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, 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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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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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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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

A Creamy, Tomatoey, Pumpkiny Sauce

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Need a break from marinara sauces, pumpkin sauce or creamy, Alfredo-like sauces? Look no further. This Creamy Tomato Pumpkin Sauce is the perfect blend of garlic, tomatoes and “cream.” When I was little, it would be the dead of summer, and my mom would harvest tomatoes from our tiny garden. She’d chop up tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic, sauté the three into an easy sauce, and sever over pasta; I think this is where I got my inspiration. With leftover pumpkin and yellow squash, a simple sauce emerged fresh heirloom tomatoes (those colors!), carrots and a little garlic. A splash of almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer) adds a new dimension to the sauce to perfectly prepare it for pasta.

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

A Summer Stew for Any Occasion

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This was a summer stew I made, but froze two servings to pull out when I needed a quick meal. I did just that on the 30th after traveling to Maine and Ohio for the holidays. I enjoyed a bowl sans toppings on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to stay warm during this arctic blast of weather. Since the stew was summer inspired and based, you can really taste the lemon juice and appreciate summer produce like kale and zucchini. The sweetness from the raisins and sweet potatoes balance the bitterness from the quinoa and kale and acidity of the lemon juice. I added almond milk for a splash of creaminess. I love that this has garlic, ginger and turmeric, which are anti-inflammatories and aid in digestion — just what we need post-holiday binge and indulgences. Serve hot and savor that bowl of Turmeric, White Bean & Quinoa Stew.

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Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Side, Vegetarian

The Low Carb Mashed “Potatoes”

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I’m not sure why I haven’t posted these yet. I love Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. They’re low carb, so much easier than normal mashed potatoes and taste like the real deal. I used  frozen riced cauliflower since that was the easiest for me, but any type will do. Just cook the cauliflower, mix in cottage cheese for creaminess and then garlic and EVOO for flavor. Blend them together and viola! Mashed “potatoes.”

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Slow Cooker, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Slowly Cooking This Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

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I LOVE this slow cooker method for making soup. I usually make this in a large soup pot, sauté the veggies in a little oil right there, add broth and let it simmer. By using a slow cooker, you skip the sautéing part and reduce the oil. I made a soup similar to this last fall, tossing whatever I had — apples, sweet potato, regular potatoes, carrots — into a big soup pot along with butternut squash; this time, I did the same thing in a slow cooker (way more fun). Enjoy as the main course or as a side, the result is a sweet, yet savory Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup that’s hands off minus the minimal prep of the produce in the beginning and puréeing at the end.

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"How To" Guides, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Not in a Pickle Over Here!

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Want literally the easiest way to make pickles ever? I tried this two summers ago and I’m surprised I haven’t posted this sooner. Easy Fridge Pickles! You skip boiling the brining solution and just add everything straight to the jar. Top sandwiches or eat straight out of the jar. I’ve made dill pickles, sweet pickles, spicy pickles. They’re so easy to tailor and fun to make.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish

The New Trend: Kelp Noodle Bowls

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Kelp noodles are so fun! I never knew they existed until I saw this recipe on TIU. These noodles are super low in calories and carbs and virtually without fat. The noodles have a crunch, an al dente texture and a nondescript taste. They kind of remind me of tofu in the sense that they take on whatever flavors you’re cooking with. I tried my hand at Chicken Kelp Noodle Bowls. I added fresh ginger root, garlic, scallions, soy sauce and lime juice for a fun Asian flair. Toss kelp noodles with chicken cooked in coconut oil and shiitake mushrooms, you have such a fun and decidedly different weekday meal. I liked these so much that I went back to Whole Foods to grab more, but they’re out. I’ll have to make these next week with shrimp — stay tuned!

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