Healthy Recipes to Keep You Fit and Fabulous

Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

Turkey Meatballs

Last night was a rainy one here in Orlando.  I don’t know what it is about rainy weather, but it seems to always call for comfort food!  To me, Italian = ultimate comfort food.  I decided to make classic spaghetti and meatballs, using my recipe for Turkey Meatballs to lighten it up.

Turkey Meatballs

Servings: 4 (3 meatballs each)


1.3 lbs. ground turkey meat

1 tablespoon capers

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon of:

garlic powder



red pepper flakes



1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, add all of the above ingredients.

Use your hand to combine all the ingredients with the turkey.

Working with approximately 2 oz. portions, roll the meat in between your hands until you form a perfect ball.  Lay them on a nonstick cookie sheet, and pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Serve on top of whole wheat spaghetti with your favorite marinara sauce.


Other meals of the day…


Fage 0% Greek Yogurt topped with fresh strawberries.


Organic Girl 50/50! topped with tuna salad (made with 1 tablespoon Light Mayo, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard), garbanzo beans and Organicville Sesame Goddess Dressing.


After taking a week off from BodyPump, I was definitely ready to get back to lifting weights.  I went to the gym ahead of the scheduled class time so I could get in some cardio beforehand.  I did 25 minutes on the elliptical before Pumping it up 🙂 .

I See the Light


2 finals down, 2 more to go…tomorrow night at 7PM I’ll be done with the hardest semester of classes I have ever experienced!  Can I get an AMEN?!


On Monday, I was feeling extremely stressed out.  The fun holiday weekend was over, which left me with no groceries in the fridge, tons of studying ahead of me, and an Easter-candy-induced stomach ache.  I considered skipping my workout, but as soon as I walked in the door from my class, Corey was in workout clothes and convinced me to head out for a run with him.  I felt much better afterwards, and I was happy to get in a little sweat sesh to relieve some stress.

Tuesday, however, was way too busy, so I did end up taking the day off from working out.


After all the rich food and pounds of candy that was devoured over the weekend, my body was craving something healthy for breakfast ! On Monday, I whipped up some scrambled egg whites with chopped green pepper, topped with a little salsa.

Yesterday brought about the return of my breakfast smoothie!

I love the addition of cooked oats- it thickens up the smoothie, and makes me stay full for much longer.


On Monday, I didn’t have much to work with in the lunch department.  I ended up putting together a little snack plate for lunch, including rolled up turkey, swiss cheese and Dijon mustard, with pear slices.

Yesterday’s lunch was a 6-inch Turkey sub from Subway, which was the remainder of a footlong that I got on Monday for dinner. My sub included lots of veggies: spinach, tomato, green pepper, banana peppers, and pickles.  Pickles are vegetables.


Monday’s dinner, like I said, was the other half of the above sandwich from Subway.  Corey and I decided to grocery shop Monday night, but decided we weren’t in the mood to wait for dinner to cook, so we walked over to grab sandwiches, instead.

Last night, I was craving pasta like whoa.  I have a new theory- I think that studying really hard for many hours is the equivalent to your body of running long distance.  Anytime that I study for more than a few hours, I feel exhausted and starving, as if I just worked out really hard!  Anyone have any thoughts on that?

I’m sure that my theory isn’t right, but it makes me feel a lot better to pretend that studying burns the same amount of calories as running, so let’s just go with it.

I cooked two Publix Ready-to-Cook breaded chicken cutlets, while waiting for some whole wheat bow tie pasta to finish cooking.

I tossed the pasta with 1/3 cup Publix Fresh Basil and Tomato Marinara and 1 tablespoon of Philadelphia Cooking Creme in Savory Garlic, to make it a little creamier, sort of like vodka sauce- minus the good part.

I cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and topped the pasta with it.

This definitely hit the spot, and made me feel re-energized.  Which turned out to be a bad thing, since I ended up going to bed about 30 minutes later.

One thing I’m really looking forward to in my post-school life is going back to eating dinner at a normal time!  It’s never a good idea to go to bed full of pasta.

Back to the grind!

