Roasted Tomato and Spinach Pie

I strongly believe the world is divided into two camps – those who loath spinach and those who love it. I am belong to the latter camp. The leafy green can be used in some many ways and in so many styles of cooking. I usually have a bag of fresh and a few packs of frozen on hand at all times. And this recipe for spinach pie is one of my favorite ways to use it!

spinach pie

Most of the ingredients are items you have on hand – so it makes for a perfect last minute, unplanned dinner. And of course you can mix up the ingredients based on what you have and your tastes. This spinach pie recipe works great with feta and any left over veggies you have on hand. Just be sure to keep the ratio consistent so it is not too dry or wet.

This particular version of the recipe calls for slow roasted cherry tomatoes and of course the tomatoes can be roasted in advance. I love to have roasted tomatoes on hand to throw into salads, eggs, pasta – really anything. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness and they are addicting.

10 oz frozen spinach
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 eggs, whisked
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powered
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9-inch pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Begin by roasting your cherry tomatoes. Simply toss them with some olive oil, salt and pepper to roast for about 20 minutes. *This can of course be done in advance. 

While the tomatoes roast, thaw your spinach in the microwave and drain any excess liquid using a colander or cheese cloth.

Stir all ingredients, including the roasted tomatoes, together in a large bowl then pour mixture into prepared pie dish.

spinach pie

Bake for 30 minutes or until the middle is cooked through and no longer jiggling.

spinach pie

Slice up the spinach pie and enjoy!

spinach pie


Kielbasa Hash

My house is still mourning the Steelers not making the Super Bowl this year. However, we still  watched the game and since its Super Bowl Sunday I think good food is a necessity. This is where my kielbasa hash comes in.

Kielbasa is such as a classic football food – but instead of being served as a sandwich I sautéed it with potatoes, pepper and onions. A tailgating sandwich in a bowl!

Kielbasa Hash

2 potatoes, cubed
1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 link kielbasa
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt & pepper, to taste
grated parmesan, optional

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Begin by roasting the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until soft.

While the potatoes roast, sauté the onion and pepper in a large skillet. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning to the pan. Cook until fragrant. Add kielbasa and potatoes, cooking until the kielbasa is heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Kielbasa Hash

Serve topped with grated parmesan.

Kielbasa Hash


Balsamic Chicken Empanadas

Earlier this week I had every intention of posting a slow cooker balsamic chicken recipe… and then I got the flu. So the balsamic chicken sat in my fridge for two days begging to be made into something delicious. Balsamic chicken empanadas were the answer!

Empanadas sound difficult but are actually very easy and do not take that long! And to make it even easier, I use frozen pizza dough – either store bought or homemade (for homemade try the dough from my BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe). And though my son is not old enough to help – or even stand – I am guessing that kids will love to help stuff the empanadas and of course eat them!


2 large chicken breasts
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon oregano
pizza dough, brought to room temperature
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Before you leave for work, simply add the chicken, diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and herbs into a slow cooker. Cook on High for 4 hours. When done, shred the chicken.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Let the pizza dough come to room temperature. Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a water glass – about 6 inches round – cut out rounds for the empanadas. Layout dough rounds on a baking sheet and spoon a bit of the chicken mixture. I drain some of the liquid from the mixture so the empanadas do not get soggy.

Combine the egg and water in a small bowl and brush the edges of the dough rounds. Fold over the dough and crimp edges with your fingers, locking in the chicken. Brush the tops of the empanadas with the egg mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the dough the is golden. Let rest for a few minutes.



These are difficult to photograph but are still delicious!



Brownie Baking Fail

I was going to post a recipe for pretzel brownie bits. They should have been sweet and salty, chocolatey and fudgey but with a salty pretzel crunch.

But this happened…

baking fail

They batter somehow stayed liquid after 15 minutes, but bubbled up to burn on the pan. Baking fail, right here.

Hope you had better luck baking this weekend!

Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

Chicken parmesan is one of my favorite dinners of all time. Who doesn’t love crispy chicken with gooey melted mozzarella? No one. And luckily for me it can easily be made healthy without loosing much flavor. So I can enjoy my favorite meal more often.

But the classic can get boring – so one way I like to mix it up is to add sliced pepperoni for a pizza spin on a classic chicken parmesan.

Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 egg
2/3 cup marinara sauce (depending on how much sauce you like)
1/3 cup sliced pepperoni (about ten slices)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet, lightly coat with non-stick spray. Set up your dredging station with one bowl of breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning mixed in, and another bowl with the beaten egg.

Begin by lightly pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness so they cook evenly. Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper.

First dip the chicken in the egg then the breadcrumbs. Feel free to dip back into the egg and breadcrumbs for a thicker crust. Set on cooling rack. Repeat for all chicken breasts.

Bake chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken so keep an eye on it!

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and layer the sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella on top. Turn the broiler on and put the chicken back in the oven to melt the cheese. This should only take about two minutes.

Serve with a simple vegetable, we did roasted brussels sprouts.



Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

Pepperoni peaking out from under melted cheese? Yes please!

Cuban Panini with Cumin Roasted Potatoes and Apples

We literally just finished eating these and I needed to get this out – these Cuban panini were that GOOD. I have been craving a Cuban sandwich for a few weeks now and we haven’t had a chance to get one out – most of the Cuban restaurants near us aren’t too baby-friendly. So I finally broke down and just made my own and I am so glad I did. It all came together – the salty ham, the briny pickles, the sweet pork, the mustardy mustard. Amazing.

And the cumin dusted potatoes and apples were the perfect slightly sweet yet smokey compliment.

