Thin Crust Spinach, Blue Cheese and Pecan Pizza

Easy Recipe: Thin Crust Spinach, Blue Cheese and Pecan Pizza {399 Calories!}

Thin Crust Spinach, Blue Cheese and Pecan Pizza

You know when you’re a kid and people ask what your favorite food is? Well, mine is pizza – hands down. Always has been, always will be. So when fellow Michigan blogger Being Cheap Easy did a shout for creative pizza ideas for #PizzaFriday, I knew I had to share my recent favorite.

Recent studies show how families need to re-think our pizza addiction. Because of this, I’ve tried to be better about making pizza at home, and with better, less processed ingredients.

Instead of the high calorie traditional pepperoni and cheese pizzas, I’ve been experimenting with adding more veggies and getting creative. I can’t always get my kids to eat it my way, which is why I love Flatout’s Artisan Thin Pizza Crust — I can make my own little pizza to accompany whatever I make for them. {Bonus points: Flatout is based in Saline, Michigan!}

My combo includes blue cheese, pecan pieces and spinach. I love that spinach’s mild flavor is perfect for getting a boost of vitamin A, K and calcium and iron. Woot!

I also love that this pizza is only 399 calories. I eat the entire thing, feel full, and squash my daily salt craving with it. It’s so good it feels indulgent.

Thin Crust Spinach, Blue Cheese and Pecan Pizza Ingredients [Read more…]

Crock Pot  Creamy Tortellini and Chicken Sausage Soup

Crock Pot Creamy Tortellini and Chicken Sausage Soup

Crock Pot  Creamy Tortellini and Chicken Sausage Soup

There is nothing quite like hot soup on a cold day. And since cold is synonymous with Michigan, we eat a heck of a lot of soup during the winter.

I am totally digging this recipe, which I’ve tweaked to our liking over time. Since we’re amid the holidays, I love that it’s red, white and green too. That means it’s festive, right?! Right.

This simple soup gets a good flavor thanks to chicken sausage. We’ve tried quite a few different varieties, but I always seem to come back to this spinach and mozzarella one made by Meijer. So flavorful, delicious, and often on sale.

Chicken Sausage - Creamy Tortellini and Sausage Soup

Just dice up these babies and brown them on the stove and voila! You’re ready to dump them in the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients except the tortellini. [Read more…]

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Recipe #FabulousFlatbread

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Recipe {Crockpot Method!} #FabulousFlatbread

Fabulous Flatbread Challenge LogoI have been compensated by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan for my time to develop this recipe. All opinions expressed are my own. 

There is one thing we can always agree on meal-wise in our house: Pizza. But, when it comes to pizza, we can NEVER agree on toppings. My kids are picky. My husband is a meat eater – the more meat the better. And I am the diva. Figs? Yes. Feta? Heck to the yes. A sunny-side up egg? Mmmm. The crazier, the better.

For the hubby and I, our middle ground is buffalo chicken pizza, mostly because it’s delicious and can easily be made in the crock pot while I tend to children. And making our pizza on individual flatbreads makes customizing one for the kids a cinch.

Let me tell you, this little beauty is pure magic at the end of a hard day filled with stage 5 clingers.

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Recipe #FabulousFlatbread
[Read more…]

Crockpot Applesauce

Crockpot Applesauce Recipe {With Michigan Apples!}

Michigan Apples

It’s apple season here in Michigan, and I couldn’t be happier. Move over everything pumpkin spice, this has been the year for all things apple! After a rough apple crop last year, I’m so happy to see apples a-plenty growing in abundance here and helping all of our wonderful orchards and cider mills stay in business.

Our favorite local orchard to go to for picking apples is Spicer Orchards in Fenton, Michigan {about 15 minutes south of Flint}. Not only is in scenic, but there is TONS to do for kiddos {playground, huge sandbox, corn barn, tractors, etc.}, which makes it a big draw for us. We make sure to go several times throughout the season for outdoor fun, fresh donuts, apple cider and apple picking.

Spicer Orchards

A few weeks back, we  trekked out for apples. I love apple picking because it’s easy to do with small kids in tow because it’s relatively quick. Also, I like being able to choose what size apples we grab — the small ones are perfect for kids so they don’t waste! On this day, we picked a peck, which was $11 for the bag. To me, that’s pretty reasonable since we were able to squeeze a ton of apples into our bag. We picked mostly Gala apples, one of my favorites, along with some Mollies Delicious.

Check out this infographic full of all things apple in Michigan, courtesy of the Michigan Apples Committee. I love the stats in here!

