Southwestern Zucchini Lasagna – No Pasta Needed!

I’m still on a fairly healthy trying to eat right kick. I use ground turkey most times in place of beef and I eat the hell out of some chicken. I decided I was going to try a lasagna with zucchini sliced thin instead of noodles after seeing a “roll up” made with them on pinterest. I also wanted to do a southwest version as opposed to a straight up Italian mozzarella version as well. Not gonna lie, it took about 5 tries to spell “mozzarella” correctly. Thanks, little red squiggly lines.

Anyway this was adapted from a spaghetti squash recipe and formatted but it is amazing and I love it. I hope you do too. The one thing I like is that it’s really customizable – there are a couple “use what you want” ingredients here and that’s because everyone’s taste is different. Want a tangy sweet taste to your sauce? Use barbecue. I had ketchup on hand so that was what I used. If I had a can of tomato sauce I might’ve used that. If you like things spicy? Throw some red pepper flakes in. Load it with cayenne. Even chop up jalapenos and add it to the vegetable mix. Make it your own and come back and tell me how it was!

Southwestern zucchini lasagna

1 large zucchini, thinly sliced longway ( I used an accordion slicer and made it so easy and super thin)
1 small jar salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white/yellow corn, drained
12 oz ground turkey
1/2 small onion, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
5 large mushrooms, chopped
1 container skim milk ricotta cheese
2 cups reduced fat / fat free shredded cheddar (or cheddar jack blend, taco blend, whatever you like)
1/4 cup “Sauce” of your choice (tomato, barbecue, ketchup, etc) with a little extra left over
2 tbsp olive oil
seasonings to your taste

Oven: 350 – 20 minutes covered in foil, 10 minutes after uncovered.

First off? Heat that olive oil on medium high and cook the garlic, onion and mushrooms for about three minutes. Add the turkey and turn to high, cooking until everything is done. I added an herbs de provance sea salt blend and pepper here. Another good addition would be cumin, cayenne and/or chili powder to make it even more southwestern. Once the meat was done I turned the heat off.

In a large container I mixed the salsa, corn, and beans. I used about a cup and a half and added to the meat mixture with the 1/4 cup of sauce and stirred until it was all blended. I’ll use the rest of the salsa mix either as dip or on spaghetti squash later in the week. It works well for either. Once it was all mixed it looked like this:

healthy lasagna recipe

Provided I had all my components prepared – by prepared I mean the zucchini sliced (I cut off both ends to make it even) and the ricotta prepared (here is another place you want to at least add salt and pepper but you could mix it up with other spices too) it was time to build. I put a little splattering of the same sauce I put in the meat mixture on the bottom, then a layer of zucchini to cover it up. You can preheat your oven to 350 at this time too!

healthy lasagna recipe

On top of that goes a layer spread of ricotta cheese, and then the meat mixture.

healthy lasagna recipe

Cheese gets sprinkled over the meat and then the layers repeat with the zucchini strips in the alternate direction. (if they were up and down the first time, make them stretch left to right this time). A final layer of cheese on top pretty heavy should top it off. I did three layers on mine out of one zucchini in an 8×8 pan.

healthy lasagna recipe

Then it’s ready! Cover it in foil and cook at 350 for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and cook about 10 minutes more or until the cheese is nice and browned. Take it out, let it stand for about five minutes, then cut in and devour.

healthy lasagna recipe

I didn’t just eat two servings of this. I lie. I totally did. Not even caring. It’s comfort food that you can feel kinda good about. It’s not the best healthy recipe in the world but it beats layers of pasta noodles and ground beef right?

Poblano Cheese Grits – Almost Like Coyote Blues and DELISH!

These are delicious. So, at Coyote Blues last night I had these poblano cheese grits. I’d had them once before and now it’s my main reason for going to this place. I wanted to try to emulate them at home, so I found a generic recipe for cheesy grits with peppers and stuff and adapted it for what I wanted. Success! It’s not perfect but it’s pretty damn good.

Poblano Cheese Grits
1 poblano pepper, roasted, skinned and chopped.
4 1/2 cups water
1 cup quick grits
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 cup shredded cheese
4 oz (half a brick) cream cheese
1 egg, beaten

I pre roasted the poblano pepper – basically gave it an olive oil rubdown and roasted at 400 until it was charred, then removed the skin and seeds and chopped it up.

