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Monday, March 23, 2015

Taco Pizza Rolls

Fast, super easy, kid-friendly, and customizable to everyone's liking!

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can Pillsbury refrigerated classic pizza crust
  • 2 tablespoons Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix (just need a 1 oz. package)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Optional toppings: lettuce, tomato, sour cream, onion, and guacamole/avocado

1. Preheat oven to 400 ° and lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. In a medium skillet, cook and brown beef until no longer pink. Drain. Add taco seasoning and water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

3. Take pizza dough out of its package and unroll it onto a flat surface. (A cutting board works great!)  Slightly roll or press the pizza dough out into a rectangle. (Press the surface of the pizza dough with your finger to slightly "thin" it out.)

4. Add the taco meat evenly on top of the pizza dough. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top.

5. Starting with the long edge of the pizza dough, roll dough tightly up into a roll. Using a serrated knife, make about 1-inch slices along the roll, making about 18 rolls. (I discarded the ends of the roll, so mine made about 14.)

6. Place rolls on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are golden brown. (Make sure dough is cooked, but not long enough for the bottoms to be burned!)

7. Serve immediately and top with desired toppings.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Simple Broccoli-Chicken Casserole...No Condensed Soup!!

I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe, but feel free to make it as it was originally posted!!
2 tablespoons butter (I used unsalted.)
1/2 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped onion)
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt (I used a scant teaspoon.)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, divided (Grate it off the block; don’t use pre-grated cheese!)
4 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
3 cups cooked brown rice or brown rice/quinoa mixture (That's about 1 cup uncooked rice.)
3 cups bite-sized cooked chicken (Use rotisserie chicken!  One standard size rotisserie makes about 3 cups.)
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese (I didn't think this was necessary, so I didn't use.)

Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a large saucepan (Dutch oven or stock pot works great!), melt the butter over medium heat. When melted, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the onions are translucent. Add the flour and stir until it starts coming together with the butter and the onions. Slowly add the chicken broth, a little at a time, whisking after each addition until any lumps of flour are smooth. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Add the salt and pepper and remove from heat. Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar and stir until smooth.  Add the broccoli.  (I turned my heat down to LOW after adding broccoli and stirred frequently.  I cooked for about 8-10 minutes.)
While the sauce is cooking, spray a 9×13″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add the rotisserie chicken and COOKED rice to the broccoli sauce mixture and stir to combine.  Transfer the entire mixture to the 9x13" dish and (if using, top with the shredded Parmesan) and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ cups diced onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots (about 4-5 carrots)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 40 ounces chicken stock*
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
  • 1½-2 pounds roasted chicken, shredded (1½ pounds was perfect.)
  • 1¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup milk, plus additional tablespoons as needed
  • 1 cup frozen peas 

  1. Heat butter in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and thyme. (I also added one clove of garlic and then seasoned veggie mixture with salt and pepper.)  Cover and cook about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Onion should be softened.
  2. Sprinkle in ¼ cup flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in chicken stock, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally.
  4. Add shredded chicken, reduce heat to low simmer. Cover and cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ¾ cup flour, baking powder, dill, garlic powder, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Gradually stir in ½ cup milk to form batter. Batter should hold together and be easy to drop by spoonfuls. If too thick add more milk a tablespoon at a time. If too thin, sprinkle in a bit more flour at a time until thick. Set aside.
  6. Stir peas into stew. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls on top of stew, spaced apart. Cover, and continue to simmer until dumplings are firm, 15-20 minutes.   
  7. *If a more brothy stew is desired or to extend the serving amount, add 1-2 more cups of chicken stock. Adjust seasonings to taste.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Guiltless! Creamy Broccoli Soup


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 large crown broccoli
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan rind (optional)
  • ½ cup low-fat greek yogurt (I used full-fat plain yogurt.)