Infographic Revised Sept 2014

Michigan sure rocks apples, huh? Woot.

[Read more…]

Smoked Sausage, Egg and Cheese Bake

Smoked Sausage, Egg and Cheese Bake Recipe for #MIDairy

Smoked Sausage, Egg and Cheese Bake

The post below is sponsored by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. I was compensated for developing a recipe using dairy products, however, all opinions expressed are my own.
With three little ones, I’ll admit it: I don’t cook a full-blown breakfast as often as I’d like these days. Not that we go out, either. Between needy kids and a loves-to-nurse in the morning babe, I’m just usually scrambling in the morning and throwing whatever is in the fridge together. I need recipes that are EASY since I usually am holding the baby and attempting to keep the toddler out of the pantry and fridge.
With school in the afternoon for Kinley and general toddler pickyness, I need them to eat a FILLING breakfast because the rest of our day is generally a crapshoot of what they will actually eat.
This smoked sausage, egg and cheese bake is one of my absolute favorite recipes to throw together for both breakfast and brinner {breakfast for dinner}. It is a HUGE hit in our house. Since it seems pretty rare these days that we all like the same things, I make this one often, especially when smoked sausage goes on sale and I have beautiful farm fresh eggs from my friend who raises chickens.
Eggs - Smoked Sausage, Egg and Cheese BakeAren’t farm fresh eggs just the prettiest? I love how they come out in all different colors and sizes!
[Read more…]
Recipe - Fruit and Yogurt Waffle Bowls

Recipe: Fruit and Yogurt Waffle Bowls

I have been compensated by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan for my time to develop this recipe. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Recipe - Fruit and Yogurt Waffle Bowls


The sunshine and warmer temps means farmer’s markets, days at the beach and my favorite: cookouts, complete with delectable summery foods.

One treat my family absolutely loves are these simple fruit and yogurt waffle bowls. Not only are they great for a bit of protein and a serving of fruit, but their fun for little ones to help make, too!

These are great for a summer birthday party, or for any Memorial Day or Fourth of July gathering.


  • Waffle bowls {I prefer the smaller ones for the kids}
  • Your choice of fruit. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes and melon are good choices. Go with what’s in-season!
  • French vanilla yogurt
  • Agave or honey


Cut up your choice of fruit and layer piece by piece into the waffle bowl. Place a dollop {or about a tablespoon} of the yogurt on the fruit and top with a light drizzle of agave or honey for an extra zip of sweetness. Serve right away. {You could make the waffle/fruit part in advance, but I would recommend not topping with yogurt until right before serving.}


Fruit and Yogurt Waffle Bowls Summer Treat

Aren’t they pretty?

I prefer to just pick it up and bite in so I get all flavors at once. My girls opted to eat all the fruit inside, then eat the bowl. Immediately upon finishing hers, the 3-year-old asked for seconds. She thinks it’s ice cream 😉

Fruit and Yogurt Waffle Bowls2

Eating outside in a MSU cheerleader uniform with blankeys nearby is totally kosher around here.

To learn more about why Milk Means More, be sure to connect with UDIM on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. Also? There are some amazing recipes on UDIM’s website. Bring a napkin for your drool!

What are your favorite dairy-inspired treats to enjoy in warm weather?


Red Gold Aioli Promotion

Get Inspired with Red Gold Aioli Ideas #RedGoldRecipes #EasyAioli

I received promotional products in exchange for the post below. All opinions expressed are my own.

The folks at Red Gold recently reached out to me to discuss a current promotion they were hosting, and I was beyond thrilled to hear that they are focused on growing in the Midwest {mainly Michigan, Indiana and Ohio}, where the climate, position of the sun and soil are perfect for growing tomatoes. I truly learn something new every day!

I loved learning this factoid because I often buy Red Gold tomatoes for a variety of recipes, including this one pot wonder, chilis, chicken bruschetta bake and more.

#RedGoldRecipes #EasyAioli

The one thing I’ve never thought to use canned tomatoes for is aioli. If you’re not familiar, aioli essentially is a dressed up, delicious version of mayo.

Red Gold is introducing 10 new Aioli recipes including: Chipotle Aioli, Tomato Aioli, Lime & Cilantro Aioli, Sriracha Aioli, Pesto Aioli and more. And ya’ll? They are SO simple and perfect for sandwiches, dips, toppings and other recipes? YUM.

