Posts Tagged ‘Italian’


I really do think that the Christmas season is one where people are kinder to each other and walk around happier and more grateful. (But maybe that’s because I avoid the malls and do all of my Christmas-present shopping online).  Seriously, though, it does seem like “love is all around us,” as it says in Love Actually.

Today I’m spending the day wrapping gifts, taking a yoga class, going on a long walk with Sofi, and making the Skinnytaste hot artichoke and spinach dip to bring to my parents’ house for Christmas Eve tonight.

We do a traditional Sicilian Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve.  My mom makes her amazing cioppino, to which she adds 7 different kinds of fish: clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, scallops, cod, and halibut.  It’s delicious, and we look forward to it every single year.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and that tonight Santa brings you everything your heart desires.



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bilblcooksI’ve been wanting to make stuffed peppers for a while, and since I had some bell peppers in the fridge and had just purchased quinoa yesterday, it seemed like tonight was a good idea. Although the quinoa has more carbs than I usually eat, I like the idea of enjoying it every so often. I checked out a few recipes, but most of them were more Mexican-flavored, so I did what my mom says good cooks do – made it my own.

Italian Quinoa & Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients & Nutrition Info:



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While that’s going, get the quinoa cooking.

20130714-183816.jpgI used 1 cup of water for 1/2 a cup of dry quinoa. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, so while it was bubbling away on the stove, I got the turkey ready.


Saute the onions in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add garlic. Add turkey and cook until browned. Once the quinoa is ready, add that. Finally, add half of the pasta sauce and some fresh basil, and combine.


In the mean time, while the onions and turkey are browning, cut two bell peppers lengthwise, and remove the stems and seeds. I placed a tiny bit of pasta sauce at the bottom of a lightly greased pan, just to insure the peppers wouldn’t stick/burn. Then stuff the peppers with the mixture. As you can see, they’re overflowing.

20130714-183926.jpg Add the cheese right before you pop them in the oven.

Over the pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

20130714-191625.jpg Look at how delicious and bubbly these look. The house smelled fabulous the entire time they were cooking, and I couldn’t wait for the timer to ding.

20130714-191637.jpg I ate 3/4 of the pepper, and the entire filling, but those of you who haven’t had WLS would probably want to have a salad or some other veggie on the side.  Or, you might eat two halves, if you really have an appetite.  Either way, enjoy – MANGIA!!

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While I was grocery shopping tonight, I decided that I didn’t feel like eating any of the cooked food I had waiting for me in my fridge, so I came up with this recipe on the fly.  It was inspired both by the huge container of organic spinach I had in my cart (for the Green Monster Smoothies) and by the fact that the weather has turned into autumn almost overnight.

Whole Wheat Elbows with Spinach, Mushrooms x 2, & Turkey

12.5 oz whole wheat elbow pasta
1.25 lb lean ground turkey, Italian seasoning flavor
1 onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
6 cups spinach
8oz sliced “baby bella” (crimini) mushrooms
8oz sliced white mushrooms
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup 2% shredded mozzarella
2 TBSP parmesean cheese
red pepper flakes, to taste
black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

Nutritional: I put this into the points tracker on eTools on WW.com, and it came out to 8 servings, worth 8 points each.  Since this is a meal unto itself – protein, veggies, and carbs, it’s all you need, so the higher points value shouldn’t be too much of a concern.


download-6 I decided to give the Dreamfields elbows a try, because so many people rave about them.  They were good, but I didn’t notice any significant taste difference between these and my normal Barilla pasta.  In fact, I think I like Barilla better.

As soon as I got home I put a pot of water on to boil.  While it was ‘getting there’ I put all the groceries away, prepped the veggies, and got the meal organized.

download-5 Cook pasta until it’s al dente, or according to package directions.

While the pasta was cooking, I started browning the turkey:

download-7 I didn’t add anything except Pam to the pot, because the turkey gives off its own fat, even though it is lean.

I drained the turkey and put it aside.  In the same pan I added 2 TBSP of olive oil, onions, and garlic and sauteed them until they were almost translucent. Then I added the mushrooms.  I wanted a combination of the “baby bellas” (don’t you just love that name!) aka the criminis along with the regular white mushrooms, just to give a bit of variety to the dish.  I love the rich, meaty texture of the criminis, but I also like the woodsy flavor of the white mushrooms.  The combination of the two is perfect, to me. I added lots of black pepper and a bit of salt to the mushrooms and onions at this point.


Once the mushrooms had released all of their water, I added handfuls of spinach.  I’m guessing about 6 cups.  (I told you I bought a HUGE container of organic spinach!)

download-1 Doesn’t this just look healthy and hearty at the same time?!

Once the spinach wilted down, I added more black pepper.

Next comes my favorite part – add the elbow macaroni  and the browned turkey to the pot and mix.  I added quite a bit of red pepper flakes at this point.  As I mixed it up, I decided that I wanted a bit more spinach, so I added another handful.  It was at this point that I also added the mozzarella cheese, which when combined with the juice from the mushrooms, made a really nice, light cheesey sauce.  No pasta dish like this is  complete without some grated parmesean, so I added that at this point, too.

download-2 This looked like the ultimate comfort food to me.  It made a huge amount, I’m guessing at least 8 servings.

download Mangia!  For a meal inspired at the grocery store, I think it turned out wonderfully.  I hope you enjoy it.

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