Chrissy Inspired Beef Stew

Let me be clear, this recipe was tailored from the recipe in Chrissy Tiegen’s 2nd cookbook Cravings: Hungry for More.  I’ve made some notable adjustments, but wanted to make it clear that I did not develop this recipe from scratch.  If you have been curious about Chrissy’s cookbooks, let me also tell you loud and clear, THEY ARE AMAZING.  The recipes I’ve tried so far have all been keepers.  Especially with Christmas around the corner, I can’t tell you enough how much I recommend these cookbooks.  There are tons of recipes, laughs, tips, and there is an emphasis on Thai food which I haven’t had the guts to try out.

Now this stew.  This stew is one of, if not THE best thing I’ve ever made.  Yep. Ask Nate. Ask the chef.  He even said the meat was perfect. Oh, and no shame, after I put the leftover stew in a container – I mopped up the sides of the pot with 2 rolls.  No food waste here!!  Yes, it takes some time, but honestly, once you get everything in the pot and simmering, you can walk away and get other things done while you wait for the magic to happen.  This meal is perfect for a fall day, winter snow, rainy days, anytime your belly needs a hug!!

5 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 pounds stew meat, cut into chunks

1 onion, diced

3 heaping spoons jarred garlic

1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste

4 cups beef broth

1 can French onion condensed soup

1 slice of bacon, raw

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

4 carrots, cut into 2” pieces

2 celery, cut into 2” pieces

1 – 15 ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed

2 bay leaves

In a large pot/dutch oven heat oil and butter over medium-high heat.

Pat meat dry and season with salt & pepper.  Add to pot and sear until brown on each side. THIS STEP IS SO IMPORTANT TO DO CORRECTLY! Don’t overcrowd your pot or the meat will steam instead of brown.  And the browning is what gives your stew the crazy good flavor.  You may need to do this step in 2 batches. Place each finished batch on a plate to rest. Besides overcrowding, the other key to browning is not touching/peeking at the meat.  Leave it alone for a couple minutes, then check it.  You’re going for a brown crust, not black & burnt J

You will have a lot of leftover oil/fat when you’re done.  Remove all but 3 tablespoons. Then add the onion to the same pot. Stir and scrape around the pot to coat the onions in the brown bits from the meat. After about 3 minutes, add your garlic (jarred or fresh), and let it cook another 3 minutes.

Next, add the tomato paste, stir & scrape around.  Let it continue to cook for 2-3 minutes to really infuse the onions with the tomato paste and deepen the tomato flavor. *I have purposely not used anymore salt and pepper* Don’t do it! J

Add the broth, scrape the brown bits off the bottom! Add the French onion soup, Worcestershire, sugar, beef/juices from plate, and the slice of bacon. TRUST ME on the bacon…bring mixture to a boil, and cover/simmer over medium/low heat for 2 hours. The liquid will thicken and darken (I cracked the lid the last 45 minutes to reduce the sauce more).

Next, throw in the rest of the ingredients…the carrots, celery, white beans, and bay leaves. Cover/simmer another hour.  Depending how thick or brothy you prefer your stew, you will want to crack the lid or not.  But keep a close eye on it if you decide to crack the lid, it will thicken quicker than you think.

Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Between the salt/seasoning on the meat, French onion soup, and bacon, I didn’t have to add anything!

Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, by itself, mop it up with a roll/sponge like I did!!  ENJOY!!

Make Now and Freeze For Later

Nesting hit me this weekend.  One day it was in the form of cleaning and the next it took the form of cooking.  Here are the recipes I used to make several casseroles and breakfasts to freeze for later.  And, I have to tell you, having food and meals already taken care of, takes such a huge weight off our shoulders!

First things first, I have one complaint for the grocery stores.  Can all the products and brands get together and decide on the same quantities to offer their products in?  I wanted to make 12 muffins.  Well, the muffins come in packs of 6, the sausage in packs of 8, the cheese in packs of 11 or 20, and the eggs in packs of 12.  So I ended up making 8 muffins with sausage, egg, and cheese and 2 muffins with just egg and cheese.  The same thing happens with hot dogs and hamburgers.  Grrr, anyways…

One extra step I took for all of this was buying disposable casserole and meat loaf pans.  This will allow for easy clean up when the time comes to actually eat these dishes which will be another huge time saver once the baby is here.  It also allows me to still have the use of my glass casserole dishes, in case I actually have time to do some cooking.

