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Tag Archives: healthy

Cavatappi with Sausage, Spinach, and Marinara

Let’s admit, it’s been a lot on us to try and come up with creative meals for dinner during our stay-at-home order these last few months. To be honest, we’ve resorted to ordering in twice a week and Taco Bell on Tuesday, which tastes delicious, but nonetheless is wasting money and not the healthiest thing to do. We finally cleaned off and fired up the grill on Sunday and made homemade burgers, hotdogs, grilled vegetables, and I was finally able to try some turkey sausages a company sent to me a few months back (by the way, they are AMAZING – Great American Turkey Co.)

Because it was only my husband and I, there were a decent amount of leftovers. Last night, I decided to make some pasta and throw the sausages in, along with some spinach I had in the fridge. I also remembered I took out frozen marinara sauce I made a few weeks ago so I added that to the pasta too. It was a leftover’s dream! Not only did the marinara taste just as good as it did when I made it, but the al dente boiled pasta (I love using Banza or Jovial pasta – which can be found on Thrive Market –> click the banner to the right or click here) and the spinach and sausages were such a good combination. I hate wasting food, so for this dinner to be a homerun, I was darn proud that I was able to use up food from a few nights ago, and what I rummaged in my fridge and freezer.

If you want to make this from scratch, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 package Banza cavatappi (or preferred pasta)
  • 1 package Great American Turkey Co sweet italian turkey sausage links
    • you can find where they are located on their website! Or, just use a different version of your favorite sausage
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
    • I like to make my own, but when I don’t, I use Rao’s
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Start by cooking the sausages to you preference, I like to grill them during the warmer months but you could always slice them and toss in some EVOO on a skillet. When the sausages begin to brown and cook, about 5-6 minutes, toss in the baby spinach. The spinach will cook down and wilt with the sausage. Set aside.

Bring a pot of water to boil, and add salt when water is boiling. Cook your pasta to desired doneness, with Banza I cook a minute or two less so that it does not fall apart, so the cavatappi says 9-11m, I cooked for just around 8 minutes or so. Drain the pasta and pour back into the pot. Add in the marinara of choice, then add in the sausage and spinach and mix together. Sprinkle with a little bit of parmesan, salt, and pepper and let your taste buds dance and sing. NOMaste healthy and safe friends!

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Chocolate Banana Muffin Bars

Can you believe we are already 11 days away from the end of May, and about to enter Summer? I can’t stand how time is flying right now and that our son is two months old. I remember writing recipes in October, basking in the second trimester glory, anticipating what the end result will be, and boy was it a journey (interested in my story? Here’s the link to my blog post).

This recipe was sitting in my notes on my phone for a very long time, probably since September last year, when I wrote it down while I was contemplating what to do with overripe bananas, because regardless of a pandemic or not, I always have at least two bananas that are about to RIP. Scrolling through my recipes I stumbled upon it again and as the ingredients are pretty simple, I decided that it’s about time I make it and see how it turns out – the result is AMAZING. Even my husband said they were good, and he is my biggest critic when it comes to cooking and baking.

These muffin bars are gluten free and made with Thrive Market cassava flour, calls for just one cup of sugar (both coconut and cane), two ripe bananas, and one of my favorite chocolates from Hu Kitchen. What I love about this recipe is that the bars came out so fluffy with a perfectly golden bottom, each bite has a delicate flavor of banana, and the chocolate literally came oozing out. This recipe yields approximately 12 smaller bars, but that depends on how you slice it 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (you could sub almond or oat milk too)
  • Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Cassava Flour
    • You can find my favorite cassava flour on Thrive Market –> hit the banner to the right and it’ll bring you there!
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    • (I do recommend Hu Kitchen because they are a paleo-friendly and “back to human” style eatery located in NYC but you can find their products here. I LOVE their crackers too!

Preheat your oven to 375* and pre-grease a 9×9″ brownie or baking tin. Begin by adding the wet ingredients into a bowl (eggs, bananas, vanilla, sugars, and milk). Blend to combine. Then layer in the dry ingredients – I like to pour the flour in a bit at a time so that it doesn’t fly everywhere. Mix to combine until smooth, there will be some chunks because of the banana.

Add in the 1/2 cup of chocolate (I coat the chocolate with some flour so that it does not sink to the bottom) and fold in with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Pour into the tin and bake for 20-23 minutes. Let sit and spread on some almond butter, a dollop of whipped cream, or eat them all in one sitting with a cup of coffee and Bravo Below Deck marathon… no judgment. Stay safe friends!

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Banana Bread

I admit this was not supposed to be a banana bread. I had every intention of making my almond butter collagen muffins (linked here!) and instead decided on pouring the entire batter into a loaf pan and praying it came out edible. If you know me, you know I’ve struggled with a banana bread recipe, and I can get quite stubborn when trying to figure out the measurements. For this recipe though, I did actually swap out a few ingredients, add in some, and eliminate collagen altogether. Thankfully, this time around it came out damn near perfect, and tastes SO good that it’s already gone. I’ll blame my insatiable hunger from breastfeeding on that.

