Berry Chocolate Protein Smoothie

This smoothie provides such an energy boost!  Whether you’re looking to fuel a workout or simply jumpstart your day, it’s sweet, filling, packed with fruit, and so easy to whip up!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

3 Oz Fresh Raspberries

1/2 Cup Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt

2 Frozen Bananas (sliced before freezing to ease blending)

1 Packet Nibmor Traditional Hot Cocoa (dry)

1/2 Cup Water

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Easy Vegan Fruit & Seed Smoothie

This 4-ingredient snack couldn’t be easier to make!  Keeping a stash of a variety of frozen fruit in the freezer is so helpful when creating smoothies on a whim.  I love combining handfuls of it with some sunflower seed butter and water which beautifully blends into a sweet, creamy, and refreshing snack that just so happens to be vegan and gluten free!

This is a snack-size portion, but if you were looking for more of a meal you could easily double the measurements.  I love drinking this as a side with a sandwich at lunch, or as a mid-afternoon bite.  It’s one of my favorite ways to add a couple extra servings of fruit into my day!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1 Large Frozen Banana (sliced before freezing to ease blending)

12 Frozen Dark Cherries

2 Large Frozen Strawberries

2 Tbsp Sunbutter

2/3 Cup Water

Directions:

Blend and enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Roasted Brussels Sprout Pasta

If you’re a fan of crispy roasted brussels sprouts, you’ll love this super easy pasta dish!  It can function as either a side or main meal depending on what you’re serving.  You can use any type of pasta that you prefer.  I’ve personally utilized everything from traditional Italian wheat pastas to legume and lentil pastas (which are great for a gluten free and protein-packed alternative).

Speaking of protein, if you’re looking to add in a little extra, the addition of a chopped sausage (either traditional meat or veggie-based) would be a delicious option.

If you’d like to prepare the dish for a group, simply multiply these single serving measurements by the amount of diners.  For optimal taste and texture, it’s best to eat this one right away while the brussels sprouts are still warm and crispy from the oven!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 Pound Brussels Sprouts

1-2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to thoroughly coat)

Sea Salt (to taste)

Black Pepper (to taste)

FOR THE PASTA

1 & 1/3 Cups Pasta Of Choice (dry)

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt (to taste)

Black Pepper (to taste, generous amount recommended)

TO SERVE

Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Preheat the oven to 400°

Cut the bottoms/tips off of the sprouts and peel off the outer layer

Cut each sprout in half (smaller ones can be left whole)

Toss in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper

Spread evenly on a baking sheet

Cook for about 35 minutes (stirring/flipping halfway) or until the outside is brown and crispy

FOR THE PASTA

Based on the cooking time for your pasta of choice, prepare it according to the package instructions timed to finish around when the sprouts will be coming out of the oven

Once cooked and drained, add pasta to serving bowl

Coat lightly with the olive oil

Season with salt and pepper to taste

TO SERVE

Mix the roasted brussels sprouts into the pasta

Add additional salt and pepper if needed after taste testing

Add parmesan cheese to taste when serving

Enjoy!

Chocolate Cherry Protein Oats

Let’s face it, we can’t always know what we’re going to want for breakfast tomorrow. I love the thick and creamy consistency of overnight oats, but rarely do I prepare any the night before the craving hits. My solution: “Instant Overnight Oats”. It’s simple – Prepare quick cooking oats with water in the microwave, then include roughly 1/2 a cup of plain greek yogurt (per 1/2 cup oats) in with your other ingredients and voilà! Slightly cooled and creamy oats à la traditional Overnight Oats. This Chocolate Cherry variety only requires 4 ingredients, is high in protein, and takes less than 5 minutes to make!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Quick Oats

1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

1 Packet NibMor Hot Cocoa

Fresh Or Frozen Cherries

+ Water for the oats

Directions:

Cook up the oats with water (I use the microwave)

Stir in the hot cocoa packet

Stir in the yogurt until creamy and evenly combined

Mix in the cherries

Enjoy!

If you’re looking to enjoy the meal warm, fresh cherries would be recommended.

If you’d rather the meal be cool like traditional Overnight Oats, the combination of using frozen cherries and cold yogurt will bring the temperature down. The warm oats will thaw the frozen fruit while transferring their chill into the rest of the bowl.

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Healthy Sherbet Smoothie

Last week our temperatures rose to nearly 100° and it’s only April!  When the heat is that intense, the kitchen becomes filled with iced (decaf) coffees, margaritas, and of course, smoothies.  This Healthy Sherbet Smoothie is a new favorite!  It’s super thick like a shake, only requires 4 ingredients, and is both protein and vitamin-rich.  It makes for a great snack to beat the heat!

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1 Serving Frozen Peaches (approx. 1 cup)

1/2 Cup Lakewood “Orange & Carrot” Juice

1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat, but full fat would be delicious as well!)

1/2 Of A Chopped Large Frozen Banana (or 3/4 Of A Chopped Small Frozen Banana)

Directions:

Blend together until creamy

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Baked Broccoli Mac & Cheese

If you’re looking to transform mac and cheese from a simple weeknight meal into a restaurant order copycat, I have the secret: A crispy breadcrumb topping!  It makes all the difference!

