Sunday, January 31, 2010

Turkey & Spinach Roll-ups

I ended up making dinner for my family tonight. My mom was gone for the weekend with my sister and my other sister and I decided to take care of dinner for her. I totally forgot to take a picture, but here is the picture from Clean Eating magazine's website. Tasty and totally worth the time!

1 tsp EVOO
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes with juice
1 tsp salt
8 pieces whole wheat lasagna
1 10 oz bag frozen spinach, thawed
1 15 oz tub of ricotta cheese
1 egg
3/4 c grated reduced-fat mozzarella

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Turn heat to medium-high and add ground turkey, breaking it up with a spatula until meat shows no sign of pink. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg, then add tomatoes and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring and breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse and allow to cool in a colander.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Squeeze all remaining moisture from thawed spinach and place in large bowl. Add ricotta cheese, egg and a 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese to bowl. Stir until combined.

Spread 1 cup of cooked tomato sauce into bottom of a 9" x 10" casserole dish. Lay a cooked lasagna noodle flat in front of you. Use your fingers to spread 1/8 of ricotta mixture across the noodle and roll it up. Place the rolled pasta seam side down, into the casserole dish. Repeat with remaining noodles. Spread remaining tomato sauce over roll-ups, then top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.

Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for 5 minutes or until the rollups are browned and bubbly.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Black Bean, Avocado & Chicken Wrap

I planned this on a menu I forgot to post. This was tasty (although the avocados weren't quite ripe). One was enough for me, but Eli did have two. He loved 'em. And although the recipe didn't call for it, we seasoned the chicken with a little bit of salt-free Cajun seasoning. Enjoy!

1/4 avocado, smashed with a fork (I used 1/2)
1/4 c. salsa
2 oz. roasted or baked chicken breast, chopped
1/4 c. low sodium canned black beans, rinsed and smashed slightly
2 6-inch whole wheat tortillas

Mix salsa with avocados.

Spread avocado-salsa mix on tortillas. Layer with beans, then chicken.

Roll it up and eat it!

This recipe is from Clean Eating Magazine May/June 2009.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Menu: Jan. 30 - Feb. 5

Things have been going fairly well with sticking to our menus. So far we've lost almost 12 pounds each (woo-hoo) since Jan. 4th! We've also felt much more energetic and healthier. We've decided to do a detox at the beginning of each month, so our menu starting Monday is all vegetarian. I'm including some new ones I found! We're excited!

Saturday: Sweet Potato Beef Stir-fry (Clean Eating Mag)
Sunday: Dinner at Mom's
Monday: Veggie Jambalaya (Busy Cooks)
Tuesday: Stuffed Peppers (didn't get to them last week)
Wednesday: Black Bean Soup (Better Recipes)
Thursday: Curried "Chicken" and Spinach (Better Recipes)
Friday: Spicy Leek & Sun-dried Tomato "Pasta" (Better Recipes)

Nutella Banana Pockets

This photo doesn't do this treat justice. I was totally craving something sweet, but didn't want to go too far off the deep end, so I found this simple recipe at Off the Wall and it was perfect! I think I need more experience with Phyllo dough.

6 phyllo sheets
3 tbs butter, melted (I just used PAM)
Banana, sliced

Preheat oven to 350.

Put down one sheet of dough, spray with PAM. Place another sheet of dough on top, spray and repeat one more time.

Use a pizza roller or knife to divide the dough into 5 strips. Spoon some Nutella on one side of the strip, place a banana slice on top, and then cover with a little more Nutella.

Wrap the dough up into a triangle, like you were folding a flag. Spray with a little more PAM, stick in the oven, and bake for about 10 minutes!

Here's the original recipe. I summarized a little, but they have really good pictures. P.S. they have some more yummy looking food too!

Turkey Meatloaf & Turnip-Cauliflower Mash

Delicious! The only other meatloaf that I have ever really liked was a cheeseburger meatloaf, but this was YUMMY! We also really liked the Turnip-Cauliflower Mash. I was a little worried about that because I've made cauliflower mashed "potatoes" before and they weren't very good. This mash had the same texture as potatoes and it was SO filling! We will definitely make it again!

Ingredients (for meatloaf & mash):
1 lb. ground turkey
1 c. onion, diced
3/4 c. natural oatmeal
1/2 c. carrots, grated
2 egg whites, whisked
2 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I would use 1, maybe 1 1/2 next time)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp agave nectar
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed and cut into pieces
2 turnips, skin removed and cut into pieces
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. In a med. bowl, mix turkey, onion, oatmeal, carrots, egg whites, 1 tsp Italian seasonings and cayenne. Place mix in a 9-inch loaf pan (I just shaped in a loaf).

In another med. bowl, whisk together tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and agave. Spread sauce over meatloaf. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Place turnips in a pan with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes. Steam Cauliflower for 15 minutes in a steam cooker or steamer over a pot filled with 2 inches of water over med-high heat.

In a large bowl, mash together cauliflower, turnips, oil, basil, salt and pepper (I added a little bit of minced garlic to this too). We actually just stuck everything in the blender and pulsed for a bit.

