Tag Archives: pasta

Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Shells (serves 4)
Inspired by a recipe found here.

Italian food is tasty, comforting, and very filling. However, it is not always filled with as much nutritious content as it could be. This recipe puts a spin on the classic cheesy, saucy stuffed shell that is a staple in Italian cuisine. With lean ground turkey and spinach adding protein and flavor, these stuffed shells are sure to leave you not feeling guilty about dishing up seconds. What more could you ask for?


  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • 3/4 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 15 oz container of reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh basil (minced)
  • 1 box jumbo shell pasta

Cook the pasta according to directions on the box. Rinse and put in cold water.  Saute the ground turkey until cooked (about 5-10 minutes) and season with salt and pepper.

Thaw the spinach and preheat the oven to 350F. Pour a layer of marina into the bottom of a baking dish. Mix ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and egg until well combined. Add salt and pepper, basil and parsley and mix well. Add ground turkey and spinach to mixture, mix well.

Fill each shell with a few tablespoons of filling and place in baking dish. Cover your shells with a layer of marinara and cover the baking dish with foil.

Bake at 350F until bubbling at the edges (about 30-40 minutes). Enjoy!



Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Inspired by a recipe found here.

Pasta, pasta, pasta. So versatile, so comforting, so delicious. I wanted to make a simple pasta dish that incorporated protein in a different way. I had never heard of Cajun Chicken Pasta before stumbling upon this recipe while surfing on AllRecipes. The recipe looked simple, most ingredients were on hand, and the photos looked delicious. I was sold. Again, I modified the recipe to include brown rice pasta to up the nutritional value and substituted heavy cream for light cream, as well as xanthan gum for corn starch.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with xanthan gum, it’s a powdered thickener that works a lot like gelatin, flour, or cornstarch, but is completely vegan and is, in my opinion, a lot easier to work with. While thickening with flour or cornstarch can be tricky and lead to clumps, just a sprinkle of xanthan gum over a sauce works brilliantly to thicken. When substituting xanthan gum for other thickeners in recipes, I do not recommend a 1:1 ratio– you will need far less xanthan gum as a little bit goes a long way. Xanthan gum also stabilizes rather than continues to thicken, unlike other thickeners. This is great because you won’t end up with a gloppy sauce after time has passed. So yay for xanthan gum!


  • 8oz brown rice pasta shapes
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed
  • 2-3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 8oz container of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Dried parsley flakes to garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt and pasta, then cook for 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Place the chicken and the Cajun seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake to coat. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, saute the chicken until almost tender (about 5-7 minutes.) Add the bell peppers, mushrooms and green onion. Saute and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat.

Add the cream, garlic, salt and ground black pepper. Heat through. Sprinkle xanthan gum over sauce until sauce reaches desired thickness. Add the cooked pasta, toss and heat through. Garnish with dried parsley and serve.


Penne with Spicy Vodka Sauce

Penne with Spicy Vodka Sauce ( serves 8 )
Inspired by a recipe found here.

Oh, how I love pasta. Natalie loves it too. But since with live with Anti-white-flour-shudder-to-think-about-wheat-flour Man aka Bryan, all of my pasta recipes I have accumulated had to be put on the back burner… until now! Brown rice pasta saves the day. It’s a great alternative for any pasta dish, is available in a variety of shapes, and is quite easy to make. And if you are worried about the taste, the brown rice pasta tastes just like it’s flour pasta cousin. Even naked, the taste difference is undetectable. The best thing about brown rice pasta is that it is wheat-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free. Woo hoo!

This penne recipe is really incredible. While it satisfies the traditional creaminess and richness of penne vodka, there is also a slight spiciness that amplifies the flavors and brings excitement to the dish. While I used two links of organic Italian chicken sausage, I would definitely suggest adding more sausage to create an even hardier meal that’ll leave you rubbing your bellies in joy.


  • 1 pound uncooked brown rice penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 (3.5 ounce) links organic Italian chicken sausage
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain.

In large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Remove casing from sausage and add to skillet. Cook, breaking up the meat, until brown. Add garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring until garlic is golden brown. Add tomatoes and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Add vodka and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and add pasta, toss for 1 minute. Stir in fresh parsley and parmesan cheese and serve!