Below are a collection of recipes that I would consider to be simple and healthy ways to prepare comfort food entrees. Fell free to explore, I hope you find some recipes. Check out the Yummy Leftovers tab, I love figuring out ways to turn leftovers from these meals to something new and delicious!

John’s Famous Ribs

  • 2 racks baby back pork ribs
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple juice, divided
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup local honey, warmed
  • pork and poultry rub, to taste, whichever brand you prefer.

If your butcher hasn’t already done this, remove the silver skin membrane from the bone-side of the ribs. This can be done by working the tip of the butter knife underneath the membrane over a middle bone. Use paper towels to get a firm grip, then tear the membrane off.

In a small bowl, combine the mustard, 1/4 cup apple juice and the Worcestershire sauce. Spread the mixture thinly on both sides of the ribs, then season with pork and poultry rub.

Preheat smoker to 180 degrees, close lid for 15 minutes, to full preheat. Smoke the ribs, meat-side up for 3 hours. Transfer the ribs to a rimmed baking sheet, remove from smoker and increase the grill to 225 degrees. Place ribs on heavy duty aluminum foil, pull up the sides to keep the liquid enclosed while they finish cooking. Sprinkle half the brown sugar, then top with honey and the other half of the remaining apple juice. If you want more tender ribs, you can use more apple juice. Lay another foil piece on top, tightly crimp the edges together. Return the foiled ribs to the smoker, cook for 2 hours. Carefully remove from the grill, rub with preferred barbeque sauce. Arrange the ribs directly on the grill grate, continue to grill until sauce tightens, about 30-60 minutes. When all done, transfer ribs to baking sheet and let rest 15-20 minutes.

Smoked Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/2 lemon sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • fresh herbs diced (parsley, thyme, rosemary), minced garlic
  • 2 garlic cloves, half onion, fresh herbs (to stuff chicken)

Combine lemon juice, melted butter, EVOO and herbs in a bowl. Peel back skin on chicken, right above the breast. Rub herb mixture inside chicken skin, cover as much of the meat as you can. Stuff inside of chicken with lemon slices, fresh herbs, garlic cloves and sliced onion. Preheat smoker to 180 degrees, close lid for 15 minutes to heat. Cook chicken for 30 minutes, then turn up heat to 300 degrees, cook until internal temp is 164, about 1-2 hours.

Cilantro Lime Steak

Combine in bowl: juice of 1 large lime, minced garlic, EVOO, 1 ounce tequila and chopped cilantro (about 1/4 cup). Marinate overnight in fridge. When ready to cook, leave out for 1 hour to bring up to room temperature. Start by smoking for 30 minutes, temperature is 180 degrees. Turn up temperature to 250 degrees, cook about 45-1 hour. Let sit for 15 minutes after done.

Garlic Rosemary butter pork chops

Sauce: 1/2 stick salted butter (melted), 2 garlic cloves (minced), 1 tablespoon EVOO, 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (and more for serving), pinch of fresh thyme. Mix all ingredients and place in microwave for 30 seconds. Use sauce over the top of grilled pork chops before serving. Add fresh rosemary over top.

Shrimp Hibachi

  • 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower rice
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion and mushroom
  • Shrimp
  • 1 egg
  • hibachi sauce: 1 clove garlic (minced), 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons dry white wine, 1 tablespoon EVOO.

Put a large pan on stove, set to medium, drizzle some EVOO. Saute the onions, mushrooms and sugar snap peas. When veggies are done, add the c. rice and brown rice, top with hibachi sauce. Separate mixture to sides of pan, crack egg in middle of pan and fry. When egg is cooked, combine with rice mixture. Place in a bowl. Put pan back on stove, cook shrimp until done, place on top of rice and serve.

Homemade meat sauce

  • 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground turkey (or pork)
  • 1 yellow onion sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • fresh herbs: parsley, basil, thyme and oregano
  • EVOO
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
  • cream and butter
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Saute ground beef until done, drain and set to side. Saute onions and garlic in EVOO on medium, about 1-2 minutes. Add red wine, beef broth and tomato paste to pot over heat, when starts to boil, turn down low. Add fresh herbs, the onion and garlic and the meat. Add butter and cream. Cover and cook on low 10-15 minutes. Prior to serving, top with parmesan cheese.

