Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Italian Dinnah

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This smells heavenly. I mean my kitchen smelled like an Italian restaurant while these bad boys cooked. Who knew this was so easy? I have a confession to make. This was my first time using my slow cooker. I love that it was a dump in the ingredients kind of recipe with minor prep (for the meatballs), and then I walked away to study for finals about a month ago. I was left with a hearty, yet light dinner (thanks, zoodles). I also don’t think I can buy sauce again. I’ve since doubled the recipe for this, tossed it in the slow cooker, kept some handy in my fridge and froze the rest. On this cold, rainy/snowy/sleety day in Boston, hope this Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs over Zoodles adds a little color (and warmth!) to your day!

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Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, Low Sugar

Modern Take on the Classic Caprese

Caprese Spaghetti Squash with Pesto Grilled Chicken

When I think of summer, I think of fresh garden vegetables and herbs. Growing up in Maine, we always had fresh basil growing which meant homemade pesto. Depending on the summer, we had tomatoes, peppers, green peppers, green beans, zucchini or maybe a combination of those. Fresh basil and tomatoes immediately makes me think of a caprese salad. Not sure about you, but raw tomatoes are very hit or miss for me. Cooked tomatoes I love. Raw? Ehhh. Depends on the day. Something about spaghetti squash as a pasta salad, fresh mozzarella, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes all tossed with homemade pesto and chicken sounded absolutely irresistible. Well, it is. I’ve had it for lunch or dinner four days in a row. Don’t believe me? Try the Caprese Spaghetti Squash with Pesto Grilled Chicken for yourself.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Sizzling (Meatless) Summer Stir Fry

Summer Vegetable Stir Fry with Crispy Tofu

Again, I’m experimenting with tofu. I’ve become a somewhat regular at a local Thai restaurant around the corner from me in Beacon Hill.  Their tofu is perfectly crispy and golden. Granted, they’re probably deep-frying it to perfection, but that’s another story. However much I simply love this indulgence, I wanted to “clean up” their Pad See You.* Think wide rice noodles, golden tofu, bean sprouts and broccoli in a sweet but spicy Thai basil sauce. Using zucchini noodles or zoodles are the main staple, I added more vegetables and a lighter sauce — the Summer Vegetable Stir Fry with Crispy Tofu was born and it’s a summer keeper.

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Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Refreshingly Easy Ginger Basil Spritzers

Ginger Basil Spritzers

Happy Thirsty Thursday! Sip on a beyond refreshing drink invented specifically for hot weather. The spiciness from the ginger pairs with the freshness from the basil and citrus notes from the prosecco and limes. (This would be equally delicious with sparkling water in replace of prosecco.) I like bubbly drinks, so trying this spritzer from Cooking Light was a no brainer. If you can’t beat the heat, then at least try to enjoy it while sipping on a Ginger Basil Spritzer. It has to be five o’clock somewhere, right?

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Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Vegan, Vegetarian

Leap into Spring with this Tropical Coconut Cocktail

Coconut Rum with Basil & Strawberries

Who says you can’t celebrate spring? But then again, it’s snowing in Boston today. Ironically enough, my roommate writes for Insane for Drinks, and she posted about Captain Morgan‘s new flavored rums: coconut, pineapple and grapefruit. By flavored, I mean they smell like fresh juice (and taste like it!); they’re beyond delicious. With two mojitos ideas to come, try Coconut Rum with Basil & Strawberries in the meantime.  I used coconut water for a healthier mixer and the use of fresh fruit and herbs makes it oh-so-refreshing. Your tastebuds will thank you.

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Appetizer, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Side, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Simplified Veggie Rolls

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After trying Giada’s version of fresh spring rolls with the spicy chili Greek yogurt sauce this summer, here’s a much, much easier version: Veggie Spring Rolls with Sriracha Soy Sauce. Simple ingredients assembled in a fresh way. No complicated sauce or cooking soba noodles — just vegetables you have on hand paired with sriracha and soy sauce. When I want a veggie fix without a salad, these fresh spring rolls become option number two. Perfect for your next holiday party, get-together or perhaps even football showing (you need to balance out or substitute the chips and wings somehow, right?). The Veggie Spring Rolls somehow manage to be both extravagant and simple, but most importantly, always colorfully delicious.

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Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish

Tasty Turkey Meatballs

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It’s that time of year. If you’re like me and in the Northeast, you probably got some snow today. Toss in the time change with early darkness, and you’re in need of a hearty, cold-weather meal. I don’t think turkey is as flavorful as beef, but adding the fresh basil and red pepper brings the turkey meatballs to a whole new level. Make a large batch to freeze or plan meals ahead, place the meatballs over spaghetti squash, zoodles or whole-wheat pasta, and you have a lovely meal. I enjoyed my turkey meatballs over spaghetti squash, sautéed cherry tomatoes and zucchini, and a spicy marinara sauce. Top with fresh basil and parmesan and just how can you say no?
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Breakfast/Brunch, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep

Crazy for Quiche

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This blog is in dire need of some breakfast recipes. Why not a quiche? This Gluten-Free Kale Egg White Quiche with Turkey Bacon (or a variation of this) is what I would make ahead of time and have for breakfast before class. It’s quite simple, definitely worth taking the time to make, and makes your kitchen smell delicious as it bakes. When I went to the Farmer’s Market in Ithaca, I usually bought kale, but always ended up with too much; it just sat in my fridge, begging to be used. By sautéing the kale and throwing it in a quiche, I never felt like I wasted the kale or any vegetables left in my fridge. If you want to reduce your veggie waste even more, you can even chop the kale stems and add them to the quiche because they cook down like zucchini. Once you have this base recipe, it’s so easy to vary the vegetables, meat, and/or cheese to what you have or to exactly what you want. Add a crust! Use peppers or spinach or swiss chard. Throw in some parmesan or switch turkey bacon for reduced fat breakfast sausage or ham. (Also, no one ever said quiche has to be for breakfast. I’ve had it for dinner, when you just don’t want to lift a finger in the kitchen.) There’s no way you can mess this quiche up — any combo will be delicious!

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Salad, Seafood, Vegetarian

Summer Seafood

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Need a light, fresh and tasty dinner? I found this recipe for a grilled summer salad in Giada De Laurentiis’s cookbook, originally served cold. I wish my apartment had access to a grill, but this was still delicious baking the shrimp and sautéing the vegetables until they were slightly browned. Using the marinade to double as the salad dressing saves time, while maintaining the flavor of the fresh herbs and lemon zest. The creamy avocado balances the acidic flavors of the marinade. Definitely worth a try!

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Appetizer, Asian, Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Snack, Vegetarian

Spring into Summer with Vegetable Spring Rolls

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These vegetable rolls are super spicy, but so delicious. They’re light and fresh with the mint and basil leaves, while being fiery and savory all at once. I tested them twice, and decided I like the version with the added avocado and cucumber much better than the original recipe. The cucumber gives an extra crunch, and the creaminess of the avocado balances the extreme kick from the sriracha chile sauce. As a snack, lunch or dinner, these vegetable rolls are easy and delicious — so much so you’ll be ready for more before they’re even finished! Continue reading “Spring into Summer with Vegetable Spring Rolls”