Weekend Update with Mac ‘n Cheese

Turns out Saturday we didn’t go to Bally’s, but we did get important stuff accomplished.  BUT, Sunday we went!  I was there mostly to get some running in while Brett pumped massive iron, but since we were at a gym, I had to try out some machines.  I did a few machines for my chest, back, triceps and biceps.  And I definitely felt it the next day…and the next day (today). Ouch!  As soon as I started running on the treadmill, a pain shot up my left leg.  I knew I wasn’t going very far and ended up having to stop after .5 miles.  I was so upset.  I should probably rename my blog “Banana CAN’T Run.”  Le sigh.  I did move on to the elliptical and did almost 2 miles – Brett was ret to go.  Still burned 142 calories in 1.7 miles, plus probably the 50 or so on the treadmill, so not a bad day.  Still bummed about the running thing though.  At some point, maybe I’ll have someone analyze my gait, but for now…elliptical and Jillian’s Shred are where it’s at.

On to some delicious eats!  While we were out getting important things done on Saturday, we stopped at Guadalajara to eat.  We started with an El Presidente margarita, which is a margarita mixed with brandy.  Oh, it was YUM! Recommended!

I decided to go out on a limb and get fish tacos – fried in a Dos Equis batter, with a side of fiesta rice.

The rice was a little plain to me.  I prefer cilantro rice or Spanish rice.  And the fish tacos were…not great to me.  Everything on the tacos was good, but the fish itself tasted a little fishy – and I don’t like that, so I didn’t eat all of mine.

Brett got carne asada (I think) with a cheese enchilada and Spanish rice.  I’m not a big steak-y eater, but his meal was pretty delish.  I wouldn’t order it for myself, but it tasted better than mine.  And I enjoyed his rice for sure.  Notice his margarita has been sucked dry.

On Sunday, we made some juicy steaks on the grill with a side of mac ‘n cheese.  I never make mac ‘n cheese and I don’t know why…because I love it so much.  When I stumbled upon this EASY recipe, I was sold!  I got this from Pinterest, but didn’t repin, so I googled the original blog post.

One Pot Mac ‘n Cheese (click for recipe and blog post)

I didn’t take pictures of the prep because it was dark and rainy outside and Brett was fiddling with the grill and steaks, and I just wanted to hurry this dish along.  We did everything as the recipe states, but it didn’t take 15 to 20 minutes to cook; it was more like 5 minutes.  When the milk reduced and the mixture was creamy, we chose to add Gruyere cheese (omg, nom!) and a little parmigiano-reggiano cheese for good measure. Then topped with 7 or 8 slices of crumbled bacon (that I baked).  And this side dish was fast, easy and one of the most delicious mac ‘n cheeses I have ever tasted.  Definitely recommend! (which is why I named this post “with Mac ‘n Cheese”).

Just look at that steak!! Again, not a big steak eater, but this steak was cooked to perfection – thanks, Brett!  A most delicious meal on a rainy Sunday  night.

Monday night was a repeat – Ground Beef Stroganoff. Brett is out of town tonight and tomorrow night, so I’m making tofu fried rice tonight because Brett likes meat, so I’m excited for a meal I love!  Will post that recipe tomorrow.

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Beef Orzo Soup

Tuesday, I strapped on my new IT band strap thingie and went downstairs to use the treadmill.  My leg started hurting almost immediately, so does that mean it’s not my IT band that’s the problem?  It’s starting to get frustrating because I want to run for over 2 miles and it seems that’s never going to happen. I’d rather run less distance more often than more distance less often.  Anyway, here’s a pic of my stats.

I did a 5 minute warm-up walk, then restarted the treadmill for 33 minutes.  I only made it 26:21 obviously, then I started it over and cooled down with a 3 minute walk.  That’s a sloooooow pace.  I can’t get my pace up because I have to walk quite a bit of the 2nd mile because of my leg.  Sigh.  But, hurray for calorie burn!

Tuesday night I made a Weight Watchers recipe – Beef Orzo Soup (click for recipe).  I made this without mushrooms because I just don’t like mushrooms.  I wish I liked mushrooms, but no.

Ingredients:

This came together rather quickly.  I guess the longest part was waiting for the orzo to puff up, and that was only about 8 minutes.  I took the first picture because the soup looks so verdant!

After the orzo cooked:

And in my bowl:

Pretty, eh?  This wasn’t bad, but I didn’t go back for seconds, nor did I want to.  Brett didn’t go back for seconds either and didn’t eat it for breakfast the next day.  It was good, but not great.  Glad we tried it though.

Wednesday night we had a repeat – Sliced Sausages over Spaghetti (click for past post).  It was pretty delish! Mmm, sausage.

Wednesday was a rest day from exercise.

Thursday, I did Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred and then baked chicken and roasted some Brussels sprouts.  We have that meal pretty often, nothing new there.  Very good go-to!

It is now Friday (FINALLY!) and taco night!  Another rest day from exercise and tomorrow I’m going with Brett to Bally’s – he gets a discount through his job and I have a free guest past for a week.  May try the elliptical and bike to see if it’s easier on my leg.