Healthier Salisbury Steak

  • 4 cubed angus beef steaks
  • 1 cup beef bone broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion

Drizzle a pan with EVOO, cook on medium high heat. Brown steaks on both sides, about 2 minutes each. In a baking dish, combine 1 cup bone broth with mushrooms and onion, top with browned cubed steaks. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, cover with foil and cook about 30 minutes or until done. When done cooking, remove steaks from pan, whisk in butter and flour, until sauce thickens. Add the steaks back to pan and serve.

This is a great meal with rice, mashed potatoes and cauliflower rice.

Meatball pot pies and eggplant pizza boats

For the pot pies, I used the extra pizza dough I had in the freezer. I also used the leftover turkey meatballs I made last month. I added some shredded mozzarella cheese and can tomato sauce with dried herbs (garlic, basil, oregano and thyme).

When the dough is defrosted, place in bowl and cover until rises (about 1 hour). Separate into 3 parts. This next step is pretty easy, roll out to be a circle pretty thin. Place 1 broken up meatball in center, top with sauce and cheese. Fold up around the stuffing, until it looks like a stuffed ball. Top with melted butter. Cook on 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

For the eggplant pizza boats, wash and cut an eggplant in half. Cook in oven on 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool off. Split the center of the eggplant, stuff with chopped meatball and tomato sauce, top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is melted.

Buttermilk ranch (baked) fried chicken

In Tupperware, combine 1 cup buttermilk and 1 cup ranch salad dressing. Flatten out chicken breasts until even, place in marinade and leave in fridge overnight (8-12 hours). When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees, lay parchment paper on a baking pan and spray with canola oil. In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup corn meal and 2 tablespoons paprika. Remove each chicken breast, one at a time and cover with flour mixture. Lay on parchment paper. Bake until done, about 1 hour. Serve with some homemade coleslaw for a great spring/summer meal.

Stuffed meatloaf with Marsala tomato sauce

Another rolled meatloaf, this one was fantastic. It paired well with the mushrooms, peas and pancetta. I enjoyed this meal so much, I had it twice this week. It goes best with Marsala panchetta and peas. The meatloaf recipe

  • 1 pound 93/7 ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey dijon
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • salt, pepper, basil, parsley, grain garlic powder

Add all ingredients together, mix with hands. Lay out on a sprayed piece of foil, pat down until its a square, enough that you will be able to stuff and roll. Spread the Marsala tomato sauce (mix 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup Marsala wine, 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese), top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Roll and lay in sprayed pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Make more of the Marsala tomato sauce and drizzle some on top of the meatloaf when done.

Citrus honey mustard pork loin

I decided to try something a little different with my honey mustard sauce, I add orange juice. Since this was a crock pot meal, I thought the extra juice would be good for the pork. I combined 1/2 cup spicy brown mustard, 1/2 cup honey (or agave), 1/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup dry white wine. Cook on low (8-10 hours). When its done, remove meat, add 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp corn starch. Whisk until it thickens. Cut up the meat, serve with the sauce.

This would be great to serve with rice, we choose mashed potatoes and roasted carrots.

A healthier version of Chicken Parmesan

This is a simple and healthy version of chicken parmesan. No breading, no egg wash. You will start on the stove top and go into the oven, so pick your pan and lid wisely. First, pound your chicken breasts a little. You don’t want them flat, but more even, so it cooks evenly. Put the pan on the stove on medium heat, drizzle some EVOO in the pan and place your chicken breasts. Salt and pepper both sides. Saute about 2-3 minutes on each side, just to brown the chicken. Turn the stove off, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the chicken, pour in 1 cup wine (I prefer red), scrape the chicken pieces off the bottom of the pan. Pour 1 cup tomato sauce, add herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, thyme). Put chicken back in pan, cover with some sauce, place lid on pan and place in oven for 15-20 minutes or until done. Remove pan, turn chicken around in sauce a few times, cover with a handful of mozzarella cheese on each chicken breast, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

We served the chicken parmesan, garlic knots and roasted cauliflower. The sauce from the chicken was great for dipping the knots in.

Stuffed Meatloaf

This was pretty simple, the hard part was rolling. I think when you do this once, it becomes easier. For this meatloaf, I used ground turkey. The meatloaf part: 1 pound ground turkey, 2 eggs, 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire, 1 tablespoon honey dijon mustard, salt pepper, dried parsley and thyme. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Next part involves the stuffing. Lay out a piece of foil, pat down the meatloaf mixture into an even square shape.

