Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls

It’s Meatless Monday again! I’ve had this recipe in my file for so long and have never made it. I almost didn’t make them again because I had something planned on Saturday night which I was excited to make and didn’t because we impromtuly went to Disneyland that day after Eric got off of work, except I remembered I had a meeting and Eric was going to have to feed our daughter dinner, so I thought this was a good one to prep ahead of time and he could just pop it in the oven!

I couldn’t believe how easy these were to make! I think I’ve made lasagna maybe three times in my whole life because it just seems so intimidating (where on earth I came up with that, I have no idea). I just couldn’t believe how simply these came together. Dump it all in a bowl, stir, lay it all on a lasagna noodle, roll & put in the pan. Viola!
I didn’t get to eat this hot ( a) because I didn’t want to heat up the oven to warm it up and b) the roof of my mouth is blistered from the pizza!), and really thought it lacked big flavor (and I am a fan of big flavor!), so I sprinkled it with salt. I wonder how it would be hot? It was just “ok” cold the next day. My husband said it was “good” and decided to inform me he doesn’t like spinach because it tasted like beets… (I think a good term for that is “earthy”) so it wasn’t his favorite. However, our daughter apparently loved it! I made her her own spinachless version since she refuses to eat anything leafy and definitely anything wilted and leafy. I froze the leftovers for a day I’m dreading cooking dinner! I don’t think this is something I’ll make again. Too many recipes, so little time.

Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Yield: 9 lasagna rolls
Serving Size: 1 roll


  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) container fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • (optional) 1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 32 oz tomato sauce (I used spaghetti sauce)
  • 9 Tablespoons part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Make sure you drain the spinach well. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasonings, chicken, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry by patting them with a paper towel. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over a noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
  3. Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 Tablespoon of mozzarella cheese. Cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.
  4. To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.
Adjust calories and points if you add chicken. Adapted from Skinny Taste

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella and Pickled Jalapeños & Shameful Confessions

I’m not a very good pizza maker. I’m not sure if it’s the crust or if I bake it too long, but it is never as good as delivery pizza. (And here is where I admit an utmost amazing (shameful confession #1) find last Halloween: Tombstone cheese pizza! My husband and I were shocked at how good it was! And it’s under $2.00!)  I am a thick bready crust type of girl. I don’t like eating my pizza on a cracker… I’ve yet to find a homemade pizza crust that satisfies my perfect crust. I tried making my own a long time ago and in the recent past I just buy the pre-made dough from Trader Joes. Although, after just complaining to my mom, she said she’s heard of people going to their favorite pizza place ((shameful confession #2) can we say Pizza Hut?!) and just asking for the dough! That might be something to consider if you aren’t hardcore processed food-free.

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl via Cooking Light

I found this recipe via my Cooking Light magazine and was drawn in by the spice factor. Pickled jalapenos! I LOVE pickled jalapenos! Last year I plowed through three Costco sized jars in under three months, all by myself. I ate them on everything!!! Oh… and my grandma also gave me a regular sized jar for my birthday, which I devoured along with the other three… mmmmmmmmm… anyway, where was I? Oh yes, pickled jalapenos as an ingredient! When I visit, my grandma and I love to top our delivery pizzas with pickled jalapenos, but it had never crossed my mind to order them baked on until I saw this recipe.
I am a veggie pizza sort of girl and if it’s not veggie or some artisan pizza from a restaurant (goat cheese & honey pizza!) I do enjoy myself a BBQ chicken pizza. So here we are, full circle as to why this pizza recipe drew me in.
Aside from the pizza dough, fresh mozzarella & no-salt ketchup (ha! As IF!), I already had everything in the house. I don’t have a pizza stone and have no room for one in our tiny kitchen. And I certainly can’t justify cramming it in somewhere when I hardly ever make pizza, so a cookie sheet had to suffice. Everything was super easy to do, no fancy cooking skills required here! When it came time to make the sauce I wondered how it was going to taste like BBQ sauce. I still wonder how it tasted like BBQ sauce, but whatever. It tasted fine. I followed the baking directions to a “T” and should have followed my eye instead. The cheese melted past it’s happy point and that crust was so crisp it was almost too hard to eat! But, again, I’m biased.
In all, I wanted to love this for so many reasons, but I didn’t. (Nevermind the fact that I blistered the roof of my mouth on the first bite!! Wah!) It was good, but not great. The BBQ sauce didn’t taste BBQ-y to me. My husband said it was “good” and he did eat four pieces cold the next day, but it’s not something I’d make again. Too many recipes out there, too little time to explore them all!

