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Healthy Make Ahead Meals Part 2

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Ahhhh, how we love spaghetti pie. I love spaghetti but I have never made spaghetti pie. There is a restaurant in town that always served spaghetti pie on the menu and every time we went there, the husband was sure to get it. It was tasty, and a favorite for him. We have not been there in a while so I am not sure if it is still on the menu. So, I was pondering recipes the other day hoping something would pop in my head that would be different that we both will enjoy this week. Enter spaghetti pie 🙂 Of course I healthed it up a bit and I must say it was awesome. It will definitely be in the rotation around here. This is my recipe and this is how it went down.

Ingredients:

1 pkg quinoa pasta

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg

1 lb of grass-fed beef

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

2 heaping tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

grated mozzarella cheese (optional)

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pasta according to the package ( I shortened the cook time a few minutes because it will also be baked later so I did not want the noodles to become to mushy). Brown the beef and drain the excess fat. Add the green peppers, onions, and garlic. Add the jar of sauce and the tomato paste and mix well. Let simmer on low for about 10 minutes while you prepare the noodle crust. In a small bowl mix the yogurt, egg, and parmesan cheese well. It should make a nice creamy mixture. Drain noodles and add the yogurt mixture to the noodles and mix well to coat all noodles. Place noodles in a pie pan coated with nonstick cooking spray and mold to the sides and bottom. The noodles crust should be thick and sticky. Add sauce mixture (the pie filling) to the noodle crust. Add a little mozzarella cheese on top if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy with a green salad.

The leftovers are awesome. Double the recipe for an extra pie to freeze for later. Dinner is served.

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Noodle crust

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Noodle crust with filling before baking

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Pie after baking 🙂

Who loves spaghetti pie?

 

Healthy Make Ahead Meals Part 1

Food prep is no joke, but the reward is awesome. It is so nice to know that I have a few meals prepared for this week. Last week was a blur. Every night I came home and I had nothing ready or even in my mind about it. Does that sound familiar? I always end up eating whatever when I do not plan a couple of meals ahead of time. So yesterday I decided to make a few “make ahead meals”. I spent a couple of hours prepping and cooking so I still had most of the day to enjoy. Here is what happened.

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MEXICAN CHICKEN AND QUINOA CASSEROLE

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded chicken

1 tsp EVOO

1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup sweet potatoes, cubed in small pieces

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 (10 oz) pkg of frozen spinach, thawed making sure to squeeze all water out

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 (8 oz) jar of favorite salsa

shredded cheddar is optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cook quinoa according to pkg

3. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp EVOO and saute onion until lightly browned. Add garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add the rest of the vegetables and combine well. Add tomato paste. Add chicken. Transfer mixture to another bowl and stir in quinoa and beans.

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4. Add broth and salsa to the saute pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine to the mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into a casserole pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Note: I cooked my own chicken but the original recipe used shredded rotisserie chicken. Original recipe can be found at http://www.mjandhungryman.com along with other awesome recipes.

Also, make sure to squeeze all the water out of the spinach. I made into a ball and squeezed squeezed squeezed 🙂

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I made one pan to freeze without the cheese. Can’t wait to dig into this at the end of the week.

Do you food prep for the week? What are your favorite make ahead meals?

Stay tuned for part 2 Spaghetti Pie!

 

 

 

Spinach And Feta Turkey Balls

So here it is, an easy mouth-watering combination of lean turkey with two of my faves, spinach and feta. Yes, I know it looks pink because it is raw.  The husband said the photo looked like the balls had pink frosting on them. No, they are raw, ready to go in the oven. This is how it went down:

Ingredients:

2 packages of lean ground turkey

2 cups chopped fresh spinach, I chopped in a blender in 20 seconds

1 small container of reduced fat feta cheese

1 tsp of garlic/parsley powder

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all of this up in a big bowl, use your clean hands because  it is easier than using a spoon and you have to make balls anyway. Form into balls and place the balls in a lightly greased muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

They smell so good while cooking. Such a simple and delicious way to get lean protein, veges, and some yum yum with the feta.

