Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How to sub ground turkey for sausage

I know this isn't a typical recipe, but I wanted to keep it here because I know I will use it again and again.  I often find recipes that call for sausage, but I don't love buying it because I think its kind of gross (taking the casings off, etc) and its usually really high in fat.  I made soup tonight that called for sausage and actually couldn't find any at the store, so I googled this recipe and it turned out so delicious, had the same exact flavor as sausage, was more cost effective and better for you!
How to sub ground turkey for sausage
From New Leaf Wellness Blog


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or equal parts dried basil, oregano, and thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon packed light brown sugar (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground or whole fennel seeds


  1. In a small bowl, combine all spices (including brown sugar, if using) and set a aside.
  2. Brown ground turkey in a large pan on stovetop.
  3. Add red wine vinegar and stir.  Add spice mix and stir to combine.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Drumsticks from heaven

A friend brought me dinner the other day and brought copies of her recipes along with dinner which I thought was a great idea. The main were a tray of baked drumsticks that were to die for and when I looked at the recipe I was shocked to see how simple it was! The ingredients (other than the chicken) are something I always have in my pantry anyway. They go great with pretty much any sides and are a neutral but absolutely delicious flavor.

1 large pack chicken drumsticks (4-5 lbs)
1 onion grated
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 tbsp course salt
2 tbsp greek yogurt or mayo

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together.
  2. In a large bag or bowl, toss the marinade with the drumsticks, coating them evenly.
  3. Marinade overnight or 6-8 hours, of you think ahead. If not, it was still delicious without marinading!
  4. Coat a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up and load up with the drumsticks, skin side up.
  5. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes, then flip over and bake for 15 minutes more.
  6. Flip back to skin side up for serving!
  7. Let sit for 10-20 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Curry Stand Chicken Tikka Masala

I've tried a LOT of different tikka masala recipes over the last few months because its one of my favorite dishes.  This is by far my favorite.  Macros for 200g are C10 F8 P49.  Everyone gobbled it up- only wishing I had made more!!

Curry Stand Chicken Tikka Masala
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
1-14 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbs. white sugar
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant.  Stir cumin, salt, ginger, cayenne, curry, cinnamon and turmeric into onion mixture.  Fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  

Stir tomato sauce into onion mixture, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then mix in cream, paprika and sugar.  Bring sauce back to simmer, stirring often until sauce is thickened, 10-15 minutes.  In a separate pan, coated with cooking spray, sear chicken until lightly browned, but still pink inside- about 3 minutes.  Transfer chicken and any juices into sauce. Simmer in sauce until no longer pink, about 30 minutes.  Adjust salt and sugar to taste.  I always serve Indian food with MKC's coconut rice . Sometimes, I even go nuts and get some of Trader Joe's frozen garlic naan- which my kids love- and serve that as well.  

Hot Mexican Street Corn Dip

I made this dip last night for a New Year's Party and it was a huge hit.  Its definitely a BIG indulgence, but so worth it.  Everyone loved it!

Hot Mexican Street Corn Dip

16 oz (2 blocks) light cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used the frozen garlic at Trader Joe's)
2 Tbs. Franks red hot sauce (or other wing sauce)
Juice from one lime (about 2 Tbs)
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
16 oz. bag frozen corn, thawed (I used TJ's frozen grilled corn)
4 oz. low fat feta cheese
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (leave seeds in for more heat)
2 Tbs. red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for topping)

Preheat oven to 350.  In a high-powered blender (used my Vitamix) mix the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, hot sauce, lime juice, and 1 cup of pepper jack.  Blend until fully combined into a sauce.  Scoop into a large bowl and then add remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine. Pour mixture into a prepared baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes (longer if corn isn't thawed), or until hot and bubbly.  Garnish with more cilantro, feta and hot sauce, if desired.  Serve with chips and enjoy!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I made this Soup over the thanksgiving holiday in Georgia and Becky requested is posted here! Below is the recipe as it was posted by my friend in an email. Super easy and yummy!

