Posts Tagged With: meals

Grilled Portobello “Pizzas”


portobello pizzas

There’s something pretty fantastic about a warm summer night and the smell of charcoal in your back yard. I was in the mood to get a little creative last week so I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and picked out a few of my absolute fave ingredients.

These little “pizzas” keep things low-carb while still giving you a comfort food fix. They’re also a super simple weeknight grill meal that require hardly any prep time. Win!

Serves 2


4 large portobello mushroom caps

Organic garlic pizza sauce

Fresh basil

Sun-dried tomatoes

Goat cheese


1. Cut the stems off of your portobellos and scoop out the gills with a spoon.

2. Coat the outside of the mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Toss your bellas on the grill. Give them a couple of minutes to heat up but don’t wait too long or they will start to shrink up.

4. Spread on pizza sauce. Add fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and top with goat cheese.

5. Cook for 2-3 minutes covered or until goat cheese begins to melt.

6.  Remove from grill and enjoy!


These tasted absolutely fabulous. Maybe I’m a bit biased – I could seriously eat goat cheese off a piece of cardboard and think it was gourmet – but the hubs liked them too so that’s gotta say something. 🙂  Next time I’d add some protein to make them a bit more filling. Cubed prosciutto or diced chicken would be tasty!


Do you ever make anything out of the ordinary on the grill?



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Caldo de Camarones



Caldo de Camarones is a traditional Mexican soup that can be made by combining a number of different veggies and spices (and shrimp, of course). This was my first attempt at creating this dish. We tend to prefer our soups on the “stew-y” side, so I added what may seem like an unlikely ingredient – an entire head of cauliflower – to make the soup more hearty. Enjoy!

Caldo de Camarones

Serves 4-5


  1. 1 large onion
  2. 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  3. 2 large Guajillo chiles
  4. 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  5. 1 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  6. 3 cloves garlic
  7. 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  8. 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  9. 1 tsp olive oil
  10. 2 6.5 oz cans chopped clams
  11. 2 lbs shelled, uncooked shrimp, chopped into small chunks
  12. 2 cups chicken broth
  13. 3 cups water
  14. 1 bay leaf
  15. 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper, plus more to taste
  16. 2 tbsp hot sauce of your choosing (I used Sriracha)


  1. Soak Guajillo chiles in water for 30 minutes, then remove seeds and stems. 
  2. In a food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, and diced tomatoes.
  3. Add 1 tsp olive oil to a large soup pot on medium heat, then add your tomato puree. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in Sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce) to taste. I like things spicy, so I used quite a bit.
  5. Add the juice from the clams, 2 cups chicken broth, 3 cups water, salt, pepper, and bay leaf and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Slowly add in 3 tbsp tomato paste and stir until blended with the broth.
  7. Add carrots and cauliflower and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables reach your desired consistency.
  8. Add the shrimp and clams. Allow stew to return to a simmer, then turn off heat, cover, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Add more salt & pepper to taste before serving.


This stew was DEFINITELY a winner. We love seafood and spicy dishes, so this was a double whammy. The leftovers were 10x better once the flavors had a chance to blend, so next time I might just make it ahead of time and eat it all week long. YUM!

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Post-Thanksgiving Leftover Egg Bake

Turkey. Gravy. Stuffing. Corn. All in their nice individual Tupperware containers taking up the entire fridge for the week after Turkey Day. But you stuffed yourself silly on Thursday and want something different. So there it sits. Maybe it makes its way into the freezer, only to get heated up in January or tossed due to freezer burn.

Last year, we had about 30 friends over for our first-ever “Friendsgiving” celebration. We had SO MANY FREAKING LEFTOVERS that we couldn’t even fit them all in our house (including our chest freezer). Luckily there was a snowstorm and it was cold enough to leave the food outside. The next morning, we decided to experiment with a new way to use up the leftover goodies.

Enter, the Post-Thanksgiving Leftover Egg Bake.

Remember that episode of Friends – the one where Rachel makes a trifle, and the pages get stuck together and she mixes together beef, jam, and some other horrendous combinations of food?  Well, this is sorta like that, only it actually tastes good.

So pull out your leftovers and let’s get started.

Here’s an example:


Mashed potatoes
Green beans
8-12 eggs
Salt & pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese


preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Pull apart croissants and cover the bottom of the dish.

Top croissants with shredded turkey, gravy, corn, stuffing, mashed potatoes, eggs, or whatever else you have on-hand.

Beat eggs, mix in about ¼ cup of milk, salt, and pepper to taste.

Pour egg mixture over leftovers.

Top with 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar and bake 30-45 minutes or until eggs are set.

Eat. Rejoice. Give thanks.

Do you have a similar day-after-turkey-day tradition? Did my creation miss any key Thanksgiving leftover ingredients?

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Easy Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake


Eating paleo, sometimes you’re limited in the amount of easy, comfort-style foods you can create. Enter the spaghetti squash – just like noodles and you can find them everywhere this time of year.

I stumbled upon this recipe and decided to give it a try. Chock-full of healthy veggies and ooey gooey cheesy goodness. Bonus – it’s super simple.


