Lunches this week – Kale, Mushroom and White Bean Stew

Kale, Mushroom and White Bean Stew

Slightly adapted from Love and Lemons

This weekend has been one of the coldest in MN all winter. We have been at sub-zero temperatures for the last 4 days. Last night the temperature dipped to -18 with a wind-chill of -30. It’s just Brrrrr outside with a capital B! A great time to hunker down and spend the day cooking. ūüôā

This week I’m all about the kale. And, what’s not to love? It’s a beautiful vegetable, it’s good for you, it’s got a great texture, and it’s so versatile. Pairing it with mushrooms, onions, carrots, and beans….all I can say is “YUM”20160117_150552-1.jpg

This stew was really easy to make. The hardest part was chopping the vegetables. Oh, and by the way, the aroma that wafted through the kitchen while I cooked literally had my mouth watering – true story. 20160117_153925-1.jpg20160117_155828-1.jpg


  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-5 cups kale, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 can cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or white wine (I used apple juice since I didn’t have any wine)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary, minced
  • fresh basil, for garnish
  • freshly shredded Romano cheese


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Saute until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, carrots, mushroom, and rosemary. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have released their water (3-5 minutes).
  4. Add apple juice/wine. Cook for about one minute.
  5. Add balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, beans and broth. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add kale and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Top with basil and cheese.

Red Lentil Curry with Spinach over Wheat Berry – lunches this week

Slightly adapted from Naturally Ella


So, this past weekend, it turned very cold here in MN. We’re talking sub-zero kind of cold. Naturally, I was looking for a recipe to make for my lunches that would warm me up.

Enter Red Lentil Curry with Spinach. I just want to say…WHOA!¬† OK, you guys, this is one of the simplest and quickest recipes I’ve come across in a long time. AND, one of the most flavorful recipes I’ve had in a long time.

I have to admit, I didn’t try any while I was cooking it up – at 8pm on Saturday night – so I truly didn’t know how good it was until I ate it for lunch today…I like to live life on the edge. I figured I bring enough food to graze all day, if I had to forego the main course, I wouldn’t starve. And, I indeed didn’t starve…I cried that I only had the small portion. I was wanting more. So, now…


I am really looking forward to lunch tomorrow, just kidding, but not really!


  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups fresh spinach


  1. In a high-sided skillet,over medium-high heat, mix coconut milk, water and red curry paste. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add red lentils. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft.
  3. Remove from heat and add spinach. Stir the spinach until it is wilted and mixed thoroughly.
  4. Serve over 1/4 cup of prepared wheat berries.


Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole


Slightly adapted from Teaspoon of Spice

Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut? You keep making the same thing, the same day every week? For us, ¬†we have Sunday steak. This meal usually consists of a steak, my husband grills, and either a salad for me or Brussels sprouts. ¬†He usually has a baked potato! We live life on the wild side!

So, ¬†when I placed this casserole on the table instead of our regulars, dinner got a little exciting. Okay, ¬†maybe it wasn’t exciting for my husband (he’s more the “this food in front of me is sustenance. ¬†If it tastes good, ¬†then bonus for me” kind of guy). But, ¬†for me, ¬†I was venturing on a bold new adventure in Sunday night dinner. Boldly standing tall and proclaiming “We shall have variety in our food”. And then we dined!

There are a few reasons I really like this recipe:

  • Lower calories ¬†– 195 per serving (6 servings total)
  • Easy to make – literally took me about 40 minutes from start to table.
  • Cheesy, ¬†cheesy, cheesy


  • 2 lbs Yukon gold or other yellow potato
  • 3 cloves of garlic, ¬†sliced
  • 3 oz fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Panko
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives


  1. Peel and quarter potatoes.  (Can leave skin on, if desired)
  2. Place potatoes and garlic in large stock pot, and then cover with cold water.
  3. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook potatoes until they are tender,  about 10 Р15 minutes.  Drain all but 1/4 cup of water from potatoes.
  4. Return potatoes to the pot,  setting the reserved liquids off to the side for later use.
  5. To potatoes,  add cream cheese,  yogurt,  and half of the cheddar cheese. Using a potato masher,  mash potatoes to the consistency desired.
  6. When mashed,  stir in salt,pepper, and about 3 to 4 Tbsp of the reserved potato water.
  7. Turn potatoes out into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Gently and evenly spread potatoes in dish.
  8. Bake at 350¬į for 20 minutes.
  9. While potatoes are baking,  mix Panko and remaining cheese until well combined.
  10. Remove potatoes from oven and heat broiler to high setting.
  11. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of potatoes and broil for 3 to 5 minutes (taking care not to let them burn).
  12. Top with chives.

Zucchini Spaghetti with Lentil Marinara – lunches this week

20160103_104558-1.jpgSlightly adapted from Lemons And Basil

First off – my father-in-law gave me this cool julienne peeler for Christmas.20160103_104813-1.jpg I just used it for the first time today…and I have to say, I’m ready to julienine everything in sight! Potatoes, ¬†butternut squash, apples…the possibilities are endless.

