When A Man Cooks You Dinner

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Early on in our relationship, I would trek the 45 min+ to Jonathan’s condo after work, in rush hour, and would arrive to find him cooking dinner for us. Sometimes it was homemade pizza. Sometimes it was fish, black beans, and couscous. No matter what it was, knowing that I was going to walk in and have him tell me “just go sit down!” was the ultimate sign that he loved me. Even if he didn’t know it yet, I knew! AND, he eats so healthy, I became inspired and lost like, 15 or more pounds our first year together. Basically the opposite of the usual boyfriend effect*.

Now that we are married, we both cook a lot. Some dinners are quick and easy, some more complex, but most of the time, we are both in the kitchen getting things done. And I love this! It’s a whole different side of feeling loved and comfortable.

But this weekend was my birthday (Sunday), and while I really don’t care all that much about doing anything on my birthday (29 is a weird number), it was the strangest and awesomest feeling when he a) had breakfast ready for me when I got back from a run, and b) later “made me” go work on my crafting project and watch Game of Thrones (which he is not into) while he made me like this, gourmet Whole30 meal of turkey burger, guac, and sweet potato wedges.

Seriously, a flashback to our dating days. I love us cooking together, but I also love taking a break from time to time. All this to say, if a man is cooking for you early on, you are bound happy dinners all your life!

*The Boyfriend Effect is caused when I feel the freedom to eat just as much as my new boyfriend (and am more than capable) and so I gain like, a bazillion pound.

Buffalo Chicken Alfredo with Sweet Potato Noodles {Paleo}

Made it. Ate it. Loved it.

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Buffalo Chicken Alfredo with Sweet Potato Noodles by Brittany Angell. Check it out.

Seriously, this meal is hearty, flavorful, and leaves you feeling OH SO HAPPY. I highly recommend a few extra dashes of buffalo sauce. And with your sweet potato noodles – I just boiled them instead of cooking in more oil. This brings the fat level down a tad. Make this even if you don’t really “eat paleo!!”

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Zoodles + Turkey Tomato Sauce {Paleo}

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Sorry for the iphone photos. I was feeling lazy.

I say “sauce” but really, it’s meat and tomatoes…just the way I like it :) Something about a super chunky tomatoey topping to my pasta has always made me feel at home. And these days, as I am trying to cut back on my pastas and other “evil sugars” (with only marginal success, mind you) I am all about experimenting with noodle alternatives. There is the soba noodle and the spaghetti squash noodle and the sweet potato noodle (spoodle?), and now I’ve discovered the zucchini noodle = zoodle.

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So first, the zoodle. SUPER EASY. They have fun and fancy tools out there, like this spiral slicer, which would probalby make it even easier than it already is. However, I just used a simple Julienne Peeler to create my zoodles. You can boil, steam, or stir fry these, just like any other veggie. I boiled them just to get them as tender and pasta-like as possible. You could literally do anything with these guys. Okay fine, maybe not literally, but ALMOST.

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And then, my “sauce.” This makes 4 generous servings. I learned that when you turn a zucchini into zoodles, one zucchini ends up being about a serving. So if you are really wanting 4 servings, get 4 zucchinis and thank me later.

Turkey Tomato Sauce {Paleo}

Ingredients:

1 medium onion
2 16 oz cans of diced tomatoes (Go flavorful here. I used one with garlic and basil, and one “hot” with green chilis)
1 lb lean ground turkey
salt and pepper to taste
ZOODLES!

Directions:

1. Chop your onion and saute over medium heat in a little olive oil or cooking spray until it starts to brown. Add your turkey and cook until browned (season with some salt and pepper along the way). Finally, drain your tomatoes and add to your onions and turkey. Let this all simmer a while to get the flavors melded.

2. Meanwhile, boil your zoodles (or spaghetti or whatever) and then cover them in the meaty tomatoey goodness. YUMS!

How easy is that?? A hearty yet summery meal. And honestly, the best part about spaghetti and meatballs is the meatballs, obviously, so this kind of fills that craving for you. Let me know if you try out zoodles and what you think!

