Tag Archives: pasta

Garlicky Mushroom Cavatappi Pasta Recipe: A Love Story

mushroom cavatappi pasta recipe

Do you remember the Book-It program? It’s Pizza Hut‘s program for rewarding kids for reading. I crushed Book-It. I mean, in first grade, I had piles of those free Personal Pan pizza coupons stacked up at home. About once a month, mom would take me to the neighborhood Pizza Hut to collect my prize. You were only allowed one topping. One.

Here kids, here’s a whole bag of Skittles, now let’s just eat one. Say what?


Early on I narrowed in on my choice and never once deviated. At age six — through elementary school — it was a plain mushroom pizza for me. I love those little squishy, cheesy bites of fungi! Three nights ago I ordered pizza for dinner — mushrooms only. It’s really the best option. Even my homemade pizzas are piled high with thick slices of mushrooms, and the salami, bell peppers, and basil are just there for decoration.

This, however, is not about pizza. It is a lot about how I’ve found one more place to enjoy three of my favorite things — mushrooms, cheese, carbs. Pile ’em up, baby! (more…)

Exclusive! Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo Recipe from The Biggest Loser Bootcamp Book


Resolve to eat more vegetables. Or try new foods. Or eat more colorfully. Or reduce carbs. Or eat more home-cooked foods. Or just eat cleaner. Which ever one of these resolution categories your “diet” falls into, this dinner is a perfect fit.

We snagged this Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo recipe out of the new book The Biggest Loser Bootcamp (out December 30, 2014!). It met our own food resolutions — C: all of the above — and offered a fresh take on the spaghetti squash trend we love so much. Spaghetti squash has taken off in recent years, and for good reason. It’s a hearty vegetable that has a mild enough taste that you can pair it with almost anything. It’s a great alternative for noodles, but I don’t fully buy in to it being a supreme replacement. Don’t eat this expecting it to taste or feel like noodles; it gets the job done, deliciously so, but stands on its own as a noodle-ish food. (more…)

Healthy Dinner Menu for the Week Featuring Homemade Comfort Foods

healthy-dinner-menu-comfort foods


When it comes to the what’s for dinner? question, the struggle is real folks! We’re taking most of the guess work out with our new weekly meal plans! Turn Sunday in to Plan Day and you’ll be set right on through the weekend. We’ll even thrown in a few goodies, like a new side dish to try and expand those culinary horizons. And you’ll find something to settle your sweet tooth, a reward for all your effort! Be sure to use our FREE MEAL PLANNER WORKSHEETS to keep you on track.

From all of us at DietsInReview.com … have a delicious week!

MONDAYBlack and Mushroom Quesadillas with Chunky Serrano Guacamole

TUESDAYBBQ Pork Sliders with Homemade Coleslaw with Side to Try Sriracha Oven Fries

WEDNESDAYCreamy Parmesan White Wine & Chicken Pasta. Use this Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing for a salad on the side.

THURSDAYCrispy Pork Wontons with DIY Trader Joe’s Bistro Salad

FRIDAYTrashcan Nachos with a Jalapeno Watermelon Mojito

SOMETHING SWEETDark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Protein Balls

Work it Off: 3 Warm Weather Workouts to Blast Away a 320-Calorie Bowl of Mac and Cheese

Portland houses the International Test Garden for roses, which basically means there are thousands of different varieties of the fragrant flower planted in a handful of large gardens around town. Thanks to our warmer than usual weather most of these are already in bloom, so earlier this week I decided to organize a picnic among the roses. To start I made a salad topped with strawberries straight out of my garden (those are already in season too!). For the main I made a tasty  dish with campanelli noodles, caramelized onions, fresh herbs, goat cheese, and a little bacon. While I thought of this as a fancy pasta dish my boyfriend pointed out that it was really just fancy mac and cheese. Tom-a-toes Tom-ah-toes, people!

mac and cheese

This dish was a hit and simple to make, but healthy it is not. For a 1/2 pound serving (which is a small bowl-full) this dish clocks in at 320 calories. Not awful at face value, but when you factor in the dish contains 7 grams of saturated fat and 850 mg of sodium—basically 35% of your recommended daily allowance of each—you can see why this was a meal I definitely needed to burn off, stat! (Here’s a healthy mac and cheese recipe to try, if the craving strikes.)

How could I melt away those 320 surplus calories? (more…)

4 Foods Proving Carbs Are Not the Enemy

Whether you love them, hate them, or aren’t sure what to do with them, there’s no question that carbs are a hot topic when it comes to healthy eating.


Despite what information you may be relying on now, carbs aren’t all-bad. In fact, there are some that are absolutely essential for a healthy diet. It’s important to not overdo it on carbs like sugar. Because there are so many different kinds of carbs, it can be difficult to determine which ones are good and which are bad. The confusion can lead to people cutting carbs entirely, but that isn’t the best solution for your health.


