Pesto & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Meal Prep Alert!

I made these for this week’s lunches. They were easy, delicious, and can be either vegetarian or stuff them with chicken like I did this week. Let’s get started!

Ingredients
1 Box of Jumbo Pasta Shells
1/4 Cup Pesto (buy or make your own)
2 Shredded Chicken Breast
2 Cups of Alfredo sauce (buy or make your own)
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
2 Cups Chopped Finely Mushrooms
1 Cup of Ricotta
S&P

How To

The pasta shells need to cook about 8 minutes total and I lay them out on a sheet pan to cool. I already had shredded chicken but the recipe was just 2 chicken breast, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chicken broth, and throw in crock pot for 4 hours on high. Shred and set.

Filling: Mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, pesto, chicken, mushrooms, and salt&pepper. Once your shells have cooled stuff those bad boys up!

Bake: I lay a thin layer of alfredo on the bottom on my baking dish and then put the shells on top. Cover with some more sauce and let bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and then put the rest of your cheese on top and broil for 5 minutes. Done! These are pretty simple for meal prep, loaded with protein, and pretty damn tasty!

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Thai Meatballs with Coconut Basil Cream Sauce

Well, this is different. Welcome to the world of unique. Step outside your comfort zone and make these! Healthy and fast dinner! Total cook time for these only 30 minutes! These would be a reeeeally impressive appetizer…just sayin’.

 

Ingredients

1lb Ground Turkey (or chicken, or beef, alligator….whatever you would like)
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Panko (breadcrumbs can also be substituted)
4 Large Basil Leaves Diced
2 Cloves Garlic – Minced
1/2 Yellow Onion – Minced
1TSP Sesame Seed Oil
1TBSP Avocado Oil
2TBSP Red Curry Paste
1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
2TBSP KerryGold butter
1TBSP Siracha
1/2 Zest of Lemon & 1/2 Zest of Lime
Rice(Optional)

How To

Meatballs

In a large bowl combine: ground turkey, panko, egg, 1 clove garlic, onion, half of the minced basil, red curry paste, avocado oil, lemon zest, and S&P. Mix until all ingredients are fully combined. Now, I personally rolled my mixture into my little balls, set them on a plate, and let them sit in the fridge for about an hour because I got lazy and didn’t want to cook them yet. One hour later the meatballs have set up nicely. Thank you one too many mimosas at brunch!
I pan fry my meatballs for color then finish them in the oven. Let them brown on each side for 1-2 minutes in either some oil or butter(or both if you’re Krystal) then let those bad boys sit in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350.
Both the panko and avocado oil in the mixture buys you insurance that these will not be dry. Turkey can be tasty!

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Sauce

On medium heat saute your garlic in butter and when the garlic is cooked 90% add in the zest of the lime. When the garlic is translucent and cooked add in your whole can of coconut milk. Now, we have discussed coconut milk before: it’s creamy, fatty, smooth,and thick enough to not need a roux for sauces. Now, at this point taste your sauce and decide how much siracha you would like in there….remember the meatballs have a kick! When you are ready to serve add your basil….do not add it and then let it continue to cook or simmer…wilted basil is the worst! Serve these babies over rice or grilled veggies!

Spinach Dip – Two Ways

I am not ashamed of being an over achiever. When my Facebook peeps ask for spinach dip I can’t just make ONE version, right? Besides, some people had never heard of hot spinach dip and some had never heard of cold. Ummm what? I clearly needed to take the task of educating on spinach dip into my own hands. I have made both of these dips several times with great success and what I love about dips in general is that they are pretty easy to tweak. Want to add something different? Do it. Don’t like something in there? Don’t add it.

Let’s start with cold dip!

Cold Spinach Dip

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Ingredients
2 Cups Greek Yogurt (you can sub for sour cream if you don’t like greek yogurt)
1/2 Good Quality Mayonnaise(I add mayonnaise because I love it – this is just as good with ALL greek yogurt though if you want to be reeeeeally healthy)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper – Diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper – Diced
3 Cups Fresh Spinach – Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic – Chopped
Bundle of Green onions – sliced
1/2 Lemon
Olive Oil
Fresh/Dried Dill
Red Chili Flakes
S&P