Red Gold is currently hosting a promotion on their Facebook page now through May 27th, where you have your chance to win aprons or a $250 prize pack, including a Cuisinart Panini Grill {want!!!} and other prizes. All you have to do is select which aioli you are most like here:
Red Gold Aioli Promotion
One of the recipes they sent me that I already plan to try is this:


  • 1⁄2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can RED GOLD® PETITE DICED TOMATOES 8 slices bread, variety of choice
  • 4 large lettuce leaves
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked and drained
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Combine mayonnaise and RED GOLD® PETITE DICED TOMATOES to make the Tomato Aioli. Place lettuce on 4 slices of bread and then add three strips of bacon and top with Tomato Aioli and black pepper. Place slice of bread on top. Cut in half and serve.

Three cheers for BLTs! They are always a hit at this house 😀

Also, we decided to make our own aioli using the tomatoes with garlic and olive oil and mayo to serve with some french fries we made. So delicious and complemented our burgers-on-the-grill wonderfully!

Red Gold Aoili

For more great aioli recipe ideas, visit or visit Red Gold on Facebook or Twitter.

Have you made aioli at home? What are your favorite combinations?

Thumbprint Linzer Cookies

My Favorite Christmas Treat: Linzer Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Linzer Cookies

We all have our favorite holiday treats, right? Mine, by far, are these linzer thumbprint cookies!

I love that they are made with old-fashioned ingredients and have a bit of spice to them, yet aren’t overly sugar-sweet like many cookies. My mom has been making these my entire life, so no Christmas in my mind is complete without them! I especially love them with a cup of tea.

We’ve started a tradition of baking some cookies together last year, and I hope we continue it as long as possible. With two crazy little ones, we decided to just do these this year, but we’re going to try to stretch it to one more kind with each passing year 😉

Baking Thumbprint Linzer Cookies

Here’s the super simple recipe. We always double the recipe because they will not last otherwise! {Recipe yields approximately a dozen cookies.}


  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of finely ground pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Raspberry or strawberry jam

Thumbprint Linzer Cookies Recipe


Cream butter and sugar together; add egg yolk and beat until light and fluffy. Mix together dry ingredients and add to the wet butter/sugar mixture. Refrigerate until firm {about 10-15 minutes}. Shape into balls and add a thumbprint in the middle, fill it with jam.

Thumbprint Linzer Cookies with Jam

Helpful baker with Thumbprint Linzer Cookies

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for approximately 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Thumbprint Linzer Cookies with powdered sugar

Voila! Delicious cookies…perfect for leaving out for Santa to enjoy!

Thumbprint Linzer Cookies2

What are your favorite treats for the holidays?


Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry

Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry #Recipe

Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry

I’m incredibly picky when it comes to fish, so when I came across this recipe for spinach and pesto salmon in a puff pastry, I was curious to try it!

It’s seriously amazing and is the perfect food for entertaining because it seems fancy, but it’s SO easy! {Trust me…I don’t post recipes that aren’t simple!}

Adapted from this AllRecipes post.

Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry Ingredients


  • Salmon fillet, fresh or frozen {long enough to almost fill the pastry}
  • Puff pastry sheets {near the pie crusts in the frozen section}, thawed
  • 1/3 cup pesto {cheapest brand is totally fine, or make your own!}
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons feta crumbles {optional}


Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. If needed, slice the silver skin off of the salmon {for me, this is a hubby job…freaks me out!}.

Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry1

Open up the puff pastry sheet and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry2

Place salmon inside. Season the salmon with the onion and garlic powder.

Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry3

Then, add the pesto on top and spread it out {peanut butter on bread style!}.

Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry4

Finally, add the fresh spinach leaves and feta, and close the puff pastry around the ingredients.

Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry5

 Spinach and Pesto Salmon in a Puff Pastry6

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is starting to turn a golden brown.

Slice and  serve with a side salad. A delicious main course! If your kids enjoy flavor {I’m lucky — mine do!}, they may enjoy it as well 😀

What are your favorite recipes with salmon?


#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta

Quick Family Meal: Chicken Bruschetta Pasta with #KraftRecipeMakers

Collective Bias

#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta

Is there any better fall comfort food than pasta? Yeah, I think not.

The #1 item my husband requests on the menu each week is pasta. We love trying new pasta dishes, so I was excited to try the new Kraft Recipe Makers for a quick family meal.

As a busy work-from-home mama, the last thing I want to do each night is cook dinner. Many times we end up with eggs, a crock pot meal or grilled cheese sandwiches. So having a “meal helper” from a box is definitely not above me. I liked that I could include my own fresh ingredients {easy to customize} and that it helped make a great meal for my family — quickly, on a budget, and without a ton of clean-up.

We made Kraft’s chicken bruschetta pasta and were pleased with the results! Lots of flavor and SO simple. The husband was ecstatic when I told him what was for dinner.

