Gorgonzola Chicken Alfredo Over Spaghetti Squash

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Gorgonzola Chicken Alfredo Over Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

1 small to medium spaghetti squash

1.5-2 lbs. chicken breast tenders

1 egg, beaten + tbsp. water

2 c Italian flavored panko bread crumbs

1 tbsp. canola oil

1 tbsp. flour

1 c skim milk

1/2 c gorgonzola cheese

1/4 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)

black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400*. Score squash with a knife in random spots all over squash.  Put whole squash on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes to an hour.

2. Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper to taste.  Dip each tender into egg/water mixture.  Coat tender in panko crumbs.  Place tenders on a broiler pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Lightly spray the top of the tenders with cooking spray.  Bake in oven 20-25 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165* is reached.

3.  While squash and tenders bake, mix oil and flour in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add milk stirring constantly.  Allow mixture to thicken to desired consistency.  Add gorgonzola cheese, 1/4 tsp. of salt, and pepper to taste.  Heat through.  (Add more milk if sauce gets too thick and reheat if necessary.)

4. Once squash is cooked, cut in half vertically.  Use a tablespoon to scoop out the seeded pulp in the center and discard.  Use a fork to scrape the tender flesh of the squash, which should resemble spaghetti.

5. To plate, add one cup of squash to plate.  Top with two tenders and two tablespoons of the gorgonzola alfredo sauce.  Enjoy!

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As for today’s eating:

I began with cereal with only a small splash of milk because I needed to get to the grocery and didn’t realize Chris drank until after pouring the cereal and slicing the overly-ripe banana.DSC01117 Lunch was a ham and muenster wrap with mustard, few spinach leaves that weren’t wilted, and pickles.  I enjoyed a sliced apple on the side.DSC01125

Snacking included this bar Mom brought back from Trader Joe’s Chicago location along with lots of other goodies.DSC01126

Tonight’s dinner included a fast and messy roast beef po’boy on french bread with reduced fat swiss, lowfat mayo and lettuce and tomato.  I had tutoring after work and needed to grocery shop, so Chris suggested this quick dinner.  I was so hungry I failed to snap a picture.

I have been craving cupcakes for several weeks now due to that darn show “Cupcake Wars.”  I made an attempt to bake some tonight, which do look pretty with the ganache like icing, but did not taste so pretty.  I managed to eat the tops of two (the icing was excellent), but most of the spongy cake stuck to the paper. 

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Actually underneath the icing lies deflated cupcakes; when I took them out of the oven they began to shrink.  I am not quite sure what happened, but obviously there will be no recipe sharing.  I shall try again some day.

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Taken As A Sign

When I opened my webpage last night I got a page error saying WordPress was a Read-Only website and nothing could be posted to my personal webpage, so I took it as a sign that I wasn’t supposed to blog and relaxed the night away. 

I woke up bright and early and was able to cook breakfast and pack my lunch without it being a random mix of items thrown together.  Breakfast was a fried yolky egg with a whole wheat English muffin with a tad of Brummel & Brown.  I also had a Chobani Strawberry Banana Greek Yogurt for some additional staying power.

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My salad for today’s lunch was similar to a Cobb salad in the way I lined up everything, but it was missing a few essentials when it comes to being compared to one like boiled egg, avocado, blue cheese, and bacon.  Though that didn’t keep me from enjoying it.  It turned out to be more of a club salad instead.

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I started with a bed of butter mix lettuce and iceberg.  The lettuce mix was topped with grape tomaters, sliced turkey, reduced fat colby jack, and broccoli slaw.  I topped the salad with 2 tablespoons of light ranch dressing.  Gotta have ranch on a club salad.  I had a large apple on the side.

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The snacks of the day included a Cherry Pie Larabar and tortilla chips with some spicy salsa.

After tutoring I headed home, did a few chores then made my way to the grocery.  I picked up a couple portabellas to roast for dinner, but turns out I am not a fan of them. 

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I baked them at 400* and I think they would have been better grilled.  Anyway, my sandwich thin was smeared with dijon mustard, low fat mayo; and the mushroom was topped with muenster, spinach, and roma tomatoes before being removed from the bun.  I only ate a little more than half of the shroom before its removal only to finish the toppings and cheese.  Leftover corn from last night’s dinner was enjoyed on the side.

