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!

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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

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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

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Ready to bake in the oven!

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

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 

Greens Smoothie

Greens Smoothie

This has been my new go-to breakfast for busy mornings – you can make it in about 3 minutes or less, or you can even make it the night prior. Even though it’s bright green, don’t let the color scare you away. This smoothie is sweet, nutritious and packed with protein and vitamin C. Also, the vitamin C in pineapple and clementine help your body to absorb the iron present in spinach more readily – talk about a power breakfast. I usually eat 1-2 egg hard boiled eggs or egg whites to increase the protein content, or you can enjoy this smoothie as a mid-day pick-me-up!

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Ingredients (serves 1):

1 cup spinach, packed

1/3 C frozen pineapple chunks (make sure the only ingredient is pineapple – no added sugar or syrup!)

1 clementine, peeled and sectioned

1/2 C plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt

Ready to blend!

Ready to blend!

Directions:

  1. Place spinach all ingredients in blender (I used my Magic Bullet). Blend until well combined (you may need to blend it for about 2 minutes in order to get all of the spinach leaves fully incorporated). How easy was that?! *Note: you can make this overnight and store in your fridge to grab on your way out the door the next morning – just keep it covered.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 137 calories, Total Fat 0 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 22 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 14 g, Sodium 68 mg, Calcium 185 mg

This breakfast could be grab-and-go, but it took so little time to make that I just enjoyed it at home!

This breakfast could be grab-and-go, but it took so little time to make that I just enjoyed it at home!

 

 

Fall For This Treat: Pumpkin Pancakes!

Pumpkin Pancakes:


In case you couldn’t tell, I’m on a pumpkin kick. That, and I had leftover pumpkin that I could not let go to waste! On a lazy Sunday morning, I decided to make these pancakes with a fall twist. These pumpkin pancakes contain whole wheat flour, rolled oats, 0% fat Greek yogurt and skim milk, so they’re slimmed down and packed with autumn-y goodness. Pumpkin contains beta-carotene, which your body can convert to vitamin A. Also, while pumpkin tastes hearty, each 1/2 C serving contains only 40 calories, 9 g carbohydrates and packs in 5 g of fiber! This autumn superfood is one of my favorite things about fall – now, if only it actually felt like fall outside and were chilly enough to start wearing my boots! Until then, I will just enjoy these pumpkin pancakes!

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Ingredients: (serves 6, makes about 12-15 pancakes depending on how small or large you make them)

1/2 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C all purpose flour

3/4 C skim milk

1/2 C rolled oats

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 C honey

2 Tbsp plain, 0% fat Greek yogurt

dry ingredients

dry ingredients

1/2 C pumpkin puree (canned, or make your own!)

1 large egg

1 egg white (large)

1 tsp cinnamon

dash nutmeg

dash allspice dash salt (about 1/4 tsp or less)

1 Tbsp butter or margarine, whichever you prefer (*note: this is used to cook the pancakes on the heated pan – you can also use a non-stick vegetable oil cooking spray, but I tend to have better results using the butter)

all ingredients whisked together

all ingredients whisked together

Recipe:

1. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl (whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, rolled oats, baking powder, spices)

2. Scramble 1 large egg and 1 large egg white in small, separate bowl. Set aside.

3. Comine all wet ingredients in a separate, medium sized bowl (pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt, milk, honey. Add eggs and stir until well-combined and relatively smooth.

4. Add about 1 tsp butter to pan or griddle and warm over low-medium heat. (note: you will likely need to keep adding more butter every few rounds or so – keep taking from the 1 Tbsp. Also, you may not need to use all of it.)

5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients (you will want to add them to the large bowl!) and whisk all ingredients together until well combined.

almost ready to flip! tip: look for air bubbles - that indicates the pancakes are probably done on the bottom

almost ready to flip! tip: look for air bubbles – that indicates the pancakes are probably done on the bottom

6. Spoon the batter on to the pan or griddle. (*note: approximately 2 large spoonfuls of batter could be used per pancake in order to make silver dollar-sized pancakes. Make sure that batter is spread in a flat circle.  Cook each side approximately 5-10 minutes, or until browned. Continue this until all of the batter is cooked. This recipe will make about 12-15 pancakes, depending on the size of the pancakes and is intended to serve 6 people. These pancakes can be saved in the fridge for 1-2 days or frozen in an air-tight bag or container, with wax paper separating each pancake for easy defrosting.

7. Serve warm and enjoy plain, or with maple syrup, fruit, roasted nuts or any other topping you’d like!

one side, done! just a few more minutes until they're ready to eat!

one side, done! just a few more minutes until they’re ready to eat!

The Goods: What’s Inside? (Nutritional analysis is based on 6 servings, 2 pancakes per serving, dry, for a batter that makes 12 pancakes)

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:

Calories 239, Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 32 mg, Sodium 173 mg, Carbohydrates 48 g, Fiber 3 g, Sugar 26 g, Protein 7 g, Calcium 152 mg