Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yummy Pasta Bake

This is one tasty and crazy easy dinner to make!  Nothing makes you feel cozier on a rainy spring evening than curling up with some yummy Italian food.  I always make this meal using some of my leftover spaghetti sauce that I have stashed away in the freezer...which makes it an extremely cheap dish to make too! :) Even with the sinful goodness of this dish it is a relatively clean meal especially if you keep your portion small and pair it with a garden salad.  Tim isn't always on board with my healthy meals so this is one that I can make for him and then he has leftovers to work on throughout the week.  Also the bechamel sauce adds the perfect amount of creamy goodness to the dish without the need for extra cheese or heavy cream.  And by using whole grain pasta it fills you up and keeps you full longer!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

2 1/2 Cups Spaghetti Sauce (check out my recipe here)
7oz Dried Whole Grain Pasta (I like to use Penne)
6oz Shredded Italian Cheese
Ingredients for Bechamel Sauce
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
1 Cup Milk (I use 1%)
Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, and Cayenne

Preheat oven to 350.  I use an 8x8x2 glass dish for baking but whatever you have handy should work.  In a large pot start boiling water for your pasta, once the water is boiling add pasta and boil for 10 minutes or until it is barely Al Dente (DO NOT overcook because the pasta will continue to cook once it's in the oven).  Once your pasta is done drain the water, rinse with cold water, and set aside.  While you're preparing the pasta place a small sauce pan over medium heat and melt your butter.  Once the butter is melted wisk in your flour until it becomes paste like (roux).  Slowly add your milk to the flour/butter mixture stirring constantly.  Add some salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg and cayenne, allow mixture to come to a boil (turn up the heat if necessary) and continue stirring, once it starts boiling it will start to thicken quickly.  Once your sauce is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon remove from the heat and set aside.  Now let mix it all TOGETHER!! In bowl combine your cooked pasta, spaghetti sauce, and bechamel sauce. Pour half of your mixture in into your baking dish and sprinkle half of your cheese over it, pour in the rest of your mixture and top with the remaining cheese.  Slide your dish into the oven for 40-45 minutes.  Remove when the top is nice and bubbly and  starting to slightly brown on top.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Healthy Chicken Nuggets

Tonight I was struck with a mean craving for CHICKEN NUGGETS!!  LOL unfortunately for me McD's isn't allowed on the 21 Day Fix Extreme meal plan!?  Now I know that stuff is complete garbage and barely even food buuuuut sometimes a girl needs to be nostalgic.  So I found myself pondering the possibilities and looking around my kitchen in search of a way to solve this problem before diving head first into a bowl of Tim's goldfish!!  As luck would have it I was on my normal extreme eating day which I get to do after 2 days of the countdown to competition meal plan...and that means fruit and a few servings of carbs :) So here's what I came up with and not going to lie it was freaking DELISH!!  Bonus this would make a great dinner for your little ones instead of stuffing them with Mcd's or store bought "chicken" nuggets! This makes one serving and counts for 1 Red, 1 Yellow, and 1 Spoon.

1 Small Chicken Breast
1 Egg
1 Yellow Container of Uncooked Organic Oatmeal
1 Tsp Melted Coconut Oil

To start get a large skillet warming up over medium heat.  In a food processor or blender pulse all of the oatmeal until it is the consistency of rock salt (lol I know, but I couldn't think of another size comparison!). For me I did several quick pulses for about 30 seconds and then it was good to go!  Place your oatmeal in a bowl feel free to add some seasonings if you would like such as salt, pepper, garlic or onion powder.  In a separate beat your egg and set aside.  For the chicken, because I'm a weirdo, I like to flatten it out with a kitchen mallet.  I get it to where it is around 1/4 inch thick.  I then slice the chicken up into bite size pieces.  Add your melted coconut oil to your oatmeal and mix well to combine.  You are now ready to get cooking!! Take the chicken one piece at a time and coat with egg then dredge through your oatmeal until well coated place in the pan and repeat until all of your chicken is cooking!  I cook the chicken for about 10 minutes on each side, before removing from the heat make sure your chicken as an internal temp of 165!  I like to have mine with mustard because it's a 21 Day Fix freebie, but sauce yours up however you please!! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Healthy Sloppy Joes!

Who doesn't enjoy a tasty sloppy joe?! LOL sloppy joes were a dinner table staple growing up...unfortunately Manwich isn't the healthiest thing out there.  I'll even go so far as to say it's not healthy at all, nor does it taste as good as my childhood memories lead me to believe!  In light of that revelation I decided to get busy in the kitchen and create my own healthy version of this American classic.  So yes this recipe is clean eating and 21 Day Fix approved!  Now if you've tried any of my other recipes on here you know that I'm a fan of spicy food!  So if you want to cut the heat I would recommend removing all of the seeds from the jalapeno as well as reducing or omitting the crushed red pepper flakes :)  These sloppy joes are a great way to sneak in veggies for those kiddos or spouses who tend to avoid them!  These can also be turned into a vegan dish by taking out the ground turkey and replacing it with either textured veggie protein or chopped up mushrooms (I personally prefer the shrooms!)  I also like to freeze half of the sauce for a quick and easy dinner down the road.  For the 21 Day Fix the container count is for 1 1/3 cup of sauce and equals 1 green, 1 red, and 1/2 purple...the 1 yellow accounts for the whole wheat bun (I like the sandwich thins) however if you're on a low carb journey this would be great as a lettuce wrap too! Enjoy!! :)

20oz Cooked Ground Turkey
5 Celery Stalks Diced
1 Sweet Onion Diced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper Diced
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper Diced
1/2 Orange Bell Pepper Diced
1 Jalapeno Minced
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 28oz Can Tomato Sauce (low sodium if available)
1 6oz Can Tomato Paste (low sodium if avaliable)
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tsp Cumin
1/4 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Tsp Worcestershire
1 Tsp Bragg Liquid Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
2 Tsp Olive Oil
Whole Wheat Buns
Plain Greek Yogurt

Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and toss in your onions.  Saute for about 7 minutes or until the onions start to sweat.  Add in your jalapenos and saute for an additional 3 minutes.  Add the rest of your veggies to the skillet (celery and peppers) reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and allow to cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Once your veggies have softened slightly add in your cooked ground turkey mix well so everything is combined.  Add your tomato sauce and tomato paste to the mixture and stir very can take a little work to mix in the tomato paste.  Add in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, worcestershire and Bragg liquid aminos and mix well.  Cover and allow sauce to simmer for about 20 minutes so all of the flavors can combine.  Serve on top of toasted whole wheat buns or lettuce cups and top with a dollop of plain greek yogurt if you like to! :)