Tuna Pasta Salad

Monday is here and I just started Prep Week for Beachbody’s Transform20. I’m sure most of you have heard of Shaun T, and if you haven’t – do a quick search. He has the most exhilarating workout programs (Insanity!) and is such a motivator. The new Transform20 program only calls for 20 minutes of your day, perfect if you’re the type of person who loses interests after a half hour of hearing a trainer yell instructions and moves. Plus you can lose up to 20lbs in just 6 weeks! If that’s not convincing enough to give it a try, I’m not sure what is. 

(Check out the program here if I’ve sparked your interest. We start in a week!)


I’m not in my best shape. My eating may be OK and I have lost 5lbs in the past 3 weeks, but I’m not IN shape. We’re in the middle of having our home gym area remodeled and so I can’t use any of my go-to equipment. So every pound I’ve lost lately has been due to eating clean and cutting down on snacks and sweets. This week is especially an exception because while I will be doing quick prep workouts, I also will need to focus on remaining on my clean-eats path!

Starting the week off right with this salad.This particular salad is packed with plenty of vegetables and protein! I don’t like fish myself, but I love a good can of tuna with some light mayonnaise. Add it into a salad and you’ve got even more of my attention. But I feel as though I see a lack of tuna recipes on the internet. I guess maybe there are only so many ways that you can incorporate it into a meal other than just the by using it in staple recipes.

It’s awfully colorful too, and I know that can be appealing to some. I like pretty food. It’s more photogenic and it also meal-preps wonderfully which should always be the exception. We don’t necessarily have the time to prepare our foods daily and in order to stay on track, you’re guaranteed to succeed with your personal goals if you’re preprepared.

Tuna Pasta Salad

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • ½ cup whole wheat pasta
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 2 cups Romaine lettuce
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup sweet corn
  • ¼ cup cucumber, peeled and diced
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta accordingly and drain. Set aside.
  2. Using a small bowl, add all dressing ingredients; whisk well. Set aside.
  3. Divide ingredients between 2 plates, lettuce and pasta first followed by vegetables. Lastly add tuna and drizzle dressing onto.
http://fitgirlnic.com/tuna-pasta-salad/

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

Happy New Year!

With each new year comes new goals, new dreams or if you’re me – a newly remodeled home gym! (Currently still in progress.) Working out at home has always been a preference for me because you really have no excuses as to why you aren’t able to get a quick sweat in. I know a lot of you like having a gym membership because other than the obvious, it’s also a great opportunity for quiet time if you have small children at home.

Alright! Aside from the veeeeery original “get in better shape” New Years resolution, one of my “2019 things that I’d like to do” is also to be more active here on my blog. We eat homemade meals nearly 6 out of 7 nights a week and most of the time I’m not documenting them because of the silly fact that I do not like to photograph anything unless I’m using natural light. Cue in another “2019 things I’d like to do” – learn how to photograph using unnatural light.

So, let’s start the first week of the new year with an easy, healthy meal that is a fairly well made recipe throughout the winter – Cabbage Rolls! But I’m going to make it even more easy on you. You won’t be rolling anything but your fork in your soup bowl.

Cabbage Rolls are one of my most favorite meals. Unfortunately, I may be the only one in this house who feels this way, which is OK; we’re not all going to like the same thing. I also think cabbage rolls can be a preferred meal and so when I do cook them, I usually cook them in bulk and have them as leftovers when my husband is out of town. 

Besides not having to roll cabbage, Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls are a great quick on the skillet meal. No oven bake necessary. It’s just a few chops and you’re simmering on-top of the oven for the remainder of the time. Plus it’s suuuuper flavorful and being that we’re tip-toeing around winter and instead in this “rainy, gloomy and cold season without snow”, this recipe would fit great in your weekly menu. 

Be sure to let me know if you try this recipe out via the comments, tag me on instagram or use the hashtag #fitgirlniccooks. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls
Serves 6
A super easy and healthy alternative to one of your favorite comfort recipes.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound lean ground beef
  2. medium onion, chopped
  3. 1 garlic clove, minced
  4. 1 small cabbage, chopped
  5. 2 cans (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes
  6. 1 can (8 oz) tomato paste
  7. ½ cup water
  8. salt and pepper, for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Next add ground beef and onion and allow to cook until meat is no longer pink. Throw in garlic clove and let saute for 1 minute.
  2. Slowly add cabbage, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water to skillet. Combine by stirring until everything is blended well. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, depending on how cooked-through cabbage is.
Adapted from http://www.fitgirlnic.com/deconstructedcabbagerolls
Adapted from http://www.fitgirlnic.com/deconstructedcabbagerolls
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

 

 

 

 

Homemade Apple Pie

It’s Day 2 of my Apple Recipe Week and today I’ve baked an Apple Pie for the very first time. As expected, I’ve already got my cheat-meal pants on because this pie recipe is pretty darn delicious; I knew so when I read one of the ingredients were 8 peeled apples! Plus it’s nothing too complex. I didn’t want to dive into the deep end of pie baking for my first round. Maybe I can do the fancy crust toppings my second time around. 

