Baked Spinach Artichoke Protein Pasta

Baked Spinach Artichoke Protein Pasta

Meal Prep is easiest when you can make a large batch of one thing that can last through the beginning of a crazy week. One of my favorite foods to prep in advance is pasta – it’s always great warmed up and holds up well in the fridge or the freezer. This recipe was originally presented at a Culinary Workshop class I recently helped to lead, and I adapted it, pumped up the protein with legume-based pasta and Greek yogurt and used my Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip as a base to make it my own. The result was creamy, spinach artichoke deliciousness – and a ton of leftovers – perfect for a busy week ahead!

spin-art-pasta-3

Ingredients (Serves 8):

8 oz legume-based pasta, dry (I used Banza pasta- a chickpea pasta with added pea protein!)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 C plain, 2% Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 C parmesan cheese, grated

3/4 C part-skim mozzarella, shredded

2 Tbsp smoked paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

1 can (about 15 oz) artichoke hearts, drained well (if salted, rinse and drain to remove excess sodium)

3 Cups frozen, chopped spinach, thawed

1/4 C low sodium vegetable broth

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Nonstick oil cooking spray

spin-art-pasta-1

Now just stir in pasta!

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil (add a dash of salt if desired).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. While water is boiling, squeeze out any excess water from the spinach and artichokes (they must be dry before adding to recipe). Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add onion, stir and sauté for about 4-5 minutes. Add minced garlic, stir, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Add pasta to boiled water and cook according to directions on package, stirring occasionally. Watch the pasta closely, as many legume-based pastas can get mushy quickly! Be careful not to overcook.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, flour, spices (paprika, garlic powder, ground black pepper), parmesan cheese and about 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese. Add spinach, artichokes, onion/garlic mixture and vegetable broth and stir until ingredients are well combined.
  7. Once pasta is cooked, drain in a colander and add to mixing bowl. Stir all ingredients until pasta is coated well with yogurt mixture.
  8. Spray a casserole dish (9 x 13 inches) with nonstick cooking spray, add pasta and yogurt mixture to dish and spread evenly with a spoon or spatula. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove from oven, add the remaining mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: Calories 262 calories, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Carbohydrates 29 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 19 g, Sodium 318 mg, Calcium 274 mg

spin-art-pasta-2

Ready to bake in the oven!

Advertisements

Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

Cauliflower Fried Rice

This “fried rice” takes care of that comfort-food craving, without all of the calories. This veggie-filled dish is topped with eggs and chicken – lean protein sources that are sure to fill you up – and comes in at about 300 calories per serving!

cauliflower fired rice

Ingredients (serves 4):

1 1/2 lbs. cauliflower “rice” (you can buy this at many grocery stores, or you can simply cut a large head of cauliflower into small pieces)

1 lb. chicken breast cutlets

1 medium sweet onion (or you can use scallions), chopped

1 yellow squash, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

3/4 C carrots, sliced

1/2 C frozen peas, thawed

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

3 Tbsp teriyaki sauce ( I like Trader Joe’s Soyaki) – just watch out for sodium and sugar!

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

Dash ground black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, scrambled (raw)

chicken stir fryDirections:

  1. Cut chicken into small pieces. Spray large saucepan or wok with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Add 2 tsp olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add chicken and 1 1/2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce and cook until cooked through (about 10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  2. Steam carrots (you can use a steamer or place in microwave safe bowl, add a splash of water, cover and cook on “high” for about 2 minutes, until softened and bright.
  3. Add 1 tsp olive oil to pan and warm over medium heat. Add onions, zucchini, yellow squash and spices (ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder) and cook until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Add minced garlic, peas, carrots and another 2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce. Cook another 5-7 minutes, remove from pan and add to dish with chicken.
  4. Add remaining olive oil and remaining  teriyaki sauce to pan and warm over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower “rice”and sauté for approximately 5 minutes. Add scrambled eggs and stir until cooked through. Add chicken and veggies, stir until well combined and remove from heat. Serve and enjoy!

veggies stir fry

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 300 calories, Total Fat 9 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 112 mg, Carbohydrates 23 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 35 g, Sodium 431 mg, Calcium 96 mg

 

Why Take-Out When You Could Dine In?

