Simple, Delicious, + Healthy Recipes to Make at Home

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Everyone loves cooking healthy meals, but grocery shopping while practicing social distancing can be a challenge.  It’s not always easy to get exactly what you need the day you need it since many things are out of stock by the time you visit the store. In turn, planning ahead has become the new normal, especially when it comes to food shopping. Not everyone is a chef, or even an experienced home cook, but it’s important to be able to find simple, healthy recipes that anyone can cook at home during this interesting time. Local chef + food blogger Kayla Cappiello is stepping in to share some simple, delicious, and healthy recipes that we could all make at home {and they can be made with some canned or non-refrigerated ingredients that are easy to stock up on}. 

Pesto Eggplant Bake

pesto eggplant bake recipe

Making a big Italian meal on Sunday night is always a crowd-pleaser, and eggplant parm is a favorite. This recipe is a twist on eggplant parm and instead of using a tomato-based sauce the recipe uses a pesto one. This pesto eggplant bake takes 15 minutes to prepare and is low in fat. It’s easy to make gluten-free and/or dairy-free as well, if you have any dietary restrictions. The recipe makes enough for two people but can be easily doubled to make sure you have leftovers. The recipe calls for gluten free-rotini, or you can use any pasta you have at home. 

This is an easy recipe to also add whatever other toppings you have at home {i.e. chicken cutlet, diced zucchini, or even meatball leftovers from Augustino’s take out}. It’s a perfect pasta bake to add any extra toppings to, so feel free to be creative with it and use what you already have. 

Ingredients

  • – 1 baby eggplant
  • – 1 tablespoon egg whites
  • – 2 cups arugula 
  • – 2 cups of breadcrumbs {sub gluten free}
  • – 1 package rotini {sub gluten free}
  • – 3 tablespoons pesto {sub vegan or dairy free}2 tablespoons Parmesan {sub vegan or dairy free}
  • – 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese {sub vegan or dairy free}
  • – 2 cups milk {sub with oat milk for vegan or dairy free}

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to box directions. Once fully cooked, add to the bottom of a lasagna pan or baking pan. 
  2. Mix together milk, pesto, and parmesan in a separate bowl. Once combined, pour over pasta and mix together.
  3. Dice eggplant into ½” cubes. In a separate bowl, mix with egg whites and breadcrumbs. Add mixture to an air fryer and fry for approx 10 minutes until extra crispy. If you do not have an air fryer you can cook on a baking sheet at 400℉ for approx 15-20 minutes
  4. Once crisp, add the eggplant on top of the pasta. Then, top with arugula and cheese.
  5. Bake in the oven for approx 30 minutes at 350℉.

See More: Easy + Delicious Recipes to Make At Home With Pantry Staples

Buffalo Chicken Mac, Cheese, + Arugula Bake

buffalo mac cheese recipe

This buffalo chicken mac, cheese, + arugula bake is a healthy option and the base of the sauce is either canned or does not need to be refrigerated, so it’s perfect to stock up on. The recipe uses gluten-free green lentil elbow pasta but again, any type of pasta you have at home is perfect to use.

This recipe is inspired by Rachel Mansfield, another Hoboken food blogger. She has a healthy baked vegan mac and cheese that’s delicious. 

Ingredients

Pasta:

  • – 1 8oz box of pasta {gluten-free lentil pasta option}
  • – 1 cup baby arugula
  • – 2 cups diced chicken tenders
  • – 1 8oz canned, peeled, and diced tomatoes

“Cheese” Sauce:

  • – 1 cup organic pumpkin puree 1 cup oat milk
  • – 2 tablespoons buffalo sauce
  • – 5 tablespoons parmesan cheese {sub vegan or dairy free}
  • – 1 tablespoon brown rice flour
  • – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • – 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • – 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • – 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • – Red pepper flakes to top {optional}

Breadcrumb Topping:

  • – 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs {sub gluten free}
  • – 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • – 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • – 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

  1. Cook pasta of choice according to directions on the box.
  2. Cook chicken tenders in an air fryer until crispy, approximately seven to 10 minutes. Once complete, dice into ½” cubes and then fully coat in buffalo sauce.
  3. Mix together the cheese sauce. 
  4. Fold pasta, tomatoes, buffalo chicken, and arugula into the cheese sauce. 
  5. Add mixture to the baking dish or cast-iron skillet.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, oil, and garlic and onion powder together. Distribute on top of pasta bake.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes then distribute into bowls and drizzle with extra hot sauce.

Super Gyro Turkey Meatballs

super gyro turkey meatball recipe

These super gyro turkey meatballs are incredibly easy to make. They take five minutes to prepare. They are naturally gluten-free, 50 calories per meatball and only 2g of fat, with 0.2 grams of saturated fat {which means it is really easy to incorporate them into a healthy meal while still getting protein}.