The List
Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese English Muffins
Turkey Meatloaf
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf  
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
Chicken Manicotti 
Chicken Baked Spaghetti – didn’t have time to get to this one.  Will post if I get to it! 

Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese English Muffins 

12 english muffins (I bought the whole grain for an extra hearty muffin)
12 turkey sausage patties
12 eggs
12 slices of cheddar cheese

-preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray
-Crack 1 egg into each muffin hole
-Use a fork or whisk to pop the yolk and sprinkle a bit of pepper onto each egg
-Bake in the oven for 25-30  minutes until the egg is cooked through. (The eggs will be well done.  I know we all prefer our eggs cooked differently, but because these are going to be frozen, it’s better just to bake them completely)
-Remove eggs from oven, run a knife around each edge, and the eggs will pop out easily.
Open and layout all 12 english muffins
-Add 1 turkey sausage patty to each english muffin
-Add 1 slice of cheese to each english muffin
-Add 1 egg to each english muffin
-Add the top of the english muffin to finish
-Wrap each in foil and label for later

-Optional- add the reheating directions and date to a large freezer ziplock and add all of the muffins wrapped in foil to that freezer bag.  This helps me keep the freezer organized.

Ready to Eat Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
If muffins are thawed, bake in the foil for 15-20 minutes
If muffins are frozen, bake in the foil for 30-40 minutes 
*You could also microwave these, but you must remove the foil first.  Also, the upside to baking in the oven, the muffins will toast up!

Turkey Meatloaf
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 pound lean, 99% fat-free ground turkey

2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

-Spray 2 mini meatloaf pans with non-stick spray

-In a large bowl, whisk the egg and milk together.  Then add the cheese, oats, breadcrumbs, onion, and seasoned salt…stir to combine.  Add the ground meat and mix with your hands.  (Don’t over mix, or the meatloaf will be tough)

-Split the meat mixture into 2 portions and set in the greased baking pans.

-In a small bowl, stir the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard together.  Spoon over each of the loaves.

-Cover with foil and label with date and reheating directions

Ready to Eat Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Bake uncovered…
-If defrosted, bake for 40-45 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-If frozen, bake for 55-60 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear

*You could easily make this into 1 whole meat loaf.  But I decided it would be better to split these into 2 different meal portions.
*I‘ve made these into mini-meatloaves also, check out that recipe here. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf   
Source: What’s Cookin, Chicago?
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

-Spray 2 mini meatloaf pans with non-stick spray

-In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. (Don’t over mix, or the meatloaf will be tough)

-Split the meat mixture into 2 portions and set in the greased baking pans.

-Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.

-Cover with foil and label with date and reheating directions

Ready to Eat Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Bake uncovered…
-If defrosted, bake for 40-45 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-If frozen, bake for 55-60 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-Top with shredded mozzarella and place back in the oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
-Allow meatloaf to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving

Chicken Manicotti
With this one, I already had extra filling from the last time I made this in the freezer.  So I thawed it out, cooked some manicotti noodles, stuffed them, placed in a casserole dish, covered with sauce, sprinkled some cheese, covered with foil (labelled with date), and place it in the freezer.

Here is the entire recipe again, but the original post can be found here.  


1 8 oz package cannelloni or manicotti

4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken (32 oz / 2 lbs of raw chicken)
1 8 oz containers chive-and-onion cream cheese

1 8 oz containers regular cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup / 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1-2 24 oz jars of favorite marinara sauce
Top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried oregano


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a large bowl, add chicken, cream cheeses, spinach, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic salt, and pepper. The original recipe says to stir…I say, get your clean hands dirty and mix it yourself.  Like you would a meatloaf.

Slice the pasta lengthwise on one side, through the other side (you should be able to lay the noodle flat) Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently roll up the manicotti / pressing cut sides together. Place, cut sides down, in 2 lightly greased 9 x 13  baking dish. 