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella and Pickled Jalapeños


3 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Cooking spray
12 ounces refrigerated fresh pizza dough
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup no-salt-added ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 450° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).
  2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with black pepper and salt. Combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and ground cumin in a small bowl, stirring well to combine. Set aside 2 teaspoons spice mixture, and rub the remaining spice mixture evenly over all sides of chicken. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Let chicken stand 10 minutes, and slice thinly against the grain.
  3. Roll dough into a 14 x 9-inch rectangle (or a 14-inch circle) on a lightly floured surface; pierce dough with a fork. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven. Sprinkle cornmeal over pizza stone; place dough on pizza stone.
  4. Bake at 450° for 9 minutes. Combine reserved 2 teaspoons spice mixture, ketchup, mustard, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove partially cooked crust from oven; spread ketchup mixture evenly over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Top with chicken, onion, jalapeños, and cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese is browned. Sprinkle with cilantro. Slice.

Alternatives: If you like arugula, try Chicken, Arugula, and Prosciutto Pizza: Prepare BBQ Chicken Pizza through step 3, omitting brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and ground cumin. Combine 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons thinly vertically sliced fresh garlic in a skillet over medium-low heat; cook 2 minutes or just until fragrant, stirring constantly (do not brown garlic). Brush uncooked pizza dough with garlic-oil mixture; sprinkle dough evenly with 3 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 ­teaspoon crushed red pepper, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Carefully remove partially cooked crust from oven; arrange chicken on crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until crust is golden and crisp. Place 1 1/2 cups arugula in a medium bowl; drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss. Arrange 1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto evenly over pizza; top with arugula mixture. Slice pizza. Serve immediately. Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice) Calories 307; Fat 12.9g (sat 3.9g); Sodium 624mg
If you like Parmesan, try Three-Cheese Chicken Pizza: Prepare BBQ Chicken Pizza through step 3, omitting spice rub. Combine 1 ounce crumbled blue cheese and 1 tablespoon fat-free milk; spread mixture over uncooked pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with chicken, 2 ounces shredded mozzarella, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon basil and 1 tablespoon chopped oregano. Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice) Calories 270; Fat 7.3g (sat 3g); Sodium 599mg

Crock Pot Black Bean Enchiladas- A Keeper!

A 5 star recipe! It was SO good. It was another crazy Wednesday with me tutoring (did I tell you that I tried to quit this tutoring job and the owner of the company denied me?! Yes, the owner didn’t let me quit… she steamrolled me! But I am going to try again, via email, so she can’t do it again. I hope!) and my daughter having gymnastics. Just a note: this recipe doesn’t have to be meatless if you’d rather not. Taco Bell has that smothered burrito that my husband loves and I think this could be a good substitute! Although there is NO alternative for Taco Bell as far as I’m concerned!

I think this recipe was amazing, but I don’t know if it could be amazing with all the variations out there. First of all, I used flour tortillas. I’m not a huge corn tortilla fan unless they’re 100% fresh, cooked to order, and steamy hot, so I’m not sure if this recipe would be a 5 starer for me if I used corn tortillas. Secondly, I’m not sure if it would be as amazing if I used another salsa. I used Trader Joes Organic Tomatillo salsa, my favorite Trader Joes’ salsa. No spice to it whatsoever (my toddler who thinks yellow mustard is spicy likes it), but the flavor is amaze-balls! I’m definitely going to mix it up next time I make this and I’ll update this post when I do with my results. But in the meantime, I encourage you to make this and then comment below with your results. Use your favorite kind of tortilla and your favorite kind of salsa and let me know if it’s worthy of 5 stars!

Slow Cooker Enchiladas

Adapted from

1/2 yellow onion, diced small
1/2 bell pepper, diced small (any color)
1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded and divided
2 16-ounce jars of your favorite salsa
12 6″-8″ tortillas, flour or corn

In a medium bowl, mix together the onion, pepper, black beans, corn, spices, meat (if using), and just 1/2 cup of the cheese. Pour about a cup of salsa (half a jar) into the bottom of the slow cooker and spread it around evenly.

Scoop about 1/3 cup into one of the tortillas, roll it up, and nestle it into the bottom of the crock pot. Repeat with the half of the remaining filling, rolling tortillas until the entire bottom of the crock pot is filled. Spread another cup of salsa over this layer and sprinkle it with another 1/2 cup of cheese.
Continue with the remaining filling and tortillas to create a second layer. Top with another cup of salsa, but reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese for later. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2-4 hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle the leftover cheese over the top and let it melt.

