Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini Pizza Bake


   Hey there, everyone!
          How is the summer going for you all? We were super lucky to snag a beach camping spot, just outside of town. It was such a great 2 weeks. Sometimes the least unexpected, unplanned vacations are the best!

   My kids lived like homeless beach bums the entire time, we had great weather and lots of friends out to see us! Can't ask for much more. I hate to admit it, but I was actually missing working out! Even though I was killing myself hauling the kids 398 zillion beach toys, chairs, rafts and umbrella- 12 times a day, I still felt a bit guilty! I had a perma sweat-moustache, so I must of been getting some exercise!! :)

   We came into town a few times to wash towels and clean up. It's amazing how the second a gal is in the door, you start thinking about housework, bills, cooking etc.....I prefer to just ignore that and go back to the beach! Through it all, I managed to maintain my weight within one pound. I am very happy with that, and I'll take it! It's a true testament to what a huge part of a healthy lifestyle eating is. In the winter when I was recovering from surgery, I was off the gym for over 12 weeks. Bed rest for a lot of that. I maintained my weight within a 2 pound range. With little to no movement some days. If you can't get a workout in, don't throw yourself  onto the lawn at Mcdonald's and rock in the fetal position, covered in french fry grease....don't give up!!!!!

   When it was just the kids and I at the campsite, I literally just can't buy the treat foods! If you don't have it, you can't eat it! They don't need it and God knows I don't! And nothing will remind you of that faster, than living in a bathing suit! If there are chips there, I am eating them. And then before I know it, I'm looking like a busted can of biscuits in my bathing suit! No thanks. 
Not to say we didn't have any treats while we were there, I just like to make them count. And now, thanks to my friend Kira, I've been having naughty dreams about the peanut buttercup blizzard at Dairy Queen. It's dirty talking me in my sleep, I think I'll go get one "for the kids" on the next hot day! I'm sure it will be just awful, and I will hate it. Right??

Let's cook!

   I found this recipe on line, and it caught my eye. Spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles are 2 fav's in my house. This uses both. Plus, I've forced more than one friend to buy the veggie spiraler, and they want ideas!
I love leftovers like I love myself. It gives me lunch for at least the next day, and it helps to not grab something out of range because I always have a go to. This recipe can easily be adjusted to a huge portion if you have a Jesus sized squash, like I did, and adding more meat and or toppings. I made this 2 nights ago, and we still have enough for tomorrow. It can also easily be done up as a vegetarian meal. Do it! Now!

Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini Pizza Bake 
You need:
1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds/pulp removed
2 medium-large zucchini
butter for sauteing

1 lb ground meat or chicken breast (I had bison out, so I used that) 
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 can of chunky tomatoes, juice drained (I had a basil olive oil and garlic one that was great)
1 can of your fav homemade or store tomato sauce
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP dried basil
1 tsp Oregano
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4 eggs, whisked (this is optional. I found they don't really do much and aren't noticeable. However, if you are going vegetarian on this, I'd keep them in for the extra protein)

cheddar cheese and/or fresh mozza for broiling on top, to serve (optional)

***note, this one takes a bit of time because you need to bake your squash, cool it then assemble and bake.
Give yourself 2 hours from when you put your squash in to when you want to eat.

Place your seeded squash cut side down on a baking tray with an inch or so of water. Bake at 400 for 45-50 minutes. Until outside is easily pierced with a fork. When they are done flip your big yellow booies up and let them start cooling. This takes a while, those buggers are hot.

In a large frying pan, add a 1-2 tbsp's or so of butter, and add your onions. Cook a few minutes then add the garlic.

Cook until onions are tender. Add in your tomatoes, half the sauce (1-2 cups) and all your spices.

Turn it to low, and simmer.
If you have a spiraler (if you don't, friends off) spiral your zuch's now. If you don't, do you have a mandolin? if not, sheesh, what is happening at your house for god sakes! You can cut the zuch as thin as possible (think noodle strands) and that will work. Or, shred with a cheese grater on the largest hole. Set aside. Turn off your sauce.

Place a colander over a bowl and using a fork, pull the squash strands into the colander. Use an oven mitt if it's still warm.
Once all the strands are scraped out, grab a few paper towels or a clean dish towel, and push down on the squash to release some of the water.

