Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Ok, so this recipe was a HUGE hit.  I can’t even begin to tell you how easy it is, you just need to make this tonight.  It’s full of healthy and cheap ingredients, cooks itself, Knox LOVED it and so did we!  In fact, we loved it so much  we forgot to take a picture but I just had to share the recipe.  The original recipe is called ” Stupid Easy Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs” from the blog.

We aren’t doing “Paleo” but rather the meal plan we have lined up had a link to this recipe, and other Paleo recipes, and we eat like this anyways so it works.  I altered the recipe to our tastes, so it’s got more tomato sauce that has more flavors with onion and garlic.  If you really want to go ” stupid easy” please follow this recipe link! Every time I ate this, it was while feeding it to Knox, who didn’t want me to stop shoveling it in to his mouth, so I was scarfing it down when I could and thusly no photos were taken- sorry!

Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Serves 6-8


2 medium spaghetti squash

1 pound of ground Italian sausage

2- 8oz cans tomato sauce

1- 14oz can diced tomato

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic,minced

Olive Oil

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (Oregano, Basil, Thyme)

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Use a large 6-7 quart slow cooker
  2. Dump your tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, diced onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning into your slow cooker and stir well.
  3. Cut both your squash in half on the horizontal ( so the halves are taller not wider) and scoop out the seeds, drizzle the flesh side with olive oil and salt and pepper
  4. Place your 4 squash halves face down into your slow cooker, nestle in to the sauce.
  5. Roll your ground sausage into meatballs, nestle them in the sauce around the squash.
  6. Cook on High for 3 hours or cook on low for 5 hours.
  7. Use a large fork to pull the “spaghetti” out of your squash, then top with your meatballs and sauce.

Chicken Tortilla Soup



Here’s the yummy soup recipe we made over the weekend, super healthy and filling- loaded with peppers and veggies.  It made 6 nice portions, so 2 were frozen and 2 are being eaten as leftovers this week for lunch.  Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup slightly adapted from
 Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 30 mins
Total time 1 hour
 Serves: 6-8
For your chicken
  • 3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2.5lbs worth)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
For your soup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1 (4oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (14oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 32 oz fluid chicken stock (I used low sodium)
  • 1- 14 oz canned corn
  • juice of 2 limes
  • chopped cilantro, to garnish
  • crushed plantain chips, to garnish
  • sliced avocado, to garnish
  • shredded cheddar cheese, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place chicken on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pour on some olive oil and then sprinkle with cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts). Once your chicken is done baking, dice up the chicken.
  4. While your chicken is baking, get your soup ready. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat then add your minced garlic.
  5. Add onions, red bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, and poblano pepper stir to saute.
  6. Once your onions begin to become translucent, pour in your green chiles and diced fire roasted tomatoes, along with the rest of your spices. Mix together.
  7. Then add your chicken and chicken stock to the pot.
  8. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  9. When your soup has simmered, add in your lime juice and a bit more salt and pepper.
  10. Add your soup to a bowl along with avocado, cilantro, and plantain chips ( we skipped the chips) added shredded cheese!

Pesto Chicken Legs on Brown Rice with Green Beans | Meal Planning

This weekend, we got back on track with our meal planning and budget.  We love food, obviously, so it’s really easy for us to go nuts and buy food every other day on a whim to make at home because it sounds good.  Not only was that bad for our budget, but it’s been terrible for our waistline.  I found a great 6 week meal plan on Jenny Collier’s blog.  I spent some time over the weekend going through which recipes sounded good to us, and literally plotted out our entire month of March in meals.  We spent 50% less at the store this weekend on groceries, have had hot delicious meals every night, and leftovers every day to take for lunch.  I’ve even been able to portion out some things to keep in the freezer which I can build in to April’s plan ( cha ching- savings)!  I took her same format and customized it to work for us ( you can download her version through the link):



I made notes on what we should prep for the next night, and also planned for the longer cook + prep time meals to land on the weekends when we have more time to spend cooking ( date nights!).  So far this has seriously worked for us, we are loving the schedule!  It can seem a bit over board, but for us, we need this discipline or else we’d be getting delivery and spending a ton of money on extra meals for lunches and the like all week long.  This calendar has eliminated the question ” What should we have for dinner?” and ” Do we have anything to make for dinner?” and similarly ” What can we make for dinner?”.  It’s like being back in school with teh lunch calendar in teh cafeteria, except this is good food, made at home, healthy!  The recipes are all found through Jenny’s blog post but we’ll be sharing our versions here as well when we take pictures.  Each has been super simple, fast, budget friendly and DELICIOUS- perfect combo for success.  Now I just need to build in some time to work out and we’ll be golden.  Today I am sharing the Pesto Chicken- I had frozen chicken legs and frozen homemade pesto already so that’s what I used.  You can use chicken breast/ thighs, store bought pesto etc- I didn’t follow this recipe at all, but want to share it anyhow in case you’d like the baked on cheese yummified version here.

