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Sep 112012
 

Hello there! I cannot tell you all how I am excited I am to be back on my regular blogging schedule. Writing those Rome recaps was fun but man, they were exhausting! Each one included so many pictures and descriptions that they were all really long which, of course, meant they took forever to write. Thank you all for bearing with me on those and for sharing your wonderful comments 🙂 In case you missed any of the recaps, I have linked to them all below:

Rome Recaps

So now that my trip to Rome is 100% over, let’s switch topics and get back to what this blog is really about…living a healthy lifestyle!

Workout

I have noticed that since I came back from vacation I have felt a bit more…pudgy than I was before I left. Nothing serious, but my shorts felt a little snugger and there was a number on the scale that was 3-4 pounds higher than it was before I left. Not good. Because of this, I’ve decided I need to really step up my workouts.

Before I left, I was following Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp program. While I like the program a lot, I feel like it may not be exactly perfect for me with my goals right now. I understand the importance of combining cardio with strength training in order to boost your metabolism, however I really like circuit workouts that can combine the two in one, instead of having them be separated in a workout.

For example, Tina’s workouts would often suggest some type of cardio (which for me would usually be running although sometimes I used the elliptical or bike) followed by a strength training circuit. However, my favorite workouts keep my heart rate pounding the entire time and when I leave I feel sweaty and exhausted and know that I got a great workout. Sometimes at the end of Tina’s workouts my heart rate would have come back down from the cardio and I felt sort of disappointed that I wasn’t breaking a sweat throughout the whole workout. I think this just has to do with me and the type of workouts I like best right now.

So, with all that said, I think I will be moving back to my Insanity DVD workouts.

[Source]

They are great HIIT circuits that combine strength with cardio in the same circuit, so that in between your pushups and tricep dips you will be doing burpees and jumping jacks, for example. I did also buy a new Inanity DVD which only lasts 20 minutes (called Fast and Furious and will probably kill me) which will be perfect for the mornings where I still want to run a mile or two with Jack and then do a short burst of Insanity after.

[Source]

So that’s where I am with my fitness right now and I plan to really kick up my workouts. It’s kind of a change for me so I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Recipe

In addition to talking about my exercise goals I am so excited to share a recipe with you guys! I feel like it has been forever since I made anything new and I was so happy to come up with this yummy creation last night.

I was inspired by three main ingredients which I brought back with me from Italy.

First I have a small bottle of olive oil that was given to my mom and me (yes that’s proper English) when we ate lunch at La Posta Vecchia. The olive oil there was like nothing I ever tasted and had so much flavor. It made our American olive oil seem like a joke. They were so kind to give us two small bottles after we couldn’t stop raving about it at the restaurant, and clearly I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Next was two large chunks (sorry Megan) of cheese- asiago and parmesan. Obviously I’ve had parmesan cheese before in plenty of dishes but I have only ever had asiago cheese in a bagel from Panera Bread, which doesn’t exactly showcase its delicious flavors lol. So for dinner last night I decided to whip up something delicious that would incorporate all three ingredients. I came up with an Asiago Cheese Pasta Bowl!

Made with whole wheat pasta, tomatoes, spinach, garlic, parmesan, and asiago cheese, this dish is pretty healthy and delicious! Plus, as they say, what grows together goes together (and by they, I mean Dani Spies! haha love her).

Anyway, here’s how the dish came together.

First I set a large pot of water to boil over high heat. I added a good pinch of Kosher salt and then added my pasta. I used whole wheat penne, but you can use whatever you have around.

While the pasta was cooking, I grilled a boneless skinless chicken breast (straight from the freezer!) on the George Foreman grill. I didn’t have any chicken in my pasta bowl, but I knew Fabio, being the meat-chomping carnivore that he is, would want some meat in his dish.

I seasoned the chicken breast with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of basil and garlic spices.

While the chicken and the pasta were cooking, I got the rest of the ingredients together.

