Since the beginning of May, my usual daily schedule has been in upset. First, I dropped to part-time at my corporate job to focus on other life goals, then I spent an amazing two weeks away from work completely while visiting my sisters. And finally, about 2 weeks ago, I ended up leaving the corporate world entirely!
Let me tell you, creating a structured daily schedule when no one is telling you what to do or when to do it is a bit more of an adjustment than I had anticipated (not that I’m complaining)!
One thing I’ve been pretty terrible about with my new found freedom is planning and prepping meals. For so long, I’ve had a “no work today so I think I’ll have a leisurely afternoon out and about and then pick up food on my way home” routine. Hitting the beach or running errands and then stopping at Chipotle or Whole Foods has been my kind of sunday afternoon for the last year. So, you can imagine what happened when all of the sudden I didn’t have to work . . . I felt like everyday was sunday! Consequently, I ate Chipotle for dinner four times last week!
This past weekend, I finally decided to get my shit together and make a legitimate trip to the grocery store (and by that I mean stock up on more than the greek yogurt, berries, eggs, and frozen veggies I’d been relying on for breakfast and lunch). When I got to the meat counter at Whole Foods, the guy behind the counter greeted me with “I haven’t seen you in a while.” So true.
Inspired by some gluten-free spinach fettuccine I found during my grocery shopping, I decided to make a giant batch of loaded fettuccine to ease myself back into meal prep 🙂
- 2 medium heads broccoli
- 1/2 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 links italian chicken sausage*
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- pepper, to taste
- 2 oz grated or shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 package (9 oz) gluten free spinach fettuccine*
- Steam the veggies. Trim broccoli stems and cut broccoli into medium size chunks. Cover the bottom or a large sauté pan with water and add broccoli. Place lid on pan and place over medium heat, letting the broccoli steam until bright green and slightly tender (about 3-5 minutes, stirring broccoli occasionally). Add halved grape tomatoes and the bell pepper (diced or cut into small strips) and steam for another 2-3 minutes. Remove veggies from heat, drain liquid, and place in a large dish off to the side.
- Cook the chicken sausage. In the large sauté pan over low to medium heat, cook the chicken sausage, rotating the links to achieve slight browning on all sides. Once sausage looks mostly done, place the links on a cutting board and slice into bite sized discs. If the insides are still a little pink, return to the pan and continue cooking until done. Add sausage to large dish with veggies.
- Meanwhile, boil water for noodles and cook the noodles al dente. When the noodles are done, drain and add them to the dish with the veggies and sausage.
- While noodles are boiling and sausage is cooking, start the alfredo sauce. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add diced garlic and cook until slightly brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour and pepper, then add milk. Use a whisk to smooth out mixture, stirring constantly while bringing mixture to boil over medium heat. Add cheese and stir until melted.
- Pour the finished alfredo sauce over the other ingredients in large dish, and stir to combine. Serve with a salad or more steamed veggies (like green beans, cauliflower, or asparagus). Enjoy!
*Notes and substitutions:
- Look for organic milk, cheese, and butter from pasture raised cows, and organic veggies if possible
- To reduce the fat content of this dish, use 3/4 to 1 pound of chicken breast instead of chicken sausage
- To reduce the carbohydrate content (and increase veggies), use zucchini noodles instead of pasta (from 2 medium zucchinis)
- Grate a little extra parmesan to sprinkle on top (if you love cheese as much as I do 🙂 )
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