Running pains

My left leg has been killing me since my run Monday.  Guess I can’t run over 2 1/2 miles.  I envy others who can run and run and run…even just 4 or 5 miles.  I have really good shoes, so I don’t know what’s up.  I googled and read a lot about my symptoms and I think it is my IT band that’s bothering me.  I have very high arches and I notice when I stand I always stand awkwardly leaning on my left leg, so I think maybe I run favoring my left leg if that means anything.  So, since I pushed it on Monday, I decided to rest yesterday (Tuesday) and will hopefully be able to do Level 2 of 30 Day Shred again today.  I wanted to work out everyday – run, Shred, run, Shred, then Friday off, but nooooooo.  I am taking Ibuprofen and icing my leg.  I may buy one of those bands you wear about your knee when you run to help the IT band.  I’ve seen people wear those and I think they are just masking the pain and not building up a problem area, but now I get it.  If it helps me run just 2 miles, then that’s better than none.

Tuesday night we ate another repeat – Zucchini and Fennel Chicken Pasta (click to see past post).  But this time I put a lot less mozzarella cheese and didn’t add the parmesan cheese before baking.  We just added whatever amount of parmesan we wanted after the food was on our plates.  Oh, and while the sauce was simmering, I added some red pepper flakes to add a little heat.  Much better this time around!

I could have cleaned the plate around the pasta to make it prettier, but with such low quality, why? 😛

Today we are having our Thanksgiving pot luck lunch at work.  I made pumpkin pie.  And, I can already taste that broccoli/cheese/rice casserole. Mmm!

 

Lundi, lundi

Whew! Monday is over.  No special food reports for the weekend.  Brett and I stuffed our faces with Chinese food Saturday.  We hadn’t had Chinese in sooo long, and I had to talk Brett into it (wasn’t THAT hard).  And, Sunday we grilled yummy hamburgers.  Oh, I did make Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip as an appetizer.  Psst! I used canned chicken. Football Sundays = grillin’ and chillin’.

Tonight we had a repeat meal – Whole Wheat Chili Macaroni (click for past post).  I just realized that this recipe was part of a recap post, meaning I just posted the final picture instead of all the pictures.  Hmmm…maybe I’ll update that next time we have it.  Because we will have it again…deeelish!

Saturday I also did the 30 Day Shred, only this time I upped it to Level 2.  Wow!  I’ve read other blogs where they were cursing her because the moves were crazy . . . I agree in a way, but to me the moves were crazy in a good way.  It felt really good.  After holding plank position for so many different exercises, I have to admit I thought my shoulders would explode.  I did yell a few choice words on the last exercise, but it was all good.  No pain, no gain!  And there was definitely pain yesterday.

Today after work I went downstairs and ran on the treadmill. I set it to 5K and at about 2.3 miles I wondered if I should have just set it to manual because my left calf was killing me.  I finished though.  Had to walk a few times throughout the run and finished the 3.1 miles in 40:39.  Blah.  I need to warm-up a little before starting the program, so I can start running as soon as the program starts instead of walking part of the first mile.  I think I’ll continue to treadmill it and take a picture of my stats, like this:

!

Bring on Tuesday!

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Back-to-back updates!

Last night we had Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta, another from Pinterest.  It’s probably safe to say lots of my future recipes will also be from Pinterest.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta (click for recipe).

This looked delicious but I figured it would be mega-creamy, and it was.

Ingredients:

I wanted EASY, so I didn’t use raw chicken, I used cooked chicken in a can.  Sometimes you just gotta.  I used a little of the Cajun seasoning pictured, then remembered I had Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning and added that.  I just eyeballed it and then I tasted the chicken mixture – woowee it was salty.  Since I didn’t have to saute the chicken, I threw it in the skillet and just knocked the coldness off for a minute, then added the cream, tomatoes, and spices.  The recipe says she used half milk/half cream – that may have been better so it wasn’t so heavily creamy – but my milk was starting to smell, soooo all cream it was.  I used 1 1/2 cup.

Then I warmed it while I waited for the pasta to finish.  This was all done in maybe 15 minutes, if that.  QUICK!  I only ate about half of what’s on this plate.

It was really good, but you can only eat so much cream in one sitting.  Am I right?

Before supper, I stopped off at my work building’s gym and ran on the treadmill.  Felt awesome to do a little running.  First I did this . . .

Then I felt so awesome that I decided to do 15 minutes more, but only ended up doing 5. Ha! I was tired.  Once I begin cooling down, hard to start back up.

So all in all, 2.77 miles and burned 297 calories (if those things are accurate).  Not bad!

Enjoy your weekend!

Layered Mexican Casserole and Scooter’s Spaghetti

Last Tuesday night we had this . . .(from Picky Palate)

Layered Mexican Chicken Rice Bake (click for recipe)

Ingredients:

I started the rice boiling, then added it to the vegetables that had been sauteed.  Then dumped in my cumin.

To cook the chicken, I boiled (poached) it in a little water, then shredded it with a fork.  Here’s what it looked like with the salsa mixed in.

Then, layer.

Before and after.

