Adding to the Food Recipe Arsenal

My husband told me I HAD to blog about last night’s dinner. It was yummy and fairly healthy…as along as you keep the portion size in control. It isn’t considered “clean” either. My casserole wonder is: Baked Ziti Casserole.

I love Italian food…a lot. *give me all the carbs!* So, this lightened up dish is great. I make it in variant ways & amounts too! The skeleton of the recipe goes as follows: Prepare Whole Wheat Penne Pasta according to package directions. While that’s boiling, sauté Baby Spinach (in cooking spray or Gee) – you can sauté finely chopped onion with spinach, but I was out- allow spinach to cool. In a bowl, mix ricotta or cottage cheese, Sargento’s 6 Italian cheese blend, grated parmesan cheese, and 1 egg. Add the cooled spinach to mixture. Drain pasta. Now, you can leave this meatless, but not with my husband. I like to vary the meats according to my weekly menu plans. *Something different than chicken!* You can use chopped baked chicken, ground beef, ground lamb, or Italian sausage. I used Oscar Mayer’s Selects Italian Herb pork sausage last night. (My grocery store online coupon had a $1 off coupon and then the store had a 75¢ off coupon at the product…I couldn’t refuse that deal.) The hubby chopped it into thin rounds for me. So, into the dish it goes. Spray dish. Thin layer of marinara sauce (I used Barilla’s chunky traditional pasta sauce). Add the noodles, more sauce, add the meat, do a little mixing, add the cheese/spinach mixture, add the remaining sauce, sprinkle a little more parmesan cheese. Bake at 400F degrees for 30 minutes. When all bubbly hot, take out, add some Sargento’s 6 Italian cheese blend, and broil for a few minutes until cheese is a little brown. Serve with a side salad or roasted veggies!

*I didn’t season the dish because I didn’t know how seasoned the sausage was. Sometimes, Italian sausage can be too seasoned for me. However, this was just right. Normally, I season the meat while cooking it with FlavorGod’s Garlic Lovers, maybe some fresh herbs too.

This dish is not a regular “healthy” meal we eat. But it is quick to make and won’t kill your diet. We have family portraits coming up, so we have to keep our figures flattering. Haha!

I’ve been super lazy in the fitness department. I haven’t been to the gym in almost two months. I became tired of figuring out a workout plan for a hour or two, just to get to the gym and the machine or weights I needed were taken. Since I don’t have a ton of gym workouts mentally cataloged, I was becoming annoyed with not finishing my workout or not being able to think of another exercise to do in place of the other.

I have been running 2-3 times a week, along with horseback riding once a week; but I do miss lifting weights. I maintain my fitness with healthy eating and the little exercise I do. However, my weight on the scale is lower than ever…because I am losing muscle mass…which sucks.

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