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, 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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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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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Italian, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Savory Rosemary Pumpkin Bread (No Knead!)

This No-Knead Rosemary Pumpkin Bread could be a savory addition to your Thanksgiving table. I love this with dinner as a side or in the morning as toast. I made this recipe last winter at a ski house and a few times at home. It seems complicated because you have to let the dough rise twice, but there’s no kneading involved. Because the dough is so wet and sticky, the theory is that the gluten doesn’t need help forming via kneading; instead the dough comes together on its own. The hardest part of this is planning because you have about 3 hours of time where the dough needs to sit. The original recipe for this calls for a spiced version with walnuts and cranberries, but I prefer the addition of whole wheat flour and fresh rosemary. I’ve baked this as one round loaf, two smaller loaves, and in a Dutch oven. I love all three, and recommend a Dutch oven if you prefer your bread perfectly crisped and crunchy on top with a soft center.

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

Bread Soup!

Ribollita is a Tuscan vegetable and bean soup using leftover bread to make a hearty stew-like meal. Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat bread? When you’re always dipping bread into your soup, why not just pop it right in? Since moving to Boston’s North End (also known as the city’s “Little Italy”), Ted and I have been on a mission to find the best pizza and the best loaf of bread. We’ve started to frequent Bricco, an Italian bakery selling artisan breads. After picking up a whole wheat loaf, it only seemed fitting to make Tuscan Bread and Bean Soup. The bread breaks apart to delightfuly thicken this soup. Flavored with parmesan and full of veggies, this will be a new cold weather staple.

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

Creamy Autumn Harvest Risotto

This was an everything-but-the-kitchen sink kind of recipe–couple of Brussels sprouts here, some carrots over there, butternut squash frozen and ready to use. I whipped up a batch of Autumn Veggie Risotto yesterday because we had the most random produce and veggies in our fridge and freezer. The rainy, cold weather and upcoming football game created the perfect setting for a hearty dish. Risotto is comfort food at its finest. No need for heavy cream or cups of cheese to create a rich meal. The continuous stirring breaks down the rice’s starches to give risotto its gelatinous consistency and creaminess. I stirred in some mascarpone cheese leftover from making vegetable bolognese. The flavors of the vegetables speak for themselves accentuated by Parmesan cheese’s sharp bite.

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