Skinny Cold Pesto Pasta Salad

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This pasta salad is creamy, but not to worry…it’s made with nonfat yogurt so you can consider this to be on the healthier side (kinda). This is quick, easy, and this is another dish you can add whatever you want. There are NO limits! If you don’t have penne pasta I would suggest using fussili (the swirly pasta). This dish would make a great addition to any party, BBQ or even side dish…remember, summer is right around the corner so you can start planning your party dishes!

Ingredients:
1 lb of penne pasta
1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
½ cup fresh homemade pesto
1 cup mozzarella cheese; cubbed
15 thin slices of  salami
6 fresh basil leaves
½ cup sun dried tomatoes; julienned cut
1/4 cup black olives; sliced
1 cup spinach; chopped (optional, for some extra greens)
Pinch of black pepper

Steps:
1. This recipe is extremely easy so get ready…bring a large pot of water to a boil with a sprinkle of salt. Boil pasta until cooked (read box directions for time). Once cooked, drain, and let cool.

2. Add cooled pasta in a large bowl and add yogurt and pesto. Stir with a wooden spoon until pasta is completely covered. Add in the rest of the ingredients and place in refrigerator for 20 minutes or until completely cold. You can also eat it whenever you would like but I prefer my pasta salad cold! Enjoy!

Spinach & Chicken Sausage Stuffed Eggplant

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There is a good chance this may be my new favorite low-carb eggplant dish. I really don’t know what I was thinking when I made this dish except I wanted eggplant for dinner. Roasted eggplant is one of my favorite things to eat, I would even consider it a treat. It is totally easy to make you would never guess that because it is so delicious. You can get real creative on this one and stuff it with anything you wanted…spaghetti, pasta, quinoa, roasted veggies, ground beef..or whatever else you like. Use your imagination–the possibilities are endless!

Yield: 4

Ingredients:
2 eggplants, cleaned and dried
1 tsp salt
5 Tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken or italian sausages, sliced
1/2 cup diced onion
3 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and minced
2 cups fresh spinach; chopped
1/2 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon capers, drained and smashed
1 handful of fresh basil; chopped
2 cups of fresh marinara sauce
1 cup mozarella cheese (I used fresh moz)
Sprinkle of parmesan cheese (for the topping)

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut off the edges of the eggplant with a sharp knife. Then scoop out the middle of the eggplants. Rub with salt and let stand to sweat. Dice the inside of the eggplant meat that you scooped out. Rub about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in and around the eggplant and place in oven for 20 minutes.

2. In the meantime..heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onions, garlic, and sausage. Use a wooden spatula to stir and cook for about 6-7 minutes. Then add 1 more Tablespoon of olive oil and add eggplant meat, spinach, capers, and basil. Cook for another 5 minutes or until sausage and eggplant is cooked completely. Stir in the breadcrumbs and take off heat.

3. Now for the stuffing part..stuff eggplant with cooked eggplant mixture and place in a baking dish. Ladle tomato sauce into the baking dish underneath the eggplant and a little bit on top of each eggplant.

4. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 375 degrees F.

5. Uncover and add sliced mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top each of each eggplant to cover. Bake for another 5 minutes and then broil for another 5 minutes. Serve once cheese is melted..enjoy!
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Creamy Tomato Basil Cheddar Soup

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I made this soup last week when it was storming outside and it made the perfect meal. I made it in less than 30 minutes so it is definitely doable on rushed weeknights. I love my tomato soup with a cheesy grilled cheese sandwiches so feel free to indulge a little..Try my homemade low-fat croutons  to top off this soup, the little crunchy bits of goodness pair magically with the creamy soup..it’s amazing!

Yield: 6

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion; chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic; chopped
2 can (28 oz.) of diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil; chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Steps:
1. Bring a large pot to medium heat and add in olive oil and chopped onions. Let cook for 3-4 minutes and then add in chopped garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes until lightly golden brown.

2. Pour in tomatoes and vegetable stock, stir and let cook for 5 minutes. Stir in yogurt, and sugar, seasonings, basil, and cheddar until combined. Let simmer for 15 minutes, and with an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup until its smooth. Let simmer for another 10 minutes once soup is blended, stirring constianstly. Top with fresh basil, cheddar cheese and homemade low-fat croutons from my easy recipe found here.
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Turkey Zucchini Parmesan Meatballs

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Ok so I’ve been craving a dish of spaghetti and meatballs for the last few days..my Nana makes the best and I dream about the dish all the time! But instead I decided to go with the healthier alternative and make my own spin on meatballs. I usually like to add zucchini in my burgers or meat loafs because I find it makes it more moist and nutritious of course. Anyways, I served these scrumptious meatballs with a side of spaghetti squash. More on that recipe later 🙂 But for now, these definitely hit the spot and satisfied my craving!

Yield: 12
Ingredients:
1 lb extra lean ground turkey meat
1 zucchini; grated
1/2 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cloves garlic; chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil; chopped

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the turkey meat, grated zucchini, breadcrumbs, cheese, and egg. Mix with hand until slightly combined. Add in garlic, salt, pepper, and onion powder and continue mixing with hand until well combined.
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2. With an ice cream scoop, scoop meatballs into a lightly greased (with olive oil) baking dish. Roll meat in hand to form the perfect “meatball” shape. Bake for 20 minutes and top with warm marinara sauce and freshly chopped basil.

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Tomato, Mozzarella, Avocado, & Spinach Caprese Salad

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If you couldn’t already tell, I love re-creating and adding an extra twist on original recipes. I was craving a tomato caprese salad for lunch today and I just picked up some beautiful looking avocados at the grocery store so I was craving that as well. However, I did forget fresh basil at the store (Oppps!) but I had fresh spinach so it worked out perfectly! Don’t be afraid to try new things and add your own spin to your favorite dish because it may come out better then you ever expected.

Yield: 1

Ingredients:
1 Half of a medium sized heirloom tomato; cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese; cut in 1/4 inch slices
12 fresh spinach leaves
3 slices of an avocado; cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 tsp dried basil
Sprinkle of sea salt
Sprinkle of pepper
1/2 Tbsp basalmic vinegar
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Steps:
1. You can layer your salad any way you would like! I recommend layering it with a slice of tomato, mozzarella cheese, avocado, and 4 spinach leavess..then repeat. Sprinkle salad with salt, pepper, and dried basil. Lastly, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Amazing and healthy!

Tip***When slicing the avocado: cut avocado in half (longwise), remove pit, then with a spoon remove avocado from shell. Carefully with a sharp knife, place avocado on cutting board and slice with knife (lengthwise).