Baked Pesto Chicken
(Makes 4 servings, recipe inspired by

pesto_chicken copy
8 chicken legs
salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
1/2- 1 cup basil pesto (I used my homemade pesto, but you can use purchased pesto)
2 cups cooked brown rice, to serve

Green beans ( enough to serve 4), cooked

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Start your rice to cook ( 1 cup dry rice in to 2 cups boiling water, reduce to simmer with lid for 40-45 minutes)
Spray a foil lined 9″ x 12″ baking dish with non-stick spray for easy clean up, then spread 1/3 cup basil pesto over the bottom of the dish. Lay chicken over the pesto, then spread the remaining basil pesto over the chicken.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (or use a baking dish with a tight-fitting lid) and bake the chicken legs for 35-40 minutes, uncover and bake 10 additional minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Heat up your green beans as the chicken finishes.Serve hot with extra pesto from the pan over brown rice ( couscous, or quinoa) and steamed green beans ( ours were frozen, not fresh)



Creamy Cauliflower Soup


Literally the FASTEST and easiest soup I’ve ever made, this recipe is pureed at the end, so chopping does not have to be perfect!  If ever there were a time for fast easy dinners, that are healthy, it is now.  After working all day, we just want to enjoy family time, eating is an important aspect of that.  So if we can make something like this soup, which Knox can eat before bedtime, then it’s really exciting over here!  This soup was tasty, creamy, healthy and filling.  The green onion and grated Parmesan on op truly seal the deal, serve with bread and you’ll be eating within 25 minutes ( only 10 are actively cooking!!).  I did a quick chop of the onions and garlic, got the oil ready, and sauteed them- singing to and chatting with Knox.  While they were softened in the pan, I chopped the base off the cauliflower and rough chopped so everything cooked uniform.  Once the onions were done ( 3-4 minutes) I added everything to the pot, chopped the green onion while it came to a boil, then set to simmer for 15 minutes while I went and played with the baby!  To finish, I used my immersion blender to puree it up and dinner was served!  Love love love this recipe.  I bet you could switch this up to be broccoli instead with cheddar cheese and a hit of cream.  You could also add bright green peas after the puree to add more veggies and bite to this soup.  It’s such a great simple easy base recipe where you can add and edit to create a variety of variations.  If you have the time to roast the garlic, that would add a super amazing flavor depth to this soup.  I added Parmesan to the soup and some half and half and ricotta that we had on hand to give this super healthy original recipe a bit of healthy creamy milk fats ( the baby needs those vitamins!). The original recipe is Vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo and clean eating, if you are in to all that follow the link below!  I hope you enjoy a little more time with your family and make this super weeknight friendly soup today.


Adapted from Yummy, Healthy, Easy

4 adult servings, (or 3 adult servings and 3 baby servings)

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, remove stem and rough chop to same size pieces
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan, 1/4 cup for serving
  • 4 sliced green onions for serving
  1. In a dutch oven pot (or heavy pot), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add cut up cauliflower, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cauliflower is softened.
  3. Turn off heat, add in the half and half, ricotta, and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, stir to combine.
  4. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend until smooth.
  5. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan cheese on top, fresh cracked pepper and sliced green onions. Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato

April_2 Potato

Easy, cheap, sorta healthy, and delicious- loaded baked potatoes have made the rounds through winter and are looking forward to spring.  It’s comfort food but loaded with veggies and protein, fills you up fast and on a budget for sure.


Scrub clean, wrap in foil and bake 1 potato per serving for 45 minutes inn a 375 degree oven.  Should be soft to touch before you remove to eat!  Serve with a pat of butter, 0% Greek Yogurt, sliced green onion, bacon, steamed broccoli florets and cheese.


