Tag Archives: healthy

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta

22 Jan

Have you ever added up how much you spend on food? The daily coffees, lunches out with co-workers, dinner dates, picked-up meals and weekly groceries all add up to a LOT of money. Whether you’re working on a New Year’s goal related to spending habits, or just want to be able to cook more frugally, the Recipe Redux has you covered this month!

We’ve been tasked with creating a recipe that costs less than $3 per serving. Now, as a vegetarian, this is much easier for me than my meat-eating friends. I noticed the drop in spending immediately after I gave up meat – both at the grocery store and at restaurants. But the bill can still add up and sometimes in a less than healthy way.

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So I wanted to develop a meal that was not only low cost, but high in flavor, protein and fiber. Have you seen those legume-based pastas that are available? Black bean spaghetti, red lentil rotini, even chickpea penne! Yes, they sound a little crazy, and the first time you make black bean spaghetti, I guarantee you will be weirded out by the color of the cooking water. But these are such an incredible alternative to traditional pastas. (Which I totally have nothing against, especially since I began making my own!) Sometimes, you just need a high protein meal that comes together quickly and can be easily dressed up.

This Alfredo delivers on all of the above. Red lentil pasta, which clocks in at a hefty 21 grams of protein per serving, is tossed with a simple yet flavorful goat cheese sauce. Dress up the finished product with a bit of balsamic glaze and voila: a healthy, quick, delicious meal that only costs $2.22 per serving.

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta

Serves 2

  • 6 oz red lentil gluten free pasta (can substitute for black bean pasta, or another favorite) – ($1.50)
  • 2 tbsp butter ($0.15)
  • 1/2 C soy milk (or other preferred milk) ($0.12)
  • 4 oz garlic & herb goat cheese or chevre ($1.99)
  • 1 oz parmesan, freshly shredded ($0.36)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic glaze, to garnish ($0.32)

Grand total: $4.44. Per serving: $2.22!

Cook pasta according to package directions. These legume-based pastas have pretty specific directions, so it’s best to follow them!

While the pasta boils, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Once melted, stir in the milk and then the cheeses. Keep stirring to melt all the cheese into the milk. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Drain the cooked pasta and immediately transfer into the skillet with the hot Alfredo sauce. Toss to coat completely. Serve and drizzle with balsamic glaze (this is optional, but the sweet tang of the glaze makes the creamy sauce pop!)

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Creamy Carrot Ginger Beer Soup

20 Jan

Houses Lannister, Baelish, Mormont, Bolton, Stark, Sand, Asshai, Tyrell and Tarth came together last weekend to discover who killed Daenerys Targaryen. Ok, don’t freak out: this is a spoiler-free post! My friends and I put on a murder mystery Game of Thrones dinner party and it was a BLAST. The murder mystery we used is clearly not in line with the actual story progression of Game of Thrones, which made for an interesting twist as we navigated through our given personae and clues.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Beer Soup | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

We ate tons of delicious food: ALL the chickens (for the meat-eaters), roasted maple squash, jalapeno poppers, flayed potato skins and mashed potatoes, carrot ginger soup, Sansa’s lemon cakes, and even House Sigil cookies! The drinks flowed freely as well, including White Walkers, Dornish Mulled Wine, and a homebrew Chris and I made called “Valar Mozugon,” which means “All men must drink” in High Valyrian. And in true Game of Thrones fashion, we pointed blame at the would-be “murderers,” dealt with Jon Snow’s descriptions of The Wall, and even prevented Sansa and Ramsay from killing each other!

Game of Thrones House Sigil Cookies | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

My character was Brienne of Tarth. If you’re not familiar with murder mystery parties, each attendee is assigned to be a character within the story, along with information about where you were before, during and after the “murder” in question. With that, you interview each other and try to probe for details that could lead to the “killer.” After four rounds of food, drink and accusations, we figured it out!

Game of Thrones Murder Mystery Dinner | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Featuring flayed potato skins, jalapeno poppers, Sansa’s lemon cakes and ALL the chicken!

The result was a fun party with a great group of people, some of whom even came costumed as their character! Chris, Ashley and I simply bought t-shirts with our assigned characters’ House crests on them.

