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

The “Feel Good” Italian Sausage Soup

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Can we talk about these color? Ermahgawd, this soup was almost too pretty to eat. Having a cold, this warm and hearty veggies made Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Soup hit the spot. The only downside to these beautiful, rainbow veggies is that the purple carrots and potatoes give the broth a purple, rosy hue, but I’m not complaining. For not knowing what I was going to cook this past Sunday, this came together quite nicely. The soup is basically veggies, Italian chicken sausage, some Italian spices and homemade veggie stock. Let it cook and simmer in a slow cooker until the potatoes and carrots are tender.  (In the market for a new slow cooker? Check out Reviews.com for The Best Slow Cooker.)

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

Cozy Up with Some Coconut Chia Pudding

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a little “dessert” to color your day. My parents and I went to First Watch for brunch whilst in Ohio, after such a favorable outing when we were in Florida last May. My mom ordered the AM Superfood Bowl, which consisted of a coconut milk chia pudding topped with bananas, berries and blackberry perseveres and homemade granola. It was delish — literally dessert for breakfast. I usually make chia pudding with almond milk, but full-fat coconut milk was a welcomed surprise. On a whim, I added a pinch of cardamom and the citrus flavor added some levity and brightness to the dish. Enjoy as a snack, topped with fruit and granola for breakfast or with some chocolate for dessert, Coconut Chia Pudding is just one of those things you’ll enjoy again and again.

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

Pass That Peanut Tofu Stir Fry

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Happy Meatless Monday! I’ve been craving stir fry lately, and Peanut Tofu Stir Fry more than hit the spot. I keep making these impromptu meals with random leftovers, but hey, I’m not complaining. I originally bought some ginger, broccoli slaw, cilantro and zucchini to make Asian Peanut Zoodles, but instead of making stir fry, I used some of these ingredients for a take on Sesame Chicken “Noodle” Soup. My old roommate, Dee, is the queen of stir fry, and her steady stream of tantalizing stir fry snaps was enough to make me want in on the action. I tossed together leftover brown rice, the broccoli slaw, red pepper, edemame and tofu in an easy, yet flavorful peanut sauce.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

A Creamy, Tomatoey, Pumpkiny Sauce

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Need a break from marinara sauces, pumpkin sauce or creamy, Alfredo-like sauces? Look no further. This Creamy Tomato Pumpkin Sauce is the perfect blend of garlic, tomatoes and “cream.” When I was little, it would be the dead of summer, and my mom would harvest tomatoes from our tiny garden. She’d chop up tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic, sauté the three into an easy sauce, and sever over pasta; I think this is where I got my inspiration. With leftover pumpkin and yellow squash, a simple sauce emerged fresh heirloom tomatoes (those colors!), carrots and a little garlic. A splash of almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer) adds a new dimension to the sauce to perfectly prepare it for pasta.

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

Copycat Sweetgreen’s Curry Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls

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I love sweetgreen. I love their salad dressings, locally sourced ingredients, clean eating philosophy, and the ease to grab a meal. The only downside is that a salad or bowl runs $10-12. I’ve been craving a sweetgreen, but on a budget. I decided to try my hand at their curry cauliflower bowl that’s offered during the fall; the bowl is: quinoa/farro, arugula, roasted curry cauliflower, cilantro, dried cranberries, roasted chicken, sriracha, & cucumber tahini dressing. While not quite the same since their dressings seem to be top-secret, I basically nailed this with my version of Curry Cauliflower Brown Rice Bowls. I used my own homemade dressing, leftover brown rice from sushi stacks, and roasted cauliflower and chicken. If you make the dressing and rice ahead of time, it’s really an easy meal prep.

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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Italian, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

Quick & Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

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Happy meal prep Sunday! Here’s a marinara sauce I made for a veggie lasagna (recipe coming soon!). I decided to make my own because it’s quick, delicious and budget-friendly. I never realized most tomato sauces have sugar as one of the first few ingredients, since sugar brings out the flavor in tomatoes; sometimes those sauces are just too sweet then. It’s hard to find a sauce without any added sugar (Whole Foods’ 365 brand does have a great one). This Basil Marinara Sauce is so easy and literally ready in 20 minutes — plus you get the satisfaction of it being homemade and making it from scratch. With only 5 ingredients, there’s no added sugar or salt, while still bursting with flavor.

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

Slowly Savoring This Easy Slow Cooker Chili

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This chili recipe isn’t what you’d traditionally think of as “buffalo chicken,” but the flavors are a welcomed change from your standard beef chili dishes. It’s spicy from the hot sauce and a little sweet from the potatoes, whilst still retaining all the typical chili flavors and spices. It simmered all day as I prepped my nursing work, and I had Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Buffalo Chicken Chili in a blink of an eye. I loved the addition of fresh cilantro to brighten the dish. You can gobble down a bowl and avoid feeling sluggish because its fresh ingredients come together so seamlessly. I had leftover frozen slow cooker buffalo chicken from my bowl recipe that I tossed in for literally the easiest chili ever. (In the market for a new slow cooker? Check out Reviews.com for The Best Slow Cooker.)

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Oh So Satisfying Cinnamon Bites

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It’s that time of year! Time to break out the meal prep and healthy snacks and maybe some indulgences for those New Year’s resolutions. These Cinnamon Almond Bites are perfect for a quick dessert or a taste to satisfying your sweet tooth. I think they’re fine energy bites, and if you choose to coat them in cocoa powder or cinnamon sugar, they become a bitter, dark indulgence or a sweet one. I make them instead of protein muffins and enjoy with some a cup of coffee or with fruit/extra carbs to balance them out. Either way, have fun with these bite-sized energy bites!

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

A Summer Stew for Any Occasion

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This was a summer stew I made, but froze two servings to pull out when I needed a quick meal. I did just that on the 30th after traveling to Maine and Ohio for the holidays. I enjoyed a bowl sans toppings on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to stay warm during this arctic blast of weather. Since the stew was summer inspired and based, you can really taste the lemon juice and appreciate summer produce like kale and zucchini. The sweetness from the raisins and sweet potatoes balance the bitterness from the quinoa and kale and acidity of the lemon juice. I added almond milk for a splash of creaminess. I love that this has garlic, ginger and turmeric, which are anti-inflammatories and aid in digestion — just what we need post-holiday binge and indulgences. Serve hot and savor that bowl of Turmeric, White Bean & Quinoa Stew.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Vegetarian

Passing 2017 with a Potato Thyme Quiche

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Have to close out 2017 with a bang, right? This Thyme Potato Crust Quiche was a winner. Remember my sweet potato crust quiche? Here’s a take on that. I love breakfast potatoes and hash browns for brunch. I’m not sure what it is about the starchy side, but I associate seasoned potatoes with breakfast. I made a potato crust for this eggy dish and added thyme to complement the sharpness of the parmesan and give flavor to the potatoes. For a quiche, it’s really filling from the potatoes, and adding a dash of hot sauce (or ketchup) does juuuust the trick.

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