Next follow these steps: evenly distribute ketchup, then diced cooked bacon (6 strips), then top with cheddar cheese.

Then roll, place in pan, bake for 30-40 minutes and done.

Beef Wellington

I wanted to make something with puff pastry, this was my first time making beef wellington and I am a little excited. I decided to make them individual, perfect for the family. I used a beef tenderloin, 2 pounds and cut it into 4 sections (about an inch sections).

  • chop 1 shallot and 1 garlic clove. Saute on low heat in a pan in some EVOO. After 1 minute, raise the heat to medium and sear the beef on each side. Set to the side.
  • unroll 2 puff pastry packs. Cut into quarters. Spread melted butter and fresh herbs on each piece of puff pastry. I used dried sage and parsley.
  • Place a piece of beef on a square, top with another square and fold all sides. Do this with all four. Slit 2 cuts on top of each beef wellington. Top with egg wash (1 egg scrambled with water).
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Individual Calzones

I used store brought pizza dough, just to make it easier for myself. I have made pizza dough before, but since the store brought deli pizza dough is a great price and tastes just as good, why not. Flour your surface and roll the dough out pretty thin (if you put your hand underneath, you can see through the dough). Cut into 4 sections. Follow below to make each individual calzone. Preheat oven to 350, bake for 20-30 minutes and until golden brown.

Chicken Sausage with roasted sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and onions (with bacon)

This is something we have plenty in this house. You can substitute butternut squash for sweet potatoes or instead of sausage, top with fried egg. Its a simple and very versatile recipe.

Cover a baking pan with foil, preheat oven to 400 and cook bacon. While the bacon is cooking, cut 2 cups of brussel sprouts into quarters, cut 1 yellow onion and 2 sweet potatoes into similar sizes. Its easiest when baking veggies if they are all the same size. When bacon is done, reserve bacon to the side and lay out the sweet potatoes, onion and brussel sprouts on pan. Top with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until veggies are firm.

While veggies cook, cut up chicken sausage. Heat up a pan with EVOO, saute the chicken sausage until warm.

To serve, put 2 cups of hash in bowl, top with 1 piece of crumbled bacon and some chicken sausage. This is a simple and easy meal to prepare. Please feel free to try different chicken sausages. We prefer the apple and gouda or the apple and bourbon.

Open Faced Roast Beef sandwiches

This was an easy meal, the homemade bread was what helped create this meal. The bread recipe is below. For the roast beef, I used store brought thin sliced roast beef. The gravy: 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 cup beef broth, 1/2 cup diced mushrooms, 1/4 cup milk, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 beef bullion cubes and 1 teaspoon gran garlic and onion powder. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Lay in sliced roast beef heat in microwave for 1 minute and serve over bread.

Steak and Chicken Fajitas

  • 2 pounds steak, t-bone
  • 2 pounds chicken breast
  • seasoning: 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoons each garlic and onion powder, cumin, oregano and paprika.
  • rub seasoning on chicken and steak, cover with drizzle of EVOO
  • grill and slice to serve.

Margarita Shrimp

  • 2 pounds shrimp, small, remove all shell
  • marinade: 1 shot tequila and triple sec, juice of 1 lime and lime zest, drizzle of EVOO and 1 teaspoon agave.
  • marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place in medium low heated pan, remove shrimp from marinade and saute.
  • when shrimp is done, place sauce back in pan and serve.

Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork with thyme garlic roasted red potatoes and honey glazed carrots.

Cornbread stuffing casserole

The recipe below is my famous stuffing I make every Thanksgiving. I usually make the stuffing with ground pork, instead of turkey. The family has been asking for a meal that would be like Thanksgiving in a bowl. To help bring the flavor of Thanksgiving, I used the leftover oven roasted turkey breast I had in the freezer and whipped up some turkey gravy. There will be the stuffing recipe below, but I will also post about the turkey breast I made last month. I probably make the turkey breast once or twice after the holidays, its great to have in the freezer, ready for any meal. Who wouldn’t want a little bit of Thanksgiving turkey through-out the rest of the cold months?

