Tortellini with Corn, Arugula and Tomatoes

It’s What’s For Dinner Wednesday! YAY! And I’ve had quite the Wednesday.

Molly slept until 8:30am which NEVER happens. I seriously felt like a new woman when I woke up. She is still coughing a bit and has a runny nose, but is feeling so much better. I think she just needed extra sleep.

About an hour or so after we woke up I was on Facebook and a friend of mine mentioned that the Bloom just down the street was closing and the ENTIRE store was 50% off. Well, I hauled my ass up there so fast and piled up my cart with diapers, coffee, baking ingredients and shampoo! I got $440 worth of groceries for $220. I don’t think I have ever been that excited about groceries. Woo!

Now, this recipe is an oldie. I can’t even remember where I found it but it has evolved over the past few years and I don’t even measure the ingredients anymore, but don’t worry, I have measurements for you. This dish is one of the first meals Ben and I made together when we started dating. Awwww.

Tortellini with Corn, Arugula and Tomatoes

  • 2 packages of the tortellini of your choice
  • 1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels (I use frozen)
  • 1 pound tomatoes, peeled, stemmed and chopped (I use one tomato b/c Ben isn’t a big fan)
  • 1/4 cup scallion, thinly sliced (I use onion powder to taste)
  • Handful arugula
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • Grated Parmesan
  • optional – cooked ground turkey for a meat lover

Directions

1. Cook tortellini according to the directions on the packaging.

2. Meanwhile, pour the vinegar into a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Add the corn, tomatoes, scallion and arugula. Toss until coated.

3. When tortellini is done cooking, drain the pasta and then toss with the arugula mixture. The arugula should begin to wilt. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on a little parmesan.

Yum! It’s seriously so good. I like to add red pepper flakes to mine, but I’m totally addicted to red pepper flakes.

Tortellini with Corn, Arugula and Tomato

Enjoy!

By the way… I’m so so so so mad about Picnik shutting down. I can’t even talk about it. :(

Hungry Girl – Kickin’ Chicken Tortilla Soup

Today is Health & Wellness Thursday over on The Momma Bird where you can find me talking about inspiration and motivation. It’s really easy to get excited about starting a new health and fitness routine. Then, after a few weeks, it gets old. You are bored or you aren’t seeing the results you want. Well, I have a few suggestions to inspire you. Go check it out!

I didn’t get a chance to post a recipe yesterday, however this recipe is perfect for all of you watching what you eat so it works out well! It’s no secret that I’m a big Hungry Girl fan. I love that she takes bad-for-you food and makes it good for you! This soup is guaranteed to keep you warm on these cold winter nights AND satisfy you!

Hungry Girl’s Kickin’ Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 4oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup diced tomato, undrained
  • 1/2 cup sweet whole kernel corn, canned
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fajita seasoning mix
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 6 baked tortilla chips, crushed
  • Optional toppings – cilantro, nonfat sour cream, low fat/fat free shredded cheese

Directions

  • In a medium pot sprayed with nonstick spray, cook onions, garlic, seasoning and spices over medium heat until onions soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the corn and diced tomatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add chicken, jalapeno and lime juice. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes to thoroughly blend flavors.
  • Once ready to serve, top each serving with crushed chips and, if desired, the optional toppings.chicken tortilla soup

     

    I added avocado to mine! YUM!

Turkey, Tomato, & Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Sorry I didn’t post this recipe yesterday, it was a rough day. Unfortunately, I attended the funeral of a friend. It was heartbreaking and emotionally draining. I left feeling all the love everyone had for him, but the obvious hole that he left is gaping. Seeing so many people in that much pain is almost unbearable. I hope my hugs helped a tiny bit for at least a few moments of comfort.

Life truly is so fleeting.

Anyway, here’s your weekly recipe. I promise it’s a good one… and it’s adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen, so you know it’s awesome. Her recipe calls for onions and green peppers, but I don’t like either so I removed. Visit her site for the original recipe.

Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups

2 large zucchini or yellow squash, about 12 inches long
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil (may need more, depending on your pan)
2 T finely minced fresh garlic 
1 lb. ground turkey (10% fat or less)
Onion powder for seasoning
2 C flavorful tomato-basil pasta sauce
2 cups low-fat mozzarella or other mild white cheese

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Chop onion and green pepper. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan, then sauté  minced garlic about 1 minute, being careful not to brown the garlic. Remove garlic to a bowl.

Add 2 tsp. more olive oil to the pan. Crumble in the ground turkey, season with onion powder, and cook over medium heat until the meat is well browned. Tilt pan to see if there is any extra fat, and remove with a spoon if there is, then stir  garlic back into the meat. Add tomato sauce and simmer until the mixture has thickened and liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes, then turn off heat.

While meat cools, cut zucchini into 2 inch thick slices, discarding ends. Use a sharp spoon or melon baller to hollow out a cup in each zucchini slice, leaving just over 1/4 inch of zucchini flesh. Be careful not to get too close to the skin or the cups will leak liquid when they cook.

Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray and stand up zucchini cups, open end up. Stir 1 1/2 cups grated cheese into the cooled meat mixture (it doesn’t need to be completely cool), then spoon the meat-cheese mixture into zucchini cups, pressing down with the spoon and mounding it up a little over the top of the zucchini.

Bake zucchini cups for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and use remaining cheese to top each one with a generous pinch of cheese. Put back in oven and bake 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is slightly soft when pierced with a fork and cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot.

zucchini cups

Hungry Girl Chicken Pot Pie

I think I may have mentioned at least one hundred times how much I love Hungry Girl’s recipes. When my sister and I were roommates we pretty much lived off of her first cookbook. And now she has three cookbooks and her own show on The Food Network! Crazy!

I make this recipe a lot. It is SO easy and seriously delicious. It only serves four so if you have a big family you will have to adjust the ingredients. Okay, I’ll shut up now. Here ya go!

HG’s Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. raw boneless skinless chicken breast; cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cups C&W Ultimate Petite Mixed Vegetables (or any other frozen mixed vegetables)
  • 1 can (10.75 oz.) Campbell’s Condensed Soup, 98% Fat Free Cream of Celery
  • 3 servings Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls (unprepared)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute chicken pieces for several minutes in a pan spritzed with nonstick cooking spray, until chicken is light brown/cooked but still tender; set aside. Heat frozen veggies in microwave according to package. Mix chicken, vegetables and soup together and put in a 9" round baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place dish in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly (stir about halfway through).

While dish is cooking, unroll 3 crescent rolls. Combine pieces together with hands to make one large ball of dough. With a rolling pin, roll dough out into a circle to cover top of dish. Add dough to the top of the dish and cook for an additional 15 – 20 minutes or until top is golden brown. Serves 4.

HGChickenPotPie

Low Carb Mexican Lasagna

It’s Wednesday again! So what are you making for dinner tonight? I made this South Beach Diet (Phase 2) meal a couple nights ago and boy is it yummy! Plus, you will have plenty of leftovers. Well enough of my blabbing… on to the recipe.

Mexican Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1lb extra lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 jar (4oz) chopped green chile peppers
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 cups salsa
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas (6” in diameter), halved
  • 1.25 cup (5oz) shredded, reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheeses

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Coat a 13”x9” baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and place over medium heat. Add the ground beef or turkey and cook, turning several times, for 5 minutes or until no longer pink.
  • Remove the ground beef or turkey to a medium bowl. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel. Coat the skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add to the ground beef or turkey in the bowl.
  • In another medium bowl, combine the cottage cheese, sour cream, peppers, cilantro (if using), cumin, and salt.
  • Spread 1 cup of salsa across the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange half of the tortillas evenly over the salsa. Spread half of the cheese over the tortillas. Top with half of the ground beef or turkey mixture. Top with 1 cup of the remaining salsa and 1/2 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese. Repeat the layering sequence with the remaining tortillas, cheese, and ground beef or turkey.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through. Loosely cover with foil if the cheese browns too quickly.

Makes 8 servings – 250 calories per serving

mexican lasagna

Tortellini with Butternut Squash and Fontina

Heeeyyy! So, it’s Wednesday again, which means I have another recipe for you. Yay! This time I made a recipe I found in Real Simple’s October issue. I love this magazine! October was “A Month of Easy Dinners.” There was even a shopping list included!  <3

Here’s the original recipe, however I crossed out the mushrooms because I don’t like mushrooms, therefore I didn’t use them. Blargh.

Tortellini with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, and Fontina

Ingredients

  • 1 Small Butternut Squash (2 Pounds), Peeled And Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • 1 pound Cremini Mushrooms, Stems Trimmed And Halved If Large
  • ¼ cups Fresh Sage Leaves, Torn
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt And Black Pepper
  • 1 pound Fresh Or Frozen Cheese Tortellini (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 ounces, weight Fontina, Grated, Plus More For Serving

 

1. Heat oven to 450° F. On 2 rimmed baking sheets, toss the squash and mushrooms with the sage, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once and rotating pans halfway through, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water; drain the tortellini and return to the pot. Add the fontina, ¼ cup of the cooking water, and ½ teaspoon salt and stir gently until a light sauce forms (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry). Add the vegetables and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with additional fontina, garnish with a few sage leaves.

YUM YUM IN MY TUM TUM!

tortellini with butternut squash

There may or may not be some added parmesan on there.

Chicken Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash

It’s What’s for ____ Wednesday?!  So, what’s for dinner? Chicken Pad Thai made with spaghetti squash instead of pasta! 

Because this is a healthier version of Pad Thai it obviously isn’t quite as delicious as the real thing, but I enjoyed it, as did my husband.  I love using spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta.  You get your veggies but keep the carbs low!

Chicken Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash (adapted from Bonnie Appetite)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • 6 oz. cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste ( I like A LOT!)

Garnishes:

  • 2 tbsp dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • green onions (chopped)
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges

Directions:

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. If you are having difficulty cutting it, try microwaving for a minute or two, whole. Scrape away the seeds. Place on foil covered cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Roast on 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove, let sit 5 minutes and then "shred" the squash with a fork.

