Shaking Things Up A Bit!

Smoothie

Lately Ive really been trying to get healthier. Not just working out, but my whole lifestyle. Eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water, eating non-processed foods etc. You get the picture.

I’ve really given a lot of thought about going Paleo but its pretty hard, as well as unreasonable, to expect my family to make that transition also. So I’ve done what I can for now, until they decide they’re into it.

More protein, fish, veggies, fruit, and water.
Less bad carbs (picture me bawling) – no white bread, no white rice, minimal white potatoes, and a very minimal amount of sugar. Whats too bad about that?

My wonderful fiancé got me a Ninja Blender that is out of this world! As of two weeks ago, I have started each day with a GREEN SHAKE!

Load that baby up with everything good for you, and on gym days you can even add your protein powder to it! I personally prefer the frozen fruit because it makes it thicker and colder, it doesn’t rot like fresh fruit does, and its way more affordable.

Here are the main ingredients I use daily:
Fresh Spinach (Target has the cheapest bags $1.99, and its freezeable)
Bananas
Carrots
Kale
Celery (you get used to the taste after the first drink)
Frozen Fruit Mix (no added sugar or sodium. Target has the most affordable $10 mixed bags)
I usually get three bags of varying mixes to have a variety during the week. Blueberries, blackberries, red raspberries. Mango, pineapple, peaches. Strawberries, mangos, bananas.

When you make a smoothie you need some sort of liquid. A friend of mine suggested I use warm brewed Green Tea, which is GENIUS! Not only is it wonderful for you, but it helps melt the frozen fruit.

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Daily Smoothie

1 Cup Spinach
1 Carrot (cut in a few pieces)
1 Banana
1 Stalk Celery (cut in pieces)
1 Cup (sometimes more) mixed frozen fruit
About a 1/2 cup liquid. I add it slowly until my smoothie is the consistency I want.

Blend until smooth, and add to whatever glass or bottle you want! These smoothies are so very filling, and healthy! You get a huuuuge dose of veggies and fruits. I have replaced my breakfast with them, and they keep me full until about 12pm (drinking smoothie at 7am).

Enjoy! 🙂

Pinwheel Skirt Steak with Spinach and Feta


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Ive always wanted to make a pinwheel something or other.. So I decided to make this recipe I found on Pinterest. I normally dont trust recipes from pinterest, but what they hey.. I made some changes to this recipe, you will see as follows. It actually turned out really really well.

Prep: 20 minutes
Roast: at 425°F for 25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 thin skirt steak (2 pounds)
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, I used the garlic herb kind
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (NO.)
2 tablespoons seasoned dry bread crumbs (NO)
1 egg yolk (NO)
2 fresh garlic cloves, diced small
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Meat ties/twine

I rubbed the meat down with a black peppercorn rub about 2hrs before I wanted to make it and set it aside. When time came to make dinner, I flattened the meat out on a cutting board, one at a time.

In a small bowl mix together spinach, garlic, feta, and whatever spices you want. I added salt, pepper, a little onion and garlic powder.

With the meat flat on the board, use a spoon and put half of the mixture on top of the meat. Spread the mixture to all ends, and make sure its pressed in. Start rolling your pinwheel from one end of the steak, not the side. You want this to resemble a log once its rolled.

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After you’ve gotten both stuffed and rolled, tie them with your meat ties or twine. I have ties that came with my rotisserie, so I use those.

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Spray a baking sheet with a small amount of PAM or whatever you have on hand, and roast at 425° for 25min. This makes for a perfectly crusty outside, and pink inside! Remember to let your meat rest for 10min before cutting into it so you dont lose all the juices/flavor.

I served this with Roasted small golden potatoes, and bacon brussels sprouts! Mmmmm… Definitely something I’ll make again!

Jumbo Shells Stuffed With Italian Sausage

I am not much of a red sauce fan, so I tend to steer clear of lasagnas and things of that nature. I ran across a similar recipe to this a while back and decided to try and make it my own.

 

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Pasta Filling

1 12oz box jumbo pasta shells
1 pound spicy Italian Sausage
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup Spinach, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano 

 

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In a big enough pot, boil water with a few dashes of salt, add shells and cook per package instructions. When done, place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, you dont want mushy noodles. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO until glassy, add sausage and break up with a wooden spoon. The best trick I ever discovered to helping break up the meat, use a potato masher! After the meat has cooked until somewhat brown, use the potato masher to break up the pieces smaller – it works so well!

