Roasted Orange Pepper Butternut Squash Noodles with Chicken

I had been waiting a week to try this recipe – Roasted Red Pepper Butternut Squash Noodles with Chicken. Literally, a week; I bought the groceries for it last week, but things got crazy and I barely got to do any cooking, so I was VERY excited to finally make this dish last night. I have gotten so used to spiralizing zucchini noodles, and was itching to try a “fall” vegetable. Butternut squash was a no-brainer, but I realized that it didn’t come without a little bit of a learning curve!

First of all, when I went grocery shopping there was no red peppers at the store! Okay, well, there were red peppers, but they were packaged with green and yellow peppers; not available for individual sale. I love peppers, but I didn’t need multiple packages around the house just to purchase two simple red peppers. There were orange peppers though, so I decided to give them a try (hence the difference between the name of my blog entry, versus the name of the original recipe).
As I got out all of the ingredients last night to prep everything for cooking, I thought to myself “Hmm, I should probably Google how to spiralize a butternut squash“. Good thing I did! The first thing I realized I did “wrong” when buying the squash, was that you want to buy a squash that is as evenly cylindrical as possible. Not that my squash was bad, per say, but I didn’t realize that this was important at the time that I was grocery shopping. 
The next thing you need to do after cutting the squash, is peel it. Again, makes sense, but I’m so glad I had the forethought to research this before spiralizing. So I start peeling and apparently my trusty peeler that I’ve used for years, decided that yesterday evening, in the middle of prepping dinner, was the time to fall apart. I believe that I had to put the peeler back together 5-6 times while peeling the squash. I even ended up cutting my pointer finger on the peeler during this process, due to frustration. 
Once the squash was peeled, I was ready to start spiralzing. In the midst of switching out my blades for the correct one, I wasn’t paying attention and BAM – sliced my thumb. My first spiralizing “accident.” Here is me pouting with my bloody, bandaged fingers (I couldn’t even find matching band aids!) – 
Despite the cuts, blood, and frustration, I was determined to make this meal! I started spiralizing. Butternut squash is tougher than other vegetables, so I had to press down on the spiralizer with one hand, and press on the crank to spiralize with some force. It wasn’t “easy” compared to zucchini, but it looked delicious!

Once that part was finished, the rest was easy! You simply roast the pepppers and squash in the oven (seperately), and then blend the roasted peppers in the food processor, eventually adding them to the chicken, garlic and onion mixture.

Place the noodles in the bowl, then top with your pepper and chicken sauce!
The end result was fantastic! Well worth the blood and sweat (no tears)! While I did experience a bit of a learning curve with the butternut squash, I know the next time I do squash noodles I will be so much better at it. The flavor was great – a little sweetness with the butternut squash noodles, along with a nice kick from the red pepper. Everyone in my house was very happy with the outcome and I can safely say that this recipe will be made again!
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Roasted Orange Pepper Butternut Squash Noodles w/ Chicken (Recipe adapted from Inspiralized)
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 whole orange peppers
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, Blade C
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 c. white onion, diced
  • 1/3 c. chicken broth
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled and diced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Cut the bottom and tops off the bell peppers, remove the seeds inside, and place on a baking tray lightly coated with cooking spray. Place the peppers insides up, and roast for 25 minutes.
2. While the peppers are roasting, place your butternut squash noodles on a baking tray. Drizzle noodles lightly with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. When the peppers are done roasting, place the noodles into the oven and roast for 10 minutes. When done, remove from heat and place into bowls.
3. When the peppers are done roasting, place them into a food processor and pulse them until no major chunks are left. 
4. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Then, add in garlic, red pepper flakes and onions. Cook for 3 minutes and then add in the pureed peppers. Stir to combine, then add in the chicken broth and chicken. Cook for another 2 minutes to heat up the chicken.
5. Pour the pepper sauce and chicken mixture over the bowls of butternut squash. Top each with chopped parsley to garnish. Enjoy!

Cheers!
Heather
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My Favorite Green Smoothie

I am absolutely obsessed with green smoothie’s right now. To some people they look ‘gross’, but in reality it doesn’t take much to make a smoothie green, and if you do it right, it doesn’t have to taste like a green vegetable.


