Proper Tasty: Creamy Chicken and Pasta

My last tasty recipe was a borderline bust and made me leary of trying any other tasty recipes. But, this one looked simple enough and I had 90% of the ingredients on hand, so why not!

 

Creamy Chicken Pasta by Tasty Proper

Let me start off by saying that this recipe was really easy and the only thing I had to buy was the “double” cream. Fun fact, double cream is the British way of saying heavy whipping cream. I found the exact size I needed at my local target. There are no given serving sizes, but I got exactly four servings out of this.

The Good: All of the flavor is there. The lemon shines right through and makes this taste so refreshing! The chili flakes add that little after taste punch that keeps the flavors tingling in your mouth, but doesn’t provide an overwhelming amount of heat.

The Bad: I think this might have been better with chicken thighs, but I admit that I overcooked the breast so it was borderline dry. The amount of thyme called for is about twice as much as it should be. I cut the amount in half and it was perfect! Thyme is not something you want to go overboard with. Finally, I’d add more spinach next time in order to make it heartier.Creamy Chicken Pasta by Tasty Proper

I used freshly grated Parmesan instead of the kind in the jar, and I’m glad that I did. I think it made the dish a little thicker. Also, it’s so pretty to top your dish off with!

Overall, if you are looking for a 4 serving meal, this is your meal!  What Tasty recipes are your favorite?

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Day in the Sun: Skin & Food Routine

Saturday, I attended the Peach Pedal, which is a hilly, hot ride out in Weatherford, TX (about 20 minutes west of Fort Worth). I did the 39 mile route and needless to say, spending 3 (or more) hours out in the Texas sun in the middle of July can be hard on the body and skin. It takes a lot of preparation, which I won’t go into much in this post, but I started my day off with a light breakfast.

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Two hard boiled eggs and a Lara Bar might not seem like much to sustain 40 miles, but bike rallies are fully supported which means that there are rest stops every 8-10 miles with fruit, sandwiches, cookies, water, Gatorade, and more. So, I only need enough to “get me going”.

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On top of a light breakfast, I prepare a recovery drink: Hammer Nutrition Recoverite. I swear by Hammer products and have always noticed good results. I have their protein powder, electrolyte tablets, supplements, and gels! But the Recoverite is probably the best part of my routine. I use this for not only my bike rides, but also as a recovery drink after my normal workouts. It’s helped keep soreness down, prevent charlie horses, and forces me to drink water and rehydrate after a long time in the sun.

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Finally, I spoil my face when I’m done. I never use exfoliators after being in the sun for hours, so instead, I swear by Lush’s Coalfact Charcoal Bar. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s an expensive bar of soal (at $14 for 3.5oz), and I even baulked a little when I bought it. But, it’s done wonders for my face by removing all of that salt, sunblock, and grime without making my face feel stripped. Even though it’s not really an exfoliant, it does have “granules” that are almost massaging. I follow that up with a face mask. Lately, I have been enjoying my Leaders Coconut Gel Mask with Broccoli. They are expensive masks (at $6 a piece), but they feel really great and it’s so, so soothing to have that cool gel on your face after facing a 100 degree morning.

Finally, I have been using up my samples of Merlot Collection Moisture Day Cream. If you click that link, you’ll see why I only have samples! Haha! I don’t know if it’s worth the price, but it’s definitely one of the better moisturizers that I have ever used.

Buzzfeed Tasty: One Pot Dish A Bust!!

Buzzfeed Tasty is all the rave with their short clips of seemingly delicious recipes! So, I finally decided to try one out for the week, One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta. Looking at the video, it seem simple enough. But once you start down that rabbit hole disguising itself as a recipe, you might notice some oddities. First of all, the recipe claims to feed 3-5, but calls for three chicken breasts. Mind you, it doesn’t give any idea of size of those three chicken breasts. It also only calls for a tablespoon each of garlic, cumin, and chili powder, and even less salt and pepper!

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I also noticed that if I hadn’t used mini penne, my pasta probably wouldn’t have been fully cooked. They also claim that it only takes 8-10 minutes to cook after adding the pasta and milk. Lies! It took me at least 20-25 minutes with the small penne. So if you are looking for a quick meal, this isn’t going to cut it. Finally, the consistency was a little off for me. It was that weird in between of creamy/cheesy and only half mixed in feeling, though everything technically cooked down completely.

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I did alter the amount of seasonings, and I added twice the amount of cheese that the recipe called for, so the flavor ended up quite good. But, the meal by recipe standards was a bust! Someone new at cooking probably wouldn’t have a very good meal waiting for them if they followed this.

Have you tried other Buzzfeed recipes? Did I just get a lemon or are they all a bust?

Healthy Holiday Spread

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some fun recipes on my blog. Since I find workouts easier to do than cooking, I often neglect making proper meals, and it’s definitely catching up to me. So, I am featuring one recipe from a blog that I found on Instagram and my own recipe I made.

