Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

I literally hadn’t made these in years and we forgot how amazing they are. They were one of my original freezer meals back in the day. This meal is so easy and tasty – perfect for kids and grownups alike.

Begin by cooking 16-18 jumbo shells about 2 minutes shy of their cooking instructions. Drain and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat. Add an onion and a pound of Italian sausage and cook through. Add a spoonful of minced garlic, cook for 30 more seconds, and remove from heat. Set aside.

Now combine 7-8 ounces of fresh, cooked spinach or a box of frozen spinach that has been thawed and wrung out with the following: 1 lightly beaten egg, 1.5C grated Parmesan, 1/4C Italian style breadcrumbs, 15oz ricotta cheese, 1tbl chopped fresh basil, and cracked salt & pepper to taste.

Add in your sausage and onions and fold to combine.

Using a 28oz can of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, spoon a layer into the bottom of a large baking dish. Begin filling your shells and line them close to each other.

Top with the remaining tomatoes.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes.

Top with shredded parmesan. Serve with salad and crusty bread to complete!🥖🍷

Adapted From: Everyday Annie

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The Perfect Steak

So, my husband is letting me share this unbelievably amazing steak recipe that he spent months perfecting. I literally don’t order steak anymore because it won’t compare…..not even close.

You MUST begin with a great cut of meat. We look for beef tenderloin sales and then have the butcher cut it into 1.5 inch pieces. Ryan pressure seals them in twos or threes and we thaw them usually once a week.

Begin with room temperature steaks.

Coat them with EVOO and an obscene amount of cracked salt and pepper on all sides.

Put cast iron skillets on your grill and let them get super hot. Like, I’m talking 550 degrees hot!

Lay down your steaks.

Cook for approximately 3 minutes per side and then switch to 1 minute per side for medium to medium rare steaks (you will waste good steak if you overcook it, trust me). So, a total of about 8 minutes.

Put them on a plate and cover them with foil to rest for 10 minutes. This is a VERY important step.

We love surf & turf combo but literally this goes with anything.😋

Crockpot Pesto & Mozzarella Chicken Pasta

On Sundays we put the lean eating aside for an indulgent family dinner. I look forward to this tremendously.😋

Trying out new recipes makes my heart so happy. As soon as I saw the words pesto, cheese, & pasta I knew this would not disappoint.

I always make my own pesto because it’s super easy and noticeably better, but if you’re short on time you could substitute with a jar variety. My pesto is easy: Simply combine the leaves of 1 basil plant, 1/3C pine nuts, 1/2C shredded Parmesan, 1/2C EVOO, juice of a lemon, and cracked salt and pepper to taste.

Trim 3 chicken breasts and place them in your crockpot. Top with a liberal amount of cracked salt and pepper.

Top with your pesto and one tablespoon of stick butter.

Turn your crockpot to low and let cook for 5-6 hours (don’t remove the lid!).

Shred you chicken and add in 1/2C shredded Parmesan and 1/2lb pasta.

Grate 2C mozzarella. Buying shredded cheese isn’t the same as grating your own. Trust me.

Combine your Parmesan and pasta with the chicken. Top with the mozzarella and cover for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with grated parm, dried basil, and cracked pepper. Bread and a mixed green salad would complete this meal.😋

Adapted from: The Magical Slow Cooker

Realities of a Juice Cleanse

Anyone still feeling like a cheese filled slug from all the holiday food and drinks? Well, we certainly were…..that was until yesterday. I decided right before NYE that I was going to drag my poor husband along with me on a juice cleanse to begin the morning of January 2nd (we weren’t going to cut our holiday short by one second!) We did a 2-day juice only cleanse that I ordered from Clean Juice, which has a couple of locations in our hometown. I was motivated by how disgusting I was feeling after the holidays and needed to be re-energized and reset, but wasn’t sure exactly what we were getting into. Curiosity won and we took the plunge.

Here are the facts of this cleanse:

• 2 days = 6 cold pressed, organic juices per day in a specific order. There are also 1, 3 & 5 day options, but I could only sucker my husband into 2.

• Nothing else is allowed except for organic black coffee, organic plain tea, and water.

Here is what I learned from the experience:

• Juicing is really hard when you are used to solid foods. I found myself fantasizing about food most of the first day and my stomach growled from about 3:00 on both days. I was also pretty spacey and tired.

• This is a cleanse, which involves lots of trips to the bathroom, especially the first day and night (wee hours of the second morning for me). So I recommend not having too many errands to run if you’re interested in trying it.

• With the exception of the 6th juice of the day (“dessert”), don’t expect these to taste like something you’d opt to drink on a hot summer day. The faster you can get them down, the better. The beet juice (“dinner”), was gag worthy for me. I think everyone has their favorites (and least favorites). Ryan used his frat star skills and could finish one in a few sips. It took me slightly longer.

• I didn’t sleep well. Not just because of trips to the bathroom, but I was hungry and restless. I recommend melatonin or another sleep aid.

• Definitely do this with a friend, spouse, or anybody you can be kind of grumpy with who feels your pain.

Aside from these things, surprisingly, I will absolutely do this again! It removes toxins from your liver, stomach, and intestines. After vacations and holidays this is perfect. I can even imagine doing a 1 day cleanse on the first of each month just to get the month off on the right foot. Today, I feel REALLY good! I haven’t had any crazy cravings and was full quickly during my first meal. This is not a weight loss thing whatsoever. Sure, I lost some water weight, but that wasn’t the goal.

So, if you have been feeling sluggish and not sure how to jump out of holiday mode, I recommend this! Online companies similar programs, but support your local spots if you can. Cheers to 2019!🍋🥒🍍🍎🥕

Turkey & Spinach Meatballs

So I convinced my husband to do a juice cleanse with me for the past couple of days. About halfway through (in the midst of stomach growling and grumpiness overload), I told him that at the end of the tunnel (today), I would make him anything he wanted for dinner. Much to my surprise he asked for something from the vault…..something I haven’t made in so many years…..something I used to make weekly when we were getting in shape for our wedding.👀

I honestly forgot what they tasted like. That was before I attempted to up my cooking game when I became a stay at home wife. They were part of the menu when there were only about 5 things on the menu. So, I wasn’t sure if they would be worth talking about…but they are!

Start with 2lbs of lean ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Add a pack of frozen spinach (thawed and wrung out with a kitchen towel), 1 large egg, 3/4c Italian bread crumbs, 1/2c grated Parmesan, 2tsp minced garlic, 1/4c milk, & 1/2 of a finely diced onion. With your hands, mix to combine.

Divide your mixture into 4 sections for easy dividing. Now form 12 large meatballs and place on prepared baking sheets.

Drizzle with EVOO and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

These can be served many ways; over sautéed veggies, spaghetti squash, traditional pasta, alone with melted cheese? The possibilities are endless. Tonight, I made homemade marinara and served them over angel hair with pecorino romano cheese. They were so good. Back on the rotation for sure.😋

Adapted From: Rachel Ray