Don’t you just love pasta, especially cheesy pasta?!? This pasta is made with Italian chicken sausage, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and one of my favorite ingredients, spinach! Spinach is so good for you and in recipes like this you don’t even taste it, but you benefit from all its health benefits. This recipe makes for a great quick and easy family night dinner. You can prepare it ahead of time and put it in the oven 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat!
Olive Oil Spray
½ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup of Ricotta
8 oz part-skim mozzarella, shredded
6 cooked Italian Sausages (you can also us uncooked)
12 oz of brown rice Rigatoni pasta
1 tsp EVOO
2 cloves of minced garlic
½ sweet onion, minced finely
1 bag (about 10 oz) of fresh spinach
4 cups of your favorite Marinara Sauce
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13” baking dish with olive oil spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a medium bowl, combine the Parmigiano-Reggiano, ricotta, and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, drizzle EVOO and sauté the minced onion until translucent then add the minced garlic, about a minute. Add the fresh spinach and season with salt and pepper and cook the spinach down. Add the cooked/cut sausage to the skillet. (If you are not using precooked sausage, be sure to brown the sausage breaking it up into small bits until cooked through before sauteing the onion, garlic and spinach.) Add the marinara sauce to the skillet of sausage, onion, garlic and spinach and cook on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture thickens, then simmer on low. When the pasta water comes to a boil, cook the brown rice pasta until al dente. Put half of the cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the meat sauce. Spoon the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted with golden brown edges.
On Monday night I made my husband brown fired rice and mini shrimp. The recipe was very easy and tasty! I wish I would have had peas and carrots to add to the rice, but I made due with what I had. I had a cup of leftover brown rice, that I wanted to use up from the weekend., shrimp and I always have eggs! He loves fried rice and shrimp, so I thought it would be a quick and easy way to use up a few ingredients I had on hand. This is a healthy dinner filled with protein, healthy carbs and omega-3′s. The recipe takes less than 15 minutes and has five ingredients; how easy is that?
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1 organic egg
1 cup of mini pre-cooked shrimp (deveined and no tail)
3 drops soy sauce
3 drops sesame oil
1 tablespoon of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a small pan drizzle a tablespoon of EVOO. Crack one large organic egg and scramble. Add 1 cup of cooked brown rice to the pan and warm through. Add the shrimp, I used pre-cooked shrimp, so I cooked the shrimp for no more than a minute, to heat through. You know the shrimp has been heated through when they start to curl up tighter. You don’t want to cook shrimp too long, otherwise they become tough and rubbery in texture. If you aren’t using pre-cooked shrimp, be sure to devein and remove tails and cook for about a minute in a seperate pan. Once the brown rice and shrimp have been heated through add 3 drops of soy sauce and 3 drops of sesame sauce and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. I am always really careful with how much salt I add to a recipe, that being said, soy sauce and sesame sauce has a lot of sodium so you may or may not need to add salt. If you have peas and carrots they would definitely be a great addition to the rice. Plate and serve with your favorite tarter sauce!
About a month ago, my husband and I went to a Red Bulls soccer game with another couple. We were all so excited to go to the game, but we wanted to first stop to eat. We decided to meet our friends at their favorite Mexican Food restaurant, before we walked over to the game. This restaurant was unlike any other Mexican food restaurant I had ever eaten at. The menu was full of surprising dishes. Of course they had taco salads, burros, enchiladas, tostadas, tacos and tamales, but their specialties were surprising difference. Their specialties included, shrimp veracruz, adovada ribs, relleno dinner and my favorite Victoria’s chicken chili plate! Granted I am not saying these dishes are low in calories, but I was in love with this restaurant when my Victoria chicken chili plate came out and it was a juicy grilled chicken breast on a bed of lettuce and Mexican rice with a side of whole pinto beans and I did half red sauce and green sauce! It was delicious! I have never had such a healthy Mexican food in a restaurant before. This recipe was inspired by the fabulous Victoria’s chicken chili plate. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Be sure to have a good red sauce or green sauce, its key ton this dish!
