Spicy Spinach and Mozzarella Pasta Bake

 

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My mom was the inspiration behind this pasta bake (hi, Mom!). She was telling me the other day about this quick lasagna she made using premade spinach ravioli, and I thought, hmmm, I can do a whole-eating upgrade on that!

Garlic-Thyme Pork Chops with Dill Mashed Potatoes

 

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This recipe came out of a fail.

Mint Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

 

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Chia seeds are pretty much amazing. How are such teensy little things jam-packed with so much fiber, antioxidants, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids? That I don’t know, but what I do know is that chia seed pudding is one of the best guilt-free desserts I’ve ever eaten.

Bell Pepper and Refried-Bean Tacos

 

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Sometimes you just need simple. And simple is what I need this week – it’s an insane one for me! So I’ll be subsisting off easy-but-healthy meals like these bell pepper and refried-bean tacos.

Italian Farro with Sausage, Grape Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts and Garlic-Sauteed Rapini

 

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After creating my Pine Nut and Parsley Pesto with Grape Tomatoes and Italian Farro recipe a few weeks ago, I was anxious to create another dish using this chewy, pasta-like grain. I also had just picked up a few cartons of some lovely grape tomatoes at my favorite Italian market and was really, really excited to use them (tomato season is here again – yay!). So I created this Italian Farro with Sausage, Grape Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts recipe.

White Bean and Fresh Thyme Hummus

 

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This white bean and fresh thyme hummus makes the perfect appetizer to bring to a spring soiree. It’s easy to make and incredibly addictive.

Mediterranean-Inspired Shepherd’s Pie

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I got the idea to create a shepherd’s pie with a Mediterranean influence by brainstorming about some of the ingredients that traditionally comprise the dish and wondering what I had in my pantry that I could swap for them. “Well, lentils are sort of round, and I have those,” I mused, thinking about what could be a legitimate substitute for corn and peas, two typical components. Not that similarity in shape is necessarily any indication of a sound substitution!

Protein-Packed Peanut-Butter Granola

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Peanut butter – how I missed thee! I was without it for about the past week, until my planned trip to the grocery store last night, and it would not be exaggerating to say that my life felt a little emptier during that time. My workday was not the same without my mid-morning snack of apple slices and peanut butter, and while tahini paste makes an excellent ingredient in hummus and dressings, it was not the greatest substitute for my favorite nut butter in my oatmeal. Now I’m three-cans flush with the stuff, so life is good. And in homage to one of my favorite foods ever being back in my life, I’ve created this granola.

Pine Nut and Parsley Pesto with Grape Tomatoes and Italian Farro

 

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Pesto! I love its rich, pungent flavor. This was my first time creating my own pesto recipe, and I have to say, I was very pleased with the outcome. This pesto sauce is very rich and flavorful without being too strong-tasting.

Spring-Clean my Pantry #2! Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

 

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It was Easter Sunday, a mild, early-spring evening – not exactly the setting that inspires the creation of a traditionally cold-weather recipe. But I really wanted to put the butternut squash languishing in my refrigerator and my last three sweet potatoes to use. So this butternut squash and sweet potato soup was born.