Weeks 7 and 8 of my journey towards fitness have been really uplifting. I’ve started supplementing my M/W/F training sessions with cardio workouts around my neighborhood. The Fall season has brought absolutely beautiful weather and it’s perfect for running outside. The cool air is so refreshing! Not to mention the gorgeous fall foliage. And it feels amazing to even be able to go for a run! A few weeks ago this would have been a pathetic/unsuccessful attempt on my part. I’m looking to make a habit out of running because it feels pretty great. And I think runners are pretty cool… That kind of endurance is admirable. 🙂
Anyhow, still enjoying working out with my trainer. 7 weeks in and he is still teaching me new exercises every session. And continuing to kick my butt. We have a love/hate relationship. I love him when I get there, I hate him during the middle of the session when I’m sweating buckets, and I love him again when it’s all over. Hehehe… I kid, I kid.
My favorite part this week is that we took my measurements for the first time since I began working out. I was starting to worry because the scale hasn’t really changed. However, I’ve shrank 1/2″ in my neck, 1/2″ in my arms, about 1″ in my chest, 2″ in my stomach, and 2″ in my legs. I’m shrinking! Yayyyyyyy! So I guess that means I’m offsetting weight loss with muscle weight gain? That’s the only rationale I’ve got for why the scale has only moved 1 lb. and yet I’ve lost 2 inches in my waistline.
In the meantime, the delicious Cooking Light meals continue. And I mean deeeeee-licious. Have you actually tried any of the meals I’ve posted? I’d love to hear your feedback.
Penne Rigate with Spicy Sausage and Zucchini in Tomato Cream Sauce
- 8 ounces uncooked penne rigate pasta
- 6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
- 12 ounces zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Dash of sugar
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Cooking spray
- 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and divided (about 1/4 cup)
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; set aside.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan, and sauté for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pan. Wipe drippings from pan with a paper towel. Add zucchini to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Add oregano and next 4 ingredients (through sugar); sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add vinegar; cook for 30 seconds or until the liquid evaporates. Drain tomatoes in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1 cup tomato liquid. Crush tomatoes with hands, and add to zucchini mixture. Add reserved 1 cup tomato liquid; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat; stir in cream. Add pasta and sausage to tomato mixture; stir to combine.
- Spoon half of pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish, or divide half evenly among 4 individual dishes coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 ounce mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano over pasta. Top with remaining pasta mixture; sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 ounces mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
- Calories: 450
- Fat: 14.1g
- Saturated fat: 6.8g
- Monounsaturated fat: 3.8g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5g
- Protein: 26.9g
- Carbohydrate: 55.6g
- Fiber: 5g
- Cholesterol: 60mg
- Iron: 5.2mg
- Sodium: 508mg
- Calcium: 347mg
Beef and Broccoli Bowl
- 1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
- 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 (12-ounce) boneless sirloin steak, cut into thin strips$
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup vertically sliced red onion
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions
- Cook rice according to the package directions.
- Combine soy sauce, cornstarch, and hoisin in a medium bowl. Add beef; toss to coat. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Remove beef, reserving marinade. Add beef to pan; cook 2 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove beef from pan. Add broccoli and next 4 ingredients (through sesame oil) to pan; cook 4 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add reserved marinade to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Add beef to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with green onions. Serve over rice.
- Calories: 311
- Fat: 9.3g
- Saturated fat: 2g
- Monounsaturated fat: 3.9g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2g
- Protein: 23.5g
- Carbohydrate: 32.5g
- Fiber: 3g
- Cholesterol: 36mg
- Iron: 3.2mg
- Sodium: 529mg
- Calcium: 71mg
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Mustard-Thyme Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (about 2 1/2 pounds)$
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided
- 4 teaspoons flour
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; place in an 11 x 7inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake at 425° for 16 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Remove chicken from dish; reserve drippings.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter; swirl to coat. Add onion and thyme; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Combine 3 tablespoons stock and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture, remaining stock, and reserved drippings to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and add mustard, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring with a whisk. Serve sauce with chicken.