This recipe came from Clean Eating Magazine, July/August 2009. Love this Mag!

Creamy White Chili

I really enjoyed this chili! I keep accidentally calling it soup, though, because it's on the thin side for a chili. It was very flavorful, just spicy enough, and nice and filling.

Creamy White Chili
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 t. garlic powder (it seemed like a lot to me, but I went with it, and it was delicious!)
1 T. oil
2 cans (about 15 oz each) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (or about 1 3/4 c.) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz. each) chopped green chilies
1 t. salt
1 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. cream

In a large saucepan saute chicken, onions, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cream. Serve immediately.

Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired. Also, it tastes really good served with tortilla chips. We only had a tiny bit of chips in the bottom of a bag, and we were going for every last little crumb. ;)

Once again, it's a big hit from My Kitchen Cafe. Her site is really full of great ideas! Here's a link to the original recipe: Creamy White Chili.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

I thought these wraps were very tasty! The recipe made six wraps, so I had the leftovers for dinner while Paul was out of town. I heated them up in the oven so that they'd be crispy instead of soggy. I'll definitely make these again (though not as often as I'd like because for some reason Paul gets headaches from flour tortillas :( ). James even liked them...well, he opened them up and picked out the insides, but still!

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

1 c. rice, cooked (I actually made 1 1/2 cups because we like rice ;) )
1 c. cooked, shredded chicken (just boil the chicken until it's done and then shred it with two forks)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, chopped (use whole onion, I actually used two)
1/2 red or green bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. garlic salt
2 c. shredded cheese (I probably used way more than this...oops)
sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

In a large bowl, mix together rice, chili powder, cumin, and garlic salt. Add chicken, beans, onion, bell pepper, cilantro and lime juice.

Preheat skillet or griddle (I actually used my griddle and it was perfect!) to medium heat. Assemble wraps by sprinkling cheese on a tortilla leaving a one-inch margin (it's important to spread the cheese out because as it melts, the cheese holds it all together). Place a generous amount of rice/chicken mixture in the middle. If desired (you'd be crazy not to ;) ), dot the mixture with sour cream. Tuck in edges and roll up tortilla.

Spray the outside of the tortilla with cooking spray, and place seam-side down on heated skillet or griddle. Cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.

A couple notes: If you are pretty sure you're going to have leftovers, don't add sour cream to the extra ones. The sour cream kinda dries out and doesn't do very well for reheating. Then, after you reheat them, you can put sour cream on top. Also, it may be nice to have some salsa to dip them in or spread on top. They verge on a tad dry otherwise.

This is yet another great recipe from My Kitchen Cafe! Here's a link to the original recipe: Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps.

Menu: January 29 - February 3

My schedule for the last couple weeks has been different because Paul has gone out of town twice. I've still done pretty well for myself, though, and I've pretty much cleared the fridge of all previous leftovers. :)

Paul comes home tonight, so things can finally get back to normal! Woo hoo!

Here's the plan:

Saturday: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (My Kitchen Cafe)
Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie (Pioneer Woman)
Monday: Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Tomato Vinaigrette (My Kitchen Cafe)
Wednesday: leftovers night!

It kinda turned into a Chicken week unintentionally. It's ok, though, because our grocery budget could use a light week. ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu: January 21 - January 29

It has been a year since I last posted a menu! I can't believe how long it has been. It's really quite silly because I have been writing weekly menus for most of this time, I just kept forgetting to post them. I really like reading what other people are making for the week and stealing ideas from them. So, basically, I'm going to attempt to be better at putting mine online.

Thursday: Chili with cornbread (I never get tired of this chili recipe!)
Friday: Chili mac and cheese (I just make a box of mac and mix leftover chili with's seriously one of my favorite foods)
Saturday: Cream cheese chicken soup (My Kitchen Cafe)
Sunday: Dinner with Brian's family
Monday: Sweet and Sour Chicken (I love my recipe...but I'm trying a new recipe from My Kitchen Cafe for fun)
Tuesday: Burritos (grilled on our George Foreman)
Wednesday: Chicken a la King
Thursday: Meatballs with Cream Sauce (My Kitchen Cafe)

As you can see, I'm a little obsessed with my kitchen cafe right now. I just really like the recipes she posts. I haven't disliked a single thing I've tried from her website! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I've been really bad about taking pictures of the food I've been cooking lately! Tonight, the missionaries came over for dinner, and I just couldn't bring myself to say, "Could you hold off a second? I want to take a picture." Too embarrassed. Oh well! This picture comes from My Kitchen Cafe, and it's even served in a fancy schmancy bread bowl. I definitely didn't do that. Though I did serve it with homemade rolls (using this recipe Paula shared with us a while back).

The soup was delicious! The two types of cheese gave it a wonderful flavor. And I was very pleasantly surprised with how easily and quickly it came together. I know I'll be making this one often in the future. :)

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 small onion, diced
1 3/4 c. chicken broth (or 1 can)
fresh broccoli (to taste)
1/4 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
pepper, to taste (I'm always very generous with my pepper)
2 c. milk (I used James' whole milk for the creaminess, but you can use any variety)
1 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c. shredded swiss cheese

Place onions and chicken broth in a medium saucepan, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, steam your broccoli. Heat milk in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and pepper, and cook for a minute or two. Gradually whisk in warmed milk. Stir mixture until it thickens. Pour in broth and onions, and stir to combine. Add cheese and broccoli and stir until cheese melts and soup is smooth. Serve immediately.