Pour marinara sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated.

**FYI** So I bought a different brand of manicotti for the 3rd batch and the cooking directions said to boil for 9 minutes (the other brand said 7).  And after 9 minutes, those things were falling apart!!!  I still assembled the dish, but it was not as pretty as the other 2.  Sometimes you can’t trust the box directions!  
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
Source: The Pioneer Woman

When I first read over this recipe, it sounded like it would take forever and a lot of work to make my own sauce.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  The sauce was simple to throw together and let simmer for 30 minutes.  And of course I had the added plus of my house smelling like spaghetti.  You could easily brown meat and add your favorite jarred marinara sauce to cut down on time.

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
1 pound Italian Sausage (I forgot this!)
1 pound Ground Beef
1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
1 jar (28 or 32 Ounce) Marinara Sauce
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt And Pepper, to taste
16 ounces Ziti Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 whole Egg

DirectionsFor the sauce:
-Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
-Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften.
-Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned.
-Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
-Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
-Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
-Cut off the heat and let the sauce cool down, but remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.

-In a separate large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
-Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down.
-Pour the pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.)
-Add the cooled meat sauce from the pot and toss to combine.

-Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish.
-Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese.
-Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
-Cover with foil, label with date and reheat directions

Reardy to Eat Directions
-Thaw out the casserole
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until bubbling.
-Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Don’t Feel Like Cooking Nachos

There has been over a week long stretch of cold, cloudy, and rainy days here.  At first this weather makes you want all the autumn goodies, and then after a week, you get to feeling down right lazy.  -AND- it was Monday, so all we wanted to do was go straight home and to bed, but we had to eat, and you’re crazy if you think we wanted to take a trip to the grocery store! The furthest I was going was to the pantry and back to the couch.  So nachos became a good idea and were extremely satisfying on this cold and rainy night.  Gourmet, I know.

1 a bag of tortilla chips
1 small can of chili (I prefer Texas Pete)
1 14 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained (feel free to use fresh, this is what I had on hand!)
1 bunch of green onions, finely sliced
1-2 cups of shredded cheese (I used quesadilla cheese)
Optional toppings – salsa, sour cream, cilantro, hot sauce, guacamole, avocado, corn, lime juice, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cover a baking sheet with foil, for easy clean up.  Spread out tortilla chips in an even layer.

Spoon beans and chili over the tortilla chips.  Sprinkle tomatoes, green onions, and cheese over the top.

Baked in the oven uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Top with optional ingredients. Last night we added sour cream, more green onions, cilantro, and hot sauce.

Eat directly from cooking sheet or move to a plate.  

Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole

Back when I shared this post, I froze the leftover spaghetti sauce.  That’s all gravy, but how many of you freeze food with every intention on eating it in the future and then don’t?  We are guilty of this.  So I was determined to do something with this leftover sauce besides chuck it in the trash in a few months.  

The beauty of cooking with leftovers is, all I need from the grocery store was cheese.  Everything else was already at home in a cabinet or freezer so my grocery bill was awesome.  While at the store I came across something new I’d never seen before, Philadelphia Cooking Creme.  You can find it directly beside the cream cheeses.  So I decided to just give the Italian cheese and herb flavor a whirl. There are so many interesting flavors to try out, I can’t wait to try more!  So if any of you have cooked with this stuff and have any yummy recipes to pass along, please email them to me.

Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole
Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole
1 lb dried ziti
1 10 oz tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme – Italian Cheese and Herb
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

-Cook ziti according to directions on box
-In a large pot, heat spaghetti sauce until heated through.
-Add 3/4 the tub of Philly Cooking Creme and 1/2 a cup of mozzarella to the spaghetti sauce. Stir until cheese is melted.
-Stir the ziti into the pot with the cheesy spaghetti sauce.
-Add the mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Add the rest of the Philly Cooking Creme to the top of the baked ziti, just dab it on with a spoon.  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella and parmesan over the top, then the breadcrumbs. 

-Cover with foil, and baked in the oven for 25 minutes.

