Quick Toss Pasta: Cook a box of your favorite pasta until al dente; drain and set aside. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and a pound of ground Italian turkey sausage to a pot and cook until browned. Stir in dried oregano (I use a couple tablespoons) and a few cups of shredded Brussels sprouts. Sauté until tender. Toss together pasta, sausage and sprouts, along with a couple more tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shaved Parmesan.
— Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD
Ingredient Improv: Turkey sausage can be substituted with any ground meat — or go plant-centric with beans, lentils or ground nut “meat.” Brussels sprouts can be swapped for any vegetable that will keep its structure in a sauté, such as diced squash, bell peppers, leeks or fennel — or a medley of favorites.
Breakfast Casserole: In a casserole dish, combine equal parts oats and low-fat milk (about 2 cups each), 1 egg, some applesauce (about ½ cup), diced apple and walnuts. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to make it rise, then bake at 325°F for about 40 minutes or until firm. Refrigerate overnight, then scoop and serve with milk and your favorite toppings!
— Andrew Doherty, RDN
Ingredient Improv: For a dairy-free version, use a soy-, nut- or other plant-based milk. Apples and walnuts can be swapped for any fruit or nut. Short on ingredients? Try a savory baked oatmeal! Diced fruit and applesauce can be replaced with chopped onion and spinach (fresh or frozen), while a little cooked and crumbled bacon could take it to a new level.
Frozen Yogurt: Rinse a pint of fresh blueberries, pat dry with a paper towel and place in a bowl. Stir in a single-serving container of vanilla yogurt and a tablespoon of honey. Spoon mixture in tablespoon-size portions onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Cover and freeze for a few hours.
— Jim White, RDN, ACSM-HFS
Ingredient Improv: No fresh blueberries on hand? Swap in any kind — raspberries, grapes, strawberries, cranberries — and don’t forget berries from the freezer aisle. Frozen berries not only are mega-convenient and just as nutritious, they won’t bleed juices into the yogurt because they’re already frozen. You also can use any flavor of yogurt, swap honey for maple syrup or add toasted seeds or nuts for crunch.
Simple Seafood: Roll a piece of wild salmon in mustard and chopped dill, parsley, chives and pepper. Roll in chopped almonds and bake at 400°F 10 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
— Madeline Basler, MS, RDN, CDN
Ingredient Improv: Salmon may be a classic choice, but there are other fish in the sea! For a rundown of “Fabulous Finfish,” see our feature in the May/June 2017 issue — and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website for sustainable choices. Other swaps include fresh herbs (what herbs wouldn’t taste delicious?) or substituting almonds with another chopped nut, seeds or breadcrumbs.
Crispy Chickpeas: Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Pat dry with paper towel and sauté for 10 minutes until crispy. Season with cayenne pepper, garam masala and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook another couple minutes until fragrant. Serve over brown rice with a dollop of Greek yogurt and naan, if desired.
— Alex Caspero, MA, RD, CLT, RYT
Ingredient Improv: The beauty of this little number is that you can season with any combination of spices and serve a number of ways — on salad or pasta, in a creamy soup for a little texture bump or on its own as a snack.