chicken enchilada stuffed shells

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Oh man, these stuffed shells were so easy to make. I had some leftover chicken from a dinner earlier in the week that I shredded up to make this dish even easier to bring together.

slightly adapted from Emily Bites



  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion,  chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken, shredded
  • 24 jumbo pasta shells
  • 10 oz can of Enchilada sauce (I used mild)
  • 15 oz can of black beans,  drained and rinsed
  • 6 oz reduced, fat-free sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray,  set aside.
  2. Prepare shells according to box. When done cool shells.
  3. In medium bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and sugar until combined.
  4. In a large skillet,  bring oil to medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and saute until translucent,  a few minutes.
  5. Add tomato sauce mix and chicken, cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add in the enchilada sauce and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add in the beans and cook for 5 more minutes.
  8. Using the chicken mixture, stuff cooled pasta shells and place in baking dish.
  9. Pour the remaining chicken mixture over the stuffed shells.
  10. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the shells.
  11. Place shells in oven and bake for 30 minutes until the dish is heated through and cheese is melted.
  12. Let stand for 5 minutes to cool.

walking challenge – 146 miles/295,000 steps


4 years ago I participated in my first Walk for Life walking challenge, sponsored by my work. I’m competitive, to say the least, so that first challenge I tried to walk my heinie off.  I made just over 1 million steps and was proud.  The second and third years, still being competitive, were not so good. I got into a “been there, done that” mindset, which eventually led me to justify why I could skip a day here and there,  walk a little less (both distance wise AND speed wise). At the end of that 3rd walking challenge, I was less than eager to keep going.

wpid-20150527_183334.jpgSo,  I slowed down my walking to a few times a week, started sitting and watching television, and basically stopped exercising. And then,  winter was upon us.  Minnesota, in the winter, can be brutal.  Running from the house to the car and then from the car to the door at work should become an olympic sport.  But,  unfortunately, the 20 yards distance doesn’t even get the heart to pitter-patter.

So after holiday potlucks, Christmas, and New Year’s, I made a conscious effort to exercise more.  It started with finding a empty area at work (one half of the second floor), where I could walk for 30 minutes, at a quick pace (without bothering anyone), and most importantly, not suffer frostbite. I looked forward the first non-subzero day.  I told myself that I was getting older, and that walking in negative temperatures was for the young (I’m only 46). I do have the proper clothing to wear,  but I don’t warm up as fast as I used to.

And finally the day came, it was supposed to reach 35 degrees that day,  I planned to walk outside! And I’ve been walking outside ever since. I walk at least 5 out of 7 days a week,  for at least 30 minutes.  Since May 4th, the start of my 4th Walking Challenge,  I’ve been walking my usual 4am two-mile circuit (takes 30 minutes,  because the dog must do his doodie) and I have added a four mile walk at lunch (which is taking about 60 minutes) I’m trying to get my walking times to 14 min/mile.  At that point,  I may start to add a little jog in,  but I’m not rushing anything.

I’m enjoying the exercise more,  I’m not competing with anyone but myself,  and I’m trying to do it the right way and not burn myself out.

So, after 23 days,  I’ve walked 295,000 steps and feel fantastic!

Happy Memorial day and cheesy bacon ranch roasted potatoes

Happy Memorial day!  I hope you all had a great day and ate some wonderful food.  These cheesy bacon ranch roasted potatoes are becoming one of my husband and my favorite side dishes (tonight it was a side to a New York strip steak off the grill). By the way,  he is the grill master of this house.

courtesy of Cooking Classy



  • 6 slices of bacon,  cooked and crumbled
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed, diced into 3/4 in. pieces. (About 7 cups)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese,  shredded
  • Light Ranch dressing, recipe below
  • 2-3 green onions,  white parts discarded, greens chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. In large mixing bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil,  salt,  and pepper.
  3. Turn out potatoes into casserole dish. Make sure they are evenly arranged.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and toss (using a metal spatula works best to get any potatoes unstuck from dish)
  5. Return potatoes to oven and bake another 20 minutes.
  6. Remove and toss once more. Return to oven and bake until golden and edges are crisp,  about 15 minutes.
  7. Evenly sprinkle potatoes with cheese and bake another few minutes, until cheese is melted.
  8. Remove from oven and drizzle with ranch dressing, top with bacon and green onions. Serve immediately.

Ranch Dressing

In a small bowl, mix 6 Tbsp plain greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise, 4 Tbsp milk,  1 tsp lemon juice, 1 1/2 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp dried dill, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Mix well.

bang bang shrimp pasta

Adapted slightly from




  • 1 lb. uncooked white shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (I used Franks Red Hot)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped green onions
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce


  • 8 oz. whole grain linguine noodles
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 4 oz. can water chestnuts
  • 8 oz. can bamboo shoots
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil mayonaise
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Splenda  (or cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce


  1. Prepare the pasta according to the package.
  2. In large bowl, mix 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise,  1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, and 1 tsp Sriracha sauce together.
  3. Add uncooked shrimp.
  4. Chop and add 1 Tbsp green onions.
  5. Mix the shrimp, sauce,  and green onions until well-coated.
  6. Add shrimp mixture to a medium heated skillet and cook until shrimp is pink.
  7. In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, add garlic, red pepper, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots.
  8. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
  9. In small  bowl, mix 1/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise,  1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, and 1 Tbsp olive oil, and Splenda together.
  10. Add 1/4 cup chopped green onions to sauce and stir.
  11. Add garlic, sweet peppers, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots to the skillet with the shrimp.
  12. Stir the small bowl of sauce into the skillet.
  13. Lastly,  add the linguine to the skillet and gently mix.

summer corn succotash


summer corn succotash

I usually make some vegetarian meal to take for lunch, and this succotash looks delish!


  • 3 ears of fresh corn, decobbed (1.5 cups frozen)
  • 1 cup red pepper,  diced
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup red onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Diced chives and avocado, for garnish


  1. In a medium skillet, over medium high heat,  heat oil.
  2. Add onion and stir until translucent, add garlic, and seasonings. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add corn and red peppers, cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add beans and let cool for 5 minutes more.
  5. Adjust seasonings to taste.

decadent creamy chicken alfredo lasagna

Decadent Creamy Chicken Alfredo Lasagna


Prep time: 35 minutes

Bake time: 55 minutes

Servings: 8


  • 9 dried whole grain lasagna noodles
  • 2 (10 oz.) jars of your favorite alfredo sauce
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped,  cooked chicken breast
  • 1 (10 oz. ) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 jar of roasted red sweet peppers,  drained and chopped
  • 1 cup Italian blend cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Cook noodles according to package.  Drain, and rinse with cold water.
  3. Meanwhile,  in a large bowl, combine both jars of Alfredo sauce, lemon juice, and black pepper. Stir in chicken,  spinach,  and red peppers.
  4. Lightly coat a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Arrange 3 cooked noodles in bottom of dish.  Top with 1/3 chicken mixture. Repeat layers twice. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Uncover,  sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Bake, uncovered for 10 minutes.
  7. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.