-Uncover the dish and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

I had a wicked craving for beef this week and came across this recipe on the one and only, Pinterest.  The first time I try a recipe, I like to follow the directions exactly.  Unless something just doesn’t make any sense.  So that is what I did with this one.  The flavor was warm, hearty, and delicious, but I think it could be kicked up a notch.  It satisfied my craving, and that was all I needed it to do.  I’m thinking about adding a packet of onion soup mix, a bay leaf, or something. The stroganoff was a little too liquidy, so next time, I will only use half the amount of broth…maybe.  But, when I asked the chef if he liked it and if I should keep the leftovers, he said “Yep.” 

Oh yea, speaking of him.  I may have mentioned before that he HATES the crock pot.  It really grinds his gears.  His argument is, any dish you prepare in a crock pot, he can make taste so much better using a pot or a pan. While he is right, he can make anything taste better, he is missing the beauty of the crock pot.  The convenience factor outweighs the lack of flavor and texture.  I’ve already had a premature “I told you so” moment.  I told him, I was willing to bet, once this baby is on the outside of my womb, he will think the crock pot is a lifesaver.  He thinks not, I am sure so.  Mark. My. Words.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

1-2 lbs cub steak, cut into one-inch pieces; or 1-2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cans condensed golden mushroom soup (no substitutes!)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 14 oz can beef broth
8 oz fresh mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
Add the following ingredients to the crock pot and stir together: meat, soup, onion, worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and beef broth.
Cook on low for 5-6 hours -or- on high for 3 hours.
When you have 30 minutes left to go, stir in the cream cheese and sour cream.  Stir every 10 minutes until finishing cooking.

Serve over egg noodles, rice, or orzo.

I was so excited about my noticeable (to me) bump that I had to show Nate.  He poked the top of my belly and asked “Whoa, what is that?!” and my response…”Beef Stroganoff.”

Two-Timing Spaghetti Sauce

Today is Nate’s day off and we are going to see Spider Man tonight at the I-Max, double score!  I’m not sure who I’m more excited to see Andrew Garfield or Emma Stone.  Who doesn’t love Emma Stone?  Even though she has become more and more glammed up recently, I still like the girl-next-door look about her.  All that is keeping me from tonight is…well…my job!

On Friday I had a raging craving for homemade spaghetti sauce.  I think I even dreamed about it the night before.  So as soon as I got off work, I drove to the store and picked up some ingredients.  I haven’t cooked much…at all… since I’ve been pregnant.  Nothing is appetizing right now unless I’m craving it.  So it made sense to me to make a HUGE batch of sauce.  That way, I could freeze a ton of leftovers to later on.

Everyone has their own spaghetti sauce recipe that they love and I have made several sauces that were all fine, but wasn’t what I was looking for.  I finally nailed it!  I’ve got MY spaghetti sauce recipe.  I couldn’t stop eating spoonfuls of it out of the pot while it was simmering it was so stinkin’ good!

When I was adding the ingredients and popping the wine cork I couldn’t help but sneak a swig.  BIG MISTAKE…it was so delicious!  I had to force Nate to drink the rest of the bottle so I wouldn’t be tempted to have 10 more swigs that my blob would not appreciate.  (I know, I’m a terrible wife for forcing my husband to drink some wine 🙂
Two-Timing Spaghetti Sauce

Two-Timing Spaghetti Sauce

**This recipe makes about 12 cups of sauce, so feel free to half this recipe!

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lb ground sausage (I mix 1 package of hot and sweet sausage)
2 cups of red wine
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
2 6 oz tomato paste
2 28 oz whole peeled Roma tomatoes, crushed
2-4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
-In a large stock pot or sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the carrot, celery, garlic, and onion.  Add a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Cook and stir occasionally until the onions are translucent.

-Add the ground sausage to the same pot and break it up with a wooden spoon.  Cook and stir together with the veggies until the meat is cooked through.

-Pour in the red wine and stir together with the meat and veggies.  Scrape the bottom of the pot with the back of your spoon and let the wine cook for 1 minute.  Then add the tomato paste, whole-peeled tomatoes, parsley, and basil.  Stir together and bring to a simmer.  
-Reduce the heat to medium-low or low and simmer for at least 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.  **The longer you simmer the better, I simmered for 1.5 hours.

