Tag Archives: lunch

Mini Lasagna

 

I am a sucker for all things mini.  You know..like things I can just pop in my mouth and devour instantly. 🙂  When I first found these cute, compact mini lasagna bites,(here) I knew my life would never be the same. But it took me awhile to actually make them.  It’s been so warm until recently that the thought of cooking in the oven didn’t appeal to me.  However..cooler weather has arrived and these, my friends, were first on my list of things to make.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I think about making lasagna overwhelms me.  All the layers, the long process..it’s just too much.  What I love about these is how simple they are to make. Let’s get started, shall we?

The Ingredients:

12 oz raw ground turkey (I used ground lean hamburger.)
¼ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped mushrooms (we aren’t mushroom people so didn’t use these.)
14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp dried oregano, divided
½ tsp dried basil
1 ½ cups part skim ricotta cheese
24 small square wonton wrappers (found near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the produce dept)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

The How-To:

*Preheat oven to 375ºF.
* Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
*Add the turkey (or hamburger), onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Crumble the meat and saute the mixture  until it is cooked through.
*Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
*Add the crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp of oregano.
*Bring the pan to a gentle boil.
*Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
*Remove from heat and set aside.

*In a separate large bowl, combine the ricotta, a pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining teaspoon of oregano, and the basil. Stir to mix well. Set aside.

*Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides. (The wonton wrappers are a bit tricky to separate, but using only ONE per layer is the way to go.  Trust me. :D)

*Using half of the ricotta mixture, divide it among the 12 muffin cups.
*Spoon half of the meat/tomato sauce, spoon it evenly over each of the ricotta filled cups. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of mozzarella.
*Gently press another wonton wrapper on top of the mozzarella layer. (again..only ONE)
*Repeat the process by distributing the remaining ricotta, then the remaining meat/tomato sauce, and finally the rest of the shredded mozzarella.

*Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and wonton wrappers are crispy.
*When the cups have cooled, it’s time to devour. 😀

One of the best things about these, is that you can use them for dinner, lunch, an appetizer or a side.  Which, to me, means you can eat them all day long. 😀

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Filed under appetizer, dinnertime, sides

Back to Basics..Garden Salad

Summer is here!!!  Let’s give a shout out to Mr. Sun and deep blue skies, shall we? We shall!!  I’m so excited to see the sky. For reals. It’s been a loooong winter here, and summer is just what I needed to boost my attitude and feeling like I’m living in a snow cave.  But, we won’t talk about that.  Instead, we’ll talk about a simple, basic food that is always one of my favorites. (besides chocolate and anything dipped in sugar. :D) 

Enter: Garden Salad.

A garden salad is just that..foods that come from a garden.  Lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, onions..you get the picture, right?  When I’m hungry, in a rush, but want something that’s good for me, I usually turn to the trusty garden salad.  Loaded with fresh veggies..you just know you’re doing something good for yourself.

 

The best thing about this salad is that you can put virtually anything in it.  I tend to stay on the calmer side and just use the basics.  Tomatoes and cucumbers with little chunks of chicken. They are my friend.  I want to marry them.

But if you’re feeling a little wild, add boiled egg slices, maybe a few sunflower seeds or even some bacon bits.  But for me..I like it plain and simple, and oh so good for you. 🙂

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Filed under dinnertime, lunch, salad, sides

Pizza..in a boat.

Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  All the flavor from a pizza, crammed into a healthy zucchini. I’ll take seven, please. 😀  We just tried this meal for the first time over the weekend. I was in a hurry and we were starving, realized I had everything for this recipe and Boom! Pizza in a boat.  What’s not to love? By scooping out the insides of a zucchini, then mixing those same insides with spaghetti sauce, a bit cheese and Italian Seasoning spice..you’ve got yourself one healthy, tasty alternative to crusty pizza.  The best part? You can add any toppings you want. Olives, onions, peppers, even some pepperoni or ground turkey.  Either way..it’s one yummy treat.  I first spotted this delicious recipe here. She has great step-by-step photos to show you exactly how  to put these bad boys together.  (Her recipe is below)

Ingredients:
Zucchini (each zucchini will make 2 pizzas)
1 can of spaghetti sauce, or homemade spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup. Parmesean cheese, shredded
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning spice blend
2 cup. Mozzerella cheese, shredded
Optional: olives, peppers, onions, any pizza topping your heart desires