I personally love greens. From raw to cooked veggies, to fresh pressed juice, to smoothies; I’m willing to give it a try, and chances are, I’m going to love it. Recently I went to a little local coffee shop downtown for lunch and was excited to see they had a green smoothie. Man alive – it was deeeelishous! I was in love. I started averaging about 3-4 smoothies a week, and at $5.35 a piece, it was adding up. I took a week of ordering smoothies and paid close attention to the process – what kind of milk did they use, and how much of each ingredient did they put in?

It was pretty simple, so off to the store I went – organic coconut milk, bananas, baby spinach and pineapple. I think it’s fair to say that when you try to recreate something at home, it may taste similar, but it never really tastes the same, but I was determined. Simple, fresh, and easy ingredients, it couldn’t be that difficult, and it wasn’t!

A handful of baby spinach, one banana, 1-2 chunks of pineapple, and 3/4 cup of milk – amazing smoothie! And for as green as it is, it doesn’t taste a thing like spinach! This is one of the many benefits to drinking green smoothies – it’s a great way to sneak in fruits and vegetables without even realizing it. If you Google ‘benefits to green smoothies’ you’ll get  hundreds of different reasons they’re good for you – from retaining the full vitamins and fiber of what you’re drinking, to them being low calorie – there are many reasons green smoothies are recommended.

Personally, I can tell you that without even realizing it I have unintentionally cut out my daily diet soda at lunch and replaced it with my green smoothie. I have went from drinking 1-2 cans of diet soda per day, to maybe 3-4 per week. In turn, I have noticed that have natural energy during the afternoon, and I’m feel much more full off of healthy ingredients. I have noticed that I consume much less soda at home and more water.

Green smoothies are EASY! There are lots of recipes on the web for you to try. Mix and match – see what works for you and what doesn’t. I have a NutriBullet that I love, but all you need a simple blender.  My advice? Blend your fruits and veggies, then add 5-6 ice cubes and blend again to make sure it’s nice and cold. Also, I blend my smoothie before work and put it in the fridge to have for lunch and it still tastes great!

Cheers to better, healthier choices!
Heather

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Lemon-Dill Zucchini Pasta with Shrimp

I want to pause for a second and acknowledge the amazingness that is spiralizing. Some of you are probably asking ‘What in the hell is spiralizing?!’ – which is fair. You’ve likely heard of zucchini noodles, at it’s most basic level, right? I had, and I’d tried to make them, and FAILED miserably on many occasions. Until I discovered the spiralizer. This little contraption has busted the doors wide open on my healthy eating.

I don’t recall exactly what I was searching for when I stumbled upon the food blog Inspiralized, but I thank the food gods that I did. Endless healthy and EASY dishes, using a simple, $35 contraption, from Amazon. With very little hesitation I bought this item, and the rest has been history for me. 
I encourage you to do two things – 
1. Buy a spiralizer. All you have to do is follow this link to Amazon, and BAM! You’re welcome.
2. Head over to the food blog Inspiralized, and start planning your meals.
So last night I tackled another recipe from the Inspiralized blog – Lemon-Dill Zucchini Pasta with Shrimp. The blog added capers, I didn’t, but you know tomato-tom-ah-to. 
Talk about such an easy, light, and refreshing recipe to make. In 20 minutes I had prepped and cooked this zoodle dish, and it was one of the best so far! 

I pretty much followed the recipe to a tee – which I highly recommend, as making zucchini noodles is much different than regular noodles, but because I’m not always the best at following the rules, especially when it comes to cooking, I made a few changes. Besides no capers, I used A LOT of garlic. I mean three huge spoonfuls of garlic and I had to restrain myself. And I used a lot lemon juice. I was happy with both decisions, and would do it again in a heartbeat! 
Don’t be afraid to follow your own path and have fun the more you become comfortable with cooking; it’s what makes cooking fun!
You can find the whole recipe, along with full nutrition facts, here – Lemon-Dill Zucchini Pasta with Shrimp.  
Happy spiralizing!
Heather
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