Buffalo Chicken Salad Hoagie

This week’s buffalo chicken creation was around long enough for a quick iPhone photo, but that was about it…

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And I must say, this mean was a seriously huge success in our little family. Flavorful, fresh, and completely comforting without being fatty or greasy at all. Easiest recipe ever follows.

Buffalo Chicken Salad Hoagie (4 servings)

Ingredients
2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1/4 cup plain, nonfat greek yogurt
1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce
1 celery stalk, chopped finely
2 green onions (whites and some greens)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

The directions are simple…mix together your yogurt and hot sauce, add in the veggies and seasoning, and last, the chicken! I let mine set in the fridge for a couple of hours, and I think it helps the flavors really meld together. Obviously, you could eat this by itself, over a salad, or, like we did, on a delicious french baguette. Enjoy!

Healthy Chicken Enchiladas

Okay, in case you didn’t already know this, enchiladas are not very photogenic. I mean, they are DELICIOUS, obviously, but they aren’t that pretty. Alas, no photo for you today.

But I HAVE to share this recipe with you, because it was a crowd pleaser (if I do say so myself). I made every healthy substitution I possibly could, and here is what I came up with.

Ingredients
1.5 lb chicken breast
1 onion
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 cup fat free shredded cheddar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 tortillas – for healthiest results, I used Ole brand low carb / high fiber
OPTIONAL:
1 jar red enchilada sauce
extra cheese for sprinkling

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook chicken in large skillet or pot (I prefer to boil chicken breasts when I will be using them in a recipe like this, but you could also saute them). Once cooked through, remove chicken from pan and cube.

3. Add onion to your now empty pot, and saute on medium-high heat until they being to turn tender. Add your chicken back in, as well as the sour cream, shredded cheese, parsley, oregano, and black pepper. Mix on low heat until cheese is melted.

4. Stir in salt, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, garlic, and black beans.

5. Now, make your enchiladas! Take one tortilla at a time, and put a nice heaping spoonful of your mixture into the middle. Roll it up, and place them seam-side down in a 13×9 baking pan (make sure you spray with pam first!). All eight should fit perfectly.

The optional part: I found that I had a lot of “juices” left over from my chicken mixture, which I poured over the top of the enchiladas. If you prefer enchilada sauce, you could pour that over instead. I did sprinkle a little cheese on top, but there is enough cheese in it that this really isn’t necessary.

6. Bake uncovered until everything looks toasty and delicious – about 20 minutes. I recommend letting it sit 5-10 minute before serving so it doesn’t fall apart quite as easily, but let’s face it – it will be delicious no matter what.

Enjoy!

These come out to be around 350 calories per enchilada, not to mention higher fiber and lower fat and carbs than your average enchilada. And the best part? If you have people who are “against” that whole “eating healthy thing,” they seriously won’t even know, because these are delicious. Happy Tuesday!

Basil Turkey Sliders {Paula Deen}

I have to say that this is one of Paula Deen’s less unhealthy recipes, however, I still healthified it a little. You can see the original recipe here.

And here is my version, adapted from Paula Deen:
2 lbs. lean ground turkey
1 oz. fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt

Mix all of these ingredients together. Form into small patties – you can make them any size you want, but I made them quite small and ended up with about 30 little burgers. Cook these on a skillet until they are cooked through and smell delicious. I also did not make Paula’s red pepper mayo, although it sounds delicious. Instead I just garnished with lettuce, tomato, and a little mustard!

I highly recommend – it’s easy, healthy, and different than your average burger. Enjoy!

Pasta Salad {Healthified}

In honor of the Titans pre-season opener over the weekend, Jonathan and I made a FEAST of chicken wings and veggies and pasta salad. He found this great recipe for a pretty healthy pasta salad, and it turned out to have a ton of flavor.

I followed the recipe, and used nonfat plain greek yogurt, which added a touch of protein, and of course lite mayo. I highly recommend it. I know typically the healthiest pasta salads are those with fat-free italian dressing instead of the creamy versions, however I think this makes for a great creamy yet healthy exception!