Homemade Apple Pie
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Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 9-inch double crust pastry pie
  2. ½ cup unsalted butter
  3. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  4. ½ cup brown sugar
  5. ½ cup granulated sugar
  6. ¼ cup water
  7. 8 apples, peeled and cored
Instructions
  1. Cut apples into thin slices. Set aside.
  2. If you’re using a store-bought pie crust (and that’s perfectly OK to do), bake accordingly prior so that the pie is prepared and ready.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Using a medium size saucepan, melt butter. Next add flour and stir until you’ve created a thick paste. Slowly add brown sugar, granulated sugar and water, mixing well and allowing to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Fill your crust pan with apple slices. Cover with lattice crust pattern, following by gently pouring the buttery sugar mix overtop crust. Try not to let it drip off crust too much.
  6. Bake pie for 15 minutes. After, reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook an additional 35-45 minutes.
  7. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or by itself.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Happy Fall! Yesterday we spent the later of the day apple picking at a fruit farm just a little outside of the city. Fall is especially my favorite time of the year because of events like this. I love baking, especially when the weather has just begun to cool down and you can leave the windows open while spending an afternoon in the kitchen. I am sure we will either run out of apples or my family will grow tired of eating all-things-apples before I can try all the recipes I want to, but I sure am going to try and cram as many in as I can!

So I deem this and possibly next week as “Apple Recipe Week(s).” This first recipe is Apple Cinnamon Bread, something that didn’t take very many apples (just 1 large to be precise) but smells and tastes like you baked a dozen. You don’t need to visit a fruit farm to make these recipes, unless you really want to. Most only ask for a handful of apples or less.

Apple Cinnamon Bread
Yields 8
A delicious addition to your collection of bread recipes.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  2. 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  3. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  4. ½ cup butter, softened
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  9. ½ cup whole milk
  10. 1 apple, cored and peeled
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and greasing a 9x5 loaf pan.
  2. Dice the apple into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon; mixing with a spoon until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add granulated sugar and butter and beat with either a handheld mixer or using a stand mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla, mix on medium speed until combined. Next add flour, baking powder and milk; mixing on medium speed again until smooth and well combined.
  6. Pour half of the batter into greased loaf pan. Add half of the diced apples on top, patting gently with the back of a spoon to combine them to batter. Sprinkle half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Rigatoni with Kale Meatballs

I hope the word kale being in the post title hasn’t already scared you away. I don’t care much for it myself, especially on it’s own. However, there are a few exceptions and this meatball dish just so happens to be one of them. Luckily, I didn’t skip this meal in our weekly recipes selection and gave it the benefit of the doubt. I guess there are times when kale CAN be delicious.

We get HelloFresh twice a week when we are home. I’ve learned how to cook some healthy, delicious dishes with food combinations that I would have never imagined went well together. And a lot of those containing ingredients that I have stuck my nose up at my entire life. I’ve found that I actually REALLY do like roasted zucchini and green beans. Dejavu back to being a kid and trying stuff for the first time, only you’re a little more mature and less likely to throw a tantrum when it’s presented on a plate in front of you.

So if the word “kale” still has you feeling unsure, I’ll be completely honest with you: You can’t even taste the kale, so come back, read on and try this recipe for yourself.