In your large casserole dish (one with high sides, if you have) add your squash, zuch and meat sauce. Stir nicely to combine. If you feel like it is getting a bit dry looking now that it's mixed, add the rest of your sauce from the jar now. Dump it on! :)

If you're using the eggs, beat them in a little bowl and pour them on top now, stirring them in to mix evenly.
Bake this little dish o' loving at 375 for 50 or so minutes, until you can't stand it anymore! Once it was done, I broiled some shredded cheddar on half for my kids, then sliced some fresh mozza for on top. Broil just a few minutes until bubbly.

And there you go! It tastes awesome, my kids ate it (win), and Grey gave it a solid 7 gags out of 10! Haha. For real though, that kid is a gagger. Anyways.....make it and love it!! You're welcome!

original recipe pingback to "platefullofpaleo.com"

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken

   I'm back! I seriously can not believe how long it's been since my last post! I am done my holiday's, and am back on here like normal! I appreciate all the messages and texts regarding my random absence! Sometimes life gets in the way! :)

   We had a lot of back to back things happening in June, some of which involved good friends, family, booze and dirty food. Ok, all of the things had those factors!! Needless to say, my pants are tight and I feel like a beached whale! But like I've mentioned before, I'm learning to allow myself the good times and then picking up, and back to the gym when it's all said and done! And I did, and I'm fairly certain I had beer and clam coming out of my pores on the treadmill tonight! :))

   Summer gets tricky because it's hot, for one. No one likes sweating to death over the stove in the heat. Plus, there is tons of fun stuff to do! Going to the gym is hard to make a priority in the summer. I mostly workout at home, as we have a pretty great gym here. But when my kids are home, I get the sweet pleasure of hearing about Jedi's and Angry Birds basically the entire time I'm on the treadmill. Anyone with kids home from school should feel my pain on this one! It can be a challenge, but try to get some activities in and get outside!

   For a few weeks I thought my new camera was broken. I kept trying to load my photos to post and the camera would die. After several angry sessions, some swearing and rage....I finally decided to sick my tech-dork husband on it. Turns out I was plugging into the wrong spot (huge surprise there) and it was shorting the battery. So, easy fix. I just had to turn down my dumb a little. Haha!!

   This recipe tonight is a super easy one. Great for hot summer days because it's done in the crock pot. Only a few ingredients and makes lots for great leftovers. I had a box of organic ancient grains quinoa and served it over that, with some sauteed red peppers. Done. Thank me later! :)

Honey Sesame Crock Pot Chicken
You need:
3-5 boneless chicken breasts (depending how much you want leftover, I used 5 medium sized ones)
1/2 a white onion, chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
1 cup raw honey
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used coconut amino's, as a soy free option)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne (adjusted for little peeps)
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp chili flakes (or red pepper flakes for less heat)
sea salt and pepper to taste
sesame seeds
chives to garnish (optional)

1 red pepper cut into matchsticks
quinoa or rice for serving with, if desired

Place chicken into slow cooker and season with sea salt and pepper, turn to low

In a mixing bowl add the rest of the ingredients, excluding the red pepper (if using). Whisk until smooth.

Pour mixture over top of chicken in the crock pot. Making sure all chicken has been mixed with sauce to prevent drying/burning.

Lid on, no peeking for 2 hours! My crock pot cooks really hot, this was done for me after 3 hours on low. You want no pink remaining, (duh) and basically falling apart and easy to shred.

Once the chicken is done, transfer the meat using a slotted spoon, onto a plate. Leave the sauce in the crock pot.

Using 2 forks, shred the chicken into bite sized pieces. Everybody back into the pool. Aka, chicken back in the sauce, lid on until you're ready to serve. Make sure to mix it all back up reallllllllllllllllllllllll good.

Like I said, I made ancient grains quinoa to go with this. We have never had this particular brand, and it was good. Fun to try something new.
Once the chicken was sitting I started the quinoa. Then just sauteed the red pepper sticks in some butter and garlic.
Plate your quinoa or rice, then some peppers, and finally your chicken. Spoon some sauce over top, add chives and or sesame seeds and BOOM! heaven. Or just slap it all on the plate in no particular order like a barbarian, what do I care.
 So tender, flavorful and melt in your mouth. You'll have trouble keeping your grimy little hands off this! :)

original recipe pingback to "www.fitandbusy.wordpress.com"