It’s a Monday. Do you have a meal plan for the week? Working on it? How about a new pasta dish? This one is a great recipe to try if looking to mix it up a little.
Fridays are pasta nights for us. We have A LOT of activity over the weekends. My husband and I like to be active and get in some good workouts. Our kids are very active in sports and have pretty extensive sports schedules over the weekends. We used to always have pizza on Friday nights, but recently with all the sports and activities we have decided pizza might not be the BEST fuel for everyone. So pasta is the new pizza. A nice pasta dish with some good bread and maybe a glass of wine is the perfect dish for a Friday evening around here.
I was looking for a different recipe to some fresh inspiration to our normal pasta. We love a good red sauce, but I thought I would try something with some flair. This recipe was inspired by the Minimalist Baker.
For my husband and I, I like to cook spaghetti squash to go along with the regular spaghetti noodles. I combine the two to increase the volume of my dish. My husband sticks to the spaghetti squash. He eats from more of a ketogenic diet.
The sauce works great for all diets – vegan, dairy-free, vegetarian, gluten free, keto…whatever your dietary needs, this is for you!
Also, one tip before I move on to the recipe…the recipe calls for charred peppers and onion. Do you yourself a big favor and save a lot of time by using your air fryer if you have one! Simply quarter the pepper and onion, place in the air fryer. Fry on 400 until blackened – about 15 minutes.
Happy Taco Tuesday! Every Tuesday I make some variation of Mexican food. My family LOVES Mexican, so it’s a guaranteed win, win, win. It’s an easy way for me to meal plan.
I have on several occasions planned for tacos, looked in the pantry for taco seasoning, and what? No taco seasoning!?
Well, now – no worries! I have made this recipe time and again. I have tweaked and mixed it up with different seasonings, and it’s just as delicious and more flavorful than the packets. Bonus, I make it lower sodium than the packets. I LOVE to eat salty foods, but my body and blood pressure do not love the salt.
“What do I do with all these hams?” This was a question I posed to my husband when he came home with an entire hog butchered and processed for my freezer.
Several months ago when the pandemic was making everything weird (more so than it is currently), there became a shortage of pork due to COVID outbreaks in many meat plants. My husband – the meat lover that he is – panicked. It was one thing to be quarantined. It was another to wear masks and wash hands. It was another to have the potential of being short on toilet paper. But shortage on meat!!!???? He was standing in line at Sam’s Club faster than you can spell the word m-e-a-t. The man is a meat and cheese guy if there ever was one.
So when his parents called and said they had a hookup on a couple of hogs – he was like yes, yes and yes!!! I personally am OK with meat. I like it. I will eat a little day to day, but it’s honestly not super important to me – so I put him in charge of what he wanted to order. Well, he of course was super busy, had to make an order quickly, and came home with 5 HUGE hams!
I am personally not a huge ham lover, so I’m like what in the world!? Now what!? Thankfully, the rest of my family LOVES ham, so it’s been a great, easy meat to prep. Bonus, they’re all HUGE! So when I make one, it feeds the family for SEVERAL meals and then some.
Well, the novelty of the ham has worn off a bit, and it’s getting eaten with less and less enthusiasm. Of course, hating to throw away food like I do, I decided to try something different. Now I will say that while ham is just OK to me, I do LOVE me some ham salad.
I feel like ham salad is something you either love or you hate. I love it. My husband loves it. Some of the kids love it – but that’s ok. It goes fast. I did up a batch and YUM!!!! This is something I could definitely get used to!
If you are a fan of ham salad – it is so EASY. If you have the ham – I HIGHLY recommend whipping up a batch of this for lunches, after school snacks, or busy, easy weeknight dinners.
Also, as we are nearing the holidays, I feel like many of us will have leftover ham in our refrigerators at some point. So instead of allowing it to go to waste or eating it out of obligation to simply eat up the leftovers, mix it up. Give the ham an upgrade, turning it into a completely different meal!
Ahi tuna is a wonderful source of protein. It is low in fat, high quality in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, it is a FAST, EASY meat to prepare. If you are in need of a quick dinner, this meat is wonderful. This recipe is delicious and a family favorite.
I made it last night. My picky five year old picked it up and ate it like a chicken strip. AND he went back for more! I cooked about 24 ounces – 4 large, 6 ounce filets. We had 2.5 ounces leftover – that was it!
I am about to post the easiest recipe that is sure to be a family favorite dinner for you. My family actually considered this one of the best dinners I have made in a long time. I am not sure if I should be flattered or offended? But I will take it.
This dip is excellent with tortilla chips (obvi), crackers or pretzel crisps. HOWEVER, it is especially awesome with carrots, celery and on lettuce salad. For real – my daughter actually prefers to eat this with carrots as opposed to chips, and I wholeheartedly agree with her! My husband devoured his on salad with some pork rinds (keto man). My boys enjoyed pretzel crisps and entertained me by eating a few carrots. Hey – I call that a win.