Note: This recipe doesn't make a whole lot of soup. I didn't have enough broccoli to double it, so I multiplied everything by 1 1/2 instead. Even then, with the two missionaries (so four adults and one toddler) we finished the whole pot of soup, and there are no leftovers.

It's so yummy! Even without meat, this soup is hearty and filling enough to stand on its own as a main dish. It filled me up faster than I expected...though that could have something to do with the pregnancy thing. ;)

Here's a link to the original recipe on My Kitchen Cafe: Broccoli Cheese Soup. Enjoy!

Menu: Jan. 18 - Jan. 23

So, Eli and I are done with our Detox stage. We're moving on, sticking to our schedule of eating and staying vegetarian 3 nights a week. We're also limiting the amount of meat we're eating and the cuts of meat; we're sticking with very lean cuts. This week will be yummy!

Wednesday: Chicken, Spinach & Ricotta Quesadillas (Clean Eating mag)
Thursday: Stuffed Peppers
Friday: Chicken & Pineapple w/ Sweet & Sour Sauce (Clean Eating mag)
Saturday: Blueberry Strudel (b) & Turkey Meatloaf w/ Turnip-Cauliflower Mash (CE mag - d)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Simple, Perfect Enchiladas

That's what the Pioneer Woman calls them. And I'm pretty sure I agree with her. Well, about the perfect part anyway. They are not quite as simple as enchiladas I've made in the past (can you really get more simple than a can of enchilada sauce, some cheese, ground beef, and tortillas?), but the additions she makes are all for the better. They're so tasty that I had them for lunch the next day and then for dinner again, too!

I served ours with refried beans, but I probably should have also made some Mexican rice to round out the meal.

Simple, Perfect Enchiladas (from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook)


1 T. canola oil
2 T. flour
1 large can (28 oz) red enchilada sauce
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 T. cilantro, chopped

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (4 oz) diced green chilies
1/2 t. salt

10-14 corn tortillas
canola oil (for frying)
1/2 c. chopped black olives
1 c. chopped green onions
3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
cilantro, chopped

First, prepare the sauce by whisking together the flour and canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow to bubble for about a minute. Add the enchilada sauce, chicken broth, slat, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until ready to assemble.

Meanwhile, brown the beef with the onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the grease. Add the green chilies and salt. Stir to combine, turn off the heat, and set aside.

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Lightly fry each tortilla just until soft. This only takes a few seconds if your oil is hot. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.

Next, dip each tortilla in the sauce carefully using tongs (I had a couple of mine tear, so be gentle ;) ). Set the sauce soaked tortillas on a cookie sheet. Then, assemble enchiladas by placing some of the meat mixture, some olives, some green onions, and a generous amount of cheese on each tortilla. Roll up each one and place in the baking sheet seam side down. (Maybe it's because I'm pregnant and clumsy, but this ended up being a rather messy process. ;) I recommend having all the assembly ingredients readily accessible because your hands will get very messy.)

Once you've assembled all the enchiladas, add the chopped cilantro to the remaining sauce and pour over enchiladas. Top with a generous amount of grated cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle extra cilantro on top before serving.

I'm pretty sure I could eat the whole pan full of these on my own if I let myself. They're addictive!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fast and Easy Pizza Dough

In the past when I've made pizza I always buy the dough and the sauce. I always figured, hey, pizza is supposed to be a quick meal on those days when I don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I came across a dough recipe on My Kitchen Cafe and she sure made it sound easy and delicious. So I tried it and it was in fact, easy and delicious! What I like about this recipe is you don't have to make it in advance at all. It doesn't have to rise. That's my kind of dough!



3 cups flour, more or less
1 tablespoon honey, heaping
1 tablespoon oil, heaping
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt


Preheat oven to 475 degrees. (If using a pizza stone, let stone heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven before baking pizza.) Mix all pizza dough ingredients together, except the flour. Add flour and knead for a bit then put into pan. If baking in a sheet pan, bake for about 12 minutes (checking often) until crust is browned and cheese is golden and bubbly. If baking on the preheated pizza stone, slide pizza onto stone and bake for about 8 minutes. Makes 1 large pizza.

* I only needed about 2 and 1/2 cups of flour. I used a wooden spoon and stirred in a couple cups of flour and then I kneaded in another half cup until it was smooth and just slightly sticky to the touch. I probably packed the flour a bit or something. Three cups would probably be right for those who measure flour correctly.
* If you're going to use a pizza stone there are more directions for that on the website.

It really was the easiest yeast dough I've ever made and I plan on using it for pizza in the future! It was yummy! The original recipe is found here.

Pizza Sauce

In the same post that I got the pizza dough recipe, this homemade pizza sauce was recommended. It only has a few ingredients and I was intrigued by that. I've always used store bought sauce, but I had to try this! It was very easy and delicious! I even preferred it to my usual store bought sauce.

