Spaghetti Squash with GreekYogurt Pasta Sauce

This has been my favorite go to pasta meal for a couple of months now.   It’s so good; low carb, high protein and you can add in some ground beef or a meat of your choice to mix in.  The Greek Yogurt sounds weird but trust me, it tastes like a spicy vodka sauce…so good!

“Pasta” Ingredients

1 medium spaghetti squash (2 to 3 pounds)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F: Preheat the oven while you prep the squash.
  2. Slice the squash in half: Use a chef’s knife to cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise from stem to tail. Spaghetti squash are really tough and hard, so be cautious and work slowly I actually have an electrical knife which helps but it is still difficult to cut.
  3. Scoop out the seeds: Use a soup spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits of flesh from inside the squash.
  4. Place the squash in a roasting pan: Place the squash halves cut-side down in a roasting pan.
  5. Cook the squash for 30 to 45 minutes: Transfer the squash to the oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Smaller squash will cook more quickly than larger squash. Check the squash after 30 minutes to gauge cooking.
  6. While the Squash is cooking: make your pasta sauce (see recipe below).
  7. The squash is done when tender: The squash is ready when you can easily pierce a fork through the flesh all the way to the peel. The flesh will also separate easily into spaghetti-like strands. You can also taste it right now — if the noodles are still a bit crunchy for your taste, put the squash back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Scrape out the squash: Use a fork to gently pull the squash flesh from the peel and to separate the flesh into strands. The strands wrap around the squash horizontally — rake your fork in the same direction as the strands to make the longest “noodles.”
  9. Serve the squash: Serve the squash immediately, tossed with a little butter or olive oil. Spaghetti squash will also keep refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Greek- Yogurt Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1-2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (2 tbsp if you love spice!)
1 28-ounce can high-quality crushed tomatoes
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and onion, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Cover, and turn heat down to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, add the Greek yogurt, and mix well, until all is combined.
  4. Plate your pasta, and garnish with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and basil.

Enjoy!

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What Is The Best Protein Supplement for Me?

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Many of us have been told the benefits of eating protein in the past.  Protein is one of the big three macronutrients along with Fats and Carbohydrates.  You’re probably aware that dietary protein provides the necessary components for muscle repair and tissue regeneration.  Despite our knowledge and understanding of the benefits of protein many of us still fall short of getting adequate protein on a daily basis. Protein supplementation can help to round out your nutrition and fill in any gaps.

Now, when you think about protein supplementation you may be conjuring up images of muscle-bound meatheads mixing powders in shaker bottles while calling each other “bro” at the gym.  The truth is that protein is essential for recovery and helps maintain lean tissue and body composition.  So you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to benefit from taking a supplement.  Read on to see a further break down of the different verities of protein supplements that are out there.

 

Whey Protein

Whey is the liquid material created as a by-product of cheese production.  The Whey then undergoes a process to isolate the globular proteins and this becomes the powder that can be flavored, packaged and purchased.  It is a fast absorbing form of protein making it ideal for post workout and recovery and is usually much lower in lactose than regular milk products meaning easier digestion.  Since it is a milk-based protein some brands may contain hormones and additives from the milk cow’s food supply.  Go with a Grass Fed Whey option whenever possible even if it means spending a little more.

Rice Protein

Rice protein is a vegetarian alternative to whey.  Rice protein comes from treating brown rice with enzymes that cause carbohydrates to separate from proteins.  The protein powder is than flavored and packaged for use in smoothies or on its own just like more common whey proteins.  Rice protein tends to have a very distinct flavor that can be difficult to cover even with added flavors.  Check your ingredients label to avoid artificial chemicals, sweeteners, and additives.

 

Pea Protein

Extracted from the yellow pea, this protein option has an amino acid profile similar to legumes.  This can also be a good alternative to whey.  On the downside it tends to have a slightly gritty or sandy texture.  Often times some type of oil will be mixed with the protein powder to give a smoother texture.  As always check the ingredient label to see what type of oils are being added to the protein.

Beef Protein Isolate

Ever heard of gelatin?  It’s the throwaway parts of the cow, essentially joints, ligaments, hide, ears, and any other parts left over after the butcher is finished.  Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?  It might sound gross and bizarre but gelatin is usually the primary ingredient in most Beef Proteins.  They take the gelatin, turn it into a powder, add creatine and BCAA’s along with flavoring and PRESTO: Beef Protein Isolate.  Considering the origin of this protein source not being the highest quality to begin with, you’d be better off eating 6-8 oz. of sirloin.

Soy Protein

Here you have the isolated protein from soybeans.  It is made from soybean meal that has been dehulled and defatted.  I’ve written before about the potentially negative side effects of soy protein including increased estrogen levels, hormonal imbalances, and possible increased risk for some types of cancer in women.  I recommend staying away from this form all together.  Although soy is extremely common in most packaged protein bars, some whey powders will include a soy/whey blend to cut costs.  Be careful and always read the labels.

 

Overall, whey protein tends to be the most popular of protein powder supplements due to it being a high quality, complete, and fast absorbing protein.  If you are sensitive to whey or have GI distress as a result of taking then I am partial to pea and rice alternatives.  As always go with the highest quality possible.  If using whey select a grass fed option.  When using vegetarian protein go with organic as much as possible.  Check your labels.  This may sound redundant but most protein supplements contain a laundry list of artificial chemicals, preservatives, and additives.  If you can’t pronounce it you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

If you are looking for a recommended brand, I personally am partial to Thorne Research Products.  They are a reputable company with high purity standards.

