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

A Risotto Recipe to Warm You Up

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I can’t believe I haven’t posted this yet! This risotto is so yummy and comforting now that it’s getting cold. I made this right after the NCLEX — the boards to become a registered nurse — and it was a welcome distraction. There’s something so therapeutic about making risotto with all the stirring and mixing. I had this idea for a pumpkin leek combination and something about it seemed like it needed some bacon. For a curve ball, I used a dry red wine (since that’s what I had), but I think it adds some depth of color to this fall dish. I should also admit I’m not sure if it made a true 7 or 8 cup batch between all my “tastings” oops. . . Here’s a recipe for Pumpkin Leek Risotto with Turkey Bacon to soothe your soul and warm you to your toes.

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Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Lightened Up, Salad

Chicken Caesar Wrap as a Tastyyyy Salad

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Deconstructed Chicken Caesar Wrap — what’s up? I made this late summer around the same time I went to Nantucket with my friends Leah and Steph. For some reason, it got lost in the potential blog post limbo. I saw Leah Saturday night and she was craving a Caesar salad for dinner, and I remembered this post was lost in limbo. This version of a Caesar “salad” is light, fresh and perfectly chopped. I love my salads chopped now after this is how they were prepped in college. This is totally optional, but so much more fun. I also looooooove this dressing I found a few years ago; it’s creamy because of the Greek yogurt, but still tastes just like Caesar dressing. Adding a little naan on the side makes this salad seem like a wrap without actually having the wrap.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep

Killin’ It with These Korean Rice Bowls

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Happy meal prep with these popping flavors! The spiciness from the meat, the sesame from the spinach, the acidity of the kimchi . . . Although seemingly complicated, I really enjoyed the simplicity of this Korean Bibimbap Bowl. Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish served with seasonal fresh or sautéed vegetables, a red chili paste and an egg. Here’s a healthy (but definitely not authentic) twist using ground turkey, jasmine brown rice and fresh veggies. This is not your traditional bibimbap, since I swapped ground turkey for ground beef. I added a poached egg because I was lazy about cleaning another pan by frying an egg, and I’m trying to perfect my patching technique in the microwave. I found jarred kimchi at Trader Joe’s for quite cheap. Plus, you have it on hand and you’re not fussing about pickling napa cabbage and making something extra.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Lightened Up, Meal Prep

Homemade (Almost) Better-than-Takeout Curry Noodles

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This may not be my most photogenic dish, but it’s one I made to satisfy my Thai take-out craving (and my wallet), and I found myself looking forward to my leftovers. These Curry Chicken Noodles are so easy to tailor based on any curry or veggies that you use. The same goes for noodles; you can use boring spaghetti for the same effect or wide rice noodles or thick udon or ramen-like Chinese noodles.

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Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

Copycat Sweetgreen Falafel Salad

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Ever since moving to Boston, I really like Sweetgreen since you get a salad or bowl that’s healthy and doesn’t truly break the bank. But, I’d like Sweetgreen even more if I didn’t have to leave my apartment to grab a meal. Sometimes, you just want something a bit more instantaneous. Here’s my copycat version of the Hummus Tahina Salad — Falafel Salad with Cucumber Tahini Dressing. I bought some falafels from the freezer section, tossed in ingredients for a salad and whipped up a dressing. I liked SG’s idea of adding breadcrumbs to their salad, so I added some GF breadcrumbs to act like croutons. I also like making regular tahini dressing — raw tahini, lemon, agave and water — and modified this to be the cucumber tahini version. Almost just as easy, but this one requires a bit of blending to make the cucumbers and garlic silky smooth.

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Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

Very Decadent, Yet Very Easy Vegetable Risotto

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I love risotto. I think it’s really fun to make and almost a cathartic process with all the adding, mixing and stirring. It’s been a bit chilly in Boston (or at least I think so after coming from beautifully sunny weather on Sanibel Island), so this seemed like the perfect time to post Vegetable Risotto using zucchini, butternut squash and spinach. To stay in a true vegetarian nature, I used homemade vegetable stock, but have also used homemade chicken stock, which adds just as much flavor (see notes for how to). You’d never know cream or milk haven’t been added in. Mixing in freshly grated parmesan cheese still gives the risotto a decadent taste without being over-the-top and the butternut squash almost melts down to add a creamy texture to the risotto. Can I have seconds yet?