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I made Chris a portabella sandwich as well.  Before I even sat down and finished up snapping pictures, he had finished his sandwich and he said, “It was just okay, but I don’t want it ever again.”  A few minutes later [laughing] he pulls the entire mushroom from a bowl that was holding his garlic-buttered corn.  He did not even eat but one tiny bite of the portabella.  I’ll take that as a sign and skip the portabellas next time. 😉

Not Your Everyday Football Fare

Any Saints fans out there?  Tonight was a big game for the “Bless You Boys" against the “dirty birds.”  And thankfully the New Orleans Saints pulled it together to get a W on the board against the Atlanta Falcons.

Earlier today Mom and I went to La Madeleine’s for lunch and she asked if I was planning football food on the dinner menu.  I desperately needed to cook my spaghetti squash that I purchased a few weeks back, so I wasn’t planning on typical game food, but more of a meal to go along with squash.  Just before the big game I asked Chris what he felt like eating for dinner with the squash and replied pork chops.  So on to the store I went to collect much needed staples and pork chops, which just so happened to be buy 1 get 1 free today.  Score!

Prior to running to pick up groceries, I turned on the oven and prepped the squash for roasting as previously done here roasting the whole squash.  I asked hub to stick it in the oven so it would be nearly done by the time I got back. 

Once home, I seasoned my center cut bone-in pork chops with salt and pepper and browned them in a pan sprayed with nonstick spray for 5 minutes on each side.  The chops were removed and I added a sliced green pepper, sliced onion, and a tad of water to the same pan used to cook chops stirring and scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  As the vegetables cooked sown I removed the seeded pulp from the squash and then scraped out the spaghetti strands to be added to the pepper and onion mixture.  Along with the veggies, I added about 3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce to the pan.  The chops were placed on top of the veggie mixture, covered, and  cooked on low for twenty minutes more to ensure they were cooked through. 

This meal came together on a whim and turned out great!

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The squash did not keep its natural yellow color; it absorbed the teriyaki brown color, but it was still tasty.  The dish reminded me much of braised cabbage and pork.  Chris said “dinner was great” and it reminded him of french onion soup. 

As for my earlier eats today, I started with oats—more because I wanted to use my new bowl and less of the fact that I had no banana or milk to put in it.

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So I stirred sweet potato pecan butter into my very plain oatmeal and topped it with Fage Greek Yogurt with Honey.  It turned out to be a satisfying, not very warm breakfast.

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Mom and I headed to the gym a while later for cardio.  I did 20 minutes on the killer of a stair stepper, 20 minutes on the arc trainer, and 10 minutes on the bicycle.  I finished with some stretching to try to relieve the pain in my lower back/tailbone area and left hip.

Mom and I then stopped for lunch at our usual.  I ordered the wild fields salad and a bowl of country potato soup with cheese and bacon, please.

salad

Spring mix with balsamic vinaigrette

soup

Totally.hit.the.spot.

I also had a few bites of Mom’s pasta salad and sandwich.

While waiting for dinner to cook I shared a piece of cheese with my German Shepherd, Niko.

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And during the game—no beer for me, just coffee…

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No nachos, wings, or burgers; just an apple.

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Winter is here and evident– The weather temperatures are in the forties, my hands are red and dry, it is so cold it hurts.  The frigid temperatures don’t stay long around here in southeastern Louisiana, so when it is this cold out it is quite the adjustment.

Waking up this a.m. all I wanted was some warming oatmeal.

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My oatmeal was cooked on the stove for 5 minutes on medium heat including:

~1/4 c old fashioned oats

~1/4 c water

~1/4 c low fat milk

~mashed banana

~pinch of salt

~dash of vanilla

~generous dash of cinnamon

I crumbled a small date, pecan, chocolate chip muffin on top with a spoonful of peanut butter.  I also sipped a mug of soothing mango black tea.

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Ummm, I need to invest in some winter placemats; please forgive my continuous fall colors.  😉

Lunch was more of my delicious gumbo with a crisp apple.

