Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I’ve been such a bad blogger lately.  I get busy and my blog suffers.  Here is a delicious breakfast casserole I made weeks ago…but was completely a hit at work.  And I really hesitated on calling it a casserole, because it gives it such a Grandma connotation.  But then a wise person told me...there’s nothing bad with being compared to Grandma when cooking.  Total Fact.

::Spicy Sausage Three Cheese Casserole::
With Jalapeño ranch topping

The original recipe was found here…but definitely added to it and made some tweaks to make it a bit healthier.

3 links turkey sausage, de-cased, rolled into small chunks
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups sliced, fresh mushrooms
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups egg substitute (one small egg beaters carton)
2 cups shredded Cheddar (reduced fat)
1 ½ cups small curd cottage cheese (non-fat)
1 ¼ cups shredded Swiss cheese (1%)
4 cups frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1 can spicy rotelle

1. In a large skillet, cook sausage. Set aside.
2. Sauté onions in drizzle of olive oil until soft/clear. Set aside.
3. Sauté bell peppers until partially cooked…add mushrooms and continue cooking until soft. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg beaters, cheese, and hash browns.
5. Add all cooked ingredients + rotelle (drained well) and mix together.
6. Add salt and pepper.
7. Transfer to baking dish (13-in x 9-in x 2-in) and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 min to an hour (or until cooked all the way through). Can also let sit over night in fridge and cook in the morning.

Top with salsa and/or jalapeño ranch dip (recipe below).

This breakfast turned out really really well. I made a double batch and had a variety of baking dishes. The smaller, shallower dish cooked better. Prefer the edges that are crispier. Some of the center pieces were a little less firm than desired. But think part of this was due to not draining the rotelle well enough/too much liquid. Overall, was really delicious. And the jalapeño ranch dip was an insane hit (as you can see by the almost-empty container pictured above).

::Jalapeño Ranch Dip::

The desire behind making this was two-fold. 1) thought it would be a good topping for breakfast 2) was going to a UT football game watching party later that weekend and thought this would be good to bring. The recipe was a combination of a few I found online, majority of it was based after the dip from Chuy’s in Austin.

16 oz. Sour cream (of course I picked the fat free)
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip powder
1 handful of cilantro leaves
1 cup of pickled jalapeño slices (keep adding more if not spicy enough)
1 tomatillo (this was found on a different recipe…really don’t think it’s a must-have but if you don’t have or want to buy a tomatillo then I’d prob throw in some lime juice…roughly half a lime)

Throw in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender (first time to use…love) or throw in a blender.

Completely delicious as topping or as dip with carrots/bell pepper/etc. Literally might have been more enjoyed by my pod at work than the actual casserole.

Hook 'em Horns!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It has been wet. And gloomy. And cold (81 degrees) here in Dallas the past two days...and this is what it looks like outside my office.

I was THIS close to digging into the fall shoe section of my closet and wearing some boots today.  But that felt a little aggressive.  However, I couldn't shake the need for something hot for lunch so I went home and made...

with spicy tomatoes and peppers

Now it may not even be legal to call something chili that took like 11 minutes to make...but I'm going with it.  So fast - so easy - so good.

2 turkey sausage links (I like spicy Italian) de-cased and pulled into small balls
1 can of cannelloni beans (rinsed)
1 can of rotelle
Splash of Chipotle Tabasco
Juice of 1/2 a lime

In a medium skillett over medium-high heat, spray pan with cooking spray and brown sausage...covering until cooked through.  (roughly 5 minutes)

Then add can of beans and rotelle.  Simmer covered 5 minutes.

Then turn off heat.  Add Tabasco, sprinkle of salt, and lime juice.  Stir one more time then enjoy.

Honestly so fast - so easy - so good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


So as promised, this is the week of nectarines...and below are two more ideas for this delicious fruit...

with Jalapeno, Cilantro, and Red Onion

I went to this great little restaurant in Dallas with my Mom the other day called Two Sisters and they had a similar salad that I've tried to recreate.

Everything pictured below...

1/4th or so of thinly sliced red onion
1 jalapeno chopped finely
2-3 nectarines cubed
Juice of 1 lime
Small bunch of cilantro, chopped
Little drizzle of olive oil
Bonus not pictured: the restaurant had mozzarella balls in theirs...wonderful...but didn't have on me and to keep it a little healthier opt-ed out...but seriously good add

Just stir all ingredients together and enjoy.  Fine to eat right away but also gets better with time in the fridge.

Good as kind of a funky fruit salad dessert...or great with grilled chicken.

with Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, and Basil

I love basil.  Love it.  Just bought a little thing of it and going to try to plant it.  I used to have a pot of basil and rosemary that my Dad planted for me...but for the life of me...not sure why it didn't survive the Winter...

So to make the caprese salad, just slice the nectarines and tomatoes and layer in some cheese.  Standard operating procedure is mozzarella but again...didn't have, so goat cheese gives it an interesting twist.  Then sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsam vin.

Delicious and beautiful.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Greek.Yogurt with Strawberries.Blueberries and Walnuts

In case you need to see another variation to convince you to go out and buy some Greek is today's breakfast...