Then, I boil the water on the stove. Once it’s boiling stir the grits in and add the salt. let it cook for about five minutes, or until it’s nice and thick. I reduced the heat so it wasn’t spastic to about medium high. Stir occasionally!

Once they are done, remove from the heat. Stir in the shredded cheese and the cream cheese. The type of cheese depends on what you like. I used cheddar, but jack would be good too. then stir in the chopped peppers, cayenne and paprika. Once it’s all stirred and the cheese has melted, the grits should be cooled enough to add the egg ( I used both types of cheese while they were still refrigerator cold). If you are worried, temper the egg with a bit of the mixture at a time.

Transfer to a casserole dish. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and delicious.

It’ll come out looking like this. And then, we eat!!

I made some summer beef sausage and ate it with it. Delicious!

Cheesy Cauliflower Bites – Yummy Balls For My Tummy

I haven’t made anything (new) this delicious in a while. I definitely outdid myself. I’d seen different cheese cauliflower contraptions about on the interwebs but I wanted something that had more of a loaded potato feel. I hit the nail on the head. This is absolutely fricking delicious. I think it’s funny that Facebook predicted my future:

food recipes

Yummy balls, indeed, Facebook. I must warn you, these make a lot. i made 30 of them and since there are only two of us that means a ton of them will be frozen in serving size packages and I only have to do this once in a while. You can even do what I would normally do – serve mashed cauliflower with half of the head, then save the other half of the head to do this and just halve the rest of the ingredients. I will even do that for you in parenthesis and italics in the ingredient list. How sweet am I? If you have a large house to feed this is relatively cheap. It’s a great side dish to take to a potluck. Serve it at a party! It’s so versatile and delicious and honestly it tastes like potato bites (I have made both, so I know). Without further ado!

Yummy Balls
1 head of cauliflower, cooked and riced (or mashed, or food processed <-- favorite) (1/2 of this)
2 cups italian bread crumbs (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs (3/4 cup)
1 packet hidden valley ranch mix (1/2 packet)
2 eggs, beaten (1 egg)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (3/4 cup)

cheesy cauliflower bites recipe>

I mix all my ingredients in the bowl minus the cauliflower while it’s cooking. It just saves time to have it ready to go. I’ll be honest, I mixed the bread crumbs and ranch first and coated two pork steaks with it (then replenished the crumbs) to save some time. Once my cauliflower was done and processed (I made sure it wasn’t scalding hot too) I put it in and mixed it up.

cheesy cauliflower bite recipe>

This is where it gets messy. I made sure it was all mixed and it should be almost dough-like. I took off my rings and got dirty for this part. First off, make sure the sheet is well-sprayed with non-stick spray before you start. Scoop up some of it and roll it into a ball gently in your hand. Ping pong to golf ball size is what you’re looking for. I fit 30 on a standard baking sheet (5 across, 6 long). Roll and caress the balls gently in your hand before you place them on the sheet. Yummy balls!

cheesy cauliflower recipe>

Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until the balls are golden brown. They should look somewhat like this:

cheesy cauliflower

These things are addictive and delicious. I’m freezing them now before I eat the entire tray. A side note: this isn’t the absolute healthiest way to have cauliflower, but for someone who doesn’t really like it, it’s a good way to sneak it in.

Sweet Heat Brussels Sprouts – An Easy Side Dish Recipe

I’m not gonna lie. I’ve always been afraid of brussels sprouts. I actually tried to make them once by sauteeing them in a pan with some bacon and onion and garlic, but it just didn’t work out. They were still super bitter and gross. After researching a bit more I discovered that roasting is the best method for the sprouts. I decided it needed a little something though, and what better something than sweet and heat? so I give you, my sweet heat roasted brusels sprouts.

1 lb brussels sprouts, ends cut off and halved
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
3 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

brussels sprouts recipe
Make sure the sprouts are all halved with the hard ends chopped off, and put in a bowl.

brussels sprouts recipe
Whisk the remaining ingredients together. Make sure you melt the coconut oil!

brussels sprouts recipe
Pour all over the sprouts and mix well, then spread across a baking tray (I lined mine with foil).

brussels sprouts recipe
Roast at 350 degrees for thirty minutes. They’ll pop out like this.

brussels sprouts recipe
It’s a redundant pic, but here they are starring with the pot roast I made..

