Broccoli White Cheddar Gratin

It’s Monday. We should all be out of our food coma’s by now and back in our routine’s. It’s never fun coming back from a 3 or 4-day weekend, but before we know it Christmas will be here and we’ll have more time off. In the meantime, we definitely have a solid 2-3 weeks of eating well and exercising that we can get in. I believe in balance. I worked out every day last week (even on Thanksgiving) so I could enjoy both of my Turkey Day meals I went to. And I even lost weight! (I’m not questioning the Thanksgiving gods on that one). Either way, no matter how your turkey day went, every day is a new day to start over!

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Zucchini Noodle Carbonara with Pancetta & Egg

I’m back on the healthy eating route after a fun weekend away, and last night I set out to try another spiralized recipe – Healthy Zucchini Noodle Carbonara from the Inspiralized food blog. At this point I’m fairly certain that I’m going to like most zucchini noodle recipes, and this one was no exception.

This particular recipe had me at the picture of the egg on top. Runny yolks are soooo yummy on foods, and eggs are such a great source of protein!

This recipe also called for cubed pancetta, however when I did my grocery shopping for the week, last night, my local grocery store I frequent only had pancetta slices, so I had to cut up the pancetta. For the record, Target carries cubed pancetta. I saw it last week and thought to myself that I should buy it for this particular recipe, and am kicking myself that I didn’t. But none-the-less, it was still delicious!

Light, but filling on flavor, I was very impressed with this dish. The pancetta, onion and garlic gave it a great, light flavor, which was perfect for me after a weekend of eating unhealthy and filling food.

Also, a big timesaver that I’ve got a lot better at is going through the ingredients and getting everything out, and everything prepped that I can (i.e. dicing the onions, spiralizing the vegetable, etc.). It makes cooking go so fast and easy, instead of running around the kitchen trying to get things out and ready in the middle of cooking.



Zucchini Noodle Carbonara with Crispy Pancetta & Egg (Recipe adapted from Inspiralized)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c. diced red onion
  • 1/2 c. cubed pancetta
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 zucchini’s, Blade C
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Once the oil heats, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds, add in the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion softens.
2. Add in the pancetta, stirring often, until cooking through – about 5 minutes.
3. Once the pancetta is done cooking, add a medium skillet over heat and crack two eggs. Let them cook until the egg whites set.
4. While your eggs are cooking, add the zucchini noodles to the pancetta, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
5. Stirring frequently, let cook for 2-3 minutes and then add in the Parmesan cheese. Toss the noodles with the cheese and then plate into bowls. Top each bowl with one of the eggs.
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Chicken & Chickpea Broccoli Noodle Salad with Feta & Lemon Dressing

I swear that with each new spiralizing recipe I try, I fall more in love with spiralizing. I feel like a broken record – constantly proclaiming that I’ve ‘found the best recipe yet!’ as we’re eating dinner. Things get even more interesting on the evenings that I spiralize a new vegetable for the first time, and it’s successful. Last night was no exception!

I have many recipes on deck to try from my main go-to food blog, Inspiralized, but I pulled this one to the front of the mix when a girlfriend of mine cooked it and couldn’t stop singing it’s praises – Chicken and Chickpea Broccoli Salad. I have been having a chickpea craving, so this was a perfect light dish to make before I head out of town for the weekend, where I will inevitably eat and drink way too much.

I had never spiralized broccoli before so I made sure to read through not only the recipe, but the section of the Inspiralized blog that talks about how-to spiralize broccoli. It seemed pretty common sense since I’ve been spiralizing for a few months now, but why wouldn’t I read what the expert has to say, and make sure that I’m doing it right?

Side note: I am a BIG fan of creating your own recipes, or variations of your favorites, however I consider myself wise enough to know it’s important to make sure you know what you’re doing first, then have fun!

I listed the recipe below and linked to the original, as I usually do, but wanted to note a few differences from my experience:

– I grilled the chicken for this recipe since the weather was still so nice out, but however you prefer to cook your chicken is fine.

– I had two big broccoli stems and didn’t feel it gave me quite enough noodles for two people, so I spiralized a small zucchini I had and tossed it in with the broccoli and peas to cook for 2-3 minutes (See step 2 below). It worked great, gave me a little more ‘noodles’, and is great filler if you don’t think you have quite enough broccoli.