Whole Wheat Cous Cous With Chickpeas, Edamame and Peanuts in a Peanut Butter Sauce

This take-out inspired dish is filled with peanut butter-y goodness and offers a fun, different way to enjoy vegetarian protein. Filled with fiber, protein and lower in calories and sodium than traditional take-out, this homemade version will become your new busy night go-to dish!

couscous

 

Ingredients (serves 6):

Peanut Butter Teriyaki Sauce:

1/3 C natural, creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce (I like Trader Joe’s Soyaki Sauce)

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1/4 C water

1/2 tsp hot sauce (I like Cholula or Frank’s Red Hot)

dash crushed red pepper flakes (depends how hot you like it!)

dash ground ginger

*optional: ~1/2 tsp honey to create a sweeter peanut sauce (not included in nutritional analysis)

pb sauce

Peanut Sauce!

Stir Fry:

1 C whole wheat cous cous, dry

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

3/4 C carrots, shredded

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (try to find a brand with no added salt – or rinse and strain beans to remove excess salt)

1/4 C edamame, shelled,  unsalted and ready-to-eat

5 oz baby bok choy (about 4-5 baby bok choy)

2 Tbsp water

1/4 C peanuts, roasted and unsalted (just the kernels)

*Note: Depending on whether or not you use a nonstick skillet, you may want to add either a nonstick vegetable oil spray or a small amount of olive oil to your skillet in the third step (while you add the spoonful of sauce). If adding olive oil, note that 1 Tbsp olive oil has about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat  (this is not accounted for below in the nutritional analysis). 

Directions:

  1. Mix all sauce ingredients in a medium bowl until well-combined. Set aside.
  2. Cook the cous cous according to box directions (I bring 1 C water to a boil, add 1 C dry cous cous, stir, remove from heat, cover and allow to sit for about 5-7 minutes, until all water is absorbed and cous cous is fluffy).
  3. Add a small spoonful of peanut sauce to a large skillet or wok and heat over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots and chickpeas and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and slightly browned.
  4. Add edamame, baby bok choy and 2 Tbsp water, stir and cover for approximately 3-5 minutes, until baby bok choy is bright green and softened. Add peanuts, stir and cook another 2-3 minutes, uncovered.
  5. Add cous cous and the remaining peanut sauce to skillet and mix all ingredients until well combined. Serve and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 321 calories, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 39 g, Fiber 7 g, Protein 14 g, Sodium 438 mg, Calcium 82 mg

skillet couscous

A Berry Simple Smoothie Bowl

Blueberry Banana Smoothie Bowl

This make-ahead breakfast is my favorite for busy mornings. Filled with protein, antioxidants and fiber, this tasty bowl packs in a nutritional punch for few calories (and in no time)! I topped mine with granola, but this smoothie is also delicious on it’s in own in a to-go cup on your way out the door.

smoothie bowl

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 ripe banana

3/4 C frozen blueberries

1/4 C natural, creamy peanut butter (I like Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter)

1/4 C 0% plain, Greek yogurt

1/2 C milk of your choice

3 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together – I used my Nutri Bullet! (How easy is that?)

*Chill in fridge in sealed container if not consuming immediately. I like to make my smoothie at night and just give it a quick stir in the morning – breakfast made easy! 

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 332 calories, Total Fat 17 g, Saturated Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 3 mg, Carbohydrates 30 g, Fiber 6 g, Protein 13 g, Sodium 154 mg, Calcium 122 mg

*Note: Nutritional analysis uses 1% (low-fat) milk

Cream-Free Creamy Coleslaw!

Creamy Coleslaw

coleslaw

This coleslaw will have you thinking you’re digging into a mayo-filled bowl of slaw, but I swapped Greek yogurt for the traditional sour cream and mayo to give this bowl of veggies some creamy flavor, without all of the calories. A slaw with some protein and calcium for less than 50 calories per serving? Now you can have your slaw and eat it, too!