This pasta bake is quick and easy with only simple ingredients needed.  It’s also quite customizable.  Should you have a preference to use a different type of cheese or vegetable, it can be made entirely your own.

That being said, I highly recommend this particular combination!  The broccoli is very complimentary in both taste and texture, and there’s just the right amount of subtle kick from the pepper jack that really ties all of the flavors together.

The contrast of the crispy cheese and breadcrumb topping paired with the saucy pasta center makes this meal perfect to serve hot from the oven, but in a smaller household it can easily be stored as leftovers for readymade meals or sides in the days to follow.  This recipe makes 6 servings, and whether you’re feeding a group or meal prepping for yourself, it’s designed to make the cooking as easy as possible. (Cue the cheese slices in lieu of shredding!)

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

3 Cups Elbow Pasta (dry)

4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

1/4 Cup White Whole Wheat Flour (or flour of choice)

1 Tsp Sea Salt

Black Pepper (about 10 total rotations from the grinder)

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 1/4 Cups Oat Milk

1 3/4 Cups Vegetable Broth

8 Slices Mild Cheddar Cheese

5 Cups Broccoli (measured while frozen/raw)

1/4 Tsp Paprika

2 Slices Muenster Cheese

2 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese

1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Directions:

STEP 1

PREP

Preheat the oven to 350°

Grease a 9 x13 inch baking dish

Cook the broccoli (I microwaved from frozen), cut into small pieces, and set aside

STEP 2

COOK THE PASTA

Prepare the elbow pasta according to the package instructions.  Be sure to rinse it with cold water once drained

STEP 3

CREATE THE SAUCE

While the pasta is cooking, in a wok/vessel of similar size, melt the butter

Stir the flour into the melted butter until evenly combined

Stir in the sea salt, half of the black pepper (about 5 rotations from the grinder), and the cayenne

Add in the oat milk and vegetable broth, cooking and stirring on medium heat until well blended

Melt in the 8 slices of cheddar, stirring until smooth

STEP 4

COMBINE THE FILLING ELEMENTS

Add the cooked pasta into the sauce

Add in the cooked broccoli pieces

Add in the other half of the black pepper (5 rotations from the grinder) and the paprika

Transfer into the greased baking dish

STEP 5

CREATE THE TOPPING

Tear the 2 muenster slices and the 2 pepper jack slices into small pieces, and evenly disperse over the top of the pasta

To follow, top with the bread crumbs

STEP 6

BAKE

Bake for around 17 minutes

To brown and crisp the top, broil for an additional 2 and 1/2 minutes.  Rotate the pan, then broil a second time for 1 and 1/2 – 2 minutes (or until lightly browned)

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly

If desired, an additional sprinkle of salt can be added when serving

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can easily be stored in the refrigerator by simply covering up the cooking dish and storing it in there as is.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Burrata Artichoke Bison Burgers

A few years back, my husband was given a burger patty press for Christmas.  His parents got one for themselves as well.  Ever since then, the burger wars between them have been escalating!  Who can craft the ultimate burger?!  This Italian-inspired bison burger is my husband’s latest entry into the family burger competition, and it turned out so delicious that I wanted to share it with you all!

He named it “Under the Tuscan Bun”, let me add!  A unique name for a unique burger falls within the rules of the family burger battle.

This recipe makes four burgers, but after tasting the burrata / sun dried tomato / artichoke relish combo, I’m betting you’ll be tempted to eat two at a time!

Ingredients:

FOR THE PATTIES

4 oz Fresh Basil

2-3 Cloves Garlic (depending on preference)

1 lb Ground Bison

3 Tbsp Grated Parmesan

Black Pepper (to taste)

Sea Salt (to taste)

FOR THE ARTICHOKE RELISH

1 14 oz Can Quartered Artichoke Hearts

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra on hand to adjust final consistency)

1 Bunch Fresh Parsley

1 Pinch Kosher Salt

½ Lemon

TO SERVE

4 Burger Buns Of Choice (Brioche highly recommended!)

Sun Dried Tomatoes (to taste)

8 oz Burrata

Directions:

STEP 1

PREP THE PATTIES

In a food processor, finely chop the basil and garlic

Combine the basil and garlic mixture with the ground bison along with the parmesan, black pepper, and sea salt

Form into 4 patties

STEP 2

PREP THE ARTICHOKE RELISH

Mince the artichoke hearts and sauté in them in the tbsp of olive oil until lightly browned

Transfer to a bowl to cool

Chop the fresh parsley leaves

Add the parsley to the artichoke hearts

Add the pinch of kosher salt and squeeze the 1/2 lemon into the mix

Add olive oil as needed until mixture reaches spreadable consistency

STEP 3

COOK THE PATTIES

Cook each bison patty for roughly 3-4 mins on each side on medium-high heat

STEP 4

ASSEMBLE

Toast or warm a burger bun

Add a bison patty

Spread the artichoke relish generously onto the top of the patty

Add sun dried tomatoes and burrata to taste

Enjoy!

