Healthy Recipes to Keep You Fit and Fabulous

Posts tagged ‘italian’

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 🙂 .

Guess Who’s Back…Back Again…

Holyyyy technical difficulties, people!

I’m happy to say I have worked out the kinks and Cooking With Carly is back!

When I first came across my space issue, I was in the middle of writing a re-cap of my Memorial Day Weekend.  I hate for it to go to waste, so I’m going to start up where I left off!  I will be updating again soon, with a nice looong re-cap of everything I’ve been up to in the passed two weeks!


Did my post title make anyone flash back to this Backstreet Boys song? 🙂


Memorial Day Weekend

On Friday, Corey and I had a Groupon to a little Italian restaurant called Tolla’s.  We had been there once before and the food was great, so we were excited to go back.

I started with a glass of Cabernet:

And some crusty bread, dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar:

Typically, whenever I visit an Italian restaurant, my entree decision is never a difficult one.  I proved this point, yet again, by ordering the Eggplant Parmesan.  It came with a house salad with balsamic dressing:

I was very disappointed when my meal arrived.  I was not a fan of the heavy breading and “chicken finger”-like appearance of my beautiful eggplant!  Corey and I both agreed that our meals (he had the Chicken Marsala) were not nearly as good as the first time we visited Tolla’s.  However, we knew the one thing that would turn our frowns upside-down; Tolla’s Tiramisu!  We have never forgotten how good their delicious Tiramisu was the first time we went there, and how the waiter told us that a little old Italian man makes pans upon pans of it and distributes it to all the authentic Italian restaurants in the area.

And then, this came:


I don’t know where this tiramisu came from, but it was certainly not the delicious slice of heaven we had last time we went to Tolla’s!

Overall, we were very un-impressed with our meals, and sadly, we will not be visiting Tolla’s again.  *Sigh*.

The next day, we went on some wedding-related errands- including looking at ceremony sites!  We went to a park called Azalea Gardens.

While walking up to the entrance, we spotted a strange sight.

I just wanna know where I belong!

This little duck…er…swan?…um…what the heck IS that thing?!

It looked like one of those white Ibis (I totally looked that up) that you sometimes see (at least, in Florida) walking in the street or near lakes, except it had webbed feet like a duck!  The saddest part was that it just sat there, and didn’t even attempt to fly away or even waddle away.  We think it was sick or dying, and Corey gave a valiant effort to try to convince me to take it home and nurse it back to health.  I didn’t think Bella would be very happy about that!

Don't even THINK about it!

We left our sad duckibiswan, and explored the garden.  We didn’t have a guide or anything, so we were left to our own devices to try and determine where a wedding ceremony might actually take place.  We decided this looked like a logical spot:

It had a beautiful view of the lake:

After further research, I discovered that this spot is suited more for small, family weddings.  The search continues!

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.

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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