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Crushed red pepper (optional)

In blender or food processor add tomatoes, paste and seasonings to taste. Blend until desired consistency. That's it!

*I was very intimidated by the fact that there aren't any measurements for the seasonings. I'm not one to just add things to taste. But it wasn't bad...just add a bit of each. Be light on the crushed red pepper unless you want it spicy. I poured mine into a pot and simmered it for a while because I couldn't tell if I had enough spices (cold sauce just doesn't taste good).

Menu: January 14 - January 20

I've had a great week cooking-wise! I think it's partially due to the fact that Paul and I have made a New Year's resolution not to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. AND, Paul has renewed his offer to me to do dishes when I cook dinner! Good combination, right? :) It's been working well! I've had a clean kitchen to cook in every day for the last week. It is glorious.

Here's this week's menu!

Thursday: Leftover Night (Can you believe it? Paul hasn't been able to keep up with all the food I've been making. Even taking it to work hasn't been enough. We've got to empty out our fridge a bit. ;) )
Friday: Cowboy Calzone (Pioneer Woman)
Saturday: Creamy White Chili (My Kitchen Cafe)
Sunday: Grace's Fall-Off-the-Bone Ribs, Potatoes au Gratin (Pioneer Woman), rolls, and carrots
Monday: Broccoli Cheese Soup (My Kitchen Cafe) and rolls
Tuesday: Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps (My Kitchen Cafe)
Wednesday: Paul's Pork and Beans with Rice

Smoky Chipotle-Chicken Corn Chowder with Salsa Salad

I enjoyed this Rachel Ray recipe a lot more than the last one I tried. It was flavorful and yummy. Be forewarned, though, the soup is on the spicy side! Those chipotle chilies in adobo sauce are mighty spicy!

The food didn't photograph very well (with my limited skills and basic camera anyway), but it was definitely tasty. My favorite was the soup, but to my surprise, James really loved the salad! Well, he ate a bunch of avocado from it anyway. ;)

Here are the two recipes:

Smoky Chipotle-Chicken Corn Chowder
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped (these come in a can in the Mexican food section of the store)
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. cumin (wow, I totally left this out last night...I was having a very clumsy pregnant-brain night)
salt and pepper
tortilla chips (enough for 1 c. finely crushed crumbs and some more for serving)
1 quart chicken broth (or stock)
3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
20 oz. frozen corn
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with olive oil. Add the onions, celery, garlic, chipotle chili, celery, coriander, cumin, and a little salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions start to become tender.

Meanwhile, crush enough tortilla chips to make 1 c. crumbs. You can do this either in a food processor or by hand in a ziploc bag. Add the chips and chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Add chicken and corn and continue to cook until chicken is done (about 5 minutes). At this point, simmer on medium-low heat until you are ready to serve. If the soup is too thick add more broth, and if it's too thin, keep simmering until it reduces to your liking. Stir in parsley before serving. Serve with Salsa salad and tortilla chips.

Salsa Salad
juice of 2 limes
1 T. dijon mustard
3 T. olive oil
2 ripe avocados
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

In a small bowl, combine lime juice and mustard with a wire whisk. Gently whisk in the olive oil. Set dressing aside. Slice the avocados and cut the grape tomatoes in half. Place them in a large bowl. Add the lettuce, cilantro, and red onions. Toss salad with dressing and serve.

I think I may top the soup with a dollop of sour cream in the future to offset the spiciness. It was a little too much for me otherwise. Like I said, though, the soup was very tasty. Also, the salad dressing is rather strong, so you may want to taste it before pouring it all on the salad. I probably would have used a little less of it if I had tasted it first.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lemon Chicken Linguine

This dinner was so yummy! I've really enjoyed the recipes I've tried from My Kitchen Cafe. I think I'll keep trying them out.

This was very flavorful, definitely lemon-y, and the chicken was nice and juicy.

It was a tad on the oily side for me, so I may decrease the amount of olive oil next time. Also, she mentioned that Cajun seasoning can be very spicy and said that you could put in less if you didn't want it to be too spicy. Being pregnant, I thought that would be a good idea; however, it ended up being not spicy at all. Next time I'm definitely going to try it with the whole tablespoon! :)

Lemon Chicken Linguine


1/2 c. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed with the back of a knife
1 T. Cajun seasoning (you can reduce this to 1 1/2 t. if you're worried about it being too spicy)
juice of one lemon
2 T. fresh parsley, minced
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. soy sauce

2 chicken breasts, sliced*
1 lb. linguine (we used Whole Grain)
2 T. olive oil
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon
3 green onions, diced (whole thing, green and white)
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper

*I used three because ours were very small, and even then Paul said it could have used more chicken.

Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together lightly. Slice chicken (I chose to slice mine very thin so that the pieces wouldn't be too big). Pour chicken and marinade into a ziploc bag and refrigerate for 3-12 hours. (I ended up marinating it for about 7 and a half, and it was nice and flavored.

Boil water and prepare linguine as directed on package. Meanwhile, combine remaining olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, onions, and parsley in a small bowl. Set aside. When pasta is finished cooking, drain it and return it to the warm pot. Add juice/oil mixture and toss to coat.

