Garlic Chicken Pasta w/ Spinach, tomatoes and chives!

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SOOO Good! Made this the other night and everyone in the family liked it!!

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You’ll Need:

1 box Whole Wheat or gluten free linguini.

3 large skinless chicken breasts (cut into chunks, or you can buy the already cut up kind)

1 small container of mushrooms

3 cups baby spinach

8 small cherry tomatoes (halved)

1 small can sliced black olives

3 chives (chopped)

For the sauce – You’ll need:

2 tbsp. butter ( I used Earth Balance Brand)

4 Garlic cloves (mined)

4 tbsp. Whole-wheat flour or Gluten free flour.

1 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth ( I used chicken this time) -LOOK for LOW SODIUM!!

1 1/2 cups Almond milk, or low-fat milk will work too.

3 teaspoons Parsley flakes

2/3 cup graded parmesan or mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste.

HOW TO:

  • In large skillet, season chicken to taste with some chicken seasoning (I like Ms. Dash) and place in skillet. Add about 1/2 cup water and cover. (My mother taught me this trick when cooking chicken so it doesn’t dry out! =) …)

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  • Meanwhile, in another med-large skillet, put in butter and garlic cloves till butter is melted and garlic is starting to break down. Cook for around 1 min. (this will be your sauce pan)
  • Start noodles according to package in large pot. And drain when does cooking. Set aside.

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  • Go back to sauce pan, add flour and cook for 1 min, stirring so all the flour is dissolved evenly.  After, add broth and almond milk, stirring occasionally till sauce thickens and boils. Then add parsley, salt, pepper and cheese into sauce and cook till cheese is melted and sauce is thick. Turn to simmer-low until ready to serve.

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  • Meanwhile, to keep from burning your chicken, you can always add a little more water to pan and let simmer covered. Cook chicken till done (no pink in middle of the chunks) And when chicken is done, place in bowl and set aside to chop up. In same pan (leaving some of the chicken juices), put in a little olive oil, add spinach, tomatoes, chives, mushrooms and olives into the pan and sauté.

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  • Cut cooked chicken on cutting board into bit size pieces and add to veggie mix.

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Once everything is done, pile noodles on place, add as much veggie/chicken mix as desired and top with a little sauce … YUMM!!

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Benefits of garlic

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I’m a huge garlic fan, and you’ll probably notice most (almost all) my recipes have it in them haha. I love adding garlic to just about anything!!! And here are some of the amazing benefits it can bring to you!!

First of all garlic is a bulb plant and is classified in the same grouping as leeks, onions and chives. The reason why people may stay away from garlic, besides its obvious bad breath factor but it actually travels through your body and can basically leak out your pores. But … who cares its delicious! haha. Plus, if you eat it during a camping trip, its known to repel against mosquitos.

  • Helps Clear Acne-  This may sound weird but you can rub a crushed up clove over a small pimple and it can be used as a natural topical treatment.
  • Can help with athletes foot
  • Can help with cold sores
  • Reduced Blood Pressure
  • Reduces risk of certain Cancers.
  • Helps ward off colds and prevent them.
  • Can soothe psoriasis – rub some garlic oil over the irritated areas.
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Help with allergies- it has an anti-inflammatory property to it.
  • Helps with weight loss.
  • Can help remove a splinter- yep, you read that right.
  • Remedy for respiratory issues.

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I’m sure there are many more awesome thing garlic can do as well but these are some of the main things I personally know of! =) eat it up! yummm

The Salad Bar – Building a Kick-Ass Salad! =)

So when it comes to salads, you want to stick to somewhere around 400- 500 calories. That way its enough to sustain you but not to much to where you should have probably just of had a pizza or some pasta. . . And remember calories aren’t everything, you need your good fats in there too to absorb nutrients and adding some protein is always good too.

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  • Picking your Greens – pile them on!!! (keep in mind a usual salad has about 3-4 cups at least depending on how much you want.)

Spinach- Only has 7 calories per 1 cup and very high in Vitamin A, low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Romaine-  10 calories per cup. a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium.

Spring Mix- 6 calories per cup. Since this is a mix, you get all kinds of good-ness!!

Iceberg- 8 calories per cup ( not my fav, because it doesn’t have many nutrients, its basically eating a plate of water.. id skip this one, but if your not that used to salads all the time this may be a way to wean you into them. )

Mixed Baby Greens – 6 calories per cup. Since this is a mix, you get all kinds of good-ness!!

shrimpchicken sabeanssteaksalmon shard

  • Protein

Shrimp – 60 calories, 1 gram of fat per 3 oz.

Chicken (breast, skinless) – 179 calories per 4 oz. 4g fat. 35g protein.

Beans-  calories, 0 grams of fat per 1/2 cup. (there are SOOO many different kinda too! My fav ?, black, kidney, and chickpeas)

Steak – 162 calories, 9 grams of fat per 3 oz.

Tofu- 34 calories per slice (around 84g). 1g fat. 5g protein.

Tuna (canned, in water)- 179 calories per cup. 1g fat. 39g protein. Good source of Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

Salmon (Wild, Atlantic) – 281 calories per 1/2 Fillet. 13g fat. 39g protein.

