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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!

 

 

 

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.

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.

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

Well we have all heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”.  I would say I am in pretty good shape. I eat healthy, train hard and overall, take good care of myself. I started doing The Cellulite Project again just to stay on track with healthy eating and eliminating processed food completely from my diet so I will feel energetic and strong. I know I do not need to lose weight and that is not my goal if that is what you are thinking. However, I am not going to lie. Even though I am a thin person, I would like to see some cuts and definition in my abs and arms. I believe “abs are made in the kitchen” . I have a very strong core, but my hard work in the gym is hidden by some junky food effects from earlier this summer. I will put this theory to the test 🙂 I will continue my daily workouts along with following The Cellulite Project over the next 22 days and then I will snap another photo to show my progress. This is a photo of me and my abs taken yesterday.

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I Will Not Fear The Holidays! New Goals, No Meat, Running 200 Miles, Firefly and Scorpion

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Feasting will begin, then on to Holiday parties with more feasting. Blah! I love the holidays with all of the decorations, festivities, meaning, family, friends etc. I do not love the shopping and the excessive amounts of food that always seem to tempt me. I think now is a great time to set new health and fitness goals. Why wait around for the New Year? I will go ahead and work on myself now. Setting new goals will help me become disciplined during these tempting times. So here is what I have been pondering.

I finally watched Food, Inc.  It was eye-opening. I knew what it was about, but I never took the time to sit down and watch. The Husband and I have been talking here and there about cutting back on meat over the past couple of years. I cook a fair amount of vegetarian dishes anyway, so after watching the documentary I thought now would be a great time to challenge myself, however, The Supermodel Piper may not enjoy those 17 days. Let me make this clear, I am not converting to be a vegetarian, I am just going to challenge myself to go meat free for a period of time and get creative with plant-based meals. It will be very interesting to see how I feel after this challenge is over. This is how this goal will go down. I will not eat beef, pork, or poultry for 17 days beginning on October 31, 2012. Why 17 days you might ask? Well, my first Thanksgiving feast will be held at my Dad’s on November 17th and I am sure beef, pork, or poultry could be involved. I would not want to offend the cook. 🙂

Remember at the beginning of the Workout Warrior Challenge when I said “If you state to someone your goal you will probably become more accountable and disciplined to reach your goal? Well anyway, this is my new fitness goal. I will run a total of 200 miles between November 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. Sounds exciting, does it not? I will tell you that I have not been running distance mileage since 2010. All of my runs have been usually 2.5 to 4 miles each. I have no desire to run distance so all of my 200 miles will be a compilation of short runs. I will just have to do bunches of them which will be the fun part; short and sweet.

Now I think you all may know I love to practice yoga. I confess I have not been practicing as much as I would like to, so my new yoga goal is to conquer a couple of poses I have said before I wanted to learn but never really followed through with. I will conquer the Firefly and Scorpion yoga poses by December 31, 2012. Whew! I am scared now. This is good though. I believe the way to change and grow, mentally and physically, is to challenge yourself. I will definitely be leaving my comfort zone but I think that is the only way to reach my goals.

Now, how am I going to go about reaching these goals? First, not eating pork and poultry will be easy, but beef is tasty. I will be strong and come up with some delicious plant-based dishes. I may not even miss it at all. I will be glad to share my exciting new meals. Second, if I run 3 miles every day until December 31st that will total 183 miles. Looks like I will have to up some mileage. Now I am not going to run every single day but I will do a few 4-5 milers and probably some short two-a-days:) Note: I do not run on the treadmill, so all of my running will be outdoors. Another note: I hate cold weather so I sure hope we have a mild November and December. Now I am more scared of this than I am of attempting Scorpion! Challenge to Change, Challenge to Change. Now for Firefly and Scorpion (pics are below so you will know what I am talking about). I have to step it up on my practice. I teach yoga 2 times per week now. I am going to practice 3 more days on my own, specifically poses to prepare me for these two challenge poses. I am tired thinking of this, but it is exciting all at the same time.

Some of you may think I am nuts for thinking this is exciting. It is exciting to me because I know the sense of accomplishment and growth I will feel at the end, which will be worth the effort that will go into getting there. I will also take a before picture of myself and document the whole journey to see what happens to me mentally and physically during the next 2 months. Follow my little journey, it may give you a giggle or two.

I had to find pics because I can’t do these yet. The first picture is Firefly. I took the picture from www.yogajournal.com  Credit to David Martinez. The second picture is from www.about.comCredit to Barry Stone. Looks like fun 🙂

Do you make New Year Fitness Resolutions? Are you going to wait or make it happen now?

Stone Ground Mustard Crusted Salmon

So delicious! So easy! Wild caught Sockeye Salmon.

Such a quick and healthy dinner. We love fish and finding ways to spice it up is always a plus. This is what happened.

  • 4 wild caught salmon filets with skin on
  • Stone Ground Mustard
  • Panko bread crumbs

Brush salmon filets with mustard (not skin side). Coat the side with mustard with the Panko bread crumbs. Bring a lightly olive oiled skillet to medium high heat. Cook salmon skin side up for 3-5 minutes until golden and crispy. Turn salmon and continue cooking until skin is crispy and sizzling. Done! Served with a side of wild rice and a lovely salad=Happy Husband and Supermodel:)

I hope our little fish had a happy home like this.

English: Spawning Salmon in Becharof Stream wi...

English: Spawning Salmon in Becharof Stream within the Becharof Wilderness in southern Alaska, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grilled Corn Kicked Up

Summer nights and sunsets are so pretty. Do you look at funky clouds and see shapes of things? Check this one out. I see a dinosaur:)

The other night was taco night and along with tacos, I fired up the grill for some summer corn. The Husband and I love to grill anytime of the year but summer is the best time for corn on the cob. I fetched some fresh jalapeno from the garden which kicked this corn up to something special. Bam! This is how it went down.

Shucked and washed four ears of corn. Simmered 2 tbsp yogurt butter with garlic and chopped seeded jalapeno. Placed corn in large ziplock bag. Drizzled 3/4 of butter mixture into bag. Zipped and shook it like a Polaroid picture until coated with the butter. I know butter is not the healthiest choice, but little splurges make things more interesting. Wrapped each ear in nonstick foil. Placed onto the grill about 350 degrees turning frequently. Grilled until done. Cut into little ears and served hot. Soooo tasty!

What do you see in the clouds? Have a great day!

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