lunches this week – cheesy baked spaghetti squash

slightly adapted from http://www.skinnytaste.com

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Hello Sunday Smiles,

Spaghetti squash is one of those foods that amaze me.  A vegetable that is so normal looking before baking, but add a little heat, and it miraculously turns into a spaghetti-like dish. Amazing.

On that note,  who discovered this? I mean,  did someone one day say,  “let’s bake this and see what happens”. However it happened,  I,  for one, am ecstatic. Bring on lunch!

Have a great week! wpid-20151011_153020-1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (5 1/2 cups,  cooked)
  • 1 Tbsp  Brummel and Brown Greek yogurt butter or regular butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups regular almond milk or 1% milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 8 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups baby spinach (about 4 oz)
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut squash lengthwise,  in half. Remove and discard seeds.
  3. Brush olive oil on cut sides of squash and place cut – side down in a baking dish.
  4. Bake until tender,  about an hour.
  5. When baked,  separate the stands of squash with a fork and place in large bowl. Discard shells.
  6. Keep oven at 375°.
  7. In a medium sauce pan,  heat butter over medium heat.
  8. Add onions,  and cook for about 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in flour, and reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continually for 3 to 4 minutes.
  10. Add milk and vegetable broth and continue, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick,  about 2 minutes. Stir continuously season with salt and pepper.
  11. Once thick,  remove from heat and add cheddar cheese, and mix well until cheese is melted.
  12. Add cheese sauce to cooked spaghetti squash. Mix well.
  13. Add baby spinach, carefully mix.
  14. Transfer mixture to a baking dish.
  15. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
  16. Bake until bubbly and golden,  about 25 to 30 minutes.

chicken, bacon, and pesto lasagne roll ups

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Pasta,  in any form,  is delightful.  And these lasagne rolls are no exception. And,  they are so easy to make. wpid-20151010_173405.jpg

The sauce is light and creamy; the stuffing of chicken, ricotta, and pesto compliment each other, bringing a symphony of taste exploding in your mouth. wpid-20151010_180602-2.jpg

Courtesy of http://www.heatherlikesfood.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 12 oz bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • 8 lasagne noodles,  cooked
  • 3/4 cup Romano cheese, finely grated and divided
  • 16 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil Pesto
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic,  finely minced
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook lasagne noodles according to package directions,  drain and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top of them to prevent sticking.
  3. In a small saucepan melt butter and cook garlic,  about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute,  stirring continuously.
  5. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and stir until it comes to a boil and is thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 cup of the Romano cheese.
  7. In a small bowl,  combine ricotta cheese with remaining 1/2 cup Romano cheese ah be 1/2 tsp  kosher salt.
  8. Pour 1/2 cup of sauce across the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  9. One at a time, lay a lasagne noodle on a cutting board and spread 3-4 Tbsp of the ricotta mixture on the noodle,  followed by 1 Tbsp pesto.
  10. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup chicken and a Tbsp of crumbled bacon over pesto.
  11. Roll noodle carefully and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
  12. Pour remaining sauce over the rolls and top with mozzarella cheese.
  13. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.

crockpot beef enchiladas

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courtesy of http://www.melskitchencafe.com

Crockpot + chuck roast + home-made enchilada sauce = Awesomeness rolled up into a tortilla! wpid-20151007_173555.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lb chuck roast
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp  cornstarch
  • 10 6-inch or 7-inch flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions:

  1. Put beef roast in the slow cooker.
  2. Whisk together broth, vinegar, salsa, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt,  and pepper. Pour over roast,  cover,  and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours until beef is tender and shreds easily.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°.
  4. Remove the roast from the crockpot and shred into a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  5. Pour liquid from the crockpot into a large sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water. Whisk into simmering liquid and cook, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened,  4-5 minutes.
  7. Pour 1/2 the sauce into the shredded beef and coat evenly.  Pour the remaining sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  8. Combine the cheeses together.
  9. Fill each tortilla with some of the beef mixture and sprinkle with cheese, and then roll up. Place in baking dish. Repeat until beef is gone.
  10. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of enchiladas.
  11. Bake for 20 top 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Cooking Light’s Speedy Shepherd’s Pie

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Hello happy faces,

I love Fall. The leaves turning colors, the temperatures getting chilly.  It’s perfect. I love walking in the morning, feeling the cold air on my face, the quietness of my town before it wakes up. It’s so peaceful, so beautiful.

With this season brings stick to your ribs meals.  And this shepherds pie is no exception. And,  it’s so quick to make.  Perfect for those busy weeknights! wpid-20151005_173437-1.jpg

Courtesy of Cooking Light/Oct 2015

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb 93%lean ground beef
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves,  minced
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef stock, divided
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/8 kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
  • 4 servings instant mashed potatoes,  prepared

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 °.
  2. Place beef in large skillet over medium-high heat; cook for 5 minutes or until browned,  stirring to crumble.
  3. Add carrot, onion, and garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato paste; cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Combine 1/4 cup beef stock and cornstarch in a small bowl,  stirring to mix.
  6. Add cornstarch mixture, remaining 3/4 cup  broth, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt to pass.
  7. Stir in peas.
  8. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  9. Place beef mixture in a 2 – quart baking dish. Top evenly with potatoes.
  10. Bake for 5 minutes.

lunches this week – veggie-packed vegetable soup

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Have I mentioned how much I love vegetables? I mean,  I really love vegetables.  Not only are they good for you,  they taste good.  I love the texture of broccoli and cauliflower.  The crunchiness of carrots, the tanginess of the tomatoes.  My mouth is watering just thinking about lunch tomorrow. wpid-20151004_155814-1.jpg

This recipe is from the garden grazer; which is the site that gave me the ultimate greek salad,  which, hands down, is my favorite salad EVER.  I’ve adapted this vegetable soup slightly, basically packed in more vegetables!

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Slightly adapted from http://www.thegardengrazer.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli, coursely chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups cauliflower, coarsely chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms,  sliced thick
  • 1 1/2 cups cut green beans (frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups peas  (frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups corn (frozen)
  • Large handful baby spinach
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt,  to taste

Instructions:

  1.  In large stockpot over medium heat, saute onion for 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes with juice,  and all the vegetables (except spinach).
  3. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat,  cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until veggies are at desired tenderness.
  5. Stir in spinach and salt to taste.