Do you think studying burns calories? (Say yes)

Baked Spinach Ziti

Oh, Mondays.  They never cease to wear me out!


I woke up bright and early to get ready to teach at the middle school.  I made myself a yogurt bowl and some coffee before heading out the door.

I topped a cup of Chobani 0% Vanilla Greek Yogurt with a sliced banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and some cinnamon.


I packed my Vera Bradley lunchbag with a healthy little meal:

I topped a toasted whole wheat sandwich thin with deli turkey, reduced-fat provolone cheese and mustard.  On the side, I had some grapes, and a cup of Fage 2% Greek Yogurt with Honey combo:

When I got home from teaching, I decided it would be a good idea to get a head-start on dinner, so I wouldn’t have much to do when I got home from class.


When Corey and I had lunch on Sunday at 903 Mills Market, we flipped through a newspaper that was on the table and came across this advertisement:

A delicious-looking dish of baked ziti!  I haven’t had baked ziti in forever, and I thought it would be fun to make a healthified version for a weeknight meal.

Baked Spinach Ziti

Servings: 6-8


1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out (see demonstration here)

4 Hot Italian Turkey Sausages, removed from casings (you could substitute ground turkey or lean ground beef)

1/2 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 tablespoon dried basil (or 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped)

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 28 oz. can tomato puree

2 1/2 cups (measured uncooked) whole wheat penne pasta

1 3/4 cups Fat Free Mozzarella, shredded

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the sausage after you have removed the casings.

Use your spatula to break up the meat.  Cook until no longer pink.

Remove from heat.  Drain the oil from the meat, and set aside on a plate.

Heat a large skillet (big enough to hold the two 28 oz. cans of tomato) over medium heat.  Spray with nonstick spray, then add the chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional minute.

LOWER THE HEAT.  Add the diced tomatoes and the tomato puree.

Stir in the basil and oregano.

Raise heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add the meat to the sauce and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes.

Add the cooked pasta and stir until the noodles are coated with sauce.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9X9 baking dish, start by ladling about a cup of the sauce/noodle mixture into the bottom, just enough to make an even layer.

Divide the thawed spinach into thirds.  Evenly spread 1/3 of the spinach on top of the noodle mixture.

Evenly spread 1/4 cup of grated parmesan over top.

Top that with 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella.

Repeat the above steps until you have made 3 layers.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Corey and I loved this recipe.  Seconds were enjoyed by both of us 🙂 .

Note: Don’t attempt to make this while wearing white pants…


2-Day Recap + Low Calorie Chicken Alfredo

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost 3 days!  The horror!

My school schedule is definitely to blame.  Tons of tests this week.

I tried updating last night, but it seems WordPress was experiencing some technical difficulties.

How ’bout a recap of the last 2 days and then I provide you with the recipe for possibly the best chicken alfredo I’ve ever had?

Sounds good to me!


I’m starting with my workouts, because I’m excited to share that after stating that “5AM wake-ups are not in option” for me to go workout, I completely contradicted myself and went ahead and did it!  On Monday, I knew I had to teach and then go straight to my night class, meaning I wouldn’t have time to workout.  I refuse to let my work and school schedule ruin my workout schedule, I tell you!  Therefore, I made the decision to wake up at the disgusting hour of 5AM.  I got in the car and drove straight to the gym, where I was very surprised to see a LINE outside the door of people waiting for it to open!  When I got inside, I completed 30-minutes on the treadmill, including 2 10-minute runs mixed with 2 5-minute uphill walking at a 4.3 pace.  I planned to get on the elliptical, but they were all full almost immediately.  Guess that’s what the line was all about.

As for yesterday, I was in the worst mood ever after the sinking realization came upon me that I had more homework and studying to do than any one human should have to handle.  Corey convinced me to workout with him, and I must admit, I felt GREAT afterwards. Bad mood- banished.  I completed a 20-minute treadmill workout of 5-minutes of running mixed with uphill walking at 4.3 pace. I also completed a weights routine which can be viewed here.


On Monday, I created a delicious bagel sandwich using my favorite flavor profile: sweet + savory.

