Category: Healthy

Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese

Have you ever slaved over a meal to only have your family either not eat it or simply give you that indifferent look while they force it down?  If you haven’t you’re lucky, however unfortunately I have had this scenario happen to me more than once.  So, I can’t begin to explain my shock when I made this Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese that my crew loved.  In fact they claimed this was the best bolognese I have ever made.   Uh, ok…noted, I will never slave over my more complex bolognese sauces in the future.

So let me explain how this easy recipe came to be.  I became discombobulated and dizzy on Monday.  I thought I was just experiencing a bad headache, however when I continued to feel like I was on a moving boat on Wednesday I decided to go to the doctor.  I can’t tell you how relieved to find out I had vertigo.  All I can say is I was sooooooo relieved to be diagnosed with a medical condition and know that this was not all in my head.

Since I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store for some fresh ingredients (and because my family had not had a home cooked meal in days) I decided to throw together a spaghetti bolognese.  Ingredients are simple pantry staples with the exception of some basil, garlic and parmesan I had on hand.  There is no lengthy simmering of sauce and because I used 93% lean ground turkey the meal was low fat as well.

So here is my recipe for Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese.  I hope you enjoy

Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese
(serves 4-6 people depending on how hungry your crew is)

Ingredients
1-2 T. olive oil
1.25 lb. lean ground turkey
1 – 28 oz. can tomato sauce
1-4 garlic cloves minced (I use 4 and it is super garlicky so you may want to start with 1 to be safe)
1 beef flavoring packet from Top Ramen (remove beef flavor packet and either discard the noodles or save noodles for later)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
basil to chiffonade
parmesan
1 lb. spaghetti*, cooked according to package directions (reserve about a cup of the cooking water)
*I use gluten free, but use whatever you have on hand

cooking bolognese sauce
cooking bolognese sauce

Directions
Heat large saucepan over medium-high heat with olive oil.  Brown ground turkey (after it cooked, because the meat is so lean I do not drain the fat out, but you certainly could if you’d like).

Add tomato sauce, garlic, beef flavoring packet, onion powder, and red pepper flakes.  Simmer on medium low heat about 10 minutes and taste with salt and pepper.   If sauce reduces too much or is too thick to your liking, add a bit of the reserved pasta water.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.  Place in pasta bowls or plates and sprinkle with basil and parmesan cheese.

spaghetti bolognese closeup

Giada De Laurentiis Turkey Larb Recipe

One of my favorite parts of cooking, besides of course eating, is to be able to recreate a delicious dish from a restaurant.  Even better is when I am able to make that dish just as good.  I recently was at a Thai restaurant where I tasted a Larb dish that was spectacular.  In an effort to recreate this dish I perused the internet and came across  Giada De Laurentiis Turkey Larb recipe.

The Larb I ate at this restaurant was savory, spicy and very fresh thanks to the addition of what seemed to be a generous amount of lime juice.  Once I came across Giada’s recipe I knew that I had a winner.  I loved how the ingredients were fresh, simple and my favorite part was the citrus based dressing which brings the perfect amount of tart freshness that I absolutely love.

While I have yet to perfect other Thai dishes such as Pad Thai and Panang Curry that are favorites, this Larb is super simple and delicious.  My deep love of Thai food will keep me on the hunt and working towards making the perfect Thai dish, however in the meantime this one is a keeper and one I will continue to make over and over.

Giada De Laurentiis Turkey Larb Recipe
Ingredients

Dressing
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, from about 5 limes
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons fish sauce*
2 tablespoons honey

Larb
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1/2 red onion, diced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 (4-inch) piece lemongrass, minced (about 1/4 cup)*
1 Thai chile, such as prik kee noo, or 1 serrano chile, stemmed and thinly sliced*
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, preferably dark meat
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated
1 cup brown rice (this is not part of Giada’s recipe, but I served mine with brown rice and loved it)

Directions
Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, fish sauce and honey. Set aside.

