Chicken Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

The chicken bowls that I was making for my husband were getting a little old so I asked him to pick me out a recipe so I can craft it to his liking. Of course with him wanting to gain muscle he picked one from bodybuilding.com haha, (original recipe can be found at the bottom)

You can either make it for one meal or make 5 of them for lunch for the week, my husband reported back that it tastes really good even when it has been reheated.

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Here’s what you need for the chicken:

  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • Bolthouse Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Pasta:

  • Quinoa or wheat pasta

Creamy Avocado Dressing:

  • 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 Large Avocados
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Chopped Basil
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper

Optional Toppings:

  • Grape tomatoes cut in half
  • Mozzarella Cheese

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First start with the chicken since it takes the longest to cook, leave the pasta for last. Pour the 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a pan, if you have one use a char-grill pan if you want those grill lines on the chicken.

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Dice the chicken or cut it however you would like and place in the pan.

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Pour about half a bottle of the Bolthouse Cilantro Avocado dressing all over the chicken, I also added some minced garlic. My husband is Italian and he loooooves his garlic.

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Put the heat on high until the pan is hot and then turn it down to medium high. Once the chicken was thoroughly cooked there was a lot of liquid in the pan still and I was going to get those grill lines so I drained the chicken in a strainer and turned the heat down even lower, watching it carefully to make sure it didn’t burn now that there isn’t much liquid in the pan.

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This is how the chicken should look when it’s done!

As the chicken is cooking get started on the pasta, just follow the directions on the package.

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For the creamy avocado sauce you will need a blender, cut 2 large avocados in half and remove the pit. Then cut into little squares while it’s in the skin and then scoop it out into the blender.

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Take the fresh basil and chop it up and place in blender.

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Measure out a half cup of Greek yogurt and place in blender.

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Cut one lemon in half and squeeze all the juice out into the blender.

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Measure out 1 tsp of minced garlic or just eyeball it for however much.

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Lastly for the sauce add Mrs. Salt & Mr. Pepper to the blender according to your preference of how much of each.

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Pulse the blender at first, it takes a while to get the texture to be creamy, but it should turn out like this.

*Make sure to have the sauce ready before the pasta is done, it’s much easier to mix in the sauce with the paste when the pasta is hot/warm.

Now it’s ready to be put together! Once the pasta and sauce is blended together place that as the base on the plate or if you are using this recipe for meal prep, place it is the base in the Tupperware. Next add the chicken on top.

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The mozzarella cheese is optional but I placed that next on top.

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Then I cut grape tomatoes in half and placed those on top as well. And you’re done!

You can either enjoy right away or store away in the fridge for lunch for the next five days!

Original recipe: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/epic-muscle-building-meal-creamy-avocado-chicken-pasta.html#one

Getting a Sexy Back

You are halfway through the week! Two more days until my cheat day. It should only be one meal but I’m working on it πŸ˜‰ Cheat meals actually HELP your metabolism, crazy right?? Your metabolism has been taking it easy because you have been loading it up with good foods making it being able to kick back and relax. But just when it thinks all things are good, boom! A quarter pound cheeseburger shocks it and makes it start really working again. Eating healthy all week you really look forward to those days that you can just dive into whatever you want. It’s hard though to not let a cheat meal/day go into the next day. You take one slice of the cake and yeah we want the whole thing. But even if you do cheat the next day it’s okay! Just get back at it again as soon as you can. Another benefit of cheat meals/days, is the junk food tastes EVEN BETTER. Being bad never felt so good πŸ™‚ Alright, so here is what I ate today:

Meal One:

Eggs as always topped with red hot as always (4 egg whites and one egg yolk)

Fruit smoothie: Find the recipe here

Fruit: Slices of apples and grapes

Potatoes: cubed up with cayenne pepper, olive oil and pepper sprinkled on

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Meal Two:

Protein bar: Find the difference between Pure Protein and Quest bars here.

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Meal Three:

Same as Tuesday, find recipes here.

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Meal Four:

Protein Shake

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Meal Five/Snack!

Celery and peanut butter

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Meal Six:

Shredded chicken wrap with black beans, whole wheat tortilla, spinach, low fat mozzarella cheese, and home made salsa.Β You could also spread hummus on the wrap before putting on the other ingredients and place in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, for a nice crunchy wrap also.

