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

Lightened Up Lasagna

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I have a confession. Well, actually I have two I suppose. The first is that I don’t own an 8×8 or 9×9 pan so hence why my lasagna looks like a pie (and sheet pan was way too big for this). Might need to change that… The second is that I haven’t made lasagna since moving to Boston. Crazy, right? After assembling and making Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, I realized I’ve been missing ricotta in my life. I made a homemade red sauce in the slow cooker (recipe here, minus the meatballs and plus a hearty amount of red pepper flakes) and cooked the spaghetti squash ahead of time. The key to keeping this a true lasagna is removing the excess water from the spaghetti squash. Then you can really pack the squash to make a thick layer  Then you can layer to your heart’s desire. This lasagna is lightened up with less cheese, chicken sausage and swapping noodles for spaghetti squash. Ignore the poorly plated end result because a) it was too dark to take a picture of the whole pan and b) the slice is an odd shape thanks to the pie pan, but I assure you that it’s truly fullllll of flavors.

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Appetizer, Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, Lightened Up, Vegetarian

Cauliflower Pizza Crust for the Win

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I love Cauliflower Pizza Crust. This was another great Pinterest find. This recipe has been in my kitchen circulation for about 3 years now. Carbs have gotten such a bad rep, but I still like to dabble with different options like gluten-free. The only downside to this gluten-free curst is that it can be paaaaacked with cheese. Don’t get me wrong — I love cheese. It’s absolutely delicious, but I’m a firm believer in moderation. I cut back on the cheese and the crust was still a “crust.” I’ve cooked this crust many ways — on foil, on a pizza stone, directly on a baking sheet — and using the Silpat allowed for a crispy crust that perfectly browned on the bottom and was much more like a “true curst.” Who wants another slice?

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

One Pan’s the Way to Go

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Roasting veggies always seems to be winter thing, but what happens when you toss in some spring asparagus, fresh rosemary, lemon juice and lemon zest? A bright, easy dinner. One pan kind of easy. Also great when you’re in a rush and can just pop everything in the oven and let it run its course. Roasting the chicken keeps it oh-so-juicy and prevents it from drying out. Before you know it, you’ll be savoring that One Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken & Veggies saying, “that was easy.”

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

Blissfully Stuffed After Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

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These Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers are when you want something satisfying without the sensation that you just swallowed a brick; they’re like a hearty salad that is way more fun.  I’ve seen these gracing the pages of Instagram and Pinterest, and turned to the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY for inspiration. (They’re dedicated to the vegetarian movement.) The resulting roasted bell peppers were quite tender and juicy. I topped with tomato sauce for some added flavor. I also made wayyyyy too much quinoa veggie filling and “recycled” it with chicken sausage and over sautéed baby spinach. I definitely want to try a carnivore version — ground turkey? BBQ chicken for the summer? Southwestern beef? I see a Thai version and a Mexican version being taste-tested in the near future.

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