Ingredients (yields about ten 1/2-cup servings):

5 C shredded broccoli, carrots, cabbage or any other veggie you love! (I like the Trader Joe’s brand “Shredded Broccoli Slaw” package, which comes with 5 C shredded broccoli stalk and carrots – easy!)

1/4 C roasted sunflower seeds, unsalted

1 C 0% fat, plain Greek yogurt

1/3 C red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp ground black pepper

1 Tbsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

Now just mix with veggies!

Now just mix with veggies!

Directions:

  1. Empty shredded veggies into large mixing bowl. Add sunflower seeds.
  2. In a separate (smaller) bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, vinegar, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder until well combined. The dressing will have a creamy consistency.
  3. Pour the dressing over the slaw and use tongs to mix all ingredients together so that the slaw is coated with the dressing.
  4. Cover bowl or transfer into an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours, or until slaw is slightly wilted. Serve chilled and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving = about 1/2 cup)

Calories 49 calories, Total Fat 2 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 5 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 4 g, Sodium 84 mg, Calcium 46 mg

I served my coleslaw with a homemade turkey burger!

I served my coleslaw with a homemade turkey burger!

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These chewy oatmeal cookies are the perfect holiday cookie – no one would even guess that they are filled with fiber and boast more protein than the average cookie! Using rolled oats, Greek yogurt, dark chocolate and ground cinnamon, these cookies offer wholesome goodness that taste good, too!

cookies

Ingredients (yields ~ 20 cookies)

1 1/2 C rolled oats

1 C whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 C dark brown sugar

1/4 C honey

1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, scrambled

2 Tbsp plain 0% Greek yogurt

1/4 C dark chocolate chips (try to look for  at least 72% cocoa)

2 Tbsp 1% (low fat) milk

2 Tbsp water

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

batterDirections:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (oats, flour, baking powder, spices, brown sugar).
  3. Combine wet ingredients in a separate medium bowl (honey, eggs, yogurt, milk, water).
  4. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients in the larger mixing bowl. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spray baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray (you will need two baking sheets).
  6. Scoop batter into balls approximately 1 inch in diameter, roll each ball in your hands and place on baking sheet. Press down on each ball to form a cookie shape (batter is slightly liquid-y, so the cookies may naturally take this shape)
  7. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes, until cookies are browned and a toothpick comes out clean when poked through the center of the cookie. Enjoy!

*store in an airtight container to preserve freshness

*these cookies are extra amazing when warmed slightly in the microwave – just don’t overdo it!

cookie sheet

 

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 136 calories, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 18 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 69 mg, Calcium 37 mg

A Delicious Dip!

Creamy Cucumber Dill Yogurt Dip

This Tzatziki-style dip is simple to make and offers healthy protein along with a ton of flavor! With 7 grams of protein and less than 50 calories per serving, this dip is the perfect addition to any holiday party – without that heavy holiday food feeling!

yogurt dip

Ingredients (serves 6):

1 1/2 C 0% fat, plain Greek yogurt

3/4 C fresh cucumber, diced (make sure to dice into very tiny pieces)

1 1/2 Tbsp dried dill weed

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

dash salt

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and serve chilled. How easy is that?!

*Serve with veggies, crackers, pita or use as a topper for grilled chicken, fish, meat or anything!

Note: This dip is best when served immediately, as the cucumbers can make the dip watery if left to sit for too long. If you are making this dip ahead of time, allow the cucumbers to drain on a paper towel in the fridge for a few hours so that they don’t hold as much water. This dip is still great as leftovers, but if entertaining it is best to make just prior to serving.

cucumber

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving is about 1/4 C dip)

Calories 43 calories, Total Fat 0 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Protein 7 g, Carbohydrates 5 g, Fiber 0 g, Sodium 50 mg, Calcium 85 mg