Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage and Pine Nuts

Okay, I know this may seem more like a "fallish" type of recipe but I made this for my family just this past Sunday and it was AMAZING!!!! I was instantly taken back with the first bite. This pasta dish has so much flavor and I love how all of the ingredients balance each other out and I love how it's both sweet and savory. The original recipe calls for Parmesan cheese but since I try to eat more vegan like I left it out of the pasta and put it on the side for those who wanted it. Now on Sundays I am usually a little lax and will make my pasta dishes using just regular pasta (trying to appease the hubby who has to put up with my Sunday vegan meals) but I really wish I would have used whole wheat pasta on this one. I think it would have tasted just as good and would have been more filling. But nonetheless, this pasta will not disappoint and this is a recipe I am planning on using the next time we have company over... it's really that good! Oh, and I'm so sorry about this picture! I didn't have great lighting and this is the best that my camera could do at the time.


1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
2 onions, peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic so I always add a bit more)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, minced
1 lb farfalle pasta (can totally use whole wheat penne or any other pasta)
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted


Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Before you cut the butternut squash, place it in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds in order to soften the skin. This will make the squash much easier to cut into. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and strings. Then flip each half of the squash over and peel them. Cut the squash into 1 inch cubes. Toss with the onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and half of the sage leaves. Spread the squash mixture in a large baking dish and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside. Just before the squash is finished heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Drop the rest of the sage leaves in the heated oil and saute for about a minute.

Add the pasta to the pan along with the roasted squash mixture. Then add salt to taste... I love salt so I am pretty liberal when it comes to salting things. Cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until the pasta starts getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute.

Now if you don't have a big enough pan just start with adding half of the pasta, half of the squash mixture and half of the rest of the ingredients. Then just repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tacos de Papa (Potato Tacos)

I've been on a little vegan kick for a while and with that I have had the opportunity to experiment with all interesting kinds of recipes. Now I am not doing this whole vegan thing because I am an animal rights activist or extremist in any way. I am more doing it for my own health and wellness. Just trying to get more fruits and veggies in me, that's all!

Anywho, I came across this recipe and I just had to try it. I LOVE both Mexican food and potatoes so I thought this was going to be a perfect combo... and it was! This was my first time EVER making or eating potato tacos and let me tell you I was pleasantly surprised. They exceeded my expectations and I will definitely be making these again. These tacos are really filling and flavorful. The veggie mixture is so delicious that you forget that these tacos are meat free!


5 small-medium size russet potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1-2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon basil
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (depending on taste, I think I might even usually add more)
Corn topping (recipe below)
Fresh avocado, diced
Corn tortillas


Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss until vegetables are well coated with the oil and seasonings.
Pour the vegetable mixture into a 9x13 baking dish (I always add a little cooking spray to the dish even though the veggies are coated with oil).
Bake for 40-60 minutes, depending on your oven and how coarsely chopped your veggies are, stirring your veggies every 20 minutes.
Using a large skillet or griddle warm up the tortillas (about 15 seconds each side).
To assemble the tacos first place the potato mixture on the tortilla, corn topping and then add the diced avocado on top.

Corn Topping

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 oz fresh or frozen white corn
4 oz can diced green chiles
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet and saute the rest of the ingredients until heated trough (about 5 minutes).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lasagna with a Bang!

OK, so I'm the sister that annoys everyone with my vegan ways, but tonight is New Year's and I am quite due for a little cheat! My fam of five loves lasagna but tonight I decided to add a little bang in celebration of 2012 so PESTO CHANGO! And as always, made with hot mama love. OH! And a little bit of sass!

Pesto Lasagna

Trader Joe's no bake lasagna noodles
1 lb. ground hot Italian sausage or ground beef, browned and ready to go!
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 container of low fat small curd cottage cheese
chopped scallions and garlic to taste
1 tsp. or more crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tb. dried basil
1 TB. dried oregano
1 container of Trader Joe's pesto (in the refrigerator section)
Parmesan cheese
mozzarella cheese

In your most beautiful 9x13 pan, spray a little bit of canola oil. In a large bowl, place tomato sauce, cottage cheese, all spices, ground meat, scallions and garlic. Stir well. Spread a portion on bottom of the pan. Lay down three noodles. Spread another heaping portion of sauce mixture over noodles. Top with 1/3 of the cheeses and dollop pesto over. Layer another three noodles and repeat the process until sauce is gone. Top with cheese and generous spoonfuls of pesto. Bake uncovered at 375 for 45-55 minutes. Voila!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homemade Pizookies

Mmmmm, pizookies are AMAZING! They are SOO good that they do not even require an intro... A slightly undercooked cookie topped with ice cream and hot fudge. My mouth is watering more than the Bellagio fountains! ENJOY!!!