Scoop of Greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon.  Toasted, chopped walnuts.  Fresh strawberries and blueberries.

Was really, really good....

Just sayin.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Honey.Cinnamon.Greek.Yogurt with Nectarines and Toasted.Walnuts

I'm completely craving nectarines right now.  They are in season --- and so juicy and delicious.  This week will definitely be dedicated to these little guys...

Yesterday at Central Market I was laughing to myself as I literally tested every single nectarine on display for ripeness.  I wanted to eat one immediately vs. wait for it to ripen so I was lightly squeezing every one.  Probably tested like 50 different ones to try to find one what was ripe enough...and was laughing because it reminded me of Jenga!  You know how you lightly tap-tap-tap each block to find the one that moves?  That was me at the nectarine display.

Besides nectarines, my other new kick is Greek yogurt.  I really like FAGE Total 0% that I found at Whole Foods yesterday.  For 1 cup of yogurt it's 120 cal / 0g fat / 20g of protein.  So this morning, I made the following for breakfast:

::Honey Cinnamon Greek Yogurt with Nectarines & Toasted Walnuts::

Just scoop a cup of the yogurt into a bowl --- sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey (I used sugar free).  Then added fresh, cubed nectarines and chopped walnuts that I quickly toasted on the stove.  Was delicious, healthy, and perfect combination of creamy, sweet, and crunchy.

It can also be made really quickly.  If you know me, you know I'm NOT a morning person.  I'm usually on two-wheels trying to get to work on time while simultaneously eating a bowl of cereal and curling my eyelashes.  I know.  It's terrible.  I've really tried to lock-it up a bit since the great cereal disaster of 2009 (pictured below) and that usually just means forgoing breakfast until I get to work...and get to eat some instant oatmeal out of a styrofoam cup.

However, you can pre-toast and chop the walnuts and dice the nectarine the night before and put the whole thing together quickly.  This was great and easy and delicious.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


::Cranberry-Walnut Turkey Sausage Dog::
:with pickled red onions and peppers:

So in an effort to get me to blog more, a friend of mine gave me a culinary challenge: What’s your take on the classic American Hot Dog?


I got excited starting to think about that question and all the different routes I could take. When I think about hot dogs though, the first thing that comes to mind is: Baseball

Maybe because although I probably only average about 1.5 hot dogs a year…they are always at some sports stadium. Wrapped in foil. And the idea of one is usually better than the reality. Or maybe because it’s big news in the Big D right now that Nolan Ryan just bought the Texas Rangers. I’m wondering if because of that, the autographed baseball my dad bought for my sister is worth more? Probably won’t have much impact on the Pete Rose ball he got for me.

So anyways, the following is my culinary twist on an American, summer, hot dog meal. However, I’d like to think I’ve not only made it healthier --- but also a little more interesting.

::Cranberry-Walnut Turkey Sausage Dog with Non-Fried, Paprika French Fries & No Mayo, Creamy Coleslaw::

All the below serves 2 and if you are making the full meal --- prepare in the following order…

::Non-Fried, Paprika French Fries::
[These are are a recipe from my amazing sister Dani and they are seriously delicious]

3-5 small red potatoes
Olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes in half, then into wedges. Add to small mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Mix until well coated. Spread onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt then paprika. Also, feel free to sprinkle with chili powder as well. Put in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes. (No need to move or stir while cooking)

::No Mayo, Creamy Coleslaw::
[The trick is Greek yogurt.  I've been hearing a lot about it 'great source of protein' and wanted to give it a shot.  Seriously tastes very much like normal coleslaw but way less fat.]

2 cups of shredded cabbage/coleslaw
3T plain Greek yogurt
1T Dijon mustard
2T vinegar
1T fresh-squeezed lime juice
1T brown sugar
½ t coriander

In small glass/mixing cup dissolve brown sugar with lime juice. Add all ingredients in medium mixing bowl and pour brown sugar/lime mixture over. Stir well then cover and refrigerate.

::Cranberry-Walnut Turkey Sausage Dog::
:with pickled red onions and peppers:

[This is literally amazing.  I impresses myself.  And I'm definitely going to try some other variations.]

2 turkey sausage links (I used Jennie-O Italian Hot sausage)
¾ cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 red onion
Jar of pepperoncinis
Balsamic vinegar
Bun if desired; your choice…I used Nature’s Own Whole Grain Sandwich Rounds

De-case sausage and put in bowl. Chop walnuts and toast in small skillet, add to bowl of sausage. Add cranberries and ‘knead’ mixing everything together. Re-form into sausage links (3). Cook on grill pan over medium-high heat, coat first with cooking spray. Rotate until all sides are grilled and sausages are cooked through.

While cooking, slice red onion horizontally into thin rings.  Only need roughly four slices.  In a small sauce pan heat drizzle of olive oil.  Separate and add onion rings to pan.  Saute 1-2 minutes until begin to soften.  Add roughly 1/4 cup of pepperoncinis.  Shake in roughly 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinager...enough to coat.  Stir well...will cook away quickly.

Once every thing is done cooking...plate it all up.  The sausage is seriously amazing even without a bun.  Top with the onion/pepper mixture.  Enjoy!!