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It’s just as important to work out your backside as it is your front side. I have heard often that a lot of people will only workout what they can see in the mirror, forgetting what is behind them. This is good in some other areas of life but not when it comes to your physique πŸ˜‰ When this happens your body becomes disproportionate and you will get this hunched over look. Workout that back some more and your shoulders, along with proper posture, will naturally bend back making you look a lot stronger and a better appearance. Here is what I do for my back at the gym:

Thank you for reading! Criticism, praise, suggestion, thoughts, questions, please leave them with me πŸ™‚

Abdominal Workout

Here is my 3 week progress photo:

Processed with Moldiv

Another day of clean eating! Let’s get down to water; I know you have heard it countless times. How good it is to drink 8 glasses of water a day. Do you really know why though? It flushes all the crap out! Literally! Hello healthier glowing beautiful skin, flushes out fat, helps get rid of toxins in your body, curves your appetite by keeping you fuller longer and it gives you energy! It is rather bland tasting but there are so many natural sweeteners out there now. My favorite is putting lemon, cucumber and mint in it. I challenge you to start drinking a gallon a day, yup the whole thing. What can help is putting marks on the jug, like drink this much by 1 pm, and this much by 4pm and so on. That way you can catch up on little increments of water instead of having to chug the whole thing by the end of the day to catch up.

Here is what I ate today

Meal One:

4 egg whites and one egg yolk, topped with red hot

Potatoes: Cube russet potatoes and cook on skillet until they can easily be pierced by a fork I season mine with olive oil, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Fruit Smoothie: See recipe in my Monday Meals post

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Meal Two:

Protein bar: See how these bars measure up to Quest bars in Monday Meals post

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Meal Three:

Chicken: Oven at 350, cooking between 30-45 minutes. I sprinkled on cayenne pepper, garlic powder, pepper, lemon juice and oregano flakes.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Peel & cube potatoes. Boil in large pot for about 20-30 minutes. Drain in colander. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in the same large pot, along with 2 tbsp of garlic. Add the potatoes back to the pan and pour on 1/2 cup of fat free milk, 2 tbsp of non fat Greek yogurt and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until smooth.

Asparagus: See recipe in my Monday Meals post

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Meal Four:

Protein shake-I recommend for women only a half scoop as we don’t need as much protein as men. We need 0.6-0.8g of protein per day per pound that we weigh. Guys I recommend the full scoop πŸ™‚

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Meal Five/Snack!

Celery and peanut butter or you can do homemade salsa

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Meal Six:

Shredded chicken salad: Shred chicken by placing it in a slow cooker on high for about four hours. Season however you want to, I put reduced sodium taco seasoning. Pull apart chicken with two forks, that’s it! Romain lettuce, spinach, feta cheese, low fat mozzarella shredded cheese and black beans, and for the dressing cilantro lime vinaigrette, you can find the recipe in my Street Taco post.

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For tonight, I’m going to hit my abs up pretty good πŸ™‚

Reverse Crunch (2 sets of 25-30 reps)

Cable Crunches (2 sets of 25-30 reps)

Decline Crunches (2 sets of 25-30 reps)

Oblique Crunch Left (30 seconds)

Oblique Crunch Right (30 seconds)

Vertical Toe Touch (30 seconds)

Bicycle Crunch (30 seconds)

Thank you for reading! Criticism, praise, suggestion, thoughts, questions, please leave them with me πŸ™‚

Killer Leg Workout

Here is what I have been doing lately to lose weight and build muscle. I am working on my discipline, Reese’s are my enemy. What is important is that I try again the next day and to not lose sight of my goal. I am going to take you through all of my meals everyday for this whole week, hopefully you can gain some tips of the meals that I post, workout plans or insight on fitness tips that have been working for me. I will be going over everything from food, water, rest, muscle building, cheat meals and protein intake. Hope you enjoy!

Meal One:

I started today off with 4 egg whites mixed with one whole egg, cooked turkey meat and a berry medley mix smoothie.

How to make the smoothie: Fill blender 1/4 of the way up with frozen berries, 3 spoonfuls of nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 spoonful of flax seed, one water bottle and honey for sweetness (optional).

Turkey meat: Nothing added, I cooked the meat on the skillet until no red was showing.

Eggs: I buy egg whites in a carton and crack open one egg to mix in with it, I love my eggs topped with red hot πŸ™‚

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Meal Two:

Protein bar, obviously Quest bars are the best but they run about $2 per bar. This bar (sold at Target) is half the price and comes in pretty close to quest bars with only 40 more calories, 1g less of protein and 1g more of sugar. For half the price this really is the better deal.

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Meal Three:

Lemon Garlic Asparagus: Set oven at 375, spread asparagus on cookie sheet covered with olive oil, garlic powder, pepper and lemon juice. Set in over for about 12-15 minutes.

