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!

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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!

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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)

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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

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!

 

 

Oodles of Zoodles

Zucchini Noodles with Garlic, Oil and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

This spicy veggie dish is a healthy addition to your busy schedule – from prepped to cooked it takes less than 10 minutes! The summer squash is a low-carb, vitamin C-rich alternative to pasta and offers a lighter way to fill up with water and fiber. Serve as a side dish or include lean protein (chicken, shrimp, scallops, etc.)  for a meal.

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Ingredients (serves 2)

1 large zucchini

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use more or less depending on your love for spice!)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice zucchini into thin ribbons (I used my Vegetti tool for this – if you don’t have a tool similar to the Vegetti, you can get this effect by using a vegetable peeler to peel the entire zucchini). Pat dry with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  2. Mince garlic clove. Set aside.
  3. Warm olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini noodles with minced garlic. Add spices (salt, pepper and crushed red pepper). Sauté until zucchini is heated through and slightly softened, but do not let the zucchini noodles become very limp. Stir occasionally. Divide amongst two plates and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 90 calories, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 6 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 304 mg, Calcium 29 mg

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!

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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

Quick and Easy Chopped Avocado Salad

Chopped Salad With Avocado, Cucumber, Tomato and Feta

I came up with this recipe as a part of my dietetic internship rotation in order to promote avocados (as if they need any extra promotion – I think they are having a moment right now). But, this recipe is so simple and delicious that I had to share it!

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Ingredients (serves 2):

1 avocado

3/4  tomatoes, chopped

1/2 C cucumber, diced

1/4 C feta cheese (crumbled or sliced into cubes)

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

Dash salt

Dash pepper

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients. How simple is that?!

*Note: If you want this salad to last a couple of days, squeeze some lemon juice over the avocado to prevent it from browning

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The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 182 calories, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 17 mg, Carbohydrates 10 g, Fiber 6 g, Protein 5 g, Sodium 297 mg, Calcium 113 mg

Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

Whole Wheat Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Chèvre and Basil

Can you tell I had some leftover sun-dried tomatoes and basil from my last dish? I decided to make use of the large quantities in which these foods are often sold and make my favorite pasta dish. This dish contains calcium, lycopene, vitamin C and fiber, and only takes about 20 minutes to whip up! Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and is known to be abundant in tomatoes, giving them their deep, red color. Also, the fiber in this dish keeps you full and prevents severe blood sugar spikes normally seen with refined carbohydrates.

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Ingredients (serves 2):

1 C whole wheat pasta, dry

1.5 oz chèvre

1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)

2 Tbsp basil, chopped

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

dash salt

IMG_2099Directions:

1. Bring medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions on box.

2. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to medium-sized pan and warm over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add sun-dried tomatoes, spices and garlic to pan and cook another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Strain the pasta and set aside, reserving about 1/3 C of pasta water. Add pasta water to pan and cook until all liquid has been absorbed (about another 5 minutes). This will make the pasta taste like it is in a thicker sauce!

5. Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to pot used to cook pasta and replace on stove over low-medium heat. Add pasta and vegetables. Add chèvre and basil to pasta and combine all ingredients well. Serve and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Calories 453 calories, Total Fat 27 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Carbohydrates 47 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 13 g, Calcium 77 mg, Sodium 259 mg