Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Mexican, One Pot Dish, Slow Cooker, Vegan, Vegetarian

Craving These Slow Cooker Burrito Bowls

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My mom has been raving about this lentil chili she made this past winter that called for smoked paprika. I keep seeing recipes call for this spice, and I came across a recipe for slow cooker burrito bowls, which — ding, ding, ding! — called for smoked paprika. Given that it’s been unseasonable cold here and that I wanted some meal prep for a busy start of the week, I pulled out the crock pot and made Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls. I totally want to make these with chicken next time, but I’ll need a bit more foresight to thaw the chicken from my freezer. Instead, I tossed in sweet potatoes and made these bowls with brown rice and black beans for a yummy dish. These have a risotto-like consistency and I found myself adding more homemade vegetable broth than expected. The smoked paprika pairs so well with the black beans and sweet potato; it gives the bowls a flavor similar to chorizo, but keeps it vegetarian.

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Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

Copycat Sweetgreen Falafel Salad

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Ever since moving to Boston, I really like Sweetgreen since you get a salad or bowl that’s healthy and doesn’t truly break the bank. But, I’d like Sweetgreen even more if I didn’t have to leave my apartment to grab a meal. Sometimes, you just want something a bit more instantaneous. Here’s my copycat version of the Hummus Tahina Salad — Falafel Salad with Cucumber Tahini Dressing. I bought some falafels from the freezer section, tossed in ingredients for a salad and whipped up a dressing. I liked SG’s idea of adding breadcrumbs to their salad, so I added some GF breadcrumbs to act like croutons. I also like making regular tahini dressing — raw tahini, lemon, agave and water — and modified this to be the cucumber tahini version. Almost just as easy, but this one requires a bit of blending to make the cucumbers and garlic silky smooth.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Seafood, Vegetarian

Sushiiiiii (Bowls) at Home

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OMG YUMMMM. At first I was grumbling about buying $16 sushi grade tuna at Whole Foods. (I mean, let’s be real. I’m still a bit bitter about that price tag.) Besides buying the tuna and green onions this week, I generally have the remaining produce in my fridge as staples and all the pantry items on hand. Really, this Tuna Sushi Bowl is about $8-9 per bowl with staples aside and a healthy alternative to sushi take-out. While seemingly healthy, sushi can be packed with sodium and added unknowns. Cough, spicy mayo and rice, I’m looking at you. Apparently you can eat a serving a rice per roll?!? The tuna is packed with protein and extremely low in fat. I purposefully cooked extra quinoa when making Crispy Coconut Tofu Bowls just for these bowls. I grabbed everything you’d see in a sushi roll: cucumbers, carrots, avocado, ginger, a spicy “mayo” and wasabi. Packed in a bowl, you won’t even notice it’s not a true sushi roll. AND! Added bonus — these bowls were also really fun to make!

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

Crispy, Crunchy Coconut Tofu

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You know when you go out in the summer and all you see is coconut shrimp this and coconut shrimp that? Here’s a meatless Monday take on that — Crispy Coconut Tofu Bowls. I got this idea/recipe from Well Vegan and it definitely came from a plant-based protein roundup from either SELF or BuzzFeed. (Obviously I receive biweekly emails for meal, recipe ideas and cooking tips from both.) After coming back from Sanibel Island, I was still feeling the tropical vibes during this rainy weather and this recipe seemed like the perfect solution. I definitely cut down on all of Well Vegan‘s prep time, simplified the tofu process, lightened it up by baking instead of frying and skipped their added sauce. This recipe looks way more complicated than it is and just requires a little foresight to prep the tofu ahead of time. By swapping a can of full-fat coconut milk for So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk, the quinoa still turned out dense, yet fluffy with a very subtle coconut flavor. I must say the best part about this is the toasted coconut flakes and panic that result from the baking process — pure perfection.

