Crockpot Pot Roast

Fabulous Crockpot Pot Roast

Fabulous Crockpot Pot Roast

Super easy, super flavorful they said.  It was all over Pinterest, and everyone was raving about it.  I just couldn’t let something that sounded so good go by without giving it a try.

So I made it… a test.   Think of me as a scientific investigator.   I do all the work of testing out a recipe by making it, eating it, then telling all of you how wonderful it was (or not).   See, I do that, just for YOU.

Today,  I’m here to tell you it was Fabulous!!!!  But there is reason to be cautious.  This recipe uses only four ingredients, plus 1/2 cup water.  Three of those ingredients are pre-packaged mixes for Brown Gravy, Ranch Dressing, and Italian Salad Dressing.   I’m sure you know as well as I, that these mixes can contain a whole lot of Sodium, and sometimes, MSG. (Mine were labeled as having no MSG.)   There may be some slight variation among the many brands available, but here’s what mine contained:   Ranch Dressing mix==110mg,  Brown Gravy mix==240mg, and the biggest culprit of all, Italian Salad Dressing mix==320mg.

There’s no way I would ever put that much salt on a piece of meat I am cooking, so let’s get real, and try to fix the problem.  Reasoning that flavorful gravy is what we’re after, not salad dressing, I used the whole package of Brown Gravy mix, but I used only half of each of the dressing mixes.   The resulting gravy was full of flavor, and about right in terms of saltiness.  I think it is the best gravy I ever made.


I served egg noodles with the pot roast and we spooned the gravy over the noodles.  Therefore I used only a tad of salt in the cooking water for the noodles.  Likewise, if served over mashed potatoes, use very minimal salt in the water to cook the potatoes.


It is great to find a recipe this easy to make.  All it requires is a 2-3 pound pot roast that can be with or without the bone, like a chuck, or round roast;  the three packages of mixes and water.  I simply mixed the three mixes together in a small bowl, seared the roast in a large skillet to brown it on both sides, then put it in the crockpot.  Next I sprinkled the seasoning mixture over the beef, then poured on the 1/2 cup water.  Set it and forget it, as the saying goes. It couldn’t be easier.  You really don’t need a recipe to make this, but in case you need to see it written as a step-by-step procedure, here it is….


Three packaged mixes plus the beef roast.

Three packaged mixes plus the beef roast.

Yield:   depends on size of roast,  probably 6 to 8 servings


  • beef pot roast, such as chuck, top or bottom round ( 2.5 – 3 pounds)
  • 1 packet  Brown Gravy Mix
  • 1 packet Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 packet Italian Salad Dressing Mix
  • 1/2 cup warm water


1`.  In a hot skillet, place the beef and sear well on both sides.  Transfer to crock pot.

Sear well on both sides.

Sear well on both sides.

2.  In a small bowl, combine the three mixes, using only half the Ranch and Italian mixes.  (save them for next time, and you’ll only need to buy the gravy mix.)

3.  Sprinkle over the pot roast in the crock pot.   Pour the water over all.

Sprinkle on seasonings, pour water over all.

Sprinkle on seasonings, pour water over all.

4.  Set on LOW, and cook for 8-9 hours.

You can thicken the gravy, if you prefer it that way.

Serve the beef with gravy and mashed potatoes or noodles for a real treat.


SOURCE:   Pinterest




Stuffed Chicken with Roast Peppers, Mozzarella and Basil

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

I’ve been away from my kitchen too long.   Recovery from knee replacement surgery is a slow process, one that must be taken seriously, if you expect to regain full use of the knee.  All that stretching, bending, walking, etc is hard work and very tiring.  I’m glad to report that I’m moving ahead at a steady pace, but in tiny steps.  During the past weeks, we’ve had some wonderful friends who stopped by with meals for us (they took pity on Mr. D.)  so we have enjoyed some great home cooking while I’m recuperating  but today I felt like getting my hands dirty in the kitchen.  So this is what I came up with.

Exploring my freezer, I found a package of boneless chicken breasts, and in my cupboard, a jar of roasted peppers.  What naturally came to mind to accompany these ingredients were mozzarella cheese and basil.  This meal is quick and easy-to-prep, just right for when you want to get out of the kitchen fast, but also elegant enough for a special meal. Keep the side dishes simple with a vegetable and a salad.