 

Rigatoni with Kale Meatballs
Serves 4
A delicious and easy homemade marinara sauce topped over rigatoni pasta. The traditional meatball recipe comes packed with an extra special green guest: kale! Did meatballs just get a little more healthy?
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 yellow onion, diced
  2. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1½ cups kale, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
  4. handful of fresh basil leaves
  5. 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  6. 1lb ground beef
  7. ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  8. 12oz rigatoni pasta
  9. ½ cup parmesan cheese
Meatball Seasoning
  1. 8 teaspoons dried oregano
  2. 8 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  3. 4 teaspoons dried basil
  4. 4 teaspoons dried marjoram
  5. 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  6. 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
Instructions
  1. Using a small bowl, combine all meatball seasoning ingredients and momentarily set aside after whisking well.
  2. Add ground beef, breadcrumbs, kale, a pinch of salt and pepper and meatball seasoning mixture to a medium size bowl. Combine ingredients well using clean hands. Shape into 1½-inch balls and place on a plate. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, stirring occasionally until fully al dente at around 10 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
  4. While pasta is cooking, heat a large drizzle of olive oil in a large deep skillet over med-high heat. Add onion, cooking until fragrant and transparent; about 3-5 minutes. Add minced garlic, cook for an additional 2 minutes and then crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until sauce appears to have thickened, around 5 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, carefully add meatballs to sauce mixture. Increase the heat to medium and cover; cooking about 5 minutes on each side or until meatballs are fully cooked through.
  6. Divide rigatoni pasta between 4 plates, adding marinara and meatballs on top. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a few basil leaves for extra taste.
Notes
  1. If sauce appears thick, add the ½ cup of pasta water.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

15 Minute Garlic Croutons

Have you ever passed by the marked down aisle of food at the grocery store and wondered what you could do with any of the marked down bread? So much! Yesterday I bought a bag of french loaf pieces that was marked down to 49 cents with the intentions of making croutons out of it. I’ve got a salad planned for my lunch this week, as well as a soup and croutons go well with both.

Anyone can make their own croutons with just 4 basic ingredients and an oven. Add some spices or parmesan cheese to give them a more flavorful taste to match whatever entree you have planned to incorporate them in. I promise you won’t buy store brand croutons again!

Homemade Garlic Croutons
Yields 4
You can make your own croutons with just 4 ingredients and an oven.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups of bread, cut into small cube shapes
  2. ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  3. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1/3 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add bread cubes to a large bowl. Sprinkle both garlic powder and sea salt overtop, gently stirring. Next drizzle olive oil overtop and carefully fold; making sure to coat all bread.
  3. Using a cookie sheet, add bread; spreading out evenly so none overlap. Cook for 10-15 minutes depending on how quickly they brown.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before adding to your recipe or storing in a gallon size ziplock bag.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Ham and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Happy 2017! I decided to start up the new year with a more strict diet and exercise plan due to adding a few pounds on over the last year that I’m not too happy about, just like pretty much everyone else in the world. With bikini season a few months away, I know that winter time would be the best time to start focusing on tightening up my healthy lifestyle a bit, starting with what I eat.

While putting together my meal plan for the week, I decided to include a breakfast casserole that would not only taste good reheated, but hold me over until my morning snack. This previous week I enjoyed an overnight oats breakfast and while that was delicious, I was craving something more “solid.” With a breakfast casserole, not only would I be getting a good source of protein from the eggs, but I’d also be getting a good source of calcium from the dairy; something we all could use. Plus I’d feel more full after eating my portion!

A breakfast casserole can vary in ingredients but usually consist of a basic build; eggs, milk and cheese. To add taste and a better base to mine, I decided to add southern hashbrowns and ham as well. The hashbrowns would give a nice golden crust feel to the casserole while the bacon and ham would just be a bonus addition for the tastebuds. It also helps that I already had all of these things on hand.

As for my dairy; I love to purchase products that are locally made whenever opportunity arises and Reiter Dairy has over 20 dairy farms here in the state of Ohio. Our nearby grocery carries Reiter’s milk product DairyPure and after doing a little research on the brand, I decided I wanted to give it a try. 

What I love most about DairyPure is their 5-Point Purity Promise. When you purchase DairyPure milk you’re giving your family not only a product that comes from cows that are fed a healthy-diet, but also has no artificial growth hormones, has been tested for antibiotics, is continuously quality tested to ensure purity and is cold-shipped from their dairy. Hearing that, I knew that this would be a product that I can feel confident feeding to my family. 

Be sure to check out Reiter Dairy to see which of your local groceries carries their products. 

