Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with Spinach

So, as I have decided to lose a few LB’s and cut out my carbs except for at dinner, carbs are kind of my focal point at dinner. When you look forward to it ALL day… it’s a special meal! I never knew you basically go through a type of detox from carbs and sugars when you start to cut them out. I mean, back in college I did the “South Beach Diet” and I remember something about that. 🙂 I truly am realizing it though. Cravings because your body is wondering what the heck is going on!
So, I decided I need carbs. I do need to cut back as I’ve previously said because it gets a bit ridiculous. … but I needed more veggies and greens and FRESH fruits in my life!
At least this pasta dish has spinach greens and lemon zest! Right?! 🙂 Ricotta cheese adds protein too!  I calculated an approximate 8g of protein per serving, and if you toss some shrimp or chicken in it (as suggested by my awesome friend) it will up that protein content quite a lot!

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Ingredients

Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 TB lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup chopped (or whole) baby spinach
2-3 tsp. Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup pasta water set aside

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Preparation

Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 10 Minutes
* Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
* In a bowl, stir together ricotta, olive oil, lemon zest and salt&pepper, garlic salt, grated parmesan, lemon juice, oregano and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
*Drain spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in ricotta mixture, spinach and 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Toss well, adding more pasta cooking water 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Serve hot.

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This was quite delicious! Filling as well! I enjoyed every last bite! 😉

And now, for the quote of the day:

My husband’s current favorite meme going around the Internet

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Crockpot Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

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I needed something with a lot of flavor, and something I could put in the crock pot since I didn’t have a ton of time to cook… SO, i picked up a whole chicken w/the skin on. I wanted to be able to use the leftovers for a couple of meals for my hubby while I am out of town this weekend!

I will have to post that recipe at a later time!!

Ok, so here is the Crockpot roasted chicken!

Peruvian Roasted Chicken
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: varies
Points+ with Skin: drumstick 2 pts, wing 3 pts, thigh 4 pts, 4 oz breast 5 pts

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 bottle IPA beer (or a light beer)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lime cut into slices
  • salt
  • paprika
Directions:

Wash chicken and remove any giblet bag that is in the cavity. Salt and pepper the chicken. Place into the crock put and put on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 7-8 hours. Pour the beer over the chicken, and the rest of the liquids. Put the lemons and limes inside of the chicken cavity. Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix. Rub all over the chicken and place lid on. Put on low or high depending on cook time you want.

To test for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken; the thermometer should read about 160°F. The chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165°F, but after the chicken is done, it should basically be falling apart. I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed green beans with onions.

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For the mashed sweet potatoes I did the following:

Ingredients:

8 SMALL sweet potatoes peeled, and cut into 8 pieces per potato
2 TB margarine or butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions:

Put the potatoes in a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 9-12 minutes until a fork easily goes through the potatoes. Drain, and mash and add above ingredients. If you prefer it even smoother, you can take a hand mixer and whip them!

For the green beans, I just sautee them in a skillet with about 1/4 cup onion and 1 tsp minced garlic for 10 min until softened, but still a bit crunchy.

Voila!

Delish!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Sunday Lunch

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There are a few recipes that need to go in here… so I’ll start with the simple.

Beets:

Fresh beets, cut up and boiled for 20 minutes. Then, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. YUM!

Guacamole:

2 avocados, sliced and diced
the juice of 1 lime
1/4 sweet onion
splash of hot sauce
1 small bunch of FRESH cilantro (about 1/4 cup)
grape tomatoes sliced in half (I used around 10)

Shrimp Caprese Orzo Pasta

Original recipe: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2746948

Minutes to Prepare: 5
Minutes to Cook: 10
Number of Servings: 4

 

Ingredients

Orzo Pasta, 1 cup 
Grape Tomatoes cut in 1/2, 1 cup 
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Basil, 1 tbsp
 White Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tbsp 
Salt, 1 dash
Pepper, black, 1 dash
*Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
Juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest
Shrimp, raw, 10 medium
1/4 of a cucumber, sliced
FRESH mozzarella cut into slices
While orzo pasta is cooking according to box instructions, mix the tomatoes, half the garlic, the basil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and mozzarella cheese in a serving dish.In the oven, at 350 degrees, cook shrimp in the remaining garlic and the EVOO. About 8-15 minutes (depending on size and if they were frozen).

Drain pasta and stir together with diced tomato mixture and then top with cooked shrimp.

Serving Size: Makes 3-4 Dinner Portions

Number of Servings: 4

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

 

Greek Chicken:

adapted from this recipe: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/06/greek-marinated-chicken/

Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ Tbsp dried oregano $0.08
  • 1/2 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 medium lemon
  • ½ tsp ground himalayan sea salt
  • freshly cracked pepper $0.05
  • Âź bunch fresh parsley $0.20
  • 3½ to 4 lbs chicken pieces $6.86
  • Instructions
    1. To make the marinade, combine the yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper in a bowl. Use a fine holed cheese grater or a zester to scrape the thin layer of yellow zest from the lemon skin into the bowl. Also add the juice from half of the lemon (about 1-2 Tbsp). Stir until the ingredients are well combined. Roughly chop a big handful, or about Âź bunch, of parsley and stir it into the marinade.
    2. Add the chicken pieces and marinade to a gallon sized zip top bag. Remove as much air as possible, close the bag tightly, and massage the bag to mix the contents and make sure the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate the bag for 30 minutes.
    3. After marinating for 30 minutes, either cook the chicken on a grill OR preheat the oven to 375 degrees in preparation to bake the chicken.
    4. To bake the chicken, place the chicken pieces in a large casserole dish (9×13). Bake the chicken in the preheated 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown on top.