Category Archives: Dinner

Actifry Pesto Chicken & Potatoes

If you don’t know it by now, we love the Actifry at our house. We use this wonderful cooking gadget at the very least weekly. It is such a time saver. It can cook just about anything main dishes,sides, desserts, and snacks.

I appreciate using this device during weeknights for a quick easy dinner. Bonus easy clean up with essentialy a one pot meal. At the end of the meal, just throw everything in the dishwasher and call it an evening. 

We have so much Pesto, I have been adding it to everything. This recipe came to made on my way home from work. 

Prep time: 5 minutes  

Cooking time: 40-43 minutes

Servings: 2 large meals or 4 small


2 ounces of prepared Pesto, divided

2 chicken breast, cubed into 1 inch pieces

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 medium potatoes (about 3 cups, cubed 1 inch pieces) (washed clean & not peeled)

Tools for the Job:

  • Actifry


1. In either a ziplock bag or sealable container marinate the chicken breast ovennight with 1 ounce of Pesto.

2. When ready to prepare the dish,place the prepared potatoes with oil & remaining 1 ounce of Pesto in the actifry. Close the lid. Place the timer on 20 minutes. 

3. Add the chicken in the Actifry with the potatoes and place the timer on for another 20-23 minutes. 


Crock Pot Cider Beef Roast

This dish is a perfect way to celebrate the first day of autumn.

We had some chopped vegetables and cider leftover from a party we had Sunday. I generally always have a beef roast in the freezer. I thought I’d give this a try. I literally threw this dinner together in less than 10 minutes before I went to work yesterday. 
Honestly who doesn’t have time to put this together and having the stress free feeling of coming home to dinner ready. 
The cider does make this dish fairly sweet. So if you don’t like your beef real sweet consider using 2 cups of beef broth and only 2 cups of cider in place of the full quart of cider. 

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 8 hours on low


1 (2 pounds) beef roast

1/2 large yellow onion (quartered)

1/2 medium red onion (quartered)

1 small green pepper, cut into strips

1 pack low sodium onion soup mix

1 cup of baby carrots

1 quart spiced apple cider

Directions :

1. Place the beef in the center of the slowcooked. Surround the beef with the onions,peppers and carrots.  

2. Sprinkle the beef and vegetables with the onion soup mix and lastly pour the cider over the ingredients. Set the crockpot on low for 8 hours. 

3. Enjoy!

Pesto Crumbled Sausage Rotini Bake

We have an abundance of basil in the herb garden. I love making homemade pesto with it! 

This recipe is a great way to use up your basil before the nights get too cold and start to frost. 
You can also use store bought pesto if you don’t have basil in the garden or if you are pressed for time. 

Serving 4

Prep time: 15 minutes. 

Bake time: 20 minutes

1/2 cup prepared pesto  

3 cups cooked rotini pasta (I use Dreamfields wheat pasta that cooks white)

1 cup cooked crumbled Italian sausage 

2 Tablespoon fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese

Cooking spray (divided)

8 by 8 baking dish

: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package. 

1. Place pesto, sausage, pasta, and a 1/2 cup of the Italian cheese in the empty pasta pasta pot (why use another bowl). Mix together the ingredients and place them in the 8 by 8 baking dish. 

2. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and place in the preheated oven at 360 degrees for 20 minutes. 

3. Remove from oven and enjoy with some garlic bread! 


Spicy Slow Cooked Peppers

This time of year the homegrown peppers are bountiful. We are lucky enough to have neighbor’s with a beautiful thriving garden. They are very generous and always share their harvest. This recipe is a good way to use up some of those peppers from the garden. Bonus is this recipe freezes really well which allows you to enjoy the harvest more than one time a year.

I made this recipe for our monthly RD meeting. I try and feed the team a home cooked meal to show my appreciation. This recipe makes a lot of peppers so it is good for a meeting or potluck.

The picture below is a half buchel of Hungarian Hot Peppers we canned which  are also good for stuffing.

Prep time:30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours on low


1 pound spicy Italian sausage

1 pound 93% lean ground beef

1/2 cup cooked red quinoa

1 tablespoon sriracha

1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

3 green onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

8 large banana peppers, tops cut off and seeded

8 large bianca sweet long peppers, tops cut off and seeded

64 ounce low sodium spicy V8 (you might not use all of this)

Tools for the job:

6 quart slow cooker

Pepper seeder


1. Caution wear food safe rubber gloves. Remove pepper stems. Carefully remove seeds and membranes; set peppers aside. Combine the tomato sauce, sausage, beef, quinoa, cheese, onions, garlic, sriracha, salt and pepper; stuff into peppers.

