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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?

 

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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!

 

 

 

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.

 

Healthy Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas

I found this awesome chicken fajita recipe over at StacyMakesCents . If you cannot cook, you must invest in a crock pot/slow cooker. Everyone will think you can cook and you may even surprise yourself. I changed one or two things in mine and it turned out great and healthy.

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Slice green, red, yellow peppers and 1 medium onion. Lightly grease crock pot/slow cooker with olive oil. Place the peppers and onions in the cooker and place 3-4 skinless chicken breasts on top. Pour about 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock over the top. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with Mrs. Dash fiesta lime seasonings. Cover completely with the spice mixture. Then drizzle the juice of one fresh lime on top. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

I did not shred the chicken, I cut into chunky pieces but you could do what you like.  I warmed a few whole wheat tortillas, added a little cheese, fresh tomato, lettuce and avocado. There you go, an easy healthy meal and the leftovers are great too.

Well, it is that time of year when we are all thinking about new ways to stay healthy. I am going to experiment with more crock pot recipes over the next few weeks so I will share what I come up with.

I am excited about the new year. I have set some new goals for myself that I will be sharing later. Also, another Fit In 5 workout will be posted this week. I think we all need a good sweaty New Year’s Day workout.  Are you in?

Pumpkin Protein Muffins

Well it is Fall ya’ll. Still feels like summer outside but inside my house, fall lingers in the air. I have been craving crispy fall air with pumpkin smells so I decided to try a new recipe. I got this recipe from www.michellemariefit.com . I changed a couple of things. This is just before they went into the oven.

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Recipe:

2 1/2 cups of whole oats

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/8 cup organic honey

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

I did not use nuts but 1/2 cup walnuts could be used

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine all wet ingredients and mix well. Add all the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased muffin pan. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and bake for about 20 minutes or until done.

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These muffins are so satisfying, healthy and very easy for anyone on the go. Give it a whirl, and enjoy your Fall. What does your favorite season smell like?

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