Pour chicken and marinade into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute until chicken is done. For me, this only took about 7-8 minutes because I had sliced the chicken so thin. Pour hot chicken and sauce over the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper as needed, toss and serve.

Miscellaneous notes:
I need a zester. Seriously. My cheap-o grater just didn't do the job!

Next time, when I reduce the oil, I'll probably use only 1/4 c. in the marinade and 1 T. at the end.

The pasta was VERY lemony. It was delicious, but very strong. I think increasing the amount of Cajun seasoning next time will help to balance it out.

I really like Parmesan cheese, and when I tossed it with the hot pasta it got a bit lost. I recommend topping each bowl with a little additional Parmesan cheese.

Paul and I both agreed that this is a recipe I will make again and again! :)

Here's a link to the original recipe on My Kitchen Cafe: Beach Street Lemon Chicken Linguine.

I labeled this as 20 minutes because that's how long the actual cooking lasted. I obviously am not including marinating time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot Roast

This weekend I made my first ever pot roast. I wanted to make something special for Sunday dinner, and this recipe from my brand new Pioneer Woman cookbook (yay!) seemed just right. It was delicious! :) Everything turned out, and we had a nice Sunday dinner with some good friends.

After I we had sat down to eat, and I had all but polished off everything on my plate, I turned to Paul and said, "Oh no! I forgot to take a picture!" It was pretty sad. I probably wouldn't have been able to get a very good picture of it anyway, so instead here's a bright and beautiful one from

I have now tried a few recipes from her cookbook, and I'm just loving it! The recipes are down to earth and very, VERY tasty (although not necessarily low in fat ;) ).

I served the pot roast and carrots with mashed potatoes. I decided to use some tips from Pioneer Woman's recipe for the potatoes as well. I added some cream cheese and used Lawry's seasoning salt to season them instead of garlic salt like I usually use. They were very creamy and decadent. I think I would have polished off four or five servings of them if they hadn't been so filling!

Here's the recipe for the pot roast. You can find a similar recipe (though she seems to have made a few changes, mostly simplification, for the cookbook version) on Pioneer Woman's site here: Perfect Pot Roast.

Perfect Pot Roast
3-5 lb. chuck roast
2-3 T. olive oil
kosher salt
2 onions
6-8 carrots (I used all 8 and they were YUMMY)
about 2 1/2 c. beef stock
3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs**
2-3 fresh thyme sprigs

*I noticed that the recipe calls for pepper in the ingredients but never tells you to add any in the directions. You can use it to season the pot roast if you want. I actually didn't use any, and it was still delicious.

**I had three rather large sprigs of rosemary, and the flavor ended up being a little strong. I think I'll use smaller sprigs next time.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven (if only I had a Dutch oven! ;) ) over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and allow it to become very hot***. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients. Generously salt both sides of the roast. Cut two onions in half from root to tip and then cut off the tops and bottoms and peel off the papery skin. Place onions in the pot and brown on both sides (about a minute per side), and then remove to a place.

Next, wash but don't peel the carrots and cut them into big chunks (about 2 inches). Add them to the pot and toss for a minute or two until they are slightly brown around the edges and have turned bright orange. Remove them to a plate or bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil and allow pot to get very hot again. Sear the roast in the pot for about a minute on each side, and remove to a plate.

Then, deglaze the pot by pouring in 1 cup of beef stock, whisking constantly to remove all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Once everything is loosened, return the roast to the pot. Place carrots and onions on top. Then, pour beef broth into the pot to cover the meat halfway (I added a little more than that). Add the herb sprigs. Make sure to push them down into the liquid with a spoon so that they are fully immersed (to help spread the flavor).

Cover the pot and place in the oven for 3-5 hours (depending on the size of your roast--I actually had a 3 pound roast and I cooked it for just about 4 hours). Resist the temptation to peek in the pot while it's cooking. ;) When cooking time is over, check roast by sticking a fork in it. It should go in easily and the meat should be very tender.

Serve pot roast and carrots with mashed potatoes! :)

***So...if you're not very quick at preparing ingredients like me, I would cut the onions and carrots before turning on the heat for the pot. I turned mine on right at the start, and as I was getting the onions ready, the oil started smoking like crazy! It completely filled our apartment. If it wasn't for Paul's quick thinking (opening the door, the windows, and turning on the fan), our smoke detector would have gone off and woken up my sleeping toddler. THAT would have been a tragedy! ;)

Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Pork

First of all, wow, Mandy! You've sure been busy this weekend! I'm impressed with all the recipes you posted. I'm always looking for new vegetarian recipes, so I'm excited to try them out.

This was my first recipe out of my Rachel Ray cookbook (Book of Ten). It was flavorful, and it was probably quite healthy with all the veggies in it. I would definitely change a couple things if I were to make it again, though. First, I think I would choose thin sliced pork chops instead of thick like the recipe called for. The ratio of veggies and rice to meat just wasn't high enough for me. The other thing I might do next time is somehow marinate the pork chops before cooking them. They were only seasoned with salt and pepper this time with the sauce poured on top right before serving, so the flavor of the sauce didn't penetrate the meat like I would prefer.