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Crunchy Cucumber Salad

I found this on Nutrition Stripped on Instagram. The actual recipe can be found here. It is indeed a quick 15 minutes to prepare and this lasts for up to a week in the fridge! Out here in Texas, this is a great cool snack to help escape the heat. The recipe called for parsley, and I chose to go with Italian Parsley for a little extra flavor. Also, I completely forgot to put the apples, so the dill was a bit overpowering. So, if you are opting for a less flavorful apple or simply want to forgo the apple, go light on the dill.

The cucumber salad is so versatile and quick to make that you should never truly get bored! Just switch up some of the herbs or ingredients and spice things up!

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Deep Dish Pizza: Italian Edition

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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IngredientsIMG_0096

  • Pillsbury Pizza Dough *I would replace this with a better dough next time
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 red bell peper
  • 6-7 slices of mozzarella
  • handful of spinach
  • pancetta (cubed)
  • shredded fresh parmesan
  • pasta sauce

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to temperature required on dough package. Roll out dough and place in a 10″ cast-iron skillet and trim off corners to fit into pan.
  2. Place skillet into oven for 3-5 minutes until the dough starts to harden.
  3. While dough is in the oven, cut up the pepper and onion.
  4. Pull dough out of the oven, pour in healthy amount of sauce. Top with the sliced onions and pepper, spinach, mozzarella (just enough to cover the top), pancetta (raw), and pamesan. And place the skillet back into the oven.
  5. Cook until toppings are cooked.
  6. Pull skillet out, heat over to 450, and add more mozzarella. Place back into oven for 5 or so minutes.
  7. Pull the pizza out of the oven, and let cool enough until the pizza firms up.

My dough wasn’t the best. What’s your favorite pizza dough for deep dish style pizzas?!

 

Chorizo Two Bean Crockpot Chili

Breakfast Casserole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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(This recipe is for a 2.5qt crockpot. Adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 large jalapeno
  • 1.5 large bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 4-8 oz chorizo
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2-3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a non-stick skillet, on low/medium heat cook the chorizo until brown. I used 4oz, but in the future, I’d use more to get that flavor to go through a little better.
  2. While that is cooking, cut up the potato, bell pepper, and onion and put into crockpot.
  3. Seed and de-rib the jalapenos, chop and add to the crock. (For spicier chili, leave seeds and ribs)
  4. Rinse both the black and pinto beans and drain. Put into crockpop.
  5. Add the choizo, garlic, and dry seasonings and stir. (Note: I poured the oil/grease from the chorizo into the crock as well for extra flavor)
  6. Add chicken broth, stir.
  7. Turn on high for about 6 hours.

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Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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breakfast casseroleIngredients:

  • 1/2 (large) carton of egg whites
  • 1/2 medium/large onion
  • 1 1/2 peppers
  • 1/2 roll of sausage
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut sausage roll in half and put into a skillet (lightly sprayed optional) on low heat.IMAG3028
  3. Spray a casserole dish generously and cut up all onions, peppers and potatoes and place into it.
  4. Ass sausage browns, break up into small pieces. When mostly cooked toss in with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and toss.
  6. Pour egg whites over the mixture until the mixture is mostly covered.
  7. Place dish (uncovered) into the oven for 1 hour.

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The edges of the egg should be brown but not burnt and the top of the casserole should be firm. The thing about eggs is it cooks much faster than you think. I’ll get 6 days (aka servings out of this) which is perfect for the work week. Topped with some sharp cheddar, and I’m ready to go!

 

What are your go to breakfast recipes?

AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shake Review

A few days ago, I completed my AdvoCare cleanse phase and I did a review on that. Currently, I am going through the Max Phase which I will review when I finish with the regimen. But, during the max phase, the meal replacement shake is the breakfast of choice, though only a recommendation. There are a few flavors to choose from: Chocolate Mocha, Vanilla, Berry, and Chocolate. I chose the latter.

According to AdvoCare, the Meal Replacement Shake has these Key Benefits:

 

  • Only 220 calories
  • Balanced meal for optimal nutrition and weight management
  • 24 grams of easy-to-digest protein
  • High in dietary fiber (5-6 grams)
  • 50% of the Daily Value of calcium
  • 26 vitamins and minerals
  • 1:1 ratio of proteins to carbohydrates
  • Low sodium and low fat

 

After having taken the shake for a few days, I can say that first of all, the Chocolate doesn’t taste bad at all. I honestly expected to have to gag this down, but I don’t. It’s flavorful as well as thick enough to feel as if I am getting some sort of sustenance. I’ve never had any trouble mixing this in a blender bottle, but I can’t say how well this will mix with a spoon. I can’t see the whole contents of this package actually mixing thoroughly in anything other than a blender or a blender bottle. To go along with the mildly pleasant flavor, it doesn’t smell bad either. It smells better than it tastes (a sense it doesn’t taste bad, that should tell you something).

I was worried about this shake only being 220 calories but being marketed as a meal replacement. With my cycling and gym days, I need a more calories than a sedentary woman (DUH!) and I like to front load my calories or else it feels like I’m not getting a good start to my day. That being said, I’ve found that this holds me over in just enough time to have a post breakfast/ pre lunch snack.

