15-Minute Zoodles with Turkey Marinara

When I was a little thing (probably six or seven) someone asked me what my favorite food was and I told them escargot. They thought I was kidding. I wasn’t.

My parents raised me to eat what was in front of me and not complain, and I thank them every single day for that. They didn’t feed me “kid food” like mac and cheese and cut up hot dogs. I got clam sauce spaghetti and mussels and liverwurst sandwiches growing up. It was awesome. Sure, we ate the occasional mac and cheese or sloppy Joe’s dinner – we were expats living in Germany, we needed to hold on to some American normalcy.

I guess my point is that I’ve never been afraid to try anything different. New foods excite me. And using familiar foods in new ways also gets my motor going.

Like zoodles. This is my new favorite meal. I won’t even lie, the reason I haven’t posted on the blog in over a week is because this is the only thing I’ve eaten in that time frame. (Other than cheese curds, pizza and beer in honor of March Madness. ON WISCONSIN!)

These pair well with a very carby, butter, cheesy garlic bread because this is far too healthy on its own. Also cheap red wine because, again, Wisco is Final Four-bound!!!

Zoodles

15-Minute Zoodles with Turkey Marinara

Makes 1 serving

What you need:

-1 tsp olive oil
-4 oz 99% fat free ground turkey
-1/4 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
-1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
-1/4 cup diced onion
-1/2 medium-large zucchini, spiralized or thinly sliced
-1/2 cup marinara sauce (I use Prego Light Smart)
-handful of spinach
-1/2 oz fresh Parmigiano Reggiano

(NOTE: This is the spiralizer I have. Cheap, doesn’t make the most beautiful zoodles, but it gets the job done. If you want them pretty, splurge for the Paderno one.)

What you do:

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium-large saute pan over medium heat until shiny. Add your ground turkey and let cook most of the way (not really pink but not browned), about 5 minutes, then add mushrooms, tomatoes and onion. Continue cooking veggies and turkey, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes until turkey is slightly browned and veggies are softened. (Note: You don’t want these to dry out, so you may want to add a splash of water, about 1-2 tbsp.)

2. Add zoodles to pan and combine with turkey and veggies until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.

3. Turn heat down to low and add marinara sauce and spinach. Continue stirring spinach has wilted and sauce is heated, about 1 minute.

4. Remove from heat and serve in a bowl. Top with fresh grated parmesan.

I’ve also made this with shrimp instead of ground turkey. It’s ridiculously good either way. Personally, I don’t miss real pasta in this dish at all.

Anyway, this has been my adventure and obsession in food for the past week. Back to liverwurst sandwiches tomorrow.

Easy Shredded Chicken + 10-Minute Healthy Stir Fry

I went on my first real date when I was 15. I was a Freshman in high school, he was a Junior and we went to Panera. I’d been to Panera before, but that didn’t stop me from obsessing over the menu for hours before he picked me up to decide what to order. Can’t go with my usual Sierra Turkey – too many onions, DUH. Do girls really order salads when they go on dates? If so, how do you avoid the inevitable lettuce-in-your-teeth dilemma?

I went with the chicken salad sandwich. I mean, what? I can’t remember what my reasoning was. I’d probably had chicken salad twice before in my life. It immediately fell apart as I went to eat it. I basically spent the rest of our date scooping chicken salad off my plate and into my mouth with my fingers. Just reeked of mayo.

Do you know those moments in life that forever make you cringe? Like that time you waved at someone who was actually waving at the person behind you? Or that time you tried to impress someone by pretending to also like that band they like, but then you butchered the name?

I have those moments daily. But that first date stuck with me for a very long time. Couldn’t eat chicken for close to a year because of the cringing it induced.

Fortunately, chicken and I are friends again. Especially the shredded, coconut-infused variety.

This chicken pairs well with literally everything – put it on salads, in (Thai Coconut Curry) soup, stir fry. But it pairs especially nicely with a glass of white wine while you bask in the fact that you are now a sophisticated adult who does significantly fewer cringe-worthy things. But not none. It will never be none.

Shredded chicken ON a salad. (Not chicken salad, thank God.)

Shredded chicken ON a salad. (Not chicken salad, thank God.)

Easy Shredded Chicken

Makes two 4 oz servings

What you need:

-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken (breast or tenders, up to you – I prefer tenders)
-1 tsp coconut oil (or preferred oil, but it’s awesome like this)
-1 tsp garlic salt
-3/4 cup water

What you do:

1. Lay your chicken on a flat surface and sprinkle liberally on both sides with garlic salt.

2. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium-large nonstick skillet. When oil is hot, add chicken to pan.

3. Cook chicken on one side for 5 minutes, then flip to the other side and immediately add water to skillet so the chicken is mostly covered, with just the tops poking out. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.

4. Remove chicken from pan and put on a plate to cool. When you’re ready to use, it can be easily shredded with a fork or pulled apart with your fingers. Put it in whatever you want! Or add it to… stir fry! Recipe below.

Quick Stir Fry

10-Minute Healthy Stir Fry

Makes 1 serving

What you need:

-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 cup raw kale, stems removed, chopped into bite size pieces
-3-4 oz shredded chicken
-1/2 cup raw shiitake mushrooms
-1/8 cup green onion, chopped
-1/4 of a large red bell pepper, chopped
-1-2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
-1 tbsp Kikkoman teriyaki glaze
-1 tbsp sriracha

What you do:

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium-large skillet. Add kale and cover pan for about 3 minutes to steam and soften slightly.