Delicious and oh-so-easy crock pot roast!

Ok, I’m gonna blow your mind with how easy it is to make a delicious fall apart roast in little prep time. Basically all you need is six hours in a crock pot for a delicious dinner!

First off, let’s hit up the ingredients. I hate when the list of ingredients is down past the photos of how to do it, so I’m gonna try to never do that.

1 nice sized roast (This one is about 2.5 lbs)
4 medium red potatoes, chunked
1 medium white or yellow onion, chunked
veggies that you like
1 packet dry au jous mix
1 packet creamy ranch mix
1 packet dry pork gravy mix
1 can Dr. Pepper or Mr. Pibb or equivalent
1 cup hot water

Ok then! This roast will be three photos from start to finish.

easy crock pot recipe
First, arrange the potatoes and onions in the bottom as a little platform for your roast.

easy crock pot recipe
Then set down the roast on top, arranging the veggies around the sides.

In a cup, mix the hot water and packets of mixes and pour over top, along with the can of pibb/pepper.
As far as veggies go I just went to the salad bar at the grocery store and got some red/yellow pepper sticks, mushrooms and celery and called it a day. I was going to use that for something else but figured it would add good flavor to the roast and gravy without being too overpowering. I believe I’m going to serve this with some glazed brussels sprouts I am working on.

Here we go, the finished product:

easy crock pot recipe
And the finished product on my plate with a side of sweet heat brussels sprouts.
easy crock pot recipe

Stuffed Sweet Cornbread Muffins

I love cornbread. I do most of my baking from scratch, but cornbread is one of those things where Jiffy does it right, and who am I to argue? Jiffy is the base of these awesome things, and after doing them I would change a few things. I’ll go over that as I go along.

2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar
one onion, chopped finely
three large mushrooms, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup barbecue sauce (I used a kansas city bbq steak marinade because that’s what I had on hand. You can basically use any steak marinade or barbecue sauce … flavor it like you want!)
2 tbsp oil

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high. Once it’s to temperature, add the onion and garlic and cook for three minutes, stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms and cook for about three more minutes. turn the heat to high, then add the ground beef. Cook until it is done, then drain. Add in the sauce and set aside. It should look like this:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the cornbread mix, eggs, and milk in a bowl until well-combined. Put cupcake liners in 12 muffin holes. What I did originally was fill them a little bit, add the cheese and then stacked the meat on top, covering with more cornbread mix, but it made it sort of fall apart in the middle.

What I would do if I could do it over would be to fill the holes about 2/3 of the way, then put a few spoons of beef mixture in the middle and top with the cheese, then make sure a layer of cornbread batter was spread over top. That would ensure there was cornbread on all sides of the muffin.

Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown on top. I served it with creamed corn, a bonus recipe right now (no pictures though!)

here are the two together

Creamed Corn
4 ears of corn, fresh
2 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste (I used garlic salt, nom nom!)

I saw this magic corn trick on pinterest and decided to give it a try. Basically you cut the ends off the corn and remove all the extra leaves and junk, and set it in the microwave (for 4 ears it recommends 8 minutes, so that’s what I did). Let it set a while (it says 3 minutes but it was still scalding hot after about 5). Once it’s cooled a bit you can basically peel off the rest of the leaves and the silk and it leaves no mess. I was skeptical, but it actually worked! Then you just cut the kernels off the corn into a bowl. In a skillet, melt the butter on medium high, then add the corn. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the flour in, and stir well until it is all cooked. Then add the milk and cream cheese, and stir until it is all incorporated. Add the remainder of the ingredients and cook for a little longer. If you see your corn is getting kind of goopy and not really creamy, add a tad more milk. If it’s too runny, a bit more flour will do the trick. fresh cream corn is so delicious though and so easy!

A Post In Which I’m Not Superwoman

In our daily strive for perfection, I’d like to think I’m ahead of the curve; of course I know that we’ll never fully achieve perfection, we can come close. I’m a lot of things. I’m an excellent cook, a great companion for my husband, a great mother to two rowdy dogs, the list goes on. However, I fall short a lot. Not only am I a busy business owner and freelancer, I take care of the house, I cook, I run several hobby groups and I still find time to entertain my manchild husband. I love all and wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s, even if she was a little prettier or younger. I have made myself seem like superwoman and sometimes my husband wonders how I make miracles from turning cheap food into masterpiece gourmet meals like some modern-day she-Jesus. To be honest, I surprise myself most times. I throw things in a skillet or pot and go “oh, this is going to be a disaster.” The funny part is, those are usually the ones we like the most: the accidentals, the “okay, let’s try this” . . . I’m thankful for my husband’s willingness to try anything I put in front of him, even if it looks weird. Nine times out of ten he is pleasantly surprised.

