It’s no secret that I dislike meatloaf. I’ve said it many times but the rest of the family loves it so I am continuously trying to find different ways to make it more exciting. Mostly for me, so I will eat it.
I came across the idea of putting the meatloaf in the pepper rings over at this blog. I thought it was neat and very portion friendly so I took the idea and used my own meatloaf recipe in the rings. She put cheese on the top of hers but I was using cheese in another dish so I didn’t want to overwhelming the meal with cheese.
I love how much easier it was to bake. Time to cook is one of my pet peeves for regular meatloaf. That and it’s a lot of meat… in a loaf shape. Ack! This recipe is fast to prepare and easy to bake so it can be made during a week night. While they are baking, make your sides.
I served mine with grilled zucchini from the garden and a cauliflower gratin. So good! You can substitute lean ground beef or ground chicken if that is your taste preference.
First let me apologize for being M.I.A for awhile. I have been fighting a nasty infection for a few weeks that has me completely worn out. That, on top of the holidays and life here has been crazy! I’m somewhat back though and have a yummy recipe to share with you! Spaghetti Squash Casserole! So good and comforting and my children devoured it! Spaghetti squash mixed with cream of homemade mushroom soup and tomato sauce, cheese and ground turkey, then topped with a crunchy whole wheat Panko breadcrumb topping and baked until bubbly and golden. Yum!
You can totally make this using whole grain spaghetti instead of spaghetti squash but since my family actually eats the squash, I choose to go healthier with it. I find the best way to bake spaghetti squash is for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F oven. When you take it out it might appear under cooked and not separating easily into strands, but it will finish cooking while cooling down. Do not overcook the squash otherwise it will release a lot of water in the baking process. We want it to be crunchy, not a soggy mess.
I used store brought Panko breadcrumbs because I am a push over for a crunchy topping and I can never match the crunchiness of panko breadcrumbs when I try to make them homemade. Feel free to use homemade whole wheat regular breadcrumbs instead. Whole wheat breadcrumbs can sometimes be hard to find, so I often make my own by baking left over whole wheat bread in the oven and then pulsing in the food processor for a couple seconds.
Throw almost everything in a bowl and stir, then dump it in a casserole dish and add the crunchiness and you’re done! Prep is easy, it’s the that takes baking that takes the longest. It’s completely worth it though!
Serving Size: 1 Slice
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
15 minPrep Time:
1 hrCook Time:
1 hr, 15 Total Time:
3 lb spaghetti squash*
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil, extra virgin
1 lb ground turkey, extra lean
1 can (11 oz) organic cream of mushroom soup or homemade version (see link above)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup (4 oz) low fat Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Panko or whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup (2 oz) low fat Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Panko or whole wheat breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
Cut squash in half lengthwise and spoon the seeds out. Punch randomly with a fork, place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let it cool and separate into strands with a fork.
Place in a large bowl and set aside.
While squash is baking, preheat large non-stick skillet on low heat and add olive oil.
Add garlic and onion, saute until translucent or for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add turkey and cook for another 7 minutes, breaking into pieces with spatula.
Add mushroom soup, tomato sauce and cornstarch, stir and bring to a boil by raising heat to medium.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened a bit.
Remove from heat, add cheese, stir and transfer to the bowl with spaghetti squash.
Add breadcrumbs and gently mix to combine.
To make the topping, in a small bowl, melt coconut oil in a microwave. Add cheese, breadcrumbs and mix.
Reduce thr oven temperature to 350 degrees F and spray 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer squash and turkey mixture into the dish, level with spatula, sprinkle with topping and bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until the edges are bubbling.
Broil on high for 5 minutes or until crust is a bit golden.
Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Cut into 8 slices and serve hot.
21 Day Fix: 1G, 1/2 P (tomato sauce if homemade), 1R, 1Y, 1B, 1 tsp
Aprrox Calories: 235 per slice
Refrigerate covered in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months.
Comfort food. It can mean many different things to many different people. For me, it’s pasta or homemade bread. For other people it might be soup, mac and cheese, fast food, cookies, or something that triggers a comforting childhood memory or in this recipes case; meatloaf.