Now, where did that dog and cat go? ūüėČ

I love how it slices perfect zucchini noodles! 20160103_102315-1.jpg


  • 2-3 large zucchini, julienned or spiralized
  • 1/2 dried lentils, rinsed and sorted, ¬†then cooked to package directions

For the sauce

  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ¬†tomato paste
  • 1/4 medium red onion, ¬†finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, ¬†minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ¬†oregano
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese


  1. Cook lentils according to package.
  2. While lentils cook,  put all ingredients for sauce in food processor,  blend on high for 25-30 seconds or until thick sauce forms.
  3. Add sauce to small pan and cook over medium heat to bring to a boil,  reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Once lentils are cooked,  add to marinara sauce. Take off heat and set aside.
  5. In a large skillet over medium-low heat,  add zucchini and cook until soft and pasta-like (about 5 minutes).
  6. Evenly divide zucchini and top with marinara sauce.
  7. Enjoy!

crockpot beef enchiladas


courtesy of

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


  • 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


  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¬į.
  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


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


  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 500 ¬į.
  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.

Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melt

slightly adapted from Cooking Light/2010

Roll that beautiful patty melt footage! Oniony, mushroomy, ooey, gooey goodness. Just looking at that photo is making my mouth water.

I was looking for something quick and easy, ¬†again. ¬†And this sammy was just the ticket. ¬†It took less time to make this sandwich than it did to make the french fries….Seriously! I was actually waiting for the fries to get done.¬†wpid-20150825_174716-1-1.jpg


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • cooking spray
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz package presliced cremini mushrooms
  • 11/2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 8 slices thick-sliced Texas toast
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese


  1. Chop half of the sliced onions and combine it with the hamburger, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper in a medium bowl.  Divide into 4 patties.
  2. Heat large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp oil to pan.  Add patties, cook for 4 minutes on each side.
  3. In a medium pan, saute remaining onions, mushrooms, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp  pepper for 3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture,  cook for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in beef broth, cook for 30 seconds or until thick.  Remove from heat and keep warm.
  6. Remove patties from large pan, and keep warm.  Wipe pan clean. Heat pan to medium-high heat. Coat 1side of each slice of bread with butter (or cooking spray). Top each with 1 patty, 1 cheese slice, and 1/4 of mushroom mixture. Top with second slice of coated bread.
  7. Cook on each side for 2 minutes or until brown.

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Slightly modified from

Talk about ridiculously quick and easy to make,  this casserole was put together in under 15 minutes (including chopping time). I walked in the door at 4:36, and we were eating by 5:30, truth!

Not only is this casserole fast and easy, ¬†it is incredibly delicious. The proof… my husband ate two helpings, TWO helpings! Of course, ¬†I had to follow suit, ¬†oh come on twist my arm!

Not only is the chicken parm casserole so cheesy, ¬†so sauce, ¬†it is somewhat “healthy-ified” (say what?!!) This casserole replaces all the bread of traditional chicken parmesan, with Italian croutons, ¬†more sauce, ¬†and two types of cheese. ¬†All the flavor less fat and calories! SCORE! Double SCORE!


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, ¬†cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, ¬†minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, ¬†finely chopped
  • 2 cups your favorite marinara sauce
  • 11/2 cups reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz grated parmesan cheese
  • 3.5 oz Italian flavored croutons, ¬†roughly crushed


  1. Preheat oven to 350¬į. Lightly mist 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Spread cubed pieces of chicken across the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle minced garlic and basil evenly over chicken.
  4. Spread the marinara sauce across chicken.
  5. On top of sauce, sprinkle 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1 oz of the parmesan cheese.
  6. Sprinkle the crushed croutons on top and follow with the remaining cheeses.
  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Banana Split Trifle

Slightly adapted from


Holy bananas, batman! This trifle is perfect for a dazzling dessert, that’s sure to please even the pickiest of palates.

The strawberries and blueberries are refreshing,  while the banana pudding lends the velvety goodness to make this a deliciously, wonderful dessert experience.


  • 10 oz angel food cake, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 pints blueberries, rinsed
  • 2 pints strawberries, rinsed and sliced


  • 6 Tbsp fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 11/2 cups cold water
  • 1 (4oz) banana-flavored instant pudding
  • 12 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and water.  Whisk in the pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.  Fold in the whipped topping. 
  2. Arrange half of the cake in the bottom of a trifle dish (or any large bowl).
  3. Evenly sprinkle a layer of blueberries over the cake.
  4. Spread half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and gently spread.
  5. Top with a layer of strawberries.
  6. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then add more blueberries and then the remaining cream.
  7. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries. Arrange in a pattern,  as desired.
  8. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

White Castle Casserole


Either you love White Castle hamburgers,  or you fiercely detest the very smell.  And that smell,  it permeates everything;  the car,  your clothes,  everything.

I am in the camp of destesting them.  My husband on the other hand,  loves them.

So, ¬†we meet in the middle on occasion, ¬†and I make this White Castle casserole. Of course, it’s not the real thing, ¬†but it’s pretty darn good.¬†wpid-20150819_181145-1.jpg


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 (1 oz) envelope onion soup mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 350¬į.
  2. The hamburger with half the onion soup mix; drain fast and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Stir in the remaining soup mix and put meat into a 9 or 10-inch pie plate.
  4. Stir in half the cheese, then top with remaining cheese.
  5. In a medium bowl,  beat eggs,  mayonaise, cream, salt,  and pepper. And then,  or evenly over the meat.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  8. Garnish with dill pickle slices and mustard,  if desired.