How To

Now, traditional cold spinach dip is sour cream, mayo, a packet of vegetable soup mix(yes), and frozen spinach. Ummm, we are not doing that here. Not ever.
First things first – get that spinach cooked so it can cool/drain excess water. Bring a pan to medium heat with some olive oil, the chopped garlic, and then throw all the spinach in. Cooking spinach takes less than 3 minutes. I place my cooked spinach in a bowl lined with a cloth towel so the water can drain and once cool I can squeeze even more water out of it. While the spinach cools throw the remaining ingredients in a bowl together and mix up. Greek yogurt, lemon, dill, mayo, peppers, chili flakes(to your tasting), green onions, S&P and mix mix mix. I place it in the fridge until I am able to drain the spinach. I think you know the drill once the spinach has cooled, right? Toss it in there as well and mix mix mix, again. Now, the chopped FRESH peppers and green onion are what replaces the vegetable soup mix….that’s all it is guys…..dried bell pepper, green onion, and I think each bag gets one piece of dried carrot, and then 6 gallons of salt. For sale at a grocery store near you during the holidays for $3.99! No, guys, no. Make cold spinach dip this way because not only is it kind of healthy but it is much more authentic and refreshing, and it’s not even that much more work. Chop your peppers!

Traditionally cold spinach dip is served in a bread bowl with small pieces of bread surrounding it for dipping. I toasted some bread as I needed it for the hot dip you can find below and it was delicious. 

 

Hot Spinach Dip

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Ingredients
2 Cups Sour Cream
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Shredded Parmesan Cheese
3 Cups Spinach Chopped/Cooked
1 Clove Garlic – Chopped
1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
1/2 Lemon
S&P
Red Chili Flakes
Fresh Tomato Slices
Fresh Jalapeno Slices
Fresh Baguette Sliced
Olive Oil

How To

Sorry, I just can’t even try to make this one healthy. You can try greek yogurt but I promise you it just doesn’t heat well. There are several ways to make hot spinach dip. You can throw all of this in a crockpot(I’d add some cream cheese) and set it to low for an hour or two. Crock pot is a good suggestion if you are bringing the dip to a party etc. I also have baked this with a panko topping…..awesome. Today, though I did somewhat of a bruschetta style. I placed the dip on baguette slices drizzled with olive oil, then added a fresh tomato slice, broiled, and added some aged balsamic on top. Perfect appetizer.
This one is simple – cook the spinach the same way as the previous dip, then mix everything together. Turn your broiler on to high and make these bad boys! Let me know if you like them.

Mini French Dip Sandwiches – Shredded Beef

We ALL LOVE mini foods, am I right? Mini foods are perfect for parties, events, snacks, and they make you feel like eating a 1000 of them isn’t so bad. All hail the mini foods! I posted these on Instagram the other day and people LOST THEIR MINDS! I honestly didn’t think they were all that exciting and they were easy breezy beautiful cover girl so if you want the recipe to the world’s easiest sandwiches keep on reading!

The secret to these is the beef….always the beef. Let your beef cook for a good 8 hours which of course isn’t a big deal if you aren’t afraid of your Crockpot like me. I planned my whole day around these bad boys so I wouldn’t have to leave my house BUT Kayla wanted to go see IT….so I had to leave it ON. You guys, if I had not had cocktails at the theater I probably would have been stressed the whole time. I am paranoid about the Crockpot, okay?!

Ingredients

3lbs Chuck Roast
1 Package Kings Hawaiian Rolls – these are my favorite you can use what you’d like
Provolone sliced Cheese
Kerrygold Butter
S&P
Garlic Powder
1 Yellow Onion
Red Chili Flakes

THAT’S IT!!!!!

How To

Now, you won’t actually need all 3lbs of beef just for the sandwiches. I used the rest for shredded beef burrito bowls. I placed my chuck roast in the crockpot with S&P, chili flakes, 1 cup of water, garlic powder, a butter, and the onion cut in half. Turn on low for 8 hours. Done. Beautiful.

Fast forward to 8 hours later and you shouldn’t even have to “shred” this meat it should be falling apart in its’ own juices at this point. Take some beef and put it off to the side – however much you’d like for sandwiches. Now, the au jus – very important for french dips. Take ALL your liquid and get yourself a fat skimmer thing…..looks like this 31SuItie7aL

This will get rid of the fat in your liquid….now this is basically your au jus, I like mine a tiny bit thicker so I add a tiny bit of flour and butter. Done. Seriously guys, that easy.

Sandwich assembly!!