Mr. D. loved it, commenting that it looks like pizza.   It really does because of the colors of peppers and cheese, plus the Italian seasoning.  It smells wonderful as it’s cooking also.  He said it’s become his new favorite way to have chicken.

This is my basic recipe, but it can certainly be changed or added to with some sautéed spinach, sliced fresh tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, etc.


Yield:  Serves 4


  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 slices
  • 1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, whole leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper for seasoning


1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease a broiler-proof baking dish.

2.  Butterfly chicken breasts by cutting into the long side of the breast, stopping about 1/4-inch from the opposite side.  On your work surface, lay the chicken breasts opened up.  Sprinkle the exposed insides with 1/2 of the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.


3.  Stack the pepper, 1 slice mozzarella and basil on the bottom side of the chicken.  Fold the top flap of the chicken over, tucking in the contents as necessary.  Sprinkle with the remaining Italian seasoning.



4.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (until chicken is no longer pink).  Take chicken out of the oven and turn on broiler.  Top each chicken piece with remaining slices mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.



Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes.


Serve with vegetable and a salad.


SOURCE:  Food Network

Italian Style Chicken Sausage with Roast Vegetables

Italian Style Chicken  Sausage with Roast Vegetables and Rigatoni

Italian Style Chicken Sausage with Roast Vegetables and Rigatoni

I wish you could taste how good this dish is!  But since you can’t, you’re going to have to take my word for it.

This baked dinner came about as a result of having roast vegetables left over from when I made the Roast Vegetable Subs.  It’s everything I love in a meal and it’s all ready in about an hour.


I used spicy chicken sausage to give it a little kick, but if you want it to be milder, simply swap it for sweet Italian sausage. The pasta I used is a large size rigatoni and I chose it so it would be compatible with the chunks of roasted vegetables.  For sauce I used a small jar of prepared pizza sauce mixed with a can of diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano.  Grated Italian blend cheese sprinkled on at the end of baking time gave it a nice melty topping.  We added more grated cheese at the table.  There wasn’t much conversation going on at this meal;  all we kept saying was  “MmmmmMm, Wow, this is So good”!!

If you’d like to Wow your family, here’s the recipe……


Yield:   Serves  6


  • 2-3 cups roast mixed vegetables (refer to Roast Vegetable Subs for directions)IMG_9390
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 ounces uncooked rigatoni
  • 1 jar (15-oz.) pizza sauce
  • 1 can (14.5-oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 package (12-oz) Italian style Chicken Sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese, plus more for the table


1.   Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and keep warm in the  pot.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil and sauté the chicken sausage just to brown a little;  add the roast vegetables and stir to combine.

Saute sausage with roast vegetables.

Saute sausage with roast vegetables.

Add the pizza sauce and tomatoes with their juice.  Heat the mixture thoroughly.

Add pizza sauce and tomatoes.

Add pizza sauce and tomatoes.

3.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

4.  Pour the sausage mixture over the cooked pasta and stir well to combine.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.

Transfer to baking dish and cover with foil.

Transfer to baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

5.  Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese.

Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake uncovered, an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.



Comfort food….Yes!

Comfort food….Yes!

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Ketchup Sauce

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Ketchup Sauce

Meatloaf, you got that right.  Meatloaf wrapped in bacon.  All the men I know love meatloaf,  and they love bacon.  Well, women do too.  This is another one of those times when bacon just makes it better.  Bacon that gets all crispy surrounding a thick, meaty meatloaf that’s been baked with a catsup sauce over it.  (Please excuse the drool, here.)

This is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, of The Food Network.   It’s superb!  And it’s an equal opportunity dish;  equally comforting to both men and women–and kids, too.


This recipe is very easy to make, and takes very little time to put together.  You bake it on a broiler pan so the fat drips away into the pan below, allowing the loaf to bake faster, and gives the bacon a great crisp.  You can bake this in one big loaf, or divide it into two smaller ones and freeze one for a night when you need something quick.  If you have a big family you’ll need it all, and don’t count on leftovers.

Put some foil in the bottom pan to catch the drippings and make clean-up easier.

Put some foil in the bottom pan to catch the drippings and make clean-up easier.

