Category Archives: Not in the mood to cook!

My new fav lunch

Doesn’t that look good?? My new fav lunch!

I just finished devouring my new fav lunch.  It is fresh, delicious, and it only took 3 minutes to make–including the time it took me to get the ingredients out of my big a** fridge!  Keep the ingredients on hand for this one cause it is a super smart, super delicious, super filling, and a super great decision!  What is up with my fixation on SUPER today??  Anyway, try it–you WILL love it!

My new fav lunch

Servings:  2

Calories=350; fat=who really cares, most of it is coming from the avocado!

  • 2 GF tortillas–I like Udi’s (found in the freezer section at Mama Jeans)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, sliced into 6 slices
  • 4 T fresh salsa–I use Artisan from Sam’s
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds or cumin powder
  • a few sliced black olives
  • 1-2 T diced red onion
  • sprinkle of nutritional yeast
  • 1 T cilantro, torn–if you have some on hand
  • 1/2 lime, juice only

Put half of the ingredients on a tortilla and sprinkle lime juice over the top.  Pop it in the micro for 30 seconds or so.  Prep the second one or do your clean up (return items to the fridge and wipe off the knife) while it is cooking.  Roll it up, eat and enjoy your quick and healthful lunch!


Tuna artichoke melt

Tuna melt with fruit salad

I went to a diabetes cooking class (don’t worry, I don’t have diabetes) a few weeks ago and this is what we made!  I am not going to lie…I wasn’t thrilled when I got there and discovered that tuna melt was on the menu!  I like tuna just fine, but really??  At a cooking class??

I got over my menu issue pretty darn quickly–just as soon as the instructor distributed the recipe!  I hope this doesn’t freak you out, but this crazy melt tastes a lot like pizza!  The oregano, artichoke, and EVOO really make this sandwich work, and trust me it works GREAT!  This is a bright and healthful sandwich–a flavor explosion– and it couldn’t be easier to make!  This one surprised me, BIG TIME and I know it will pleasantly surprise you too!  In fact, it is way, way, way too hot here in the Ozarks to cook!  So guess what is on the menu tonight here at the casa–yep, tuna melts!   Served with a nice caprese salad, fresh melon and berries, and a glass of chilled white wine and we will have very pretty plates and happy bellies!

Lots of great color, flavor, and good nutrition! I love this dinner!

Tuna artichoke melt

Servings:  2

  • PAM cooking spray
  • 2 whole wheat sandwich thins, split open or two slices of whole grain bread
  • 3/4 c canned artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed.  Diced into bite size pieces
  • 3 medium green onions, diced (1/4 c)
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t EVOO
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/8 t black pepper
  • 1/8 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1-6 oz can of chunk light tuna (in water), drained and flaked

Combine tuna, EVOO, lemon juice, oregano, pepper, onion, artichoke, and hot pepper in a medium bowl.Coat a skillet with PAM cooking spay and heat to medium.  Toast one side of the bread and flip over.  Place 1/4 of the tuna mix on each piece and top with the provolone.  Cook until the cheese starts to melt and the bread is toasted.  Serve open-faced.


Caprese salad: pineapple tomato, basil, mozzarella, basalmic vinegar, freshly ground pepper.

Arugula and avocado salad

Hydroponic Arugula

Betcha you didn’t know that I am an organic, hydroponic gardener!  Ok, stop it!  Do not go THERE–I love the show Weeds, but am not getting into THAT line of work!  I only grow arugula (spinach is coming soon) in my nutrient dense Jacuzzi tub!

Arugula is hands down my favorite green and we eat plenty of it here at the casa–which is why we decided to grow it year round in the storage room!  I can educate you on starting your own hydroponic garden later if you are interested, but this post is dedicated to the unbelievable salad I made for the first time last night.

The hot, very nutty, and just slightly bitter flavors of this Mediterranean green make it so much more interesting than regular lettuce.  Plus, it is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, folate, calcium, iron, and it surprisingly provides a high level of protein (about 25% of its content is protein!)!  On top of that (hee, hee), it has been considered an aphrodisiac since Roman times!   Sound good??  Then get out your cutting board and start chopping!  This one will only take a few minutes to prep and will make your tummy (and significant other?) very, very happy!

Green and gorgeous!

Arugula and avocado salad

Servings:  2 large, 4 small

  • 4 c arugula, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into rounds
  • 1 champagne mango, cubed
  • 1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 large lime
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
  • dash of chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 t agave nectar (or more, to taste)
  • 1-2 T chopped cilantro (more to garnish, as desired)

Mix together the EVOO, agave nectar, cilantro, salt, pepper, hot pepper and 2 T lime juice and let sit.  Stir occasionally to keep from separating.

Place the arugula, onion, and mango in a large bowl and add 1 T of lime juice, put a lid on the bowl and shake (if you don’t have a lid, just stir it well) to coat the vegetables with the lime juice.  Add the dressing and repeat the stir/shake.  Plate the salad and add the sliced avocado to the top.  Sprinkle with a little more lime juice and the cilantro garnish and serve.





