Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Bake

I haven’t been able to post recipes as quickly or as often as I would like to lately – my life has been so busy! Between work and plans with friends and family, it seems like I’ve been running around non-stop. So my recipes to share with you have been piling up! I made this yummy dish about 3 weeks ago. I based it off of this recipe, which I had made when I was doing Paleo and really liked it. Simple and delicious! This time I added Brussels sprouts and baked them with the sweet potatoes. It was so yummy and great for leftovers too! Feel free to switch it up with different spices and veggies too – it’s a very versatile dish.

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Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lbs. chicken sausage, ground (or take links out of the casing and crumble)
  • 3 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 bag Brussels sprouts (about 20 sprouts), chopped
  • 1 cup chopped peppers and onions (I use frozen)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a large baking dish with oil and add the diced sweet potato and chopped sprouts. Drizzle with about 3 tbsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft.

2.) Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp oil to a skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until soft. Then add the sausage and cook until no longer pink.

3.) Add sausage, onion, and peppers mixture to the baking dish. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, stirring everything together. Season with any desired spices and serve hot.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 356
Fat 19 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 23 g
Sodium 699 mg
Protein 24 g

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Shrimp and Veggie Fried Rice

I can’t even remember the last time I had Chinese food, which is sort of sad, but I love the fact that it’s so easy to make food that tastes like take-out at home. One of my favorite things is fried rice, so I decided to whip up some at home. I bumped up the nutrition factor by using brown rice and adding tons of veggies. I used shrimp for protein, but you could also do chicken or pork or beef. It’s such a versatile dish too, so feel free to add any extra veggies or other ingredients. So quick and easy and much better for you than actual take-out!

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Shrimp and Veggie Fried Rice

  • Servings: 4 servings
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry brown rice (I use instant)
  • 1/2 pound cooked, deveined shrimp (frozen)
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bag frozen stir fry veggies (about 3 cups)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vinegar

1.) Cook rice according to package. Defrost shrimp. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or dutch oven, add olive oil and heat on medium. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, then add bag of steamed stir fry veggies (or veggies of choice). Cook for about a minute with the garlic, then add the soy sauce and stir. Let simmer.

2.) Once soy sauce is simmering, add the two eggs. Stir everything together to scramble the eggs with the veggies. Then add the shrimp and rice and stir everything together. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 306
Fat 8 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 4 g
Carbs 44 g
Sodium 1184 mg
Protein 15 g

Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Tomato Sauce

Meatballs are the perfect comfort food. Loaded up with lots of sauce and cheese over pasta…how could you not love that? I could probably eat Italian food every day for the rest of my life. But I do like to experiment with lightening it up, that way I can enjoy all the deliciousness without all the guilt. Introducing…turkey meatballs! Using ground turkey breast keeps these very low in fat, while adding chopped carrots and onion keeps them moist and tender. So they still taste just as delicious!

To keep calories even lower and add some nutrients, I used spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I usually love spaghetti squash in any traditional pasta dish, and it doesn’t disappoint here! However, I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t make pasta often because it’s “bad” or because carbs are “bad.” Because veggies have carbs too! However, 4 cups of spaghetti squash has the same amount of carbs and less calories than only 3/4 cup of whole wheat pasta! So as much as I love pasta, and do use it in a lot of dishes, in this case I used spaghetti squash because I like the taste, plus it allows me to have more calories to splurge on the meatballs and sauce 🙂

For the sauce, I kept it simple and just used a jar of sauce. I think people assume that because I’m Italian, I must make a fabulous homemade pasta sauce that I slave over for hours. But the truth is, I don’t have the time for that, and I also haven’t managed to make a sauce that tastes much better than the jar kind (but recipe recommendations are always welcomed!) My favorite is Newman’s Own Sockarooni – it’s a very flavorful blend of spices, onions and peppers, and chunks of tomato. I added a bag of spinach to it for an added nutritional punch. I topped it all off with some shaved parmesan cheese…perfecto! This is also a great freezer meal; I put two servings right into the freezer so I would have them for nights that I don’t feel like cooking!

