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Tag Archives: whole30

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 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!

Ground Turkey and Chickpea Skillet with Roasted Veggie Medley

Good ol’ quarantine. Welcome to week 5 of stay-at-home, and getting creative in the kitchen. I accidentally bought a 5lb (YES 5LB) bag of carrots from Whole Foods a few weeks ago, and have been lucky to snag some slots at Whole Foods and Fairway delivery frantically throwing in zucchini and yellow squash into the cart, hoping that they still had it in stock. Thankfully, they did. I’m breastfeeding and while there really isn’t much science to back up cruciferous vegetables tend to make babies gassy, I still err on the side of caution and stick to spinach and zucchini for my vegetables.

I love ground turkey, and when I wasn’t much of a red meat eater (which changed the minute I tried Bistecca Fiorentina in Florence on my honeymoon five years ago), I relied heavily on ground turkey for everything. I find the key to making it tasty is a generous amount of seasoning and bone broth. That’s why I love this skillet: it has an abundance of flavor from cumin, onion, and garlic powder, a splash of dry white cooking wine (because why not?) and chicken bone broth from Kettle and Fire. I thickened the skillet with my trusty arrowroot and sprinkled some sharp white cheddar on top and broiled until it was perfectly melted. Let’s get down to business…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • For the ground turkey skillet:
    • 1 pkg or 1lb ground turkey (I like dark meat turkey – that’s where the flavor and juices are!)
    • 1 tbsp oil (I prefer Olive or Avocado oil)
    • 1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1.5 cup baby spinach
    • 1/4 cup bone broth or chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock too!)
    • Splash of dry white cooking wine
    • Onion powder
    • Garlic powder
    • Cumin powder
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar (or any kind of shredded cheese – this is completely optional)
  • For the roasted veggies:
    • 3 large carrots, rinsed and sliced into long quarters
    • 2 zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
    • 1 yellow squash, sliced thick

Begin with cutting/slicing the vegetables and toss in some oil then layer onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and dried basil and/or rosemary. Bake at 375* for 35 minutes.

In the meantime, grease a cast iron skillet with the oil of choice and set the heat to a medium flame. Add in the ground turkey and cook until 90% browned. Add in the garbanzo beans, spinach, and let the spinach begin to wilt – trust me it will. Add in seasonings and toss together. Pour in white wine to deglaze the skillet, and add in the broth. Turn flame up a little bit to bring to a gentle boil and add in arrowroot/thickener. Mix together until broth and turkey/garbanzo mixture becomes thick. Sprinkle cheese on top and broil for 3 minutes. Serve on top of the veggies or make a side of rice, either way, this is a perfect “what do I have on hand?” meal fit for a family at home 🙂 NOMaste healthy and safe my friends!

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fingerling Potatoes and Tomatoes Skillet

I guess there’s no better time than the present to start getting creative in the kitchen, and becoming way more comfortable with simple, easy recipes with ingredients found in the kitchen or pantry. It’s a struggle to find onions, chicken toilet paper (still) and obviously cleaning products, so I write this blog entry with gratitude that I have been lucky enough to snag delivery windows for groceries. I pray that this pandemic is over sooner than later, and that we don’t return to normal – because that wasn’t working. I hope we come back to a space of kindness, thoughtfulness, awareness of what we have taken for granted in the past, and eternal respect for our heroes in scrubs, in grocery stores, delivery uniforms, and classrooms. With that being said, I present to you one of the most delicious chicken skillet dinners I’ve ever made. Like, ever.

One of the beautiful things about using a cast iron skillet is that everytime you cook with it, it absorbs the seasoning from the previous use, and it adds a different dimension of flavor to the dish. I had the skillet out on the counter, drying from use for a bolognese (link to that recipe here) and decided to use it again for chicken. I may need to get a few more of these skillets because I am slowly becoming obsessed. Cast irons, when thrown in the oven, help with overall crispiness to the dish and helps with even cooking. It’s safe to say I was very pleased with how this recipe came out, especially with the fingerling potatoes and tomatoes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb or package of bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1.5 cups fingerling potatoes, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Chili Lime seasoning from Trader Joes – (or chili powder, onion salt, garlic powder, paprika.)
  • Dried basil
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375*. Rinse and pat dry the chicken and put into a bowl. Pour your seasoning into the bowl with the chicken (chili lime, garlic powder, dried basil, salt) and toss to coat – be sure to massage the seasoning into the chicken. Pour one tbsp of oil into the bowl with the chicken and mix again, then place the chicken into the skillet. Rinse the fingerling potatoes and tomatoes and slice in half. Throw the vegetables in a separate bowl with salt, pepper, and dried rosemary. Pour the remaining olive oil into the bowl and toss to combine.

Pour the vegetables into gaps of the skillet, and assemble around the chicken as shown below. Bake in the middle rack for just over an hour (65-70m is perfect). Serve as is or add a side salad 🙂 A delectable meal, perfect for staying at home; stay safe and well friends!

Homemade Meatballs

It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks. We have packed up seven years of our Brooklyn one-bedroom and moved to our beautiful cape on Long Island last week, and we are starting to settle in and unpack our boxes. Moving into our first home is nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. Of course, I could not wait to buy food for our fridge and freezer, and whip up dinners immediately. I had wanted to try making meatballs for some time and figured that it would be a very easy and hearty meal to break in the stove and oven on our first night cooking in the kitchen.

There are so many different ways people make meatballs, and I used to think that adding a medley of seasonings was the trick. In fact, I think the reason this recipe tastes so great is because of the simplicity of the ingredients. I kept it pretty traditional, but ensured that I used a generous amount of each flavor so that it was well balanced. I used grass-fed beef found at the store, and made a quick red sauce on the stove using tomato sauce and one can of crushed tomatoes (which simmered for a good 45 minutes to an hour; I added salt and pepper, basil leaves, and one packet of stevia for sweetener). I have a recipe of simmered Sunday red sauce that I’ll make in the fall, but for now, this one worked impressively well.

I started by taking the meat out of the fridge and letting it get to room temperature, Then, I aded the beef to a bowl, along with two eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion salt, and oregano. Literally, THAT IS IT. I loosely formed the meatballs, eyeballing each size and pulled a little here and there to make sure I had an even 24 balls.

I preheated my oven to 325 degrees. After lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil, I sprayed it down with avocado oil and added the meatballs one by one, leaving some space between. The meatballs baked for 25 minutes, which is fine because they became a perfect brown and soft enough to put into the sauce as it simmered. I transferred the meatballs to the red sauce and let them finish cooking for a good 30 minutes more.

I served this with roasted cauliflower and broccoli and did not even miss the starchy pasta that usually accompanies meatballs. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did, and we’ll never forget our first dinner together in our new home — NOMaste!