Chocolate chip cookie dough (I made my own 'recipe to follow soon', but you can easily use your favorite store bought brand...try other flavors too, yum)
Vanilla Bean Ice cream
Hot fudge
Whipped Cream (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Lightly grease a round pie dish (may have enough dough to make two pie pans)
Press dough in dish and bake for about 10-15 minutes. The trick is to underbake it by a minute or so. I check on mine at 6 minutes and every minute after that.
Take out of oven and top with a large scoop of ice cream and drizzle with hot fudge and whipped cream.
Serve immediately with spoons and eat right out of the dish...WARNING: this may create a feud over the last bite. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Homemade Salsa

Holy cow! I am shocked that I haven't posted this recipe until now. My family eats this probably once a week, but my husband would gladly eat it EVERDAY! It is amazing! Promise me one thing: do not attempt to make this unless you pinky promise me that you will make the salsa (below) with it. I promise you that it is NOT the same with ANY store bought salsa. Been there once and will NEVER do that again. I came up with the soup recipe. The salsa recipe was graciously given to me by a friend. Enjoy! :)

*just a note: when making the soup, make sure to taste test often. If you need more spice/salsa then add some...


2-4 Chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 cups (or cans) chicken broth
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 TBL lemon juice
1 cup HOMEMADE EASY SALSA...recipe below
(I have tried it with store bought and it is NOT the same)


Place/mix all in the crockpot and warm until ready to serve.
Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, green onions, and extra cilantro for garnish.

*Easily be doubled...recommended! Leftovers taste even better the next day.


1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes (make sure it has garlic in it. I buy the basil, onion, garlic one)
1/4 of an onion sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, cut off stems
1 capfull of lemon juice
1 jalopeno, diced with seeds or without seeds (depending on personal preference. I do one half seeded.)
1/2 tsp salt


Drain the juice from the tomato can into a serving bowl (do NOT throw away).
In a food processor, pulse the cilantro and jalopeno.
Add the tomatoes (without the juice) and onion and pulse again.
Carefully pour all into the serving bowl with the tomato juice.
Add the lemon juice and salt and mix.
Cover and refrigerate at least a few hours until ready to serve.

*Can also be made in the blender, but wont be a chunky salsa.
*This salsa is a MUST for my Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe...and of course with warmed chips, YUM!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hannah's Stuffed Peppers

These babies were featured on a recent episode of The Biggest Loser. I am a "so-so" fan when it comes to stuffed peppers, so I was a little leary about them. I am HAPPY to say that these were a HUGE hit with ME, MY HUBBY, AND THE KIDS!!! The flavor is amazing and we ate every last bite...including the peppers themselves. The best part? Each serving is only 140 calories! :)


olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 lb extra-lean ground turkey
Salt to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth DIVIDED
1 Tbl chopped cilantro
3 large sweet red peppers, washed
1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Lightly coat a large skillet with olive oil; heat over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to the pan and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the turkey and break meat apart. Season with salt, garlic powder, and cumin. Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned, no longer pink, juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Add 1/4 cup tomato sauce and 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan. Reduce heat, simmer over low for 5 minutes. Add chopped cilantro. Set aside.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and stem. Place in baking dish and add spoonfuls of turkey mixture in each one. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth to the bottom of the pan and tightly cover with foil. Bake 35 minutes and when done sprinkle each pepper with some cheese.

*This can be made ahead. When ready to serve, bake in the oven. :)

**original recipe found on under The Biggest Loser

Friday, September 30, 2011

Everything But The... Brownies

Okay, so I must say that these are the most RIDICULOUS brownies I have ever made and tasted!!!! I take back ever saying that brownies from a box were disappointing, especially after making theses babies. I was searching around for some yummy brownies and when I came across these I couldn't resist. These brownies incorporate EVERYTHING in the recipe that I want in a dessert- brownies, chocolate, ice cream, hot fudge and, yes there's more, Oreos! Hence the reason why I like to call them Everything But The... Brownies.

I had my son help me make these and he thought I was the coolest mom because I let him add the chocolate chips, hot fudge and, this part made him REALLY excited, ice cream to the batter. Once we whipped up the batter I layered the first half of the mixture in the pan and had him layer on the Oreo cookies. Then we took the rest of the brownie mixture, covered the Oreos and popped them into the oven. We had them for dessert that night and topped them off with a scoop of ice cream (as if they needed more!). Seriously, can it get any better than this? I just look at it this way, I'm doing my gym a favor for making and eating these because I, and my behind, are just giving them more business:)! So not looking forward to my workout...


1 pkg brownie mix (I used the family size)
2 eggs
1/2 c oil
1 1/2 c chocolate chips
1 heaping 1/2 c ice cream (whatever flavor you have on hand)
1/4 c hot fudge topping
Oreo cookies


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a 9x13 foil lined baking dish with cooking spray. Combine brownie mix, eggs and oil in a bowl. Then add chocolate chips, ice cream and hot fudge to the batter and mix. Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan, layer with Oreos, then top with remaining batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes.