I’m super into this dish because it’s filling, hearty, cheesy and nutritious. “Nuff said, get at this.
Estimated Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4):
Butterfly the chicken breast, lightly season each side and bake in a small conventional oven at 350 for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add in the tablespoon of salt and cook the dry pasta as directed. While you wait, cut up the broccoli and cherry tomatoes. When the pasta becomes al dente, add and mix in the chopped broccoli to the boiling pasta and continue to cook for about 3 more minutes. Strain the pasta and broccoli, pour the remains in a large bowl and mix in the olive oil, salt and feta cheese. The chicken should be done by now, so take it out of the oven and cut it up into small bite-sized pieces. Last but not least, add in the chicken and sliced tomatoes to the pasta mixture. I intentionally kept this low in oil, but if you’re not concerned with a little extra oil love, feel free to add in more oil or cheese.
Looking for a real good workout? Try this hike. Located along Carmel/Big Sur’s breathtaking coastline, Garrapata State Park offers a 7 mile, 1,200 foot elevation gain loop for all the world to enjoy. It’s called the Rocky Ridge Trail & Soberanes Canyon Loop. Not going to lie, this is quite strenuous and the hills getting pretty steep. And by pretty, I mean like, definitely-not-for-a-beginner-steep. But the scenery at the top is SO worth it!
The backstory in these pics: it was my 25th birthday weekend after a very long night of drinking (#unhealthybex). For me personally, exercise is my top hangover cure, and it was my birthday and I thought a little sweat might help the others as well. I might have failed to communicate just how hard this hike might actually be, and there’s a good chance my friends wanted to kill me at one point. The hike started out good; everyone hurting just a little, but still feeling confident nonetheless. All was smiles, fun and games. Then we reached the start of the climb. Needless to say, I am so grateful that this crew put themselves though hot, sweaty, hangover misery just to make me happy on my birthday! They all survived and fell in love with the view at the top (I hope), and I am forever thankful that these babies bit the bullet for me on my birthday, all while being miserably hungover. #blessed!
So, how do you get there? Drive along Highway 1 (northern side of Big Sur) until you reach a distinctive grove of cypress trees lining the highway. Park your car near the trees and the trailhead is a gated dirt road that leads to an abandoned tin barn. Continue on the Soberanes Canyon Trail, where the initial climb is fairly comfortable (this is the part when everyone still felt confident and cheerful; fun and games). After about 1.7 miles, you’ll begin to feel the steep incline. About a half mile later, you’ll start sweating. Like, a lot (this is the part when I realized maybe we bit off more than we could chew). Keep trekking along, and I promise the view at the top is worth it. Once you get to the top, the panoramic views of the Big Sur coastline are off-tha-chains-unreal. #allisforgiven. Loop back down the hill on the Rocky Ridge Trail, all while enjoying some of the most gorgeous views in the entire world!
Need to grab a quick bite to eat before running out the door this morning? This quick and delicious breakfast will only take a couple of minutes to whip up, and its packed with lean protein and fiber.
Estimated Time: 5 minutes
Ingredients (serves 1):
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re really in a rush – here’s how I maximize my every second. First, pop the bread in the toaster. Meanwhile, start slicing the tomatoes, set aside. Take out the cottage cheese, measure out half a cup and the toast should be ready right about now. Spread the cheese, top with tomatoes and finish it all off with salt and pepper. Done in 2 minutes. 5-6-7-8 Go.
I’d heard of this low-carb veggie pasta trend making its way across the interwebs, and I finally decided to give a try. Okay, no – it doesn’t taste like real pasta, but once you get over that mental hurdle, you’ll realize that this is actually a very delicious veggie dish. It’s incredibly healthy and it definitely doesn’t leave you feeling like a Fatty McFatty. It’s a good meal to cook if you’ve had a huge, guilty lunch and you’re looking for a lean dinner to fill you up.
Ingredients (serves 3):
With a large cheese grater, begin vertically shredding the zucchini so that it makes long individual strands. No fancy tools, just use the “noodle” sized grater on a traditional cheese grater. Steam the zucchini strands in a strainer over boiling water for about 3-5 minutes. You want the zucchini to be more “al dente” and less “mushy.” When in doubt, under-cook a bit. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a blender, combine the canned stewed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, dried basil, dried oregano and salt; blend until you reach a smooth consistency. Set aside. Spray a large cooking pan with cooking spray and cook the garlic and onions on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Next, add in the chopped summer squash and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes. Next, add in the tomato sauce blend. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes and then add in the spinach last. Cook for about 1 more minute before you’re finally ready to serve! Spoon the summer squash sauce over the zucchini pasta and top with your favorite cheese.
Okay, this flatbread pizza is SO OMG freaking good! Like, “I-can’t-believe-it’s-even-considered-healthy-good.” If there’s one recipe I want all of you to try…it’s this one. Crunchy pita bread crust, creamy ricotta sauce blended with warm spinach & kale, all topped with fresh sliced tomatoes, feta and mozzarella cheeses. To. Die. For. Plus, you get two flatbreads per serving! Double score.
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4):
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. First, make the tomato sauce base. In a medium bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of italian herb seasoning and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Mix well and set aside.