I have made this dip SEVERAL times, but this last time, I made a few tweaks, and we decided that this was the BEST batch yet! The foundation of this recipe came from the inspiration of Laura. She has such great, healthy, practical, and real food recipes that accommodate busy lifestyles, which I appreciate.
I made this with hamburger (3/4 pound of 96% lean and 3/4 pound 90% lean), that I browned and drained completely. Even if using beef with higher fat content, when I drain all the fat and grease, I call it 96% lean beef in MyFitnessPal. One thing I did that set this recipe apart was I had made it previously and seasoned it with sausage seasoning.
Give this recipe a try, and let me know what you think. This is not only wonderful for dinner, but also as an appetizer or snack for all those rapidly approaching holiday meals! Tuck it away and try another day…soon!
I love it when people post pictures of what they ate in a day. I am such a weirdo. I love to look at food pictures and get food and meal ideas!
I eat a lot of the same foods day in and day out, but this changes week to week. I will eat similar foods for a week or two. Then, I get onto something else for a week or two. Then, I do something new and different and then I go back to the oldie.
It also depends on the season for me. I eat VERY seasonally! In the summer – it’s a lot of fresh foods – fresh salads, fresh fruit, smoothies, all things cool and refreshing. In the fall and winter it is all things warm and comforting. Right now I constantly have a mug of something warm on me. I am eating my veggie chili nearly every single day. I actually have yet another batch in my instapot as I am writing. It will be done for my lunch today. I will eat yet another bowl of greens, chili with some vegan queso, honey mustard dressing and some quinoa. I have eaten a variation of the greens and chili for the past week and a half. I am not kidding. It has mostly been eaten for just lunch, but in all transparency there have been a few days in which I have eaten this bowl for lunch AND dinner.
Another favorite right now is hot cereals. I have talked about some of my favorite hot cereals in previous posts, but I eat these nearly every day as well.
Of course I talk about all the warm and comforting foods that I am enjoying right now, and it just so happens that I ate not one – but TWO fluff bowls. One right after another! 🤣 I also spoke about planning and pre-logging the other day and totally just broke my own rule. I made a bowl, loved it so much, and then made a partial of a second. I have a REALLY good excuse though you guys! 🤪 I got a new protein powder, and it is SOOOO good! I made a bowl with it, fell head first in love and needed some more!
I have been trying to cut back on dairy lately. In the fall my allergies get so bad, and it gets STUCK in my sinuses. I have had a full head of fluid for months. My ears off and on feel so plugged. Anyway, I am cutting back on dairy (or trying desperately to do so). So I have been experimenting with vegan protein powders. You guys – vegan protein powders are just not good! (in my opinion). HOWEVER, I stumbled across this beauty. 🙌🏻 Hallelujah!!! A vegan protein powder, and it is good!!!
The original bowl was made with 50 grams egg whites, 1 heaping scoop of protein powder, 1/2 can of natural soda (sound weird? Try it!), 2 g “>PBFit, 1 dropper of “>Puffed Kamut and more PBFit. I also stirred in 60 grams of frozen blueberries. So yum!!! For my second bowl (it’s hard for me to type that without laughing), I blended 1/2 can soda, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 2 g xanthan gum and ice. Then, I topped with it some PBFit.
Built Bar products are for sure staples for me – for pre, during and post workout fuel, grab and go snacks, and a sweet treat to top of the night. I take a Built Boost every morning when I rise (I workout in the morning, so not only does this give me a little vitamin, energy boost, it fuels my workouts well). I then lately have been taking a Built Go for my immediate pre-workout fuel. This has been working AMAZINGLY for me. Then, if I can’t sit down to a meal after my workout, I eat a bar after my workout. For me – fueling my workouts works really well for me to recover quickly. I like to workout most days – so fueling well helps me to do that without feeling fatigue, sore and inflamed. (use fitfoodie10to save on all Built Bar products. They run a lot of sales and promotions, and you can always use my code in conjunction with sales and promos).
So yesterday here is what my day looked like in terms of what I ate:
About 10 a.m. I was hungry again, so I made a fluff bowl…and then another…
Typically I would eat lunch around noon-1; however, after these two bowls, I got incredibly full. Too full really. I would not recommend this. 🤣
Finally around 2:30 I decided I should probably eat some lunch. My lunch today I ate my Veggie Chili over romaine lettuce, quinoa, topped with Vegan Queso and honey mustard dressing. For something sweet I had a piece of JoJo’s Chocolate.