1 4 oz package wild rice (I may not have used all of this, but once it is cooked add how much looks good to you)
olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups less sodium chicken broth or stock
1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed baking potato
3 cups reduced fat milk
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped roasted chicken (about 2 breasts)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
seasoned salt to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Heat a little olive oil in a large pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Add broth and potato; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until potato is tender.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add the milk mixture to the potato mixture; bring to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in rice, chicken, pepper, and salt. If desired, add seasoning salt and garnish with parsley.

This is the recipe as I made it. I made a number of modifications to the original recipe (which didn't have carrots and celery for example) but one modification people might want to know about is the cheese. The original called for 10 oz. cubed light processed cheese (like Velveeta Light) instead of the cheddar. I made it once with Velveeta and it did give it a rich taste and a smoother texture as it melts much more effectively, but as we usually minimize processed foods I usually substitute it with the shredded cheddar. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Best Stuffing Ever

Image result for stuffing
You guys. This stuffing is the BEST stuffing ever!!! My SIL made it last year and this year it was my turn. And seriously, everyone was raving (both last year and this year). It's take stuffing to a whole new level. 

Best Stuffing Ever

from Linda (my SIL's friend???)

Fresh bread crumbs from one big loaf of French bread (you want this to be high-quality artisan French bread), chopped in 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup), divided
6 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 box of mushrooms (fresh, not canned) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3/4 garlic powder
12-16 oz package of mild or hot Italian sausage (ground)
2 cups Romano cheese, shredded
1/2 can chicken broth (about 7-8 oz)
3 eggs

Sautee 1 stick butter, celery, onion, and garlic. Pour over bread crumbs in a bowl. Sautee 1/2 stick of butter in mushrooms. Add seasonings, parsley, and basil. Then add cheese and mix. Mix eggs and chicken broth in separate bowl and add to mushroom mixture. Pour over bread crumbs and mix. Sautee sausage to release oil, strain, and mix in with bread crumbs. Lightly spray a large casserole dish and pour stuffing in. Cover tightly with foil and store in fridge over night. Bake, covered, at 350 for one hour. Remove foil for last 15 minutes if you'd like a little crunch.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy

Image result for pot roast

I was craving pot roast, but was kind of sick of the same old recipe, so I decided to try this one. Holy Moly. It was SO good!!! It was really different, but so, so yummy. I think this will be my new go-to!

Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy
by Mel's Kitchen Café



  • 3 to 5 pound chuck roast, trimmed of extra fat
  • Coarse, kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 large yellow onions, sliced in thick rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 to 7 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2- or 3-inch pieces


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups juices/drippings from roast


  1. Season the roast on all sides with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add the roast, and brown on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  3. Place the onions in the bottom of a 7-or 8-quart slow cooker, toss the smashed garlic on top, and transfer the roast to sit on top of the onions and garlic.
  4. In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the tomato sauce, scraping up the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, thyme, salt and pepper (use less salt and pepper if you used regular beef broth and not low-sodium). Add the bay leaf.
  5. Pour the mixture over the roast. All slow cooker sizes are different but it helps if the meat is mostly covered with liquid (or at least the liquid comes up nearly to the top of the meat).
  6. Nestle the carrots around the roast.
  7. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours until the meat is very tender.
  8. Transfer the meat, carrots, and onions to a platter and tent with foil.
  9. Remove the bay leaf and pour the drippings/juice from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup (or into a fat separator if you want to pour off excess fat).
  10. For the gravy, melt the butter in a medium pot until sizzling. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds or so. Whisking vigorously and constantly (no lumps in our gravy!), gradually add 3 to 4 cups of the pot roast juices, until the desired consistency of gravy is reached.
  11. Continue stirring quickly while the gravy comes to a simmer. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  12. Serve immediately with the pot roast and vegetables (and mashed potatoes, of course!).