Those folks that know me, know I do not care for meatloaf. I have honestly tried ya’ll, I really have. Whether it is because it is beef or the meatloaf mixture of beef, veal and sausage OR it’s because it is a whole lotta meat in a loaf form (only bread should be in loaves), I don’t know. The very thought of it grosses me out. They can be tricky to make sometimes either drying out to quickly or not getting done enough in the center. Unfortunately, it’s my husbands favorite meal or his comfort food. Ack! I make it homemade with a “meatloaf mixture” once a year on his birthday. Every year it is meatloaf, mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts. I know, I know, it sounds mean that I don’t make it more often BUT once I started making it with ground turkey instead of the meatloaf mixture, I have found it on my menu at least two -three times a year.
Of course, over the 17 years we have been together I have tried different kinds of meatloaf recipes but his favorite, is my families recipe. We actually got the recipe from my sister in laws mother but since we’ve known them for eons and we’ve all been making each others recipes, it kind of all blends together. When my husbands mother passed away seven years ago, my mom, who was helping out by cooking meals for us, made him a 3 lb meatloaf! Three pounds people!! It’s his comfort food and we were very appreciative that she made it. And yes, he ate every bite.
The recipe calls for 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef or meatloaf mixture (ground beef, veal and sausage) but I have found that even with making it with 1 1/2 lbs of ground turkey, it still comes out juicy, not dried out like a lot of ground turkey recipes can get. If you have seen my other recipes, you know that I usually add zucchini to my ground turkey burgers and meatballs to give them moisture but it’s not needed this time.
My mother and I also disagree on one thing. She adds oatmeal as a binder to hers, I like to add breadcrumbs. There really isn’t much difference. The seasoned breadcrumbs just give it more flavor in my opinion.
What do you think? Are you ready to give my turkey meatloaf recipe a try?
Serving Size: 1 Slice
A Comfort Food Classic Without all the Calories!
10 minPrep Time:
1 hr, 15 Cook Time:
1 hr, 25 Total Time:
1 1/2 lbs. ground Turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (can substitute oatmeal)
1/2 cup no sugar tomato sauce
1 cup no sugar tomato sauce
4 Tbsp. vinegar
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. prepared mustard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the meatloaf ingredients together by hand in a large bowl.
Form into a loaf shape and place in a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake for 20 minutes then remove the meatloaf from the oven.
Carefully pour off any grease that might have formed.
Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
Pour the sauce over the top of the meatloaf and continue baking for 1 hour.
Let the meatloaf cool for 10-15 minutes to make cutting easier.
21 Day Fix= 1/2 P (no sugar tomato sauce) 1R, 1Y, 1 TSP
I wasn’t lying when I said, “I could prove a person could live off pumpkin recipes for a few months.” This recipe is one of our favorites. Mine, because the slow cooker does it all and the kids because they love chili, as long as it is not too spicy. For the past couple of years, I have made this on Halloween night. Festive with the pumpkin and easy. Let’s face it, no one wants to spend the evening in the kitchen while trying to get excited children in costumes and tending to the trick-or-treaters’ at the door. So what better idea than to throw together something warm, delicious and comforting that will be ready whenever everyone is ready to eat?
This pumpkin chili recipe is even more perfect for this time of year by adding in pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!). Adding a little bit of cinnamon makes it even more inviting. It’s hearty and filling, and will keep all of your little ghouls and goblins warm and sated so they don’t all their candy while out. Which lets face it, here in western NY it is a crap shoot whether it will be warm or snowing. There were many years I remember having a snowsuit over or under a costume!
Serve it up with a slice of pumpkin cornbread, and dinner is ready with very little effort – because we all know that there is way too much going on to worry about what’s going to be for dinner!!
Sorry for the short post today. We have been having internet and server issues the past few days (hence the no posts in a few days) and I didn’t want to risk losing stuff.
Serving Size: 1 cup
Slow Cooker Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Favorite Fall Flavors added to a Quick, Comforting, Slow Cooker Classic!