Here’s how I made this quick family meal:

#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta Ingredients


  • Kraft Recipe Makers – Chicken Brushchetta Pasta flavor {Found at my local Walmart in the pasta aisle}#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta -1
  • 1 lb of chicken {I used 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts}
  • 3 cups bowtie pasta
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • Optional: Fresh basil, chopped and croutons for toppings


Set-up your ingredients and chop up your chicken if needed.

#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta -2

Cook pasta as directed. In the meantime, oil a skillet and cook the chicken until cooked through. Stir in half the simmer sauce.

#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta -3

Drain the pasta and add to the skillet the remaining simmer sauce while mixing.

Top with finishing sauce and parmesan. Cover and cook until heated through for 2 to 3 minutes.

#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta-6

Add basil and croutons if you’d like.

BOOM. Dinner is served.

#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta-8

OK, well, if you’re like me, you probably have a veggie and bread as well too 😀

#kraftrecipemakers - Chicken Bruschetta Pasta-9

This was totally a hit with the hubby and the kids too!

Follow Kraft on Facebook here.

Have you tried the new Kraft Recipe Makers? Which one would you like to try? The verde chicken enchiladas one is next on my list!


Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars

Everyone deserves a sweet treat now and then, right?

One of my current favorite indulgent treats these days are these super simple chocolate coconut peanut butter no-bake bars. I mean, how can you go wrong with coconut, peanut butter AND chocolate together, right? Pure bliss, friends.

These are perfect for a quick treat to bring to share with friends, or to gobble up throughout the work week.

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars


1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup Agave {or 1/2 cup honey}
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil {Costco has the best prices I’ve seen}
2 cups 100% whole grain dry oats {I use quick oats}
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil over medium heat.

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars 1

Once melted, remove from heat and add to the oats, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and vanilla mixture. Stir until chocolate is entirely melted.

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars2

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars3

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars4

Pour into an 8×8 pan and cool in the fridge for a few hours until hard. {You can also put them in a 9×13 pan if you don’t want them as thick, or drop them onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper for cookies for quicker eating.}

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars5

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars6

When they are set, cut them into squares and enjoy.

Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars7

Store in the fridge.

So delicious!

What are your favorite simple sweet treats to make at home?


Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup

Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup #Recipe

Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup

Today I am highlighting a soup I love for fall that was shared by a friend a few years ago. If you’re like me {a.k.a. a bottomless pit when it comes to food}, you may stay away from soup as a meal. I assure you, this one has enough heavier ingredients to stick to your ribs, but isn’t too indulgent in the calorie department. {If you want that, you must try my crock pot broccoli cheese soup…nom!}

I also enjoy how this soup can easily be made higher quality, or inexpensively if you are on a budget. Personally, I know I could get all these ingredients from Aldi for about $8-$10 for everything. Woohoo! With that said, if I bought fresh meat and REAL gnocchi, it could be made a little higher end. Love when recipes give my wallet some wiggle room. Since we’re approaching the end of the month here, we went the cheap route this time around 😉

Simply serve this with a French baguette slightly warm, and voila! The perfect quick and easy meal for fall.

Plus, I just love saying ‘gnocchi’ {pronounced knee-o-kie}. Isn’t that fun?!

Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup1


  • 3 links turkey Italian sausage {hot is awesome! I just get the Jennie-O brand from Aldi}
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 – 16/17 oz package of gnocchi
  • 1 can of fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 can chopped Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained {Or, if you only have plain tomatoes, add in 1/2 tsp of oregano}
  • Parmesan cheese


Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage over medium-high heat until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain fat from the meat if needed.

Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup2

Add 2 cups water, soup, tomatoes and gnocchi; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi float to the top of the pan.

Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup3

Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup4

Bonus points: My kids like it too! For my 14-month-old, I just serve the chunks without the broth so it’s easy for her to pick it up and feed herself.

Baby loving Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup

Victory for mommy!

Toddler loving Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup

Not sure what’s up with this kid and her love for soup, but I’ll take it! Even if she acts like a pirate while eating it…

What is your favorite soup recipe? I need to try some new ones this season!


chocolate zucchini cake recipe

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe!

chocolate zucchini cake recipe

I should just change this recipe to be called “OMG Cake with Zucchini” because LAWD. It’s sooooo good.

My mom made this cake awhile back and let me take a tiny taste of it {because she was hoarding it all for herself to freeze}. I instantly fell in love. So when my mother-in-law gave us one of the biggest zucchinis EVER from her garden, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it…Make this cake!

