Sassy Peanut Lettuce Wraps

Yes, I said sassy. Because these are. This is a one-pan, super delicious, high-in-flavor, low-in-calories (under 400!) meal that is great for spring and summer.

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I just made cabbage wraps but lettuce wraps are so.much.easier. There is no steaming or boiling, you just rip off the leaves, stuff them, and enjoy.

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On an unrelated note, I had some chocolate the other day. It’s up for debate if chocolate/cocoa powder is FODMAP-diet approved [I’m 99% sure they just determined it isn’t, which just ruined my whole life], but I gave it a try. Well, my boyfriend got 72% dark chocolate for me and I guess the caffeine got to me because I was wired.

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I “banged out” part of my paper between 8pm and midnight, and I was still rearing to go at 11:59pm. I called it quits due to my 8am, but if you need a chocolate fix AND are pulling a late-nighter? Grab some dark chocolate.

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So back to lettuce wraps. I am loving these. I am all about food you can pick up. It’s just so cute and fun. I also love eating on the floor. I used to hang out on the floor a lot back in the day – listening to music, writing papers, studying – so since this is an Asian dish, and some cultures eat on the floor, I thought I would eat it on the floor. Totally awesome.

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Sassy Asian Lettuce Wraps

1/2 zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 squash, finely chopped
1/4 c finely chopped carrots
1/3 package extra firm tofu, in small cubes
1.5 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbsp peanut butter
Lettuce leaves

1. Over medium heat in a medium or large skillet, add 1 tsp sesame oil to a pan. Add zucchini, squash, and carrots. Stir and allow to sauté for about 5 minutes.
2. In a small or medium skillet, sauté tofu with the remaining 1/2 tsp sesame oil.
3. In the vegetable skillet, add soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and peanut butter. Stir to combine.
4. Once tofu has a slightly crunchy exterior, add tofu to vegetable skillet and stir to combine flavors.
5. Cook for a couple more minutes, and then serve on lettuce leaves.

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Thai Quinoa Bowl

Now, I don’t meant to brag, but this is good.

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Seriously, Ambitious Kitchen. You really did it this time. My boyfriend was drooling and if we weren’t so full from the deliciousness the first time, we would have been going back for seconds.

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I guess I have been afraid of slaws. I don’t know why but they just seem… intimidating. But have no fear, people. I’m sure you don’t, but just in case… Just buy a bag of broccoli slaw! I couldn’t find cabbage, but I feel like broccoli is more nutritious than cabbage (I should probably actually know that since I’ll be a dietitian in a few years…), and it worked out perfectly.

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Gotta love Thai food. Spicy meets nutty meets delicious. I see lots of Asian food in my future. Spring rolls and lettuce wraps and who knows what else.

Thai Quinoa Bowl
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

3/4 c uncooked quinoa
2 c broccoli slaw
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c red onion, diced
1/2 c carrots, shredded or diced (use more if broccoli slaw doesn’t include carrots)
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/2 c cashew calves

1/4 c crunchy all natural peanut butter
1/4 tsp ginger
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Cook quinoa according to directions.
2. Combine dressing ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, then stir to combine once peanut butter is melty.
3. Combine quinoa, dressing, and remaining ingredients. Sprinkle fresh cilantro on top for garnish.

Carrot Cake Granola

This is another one of those “breakfast meets dessert” recipes.

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Have you heard about the research saying that if you eat your dessert for breakfast you’re more likely to lose weight? I think the reasoning is that if you eat something with high calories in the beginning of the day, you’re more likely to burn them off versus if you eat it after dinner or right before bed.

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I’m just helping test that research with all these pancake and desserty breakfast recipes.

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This, my friends, is carrot cake granola. Can we brainstorm about more desserty breakfasts? Tiramisu pancakes is on the horizon. And s’mores granola. I’ve had that one stowed away in my recipe brain for a while.

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This granola is really good on top of whipped Greek yogurt. You just take Greek yogurt, add some vanilla and powdered sugar and a little gelatin, and whip it up with a mixer. It’s super fluffy and delicious but totally [semi] healthy.

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I’m just trying to be a good dietitian here, for ya. You know, making sure you get your breakfast in so there are no feelings is deprivation, but giving the sweet stuff to you early so you can burn it all off for swimsuit season.