15 minPrep Time:
6 hrCook Time:
6 hr, 15 Total Time:
1 pound ground turkey (beef or chicken would work too)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 8-ounce can tomato sauce
215.25-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
few drops hot sauce, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium saute pan, brown the ground beef.
Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.
In a medium slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, pumpkin, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and hot sauce. Stir.
Add in the cooked turkey and stir.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve with your favorite chili toppings and some cornbread!
Cuisine: Tex-Mex |
21 Day Fix: 1G, 1P, 1R, 2Y
Pumpkin puree counts as a purple, pumpkin chunks as a green. Same with tomatoes. Sauce and puree counts as a purple while chunks/diced or whole count as a green.
Sorry it’s been a few days. I have been fighting a cold. I hate being sick.
A few years ago, as I was flipping through a Taste of Home magazine, I came across a recipe for Hungarian Goulash. Typical Goulash is a soup of meat and vegetables like peppers, carrots, onions, tomatoes and potatoes, seasoned with paprika and other spices, originating from the country, Hungary. Here in the United States, what one person calls Goulash another person might call American Chop Suey or American Goulash. This dish is usually a ground beef hash with tomatoes and macaroni. I have made it a few times the way the recipe is written and it’s good but over the years, I have started to play with ingredients and ways to prepare it and have come up with this. Combining aspects of both Hungarian and American and stuffing it in peppers.
My kids love it!
It’s warm and comforting and any leftover mixture is promptly eaten the next day.
First, you start off with the peppers. You can use any variation of colors and can even cut the peppers in half rather than having them stand up. I have done both. This is the way I did them this time.
Next, I started a small pot of water on to boil the pasta. Instead of using a larger pasta like macaroni, I like to use a smaller pasta like orzo. It fits down inside the peppers much easier and it’s about the small size as the other ingredients so there are no large chunks of one thing.
While the pasta is boiling, I place 1/2 lb of ground turkey in a large skillet and brown it. To the browning ground turkey, I add minced garlic, some basil and oregano, salt, pepper and the leftover tops of the peppers (not the stem of course) and sauté for a couple minutes. Once those have cooked, I then add finely chopped broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and cook for a few more minutes.
Once the pasta is al dente, I drain it and add it to the ground turkey mixture along with half a jar of spaghetti sauce. You can use homemade or your favorite jar sauce. I didn’t have any homemade sauce left, so I used my favorite Wegman’s Organic Classic marinara sauce. Stir to combine and sprinkle in some parmesan cheese.
Next, spoon the mixture down inside the peppers and place in a pan the will support them. I used a bread pan because I was making three (the boys split one). If you cut them in half, a 9×13 pan would work great!
Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes in a 350* oven. Remove the foil and sprinkle some mozzarella over the top and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly!
Yield: 3 Servings
Healthy American Goulash Stuffed Peppers
10 minPrep Time:
30 minCook Time:
40 minTotal Time:
1/2 lbs Lean ground turkey
3/4 cup orzo
3 bell peppers, any color
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1 tsp basil/oregano seasoning (or any blend of italian herbs)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat a pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Wash red peppers, and cut tops off. Remove the stems from top and dice. Remove the seeds and ribs inside the peppers. Set peppers on baking pan.
In a boiling pot of salted water, cook Orzo till al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook ground turkey in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
Stir and break up the turkey while it’s cooking.
When turkey is almost completely cooked through, add the garlic, vegetables and seasonings to the pan.
Stir and continue to cook until the turkey is completely cooked (when it is no longer pink).
Add the sauce, orzo and parmesan and stir until everything is well combined.
Scoop the turkey mixture into each pepper until it is full.
Cover pan with foil and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on each pepper.
Place back in the oven and cook till cheese it melted and bubbly.
Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and enjoy!
Today I’m sharing with you my new favorite dinner-in-a-hurry recipe: Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs in Homemade Marinara Sauce. Baked in the oven, and finished off with ahomemade marinara sauce. This recipe is: Quick , Easy , Healthy and sure to please.
I got the original recipe from a close friend of mine. She got it from her mother in law. The original recipe called for ground beef but I decided to make mine with lean ground turkey for a healthier alternative. To add some moisture back into the meatballs, I added grated zucchini. This is a basic meatball recipe you can easily alter to your taste. Feel free to use chopped spinach or kale if you don’t have zucchini. For extra spice, chili powder. The possibilities are endless!