Larb: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots, lemongrass, chile, and salt, to taste. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey and season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat and vegetables are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the dressing to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mint. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon the turkey mixture onto the lettuce leaves and arrange on a serving platter. Serve with sticky rice.


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J-Lo’s BodyLab Green Smoothie featured in InStyle

I am a little obsessed with Jennifer Lopez.  It is amazing how she has managed to actually age backwards.  Looking at pictures of her from ten years ago, I can’t believe how much better she looks as the years have gone on.  So, while I was perusing the July 2015 issue of InStyle magazine and came across her recipe for a green smoothie I knew that I had to try it.

The smoothie features her BodyLab Vanilla Whey Protein Complex which I unfortunately did not have on hand so I opted for my Trader Joe’s Whey Protein in vanilla.  I am guessing they are pretty similar, so I moved forward with the recipe.  The smoothie includes rice milk, spinach, banana, chia seeds, sunflower butter and protein powder.  This was a convenient recipe for me since I usually have all these ingredients on hand.  Not having too many ingredients was very helpful.

Now for the taste, it was surprisingly good.  I honestly wasn’t sure how the sunflower butter would marry with the rest of the ingredients but the banana and sunflower butter take over most of the flavor and the spinach adds a freshness without being to overpowering.  I may even actually pick up a container of the BodyLab protein powder when I am done with my current protein powder to see how the BodyLab version compares to the Trader Joe’s variety.

I would definitely recommend trying the recipe for this shake.  Looking at J-Lo, there are many things she is doing right and I will try one of them to see how it works continuously.  Not only is it delicious, but if this is one of the items J-Lo is eating I am going to give it a try as well.

*For an additional Maca smoothie recipe as well as an extremely knowledgable post about Maca and all the amazing benefits, check out this article on superfoodliving.com. Some of the benefits noted are increased libido and hormone balance (something I could definitely use, especially a few days a month).

J-Lo’s BodyLab Green Smoothie (1 serving)
Ingredients
1 cup rice milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 handful spinach
1 frozen banana, sliced
2 T. chia seeds
2 heaping teaspoons sunflower butter
1 dry scoop BodyLab Vanilla Tasty Shake Complete Whey Protein Complex (I used Trader Joe’s Vanilla Whey Protein)

Instructions
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Serve.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Yogurt Dressing

There is a Mediterranean restaurant that my husband and I absolutely love going to called, Mediterranean Kitchen. The food is so flavorful (think super garlicky and lemony) and although it isn’t the place to go if you are on a first date (unless you are into that sort of thing) it is definitely the place to go if you want something crazy garlicky good.

I love Mediterranean food which is why I am so excited to share my recipe for a Greek Quinoa Salad that I created.   I am always looking for new ways to incorporate these fresh flavors into my cooking so when I found a recipe for a greek salad with yogurt dressing I knew it would be a winner.

The dressing itself is delicious and not only is great as a dressing but also is amazing utilized as a sauce as well.  I did create this recipe to be a little more garlicky, a lot more lemony and a touch lighter (in calories) by adding both olive oil and chicken stock then traditional dressings/sauces.   I used Greek yogurt for its added protein punch and added quinoa and garbanzo beans to make this salad super filling.

Summer Gazpacho Pasta Salad

I love going to Farmer’s Markets. I always come home with an abundance of veggies and while I have the best of intentions to you use them all, often times I fall short. Those days are over now with this recipe for Summer Gazpacho Pasta Salad.

In my quest to use up the inordinate amount of fresh veggies I had on hand, I decided to make Gazpacho. Now I love Gazpacho, but unfortunately I am the lone one in my home with this love. My husband doesn’t care for it much and I won’t even attempt to try and feed this to my boys…until now… You see, I had this huge bowl of yummy Gazpacho in my fridge and decided to use it as a pasta sauce on some thin spaghetti last night. Add a bunch of parmesan, fresh basil, salt, pepper and you have a healthy, delicious meal that will definitely satisfy. What else could one ask for?