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I did add some water during the reheating to make it more soupy.  This picture was snapped fresh out of the refrigerator so looks slightly thick.

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After work today I headed home and decided to forego working out for a nap.  I felt sore from yesterday’s workout and worn out.  So after my snack, I took an hour nap.  I enjoyed the rest of my favorite hummus with some baby carrots.  I also had a few miniature chocolate peanut butter cups Mom brought back from her first trip to Trader Joe’s Chicago back in September.

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Tonight’s dinner was requested by Chris.  I told him I had ground beef and pork chops and asked him what he wanted for dinner.  He requested chili.  And of course with this chilly weather, I obliged with his request.  Using jarred tomato basil sauce and the recipe on the back of the chili powder I made the chili with a few adjustments.  I’ve made this twice before and Chris thoroughly enjoys it.

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 Chili Recipe (my changes in parentheses)

1 pound lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil (added)

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. cumin, ground

1 tsp. salt (more added to taste)

cayenne pepper to taste (added)

2 tbsp. honey (substituted this for sugar)

1 1/2 cup tomato basil sauce (substituted this for 8 oz. canned, plain sauce)

2 tbsp. ketchup (added)

1 1/2 cup water (original called for 1 cup)

1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (added)

Optional toppings: pita chip crumbs, greek yogurt, cheese (added)

Directions:  Heat oil in large saucepan.  Saute’ onions, garlic, and beef until browned.  Drain any excess liquid.  Add remaining ingredients and stir.  Cook on medium low for 30 minutes.  Plate and top with desired toppings.

I ate my chili with a dollop of 0% greek yogurt and some multigrain pita crumbs. (I knew I saved that bag of crumbs for a reason.)

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This chili recipe is super simple, super filling, and super comforting especially when the cold winter air is in full swing.

What is your “go to” cold weather meal?

Onset of Winter Brings Soup Craving

After seeing pictures of Lentil Soup on some other blogs since the turn of Fall, I have been wanting to make some of my own.  So several weeks ago I purchased a pound of Camellia’s dried lentils intending on simply following the recipe on back of the package for cooking the legumes.  They were stuck in my cabinet with little thought as to when they would be cooked.

I’ve grown up my entire life eating Camellia’s red beans, great northerners, black eye peas, but I do not [think] I have ever eaten lentils.  With the onset of the cooler weather this past weekend, I decided today was the day to conjure up some lentil soup of sorts in addition to using up some of the sweet potatoes from hubby’s garden.

After scrounging the Internet for a recipe after work today, I decided I did not have all of the ingredients needed for each of the recipes I found–including some items I’ve never cooked with like leeks and pancetta as well as some more common items like celery and carrots.  Alternatively, I decided to “wing it.”  The entire time I was a bit nervous as to how it would taste, but Chris and I both agreed it was flavorful and delicious. Okay, truthfully my husband said, “I love it! Are you going to tell them on your blog?  Make it a good one.” 🙂  He also mentioned it had a nice aftertaste and said it made the house smell good.  So here goes!

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Lentil, Sweet Potato, & Bacon Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried lentils, rinsed

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 slices of bacon

6-10 cups water (I used about 8 cups.)

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Salt and Pepper

Optional toppings: hot sauce, gouda cheese, greek yogurt

Directions: In a large pot, brown bacon until cooked through; remove bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.  Drain out most of the bacon grease leaving approximately 1 tablespoon in pot to saute’ onions.  Add onion to pot and sauté for 5-8 minutes until tender.  Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.  Toss in sweet potato cubes, lentils, and 6 cups of water (add more throughout cooking time if necessary to make soup) and stir.  Season soup with curry powder through salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for an hour, stirring occasionally.  Crumble bacon before serving soup.  Ladle soup into bowl and top with desired toppings and bacon pieces.

DSC00360 I ate a bowl of this with way too many of these.

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Crackers  + Brummel & Brown

The rest of today’s meals included:

Sweet Potato Pie + Greek Yogurt + Maple Syrup + Cinnamon for Breakfast.  And a mug of chai tea.

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Lunch was a Sandwich Thin topped with Laughing Cow Light Swiss, Bell Pepper, frozen cucumbers from my refrigerator, spring mix + apple and peanut butter + five Triscuit crackers.