Now that I’m not completely novice to baking, and from chatting with some close girlfriends who love to bake, I have come to the conclusion that not everything needs (or should) be substituted with healthier ingredients. Sometimes, recipes require specific measurements of particular ingredients and I find that swapping more than maybe one or two (possibly three if you have done it before – which in this case gluten free, all purpose flour) can alter the authenticity of the recipe, thus resulting in poor taste and texture. For this banana bread, I nixed the collagen, swapped whole milk for almond milk, used an all-purpose gluten free flour, and added chocolate chips. I truly think that this banana bread worked so well because it has minimal swaps, I’ve used the flour before (Bob’s Red Mill all purpose GF flour is amazing!), and almond milk is not too hard of a swap anyway. I will be making this again in a few days as my bananas go bad – or I just “happen to forget about them.” The texture in this bread is spongey, with a soft and chewy mouthfeel, the perfect hint of banana and almond butter, and the right amount of sweetness from the coconut sugar and banana.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 large ripe banana (I mean LARGE)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp (or really large spoonfuls) of almond butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 1/4 cup GF all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
    • *note: toss the chocolate chips in some flour before adding to batter so that they do not fall to the bottom of the pan.
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375* and grease a loaf pan with oil spray or butter. Whisk together the banana, almond milk, sugar, eggs, extract, almond butter, and avocado oil in a medium sized bowl until everything is JUST combined, try not to over mix. In a separate bowl or in a measuring cup, add the flour, soda, powder, and salt and whisk together. Add a bit of flour into the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Continue to pour the flour into the wet mixture as you mix little by little. Once all the flour is mixed in, add the chocolate chips and fold using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Pour into the loaf pan.

Top the mixture Bake for 40-45 minutes, testing the inside of the bread with a knife; if it comes out clean then it is done! The result is a decadent, tasty, perfectly baked gluten and dairy-free banana bread you can hoard all to yourself, just like I did! NOMaste and stay safe!

Beef and Bean Chili

It’s March, and while it’s not necessarily Spring yet, it’s certainly starting to feel like it. I’ll also admit that I haven’t had my usual energy to do much cooking or prepping, so this week is about keeping things simple and delicious, and helping my husband not spend money on lunch everyday for the rest of the week. Nevertheless, chili is something that I have always loved making because you can virtually make anything into a chili. I have a traditional chili on the blog already, but decided to ramp this one up with black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and roasted corn, all ingredients easily found in Trader Joe’s. I must admit, I couldn’t stop “taste testing” this one as it simmered.

I’ll keep this blog post super simple and cut right to the ingredients and recipe directions, because mama’s tired and needs her sleep (after all, we only have 10 more days until bub is due and I’ll need as much sleep between now and then as possible!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 can rinsed and drained garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 can rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1 cup Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn
  • 2-3 tbsp Chili powder
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • A shake of red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. In a large pot (I love my Staub cocotte), add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pot and turn the heat to medium. Add in chopped onions and saute until fragrant.
  2. Add in ground beef and brown until done. Add in can of crushed tomatoes, and seasonings (you’ll more than likely need more seasonings as the chili builds).
  3. Rinse and drain black beans and garbanzo beans, add them to the chili and stir to combine. Add in the cup of frozen corn and add a second round of seasonings (as desired, taste the chili first – when I did this I noticed it needed more smokey flavor so I added more chili powder).
  4. Turn heat to low/simmer and cook for another hour, stirring occasionally as to not burn the bottom.
  5. Serve with rice, potatoes, or quinoa!

Blueberry “On the Go” Breakfast Muffins

It finally happened, I caught the plague. The frustrating part about being sick is that you think you’re getting better one day, and the next it comes back in full force with the worst nasal drip, cough, and congestion. Thankfully, I am on the mend and had enough energy to retest a recipe I’ve been dying to perfect: blueberry muffins.

I’m always trying to make recipes easier and easier, and not over complicate with a bunch of different ingredients, and the beauty of these muffins is that while there are at least 8 different ingredients that go into it, the amount of blueberries is not compromised, leaving the end result as perfectly moist with a texture similar to a store-bought muffin, except they’re relatively bite size, hence “on the go.” I’ll be making these in a rotation for sure now that I figured out the ratio of baking soda to baking powder.

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
    • My dairy products are always Organic Valley products, and to learn a bit more about Organic Valley, head here.
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 cup gluten free flour – I swear by Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour, which can be found on the amazing Thrive Market
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Salt
  • 1 cup blueberries

In a large bowl add in all of the wet ingredients and whisk/mix with a hand mixer until just combined. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined again. Fold in the blueberries and let the batter sit for a good 20-25 minutes. This will allow the baking soda and powder to marry and build a solid base for the muffin (this will also help the muffins rise instead of fall when they come out of the oven).

Preheat the oven to 375*. Spray your muffin tin or liners with non-stick spray. Use a cookie scoop or a large spoon to ladle the batter into the muffin tin and bake for 20-23 minutes. Cut one open, spread some almond butter or grass fed butter on them and you’ve got an amazingly delicious, gluten free and low sugar breakfast treat for the week! Plus, they freeze nicely too! NOMaste.

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