I toasted 1 Thomas’ Whole Wheat Bagel Thin, spread it with 1 wedge of Laughing Cow French Onion cheese, and topped it with slices of pear.

I also stopped by Starbucks after my workout for a Venti Sugar-Free Vanilla Soy Latte.  It was my reward for waking up so freakin’ early :).

Hope no one saw me taking this picture of myself.

Yesterday, Corey had an early doctor’s appointment to get him some stronger allergy medicine, and his reward for being such a good wittle boy was a yummy breakfast- diner-style!

I had two eggs, wheat toast, and 2 sausage links.  Ok, there may be a plate of pancakes that didn’t make it into this picture…


On Monday, I packed a healthy little lunch to bring to school.  I try to bring especially good-for-you food with me when I teach at the middle school, because, as I’ve mentioned before, these kids clearly need a good example when it comes to food.

I topped a bed of spring mix lettuce with a scoop of homemade tuna salad, served with a side of green grapes.

Monday’s RULI (Ridiculously Unhealthy Lunch Item) spotting: 1 lunchbox, 1 student- 4 different bags of chips.  No joke.

I think yesterday’s salty diner breakfast produced a little sugar-craving, because I was in the mood for sweetness by lunchtime:

I microwaved a whole wheat tortilla for 15 seconds, spread it with 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter, and then topped it 1/2 cup sliced strawberries and banana slices.  I sprinkled the top with cinnamon and rolled it into a breakfast wrap!

I have been seriously craving peanut butter lately, at all times of the day.  I think this picture proves that I literally mean at all times of the day:

This is from Monday.  I was starving, as usual, after teaching, and I barely had time to change my shoes before it was time for me to go to class.  I grabbed a banana, a plastic spoon, and threw my peanut butter in my school bag!  I then attempted to peel a banana, hold a spoonful of peanut butter AND drive a car, all at the same time.  This was the first time I’ve ever really regretted not getting my car windows tinted.  Apparently, prematurely-balding truck drivers really enjoy the sight of blondes eating bananas.

I would also like to point out how awesome it was when I got up from my seat in class attempting to walk to the front of the room, got my foot stuck in the handle of my school bag, tripped, and caused my peanut butter jar to roll out of my bag and into the middle of the classroom. I am now officially that girl.


My 5AM workout on Monday was having a pretty positive effect on me throughout the day- I didn’t feel tired at all.  However, by the time my class ended and I got home, it was 10PM, I was starving, and I was exhausted.  What I’m trying to say is…the Monday Night Tradition came back! (temporarily)

Pollo Tropical, we meet again.  And it’s a miracle I was even able to get this picture of my dinner because I basically face-planted directly into it as soon as I walked in the door.  And yes, that is a large, and yes, I ate every bite.  Happy?!

Alright, onto the main event!

Last night, I was brainstorming dinner ideas and came up with this little gem that I think everyone will love.  It still needs some perfecting, but regardless, it was good enough that 2 people finished an amount that could have easily fed 4.

Low Calorie Chicken Alfredo

Servings: 4


1/2 box whole wheat fettucine

4 chicken cutlets, thinly sliced

1 cup PLAIN, non-fat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 onion, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons dried parsley (or 3 tablespoons fresh)

shredded parmesan for topping

1 tablespoon Smart Balance spread

Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning (optional)

splash of white wine or chicken broth


Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and place over medium heat.  After slicing the chicken, season liberally with the creole seasoning (or any chicken seasoning of your choice).

Place chicken in skillet and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Remove cooked chicken from skillet, and set aside on a plate. Wash out the skillet, or use a different one for the next steps.

Place skillet on medium heat and spray with nonstick spray.  Once heated, add the chopped onion.

After the onions start to become translucent, add the garlic.

Continue cooking until onions are browned. Next, add a splash of white wine and use your spatula to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Remove skillet from heat.  Add the Smart Balance and yogurt, and whisk together until well combined.  Add the 2 tablespoons water while continuously whisking.  Add more water by the tablespoon if the sauce seems too thick.  Next, whisk in the grated cheese.