Add garlic and cook for about 2min, then add the spinach and chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat, stirring every so often to help wilt the spinach.

 

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Once the spinach is wilted, you can turn the heat off and remove skillet from the stove. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, onion powder, and oregano and stir well so that everything is incorporated. 

Pre-heat your oven to 350°

Prepare yourself to be patient. Filling these little buggers is a little time consuming, and annoying as they dont all open up very easily.
Open each shell gently, they’ll be slippery and annoying, but once you get in a groove it’ll get easier. Using a soup spoon, spoon in the filling and arrange in round pie pan or shallow casserole dish. Putting them in the pan with the “end” of the shell “up” will make so they dont fall over and get everywhere.

Once they’re all in the pan, cover with cheese and bake for 30min!

Deeeelish!!

Vegetarian Caramelized Onion Mushroom and Spinach Flatbread

I try not to make the same things over and over again, but there are some things that my family loves. I can’t keep writing the same recipes so I try to mix it up lol But tonight I made another flatbread pizza, my daughter loves them. Tonight I was tired and didn’t feel like making homemade dough, so I bought a whole wheat pre-made pizza crust at Sprouts (grocery store). I promise there will be more adventurous recipes this week 😉

 

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Pizza Toppings
2 Small Yellow Onions, sliced thin
1 package pre-chopped crimini mushrooms
1 pack frozen spinach, water squeezed out and dried
2 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pizza Sauce
1/2 cup milk
4oz Cream Cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste
1 pinch dried thyme

 

You’ll want to start about an hour and a half before you really want to eat dinner. To truly caramelize onions, you need about 45min and some patience. Caramelizing onions is just about the most boring thing ever, seriously. Especially if you have no patience, like me! lol

After slicing your onions, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, add the onions and coat evenly. Cook on medium-low for about 45min, stirring about every 3min.

When the onions have become nice and soft, and a golden brown color, they’re done. Take them out and put them in a bowl. Add the mushrooms to the pan, there should be a little oil left over from the onions, but if there isn’t add a little. Salt and pepper to taste, cooking mushrooms on medium heat until they’re brown – about 10min. Add onions back to the pan and mix well.

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To make the sauce, add butter to a small pot and melt, add the garlic and cook for about 5min. Add milk and cream cheese and let it all melt. Use a whisk to help break up the cream cheese and mix everything together. Add salt, pepper, and crushed thyme. After about 5min it should be to the consistency you want it, remember it’ll thicken when it stands.

Using a big spoon, or ladle, spread around your pizza dough and top with spinach.

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After you’ve crumbled the spinach on top, you can spoon the mushrooms and onions on top of your pre-made pizza crust, then sprinkle with cheese. I put this directly on the center rack of a 425° oven for about 12min. Let it cool for about 5min, and sliced it up!

 

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Chicken Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Black Truffle

I could literally live on risotto… I mean, really. I dont think its all that bad for you either! That is, if you dont load it with cheese and butter. But honestly, if you’re cooking your risotto correctly, you shouldnt have to add any cheese at all. It will come together perfectly, and have the taste and texture of being full of cheese. This recipe is not for someone with no patience, you need to give yourself about an hour to stand at the stove. Seriously, but its soooo worth it!

Risotto “stuff”

1 chicken breast, seasoned, cooked and cubed
1 package of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large handful of baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Black Truffle oil!

Heat truffle oil in a medium skillet. Add chicken and brown, add mushrooms and brown, and add garlic at the end so it doesn’t burn – just so it gets slightly golden. Set this aside until the risotto is ready. Don’t add any spinach until the end of everything!

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Risotto

1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
5 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter

In a small pot heat chicken stock to boiling then reduce to low. In a larger pot add butter and let it melt on medium. Add the onion and coat well with butter, let it cook until somewhat soft, about one minute. Add all of the rice and mix well with butter and onion.

Add one ladle of chicken stock at a time, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until ALL of the liquid has absorbed. Continue this until you have used all of the stock, should be anywhere around 30-40min depending on your stove and how patient you are.

As the time goes on, the risotto will get creamier and creamier. Sooner or later it’ll be extra thick and look like it has a lot of cheese in it, but it doesn’t! After you’ve used all of the stock, and the risotto is at a consistency you like, add the handful of spinach and mix until wilted, then add the mushrooms, chicken, and garlic from the other pan. Serve immediately.

This portion fed all 3 of us in my family, cereal bowls, almost full. If eating alone like this, you may need to up your recipe for more people.