– The original recipe called for shallots, which I did not have, so I used 1/2 cup of green onion instead. The dressing was AMAZING!

– I cooked all of these things simultaneously so that the meal was warm. I have this thing that a cold pasta salad = side dish, and can’t quite wrap head around it being the whole meal.


Chicken & Chickpea Broccoli Noodles with Feta & Lemon Dressing (Recipe adapted from Inspiralized)


  • 1 boneless chicken breast (approximately 1 lb)
  • 3-4 big broccoli stems, spiralized using Blade C
  • 3/4 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup cooked green peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    For the dressing…

  • 2 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 shallot or 1/2 c green onions
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill until chicken is cooked through, dice, and set aside.
2. Place a medium pot filled halfway with water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the broccoli noodles, peas, and chickpeas and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the broccoli noodles are softened and cooked al dente. Drain and set aside.
3. Place all of the ingredients for the feta dressing into a food processor and pulse until creamy.
4. Place the noodles, peas and chicken in a big bowl, then add in the dressing. Toss to combine and enjoy!


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Baked Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce & Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

In my quest to meal plan and eat healthy I am constantly combing through numerous food blogs, and last week I was on a salmon kick. I think I ended up with around 12-15 salmon recipes to try, and last night we tried the first one – Baked Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce. I had most of the ingredients at home, and with us traveling this weekend I was eager to use up what I already had at home.

I stopped by the grocery store and picked up two ‘fresh’ salmon fillets (as fresh as you can get in Iowa, that is), and home I went to make dinner.
This recipe was incredible, and SO EASY! It definitely is now a staple in my house, along with the Parmesan green beans. I probably made too much of the creamy dill sauce; I’m a bit obsessed with condiments, but any leftover sauce can easily be used on most other meats.
I found the recipe on the food blog ‘Cooking Classy‘ – a blog I have not got to fully explore, but am looking forward to delving in to!
Baked Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce (Recipe from ‘Cooking Classy‘)
  • 4, 6 oz salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    Creamy Dill Sauce

  • 1/3 c fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2-3 tsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp honey
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
3. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and place salmon fillets in the dish. Season the top of salmon with salt and pepper, then rotate to opposite side. Drizzle the top of salmon with the oil and lemon mixture, then season the top with salt and pepper.
4. Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes, or until salmon has cooked through.
5. Serve warm topped with Creamy Dill Sauce.
For the sauce…
1. In a bowl mix together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, dill, and honey. Add just enough milk to reach your desired consistency.
2. Taste test! If needed, add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Allow to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Roasted Parmesan Green Beans
  • Green beans, trimmed
  • Garlic salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. For easy cleanup, place aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and place green beans on sheet.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, and then season with garlic salt and pepper, shaking the pan to keep coating all sides of the green beans.
4. Cook for 10 minutes, then shake the pan around to rotate the beans.
5. Cook for 5 more minutes, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve!
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Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

I know what you’re thinking – cauliflower as mashed potatoes – gross! Well, do yourself a favor and hold that thought, and have an open mind, because it’s actually quite delicious!

Now I’m not going to lie to you and say that it tastes the exact same, because of course it doesn’t. But with the right amount of seasoning you can come damn close!

The base recipe I use is from the food blog Eat Yourself Skinny.  Her recipe is Rosemary & Garlic Cauliflower Mash, but you can make this recipe anything you want! Consider it your template. I typically use a mix of cheeses – blue cheese and the garlic and herb cheese that she recommends, as well as WAY more garlic than recommended.

I also started my own garden this last spring and I grew chives, so I was always using freshly chopped chives, but you can use whatever you favorite is – rosemary, chive, green onions, bacon – anything!

Go ahead and give it a try – you might be surprised, and your waistline will thank you!



Cheese & Garlic Cauliflower Mash ( Recipe adapted from Eat Yourself  Skinny

Serving: 4 Servings


  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp. blue cheese
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese (Garlic & Herb)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped chives


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add your chopped cauliflower. Boil for about 10 minutes, until cauliflower is soft. Drain and pat dry with a towel.

2. Add cauliflower to your food processor and add chicken stock, Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic and cheese; process until completely smooth. NOTE: Feel free to add more Greek yogurt as needed for creaminess.

3. Stir in salt, pepper and chives to taste. Enjoy!


Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Calories: 106
Fat: 4.2g
Carbs: 11.4g
Fiber: 4.3g
Protein: 6.2g

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