Tag Archives: spinach

Ground Turkey Eggplant Lasagna

Mixing favorite veggies in an attempt to make a one-pot dinner resulting in our new favorite lasagna; although, I have to wonder if the new marinara sauce is to blame.

Ground Turkey and Veggie Lasagna


8 0z Lasagna (half a box) noodles

One eggplant, 3/4 skin removed (potato peeler works nicely) and cubed

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Handful (about 4 oz) of spinach, roughly chopped

One jar (40 oz) of Victoria White Linen Marinara Sauce

One shallot, chopped

4 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

8 oz cottage cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

Leftover chopped tomatoes (about 7 oz canned)

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Cooking spray

Layer in Crock-Pot on High for 3 ½ hours. 

I began with browning the ground turkey in olive oil on medium-high heat with salt and pepper 1/4-½ teaspoon of each. After draining the excess fat, add chopped shallots to the pan, stir in. Add eggplant, salt and pepper (1/4-½ teaspoon). Sauté until the eggplant is translucent. 

Coat inside of Crock-Pot with cooking spray. Add ingredients from pan to pot.



Oops, forgot to sauté the mushrooms! Into the pan they go with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until translucent!


I almost forgot garlic, too! Right on top of the cooked mix worked out perfectly. (photo below)


Minced garlic, then chopped tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and marinara sauce. Generally when you do lasagna, you layer it three times, but I was running out of time. I needed to get the cooking time going on the Crock-Pot for this meal to be ready for dinner. I did two layers with the mushrooms and tomatoes only in the bottom layer and spinach only in the top layer.

The first layer is always sauce, so since I had half of the meat and veggies already in the pot, I added the tomatoes and half of the sauce over it. Then all of the mushrooms, a layer of pasta, 4 oz cottage cheese, 2 c mozzarella, ½ c Parmesan. Repeat meat mixture, sauce, add spinach, continue with remaining cheese. Cover and cook.

 The result? It was that melt-in-your-mouth goodness that you get from fresh, savory ingredients. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but it was like comfort food…and fusion…delicious!





Mahi Mahi with Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Spinach

In an effort to change things up a little, I made mahi instead of chicken; instead of rice, I made quinoa. I thought I’d try to cheat with quinoa, and cook it on the rice cooker. It worked! So easy, so delicious!

Three frozen fillets into the pot with salt and pepper (half a teaspoon or so of each). Fresh mushrooms on top.

Add some olive oil and red pepper flakes (about a teaspoon per fillet).

I waited until the last hour to add the spinach. It wilts quickly and will continue to wilt from the steam and heat if you don’t plate it once the dish is done.

Oh yes! Perfectly cooked mahi every time! Do you see how the fish flakes (I used a fork to break a piece in half)?

Beautiful, too!

Quinoa in the rice cooker? It came out perfectly! It may not have much flavor unless you use some kind of stock. I always have Better Than Bouillon in my fridge, so in it went. Two parts liquid per part quinoa. For rice, I always make three cups dry to four cups water (I’ve been doing that since I was 10 years old, so…).

I was surprised with how flavorful this meal was with so little seasoning.

Bacon and Egg Chicken Spring Salad

Every once in awhile, you just feel like eating salad. Whether that lasts just one meal or for weeks can vary by situation or person or availability. I could potentially eat salad every day considering salad really is just a melange of ingredients.

Some people say that putting bacon in your salad is an oxymoron, but really, how else are you going to get carnivores and KIDS accustomed to eating “salad”?! I say, put whatever you like in it if it gets you eating more greens! There’s really no limit to what you can add. If you think about a meal, think about the leftovers, cold, on a plateful of leafy greens. Salad. For example, spaghetti and meatballs. Take a few leftover meatballs, put them on a bed of spinach with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a little parmesan cheese, maybe some sliced black olives. Salad! Leftover Orange Chicken (maybe zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds)? Add it to a bed of greens with a little olive oil, some orange juice, maybe some French Fried Onions or wonton chips…salad!

Here we have our favorites; spinach, steamed broccoli, steamed cauliflower (technically not green, but certainly a veggie!), cilantro, and Spring Mix. Add some protein: boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, bacon; something sweet: golden raisins; and homemade red wine vinaigrette (recipe below) and you have a salad! Simple.


Assemble your own!


Add some leftover seasoned chicken…et voilà! Enjoy!

Photo by M. Sandoval
Homemade red wine vinaigrette: 

½ cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

teaspoon lemon juice

teaspoon spicy yellow mustard

salt and pepper

Photo by M. Sandoval

Simple Fried Eggs

fried eggs

There’s really no excuse for fast food in the morning for me unless I’m going out of town AND I need to go to the store for eggs. I’ve made eggs for breakfast every morning since I was pregnant. I didn’t know it then but I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Eggs were the only thing I could keep down in the morning…for seven and a half months. The rest of the day was another story!

Plain omelet, fried eggs, sunny-side up, scrambled…all relatively simple. For fried eggs, start with two eggs, crack them open into your heated (medium-high) pan that is coated with olive oil, breaking the yolks; I usually drag the edge of the shell across them if they didn’t break on their own. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you wait until you’re done cooking to add salt and pepper (the reason some people have salt and pepper shakers on their dining table), you’re going to have to put up with the gritty feel between your teeth of the salt and possible sneezing fit from the pepper. I’ve watched cooking shows since I was little, religiously when I was in high school and college over 20 years ago. The chefs always add salt and pepper while cooking. If I remember correctly, it’s to “enhance the food’s natural flavor.” I never used to season my food with salt hoping to avoid hypertension later in life, but it turns out I have low blood pressure, so I definitely keep to proper (according to the chefs’ recommendations) seasoning now!

