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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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegetarian

Christmas Stollen on Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas! I promise you that if you make bread, Christmas Stollen is an easy bread to tackle. I’m a little too organized, so I simplified the steps and the ingredient groups. You just need to prep accordingly to let the nuts and fruit soak and allow the bread to rise. Stollen is a traditional German bread made with dried fruits, candied citrus, nuts, and spices dating back to the late 1300s or early 1400s from Dresden, Germany. Our neighbors use an old recipe and gift us Stollen each Christmas that we swap for our homemade cut-out cookies and Spritz. We munch on Stollen on Christmas morning as we open presents and enjoy each other’s company. I kept this version simple using the dried fruit and sliced almonds that I had, but I’d highly recommend buying or making your own candied citrus. By using yeast instead of making a quick bread, this Christmas bread becomes dense and chewy.

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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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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, Meal Prep, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Vegetable Soup in Time for Winter

My mom has made this soup, which became a spontaneous meal with friends for Ted’s birthday on Saturday. Roasting the vegetables before assembling the soup allows all the natural flavors to come alive. Your kitchen will also smell amazing, I promise. I whipped up a batch for lunches this week, and on the day I happened to make this, Ted’s friends came over with some freshly baked bread and charcuterie boards purchased in our neighborhood, Boston’s North End, for an impromptu birthday dinner. The Roasted Tomato Eggplant Soup was the perfect veggie main course after indulging in cheese, prosciutto, salami, and fresh bread. Dipping warmed bread directly into the soup is highly encouraged, and only adds to the heartiness of this all-veggie, flavorful 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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Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Smoothie, Vegan, Vegetarian

Detox with Berries & Beets

Beets are a vegetable that have slowly grown on me. Their earthy flavor and bright pink color add a unique touch to any meal. They’re high in a photonutrient called betalains, which may help with inflammation and detoxification, and also in nitrates. As beet season is coming to an end, here’s an idea to help use up any extra beets. Naturally sweet, they may not be the obvious choice to add to a smoothie. Pair with berries, peaches, and coconut water, they make a refreshing Beet & Berry Smoothie.

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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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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Smoothie, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Pumpkin Pie in a Glass

Although it’s fall, Halloween’s 70° weather had me craving this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie last week. Rich in antioxidants and vitamin A, pumpkin is not an obvious choice for smoothies. However, it’s thick and creamy nature allows it to easily acquire flavors like the spices of pumpkin pie. It’s just decadent enough to be breakfast, dessert, or a snack, but healthy thanks to bananas’ and dates’ natural sweetness. Healthy fats in the almond butter and plant-based protein round this smoothie out as a nutritious option.

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