Brown rice: Cook according to box.

Turkey meatballs: Set oven to 400F. Mix together in bowl, 1 pound lean ground turkey meat, 1 egg, 2/3 cup of oats and 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Roll into balls (makes about 12) and place evenly apart on cookie tray, cook for about 15 minutes.

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Meal Four:

Protein shake: half a scoop of whey protein, and 6-8 ounces of Almond milk. I still don’t know if almond milk is better than fat free milk. I found that cow milk has more protein in it and less sodium but almond milk has more calcium. I am still learning the difference of these two options, I will let you know what I find out πŸ™‚

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Meal Five:

Snacks! Raw almonds and/or celery with peanut butter or homemade salsa.

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Meal Six:

I had a long day, my toddler was hungry, we had to drive an hour and a half to an interview, by the time we got back I had to pick up my husband from work. Point of the story: LIFE HAPPENS. Don’t guilt yourself if you are busy and have to get take out once in a while. If you can get the healthiest thing on the menu. Start back up tomorrow, but don’t let today’s cheat drag on into a lifestyle. Get up brush it off and start fresh tomorrow.

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I am going to have a rest day today; since today was extremely stressful for me and I am still recovering from last night’s leg workout. (See posting below of what I did) Resting and food intake is CRUCIAL to how you want to form your body. I am going for a very lean and muscular look, so my workouts and diets have to reflect that. Whatever you input is our output. The way to build muscle is of course to work/tear that muscle by lifting weights that make that muscle work. Also can be achieved with cardio, sports, and mostly anything active. For me lifting weights is the easiest to really target in on the muscle group that you want to grow.

(I space all of my meals out about 2-3 hours apart)

Once you work that muscle it’s sore and needs to recover. When that muscle recovers it becomes stronger because it adds a layer on it, that’s how you get big πŸ™‚ An important part in this process is the recovery of that muscle, this is done by eating foods that help the muscle heal; foods high in protein and low in fat,(protein shakes are great for this) and sleep! Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, your body needs this rest, especially now. There is no sleep like after the gym sleep and it’s because your body badly needs to be put to rest to recover. You can also take supplements that help speed up recovery but I won’t dive into that because that is ground that I have yet to uncover for myself.

I have asked myself if it’s okay to go to the gym sore. Yes and no, if your arms are sore and you have yet to attack your legs do that. BUT, for example, if your triceps are still sore from working them out a couple of days ago, let them really recover until you hit it hard again. If you keep on tearing the muscle this overworks it and no progress will happen because that new layer doesn’t happen, it just keeps on tearing.

I hope you enjoyed reading! I know some of this stuff is basic material but a lot of times there is so much information out there, to filter through, that it’s good to take a step back and to really learn the basics of how to eat properly and workout properly. I have been doing a ton of research on the best ways to build muscle and lose fat and this is what I have learned so far, put together of what I previously knew. Come back tomorrow for more tips, recipes and maybe I’ll put up a progress photo of my last month of practicing what I preach πŸ˜‰ Enjoy your workout!

Stairs Are the Enemy Leg Workout:
Body weight Squats (3 sets of 8 reps)

Kettle ball Pile Squats (3 heavy sets of 8 reps)

Jump Squats (With Dumbbell) (3 heavy sets of 8 reps)

Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Dead lift (3 sets of 10 reps)

Leg Press (3 sets of 15 reps)

Walking Barbell Lounge (3 sets of 30 steps)

Stationary Barbell Lunge (3 sets of 30 steps)

Lying Leg Curls (3 sets of 10 reps)

Seated Leg Curl (3 sets of 10 reps)

Leg Extensions (3 sets of 10 reps)

Standing Calf Raises (3 sets of 12, 10, 8, 12 reps)

Tell me in the comments how sore you are the day after this workout πŸ˜‰ I collapsed once I got into my apartment that night, and almost asked my husband to carry me to bed haha. Happy lifting!

Street Tacos

I made these tacos for the first time this weekend and they are now on the weekly dinner list. They are so good and also healthy! I hope you enjoy!

Prep time: 15 minutesΒ  Cook time: 10 minutesΒ  Serves about 3 people

First cut the fat off of the steak and cut it into stringy pieces.

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They should end up looking like this:

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Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and then add the steak. Season the steak with garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Saute for about 8-10 minutes.

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Add the garlic and saute for an extra 2 minutes, and then remove from heat.

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Now let’s prepare the mouthwatering cilantro lime vinaigrette: Chop up about 3/4 cup of cilantro add them to the blender.