Like pancakes, flip the eggs when the edges dry out. The eggs are done when there is no wet/jiggly parts left. I have bacon on the side which cooks marvelously on one of those microwave bacon plates, one minute per slice for perfectly crisp bacon. The spinach was wilted in olive oil after heating the minced garlic and shallots. This leaves a nice flavor in the pan to cook the eggs.

I recommend cooking the bacon first, then the spinach, and finally the eggs. The bacon needs a little time to cool off; the spinach cooks quickly, and the eggs get cold easily.

Try this and tell me what you think!

Turkey Meatball Phơ


Noodle soup is the perfect dinner for me after a long drive between states. It not only satisfies the I’m-not-hungry-but-need-to-eat-something-before-I-crash-for-the-night-so-I-don’t-wake-up-hungry-and-everything-is-already/still-closed dilemma, but it also does a great job of rehydrating me.

We have our favorite Pho place, but I wanted to try making it at home since I’ve used all of the ingredients before in other recipes.

Finding the right noodles was a little confusing. I’m pretty sure these noodles are cooked by restaurants and then removed from the liquid until they’re ready to serve because my noodles ended up disintegrating in the soup when I tried cooking some flavor into them! It was still delicious, just not as pretty as I’m used to.

Ingredients here are really like a Hot Pot; the amount is by taste. You can find some sort of rice noodles at most grocery stores. I found some dried rice noodles that came in a bag. For the soup, I made six cups of broth using water and Better-Than-Bouillon chicken stock (check the label for the appropriate proportions) and then added my favorite Asian cuisine veggies.

Straw mushrooms


Water chestnuts


Spinach and…

My Turkey Meatball recipe can be found and is also used in the Crock-Pot Beef Stew with dried cilantro added to give it a more Asian than Italian flavor.

Try it and tell me how it goes!

Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta


This recipe went so quickly. I used angel hair pasta. The pasta cooked in less than five minutes, so everything else needed to be ready then or the pasta would dry out! Needless to say, I didn’t have time to photograph the steps.

Update! Captured a couple more photos on the repeat using linguini…

While the water for the pasta was heating up, I warmed the oil, added the garlic and red pepper, lemon juice, and then butter. Since I used cooked shrimp, they needed warmed and to have flavor, I wanted to let them sit in the butter sauce for a couple minutes on each side but then I realized I forgot to remove the tail shells!

The pasta went into the boiling water. I’m stressing at this point because the shrimp doesn’t need any more cooking as it is, and my pasta only takes five minutes before I have to drain it, so everything needs to come together as soon as the pasta is done or it will end up being a cold dinner; either the pasta will cool off and dry up (I do put salt and olive oil in my pasta water) before you finish the sauce or the shrimp will be cold while you wait for the pasta to cool (I added the spinach to the cooked/drained pasta to wilt). The butter will burn, the shrimp will overcook, and the pasta will dry out if you get distracted.

Using my tongs, I pulled the shrimp back out of the pan and peeled them before they became too hot to touch. I sifted through the sauce looking for pieces of shell that I thought had been rinsed off when defrosting the shrimp but may have gotten stuck in the sieve. The sauce was very hot at this point, so I swirled it around a little with the shrimp in it and then stirred it in with the pasta. It worked out it in end, but that’s what I get for trying to speed it up and not following the recipe as is which I recommend for the first time you try this one!

Do try it. It’s a little spicy from the red pepper, but it’s that warm, hearty, spicy flavor; not the I-need-a-glass-of-milk-right-now spicy! The lemon and butter are proportioned just right to give this dish the right flavor but neither stands out. It has more butter than other recipes but with the full pound of pasta, seems light; filling but not heavy…and I love spinach! This is a new favorite.


Try it yourself and tell me what you think or if you substituted anything. Here’s the link:

Lemon Pasta with Chicken

IMG_8044One of the great thing about friends is that you have common interests. I have friends who post, or rather, re-post recipes they see on social media, but I’ve never known them to cook! So, I steal (another great thing about friends is they don’t mind this) those recipes and try them out for myself. I usually end up posting the results myself which may partly explain the long intervals between my posts here (but that’s another story)!

This recipe has become one of my favorites for a zesty, quick dinner. We usually have these ingredients in the fridge, and most people have some sort of pasta in their pantry at all times if they like pasta at all and can cook well enough. Hover your cursor over these photos to view captions.

I use the Crock-Pot regularly to cook my frozen chicken. It saves from under- or overcooking the chicken every time; it also prevents the kitchen from warming up especially now that it’s summer! I like buying my frozen chicken from Costco to save money and always have some in the freezer ready for a last minute recipe.

Oops! I forgot to chop up the chicken before adding it back!

Yup, I had to take the spinach off! I used cooking tongs to remove the chicken and hold the piece while I chopped it, then put it back in the pan. At least, it’s not like baking! You can fix most mistakes before the end, and it generally comes out the same taste-wise (according to the family, anyway)! Hover your cursor over these photos to view captions.

Ready to plate!

Try it and tell me what you think of the result!

Here’s the recipe: http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a47922/lemon-butter-chicken-pasta-recipe/