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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Entrée, Italian, Meal Prep, Vegetarian

Meatless Veggie Bowls with Copycat Sweetgreen Dressing

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I’ve been looking for a good “bowl” lately. Maybe it’s generational that we’re the people who meal prep and pack lunches apart from sandwiches. I’m always looking for something that I can make, package and be done, or quickly assemble the night before or morning of. These Eggplant “Meatball” Bowls with Spicy Cashew Dressing do just that. As I’m always striving to copy Sweetgreen’s dressing–if you’ve had them, you totally know what I mean–and this bowl-salad fusion does just that. Roasted veggies, quinoa, and vegetarian meatballs combine for this hearty dish.

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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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Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Vegetarian

Meatless Eggplant “Meatballs”

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The idea for meatless meatballs has been in my head for some time. I keep circling back to ideas for eggplant or lentils, and settled on trying Eggplant “Meatballs” complete with cannellini beans. Just like you’d make regular meatballs, they have panko and Parmesan as breading and an egg to bind. By baking them, they stay moist in the center with a crispy outside. While I didn’t try them with sauce yet, I think the crispiness will hold its own. All I can do is envision these with some basil marinara sauce or simmering in a vegetable bolognese or turkey bolognese.

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

Cajun-Style Shrimp & Grits (Instant Pot)

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Shrimp and Grits. This was the meal I continually ordered when Ted and I travelled down South to Savannah, Charleston, and Hilton Head back in November. While not the “classic” version, i.e. the one with heavy cream and butter–also delicious, but not what I want on a daily basis–, this version of shrimp and grits is literally bursting with flavor. Pork andouille sausage was the only type of andouille sausage I could find, but it offers all the fat and salt you need, which is why I omit the butter, heavy cream, and added salt. I opted to mix in more Southern and Cajun vegetables like collard greens and orange and green bell peppers. While not authentic, the peppers melt in your mouth, and the collard greens add a pop of color and nutrients. Plus, this all comes together in the Instant Pot for a one-pot meal.

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

Lazy Lasagna Soup (Instant Pot)

Ted got me an Instant Pot for my birthday this year, and we’ve been trying to incorporate it into our everyday cooking for quick meals. I’ve been craving my homemade marinara sauce and lasagna, but I didn’t want to make a big pan. Instead, I give you Lasagna Soup. All the flavors of lasagna pulled together for a quick and easy meal. Using chicken breast and chickpea-based lasagna noodles, the soup becomes filling and packed with protein to keep you sated throughout the day. Top with a creamy ricotta-parmesan mixture to get all the feels of lasagna wrapped into a hearty soup.

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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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