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Surprisingly, my sammie was yummy with frozen, soggy cucumbers and all!

Now I have to go finish cleaning the kitchen and packing leftover soup to stick in the freezer.

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Good Night and Stay Warm! 😉

Bananas Cause Cellulite

Truth or Myth—Revealed!

Someone recently told my mother “bananas cause cellulite” as she sat at work eating her banana.  In my quest to find any truth in this statement, I found the opposite to be true.  In fact, bananas can help in detoxifying the body by increasing blood circulation and ridding the body of unwanted toxins.  Perhaps the woman got bananas confused with something else, but it has not been found to to cause cellulite.  Myth–revealed!

I know bananas are a staple in my diet; I eat them on a daily basis unless I run out, but I certainly do not plan on giving them up any time soon.  They provide the body with ample amounts of potassium, which aids the body in regulating blood circulation.  Additionally, the fiber content in bananas can help with normalizing digestion.  There are so many more advantages including preventing stomach ulcers, reducing kidney cancer in women, boosting moods, and promoting bone health.  

Although bananas get some criticism  about containing too much sugar, the benefits far outweigh the bad.  So eat your bananas, people! 😉

Unfortunately, I was all out of bananas this morning, so I ate a sliced peach in a parfait of sorts.

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I layered greek yogurt, cinnamon and oats granola, peach, raspberry preserves, a drizzle of honey, and a few cinnamon almonds.  Sweet, cold, satisfying!

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With Hot Chai Tea

Today’s lunch included sister’s white beans with sausage, pita chips for dipping, and an apple.

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After work, I headed to the grocery to pick up some staples + ingredients for tonight’s dinner.  Bananas and milk were needed desperately.  Okay, maybe the Talenti Coconut Gelato was not needed, but it looked so good.

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I immediately had to try out this new yogurt.

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It had cherry chunk pieces in it; I wished it had cake chunks instead, but it was tasty.

For dinner tonight, I made pasta with roasted vegetables, feta, and Italian Turkey Sausage.

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Feta Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Sausage

Ingredients:

12 oz. vegetable radiatore (tri-colored pasta)

5 links of Italian Turkey Sausage

Handful of Fresh Spinach

5 Basil Leaves, fresh

Approx. 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

1 zucchini, sliced

20 grape tomatoes

4 oz. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup reserved pasta water

salt and pepper

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400*.  Drizzle tomatoes and zucchini slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat and put in single layer on baking sheet.  Roast for 20 minutes in oven.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is boiling, add a teaspoon of oil to sauté pan.  Heat to medium high.  Cook sausage links for five minutes on medium turning periodically.  Cover and reduce heat; cook 5-6 minutes longer or until 170* inner temperature is reached and sausage is cooked through.  Let sit 5 minutes longer and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.  Before draining pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water for later.  Place spinach and basil in colander; drain pasta in colander to allow spinach and basil to wilt from steamed pasta and water.   Return pasta to pot and add spinach, basil, sausage to pot.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 cup of reserve water to sauté pan used for cooking sausage; scrape any brown bits from pan and stir.  Pour water mixture over the pasta.  Add feta cheese and mix until combined.  Carefully stir in roasted vegetables.  Heat on low fire until warmed through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

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Collecting spinach and basil from garden

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My final opinion—I did not like the bites of whole leaves of basil.  I should have chopped that up into smaller pieces, but the dish was still yummy and not too complicated to cook.

Do you fear any foods that are thought to be healthy by most?

Backtrack Tuesday + Pork Loin Chop with Balsamic Raspberry Reduction

Yesterday was quite eventful on my day off from work.  I had off due to Election Day.  Mid-morning my sister invited me to work out with her husband, Duke, whom is the personal trainer of The Duke Academy.  After a quick breakfast I met my sister at the training facility.

DSC00158 Peanut Butter and Banana on Slice of Whole Wheat Bread

Duke’s training program is hard core (similar to the work outs done on Biggest Loser) as his normal clientele includes college and professional athletes in addition to local children and adults.  After about twenty minutes into our workout, which felt like death from the start, as my sister and I together flipped this gargantuan tire I felt a muscle pull in my back.  I knew I could not continue on with moving the monstrosity of a tire which I stated to my sister and the trainers.  They did not believe me until I was brought to nearly tears.  I was then assisted with doing some not so lady-like stretches by Duke’s assistant trainer, Nat.   Needless to say, I am injured and out of commission as far as working out for the rest of this week for sure.

