Fitness Crazed Foodie
Lover of all things food and fitness related
I know what most people are thinking: cheesy tortellini isn't healthy! Why is this on the blog?!
Well, let's set this straight. Pasta can be a healthy choice if served in the right portion, with the right add-ins, and if used as fuel for your workouts. I have my first olympic-distance triathlon coming up this Sunday, so I thought making a hearty, green pasta dish was appropriate for this week. Obviously, you don't have to be training for a triathlon to eat pasta, but timing of a carb-heavy meals is important. Carbohydrates, regardless of whether they're from pasta, bread, vegetables, fruit, etc., will be used as energy/fuel when eaten before or after a good workout, rather than being stored away as excess calories.
Bottom line: you don't have to shy away from carbs like pasta, but just make sure you're being active enough to use it as fuel!
This recipe has a great balance of green vegetables, lean protein, flavorful spices, and a liiiiiitle cheesiness from the tortellini filling. It's great served with a chilled summer salad, too! I added a simple recipe at the end of this post for a great summertime side dish that compliments the Veggie-Loaded Tortellini & Chicken perfectly. Enjoy!
1 package of Trader Joe's Spinach Tortellini
1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 bundle of asparagus
2 heads of broccoli
Salt and pepper
Optional: nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, tomatoes
Ambitious Kitchen's Cilantro Pesto Sauce
1 cup cilantro leaves (about ½ a bunch)
1/3 cup roasted or raw cashews
1 small lime, juiced
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeño, seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons water, if necessary to thin the pesto
Chop up asparagus and broccoli and put in a big bowl with 1/3 cup of water. Cover with paper towel and steam in the microwave for 5 minutes. Drain and keep in the bowl.
While veggies are steaming, chop chicken into big chunks and sauté on medium heat with olive oil, salt and pepper until cooked through the center.
In a separate stove pan, boil water and cook tortellinis based on instructions. After boiling, the pasta should only take 2-4 minutes to cook thoroughly. Add cooked pasta, chicken, and veggies into the large bowl and mix.
For the sauce, add cilantro, cashews, lime juice, garlic clove, jalapeno, olive oil, and salt and pepper to a blender. Process on high speed until smooth and add water, if necessary, to help thin the pesto and make it easier to process. Add the pesto directly to the bowl with the pasta and mix to combine.
Once ready to serve, top with nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese) and additional spices if preferred. You can serve it hot or cold- both are delish!
Corn, Avocado & Tomato Summertime Salad
1 bag of frozen corn
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
Paprika, chilli powder, salt and pepper
Steam the frozen corn until thawed (a couple minutes in the microwave). Pour into a bowl with roughly chopped avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, a handful of chopped cilantro and spices to taste.
Set in fridge for 1 hour before serving chilled.
Roasting meats and vegetables together seems like a big task that takes practice and perfect timing. But I'm here to show you that it can be all done in one pan and take 60-90 minutes from start to finish. This meal idea comes from my boyfriend that followed a recipe online and it turned into the best meal he has ever made me! I tweaked a couple things based on nutrition and my preference. This recipe makes 4 servings and can be eaten all week or served as a great family meal.
4- 5oz chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
Garlic salt, pepper, oregano
4 sprigs of rosemary
1 bag, or 2-3 lbs, of fingerling potatoes
1 large red onion
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400F. Line large baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
Drizzle olive oil over the chicken breasts and rub it to cover the tops of each. Add garlic salt, pepper and oregano. Over a bowl, hold a sprig of rosemary at its top, slide your fingers down to the bottom, and strip off the leaves into the bowl. Sprinkle half of this rosemary on top of the chicken and save the rest for the vegetables. Add the chicken breasts to the baking pan.
Slice the fingerling potatoes in halves if very small or fourths if larger. Roughly chop the red onion and cut the tomatoes in half. Add them all to a bowl and toss with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and the rest of the rosemary sprigs. Pour onto the baking pan and disperse evenly.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until chicken is done and potatoes are crispy. I usually cut into one chicken breasts to make sure there is no pink and it is fully cooked (I know, the juices come out then, but it's the safest way to know!). Serve with a cold side salad or any other greens you like!
About this Section
This section is here to share my experiences in the kitchen and to give you inspiration to try out healthy and fun recipes!