Cornbread stuffing casserole

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 bag of cornbread stuffing mix (I usually get Pepperidge farms) or 6 day old cornbread muffins (I have done this both ways).
  • 1 pound meat (turkey or pork)
  • 1 cup Turkey Stock
  • 1 cup light cream
  • butter for pan
  • dried seasoning, I use sage, thyme and rosemary

In a pan on medium heat, add a tablespoon butter, pan fry the onion and garlic. After 1-2 minutes, place in a large bowl to the side. Add another tablespoon of butter and pan fry the apples and cranberries for 2 minutes. Then place in the same bowl. Pan fry the meat until done and add to the bowl. Add the cornbread, the turkey stock and light cream. Mix together. Add whatever seasoning you prefer. Place in a buttered casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake covered on 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. The uncover, shut off the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the top is golden.

Ranch hamburgers

This is a very simple meal that seems to be a hit with the kids. I even have them help me with the food prepping and putting together the topping bar. I have used ground turkey or beef, just whatever I may have around. This time I used ground beef, since they had the good stuff on sale (ground Angus beef).

Mix the ground meat and the ranch seasoning packet, then form 4 patties. Cook either on the grill, in the oven or on a griddle. I used a griddle today, since it was too cold to go outside for the grill. Let is cook for about 3-5 minutes on both side, based on your preference. Top with cheddar cheese, place on a bun and cover with toppings. I plan to go bun-less, so mine will be on a bed of lettuce and 1 sliced tomato, the burger, topped with sliced onion, pickles and another sliced tomato. The only downside is it needs to be eaten with a fork and knife.

Pierogies served with caramelized onions, kielbasa and sauerkraut.

The pierogies were homemade, the recipe will follow. The rest of the meal was traditional keilbasa, with the casing and all served with sauerkraut and grain mustard. The peirogies were made and boiled a day in advance and kept int the fridge for 24 hours. When it was time to put the meal together, I made the whole meal with using one large pan.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes (recipe below) mixed with 1 cup cheddar cheese. Do this while the potatoes are warm. When I made the mashed potatoes for the chicken Marsala, I took half and placed in a container, mixed the cheddar cheese and covered until I was ready to make the pierogies.

In a mixer, mix the flour and salt, add the egg and combine. Work in the butter, then the sour cream, little by little. Using your hands, knead and fold the dough until the dough is more moist than sticky. Add a touch of flour if needed. Wrap the dough up in plastic wrap, leave in fridge for 1 hour. Separate the dough into quarters, roll out until about 1/8″ thin. Use either a cup or a small bowl to cut out circles (depending on the size you want). Continue to do this until all of the dough is used. To fill, place a spoonful of cheddar mashed potatoes on each round of dough (depending on size of round, it could be 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon). Gently fold the dough over, forming a half circle with the pocket full of potatoes in the center. Pinch the edges to seal, I use a pinch and twist method. You can also use a fork to help pinch, then twist.

To cook, fill a pot with water and a dash of EVOO and salt. When the water is boiling, turn down to low, put in the pierogies and cover for 10 minutes. Take pierogies out and lay them on a pan with parchment or wax paper. This is when I placed them in the fridge.

For them meal, you will need: 1 keilbasa link, 1 yellow onion (sliced), salted butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and sauerkraut.

Heat up large pan on medium-high, melt 1 tablespoon butter and cook the onion. Add 1 tablespoon brown sugar to the pan, while onion is cooking. Cook onions for about 2-3 minutes, or until done, put in a bowl to the side. Add 2 tablespoons butter, turn the stove down to medium heat and pan fry the pierogies (1-2 minutes on each side). Once all of the pierogies are done, place on a dish and top with caramelized onions. The last thing is the keilbasa. I pre-cut the keilbasa in half, then half leastwise. This makes it easy to heat up in a pan. Place keilbasa in pan, cut side down, top with sauerkraut and cover with lid. Turn stove of. Prep each plate with pierogies and onions, place one piece of keilbasa with some sauerkraut. I served this with mustard and sweet and sour red cabbage.

Chicken Marsala with mashed potatoes

This is a recipe that I can either make in a crock pot or over the stove. I will provide the recipe, as well as instructions for making it both ways. It just depends if I have time to hang in the kitchen or if I need to spend my time out of the kitchen.

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 can chicken stock
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salted butter
  • Parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

I start by flattening the chicken breasts. This is a job that my kids usually volunteer for. I always love when I have some help in the kitchen. For the easiest (and less messiest way) is to get a large ziplock bag, a kitchen towel and a kitchen mallet. I place one chicken breast in the ziplock bag, wrap a kitchen towel around the bag and let my kids “lightly” tap it with the mallat. I repeat this until each breast is done.

