Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

sundried tomato pesto pasta

Hi folks! I do believe it’s been awhile since my last post- my husband and I did some traveling to a wedding in Virginia and also visited DC for a quick trip which I will be sharing soon. However today I wanted to highlight a delicious recipe I made for me and the hubs this past weekend. I currently follow the Food Network’s facebook page and saw that they had shared Giada’s recipe for pasta with homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. I decided to make it while also adding some meat to be more appealing to my husband πŸ™‚

As you can see, I went with the Barilla plus penne pasta (as I used before with my balsamic basil summer pasta recipe)… it was on sale again this week at my grocery store and since I enjoy the texture and added protein and fiber, why not? πŸ™‚ You may also note that I didn’t have any freshly grated Parmesan but instead using some leftovers in our fridge by Sargento.

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As far as protein goes, I went with chicken breast cutlets, though I think that chicken sausage or similar would be just as delicious. Β I added sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder to each side of the chicken and then brushed the tops with olive oil to seal in the moisture while roasting. I had 1 lb of chicken breast cutlets roasting at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.

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While my chicken was roasting and my pasta was cooking according to package directions, I started to create the pesto. I added the whole jar of sundried tomatoes, including the olive oil it was packed in.

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Next I thoroughly washed the 2 packs of basil I bought- at first I only washed enough for the “1 cup packed” that the original recipe called for but then went with using both packages.

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Add your basil, garlic, and salt & pepper to food processor and give it a go!

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It doesn’t look like it yields very much to go over the pasta but I had to remind myself that I would also be using the 1 cup reserved pasta water to moisten the mix (in the end, I ended up using about 1/2-3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water for this dish)

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Mix in your pasta as well as some of the reserved pasta water to your liking.

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Along with the Parmesan cheese, I added some additional sea salt and black pepper to taste…I also chopped up the cooked chicken (I used kitchen shears) and mixed it in as well.

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I forgot to take a picture after this, but I decided to sprinkle about 1/4 cup of additional Parmesan cheese on top and baked this in the oven (at 375 degrees since my oven was still set there from the chicken) for about 20 minutes prior to eating with my hubs πŸ™‚

I really hope you like this recipe— looking back in hindsight, I wish I had added more garlic but overall I really liked this dish. I think I ended up using a good bit of the pasta water since I knew in the back of my head that I would be sticking this in the oven and did not want the pasta to dry out. I like the fact that this isn’t an abundantly sauced pasta and it provides a lot of great flavor. My husband said it was so filling and flavorful without feeling overly rich or heavy— I will consider that a win! πŸ™‚

RECIPE

Giada De Laurentiis’ Penne with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Recipe (with a few additions from Sheena :))

Ingredients
12 ounces penne pasta
1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
Garlic powder
2 garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb chicken breast cutlets (or any other meat that you would like to add)

Directions
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. While pasta is cooking, prepare chicken breast cutlets by adding to lightly greased cookie sheet— sprinkle chicken on each side with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Brush tops of chicken with olive oil prior to roasting in oven at 375 for about 15 minutes or until reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan.Β Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and add to pasta mixture. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt, black pepper, and red pepper. If desired, sprinkle about 1/4 cup shredded/grated Parmesan on top and bake in oven f0r 20 minutes at 375 degrees.


Hungry? Is it Physical Hunger or Emotional Hunger?

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It’s 8:30 p.m. and you’re up watching your favorite t.v. show. During the commercial break, you decide to flip it to Food Network and see Guy Fieri trying a delicious malted milkshake on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Hungry yet? Or maybe you keep the commercials on and see that DQ Grill and Chill has a promotion for buy one blizzard, get one free; magically, you are on the move to find something sweet in your fridge or pantry….or maybe even looking for your car keys to make a run through the drive through for a dipped cone. Does any of this sound familiar? Β Or maybe you’re just really hungry for something sweet and savory after a rough day at work or an argument with a friend over the phone. Can you relate to any of these scenarios? I most definitely can and can also admit that I’ve given in to a lot of them as well. With a lot of the clientele I see, an important topic of discussion is helping people figure out when they’re truly hungry and using intuitive eating as a way to eat sensibly throughout the day.

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Sometimes we may eat out of boredom and maybe just because someone suggested to go eat because it was something to do. I’ve worked with people in the past that use food for comfort— especially knowing that they can count on that pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to taste exactly like it did the last time they bought it without the emotional baggage of the boyfriend that made them mad a few hours before πŸ™‚ If you’ve ever wondered if you’re walking the line between physical hunger and emotional hunger, I’ve posted a graphic below to help you decipher between “symptoms”:

8 Traits of Emotional HungerThe information above can be really helpful in trying to decipher between physical and emotional hunger. Sometimes people tell me they never really feel hungry at all, or at least not until the end of the day. Did you know that eating more frequently throughout the day can actually help that sensation of hungry come back? Trust me, this is a good thing. If we’re the type of person on the go and rarely set aside time for meals or snacks, our body will start to think, “well buddy, if you’re not even going to do something about this hunger then I’m not even going to give you that hunger feeling anymore”. Now don’t get me wrong, just because that hunger feeling has gone away does NOT mean your body isn’t in need of those calories. But, if we start to change our habits and eat sensible meals and snacks every 3-4 hours, our metabolism starts to “wake up” and provide us those natural feelings of hunger that can help us achieve intuitive eating.

