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!

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

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 

Sautéed Scallops

Sautéed Scallops

This dish is packed with lean protein and skimps on a heavy sauce that is traditionally served with scallops. Instead, olive oil, spices and a small amount of butter (or in this case, Smart Balance made with olive oil) create a light coating and add a ton of flavor. I served my scallops over my whole wheat orzo salad (and made enough for leftovers)!

IMG_4526

Ingredients  (serves 2):

12 oz scallops, raw

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

dash  salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp butter (I prefer Smart Balance made with olive oil)

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

All seasoned and ready to cook!

All seasoned and ready to cook!

Directions:

  1. Place the scallops in a medium sized bowl. Add olive oil and spices and mix all ingredients together with a spoon until well combined.
  2. Spray a medium sized pan with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray and warm over medium heat. Add scallops and cook until browned, turning occassionally (about 10 minutes total cooking time, although this may vary).
  3. Add butter and stir scallops. Cook scallops for another 2-3 minutes, until cooked through. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 216 calories, Total Fat 9 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 56 mg, Carbohydrates 4 g, Fiber 0 g, Protein 29 g, Sodium 279 mg, Calcium 41 mg

seared scallops over my whole wheat orzo salad!

seared scallops over my whole wheat orzo salad!

 

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!

IMG_4289

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!

 

 

Chilled Quinoa With Citrus, Cilantro and Sunflower Seeds

Chilled Quinoa with Citrus, Cilantro and Sunflower Seeds

I know I’ve given you all a lot of quinoa recipes, but this one is my favorite to date, and is sure to become my new go-to for summer! Not only is this chilled quinoa salad refreshing, but it’s hearty in all of the right places (offering a significant amount of protein and fiber) and low in all of the right places, since it is low in total fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium! Also, this vegetarian dish offers complete protein (i.e. all of the body’s essential amino acids) from quinoa and edamame, so it’s great as a main dish or as a smaller portion as hearty side or snack!

IMG_3627

Ingredients (yields about five – 3/4 C servings):

1 C quinoa, dry (rinsed and drained)

2 C water

1/3 C shelled edamame, unsalted (or rinsed and drained to remove excess salt)

1/2 C grated carrots

2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, shelled and unsalted

3 Tbsp cilantro leaves, washed, dried and finely chopped (optional: plus additional for garnish)

Juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

dash salt

dash ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Combine quinoa and water in medium-sized pot and bring to a rapid boil, uncovered. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Allow quinoa to absorb the water (this should take about 15 minutes).

2. Remove quinoa from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring into a large mixing bowl. Add edamame, carrots, sunflower seeds, cilantro leaves, salt and pepper.

3. Whisk together lemon juice, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Drizzle over quinoa salad and mix all ingredients. Garnish with extra cilantro leaves (if desired) and chill in refrigerator until cold (about 2 hours) if serving that same day.

*This dish is great for quick grab-and-go leftovers and keeps well in the fridge for about 5-7 days if sealed in an airtight container!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving ~3/4 C)

Calories 194 calories, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 28 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 9 g, Sodium 44 mg, Calcium 56 mg