Heat up a pan on medium, coat pan with 2 tablespoons of salted butter and brown each side of the chicken breasts. Now this is where the 2 forms of the recipe separate. If you choose crock pot, lay each chicken breast on the bottom of the pot (I try to maneuver them so they aren’t clumped on top of each other). Top with the ingredients in this order: 1 can cream of mushroom soup (spread evenly), 1 can stock and 1 cup Marsala wine. Cover with mushrooms, 2 garlic cloves and parsley (save some for garnish after). Cook on low.

Pan recipe: Once the chicken is browned on both sides, remove chicken and put to side. Place temperature to medium-low. Add chicken stock and Marsala wine, scrape bottom of pan (loosen chicken scrapings). Add mushrooms and garlic, cook for about 1 minute. Turn stove to low, add the cream of chicken soup, mix together. Add chicken breasts back to pan, maneuver evenly in pan, so chicken is not on top of one another. Cover and cook on low, for about 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Whichever way you plan to cook the chicken, while its cooking, you can prep the potatoes. I have made mashed potatoes with any type of potato, but my favorite with this dish has to be gold potatoes. This recipe could even be used for butternut squash (just add some touches like a dash of brown sugar, nutmeg or cinnamon) or mashed cauliflower (with some parsley). This recipe makes 8-10 servings. Mashed potatoes don’t go unused in my house and can easily be turned into other meals (potato pancakes, loaded baked potato casserole and even pierogies). If you prefer to make less, cut the recipe in half.

  • 1 pound of Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 stick of salted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup milk (I prefer whole, but any type would do)
  • 1 cup water from pot (after potatoes are boiled)
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Boil the potatoes until tender, while the potatoes are boiling, take the butter out. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer, just to make things easier. I put the stick of butter on the bottom of the bowl, top with the boiled potatoes (remember to save 1 cup of that water the potatoes were boiled in). Add the 1 cup milk and mix. As the mixer is on, add about 1/2 cup of the water. Once the potatoes are mashed, shut the mixer off and use a spatula to mix the potatoes. Add the ground pepper and mix. If the potatoes are not the right consistency, use more water. If the potatoes seem too watery, here’s a simple trick, add 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch, then mix with the mixer. You can keep adding small amounts of corn starch until you have the consistency you want. Just be careful not to use too much, it can change the flavor of the mashed potatoes.

Grandma’s ziti

One of my favorites as a kid was this ziti, my mom enjoyed this as a kid and now its one of my kids’ favorites as well. It’s real simple to make and is definitely a classic comfort food. I did this with a simple, healthy twist: whole wheat pasta, canned tomato sauce and cauliflower. It was an easy way to add some veggies and whole grains.

First thing to do is cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. I really like when casserole dishes have everything the same size, it seems to make it easier to eat. Spread the cauliflower onto a baking pan (for easy clean up, I lay some parchment paper on the baking pan). Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Top the cauliflower with a drizzle of EVOO and garlic powder. Bake for 20 minutes. To make things easier, I will bake the cauliflower while I am baking the meatballs (that recipe will follow).

Combine the cooked ziti and baked cauliflower in a oven safe baking dish. Top with the can tomato sauce, mix well. Top with american cheese, cover with foil and bake in oven until cheese is melted. Mix and serve

Bread-less meatballs

This is a simple way to add some protein to any dish and its only a few ingredients. This is a great recipe when you don’t want to add any more carbs to your meal, meatballs don’t always have to contain bread or breadcrumbs. I used ground turkey this time, but I have used ground beef, venison and pork before. I have also used a combination of ground meats as well.

In a bowl, combine the following ingredients: 16 oz ground meat, 2 eggs, drizzle of EVOO, 1 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Today I added some fresh parsley and thyme. I have also made this recipe with other herb combinations: oregano and basil, rosemary and thyme, sage and thyme and parsley and basil. It depends on the flavors you want and what you plan to serve with the meatballs. Explore and have fun with the herb combinations. I want to use parsley and cilantro with ground pork one day to give it some Hispanic flare.

Beef Fajitas

We smoked the steak, to give it more flavor. The dry rub was a mix of: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, red pepper flakes and cilantro. We served this with some raw veggies: carrots, green peppers and tomato slices.

