Winter Veggie Pasta

Lately I’ve been looking for foods that are low in fat and calories, but high in protein, fiber and of course… flavor. This pasta dish was tasty, satisfying, and left me completely guilt free. (yes, please!)

8 oz uncooked whole grain spaghetti
3 cups broccoli florets
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp snipped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook pasta according to package directions (but omit the salt). Add broccoli to pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and return to pot.

Stir in tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper; heat through. Stir in parsley and sprinkle each serving with cheese.

This recipe is from the Eat Better America website, which is a great place to find “healthified” versions of yummy recipes. Check it out for more recipes like this one.

(original recipe here)


January 16 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Sausage Balls

I have memories of my mom making Sausage Balls for various Christmas parties and other gatherings growing up.  So when a friend asked everyone to bring a holiday favorite to her Christmas soiree, I dug up this recipe and whipped up a batch.

They were a huge hit! Everyone loved them, and I had several people ask me how I made them. They’re so quick and easy, I just kept reciting the simple recipe over and over:

1 lb ground sausage
1 lb shredded sharp cheddar
2 cups Bisquick

Combine all ingredients. Shape into walnut-sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until cooked through. (Makes 30 balls)

Now, these ingredients are pretty hard to mix together. I really recommend letting the sausage warm up a bit and then using your hands to combine them. Also, it helps to line your pans with parchment paper to avoid sticking.

If you want to, you could bake them on wire racks over baking sheets to drain off some of the grease. (I think they’re perfect how they are, though.)

December 19 at 7:52 pm Leave a comment

Cheesy Broccoli Pockets

These pockets make a really simple handy dinner. I’ll bet they’d make a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables. 🙂

1 10-oz package broccoli
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 jarred roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh (or 1 tsp dried) oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 16-oz package frozen bread dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 375° and grease 2 baking sheets. Cook broccoli according to package directions; drain well.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add broccoli and cook, stirring until moisture has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine broccoli mixture, cheese, peppers, and seasonings. Mix well.

Divide dough into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece to form a 6-inch circle. Spoon an equal amount of the broccoli mixture into the center of each circle. Fold dough over filling to form a half circle. Press edges with a fork to seal; prick a few holes in pocket tops.

Place pockets on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

We couldn’t find frozen bread dough, so we used pizza crust dough instead and adjusted the bake time to the time listed on the package. We also used cheddar cheese because we were out of Parmesan.


October 25 at 8:25 am Leave a comment

Garlic chive mashed potatoes

We were given a bunch of chives by a friend, and our first thought was “potatoes.” These were the perfect consistency and had great flavor.

2 pounds potatoes (approx. 7 medium potatoes)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 clove minced garlic
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp salt

Peel and quarter potatoes. Boil for 20–25 minutes, or until tender enough to crumble with a fork. Drain and mash. Mix in the milk using an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

October 18 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

Tortellini and Asparagus in a Red Wine Cream Sauce

This recipe is one I invented, inspired by a dish at a favorite Italian restaurant. I’m curious to know your thoughts. If you try it out, please let me know if there’s anything you’d change. Thanks!

7 oz package refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 slices bacon
1 cup diced Vidalia onion
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
1 Tbsp flour

Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Separate bacon into bite-size pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the skillet. Add onion and mushrooms to skillet. Cook and stir for 4 minutes, or until onions are transparent and mushrooms are tender.

Add asparagus and stir. Add wine, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to half (about 7 minutes).

Add bacon and cream to skillet. Bring to a boil. Add flour, cook and stir for 30 seconds. Serve sauce over cooked tortellini.

This recipe is meant to be rich and creamy, so if you use a lean bacon, you might want to add a bit of butter to the skillet at the start. Also, I learned that if you add a touch of oil to the pot before you boil the tortellini, it’ll keep them from sticking together and tearing apart.

May 24 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Asian Beef with Snow Peas

Here’s a great way to use some of those wonderful snow and snap peas that are coming into season.

3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 pound beef round steak, cut into thin strips
8 0z snow peas

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the beef and stir fry for 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Add the peas and stir fry for an additional 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is thick and smooth. Serve immediately.

We served ours over white rice and make up some eggrolls to accompany it.

The great thing about stir-fry is, you can change it up a bit to fit your tastes. Throw in some mushrooms or red pepper, top with green onions… whatever! Enjoy this basic recipe, but make it your own!

May 8 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

Pico de Gallo Quesadillas

These quesadillas are absolutely to die for! I definitely recommend them. Just be sure check out my tips below the recipe… you won’t regret it. 🙂

2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 10-inch flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup sour cream (for topping)

In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken and saute until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the hot skillet and saute the sliced onion and green pepper until tender. Stir in the minced garlic and saute until the aroma is strong. Mix in half of the pico de gallo and chicken breast meat. Set aside; keep warm.

In a heavy skillet, heat one flour tortilla. Spread 1/4 cup shredded cheese on the tortilla and top with 1/2 the chicken mixture. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup cheese over the chicken and top with another tortilla. When bottom tortilla is lightly brown and cheese has started to melt, flip quesadilla and cook on the opposite side. Remove quesadilla from skillet and cut into quarters. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve quesadillas with sour cream and remaining pico de gallo.

Easier said than done, though. I found that the quesadillas were incredibly hard to flip with so much stuff inside. The second time I made them, I used smaller tortillas and put less filling inside. (Note: This means you need to buy extra tortillas) I also used a griddle to make the job easier.

They’re totally worth the hassle, though. Even if you just eat the filling and skip the whole quesadilla thing, you’ll still enjoy it…. Ha ha!

Original recipe:
Photo courtesy of user Alaena39

April 5 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

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