2. Stack peppers longways in slow cooker. Pour V8 over peppers and place cooker on low heat for 8 hours.



Special Tip: The banana peppers can be very tricky sometimes they are hot and sometimes they are not. So if you want to be on the safe side I would recommend using the bianca peppers which are a more sweet pepper. 

Tri-Color Spelt Lemon Rotini

This was a quick throw everything together kind of dinner tonight. We can call it Meatless Fast Dinner Friday! Bonus I received this free box of pasta from Natures Legacy this past week at work! I like how this spelt pasta only takes 5 minutes to cook! I love saving time in the kitchen. 


Cannelloni Beans, 1 can rinsed and drained 

1 box 8oz  of  Tri Color Spelt Ronini

1/3 cup shredded Parm Cheese

1/4 tsp red pepper flake

2 TB olive oil or canola oil

1 small zucchini quartered and chopped 

4 extra large garlic cloves, chopped finely

Cracked Red Pepper to taste

2 tb  fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp lemon zest

4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1. Cook pasta according to packaging. Strain and set aside.

2. In a sauté pan, sauté up the olive oil and garlic. Cook the garlic until lightly browned. Add in the zucchini, sauté until it reaches your desired texture. I prefer my zucchini more firm than soft, so I only cooked mine for a minute or two. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. 

3. Once the zucchini has Reached the tenderness you desire add in the beans and cooked pasta. Sprinkle the zest and pour in the lemon juice over the pasta.  Stir well with rubber spatula. 

4. Fold in the parm cheese, and lastly season with red pepper flake and garnish with basil.


Tex Mex Chicken and Black Bean Lasagna



We had some leftovers of fajita chicken from dinner the other night & my leftover slow cooked black beans in the refrigerator. I used to make a dish like this when my husband and I were first married. I am not sure why I stopped making this lasagna. I think more than likely it was because most recipes yield 12 servings or call for a 9 by 13 inch pan. I tailored this recipe to fit an 8 by 8 for smaller families and/or couples.

We always have a stack of locally made, in the strip district, handmade tortilla shells frozen. One item I try to keep in the house at all times is tortillas. They freeze very well if you place a small piece of parchment paper in between each tortilla. Tortilla shells are very versatile. You can make so many meals with them from pizzas to burritos, to chips, to enchiladas to sandwiches…. The list goes on. One of my new favorites is lasagna. I love being resourceful with leftovers and what better way then throwing everything into a lasagna.

This recipe yields 6-9 servings


1- 4 to 6 oz chicken breast grilled with fajita seasoning (which equals about 1 3/4 cup shredded or chopped)

4 – 8 inch whole wheat tortillas (plus one for corners)

1 tsp fajita seasoning

6 TB chipotle salsa (I use Trader Joe’s when I don’t have fresh on hand)

6 TB black beans ( I used my slow cooked homemade black beans for this recipe)

2 TB pickled jalapeños (chopped), optional

1 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce, plus more if you like a wet lasagna

1 1/2 cup of Mexican blend shredded cheese

1/4 cup of fat free ricotta cheese

2/3 cup fat free cottage cheese

1 TB fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 green onions, chopped

8 by 8 glass baking dish



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree. Take an 8 by 8 dish and cover the bottom with 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of enchilada sauce. Place one of the tortillas in the middle of the dish. If you desire cut corners of the scrap tortilla to cover the corners of the pan. This will make sure your dish goes to the edges for a nicer appearance.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and fajitas seasoning. Place half of the cottage cheese mixture onto the tortilla shell in the baking pan & spread the cheese mixture evenly. Take 3 TB of salsa & 3 TB of black beans and evenly distribute onto of the cottage cheese spread. Sprinkle with 1/2 the chicken & 1/4 cup of Mexican cheese blend. Top with 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce. Spread everything together evenly using a spatula.
  3.  Repeat previous steps by placing down another tortilla shell over the enchilada sauce and cuting corners of the scrap tortilla to cover the corners of the edges of the pan where the circle shell did not cover.  Add the remainder of the cottage cheese mixture,  & spread evenly. Add the black beans, & salsa and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with remaining chicken and 1/4 cup of shredded Mexican Cheese. Pour 1/4-1/3 cup of enchilada sauce over the chicken and cheese, spread layer evenly, use spatula to make spread coat to  the edges.
  4. Top the enchilada sauce with one more tortilla shell, cover the corners with scraps. I like to use my kitchen sheers to cut out perfect scraps for the edges. Top with 1/3 cup of enchilada sauce and spread evenly. Cover evenly the sauce with  3/4 to 1 cup of shredded Mexican Cheese. Sprinkle with chopped jalapeños. Bake uncovered for 3o minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Once the lasagna comes out of the oven let rest for 10 minutes prior to cutting into. This will help prevent it from falling apart. Sprinkle with chopped green onion & fresh cilantro.