There were a lot of things about the recipe I liked, so I decided to post it in spite of the things I would change about it.

Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Pork
3 T. olive oil
4 thick (1 1/2 inch) boneless pork chops (but I will use thin cut next time)
salt and pepper
1 large red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 can (8 oz) pineapple chunks in juice
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

Don't forget to start rice cooking before you start everything else. :)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper. Sear each side of the pork chops in the skillet for about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a rimmed cookie sheet and finish cooking (8-12 minutes depending on thickness). When finished, remove pork chops to a plate and cover with foil until ready.

Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium-high heat with the additional tablespoon of olive oil. Add onions, garlic, bell peppers, jalapeno, salt, and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until onions begin to be tender. Add the pineapple with its juice and the chicken broth and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add the parsley, stir to combine, and then serve over rice and pork.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Menu: Jan. 10 - Jan. 13

I only have planned until Wednesday because we start "Phase II" of our eating healthy plan. I'm excited to try these recipes. Most of them are from the 3 Fat Chicks Forum.

Sunday: Minted Kiwi Salad & Corn and Black Bean Salad & Pizza
Monday: Breakfast Portabella & Broccoli Soup & Chili
Tuesday: Overnight Oats & Sweet Potato and Veggie Chili & Eggplant Parmesan
Wednesday: Banana Pancakes & Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Peppers

One of my favorite recipes so far. It came from this recipe on I thought they were excellent, but if you'd like some meat you could add some lean ground beef (or ground turkey)! Just as a small note, I doubled the filling (except for the onions), used Veggie Shreds instead of the mozzarella, and skipped the parm. It was also super fast since it was all done in the microwave!


  • 2 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1 (8 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange pepper halves in a 9 inch square glass baking dish. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap for vents, and heat 4 minutes in the microwave, or until tender.

In a medium bowl, mix tomatoes and their liquid, rice, and water. Cover with plastic, and cook in the microwave for 4 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

Stir green onions, corn, kidney beans, and red pepper flakes into the tomato mixture. Heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, or until heated through.

Spoon hot tomato mixture evenly into pepper halves, and cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic to vent steam, and heat in the microwave 4 minutes.

Remove plastic, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (or Veggie Shreds) and Parmesan cheese, and allow to stand 1 to 2 minutes before serving.

Chickpea Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

Surprisingly good! Start the potatoes first and work on the burgers while they're cooking.

Burger Ingredients:
2 tsp oil
1/3 c. finely chopped raw onion
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/3c. finely chopped raw peppers (I used a little of green, yellow, and orange bells)
1 c. canned chickpeas (garbanzo)
3/4 c. cooked soya (soy) beans (I used canned black beans)
1/3 c. dry oatmeal
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Veggie Shreds - Mozzarella flavored (this is used as "cheese" and can be found at the health foods store)

Heat 1 tsp oil on medium heat and cook onions and spices, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

Add peppers. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until everything is tender and the mixture is dry.

In a food-processor (I used a blender), blend the chickpeas and beans. Add the oats, onion-pepper mixture and cilantro and blend again.

Squeeze together into burgers - I made 6. You might need to add a few more oats if it is too sticky. Heat remaining oil on medium and cook burgers for 4-5 mins on each side, until heated through. Place Veggie Shreds on top until melted.

Sweet Potato Fries Ingredients:
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tsp olive oil
kosher salt
ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut potatoes, "french fry" style. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Arrange potatoes on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for about 30 - 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of your potatoes. Even if you burn them a little (which I did), they're still good. They kind of taste like burnt marshmallows.

Yummy Apple Bake

Another Fat Chicks recipe. This one made a good breakfast. We used 2 apples instead of one. The only other thing I might do different next time, is just moisten the oatmeal. Eli liked it oatmeal-y, but I think I would've liked it more crispy.

1 apple, cored and sliced
cinnamon to taste
nutmeg to taste
1 c. cooked oatmeal
2 packets Splenda (2 tsp)
I Can't Believe it's Not Butter Spray (I used Pam)

Preheat oven to 350.

Arrange apple slices in a baking dish. Sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar on the apples.

Cover the apples with the oatmeal and sprinkle more cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar on top.

Spray Pam over all. Bake in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of your apple slices.

Mexican Bean & Corn Bowl

I got this from the 3 Fat Chicks Forum. I was a little skeptical at first because it looked kind of weird, but it was so good (sorry no picture)! Eli was thinking that this would make a good bean dip if you added a little of the Taco Bell restaurant sauce. You could also add some ground beef and plop it in a tortilla for a yummy burrito.

1 can pinto beans
1/4 c. onion
1 tsp diced jalapeno pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp cumin (to taste)
1 c. corn
1 tbsp green bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp red bell, pepper, diced

In a skillet, with a dash of olive oil, saute the onion, garlic, and pepper (about 4 minutes).

Add cumin and the pinto beans. Take a spoon (I use a potato masher) and mash about half of the beans. Heat through and then remove from heat.

In a small pot filled with water, combine and cook the corn and peppers. Drain and remove.

In a bowl, combine the beans and corn mixture. Add salsa if you'd like!