It’s heavenly. But once you see the ingredients, you’ll know why. It ain’t exactly healthy. But shoot, it sure beats the heck out of eating anything store-bought and processed, so I justified my many binges of eating it. Between sharing some with my neighbor and my girls, this baby was gone in a couple of days. And this is coming from a girl who really isn’t into chocolate cake generally!

So here’s the scoop on how to make chocolate zucchini cake.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk {I just made my own by combining a 1/2 cup of milk and adding 3 tablespoons of vinegar and letting it thicken}
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups grated zucchini, drained overnight so less watery {I just stuck it in the food processor for the perfect consistency}
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts {optional}
  • Powdered sugar {optional}
Preheat oven at 325 degrees.
Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately – then put together.
chocolate zucchini cake dry and wet ingredients
Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips and nuts if desired.
chocolate zucchini cake - adding z
Pour in greased and floured pan (9 x 13 or 4 smaller loaf pans) and bake at 325 for 45 to 60 minutes {45 was perfect for me, but my oven cooks pretty fast}.
chocolate zucchini cake cooking
Pull cake out when a toothpick comes out clean.
NO frosting is necessary — it’s plenty sweet and delicious.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cooled.
chocolate zucchini cake
What is your favorite thing to make with zucchini?
Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Cooking Matters $10 Meal Challenge: Tofu Lettuce Wraps #NoKidHungry

Disclosure: For posting my recipe ideas, I will have a chance to win a restaurant gift card. 

When I hear about a good challenge, it’s hard for me to say no. So when the great folks behind Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters™ contacted me about creating a healthy, family friendly meal for $10, I knew I had to try it out!

About Cooking Matters: It’s a nutrition-education program that connects families with food by teaching them how to prepare healthy, tasty meals on a limited budget. Professional chefs and nutritionists volunteer their time and expertise to lead hands-on courses that show adults, teens and kids how to purchase and prepare nutritious foods in healthful, safe and tasty ways. This knowledge can mean the difference between feeding families just for one night, and making sure they never again have to worry about when their next meal will come.

Here in Southeast Michigan, Cooking Matters works with Gleaner’s Community Food Bank. {If you’ve never volunteered with them, DO IT. I’ve done it several times and it’s fun and makes such a huge difference for our community! Learn more here.}

As a gal on a budget, I LOVE that this program exists to help families. So, what did I create for $10? Read on…

First, I headed to one of my favorite stores for low prices — Walmart. As a busy mama, I love that Walmart price matches other stores so I don’t have to run around town to find the best deals. All you have to do it bring in the ads to show them. I almost always get great deals this way {Tip: Aldi generally has the BEST price on milk – $1.99 or less!}. For example, I knew Aldi had bananas for 35 cents per pound this week, so I made bananas our dessert to help save on cost.

Here’s my check proving I spent $10. Well, OK it was $10.81, but that was because I got more bananas than I really needed for this meal.

$10 Meal Bill

For the main course, I’m sharing something that’s a tad different, but healthy and delicious: Tofu lettuce wraps.

I know what you’re thinking because I *used* to think the same thing — Tofu is gross. I assure you, it just takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with.

Other perks to tofu? It has a relatively long shelf life, is a healthy replacement for meat, it’s packed with protein, low in fat/calories and is inexpensive at approx $2 per container! I get it — the word ‘tofu’ is so pretentious, so instead just think of it as what it is — soybeans that have been ground up and boiled. YUM, right? 😉

Now for the scoop on how to use it…I’ve adapted this awesome recipe from rockin’ blogger The Pioneer Woman to make it even more budget-friendly.


Tofu Lettuce Wraps - Ingredients

  • 1 – 14 oz. container of tofu {firm/extra firm}
  • Romaine lettuce {iceberg totally works as well, but doesn’t pack as much nutritional value}
  • 1½ cups frozen corn
  • 1/4 tsp. of chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce {I prefer low sodium when possible}


Drain the water from the tofu container. Heat a large saucepan or non-stick skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil.

Place the tofu in the saucepan. Now, do what I call slicing and dicing the tofu a with a spoon to break it up into chunks. Cook it for approximately 10 minutes or until it starts to have a little color. You may feel like you are making scrambled eggs, which is good. Cooking tofu is a lot like making eggs! {That’s not scary, right?}

Cooking Tofu

As it starts to add color, drain it to get rid of excess water. Then, add the corn, chili powder and soy sauce.

Making Tofu Lettuce Wraps

After it cooks for a few minutes, drain again. The juices are yummy, but make the wraps a tad messier and not so kid-friendly if you don’t drain it.

