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!

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!

Mac and Cheese!

14 12 2011

Oh man. I am SO EXCITED about this post!  I have been wanting to make mac and cheese for some time now, and always feared cooking with Lactaid milk (since it’s a little altered) where milk was a main ingredient.

However, my good friend Beth recommended this recipe to me (which we found on Pinterest, I think).  It’s a one pot recipe, which made it that much more appealing.  I decided to give it a try, and boy am I glad I did!  The nutmeg and mustard powder in this dish give it a great earthy flavor, and it cooks up in about 25 minutes, which is super easy.  Plus, the Lactaid milk worked out really well in the dish.

For the cheese, I did about 3/4 cup of pecorino romano cheese and 1/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese.  Both have a really low lactose content, so they typically don’t bother my stomach/digestion too much.  I’ve made the dish twice in the past month.  The first time I steamed up some broccoli at the same time that I cooked the mac and cheese, and the second time I heated up some brussel sprouts that I had in the freezer.  Both were great additions to the meal and really filled it out.  I always like to have vegetables in my meals, especially  when it’s dinner, so it was a nice complement to the dish.

The second time around I used large shells, but I think I would recommend using elbows or similar sized pasta.  The large shells were just too large, I think.

Here are some pictures.  I highly recommend making this if you get a chance!

Happy eating!

Tilapia Cakes with Couscous

27 10 2011

Sorry, all. I haven’t been blogging AT ALL lately!  Mostly because I haven’t been cooking anything new.  I’ve been so swamped with work, grad school, and starting preparations for South Africa, that I’ve marked plenty of new recipes but I keep falling back to old ways.  I’ve been working off of recipes I already know, since I don’t really have more time to invest in trying out new recipes.  But I’m trying to get back on the new food train.  Here’s something I pulled together somewhat recently.

I found a recipe for tilapia cakes in Real Simple and knew I had to try it!  It was pretty simple – I cooked the tilapia through (and I pretty much always keep tilapia in my fridge), then cooled it, shredded it, and then combined it with some dill, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, panko crumbs, and salt and pepper.  Then I cooked it for 2-3 minutes on each side.

While I was doing all of that, I cooked up some couscous and heated up some frozen brussel sprouts.  To make the brussel sprouts a little more exciting, I then sauteed them in a pan with some minced garlic.  It turned out really well and made 3 servings which was a nice surprise.  It was all really flavorful, and even writing this post, reminded me how easy it was, and that I should make this again sometime soon! Here are some pictures:

Happy eating!

Pasta Salad (for the week)

12 04 2011

I have a show coming up at the end of the week (I’m a piano accompanist) at the end of the week, so apologies for the lack of posts recently.  Since I’m booked with rehearsals and a bunch of other obligations (class, tutoring, teaching SAT class, meetings, etc etc) all week, here’s what I’m living on for the week:


  • Sun-dried tomato basil wraps with sun-dried tomato hummus, bacon, turkey
  • Bologna sandwiches on wheat bread (with mayo or hummus)
  • Chips Ahoy, Cheez Its, and Chocolate-covered cranberries


  • Orzo with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and spinach (blog to follow later on, once I have more time)
  • Pasta salad

My mom used to make this pasta salad each year when I did Relay for Life in high school.  It’s pretty simple and I used a lot of pre-made ingredients, so total time of preparing everything was done within the time it took me to boil water and then cook the pasta.

It’s simple and cost-effective, since it made 5 servings that I can grab and eat on the go all week.  It’s got many layers of flavor, too – tri-color rotini pasta, diced ham (I bought pre-made ham steak), diced chicken (pre-made diced chicken, Perdue short cuts), one can of cannelini beans, and mushrooms that I sauteed in butter and balsamic vinaigrette.  I used the same dressing to sautee the mushrooms that I used for the dressing on the pasta salad and the flavors all worked really well together. Here it is:

Happy eating!