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Appetizer, Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish

5 Minute Crispy BBQ Pizza

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I’ve been craving pizza lately and when I say craving, I mean CRAVING. I didn’t feel like making a cauliflower crust, I couldn’t find my go-to naan at Whole Foods, and I didn’t want to make dough from scratch. Instead I found Top This! Whole Wheat 13″ Crust in the freezer section. It was thin, crispy, and had a nice char flavor since it’s grilled. I went a little light on sauce/toppings since I wasn’t sure how this crust would hold up, but next time I make it, I can definitely go closer to the edge and add some more BBQ. The honey sriracha BBQ sauce pairs well with chicken sausage to give you a Crispy BBQ Sausage Flatbread.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep

Really into Indonesian Bowls

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Sorry I’m not — another bowl recipe. I made March my mission for “Measure March” or “Meal Prep March” and bowls are so easy for this. You get the perfect serving size and a mix of protein, grains and/or veggies. I went for an Indonesian Inspired Quinoa Bowls to “switch” things up. I must say the red curry, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves added such  nice flavors to the meat. Again, I’m all about those quick meals. Originally calling for ground beef, I used rotisserie chicken for less to prep and less to worry about in terms of cooking — plus I prefer chicken over beef. Sorry to my steak lovers. I shredded the rotisserie chicken beforehand, tossed it with the curry, spices and coconut milk and let it all simmer to perfection, while I made the quinoa and chopped everything for the bowls. The purple cabbage and cucumber add color and a nice crunch. This perfectly makes four servings so get ready for leftovers!

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Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Mexican, Salad

Bring Chipotle Home with Chipotle Chicken Meal Prep Bowls

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Happy meal prep Sunday! I saw this video floating around Facebook from Eating Well. I’ve been on a bowl quick lately and seem to favor them because 1. it’s one plate (or in this case bowl); 2. everything is right there — protein, veggies, grain and your own add on’s; and 3. it’s way easier to assemble and fun to eat, especially with a busy schedule. PLUS, they’re so easy to make for weekday meals and easy to recycle leftovers. Here’s a take on a Mexican-inspired Chipotle Chicken Bowls. I didn’t use cheese and swapped sour cream for non-fat plain Greek yogurt. I made my own salsa, tweaked from Steak, Beans & “Rice” with a Fresh Tomatillo Salsa. It’s super fresh with the lime juice and cilantro.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Slow Cooker

Slowly Cooked to Perfection Coconut Curry Chicken

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I’m on a slow cooker kick, especially with these one bowl meals. (Well, this isn’t quite a one pot dinner, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t easy.) Mmmmm, delicious Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken. Especially with exams coming up, it’s so easy to let the chicken cook all day and then just whip up the bowls at night. I used frozen cauliflower and peppers for less chopping and to save time. It’s so easy to have frozen veggie on hand! I always have cauliflower stocked in my freezer. Let the rice cook while the coconut curry chicken warms and you can kick back and relax (or in my case study).

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

Tastiest Sesame Tofu Asian-Inspired “Pasta”

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Happy Meatless Monday! (Or happy meatless Friday during Lent? That works too.) Here’s a combo I’ve been playing around with since the fall and I think I finely perfected it — Sesame Spaghetti Squash with Tofu. What really make it is the sesame tofu from Whole Foods. Yeah, it’s probably fried and high(ish) in sodium, but it’s so tasty and takes this veggie dish to the next level. Not a tofu fan? Just as good with chicken. Already tasted it for you and you still have the sesame flavors from tossing everything with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Also, another fun fact is the smaller the spaghetti squash, the more it’s like angel hair pasta versus spaghetti.

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Better Than Takeout, Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Amaaaaaazing Macchiato

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I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I tried Starbucks’ Iced Coconut Milk (Caramel) Macchiato this summer and I was hooked. I prefer it not mocha or caramel, even though both are worth the indulgence. Since it’s going to be 60°F in Boston today (crazy, right?!), thought I’d indulge in a homemade coffee treat post-spin. I didn’t have espresso, so I brewed strong cup of coffee instead, layered over unsweetened coconut milk, unsweetened better half (coconut cream & almond milk creamer) from Califia Farms and added a dash of agave. I think next time, I’ll leave it bitter & unsweetened, but regardless, this Copycat Starbucks Iced Coconut Macchiato is the perfectly creamy & decadent drink 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻  [UPDATE: this caffeinated drink was featured on the feedfeed — check it out!]

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