Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fettuccine with Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers, Broccoli and Turkey

At the gym the other day I entered a contest to win a free month of sessions with a personal trainer. The other night I got a call from someone at the gym, he said "do you want the good news or the bad news first?" ... a little dramatic there, bucko. Well the bad news is that I didn't win the free month, but the good news is that as a runner up I was entitled to one free training session. Pat and I are pretty sure that everyone who entered the contest got this. But nonetheless, I did win something, and I always collect the prize. Yesterday morning I went in for my training session (which worked out because I was working from home). I should probably first tell you that the staff (including most of the trainers) at my gym all look like they'll be auditioning for the next season of The Jersey Shore. All of the girls' hair is dyed either jet black or platinum blond, and usually styled in a very pronounced poof. Everyone is very suspiciously tan for it being December in Nashua, NH, and most of them spend more time checking themselves out in the wall-to-wall mirrors then doing anything that could be considered working. I'm not complaining - just making observations.

So I went in for my one-on-one with a trainer. It turned out to be a boy I've seen around a lot, but I didn't think he was a trainer. We spent the first while "getting to know each other" (which was me filling out a survey with things like my height, weight and how many times I've failed a diet/exercise program-loads of fun). I told him about my background to try to skip over any unnecessary instruction, and instead just started asking him questions. I told him that I am a runner, and that is my primary form of cardio, and that I also go to the gym about 3-4 days a week to do strength training, and break up the days into chest/tris, back/bis, and shoulders/legs. I do at least 3 different exercises on each muscle group, and I do 3 sets of each exercise (so for example, for chest I do the bench press, incline, decline, and sometimes pec flies too - and I'll do 3 sets of each of those). He said that this is good and exactly what I should be doing (so props to Pat for knowing his stuff!). My main issue is abs - I'll do crunches or a random machine, but don't feel like I give my abs enough attention. So we spent the rest of our time coming up with an ab circuit for me, which he said I can do as many days a week as I want, since abs are smaller muscles and don't need days to recover like other muscles. He also told me about supersets - which is when you go right from one exercise into another without break, then back to the first one (so rather than resting for a minute or two between sets, he said its much more effective to alternate between 2 or more exercises and take no breaks). This makes sense, so I'll definitely start doing that. After he told me about his body building (he'll start competing in the spring once he turns 21 haha!) it was time for me to go. I'm glad I went because I now know that I'm doing the right things in my strength training, and I now have a good abs circuit to start doing (once they recover from yesterday's workout!).

My snack after the gym started out innocently enough...

But I wanted to change things up a bit. So spread a little bit of peanut butter, dust with some cinnamon, sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top...and you have a delicious snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth!

For dinner I wanted to use up the rest of the turkey from Saturday night. When my mom came she brought us some of her freshly made pesto (she makes the best!) - she brought a container for our fridge and our freezer! I scrounged around for some other ingredients, and came up with dinner.

Fettuccine with Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers,  Broccoli and Turkey

  • Whole wheat fettuccine
  • pesto
  • red pepper
  • broccoli
  • turkey (or chicken)
  • Parmesan cheese
I'd promised to have dinner ready when Pat got home since he had to work a bit late. Of course I lost track of time and was running around trying to do dishes, laundry, and cook when he walked in the door. In my rush, I did not cook the peppers long enough, but I'll tell you how to roast your own at home, and you can learn from my mistakes.

Start with a red bell pepper (or pepper of your choice).

Wash, cut in half, and seed. Put face down on a cookie sheet and press down on each half so they flatten.

Cook at 375 degrees until skin is turning black. I only cooked for 15 minutes, which you can see was not long enough. This may take about a half hour.

Once you remove from oven, put peppers in a large Ziploc bag and seal (this will steam the peppers and allow for easy removal of the skin).

After 15 minutes in the bag, take peppers out and skin should be easily removable. When I've done this in the past I've been able to remove skin in one piece. Since this wasn't blacked or quite cooked enough, the skin came off in smaller pieces.

Still tasted good though!

While the pepper is cooking and steaming, prepare the rest of the ingredients. I steamed two heads of broccoli, cooked my fettuccine (and white spaghetti for Pat), and cut the turkey into pieces.

I used Hodgson Mill fettuccine, which is definitely not the best whole wheat pasta I've ever had. They make amazing multi-grain pancake mix, but I don't think fettuccine is their specialty.

When my fettuccine was done, I drained it, then returned it to the pot. I added a couple spoonfuls of pesto and stirred until all of the pasta was well coated. I then added my sliced roasted red pepper, broccoli, and pieces of turkey. I cooked for a couple more minutes until turkey was hot, then transferred to a bowl. I grated some fresh Parmesan cheese on top, and dinner was ready! 

I'd planned to have artichoke hearts in this too, but couldn't find the frozen ones I bought at Trader Joe's. This is an easy dish that could really use any leftover ingredients you had. You can't go wrong with some pesto and Parmesan!

Pat's dinner (he kept the broccoli separate):

(Notice him double-fisting beverages? Chocolate milk and Trader Joe's Sparkling Cider..yum!)

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