Turkey Empanadas

This was a challenge for me, I was glad I did it. The dough was challenging at first, but once I got the consistency I wanted, it was easy to work with.

The dough:

  • 3 cups flour (I used a mix of white and whole wheat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup broth (I used chicken broth)
  • 1 egg

Mix the flour and butter together in a food processor, Add the salt and sugar and pulse. Add the egg and broth, in small increments, until the dough forms. Split the dough into 4 balls, flatten slightly until it forms disks. Flour your work surface and roll out flat. Use a bowl or cup to shape your circle (depending if you want them small or large). Fill the empanada, wrap over and crease ends together (I used a fork to help). Refrigerate for 20 minutes, while the oven warms up. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 15-30 minutes, depending on size, until they are golden.

The inside stuffing was 1 yellow onion chopped, 1/2 cup chopped mushroom, 2 pound ground turkey and 2 teaspoons tomato paste. After its done cooking, add 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese.

Cranberry BBQ Chicken drumsticks

This is an easy recipe and often times I use the crock pot. Today, since my hubby felt like smoking, I let him smoke the chicken. I made the sauce in the Tupperware, so when the chicken was done smoking, I put them in the Tupperware and let them sit in the sauce in the fridge until the night they were for dinner. The sauce is easy, 1 container of store brought BBQ sauce (I prefer something sweet) and 1 can cranberry sauce. Heat them in the microwave until the cranberry sauce is melted into the BBQ sauce.

I plan to serve this with some bacon, brown sugar baked beans and roasted brocolli.

Spanish Shrimp and Rice

This was another easy meal. I have 2 pounds of shrimp, peeled. I placed them in a ziplock bag with the following marinade : juice of 1 lime, a drizzle of EVOO, garlic powder and a pinch of cilantro. Marinade for 24 hours, then cook in a pan over the stove.

The rice was cooked in a pot. I used instant brown rice, followed the box instructions to make 2 cups. I used chicken broth instead of water. After the rice was done, I combined 1/2 cup of salsa (any store brought will do) and 1/2 cup black beans. Feel free to add whatever veggies you want, I prefer sauteed carrots and peas. If you really want to go all out, put some rice in a bowl, then shrimp and top with shredded Manchego cheese. If you want to add some veggie power and cut calories, use cauliflower rice. I made my bowl with 1 cup of the rice mixture, 1/2 cup cauliflower rice, 1 cup extra veggies, shrimp and shredded cheese.

Kielbasa hash with sweet potato, onion and apples

This is a very simple and yummy one pan meal. To make it easy, I pre-bake my sweet potato to cut out some time. Get a large pan on the stove, drizzle some EVOO, fry the onions, garlic and apple. After 2 minutes, throw in the kielbasa and sweet potato, cover and cook on low for 5-10 minutes (until hot). Distribute on plates. Then put pan back on stove, fry 4 eggs, place 1 egg on top of each plate.

  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 large apple chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 package kielbasa sliced thin
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, cut small (pre baked)
  • 4 eggs

Homemade whole wheat pasta with Bolognese sauce

The first part was the sauce, since it slow cooks for 4 hours. I had 1 cup left of the beef bone broth I made 2 weeks ago. I had 1 pound pork chops and 1/2 pound venison. I cut them both up into small cubes. Put a pot on the stove, turn to medium low. Put in some EVOO, 1 yellow onion chopped and 2 garlic cloves (minced), cook for a minute. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the meat. Stir for about 2-3 minutes, until browned. Cover meat with 1 tablespoon flour, mix well until flour is dissolved. Add the 1 cup bone broth, 1 cup red wine and 1 cup can tomato sauce. Add is about 1/8 cup chopped fresh basil and parsley. Cook on low, covered, for about 4 hours (or until meat is tender). Once meat is cooked, stir in 1 cup cream, 1 cup parmesan cheese. Stir and serve over pasta. Top with shredded parmesan cheese and chopped basil.


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO

I have a mixer with a bread hook, so I put in all of the ingredients and put the mixer on. You know the dough is done when it is in a ball and its not sticking to the sides of the bowl. If it seems dry, add a tablespoon of water. If it seems sticky, add a touch of flour. When the dough is done, wrap up in plastic wrap for 30 minutes. The next part was fun for me. I cut the ball in half, put some flour down on my counter top and rolled out the dough. You want the pasta dough to be pretty thin. Once its thin, cover with a touch of flour and roll up. Use s knife to cut 1 inch sections. Unravel and there you go. Finish by repeating to other half.