Speaking of, he is a wonderful man. We’re still considered newlyweds and that’s fine with me. It seems like we’ve been together forever, though, especially with the way we just know each other. We can finish each others’ sentences and usually anticipate each others’ needs. I’ll just chalk it up to us being very in tune with each other. Sometimes, though, we need a little hint, a push if you will. The little mister has always been receptive to when I ask for something, emotional or tangible. I’m very lucky in that respect. Especially when he is in a job that keeps him away from home 2-4 weeks at a time, it’s good to know that if I ask him for what I need, he won’t deny me. In fact, he goes out of his way to fill my requests. I’m a lucky girl indeed.

Sometimes, however, I just don’t feel like superwoman. Sometimes I want to be babied and taken care of. It’s not in a man’s nature to be nurturing and step in without A. being asked to and B. without being guided on how to do it. Men are not mind readers, so here is my open letter to my wonderful, amazing, handsome and brilliant husband. Maybe it will inspire you to make one for your own.

Dear Little Mister,

You are the most important thing in the world to me. I love our life together, including (but not only including) our dogs, our new place in our new city, the great relationship we have, how well our hobbies match and last but not least, our amazing love. You are the greatest thing that happened to me in my life and I will forever be thankful to the force that brought us together. You’re not only a great husband; you’re my best friend. You make me want to be better, you push me to keep going when sometimes I would rather give up. You treat me as a partner and equal, and our mutual respect for each other is most important to me.

You know I have asked for you to do certain things for me when I need it, whether it be a romantic night out or a night away somewhere. You’re great about doing things like taking out the trash, usually without asking. I wish sometimes you would take a little more initiative on the romance front, you know, planning a night for me when you know I’ve had a rough time of it lately. It doesn’t kill me that you haven’t done this, but it would earn so many brownie points that I can’t even begin to describe them.

You’re way smarter than I am. I know this, and so do you. When I’m at a tournament and complaining about something crappy happening, don’t be condescending to me. Don’t talk to me like I should have expected to fail. Instead, say “don’t worry babe, you’ll do better next time,” and give me a hug. If you’re having a rough day at a tournament, try not to take it out on me. I didn’t do it. And I promise I’ll hug you and tell you that it wasn’t your fault and you’ll do better next time, because it’s true. You’re a good player and a great, smart person. Crap happens.

I love our awesome life together. I love that sometimes it’s hard for us to keep our hands off of each other. However, sometimes I just want a loving touch. Try just touching my hair. Look at me like I’m the most important thing in your life. We have grown complacent in some ways since you being home all the time, and I miss the excitement from when we missed each other. I love having you home all the time, but I miss the way you’d make me feel not only loved completely, but so special. I haven’t felt special in a while.

I want you to know that these things are minor gripes. They’re things that, if they didn’t change, I could easily live with. It also sucks because it’s so much more magnified as I sit here bored, sad, tired, and ignored while I play the third wheel to you and your friend and have for hours. It’s literally been hours since you came in and even checked on me, and the only thing you did was take your dick out and wipe it on my face when you did. Right now at this very moment I’m feeling awful and you probably won’t even understand why when I try to tell you. So I don’t. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be fine, though, so don’t worry.

Edited to add:
It’s the next day. I was super angry and upset about this last paragraph last night, and it almost caused a fight. I would like to add one thing to my little open letter. If I’m clearly not wanting to talk about what’s wrong, I know in my head I’m probably making a bigger deal out of something than I should, and I’m trying to wait for it to blow over. Did it bother me that I was left ignored for hours while you hung out and had fun when it was supposed to be all of us? Sure. But there was nothing I could do, and it wasn’t that big of an offense. Funny how alcohol magnifies every little negative emotion.

It’s been forever . . .

