Buffalo Vegetable Quinoa (Mac) & Cheese

Well it’s officially Christmas at the Kartzman’s!

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Yes, those M&M’s have been completely eaten already by yours truly. (#IAmUncontrollable) Since the weather is getting colder but Holiday season is upon us with plenty of chances to indulge, we should be eating healthy every chance we get! I usually make healthier style comfort food during the week so we don’t feel as guilty when we eat out.

 

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Buffalo Vegetable Quinoa (Mac) & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed & drained
  • 1 lb asparagus, chopped
  • 1 lb zucchini, diced
  • Onion
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (fresh is best)
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce (I used Franks)
  • 1 cup rice milk (or regular)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Panko or Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions

  • Saute your vegetables in an 8 quart pot with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper until partially translucent
  • Add your Vegetable Stock.
  • Add additional seasoning.
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the milk, buffalo sauce, egg, and grated cheese. Pour in the quinoa mixture and combine.
  • Pour into a greased pan and top with breadcrumbs or more cheese (optional). I used panko and parmesan.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes depending on the depth of your dish.
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Guest Post: Baked Chicken Parm with Zucchini Pasta

Happy Wednesday! I have a guest post for you today by the amazing Ali. She uses one of my favorite kitchen tools to prepare creative dishes so her boyfriend eats more of the green stuff… When i first met Adam, he ate ZERO veggies. Um, this isn’t going to work for me… Adam slowly but surely came around and eats his greens with almost every meal. But the one thing I’ve been having trouble getting him on board with, is zucchini pasta. Ali to the rescue!

A Healthy Bowl of Manly Pasta: Getting The Man in Your Life to Eat Zucchini Pasta

The first time we met, Alyssa told me she already owned a spiralizer. Of course, I then realized that we’d be instant friends. She had told me that she tried making some zucchini pasta dishes for her husband, but he wasn’t exactly thrilled. I took this as a challenge and offered to guest blog for her and create a recipe JUST for ‘Life a la Wife.’ Now, here we are.

For those of you who haven’t heard of me, I’m Ali, the blogger at Inspiralized, a website dedicated 100% to spiralizing. Spiralizing is the act of converting whole vegetables into noodles by using a spiralizer (an inexpensive plastic counter-top kitchen tool) By replacing regular wheat pasta with these veggie noodles, you’re sneaking in more vegetables into your diet while reducing your calorie and carb intake! Find out more about this cooking method by visiting my blog, Inspiralized.com.

Although I’m not married (not yet!), I have been living with my boyfriend for about 6 months and completely understand the constant struggle between cooking healthy and cooking for a man. Most men are not as calorie conscious as us ladies are and I get it…. If I had the metabolism of a dude, I’d be wolfing down triple-decker peanut butter and jellies like there’s no tomorrow!

Everyone (especially men) love pasta. Zucchini pasta is a healthier, low-calorie, low-carb alternative to regular pasta. In order to get your man’s feet wet to the zucchini pasta movement, I present to you a dish that he’ll not only be impressed with, but will feel better after eating. In this healthier version of the classic Italian Chicken Parmesan, I skipped the frying of the breaded chicken in oil and baked it instead. I’ve also excluded butter and have used homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Next time you make one of my healthy Inspiralized dishes and mention “zucchini pasta” he won’t shrug his shoulders or roll his eyes – he’ll be excited for a big bowl of pasta! The couple that eats healthy together stays together, I say.

NOTE: Recreate this in a skinny version for yourself by skipping the breading of the chicken. Then, when adding the mozzarella to melt, use half the amount of cheese. After plating, top with 1-2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs to get a bit more of that crunchy chicken parmesan feel. Almost half the calories and just as much deliciousness. Now you can eat alongside your manly man and not feel as guilty!

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Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Pasta

Serving size: 1
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, Blade C
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce OR 1 cup of my tomato basil sauce (below)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 tsp oregano flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 long ball of mozzarella cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

For the tomato basil sauce (makes 1 cup)

  • 1/3 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp oregano flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 405 degrees.

Place your piece of bread into a food processor and pulse into breadcrumbs. Pour into a bowl and season with the oregano, garlic powder and then salt and pepper to taste.

Take out a baking dish or tray and pour the breadcrumbs onto the tray. Add in Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Set aside.

Start your sauce. Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in olive oil. Once oil heats, add in garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 seconds and then add in onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until onions begin to soften and are translucent. Add in diced tomatoes, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Crush tomatoes with a potato crusher, stir and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Dredge your chicken in the beaten egg then dip in the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture. Dip on both sides and pat breadcrumbs into any crevices on the chicken breast. Place on the baking tray and put into the oven for 17-20 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken breast (thicker = longer).

Continue to simmer the tomato sauce until all the juice is absorbed. Once done, reserve half of the sauce and keep the rest in the skillet, but turn off the heat.

After the chicken is done, take out, pour on the half cup of tomato basil sauce, top with mozzarella slice and place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and starts to lightly brown on top.

While the chicken is cooking for the last 5 minutes, turn the skillet back on, throw in the zucchini spaghetti, and toss to combine, cooking for 3 minutes or until zucchini softens and sauce is heated. Place the zucchini pasta down on a plate and set aside.

Top the pasta with the Chicken Parmesan and serve to your thankful and adoring husband! This dish is sure to please his tastebuds.

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Thanks Ali!! Adam has already asked me when I will be recreating this for him… Better get on it!

Christmas 2012

I’ve led to the fact that my mom is a horrible cook but every Christmas morning she insists on whipping up breakfast for us. Apparently this is in place of putting coal in our stocking?

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Kidding…kinda. Any guess what this is?  Those are pancakes. Yes, pancakes.

After that small little disaster (those were her SECOND batch) she let me assist in the kitchen.

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Breakfast didn’t turn out half as bad as we expected after viewing the “pancakes” but she kept claiming this to be her “Best Meal EVER”. I’m still not sure she is my mother 😉

After breakfast we sat down to open gifts.

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As soon as I opened my Santa gift I was completely shocked!

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Vitamix!!! Santa must read my blog??

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Lots of happy faces!

We headed over to Grandma’s house in our jammies (tradition) for Christmas dinner.

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Broccoli Cheesy Rice, Cornbread Stuffing w/ Sausage, Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Rolls & Gravy. I think we gained about 5 pounds with the constant eating we did in Maryland.

Back to the gym we go…

 

Broccoli Cheesy Rice (Grandma’s Recipe)

First things first… How about dem Redskins!?

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3 in a row – We are on fire!

All day I was brainstorming ideas to make healthy tailgating recipes for last nights game. But then, I made nothing. Instead I thought I’d share with you one of my Grandma’s (or possibly great granny’s) recipes!

Not only is this the easiest side dish you will EVER make but it’s also a people pleaser.

5 ingredients. 1 dish. It doesn’t get better than that.

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Broccoli Cheesy Rice (Grandma’s Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 boxes of chopped broccoli
  • 1 jar of Cheez Wiz (15 oz)
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of White Minute Rice
  • 1 stick of butter

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Add all ingredients to 9×13 dish
  • Cover with tin foil and cook for 30 minutes
  • Uncover and stir
  • Place back in oven for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown

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It’s a good thing we only enjoy this three times a year (Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas) because it’s definitely not healthy. Like Julia Child’s says – Everything in moderation!

Questions: What is your family’s go-to holiday food?