Fresh Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta

I’m backkkk! It has been a crazy summer with working and getting ready for this baby (due ANY day now…)! I have been creating lots of new recipes and taking photos of them just have been so busy at work and drained once I’m home that I haven’t had time to sit down and do any writing. 

Pesto Pasta 3

Given there is a heat dome over Richmond right now and me being 39 weeks pregnant I have only wanted cold foods to eat lately. Cold watermelon is my JAM right now! I think my husband is astonished how quickly I eat all the watermelon. We have to buy 2-3 a week but hey, at least its healthy right?! This pesto pasta recipe looked SO good when I found it on Pinterest I had to give it a go. 

Pesto Pasta

This recipe is great for many reasons but most of all because it is super flavorful! Your family and guests will definitely be impressed when you serve this up! The great thing is it is probably even better as leftovers once the pesto has had a chance to really soak in the pasta overnight, enhancing the flavors. 

Pesto Pasta 1

You can absolutely make this 1 step easier by buying pre-made pesto from the store but trust me on this…home made is ALWAYS better. Fresher and healthier. Give this a go and let me know how you love it!


Pesto Pasta 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Fresh Pesto:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pasta:

  • 1 package whole wheat rotini (or pasta of choice)
  • 2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken

Directions:

  1. In food processor, combine pine nuts, garlic cloves, and basil. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Slowly add in the olive oil while pulsing until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, add cheese, and stir until incorporated.
    1. Note: If freezing, transfer to an air tight container, drizzle remaining oil overtop and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, stir in cheese and serve.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Once cooked, rinse with cool water and drain.
  3. In large bowl, add pasta, pesto, chicken, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Top with additional Pecorino or Parmesan cheese as desired. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if desired). Serve warm or cold and enjoy!!

Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

buffalo chicken sandwich

Goooood Mornin’! It is an amazingly beautiful (albeit hot) summer day today. Automatically puts me in a great mood to wake up to plentiful sunshine.

We are low on groceries right now. Not just, oh we are out of milk again low on groceries.The kind of low on groceries where you have to think of some very interesting meal combinations and eat breakfast for dinner.

buffalo chicken sandwichSo in light of this disas…I mean, challenge,  I was super proud of myself for coming up with these deee-lish buffalo chicken sandwiches that were super tasty and healthy for me and baby! It was like going out to eat at a pub in our own home. Will definitely be trying some variations of this with BBQ sauce and (baked) onion rings on top. Yum!!!!!

buffalo chicken sandwich

Comment if you try any of my recipes and love them. I love to hear good, and bad, feedback as it helps me in writing future posts!!! 🙂 Who knows, maybe this next month I will even send you a FREE homemade recipe just for commenting!


Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup Frank’s hot buffalo sauce
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper powder
  • 4 whole wheat buns
  • 1 Tbsp. low-fat ranch dressing (this one if my favorite brand!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat chicken with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper (to taste) and place on baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to next step to lock in juices.
  2. In food processor (or by fork), shred the chicken. Be careful not to over process, you want it to be chunky not finely minced.
  3. In medium saucepan or dutch oven, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add celery and onions and saute until tender.
  4. Add chicken to saucepan/dutch oven along with cayenne pepper powder (if desired) and hot sauce, stir to combine. If too dry, continue adding hot sauce 1 Tbsp. at a time until you get desired texture. Turn to low and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. To serve: Toast buns (if desired), top with chicken mixture, sliced tomato, and low-fat ranch dressing. Enjoy!

Fluffy Homemade Pancakes

pancakes

Hey everybody! So sorry for making you wait until this morning for this yummy recipe. I had a bunch of stuff going on over the weekend and a tiny health issue on Sunday so I was unable to blog. All is good now and you will have this recipe for the upcoming holiday weekend to impress all your friends and family with!!

pancakes

So light, fluffy, with the perfect hint of vanilla. Mmmmm. I want some now. It is SO incredibly simple I almost feel stupid posting this. But that would truly be a disservice to you all because I have tried many different recipes for healthier versions of standard buttermilk pancakes over the years and these are the absolute BEST replication of that. I found this recipe from Home Grown and Healthy’s blog if you want to see the original.

pancakes

Here are some tips to ensure you get the best pancakes:

  • The secret to really amazing pancakes is to let the batter sit after mixing so that it gets frothy and bubbly again. Those bubbles create pockets in the batter that adds to the fluffy and light texture you want in the end result.
  • As seen below, make sure to wait until the tops begin to bubble prior to flipping so your pancakes don’t break apart and are cooked through. Do not over crowd the pan.They should be perfectly golden brown!

pancakes

Let me know if you enjoyed these as much as I did!


Homemade Pancakes

Serves: Approximately 8 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (organic preferably)
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp. pure organic maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • Organic butter for cooking

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes to sour.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the milk mixture and stir well to combine. Important: Let stand for approximately 10 more minutes, do not stir any further prior to adding to pan!!
  3. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of butter to pan and let melt. Ladle 1/4 cup of pancake batter at a time into pan (can fit ~ 2 pancakes worth in smaller skillet at a time, do not overcrowd).
  4. When the top begins to bubble (~2-3 minutes), flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, top with organic raw honey, pure maple syrup, or fresh fruit and enjoy!