Game of Thrones Murder Mystery Dinner | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Jaime Lannister, Margery Tyrell, Sansa Stark, Jon Snow

So onto the recipe – I made a large batch soup, which I knew would feed the crowd of “suspects.” It’s creamy, flavorful and the bright orange color is to die for! In a truly Game of Thrones spin, I used a bottle of beer as part of the cooking liquid for added depth. Whip up a batch for your next get together, nerdy or otherwise.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Beer Soup

Serves 8-10 (this can easily be halved to suit your needs. Simply use half a bottle of beer!)

  • 4 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 5 C vegetable stock
  • 1 bottle wheat beer
  • 1.5 C water
  • 3 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2” fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat butter over medium. Cook onions until they begin to saute and become fragrant.

Add the liquids, carrots and grated ginger. Stir and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to let simmer about 45 minutes.

Once the carrots are fork-tender, remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree until completely smooth. Be careful not to splash carrot everywhere!

Return the pureed soup to medium heat and stir in the cream. Allow the soup to heat the cream; taste and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge up to a week, or stored in an airtight container in the freezer for a future meal.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Beer Soup | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pasta with Charred Pepper and Onion

22 Dec

Happy winter! I know, it’s been a while since I posted a new recipe. Work and life and more work have taken a priority, but all for great reasons! Since September, I have been teaching public speaking at the nearby university in addition to my day job. The class is fun and poses some interesting challenges for myself. This week will see the end of the semester, which simply means five weeks to prep for spring.

I was excited to see that this month’s Recipe Redux challenge was a cookbook-related one. In order to celebrate all the accomplishments of 2016, the Redux team has asked us flip to a 2016-esque page number in the nearest cookbook.

A year or two ago, my Oma and Opa gave me a vegetarian cookbook for Christmas. I know they sometimes question my vegetarianism, but the gift of that book said a lot in terms of acceptance of my dietary choices. I know they want the best for me overall, and proper food is a surefire way to be healthy!

So, I flipped to page 216 in the book “330 Vegetarian Recipes for Health,” and low and behold I found a simple yet satisfying recipe of pasta, roasted peppers and onion!

Pasta with Charred Pepper and Onion | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

After a long day and a nice run on the treadmill, this was to be the ideal dinner with some modifications. This meal really is the ideal dinner to make on a busy night. Bell pepper roasts quickly in the broiler or on the grill and pairs perfectly with whole grain pasta and sauteed onion. I added some beefless ground for a protein boost, and some spices for additional flavor, and that’s it! A quick and easily meal for two or four.

Pasta with Charred Pepper and Onion | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Fusilli with Peppers and Onions, modified from 330 Vegetarian Recipes for Health

Serves 2

  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-1/2 whole grain fusilli or rotini
  • 3/4 C beefless ground
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, to serve

Turn on your broiler or grill. Place the washed bell pepper in the flame and cook until charred. You’ll need to watch it and turn it around to ensure an even char. Once sufficiently blackened, remove and place in a paper bag. Close and let sit for five minutes.

Scrape off the charred skin from the bell pepper. Slice thinly; set aside.

Bring water to boil in a pot and cook pasta according to package directions. I prefer the whole grain pasta for added chew, fiber and protein. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in frying pan. Saute onion 8-10 minutes. Add in the sliced bell pepper and sprinkle in some sea salt and black pepper. Then, stir in the beefless ground, paprika and coriander. Cook another 5 minutes to heat through.

Stir the vegetables into the pot of pasta. Mix well and serve into two bowls. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and extra salt and pepper.
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Vegan Spaghetti Dinner with Black Bean Pasta Sauce

22 Sep

With an oversized apron tied ‘round my waist and a wooden spoon in hand, I was always an eager young cook. This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is “first cooking memories,” and I have quite a few of those! I remember rolling, cutting and decorating sugar cookies for Christmas with Oma (and trying to sneak some of the raw dough while she wasn’t looking). I remember stirring the contents of various pots of food on the stove at Grandma’s house during holiday & birthday dinners. I remember rolling out the dough and prepping the fillings with dad for apple and pumpkin pies leading up to Thanksgiving. And I remember how much I loved spaghetti for dinner, and helping mom prepare it.

Vegan Spaghetti Dinner with Black Bean Pasta Sauce | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Those daily memories are often the most basic, yet enjoyable to think back on. Oma had made kid-sized aprons for my sister and I to don while helping our parents cook. Which is good – I can only imagine we created somewhat of a mess in the process! My love of cooking and food began with all of that. My family respected my help in the kitchen, and the older I got, the more responsibility was given to me. Where I first was allowed to stir the sauce, I progressed to browning the meat for the sauce (yes, I used to eat meat). Instead of just putting the pot of water on the stove to boil, I actually cooked the noodles all the way through. We switched from store-bought garlic bread, to garlicking (is that a word? It is now) a fresh loaf of bread.