2. Add chicken, mushrooms, green onion and bell pepper all at once, stirring constantly. Add soy sauce, continuing to stir for about 3 more minutes.

3. When soy sauce has reduced slightly and all veggies are mostly softened, add sriracha and teriyaki glaze, stirring for another minute or two.

4. Immediately remove from heat and serve, topped with some additional green onion or cilantro if you have it.

Enjoy this dish with a side of the fact that you are not 15 anymore.

Ending the Hiatus: Ground Turkey Burgers, Lettuce Wraps and Garden Berry Salads Meal Prep

I know it’s been forever since I last posted. If you look back through these posts you’ll notice quickly that consistency is not my thing. I make sweeping declarations all the time that just never work out. The only thing I can be counted on to do consistently is be flakey. Sorry about that, friends.

Anyway, today I’m ending my blogging hiatus to share my newest endeavor: Meal prepping. Yeah, I’m always down to cook in the evenings. But with my schedule that means I leave work at 5ish, go to the gym, leave the gym at 6:45ish, get home, cook and eat dinner, spend the rest of the evening making my lunch for the next day, then I get ready for bed. It leaves my man friend feeling lonely and me feeling like I never stop moving.

So last night I had 1 lb of lean ground turkey waiting to be made into four delicious dinners for the week, and a whole bunch of veggies waiting to be made into delicious mason jar salads. (I have a thing for mason jars that I don’t think we’ve discussed yet. Every breakfast I make is in a mason jar. Every lunch I make is in a mason jar. Every herb I grow is in a mason jar. Every pickle I pickle is in a mason jar. Every jam I jam is in a mason jar. They are my favorite multi-use item of all time.)

Jars for everything!

Jars for everything!

I’m failing blog etiquette 101 with this lengthy post right now, so let’s get to it. These all pair well with a nice glass of iced green tea cuz like SPRING WEATHER and stuff. Three recipes for four days of lunches and dinners:

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup

Adapted from Cooking Light, yields 2 burgers

What you need:

-1/2 lb of lean ground turkey
-2 1/2 tbsp Progresso Italian breadcrumbs (or whatever you have on hand)
-2 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
-2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
-A sprinkle of S&P
-3.5 oz can of chipotles in Adobo sauce
-2 tbsp ketchup

What you do:

1. Mash together first five ingredients (through S&P) with a fork in a medium sized bowl until all breadcrumbs are incorporated into the meat. Divide into two 1/3-inch thick patties.

2. Coat a nonstick grill pan or skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add turkey patties and grill for about 5 minutes on each side.

3. Place full can of chipotles plus 2 tbsp of ketchup in a mini food processor and blend until smooth.

4. Either eat immediately or save if meal prepping. Heat up in microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Serve with chipotle ketchup mixture and 1/2 oz of goat cheese. Eat on a whole wheat bun if desired, but it’s tasty on its own.

Turkey Prep

Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups

Also adapted from Cooking Light, yields 2 servings

What you need:

-1/4 cup thin sliced green onion
-1 tsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
-juice of 1/2 lime
-3 tsp fish sauce
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
-2 tsp Sambal Oelek
-1/2 lb ground turkey
-1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
-1 cup shiitake mushrooms
-1 head Boston lettuce
-Mixed accoutrement (I like minced red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, jalapeno, shredded carrot, fresh lime and bean sprouts)

What you do:

1. Mix first 8 ingredients in a medium sized bowl until brown sugar dissolved. Set aside.

2. Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add ginger and turkey and cook until turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes, then add shiitake mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft and turkey is slightly browned, about 2 minutes longer.

3. Remove browned turkey from heat and immediately add all the sauce. Combine well.

4. Either serve immediately or save if meal prepping. Will heat up in microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Serve in Boston lettuce cups and top with desired veggies.

Garden Berry Salads

Garden Berry Mason Jar Salads

Yields 4 personal-sized salads

What you need:

-4 quart-sized clean mason jars
-8 tbsp dressing of choice (I used Whole Foods Market’s no oil, low sodium Tangerine Vinaigrette)
-2 medium sized celery sticks, chopped into 4 equal portions
-1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped into 4 equal portions
-16 cherry tomatoes, each sliced in half
-8 strawberries, each sliced in quarters
-1/2 cup thin sliced green onion, divided into 4 equal portions
-1 bag baby spinach (about 4-5 cups), divided into 4 equal portions
-1 avocado
-2 oz gorgonzola crumbles

What you do:

1. Place 2 tbsp of dressing into the bottom of each of your mason jars. Next, add your hardest ingredients and continue layering to your softest – start with celery, then add bell pepper, then tomatoes, then strawberries, green onion and spinach.

2. When I make these several days in advance, I add cheese and avocado later to avoid mushiness/browning. When you’re ready to eat, pour your salads into a large bowl and then top with 1/4 sliced avocado and 1/2 oz of gorgonzola. (Sometimes I add protein, too, like 3 oz cooked chicken breast or 7-8 shrimp! Also add this when you’re ready to eat it, not before.)

 

Four days of meals done in about 1.5 hours! Also these are all healthy, low fat, low carb, high fiber and high protein meals. Now maybe I’ll post again next week… or maybe in 4 months. Who’s to say? Inconsistency, guys. My b.