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What I Made Monday: Semi-Homemade Goodness

I do enjoy cooking, but not exactly the grocery shopping (mostly the paying for the groceries) or cleaning up after.  It would be great to have a cooking show – some “assistant” would shop for the groceries, there would be a budget for gourmet ingredients and some other “assistant” would clean up the dishes and the kitchen. So a lot of times I end up doing the semi-homemade route, such as tonight.

I’ve been wanting to make spaghetti and meatballs for awhile, well, ever since I saw the jar of pasta sauce in the pantry and thought, “mmm… spaghetti and meatballs.”  That was Saturday. But hey, I’ve learned when I’m pregnant, if I want something I don’t stop thinking about it until I have it. And since things have been crazy busy and I’ve been crazy tired (I’ve yet to find that 2nd trimester energy), things were definitely going to be semi-homemade. But it was still delicious!

There isn’t really a recipe.

Buy frozen Italian meatballs. Put some in a saucepan (I think I did about 30).  Cover with pasta sauce (we love Prego and not because I’m prego).  And since the jar barely covered the meatballs I added a can of sliced stewed tomatoes, which ended up making the sauce a little thinner than I like, but it still tasted good.  After the meatballs simmer about 10 minutes, boil a big ol’ pot of water for the spaghetti.  Add spaghetti when it’s boiling and cook for about 10 minutes to reach al dente.  After you drain the pasta, top with sauce & meatballs. Top with Parmesan cheese.  Yum!  I made garlic toast in the toaster oven and we had Caesar salad (thank you bag o’salad mix) on the side.

Side question:  Do the people who make the salad mix not measure how large they leave the pieces of lettuce?  I swear some of them were practically a half a leaf of romaine.  I worked a little harder and tore the lettuce in smaller pieces.

And then right as we were about to stuff ourselves, I remembered to take pictures.  Lil’ man requested I take a picture of his plate, too.ImageImageImage



What I Made Monday

I’ve decided I will never have time to post what I made Monday ON Monday… but that is ok, because I like the title. For all you know, I could have made it Friday! Anyway, I made a very yummy, healthy & super easy recipe Monday.  SO easy.  If you can boil water and turn on the oven, you can make this.  If you trust your kid to handle boiling water, they can even make it.  E-A-S-Y.

I would say the recipe is courtesy of Emeals, but I have made this before I knew Emeals existed, they just put it in my recipe rotation for this week.  (I still love ya Emeals and truly appreciate the recipes you list that are just so easy I can replicate it from memory in the future.)

Baked Ravioli (made by me, re-inspired by Emeals)
1 package of frozen cheese ravioli (or meat filled, I have used both), about 24 oz.
1 jar of pasta sauce (I personally love a good garlicky pasta sauce)
1 package of shredded mozzarella, about 2 C.  If you want to make it skinnier, reduce to 1 C.

THREE ingredients – what is easier than that????

Cook the ravioli according to package directions.  Drain. Place in sprayed 9×13 baking dish.  Open jar of pasta sauce, pour over cooked ravioli.  Open package of mozzarella, sprinkle over pasta sauce.  Stick it in the oven. Bake about 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly.

If you wanted to get all wild & crazy, you could probably sprinkle on some extra Italian seasoning or fresh basil from the garden (which I just remembered we have in our garden… that would have been so good!) or add some chopped green peppers, fresh mushrooms, etc.  But the 3 ingredient version is pretty darn tasty!

I was enjoying making such an easy recipe that I forgot to take pictures until I was pulling the gooey cheesy yumminess out of the oven:


I served it with a simple lettuce & tomato salad:

I didn’t enter this recipe into MyFitnessPal to calculate nutrition info, but the entire recipe makes 6 servings and I estimate it to be about 325 calories per serving, depending on how much cheese you use!


What was for dinner at your house?

What I Made Monday

Are you sick of me yet? 3rd post today!  A little late, but here’s what I made Monday.

Be proud of me.  I had to teach summer school Monday, had a headache, an “eh” workout, but I still came home and cooked!

Penne Primavera with Rotisserie Chicken and salad (courtesy of Emeals)

16 oz. penne pasta (I had rotini so I used that)
2 T. olive oil
1 T. minced garlic
2 green bell peppers, diced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 C. water (my recipe looked plenty liquidy so I omitted this)
3 T. Worcestershire sauce (forgot I was out of this, so found out soy sauce can be substituted)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta as directed, drain and set aside.  I also made some Gluten Free Penne from Heartland.  Have you ever tried it? It tasted like real pasta! Very yummy.

Saute veggies and garlic in olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until tender.

Add water, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cooked pasta and heat for 4-5 more minutes.  My skillet couldn’t possibly hold the pasta too, so we just served the veggies on top of the pasta and topped that with Parmesan cheese.

We had the rotisserie chicken (pre-made from the grocery store) and a salad on the side.  I was so hungry, I completely forgot to take a picture of our plates, but it was delicious!

What I Made Thursday Instead of Monday

I haven’t cooked the last couple of Mondays, but I had made this quiche a week or so ago and people at work were asking me for the recipe.  I had all the ingredients and it’s super easy to throw together so I made it tonight for the blog (well, and of course to eat!).

