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! 


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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2013-09-29 13.25.17

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!


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!

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!

Chicken stewed in wine, garlic, and cinnamon

25 03 2011

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Crepes of Wrath.  It was a recipe pulled from A Good Appetite.  Cinnamon is an interesting ingredient – I thought that it might make this dish too sweet, but it was just right and gave the sauce and chicken a great aromatic and flavor.

I made this dish twice – the first time I made it, everything went directly into containers and I had it for lunch throughout the week.  The second time around, I made it for my parents when I was home for spring break.  I think they liked it, although they commented that they wanted a little bit more sauce in the dish.  I thought the amount of sauce was great, but everyone has their own preference.

I liked this dish because the spinach was cooked (so I could eat it!) and there was a good ratio of spinach to chicken to onions and noodles.  I don’t normally cook with egg noodles either, but a few of my dishes have been using egg noodles lately and I’m really starting to like them.  The dish reheated really well too, and I liked the chicken being in bite sized pieces.  Both times I made it the sauce adhered to the chicken really and the tomato paste gave it a great taste without adding tomatoes.

Here it is!  The second time around the sauce wasn’t as red as it was the first time; I didn’t get a chance to measure out the tomato paste since I was just using whatever was left in the can.  Whoops!  Still tasted great though!

Happy eating!

Salmon Cakes with Creamy Orzo & Asparagus

11 03 2011

The Show $10 Dinners with Melissa D’Abarabian on the Food Network is pretty good, and I happened to catch an episode where she made these salmon cakes and this orzo, and had to give it a try!

I’ve never worked with canned salmon before, so that was certainly an experience (to get all the little bones out) and then the process of rolling each cake.  I wasn’t happy with the consistency when it started out (I don’t have a potato masher – go figure) so I only had little slices of potato in the cakes instead of mashed potatoes.  Next time I’ll be sure to get a masher so it can reach the right consistency.

The orzo was much simpler than I thought it would be – I did have to keep it on the stove a little longer than the recipe called for, but I always anticipate everything taking longer than the recipe says.  Asparagus was on sale the week I went grocery shopping, so I just drizzled olive oil, salt, and pepper on the asparagus and roasted it in the oven while everything else was cooking.

Some of the salmon cakes came out a little burned, and it was hard to keep them together since the consistency was a little more runny than I would have liked them to be.  But overall the taste was great and when cooked the salmon cakes were really great!  I liked the taste and the orzo was a good complement to the cakes.  If anything I definitely learned something about how to make cakes like this (perhaps I’ll try crab cakes soon…) and can use this knowledge in the future!  Here it is:

Happy eating!