Banana Bread Smoothie

I didn't take a picture of this, but it was SO good! It provided something sweet outside of my regular snack fruits. It's amazing! I believe Eli (he usually makes breakfast) added two bananas, halved the cinnamon and nutmeg, and added 1 tsp of vanilla. Just a few changes

1 Cup Skim Milk
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Packet Splenda (or 1/2 tsp of regular sugar)
1 Cup Ice
1 Banana

Blend together milk and spices. Add in ice and blend. Then, blend in banana.

Italian Spaghetti Squash

Delicious! I think I could eat this all day! I considered using a marinara sauce, but I'm glad I did it this way. It was perfect with a salad. It would be tasty with chicken.

1 lb. spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 medium zucchini, sliced & quartered
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/4 c. reduced fat parmesan cheese (optional)


Place the squash halves, cut sides down, in a glass baking dish. Add 1/8 cup water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes until tender; cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the zucchini and cook for 4-5 minutes until the zucchini begins to brown. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat; simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Using a fork, scrape the squash strands into a bowl. Toss with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Mound the squash in the center of 4 pasta bowls and spoon the vegetable mixture around the squash. Drizzle with more oil, if desired, and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if using.

Rice & Black Beans

Yummy and filling! Again, you could add chicken for a complete meal.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
2/3 c. water
1 1/2 c. instant brown rice
2 roma tomatoes, diced
garlic powder (to taste)
onion powder (to taste)
basil (to taste)

In a large saucepan, cook and stir onion in oil until tender and translucent, but not brown. Add tomatoes, beans, and spices. Bring to boil. Stir in rice, return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cover.

Let mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Veggie Soup

This veggie soup was tasty! It was easy to make the night before and take it to school for lunch the next day. Instead of using a prepared vegetable broth, I mixed my own with bouillon and water. It was delish and filling!

1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 c. chopped mushrooms (I skipped these)
1 medium onion, diced
7 large carrots, diced (I used baby carrots & just added as much as i wanted)
4 celery stalks, diced
1 sprig rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
10 oz. green peas
3 (14.5 oz) cans low-fat, low-sodium, beef broth or vegetable broth
3 c. water

Place all the ingredients except the peas in a large pot with spices, broth, and water.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes (or until carrots are tender). Add peas for the last 5 minutes.

Remove bay leaf and rosemary sprig before serving.

Squash Casserole

This is from Clean Eating Magazine. It's a fun magazine that's all about eating fresh foods and cutting out processed foods. They have some really good ideas.


4 medium yellow and zucchini squash, cubed 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups)

1 medium onion, diced 1/2-inch pieces

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp red pepper

2 tbsp ground flax seed

3/4 cup steel-cut oatmeal

Olive oil cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook all ingredients except oatmeal in enough water to cover the squash in a pot, about 1 cup, on the stove-top until soft (about 20 minutes).

Remove from heat and stir in oatmeal. Adjust remaining water in the pot so there is just enough to moisten the oatmeal.

Transfer to 9 x 13-inch baking dish that has been prepared with olive oil spray. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

* I cut everything up the day before I made this and stored it in a freezer bag in the fridge. It was super easy to just dump in the pot and start from there. That cut back on the total amount of time it took to cook by like 15 minutes.

Green Bean Salad

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
10 grape tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, seeded & thinly sliced
1/2 c. diced green pepper
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (I used dried Italian seasonings)

1 tsp Dijon mustard (I used brown)
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp salt

Wash green beans. Drop beans into a pot of boiling water. Cook until crisp, about 4 minutes.

Drain water and let beans cool. Add tomatoes, peppers, and parsley.

In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, oil, and lemon juice. Add pepper and salt. Stir well.

Pour the dressing over the salad, then toss. Cover and refrigerate for an hour until chilled.

*I didn't want to wait an hour. So we ate right after and it was yummy warm. If you wanted to, you could add shrimp. Or if you're not up for seafood, it would be good with grilled chicken as well.

Menu: Jan. 4 - Jan. 9 & Fat Smashing

Eli and I decided that this year we need to work on losing some weight and eating healthier (for a lot of good reasons). I'm not a big believer in "fad' diets because D & C says we should have a little of everything in moderation. When I was at my healthiest I was just eating a lot of fresh foods and not so much processed foods, all in good proportions.

I decided we needed to learn to control our eating habits and found a book called "The Fat Smash Diet." If you've ever seen Celebrity Fit Club, it's the "diet" that they use on the show. The first 9 days is all about cleansing your body of all the yuckies and building a good foundation, in other words, detox...lots of fruits and veggies and a minimal amount of grains and dairy, no pasta or meat. We'll start adding pastas and meats in moderation over the next few weeks.

After this first week, Eli and I have each lost 7 lbs. and we both are full of energy and feeling good. I've cooked a lot of lunches & dinners, so lots of vegetarian recipes! We can't wait for meat and pastas, but looking forward to a healthy amount. Good start to the new year!

