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Sweet Potato Pasta

Where I grew up, there is no fall. There is only extended summer. Which is unfortunate because now that I am blessed enough to live in a 4-season town, Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. It’s the beautiful colors and gorgeous trees, the fun a festive flavors and comfy sweaters.

Sweet Potato is one of those flavors that pops up around this time of year, but I like to eat them all year long. Kerri and I once again experimented in the kitchen, a little cautious after our failed cheerio disaster. The result: A Creamy Sweet Potato Pasta made with greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, whole wheat rotini, spinach and some flax seeds.

Sweet Potato Pasta:

2 Cups Whole Wheat Pasta

2 medium Sweet Potatoes

1/2 Cup Non-fat Milk

1/3 Cup Plain Non-fat Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Spinach

Drizzle of Olive Oil

Garlic and Herb Seasoning

Pinch of Flax Seeds

1.) Wash and pierce sweet potatoes. Microwave for 10 minutes until soft.

2.) Peel off skins (eat or discard) and mash together the sweet potato, milk, greek yogurt, and seasoning.

3.) Meanwhile, boil noodles until cooked. Drain, leaving 3/4 Cup of water with noodles.

4.) In a large saucepan, drizzled with olive oil, add sweet potato mixture. Add Spinach. Bring to heat until spinach cooks down.

5.) Add in pasta and water. Mix until well-blended; top serving with flax seeds.

It was easy enough to make even in the dorm kitchen and we loved it! Even though it’s only the beginning of October, it already feels like Thanksgiving is near. All the stores have their festive fall decorations and so many websites have their Thanksgiving recipes…I like the holiday as much as the next person, but geez can we slow down?! I need all the time I can get to bake the ridiculous amount of autumn recipes I found on Pinterest ;)

If you like sweet potatoes, you may also like: Stuffed Sweet Potato

Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza

I don’t know how it is Monday already. I feel like we got ripped off with this weekend, just not enough time. This week is set to be a good one though… in just three short days, Grey’s Anatomy returns! I watched the first 3 seasons over summer, the good ole days with George and Izzy ;)

So we’re four weeks into the semester and on-campus meals are starting to wear on me. I pretty much only go to the “cafeteria” with friends, more for a social thing than actual dining preferences. I would much rather eat something healthy I made for myself.

For a nice break, my roommate and I bought a Boboli Whole Wheat pizza crust, some tomato pizza sauce, reduced fat cheese, spinach, purple onion, tomato and bell pepper to make our own loaded-veggie pizza and salad!

After you chop all of the vegetables, it’s super easy to make (Just throw it in the oven at 450 for 10 minutes) and 12 times better than another buffet-style dinner of blah salad and boring sides. We had fun making the pizza and playing some cards in the empty dorm kitchen :)

Playing cards reminds me of camping : )

I know pizza doesn’t sound like the healthiest option but it can actually be a good balance of whole wheat carbs, veggies and vitamins when you minimize the cheese and cut out the extra grease and fat from chain-restaurant slices. I feel better about my diet when I’m in charge of what goes in my meals, and the more veggies the better. Next time I would definitely add some pineapple!

Last Minute Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Saturday night we had company, a last minute dinner we threw together with our two neighbors (and their dog!). We decided to cook up a tried-and-true recipe that was healthy, colorful and easy – Zucchini Boats! My mom first saw these on Pinterest from Recipe Girl, and since then we’ve been creating a variety of our own fillings.

Honestly, once you’ve got your hollowed zucchini “shells” the filling can be anything you want it to be (like my empanadas).  In the past we’ve created a Southwestern Zucchini boat with ground beef, beans, rice and cheese. A Vegetarian Boat with lentils, onions, bell pepper and celery. The “Original” with marinara sauce, onions, garlic, turkey sausage, mozzarella cheese and basil.

Last night we made a Couscous Veggie Medley boat to go along with some BBQ’d pork chops and green bean salad (to be featured later). They were bright and light and colorful!

To start: Cut your zucchini squashes in half lengthwise and chop off the ends. Use a spoon to scoop out the “meat” of the zucchini – put this in a separate bowl to be used later!

Prepare your filling: Diced bell peppers, onion, carrot, and celery.

Make couscous over stove-top. We used the tri-color to add to the brightness of the boats. Couscous is one of the healthier grain-based products with only .25 grams of fat and 175 calories per 1 cup. Plus it is so fluffy and has the perfect texture for this veggie mixture. Add in some chicken broth to the water when making the couscous for some extra flavor.

Mix all of the diced vegetables into the couscous once it is cooked; also add the zucchini that has been removed from the “shells” and combine. Then stuff the mixture in the zucchini boats and bake!

Even Missy and her friend Lucky were jealous of our summer dinner…

Fresh out of the oven!

This is a great vegetarian/vegan recipe, but if you are a carnivore like me and my family, I suggest adding some ground turkey and parmesan cheese. Mmm!

The night ended in a competitive and silly game of Apples to Apples…obviously I won ;)

It’s Sunday night meaning Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition is on! Who else is watching?

Couscous Veggie Medley Zucchini Boats:

makes 10 boats

5 zucchinis

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery, diced

1 cup uncooked couscous (to make 3 cups cooked)

1 chicken flavored bullion cube

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; chop ends off of zucchinis and cut in half length-wise.

2. Using a spoon, remove the “meat” of the zucchini from the inside and set aside in a bowl.

3. Cook couscous over stove top by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil, adding the bullion cube and couscous. Remove from heat, cover for 5 minutes, then fluff.

4. Combine the vegetables, zucchini middles and couscous. Evenly divide the mixture into the zucchini boats.

5. Bake for 30 minutes.

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