Pasta Pie


Yesterday despite the snow we ventured downtown to our favorite place to shop for kitchen essentials and pantry staples. I also love to shop the Strip District for inspiration on what to make the following week. Lucky it was Saturday and one of our favorite bakeries & cafe’s was open. I was checking out the showcase and the owner had made an Italian Meat Pie. This inspired me to look for a meat pie recipe. I did not find exactly what I was looking for; however, stumbled across a recipe by One Little Project at a Time, Three Cheese Italian Rigatoni Pie that intrigued me. This will not stop me from researching to find a pastry meat pie recipe, so be on the lookout for more details in the upcoming week.

I slightly modified the original recipe with the link from of above to incorporate some lighter ingredients and add additional seasoning. This pie turns out picture perfect and ridiculously delicious (Husband approved)! 

  • 1 pound Rigatoni
  • 3 cups; plus 1/3 cup of homemade pasta sauce or your favorite store bought sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil,
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (93/7)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup Romano Locatelli (grated)
  • 1/4 cup Asiago cheese (grated)
  • One 16 oz container of fat free cottage cheese (fat free ricotta cheese) or my family always likes a combo of both
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 cups of 2% mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of Pasta Sprinkle or Italian seasoning
  1. Cook the Rigatoni in a large pot of boiling water. Cook the pasta according to the package but decrease the time by Cook it about 1 minute. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water.
  2. Toss pasta with 1 Tablespoon of oil to prevent it from sticking. Then add the parmesan cheese, asiago cheese, and romano and mix until the cheese is evenly distributed. Set aside.
  3. Spray a large skillet preferably nonstick with cooking spray, sprinkle meat with salt and pepper, brown the ground beef on medium heat. Remove any excess liquid once cooked and no signs of pink meat.
  4. Add 3 cups of pasta sauce to the meat and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Mix together the container of cottage cheese and the egg & pasta sprinkle.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Cooking spray a 9 inch springform pan and place the remaining 1/3 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the springform pan. Spread the sauce evenly.
  10. Take the cooked rigatoni and stand each piece up on its end in the pan. Continue until the whole pan is tightly packed. You will feel like you don’t have enough noodles but you will.
  11. Pour the cottage cheese mixture over the rigatoni and spread evenly over all the noodles. Shake the pan and gently pound the pan on the counter to get some of the cottage cheese to venture down in the noodle vessels.
  12. Pour the meat mixture over top and spread evenly over the noodles. Use your a straw to poke the meat and cheese mixture down into the noodles. You can also gently pound the pan on the counter and shake this helps as well.
  13. Bake, uncovered, the beautiful pie for 15 minutes at 400F.
  14. Remove from the oven and top with the mozzarella cheese.
  15. Bake for another 15 minutes at 400F.
  16. Let stand on wire rack for 10 minutes then run a plastic knife (this will prevent scratching of your pan) around the edge of the pan to help remove the springform pan.






Unstuffed Peppers Remake



One of my goals this year is to post more dinner recipes. This recipe made me happy because I did not have to stuff peppers. The original recipe is a TOH recipe. I modified the recipe to incorporate more whole grains, lower fat dairy, and lower saturated fat protein as well. I don’t honestly think anyone will miss the extra calories and fat.

Predirections: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

This recipe yields six servings


2 Medium Green peppers (chopped)

1/2 a medium onion or about 1/2 cup of yellow onion chopped

1 (2 cup ) jar of your favorite marinara sauce (we used our favorite homemade sauce)

1 1/2 tsp of spicy Mrs. Dash

pinch of salt

a few clicks off the pepper mill

3 large cloves of minced garlic

1 pound of 93/7 ground beef or turkey

1 cup of instant uncooked brown rice

1 cup of 2% mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs

1 cup of very low sodium beef broth

cooking spray

2 quart oven safe casserole dish 



  1. Place a large skillet on the stove on medium heat and spray with canola oil or olive oil spray. Place meat, peppers, garlic, and onion in skillet make sure to cook the meat until no longer pink. Season meat with pepper, salt and Mrs. Dash.
  2. In meantime bring the broth to boil in a small sauce pan add in the rice and decrease temperature & cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Once the rice has cooked thoroughly add it to the meat mixture along with the marinara sauce. Mix the ingredients together well. Add about half of the cheese and stir. 

4. Carefully pour the ingredients into the 2 quart casserole dish. Pat the top with a spatula to make sure the mixture is spread evenly.  Top the dish with the bread crumbs and remaining cheese.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

6. Enjoy!