Creamy Pecorino Orecchiette with Roast Tomatoes, Basil and Peas

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Nothing is better than an easy delicious pasta recipe on a lazy Sunday.  This recipe has so much flavor, yet was so simple to throw together!  I really enjoyed cooking like this, it amassed a few pots and pans but each item can easily cook in it’s own pot, no stress, and then at the end you mix it all together and it was really all just meant to be.  We tossed the tomatoes in the oven while water came to a boil for the peas and pasta on the stove.  That left time to dice up the bacon and brown it.  Cook the pasta, blanch the peas, thicken the sauce, remove tomatoes, and toss it all together.


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The original recipe was a little heavier on the cheese, heavy cream and bacon fat, so we altered it to be “lighter” although I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest dish to make.  We love the bright peas and basil along with the roasted tomatoes and creamy sauce over those cute Orecchiette noodles ( mini turtle shells!).  Easy, flavorful, veggieful, creamy perfection- enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from What Katie Ate
Serves 6-8

10 ounces cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, for cooking
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, half roughly torn, half rough chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
16 ounces frozen peas
1.25 pounds orecchiette pasta
5 slices bacon, cut into small chunks
2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces pecorino, grated
1 cup fat free milk

Preheat your oven to 400.

On a jelly roll pan lined with parchment toss the tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 the basil ( torn) and oregano. Roast for about 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are blistered.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Blanch the peas for 3-4 minutes. Drain.

Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil, cook your pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While your pasta is cooking, heat a drizzle of olive oil in dutch oven style pot over medium high heat. Cook the bacon until crispy.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain most of the bacon fat out of the pot.  Pour in the cream, milk and bacon and stir to coat. Add the Pecorino Cheese, a little bit of salt and a nice hit of freshly ground black pepper. (Be careful to not over salt) Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10-12 minutes until the sauce is reduced and coated the spoon.

Add Orrechiette and Peas to the sauce.  Add your roasted tomatoes on top, and the remaining basil ( a little more Pecorino grated) Taste to adjust seasoning, add more pepper or salt to taste.


Fettuccine with Braised Short Rib Tomato Sauce


Let’s talk pasta.  Versatile, filling, satisfying- pasta.  But this is not your ordinary pasta dish, this is something special.  It’s so special that I really hope you will make because it’s almost impossible to describe it’s amazingness in this post.  It’s the best meat sauce we have ever had- Bolognese- step aside- a new sauce is in town.  This recipe does take time to cook, but it is so simple to make so do not be intimidated.  Coming from the gal who loves a good marinara with fresh basil and mozzarella, I would trade up for this short rib sauce any day.  Jason’s been on a short rib kick, it’s been great, we’ve made this recipe, and then he ordered a Braised Short Rib Sugo dish at Homestead during restaurant week, and he was so blown away that we decided to try to re-create it at home.  We’re nerds like that.  So happens that Jason found the perfect recipe, from none other than Giada herself.  A few tweaks from our kitchen to make it even easier and we had perfection.  The chocolate shavings on top to finish the dish are imperative, weirdly necessary and so perfect paired with this meal in a bowl or on a plate.  Please make this recipe and be blown away like we were.  Short ribs are super affordable cuts of meat, and when cooked correctly like in this, they are transformed.  Let’s hope this broth based, veggie filled, meat sauce is the trick to kicking this cold I got to enjoy all weekend… I’ll let you know how that goes, in the meantime you go and Enjoy, cook, create, eat and Enjoy!!

0222Adapted from Giada’s Short Ribs with Tagliatelle

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time 3 hours and 30 minutes

Yields 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces chopped bacon
2 1/2 pounds short ribs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley stems and leaves
3 cloves garlic
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups beef  stock, reduced sodium
3/4 cup red wine
1 pound fettuccine pasta
4 to 6 teaspoons shaved bittersweet chocolate

Place the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Cook the bacon until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total.

Meanwhile, combine the onion, carrot, parsley and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely minced. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste and pulse.

Once the short ribs are browned, carefully add the mixture from the food processor to the pot. Return the bacon to the pot and stir. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, beef broth, and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 1 hour and 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat and bones from the pot. Discard the bones. Shred the meat and return it to the pot. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid 1/4 cup at a time, if needed, to moisten the pasta. Transfer to serving bowls, top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.