To complement some of the things I shared in finding an appropriate vending machine snack to address your hunger needs in a bind, I’ve listed some key things below to help with the hungry (or perhaps hangry) battle:

1. Take Time with Your Meals – Be sure to take at least 15-20 minutes when you eat if you’ve got the time. It takes about this length of time for your brain and stomach to communicate chemically and actually give you that sensation of fullness. Often times though, we end up eating so quickly that within the first five minutes of eating we’ve already eaten the volume of food it would take for our stomach to be full. But since it’s only been five minutes and there’s still more food left to be had on your plate or at the table, you may keep eating until you reach that level of “over full” about 30 minutes later. Think of that overly full feeling that makes you want (or need) to unbutton your blue jeans and put on some sweat pants, or in my case, take off my spanx πŸ™‚ Ways you can extend your meal time include putting the fork down in between every bite of food (i.e. don’t have bite #4 of mashed potatoes hovering by your mouth ready to go before you even completely swallowed bite #1), or taking sips of water or other low calorie beverage in between bites of food as well.

2. Make Sure You’re Staying Well Hydrated-Β Feeling hungry pretty soon after already having your meal or snack? That rumble in your tummy might actually be your body telling you that you’re thirsty. Before getting to the point of dehydration and having a parched mouth or dry throat, your body may give the sensation of hunger to prompt you to drink more water. Take home point: if you feel “hungry” pretty soon after already eating your meal or snack not too long ago, have a glass of water and then reassess the hunger that you’re feeling. If you’re still hungry after rehydrating, you may have truly not eaten enough at your previous meal or snack.

3. Avoid Going Long Periods of Time Between Meals and Snacks-Β Just like a burning fireplace, our metabolism likes to be fed every few hours to continue to burn. This also includes breakfast which could be considered the “lighter fluid” that jump starts your fire /metabolism for the day. Having breakfast within 30 mins-1 hr after rising can help literally ‘break the fast’ that your body was experiencing while sleeping. Only eating 1 or 2 times a day puts our body in survival mode, training it to hold on to any calorie we give it for dear life. Also, if you’re eating small mini meals/snacks throughout the day, this keeps you from being overly hungry at your next meal. One other helpful tip, especially if you’re going out to eat: have a snack 30 mins-1hr prior to going out to eat if you know you’ll be ravenously hungry by the time you go out to eat. Having a small snack such as an apple or peanut butter crackers can help curb your appetite enough to prevent you from gorging on a whole basket of chips and salsa (or bread and butter) before your entree gets in front of you.

As a last thought, I do want to acknowledge that there are foods out there that have been created just for pure pleasure….which is great! We most definitely eat to nourish our bodies but we also eat for pleasure too. Finding a balance between addressing your body’s nutritional needs and incorporating your favorite “pleasure” foods is all part of eating a balanced healthy diet. Using intuitive eating and listening to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues can help decipher between physical hunger and emotional hunger πŸ™‚


Wine, Paula Deen, and Everything in Between

I apologize that it’s been a minute since my last post…between work and a dash of vacation, it’s been a little hectic around here. But today, I’m uber excited to share a few pictures from my recent outing to Sandestin. In addition to traveling for the Southern College Health Association Conference, my in-laws also included me and the hubs in their annual trip to the Sandestin Wine Festival.

IMG_20130418_142631During my time at the SCHA conference, I had the pleasure of presenting one of the breakout sessions about partnering with community entities to enhance student engagement in health and nutrition promotion. Other breakout sessions with our speakers included peer education, stress management for college students, medical management of eating disorder patients, and other topics pertinent to college health. After the conference ended on Saturday, I got to spend the rest of my time with the family at the wine festival.

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Notice that Diane Hendricks is an RD and a chef? AWESOME!

One highlight of the festival was Paula Deen as one of the celebrity chef guests! And guess what? I even got to chitchat with her before they whisked her away on a golf cart for her lunch session. I mentioned to her that her banana pudding changed my life. She laughed and said “well, it ain’t yo mama’s banana pudding!” and I almost responded with “you’re right, my mom is filipino and doesn’t make banana pudding” πŸ™‚ If I had to be honest though, I really wanted to ask her about her diabetes medication, but I did not want to have that kind of a conversation in such a public place πŸ™‚

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Paula while talking to me about that good ole banana pudding.

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Look at that Mr. Sparkles picture on the menu…below I have a picture with the description of the Mr. Sparkles challenge.

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I don’t know about you, but that Kitchen Sink looks like fun.

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Can we say Woman Vs. Food? I don’t think I could do it.

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Beautiful view of the courtyard from my in-laws townhouse/condo front porch at The Village of Baytowne Wharf.

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A handful of VIP guests visiting the tents before the hundreds come in for the festival.

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Me and the hubs.

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$40.00 gummy bear at the candy shop

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More wine please?

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A handful of the wines we eventually picked out…. you can see I tend to go for the sweet “girly” wines πŸ™‚

Me and the husband got to be on the Food Network stage for our pilot of "What Goes With Beer?" ....I think we could hit it big :)

Me and the husband got to be on the Food Network stage for our pilot of “What Goes With Beer?” ….I think we could hit it big πŸ™‚

I apologize for the lack of commentary with today’s post; I mostly wanted to share some fun pictures with you guys. Soon I’ll be posting a review of the calamansi beverage that Nomsi in San Francisco has sent me— I can’t wait to share πŸ™‚