Serve the enchiladas with the remaining salsa. Leftovers will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Additional Notes from
• You can cook the enchiladas for longer (6-8 hours on LOW), but we found that the tortillas in the middle start to get mushy while the ones touching the sides of the cooker get crispy. Still tasty, though!
• To cook these enchiladas in the oven, layer the rolled tortillas in a 9×13 baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes.
• We haven’t tried it, but we so reason why this recipe couldn’t be doubled if your slow cooker is big enough. Just continue creating layers in the slow cooker and bake as usual.



The Farmer’s Market

I do Christmas with a vengence. I completely immerse myself 100% into the holidays with nary a crack to let the real world seep in. I have Christmas music playing in every room of our condo, all different stations, all different styles. The Christmas tree is on at all times whenever we are home because a dark Christmas tree is creepy to me. All flat surfaces are covered with décor and everything I do is related to Christmas somehow.


So, when it’s all over, I go through withdrawals. I’m having the symptoms. Something changes in me during that time and I haven’t quite put my finger on it, but regular music annoys me and I’m fresh and ready to make some changes. Which is good, because that’s what the new year is all about, making resolutions, a fresh new start, except I’m ready to do it now. So I am!

My first resolution is to drink 8-10 eight ounces of water every day. I started yesterday. And I’m behind today… thank goodness it’s just a practice run for the real shebang in three days!

Another resolution is to do things that give me a thrill. Like crafting, designing, and blogging. I love it. The only problem is that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done! I gotta figure out what isn’t making me happy and get rid of it to make room for the new happy!

Yet another resolution is to eat better always. I eat really well, except for when I don’t. Which isn’t very often, but during the holidays, is way more often than not. I feel like my life revolves around being healthful and doing the right thing for our bodies and I need to continue to focus on it.

Today I went to the farmer’s market. I’m not sure about my feelings related to the farmer’s market. I want to love it and I love the idea of it and I love other people’s blog posts about it, especially their pictures, but when I go, there is no magic. I want the best deal, I want it to be organic and I want it to be local (well as local as you can get around here).  Our farmer’s market is SO big. It’s grown leaps and bounds since I used to go so it’s more confusing than ever:

Farmer's Market 2013 015

Do they have a certified organic sign up?

Do they have their prices listed?

Woah, that cheese looks tasty!

Where’d that guy go I used to buy from?

Free sample, yes please!

Why are there strawberries in December?

Hey, there’s a big jug of Kombucha!

Wait, how much were those tomatoes back there?

There are too many people here.

Farmer's Market 2013 016

Those are pretty earrings!

Oh, I need cauliflower that isn’t $5.00 a head like at Whole Foods.

I will NOT be lured into buying a fresh baguette… stay strong, stay strong!

Tomatoes are $3.50/lb. which sounds good, I’ll get them here.

Matching little girl and doll dresses? No. We just had Christmas!

Hydroponic Japanese cucumbers are not organic. Don’t fall into that delightful sounding trap again!

Why are the walkways so narrow?

Ooooooh, fresh soaps and lotions…


Fruit, we need fruit. $7 for a bag of Asian Pears? Geez. $.79/each at Trader Joes x 10= it’s cheaper here. Relax.

Fresh fish! Wait, what?

Tomatoes! Why didn’t I buy those tomatoes back there?

Dang, it’s hot out here in the sun!

Tamales for lunch, that sounds yummy.

Sweet peas! Ohhhh, that’d be nice… wait, why are there sweet peas right now?


See what happens when I go? Too much distraction, too many non-fruit and veggie places to spend my money on, too many people, too hot, and then, is it really cheaper than the grocery store? Maybe I just need to find a smaller one, in a smaller town, where the stuff is actually grown.

I went. I saw. I didn’t exactly conquer, but I did buy some things we needed.

Farmer's Market 2013 017

And I managed not to make eye contact with anyone who wasn’t selling a fresh fruit or veggie. That was super hard! In order to keep up this new year’s resolution, I’m going to have to hunt for a different farmer’s market with a different vibe.

I still have three days to figure out all of my New Year’s Resolutions. The main one is still: FINDING 30 FIVE STAR RECIPES!