The top picture is how I left this dish while I went out for a quick 2 mile run.  I don’t have my stats with me because they’re on my new Garmin. I no longer use my Runkeeper app, so I can’t check my phone easily.  When I returned from the run, I topped the casserole with cheese and popped it in the oven.

This was just OK.  It was dry and needed more salsa.  That may be because I think I used a little more rice than was called for.  I also don’t like the layering in this dish.  I think a good stir (with added salsa) is what this dish needs.  It wasn’t worth the dishes I had to use.  My kitchen felt like a mess, but it could be because I was frustrated and wanted to run before it got too dark, but I’m borderline OCD when it comes to cleaning before I walk out of the kitchen.  So, I cleaned everything up before I went for the run and it seemed to take forever, then I came back to this mediocre dish.

Next up, Wednesday . . .

Scooter’s Spaghetti (click for recipe)

I got this recipe from Pinterest.

Ingredients . . .

This dish was really easy.  The only “time consuming” part would be chopping the onion, garlic and pepper.  After that, place the vegetables in a bowl with the butter, then microwave on high for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes.

Then add the cream and milk.

Ooh, creamy!  Brown your meat, then pour in the tomato sauce.  Put a little meat sauce in the bottom of  the casserole (I used a 10×6) then pour in the cooked spaghetti and top with the creamy concoction.

Then add the rest of the meat sauce. I then left this and did the 30 Day Shred.  After that, I topped with parmesan cheese and baked.

Top with the onions and bake for the final five minutes.

I was happy with how this turned out, but it was really rich and creamy.  I couldn’t eat too much of this – probably a good thing!

Thursday night we made tacos because we didn’t have anything planned for that night, so we made our usual Friday meal on Thursday, then Friday went out for pizza at Star Pizza.  Star used to be our go-to Friday night spot.  We have discovered other pizza places and haven’t frequented there near as often, but they still greet us with a smile.  The same people work there and the host always jokes that he doesn’t have our usual corner table available.  Why would it still be “usual” if we haven’t been there in 2 months?  Aww, so sweet.

To be honest, I can’t remember which days I ran and which days I shredded.  I need to check my Garmin watch and update this, so I’ll know for future reference.

Weekend and a Monday

Let me begin with saying that I wish I updated my blog more often than every few days, so I didn’t have to recap all the delicious meals over the last few (or 5) days.  But, it’s how I roll, at least sometimes, so here are the things we ate this weekend (and Monday).  Hope to be back with Tuesday and Wednesday later today, so I’m all caught up.

I no longer want running to be my only form of exercise (especially now that my left leg bothers me so, thus causing me to run only 2 miles when I do run).  So, Saturday I gave into the 30 Day Shred.  I read about other bloggers doing it, and I wanted to join in!  Oh Jillian, be gentle. Right!  Brett did his prison work out as he calls it.  He does push-ups and pull-ups and then uses an old tall laundry basket full of heavy clothes to do shrugs. I think he also sometimes uses his giant amp.  So creative.  Meanwhile I did Level 1 of the Shred, which lasted 20 minutes.  I could tell I got a good workout in, but I’ve done lots of different DVDs in the past, Zumba, and now running, so I felt a little hungry for more at the end, but I’m glad I didn’t do anything else because for the next 2 days, I could barely sit down without falling into my chair – and yes, onto the toilet.  I loved it though!! And I’m ready to get pumped with Jillian!

After that, I cooked something I saw on Pinterest.  We hardly ever have a good hearty breakfast.  Well, this ended up taking until mid-afternoon because it takes a while to bake – didn’t really think that through.

Potato Bacon Casserole (click for recipe)

Ingredients:

We baked our bacon  – not the whole pack, we saved about 4 pieces.

Here’s what it looked like before baking . . .

Meanwhile, we tried beermosas for the first time.  I see some people on the web adding vodka, but we just used a light beer and added orange juice.  Pour in the entire can of beer and drink a few sips off the top, then pour in OJ and fill the glass to the top.

These were quite refreshing.  I thought it would be nasty, but nope!

Finally, the baking was finished – final dish & my plate . . .

Delicious! But I never want to wait that long for food again, not even when beer is involved.

Sunday we made chicken tacos again.  Mmm, delicious corn tortillas (heated on the grill in foil)!

No workout Sunday because of the Shred soreness.

And that brings us to Monday’s delicious meal. Oh, it was a good one!

Ground Beef Stroganoff (click for recipe).  Another from Pinterest, of course.

Ingredients . . .

First, brown your ground beef and drain and set aside.  Also, get a pot of boiling water going for your noodles.  Then saute your onions in the butter, and then add the garlic.  After that, toss in the flour and stir.

Then add your beef broth and whisk vigorously to get any lumps out.  Then toss in the sour cream and cream of mushroom soup.

That looks a little blech, but check it out after it’s stirred – creamy!! I added a good amount of pepper, but just a little Kosher salt and it was perfect.   Then add in your beef and you’re done!

Pour over noodles and enjoy! Mmm…

I made this because I know Brett loves Beef Stroganoff, but I never want to deal with the beef part of it.  Ground beef made this really easy.  Brett said it was the best he ever had!  Monday was another rest day because I was still getting over Jillian’s shredding.  Whew!

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