Zoodle Pie for Meal Prep Monday

Meal Prep

Zoodle pie, my take on spaghetti pie, has become a new favorite for meal prep in our house.  The simple substitution of zoodles (zucchini noodles) for regular pasta provides a big dose of veggies in a tasty and easy dish.

Since I’m just starting to get back into meal prepping again I’ve been looking for fast and fun things to make.  I also wanted to try totally new meals that we’ve never had before.  Zoodle pie definitely fit the bill.  The prep is a little intensive, but once you get the zucchini spiralized and squeezed out the remaining steps go pretty quickly.

I’ve been making various versions of spaghetti pie for years, but for this particular recipe I took inspiration from Pioneer Woman’s Best Lasagna Ever recipe.  I made the actual recipe for Christmas dinner so I knew it was already a winner.  My favorite part about the recipe was using cottage cheese and eggs rather than ricotta because I think ricotta can be a little bland. The cottage cheese/egg mixture really helps hold the zoodles together well in this dish.
Zoodle Pie

Zoodle Pie

Serves 12

Ingredients
3 medium zucchini + 1/2 tbsp salt
32 oz. cottage cheese
3 eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb Italian turkey sausage
1 24 oz jar sugar free pasta sauce

Preheat over to 350 F.

Spiralize the zucchini and place into a colander. Sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp. salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse gently and squeeze excess water out of zoodles. Place zoodles on a towel and roll up, gently squeezing excess water out as you roll. Set aside.

Mix the cottage cheese, eggs, 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, garlic and onion powders, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until well combined. Set aside.

Brown Italian turkey until cooked through and crumble. Mix with entire jar of pasta sauce.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Ladle approximately one cup of meat/sauce mixture into bottom of pan and spread evenly. Top with 1/2 of the zoodles, spread evenly. Top zoodles with 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture, spread evenly. Spread another cup of meat/sauce mixture evenly over cottage cheese mixture. Spread remaining zoodles evenly and top with the remaining cottage cheese mixture, spread evenly. Spread all remaining meat/sauce over the top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 c. Parmesean cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until top is browned.

Water content in the zucchini may cause excess moisture in this dish. If dish looks a bit too wet after 45 minutes you can continue to bake for another 15 minutes, tenting the top with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary.

This zoodle pie is excellent right out of the oven, but for meal prepping I suggest refrigerating overnight and cutting it the next day. I found that it was easier to cut equal portions when it was chilled and firm.

What are you including in your meal prep this week?

Follow my Meal Prep Pinterest board for prep ideas, planning and tips:


About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Slowly Getting Back to Normal and an Anniversary

Slowly Getting Back to Normal Things are slowly getting back to normal after having surgery. The pain is fading, the incisions are mending, the tiredness is being replaced by more energy. Now that things are moving in a positive direction I am looking to get back into the swing of my normal routine.

This healing process has given me a lot of insight into the amazing capabilities of my body. At first I was worried that I would devolve into a gooey mass during recovery, but I definitely did not. Once I gave myself permission to chill out, not stress about activity, not stress about food and just take care of myself by resting a big weight was lifted off me. While some people extol the virtues of getting right back into their regular exercise and eating patterns as soon as possible after a something like this, I just wasn’t feeling that at all.

After having experienced the recovery process for myself I have an even deeper appreciation of how different everyone’s bodies are. Maybe some people feel like they can pop into the gym for some heavy lifting a couple weeks after surgery (definitely not recommended at all), but for others it may take weeks and weeks to feel good enough for any activity. And you know what, that’s totally okay! I will definitely be able to use this experience when working with clients who are going through similar situations.

Getting back to normal for me means getting back on track with my 500 mile goal for 2016. I really put that goal on the back burner with everything going on and I feel like it’s time to step up and make it happen. Meal prepping also fell by the wayside and getting back in the kitchen will definitely be a good way to help me transition back to eating a bit more healthy.

In other news, today marks the five year anniversary of Former Fitness Flunky! When I created Former Fitness Flunky I set out on a mission to share my own story and educate and inspire others. It’s been an interesting endeavor. The internet continues to expand daily as a great weight loss resource for help, advice, support and really bad information too. I didn’t realize until well into becoming a personal trainer just how difficult it could be to fight against the unhelpful and even potentially dangerous information and ideas that persist regarding fitness, exercise and diets – stuff that proliferates like wildfire. Over these years I’ve found my own niche that I’d label as “moderation”. No crazy dieting, no crazy fitness routines, just a focus on sustainable changes that positively impact weight and overall fitness. I’ve tried to share this idea of moderation as much as possible over the past five years as I truly believe it’s the key to lasting success. My ideas, style and approach may change with time, research, new discoveries and my own experiences, but for now I am going to stick with what I see working. I’m going to keep on sharing what I know in hopes that it inspires someone (or many someones!) to make positive changes.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Quick Workouts for Busy Women

Quick workouts are important when you are busy.  You want to work up a sweat, but you don’t have all day to get it done.  I’ve rounded up one of my favorite series of routines to share today.  These fast and easy workouts take just 10 minutes each and cover the legs, arms, core, butt and chest/back.  You can focus on a single area or combine the routines to enhance your workout.