Add the chicken.

Add the pasta (should still be hot, so don’t cook too far ahead of time).

Add the dried parsley.  Use tongs to toss everything together and coat in the sauce.

Serve topped with shredded parmesan cheese and extra parsley.

This was fab!

After dinner, Corey, um…baked?

I don’t know why I still think this is so funny, but it just is.  Fortunately, we don’t discriminate against desserts of any kind in this household, no matter how oddly shaped.

Time for test #3 of the day!

It’s Not Delivery…Because You Made it Yourself! Recipe: Broccoli Pizza

I got the inspiration for this recipe from one of my favorite sites that I’ve mentioned before. I changed a few things about it and added my own touches to fit my tastes.  It’s very easy to make, especially when you get help from the store-bought pizza dough!  Pizza has a bad reputation, but it really can be good for you with a few modifications.  First, it is ALWAYS better to get “thin crust”, even when you are ordering out.  Less dough = less calories.  Second, skip the fatty meats and extra cheeses, and try ordering as many veggies as you can.  That’s why I love this recipe- it has 2 cups of broccoli on top!  The dough that I used for this recipe was Pillsbury’s Refrigerated Thin Pizza Crust.  However, if you can find it, it is much better to use a whole-wheat dough (I was very upset that my store didn’t have it!)

Broccoli Pizza

Servings: 12 slices


1 roll of Pillsbury Refrigerated Thin Pizza Crust

2 cups broccoli florets, cooked in boiling water until tender

2 cups Fat Free Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/3 cup pre-made Pesto (I used Spice World brand, found with the pre-chopped jars of garlic)

1/4 cup Reduced Fat Feta Cheese

Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread the dough out on a cookie sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray), and pre-bake the dough according to package directions, 5 minutes.  Take the dough out of the oven.  Cook the broccoli florets in boiling water for about 4-5 minutes, until tender.  Drain and pat dry.

Spread the pre-baked dough with the pesto in an even layer.

Spread the broccoli on top of the pesto in another even layer.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Sprinkle the Mozzarella and Feta cheeses on top.  Bake for another 10 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.  Sprinkle individual slices with Parmesan cheese, if you want.  Serve hot!



Turkey Sausage Meat Sauce Over Angel Hair

If you can’t tell, I’m kind of obsessed with Italian food.  I love the richness that every dish has, but I DON’T love what it does to my dress size!  I can’t give up all of my favorite foods for the sake of being a skinny bitch.  Therefore, this is yet another one of my Italian favorites that I have adapted to be healthier.

Turkey Sausage Bolognese

Servings: 4


4 Turkey Sausages, remove meat from casing

1/2 onion, chopped

8oz. white mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 28 oz. can Tomato Puree

1 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 medium carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded


In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium heat.  Add the turkey sausage and cook until no longer pink.  Remove from pot, and drain the fat.

Add the onion, carrot and celery.  Cook until translucent and slightly tender, about 4 minutes.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the mushrooms and cook until browned.

Add the sausage back to the pot.  Pour in the tomato puree, followed by the crushed tomatoes.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve over whole wheat pasta of your choice.

Gnocchi in a Bacon and Pea “Cream” Sauce

Gnocchi is delicious in any kind of sauce, but it is traditionally served in either a butter or cream sauce. Since we’re trying to keep things healthy around here, I tried to find a way to make a cream sauce without cream!  I think I succeeded.

Gnocchi in Bacon and Pea “Cream” Sauce

Servings: 4


1 package gnocchi

1/2 cup frozen green peas

4 slices bacon, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons Chive and Onion Cream Cheese

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper

1 tablespoon salt for pasta water

1 medium zucchini, sliced


Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the tablespoon of salt, and cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and set aside.  In a skillet over medium heat, add the chopped bacon, cook until crispy and fat is rendered.  Remove bacon pieces and drain on a paper towel.  Add the chopped onion to the skillet with the bacon fat.  Cook until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chopped zucchini and cook until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the white wine, and use your spatula to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the cream cheese, and whisk into the sauce until creamy.  Add the frozen peas.  Add the cooked gnocchi and mix everything together.  Sprinkle with bacon and parmesan cheese and serve.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Scallops, Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes

This meal has become my go-to dinner recently.  It is healthy and flavorful, and the scallops bring it to the next level.  You can adapt this recipe to meet your personal tastes, too! Don’t like cherry tomatoes or eggplant? Throw in your favorite veggie.  It will still be awesome!