 

Ham and Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
Serves 8
In need of a quick and delicious breakfast for brunch, "Breakfast for Dinner," or something you can reheat in the morning throughout the week? This breakfast casserole is perfect for just that and can be thrown together in just 5-10 minutes.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 16 oz diced ham, package should state that it's already fully cooked
  2. 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  3. 8 cups frozen southern hashbrowns
  4. 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  5. 12 large eggs
  6. 1 cup DairyPure milk
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. a pinch of ground pepper, for taste
Instructions
  1. Well grease two quiche pans or a 9x13 size casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Using a large mixing bowl, combine ham, cheese, hashbrowns and bacon well. Add to combination to casserole dish, spreading evenly.
  4. Wash out large mixing bowl and next add eggs, DairyPure milk, salt and pepper (optional) whisking well. Pour overtop ham and hashbrowns, making sure that it is evenly spread.
  5. Cook for one hour.
Notes
  1. If you'd prefer to just make a smaller serving - cut ingredients in half and use just one quiche pan.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/
 

This is a sponsored post. All thoughts, and opinions I have expressed here are that of my own.

Easy Apple Yogurt Dip

IMG_3499

It’s September and to me that’s basically fall. AKA apple pickin’ time. Last year we visited a local apple (and various other grown fruits and vegetables) farm and picked enough to make a serious amount of slow-cooker apple sauce and some cute little mini apple pies. However, I think that this year I would like to branch out a little more with my apple recipes and try some new things. This little dip recipe isn’t new, but it sure is delicious and takes less than 5 minutes to whip up for a quick mid-day treat. 

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Having fruit for a snack is a for-sure way to stay on the healthy path. Especially if you’re eating apples as they contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber. Pair them with some peanut butter for protein and greek yogurt for your nutrients and you have an extremely good-for-you dip.

IMG_3507

Easy Apple Yogurt Dip
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Ingredients
  1. plain greek yogurt
  2. small apple of your choice, sliced
  3. 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. pinch of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Add each ingredient in an amount to your liking. Stir well and enjoy with fresh apple slices.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Slow Roasted Seasoned Tomatoes (Sauce)

A gas range is something I am still getting used to. No one quite understands the difference between an electric stove and a gas range until they actually go from having one to the other. I’ve always heard that a lot of food not only tastes different when using a gas stove (or oven), but also cooks much quicker. It’s still too early for me to validate the taste answer, but I can absolutely attest to the cooks quicker one! I learned just how quick after burning french toast.

IMG_3461

Since we are now officially in the new home, I can settle in more comfortably and get back into the swing of things – meaning actually cooking again; something I desperately missed both mentally and physically. I always feel so much better about myself when I know where my meals came from and who prepared them. Don’t get me wrong, eating out every once in awhile is nice but not only does it get expensive but it’s also most likely not healthy.

Tonight’s dinner was a late one due to schedules so it had to be something more on the simple side. It’s been some time since I made a marinara sauce and pasta can be both satisfying to all tastebuds and a quick clean-plater. I had most things already on hand, aside from the tomatoes which I happily walked over to Whole Foods to acquire. It’s awesome just how good even a basic marinara sauce can taste. Those tomatoes really do their job!

IMG_3468

Tomato? Tomahto? Marinara is a personal preference. I happen to like mine sweet so cherry tomatoes that were roasted in an oven were sure to give my marinara a sweet taste. I made sure to marinate them with some olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt, italian seasoning, oregano and fresh basil leaves before I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours. And if you don’t want to get out the whisk and crush your tomatoes after they’re done roasting; you can puree them the lazy (and super smart) cook way – in a blender! Just make sure to pulse for less than a minute if you would like to have some “chunk” pieces to your sauce.

What would you add in your marinara sauce?

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

IMG_3447

I understand most would think that with it being still summer, the temperature outside may just be a little on the “too hot” side for a bowl of soup. However, just because summer is still here doesn’t mean that we can’t feel under the weather and crave some chicken noodle soup.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Yields 6
A delicious homemade version of Chicken Noodle Soup cooked over the stovetop in just 30 minutes.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. ½ cup carrots, peeled and sliced
  3. ½ cup celery, sliced thin
  4. ½ cup yellow onion, peeled and diced
  5. 1 garlic clove, minced
  6. 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  7. ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  8. ¼ dried oregano
  9. 1 teaspoon pepper,
  10. 6 ounces wide egg noodles
  11. 1 cup shredded cooked rotisserie chicken
  12. ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  13. salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large saucepan with 2 tablespoons olive oil over med-high heat. Add carrots, celery and onion and allow to saute for 8 minutes. Stir continuously. Add garlic and allow to saute an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Next add chicken broth, thyme, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Check to make sure vegetables are softened, cook additional 2 minutes if not.
  3. Add egg noodles, stirring often for 10 minutes or until noodles appear thoroughly cooked.
  4. Throw in rotisserie chicken, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Cook an additional 2 minutes so that chicken combines with broth. Serve.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/