The How-To:
*Pre-heat oven to 425*
*Wash zucchini well to get any dirt off
*Slice each zucchini lengthwise
*Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, or inside, of the zucchini. 
*Set aside the scooped out zucchini flesh
*Place the scooped out zucchini halves on a baking sheet
*Dump the reserved zucchini flesh out onto a cutting board and chop it into smaller pieces
* Return the chopped pieces to the bowl and stir in the tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.
* Refill the zucchini halves with the prepared mixture.
*Top with mozzarella cheese (and any additional pizza toppings).
*Place in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is slightly browned. The longer the zucchini are in the oven, the softer they’ll be so if you like firmer zucchini, bake for a shorter amount of time. 

Ours were baked for about 15 minutes and came out perfect.  Even the kids liked them, which in my book, means a winner recipe. 😀  So quick and easy to put together, they not only make a dinner meal, but a fantastic lunch as well.

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Filed under dinnertime, lunch

Ham with Pasta

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you have an over abundance of…let’s say..ham, and you don’t know what to do with it all? I mean, yes, I love it. And yes, I can eat it daily. But..after a week of eating ham, I run out of things to do with it.
Enter Ham with Pasta.
Clearly, I’m a genius when it comes to naming foods.  Actually, this meal has a real name, but I couldn’t spell it, so we’ll just call it ‘Ham with Pasta’.  Alright..

Basically, this one dish wonder is a mix of ham, cheese, noodles, and baking spices. You had me at ham! I love this meal because it is easy. Easy as in..I can make it with one hand tied behind my back, easy. Shall we begin? I thought so.

Ingredients:

1 box noodles (penne, rotini, elbow..they all work wonders in this dish.)
1 can diced tomatoes, NOT drained
1 clove garlic, minced
leftover ham,diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

The How-To:
*Cook noodles according to package.
*While noodles are cooking, saute garlic and onions in a large skillet until onions are translucent
*Add ham and saute 1 minute more
*Add canned tomatoes WITH juice.  Cook for about 3 minutes
*When noodles are finished cooking, drain, and add into the skillet mixture
*Stir everything together, then add the basil
*Let everything simmer on medium heat until juice has evaporated half way down
*When juices have evaporated down, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.  Let cheese melt, then serve,

What I love most about this meal, is that you can add veggies. Lots and lots of veggies. Chopped carrots, zucchini, asparagus, corn..anything you have on hand.You can’t go wrong with this meal and it’s a great way to use up your leftover ham.

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Filed under dinnertime, lunch

Ham and Cheese Rolls

One of our favorite things, (other then raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens) are these mouthwatering ham and cheese rolls.  Not only are they perfect for dinner, but lunch and breakfast as well. Oh yes..you can eat these for every meal. Awesome!!  You make them just like you would a cinnamon roll, only instead of the cinnamon and sugar..it’s ham and cheese. Delicious and easy, how can you say no?  The perfect blend of cheesy ham tucked inside homemade bread, leaves your tummy happy and wanting more. 🙂  Got this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe  (my favorite spot)

Ingredients: (For the bread dough)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons white sugar
2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour

The filling:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened (I usually leave out the butter)
2 cups chopped ham (leftover ham or deli ham works well.)
2 cups shredded cheese (swiss, cheddar…whatever you like)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
(you can also add chopped green onions, broccoli,  etc to get a different flavor and add veggies to this meal. :D)

The Dough How-To:
*In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast and sugar.  Let stand until foamy..about 10 minutes
*To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt and 2 cups flour
*Mix until combined
*Add in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. (usually it’s about 3 1/2 cups of flour)
*Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic
*lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl and turn to coat it with the oil
*Cover with a damp cloth
*let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour
*after it has risen, deflate dough andturn it out onto a lightly floured surface
*roll it into a large rectangle shape, about a 1/2 inch-1 inch thick

The Filling How-To:

*In a small bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese. 
*Spread the rolled out dough with the butter/cream cheese mixture

*Top with the ham, cheese and chopped broccoli and onions (if using)
*Roll the dough up, pinching the seam to seal. (Just like if you were making a cinnamon roll)
*Slice the roll into 1-inch segments
*Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap
*Let the rolls rise until nearly doubled
*Bake in a preheated 350* oven  for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly

I know this might sound like a lot of work, but really, it’s easy.  Make the dough first, let it go through it’s rising process.  While that’s happening, let the butter and cream cheese soften on a counter top.  Chop any veggies you want and shred the cheese.  After the dough has risen, roll it out and add the yummy ingredients.  Roll it up, pop it in the oven and patiently wait for it to bake.  (That’s the hardest part for me..)