When I made it I used a package of meatloaf mix that was about 1.25 lb. and halved the other ingredients so it stayed proportional.  For two people we ate about half of it,  and I promised Mr. D. a meatloaf sandwich on a hard roll for his lunch.  He just about swooned at that!  See, the psychology here, is that if I make one for him, then I can have one too, and not feel guilty.  🙂


Yield:  4 – 6 servings


  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 slices white bread ( any bread will do, even whole wheat)
  • 2 pounds ground beef (can also use 1 pound each ground pork and beef)
  • 1 heaping cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp. regular salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 10 slices bacon, thin, not thick cut.

For the sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • (reserve 1/3 of the sauce for serving)


1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line the bottom of your broiler pan with foil and spray the top part with non-stick cooking spray.  Have it ready to go.

2.  Place bread slices in a large bowl.  Pour milk over bread.  Allow it to soak for a few minutes.

3.  Add ground beef, onion, Parmesan cheese, salts, pepper and parsley to the bowl with the bread.  Lightly beat the eggs and pour over all of this.

4.  With clean hands, dig in and start squishing and mixing it up until everything is well-blended.  Shape the meat mixture into a loaf, (or two smaller loaves) and place on the broiler pan.   Now lay the bacon slices over the loaf, tucking the ends underneath the loaf.  If you made two loaves, cut the bacon slices in half.  You may need to stretch them a little, but thinner bacon slices will become crispier.

Wrap meatloaf with bacon slices, stretched thin.

Wrap meatloaf with bacon slices, stretched thin.

Note, I didn’t have enough bacon to completely cover the loaf, so I wrapped lengthwise.  If you have enough bacon, wrap crosswise, so the meatloaf is completely covered by the bacon.

5.  Once the meatloaf is wrapped, take 2/3 of the ketchup sauce and spread it over the loaf with a spoon or spatula.

Spoon ketchup sauce over the meatloaf to cover.

Spoon ketchup sauce over the meatloaf to cover.

6.  Bake for about an hour and a half, if making the full recipe.   This is great served with mashed potatoes.

You won't be able to wait for dinner when this is on the menu.

You won’t be able to wait for dinner when this is on the menu.

SOURCE:  The Pioneer Woman via The Ranting Chef, then modified


Mustard Chicken Thighs with Rosemary Potatoes

Mustard Chicken Thighs with Rosemary Potatoes

Mustard Chicken Thighs with Rosemary Potatoes

Man, was this ever good!

Perhaps I should back up and start at the beginning.    This is pretty much a pantry meal.  That is, with a couple of substitutions, I had everything on hand to make it.  And in spite of the substitutions, it was delicious.  Well, that’s what this blog is all about… as economically as possible, and making it taste fantastic.

First off, I discovered a package of chicken thighs getting dangerously close to their blast off date, ahem, I mean expiration date.  You can use any chicken pieces that you have available, but I happen to love thighs so I keep several packages of them in my freezer at all times.

Whole grain mustard is called for and also peppercorns, crushed.  However in a gift package I received a jar of whole grain mustard that also contained whole peppercorns, so I used that.  The mustard really wakes up the chicken, so be sure to use it.  The seasoning on the skin and underneath it, really allows the chicken to brown up nicely, and smells heavenly.


Instead of the fingerling potatoes, I used 2 medium-sized russets, cut into wedges, and I used dried chopped rosemary for the fresh.  If you do that, remember to use less of the dried, usually about 1/2 of the fresh herb that’s called for.


You know, I really like making dishes using whole pieces of chicken, especially the dark meat.  There’s just something about tender chicken falling off the bone, that’s so je ne sais qua.




Yield:  Serves 4


  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. mixed peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • kosher salt
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise( ( used russet potatoes, cut into wedges)
  • 2 tsp, chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 red or green pepper, cut into strips, optional


1.  Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 450*F.

2.  Whisk 1/2 cup water, the mustard, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, the lemon juice, peppercorns, 1/2 the garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl.  Add the chicken and toss, loosen the skins and rub some of the mustard mixture underneath.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, skin-side up.  Roast on the upper rack until golden and crisp, 25 minutes.


2.  Meanwhile, put the potatoes and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap; pierce in several places with a knife to vent.  Microwave until just tender, 10 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.