Turn off the stove and allow it to cool a bit, then place it in the lettuce pieces. Wrap them up taco style and go to town. They are definitely kind of messy, but oh-so-delicious.

Tofu Lettuce Wraps

And ya’ll? Kinley LOVES these! I think it’s because they are just different…and she can eat them with her hands :)

Toddlers love Tofu Lettuce Wraps

She likes to eat the lettuce…then all the filling…

Karina loves them too, but she eats everything. It’s nice and easy for her to chew too…since she doesn’t have any teeth!

Delish Tofu Wraps


I can eat 4-5 wraps and be full, however, I do like to add a little something to make it feel more meal-like. To save on time and get in our whole grains group, I served it with some Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice {SO convenient}, but plain brown rice works, too {and would be healthier!}.

$10 Meal

For dessert, I made banana “ice cream.” It’s in quotes because it is not ice cream but it fools my kids! All you do is chop and freeze two ripe bananas in a plastic bag, then throw them in a food processor right before serving. It makes for an amazing consistency and kids go crazy for it. Little do they know it’s just banana. If we’re feeling fancy, we’ll throw on some peanut butter, honey, cinnamon or sprinkles.

Frozen Banana Ice Cream

There you have it: A relatively healthy and delicious meal for only $10. The only food group I missed is dairy, so I highly suggest serving with a nice ice cold glass of milk 😉

What are your favorite inexpensive meals? I’m always looking for ways to eat healthy and save money!

P.S. Make sure you follow Cooking Matters Michigan on Facebook and Twitter and check out their sweet smartphone app too!



Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe

When I was pregnant with Karina, I couldn’t get enough spicy food. Any time we ate out and there was something that had spice, I was all over it. If the menu description said the words “buffalo chicken” anywhere, I was immediately sold.

I am thinking maybe my taste buds knew something I didn’t….I had a spicy baby coming my way! Love her to death, but she definitely has a temper on her that clearly started in utero 😉 It’s OK. She’s also incredibly happy, so that helps makes up for her feistiness!

I digress.

My spicy-loving taste buds have not yet died post-pregnancy, so I’m always on the hunt for recipes that have a little kick.

Today I am sharing a recipe I created to satisfy my craving for all things buffalo chicken-inspired. This is a great dish to bring to summer parties — just be sure to warn others because it has a little kick to it! {My girls have ate it a little, but they seem to also like spice. I wouldn’t feed it to my spicy baby if she didn’t grab everything out of my hands to eat! Of course, she liked it…}


Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients


  • 1 – 4.5 oz. can of premium white chicken {canned makes it easiest, but of course you can use leftover grilled chicken, etc.}
  • 12-14 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4-5 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 – 16 oz. box of pasta, cooked and cooled {I like whole grain rotini the best but didn’t have it on hand}
  • 1 cup of ranch {for half the calories, I use Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Ranch}
  • 1/2 cup Franks Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles {these can be expensive. Aldi has them for $1.99!}


Cook pasta. Once cooled, add in all ingredients and stir. Let chill in fridge for an hour before serving.

So yummy!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

What are your favorite dishes to bring to summer parties?


Almond Joy Smoothie

Almond Joy Smoothie Recipe #ShakleeBlogger #Shaklee180

Shaklee 180

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support, and incentives for participating. My opinions are my own. People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

Almond Joy Smoothie

Everyone always says to me “I could never have just a smoothie as a meal replacement.” OK, I get it. It can feel like a challenge to drink a meal instead of eating it. But honestly, now that I’m used to it, it’s hard for me to EAT three meals a day. I love my Shaklee 180™ smoothies too much!

Since candy and chocolate used to be my pitfalls, I’ve learned to squash those cravings with just a bit of sweetness in my smoothies, which I honestly look forward to every day. I love having what feels like dessert for my breakfast or lunch and coming up with fun flavor combos. They don’t always come out perfect {once, I was distracted by the kids and totally forgot to add fruit and drank and entire smoothie full of spinach…yeah, blech}, but overall, they are delicious, quick and easy to eat standing up…because let’s face it: I NEVER get to sit down for a meal with two young kids!

Today I am sharing one of my favorite creations — an Almond Joy smoothie.

Almond Joy Smoothie Recipe


  • 3 ice cubes
  • 2 scoops Shaklee 180™ chocolate smoothee mix {or your favorite chocolate protein powder}
  • 1 cup of spinach {I just throw in a large handful}
  • 5 raw almonds, chopped into very small pieces
  • 1/8 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut {maybe a bit more if you love coconut like I do!}
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk {I have the regular kind pictured. It’s just 60 calories/serving}

Blend all ingredients in the blender.