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Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: 4 servings
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Adapted from: Hello Healthy

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup matchstick carrots, chopped
  • 1/8 cup minced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 4 cups raw spinach
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 4 cups baked spaghetti squash

1.) Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut spaghetti squash in half, length-wise. Scrape out seeds and pulp. Spray inside of each half with olive oil spray and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake on a cookie sheet, inside facing down, for about 45 minutes, or until the insides are easily scraped with a fork. Let cool, then scrape the “spaghetti” out into a strainer or large bowl lined with paper towel (to soak up excess liquid).

2.) While spaghetti squash is baking, prepare the meatballs. Chop the carrot and onion, then combine with the egg, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Add in the ground turkey breast and mix everything with your hands. Form into balls and place onto a well-greased cookie sheet. Once squash is done, lower oven to 350 F and bake meatballs for about 30 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. This recipe makes about 18 meatballs.

3.) While meatballs bake, heat olive oil over medium heat and add minced garlic. Add spinach, in bunches, until it is all wilted. Then add jar of sauce and let simmer. Feel free to add your own spices or other veggies to it!

4.) Once meatballs are done, add them to the simmering sauce and heat through for a few minutes. Serve 4.5 meatballs over 1 cup of spaghetti squash. Top with a hearty serving of sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 374
Fat 13 g (2 g saturated)
Fiber 8 g
Carbs 34 g
Sodium 831 mg
Protein 35 g

BBQ Chickpea Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

I love my salads, and while I do have a favorite (hello, feta and avocado), I still like to switch things up every now and then. So since summer is right around the corner, I decided a BBQ salad would be perfect for the hot days ahead. I’ve also been trying to cut down my meat intake, so I liked that this was a meatless twist on the usual meat-centered BBQ dishes. The chickpeas take on the smoky flavor of the BBQ sauce, and the avocado dressing adds a fresh taste to the salad. I didn’t do a good job of stretching the dressing (oops) so it only made enough for 5 salads, while the chickpeas made 6 servings. But you can use more or less dressing as you please, or double the batch! I bet it would make a yummy veggie dip as well. I am including the recipe for the BBQ chickpeas and avocado ranch dressing, but I’m leaving the salad part to you – make it with whatever your favorite ingredients are!

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BBQ Chickpeas

  • Servings: 6 servings
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Adapted from: The Garden Grazer

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas (15 oz each)
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce

1.) Drain and rinse chickpeas. In a saucepan over medium-low heat,simmer the chickpeas with the BBQ sauce, stirring frequently. Add any spices you’d like, or more BBQ sauce!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 165
Fat 2 g (0 g saturated)
Fiber 7 g
Carbs 31 g
Sodium 473 mg
Protein 7 g

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Adapted from: The Garden Grazer

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (plain, unsweetened)
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1.5 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste (I used about a tsp)

1.) In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more seasonings to taste. Will last about 3-5 days in the fridge.

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 58
Fat 5 g (1 g saturated)
Fiber 1 g
Carbs 2 g
Sodium 233 mg
Protein 1 g

The Perfect Dip Utensil: Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins

I am a dipper. I would never just eat a tortilla chip or a pretzel or a buffalo wing plain. I need salsa, hummus, guacamole, ranch, Nutella…I just think things taste better when they’re dipped in something! I don’t like things to be plain. Probably indicative of my personality 🙂 I also like things that are made with natural ingredients and allow me to eat a lot for less calories. Veggies are always a smart choice, but sometimes you just want something more crunchy and carb-y (is that a word?) These Blue Diamond Nut Thins fit the bill perfectly! Only 6 ingredients, which you can actually recognize and pronounce, and you can eat 16 crackers for only 130 calories. Perfect! They are very crunchy and taste like a tortilla chip – great with hummus, guacamole, salsa, you name it. I’m excited to try one of the other flavors next!

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This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Nut Thins.