You know when life just happens, and then you end up cooking all this yummy stuff but you don’t have enough time to take pictures, let alone blog it? That’s been me lately. We’ve moved from Houston to Lafayette, Louisiana, and that alone plus some personal family sadness has taken up a few months time. I’m sad because I don’t have my awesome preparation kitchen island anymore, but my kitchen is way more spacious even without it.

I’ve also been doing some experimenting, and you know the first time you do a recipe you don’t really want to go through taking pictures and measuring out stuff just in case it’s terrible. So I have a lot of first time things to put up when I make them again. I’ll give a little sneak peak of what they are. There’s a special one-two punch of creamy garlic potatoes and fresh creamed corn, which I turned the leftovers into an amazing shephard’s pie the next day. It is a little different than your basic one, but hubster definitely approved. I also made some baked grilled cheese croissant puffers that got his seal of approval. I’ve done a take on nummers Mexican food, and I will do a conglomerate blog on all that at once.

That’s just a little bit of what’s coming up. Tomorrow for dinner is grilled pork steak and peas with mashed or fried potatoes. Not sure yet.

Until then, enjoy some shots of food I’ve cooked and instagramed.
homemade tortilla chips
homemade tortilla chips
fried catfish and squash
fried catfish and squash (both zucchini and yellow)
tilapia with cream sauce
tilapia with cream sauce, rice pilaf, and glazed carrots
macaroni and cheese stuffed burger
macaroni and cheese stuffed burger

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

I got a membership to Costco. This is going to be the death of me. Holy crap!! I originally got it so I could buy stuff in bulk for our wedding but it’s already paid for itself as I found my flower girl’s dress there for $20! It was great. I saw this package of mini sweet peppers for $3 and I was like, well I don’t know what I’m going to make but I figured I would pick them up as they were cheap and looked good. I then got invited to a Christmas party where I needed to bring some stuff. I had made some jalapeno peppers which I had stuffed and wrapped with bacon. They were about the same size, so my brain started turning. What would work well with a sweet pepper? Here is what I came up with.

stuffed pepper recipe
1 pack of mini sweet peppers (I used the pack I found at Costco)
1 1/2 cups garlic bread crumbs
1/3 cup roasted raspberry chipotle sauce
12oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp italian seasoning
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used colby cheddar
1 lb bacon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put everything except the bacon and the peppers into a food processor (I love my ninja!) and blend it until it’s almost dough-like (if it’s runnier, it’s probably because the cream cheese was super soft. It’s still okay).

Cut the top off the pepper, then clean out the inside. Using a small spoon, stuff the inside with the mixture you just created. Cut off enough of a slice of bacon to stretch over the top, then secure it with a toothpick. Set it into your pan. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Roast in the oven approximately 40 minutes. The bacon should be done. If you like a little char on your peppers leave them in a bit longer. They should be soft and edible. I promise they will be delicious. We had some chipotle ranch dressing we dipped them in, but honestly they didn’t really need it.

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder

The name doesn’t really do this soup justice. My father said this was the best soup he’d ever eaten. Of course, he says that a lot about a lot of things I make, as the little mister pointed out. I will concur that it was amazing, and I feel the need to share it with you since I haven’t added anything in ages.

What You’ll Need
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped (I used white)
1 lb of bacon, chopped into pieces
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp pepper (you can adjust this to taste)
2 super big sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
5 cups Chicken broth
1 16 oz package frozen corn
2 cans cream corn
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 cups half and half

First, let’s chop some stuff:


onions, and

sweet potatoes.

Cook the bacon in 2 tbsp of oil until it’s almost done, then add the onions.

Then cook til the onions are translucent. Throw in the herbs and pepper.
Then add the fun stuff.

Chicken broth and sweet potatoes, then bring to a boil.

Add the frozen corn and cream corn, then crank the heat down to low and simmer for about a half hour.
You can simmer longer – the longer it cooks, the more the flavors mesh.
After it’s simmered, add the half and half and cheese in, then stir and let cook for about 10 minutes.
It’ll look like this:


A few things to note: I took a shortcut and made the chicken broth with bullion cubes. Therefore, I didn’t add any salt. If you use the traditional broth you might want to salt it to taste. This also makes a very very healthy amount. So be prepared to eat it a while, freeze part of it, or serve a big crowd. But it’s definitely worth making. If you find your soup isn’t as thick as you’d like add a bit of cornstarch and let it cook down. This soup is just begging to be served with cornbread too. So good!