Turkey and Spinach Meatballs

16 05 2014

I’m BACK!  It’s almost the summer and I’m finally starting to recover from my spring theater season (directed a musical at my elementary school that happened in February, and then produced and stage managed a play at The Summit Playhouse that happened in late April/May).  

I recently signed up for a CSA box with Dreyer Farms in Cranford, NJ – unfortunately the FreshBox program I did last year with Alan’s Orchard doesn’t exist anymore, but I’m really excited to be getting a CSA from Dreyer Farms.  I’ve purchased the “healthy family” option, which is meant for a family of 4-5 but we’ll be splitting it between two couples this year.  We get our first box next week and I’m so excited to see what this program has to offer!

But in the meanwhile, I’ve gotten back on the meal planning train and have been trying to cook healthier and cost-friendly meals for me and my boyfriend that we can have for both lunch and dinner.  Last week I bought two and a half pounds of ground turkey.  I took half of it and put it in the crockpot to make this turkey chili recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.  It was actually my first time making chili (ever!) and I think it turned out alright.  Next time I’ll add more spices and then go from there. 

The other half of the ground turkey I used to make turkey florentine meatballs from Rachael Ray.  Instead of the sauce suggested in the recipe, I made some tomato sauce using crushed tomatoes and some paprika, herbes de provence, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  The meal was intended to be a freezer meal we could save for a week or two from now, so we wouldn’t have to be eating all turkey all week.  Half of it made it into the freezer and the other half we had for dinner the other night.  I heated up the meatballs in the tomato sauce and cooked up half a box of veggie penne (Barilla) then put some parmesan romano cheese on top.  Voila, a healthy and tasty meal!


Happy eating! 


Spaghetti Squash!

22 01 2014

Before I received this spaghetti squash in my CSA, I had never seen one before.  I had seen and pinned plenty of recipes for it, and finally got my chance to try one out!

I used some tips from the weekly recipe log from Alan’s Orchard and also from Martha Stewart to figure out how in the world to cook this thing.  I ended up poking a lot of holes around the skin, putting it in a cake pan and roasting it for about an hour.

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After it cooled down, then came the tedious task of shredding the spaghetti squash.  I got SO MUCH out of this spaghetti squash.  The hardest part was definitely separating the seeds from the strands, but after a while, I got the hang of it.

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After that, I sauteed grape tomatoes, spinach, and zucchini [also in my CSA box for that week], added some white wine, and then some shrimp.  Tossed it all together and voila!

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For those of you considering spaghetti squash – go for it! The texture definitely isn’t the same as pasta, but I think it soaks up sauces better than pasta actually would, and it’s definitely a great substitute.  And one spaghetti squash gets you a LOT of spaghetti squash, so you can make it go a long way.

Happy eating!


4 01 2014

I have a bunch of posts and pictures backlogged – but let’s start with this one.

One weekend in November, I began cooking on a Saturday afternoon and didn’t stop until the wee hours of Sunday morning.  I certainly didn’t plan to be cooking as much as I did, but I just kept cooking and cooking and cooking!  So by Sunday evening, I began playing tetris in my freezer to be able to fit everything in my freezer.

Reasons for my cooking spree?  December and January are really hectic months between school and running the musical, and I didn’t want to have to be thinking about food as much or preparing my lunches for school on Sundays so I could focus on other things.  So while I was making beef stew on the stove, I had chicken tikka masala in the oven and a beef barley soup in the crockpot. And after the chicken tikka masala, I roasted a pumpkin and made a puree out of that.  More posts to come in the future of these cooking adventures.

Here is what my freezer looked like after a lot of rearranging: (Can you see the row of tupperware behind the soups? That’s beef stew.)

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And since I didn’t label any of my containers before putting in them in the freezer (silly me…), I made myself a list of what’s in the freezer.

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So how will I decide what to eat?  It’s pretty much whatever I can take out of the freezer first without making anything else fall down.  I’m looking forward to a month full of not cooking [as much] and eating out of the freezer.  It definitely takes a load off while I have so many other things on my mind.

Happy eating!

Eating vegetarian…?!?

5 11 2013

The most interesting thing about my CSA is that I’m finding it so much easier to cook vegetarian meals.  Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE meat, but with so many veggies, I’m not finding it necessary to eat a lot of meat because my current meals fill me up so much.