Next, work on the ricotta spinach filling. You’re going to want the kale and spinach to be 75% cooked – not totally wilted. So, spray a large skillet with cooking spray and cook the kale for about 3 minutes. Then, add the spinach to the skillet. Continue to cook for about 1 more minute. Again, don’t overcook the greens, you want ‘em to be just a tiny bit wilted. In a medium bowl, combine the greens, ricotta cheese, egg whites, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of oregano. Mix and set aside. Next, slice the fresh tomatoes into very thin slices.
Split the pitas in halves, making 8 flatbreads total. Spread the tomato base sauce amongst all 8 flatbreads. Then, spread and layer the ricotta cheese spinach mixture on top. Finally, layer the sliced tomatoes on top and sprinkle the whole thing with feta and mozzarella cheese.
Now, you’ve reached a fork in the road. You can either cook all 8 flatbreads now, or you can cook two (which is one serving) and pack/freeze the other 6 for another time. I did the latter, see my instructions below* Bake the flatbreads on a greased cookie sheet for 12 minutes. After that, the last and most critical part: broil for 2 more minutes and keep your eyes on it, don’t let it burn! Bing, bang, bong – get ready for not one, but two delicious, healthy flatbread pizzas!
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 7 points (for two flatbread pizzas)
*If you choose to freeze the flatbreads for later, here’s how I did it. With a piece of tin foil between each flatbread, I stacked and layered each one on top of the other. Each flatbread should have a piece of tin foil below it. Then place all the flatbreads in a large ziplock bag and freeze.
Want an super nomz curry dish recipe? The title and pic speaks for itself. Cauliflower florets and crunchy cashew bits cooked in a creamy curry coconut sauce. The perfect blend of tangy lime, spicy sriracha and crunchy, roasted cashews are simply delectable. Not spicy at all, totally approachable for those seeking a mild curry dish. Though, feel free to add more kick! And for all you vegan peeps out there – get at this!
Estimated Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4):
On medium/high heat, roast the cashews in large pot until they’re golden brown (about 2-4 minutes). Add in the coconut milk, chopped cauliflower florets, curry powder, sriracha sauce, salt and pepper and cook on high until the sauce simmers. Reduce heat to medium/low and continue to cook until the cauliflower is tender. Meanwhile, mix the peanut butter, lime juice and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. After about 10 minutes of cooking the cauliflower, add in the peanut butter lime sauce. Cook for another 10-15 or until cauliflower has reached desired consistency. And your’e done! Serve with basmati rice, quinoa, pita bread or salad.
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 7 points per serving
Who doesn’t crave jalapeno poppers every once in a while? Here’s a super delicious recipe that turns the traditional jalapeno popper into a full-on dinner meal. Paired with chicken breast and served over a bed of lettuce and kale, you’re getting plenty of protein for a hearty dinner.
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4):
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Split the chicken breasts into four fillets (2 pieces per chicken breast). Find a mallet, or something close to it, and pound each fillet so that each one flattens out into a larger surface area. Sprinkle both sides with a dash of salt and pepper. Next, de-seed and chop the jalapenos and place in a medium bowl. Chop up the raw bacon and cook the bacon in a skillet. Add the cooked bacon, cream cheese, 75% of the cheddar cheese and chicken broth to the bowl. Mix well.
Spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray, and then place each chicken breast on the sheet. Divide the cheese mixture amongst each fillet and/wrap the fillet so that it’s completely closed. Cover with tin foil and add a few punctures to the foil. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove top foil, spread the remaining cheddar cheese amongst the top of each fillet and broil for 2-3 minutes. Do not let it burn! I served mine over a bed of romaine lettuce and semi-cooked kale. Really good!
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4 points per fillet
We finished the SLO Sprint Triathlon last weekend! The race was so fun, and everyone did so well! Despite my crazy busy life and the fact that I only swam 3 times in the last 2 years, I still managed to shed 5 minutes from my past year’s time! I completed the 1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike and 3 mile run in 1 hour 43 minutes! #pattingmyselfontheback However, more than anything, I am so incredibly proud of the rest of the gang. This was Steph, Robert and Rachel’s very first sprint triathlon and they KILLED IT! And our other BFF, Aggie, was a rockstar as well! Lastly, I do have to say congrats to one of my best friends, David, for not only smoking his dad, but for finishing the race in less than 1 hour 30 minutes. Awesome work, David! As friends, its our job to continually inspire each other, and my hat is off to these guys for doing such great work!
Get your Chinese restaurant fix without feeling greasy, bloated and salty. I know not everyone loves eggplant, but for those who do, this a delicious Asian eggplant recipe with a spicy, garlic sauce. For added protein, lean ground turkey is mixed in as well. SO much healthier than the restaurants and it actually leaves you feeling full!
Estimated Time: 30 Minutes
Ingredients (serves 3):
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. In the meantime, chop up the eggplant into space pieces. I didn’t have any long, skinny Chinese eggplant, so I just used a normal round eggplant. Place the eggplant into the boiling water and boil for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Mince the garlic and add all ingredients listed above together (except for the ground turkey). Stir well and set aside. Spray a pan with cooking spray and begin to cook the raw ground turkey. Add in about 1/4 of the sauce to the turkey and let simmer for about 3-5 more minutes. When the eggplant is almost 1oo% cooked (about 10-15 minutes in the boiling water), drain the eggplant and add to the turkey mixture. Add in the remaining sauce. Let simmer on low for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Optional: serve over a bed of rice.
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 3 points per serving (without rice)