  • Directions:
    Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into florets. Remove and discard  woody ends of the broccoli stems. Peel the stems and then chop into 1-inch chunks.
  • Once the onion is softened, add the broccoli, veggie broth, salt, and pepper to the pot. Add in the Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with the lid slightly cracked and let cook until the broccoli is fork tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the Parmesan rind. Remove the pot from the heat. Use an immersion blender (or food processor) to puree the mixture until smooth. Stir in the greek yogurt and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked) (See this post for tips on how to cook perfect quinoa!)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can green chiles 
  • 1 cup corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1/2 cup petite diced tomatoes 
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese 
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded (I filled 5 peppers and had no filling left to spare.)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. 
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheeses, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste. 
  • Spoon the filling each each bell pepper cavity. Place on prepared baking dish, cavity side up, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes. (Mine had to cook for a bit longer.  Check internal temp after 30 and cook more as needed.)
  • Serve immediately.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Broiled Tilapia Tacos

real yum.
(p.s. These ingredient amounts serve four, so halve the recipe if you're serving for two!)
  • 8 6-inch white or yellow corn tortillas
  • Quick Slaw:
  • 2 cups finely chopped green cabbage or prepackaged angel hair coleslaw mix (I bought the prepackaged broccoli slaw and it was delicious.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 small radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Pinch of salt, plus more to taste if needed
  • Avocado Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and membranes removed
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tilapia:
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 4 tilapia fillets, about 5 ounces each
  1. Preheat the broiler to high with one rack in the center and another placed about 4-5 inches from the top of the oven or heating element. 
  2. For the coleslaw, in a medium bowl, toss together all the ingredients. Set aside.
  3. For the avocado sauce, blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside. (Just the 1,000,001th reason to have a Vitamix!)
  4. Wrap the tortillas in foil and place them on the center rack of the oven to heat through.
  5. For the tilapia, in a small bowl, combine the cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and salt. Place the tilapia fillets on a lightly greased baking sheet (you can line with foil and grease the foil to minimize cleanup) and rub lightly on both sides with the oil. Sprinkle both sides of the fish with the spice mixture. Broil on the top rack until the flesh is firm but not overcooked, 5-8 minutes. (Half of my fish was cooked after about 8 min, so I took the finished fish out and left the rest of the fish to cook for another 2 minutes or so.)
  6. To serve, use two forks to lightly break apart the tilapia into pieces. Divide the fish between the tortillas and top with slaw and avocado sauce. Serve immediately.  


Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole

Laura swore by this one!  I trusted her.  She delivered!  Thanks, girl!
(See her modifications and then see mine in red.)
  • ¾ lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined (Laura used one pound.)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks (Laura used a container of cherry and halved them.)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped, optional (See directions for my suggestions.)
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion (See directions for my suggestions.)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (See directions for my suggestions.)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (Laura used 2 tablespoons.)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2½ teaspoons cajun seasoning, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2½ cups cooked quinoa (See below for the best way to cook quinoa...)
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


Gwyneth Paltrow taught me how to cook the perfect quinoa.  
-Rinse 1 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.  (Although this may sound like an unnecessary step, it really makes a huge difference in flavor, since quinoa's natural coating tastes like soap.)
-Place it in a pot set over high heat with 1 3/4 cup water and a big pinch of sea salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid (lid back on), and let the quinoa sit for at least 5 mintues before giving it a fluff with a fork. You'll have a little more than 2½ cups, so make sure you measure it out for the recipe when you need it.

Also, to minimize prep and time, I put the seeded jalapeño, onion, and garlic cloves in a food processor and it was all minced in seconds!

Now let's continue...

  1. Toss the shrimp and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning together; set aside.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning; set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe skillet). Cook the shrimp until opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan along with the onion, jalapeño, and garlic. Cook until the onion and jalapeño are tender, stirring often. Mix in the quinoa, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning and tomato chunks. Top with the shrimp and then sprinkle with the fontina cheese.
  5. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. During the last 2 minutes, turn on the broiler to high and broil until the cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Notes from blogger:
*If you don't like quinoa, you can sub the quinoa for brown rice.

*If you do not have a cast iron or oven-safe skillet, after mixing in the quinoa, tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, and tomato chunks in step 4, transfer the ingredients to a casserole dish and then top with the shrimp and fontina cheese.