(Healthy) Chicken Taco Salad

chicken taco salad

We are almost to the weekend guys – we can make it!! At least that’s what I tell myself about this time on every Thursday morning…

This morning I have been dreaming of warmer weather and sun soaked beaches. Which brings me to thinking about margaritas and Mexican food. Since I am stuck at work and not able to get down to a tropical paradise I thought I would instead share this incredibly simple Mexican recipe with you guys! It took very little time and effort to throw together (would be even less with pre-cooked chicken!) but looked impressive enough to serve to guests!

chicken taco salad

My love for Mexican food knows no bounds. I try to limit myself though because I can easily go overboard with the chips and salsa…and guac…and queso…and margaritas. Are you beginning to see my problem? It can easily add up to a whopping amount of calories and fat.

chicken taco salad

To cut down on all the added calories and fat, I cut out the tortillas that I would usually eat with a burrito or tacos and replaced it with fresh, crisp lettuce. This dish has SO much flavor and different textures going on that are really pleasing to the palate so be sure to give this a try for your next TACO TUESDAY night with your family :)!!

chicken taco salad

Be sure to comment if you try/share any of my recipes as I really am anxious to hear feedback from you all! It helps me better suit which recipes I should come up with next!

**Note: This should serve 4 people but my hubby and I went a little crazy and filled our plates way too high with splitting the entire dish in half…needless to say there were leftovers! Serve with baked tortilla chips and fresh, low sodium salsa! Now I need some for lunch…


{Healthy} Chicken Taco Salad

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2in-1in. cubes
  • 1 head of lettuce (bibb was what I used but can use any), washed
  • 1 can no-salt added corn
  • 1 can low-sodium black beans
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used medium)
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. (or more!) Ortega medium taco sauce, optional for topping

Directions:

  1. In medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, add oil and chicken and cook until cooked through (no pink in the center). Turn heat to low, add salsa, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. While chicken is simmering, add oil, green pepper, and onion to saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute until tender and set aside.
  3. Heat up can of corn in microwave per directions on can (about 2 minutes). Add black beans to a microwave safe bowl with cumin, lime juice, salt, and pepper and microwave until heated through. Set aside to cool.
  4. Assemble taco salad by layering on a plate in this order, ensuring to divide into equal parts for all servings: lettuce, chicken/salsa mixture, onion and pepper mixture, corn, black beans, tomatoes, cheese, jalapenos.
  5. Drizzle taco sauce, or more salsa, on top if desired and enjoy!! Serve alongside homemade guacamole or chips and salsa.

Healthy Chicken Parmesan

www.flavorfultfitfare.com

How good does that look? Seeing as the gorgeous Spring weather has decided to revert back to Winter this week (brr!!) I decided to warm up with this deeee-licious Chicken Parmesan last night for dinner!

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken parmesan is typically off-limits on most diets due to it being a calorie bomb full of fat and carbs. Well, now you can have your chicken parm and eat it without any guilt with this slimmed down version! It truly made me feel as if I was eating a restaurant quality meal but for a fraction of the cost and I knew I was eating something healthy for me! This was super simple and relatively quick to throw together too despite the numerous recipe steps so, don’t you dare let that deter you from trying this!

Chicken Parmesan

I made this without milk or eggs to coat chicken with the breadcrumbs because, well, I didn’t have any! My little experiment worked perfectly. The chicken was moist and tender inside but super crunchy outside. Yum!! My husband and I really enjoyed it.

Chicken Parmesan

Note: I only made this with two chicken breasts and my typical homemade pasta sauce but you could easily amp this up to serve as many people as you need by adding additional chicken breasts. To make it even easier for a busy night use canned pasta sauce instead of homemade (just make sure to watch the sugar and salt content).

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section. Will you give this a try??? I’d love to hear from you guys!

 


Chicken Parmesan

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 (1/2 lb) chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cans no-salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10oz/small) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried Basil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese (may also use mozzarella or cheddar)
  • 1 package whole wheat spaghetti

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with foil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In one small dish/plate add water then in second small dish/plate add breadcrumbs. Dredge chicken through water then place into breadcrumbs and toss to coat evenly. Repeat as necessary to coat all pieces of chicken. Place on baking sheet and bake approximately 15 minutes.
    1. Note- keep baking sheet for step 7!
  3. Turn oven down to 375°F, turn chicken over and bake for an additional 15-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  4. In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine onions, garlic, and olive oil. Saute until translucent.
  5. To saucepan, add tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce to a simmer for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  6. Boil spaghetti according to package directions and set aside.
  7. On same baking sheet used in step 2, add pasta sauce on top of the chicken by the spoonful (as much as desired), top with parmesan cheese and broil at 525°F until cheese is melted (approximately 5 minutes).
  8. Serve hot over spaghetti. Top with extra sauce or cheese as desired.