I take out the entire 12 rolls from the packaging and cut them in half like one giant piece of bread, then I layer my meat, cheese, and place the top on. I brush these GENEROUSLY with my favorite Kerrygold butter and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the beef is hot. Once out of the oven and cooled for like….a minute I cut them into the sandwich size. Perfect. Ooey Gooey – delicious! Let me know if you make these!

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Cauliflower “Potato” Salad with Pickled Celery

You probably don’t want to bring this to a picnic or bring it instead of potato salad if someone specifically asked for potato because you know….people are haters. Try to convert people at your own risk. I learned my lesson a few Thanksgivings ago when I tried to bring cauliflower mash instead of mashed potatoes I thought I was going to be banished from my own family! I will post my cauliflower mash recipe soon though, I promise! I prefer cauliflower salad to regular potato salad and not because it’s healthier or because I can’t eat potatoes but I just generally like and prefer the taste of it. I like it warm the best….right when the cauliflower pieces come out of the oven and you coat them in the delicious dressing…..yes…..that is life.

I have a lot of friends and family that cannot or will not eat potatoes and so I decided to get creative and make a cauliflower version but spice it up some with some pickled celery pieces. Low carb potato salad….can you believe it?! Now, I roast my cauliflower because I believe it is the only way to get the real true delicious flavor out of cauliflower and we aren’t making raw cauliflower salad because I hate raw cauliflower but Kyle loves it  and almost ate half my head of cauliflower!

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Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients – 2 servings

1 head of cauliflower – chopped into 1 inch pieces – toss with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes
1/4 Cup GOOD mayonnaise or yogurt/sour cream
2 TBSP fresh or dried dill
1 Celery Stalk
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
Red Chili Flakes
1/4 Lemon Zest
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/4 Red Onion Diced
Pickle or Relish
Garlic Powder
S&P
1 Jalapeno
*Traditional potato salad uses mustard but I wasn’t feeling it for the cauliflower – go ahead and use if you’d like*

How To

First – get your cauliflower roasting because it takes what feels like forever and a day.
Second- Celery Pickle – Personally, I would let these sit overnight but if you’re in a rush a half hour will do the trick. I diced my celery heart and a small piece of jalapeno and mixed them with the 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar and some salt. Set aside. I didn’t use the jalapeno IN the salad(would be tasty though) but it infused the vinegar/celery with some nice spice.

Third – mix the rest of your ingredients together with the mayonnaise and let it chill in the fridge until the cauliflower is ready. I thin out my dressing with a bit of the infused wine vinegar.

Finally – when the cauliflower is cooked and still WARM toss everything together! I like my cauliflower to still have a bite to it but the way you like it is how you should make it. You could also try this recipe with raw cauliflower and I’d only suggest letting the dressing and cauliflower sit overnight with one another to create a really good marinade. Your dressing, cauliflower, and the pickled celery pieces (not WITH the vinegar – add that a little at a time). Now, I like eating this warm but it is also delicious cold! I served this with some chicken wings that I baked rather than fried. HealthiER than potato salad….I wouldn’t call this meal the epitome of health haha. I hope you try this!

Spanish Cauliflower Rice

I love real rice. I am not a rice hater, BUT it doesn’t make me feel the best a few hours after consuming, and you know the world is currently OBSESSED with cauliflower rice. I thought, well what the hell let’s try it and it worked! This recipe was so so so easy, flavorful, and you can eat more because it’s just veggies not rice! I am planning on making many different varieties so be on the lookout – this is only the beginning!!

Cauliflower rice is stupid expensive in the store – read below to learn how to make it all on your own!

Ingredients

1 Head of Cauliflower
2 TBSP Kerrygold Butter
1 TBSP Olive Oil
6 Roma Tomatoes (use the variety you prefer and cube them)
1/2 Jalapeno – diced
1/2 White onion – diced
3 Cloves of garlic – diced
3 TBSP Taco seasoning (I make my own which is: cumin, garlic, oregano, paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and onion powder)
S&P

How To

Cut your cauliflower into large pieces. I had to make this in two batches even though I have a fairly large processor. Pulse the cauliflower in the processor until it is a rice like consistency.

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On medium heat saute your onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, and seasoning with the butter and olive oil. I only cook everything for about 5 minutes, but this part is totally up to you. THEN I bump the heat to high and throw down the riced cauliflower, stir it around or about 3-4 minutes and pull OFF the heat! Cauliflower rice does not take long at all and you still want that nice “rice bite” as I call it. Enjoy!