Bobby Flay’s Recipe for Getting in Shape: Running, Spinning, and Eating

What do you know about Food Network star Bobby Flay other than the guy really knows his way around a grill?

He is married to Stephanie March. He is a feisty, good-looking redhead. His specialty is barbecue–classy barbecue. Like, culinary school barbecue. And? He is super duper fit. Flay has focused on getting fit over the past few years, which is wonderful for a world famous chef. How does someone who works around the best food all day long do it?

bobby flay fit

His recipe includes early morning runs, delicious lunches, biking with his wife, lifting weights with pals, and making lighter brunches. Nothing superstar here, they’re activities that all of us can take part in!

One of my very favorite exercise tips from Flay? Get inspired, and do what you love. For him that’s morning runs, enjoying foods he loves, and even trying new things — something that comes naturally to a chef — like yoga and spin.

Flay is in noticeably in shape, probably the best of his career, and he will tell you exactly how he got there during a new web series that tells his get-fit story on Food Network. It’s totally relateable for the average Joe, which is fantastic for, oh, all of us! He talks about his love of running, but also encourages us to walk around for exercise if that is all we are capable of. (more…)

3 Steps to Perfect Pasta

Pasta is an incredibly versatile food. It’s an easy option on a busy night, or when funds are low. It’s a comforting option when you want something warm and filling. It’s also a heavy option when you’re trying to cut calories and watch your waistline.

 pasta pot

It’s this last reason that can give pasta a bad rap, especially among dieters. So we want to share a secret with you: You can eat pasta and lose weight. Really. We promise.

The problem is, most people don’t focus on making good pasta. So, let’s start there. Let’s assume you’re already buying a whole grain option, therefore getting maximum nutrients from each and every calorie.  But how are you preparing it? If you’re like most people, you’re probably just setting the pot to boil and dumping it in. If you take just a few extra steps, your pasta will taste much better.


Score a Win with Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad at Your Next Football Tailgate

Nothing is better than tailgating season. And nothing is better than buffalo-flavored anything at a tailgate. Which would then suggest that this Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad is the best food of tailgate season. At least that’s how our math works.

It’s that big, bold buffalo flavor that you love, in a less fatty serving.

We’ve taken everything you love about a big platter of wings, blue cheese dip, and fresh veggie sticks and tossed it all with whole grain penne pasta. Think of it as the buffalo chicken platter deconstructed.

buffalo chicken pasta ingredients

Frank’s Red Hot is kind of the definitive sauce for buffalo-flavored dishes, but we also like the new buffalo flavor from Tabasco. Any hot sauce will work, and you can use as little or as much as your fierce taste buds can handle.

Loaded with crisp, fresh veggies, you aren’t as likely to pass these over when they are tossed with the pasta. And rather than an endless bowl of blue cheese dip, which can run more than 500 calories alone, we give you a generous 1/2-cup shake of the crumbles. All the flavor for around 50 calories! (more…)

Creamy Parmesan White Wine Sauce with Pasta for a Guilt-Free 419 Calories!

If I were going to be stranded on a desert island, and I could take only one food with me, it would be macaroni and cheese. It is the single most comforting comfort food. With its chewy noodles, gooey sauce, and creamy mouthfeel, I’d have no qualms about eating that every day.

But here in the real world, that’s hardly an option. The stuff in a box actually tastes terrible and is laced with chemical ingredients that kind of ruin the whole experience when you think about it. And if you really go for it at a restaurant, a bowl of chicken Alfredo at Olive Garden has 1500 calories! The classic mac at Macaroni Grill has nearly 700 calories… in the kids serving!

chicken alfredo
Nah, that’s not going to work. I’d like a big bowl of pasta, tossed in cheese sauce, and I’d like it for less than 500 calories.

This pasta in a white wine Parmesan sauce is very real, much more likely to happen that the desert island scenario, and comfort food I can enjoy without any discomfort of guilt. Why? It rings it at 419 calories for the whole bowl! (more…)

5 Ways to Add Big, Low-Calorie Flavor with Roasted Red Peppers

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

Both smoky and sweet, roasted red peppers add instant oomph to any dish. While it’s easy to make your own (remember to turn on the hood fan as even sweet red peppers can make your eyes sting), the jarred versions can also be good. For instance, I just discovered Trader Joe’s house brand, which are dead ringers for homemade.

Here are five ways I like to use them, and you’ll no doubt enjoy, too!

roasted peppers
Add to salads, just as you would any other vegetable. This Balsamic Tomato and Red Pepper salad recipe includes instructions for roasting the peppers.

Purée in dips, like the red pepper and walnut-based muhammara from Syria that’s popping up in Middle Eastern restaurants, or this lower calorie Roasted Red Pepper Dip. (more…)