Southwestern Quiche (thank you, Emeals!)

1 C Southwestern egg substitute – this is great! It already has the peppers and onions mixed in the eggs!
1/2 C FF evaporated milk
1 C shredded 2% sharp cheddar cheese
2 eggs beaten
1/4 tsp. salt (I omitted this and never missed it)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 deep dish frozen pie shell

(The egg substitute, evaporated milk, pie crusts and pre-shredded cheese I bought had enough in their containers to make the second quiche tonight – super easy & one shopping trip for two quiches? – double bonus!)

Let the piecrust thaw on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes while the oven preheats and you are mixing your ingredients.

Combine the egg substitute, milk, cheese, eggs, salt & pepper and pour into piecrust.

Bake 25-30 minutes at 325 (mine took more like 35 minutes) or until eggs become firm.  Divide into 6 servings.

Nutrition info per serving: 288 calories, 23 grams carbs, 16 grams fat, 13 grams protein

You could make this skinnier by omitting the pie shell and making it a fritata instead.  I served this with a simple salad. Mmmmm….. enjoy!

What I made Monday

Absolutely nothing!

I cooked up a storm for Easter Sunday. I made ham, potatoes, green beans, rolls and fruit salad. My mom brought a corn casserole and cake for for our feast.

Today we were supposed to have dinner out with my dad and his wife, but my little man had a fever. The last time we were supposed to meet them for dinner he also had a fever. They’re going to start thinking we’re making it up! But I promise we’re not! We ended up having leftover whatever you could find in the fridge.

Maybe we’ll cook tomorrow!

What I Made Monday – Slow Cooker BBQ

We’re having some crazy warm spring weather.  Last Monday – 80, this Monday – 85!  I decided not to repeat the soup route for this week.  Barbecue is much more my style for this weather! I loosely followed an Emeals recipe – very loosely.  Also took some suggestions from a friend’s recipe posted on Facebook.  The results? Yummmmmmm!

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Breasts (6 servings)

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts – do not thaw!
1 cup water
1 cup favorite barbecue sauce
Garlic powder, onion powder, or whatever seasonings you might want

First, I lined my slow cooker with a Reynolds slow-cooker liner.  (Side note: these things are awesome!  If you don’t currently use them, you must – clean up is a breeze!)

Then I placed the still frozen chicken in the crock.

Poured in the water & barbecue sauce.

Then I sprinkled seasonings on top.

I popped the lid on and programmed my slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours.

When I got home from work, I shredded the chicken and mixed it back in the juicy sauciness in the cooker.

It warmed while I prepared the rest of dinner – corn and salad.  I served the shredded chicken on Orowheat Sandwich Thins with an extra tablespoon of barbecue sauce.

It was a hit with the whole family!  Hubby had seconds and lil’ man was over-stuffing his face (as usual). The only thing I would do differently next time is either drain the meat better or not use the sandwich thins as they got soggy bottoms.

Nutrition info for chicken only (per serving): 226 calories, 3.3 grams fat, 20 grams carbs, 26.7 grams protein

What was for dinner at your house tonight?

What I Made Monday: Turkey Vegetable Soup

Today it was 80 degrees! In March?!? And what was for dinner? SOUP. Nice, hot soup…  I so wasn’t feeling it, but it I had all the ingredients and the meat needed to be used, so we had soup.

Turkey Vegetable Soup (recipe compliments of Emeals)

Ingredients for 6 servings (1 1/2 cups each)

20 oz ground turkey breast
2 14 oz. cans fat-free beef broth (I also used the reduced sodium, but when I make this again I think I will try at least one can of the non-reduced sodium broth, because I ended up adding quite a bit of salt)
14 oz. can stewed tomatoes, original recipe
16 oz. bag (froze) mixed vegetables
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Spray a large Dutch oven with non-stick spray and brown turkey over medium heat stirring often to crumble turkey.  I used my great Mix n’Chop utensil from Pampered Chef, which made quick work of the crumbling.

Sprinkle flour over turkey, then slowly add broth to pot. Mix well.

Add tomatoes, vegetables, salt & pepper.  Cover & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 min. 

Nutrition info per serving: 205 Calories, 18 grams carbs, 1 gram fat, 27 grams protein

I served the soup with a simple green salad (thank you, bag o’salad!) and buy-it-in-the-frozen-section garlic toast.

It was pretty tasty, but soup is so flexible that I really should have played with it a bit more to improve the taste as it was a little bland.  The hubby suggested adding taco seasoning to the meat and making it a taco soup.  I thought using the Italian recipe stewed tomatoes (that has added oregano & garlic) would have been great in addition as well as throwing in Italian seasoning or a combo of basil, oregano, thyme, etc.

What are your go-tos for enhancing bland foods?

What I Made Monday

This Monday I made one of my most favorite meals in a long time.  It’s called Crispy Panko Chicken, served with Balsamic Green Beans and Skinny Potatoes, again all courtesy of emeals! Each recipe was 6 servings.

I totally forgot to take pictures until we had the chicken on our plates and lil’ man was asking for seconds.