The rest of my day was spent with my sister and her family.  We ran a few errands, and headed to Michelle’s house for lunch.

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Turkey, Mustard, Onion, Tomato on Toasted Wheat Sammie + Celery and Salsa for Dipping

Then I spent an hour or so lounging on her couch with Baby Breelyn to rest my back.

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Shortly thereafter I arose to eat a snack just before dinner was ready.

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A Sliver of Pound Cake

And finally dinner was ready.  Michelle cooked some pulled BBQ Chicken in the Slow Cooker to have on wheat buns. 

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To make this she put six boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crock pot with chopped onion, chicken stock, salt and pepper.  After cooking on high for 5 hours, she shredded the tender chicken and added a bottle of BBQ sauce.  It cooked for about an hour more and then it was time for devouring.

On side she served a cucumber salad with Italian dressing and red onion and corn on the cob.

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Seriously, I could get used to having someone else cook for me every night!  Two nights in a row dinner was eaten at my sister’s house and it was tasty.  Thanks Meesh!

Once home I had a craving for some snackage, so I ate a small bowl of granola with a bit of low fat milk which hit the spot and killed my craving.

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Onto today…..it was tough getting out of bed this a.m. with the soreness in my lower back.  Moving slowly, I opted to eat instant oatmeal for breakfast.

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Kashi Instant Oatmeal with Half of Banana and Teaspoon of Peanut Butter Mixed In + Hot Chai

For lunch I actually enjoyed the other half of my leftover, soggy Chicken Caesar salad from Monday’s lunch, which I had left in the fridge in my classroom on Monday.

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I brought a honeycrisp apple from home to add some sweetness.

Knowing I would be unable to hit the gym, I stayed a late at work to get some work done.  Once home I ate the other half of my banana from breakfast and a handful of pita chips with some of my sister’s leftover white beans as a dip.  They are so good and I can’t wait to eat some more for lunch tomorrow.

Finally, I began on dinner after defrosting a pack of pork chops from the freezer.  The chops I used were purchased on sale, bone-in center cut pork loin chops, but I would have preferred boneless.

Tonight’s menu included Pork Loin Chops with a Balsamic Raspberry Reduction, Cauliflower Potato Mash, and Peas.

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Pork Loin Chop with Balsamic Raspberry Reduction

4 center cut pork loin chops

Garlic Powder

Dried Rosemary

Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons of seedless black raspberry preserves

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350*.  Season both sides of chops with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary.  Spray oven proof pan with cooking spray and heat to medium high.  Brown chops on both sides for 3-4 minutes per side.  Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring vinegar, preserves and pinch of salt to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally until reduced by half or desired thickness is reached.  Once chops are browned, put oven-proof pan in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes more until pork reaches 165* or cooked through to desired doneness.  Plate chop and drizzle with the balsamic raspberry reduction before serving.

Cauliflower Potato Mash

1 package frozen cauliflower

1 baking potato

1/4 cup low fat milk

1/3 cup less fat chive and onion cream cheese

Salt and Pepper

Directions:  Cook cauliflower according to package directions.  Peel and chop potato.  Put into boiling water and cook until fork tender.  Drain.  Combine all ingredients plus salt and pepper to taste.  Using a potato masher or electric mixer, mash/whip mixture to desired consistency.

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  The flavor combination of the rosemary and balsamic raspberry worked exceptionally well together.  Also, the one potato mixed into the cauliflower gives all the flavor and texture of mashed potatoes with some added flavor, nutrients, and texture from the cauliflower.  Overall, I was pleased with this meal.  Again, I worry about meats being undercooked so probably tend to overcook it.  Just alter cooking times above to suit your preference or better yet use a meat thermometer.

I’m currently icing my back watching some Criminal Minds.  Cross your fingers my back heals quickly.  If you have any advice on a speedy recovery it would be greatly appreciated. 🙂