Easy Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake


1 large spaghetti squash
Olive oil
1 red pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 carrot, shredded
2 cloves garlic, pressed
16 oz tomato sauce
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese


1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.    Poke your spaghetti squash with a knife all over. Microwave for 8-12 minutes until soft.

3.    While squash is cooking, add oil, garlic, pepper, zucchini, and carrots to a pan and cook over medium heat

4.    Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and scrape the flesh from the peel with a fork. Place the spaghetti-like squash flesh into a casserole dish. Add the veggies, diced tomato, sauce, and most of the cheese and mix well.

5.    Sprinkle the leftover cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

5.    Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve. Say Mmmmmm.



What’s your favorite thing to do with spaghetti squash?  Do you think it makes an awesome substitute for noodles too?

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Element Wood Fire Pizza



What’s not to love about wood-fired pizza?  Seriously. My ideal ‘za has a hand-tossed crust….somewhat thin and airy with a nice little crunch on the exterior. No, it’s not a pipe dream. It exists….in Minneapolis.

We had been meaning to visit Element Pizza since it opened about a year ago. This place is TINY and is located right on Broadway Ave in NE Minneapolis, a couple of miles from our house.  The Sis and Bro-in-law were in town for a few hours, so we decided to do dinner somewhere local – enter Element Pizza.

The décor was warm and cozy, with just a handful of tables. You order at the counter and the food arrives quickly. The menu at Element consists of several unique wood-fired pizzas, appetizers, and a few salads. They have several different wines by the bottle, which happened to be ½ price on Mondays and Tuesdays with the purchase of a 2 topping pizza. Score.

I opted to share a pizza with the sis and also ordered a small spinach salad to accompany it. The salad was right up my alley, with spinach, gorgonzola, walnuts, and dried cranberrires in a raspberry vinaigrette. Mmm.



The pizzas are all very unique so we had a tough time deciding which to order. We ended up going with the “Earth” – which had artichokes, salami, garlic, and basil. Remember my ideal crust? Yeah…this is it.



The hubs ordered the “Fire” pizza, which is now competing for a slot in the top 5 pizzas I have ever tried. Spicy sausage, roasted red pepper, goat cheese, and basil. WOW.




The Bottom Line

Wood-fired pizza is the only way to go in my book. They are ready quickly and the crust is cooked perfectly. The pizza at Element reminds me of another Minneapolis joint, Pizzeria Lola in South Minneapolis. We weren’t sure if we could find a comparable ‘za, but it turns out this one is even closer to home. And they DELIVER! Whaaaat?  This could be dangerous.

We will absolutely be returning to Element when the pizza cravings strike again.


Yum Rating: 9.5/10

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Crock Pot BBQ Chicken Lettuce Wraps



Generally, when we buy a family-sized package of chicken breasts, we eat a couple of them for dinner and freeze the rest for future chicken dinners.  This time, we didn’t get around to freezing them and it was high time they got eaten. So I decided to cook them all up at once.

BBQ chicken sounded like an awesome autumn-Sunday-football meal. I’m pretty sure this would taste good on just about anything…but in trying to stay low-carb, I decided to make them into lettuce wraps.  A tad messy, but pretty tasty indeed. Note: this amount of chicken will serve several people, so you will have leftovers. But the chicken is just as good the next day. Promise.




6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed

12 oz of your favorite bbq sauce

½ cup Italian dressing

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Romaine lettuce

Cheddar cheese

Grape tomatoes




Place chicken breasts in crock pot.

Mix together bbq, Italian dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire and pour over chicken.

Cook on high for 3 hours.

Remove chicken and shred with a fork. Return chicken to crock pot and mix thoroughly – cook 1 hour.

Remove and add chicken, cheddar cheese, and diced grape tomatoes to romaine lettuce.

Wrap up and enjoy!


Don’t forget your napkin!

I’m glad we made a big batch, because this is going to taste great on my lunch salads and provide some tasty protein all week.


Do you make certain meals in large quantities, just so you can have leftovers for several days afterwards?


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Turkey & Veggie Soup

Sometimes you have a VERY busy week coming up and you need to make something that you can “grab and go” all week long. This is our go-to choice for times like that. Credit for this recipe goes to Ellie at Healthy Training. I saw this recipe in her e-newsletter awhile back and we decided to make it right away.

We like to call it “crack stew” because for some reason, we never get sick of eating it. Even if we have it for lunch and dinner several days in a row, it never seems to get old. From a health perspective, this soup has so much going for it. It is broth-based rather than cream-based, and doesn’t have any added carbs in the form of noodles, rice, or potatoes – yet it is still extremely thick and satisfying.

We altered the recipe a bit for our personal tastes and threw in even more veggies than the original recipe called for.




  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch of carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1.3 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 (14.5oz) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (15oz) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels sliced off
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • dash of salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add garlic.
  2. Add chopped carrots, cover for 5 minutes.
  3. Add onions, celery and fennel. Sauté until soft.
  4. Remove from pan, then add mushrooms and bell pepper. Sauté until soft.
  5. In another skillet, cook the ground turkey over medium heat until fully cooked, stirring often. Drain off excess fat.
  6. Transfer the veggies to large soup pot and add the remaining ingredients, and the cooked turkey. Cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Add extra water as desired.


Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 119 calories, 1 fat, 336mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 15g protein.

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Simple Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

Photo credit

Did you know that a single serving of regular, fried French fries can contain upwards of 320 calories? Bummer. Sometimes you just want a batch of fries, but don’t want to pay for it on the scale later. Why not try some baked sweet potato “fries” instead? You’ll cut the calories in half and give your body some extra nutrients in the process.

Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants and are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also have a lower glycemic index than white spuds. What does that mean? They won’t  cause a drastic spike in blood sugar like white potatoes can, which will keep you feeling full longer.

Simple Baked Sweet Potato “Fries”

Makes 2 sides


1 large yam

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Garlic powder


–          Preheat oven to 450 degreees F

–          Wash sweet potato and dry thoroughly, leaving the skin on.

–          Slice into ½ inch thick strips

–          Toss in a bowl with a small amount of olive oil (you want them glistening but not dripping)

–          Add in salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste and toss

–          Arrange on a cookie sheet – make sure they aren’t piled on top of one another.

–          Bake for 15 minutes and flip with tongs

–          Continue baking for another 15 minutes or until your fries reach desired crispiness

I also created my own aioli to go along with these fries and it was pretty delicious. It somewhat negates the health benefits, since it is mayo-based. But yummy nonetheless, so you can take it or leave it.

Lemon Aioli

5 tbsp olive oil mayo

2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 garlic clove, pressed

½ tsp all-purpose seasoning

Mix ingredients together. Dip your sweet potato fries and enjoy!

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Chicken & Vegetable Tahini Stew

The urge to find a use for my jar of tahini finally won over. The weather is starting to cool down here in MN, which means lots of stews and chili recipes floating around our house.  I decided to create a soup recipe that was both healthy and hearty, and would last as leftovers for several lunches throughout the work week. I tweaked a vegan soup recipe I had found online by adding in chicken, subbing out the veggie stock for chicken stock, adding a little heat, and packing it with even more veggies. Enjoy!


Chicken and Vegetable Tahini Stew


½ c tahini

2/3 c water

6 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tbsp dried basil

3 cloves garlic, pressed

7 c chicken stock

4 carrots, chopped

3 c broccoli florets

2 leeks

3 tomatoes

1 orange bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

¼ c roasted red bell pepper

½ tsp Chipotle pepper sauce

3 chicken breasts



  1. Blend together tahini, 2/3 c water, soy sauce, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne. (I used our Magic Bullet blender to ensure no tahini chunks were left over)
  2. Put the vegetable stock and chopped carrots in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, chop chicken breasts into small pieces and sauté with a drizzle of olive oil on the stovetop.
  4. Chop the broccoli, leeks, tomatoes, and peppers and add to the pot. Stir in basil, garlic, and chipotle pepper sauce.
  5. Cover and return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are at your desired tenderness. Stir in the chicken.
  6. Add in the tahini mixture and stir until combined.
  7. Bring to a simmer and serve.


I have to say, this recipe turned out pretty stellar! The tahini adds a distinct nuttiness to the stew, and it makes it somewhat creamy without the need for dairy. Packed with veggies, it’s both healthy and super filling at the same time.

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Eggplant Lasagna with Sausage, Mushrooms, and Spinach


I LOVE summer. I REALLY love the local Farmer’s market. I stopped by our neighborhood market on the way home from work the other day and picked up some fresh veggies. Giant eggplants for $1 apiece? Don’t mind if I do.

Ok, so I officially have zero experience cooking with eggplants. I figured I could dream up some kind of low-carb comfort-style grub, so that’s what I did. This was a complete experiment, and I’d have to say it was a success!

Apologies in advance: I took a photo while I was putting this concoction together (see below), but once it came out of the oven I was so excited to eat that I completely forgot to photograph the finished product! Ugh. I snagged the above photo from the interwebz because I scarfed mine…Garfield-syle.




1 large eggplant
29 oz marinara sauce
1 package frozen spinach
1.5 lb mild Italian sausage
1 package sliced mushrooms
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 eggs
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper
1 ¼ cups shredded parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil



  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Quarter eggplant and slice into ½ inch thick strips. Arrange on cookie sheets and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place eggplant in the oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Make sure it doesn’t’ burn! Remove from oven.
  4. Defrost spinach in the microwave and press through a strainer to remove excess water.
  5. Brown Italian sausage in a saucepan. Add in mushrooms for the final 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Combine ricotta cheese, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 2 eggs, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, and 4 cloves garlic in a mixing bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  7. Grease 9×11 baking dish and pour a small amount of marinara on the bottom. Line bottom with eggplant strips.
  8. Layer ½ the spinach, followed by ½ the sausage/mushroom mixture, ½ the ricotta mixture, and a layer of marinara and parmesan cheese.
  9. Add another layer of eggplant strips and repeat step 8.  Finish off with a generous amount of parmesan cheese on top.
  10. Tent with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes until heated through.


Photo credit, #2


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