You can eat these meatballs on their own, add some crusty bread, place them over a bed of spaghetti, top them with cheese, etc. The ways to enjoy are endless. I baked mine in advance then added them to my slow cooker on warm with some homemade marinara till we were ready to eat. Perfect!
Serving Size: 3 meatballs
Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
10 minPrep Time:
20 minCook Time:
30 minTotal Time:
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 cup grated zucchini, drained of excess liquid
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 sprig parsley
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup milk
2 well beaten eggs
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
In a bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly with your hands.
Roll into about 20 meatballs and place on the baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes or until cooked through and not pink in the middle.
To drain the zucchini, measure it first, then transfer it to a piece of cheesecloth or a clean and lint free dishtowel. You’ll want to let the zucchini rest a few minutes so it can begin releasing liquid then squeeze as much of the liquid out of the shredded zucchini as possible.
Ah, Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love. Known as the birthplace of American democracy, it’s home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, America’s first Zoo, The Philadelphia Museum of Art (think Rocky running up the steps), America’s oldest farmers market, the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and 76’ers and last but most importantly…Philly cheesesteaks.
Mmm, cheesesteaks. There is nothing like an authentic Philly cheesesteak. I dare you to find me one person that would not eat a cheesesteak (non vegetarians of course)! The real question is: With or without? It’s a much debated question in Philly that can lead to people not speaking to each other but in my opinion (and sorry to those who disagree), cheese whiz is gross. I prefer a mixture of white American cheese along with provolone.
I’m lucky to visit this fun but crazy city fairly often because my brother and one of my best friends lives there. However we save the authentic cheesesteak experience for when we are there. I make a low carb version at home because let’s face it, all that bread really isn’t good for ones diet.
Now I have made these using different types of meat. I have made them with lean roast beef and thinly sliced flank steak but I am not a big beef fan so I prefer them with thinly sliced chicken breast or ground chicken/turkey. Use whichever you prefer.
To start, I saute the sliced onions and mushrooms with some garlic in olive oil. You don’t want your mushrooms caramelized (or maybe you do) but you do want them soft. When both mushrooms and onions reach desired softness transfer them to bowl and add to the empty skillet your meat of choice that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook completely and add back in the onions and mushrooms and stir to combine everything.
Once everything has been combined, slice the peppers in half and de-seed them. Place the pepper half on a lined baking sheet and fill them with the meat mixture. Now, you can also just cut the top off the pepper and de-seed it and stuff the mixture into the standing up pepper but I find it harder to eat that way. Also, if you are like my husband, you can put some cheese at the bottom of the pepper before adding the mixture.
Place half a slice of white American cheese and half a slice of provolone over the top of the peppers and broil on high until the cheese is melted and bubbly! Serve immediately!
Note: These are my meat and cheese preferences. Use what ever you prefer! I don’t recommend broiling if you are using cheese whiz though.
Serving Size: 1 whole pepper
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
20 minPrep Time:
5 minCook Time:
25 minTotal Time:
4 peppers cut in half and seeded
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion chopped
1 package baby bella mushrooms sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey or meat of your preference cut into strips
Salt and pepper to season meat
4 slices of white American cheese, halfed
4 slices of Provolone Cheese, halfed
In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion, mushrooms and garlic when the oil is heated.
Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms become tender.
Transfer onions and mushrooms to a bowl and add seasoned ground turkey to the skillet.
Cook 5-7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
Add onions and mushrooms back to the skillet. Stir
Place pepper halves on a large baking sheet, fill the peppers with some turkey/onion/mushroom mixture
Top each pepper with 1/2 a slice of American cheese and 1/2 a slice of provolone cheese.
Broil peppers on high till the cheese has melted and is bubbly.
