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?

baby-bella-mushroom

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

biggest-loser-bootcamp-spaghetti-squash-chicken-alfredo

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.

grains

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.

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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.

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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…)

35 Quick and Healthy School Night Dinners Your Kids Will Actually Eat

What’s for dinner is the most impossible question to answer on our best nights, but during the chaos and rush of back to school it feels nearly hopeless. Adjusting to new schedules and adding extracurriculars to an already crammed-tight calendar and you’ve got a recipe for another drive-through dinner.

This year, don’t sweat it. Put prioritizing dinner on your back to school list. Any of these dinners can be thrown together and in the mouths of your hungry family in 30 minutes or less. They’re also healthier meals you can feel good about serving. And in many cases you can eat them on the run.

We may not change how you see dinner as a necessary evil, but we can certainly take the devil out of the details!

Mexican and Southwest

quesadilla black beans

Black Bean and Mushroom Quesadillas

For meatless Monday or exclusive vegetarians, hearty black beans and mushrooms melted together with cheese is simple and satisfying.

BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw

Fire up the grill and you’re only 30 minutes away from the best tacos ever! Buy pre-shredded coleslaw to really save prep time.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers – Barr and Table

These peppers use protein-rich quinoa instead of rice and can be prepped and served in just 30 minutes with on-hand ingredients.

Chorizo Nachos

Biggest Loser has a homemade chorizo recipe that tastes and looks like the real deal but is much better for you (just make it in advance).

Apple Sausage Quesadillas

The kids can practically make these themselves and will love every last comforting bite.

Classic Comforts

meatloaf mug

Meatloaf in a Mug – My Recipes

Individual meatloaves are made in minutes in the microwave. Not only are they adorable, but they practically make themselves.

Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders

This drive-thru favorite is better than ever when you use panko to get that crispy crunch the kids crave.

BBQ Pork Sliders

It takes only 30 minutes to roast a tenderloin, which you can then shred, toss in your favorite BBQ sauce, and serve!

Turkey Meatball Subs

The sandwich shop has nothing on our effortless meatball subs, made lighter with ground turkey. Serve in hot dog buns for tiny hands.

Pumpkin Chili

Chili in 30 minutes is possible. The pumpkin adds delicious nutrition without influencing the flavor much at all.

Sandwiches

finished pita

Mediterranean Chicken, Pear, and Arugula Stuffed Pitas – Fit Bottomed Eats

Our original recipe for FBE starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken for the ultimate in hand-held, get-out-the-door meals.

Best Club Sandwich Ever

We use Applegate Farms ham, turkey, and bacon to craft a cleaner sandwich that’s finished with avocados and veggies.

Oprah’s Love Sandwich

This grilled panini sandwich presses turkey and cheese together for a super-quick, hot and ready dinner.

Almond Butter Banana Crazy

It doesn’t get any easier – we fold almond butter with banana slices and sprinkle a few dried cranberries.

Super Sloppy Joes – Meal Makeover Moms

This family favorite is made lighter with ground turkey and always gets two messy thumbs up from the kids.

 

Meals On a Stick

chicken stick

Maple Ginger Chicken on a Stick – Green Lite Bites

Make the marinade in the morning and dinner is literally minutes away when you get home. Roni says kids will eat anything on a stick!

Bayou Kabobs

Shrimp, sausages, and peppers take less than 15 minutes on the grill.

Fancy Fish Sticks

A Jillian Michaels creation that is super family friendly and way better than any frozen fish stick in a box.

Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Bite Kabobs

Hand-held burgers without the bun are stuffed with gooey cheddar cheese and a bit of jalapeno pepper for big flavor.

Stuffed Almond Butter and Jam French Toast Kabobs – Nibbles by Nic

It’s breakfast for dinner in a whole new way! You could even add bites of ham to the kabobs if you’re looking for more protein.

 

Pasta and Noodles

butternut squash macaroni

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

An Abra Pappa original that uses less, but higher quality cheese and a butternut squash puree for a kid-approved mac!

Creamy Avocado Pasta – In Good Taste

One of our very favorite 15-minute dinners. Prepare it meatless or top with shrimp.

Tomato Basil Alphabet Soup

A super simple homemade soup that easily fills thermoses for feel-good brown bag lunches all week long!

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

It’s a no-noodle pasta dish and they’ll never know the difference! More nutritious and just as fast as a heap of spaghetti.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli – Picky Eater Blog

Turn a package of store-bought ravioli in to a quick and easy feel good dinner the kids will rave about!

Breakfast for Dinner

waffle panini

Prosciutto and Apple Waffle Paninis – HelloGiggles

If you’ve made the waffles in advance, or have frozen available, the prep time on these is dramatically reduced!

Pigs in Comforters

Biggest Loser’s Chef Devin Alexanders rolls all-beef hot dogs in buttermilk biscuits.

Cornbread Waffles – Edible Perspective

Prepare these heartier waffles with our oven-baked chicken tenders for a better take on chicken and waffles!

Egg and Kielbasa Sausage Pizza – Kid Friendly Home

The eggs form a breadless crust that holds kielbasa sausage, fresh herbs, and both cheddar and parmesan cheeses.

Carrot Cake Pancakes – Grimmway Farms

We crafted these using Grimmway’s famous baby carrots. Topped with cream cheese and walnuts, they’re quite satisfying.

 

Mediterr-Asian

Hoppin Johns Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Our “new year” hummus will bring good luck to your pupils. Serve with warm pita and fresh veggies for an easy, filling dinner.

Crispy Pork Wontons

Another winner of a dinner from Chef Devin, these wontons bake up in minutes and are easily eaten on the go.

Mediterranean Fish Tacos – Food Network

A Rachael Ray original that takes only 30 minutes to prep and serve and offers a lighter, cooler meal for those hot and busy nights.

Chinese Potstickers with Turkey – Super Healthy Kids

If you’ve got about 20 minutes, a food processor, and a pot of boiling water, you’ve got time to make a super lean take-out-inspired meal!

Caprese Grilled Cheese

The grilled cheese is all grown up! We make it better with real mozzarella, fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes.

meal planner

Keep it all organized! Download our FREE meal planner worksheets HERE!