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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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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Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

Lounging Around with This Veggie Lasagna

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Mmmm, there’s something about a lasagna baking in the oven that brightens your day. I had a lot of fun making this, since it was a way to use up some produce in my fridge and make my own marinara sauce. Paired with no boil lasagna noodles from Trader Joe’s and my fridge produce, this Veggie Lasagna was delicious and super easy. Mixing veggies directly into the ricotta mixture and using less cheese lightens up this lasagna, while still keeping all of the flavors. I made the marinara sauce, while I sliced the zucchini and peppers, minced the cauliflower and mixed together the ricotta. Then you layer everything, bake it and anxiously wait for it to be done.

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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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Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up

Happy FriYAY with Low-Carb Pizzas

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It’s Friday, so I’m celebrating with a little quick and healthy ‘za. I feel like the weekend rolls around and we all think we’ve “earned” a little indulgence for the weekend. This Tortilla Pizza with Basil & Sausage is just the way to indulge without feeling gross. It requires ingredients you probably already have on hand like whole wheat tortillas, chicken sausage (I always store some in my freezer), tomato sauce and parmesan cheese — it’s that easy. You can obviously swap out the meat for veggies, but don’t make the pizzas too heavy. For a serving size of two tortilla pizzas, it’s just the right amount of pizza without feeling overly stuffed.

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

Bow Down to this Healthy Bolognese

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What a dinner. This bowl of Turkey Bolognese over Zoodles hit the spot. I’m not usually one for a meat sauce, but this was on par for a North End restaurant. (Ok, not quite, but it gives the original a run for its money if you lighten up the dish.) The sauce is really simple to make and can be prep as a one pot dish ahead of time. It can easily be frozen, but does dry out a tad and lose a bit of its sauciness. The carrots and bell pepper add flavor and color to the sauce, while the red wine brings a little acidity and depth. As it’s almost September (– time is litttterally flying), try making this on one of those it’s-just-becoming-cool-and-crisp fall nights.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian

Yet Another Excuse for Breakfast Pizza

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Pizza for breakfast? Yes, please. Dish me up. I had previously made a breakfast pizza with turkey bacon and a sweet potato crust, so I obviously had to switch things up with a chicken sausage pizza made with a zucchini crust. I was pleasantly surprised that this crust stayed as a crust. (It holds up a little less well when reheated, but still keeps its shape.) This is an easy, fun breakfast or brunch option. Pour the coffee (or those mimosas) and enjoy Zucchini Crust Breakfast Pizza.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, Lightened Up, Vegetarian

Pass Me that Low Carb Pizza Crust

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I think I found my new favorite veggie pizza crust option: Zucchini Pizza Crust. I’ve tried my hand at a cauliflower crust and sweet potato almond crust. Naturally it’s time I try zucchini. I finally bought nutritional yeast to test out (and warning — I foresee this on my popcorn), so I decided to do a 1:1 ratio of nutritional yeast to parmesan. I also recently made a parchment paper investment, and this was worth it; it made for an easier transfer of the crust baking sheet to cutting board and was non-stick. I really like veggie curst options, but usually they’re loaded with cheese as the binding agent. I thought this was still quite “cheesy” without all the extra cups and the egg worked just fine to keep this like a true crust. I’m definitely setting up for a breakfast pizza — stay tuned for brunch tomorrow!

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Entrée, Italian, Low Sugar, Seafood, Vegetarian

Easy, Yummy Pesto Pasta (& “Pasta”)

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Look at that twirl action! With a mixture of spiralized zucchini, affectionately known as “zoodles,” and tricolor angel hair pasta, this spring pasta dish was packed with homemade pesto. Who says a nice dinner has to be expensive and a chore to make? Pasta is relatively cheap and can be bought in bulk. You can make batches of pesto and stock them in the freezer for future use. I used a can of Whole Foods tuna and spices, herbs and veggies in stock in my fridge and pantry. Viola! I whipped up Pesto Angel Hair Pasta with Tuna to feel a little decadent, a wee bit fancy twirlin’ my pasta and quite cozy as the cool weather rolls back in.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Raving for this Veggie Ravioli Soup

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Happy Soup Sunday! You know when it’s still kind of chilly out, but you also want it to be warm and you still want your meals to mesh? I’m feeling the same way. It’s “spring” in New England, but not super. The daylight is longer and the snow from a late storm is melting, but it’s not quite light jacket weather. I think of spring and summer as lots of fresh garden veggies — tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, leafy greens, etc. I wanted a hearty “winter” soup that began to bridge the gap to spring. My mom and aunt always made a tortellini soup that’s extremely easy, but also satisfying. I chose to stick with peppers, zucchini and fire-roasted tomatoes for an added a flavor. (You can also add spinach, kale, carrots or potato.) Alas, the Beacon Hill Whole Foods has a bigger ravioli selection, so I chose to swap ravioli for tortellini. Again, using the rest of the homemade vegetable broth from the Buzzfeed’s Tasty recipe that I froze, I tossed all the ingredients in and had Vegetable Ravioli Soup piping hot in about 20 min.

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