Carrot Cake Granola

2 c oats
1 apple, chopped
1 c walnuts, chopped
1/3 c carrots, shredded
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 c honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vanilla

1. Combine oats, apple, walnuts, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
2. Combine honey, olive oil and vanilla and then pour over oat mixture.
3. Stir well until completely combined.
4. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Roasted Vegetable Mac ‘n’ Cheese

People of the world. I have exciting news.

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There is something called a “Mojito Godiva Truffle” floating around in the world and I need to find it. Now. There’s also a “Peach Bellini Godiva Truffle.” I melt.

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My mom, kindly, bought a “Chocolatini Godiva Truffle” for me yesterday, which I scarfed down somewhere between savoringly and animalistic. There’s a love-hate relationship with truffles. Love that they’re so delicious, hate that they’re so small and are gone instantly.

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This, sadly, is not a truffle recipe. This is a pasta recipe. However, it still falls under the ‘Comfort Food’ category. Now, I will admit, I followed this recipe pretty closely, with just a few minor changes, but I cannot get into broccoli and carrots being in anything warm. I just don’t like them.

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I can do cold, fresh carrots all day long and I can eat broccoli covered in dip, but there was just not enough cheese to cover these mushy vegetables. Squash, peppers, and zucchini? I’m game. Broccoli and carrots? I’m the equivalent of a 4 year old. Get. Them. Out.

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I’m sure you’ll be seeing a remake of this dish with some vegetable substitutions. Stay tuned, people. It will involve pasta + cheese.

PS: Don’t let my dislike for broccoli and carrots turn you off from this recipe. It was still delicious. Even with the not-so-great-when-cooked-and-mushy vegetables, it was still fab.

Roasted Vegetable Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking

2 c whole wheat pasta
1 c broccoli, chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/3 carrots, chopped
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of dried basil
Pinch of black pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c plain soymilk
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 c Italian breadcrumbs

1. Combine chopped vegetables with 3 tbsp of olive oil, dried basil, and dried oregano. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring half way, at 400°F.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions.
3. When the vegetables are almost cooked, start on the sauce. In a saute pan, saute the garlic in the remaining tbsp of olive oil over medium-low heat for a minute or two, until fragrant.
4. Add flour to garlic-oil mixture, and slowly add in milk. Stir frequently and until sauce has thickened slightly.
5. Take off the heat (or turn off the heat but leave on the burner, if trouble melting) and add the cheese, stirring until combined.
6. Add vegetables and pasta to cheese sauce.
7. Pour mac ‘n’ cheese into 5×9″ baking dish, and sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Broil for 3-4 minutes to get a nice, crunchy exterior.

Healthy Cottage Cheese Vegetable Lasagna

Now I know what you’re thinking. Well, one of two things.

Isn’t she tired of pasta after eating it every single day in Italy?” or “Why haven’t there been any Italian recipes yet?!”

Well, you are right for both. I should be tired of it but I’m just not. I freaking LOVE pasta. And to celebrate 6 fabulous months with that great man in my life, I whipped together a lasagna dish.

Men need hearty meals. I can’t provide meat but I can provide protein in other ways. Cue: cottage cheese.

I lovelovelove cottage cheese. I can eat it plain, on salads, on crackers, on fruit, in parfaits, you name it. And now, ladies and gentlemen, in lasagna.

I didn’t have any ricotta cheese (last minute dinner throw together), so I used cottage cheese. And it totally worked. Hello, healthy protein-rich veggie lasagna.

Healthy Cottage Cheese Vegetable Lasagna

6 lasagna noodles
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 portobello cap, chopped
1/4 c carrots, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 c spinach
1/3 c cottage cheese
1/3 c shredded mozzarella
3/4 c pasta sauce (I used chunky vegetable)
Extra cheese for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.
3. Saute portobellos, carrots,  and onion in olive oil over medium heat until slightly softened. Take off heat and stir in spinach until slightly wilted.
4. Combine cottage cheese and mozzarella in a medium bowl. Add vegetables.
5. Drain and rinse lasagna noodles.
6. Pat slightly try and lay on aluminum foil or towel.
7. Spoon vegetable and cheese mixture on each noodle and roll up noodles. Place into small pan (I used a bread pan) and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melty.