Sunday: dinner at parent's
Monday: Green Bean Salad (FSD) & Squash Casserole (Clean Eating)
Tuesday: Veggie Soup (FSD) & Rice and Black Beans (All Recipes)
Wednesday: Salad w/ ranch and salsa & Italian Spaghetti Squash (All Recipes)
Thursday: Banana Bread smoothie & Mexican Bean and Corn Bowl (3 Fat Chicks)
Friday: stuffed peppers (All Recipes)
Saturday: Apple Bake & Chickpea burger w/ sweet potato fries & International Stew

FSD = Fat Smash Diet by Ian K. Smith
Clean Eating Magazine (one of my favorites!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Menu: January 7 - January 13

Paul got me TWO new, beautiful cookbooks for Christmas, and I can't wait to start using them! I've picked two recipes from each one for my menu this week. One is Pioneer Woman's cookbook (hooray!), and the other is Rachel Ray's Book of Ten (which has lists and lists of her top ten recipes in lots of different categories).

Here's this week's plan:

Thursday (today): Chicken a la King
Friday: Potato Soup
Saturday: Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Pork (Rachel Ray)
Sunday: Pot Roast (Pioneer Woman) and Mashed Potatoes
Monday: Lemon Chicken Linguine (My Kitchen Cafe)
Tuesday: Smoky Chipotle-Chicken Corn Chowder w/ Salsa Salad (Rachel Ray)
Wednesday: Enchiladas (Pioneer Woman)

Ooh! I'm excited!

Tuscan Macaroni and Cheese Bake

Happy New Year, everyone! I was so excited to see some new recipes pop up here this week! Fun stuff. I can't wait to try them out.

Since coming home from our vacation to Colorado, Paul and I haven't been very good about eating dinner at home. Finally, yesterday, Paul said, "Would it be ok if we have a home cooked meal tonight?" Oops. My bad! ;) He was right. We definitely needed to break our current trend of picking up something somewhere each night.

I was in the mood to try something new, so I headed over to My Kitchen Cafe and browsed the recipes for a while.

This is the recipe I ended up choosing. It was delicious (despite some mistakes on my part)! I'm going to try it again for sure because I was missing one of the main spices.

You should try it, too!

Tuscan Macaroni and Cheese Bake

12 oz. Italian sausage*
2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened
1 c. sliced olives (I just used a small can even though it was less than a cup because Paul's not a huge fan of olives)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 T. butter
1 1/2 T. flour
1 t. dried sage**
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 c. milk (I used James' whole milk so it would be creamier)
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

*The recipe actually says to use pre-cooked chicken or turkey sausage, but Paul was picking up the ingredients for me on his way home, and it was much easier for him to find Italian sausage. Plus, I thought Paul might enjoy Italian sausage more. She did mention in her original recipe that Italian sausage could be substituted.

**Yep, I thought I had sage, but I didn't. I was worried the dish would be too bland without it, so I increased the amount of thyme. I probably shouldn't have done that because the thyme flavor was a bit overwhelming in the end.

Cook macaroni noodles according to directions on package, except reduce cooking time by 1-2 minutes because the pasta bakes in the oven later. Brown sausage and drain grease. Combine pasta, sausage, olives, cream cheese, and mozzarella cheese in a large bowl (or, if you are me and want to limit the number of dishes, just use the big pot you cooked the pasta in).

Combine flour and spices in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add the flour/spice mixture and stir with a wire whisk constantly for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Cook and stir for 5-6 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Pour over pasta mixture.

Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 11x7 baking dish. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Then, top the pasta with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes, uncovered. Let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

It was a really flavorful dish! James even loved it! I especially loved the tomatoes on top, and I'll probably add even more tomatoes next time. The olives also added a great flavor, though I probably won't get away with adding more of those since Paul doesn't really like them.

Here's a link to the original recipe: Tuscan Macaroni and Cheese Bake.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fudge Puddles

The first recipe of the year that I post is a dessert. Does that say something about me? Probably. Brian and I love to try new dessert recipes on Sunday. In fact, last summer we would try a new dessert every Sunday. That was one yummy summer. Last Sunday Brian went to and typed in the ingredients that we had. The recipe for fudge puddles came up and we couldn't help but try them out (even if just for the name)! They were delicious and fun! I also like that I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.



  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips*
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Cream butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugars. Mix in egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir the flour mixture into creamed mixture (I actually didn't sift the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. I just added them all here). Shape the dough into 48 balls, 1 inch each. Place each ball in one compartment of a mini muffin tin*.
    For filling, put chocolate chips in a double boiler* over simmering water. Stir in milk and vanilla, mix well. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately make wells in the center of each using a melon baller (we just used a small spoon). Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Then carefully remove to wire racks. Fill each shell with the chocolate mixture.

    * We don't have a mini muffin tin, so we just used a regular one and it worked out great. We just put a bigger size ball in each (I just used my cookie scoop and it made 22). They only took 14 minutes to cook. If you use a mini tin I would cook them for a shorter amount of time because you don't want them to be crunchy.

    * We also didn't have milk chocolate chips so we used all semi-sweet chips and they tasted great. I bet it would be good both ways.

    * I didn't use a double broiler. We just combined all ingredients in the pan and heated it on low until the chocolate was melted and it thinned out.

    Original recipe: