Shrimp and Orzo Marinara Soup

Shrimp and Orzo Marinara Soup

For a leftover lunch, you can add 1 cup baby spinach leaves to the soup, reheat, and stir until wilted.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce
  • 16 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add oregano, pepper, and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Add stock and 1/2 cup water to pan; bring to a boil. Stir in orzo; cook 6 minutes or until al dente. Stir in marinara and shrimp; cook 4 minutes or until shrimp are done. Place 1 1/2 cups soup in each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 1/2 tsp parsley and 1 tbsp crumbled feta. Serves 4.

 

While the soup is simmering, just make a Simple Salad with Lemon Dressing. You can also use red wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice when making the dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes.

Directions:

  1. Combine lemon juice, oil, pepper, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add mixed greens, tomatoes, and radishes; toss to coat. Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups).

 

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Skillet Red Beans and Rice

Skillet Red Beans and Rice

If you can’t find trinity blend with the prepared produce, you can make your own with 3/4 cup onion, 3/4 cup celery, and 1/2 cup bell pepper.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz chopped andouille sausage
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 8-oz pkg fresh trinity blend
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 15-oz can unsalted kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 2 8.8-oz pkg precooked brown rice
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions

Directions:

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add sausage; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, trinity blend, and red bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in beans and next 4 ingredients (through ground red pepper). Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook 4 minutes. Mash half of bean mixture in pan. Stir in rice; cover, and cook 4 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions. Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups rice mixture).

 

I chose to serve this with Almond-Garlic Spinach. The recipe follows.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until aromatic and golden-brown.
  2. Add spinach and salt; cook 3 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted. Stir in almonds. Serves 4 (serving size: about 2/3 cup).

Chicken Stir-Fry with Bok Choy

Chicken Stir-Fry with Bok Choy

Instead of broccoli, we shake things up by adding the cabbage-like crunch and tender leaves of baby bok choy to this stir-fry dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 4 4-oz baby bok choy, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp sliced jalapeño

Directions:

  1. Toss chicken with 3 tbsp cornstarch; shake off excess. Heat 3 tbsp canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over high. Add chicken; cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Set aside; wipe skillet clean.
  2. Combine orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, red pepper, and remaining 1 tsp cornstarch; set aside. Heat skillet over medium; add 1 tbsp sesame oil and half of bok choy; cook until browned. Remove from skillet; repeat with remaining 1 tbsp sesame oil and bok choy. Return all bok choy to skillet. Reduce heat to low; add 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
  3. Add ginger, garlic, and remaining 1 tbsp canola oil to skillet; cook over medium 2 minutes. Add orange juice mixture; cook until thickened. Stir in chicken. Divide among 4 plates; sprinkle with sesame seeds and jalapeño, and serve with bok choy. Serves 4 (serving size: 3 oz chicken and 2 bok choy halves).

 

I chose to serve this with Bacon-Leek Mashed Potatoes. The high starch content of Yukon Gold potatoes yields a fluffy, creamy mash while leeks add prebiotic fiber; the bacon adds salty flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb quartered Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2 center-cut bacon slices
  • 1 cup chopped leeks
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Cook potatoes in simmering water until tender, 20 minutes.
  2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high until crispy. Remove and crumble bacon; add leeks to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 8 minutes.
  3. Drain potatoes; mash with milk, sour cream, salt, pepper, and leeks. Top with chives and crumbled bacon. Serves 4 (serving size: 2/3 cup).

Turkey and Mushroom Bolognese

Turkey and Mushroom Bolognese.jpg

We add even more robust savory body by adding mushrooms to an already rich and hearty meat sauce. For a change of pace, you can also use polenta instead of noodles.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup prechopped onion
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 4 ounces presliced mushrooms
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 14-oz box chopped/crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp light whipping cream
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 6 ounces uncooked multigrain spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onions and next 3 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Push vegetables to side of pan; coat center with cooking spray. Add turkey; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add stock, 1/4 cup basil, sugar, and tomatoes to pan, stirring to combine with turkey and vegetables. Simmer 3 minutes. Stir in cream, butter, salt, and red pepper; simmer 1 minute.
  2. While sauce cooks, cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Divide noodles evenly among 4 shallow bowls. Top evenly with sauce; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup basil and cheese. Serves 4 (serving size: about 3/4 cup pasta, 3/4 cup sauce, and 1 tbsp cheese).

 

I chose to serve this with Roasted Butternut Squash with Pecans and Sage. The recipe follows.

Ingredients:

  • 2 peeled diced fresh butternut squashes
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Arrange butternut squash in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes or until browned, stirring halfway through cooking.
  3. Place butter in a large bowl. Stir in squash, pecans, and sage; toss to combine. Serves 4 (serving size: about 1/2 cup).

Smashed Chili Cheeseburgers

Smashed Chili Cheeseburgers

This is a healthier take on a beachside burger. The patties have a nice seared crust but are still juicy inside, especially if you use very high heat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • 2 tbsp light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup green onions
  • 2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeños

Directions:

  1. Combine beef, chili powder, black pepper, and 1/8 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Shape into 4 equal balls.
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot enough to release steam, add beef balls and press down with a firm spatula to form patties. Place a slightly smaller skillet directly on patties. Cook until charred, about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove top pan, flip patties, replace top pan, and cook until charred, about 1 minute. Remove top pan, sprinkle patties with remaining 3/8 tsp salt, and top with cheese. Invert top pan, and cover skillet.  Steam until cheese is melted, 30 to 45 seconds. Place patties on buns; top with sour cream, green onions, and jalapeños. Serves 4 (serving size: 1 burger).

