Hot Baked Chicken

I’ve been doing pretty well when it comes to tracking my intake and eating healthier meals now that the holiday season has waved goodbye. Though it is difficult to say no to desserts now that I don’t have the excuse of numerous baked goods appearing in the house, I balance my newly-found sweet cravings with a glass of wine each night becauseeeee heart health, right? And the necessity of a good Malbec after a long day — G and I have been hitting the gym every morning at 5:30am!

So, time for another healthy recipe that is a staple in my monthly meal plan. This week’s lunches are one of my personal favorite: hot baked chicken. For a girl who grew up having hot wings every Sunday paired with a juicy episode of Desperate Housewives, this healthier option brings back some great memories with my family. Plus, how can you go wrong serving this American classic?!

Hot Baked Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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The perfect substitute for the all-American hot wing lover who wants to be slightly health-conscious.

This baked chicken is fantastic with ranch or blue cheese dressing. When considering lower fat content, I opt for Bolthouse’s Yogurt Classic Ranch or using cottage cheese. I like my chicken spicy so the dairy cools my taste buds a bit.

This hot sauce mixture is a crowd pleaser and optimal at parties — go ahead and substitute deep fried hot wings for the classic plate.

Ingredients

  • 4 or 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Franks hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2-4 Tbsp butter (depends how healthy you want to be..)
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • chili powder, to taste
  • garlic powder, to taste

Directions

  1. Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil and grease with cooking spray
  2. Bake chicken, uncovered, for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until fully cooked
  3. Toss foil and replace baked chicken in baking dish
  4. Mix hot sauce, honey, and butter in a medium glass bowl, add spices to taste
  5. Place bowl in oven and heat enough to melt butter (caution: heating too high will break down honey)
  6. Pour heated sauce over baked chicken
  7. Serve immediately


1 Serving of Sauce: kcal = 77, protein = 0g, carbs = 12g, fat = 4g

My lunch meal stats:
1 serving Sauce: kcal = 77, protein = 0g, carbs = 12g, fat = 4g
4oz chicken tenderloin: kcal = 90, protein = 22g, carbs = 0g, fat = 1g
1.5 cup baby spinach salad: kcal = 20, protein = 2g, carbs = 3g, fat = 0g
1 cup 1% cottage cheese: kcal = 160, protein = 26g, carbs = 8g, fat = 3g
TOTAL: kcal = 361, protein = 50g, carbs = 26g, fat = 8g

What FAQs to Add to Your Website

If your guest list contains guests like mine, then you are going to have some important questions directed your way prior to your Big Day. Some questions some guests are hesitant to ask the bride and the groom directly though. Which is why wedding websites definitely come in so handy! (Don’t have a wedding website yet? Check out my post on where to begin here.) Websites are a great way to get the pertinent schedule information you want directly to your guests without having to field a bunch of e-mails while trying to finalize your wedding plans. Basically, they’re a win-win for both sides!

A FAQ section on your wedding website is a great way to address the most important wedding questions (and even a few non-essential, funny ones as well) that are going to be asked. Since there are so many potential questions to be asked, I’ve compiled a list of some wedding guest questions I have either personally received (as a wedding coordinator or as a bride-to-be) or know to be frequently asked. Please feel free to take these questions and any of my answer examples as your own to tweak for your wedding website FAQ section as well.

DO YOU HAVE A HOTEL ROOM BLOCK?

Though you may have this information in an actual Accommodation section of your website, reiterating for out-of-town guests is always a good idea. Don’t forget to include deadline dates and locations!

WHAT TIME SHOULD WE BE THERE?

The ceremony will begin at 2:00pm on June 16. We kindly ask guests to arrive 10-15 minutes prior.

WHEN ARE THE RSVPS DUE?

We’d love to know if you can make it (we hope you can!) Please RSVP by May 11, 2018 using the RSVP card that came in the mail — we included postage and a Deliver To address to make returning easier for you!

CAN WE TAKE PICTURES?

This is a great place to let guests know your special wedding hashtag for social media OR to spread the news you are hosting an unplugged wedding.

IS THERE A DRESS CODE?

We want our guests to be comfortable and enjoy our special day with us! Please dress casual formal and be comfortable in the June weather. The reception will be hosted outdoors.

WHAT KIND OF SHOES SHOULD/SHOULDN’T I WEAR?

Again, we want you to be as comfortable as possible as we celebrate our wedding. The reception will be hosted outdoors. We do request that you bring your dancing shoes though! The dance floor will be grass — as laid back as we are! — and music is brought to you by the live band, Steadfast.

WILL PARKING BE AVAILABLE?