Quick Workouts

Quick workout for your legs
Quick Workouts - Work Your Legs

Quick workout for your butt
Quick Workouts - Work Your Butt

Quick workout for your core
Quick Workouts - Work Your Core

Quick workout for your arms
Quick Workouts - Work Your Arms

Quick workout for your chest/back
Quick Workouts - Work Your Chest

A quick warm up and cool down is recommended before doing these routines. Follow the links if you need instruction on performing any of the included exercises. You’ll find more detailed information there.

If you want to turn these any of these quick workouts into a high intensity interval training (HIIT) session you can increase your intensity/pace of each exercise and add a short period of rest between each exercise. Experts suggest that HIIT sessions can help you burn calories long after you’ve completed your routine.

You should always check with your doctor before beginning this or any exercise program.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Foodie Friday: Garden Edition

Foodie Friday: Garden EditionIt’s Foodie Friday and today I’m doing a Garden Edition.  Last year was my first adventure into gardening and it brought me closer than ever to my food.  I discovered the rewards for growing food are many.  Not only do you reap the benefits nutritious food, you benefit from the physical labor as well.  Gardening can be quite intensive with it’s lifting, shoveling, raking and more.  It also brought the joy of being outside and feeding others, which were things I wasn’t expecting at all.

I am loosely using the “Square Foot Gardening” method.  Last year I was fairly rigid in following the recommendations for plant spacing.  I also diligently marked my squares with bright string.  This method worked really well in some ways and not great in others.  Some of the recommendations for spacing seemed off (zucchini in one square is totally not happening!), but the organized set up made things very tidy.  This year I am following the same approach, but not being as strict.  I spaced things a little differently and gave a wider berth to things I knew were going to be big.  I probably could have crammed a lot more plants into my space, but I wanted to keep things manageable.

Gardening seems to be a learn as you go type of affair.  You can read, study and get advice, but in the end, there’s still a lot of trial and error.  Last year I was ambitious in trying lots of different things.  Lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, green beans, cukes, strawberries and herbs were all in the garden.  Some things worked, some failed and some were just so-so.  This year I narrowed things down to focusing on what we really liked and what worked and I bailed on the stuff that I didn’t think was worth it.

I was so worried that with the timing of my recent surgery I would not be able to get out and get things planted this season.  Luckily my hubby jumped right in and provided all the heavy lifting (and more!) to get everything all set up.  With his labor and my plans the garden is now fully ready to go.  With some water and love I hope to see little seedlings popping up in no time.

This year there are four varieties of tomatoes: Black Krim, Black Cherry, Pineapple and Green Zebra, three varieties of peppers: bell, banana and Carolina Reaper, pickling cucumbers, dill, cilantro and basil.   I am especially excited for green tomatoes and cucumbers so I can try fermenting them.  There are also green and lush strawberry plants from last year that already have huge green berries clinging to them.

There are so many more things I would like to try growing in the future.  Rhubarb, raspberries and possibly some fruit trees are all on my list, though the permanence of those things makes planning for the long term more important.

I can’t wait to see this year’s garden take off and enjoy and share the healthy bounty that it offers.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Fitness is the Last Thing on My Mind

Fitness is the Last Thing on My Mind
Pixabay

Fitness is the last thing on my mind.  This has been the case for me the past few weeks.  I’ve been focusing on healing after surgery and while I am anxious to get back into my regular routine, I’m also allowing myself the luxury of truly resting and recovering.  I’m not very good at sitting down and letting others take care of things for me so this has been a weirdly hard departure from the norm.  I am doing it though and every day I feel a teeny bit better and stronger.  I am amazed at the healing capabilities of my own body.

I have opted to not make fitness a priority during this time.  Whether that’s good or bad I can’t say for sure.  The stresses of getting to the procedure and the healing afterwards has made me fairly uninterested in worrying about the additional commitment needed to stay on top of a fitness regimen.  I feel like I will be able to tell when the time is right to ease back into my daily routine.

I’ve gone a bit off the reservation when it comes to eating too.  Comfort foods have definitely been a part of my recovery process.  Health and fitness-wise I know this probably isn’t the best road to take.  Once life is more back to normal I’m considering another round of Whole30.  I know, I know.  I’ve done the Whole30 before and bellyached about it, but as hard as it can be and as cranky as it can make me, the process flat out works.  It brings everything back into focus and makes me feel great.  I’m going to stew on whether to undertake that commitment and see if I can’t get my hubby back on board for moral support.  I’m guessing that’s a fat chance, but a girl can dream! 🙂

Even though fitness is the last thing on my mind, I’m still looking towards the future.  This week, for Foodie Friday, I’ll share my developments in the garden.  Last year was my first real foray into gardening and it brought a surprising amount of joy and a connection to food that I never had before.  It’s definitely something that has enhanced my health and wellness.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.