A New Adventure

Why I didn’t start chronicling my adventure when I started, I’ll never know. But it was probably a good thing because it’s been rough enough without having to write about my failures and frustrations. Plus, the holidays… we ate out entirely way too much. It’s neither here nor there at this point. Today I start blogging about our eating adventures! But first, lets get into the background. That’s always a good place to start, the background. Like, what makes a person tick. If you ever find yourself in a socially awkward situation, ask the person about their background. People like to talk about themselves, and unless they’re super shy they’ll start talking up a storm! Here it is (and I’m sure so many of you can relate!): Every night at 5 o’clock I’d suddenly go into a panic “what are we having for dinner?”. Then I’d scrounge around in the freezer, fridge and pantry looking for something to throw together. It was usually boring, but relatively tasty & it filled our stomachs. One day I saw on 100 Days of Real Food a post about an online menu planner, Plan To Eat. I have a friend that uses the Six O’clock Scramble (a menu planner with recipes included). It seemed like a good idea, but I hadn’t made the time to check into it, but when I saw this one, I figured I’d just look into it. I browsed around, saw that there was a 30 day free trial & was intrigued. There are some recipes included, but what was so intriguing to me was I finally had a place to put all of those amazing looking recipes I see on Pinterest, in blogs, Facebook posts or magazines that I always think “oh that looks good, I’ll try it some day” and of course, never do. I FINALLY FOUND A PLACE TO FILE THOSE RECIPES AWAY! I was sold, sold I tell you! And so our adventure began. Admittedly, I invested a lot of hours initially in Plan To Eat. There is a button to add to your Favorites Bar, so when you are online and find a recipe you like, you click it and the recipe uploads in a pop up box, you click “Save to Recipe Book” and that’s it. Unfortunately, recipes on blogs don’t always upload successfully, but it’s nothing a little cut and paste can’t fix. I went to my Pinterest page and saved all of those recipes. Then I grabbed my magazines and looked the recipes up online and saved all of those recipes too. Then as recipes showed up on Facebook posts, on Pinterest and as magazines came in the mail, I saved those too. Another great thing is that if you have friends on Plan To Eat, you can use their recipes in your menu, so you can easily share recipes! Once I invested all of that time, it has gotten much easier time wise. I will either sit down and plan out our menu for an entire month, or if I don’t have enough spare time, I’ll do it by the week. Now I had a ton of recipes and was ready to get started with my menu planning! In order to make things easier on me, I themed days of the week (and have altered some of those themes as the months have come and gone). We have Meatless Mondays, “Taco” Tuesdays (Mexican recipes), Italian Wednesdays, Fish Thursdays, Easy Fridays, Miscellaneous Saturdays and Soup Sundays. I started out with breakfast, lunch AND dinner recipes, but after about a month of that I simplified it and switched to dinners only. Sometimes I’ll have a breakfast recipe for Saturday mornings, but my husband started working Saturdays so I stopped making delicious breakfasts. Boooo! Once I was ready to go shopping, all I had to do was pull up the website on my iPhone (but I wish they had an app…) and voila! there’s my shopping list! I admit, I do miss the paper list somewhat, but I’m adjusting (especially because we are paper hoarders). And there’s no reason you couldn’t write the prepared shopping list on paper. I’ve thought about doing that. You can organize the store categories according to your local grocery store, which makes it so much easier! Oh, AND if you shop at multiple stores, you can sort your groceries by stores. I only shop at two stores. Trader Joe’s is limited so whatever I don’t find there, I get at Whole Foods. Anyway, I started out making all of these amazing recipes and after three months, realized I hadn’t repeated one recipe! My goal was (& is) to find enough fabulous recipes to fill a month and then the recipes will get easier and we won’t have a boring meal again! Not that we’ve had a boring meal in 4 months, but I’m ready for the easier part. My husband complains that we’ve had some great things and he’s never gotten to eat them again. I tell him “in due time, in due time”! Not all the recipes have been great. Either I screwed them up, or they just didn’t taste good to us. I have about 7 recipes that I’d make again and have made a couple of them again recently. But now that the holidays are over, I’m back on my mission to find 31 amazing recipes! Oh, another benefit of this fabulous idea is it saves us money! We rarely eat out when my menu is full and when we do I, no joke, am disappointed because I had some fabulous recipe all planned out that I was excited to try! By the way, I’m not sure how I’ll incorporate pictures since I’m not always a great photographer and don’t have a great camera, but I’ll do my best (thanks Instagram!) and as time goes on, hopefully I’ll get better. And so my new blog begins!