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is one of my all-time favorite meals!  Like so many great dishes, there are endless unique ways to prepare it.  Every restaurant and individual has their own twist, and I personally appreciate the variety!  Sometimes you’ll find yourself with fried layers of paper thin eggplant, and other times thick breaded eggplant circles in a single layer.  (There is a local Italian restaurant in my neighborhood that serves theirs up as two large hunks of breaded eggplant with a thick layer of ricotta cheese between the two, all covered in marinara and mozzarella.)

This particular Eggplant Parm is a layered and baked variety that not only tastes amazing but can also easily be made without too much mess or hassle.  It’s perfect as either a weeknight meal, from which you could easily have leftovers, or as a guaranteed crowd pleaser for potlucks and gatherings.  This recipe makes about 8 medium servings. 

Ingredients:

2 Large Eggplants

4 Eggs

3 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs

4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Jars Marinara Sauce Of Choice

2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese – Torn From Slices

1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°

Place two large baking sheets in the oven

Shred the parmesan cheese

Tear the mozzarella slices into small pieces

Combine the two cheeses in a bowl and set aside

Cut the eggplants into circles roughly ½ an inch thick

Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly scramble them with a fork

Place the bread crumbs in either a bowl or on a plate (You can start with some instead of all if you wish, adding more as you run low)

In assembly line style, dip each eggplant circle into the eggs, then into the breadcrumbs

Remove the baking sheets from the oven

Evenly drizzle half of the olive oil onto the baking sheets (1 tbsp per sheet) then place the breaded eggplant circles on in a single layer

Bake for 15 minutes

Remove the sheets from the oven, drizzle the second half of the olive oil (the other 2 tbsps) on top of the eggplant, flip them all over, and then put back into the oven for another 10 minutes (or until they’re turning golden)

Once the eggplant has been removed from the oven, turn the oven temperature up to 475°

In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, layer the eggplant circles, marinara sauce, then cheeses.  Repeat these layers until the pan is full, ending on a cheese layer

Put the pan back into the oven and bake until the cheese melts and begins to turn golden brown (around 15 minutes)

Let cool slightly for a couple of minutes as it will be extremely hot

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can easily be stored in the refrigerator by simply covering up the cooking dish and storing it in there as is.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Berry & Peach Sunbutter Smoothie

This high protein smoothie is nearly a milkshake it’s so thick and creamy, but that’s my preference when it’s functioning as a meal!  It’s perfect as a filling breakfast, post-workout recovery fuel, or a mid-afternoon snack.  If you’ve ever loved the addition of peanut butter in your smoothies, this offers a very similar flavor profile in the way that it compliments the fruit and the yogurt.  The added bonuses are that it makes it more allergy friendly as well as nutritionally diverse if you’re looking to mix up your ingredients!

Ingredients:

1 Serving Frozen Strawberries (approx. 1 cup)

1 Serving Plain Greek Yogurt (I used nonfat)

1/2 Cup Apple Juice

2 Tbsp Sunbutter

1 Serving Frozen Peaches (approx. 1 cup)

Directions:

Add the strawberries, greek yogurt, and apple juice to your blender and blend

Add in the Sunbutter and blend again

Add in the frozen peaches and blend a third time until smooth and evenly combined

Enjoy!

Ingredient recommendations linked!

Pumpkin Mushroom Pasta

This pumpkin pasta is the perfect way to enjoy your favorite autumn flavors year-round and can easily be whipped up on a busy weeknight.  It can function as a vegetarian main course or as a side dish.  I used a traditional Italian durum wheat pasta, but feel free to use whatever type you like if you are gluten free or have other preferences! 

Ingredients:

16 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

3/4 Cup Half and Half

3/4 Tsp Sea Salt

Black Pepper (about 10 rotations from the grinder)

1/4 Tsp Garlic Powder

1 Pinch Ground Nutmeg

1 15 oz Can Pumpkin Puree

1 Tsp Saigon Cinnamon

1.5 Tsps Light Brown Sugar

7 Tsps Finely Chopped Fresh Sage

13 oz Pasta Of Choice

Additional sea salt and black pepper for topping/serving 

Directions:

In a medium to large-sized pan, add the extra virgin olive oil and mushrooms

Cook the mushrooms on medium heat until thoroughly tender and brown

Set the mushrooms aside

In a wok, or vessel of similar size, turn the heat to a low-medium setting and melt the butter

Add in the half and half and stir until well blended

Stir in the sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg

Turn the heat down to low

Stir in the pumpkin puree

Add in the saigon cinnamon and brown sugar

Mix in the cooked mushrooms

Add in the sage

Prepare your pasta

Add the cooked pasta into the wok and mix evenly in the sauce

Add additional sea salt and black pepper liberally (to taste) when serving

Enjoy!

[Leftovers can be stored sealed in the refrigerator. This recipe makes approximately 3 servings.]

Ingredient recommendations linked!