Creamy (AND HEALTHY) Shrimp & Arugula Pasta

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This pasta is deceptively good for you. It’s absolutely packed with a variety of vegetables, and it has very small amounts of butter*, Parmesan*, and heavy cream*. It also has shrimp, which are low-calorie, high-protein, and nutrient-rich shrimp (just make sure you get the real kind). Top it off with some whole grain noodles, and you’re good to go!

You’re probably thinking, “How can something so healthy actually taste good?”

Well, I’m glad you asked.

The truth is, this pasta doesn’t taste healthy. I’m not saying this as a vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, organic health food guru (but kudos to you if you are) who doesn’t know what comfort food actually tastes like. I’m saying this as someone who knows what actual unhealthy food tastes like. Even my brother, who passionately hates vegetables, liked this pasta. He was actually surprised (read: appalled) when I told him this pasta was healthy and filled with veggies.

*compared to how much I usually use

So, without further to do, here’s the recipe:

  • 1 bag of frozen, fully-cooked shrimp (with or without tails)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 cups fresh arugula or spinach
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 4-8 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 box of whole wheat pasta, cooked

1. Defrost your shrimp by running them under hot water. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add your shrimp and season them with salt + pepper. Sautee shrimp for 5 minutes. Turn them over, adding your basil, onion, pepper, and garlic. Sautee for 5 more minutes, or until shrimp are browned to your liking.

2. Add your heavy cream and grated cheese, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Add your pasta, arugula or spinach, and tomatoes. Stir until your greens have wilted.

3. Serve warm with grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper as garnishes. Enjoy!

 

 

Shrimp and Bok Choy

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I love bok choy (yes, that’s actually how it’s spelled). I love shrimp. I love Chinese food. I love this stir-fry. Just thinking about it makes me salivate (TMI?). It’s salty and creamy, but not overpoweringly so. The best part is . . . YOU get to control what goes into it. I’m adding the basic recipe, but it’s up to you to add or take away ingredients to suit your tastes.

For the stir fry (serves 5):

  • 1 bag of frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 TBSP oil (vegetable, olive, coconut, etc.)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • bok choy (approx. 3 cups, chopped)
  • chicken bullion, to taste
  • water, as needed
  • salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, etc.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pan or wok over low-medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is cooked (or defrosted, if using precooked shrimp). Add the bok choy, chicken bullion, water, and spices. Cook until the bok choy is no longer raw, about 10 minutes, adding ingredients as needed. Serve over rice.

Healthy Chocolate Chia Pudding

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I recently discovered this amazingly nutritious seed called the chia seed. Chia seeds are low calorie, yet high in fiber, protein, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and a ton of other good-for-you vitamins and such. Chia seeds also contain antioxidants. Chia seeds help fight weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses. Did I mention they’re reasonably priced (2 lbs. for $9.50 via Amazon)? So, basically, if you chia seeds are not currently part of your diet, they need to be.

Now, you can’t just eat a spoonful of chia seeds everyday or take them like pills because they expand in liquid (aka they’ll get stuck in your throat and there’s a good chance you’ll end up in the ER). So, after purchasing these strange little seeds, I made it my mission to find a healthy and delicious way to prepare chia seeds.

A couple months ago, I attempted to make vanilla chia pudding, and, although it was fine, it was a little soupy and just not as incredible as I was hoping; definitely not the kind of recipe I would put on my blog. Well, about a week ago, I tried making CHOCOLATE chia pudding. The cocoa powder (which, by the way, also has health benefits) made it lighter and fluffier. It was incredible: easy, delicious, and EXTREMELY healthy! What more could one possibly ask for? Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

Directions:

Mix all ingredients with a fork in a tupperware container, bowl, or mason jar (the order really doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s well-mixed). Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Stir and serve (this pudding is great with fruit). Note: this pudding does have a tapioca-like texture, keep this in mind if you’re not a texture person.

Bruschetta Chicken

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This chicken dish is so delicious. It looks and tastes so fresh and elegant. Although it certainly doesn’t seem like it, it’s actually really easy. I served it with couscous, but you could really serve it with any carb you wanted (pasta, rice, bread, etc). If you’re looking for a light, fresh, healthy, and satisfying recipe, try making this bruschetta chicken!

  • 5 chicken breasts (or however many you need)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, & basil
  • 3-4 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2+ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Handful basil, chopped

Bush the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and basil to taste. Bake at 450ºF for 20 minutes. While the chicken is baking, combine the tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and basil. Once the chicken is cooked, top with the tomato mixture and serve. Ta-da!

Baked Cream Cheese Wontons

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I love baking things that are normally fried, it’s healthier and so much easier (I can’t stand working with hot oil). The problem is, most baked foods aren’t as tasty as fried. Well, not these cream cheese wontons. They are perfect. I’m currently obsessed with their amazingness. They are deliciously crispy yet not soaked in grease. So yummy… and extremely easy!

For the wontons (makes 16):

  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 16 wonton wrappers
  • add-ins of choice, optional (I used chives and garlic – yum)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay wonton wrappers on prepared baking sheet. Place 1 teaspoon cream cheese in the center of each wonton wrapper. Brush the edges with water, fold wrappers and pinch to seal (folding them in half into triangles would probably be the easiest way to go). Spray the wontons with cooking spray and bake for 4-7 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

Chicken Alfredo

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I recently made chicken Alfredo for about 100 people. It was quite a bit of work but it was totally worth it because everyone loved it. At one time I was completely against using cream cheese in Alfredo sauce, but after trying this recipe I realized that I was wrong. You can barely taste the cream cheese, it simply gives the sauce a richer flavor. Enjoy this amazingly delicious chicken Alfredo!

For the chicken Alfredo:

  • 1 package of pasta (any kind)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Make the pasta to your liking. Melt butter and add garlic, cook for two minutes. Add heavy cream and cream cheese, cook until almost boiling. Add parmesan, salt, and white pepper. Whisk until the cheese is melted. Pour over pasta. Garnish with parsley if desired. Enjoy!

THE BEST Homemade Mac & Cheese

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I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve tried to make homemade macaroni and cheese and failed. All the good recipes usually have processed cheese in them, anyway, and that means it’s not really homemade. Me and my family had always preferred the Kraft macaroni and cheese to homemade mac and cheese. Today I was really in the mood for homemade mac and cheese (which is very rare). I decided to try out yet another recipe… hoping that maybe… just maybe… this one would turn out. Miraculously, It did! I LOVED it! It was just the perfect blend of seasonings and sauces! Soooooo yummy 🙂

For the mac and cheese (makes 1 serving):

  • 3 tablespoons uncooked macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • A handful (about 1/3 cup) shredded cheddar (or whatever kind) cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. breadcrumbs
  • additional cheese for top

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease an oven-proof soup crock or 1 cup baking dish. Fill a small saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Stir in the macaroni; boil until cooked but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain well, and reserve. In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, and milk; whisk until smooth. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in 1/3 cup cheese, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Stir in the cooked macaroni. Spoon the macaroni and cheese into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon cheddar cheese. Bake for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!