FYI about Whole-peeled Roma Tomatoes – When shopping for a can of whole-peeled roma tomatoes it is easy to be fooled.  Some cans say “Whole-peeled Roma shaped Tomatoes”…which of course means, the tomatoes are not roma.  Feel free to buy these as well because they are cheaper, but just know they aren’t roma tomatoes. Also, do not take the common short cut of buying diced tomatoes.  They actually add more chemicals to the can to “preserve” the diced shape.  So when you add it to the sauce, the tomatoes don’t melt into the sauce like whole-peeled does.  Tricksters.  How do I crush and squeeze my whole tomatoes?  I dump the can(s) into a bowl and reach my  hand into the juice and squeeze each tomato submerged in the tomato juice.  I find if you do it this way, juice doesn’t squirt everywhere.

Lasagna Pie

How awesome is the feeling when a recipe lightbulb goes off in your head?  And how much more awesome if the feeling with that recipe actually works out and is delicious?  Pretty dang awesome!  It started when I was pondering what to make for dinner Friday night after a hellacious week at work for the two of us.  First I thought about the comforting power and simplicity of lasagna and then I started craving crescent rolls.  Crescent rolls are the but not the best bread to slop up the leftover lasagna sauce…what to do, what to do. LASAGNA PIE!  

The crust of course is made out of crescent rolls (a whole lot quicker and simpler than making pie crust). And the pie filling is made up of all your classic lasagna ingredients minus the noodle.  I almost put a layer of noodles but then I thought it would be weird.  And because there are no noodles in this recipe, I believe lasagna pie is even easier and quicker to throw together than a regular lasagna. Nate said dinner smelled great while it was in the oven, and when I brought him his first piece and he took his first bite he said “I could eat 10 slices of this pie!”  So I would consider this lasagna pie a HUGE success and if you don’t mind, I think I’ll pat myself on the back right now 🙂

Lasagna Pie

Lasagna Pie Slice
Lasagna Pie Crust

1 12oz tube of large crescent roll dough
1 lb ground beef (or sausage or even turkey)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Spray a 9.5″ pie dish with non-stick spray and line the dish with the crescent roll triangles.  You are forming the crust for your pie. (refer to picture)  Then bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.

Season the ground beef with salt and pepper.  Cook the beef over medium heat until browned / cooked through.  Drain as much grease out of the pot as possible.

Remove the pie crust from oven and add the cooked beef on top of the crust.  Form an even layer with the meat.  Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella over top of the meat.  Place back in the oven for about 5 minutes.  You just want to melt the cheese layer.

Remove the pie from the oven and add a layer of ricotta cheese (depending on how much you care for ricotta, adjust the amount).  Pour the sauce over top of the the ricotta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon italian seasoning.  Next, add the rest of the mozzarella over the top of your pie and sprinkle with another teaspoon of italian seasoning.

Bake the pie for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.  Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before slicing.  Pat yourself on the back and enjoy!

Enchilada Cupcakes

Here’s a new one for you, enchilada cupcakes!  I’ve seen quite a few recipes using wonton wrappers and decided to give them a try.  We were in the mood for enchilada casserole and then I had the thought to stuff some wonton wrappers with enchilada ingredients.  To our surprise, they turned out!

The “cupcakes” were relatively easy to put together, and we should’ve known, anything cheesy is definitely going to be yummy.  Nate ate his with a fork and knife (with manners), and I just picked mine up with my fingers and ate it like a cupcake.  These would be great for party appetizers.  And if you are in a pinch and ALL of your kitchen utensils are in the dishwasher, just whip these suckers up!  I’m not one to judge about eating with your fingers. 

Enchilada Cupcakes
Enchilada Cupcakes

Enchilada Cupcakes

12 wonton wrappers
1 lb of ground beef, browned and drained
salt and pepper
1 bag of shredded cheese
1 10 oz can of enchilada sauce
1 cup plain yogurt (low fat)
1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
juice of half a lime

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Brown the ground beef with salt and pepper.  Make sure to drain any extra grease before using.

Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray

Press 1 wonton wrapper to the bottom of each muffin tin.