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

Crispy, Crunchy Coconut Tofu

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You know when you go out in the summer and all you see is coconut shrimp this and coconut shrimp that? Here’s a meatless Monday take on that — Crispy Coconut Tofu Bowls. I got this idea/recipe from Well Vegan and it definitely came from a plant-based protein roundup from either SELF or BuzzFeed. (Obviously I receive biweekly emails for meal, recipe ideas and cooking tips from both.) After coming back from Sanibel Island, I was still feeling the tropical vibes during this rainy weather and this recipe seemed like the perfect solution. I definitely cut down on all of Well Vegan‘s prep time, simplified the tofu process, lightened it up by baking instead of frying and skipped their added sauce. This recipe looks way more complicated than it is and just requires a little foresight to prep the tofu ahead of time. By swapping a can of full-drat coconut milk for So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk, the quinoa still turned out dense, yet fluffy with a very subtle coconut flavor. I must say the best part about this is the toasted coconut flakes and panic that result from the baking process — pure perfection.

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Entrée, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Seafood, Vegetarian

Tantalizingly Stuffed Tuna Salad Sweet Potatoes

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Want a yummy easy lunch with mostly pantry ingredients and basic staples? This recipe for Tuna Salad Stuffed Sweet Potatoes is not your mother’s tuna salad. (Sorry, Mom. Still think you make great tuna salads, but this is more of a “this is not your mom’s generations’ tuna salad.”) Protein packed and perfectly balanced, I got this idea for the stuff sweet potato from POPSUGAR‘s macro guide and tweaked Family Food on the Table recipe for a spinach tuna salad to be my own. Using mozzarella and Greek yogurt as the base for the tuna salad, it’s full of healthy fats and protein. I mixed in matchstick carrots (since they’re clearly one of my fridge staples), chopped spinach (ditto), mini cucumbers (sensing a trend?) and fresh lemon juice, pepper and garlic to taste. Placed in an easily baked microwave sweet potato while you assemble the salad, the sweet potato is then topped with avocado and sriracha. (Not sure what to do with potato insides? Try making a sweet potato crust.) Honestly, the best part is that you’re not insanely full after — winning!

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Meal Prep, Vegan, Vegetarian

Protein-Packed Plantbased Stir Fry

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Happy Meatless Monday! This colorful stir fry packs 30 g of protein when using 1 egg and 3 T egg whites. Not bad for eating meatless. I got this idea for a Colorful Veggie Stir Fry with Tofu from PopSugar. I’ve realized I don’t get enough protein a day (like most women), and I’ve been trying to consciously add more protein to dishes when I can. My existing diet seems to revolve mostly around veggies and grains (not a bad thing! But hey, carbs), so I’m trying to make a transition to one of a more balanced “macro” diet, but thus, incorporating more protein. Macronutrients can be broken down into carbs or carbohydrates, protein and fat. A macro diet doesn’t focus on calories alone, but the types of calories you’re eating and the certain percentage of how those calories compare. For the stir fry, I added in eggs and tofu. I tried both a steamed veggie (less oil, i.e. fat) and stir fry veggie option. Honestly, they had about the same in flavor and the steamed option was faster and more convenient using your handy microwave. The flavor really comes from the soy sauce for the tofu and sriracha to top. My favorite method was the steamed veggies with scrambles eggs because it was just SO EASY, but I included both below. (Looks complicated, but I assure you it’s not.) I already know what I’m having for lunch the next two days. Also great for meal prepping!

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

Keen on Rainbow Quinoa Salad Bowls

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I’ve been on a colorful salad and bowl kick lately. This Rainbow Quinoa Salad did not disappoint. Can you sense a taste trend here? I also really liked this Peanut Ginger Dressing and it was very easy to make. I made this salad dressing combo during the week when I had exams and presentations and had my last serving today. Can I already have another? I used a combination of yellow and red bell peppers to give a more colorful kick and balance the other colors. Served cold, it hit the spot during this warm, toasty April week.

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