You may want to pre-bake the peppers at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes while the meat mixture is cooking if you like a softer pepper
Let’s talk turkey for a minute. Turkey burgers to be exact. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, “I don’t care for turkey burgers.” Can you guess the number one reason people say they don’t care for them? Dryness. Turkey burgers tend to dry out to quickly. Well not any more! I have a perfect secret to making the moistest, juiciest, most flavorful turkey burgers!
The secret weapon? Zucchini! I kid you not. Zucchini keeps these burgers juicy and moist while adding little “veg” to the meal! Adding zucchini also lowers the calories per serving because you get five normal sized patties out of 1 pound of ground turkey instead of the usual four. Serve them with your favorite burger toppings, whole wheat buns or lettuce to keep the carbs low. Or you can serve them covered in Cucumber, Tomato & Avocado salad like we did (recipe to come)!
You will want to make these burgers ahead of time so they can sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. This helps the ingredients to meld together and the burgers to firm up so they hold their shapes while on the grill. Another wonderful thing about these burgers is they freeze! You freeze them and throw them straight on the grill still frozen! No more running out for fast food burgers when you forget to thaw something for dinner! You can have healthy burgers in just a few minutes, at home!
*Note: Make sure you squeeze all the excess liquid out of the zucchini before adding to the bowl. To do this, just place the grated zucchini on a layer of paper towels, bunch the layer into a ball and squeeze!
Serving Size: 1 Patty
Ground Turkey & Zucchini Burgers
2 hr, 10 Prep Time:
10 minCook Time:
2 hr, 20 Total Time:
1 lbs lean ground turkey
1 cup zucchini, grated and squeezed of all moisture with paper towels
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Squeeze the moisture from the zucchini with paper towels.
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, zucchini, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, salt and ketchup.
Make 5 equal patties but not too thick so they cook evenly.
Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours so flavors intertwine and it helps the burgers keep their shape.
Spray the grill with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Cook the burgers on medium heat about 5 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.
Ha! I love it! I am already getting requests for certain types of recipes. Well, since it is my neighbors Birthday and she requested some ground turkey/ground chicken recipes, I am going to push this recipe up on the posting list and present…
A light a refreshing summer salad…with zesty a twist
The title sounds a little redundant but I wasn’t sure what else to call it. Grilled corn, black beans, ripe tomatoes, red onion and avocado, marinated in a garlic-lime dressing ans sprinkled with fresh cilantro. How amazing does that sound? Make sure if you are using dry black beans you have let them soak overnight.
This salad could be a complete meal on its’ own or a yummy side dish. We chose to put it over a ground turkey taco salad. Homemade taco seasoning, crisp baby spinach, more ripe tomatoes, olives and cheddar cheese. We also served blue corn chips on the side to help scoop shovel the taco salad in our mouths. I am not a huge fan of beef so a lot of the time I use ground turkey or ground chicken. Feel free to substitute ground beef here if that’s your preference.
Since Taco salads are very versatile and can be made to accommodate individual taste preferences, I will let you decide how to want to build your taco salads. However I will provide you with my homemade taco seasoning. It is so much better then any packaged stuff and it has a fraction of the sodium! So much better for you!
Fiesta Lime Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad over Taco Salad
2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 can drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/2 cup tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 Avocado peeled and chopped
1 large handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (about one lime)
Zest from 1 one lime
2 cloves freshly minced garlic
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Heat an indoor grill to high.
Once heated, spray the grill with cooking spray and add the corn to the grill spreading it out as much as possible. Grill for approximately 4-5 minutes.
The best you can, gently stir the corn every minute for even cooking.
Turn off the grill, remove the corn to a medium bowl and set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lime juice and zest. Set aside.
Add the chopped tomatoes, beans and onion to the bowl with the corn and stir.
Gently toss with the marinade and chill for 30+ minutes prior to serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Before serving add avocado and stir and sprinkle with the fresh cilantro.
Notes: Fresh corn on the cob can be used in place of frozen corn. Simply rub the corn with vegetable oil and grill it, cover down, for approximately 6-8 minutes. Rotate the corn every few minutes for even cooking.
Homemade Taco Seasoning
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoom onion powder
cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and stir together. Store the mix in an airtight container. 2 ½ – 3 tablespoons is equal 1 packet of taco seasoning.