Hard Boiled Eggs- 78 calories per Med. egg. 5g fat . 6g protein.

fetacheddar   blue c       ameri

  • Cheese

Feta- 99 calories, 8 grams of fat per 1/4 cup.

Cheddar- 114 calories, 9 grams fat per 1/4 cup

Blue- 119 calories, 10 grams fat per 1/4 cup.

American- 94 calories per 1 oz. 6g fat.

Dairy-free (G0-Veggie Brand) – 90 calories per 1/3 cup. 6g fat.

straw         apples     grape     pear

  • Fruit

Strawberries- 24 calories, 0 grams fat per 1/2 cup.

Dried Fruits  (Apricots) – 34 calories. 0g far per 4 pieces.

Dried Fruits ( Cranberries) – 123 calories per 1/3 cup.

Grapes- 52 calories. 0g fat per 1/2 cup.

Pears- 1 pear 86 calories. 0g fat.

Apples – 95 calories per 1 medium apple.

Mandarin Oranges-103 calories per 1 cup. 1g fat

cucumber          tomato      bell       mush     olive    brocl

  • Pile on the VEGGIES! – and they pretty mush all have 0g fat.

Cucumber- 8 calories per 5 slices.

Broccoli- 20 calories per 1 cup.

Olives-  63 calories per 4 jumbo olives, slice them up, they will go a long way!

Cauliflower- 27 calories in 1 cup

Onion- 8 calories on 2 tbsp.

Carrots- 50 calories in 1 cup of shreds.

Tomato – only 3 calories in 1 cherry tomato.

Bell Peppers- 5 calories in 10 strips.

Mushrooms- 22 calories in 1 cup

Sugar Snap Peas-  41 calories in 1 cup

Radishes- 9 calories in 1/2 cup

corn       avo       whater

  • Other Random Goodies!

Corn- 16 calories per 2 tbsp. o g fat.

Avocado- 23 calories per 1 tbsp. 2g fat.

Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin ,etc.) –  depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

Mixed Nuts –  depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

Water chestnuts- 60 calories per 1/2 cup

Croutons- 122 calories per cup

  • To Top it Off — Dressings. (ALL PER 2 TBSP. )

Oil and Vinegar- 81 calories. 7g fat.

Light Balsamic- 20 calories. 1g fat.

Fat-free Italian – 13 calories. 0g fat

Thousand Island- 111 calories. 11g fat.

Honey Mustard- 139 calories. 12g fat

Ranch- 149 calories. 15g fat.

Caesar- 163 calories. 17g fat.

Salsa -depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

salad 1       salad 2       salad 3         salad 4

Olive Garden Healthy Options

So.. I love me some Olive Garden. And its safe to say that its one of my fav’s and I almost ALWAYS get a gift card to that place from a family member for Christmas or my birthday. So needless to say its a known fact that I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN! haha

But not everything there is healthy either. Just like other restaurants, they have good healthy options, and … eh, lets just go with the fact that they have poor decisions as well…So.. which do you choose? How do you know what’s a “healthy” option without bombarding the waitress about all the nutritional information and looking like a crazed, obsessed dieter.

And that my dear friends, is why  I’m here!

AMANDA to the RESCUE!!!

So being the salad and breadstick lover I am, I’m sad to say that one serving of their delicious salad (that’s drenched in awesome dressing I might add) and one breadstick is a whopping 500 calories alone. Sad, but true. And don’t go and try to blame the breadstick either! ok. One breadstick is around 150 calories, so most of the issue is actually coming from the drenched salad… ironically. So, quick fix, as for the dressing on the side! YAY! (don’t drench it when you get it on the side either- that’s defeating the purpose) Instead, dip the prongs of your fork into the dressing and, then, get a fork full of salad. Tastes the same, saves some un-needed calories.

  • Next .. say you want an Appetizer.

Stuffed mushrooms is probably your best option – 280 cal.

Mussels de Napoli which is 180 calories but extremely high in sodium so … only have a few.

Unlike the Lasagna Fritta that’s around 1,030…HOLY SMOKES!

  • Next, the main meal!

Soups and salads are always a better choice (usually) depending on where you go….

Now I know I just bashed the famous Olive Garden salad, bit its not that bad, if its your main course, just go light on the dressing.

Best Soup option – Pasta e fagioli  (it has the lowest amount of sodium)

Other options include

  • Cheese ravioli with marinara sause
  • Linguine alla Marinara
  • Parmesan Crusted tilapia
  • Plain ol’ Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Herbed Grilled Salmon
  • Apricot Chicken
  • Ravioli Portobello
  • Chicken marsalla (kind of high in sodium , so if you cut in half, that would be ideal)

And as good as that Tour of Italy dish looks , its almost your entire days worth of calories along in that one dish! oh my.. – 1.450 calories and 3,800mg of sodium. WOW

To make your dish even healthier .. you can always ask for Whole grain or Gluten free noodles. Regular linguini and penne are the other two better options.

And choose marinara over any white cream sauce.

Also – here is the link to Olive Gardens Menu and Nutritional Information if you want to look for yourself. https://www.olivegarden.com/Menu/Nutrition/

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