Boil water, add a drizzle of EVOO and a pinch of salt. When pot is boiling, add pasta. Cook for 2 minutes, drain and serve with sauce.

Creamy Chicken Vegetable soup

I used the chicken bones, meat and skins from last week. I boiled them down with 1 cup water and 1 cup vegetable stock. Once it came to a boil, I turned it to low and covered the pot, I let it cook for 6 hours. Since the chicken was so well seasoned, I didn’t need to add anything to it until it became time to turn it into soup. After the meat is cooked down, pull out the bones and skin. I took out the meat, put to the side, while I cooked the vegetables. Once the vegetables were cooked, I added the meat back, then the cream and cheese. Let it sit for 30 minutes, covered on low, then serve. Below are the specific ingredients.

Turkey Meatballs biscuit sandwiches

This is a super easy meatball recipe, I had tried others, but I keep coming back to this one. Since it has plenty of herbs in the meatball, I usually serve it with a can of store bought marinara. If you want to be extra crafty, you can put cheese in the middle of the meatball. For this, buy mozzarella string cheese, take out 6 sticks, cut them in half and stick them in the freezer for 20 minutes. This will help keep the cheese from over-melting through the meatball. Heat oven to 400 and cook 15-20 minutes.

I will add a picture this week when I put the meal out on a plate. All I did was prep the meatballs and place in a container with sauce and shredded cheese.

Baked whole Chicken with rice pilaf and asparagus

First, the baked chicken. Take chicken out of fridge 1 hour before cooking, so it gets to room temperature. While it sits, go ahead and make to marinade: 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup white dry wine, juice of 1 mandarin orange, 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and sage,and a sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper. Mix and set aside. Stuff inside of chicken with orange, 2 cloves garlic, onion and fresh thyme and sage.

While the chicken is cooking, you can make the rice pilaf. I brought regular brand rice pilaf. Put 2 tablespoons salted butter in pan, fry 2 cups of rice in pan for 2 minutes while stirring. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, cook for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of riced cauliflower, cook another 10 minutes. Read your instructions for the rice pilaf, time it together. Riced cauliflower takes 10-15 minutes to cook on average.

Prep asparagus while chicken is cooking. Take a peeler, peel the ends of the asparagus, away from the tip. This will ensure even cooking from tip to end. Place in shallow baking dish, coat with sea salt and EVOO. When chicken comes out of oven, put in asparagus. Remove in 20 minutes, asparagus should be done.

Pesto Salmon with linguine and cherry tomatoes

This is another favorite from my AIP recipes. A homemade basil pesto sauce with no nuts. The recipe will be below. I put a little of the pesto sauce on the salmon, place 2 sliced lemons on top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The pasta is easy, 4 cups cooked linguine, 2 cups cherry tomatoes (cut in half). The heat of the noodles will cook the tomatoes slightly. Cover the pasta with the rest of the pesto sauce. Serve with some salmon, fresh basil and shredded Parmesan cheese on top. If you prefer nuts in your pesto, I love adding pine nuts, cashews or pistachios before blended. Just make sure you soak the nuts in water overnight to soften them.

Turkey, Bacon and Gouda wraps

This is our sandwich this week. I love carb control wraps, this week I picked up the spinach wraps. At 50 calories, you can’t beat it. I just use some leftover turkey from the freezer (I bake a turkey breast every 2 months and just thin slice it for sandwiches). I separate the turkey into serving sizes and save it in the freezer, so its easy to use for any easy week night sandwiches. Since this won’t get made until Wednesday, I don’t have a pick. I could always add later, if there seems to be interest in a picture.

  • 1 spinach wrap
  • 2 ounces of thin sliced turkey (warmed in microwave)
  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • 1/4 cup shredded gouda cheese
  • layer on at a time in the center of the wrap, leaving room around all areas to wrap. Fold in the ends, wrap up enough to cover the inside ingredients. The next step is optional, but this is our plan this week. Heat up a pan on medium, place wrap with folded sides up, press down with a small lid (pressed wrap). Only let this be on the pan for a minute or two, just to melt the cheese. Serve on the side of some fresh veggies and hummus for a healthy meal.

