Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash

I have been on such a spaghetti squash kick lately! If you follow me on IG or snap, you’re probably tired of seeing it. No apologies though because it’s SO GOOD.

Eating healthy this time of year is really difficult, because there’s something about colder weather that makes comfort food sound way better/cozier than a salad or chicken and veggies (unless you live in FL like me – it was 80 degrees today lol). It’s also hard because everyone’s throwing Christmas parties and eating Thanksgiving leftovers, and sweets seem to be more abundant than normal. So, if you’re craving a big warm bowl of pasta to cozy up with after work, maybe try swapping it out for spaghetti squash!

Not only is spaghetti squash low-calorie, but it’s gluten-free so if you have any intolerances with pasta, it’s a great alternative! And there are SO many different ways to eat this delicious winter veggie, you could probably eat it every night of the week without getting tired of it. I’ve also learned that it’s great for meal prepping, because one spaghetti squash goes a long way – making it very time AND cost efficient!

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
2 chicken breasts
1 zucchini squash
1 roma tomato
5 tablespoons of basil pesto (separated)
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
cheese to top it *optional*

Instructions:

First off, I’ll explain how to cook the squash. I think this is what kept me from trying this vegetable for so long, because I just assumed it was too difficult to cook. Turns out it’s extremely easy!

After heating your oven to 415, cut the squash in half, straight down the middle (long ways, stem to bottom).

Scoop out seeds with a spoon.

Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic (can use minced or powder). Place on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and bake for 45-50 minutes **this will definitely vary depending on the size of the squash; some are tiny, some are huge! use your judgment** You will know it is done when it shreds easily/tenderly when you scrape it with a fork!

While your squash is cooking, you can bake your chicken in a separate dish since the oven is already set to a high temp. **You can also cook it via a different method, this one is easiest/efficient**

Chop your zucchini and tomato into small chunks, and sautee over medium heat, until lightly browned and soft. Add in a little S+P, garlic and onion powder, to taste. After chicken is cooked, dice it up and add it to your pan with the zucchini and tomato. Turn heat down, and add in 2 tablespoons of pesto and stir until combined.

Once your squash is done and ready to shred, shred it completely with a fork (it’ll naturally make noodle-like pieces). Add in 2-3 tablespoons of pesto to the noodles, and stir until the “noodles” are well coated in pesto. You can either do this in a separate pan, or in the squash boats.

Top the “noodles” with the chicken zucchini mixture, either in the squash boats OR in a bowl! Totally up to you how you serve it, because it tastes delicious either way! It is also delicious when topped with a little parmesan or mozzarella cheese!

This is one of MANY different, yummy ways to prepare a spaghetti squash! I hope you love it as much as I do! Drop me a comment if you make it and let me know what you think and if you’d like to see more recipes with spaghetti squash! As always, thanks for reading and have a fabulous day!

XO beth

 

 

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My Pet Peeve in the Health World

Hi! I know I kind of vented / voiced my opinions in my previous post, butttt… I’m about to do that again!

**Like I said before, I only go on rants if I actually feel they’re valid rants 😉

Let’s talk about my BIGGEST pet peeve in the health world.

The health world has become a world everyone and their mom wants to be a part of – which is fabulous! I love that so many people are hopping on the healthy train (or “healthy” train, if you know what I mean)! Obesity is getting out of control in our country, so it makes my nutrition-loving heart HAPPY to see so many people/restaurants/companies trying to watch calories/ingredients and whatnot.

BUT… (here comes the but).

NOT EVERYONE IS A TRUE NUTRITION PROFESSIONAL! I repeat – not EVERYONE is a nutrition professional!!!! So WHY are you listening to anyone and everyone on the internet?!

Here’s the deal. Anyone can go on the internet, find some ish on nutrition, do a little research, and BAM they can become a self-proclaimed “nutritionist.” ANYONE can do this! They could have NO idea what the difference is between a carbohydrate and an amino acid, and still try and tell you what/how to eat! To me, that is terrifying.

On the other hand, you have people (like yours truly) who spent four YEARS of intense studying, hard work, and hard @$$ chem tests to earn a degree in nutrition and actually know exactly what they’re talking about! Especially those people who go on to earn their RD (registered dietitian) after their degree. We didn’t go through all of those brutal chem labs and case studies for nothing, y’all.

