Friday, February 27, 2015

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I'm a big fan of stuffing vegetables these days and this recipe is no exception. Using veggies instead of tortillas or tacos are a great way to save on calories while getting in some extra vitamins from the vegetables. This particular recipe makes enough filling for more than 3 zucchini, but I saved the leftover mixture for another meal!

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats


3 medium zucchini
1 medium onion, diced
2 Italian peppers, diced (or 1 green bell pepper)
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, reserving 3/4 cup
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 lb of grass fed beef or you can substitute ground turkey
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Dice your onion & peppers, and brown your ground beef & garlic in a large pan.

When your beef in almost done, add in the diced veggies.

Mix well and continue to cook until the ground beef is no longer pink.

Next add in the can of crushed tomatoes (remember to reserve 3/4 cup), Italian seasoning, & sea salt, and cracked pepper to taste.

Let your mixture simmer on low while you cut your zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the inside, leaving a thin layer in the shell so they will stand up.

Pour the reserved crushed tomatoes into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and spread to fill the dish.

Next fill your zucchini with the beef mixture, be generous with your filling!

Next, cover the zucchini boats with the shredded cheese.

 Bake them at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Then broil them for about 5 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbling. (All ovens are different so make sure to watch them on broil - they get brown very quickly!)

I sprinkled a pinch of shredded Parmesan and parsley on mine afterwards, but that is optional. These go great with a side salad.

P.S. I saved my leftover mixture and added a can of drained & rinsed kidney beans and gave it to my husband for lunch the next day as chili!

You can also toss it with some pasta or spaghetti squash too.

Individual Spaghetti Squash Casseroles

I had a lonely spaghetti squash sitting in my pantry & two grumpy kids who were not in the mood to go food shopping, so I had to use ingredients I had on hand and this recipe came out better than I had expected! Originally I had thought these were going to be side dishes, but one mini casserole filled me up! My husband, on the other hand, also had two pieces of chicken and some peas on the side. He's the exception though, I'm pretty confident that one of these casseroles and a garden salad on the side would make the perfect meal!

Individual Spaghetti Squash Casseroles


1 medium to large spaghetti squash
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried basil (use fresh if you have it)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian Panko breadcrumbs

There are a few different ways to cook a spaghetti squash. I've tried face up & face down and I cook them differently depending on which recipe I'm making. For this recipe I find it easiest to cut your squash lengthwise, scoop out the insides, and place skin side up on a foil lined & sprayed baking sheet. Cook @ 400 degrees for about 50 minutes. Once you take them out of the oven the skin should feel squishy. Wait about 10-15 minutes and then turn them over. Using a pot holder to hold the squash in your hand, scrape out the spaghetti like strands of squash into a bowl. 

Add olive oil, basil, sea salt, & cracked pepper to taste.

Next add in the can of drained tomatoes.

Add in the shredded Parmesan cheese.

If you don't have individual casserole dishes then you can put the mixture into a greased 8X8 baking dish. I recently received my new mini casserole dishes for my birthday so I was looking for an excuse to use them! Make sure to grease your dish before dividing the squash mixture.

In a bowl, combine the Panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese then top each casserole with half the mixture.

You can bake right away or put them in the fridge for later! When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake your casserole for 25-30 minutes.

I bet these little dishes could fool your significant other into thinking he or she is eating pasta! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Spaghetti (Squash) & Meatballs

I love substituting pasta with spaghetti squash. I know there are some days when I am going to crave some pasta carbs and on those days squash is not going to cut it, but tonight is not one of those nights. Even my husband didn't complain when I handed him a plate filled with squash....but that's because I covered it in this delicious sauce and gave him plenty of meatballs to make him forget all about the little squash strands on the bottom of his plate.

Spaghetti (Squash) & Meatballs

To make the meatballs check out my recipe for Game Day Meatballs here.


1 large spaghetti squash
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Dash of sea salt
Dash of pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Spoon out the seeds (like you would do to a pumpkin) and place face up on a baking sheet. Brush on the olive oil and sprinkle with a dash of sea salt and cracked pepper. Bake the squash for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile pour your crushed tomatoes & diced tomatoes into a pot (or crockpot) and turn it on low. Saute your onion & garlic for approximately 3 minutes and add to the pot.

Next saute the diced pepper for about 5 minutes and add to the pot.

Add the Italian seasoning to the sauce and mix well.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape out the spaghetti like strands with a fork.

Place the spaghetti squash strands on a plate and top with the sauce & meatballs for a healthy and delicious version of a classic dish! You can top with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and some green onions for color.