Let me know how your balls turn out!

Peace ❤IMG_20140619_143743

 

 

 

Quick Recipe Round-Up

If you follow my Instagram account you may have seen the yummy recipes I posted this past weekend. This post is recipe round-up.

First we have the mouth-watering tropical kabobs. These are so easy and light.

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Just skewer pineapple chunks, mushrooms, purple onion, sweet red peppers, and green peppers. Lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. I roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Grilling the kabobs would work well also.

Friday night I was craving something sweet. We had nothing in the house I could get my hands on so I decided to whip something up with what I had. It was national doughnut day that day. All I saw on social media were yummy doughnuts all day. That got me in the mood for something doughy. This is what happened.

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Blueberry Banana Cookies 🙂

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 scoops of vanilla protein powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1 ripe banana

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp organic honey

1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

A big handful of fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Combine flour, protein powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Combine egg, mashed banana, coconut oil, honey, milk, and vanilla extract and whisk together. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and combine together. Fold in the blueberries. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. These were a hit at my house.

Who doesn’t love chicken salad? I love it, but not with mayo. A good friend shared this with me. It is so easy and delightful.

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Avocado Cilantro Chicken Salad 🙂

2 cans of chicken breast or 2 cups of shredded chicken

1 tbsp garlic powder with parsley

1 tsp salt

Juice of 2 fresh limes

1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

2 tbsp finely chopped purple onion (optional)

1 large ripe avocado

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. I served open-faced with an Ezekiel muffin and tomato. It would be great as a sandwich or on a bed of mixed greens. Simple, healthy and easy to prepare. Enjoy.

5 Tips To Simple Clean Eating

Eating clean is not complicated. What complicates the whole nutrition thing is the processed crap fake food that crowds the grocery stores and markets. I know you have heard the phrase “you are what you eat” right? Well, I believe this to be true. When I put processed foods in my body I feel sluggish, irritable, lethargic and I have zero energy. I often get asked at work from our members about what are good ideas for meals and snacks. My answer to them is of course, whole food. Then I get the usual blank stare like they do not know what that means. I then explain the whole thing about shopping for whole foods, you know, the perimeter of the store, checking ingredients, no packaged or fake food etc.. People complicate things too much. I always recommend keeping things simple. Cooking meals that are healthy and nutritious can be simple.

Here are my top 5 tips of simple clean eating.

1. Spend time in the produce section of the grocery or visit your local farmers market. Try new things.

2. Take time to read nutrition labels and especially the ingredients. If there is a huge list of  ingredients, chances are it is processed so move on to something else.

3. If you do not have a crock pot, get one. If you have one, use it. There are tons of healthy recipes for slow cookers all over the web. I have a few here.

4. Do not fall for the flashy marketing on products in the grocery stores and markets. I know all the packages are screaming for us to take them off the shelf because they claim to be healthy, low-fat, low-sugar, 100 calorie, low sodium, heart healthy blah blah blah… but beware. I believe it is much safer and healthier to grab the fruits and vegetables that are sitting quietly in the produce section 🙂

5. Experiment with putting whole foods together for creating delicious meals. Do not over complicate it. For example; for dinner I can bake a piece of salmon, while at the same time roast asparagus and bake a sweet potato that I washed and wrapped in foil all in the same oven. It just takes a tiny bit of thought and planning.

 

So this morning I woke up feeling like I wanted pancakes. All it takes is a bowl, 3/4 cup brown rice flour, 1 egg, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein, 1/2 cup almond milk, stir, and cook in a skillet on medium high until golden. My topping is blueberries heated with a little butter and agave nectar. It took about 10 minutes for the whole event. This is my blueberry pancake breakfast today 🙂

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I hope this helps if you are struggling with how to clean up your diet. Remember, we are what we eat so don’t forget about all the beautiful fruits and vegetables sitting peacefully in the produce. I would much rather be a colorful zucchini or broccoli flower than a chunk of Velveeta.

 

*Consult your physician before beginning any new nutrition or exercise program.

 

March Madness! Go Green! #FitIn5 Day 7

March is the perfect time to incorporate more green in your life and when I mean green, it is the green that we eat!! Today’s challenge, day 7 of the 29 day challenge, will include the next 5 days. The challenge is to add a little more green in the diet such as these beautiful little brussels 🙂 We all know there are so many health benefits of adding more vegetables in our daily nutrition but are you actually doing it? I challenge you to add 1 more vegetable than you normally do every day for the next 5 days. Try something new to make it interesting and don’t complicate it. Just go to the grocery and you will find so many beautiful plants sitting quietly in the produce just waiting to be bagged. All it takes is a good wash, a chop or two, a little EVOO, sea salt and pepper and roast for about 15 – 20 minutes on 400 degrees as I did with these delicious sprouts. I would love to see your photos, tag me on IG or Twitter at @nthefitzone or comment here or on my facebook page.

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What is your favorite vegetable to roast?

Consult your physician before beginning any new diet or exercise program.

Big Healthy Breakfast and Burpee Video

Here it is, the video of my Burpee Challenge. I did 22 in 1 minute. This is a demo of burpees without the pushup at the bottom of the movement.

Lol 🙂

Below is an example of what I am obsessed with besides nut butters of course. This is my breakfast of the week. A couple of eggs with brown rice and quinoa with a side of kiwi.  It is delicious, healthy and satisfying. A great way to start my day and helps fuel me for the burpees.

Have you tried burpees lately? What is your favorite breakfast?

How To Survive The Turkey Day Food Coma

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The big day is approaching. Thanksgiving is a wonderful day filled with family, friends, celebrations and giving thanks to the many blessings we have in our lives. Most of this celebrating comes with what seems like a never-ending feast. This is just the beginning of feasting, drinking, partying, etc.. It marks the beginning of the “holiday” season, so before you begin to gobble down your first feast, here are a few bits of info and tips that may help you and your waistline survive the season.

According to the American Council on Exercise, the average Thanksgiving meal consists of 3000 calories. Keep in mind many of us begin the glorious day by snacking and indulging in the vino, whiskey, beer, soda pop, or sweet tea while sitting watching the exciting parades and ballgames. Combine this pre-feast ritual with the actual meal and it can easily take it up to 4500 calories with 229 grams of fat. Wowza!

Now, we all have heard that turkey contains the essential amino acid tryptophan which has a sedating effect right? The truth is that the “food coma” you experience is actually a result of your poor little body working overtime to digest all that fatty food 🙂 It takes a lot of energy to digest a large meal. The body redirects blood to your digestive system to tackle the big job. Since you have less blood flow elsewhere, you may feel the need for nap time after the feast, so it is not really the little Butterballs fault after all.

Oh, and don’t forget, the holiday cocktails (remember alcohol is a central nervous system depressant) play a role in the desire for nap time too.

Tips To Help Your Waist Survive The Holiday

  1. Make up for the feast (we are all going to indulge, I sure will) by choosing low-fat and low-sugar meals (we should be doing this anyway) for the week leading up to and after the big day. Never skip meals, just choose your foods wisely.
  2. Make physical activity a regular habit. Exercise not only burns calories, it is important for good health, stress management, and overall well-being.
  3. Be consistent with your workouts. It increases your metabolism which will help assist your calorie burn when you binge on that big day.
  4. Before you leave for your feast, try having a small salad, light soup, fruit or veges. This will help you feel a little full and you may feel less likely to “oink out”.
  5. When you prepare your Turkey Day plate, it should not topple over on your way to your seat. Practice patience and portion control 🙂

I have many things to be thankful for. I have been blessed and I will, just like many, indulge a bit to celebrate. I have a weakness for pecan pie so I am going to do many burpees this week! Video coming soon. I am thankful for pie and for burpees too.

What is your favorite Turkey Day dish? What is your favorite part of the holiday? Happy Early Thanksgiving!

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