Mu Shu Pork Wraps
- 1 small head green or Savoy cabbage
- 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 (8-ounce) boneless pork loin, trimmed
- 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
- 4 mushroom caps, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 3/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- Reserve 8 cabbage leaves. Shred remaining cabbage to measure 2 cups. Combine soy sauce and next 3 ingredients (through cornstarch). Cut pork crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack several slices vertically; slice pork into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Repeat procedure with remaining pork. Add pork, carrots, and mushrooms to soy sauce mixture; toss.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add 1/4 cup onions; sauté 30 seconds. Add shredded cabbage and water; sauté 2 minutes. Remove cabbage mixture from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add remaining 1/2 cup onions and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add pork mixture; sauté 3 minutes or until done. Add cabbage mixture; toss. Place about 1/3 cup pork mixture into each of 8 reserved cabbage leaves.
- Calories: 248
- Fat: 17.1g
- Saturated fat: 2.4g
- Monounsaturated fat: 8.2g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 5.3g
- Protein: 13.5g
- Carbohydrate: 11.7g
- Fiber: 3.5g
- Cholesterol: 33mg
- Iron: 1.3mg
- Sodium: 386mg
- Calcium: 64mg
Chicken and Orzo Skillet Dinner
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 8 cups water
- 12 ounces uncooked orzo
- 2 cups chopped tomato (about 2 medium)
- 2 teaspoons no-salt-added tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Sauté 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
- Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo; cook 8 minutes or until orzo is al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
- Add reserved cooking liquid, chopped tomato, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and peppers to skillet; cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, pasta, and 3 cups spinach leaves, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese.
- Calories: 486
- Fat: 7.5g
- Saturated fat: 3.6g
- Monounsaturated fat: 1.4g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g
- Protein: 39.8g
- Carbohydrate: 62.6g
- Fiber: 4.5g
- Cholesterol: 85mg
- Iron: 1.8mg
- Sodium: 641mg
- Calcium: 138mg
Creamy Lobster Pappardelle
- 1 (8-ounce) package uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson)
- 1 thyme sprig
- 3 (5-ounce) American lobster tails
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
- While pasta cooks, bring wine, stock, and thyme sprig to a boil in a large skillet. Add lobster. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until done. Remove the lobster from pan, and cool slightly. Remove meat from lobster tails; coarsely chop.
- Add oil, salt, and pepper to wine mixture in pan; bring to a boil. Cook 14 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard thyme sprig. Stir in cream. Add lobster meat and pasta to sauce. Cook 1 minute or until sauce coats pasta, and toss. Sprinkle with parsley and thyme. Serve immediately.
- Calories: 481
- Fat: 17.9g
- Saturated fat: 4g
- Monounsaturated fat: 10.9g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 1.7g
- Protein: 24.6g
- Carbohydrate: 44.8g
- Fiber: 1.9g
- Cholesterol: 91mg
- Iron: 2.5mg
- Sodium: 637mg
- Calcium: 68mg
Fast Shepherd’s Pie
- 1 (24-ounce) bag frozen mashed potatoes (such as Ore Ida Steam n’ Mash)
- 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 lamb loin chops, meat removed from bones and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 (6-ounce) microwavable bag peeled baby carrots
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
- 1 cup frozen English peas
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Microwave potatoes according to package directions; stir in milk, butter, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- While potatoes cook, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle lamb evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add lamb to pan; sauté 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove lamb from pan with a slotted spoon. Add onion to pan, and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While onion cooks, microwave carrots at HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove carrots from bag; slice diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir tomato paste into onions in pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Stir in sliced carrots, peas, and herbs. Bring to a boil; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in browned lamb.
- Spoon lamb mixture into a 2-quart broiler-safe ceramic casserole dish; top with mashed potato mixture. Broil 4 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
- Calories: 377
- Fat: 13.7g
- Saturated fat: 5.2g
- Monounsaturated fat: 4.3g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.8g
- Protein: 20.2g
- Carbohydrate: 39.9g
- Fiber: 5.7g
- Cholesterol: 59mg
- Iron: 2.9mg
- Sodium: 536mg
- Calcium: 59mg