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Add the juice of two limes

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The 1/3 cup of oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)

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Add the 4 teaspoons of minced garlic

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Add the 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar

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Add the 1/4 cup of milk (I used fat free milk)

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Add the 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt

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And finally the 4 teaspoons of sugar

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Blend together for about a minute or until it’s completely blended into a liquid.

While your steak is cooking you can cut up the cabbage into thin slices and also some cilantro and onion for garnish and set aside.

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Now it’s time to put the tacos together! Microwave the corn tortillas for about 30 seconds.

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Then add the steak, pour on the vinaigrette, top with the cabbage and cilantro

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Then fold them into a taco!

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Ingredients:

6 inch white corn tortillas

1 pound skirt steak

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon of oil

1 cup diced onion

1/2 cup cilantro

2 cups cabbage

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:

3/4 cup cilantro

Juice of 2 limes

1/3 cup oil

4 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons of sugar

1/4 cup fat free milk

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt

Carrot Themed Chocolate Strawberries

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First, grab a helper, even if it’s for them to eat the fallen Oreos onto the floor πŸ˜‰

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First start with lining a baking pan with parchment paper

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Melt vanilla chocolate wafers in microwave or according to the package(These can be bought at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or sometimes in the produce section of any grocery store).

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Add 2 yellow food coloring drops to every 1 red food coloring drops, do this until you get a deep orange color.

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Rinse the strawberries

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Make sure to completely dry them in paper towels, the chocolate won’t stick too well if they are wet.

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Dip them in the chocolate, I recommend sticking a fork through the top side of the strawberry to more easily lift them out of the chocolate(Note: if chocolate gets too stiff add olive oil to thin it out, DO NOT REHEAT).

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Place on parchment paper, wait until the chocolate has completely set.

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Add crushed Oreos (no filling) to the bottom of the cup(I used about 2 cookies for the bottom).

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You can make your own pudding, or just buy snack packs (which is what I did) and add until it’s 3/4 of the way to the top.

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Add more Oreos (about 3 cookies) on top of the pudding, and then place the strawberry in the middle of the Oreos.

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To make the strawberries look even more like carrots take a black gel decorator tube and squiggle lines across the strawberry (this worked better when the strawberry was still on the parchment paper).

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Tada! Doesn’t that look delicious??

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If you don’t have enough cups, pudding or Oreos that doesn’t matter, they look adorable without the cup too πŸ˜‰

Ingredients:

  • Strawberries (rinsed and dried)
  • Vanilla Candy Melts
  • Red & Yellow food coloring
  • Parchment Paper
  • Plastic cups (I bought mine from Target)
  • Black gel cake decorator
  • Pudding (Or snack packs)
  • Crushed Oreos

As always, thank you for reading! Criticism, praise, suggestion, thoughts, questions, please leave them with me πŸ™‚

Chicken Noodle Soup

Start With the Chicken:

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Start with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place the chicken breasts on top and then cover with the seasonings, flip the breasts and cover with seasonings on the other side. Continually flip the chicken, shredding the chicken with two forks as each layer cooks, this helps to speed up the cooking time or you can wait until they are fully cooked to start shredding them. While these are cooking prepare the soup in a big soup pan. Wait to prepare the noodles until you are almost done for they only take 8 minutes to cook.

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During the end it’s going to be quick with the soup boiling, shredding the chicken and cooking the noodles.

The Soup:

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In a large pot pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, half a bag of sliced carrots, and 5 stalks of diced celery over medium heat for about 8 minutes.

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Add the garlic

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Add 1 Adorable chunky cheeked baby-just kidding

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And salt and cook for about another minute

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Then add the chicken broth, bay leaf and water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

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Stir in the chicken

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And lemon juice while reducing the heat.

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To serve add in the noodles separately to the soup, this keeps the noodles from absorbing too much liquid and tasting overcooked. Enjoy! Don’t forget to take out the bay leaf!

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If you intend to have leftovers, I suggest storing the soup and noodles separately so that the noodles don’t absorb the liquid.

Ingredients:

3 skinless and boneless chicken brests

3-32 oz chicken broth

4 cups of water

Juice of 1 lemon

Noodles-however you like them-I used gluten free rotini πŸ™‚

Half a bag of sliced carrots

5 celery stalks-diced

1 onion-chopped finely

4 Tbsp. of olive oil

1 bay leaf

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1/2 Tsp. Chili Powder

1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper

1/2 Tsp. Dried Oregeno

8 Garlic Cloves-minced

As always, thank you for reading! Criticism, praise, suggestion, thoughts, questions, please leave them with me πŸ™‚