Now, I am a BIG fan of bacon.  A few weeks ago I got savoy cabbage and broccoli rabe in my Fresh Box and didn’t know what to do with either of them.  I have never had savoy cabbage before and this is what I love about this Fresh Box; there were plenty of recipes to inspire me to put this dish together.  I took two of the recipe ideas and put them together.  And here we have it:

Whole wheat pasta with savoy cabbage, broccoli rabe, and bacon in a garlic white wine sauce

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Happy eating!

Sunday morning cooking bliss.

29 09 2013

So far this school year I’ve been able to spend my Sunday mornings cooking up some meals from the week.  I pick up my FreshBox from Alan’s Orchard on Wednesdays, but typically the school week is so busy I can’t cook anything until Saturday or Sunday.

Last Sunday I spent the first two hours of my morning cooking two different meals and it’s definitely a perfect way to get my Sunday started.  (I’m also trying to reach a goal where I don’t do work for school on Sunday, and instead can spend the day cooking, painting my nails, watching football, and going to choir rehearsal.)


First up: Potato and Leek Soup, from Pinch My Salt Blog

This soup is full of soft potato chunks complimented by leeks and onions.  Surprisingly enough, the amount of heavy cream in this soup does NOT hurt my stomach/intestines, so it’s a win-win situation.  When eating, I pair with some Wheat Thins Parmesan Herb Toasted Chips. (Link here.) Perfection.


Second dish: Fritatta with Red Pepper, Eggplant, Onion, Swiss Chard, & Asiago Cheese

These all came in my FreshBox as well — with the exception of the asiago cheese.  I picked up some chicken sausage with rosemary/thyme and cooked it up while I was making the fritatta to go along with the dish.  I love it because although it’s a breakfast dish, I’ve been eating it for lunch and dinner all week and it works well for all meals!


Happy eating!

Tomatoes + pasta = love.

15 09 2013

I’m taking a quick break from doing work to bring you just one of the ingredients from my FreshBox this week.

This week’s box had so much great stuff — peaches and nectarines (which I diced and put in my freezer so I can throw them into some smoothies), apples (given to my friend Arden since I can’t eat them), red peppers, and grape tomatoes, among other things.

My mom makes this simple dish — roasted tomatoes with pancetta and penne.  I was feeling a little lazy (I cooked this at about 8:30 after a very long day at work) so I skipped the pancetta part, but instead just roasted the tomatoes with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.  While doing that, I cooked half a pound of whole wheat penne.  Then I combined everything with some olive oil and some of the pasta water, and my spice assortments (herbes de provence, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper). Voila! A simple and hearty dish.

I’m making a conscious effort to buy pasta that is whole wheat or has added vegetable servings in it — in addition to me eating SO many more vegetables than I used to, I’m hoping this is a step into eating even healthier! I’ve also been making smoothies every morning this past week and hoping I can keep that up .. more on that soon!


Fajita night!

5 09 2013

I was SO excited to get today’s Fresh Box from Alan’s Orchard.  Every month they also do a ‘spice of the month’ in partnership with the Savory Spice Shop in Westfield. What I love about this program is that it features recipes every week, and these went very well with the spice of the month: Fajita Seasoning! It’s called the ‘family seasoning’ because it’s mild enough for kids to enjoy. 

I picked up my box after a successful first day of school and before even looking in the box, saw that the spice was a fajita spice and automatically knew what to make for dinner. The question was .. what KIND of fajitas? This week’s box came with red and green peppers, onions, eggplant, and portobello mushrooms .. so I considered a veggie fajita. But in the half mile from Alan’s Orchard to ShopRite, I decided to stop off and get some beef (pre-cut ‘for stir-fry’, for the ease) and I picked up some tortillas and some shredded cheese. I also picked up a box of Spanish Rice and a container of Annie’s Organic refried beans.

While the rice cooked with some tomatoes, I cut up four peppers and two onions:


Then I cooked up the beef with the fajita seasoning. I set that aside and kept warm. Then I cooked up my peppers and onions while I warmed my tortillas and warmed the refried beans.


After about 40 minutes of work (pretty good timing for me!) I had this nice spread to choose from:


It seems I have a lot of the rice / veggies variety.  After I finish off the steak I might cook up some shrimp for more fajitas, or anything else I find in my fridge!


Happy eating!