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

Lightened Up Lasagna

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I have a confession. Well, actually I have two I suppose. The first is that I don’t own an 8×8 or 9×9 pan so hence why my lasagna looks like a pie (and sheet pan was way too big for this). Might need to change that… The second is that I haven’t made lasagna since moving to Boston. Crazy, right? After assembling and making Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, I realized I’ve been missing ricotta in my life. I made a homemade red sauce in the slow cooker (recipe here, minus the meatballs and plus a hearty amount of red pepper flakes) and cooked the spaghetti squash ahead of time. The key to keeping this a true lasagna is removing the excess water from the spaghetti squash. Then you can really pack the squash to make a thick layer  Then you can layer to your heart’s desire. This lasagna is lightened up with less cheese, chicken sausage and swapping noodles for spaghetti squash. Ignore the poorly plated end result because a) it was too dark to take a picture of the whole pan and b) the slice is an odd shape thanks to the pie pan, but I assure you that it’s truly fullllll of flavors.

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

Simply Savory Sesame Chicken

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There’s been two things going on with me: 1). I’ve been trying to meal plan and meal prep lately, especially since we had a busy exam schedule this week; and 2). I’ve been craving some really greasy Chinese foods. Ok, maybe not really greasy, but something sweet, salty and savory with an Asian fusion all wrapped into one. I got this idea for Asian meal prep bowls from Damn Delicious, which I especially like because she includes nutritional facts for each serving. I had ingredients for sesame chicken (since Damn Delicious makes a teriyaki chicken) and used Skinny Taste for the chicken, but swapped ground chicken for chicken breasts. I popped everything in the crock pot while studying on Monday, let it brew while reviewing cardiac nursing and dished it up just in time for dinner. Garnished with sesame seeds and green onions, these Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken Brown Rice Bowls are *almost* better than take-out.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Granola, Granola, Granolaaaa

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When I lived in Ithaca, I discovered how easy it was to make granola and it quickly became a staple to snack on and top yogurt, oatmeal and smoothie bowls. Fast forward to living in Boston and I realized I haven’t made granola in a while. I’ve been saving this recipe for Vanilla Cardamom Granola since right around Christmas, but I finally bought some ground cardamom yesterday. (Fun fact: apparently cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice.) It has a very spicy, herbal and almost citrusy profile and reminded me of the flavor in lemon poppyseed muffins. The coconut flakes became browned in the oven, while the pecans are delightfully toasted. I topped my vanilla yogurt this morning with 1/4 c granola as an am snack. It’s light and hearty and oh, so satisfying.

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

Paleo Rainbow Drunken Noodles

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Chrissy Teigen made me add whiskey to this. Just kidding. No, she didn’t, but she recommended adding whiskey to these noodles “drunk.” According to CT, you’re supposed to eat drunken noodles as a hangover cure. Not sure if I quite believe that, but I still modified her version of “Actual Drunken Noodles” from CravingsI saw Pinch of Yum use spiralized veggies for a noodle base in addition to regular rice noodles when she Pad Thai so I figured, why not do the best of both worlds? I spiralized a sweet potato, red pepper and zucchinis. I added a few more eggs and cubed chicken from Pinch of Yum’s version to make this a more hearty, carnivore dish. I think the sweet potatoes really add a lot of sweetness on their own to these noodles, so I really cut back on the brown sugar. If you use regular noodles or spiralize veggies that aren’t sweet potatoes, feel free to add brown sugar to taste. I think the sauce ends up being more of a guessing game in terms of what you really like. On a side note, the fresh basil adds tons of flavor. I feel like I’m not even quite sure about the servings because I’ve been so hungry, I’ve gobbled up a bowl and then some. I would say it serves 2-4 to be safe, but you’ve been warned I was a bottomless pit both times I’ve made this so err on the side of caution, and maybe you’ll be lucky and have more leftovers than expected! Sorry for the off portion control, but you won’t be sorry you tasted Basil Drunken “Noodles.”