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Scallops, Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes

in a White Wine Garlic Sauce

Servings: 4


1 box Whole Wheat Spaghetti

3/4 pound bay scallops (the small ones)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

8 oz. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

1 small eggplant, peeled and chopped into cubes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon Smart Balance Spread

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon salt for the pasta water


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with 1 tablespoon salt.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.  Season the scallops with some of the salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the EVOO to the pan.  When the pan is hot, add the scallops to the pan and sear on each side (about 1 1/2 on each side).  When the scallops have a brown caramelization, remove them from the pan and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of EVOO, and lower the heat to medium.  Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

Add the eggplant and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until the eggplant is tender and tomatoes are slightly softened.  Season with the rest of the salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.

Add the white wine to the pan and use your spatula to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the Smart Balance. Remove from heat.

Immediately add the hot pasta to the skillet and mix everything together.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and serve.

My Favorite Meal: Eggplant Parmesan

My favorite meal of all time is definitely eggplant parmesan.  No matter what Italian restaurant I go to, I can’t seem to steer myself away from ordering it!  However, frying up a vegetable doesn’t exactly count in the healthy eating department.  I still love the taste of eggplant even when it isn’t fried, so I decided to invent a healthy version of my favorite meal.

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

Servings: 4


2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 cups of your favorite healthy tomato sauce (meaning no added sugar or cheese),

OR use my Simple, Cheap Tomato Sauce recipe (see previous post)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2/3 cup Fat-Free Shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

You will need a 9X9 baking dish


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If using my Simple, Cheap Tomato Sauce recipe, make this ahead of time and set aside.  After peeling and slicing the eggplant into rounds, pre-heat an indoor grill (or use your outdoor grill).  Spray each slice with Pam or non-stick spray.  Sprinkle the slices with salt, pepper, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Grill the rounds in batches (not overlapping), about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, until tender.  Remove from grill.

In a baking dish, pour about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan and spread around evenly.  Working in layers, place as many eggplant rounds in the bottom of the pan as you can without overlapping them.  Top with another 1/4 cup of sauce, sprinkle with some of the Parmesan cheese, and then a sprinkle of Mozzarella cheese.  Repeat this process in layers until you have used up all your ingredients (should make about 3 layers).

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve over whole-wheat pasta and a sauteed vegetable on the side.


How TO: Make a Simple, Cheap Tomato Sauce

I think many people assume that you have to be an Italian grandmother to make an amazing tomato sauce.  I’m here to tell you that’s not true!  I have several recipes for different pasta sauces, including basic marinara, bolognese, and even a vegetable bolognese (all to be posted in the future!) However, since I know that many college-age kids (and adults, too) don’t always have a wealth of ingredients hanging around in their pantries or fridges, I want to show you how to take a 79-cent can of plain Tomato Sauce and turn it into a flavorful sauce to be used on any kind of pasta or Italian dish of your choice.  This can be used just how it is, or it can be a building block for a more complex sauce.


1 12-oz can of plain Tomato Sauce

1/3 of an onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon dried basil

1/2 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 splash of dry white wine


In a pot, heat the Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium-heat.  After the pot is heated, throw in the diced onion.  Allow the onion to cook for about 4 minutes, until translucent, being sure to move them around frequently with a spatula.

Throw in the chopped garlic.  Let this cook for a minute, until the garlic is fragrant (careful, it burns fast!)

Next, add a healthy splash of white wine (around 3 tablespoons).

Move the onions and garlic around in the white wine with a spatula, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  After most of the alcohol has cooked out of the wine (about 2 1/2 minutes), pour in the can of tomato sauce.

Add the basil, oregano, pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Let this simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

That’s it!

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