Begin layering ingredients:
1 teaspoon cheese
1 tablespoon ground beef
2 teaspoons enchilada sauce
2 teaspoons cheese
1.5 teaspoons ground beef
1.5 teaspoons enchilada sauce
Top with shredded cheese
(I used spoons for the beef and sauce, but just used my fingers for the cheese.  So these are estimates on how much of each ingredient to use for each layer.  The main goal is for the last layer to be enchilada sauce.  Then top the sauce with cheese)

Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the sides are brown.  (mine took 26 minutes!)

Let sit for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges.  Use a knife or a fork to remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin.

Top with sour cream, salsa, cilantro, any of your favorite toppings.

Yogurt Mixture:
Just mix 1 cup of plain (low fat) yogurt, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.  This is a GREAT alternative to sour cream.  And even when using sour cream, I like to mix the cilantro right into it.  

*You could use any ground meat for this recipe.  Or even shredded!

Lasagna Roll-a-tini

I love when you get a hankering for something in particular.  You have no question in your mind what you want to cook for dinner.  Makes life so much easier!  Last night, I could’ve named my first child lasagna if it meant that was what I would be eating for dinner!  

These little roll ups are vegetarian delicious!  I don’t even think Nate realized they didn’t have meat in them, or that I added a zucchini… And by using low fat ingredients, this meal is healthier than your average lassagna, which to me, only means I can eat more 🙂

Lasagna Roll-a-tini

1 lb box of lasagna noodles
1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce
8 oz of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, grated
2 eggs
2 cups low-fat mozzarella, shredded 
1 32 oz low/reduced-fat ricotta cheese
8 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, mix the eggs, ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 the parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.

In another bowl mix together the marinara sauce, mushrooms, zucchini.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, lay a noodle flat and add a spoonful of the cheese mixture and the sauce mixture.  Roll the noodle up and place in a 9×13 casserole dish, seam side down.  Repeat this step until you are out of noodles! (last night I fit 14 into the dish)

(I usually halve the cheese mixture, and freeze one half for a later use.  Makes another weeknight meal SO much easier!  Also, if you have extra rollatini’s that won’t fit in the dish, freeze those as well!)

Pour the extra sauce over the rollatini’s (if you like it saucy you may want to add more, whatever!) and sprinkle the other 1/2 of mozzarella and parmesan over the top. 

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Then uncovered for 10 more minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.  Let the lasagna sit for 5 minutes before eating.

Salsa Verde Stuffed Peppers

I got a hankering for stuffed peppers last night.  I went to the store with a list written and came out with something totally different!  When I think of stuffed peppers, I think of ground beef, mozzarella cheese, and marinara sauce…think again for this recipe!  These little bundles of joy are sweet, spicy, and covered in cheese…need I say more?

The great thing about stuffed peppers is they are a healthy, well-rounded meal all in one!  Looks can be deceiving because they look tiny, but once you cut one of these suckers open, you realize it is going to be a battle to clean your plate (it can be done, I stuffed my face last night to be sure!).  

Servings: 6
WW Points Per Serving: 9

1 lb ground turkey
6 large bell peppers, slice the bottom flat, cut the top off, remove the seeds and membrane, and chop up the top and bottom pieces, place the bell shells in the casserole dish
1 cup long grain rice, cooked
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 jar salsa verde
1 cup of pepper-jack cheese, shredded (or more if you are a cheese lover!)
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a large pot, season the ground turkey and cook through until brown.  Pour any fat/grease into an old jar.

Mix the honey, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl and then add it to the ground turkey.  Then add the bell pepper tops/bottoms, onion, and jalapeno to the pot, stir to combine.  Cook for a few minutes so the peppers and onions start to soften.  Then stir in the cooked rice.

Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Arrange the bell peppers in the dish and spoon the turkey/rice mixture into each pepper evenly.  Then pour the salsa verde over each pepper, evenly.

Bake at 375, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Then remove from oven to add the pepper-jack cheese to the top of each pepper.  Place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

(You will most likely have left over turkey/rice mix.  This tastes yummy all by itself!  So just pop it in a Tupperware and eat if for lunch the next day.)