 

I chose to serve this with a Peach & Celery Salad. The peach and celery flavors mix beautifully in this no-cook side. Pistachios further amp up the flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups thinly diagonally sliced celery
  • 3 cups sliced ripe peaches
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted salted pistachios

Directions:

  1. Place celery, peaches, arugula, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently to coat. Sprinkle pistachios over salad. Serves 4 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups).

 

Ratatouille-Stuffed Shells

Ratatouille-Stuffed Shells

This is a quick weeknight answer to homemade lasagna. Instead of endless layers, we spoon a single vegetable mixture into each shell and bake 12 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Ingredients:

  • 16 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup choppedonion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups diced eggplant
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup diced zucchini
  • 3/4 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 1/2 cup canned unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium marinara sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp torn fresh basil, divided
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded Italian 5-cheese blend

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add eggplant and bell pepper; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, tomato, and chickpeas; cover and cook 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in 1 cup marinara, 1/2 cup basil, black pepper, and salt.
  4. Coat a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Spread remaining 3/4 cup marinara over bottom of dish. Spoon about 2 tbsp vegetable mixture into each pasta shell. Arrange filled shells in dish; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes. Top with remaining 2 tbsp basil. Serves 4 (serving size: about 4 stuffed shells).

 

While the stuffed shells are baking, make Green Bean and Radish Sauté as a side. Rather than boiling the green beans, we simmer them and let the liquid evaporate so the beans are crisp-tender and lightly seared.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

  1. Heat water and oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add beans to skillet; cover and cook 5 minutes. Add radishes, salt, and pepper; uncover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove pan from heat; sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4 (serving size: about 3/4 cup).

 

Broccoli, Cheddar, and Brown Rice Cakes

Broccoli, Cheddar, and Brown Rice Cakes

These crispy cakes are essentially mini-versions of cheesy broccoli-and-rice casserole. Make them ahead and freeze for a last-minute meal.

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted vegetable stock
  • 12 oz fresh broccoli florets, cut into 1/2-in pieces
  • 1 8.8-oz pkg precooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 oz preshredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Sliced green onions

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add stock and broccoli. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes.
  3. Heat rice according to package directions. Combine broccoli mixture, rice, panko, mustard, pepper, salt, and 1/2 cup cheese in a large bowl. Stir in eggs. Divide and shape broccoli mixture into 8 patties. Arrange patties on prepared pan; coat patties with cooking spray. Bake at 450°F for 15 minutes. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese, and bake at 450°F for 4 more minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with green onions. Serves 4 (serving size: 2 cakes).

 

While you’re cooking the broccoli mixture from the previous recipe, you can make Sweet-and-Spicy Carrots and Peas. Just a little brown sugar helps the carrots caramelize quickly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 12 oz pkg small carrots
  • 1 3/4 cups snow peas
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine oil, brown sugar, cumin, red pepper, and carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes. Add snow peas to pan; bake 5 more minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt. Serves 4 (serving size: 1/2 cup).

Skillet Ratatouille

Skillet Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 2 15-oz cans unsalted diced tomatoes, divided
  • 2 15-oz cans unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 1 large yellow squash, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-in pieces
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Drain 1 can tomatoes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Drain remaining 1 can tomatoes; discard remaining liquid. Combine tomatoes, reserved 1/2 cup liquid, and chickpeas in a bowl.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and next 5 ingredients (through eggplant); sauté 7 to 8 minutes or until slightly tender. Stir in tomato mixture and remaining 1/2 tsp salt; cover, and cook 5 minutes.
  3. Uncover pan; stir in vinegar, paprika, and black pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetable mixture is slightly thickened. Divide vegetable mixture among 4 bowls; drizzle servings evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil. Sprinkle with basil leaves. Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups).

 

While the ratatouille is simmering, make Pesto Toasts as a side. You can use walnuts or sliced almonds in place of pine nuts and spinach or parsley instead of basil.

Ingredients:

  • 1 4-oz whole-wheat French bread baguette, split lengthwise
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler with oven rack in upper middle position.
  2. Place bread, cut side up, on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until toasted.
  3. Place spinach, basil, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. With processor running, gradually add oil; process until smooth. Spread evenly over bread; cut into quarters. Serves 4 (serving size: 1 piece).

Skirt Steak with Corn and Red Pepper Puree

Skirt Steak with Corn and Red Pepper Puree

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 2 red bell peppers, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

  1. Combine fish sauce and 1/2 cup onions in a shallow dish; add steak, turning to coat. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour (warning! it will stink!), turning after 30 minutes.
  2. Cut 1 bell pepper into 1-inch pieces; place in a saucepan with 1 cup water and 1/4 cup onions. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a food processor; process until smooth. Stir in 1 tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp salt.
  3. Slice remaining bell pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil; swirl to coat. Add sliced bell pepper, corn, and remaining 3 tbsp onions. Cook 10 minutes or until peppers are wilted and corn is lightly charred, stirring occasionally. Stir in black pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.
  4. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Return skillet to high heat. Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until glazed outside. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally into slices. Serve with corn mixture and red pepper puree. Sprinkle with thyme. Serves 4 (serving size: 3 oz steak, 1/2 cup vegetables, and about 3 tbsp sauce).