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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Side Dish: Corn Casserole (An Actual Good One)

  • 1, 8.5 ounce package cornbread mix
  • 1 cup sour cream (or 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1, 15 ounce can creamed style corn, undrained
  • 1, 15 ounce can corn, drained
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 2½ quart baking dish, an 8x8, or a 9x9 baking pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix together sour cream (yogurt), corn, creamed corn, melted butter, and eggs. Add cornbread mix, salt and pepper, and stir.
  3. Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes until sides are golden and the middle doesn't jiggle when you shake it.

1. Recipe can be doubled; bake in a buttered, 9x13 inch pan.
2. Recipe can be made 1-2 days ahead; bake, cool completely, then cover tightly and put in refrigerator.  To re-heat, take casserole out of refrigerator and bring close to room temperature (will re-heat quicker), keep covered and put in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chicken Parmesan Minis

Makes 12.  Easy weeknight dinner!

  • 1 pound of raw, ground chicken
  • 1/2 of a red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced (I used about 1/4 of an onion.)
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano (I used one drop of Oregano essential oil.)
  • 3 mozzarella cheese sticks, each cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the topping, mix together the Italian bread crumbs, one tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, and one tablespoon of olive oil; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg, then add chicken, red pepper, onion, garlic, oregano, 1 tablespoon of Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
  4. Spray a regular sized muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon heaping spoonfuls of the chicken mixture into a muffin tin (start with about one tablespoon in each muffin tin). Place a cheese cube (one of the pieces of cheese stick) down in the center of the mixture. Then, spoon one more tablespoon or so of chicken mixture on top, making sure the cheese is covered completely. (I made these mid-morning to prep for dinner, so after I completed this step, I covered the muffin tin in Syran wrap and refrigerated until ready to bake.)
  5. (When ready to bake,) Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of each chicken mini.
  6. Put the muffin tin in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  (Check at 25.)
  7. Serve with marinara sauce under the minis or in a cup on the side for dipping.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sweet Potato Farro Salad

I prepped the farro, dressing, and fixins mid-afternoon so it was ready to throw together at dinner time!
  • 1 cup Pearled Farro, plain
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley not curly parsley, not packed
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (1-2 large) sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • Optional: shaved Parmesan cheese
  • (I added chicken, so you can grill a couple of seasoned/marinated breasts or just buy a rotisserie!)
  • 1 large lemon 4 tablespoons juice & 1/2 teaspoon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the farro, apple cider, chicken broth/water, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Follow package instructions to cook (bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer until the farro is tender and liquid evaporates). Remove and discard bay leaves.
  3. Meanwhile, peel and chop a sweet potato into small bite-sized pieces.
  4. Place the sweet potato pieces on the pan and drizzle olive oil on the pieces. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and then flip/stir around and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until tender.
  6. While the potatoes are cooking: prepare the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor. I like to add about 1/4 teaspoon salt to the dressing (optional)
  7. Pulse for about 10 seconds and then add in the olive oil. Pulse 1-2 times until just combined.
  8. Coarsely chop the pistachios and coarsely chop the parsley.
  9. When the farro is done, allow to slightly cool and then add 2 tablespoons of the prepared dressing.
  10. In a large bowl, pour in the farro mixture, roasted sweet potato, pistachios, parsley, apple, cranberries, and arugula.
  11. Toss with dressing to taste (you might not use all the dressing) and add some shaved Parmesan if desired.
  12. If you want to meal prep or have leftovers, only add arugula to what you will be eating.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Lasagna Soup

While THIS and THIS lasagna soup is equally delicious, this new one is ready in a flash!

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or half Italian sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
  • 8-10 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 14 oz. can can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried oregano, salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 10 uncooked lasagna noodles broken into approx. 1-2 inch pieces*
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream,optional**
Cheese Garnish
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • freshly finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ricotta cheese

  1. Heat large Dutch oven/large soup pot over medium high heat. Add beef (or beef/sausage combo) and onion and cook, stirring occasionally until beef is browned. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Drain off any excess fat.
  2. Add spaghetti sauce, 6 cups chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, spices, and broken lasagna noodles. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until lasagna noodles are tender, stirring occasionally (approximately 20-30 minutes).
  3. Discard bay leaf, stir in heavy cream (optional), add and 2-4 cups chicken broth to reach desired consistency. Garnish individual servings with desired amount of cheeses.

*You can also replace the noodles with 2 1/2 cups uncooked small shells if desired and simmer for less time.
**If you want to omit the heavy cream but still would like a thicker soup, I suggest whisking 2 teaspoons cornstarch with some of the chicken broth and adding to the soup to simmer and thicken.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Make ahead of time, cover and refrigerate, then bake when ready to serve!

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. jumbo shells (I used about 15 shells.)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce (I use this homemade recipe, but only 3T of chili powder as opposed to 4.)
  • 1 4½ oz can green chiles, drained
  • 2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 c. Mexican shredded cheese, divided
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro, plus more for serving


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350º.  If desired, prepare homemade enchilada sauce and set aside.  
  2. 2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
  3. 3. In a large sauce pan or large high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
  4. 4. Add enchilada sauce and DRAINED green chiles to the pan, stirring to combine. Bring to a bubble and let thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. 5. To the chicken, add 1 cup of the prepared sauce, 1 cup of cheese, and the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  6. 6. Spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Stuff chicken mixture into shells and arrange stuffed shells on top of sauce, side by side. Spoon remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  7. 6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the rest is warmed through. Cool slightly, top with cilantro and serve.  (I had sour cream and avocados on hand, too!)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Caramelized Sweet Potato and Kale Fried Wild Rice

*I prepped ALL of these ingredients ahead of time and dinner was ready in a flash!  This is delicious!

3/4 cups wild rice blend + chicken broth (see package directions)
1 Tablespoon butter
1.5 cups of 1/2″ cubed sweet potato (about 1 medium-sized sweet potato)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 cups packed chopped curly kale (about 1/2 bunch) (*De-stem the kale.)
1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas
*cooked chicken (see notes)

For the Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette:
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
2 cloves garlic, microplaned or finely minced 
salt and pepper

1. Prepare rice according to package instructions using chicken or vegetable broth in place of water. Set aside. (This can also be made ahead of time!) (My rice soaked up the chicken broth way before cooking time was complete.  I added a bit more broth than package directions suggested, so be mindful of the fact that you may need to add a bit more so rice doesn't burn.)
2. Add ingredients for Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette in a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake to combine, and then set aside.
3. Fill a wok or large skillet with water, then bring to a boil. Add a heavy dash of salt and kale then boil until tender, 4-5 minutes. (Be sure that kale is submerged.)  Drain in colander.  When kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water with hands (I use a thick paper towel), crumble, and then set aside.
4. Turn heat down to medium-high then melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and sweet potatoes, season with salt, then sauté until tender and caramelized, 8-10 minutes.
5. Add kale, cooked rice, and Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette to the wok, then toss to combine. Serve topped with pepitas.

This recipe does not call for chicken, however, I had a half of a chicken breast from the night before sitting in my fridge, so I chopped it up and added it to the recipe---complete meal!  If you wish, add some cooked chicken to your meal too!