Typically I will eat a snack before bed, but for some reason my stomach was not cooperating. I was so full and bloated. Not sure if it was the smoothie bowls or if was…you know…Anyway, all I wanted was a warm drink and my bed. So to bed I went. 😉
YUM!!! If looking for a healthier version of mac n cheese, this recipe is for you. I know what you’re probably thinking…my kids would never go for this. Well, I’m here to tell you that my kids are big fans of mac n cheese. I have tried other “subs” for this family favorite, and they did not buy in. This recipe though not only received rave reviews – seconds were requested! Even the pickiest 5 year old ate it!
I am trying to cut back on dairy to relieve my sinus inflammation (feeling really good by the way!), so this recipe was the perfect accommodation! I sprinkled sharp cheddar and some grated parmesan on the kids’ bowls. I wasn’t sad to not have it on mine. I enjoyed the buttered sage.
Also – I used ONE pot for this dish – my instant pot. I would highly recommend doing the same, as it cooked perfectly. I did use my blender – so I guess this was another appliance, but I cooked the squash mixture, put it in the blender then cooked the pasta, strained (reserving the pasta water) and combined it all for the final saute. The entire dish took a total of 30 minutes – no exaggeration.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
Set the instant pot to saute, warm the butter or oil and saute the sage until crisp. Remove the sage into a small bowl for garnishing later.
Add the onion, celery and squash to the pot. Saute until they begin to soften.
Add the broth to the vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper
Put the lid on your pot, cancel out the saute setting and switch to pressure cook. Pressure cook for 7 minutes.
If in a hurry quick release the pressure. Can let this naturally release if you have time.
Pour the squash mixture into your blender to blend later (better to let it cool some).
Add 5 cups of water and 12 ounces of noodles to the pot.
Set to pressure cook for 2 minutes. Quick release when 2 minutes is done.
Drain the water off the noodles into a bowl (I place a bowl under my strainer) to save the starchy water.
Blend the squash and broth. Add the broth, noodles, seasonings, and about 1/4 cup of starch water to the pot. Set the pot to saute and let it simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed. The squash and noodles will cook together for a thick and savory pasta dish. Salt and pepper along the way as needed.
Serve in a bowl topped with sage, and other toppings to preference and taste.
Per Serving: 260 Calories; 55.4 g carbohydrates; 1 g fat; 9.7 g protein.
What I Used In This Recipe
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When meal planning, I often have a theme for each night. Meat Monday, Taco Tuesday, Waffle Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Fun Friday…
I like to prep and cook meat Sunday night, but if not Sunday, then for sure I prep something on Monday. I will be sure to cook a meat that will likely be leftover for another night of the week. Thursday’s are often leftover night (aka Throwback Thursday). So this is when the leftover meat shows up again in a different meal.
This week Sloppy Joes are on the menu. I will cook up a double batch of this recipe. We will eat half tonight as sandwiches. Then what is leftover will either be eaten on salads or in crunch wraps later in the week.
We rarely eat out, cooking in for most of our meals. However, I am just like the next busy gal. I don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen each and everyday. Some of these little steps of planning and preparation save me tons of time. I feel like many would be shocked at how little time I am actually cooking each week.
This recipe is a lower carb version of Sloppy Joes, but it is just as delicious! Sloppy Joes are a family favorite around here. When my husband started eating lower carb, I set out to recreate our favorite recipe to make it more macro-friendly to meet his nutritional goals.
Of course, I took the basic recipe and did my own thing. I’m such a rebel like that. Actually, I am just a bad planner. Something will sound good to me, or I will realize I have certain foods that need to be used. I will draw some inspiration from a recipe or two and do my thing. Most of the time this works out well. There are definitely some flops here and there of course. There is for sure a lot of “how can I do this better’s!”
I cooked this in the instapot and would highly recommend doing the same. It was perfect!
*Release of deep breath. It’s Friday! Feels like another whirlwind of a week again. I’m happy to be cruising into the weekend today! I am excited to share with you some of my favorites this week.
This chicken marinade. This favorite is fresh on my mind because I literally just threw it together for our chicken for tonight and for the weekend. This chicken is absolutely AMAZING. In my family we kind of all have a love-hate relationship with white meat chicken. Overall I prefer the texture to darker meat. However, I (we) CANNOT stand it when it is chewy, tough, dry, etc.
Enter this marinade combo. The result will be tender, juicy, perfectly caramelized chicken. Marinating chicken in yogurt tenderizes the chicken. Also, a little fat added, such as EVOO or full fat yogurt, helps break down the potential toughness of white meat chicken as well.
Then, to make this marinade SUPER simple, the ranch dressing packets are awesome. This ranch seasoning is the perfect marriage to the yogurt dressing. I am typically biased to Hidden Valley, but my grocery shopper at Kroger subbed me the Kroger brand. It will be just fine.