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

Glowing After These Moroccan Chickpea Glow Bowls

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Remember that Avocado Tzatziki? Obviously it had a purpose — for Moroccan Chickpea Glow Bowls with Avocado Tzatziki 🤗. The original recipe called these “detox” bowls and I can see why. You’re definitely satisfied after eating these, but not in an overly full, stuffed sort of way. The flavors are great! I haven’t experimented too much with Moroccan cooking and spices, but the blend was on point and a nice change from Thai, Indian, Mexican or Italian cuisine. I also tried these swapping the rice for shredded, plain chicken, which works well if you want a carnivore option. The mint in the tzatziki pairs so well with the spices and the jalapeño cilantro hummus adds a nice kick (but you can use any hummus or omit it entirely). The wonderful thing about these glow bowls is you can play around with them, swap ingredients, mix and match and really make them your own.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

Going Bananas for Banana Bread

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Mmmm, (Gluten-Free) Banana Bread. I’ve been searching for a butter-free, less added sugar banana bread and saw this version on Minimalist Baker. (MB is all about 1 pot/bowl recipes, ones involving 10 ingredients or less or a meal coming together in 30 min. Great philosophy, right?) Since this version was gluten-free, I decided to go with it. I still cut back on the added sugar, opting for less sweet taste, but the bananas still add their own sweetness.  The almond flour and whole oats definitely add hearty notes to the bread. Have a slice for breakfast with a cup of coffee or one as a snack. I see some banana bread variations in the future…

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Vegan, Vegetarian

Oogling over Spicy, Peanutty Udon

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Peanut noodles are never a bad idea. I really wanted take out on Sunday after a Saturday night of debauchery, but decided it was 1) expensive, 2) too long to wait 60-75 min and 3) unhealthy, so I pulled up my Pinterest, checked my pantry and settled on making homemade Spicy Peanut & Kale Udon Noodles instead. This satisfied my gluten and takeout craving, while packed nutrients from the kale and sweet potato. The cucumbers and scallions add a nice, hearty crunch, since I didn’t have any chopped peanuts on hand. Overall, this came together quite well, and I’m so happy  I used up my fridge/pantry arensal vs. ordering take out. Plus, it’s just that much more satisfying when you make it yourself. I think this is when the phrase “better than takeout” comes into play.

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Better Than Takeout, Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

The Simply Sensational Shakshuka

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I went out to brunch with my friends, Ali and Sam, and naturally Saturday brunch means being basic and heading to Newbury Street. We settled on Stephanie’s, somehow all ordered a side of home fries (apparently sharing wasn’t an option) and sipped on their spicy house-made Bloody Mary’s. (I don’t even like Bloody Mary’s and I want to buy their mix, so I’ll just let that sink in.) We were looking for a savory kind of breakfast — something hearty and filling. I tested out their shakshuka and am so glad I did. So glad, in fact, that I decided to recreate it at home. This looks complicated, but I promise you it’s not. The chopping is a bit time consuming, but otherwise it’s a dump and step back while this cooks kind of recipe — my fave. I added in more finely chopped veggies for nutrients and depth, but the real flavors are the tomatoes and the spices. Any tomatoes work, but heirlooms are just so pretty and in season now. It would be so easy to serve as a brunch or dinner and you can tailor the poaching of the eggs to being over easy or soft/hard boiled. I’ve already stocked up on the ingredients to make Shakshuka a second (and a third) time.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

Pure Perfection for this Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake

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Happy first day of fall, y’all! Naturally I have to kick off fall with all things pumpkin. You knew it was coming — it’s that time of year. I tweaked my recipe for Oatmeal Bake and concocted this Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake as an easy breakfast and as an early celebration. Plus, it’s so easy to pop a square into a mason jar, add toppings and you have breakfast on the go. My posts may be a bit sporadic because I have my first med surg exam tomorrow and NP school is kicking into high gear. Nevertheless, I forget to keep the healthy recipes coming. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

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

French Toast to Tickle Your Fancy

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Mmmmm, French toast. I don’t know the last time I had French toast. I’ve been a bit tired of omelets, quiche, avocado toast, smoothies, overnight oats…you know the drill, so I tried my hand at Multigrain French Toast with Mixed Berries. I swapped in multigrain bread, egg whites and almond milk. The multigrain bread added a gnarly texture. Top with an easy berry sauce, maple syrup and powdered sugar. Great and easy brunch!

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