So how do you know who to trust with your nutrition information?! Check their credentials FIRST thing. You should primarily listen to those who have their RD, this means they have done their internship and passed their RD test, and have extensive knowledge in food and nutrition, and are great if you’re seeking nutrition counseling! At the very least, find someone who has a degree in the area. And if they’re not an RD, check to see what other nutrition background they may have!

While I think it’s amazing how many bloggers out there are eating healthy and getting into great shape, many are not qualified in nutrition counseling. I get so frustrated when I see unqualified people trying to push THEIR diet plans (not recipes – but actual diet plans) on people who it may not work for or be good for! I am not bashing anyone for promoting their healthy lifestyle – some of these people DO have the qualifications! But before incorporating it into your own life, check their credentials and whether it would be a good HEALTHY fit for your body. Everyone’s body is different – and chances are your BMR is different, your activity level is different, your intolerances are different, than that of the random website you’re reading. Check your facts people! One of my all time favorite bloggers, Rachlmansfield.com, is a wonderful example of all this, because every time she promotes a healthy product or way of eating, she clearly states that she is a food blogger not a dietitian and that what she’s promoting is simply what’s good for her. And I love that!! Go Rachel! (She will probably never see this but I’m a huge fan- go check her out for amazing recipes).

I feel like I say this a lot but I really REALLY don’t mean to sound preachy – just feel like I’d be failing as a member of the dietetics world if I didn’t warn you guys, my dear followers, of this because I have seen it SO much lately!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

xo beth

Pictured is Pesto Chicken Zoodles – one of my fav dinners lately. Recipe below!

I made this for 1 since it’s just me right now, so you can adjust the recipe for however many people you’re prepping for.

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 whole zucchini, spiralized
1/4 cup pesto

Bake chicken or cook in crockpot. I cooked mine in the crockpot with a little bit of pesto, pepper, and garlic powder (low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, depending how much chicken). After zucchini is spiralized, transfer to skillet and sautee with the remaining pesto, about 3 – 4 minutes. Serve chicken over the zucchini noodles, and add a bit of extra pesto if needed. Parmesan would be great as a topping! Enjoy!

Zoodles 3 Ways

Hi guys! I hope you’re having the best day! I posted a couple of zoodle pics on instagram and got lots of questions about the recipes, so I decided to share a few of my faves!

Zoodles have become one of my current obsessions. I got a spiralizer last year and used it here and there, but lately I have been using it a ton. It’s so fun! Zoodles – zucchini noodles – are the perfect way to sneak some extra veggies into a meal without compromising a lot of flavor! And it saves a ton of calories!

So, I rounded up my three current, go-to zoodle recipes for you guys. They are easy, delicious, and light dishes that are perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner!

Sidenote – I have also gotten questions about the spiralizer I use, so I snuck in a couple pictures of it! Got it from Amazon 🙂

Zoodles with Tofu

There are several different ways to prepare tofu, but so far I think my favorite is just tossing them in some cornstarch (helps make them crispy) and cooking them in a cast iron skillet. I seasoned them with pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Season how you want though! Once you make the zoodles, just toss them in a bit of olive oil and sautee them briefly, until warm. Once the tofu is done, top zoodles with it and add sauce if you would like. You could add tomato sauce or soy saue; I’ve tried both and they add nice flavor!

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Spaghetti Zoodles

This one is probably the easiest of them all. Simply make the zoodles the same way as you did in the previous recipe. To make the spaghetti sauce, brown your meat (I use ground turkey but obviously you can use beef if you prefer!). Once meat is fully browned, add tomato sauce, a little garlic, and Italian seasonings. For added flavor, chop up an onion and cook it with the meat. Stir until thoroughly meat and sauce are mixed and simmer for about five minutes. Top zoodles with the spaghetti sauce and enjoy! (Top with parmesan if you like cheese)

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Pesto Chicken Zoodles

This is one of my all time favorites. Once you spiralize your zoodles, sautee them in a skillet with about a tablespoon of pesto; a little goes a long way! Two tablespoons if necessary. Remove from skillet and set aside. Dice up chicken breast into small pieces and cook in olive oil on the hot skillet. Season with garlic, onion powder, and pepper. While your chicken cooks, dice up a Roma tomato. After chicken is done, top your pesto zoodles with the chicken and tomato. I left it at that, BUT I think this dish would be great with some Feta cheese and olives on top as well!

I hope you guys enjoy! What are your favorite zoodle recipes?! Please share if there are any I need in my life!! Thanks for reading.