Yes! Both the ceremony and receptions sites have ample parking. For those needing assistance at the reception, an ATV will be present to bring you to the party and take you back to your car following the sparkler send-off at 10:00pm.

CAN I BRING MY CHILDREN?

Are you having an adults-only wedding? Here is the spot to state so! Please refrain from adding this information to your wedding invitations as it is poor etiquette.

We love ALL of your children, however we have decided to make this an adults-only celebration. We hope you understand!

CAN I BRING A DATE?

A VERY common question for your single guests. If anyone is questioning if they have a Plus 1 or not, include your instructions following this question.

Ohh la la! In order to keep our guest list on track, we are only able to accommodate those guests formally invited on your wedding invitation and who have responded via their RSVP. Please feel free to email us/text us with any questions!

WILL THERE BE FOOD AND DRINKS SERVED?

Not all wedding receptions serve food or offer a different type of course rather than dinner. Let your guests know how to prepare. Also feel free to make your guests aware of what type, if any, bar will be available so they come prepared.

WHAT IF I HAVE A DIETARY RESTRICTION?

If you are serving food options, letting your guests with allergies or special dietary needs reach out to you is a wonderful way to welcome them and make them comfortable with your festivities.

WILL THERE BE DANCING/ENTERTAINMENT?

Should your guests expect to hang around after eating or no?

Is there a sun and moon? Ha! Of course we will have dancing! We have arranged for Steadfast, a live band, to play following dinner and help you dance your tush off. This ain’t no Footloose, friends!

WHERE ARE YOU REGISTERED AT?

Be respectful that your guests are not obligated to bring you anything other than their presence at your wedding. 🙂

Your presence at our wedding is gift enough. Seriously. But because you asked we are registered at Kohl’s and Amazon. Please visit our Registry page above for all the details.

WHAT SHOULD/COULD I DO BETWEEN THE CEREMONY AND THE RECEPTION?

This is the perfect spot to mention a cocktail hour or share links to fun points of interest in your wedding city that your guests can visit while you’re busy with photographs and whatnot.

WILL THERE BE ANY ACTIVITIES HAPPENING THAT I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT?

Is there an all-invited wedding brunch happening the day following your wedding? Are you having a special send-off at the reception that guests may want to hang around for? Tell them here!

WILL LAST NAMES BE CHANGING FOLLOWING THE WEDDING?

Share your future married mailing address as well as married names, if there is a change. Guests will appreciate this added note for future correspondence.


View my own wedding’s FAQs here.

Are there any other questions you’ve had guests ask you that you would like to share? Please comment below — I would love to hear more!Sig

Reblog: Real Love is a Choice

Today is Valentine’s Day, and I must admit this year’s “holiday” feels a bit more special than it has in the past as I look forward to quality time spent with my One. I used to be one of those girls who either shrugged her shoulders at the romantic celebrations happening around her or banded together with a girlfriend or two to strong-arm the Hallmark-inspired-necessity that Galentine’s was just as important. V-Day has never been a favorite of mine, but I suppose that’s because it has been quite a few years since I’ve had a true Valentine.

Talking with G over this past weekend in anticipation of not actually spending Valentine’s together, the topic of love and choosing to love one another came up. (Side note: It is always so remarkable to me to hear this man talk about his feelings for me — even though it happens on a daily basis — and have faith he means every word he is saying.) The chat was amazing and only reiterated the key reasons as to why I’m marrying this man. Then I come across this excellent article written by Seth Adam Smith and #YASSS! This could not be more on point, my friends, and I must do my part to share Seth’s wisdom across the blogosphere.

So without further ado, here is how I plan to live my marriage…

Is There Such a Thing as a Fairy Tale Ending?

My wife and I have known each other since high school but didn’t date until much later. We had only dated a couple of weeks before we realized that we were madly in love and wanted to get married.

I was all for it! I even suggested a spontaneous, immediate wedding in Vegas. (Seriously). Kim, however, was a bit more practical about the whole thing. She wanted to take the time to plan it all out.

I felt deflated. “We’re so different,” I said. “You like to plan, while I like to be spontaneous.”

Kim’s eyes widened. “I can be spontaneous!” she said, hurriedly. “I can totally be spontaneous. You just have to tell me in advance when you want to be spontaneous, and I will write it down in my planner…”

I gave her a strange look. She was totally serious! Clearly, Kim did not understand the meaning of spontaneity.

We must choose to love our partner just as they are. 

Embrace the Imperfections

Funny as it may seem, the more I think about this conversation the more I’ve come to realize that planning to love someone—or choosing to love someone—is actually one of the most beautiful things about love.