3 organic chicken breast
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Mexican Seasoning Blend
1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese
3 cups red sauce (or green)
Begin by seasoning both sides of the 3 chicken breast, with salt, pepper and Mexican seasoning blend. In a skillet drizzle EVOO and place each chicken breast in the pan, cooking each side about 4 to 6 minutes until golden brown. If the chicken breast are thick, you may need to fillet them open and cook the filleted side for an additional 4 to 6 minutes. While chicken is cooking grate 1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and set aside. Once chicken is fully cooked pour the red sauce (or green sauce) into the pan and turn stove on high and reduce red sauce, until thickened. Sprinkle about 1/3 of a cup of the pepper jack and cheddar cheese mixture to each chicken breast. For presentation and a perfect weeknight meal prepare Mexican rice and pinto beans. In a large serving platter create a bed of Mexican rice and layer each chicken breast on top. Drizzle the reduced red sauce over the chicken and rice; add pinto beans to the sides of the platter and garnish with the remaining cheese and fresh cilantro.
Hope you enjoy!
Good Morning! I wanted to share with you a little bit about endocrine disrupters that we come in contact with daily. Some of the endocrine disruptions like pesticide laden food, we can avoid, but others like air pollution we can’t really run from. Unfortunately, America is focused more on the bottom line, rather than the health of the people in our country. You may be asking yourself right now, what is an endocrine disrupter; well here is a definition to help you understand what I am talking about. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. A wide range of substances, both natural and man-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption, including pharmaceuticals, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers such as bisphenol A.
Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. I know this is a heavy topic for some, but it is important for you to know what you’re up against; if you’re true desire is to live a healthy life! It’s sad that we have to fight to have a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, Americas are accustomed to a quick and easy lifestyle, and usually that comes with fast food, long days and late nights, little or no time to work-out or cook at home. The rise of obesity is staggering, cancer is on the rise, and there are more and more people with health related issues than ever before. Did you ever stop to think what could be causing it? What has changed in America over the last century? Here is a list of a few environmental factors that have caused these epidemics in America. In short, watch what you’re eating, putting on your skin, and be sure to exercise daily! If you don’t have your health you won’t have much!
Things to Avoid:
Plastics (have been on the rise since the 1950’s)
Processed foods – artificial preservatives and colors, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, etc.
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Sorry I have been MIA since Sunday! My life last week was non-stop and I was trying to catch up at work and at home. My hubby’s birthday was Tuesday too, so that added more to my plate, of course! But I am feeling good this morning, feeling blessed and excited that I got a good hour and half workout in before 8 AM! Working out in the morning starts my day off so well and makes me feel accomplished! Now I have to continue to eat right the remainder of the day and we’ll call it a success!
Tomorrow was Workout Wednesday, but we will have to supplement and be okay with Thursday! I have been reading a lot about carb cycling and there are several trainers I really like that push this type of program. Jamie Eason includes carb cycling in the week 10 of her 12 week LivFit trainer. Chris Powell was on Dr. Oz talking about it the other night, and several trainers on Bodybuilding.com also include this type of system in their weight loss programs. I would agree that this type of system is the key to eliminating unwanted pounds. It is critical that we include carbohydrates in our diets, but the key is knowing when we should and when we shouldn’t. So I will try my best to explain it to you! On high intensity workout days, for example legs, you should add more carbohydrates to your diet, but on lower intensity workout days, for example arms, you should minimize your carbohydrate intake. No matter what day it is, you should always start your morning off with a breakfast that includes carbohydrates. Carbohydrates fuel your muscles and your body giving you energy for the day, thus making it very important no matter what day it is to include carbohydrates. A more technical definition would be…carb cycling takes the macronutrients (the proteins, fats and carbs) of your meals and manipulates them to reduce body fat to very low levels, with as little muscle cannibalization as possible. I hope this was helpful information to you. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.