XO beth

Sweet Potatoes: My Spirit Veggie

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Hi y’all! I hope this post finds you well! I’m so excited that it’s December (although a little confused how time flew so fast)! I absolutely love Christmas time. I’m pretty sure I’m like 3/4 elf.

The other fourth of me that isn’t elf is probably just sweet potato. Ask my husband – I am obsessed and eat them at least once a day. (Watch- I’ll get sick of them in a month from burning myself out).

I’ve gotten lots of questions about how I cook my sweet potatoes — if you follow me on Instagram (@bethtayreas) or Snapchat (bethtayrich) then you’ve definitely seen me post lots of sweet potatoes with my meals. The last person who asked how I make them is when I realized I’ve never put it on the blog!

So, while there are about 1,000,000 ways you can prepare the sweet potato, here are my two favorite ways! PS- these are the easiest recipes ever! Whether you cook or not, you can do this 🙂

Diced Skillet Sweet Potatoes:

Chop the ends off of your sweet potato, and cut it into coins. Then cut those coins into little squares. You can make your little squares as large or small as you want – all preference. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add just a touch of EV olive oil (I barely use any, because of the meal plan I’m currently on. You may use up to 2-3 tbsp if you want.) Add the diced up potato to the skillet and stir around until all pieces are coated somewhat. Sprinkle them with garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. I skip the salt, but again, preference! Sautee until they’re crispy on the outside but soft on the inside! Probably 10-15 minutes. Hint: poke the thickest one with a fork to see if they’re done. If your potato is larger or you are in a hurry, a trick is microwaving it a minute or two before cutting it up.

Enjoy! I love eating these with eggs in the morning, or as a side for lunch or dinner!

Baked Sweet Potato Wedges:

Pre-heat your oven to 415. Chop the ends off the potato and cut in half (like you’re cutting into two large coins). Then turn each piece on its end and cut long ways into fry-like pieces (or wedges…obvi). You can make your wedges as thick or thin as you want. Toss them in a little olive oil, then place them on a baking sheet evenly spread out. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. Bake at 415 for 15-20 minutes (until soft all the way through). Enjoy! Great with ketchup if you’re into that 😉

Hope you guys like these! Thanks for reading, hope you’re having the best day!

XO beth

Grilled Romaine Salad

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Hi guys! I hope your hump day is going well! I’m so thankful for this week being a short one; I could definitely get used to longer weekends and shorter work weeks! A girl can dream.

We had a great Labor Day weekend. It rained pretty much all weekend because of #Hermine, so we stayed in and relaxed and caught up on cleaning (& college football holla). It felt so good to finally not have to be somewhere on our days off! I think it is so important to take time every few days to recharge both individually and as a couple. Life is busy.

Anyways, on Sunday we wanted a quick and easy lunch after church, so we drew inspiration from one of our favorite restaurants back in Colorado. When we ate there, I always got the grilled romaine salad, and it was always amazing. We decided to recreate it ourselves, now that we have a grill!

I made my own balsamic vinaigrette for it, but you can use store bought if you prefer.

It turns out it’s SUPER simple, and it only took us about 20 minutes total. And it’s SO GOOD.

Here’s the recipe:

Grilled Romaine Salad
Prep time: 20 minutes Serves: 2

Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt + pepper
1/2 tsp garlic (or 1 tsp depending on your preference)
Whisk together in a bowl; set aside.

Salad:

1 bag of romaine hearts (we got the bag of three hearts so it yielded six halves)
Bleu cheese
Olive oil
Bacon crumbles

Instructions:

Heat the grill to medium heat. While it heats, slice the romaine hearts in half, lengthwise. Baste them lightly in olive oil. Once grill is ready, carefully place romaine (inside down) on the grill. Leave on the grill for about 4-5 minutes. After removing from grill, place on plate (inside up) and drizzle on the balsamic dressing. Then, top with bleu cheese and bacon crumbles. Enjoy! *you can add croutons if you are a crouton person or just want more toppings! I left them off to save on calories*

SO so simple, yet so delicious. It doesn’t sound like much, but the smokey flavor from the grill gives it so much extra flavor. The bleu cheese really makes the whole dish, in my opinion. I love bleu cheese. However, if you are not a bleu cheese lover, feta would also be great!

Hope you guys enjoy this; let me know if you try it! Thanks for reading! Have a happy Wednesday.

XO beth