I am not normally one to make a New Year's Resolution. Mostly because I think that if you're going to change something, you should do it NOW rather than two months from now just because it's something "new." Make the new start NOW. I also think most people tend to make either a) unreasonable resolutions, like "I'm going to do ______ every single day!" (to say you are going to do something every single day for me, would probably just be setting myself up for failure. One day I will be too tired or too busy, and I won't do it...and once I skip once, it's easier to skip again...), or b) just don't really "resolve" to do anything different. I hear people all the time say something like "I want to lose weight this year." Well, how are you going to do that? The pounds are not just going to fall off, you have to work them off, eat less and/or more healthy, or (most likely so) a combination of all of that.
I felt like my "new year" actually started about two weeks ago when I got my soldier back from his deployment. We are getting to start fresh in a lot of ways...planning our monthly budget together (and rearranging our budget now that we are not making as much money since he is returning to school and no longer on active duty), working out together, taking trips together, going to see movies together, etc. Actually living our lives together, rather than 9000 miles apart with crappy (if any at all) internet, is completely new in and of itself. Two of the things we are really trying to do is stick to a consistent budget and eat healthy. Also, I came from one of those families that ate a lot of hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, and ramen noodles growing up. It was kinda like coming from a package was a qualifier for any meal we ate at home. That being said, I never really learned how to cook. Now that I am starting my own family...I think it's time I started building some sort of cooking repertoire. Fortunately, I am actually one of those really blessed females that has a man that loves to cook. Since he has been back we have really been trying to focus on eating out as little as possible, and cooking healthy meals at home. We have already been doing this quite a bit since he got home on December 18th, but we kinda decided today that this was going to be our "new year's resolution":
We resolve to try at least one new recipe each week.
We want to try new things, learn how to cook a variety of dishes, and continue to eat healthy. One of the major ways we are doing this (among other things) is by cooking with more fresh vegetables rather than stuff from a can. This is a bit of an adventure for me...Hamburger Helper doesn't have vegetables...
So...we have started looking through cookbooks, using our Beachbody meal plan books (I have Insanity and he has P90X), and a handy iPad app we found called SparkRecipes. Thanks to Betty Crocker, we found a really yummy one that we tried out last week, so I thought I would share it with you :) When we find a good one, I will try to share it on here...maybe every Tuesday, but I make no promises :)
Mixed Roasted Vegetables and Pasta
1 medium green or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges and separated
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. whole mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped fresh or 2 tablespoons dried basil leaves (we used dried)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups uncooked pasta
(the recipe suggested cavatappi, which is the corkscrew lookin' kind, but we wanted to add some fiber, so we went with whole wheat penne pasta :)
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups shredded cheese blend
(the recipe suggested Italian-style four-cheese blend, but we just used some mozzarella and cheddar because that's what we had in the fridge :)
1. Heat oven to 450 F.
2. In 15x10 pan or shallow 3-quart casserole, place bell peppers, onion, zucchini and mushrooms. Sprinkle evenly with basil.
(15x10 is a really big pan...we used our 13x9 Pyrex dish and managed just fine, we just had to be careful when stirring things later to not spill...)
3. In a small bowl, mix oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; drizzle evenly over vegetables. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta as directed on package.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. Add tomatoes and pasta to vegetable mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 15 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender and cheese is melted.
This makes 6 servings, at 360 Calories, 14g of fat, 40g of carbs, 4g of fiber and 18g of protein per serving.
It was really scrumptious! We loved it, and have definitely decided that it is something we will make again :)
Here's to a happy, healthy and blessed new year to you and yours!