When I am using chicken tenders, I cut out the “tender” part. I can’t stand that chewy vein of fat that runs through tenders, so I cut it out which makes the tenders into SUPER tiny pieces. I like to cook these in the air fryer. I line the tray with foil (pro tip), spray the foil with nonstick spray, line the chicken tenders on the foil, and then air fry for 15 minutes. I flip the chicken only for the last few minutes. Letting them cook on the one side for a longer time allows the chicken to caramelize. With larger pieces of chicken I will grill.
So in conclusion – marry white meat chicken with greek yogurt (and EVOO for some healthy fat), and your chicken will be juicy, tender, and so so good.
It is no secret, if you follow me on Instagram, that I love Built Bar products. Every morning upon waking, I take a Built Boost (a BCAA, vitamin supplement) with my probiotic. It is caffeine free, but my energy is boosted by all the vitamins in this supplement. I like to drink coffee during my quiet time, so with the caffeine-free boost, I don’t feel guilty about consuming too much caffeine.
Then, after my quiet time, I do my workout before the kids awake. I typically don’t allow a whole lot of time between my probiotic and my workout, so I don’t like to eat much. However, I have found that I do so much better if I have some carbs and protein to work with. The Built Go is perfect! It’s a gel, so being a distance runner, I am very used to (and fine with) consuming. This has a perfect 1:1 ratio of carbs and protein with a little caffeine and no fat. It’s great, fast-hitting, workout fuel for me.
Then, everyday I consume at least one Built bar. Often, if I have to rush out the door after my workout to take the kids to school or start my day, I will grab a bar for quick protein and carbs. I find if I can get some fuel in me soon after my workout, my recovery is so much better. I can workout 5-6 days a week easily if I’m fueling well because I am recovering well. My mind and energy levels are so much more efficient when I workout, so I like to be able to get my body moving as often as I can.
**Pro-tip: Store the bars in the refrigerator and/or freezer. They are delicious out of the refrigerator, but also, it will help them last. They are not filled with a ton of preservatives, so they will go bad after some time (like a year, but still).
***The bars are delicious both cold out of the refrigerator and room temperature. However, for a delectable dessert/treat, warm them in the microwave for 15-18 seconds and eat with a spoon/fork. 😍
****Also, I truly share these products because I love them. I love the way they taste, make me feel, fuel me, etc. I do however have a coupon code you can use (fitfoodie10) to save you money. You can always use my code in conjunction with with their sales as well, so you can save yourself quite a bit of money if you time it right. Right now they are offering 12% off for Breast Cancer awareness, and then you can get an additional 10% off with my code.
I love some podcasts to listen to while driving, running errands, working around the house, walking, and working outside. I listen to a wide variety of podcasts – some inspirational, some motivational, some true crime, and some are just pure fun.
Lately, I have been thoroughly enjoying the Office Ladies podcast. I don’t know if you have noticed but the year 2020 has been a heavy-hitting year. 😳 Obviously I’m joking – it’s definitely no secret that 2020 has been a heavy year. Therefore, are times when I just need to laugh! I can handle the serious for so long, and then I just want something light and humorous to focus on.
This podcast has been just that (light and humorous) for several reasons.
They are funny ladies – chatty – so you have to be ok with that, but when I need some lightheartedness in my ear, they are the perfect medicine.
I love The Office. So a deep dive into each and every episode is simply a delight to me.
It’s an excuse to go back and watch each episode!
It makes me laugh, and I love to laugh. 😁 ❤️
If you follow my stories on Instagram you will see my frequent posts of crunch wraps. This brand of wraps is so good. They are light, which helps them crunch up so well. Also, they don’t have that odd “low carb” flavor or texture like other lower carb wraps can have.
Something that I have added this week to set my wraps apart is some strawberry jam to my chicken and turkey crunch wraps. Along with cheese, onion, peppers, and lettuce, the strawberry jam adds the perfect compliment, complexity, and sweetness that makes me want to keep eating these over and over without getting bored.
Although I’m not sure how I feel about pulling out the boots yet, I was excited to see these Toms’ boots on sale at Amazon.
Toms’ boots and shoes are so comfortable to me! My feet are so happy in this brand! I have had several pairs with all sizes and shapes of heels, and in all of them, I can (and do) shop all day in comfort. So when I saw these on sale, I was super excited to grab them. This color is a great compliment to my wardrobe and existing shoe selection.
This Oasis tea from Advocare. This tea is simply herbs and vitamins, but it is a sweet, soothing treat to me. I love to sip this in the afternoon, after school (when things can be CRAZY in my house), or in the evening after dinner. It’s a warm, sweet filler that is enjoyable as well as comforting. I can tell we are changing seasons here because all of a sudden I go from craving smoothies and ice cream, to wanting hot drinks, teas, and coffees. You can use this link to get 10% off if you want to order some for yourself. It has 0 calories and 0 macros.
Hope some of these tips and products will inspire your Friday to be a fabulous start to your weekend!
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