I’ve heard it said that real love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.

And it’s true.

When all the butterflies have fluttered away and your wedding day becomes a distant memory, you will discover that you’ve married someone who is just as imperfect as you. And they, in turn, will come to learn that you have problems, insecurities, struggles, quirks—and body odor—just as real as theirs!

Then you will realize that real love isn’t just a euphoric, spontaneous feeling; it’s a deliberate choice, a plan to love each other for better and worse, for richer and poorer; in sickness and in health. Of course, you don’t choose who you’re attracted to, but you definitely choose who you fall in love with and (more importantly) who you stay in love with.

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” – Sam Keen.

Love is About Choosing to Walk the Path Together

Our society places a lot of emphasis on feelings. We are told that we should always follow our feelings and do whatever makes us happy. But feelings are fickle and fleeting.

Real love, on the other hand, is like the north star in the storms of life; it is constant, sure, and true. Whenever we’re lost and confused, we can find strength in the love that we have chosen.

Besides, life already offers us plenty of spontaneity: rejection, job loss, heartache, disappointment, despair, illness, and a host of other problemsWe simply can’t abandon ship every time we encounter a storm in our marriage. Real love is about weathering the storms of life together.

True love withstands the tests of time.

In speaking about my grandma, Grandpa once told my mom, “It hurts me to see her like this. You know, when I got married I thought that everything would be smooth sailing. I never imagined that I would have to help her change her catheter every day. But I do it and I don’t mind it — because I love her.”

Committing to Love

Love is so much more than some random, euphoric feeling. And real love isn’t always fluffy, cute, and cuddly. More often than not, real love has its sleeves rolled up, dirt and grime smeared on its arms, and sweat dripping down its forehead. Real love asks us to do hard things — to forgive one another, to support each other’s dreams, to comfort in times of grief, or to care for our family. Real love isn’t easy — and it’s nothing like the wedding day — but it’s far more meaningful and wonderful.

Real love isn’t always easy. But it’s worth it.

I recently came across this wonderful quote:

No one falls in love by choice, it is by chance. No one stays in love by chance, it is by work. And no one falls out of love by chance, it is by choice. – Unknown

Whenever my wife and I run into a problem in our marriage, we do our best to choose love.While we’re certainly not perfect, the love we share today is more real and more wonderful than anything we had ever anticipated.

So, whatever spontaneous storm may come our way, I plan to continue loving my wife.

If you truly love someone (and they truly love you), commit to that love and plan on it being hard work.

But also plan on it being the most rewarding work of your life.

Written by Seth Adam Smith on Thursday February 9th, 2017. Find the original post here.

Broccoli Ranch Chicken Casserole

Okay, truth time: over the holiday season I went way off on my healthy eating habits. I could use the excuse that my future MIL is an awesome baker, my mom made her famous Christmas candy (more than once), the holiday celebrations were numerous, or I was enjoying Life so much I didn’t care to count calories, BUT I won’t because in all honesty there is no excuse for completely falling off the wagon. I’m back in the grind now though — and hitting the ground running fast!

In the future, I will be adding a few healthy recipe choices which I use as staples in my meal planning each month. I have been eating 80/20 with high protein and low carb food choices. (80/20 because I still want to enjoy life and food is a big part of my enjoyment.) I’ll also share each recipe’s macro stats via MyFitnessPal, in case you are as interested as I am. 🙂

I am so excited to begin adding some healthy recipes to Uncorking Peonies! And I am even more excited to introduce a recipe which has warmed the tummies of G and myself multiple times since the New Year, because it’s just that good: Broccoli Ranch Chicken.

Broccoli Ranch Chicken Bake

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Eat ALL the ranch! -quote by Ashley, at every meal

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut bite-sized
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1/2 Tbsp dill
  • 1 Tbsp parsley
  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayo (I always use mayo made with olive oil.)
  • 8 ounce shredded sharp cheddar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and spices in a large bowl, mix thoroughly
  3. Add chicken, broccoli, and 1/2 of cheese, mix well
  4. Dump mixture into a well-greased 9 x 13 baking dish
  5. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top
  6. Bake 30 minutes or until hot
  7. Serve immediately; good as leftovers as well!

1 Serving: kcal = 515, protein = 37g, carbs = 6g, fat = 37g

(Adapted from joyfilledeats.com)


I typically split the 9 x 13 baking dish into 5 sections for the entire week’s lunches. This amount keeps me full until dinner, even through my evening workout. You can also double the batch easily to have enough for more servings (like when G decides to take this as lunch also) or to make a very filling dinner with leftovers for the family.