First I sliced a bunch of cherry tomatoes in half, until I had about 1 cup of tomatoes.

Next I minced 2 large cloves of garlic until they were super tiny. I could have used my jar of minced garlic, but I find that the actual cloves give off a lot more flavor and are great in simple dishes like this one.

Once the garlic was minced, I set a large skillet to medium heat and drizzled about 2 tablespoons of the good olive oil into the pan. I added the minced garlic and let it cook until fragrant, about one minute.

Then I added the tomatoes and shredded about 1/4 cup each of parmesan and asiago cheese over the pan. At this point, things were starting to look and smell really good!

Once the cheese started to melt, I added two very large handfuls of spinach to the pan. The spinach wilts down a lot, so I made sure to put in even more than I thought I would need.

By this time my whole wheat pasta was cooked (but still al dente) so I drained it and added it to the pan.

Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Sorry, haha.

Then I tossed everything together and added a pinch of salt, pepper, and, my favorite, red pepper flakes. This gives the dish a nice little kick but you can omit if you’d like.

Then it was time to serve! I spooned everything into two large bowls and topped Fabio’s with the chicken, which I had sliced into bite-size pieces.

It was delicious!

Having never tried asiago cheese before (well practically never) I was blown away by how much flavor this dish had. I thought the cheese would tie everything together but I didn’t realize how tangy and delicious it would be. Every time I got a little bite of asiago my taste buds went crazy. It was phenomenal! I highly recommend this easy, relatively healthy, weeknight meal 🙂

Asiago Cheese Pasta Bowl
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This easy weeknight meal is made with whole wheat pasta and fresh Italian ingredients like asiago and parmesan cheese, tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and olive oil.
Ingredients
  • Whole wheat penne pasta (enough for two people- I eyeball it)
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil and Garlic Seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup asiago cheese (or more- eyeball it)
  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Salt a large pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is al dente.
  2. Grill chicken and season with salt, pepper, and basil/garlic seasoning.
  3. Set a large pan to medium high heat and drizzle in olive oil.
  4. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add tomatoes and cheese.
  6. Add spinach and pasta, toss to combine.
  7. Top with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  8. Serve in a large bowl and top with cooked and sliced chicken.

So, do you guys ever make spontaneous meals that turn out great? I thought this dish would be delicious but when I was eating it I couldn’t believe how yummy it actually was. Plus it was so easy! I would totally make the same thing again tonight…or maybe for the rest of my life?

That must be the nostalgia from Rome talking 😉

 

 Posted by on September 11, 2012

  6 Responses to “Asiago Cheese Pasta Bowl”

  1. Looks like a yummy and easy dinner!

    And I understand the workouts not fitting your needs right now. We all go through phases. Heck, sometimes I make up a workout for myself and end up not feeling it. 😉

    • I’m so relieved you understand! I really LOVED the workouts at the beginning but I think I need a little something different right now (I’m hoping the extra focus on cardio will help me to slim down a bit after too much overindulgence) and then hopefully when I’m feeling better about myself I can get back to your workouts since I will still have them even when the bootcamp ends 🙂

  2. Loving this post, between the Shaun T Pics and the Chunks (sorry Megan) comment. Angel bought me these Shaun T dance workout things, which should come in the mail soon, if they are good I’ll try to burn you a copy 🙂

    • Hahah I almost didn’t even use the word chunk just bc of her! lol and I am actually kind of excited to work out with Sean T again. I’m glad this one is 20 mins because I have really been liking running lately but miss how good I felt after Insanity. I’ll let you know how I like it and I can try to burn you a copy too!

  3. mmm cheesey goodness

  4. (Clearly I’m way behind on my blog reading… stupid busy weeks!) This looks AMAZING though! I have never had asiago cheese on its own either, but after reading this I might have to pick some up at my local cheese shop. I pretty much love any and everything cheese-related, so I know that I would LOVE it!

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