3.  Combine the remaining garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the rosemary and 3/4 tsp. salt in a bowl.  Add the potatoes and bell pepper strips (if using), and toss.  Transfer to a separate rimmed baking sheet.  Roast on the lower rack until the vegetables are tender and golden, about 20 minutes.


4.  Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest.  Move the vegetables to the upper oven rack and continue roasting until browned, 5 more minutes.  Serve with the chicken and any pan juices.


Treat your sweetie to this meal for Valentine’s Day.


SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine

Cincinnati – Style Chili

Cincinnati-Style Chili

Cincinnati-Style Chili

Wow!  What an interesting spin on traditional chili recipes.  The idea of serving the chili over spaghetti was new to me and I loved it, especially loading it with add-ons at serving time.

I was definitely intrigued by the use of chocolate and sweet spices in chili, but they were indistinguishable in the finished dish and provided a depth of flavor that was so good.

Grated chocolate and sweet spices are added to the mixture.

Grated chocolate and sweet spices are added to the mixture.

This recipe is low in sodium if that is a concern for you, and it is also flexible in that you can add red kidney beans to the chili, or use them as a topping along with the cheese and green onions.  So if there are folks who would prefer not to have  beans in their chili, it all works to everyone’s satisfaction.

The next time I make this I will add a little extra broth, so it is more “saucy” for the spaghetti.  Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing about this great recipe.   Oh, and did I mention it’s made in the slow-cooker,  so you can start this early in the day and let it simmer, filling your kitchen with an aroma of what’s for dinner.   At dinner time all you have to do is boil some water and cook the spaghetti.


The recipe makes 10 servings–a lot for two of us–so I cut the recipe in half, and there was enough for us to have it twice.  I also added the kidney beans to the slow cooker during the last hour of cooking time.



Yield:  10 servingsIMG_8439


  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (8-ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 0z.) reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 package ( 16 oz.) whole wheat spaghetti


  • 1 can ( 16-oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onion, chopped


1.  In a nonstick skillet, coated with cooking spray, cook turkey, onions and garlic until turkey is no longer pink.  Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker.

Cooking the ground turkey with the onion and garlic.

Cooking the ground turkey with the onion and garlic.

2.  In a large bowl, combine tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, chocolate and seasonings; pour over turkey mixture.

Making the tomato sauce mixture.

Making the tomato sauce mixture.


Cook, covered, on low 6 – 8 hours.

Add kidney beans during last hour of cooking time.

Add kidney beans during last hour of cooking time, if desired.

3.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.  Remove bay leaf from chili.  For each serving, place 3/4 cup spaghetti in a bowl.  Top with about 2/3 cup chili, 3 tablespoons kidney beans, 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped onion.


 My first bowl of Cincinnati-Style Chili, but certainly not my last!

SOURCE:    Taste of Home

Beefy Mac and Cheese

Beefy Mac and Cheese

Beefy Mac and Cheese

Don’t you think it’s about time we get down to the real thing?….We’ve roasted vegetables, cut up pumpkin,  and peeled apples.  Now let’s eat some mac and cheese.   Here we are into November and we have every right to put apples in our pancakes, chicken in our pot pies, and chili beef in our Mac and Cheese.  We have every right to all the comfort foods we can possibly eat.



Routines are comforting don’t you think?   I have my routines.   I get my oil changed every 3000 miles, I get my hair cut every 6 weeks, I drag myself out of bed every morning and back into it every night somewhere between 11 and 12m.  It all feels good, and right.   In the catalog of sometimes mundane routines is this Mac and Cheese recipe.

About three times a year I over-indulge and make this dish and wonder why I don’t make it a part of my more pressing monthly routine.   Then I remember the calories, making the roux, assembling it all and baking it.  Its worth it though, but still it remains my every-once-in-a-while dish.  Maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much when I do make it.  Something about absence making the heart grow fonder?

My variation:  the recipe calls for 8 oz. ground beef, but I like the dish heartier, so I use 1 pound of beef and double up on the tomato paste and chili powder.  This makes a thicker layer of chili beef under the mac and cheese, and you get more in every bite.  Use either half or a whole pound of beef, it’s up to you, and either way it’ll be delicious!  That’s what we do it 🙂



Yield:    Serves 4


  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 3 Tbsp, unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-fat milk ( 1%)
  • 2  2/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend ( about 8 oz,)
  • 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs, preferably panko
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


1.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook as the package directs.  Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

2.  Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and chili powder and stir until brick red, about 2 minutes.  Add the beef and cook, stirring, until browned, 4 minutes.

