Faux Lasagna

Don't worry there isn't any tofu and yes, there is still cheese.

This is something that my mom made and ever since I've been itching to make it - however this is not something the man of the house would be very interested in. So with him being gone on a ski trip it was the perfect opportunity. 

Welcome to [Italian turkey] sausage & sweet potato zucchini lasagna from Pinch of Yum

It takes a little bit of work, but the hardest part is the 15 minutes after it's done baking and you have to wait to let it cool. PURE TORTURE. I just had this for leftovers and y'all...you just need to have it. Who knew something that resembles baby food (this sweet potato puree) could be so damn amazing...but I'll still hold off on the baby part please. 

Here's a quick play by play - sweat out the zucchini, layer the zucchini, sweet potato puree, ground Italian turkey sausage, zucchini, puree, sausage, zucchini, puree & cheese! 

  1. INGREDIENTS
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 lb. ground turkey Italian sausage
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup non fat milk
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the zucchini into thin strips lengthwise. I did this with a normal vegetable peeler & resorted to a knife once it started to become too difficult.
  2. Lay down the zucchini on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let them rest & "sweat it out"
  3. In a skillet, brown the ground turkey with 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  4. Wash the sweet potatoes, poke/stab/pierce whatever you want with a fork and wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 7 minutes. (BTW this is my go to way to cook sweet potatoes in a pinch!) If you prefer you can bake them too. 
  5. Chop up the sweet potatoes and place in a blender with the milk, chicken broth, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt - puree until smooth & delicious. 
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  7.  Now its time to layer! Start with the sweated zucchini noodles, then the sauce, sausage - repeat as many times as you'd like and end with a zucchini layer, sauce & some cheese.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 15-20 minutes. ** I promise let it cool - it makes the whole process so much easier

Eat your soul out because it's healthy and you can!

Mexi Bowls

When you're a homesick Texan, easy Mexican dishes are something that you need to have tucked up your sleeve. 

Solid Mexican food is seriously hard to come by in the Mid-West, unless you're at Pancheros. But if you're looking to avoid the drunk, downtown goers in line, you'll be looking for a while. So when the going gets tough, you make your own! 

This is the easiest most versatile dish in my rolodex...not that I actually have a rolodex. Does anybody remember those, before everything was digital? I am obsessed with putting things from pen to paper, maybe I should get one. Anyways, back to the food. 

This is pretty much your home version of your favorite local Mexican grill. If we are going to break it down, here's the steps: 

  1. Pick you meat: chicken breast, chicken thigh, ground turkey
  2. Pick your peppers & onions
  3. Pick your depth: black beans, pinto beans, rice
  4. Pick your toppings: taco sauce, guacamole, queso, shredded cheese, tomatoes, salsa cilantro, jalapeños, etc. 

Sautee up peppers and onions. Even though I prefer multicolored peppers, this girl is on a budget so green peppers it is. 

Toss in the meat - I went ahead and crockpotted the chicken thighs, but you can dice up the chicken or brown ground turkey on the stove top.

Add in the rice, beans, & sauce. I usually let this cover and simmer until the rice is cooked (of course I use the 5 minute quick rice), this lets the flavors blend together. Ethan loves him some taco sauce - there's never enough. 

Once it is all cooked together, the fun has just begun! Guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, and if you want it...even more taco sauce! 

Want a less carb-y version? Skip the rice and/or beans and throw over some greens! Want to add more flavor at ease? Stop by your local Mexican grill and pick up their queso and/or guac!

When life hands you avocados, you make guac! 

Power Me Up

Why do boys never remember to eat?

Is it just me or does anybody have the struggle of eating more than their significant other? Ethan and I will get home after a long day and set down all of our bags on the counter...his lunchbox always a little heavier than mine. Lo and behold the kid hasn't eaten all day! In his defense, he is in the midst of starting his own company for speed & agility training, Ethan Holmes Performance. With this new day to day, he is constantly running around and doesn't have time to eat a sandwich or chow down on leftovers. Welcome, power balls. 

Now, I'd be shocked if you have yet to hear of these little gems. They are delicious & nutritious snacks all wrapped up in one (or three) balls with no fuss, even making them is easy. Trust me, the way Ethan goes through these things I am making them constantly...no way I'd be volunteering as tribute if it was a major pain. 

You start with some simple recipes and each one can be adjusted to your liking. Ethan is a Skippy kinda boy, where as I would make these with Sunflower butter if it were me. Coconut oil is my use for liquid, I think it just adds an extra punch without adding the texture of coconut flakes. I prefer to use mini chocolate chips because I feel like the mini ones incorporate better into the balls, but you could add white/caramel chips, dried fruit, or nix it all! Also, honey can easily be switched out for agave nectar or even syrup! 

Get all the dry ingredients in and then start adding the sticky ones (honey & peanut butter). I usually start with a spatula and end up tossing it in the sink and just going at it with my hands. I have yet to learn to just start off that one, but hopefully one day. 

Set the bowl up in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill it out & then roll them out! Keep these bad boys kept in an air tight container, but only after you try one or two or three. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 1-2 TB cinnamon
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 2 TB coconut oil
  • 2-3 TB honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (I never really measure this spot, put enough until you're happy)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add oats, protein powder and cinnamon into a bowl
  2. Add in vanilla, honey, peanut butter, and coconut oil
  3. Start to incorporate all together and add in chocolate chips
  4. Stick in the fridge for 30 minutes to let chill
  5. Once chilled,

**coconut oil is hardened in the jar, just measure it out and stick in the microwave for less than 30 seconds to melt it ebfore adding into the mix.

Nut Butter Fudge

sprinkles are my best friend

Seriously, if something is cake batter flavored and/or has sprinkles i am going to be all over it, and lets be real shouldn't cake batter & sprinkles always go together? Anyways, I am always looking for a new sweet treat to take care of my constant sugar cravings. I have had my fair share of protein ice creams , which side note i just tried Enlightened Ice Cream  in Sea Salt Caramel and it was unreal...globs of caramel and everything.

Back on Topic, sweet snacks. I think my Pinterest search tab is full of cake batter dessert recipes. Then I stumbled on Ambitious Kitchen's cake batter freezer fudge and thought I just had to give it a try. it calls for cashew butter, which I did Not have on Hand so I went with my trusty sunflower butter. Just grab some coconut oil, sunflower butter, syrup & Vanilla and throw into a sauce pan. Melt it all, add some sprinkles and then pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. freeze it for 30 minutes, take a knife (or your mouth) to it and you're done! 

These are a good little healthy fat treat, They have more of a maple syrup taste to me than anything but I attest that to the fact that I didn't use Cashew butter (which is key for the cake batter taste). 

look at all those sprinkles!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup sunflower butter (cashew/peanut/almond butter)
  • 3/4 coconut oil
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 1 TS vanilla
  • sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. Add all ingredients, except sprinkles, into a saucepan and stir into all melted and combined
  3. Add in as many sprinkles as you would like
  4. Pour mixture into the prepared loaf pan & freeze for 30 minutes
  5. Cut up into cubes and store in an air tight container