Southwestern Baked Chicken & Beans

I DARE you to try and find an easier dinner to prepare...........this dish is so simple yet incredibly delicious. This is on my weeknight rotation because it is so quick and one of my husband's favorites. With only a few healthy ingredients, this dish is diabetic friendly as well!

Southwestern Baked Chicken & Beans


2 Chicken Breasts
1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
1 16 oz jar of your favorite salsa (mine is Newman's mango salsa)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Dash of sea salt
Dash of pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a small baking dish with cooking spray.

Place the chicken breasts in the dish and sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, sea salt, and cracked pepper.

Next, pour the jar of salsa over your chicken.

Now pour the rinsed black beans over the salsa.

This next step is the most important of all - cover the dish with tin foil before baking it ! The first time I attempted this dish I made the mistake of throwing it in the oven without tin foil - BIG FAT FAIL! My beans were all shriveled up and completely dried out, so I quickly scraped them off and opened up another can of beans and threw them on to save the meal, but I never made that mistake again!

And that's it! Bake it for about an hour and place on top of some rice - my favorite is black rice - and top with some green onions for some color!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Quinoa & Chicken Mexican Stuffed Peppers

I had two GIAGANTIC green bell peppers calling my name in the fridge, so I searched the pantry to see what I could create for dinner tonight and came up with these tasty stuffed peppers!  I love how they are not only delicious but very pleasing to the waistline as well. If you don't want your peppers too spicy then leave out the jalapenos, but I like my peppers with some heat!

Quinoa & Chicken Mexican Stuffed Peppers


1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
1 15 oz can of black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cooked cup of quinoa
2 large green or red bell peppers
2 jalapenos, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of your favorite salsa - I used pineapple in this recipe
shredded cheese
green onions (for topping)

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and chopping your jalapenos and onion

Saute them for about 3 minutes in the olive oil

Next drain and rinse you beans before adding them to the mixture

And cut your peppers in half. Scoop out the insides until you have a nice shell to fill.

Add the chicken and beans to the skillet

And mix well

Saute the chicken and beans until warm and then add the salsa

Mix in the cooked quinoa

Now you are ready to fill your peppers. Don't be scared to fill these guys right up and pack them tight - this recipe makes plenty of filling and nobody wants to get a pepper without enough filling!

Bake them for 25 minutes in a shallow dish with about an inch of water on the bottom.

Take them out and top with some shredded cheese.

Put them back in the oven and broil them for about 5 minutes (until the cheese is brown and bubbling).

Top with some green onions and they are ready to serve! Pair them with a salad or some refried beans!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spicy Two Bean White Chicken Chili

YUM! This one was a big hit in my house! There's another blizzard covering my house in blankets of white, cold, icy, snow, so I needed something with some heat to defrost us tonight. I had a craving for some chili, but wanted to try something different than the usual recipe so I came up with this spicy little number that I'm sure you will love! It does have some heat, so if you don't like a little fire on your tongue you might want to leave out the jalapenos. My husband and I both love hot and spicy dishes so we will definitely be making this one again!

Spicy Two Bean White Chicken Chili


3 large chicken breasts
1 can of Rotel
5 cups of chicken broth
1 15 oz can of Great Northern Beans, drained & rinsed
1 15 oz can of Cannellini Beans, drained & rinsed
1 16 oz jar of salsa verde
3 Italian peppers, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, sliced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
Sea Salt

Topping Suggestions:

Shredded cheese
Green onions
Sour Cream

Don't forget to drain and rinse those beans! There is no need for that stinky bean juice to be any where near this chili!

Dice your veggies.

My husband and I love us some spice so I opted to leave the seeds and membranes attached to the jalapenos, but remember if you want to tone down the spice but still want to add the jalapenos just scrape out the membranes and seeds and you will eliminate the hotness factor of the peppers.

Another reason why you will love this recipe is because it's all done in the crock pot! Turn that baby on high and you are ready to go!

First place the chicken breast on the bottom of your slow cooker and pour the chicken broth, Rotel, beans, & salsa verde over the chicken. Next add the Poblano peppers, red bell pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapenos (remember, leave these out if you aren't looking for some heat - the chili will still be delicious without them!). Set your timer for 5 hours and go do something fun!

The next step is to shred your chicken. Once it's shredded, add the chili powder, cumin, and a dash of sea salt, & cracked pepper.

Add the chicken back to the crock pot.

And mix well.

Top your chili with any of your favorite toppings - mine are shredded cheese & green onions!