Browning the beef.

Browning the beef.

Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Spread the mixture in a 3-quart baking dish.  Preheat the oven.

3. Having cooked the beef, now we make a roux.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet over medium heat.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. (It’s a thick and goopy mess.  You’re totally doing it right.)  Slowly add the milk and reserved cooking water.

Making the roux.

Making the roux.

Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking away until thick, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups cheese, the cooked pasta and 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir until the cheese melts.

Stir in the cheese and let it melt.

Stir in the cheese and let it melt.

Add the cooked pasta.

All that cheesy sauce gets inside the shells…Oh, Wow!

Spread over the beef mixture.  This is all about layering flavors.

4.  Mix the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and the breadcrumbs; sprinkle over the pasta mixture and bake for about 20 minutes.

Top with remaining cheese and bake.

Top with remaining cheese and crumbs and bake for 20 minutes.

Before removing from the oven, turn on the broiler, and broil until the top is golden and crunchy.  Top with the scallions and serve.


Oh man… this is really good!

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Eggplant Rollatini


Eggplant Rollatini

Eggplant Rollatini


I’ve eaten eggplant rollatini at a restaurant and loved it,  but I had forgotten about it until recently when I was out and ordered it again.  I knew that I had to try to recreate it at home.  A meal this good should not be forgotten about.

Eggplant is not a vegetable that I cook a lot.  Mostly I make eggplant Parmesean with it, or add it to ratatouille. It’s not way up there on my favorites list.  But prepared in this way…I just love it because it’s crispy, and has a filling rolled up inside it.  Add a flavorful tomato sauce ( homemade marinara is best) and serve with your favorite kind of pasta.  The filling I made works very well for a meatless meal, but you could include some crumbled sausage, or ground beef with the cheese filling.  Chopped baby spinach would also make a great addition.  So here again is a recipe that offers many possibilities for changing up the ingredients to your liking.  Be Bold!   Experiment!  🙂


Usually in preparing this dish the eggplant is breaded and pan-fried in oil till crisp tender, but in the interest of lowering the calorie content  I elected to broil the eggplant slices with equally good effect. Once baked the edges were crisp, but the centers of the slices were moist and tender.


(eggplant= aubergine, melanzane)

Yield:  Serves 4


  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 egg, beaten with a little water to loosen
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 egg yolk, or use 1 Tbsp. egg beater, egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian blend seasoning
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound pasta such as angel hair, or penne,or rigatoni


1.  Preheat the broiler.  Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Dip the eggplant slices in egg, then into the bread crumbs, coating evenly on both sides.  Lay on baking sheet(s)

Dip in egg wash, then in seasoned crumbs.

Dip in egg wash, then in seasoned crumbs.

Lay prepared slices on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Lay prepared slices on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

3.  Broil for about 4-5 minutes on each side, till nicely browned, but take care not to let them burn.  Turn over and cook another 4-5 minutes.  They should be browned but pliable, not crisp.

4.  In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, garlic, egg yolk ( or egg substitute), mozzarella cheese, and seasonings.  Divide evenly among all the slices of eggplant and spread evenly.

Divide filling among slices and roll up.

Divide filling among slices and roll up.

Starting at the narrow end of each slice, roll up tightly and place seam side down in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. A toothpick may help keep them rolled.  Pour marinara sauce over the rolls, and top with the 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

Pour marinara sauce over the rolls and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Pour marinara sauce over the rolls and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

5.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted.


6.  While the eggplant rolls are baking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta, and cook as package directs for the type of pasta you are using.  Drain.

7.  Serve eggplant rolls and sauce over pasta.







Shrimp-Mango Stir-Fry

Shrimp-Mango Stir-Fry

Shrimp-Mango Stir-Fry

Every time I make an Asian-inspired meal from Cooking Light, I wonder if this will be the one that’s a bit off, the one that doesn’t quite come together.  And without fail we sit down to something fabulous, in a way I hadn’t ever considered before.   By now I should know better, the folks who design recipes at Cooking Light magazine seem to always get it right.

