Creamy Pink Pasta with Shrimp & Spinach

Forgive me on the recipe name here, not my best work.  This dish was fantastic, we will definitely be making it again.  Although “creamy” may make you step away from this recipe, the “cream” is just Greek yogurt!  I fooled Mr. Applebutter once again. ;-)


Creamy Pink Pasta with Shrimp- adapted from back to her roots

Serves: 6

12 oz whole wheat spiral noodles

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

8 oz. mushrooms, diced

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

10 oz. shrimp, peeled & deveined

1 cup marinara sauce

5 oz. plain 0% Greek yogurt

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

2 oz fat free crumbled feta cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.
  3. Add in mushrooms and grape tomatoes. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until mushrooms soften.
  4. Turn heat up to medium-high and add in shrimp. Cook for 2-5 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove from heat, add in spinach and cover skillet. Let spinach wilt for about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and place skillet back over low heat. Add the pasta, Greek yogurt and marinara sauce. Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated.   Add Italian seasoning and feta cheese.  Mix well.
  6. Heat until just warmed through. Divide into pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Depending on your taste, you may need to increase or decrease the amount of “sauce” (pasta/yogurt mixture). 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 357 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated), 45g carbohydrate (8g fiber), 26g protein


Kale Pesto & Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

This was my first adventure with eating raw kale.  It has always only seemed appetizing cooked since it’s tougher then other greens like spinach, but, this recipe proved me wrong.  This was pretty quick and easy for a weeknight while still packing a lot of nutrition!


Kale Pesto & Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta- adapted from littleleopardbook

Serves: 6

12 oz whole wheat spaghetti

3/4 cup kale pesto (see below)

6 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 cups grape (or cherry) tomatoes, halved


Kale Pesto

6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

4 cups kale, washed and chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded



  1. Prepare kale pesto by combining kale, garlic and cashews in blender or food processor until smooth.  Next add salt, pepper, olive oil and water and blend until well combined.  Finally, stir in parmesan cheese and pulse for a few seconds. Note: This recipe will make slightly more then needed for the pasta.  Save and mix into a vegetable dish or as a spread on sandwiches for later in the week.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain the pasta and mix in 3/4 cup kale pesto.
  3. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes and grape tomatoes.  Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 240 calories, 12g fat (2g saturated), 27g carbohydrate (4.5g fiber), 6.5g protein

Baked Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Lately I’ve noticed I’ve been giving you a lot of pasta dishes, so I will have to work on my variety.  I guess I’ve just been craving it lately.  This one is very similar to Ellie’s Skillet Mac & Cheese with cauliflower that I posted a few weeks ago.  I get excited for any way that I can make a traditionally terribly fatty dish a little bit healthier.  I don’t have kids yet but I would hope that if you chop the broccoli up smaller then I did, you might be able to fool them.  Follow the link over to skinny taste’s blog as I only made a few changes to the recipe (see below).  Good luck fooling the kiddies (or husbands)!


Baked Broccoli Mac & Cheese


2 cups reduced fat sharp cheddar 1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar & 1 cup reduced fat aged gouda cheese

1 tbsp butter & 1 tbsp. light butter 1 tbsp. light butter & 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white onion, diced 1/2 cup white onion, diced


1/4 tsp. ground mustard (this is key!)

High Fiber Veggie Pasta

I wasn’t all that creative with meals this week.  I’ve become addicted to searching “wedding” and all things related on pinterest, and I’ve been neglecting my recipe searching.  This coming week I buckled down and 5 out of the 7 meals are new, so I’m very hopeful that more then one will be successful.  For now I bring you a delicious recipe, but I can’t claim it as my own.  I think the red wine in the sauce really makes the dish.  I re-wrote the recipe for you because I slightly changed it, but be sure to pop over to chocolate broccoli’s blog for some great pictures.

P.s.  Notice the new bowl?  It’s one of several new dishes from mom to spice up the pictures.  I think it worked, thanks mom!


High Fiber Veggie Pasta- slightly adapted from chocolatebroccoli

Serves: 6

1 pound whole wheat spiral pasta
1 cup shredded reduced fat Italian blend cheese
Veggie Sauce:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup red onion, sliced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 small yellow squash, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
1 (26-ounce) jar reduced-sodium tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine (don’t omit this!)
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, squash, and bell pepper; sauté for 8 minutes. Stir in the pasta sauce, red wine, Italian seasoning and basil.  Simmer for 18 minutes until sauce is bubbly and vegetables are soft.

  2. With about 10 minutes left to simmer, cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander. Return pasta to cooking pot. Stir in Italian blend cheese until well incorporated and cheese starts to melt. Keep warm.
  3. Pour pasta cheese mixture into sauce, stirring to coat evenly. Top with dried parsley, serve hot.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 422 calories, 9g fat (3g sat fat), 61g carbohydrate (11g fiber), 19g protein

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with White Bean-Parsley Sauce

 When I was home for Thanksgiving I had a conversation with my sister about getting beans into her diet to provide some more fiber and protein to her simple carb-loving heart.  Her response was that she doesn’t like the texture of beans.  I think this is a common feeling that people have.  Behold, this recipe.  Making it into a sauce is a great way to get the fiber into you, while your mind tricks you into believing it’s just another fatty Alfredo-type sauce.  Now your body and your mind win!


Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with White Bean-Parsley Sauceslightly adapted from Vanilla & Spice

Serves: 5

1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces (roughly 4 cups)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

14.5 oz box dried whole wheat fusilli pasta

For the sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tbsp. dried parsley leaves

1 can no-salt-added cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Sprinkle of salt and fresh ground pepper

1/2-3/4 cup vegetable stock


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Chop cauliflower into bite sized pieces.  Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Roast for 25-35 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and dried parsley and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the beans, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook until beans are heated through, 3-4 minutes.
  3. If you don’t have a handheld immersion blender (don’t I wish I did!), transfer contents of the pan to a blender or food processor and blend, gradually adding ½ cup of vegetable stock. If you are making the sauce ahead of time, transfer it to a small saucepan and keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.  Drain and return pasta to the pot.  Add the sauce and the cauliflower and stir until thoroughly mixed. If the sauce is too thick, add more of the remaining 1/4 cup vegetable stock.
  5. Serve with a side salad or vegetables to slightly bring up the calorie content of this meal but not the carbs.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 474 calories, 8.1g fat (.8g saturated), 81g carbohydrate (15g fiber), 22.8g protein

Cheesy Butternut Squash & Spinach Pasta

So I was sitting down to plan my weekly menu like I always do…which by the way, is probably my favorite time of the week.  I take an hour to sit down with a tea or coffee, my google reader, and a cooking magazine and get to planning.  I also love it because having a shopping list saves me time and money at Wegmans.  Good god, if I was let loose in there with no list, I would be living on the streets, in a box, surrounded by all the food I’d buy to try.  Anyway, this week I knew that I needed to get butternut squash in the line-up again. After that delicious couscous I made last week, I’ve become a bit.. obsessed with it.  Obsessed.  I can’t believe it took me 25 years to roast a butternut squash.  What planet was I living on?

I was getting frustrated because I wasn’t finding the recipe I was looking for after an hour of blog/pinterest/magazine hunting.  I then decided to draft up this recipe, adding a little of this and a little of that of some of my favorite things.  The result was a success!  I actually didn’t get my portions right this time (too little squash and spinach compared to pasta), but the recipe below reflects the changes that will make it more proportioned. So no need to adjust and enjoy!

Cheesy Butternut Squash & Spinach Pasta

Serves: 6

1 tbsp + 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

2/3 white onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 oz. whole wheat spiral pasta

2.5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

9 oz fresh spinach

5 oz Gouda cheese (18 month aged), shredded

2 lb butternut squash, cubed into bite-size pieces

3 tbsp. reduced fat parmesan cheese, grated

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F
  2. Arrange diced butternut squash on a large baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and make sure squash is coated.  Bake for 40 minutes, mixing around about every 10 minutes.
  3. While squash is roasting, heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat.  Saute onion 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic and cook an additional minute.  Add in chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, add pasta and reduce to a simmer.  Cook 11-12 minutes until pasta is cooked through.
  4. While pasta cooks, heat remaining 2 tsp. olive oil over low-medium heat in a large non-stick skillet.  Saute spinach about 6 minutes or until wilted down to half the original size.
  5. Add butternut squash, spinach, and Gouda cheese to pasta mixture.  Mix well.
  6. Reduce oven heat to 350 F
  7. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish and top with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes so the top gets slightly crispy.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 385 calories, 15.5g fat (7g saturated), 46g carbohydrate (9g dietary fiber), 18.5g protein

Ellie Krieger’s Skillet Mac & Cheese (with cauliflower!)

This one is in honor of my new Ellie Krieger cookbook that I just love, “Comfort Food Fix.”  I’ve always wanted to try cauliflower in mac & cheese to bulk up the vegetable content (that is otherwise non-existent!) and slim down the high saturated fat cheese part.  I would say that you must have an open mind, and realize that it’s not going to be quite as cheesy and creamy as your traditional dish, but remind yourself that it’s a much healthier version.  It’s also great for kids (or picky spouses!) because you can dice the cauliflower small enough to disguise it under the cheese.

I made a few small changes to the recipe, but it is entirely Ellie’s creation that I just had to share with you!  Due to copyright laws I’m going to link you right over to her website since I only made a few slight changes to the recipe.  You can see my changes below, and reference the website provided for the full recipe and nutrition information as it will only be slightly off from mine.

Ellie Krieger’s Skillet Mac & Cheese (with cauliflower!)

In my version I altered the ingredients as the following:

6 ounces (1 ½ cups) whole grain elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions (about 3 cups)
3 cups 1-inch wide cauliflower florets
1 ¼ cups Light and Crisp Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs (see recipe in above link)
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups cold 1 percent low-fat milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1.5 cups shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cooking Spray

Instructions can be found using the above link.  My only alteration was using a 9 x 13 glass baking dish instead of a skillet.

Nutritional Information can be found at the link as well.