Ingredients

  • – 1 lb lean ground turkey {93% lean}
  • – 1/3 cup diced spinach
  • – 1/4 cup fat-free feta cheese
  • – 1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • – 1 tablespoon egg whites
  • – 2 tablespoons super gyro greek seasoning {or a combo of oregano, garlic, onion, parsley if you need to create the mix yourself}

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated, mixing with your hands works too.
  3. Roll into 2” balls.
  4. Roast on the air fryer for approximately 10-15 minutes until the outside is crispy and inside is fully cooked. Cut one in half if you need to confirm. It’s also OK to roast in the oven if you do not have an air fryer. Bake until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165℉ degrees.

Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos

air fryer taquitos recipe

These air fryer chicken taquitos are naturally gluten-free and require only three ingredients. And, bonus, they’re super quick to make and low in fat. The air fryer gave them the perfect crunch without the unhealthy extra fat that comes from the deep-fried ones {although those are pretty good, too}.

Ingredients:

  • – 8 corn tortillas
  • – 3 cups shredded chicken
  • – 1 cup barbecue sauce or buffalo sauce

Directions:

  1. Mix shredded chicken and sauce in a bowl.
  2. over the corn tortillas and microwave for 60 seconds to make them soft and easy to work with.
  3. Fill each tortilla with sauced chicken {approximately two tablespoons in each tortilla) and carefully roll as tightly as possible.
  4. In the air fryer, place the rolled taquitos close together to help them not unroll.
  5. Spray with avocado oil spray.
  6. Air fry on 390℉ for about 10-15 minutes. It’s OK to bake them if you do not have an air fryer.
  7. For a finishing touch, Kayla topped hers with extra barbecue or buffalo sauce, tomato, fat free-feta, spinach.

Read More: 7 Easy Decadent Dessert Recipes to Make at Home

Healthy Chicken Sausage + Rice Bowl

healthy chicken sausage bowl recipe

This recipe is perfect for a quick meal while still being healthy, and instant microwave basmati rice is so cheap and easy to stock up on. This bowl pairs the rice with some chicken sausage, which can be stored in the freezer for weeks. It also calls for potatoes, which can also be stored for a while as well. It is a no-brainer to keep all these ingredients during quarantine because they don’t need to be used right away. Then, whenever you do get any fresh greens you’re ready to go.

Ingredients:

  • – 1 chicken sausage ½ package of instant basmati rice 1 cup of fresh greens {try spinach, – arugula, or romaine}
  • – 1 cup diced potatoes {sweet, red, or Idaho}
  • – ½ an avocado
  • – Red pepper flakes {optional}

Directions:

  1. Slice up the chicken sausage into ½” slices.
  2. In a frying pan, cook sausage slices until evenly browned. This should take approximately four to seven minutes on medium heat. Most chicken sausages are already pre-cooked so you’re just warming them through and getting them as crispy as you’d like.
  3. Next, slice the potato into ½” cubes. Season as you’d like. Add the potatoes to the air fryer and cook at 390℉ for seven to 10 minutes until crispy.
  4. While this is cooking, dice the spinach and add to half of the bowl.
  5. Microwave the rice as per the direction on the package.
  6. Add the cooked rice to the other half of the bowl.
  7. Top with chicken sausage slices, potato cubes, and add avocado slices. 

Southwestern Chicken Sausage Bowl

southwestern chicken sausage bowl recipe

This is another healthy bowl meal where you can keep a lot of ingredients in the pantry and not take up too much room in the fridge. The rice can be kept in the pantry and so can the can of corn. The potato doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge and the chicken sausage can be frozen.

Ingredients:

  • – 1 chicken sausage ½ package of instant basmati rice or frozen cauliflower rice
  • – 1/2 cup of fresh greens {spinach or arugula}
  • – 1 cup diced potatoes {sweet, red, or Idaho}
  • – 1 cup of corn
  • – 1 cup of diced cucumbers
  • – 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds {optional}
  • – Southwestern or taco seasoning

Directions:

  1. Slice up the chicken sausage into ½” slices.
  2. In a frying pan, cook sausage slices until evenly browned. This should take approximately four to seven minutes on medium heat. Most chicken sausages are already pre-cooked, so you’re just warming them through and getting them as crispy as you’d like.
  3. Once cooked, in the same pan, sautee the greens until wilted. It’s OK to add corn into the frying pan as well if it needs to be warmed. Set aside to mix with the rice once the rice is cooked.
  4. Next, slice the potato into ½” cubes. Lightly spray with oil and season as you’d like. Add the potatoes to the air fryer and cook at 390℉ for seven to 10 minutes until crispy.
  5. Microwave the rice or cauliflower rice as per the direction on the package. Once cooked, mix with warmed corn and cooked greens.
  6. Add the cooked rice to the other half of the bowl.
  7. Top with chicken sausage slices, potato cubes and option to add fresh garnish like cilantro. Another option is to also top the dish with ranch dressing. 

And there you have it — easy, pantry-friendly recipes that are delicious and healthy. So crack open the cabinets and see what you can make!

Have a recipe you want to share? Comment below!

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