You need:

1 C panko breadcrumbs
1/2 C shredded Parmesan
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast meat, pounded thin (I cut mine into strips instead and it worked quite well)
2 T olive oil
1 tsp salt (I omitted this and we couldn’t tell)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 C Dijon mustard
2 T water

In a shallow dish, toss together panko crumbs, cheese, olive oil, salt & pepper.  In another shallow dish combine Dijon & water.  Coat chicken in mustard mixture and dredge in panko mix.  Bake on sprayed (absolutely, or use parchment paper) baking sheet 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown. (Per serving: 225 Calories, 8 grams carbs, 10 grams fat, 27 grams protein)

I served this with Balsamic Green Beans (also from emeals) which consisted of microwaving a 16 oz bag of frozen green beans and tossing with 2 T balsamic vinegar, 1 T brown sugar, 1 t Dijon mustard, 2 t olive oil, salt & pepper.  Yum! (Per serving:  29 calories, 4 grams carbs, 2 grams fat, 0 grams protein)

We also had Skinny Mashed Potatoes.  Peel & dice 6 medium potatoes.  Boil until tender (mine took about 20 minutes) then mash with 3/4 C fat-free chicken broth and as much garlic powder as you want.  Salt & pepper to taste.

The family review went well!  Lil man even gobbled up the green beans and wanted more of everything.  Hubby & I also loved everything.  Ate the last of the leftovers today and I think I’ll have to make more.  It was super yummy!

What I Made Monday: Spicy Tilapia

I had put off making the Spicy Tilapia for awhile because one: I had other recipes with soon to be expired (or rotten) ingredients and two: I usually pick fish recipes as the last thing I make.  I am not a huge fish fan, unless of course it is deep fried with loads of tartar sauce.  So I guess I should say I am not a healthy fish fan (HFF) because it tastes like… fish.  So I reluctantly made this recipe knowing there would be leftovers we could eat on a Friday in Lent and because if I waited much longer the ingredients for this recipe would be composting in my produce bin.

Here’s what you need for this Emeals recipe:







  • 1 1/2 pounds tilapia (I used Swai because my local wally world was out of tilapia)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled & diced (remember the compost comment? yeah, my potatoes were composting in the pantry, so I used some frozen diced potatoes)
  • 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (I used yellow squash because while I am not a HFF I am also not a zucchini fan unless we’re talking zucchini bread, then I’m all about it.)
  • 1 14 oz. can no-salt-added corn, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite salsa
  • 3 limes (again, composting lime in the crisper meant I only used 2 limes)
  • garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • 6 large sheets foil (each of my sheets were big enough to line a cookie sheet and that seemed to work pretty well)

Steam or microwave potatoes until just tender.  I skipped this & I shouldn’t have.  I thought since I was using frozen potatoes they would thaw easily in the oven, but instead I had to increase my cooking time.

Place each fillet on a sheet of foil.









Top each fillet with zucchini (yellow squash)









…then with potatoes









…and corn









…then with garlic powder, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup salsa.









Finally squeeze 1/2 of a lime over top.









Fold foil over fillet and tightly seal. Bake 20 minutes at 350 F or until fish flakes easily with fork.  (I ended up baking mine for nearly 45 minutes since I didn’t thaw my potatoes beforehand.)  Open packets carefully and enjoy!









Nutrition facts per serving (6 servings): 165 calories, 21 g carbs, 3 g fat, 19 g protein

It turned out that even though I am not a HFF, this was pretty tasty.  Even the lil’ man scarfed it down and requested “more chicken!”  Whatever works for you honey… I will totally let you think it’s chicken and maybe you will one day really be a HFF.

What I Made Monday (er… Tuesday)

Welcome to a new series on my blog!  I want to share some of the yummy goodness our family eats each week.  I have said before I just love subscribing to Emeals!  They make my life so much easier with their delicious meals and pre-made grocery list.  Normally this will be the dinner meal I made on Monday, but this Monday I had dinner out with my dad, his wife and my aunt and uncle who were visiting from out of town.  So this installment is What I Made Tuesday, courtesy of my Emeals Portion Control Menu!

This week’s dish: Italian Smoked Sausage & White Bean Stew










14 oz. package smoked turkey sausage (I used Hillshire Farms Turkey Polska Kielbasa)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 C. diced tomatoes (since tomatoes are not in season yet, I used a can of Italian diced tomatoes)
2 T. chopped fresh basil
2 whole carrots, chopped
15 oz. can great northern beans, rinsed & drained
14 oz. can fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper









Slice sausage on the diagonal in 1/2″ slices.  Heat sausage & garlic in a large sprayed stock pot until browned.









Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to boil.









Cover, lower heat, simmer 10-15 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Add small amounts of water if needed.

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition information (per serving): 201 calories, 18 grams carbs, 6 grams fat, 17 grams protein

Family thoughts: Hubby:  “This is really good, babe.”  Toddler: “More hot dog pwease!” (We told him the meat was hot dogs – hey, it worked!)  It was pretty delicious!  Of course, I welcome your suggestions and feedback, too. Enjoy!

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