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Cauliflower ‘Fried Rice’

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This is a delicious low carb recipe loaded with veggies that you can make in large quantity for meal prepping. Feel free to substitute chicken for pork or beef as your protein choice.

I chose to use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce for the seasoning. Coconut aminos provide the same taste as soy sauce, but don’t contain any soy. Why do I avoid soy? Many reasons. Soy crops tend to use large quantities of pesticides which will contribute to increased toxicity when consumed. Soy contains goitragens, which are compounds that lead to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism (sluggish thyroid) can make it difficult to lose body fat. Soy consumption can also block the absorption of minerals (i.e. calcium, zinc) due to high content of phytates. Soy also contains phytoestrogens  which have been linked to endocrine dysfunction, infertility, and breast cancer development in adult women. Soy protein is also a common protein source in many processed protein and meal replacement bars. Check you nutrition labels and avoid soy whenever possible.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen peas
½ cup water
2 chicken breast, cubed or sliced
6 green onions, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped fine or cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 head of cauliflower, shredded or chopped fine
6-tablespoon coconut aminos
2 eggs, beaten

Recommendation: Use a food chopper or processor to chop vegetables and reduce prep time.

1. Cook IMG_6502frozen peas until tender, 3-5 minutes.
2. Heat coconut oil in wok over medium-high heat
3. Add sliced or cubed chicken breast and cook 7-10 minutes. Note: raw chicken can be difficult to cube. Slice the chicken and cook before cutting into cubes. It will add a step but it will be easier to handle.
4. Remove chicken from wok and add 2-tablespoon oil. Sauté green onion, carrot, and garlic for 5 minutes.
5. Add chicken, cooked peas, and coconut aminos to wok.
6. Make a space in middle of wok and add beaten eggs. Add beaten ages to wok and scramble for mixing everything together.

Serving size = 1½ cup / Calories = 195 / Fat = 10g / Protein = 18g / Total Carb = 8g / Fiber = 3g / Sugars = 0g

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Chocolate Protein “Latte”

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There are two different coffee lovers in this world; the one who loves coffee because they need it and if they could inject it in their blood every two hours they would.  These coffee lovers usually enjoy the taste of black coffee. Then you have the other kind of coffee lover who could careless about the taste of coffee and may even not get any energy from it, but love all the sugary ways you can have it. It’s like a sweet warm drinkable desert…Mmmm…

If you haven’t figured out I am the second kind of coffee lover and sometimes I will purposely avoid buying coffee creamer because I know I don’t need my morning coffee and should probably chill out on all the sugar.  I constantly struggle finding ways to satisfy my sweet tooth with my coffee desert until now!

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Ingredients 

about 3g of carbs / 6g of protein / 6g of fat

About 1/3 cup of Cashew Milk

About 1/4 of a scoop of Chocolate Protein or Vanilla if you prefer

1/2 Tbsp of Butter

1 cup of Coffee

Cinnamon and Stevia to taste

The measurements aren’t exact and you’ll have to adjust to your taste. I use Cashew Milk because I can’t have Coconut or Almond but feel free to substitute. I also didn’t use espresso but if you can do that at home this would make for a better latte.  Blend your milk, protein, butter and stevia  while your coffee brews.  I suggest heating this up for a few seconds in your microwave to keep the drink hot.  Add your coffee to the mixture and blend. Poor into you cup and top with cinnamon.

Enjoy!

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Ground Beef with Olives

This recipe is super easy and quick to make even in large quantities which makes it perfect for meal prepping.  Make it your own by adding your favorite variety of olives from your local olive ball.

 

FullSizeRender (25)Ingredients:

2 lbs. grass fed ground beef

1 clove garlic (minced)

¼ cup green onions (finely chopped)

2 cups pitted olives of your choice

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup cooked = 339 calories, 32g of protein 23 grams fat, o carb

 

Brown hamburger in large skillet on medium heat.  Add garlic, onions, and salt and pepper.  Cook all ingredients until hamburger is cooked thoroughly, usually about 15-20 minutes.  Turn off heat and add the olives.  Cover and let sit for about 2-3 minutes.   You want the olives to be warm but not overcooked.  Enjoy!

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Chicken Sliders

FullSizeRender (22)Sliders are a great staple of football season.  This is an excellent option that is gluten free and low carb.  You can also substitute ground chicken with beef or bison if you prefer.  Feel free to mix and match your toppings as well.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken

1 medium egg

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium avocados

1 clove garlic (minced)

3 slices mozzarella cheese

1 medium cucumber (sliced)

8 small tomatoes (sliced in half)

Fresh Cilantro (Chopped)

Juice of one medium lime


Chicken patties:

Combine ground chicken with raw egg and mix well.  Form into small patties.  You should get close to a dozen.  Add olive oil to medium frying panIMG_0926 and heat over medium until oil is warm.  Place the patties in the pan and cook for about 4 min before turning.  Cook on other side for an additional 2-3 min.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Guacamole:

Peel and pit avocados into large mixing bowl.  Add garlic, cilantro, and lime juice.  Mix well.

Assemble the Sliders:

Slice the cucumber and tomatoes.  You will use these in place of a breaded bun.  Place cooked chicken patty on cucumber or tomato slice.  Top with guacamole and cheese.  Place other half of tomato or cucumber on top.  Use a toothpick to hold together.  Enjoy!

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