Tag Archives: stuffed

Just Me & A Recipe

One of my favorite things is finding a new recipe to try, shopping for the ingredients and spending a Saturday night in the kitchen bringing it to life and onto our dinner plate.

Friday nights we get home late and I am too tired and Sunday nights are spent getting ready for the week, so the only real night that I can relax and enjoy cooking is Saturday. The past several Saturdays have been busy with birthday celebrations and I can’t remember the last time I was eager to be in the kitchen with a glass of wine or a beer and test a new dish.

With the holidays FAST approaching, I’ve been spending a lot more time on Pinterest {dangerous} and recalled this Mexican Stuffed Shells recipe as I was clicking through my boards looking for inspiration.

It did not disappoint.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

1 lb. ground beef
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
4 oz. cream cheese
14-16 jumbo pasta shells {I used 20}
1 1/2 cup salsa
1 cup taco sauce {I used one 7 ounce bottle and that was perfect}

1 cup cheddar cheese

1 cup monterey jack cheese
3 green onions
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a frying pan cook ground beef {note: I added 1/2 a chopped onion and about 6-7 cloves garlic, chopped…a must in my book}; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.  Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Blend well. Set aside and cool completely.  While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board/baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.

Pour salsa on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Cover shells with taco sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes, with the foil removed.  Top with any condiments you’d like. I used green onions, fresh tomato and sour cream. Black olives would be another option if you’re a fan ~ I’m not.

I’m mad at myself for not adding several jalapeños! Next time I think I will chop them up and add them to the meat.

This meal was the perfect comfort food after sitting through TWO rainy soccer games and running several errands today. You could certainly use ground turkey, neufchâtel cheese {low fat cream cheese} and reduced fat cheese in this recipe and I don’t think the taste would be affected.

I will certainly be making these again. Did the kids eat them? No, not tonight. Elliott doesn’t care for cheese {??!!??} and would probably like them if I scraped off the queso. But I think they are mild enough for beginner palate to enjoy, too.

Trying another new one tomorrow night.

Hint: Buffalo Chicken Sumpin’ Sumpin’

If you’re like me and feel anything buff chix is a staple in your diet, stay tuned.

Don’t worry, it’s healthy!

Happy Saturday.


It’s A Date

I’ve never really given much thought to dates.

I think of fruit cake when I think of dates.

But all this changed 4 years ago at Jay’s company holiday party. For they past four years his company has hosted the festivities at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley and for the past four years I have enjoyed almond stuffed, bacon wrapped dates at the appetizer station. Every year, not only do I look forward to attending this event with Jay, but I look forward to coveting these sweet, salty, crunchy morsels and overindulging in them.

I plan to make them soon using this recipe…

{may or may not use the goat cheese}

Last week at Elliott’s dance class, I overheard two other moms talking about a date smoothie. I see the medjool dates all the time at Trader Joe’s and thought I’d pick up a package and add them to my morning smoothies to change things up a bit.

Enter the {Spiced Date Smoothie}…

{2 cups crushed ice, 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk [or milk of choice], 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 seeded & chopped medjool dates, 1 medium banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon}

Blend until smooth and enjoy! I will say that the dates are pretty hearty and it may take a minute or so to process them in the blender. The package said to refrigerate them after opening which makes them a little harder and more difficult to blend. You can either chop them fairly well before blending or throw then in just halved or quartered to get bigger pieces in your smoothie. I like to use the big milkshake straws and get bigger chunks of dates up the straw from time! They are nice and sweet and chewy and add texture to the drink.

{milkshake straws via}

I found my straws at Ralphs hanging on those random little clip racks in one of the aisles.

This smoothie reminds me of the boba teas in that you get a little surprise up your straw every once in awhile as you sip, but instead of it being a tapioca ball, it’s a chunk of date!

It’s yummy.

So, don’t pass up the dates next time you’re in Trader Joe’s or your local grocery or market. They have lots of health benefits, too!

Happy Humpday!

Soup’s On

I am constantly looking for recipes that are Weight Watcher friendly/healthy AND delicious.

{P}interestingly enough, I spotted this soup and it fit the bill.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I am not a huge fan of bell peppers, but this soup looked amazing and once they’re cooked, their flavor becomes a little more pleasant, in my opinion.

{Next time I will use a mix of green, red and maybe yellow peppers}

This gorgeous weather we’ve had during these early January days has seemed to cool off plenty at night to warrant a nice bowl of soup, so that’s what was for dinner last night.

It is SUPER filling ~ a serving size is 1 1/3 cup soup with 1/2 cup rice ~ I went ahead and just used 1/3 cup brown jasmine rice and it was plenty!

This soup is so flavorful and guilt-free that I want to eat it for days….but I won’t because I don’t want to tire of it.

It will for sure be on the rotation from now on ~ maybe not in the summer, but most definitely in the cooler months.

This recipe also calls for a spice that I had never used before ~ marjoram. {It is likened to oregano} I always enjoy adding a new spice to my spice drawer.

TIP: Some spics can be expensive. Before you commit to a larger jar, check the international food aisles….sometimes they have small packets for under a dollar. Sprouts also has spices by the ounce so you can get just what you need and save some money until you know if you’ll utilize it.


If you’re looking for a dinner that comes together quickly, is full of flavor and not calories, I highly suggest this satisfying soup.

Happy Tuesday!