When my sis and I were finally old enough, and knowledgeable enough, to cook on our own, our parents tasked us with making dinner once a week for a whole summer! We had to plan the meal, add the ingredients to the grocery list (after first checking the pantry & freezer for anything we already had), go shopping with them (an activity I still love to this day), prep the ingredients, and cook the entire meal. Sure, we frequently asked questions regarding technique, timing, and what something in the recipe might mean, but we did it all on our own, at a relatively young age. This was fantastic prep for meals when we were alone, and certainly for college survival.

Thanks to my parents and grandparents for those early cooking experiences! Because of that, I now find great joy in the entire cooking process, from recipe creation to meal devouring. And with that, here’s a healthy, vegan take on that spaghetti dinner I used to help prepare. Mashed and seasoned black beans replace ground beef, and a homemade sauce elevates the flavor of jarred varieties. It’s a great weeknight dinner that you can even get your kids to help with 🙂

Vegan Spaghetti Dinner with Black Bean Pasta Sauce | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Vegan Spaghetti Dinner

Serves 4

  • 8 oz whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 C water

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Cook the onion 5-7 minutes, until translucent and fragrant. Add the black beans and cook another 3-4 minutes to heat through. Use a flat wooden spoon or fork to mash the black beans and onions together. You’re looking for consistency similar to cooked ground beef. Stir in the seasonings, cooking through another 2-3 minutes.

Now stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, garlic and water. Mom always taught me to add a spoonful of sugar to tomato-based sauces, to cut the acidic properties of tomatoes and bring out their taste.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes. Cook through another 5 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add it into the skillet with your sauce, and toss to coat. Taste and add more salt or pepper as desired.

Serve and enjoy hot! This pairs well with a leafy green salad and bottle of red wine (or juice for the kids).

Kiwi Kale Smoothie Bowl

8 Aug

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

My smoothies have become thicker and thicker – I have started adding coconut, nuts seeds, veggies and more fruit. That doesn’t exactly leave much room for liquids, which is why the smoothies I’m making lately get poured in a bowl!

It took me a while to jump on the smoothie bowl train, but I’ve come to learn just how wonderful they are. You can top them to your heart’s content, spoon it up like a gazpacho, and feel like you’re actually eating something hearty, which I don’t always get from a smoothie in a glass.

Kiwi Kale Smoothie Bowl | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

This smoothie bowl has two star ingredients: yellow kiwifruit and leafy kale. The kale is an obvious one: leafy greens are so important and full of nutrition. They’re fine in salads, which I eat nearly every day, but they’re so easy to eat in smoothie form! Green smoothies are the bomb.com and don’t you forget it.

The kiwifruit, though, that’s where the refreshing kick comes from in this bowl of goodness. Zespri kiwifruit are yellow and you can totally eat the skins. Make it easy on your blender by roughly chopping one of this big kiwifruit and throw it in, skin and everything! This particular variety, SunGolds, are a natural cross between gold varieties of kiwifruit (all Zespri kiwifruit is non-GMO). They’re  high in vitamin C and vitamin E – perfect to ward off that summer cold that’s going around.

To enhance the tropical sweetness of the SunGold, I grated some fresh ginger into the smoothie and topped it with coconut butter and hemp seeds.

Hot tip for fresh ginger: peel a knob of it completely and store in a ziplock bag in your freezer. Then just grate or slice off pieces as you need them – this keeps the ginger from going bad in your fridge!

Kiwi Kale Smoothie Bowl | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Kiwi Kale Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

  • 1/2 C non-dairy milk
  • 2 stalks kale, stems removed
  • 1 kiwifruit, quartered
  • 1/2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp chia seed
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp raw pepitas or 4 walnut halves
  • 2 tbsp coconut unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Toppings: hemp hearts and coconut butter

Blend all ingredients (except toppings) together until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and top as desired.

Note: If you prefer to drink your smoothies, add a half cup cold water or more milk.

Kiwi Kale Smoothie Bowl | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.)

Linking up with Running on Happy & The Fit Foodie Mama, and Confessions of a Mother Runner & A Whisk and Two Wands for #MeatlessMonday!

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