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

Smoky Vegetarian Mexican Soup

First soup to celebrate the crisp autumn air! It only seems fair to kick off soup season with Smoky Corn, Red Pepper, & Brown Rice Soup. It’s deliciously “smoked” thanks to smoked paprika, but a hearty Mexican soup with corn, beans, and rice. Make this a one pot meal by easily cooking the rice right in the soup. This soup was so tasty with some nonfat Greek yogurt (swap for sour cream!), a little lime juice to brighten it, and some sweet potato chips to add a little sweet and salty to the smoky heartiness.

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

Veggie & Pesto Packed Primavera Pasta Salad

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The warm weather has finally rolled in, and it’s beginning to feel like summer. Verdant grass, trees, and flowers call for vibrant veggies to be used. I’ve been craving pasta and also pesto lately, so it only makes sense to use both for a pasta salad. In this Primavera Pasta Salad, your veggies can be a combination of fresh and frozen. I usually have frozen edamame and peas on hand in my freezer among some others (like cauliflower pieces and cauliflower rice). Fresh asparagus, peppers, and celery add a bite and a crunch. Add lemon juice, pesto, and spices for a summery and bright take on pasta salad.

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

Bountiful Black Bean Soup

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It’s spring in Boston! Meaning it’s moving to be consistently above freezing during the day. Here’s a bright, vibrant soup to transition from those cold, bundled up winter days to I-just-need-a-light-jacket. Black Bean Soup is a pantry staple. Chances are you have a can of black beans or a bag of dry black beans sitting around in your pantry. Add some veggies and spices, top with avocado, Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and some lime juice for a colorful, light, yet filling soup.

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

Summer Caprese Bowls with Shrimp & Zucchini Ribbons

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Summer is about fresh veggie and herbs. I can’t think of a better way to use tomatoes, zucchini and basil than in a Summer Caprese Zoodle Bowls. This is a take on the simple mozzarella, tomato and basil Italian salad using ribboned zucchini as “noodles,” a mixture of creamy ricotta and fresh mozzarella, and succulent tomatoes. This would be so amazing with some crusty bread dipped in EVOO. It’s a deliciously different version of your classic caprese dish.

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