This one was no different.  It looks like a very simple shrimp stir-fry with noodles, and it is really, but mango?  with shrimp?  Yes, yes, and yes!  Add some sliced peppers and onion, plus ginger and I find it hard to describe the complexity and absolute deliciousness of this dish.  I swear it’s the ginger that brings it all together, so please don’t leave it out.

Shrimp-ly Delicious!

Shrimp-ly Delicious!

This recipe is meant to serve four, but two of us ate it all, with no regrets.  It’s that good!!

The other good thing about it is that it can be made quickly like most other stir-frys.  Slice, chop, measure and mix all the ingredients in advance and once you turn on the burner, cooking commences and it’s done in a flash.


Yield:   serves 4


  • 5 ounces uncooked rice noodles, or soba noodles

    A diverse mix of ingredients!

    A diverse mix of ingredients!

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 cup cubed peeled ripe mango
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Slice, chop, measure and mix before starting to cook.

Slice, chop, measure and mix before starting to cook.


1.  Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Drain.

2.  Combine 3 tablespoons water and next 4 ingredients (through cornstarch) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Set aside.

3.  Combine red pepper, black pepper, and shrimp in a medium bowl; toss to coat.

4.  Heat a wok or a large skillet over high heat.  Add  1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shrimp mixture; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are almost done, turning once.  Remove shrimp mixture from pan.IMG_7695

5.  Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion, bell  pepper, and ginger; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Return shrimp mixture and juice mixture to pan.


Add mango; cook 1 minute or until liquid thickens slightly and shrimp are done.

Add mango last.

Add mango last.


Sprinkle with basil.  Serve over noodles.  (I mixed mine right in with the shrimp mixture.)

Sprinkle torn basil on top.

Sprinkle torn basil on top.


I can't believe we ate the whole thing!!

I can’t believe we ate the whole thing!!


SOURCE:  Cooking Light Magazine

Shrimp and Avocado Chopped Salad

Shrimp and Avocado Chopped Salad

Shrimp and Avocado Chopped Salad

Chop, Chop, Chopped!   This is not about the T.V. show Chopped, but about a salad.  Where salads are concerned, “chopped” is the new buzz-word.

“Tossed” is the word most often associated with putting a great salad together.  A very enjoyable jumble of greens and vegetables comes out of this technique.  Then there’s the “composed” salad, a thoughtful work of art; leaves placed just so on the plate form a base, with slivers of vegetables, fruits, nuts and other delightful ingredients carefully arranged over them, with the dressing drizzled on like splatters of paint.

But the “chopped” salad is perhaps the most satisfying creation that can come out of a salad bowl.  All it takes is a sharp knife and you can cut lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, avocado, chicken, shrimp—anything you want—into a mixture of delectable morsels.  Coat it all with dressing and the whole thing becomes infused with flavor.  When you take a bite, the full impact of a chopped salad hits you:   each forkful has a snippet of all the ingredients.  You get the perfect bite every time.


So get out your knife and cutting board for this crazy-good summer salad that features two favorites;  shrimp and avocado.  Healthy fats (avocado) and protein (shrimp) insures that you will be satisfied and all for less than 400 calories / serving.

The shrimp can be cooked outdoors on the grill, for an added smoky flavor that plays well with the bacon.  To me, this is the perfect meal to eat outside on the deck on a warm summer evening.  If calories are not a concern, you might want to add a warm crunchy roll or rustic bread with this salad.



Yield:   serves 4



  • 5 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh dill ( or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed)
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Puree the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Set aside while you prepare the salad.

Shrimp and Salad:IMG_7488

  • 1 pound raw shrimp ( 21 – 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red cabbage
  • 3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup assorted cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced

1.  Preheat grill to medium or heat a grill pan over medium heat.

2.  Toss shrimp with 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3.  Grill the shrimp, turning once, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes, total.  Transfer to a cutting board.  Chop the shrimp into bite-size pieces.

4.  Combine lettuce, cabbage, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, avocado and bacon in a large bowl.  Add the shrimp and dressing;  toss to coat.  Season with pepper to taste.

Each serving is about 2  1/2 cups,  398 calories.



SOURCE:   Eating Well