Ham, Potato and Cheese casserole

Cheese, ham and peas go together so well, but since not everyone is a fan in this house, I made 2 separate meals. For the peas, just add 1 cup frozen peas. When you want to serve this during the week, just put a scoop in a pan and pan fry. If you really want something yummy, add a fried egg on top! I plan to serve this with some roasted broccoli on the side.

Chicken Parmesan, sourdough bread with garlic Parmesan butter and oven roasted broccoli

First, flatten the chicken breasts so they are thin. After dipping them in egg wash and my breadcrumb mix, I lay them on the pan and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will help the breadcrumbs stick to the chicken and not the pan! Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Top with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella, bake for another 10 minutes (until cheese is melted).

The oven roasted broccoli was so simple today. I used frozen broccoli florets, I just took it out this morning to thaw. Just spread the broccoli on a baking pan, drizzle with EVOO and a pinch of salt. When I baked the chicken, I put in the broccoli for 20 minutes.

Tomato sauce from Beef Bone Broth

Below is the recipe, when sauce was done, I poured it over spaghetti (or zoodles, which is what I plan to have). Now that’s comfort food!

Honey Mustard Pork Chops, butter herb potatoes and bacon brussel sprouts.

Baked Red Skinned Potatoes:

  • 8 red skinned potatoes (peeled or not, depends on your taste)
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • fresh thyme

Cut the potatoes into small cubes, place in shallow baking dish. Cover potatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper, add the butter and mix. Place fresh thyme on top of the potatoes. Bake in the oven on 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Bacon Brussel Sprouts:

  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 4 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled

Cover a baking sheet with the bacon fat, grease the baking sheet. Place brussel sprouts on sheet, cut side down. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover with crumbled bacon.

Another way I make this, is after I make a sheet of bacon, I cook the brussel sprouts, laid out the same way, in the oven. This is a great meal with cubed butternut squash, cranberries and goat cheese. I made this side dish with leftover turkey after thanksgiving.

Turkey Quesadillas

This is a real simple recipe, no pictures needed since its so simple. I use 2 whole grain, high fiber, low carb tortillas (50 calories each), deli sliced turkey breast and package of Mexican shredded cheese. Heat up a pan on low, place one tortilla on pan, place out a few slices of turkey, some shredded cheese and the other tortilla. Cook for 2 minutes, flip for another 2 minutes and remove. Cut into quarters, top with 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce, 1/2 chopped roma tomatoes and a spoonful of low fat sour cream. If you read your calorie count on your packages, this should be less than 400 calories.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

If there is a meat bone that I can use for soup or a stew, you better believe I get excited. This recipe stemmed from using the ham bone from Christmas dinner. I will post the recipe, as well as the way it was turned into 3 meals, to help appease my husband and kids. Its all about making meal prepping simple, healthy and yummy!

  • Ham bone and all ham fat and pieces leftover
  • 6 carrots
  • 4 cups broccoli (mine were frozen)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese

Place ham bone and all ham fat in a pot, pour in 2 cups of vegetable broth and any extra water that may be needed to cover bone and meat. Add the bacon fat into the pot with the ham. Once it comes to a boil, cover and put on low. This is the longest process, it can take 6 hours to make bone broth, but the health benefits and flavor are worth it. Sometimes I make this a day ahead of time, so when I am ready to make the soup, this is already done.

Once the bone broth is done, make sure you pull out any small pieces of bone. Bring the soup to a boil, put in the carrots and boil till they are soft. Remove the carrots, put in a blender with 1 cup of broth. The carrots will be added back to the soup once blended, this will give the soup a healthy kick.

While blending carrots, add the broccoli and boil for 20 minutes or until soft. Once softened, turn the stove on low and add the other ingredients. Start with adding the pureed carrots, butter, garlic and onion powder. Once that’s all blended, add the milk and cheddar cheese. Please feel free to use salt and pepper based on your taste desire. I tend to add a little pepper, not salt due to using ham and bacon fat.

Now how I can make this meal into 3 ways, just adding 2 other ingredients.

Make 1 cup of brown rice and 1 baked potato. The first is rice and some ham and broth, this is for people who may not like broccoli. The second is soup with rice and the third is soup with 1 cup baked potato. Top all three with shredded cheese. That way we all are technically eating the same meal, but I prefer to cut out rice and pasta at times. There are endless possibilities when it comes to soup!