Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Instant Pot, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Slow Cooker

Comfort Food: Meatballs & Potatoes Edition (Instant Pot)

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I love this recipe for Italian Meatball Stew over Smashed Potatoes. I haven’t had it in a few years, but this is one that my mom made regularly in the slow cooker. I decided to switch things up and use meatballs instead of chicken Italian sausage after spotting meatballs when doing a last-ditch quarantine preparedness run at Wegman’s. (Let me just interject that their prepared beef meatballs are mini and cute and delicious.) I made the potatoes extra creamy using mascarpone instead of EVOO. Using an Instant Pot allows for a much faster simmer compared to a stovetop or a slow cooker. This is quite aromatic and your kitchen will smell amazing during while cooking this stew, only adding to its maximum comfort level during this crazy self-quarantining and social distancing time. If you’re feeling industrious, trying making bread to pair!

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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Delightfully Spicy Harissa Soup

Hearty veggie stew alert! If you haven’t figured out, I enjoy “cleaning out my fridge” and trying to use up every veggie–and sauce–possible. Harissa is a Northern African spicy chili pepper paste, consisting of mostly roasted red peppers. Depending on the style, some can be really mild or wildly spicy. If you use up any veggies in your fridge like onions, peppers, greens, and sweet potato with stuff in your pantry like a can of tomatoes or leftover grains and lentils, you can easily pull together a simple, hearty stew like Harissa Vegetable Soup. By using plant-based ingredients, it’s still high in protein. Plus, it’s a win-win for a deliciously health meal in exchange for cleaning out your fridge and pantry.

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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

Copycat Sweetgreen’s Spicy Cashew Dressing

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I keep trying to hack Sweetgreen’s dressing because everyone knows Sweetgreen’s dressings are the bomb; it’s what makes the salad. Here’s my take on their Spicy Cashew Dressing. It’s full of healthy fat thanks to the EVOO and raw cashews. It’s sweet, tangy, obviously spicy, and has a layer of umami to it. I can’t wait to add this to lots o’ salads and bowls because when you want to eat it with a spoon, it’s that good, right?

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Smoothie, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Glowing Skin Recovery Mango Tahini Smoothie

I’ve been on a spin kick lately, going 2-3 times per week since after Christmas. I’ve enjoyed drinking a smoothie after this intense exercise since it’s hydrating and nourishing, especially when I’m not hungry or in the mood for “whole” food for a bit after that type of rigorous exercise. This Mango Tahini Smoothie has good-for-your-skin vitamins from mango, healthy fats from tahini, and antioxidants and vitamin C from the orange. I swapped cauliflower in for banana, since mangos are already sweet enough. Brightened with cardamom and cinnamon, this smoothie is a refreshingly cozy way to start your day and recover from some welcomed sweaty exercise. Continue reading “Glowing Skin Recovery Mango Tahini Smoothie”

Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Vibrant & Bright Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

While I do not claim for these cookies to be true Anzac biscuits, the basis for the ingredients screamed like an Annie cookie. Without eggs, the cookies held up quite well despite lacking eggs when families sent these biscuits to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps–hence Anzac–circa WWI. The true recipe calls for oats, flour, sugar, butter, “golden syrup,” and coconut. I found a recipe for these in Sweet, and I decided to tweak these to be my own. I call them Coconut Oatmeal Cookies with Raisins & Lemon. They’re still sweet (despite using only 3/4 c sugar instead of almost 2 c), bright from the cardamom and lemon zest, and perfectly chewy thanks to the oats and raisins. They’re like an updated version of your grandmother’s oatmeal raisin cookies.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep

Umami-Packed Chicken & Lentils

Do you ever finish a meal and then think, “Wait, is there more?” That’s how this meal was because it’s that good, and another meal prep option. Black garlic is at the heart of this bringing an umami flavor into play. Simply roast the vegetables and chicken, while quinoa and lentils cook. Assembly is easy, making Garlic Chicken with Veggies, Quinoa, and Lentils a fantastic dinner or a nice lunch on the go.

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

Munchin’ on Mushroom Pho

Oh, pho. It’s the perfect type of soup when you want something high in nutrients with a bright, fresh taste–especially when one has a cold (like I unfortunately do). Pronounced fuh, pho is a Vietnamese soup of broth, noodles, protein, and herbs. I’ve made a tofu pho and beef version with zoodles, but have been craving a version without the meat. A while back when I was visiting Philadelphia, my mom and I enjoyed a meal at V Street, were we had BBQ carrots that were wonderfully savory and “meaty.” With that as an inspiration, sautéed mushrooms and carrots act as the “meat” in this Mushroom Pho with Black Rice Noodles giving it a rich flavor. It’s brightened up with fresh Thai basil, cilantro, and lime juice, while black rice noodles give it a unique twist and a chewy texture.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegetarian

Christmas Stollen on Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas! I promise you that if you make bread, Christmas Stollen is an easy bread to tackle. I’m a little too organized, so I simplified the steps and the ingredient groups. You just need to prep accordingly to let the nuts and fruit soak and allow the bread to rise. Stollen is a traditional German bread made with dried fruits, candied citrus, nuts, and spices dating back to the late 1300s or early 1400s from Dresden, Germany. Our neighbors use an old recipe and gift us Stollen each Christmas that we swap for our homemade cut-out cookies and Spritz. We munch on Stollen on Christmas morning as we open presents and enjoy each other’s company. I kept this version simple using the dried fruit and sliced almonds that I had, but I’d highly recommend buying or making your own candied citrus. By using yeast instead of making a quick bread, this Christmas bread becomes dense and chewy.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Vegan, Vegetarian

Hearty Roasted Veggie Bowls for Winter

I love a good “bowl.” I think it’s easy to prep and to grab on-the-go. I like using produce that’s in season and rainbow carrots and sweet potatoes definitely fall into this category. Root veggies absorb the minerals from the soil around them. Given their colorful nature, they’re packed with fiber, vitamins like vitamin A, and antioxidants. If you can do three things at once, these Roasted Root Veggie Bowls with Cilantro Pesto are definitely worth it. Roast the veggies while the lentils and quinoa cook. At the end, you have a flavorful bowl served warmed to combat winter’s chill and topped with a fun, different pesto.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, Meal Prep, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Vegetable Soup in Time for Winter

My mom has made this soup, which became a spontaneous meal with friends for Ted’s birthday on Saturday. Roasting the vegetables before assembling the soup allows all the natural flavors to come alive. Your kitchen will also smell amazing, I promise. I whipped up a batch for lunches this week, and on the day I happened to make this, Ted’s friends came over with some freshly baked bread and charcuterie boards purchased in our neighborhood, Boston’s North End, for an impromptu birthday dinner. The Roasted Tomato Eggplant Soup was the perfect veggie main course after indulging in cheese, prosciutto, salami, and fresh bread. Dipping warmed bread directly into the soup is highly encouraged, and only adds to the heartiness of this all-veggie, flavorful soup.

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