I’m impressed with the amount of protein! There are significantly more calories in this mix than my Hammer Whey Protein powder, but there is also more protein. This would make a good recovery shake after my workouts in the evening while also helping curb any hunger that working out might cause. So, I’m thinking of switching to drinking this in the evenings instead of the mornings. Something that I don’t like, though, is the amount of sugar in this. 12g of sugar versus 6 grams of fiber definitely makes the “1:1 ratio of proteins to carbohydrates” less meaningful. And despite being low in fat, those 12g of sugar will turn into fat anyway. It’ll just take a little longer.

Other than that, I don’t hate this shake at all. In fact, it tastes good, is heavy enough to eat alone, but flavorful enough to make a good smoothie. I’d definitely keep some of this on hand if I could find a good deal on it in the future. It’s a great “no time, gotta run” meal!

AdvoCare 10 Day Cleanse Review

For those of you who have never heard of AdvoCare (like me a few months ago), AdvoCare is a health and wellness company. The big thing it’s known for is it’s 24 Day Challenge where the user follows a supplement plan for 24 days while eating healthy and increasing water intake. I learned about this company through my apartment complex when they hosted a multi-vendor trunk show. Honestly, I was skeptical about it as I am with any company that pushes any sort of weight loss program, but the girls were nice and gave me some free samples of their natural energy drink mix, which actually tasted pretty good. After going back to my apartment and reading further into it, I still wasn’t sold, though it sounded “interesting”.
The full 24 days are broken into two sections: the cleanse phase and the max phase for a total price of just under $200. Yea, pretty steep. So, after reading a whole bunch of reviews, I took the plunge and found the full set online for about $50 cheaper. It’s still expensive, but I didn’t buy through a distributor (which I’ll talk about later), so no one to hound me during the process. As I mentioned before, the first 10 days is the Cleanse Phase. It uses the Spark, OmegaPlex, and Herbal Cleanse products. The cleanse regimen is very strict in comparison to max phase. Basically, no processed food or drinks plus a few other things. That cuts out: white flower (rice, bread, pasta), cheese/dairy (also “in moderation” and recommended low fat), pork/beef, etc. Also, no alcohol. (That was fun being the weirdo sitting with a water eating cherries and strawberries while we’re out at Happy Hour.)

Out of all the food that I couldn’t eat, I only found that I really missed cheese, especially for breakfast. But for the first weak, I cooked up my lunch and dinner for the whole week. My lunch consisted of a turkey wrap/taco, while my dinner was this wild rice mixture (quinoa, black rice, and other random things) and chicken breast. They were good and I had no problem following the mental meal plan that I had created for myself. The first three days, my stomach was a little bubbly (if you know what I mean). The herbal cleanse fiber drink mix (which I got in peaches and cream) might have been the cause, but I can’t be too sure. Also, I started the week off really low in energy thanks to my bike ride on Saturday and Sunday morning, followed by a double header softball game Sunday night, so I wasn’t putting my best food forward.
But, as I prepared my meal, I quickly learned that there is no food guidance in terms of calorie recommendations. I could figure that out on my own (and have done so in the past), but this challenge didn’t even touch on the topic, other than referencing serving sizes of protein and vegetables. Some of the reviews I read complained about the fiber drink. As I said, I got the Peaches and Cream flavored, and I honestly don’t mind it. It has a slight chalky flavor, but texture wise, it’s a little thick, but nothing horrible. Some people claim to not be able to get it down without gagging because of how thick it is. I can only say that I might not have a problem with it because I am used to drinking extremely thick, textured smoothies and this fiber mix is nothing in comparison. (Note, do NOT let it sit though. Mix it and drink it immediately, or else it’ll definitely not be drinkable.) Also in the Herbal Cleanse package are multivitamin and pro biotic tablets. Nothing special that you can’t get at any health aisle. The same goes for the OmegaPlex. It’s a basic omega-3 fatty acid. *shrug*

By far, the best thing in the cleanse phase is the Spark. It’s a great tasting energy drink that you can take up to two times a day. I have to admit that I’ll probably continue buying the spark after I’m done with the cleanse. One spark packet has replaced my two-three cups of coffee (plus creamer and sugar) a day habit. Even on the first day of my cleanse (after going to bed at 11:300pm and waking up at 5am) I felt better than I could have hoped from coffee.
And of course, the weight portion. I ended up only losing like 2-3lbs, which is something, but nothing close to the 10lbs people were claiming in the reviews I was reading. The only logical way I can see that amount of weight loss to happen is if a severely overweight, poor eating person started this program. Then, yea, it’s possible. I’ve lost no inches in my waist (which let’s be honest, is all any girl cares about). So, what are is my final review of the cleanse phase? For the money, it’s not really worth it. Get a good multi-vitamin, omega-3, and pro biotic and start portioning meals better. It’s really the same thing! If you have a strong dependency on coffee and would like to ween yourself off, I definitely to recommend the spark. It’s really good and gives a great amount of energy without the crash that (I) experience with coffee. It is “expensive” but I’m sure no more expensive than getting Starbucks everyday. Keep an eye out for my review of the Max Phase after 14 days!