamed Spinach

From Weight Watchers Five Ingredients 15 Minute Recipes – Summer 2011

Serves 6

Look how yummy that looks!

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp. butter or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray

2 (6-ounce) packages fresh baby spinach

1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese

1/4 cup 1% lowfat milk

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

cooking spray

1/2 cup Italian Herb flavored Panko

Optional:  Diced Onion

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2.  Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add diced onions and saute until clear.

3.  Add spinach and cook 3 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring often.

4.  Beat cream cheese and next 3 ingredients with a mixer at medium speed until creamy.

 

5.  Stir cream cheese mixture into spinach mixture until blended.  Spoon spinach into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

6.  Sprinkle panko over spinach mixture.  Coat crumbs with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Before going into the oven

After coming out of the oven, golden brown and bubbly…

 PER SERVING:

CAL:  140; FAT: 9.5g; PROT: 6.3g; CARB: 6.6g; FIB: 1.4g; SOD: 372mg; CALC: 94mg; WW Points Plus: 4

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Workout Wednesday – News from the Gym

It’s Wednesday… so I thought it was fitting to give you some workout updates….

1.  Couch to 5K is in full effect.  I have one more day of “Week One” and I’ll be moving onward to “Week Two.”  I’m also planning on raising the incline on the treadmill.  They say it’s an easier transition to outdoor running if you put it on an incline of 1.  Planning to try that tomorrow!  NINE WEEKS until my race!

2.  I’m Getting Super Strong – At my YMCA, they track all the weights you lift and all your cardio.  There’s even prize intervals once you hit different levels of working out.  They have a whole point system they use.  Pretty cool!

I got an email today from one of the trainers at the gym that I’ve now lifted

more than 100,000 lbs so far!

"We see you've been pumping da iron..."

I also spent time with one of the trainers on Friday learning about new machines and new exercises to tone up some problematic areas…. I see 200,000 lbs in my future really soon as result!

3.  FitBit is BACK - Last week on the SAME day that I had my root canal, I pulled a pair of workout pants out of the dryer to find that my FitBit was attached to them.  Now, what this means is that my favorite pedometer/life tracker went through not only the washer, but also the dryer.  You might remember that I just got a warranty replacement MAYBE three weeks ago!!

In case you were wondering, these are SO not waterproof. It was completely ruined by the spin cycle.

I got referred back to FitBit customer service via Twitter and they once again took care of me!  They’re sending me a new one!  I didn’t beg for a new one in any way… they are just really generous about it!!!

In appreciation for their goodwill and because I had been eyeing it… I pre-ordered the new Fitbit Aria Scale!  It is amazing and will replace my current WW scale.  It wirelessly updates your weight online with your FitBit tracker (which feeds into MyFitnessPal) and it measures things I’ve never measured like body fat percentage, etc.  I’m really excited about it.  Will let you know what I think of it when it arrives!

I ordered the White one, of course

Thank you once again, Fitbit.  You’ve created quite the promoter in me!

How are your workouts this week??

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New Job, Day One

Day one is soooooo done!  It was quite a long one.  I left my house at 6:45 am… allotting extra time to get to the office, just in case.  I mean, a girl can’t be late on her first day?!?  My commute at that hour only took me 35 minutes, so I had some time to kill…

When I finally walked through the doors a few minutes before 8am, I felt great.  I had some awesome messages from some of you wishing me well (thanks) and some great FB posts from my prior co-workers.  Never underestimate the power of the written word…. it really gave me an extra pep in my step and made me have that “I can do this” attitude!   Thanks!!

The day was pretty normal for the first half of the day… visit to HR, facility tour, some computer work, new equipment, new badge.

I even got a new phone - Hello, Razr Maxx!

And then… it got interesting.  At about 12:30pm, I was sent home… TO PACK FOR A TRIP!  What??  Remember my perfectly planned day?  Well.. my new employer had other things in mind.  I raced home to get together some clothes and scarfed down some Subway on the way.

The good news is that I only had to transfer my workout clothes from my cute workout bag to my suitcase, which made my packing easier… although I had serious doubts as to whether I would wear them.

We have a big event today in Colorado Springs, and rather than waking up EARLY (before the birds) to get down here, I was offered the option to come down last night.  Um, okay!  I am not a morning person… no matter how you frame it, waking up before 4am is NOT my idea of a good time.

Traveling to the Springs last night meant more time with the new work peeps… we went to dinner at a new place that I’d never been that I thought was fantastic.

Ted's Montana Grill - - Yum-O

Their menu was really packed with grilled items and BURGERS.  There were THREE (yes, three) orders of burgers and fries at our table + one chopped salad with grilled chicken (no salami, no garbanzos) with honey mustard on the side.  I’ll let you guess who ordered that.

My favorite part of the meal were these crazy pickles they brought us to snack on.  I’m telling you, I’ll go back just for those!

Don't those look great?? Must find a recipe on Pinterest!

I got back to the hotel, raided the Concierge lounge for water, and headed IMMEDIATELY to the hotel gym.  It’s a little late for me to be working out when it’s 8pm… but I made a re-commitment to Couch to 5K recently.  That means, NO EXCUSES!

I did my workout on the treadmill… and listened to some AWESOME songs on my playlist.  Seriously, there’s nothing like Funky Cold Medina to make you laugh while you’re running.  And, as a bonus… I finished the last five minutes of cool down with Grease Megamix in an empty workout room!!!  There MAY have been some singing… couldn’t help it.

CLASSIC!

Overall, it was a great first day of work.  I hope my new bosses will agree.  I’m ready for day 2 now… here we go!!!

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