= Approx. 321 calories

What are your favorite ways to enjoy smoothies? Share your recipes, please! 


Maple Glazed Asparagus Recipe

Maple Glazed Asparagus Recipe

Maple Glazed Asparagus

My favorite summer veggie is asparagus. I know, right? I’m sure there are a lot of folks out there who overlook it, but I.Love.It.

Lucky for me, asparagus is just about the perfect veggie — full of antioxidants, and Vitamins A, C, E and K — just to name a few of its many benefits.

This time of year is fantastic for me because Michigan grows a whole ‘lotta asparagus, and it generally is in abundance at local farmers’ markets, and at a great price.

I eat it just about any way — grilled, sautéed, roasted, etc. But my favorite way to eat it is with a little maple syrup.

Hear me out because this recipe is AMAZE. {I received the idea for this recipe from a chef from Eastern Market, alas, I lost the original recipe, so I made this up!}


  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • Approx. 1/4 cup of white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup {you may need more if you enjoy the sweetness}
  • Sea salt {used at your discretion}


1. Heat a sauté pan on medium with the tablespoon of olive oil.

2. Chop off the ends of the asparagus. Then, chop up the remaining pieces – if you’d like. {I like to do chop it in approximately 1-2″ increments to make it more kid-friendly}

2. Place asparagus in the heated pan with the onion and sauté for approximately 10-15 minutes or until soft enough to eat.

3. When you are almost done cooking, pour the tablespoon of pure maple syrup over the asparagus and let it heat through. Before serving, sprinkle on some sea salt.

Maple Glazed Asparagus Recipe

Seriously delish!

TIP: Look for thin asparagus. The thinner it is, the fresher it is, and loaded with more nutrients!

What is your favorite way to prepare a summer veggie? I need more ideas!


Protein Packed Breakfast Burritos from Mrs. Weber's Neighborhood2

Protein Packed Breakfast Burritos {Recipe for #MiDairy}

To get through the long days I have chasing two kiddos around, it’s so important I start the day with a hearty breakfast. Recently, I’ve tried to up the ante because with all this sunshine, I want to be active outside, but find I lose steam early on if I’m not eating right throughout the day.

When I was charged with creating a recipe for the United Dairy Industry of Michigan incorporating dairy, I decided I would make sure to add in lots of protein, fiber and all that good stuff we need for burning energy, too!

I present to you my protein packed breakfast burritos…because all food tastes great and is convenient in a wrap, right?


Breakfast Burrito Ingredients

  • 6 eggs {To cut cals, simply use 3 eggs and 3 egg whites}
  • 1/2 cup of milk of your choice {we just had whole milk this particular day!}
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 cup of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of salsa {more or less, depending on your preference}
  • 1/4 cup of cheese of your choice
  • Tortillas
  • Optional garnishes: Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, plain Greek yogurt {to replace sour cream}, avocado, cilantro


Begin by starting to cook your quinoa if it isn’t already cooked. {TIP: You can cook quinoa ahead of time and keep it in your fridge or freezer until you are ready to use it.}

Breakfast Burrito - Step 2

Wisk your eggs and milk together, and pour into a non-stick skillet, or lightly sprayed {or olive oiled} pan.

Breakfast Burritos - Step 1

Cook eggs, scrambling along the way.

Once eggs are starting to get fluffy, add in your black beans and salsa. In the last minutes of cooking, sprinkle on the cheese, and add in the cooked quinoa. Heat through.

Breakfast Burritos - Step 4

Fill your tortilla with mixture and serve with your favorite garnishes. I like to add in some avocado and top mine with some plain Greek yogurt, Frank’s Red Hot and a few sprigs of fresh-from-the-garden cilantro :)

Protein Packed Breakfast Burritos from Mrs. Weber's Neighborhood

Voila! Breakfast {or brinner!} is served.

Doesn’t it just begged to be eaten?

Protein Packed Breakfast Burritos from Mrs. Weber's Neighborhood2


Also? It can easily be served deconstructed for baby and toddler-friendly eating. This little one LOVES feeding it to herself and the quinoa gives her an easy-to-grab texture.

Baby Enjoying Breakfast Burritos

Stay tuned…This recipe is considered a submission for a contest with the United Dairy Industry of Michigan…I may be begging asking for votes in the days ahead 😉

What are your favorite breakfast recipes using dairy?

Cheeseburger Salad Dressing

Recipe: Cheeseburger Salad

Ya’ll? Healthy eating is HARD. Especially when you don’t want to keep your family from enjoying foods they love.