Have fun with this one. Try different fillings..pepperoni and cheese is a close second in our house. 😀

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Filed under breakfast, dinnertime, lunch, muffins

Split Pea Soup

First, can I just say that there’s really no way to make this soup look pretty.

Moving on..

This is a favorite in our house.  Yes, it looks..green..but we love it. We call it  ‘leperchaun’ soup. (it’s green..go with me on this) Full of vegetables, this soup will do wonders for your health, tastebuds..it may even bridge communities together. Or not. Either way, you’ll be completely satisified and happy when you’re done chowing this one down.  You can make it on the stove if you have more time, or throw it in the crockpot for an easy, fast, I-have-stuff-to-do-today-and-can’t-spend-time-in-the-kitchen kind of meal.  I prefer the crockpot version.

Ingredients:
1 bag dried split peas
*1 chopped onion
*2 teaspoons butter or oil
*1 garlic clove (or more if you like a more garlic-y taste)
*8 cups fat free chicken broth
*2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
*3 small potatos, peeled, washed and cubed into small chunks
*salt and pepper to taste
*1 ham hock (or leftover ham if you have it)

The how-to:
*wash peas and drain
*in a pot, saute onions and garlic in about 2 teaspoons of butter or oil
*add peas, carrots, ham and chicken broth. 
*cover and let it come to a boil
*add salt and pepper
*once it boils, reduce heat and cook for about 2 hours (beans should be very soft by then)
*Make sure to check the water and consistency often.  You may need to add hot water if it becomes too thick.

Crockpot version:
*wash and drain peas
*in pot on stove, saute onions and galic in about 2 teaspoons butter or oil
*place beans, vegetables, chicken broth, and ham in the crockpot
*stir once.
*cover and let cook on low for 6-8 hours
*stir every now and then to break up the peas and combine everything.  It will thicken up as it cooks and the more often you stir it.  (I usually stir once or twice the first few hours, then not again until about an hour before we eat. Then I stir every 20 minutes or so).

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Filed under crockpot, dinnertime, lunch, soup

Pita Bread Pizza

One of my all time, favorite, bestest lunch ever: Flatbread pizza.  Let me tell you why. 
1.  it’s easy
2.  it’s filing
3.  it’s easy to switch it up so I never get bored
4.  it’s easy
5.  it’s easy
6.  it’s easy

Lunch time is my hardest meal.  Middle of the day, don’t want to spend a lot of time making something, and I want to make sure it’s healthy and filling to last me until dinner. Because let’s face it..if I can’t make it until dinner..I’ll go on a rampage looking into every closet and cupboard in the house trying to find something, ANYTHING, to satisfy my growling, neglected stomach. So, flatbread pizza is a staple for me. (and my stomach).

Ingredients:
1 pita (not split)
cheese (what ever amount you like. Some like it cheesy while others like just a dusting of cheese.)
3 Tablespoons spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Any pizza toppings you like

The how-to:
*preheat oven to 400*
*on a sprayed or parchemnt lined cookie sheet, place the pita
*spray both sides of the pita with cooking spray
*place in the oven for 3-4 minutes, take out, flip over, put back in the oven for an additional 3-4 minutes, or just until it’s crispy. (Watch carefully so it won’t burn.)
*when the pita is the desired crispiness for a crust, take out of oven, and reduce heat to 350*
*add the spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning and any other seasoning  you’d like
*sprinkle a bit of cheese on top of the spaghetti sauce
*add the pizza toppings of your choice. For the pizza shown below, I used: pineapple tidbits, onions, and cubed chicken (already cooked).
*top with additional cheese

*with the pizza still on the cookie sheet, place back in the oven and bake until cheees is melted and bubbly and pizza is heated through.
*take out of oven and let rest for a few minutes before cutting into wedges

Easy-peasy and oh so filling.  The crust is crisp and perfectly baked while the toppings are full of favor, which gives your tastebuds a little reason to celebrate. Perfect for lunch, dinner or even a snack.

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Filed under dinnertime, lunch, Snacky-Snacks