Oh and the pickles were homemade – I love this recipe by Tyler Florence. But since I don’t have all spice berries  I instead use a pinch of ground all spice.

Seriously, try these Cuban panini ASAP!

cuban panini

cuban panini

4 slices bread
1 thick pork chop
1 handful of sliced deli ham
2 slices of swiss cheese
1/4 cup pickle slices
2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
2 small potatoes, cubed
1 apple, cubed
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss cubed potatoes and apples in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until tender.

While the potatoes and apples roast, begin the panini. Slice the pork chop into two thinner chops. Season with salt and pepper. Quickly cook on a grill pan or skillet, about two or three minutes per side. Set aside.

Begin assembling the sandwiches by buttering all pieces of bread and layering the pork, ham, pickles, cheese and mustard. Place assembled sandwiches on a grill pan or skillet. Cook the sandwiches on each side for about four minutes, until cheese is melted and bread toasted.

Serve with the roasted potatoes and apples.

cuban panini


Turkey Taco Soup

In my house crock-pot soups, like this turkey taco soup, are a life saver and are usually on the menu at least once a week. It’s easy, healthy and is ready to eat when I walk in the door after work. I cannot explain how comforting it was last night to come home from a long day at work to smell this soup ready to go in our crock-pot.

And even better this turkey taco soup recipe leaves plenty of left overs for lunches I can bring to work. I usually pack my soups for lunch in a mason jar so I can microwave and eat right out of the jar. And no spills on my way to work!

Turkey Taco Soup

1 lb ground turkey
1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped onion
3 minced garlic cloves
2 cups black beans (or a 15 ounce can)
3 cups chicken broth
8 ounces tomato sauce
15 ounces diced tomatoes
4 ounces green chilies
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
salt & pepper to taste

Optional Toppings:
Green onions
Cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Begin by browning the turkey in a large skillet until cooked through. Drain any fat.

Then simply add the turkey and all remaining ingredients into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours. And dinner is done!

I prefer to top mine with cheddar cheese and chopped scallions. The hubby prefers crushed up tortillas chips and cheese.

Turkey Taco Soup


Carrot Pancakes

Carrot pancakes sound a bit crazy – but stay with me. These pancakes are not only an easy breakfast or dinner option, they pack extra veggies and are slightly sweet. It’s a win, win, win.
And in my house, pancakes for dinner are a big deal because my husband loves eating breakfast for dinner – I think it makes him feel like a rebel or something. So he gets to feel like a rebel and I get to each something fun and healthy. Again with the win, win.
Just think of these carrot pancakes like carrot latkes with syrup.
 carrot pancakes

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
 3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups finely grated carrot (about 1 pound)
Maple syrup, for serving
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, through ginger. In a second bowl mix all remaining ingredients, except the carrot. Slowly stir wet mixture into dry mixture until just combined. Fold in grated carrots.
Heat a non-stick pan with cooking spray. Spoon mixture onto pan, flipping when the the tops begin to bubble – just like normal pancakes. Flip and finish cooking for another two minutes or so.
 carrot pancakes
Top with maple syrup.

Kitchen Gadget Wish List

Kitchen gadgets are meant to make life simpler and like any home cook – I love a good kitchen gadget. And now that we have a house – instead of a teeny tiny apartment – I have room to grow my collection. I now have a closet in the basement specifically for my kitchen collection, with everything neatly organized in bins. Mixer attachments, baking sheets, muffin and donut tins, pie plates, pastry bags – I have them all. But of course there are always a few tools I’d love to add.

Here are just a few from my kitchen wish list I found while daydreaming/shopping William and Sonoma:

kitchenaid spiralizer

When I first saw these I thought it was crazy but then I made pasta from zucchini and I was hooked. I’ll love anything that helps replace my pasta habit with something a bit more healthy. And I have a bad pasta habit. And I can it as a KitchenAid attachment. Done.
Garlic Peeler
garlic peeler

I love garlic but I hate peeling it. It’s oddly sticky and smelly. No matter what I do I swear I can smell the garlic on my hands days later. Cure? Garlic peeler.
Herb Keeper
herb keeper

In the summer we have a herb garden  on our deck. However, in the winter I buy  fresh herbs and they always end up rotting in my fridge. I am thinking of a bunch of basil that has turned black in my fridge right now. This little herb keeper will solve my winter herb problems.

Ice Cream Maker
ice cream maker

Just cause this would be fun. Who wouldn’t want to experiment and make their own crazy combinations? PB&J, blueberries and pistachios, carrot and dark chocolate…. And again its a KitchenAid attachment.

Trust me, carrot and dark chocolate is going to be a HUGE hit.

Be back soon!



Pear and Maple Muffins

We are spending the day inside watching the nor’easter outside our window and a cold, snowy day begs for homemade muffins. This recipe started as an apple cinnamon muffin then transformed into a pear and maple version.  Pears and I have been having a moment.

pear and maple muffins

And this muffin is healthy! Whole wheat flour instead of white flour. Canola oil is replaced with a combination of apple sauce and coconut oil. And this recipe gets its sweetness from the pear and maple syrup – no refined sugar! A delicious muffin that you can feel good about?! Sign me up!

pear and maple muffins

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds
3 eggs
2/3 cup pure maple
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated pears, about two medium pears

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees and prep a muffin tin with liners.

Begin by combining all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. In a second bowl, whisk together all remaining ingredients except the pear. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, lightly stir until just combined. Fold in grated pear.

Spoon batter into muffin cups until 3/4 full.

pear and maple muffins

Begin baking the muffins at 425 degrees for the first 5 minutes before dropping the temperature to 350 degrees and baking for another 18 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

pear and maple muffins