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté garlic for 1 minute. Add the sugar snap peas and sauté over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Add chicken broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar and crushed red pepper to skillet. Heat until smooth. Return sugar snap peas to the pan, as well as the spaghetti squash. Add in chicken, and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes or until sauce has coated all.

Divide among 2 plates/bowls and top with peanuts, cilantro, green onion, and lime wedge.

spaghetti squash chicken pad thai

Roasted Wild Salmon and Asparagus with Double-Lemon Oil

It’s What’s for ____ Wednesday?!  So, what’s for dinner?  Another Kalyn’s Kitchen dish…yum!  I stock up on salmon from Sam’s Club (note: I NEVER buy fish from Southeast Asia because they are loaded with chemicals and pesticides – check your packaging!!)  So, I always have some fish in the freezer.  This dish has become a staple in our home.  I try to mix it up with different veggies… last night we had it with broccoli.

Enjoy!

Roasted Wild Salmon and Asparagus with Double-Lemon Oil
2 Servings

Ingredients:
– 1 lemon
– 1 1/2 T + 2 tsp. + 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
– 1 lb. fresh asparagus
– salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
– 2 wild salmon pieces, with skin

Preheat oven to 450F.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil.

Zest the lemon rind into a small bowl or custard cup.  (Kalyn uses all the zest, but I only like a little bit…)  Take your zested lemon and squeeze the juice into another bowl (watch out for those seeds!), then measure 1 Tbsp into the lemon zest. Whisk 1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil into the lemon zest-juice combo, then set aside.

Prepare your asparagus and toss 2 tsp olive oil plus salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste.

Spread out asparagus onto baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes.  While asparagus roasts, rub each piece of salmon on both sides with olive oil (about 1 tsp. per piece.)  Season salmon with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

After 5 minutes, push the asparagus over and place the salmon pieces on the baking sheet.  Put salmon and asparagus into oven and roast for about 10 minutes longer… if you find that your fish isn’t cooked through you can cook for longer or do what I did: microwave!  Your dish is done when the asparagus is starting to soften and salmon feels barely firm to the touch.  Drizzle desired amount of lemon oil over salmon and asparagus and serve.

Nikki’s Notes:

I have experimented with the zest and a whole lemon is too much for me.  I like my lemon subtle.  This recipe is super easy and quick!

Update:  I found my photo!  I knew I took one :) Fresh out of the oven and some broccoli mixed in!

roasted wild salmon

Baked Pesto Chicken

It’s What’s for ____ Wednesday?!  So, what’s for dinner?  Yummy Baked Pesto Chicken.  I love Kalyn’s Kitchen and pretty much find almost every single one of my dinners on her website.  So go show her some love!!

Baked Pesto Chicken
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
– 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or a package of raw chicken tenders
– salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
– 1/2 cup basil pesto
– 2 oz. (1/2 cup) grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. If you bought breasts than you can cut them up into tender-sized pieces.

Spray a 9″ x 12″  baking dish with non-stick spray, then spread 1/4 cup basil pesto over the bottom of the dish. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, then spread 1/4 cup more basil pesto over the chicken.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, just until chicken is barely firm and cooked through.

Rmove the foil and sprinkle chicken with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted.  After the cheese is melted switch your oven to broil for 5 more minutes, just long enough to get the cheese lightly browned.

Serve hot… maybe on a bed of rice?  Whatever you want!

Nikki’s Notes:

Use good pesto!  In the photo below I used Harris Teeter brand pesto and look how oily the corners of my dish are!  Also, I may or may not have measured my pesto…. so don’t go crazy. Too much pesto = garlic breath.  I still love this dish and make it a lot.  It’s SO easy.  And the chicken stays juicy. yum!

baked pesto chicken

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Today is the first day of “What’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert/snack? Wednesday.”  I love food!  Even more so, I love cooking & baking said food.  So I’ve decided to share recipes with you every Wednesday.  They will be recipes I have made or ones I want to make (there are lots of those!).

So, without further ado… What’s for Dinner? Wednesday!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna (adapted from Skinnytaste.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 3 cups cooked roasted spaghetti squash
  • 1lb of lean ground turkey (cooked)
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta
  • 8 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz part skim shredded mozzarella

Directions:

See instructions on how to roast spaghetti squash here.

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a 7×11 inch glass casserole dish, ladle 1 cup quick marinara sauce on the bottom. Top with 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash and spread evenly. Then spread your 1lb cooked turkey on top of the spaghetti squash layer.  Top with 1/2 cup ricotta.

Sprinkle 4 teaspoons of grated parmesan cheese and 3 oz mozzarella.  If you are like me you ended up with a lot of extra roasted squash, so why not add another layer? yum!  Then, add the remaining sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges begin to bubble; uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Nikki’s Notes:

The measurements don’t have to be exact… I pretty much just layered everything and eyed it.  Extra cheese? YUM!  Also, watch your cooking time.  You really want that cheese to be browning and melted.  It took a few trips to the oven to get mine just right.  But I will tell you what, this lasagna was AWESOME!  (bonus: it’s low carb!) My husband was raving.  And we got 6-8 servings out of it!!

spaghetti sauce lasagna