I had a good time going out on Saturday night for St. Patty’s, therefore I was left with a massive hangover on Sunday. The drive-thru was calling me, but I wisely chose to ignore it ad make my own version of fast food.

Despite the frigid temps, the sun was shining so we decided to make the most of it and grill. My tummy wanted a greasy burger. Since I’ve been trying to keep my dinners around 400 calories or less, it was going to be a tough task. Then, I had a stroke of genius. Why don’t I just make a big ole burger salad? All that would be missing is the bun.

Move over taco salad. Hello cheeseburger salad! This is going to be my new best friend.

Cheeseburger Salad Ingredients


  • 6 leaves of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk cheese {2% cheese is much tastier than reduced fat in my opinion, and has 30 cals less than regular}
  • 3 dill pickles, chopped
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 oz. of lean ground beef, grilled burger-style and chopped


  • 1 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp mayo with olive oil

Toss together lettuce, cheese, pickles, tomatoes and beef. Mix together mustard, ketchup and mayo in a small cup. Coat salad with dressing and toss again.

Cheeseburger Salad Dressing

Voila! It’s like an amazing hamburger, but without the extra 150 cals a bun can bring, plus the nutrients brought by the lettuce and tomatoes. But don’t mess with the pickles! To me, they were key in the flavor factor.

Cheeseburger Salad

I ate this entire salad myself. With that said, it is really filling, unlike some of the lower cal recipes I’ve tried. The total calorie count was 377, however, this number can easily be reduced by adjusting the cheese or condiment amounts, or using ground turkey or veggie burgers instead of beef. Plus, there are endless options for toppings to add! A hard boiled egg, some avocado slices or sauteed mushrooms, perhaps?

If you’re craving a burger, I highly suggest giving this delicious swap a shot 😀 I know I’m ready to sit out in the sun and enjoy it all summer!

I need more healthy swap ideas! What are your favorite “bad” foods made healthier?


Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl

Fab5: Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Today I have a guest poster from ReadySetEat, a fun cooking website. When she pitched me to write about simple and healthy meals, I could resist…I’m always in need of those types of recipes and I thought these sounded pretty yummy! I’m already looking forward to trying a few :)


When you’re on a busy schedule it can be easy to keep going back to your favorite, quick and easy recipes for dinner—the ones you know will turn out okay and that don’t involve too much planning or prep work. But eating the same few meals all of the time can get boring, so switch up your meal planning a little! The following five recipes all require basic ingredients, no fancy culinary techniques and fewer than 30 minutes of prep time, and are so delicious. Try them out and watch them work their way into your weeknight dinner rotation!

Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl – This is a great alternative to Chinese takeout, which tends to pretty high in sodium and sugar, not to mention can take a toll on your wallet! This recipe uses lots of vegetables and lean chicken for a healthier, yummier way to enjoy a favorite takeout dish. Best of all, you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already!

Baked Fried Chicken Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Baked “Fried” Chicken – Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like fried chicken? Nope, didn’t think so. This baked “fried” chicken uses crackers, parmesan cheese and some garlic powder to give you the crunch you crave without all that grease. It’s baked instead of deep-fried so you can enjoy this “fried” chicken guilt-free. Tell your kids that they’re eating homemade chicken fingers and they’ll eat them right up.

Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Bean Enchilada Casserole – There are guys out there who may argue with this, but you don’t need meat in every dish to have a complete, incredibly satisfying meal. This bean enchilada casserole is a perfect example; you’ll get loads of protein from the combination of black beans and refried beans, and the corn tortillas will definitely fill you up. Top with sour cream, salsa, avocado and shredded lettuce for a twist on taco night.

Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Chicken and Bean Quesadillas – One of the easiest ways to use up leftover chicken is to make quesadillas. All you really need for quesadillas are tortillas and cheese, but this recipe takes it a step further with diced tomatoes and chilies, chicken and pinto beans for an especially hearty dinner. They’re a perfect go-to lunch or dinner when you only have a few minutes to spare.

Chili con Carne Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Chili con Carne – There’s nothing more comforting than a steaming bowl of chili on a cold or gloomy evening, and it’s one of the simplest dinners to make. This recipe for chili con carne calls for ground beef, onion, garlic, chili powder, tomatoes and chilies, beans and tomato sauce, but feel free to substitute ground turkey or chicken and other spices to suite your personal tastes.

About the Author: Meredith K. writes on behalf of ReadySetEat®. For more quick and delicious weeknight dinner ideas, visit

What are your favorite quick and easy weeknight meals?