It’s burger time!

Andy and I have just returned from our annual lake trip with our friends, The Bells.  We paddled around on the kayak, noodled, boated, drank large quantities of beer and wine, and most importantly ATE loads of great food and had many good laughs!

Lisa and Nate both enjoy food and cooking about as much as we do, so we always spend a good deal of our lake weekend in the cabin’s kitchen, whipping together ridiculously tasty spreads for our evenings on the deck.  This year was no exception, we made grilled pizza, the baconator (modified to be even more toxic–recipe will not be posted–ever!), atomic buffalo turds (modified to be a little less toxic–I will post this recipe soon!), smoked pork, and much, much more!  I know, I know–quite a weekend for a couple of flexitarians!

What we didn’t have was boring old burgers.  We saved that for our first dinner home–on our much needed post vacation, nitrate vacation.  I am sure you are wondering what in the he** I am talking about, but stick with me and you will quickly understand, and I promise you the burgers are anything but boring!

So this story really begins about a year ago.  On one of my weekly trip to Sams, I eyed a two pack of ground turkey (2-2# packs), thought ‘what the heck’, bought it, and stuck it in the freezer.  Why?  I really don’t know–I didn’t have anything in mind for it, I just thought maybe one day it will be good for something tasty.  And it was…please refer to my turkey loaf!  Anyway, back to the burger…I decided to create a health conscience and grilless burger to finish off the turkey two pack.  So I fired up the oven, cast away all previous burger rules, and quickly created this smokey turkey burger that blew my mind.  In fact, after a quick trip back to Sam’s to load up the freezer with MORE turkey, poor Andy was eating these tasty burgers for about two weeks straight!  Introducing my Smokey turkey burger!

Fast forward to yesterday:  Unfortunately (for me anyway), Andy was ready for a burger change.  So I put on my thinking cap, pulled a pack of turkey out of the freezer, and gave it a go!  My latest version of the turkey burger is nothing like the orginal! It is completely different in flavor and MAYBE even healthier and TASTIER!  Andy thinks so anyway!  For now, I am calling it Andy’s berry burger, but you can purchase the naming rights for a small monthly fee…:)!  Again, back to the burger–this burger is so tasty with the piney, pungent fragrance of rosemary combined with the salty feta and the sweet/tart craisins–oh, this is a wildly delicious combination and Andy’s favorite!  It might be yours too!  Give them both a try and let me know which one wins at your house!

Smokey turkey burger

Servings:  4-6 depending upon your size preference!

  • 1# lean ground turkey
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c finely chopped red, yellow, or chopped GREEN onion
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T cumin seed
  • 1/2 T chipotle peppe flakes
  • 1/4 c finely chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 c finely chopped green olives
  • 1/2 c finely chopped fresh cilantro or italian parsley
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • Pepper jack cheese slices (optional)
  • Whole Wheat buns
  • Sliced red onion (optional)

Preheat oven to broil (or low broil).  Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Shape into 4-6 patties (depending upon your size preference) and place on a pam sprayed cooking sheet or in a large lasagna pan.  Broil for 6 minutes, flip the burgers and broil for another 6 minutes.  Thow the burger on your bun with the optional garnishes/accompaniments and ENJOY!

Andy’s berry burger

Servings:  4-6 (depending upon the size)

  • 1 # lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1 T garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c red or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c craisins (dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 T raspberry vinaigrette dressing, light
  • 2 T ketchup
  • 2 large sprigs of rosemary leaves, minced
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes

Preheat oven to broil (or low broil).  Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Shape into 4-6 patties (depending upon your size preference) and place on a pam sprayed cooking sheet or in a large lasagna pan.  Broil for 6 minutes, flip the burgers and broil for another 6 minutes.  Thow the burger on your bun and ENJOY!




Go green raw salad

Go green!

Are you thinking of going green??  Give this recipe a try and you will be on your way…not really what you had in mind when thinking green??  So what!  This recipe is super simple, packed with flavor, and very, very green!  You can serve this salad along side about anything–fish, chicken, or pork.  To add more color, throw in some freshly roasted beets!   This is also a great one to take as your contribution to the next family gathering or neighborhood bbq!  Heck, add some extra cheese and call it lunch or dinner–it may be mine today!

Bon Appetit!

Go green raw salad

Servings:  4

  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 T diced garlic
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 2-3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 # asparagus, tough end removed and chopped into thirds
  • 1 small bag of frozen edamame beans, thawed
  • 3/4 c more or less shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

In a medium lidded bowl stir together the lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, hot pepper, and garlic.  Add the veggies and edamame, put the lid on the bowl and gently shake until the contents are coated with the dressing.  Allow to sit for 15 or more minutes at room temperature before serving.



Crisper drawer quesadilla

Gorgeous colors and flavors in between the tortillas

So the garden of veggies in your fridge drawer is piling up and starting to fade?   I hear all too often complaints about good intentions gone awry with the contents of the crisper drawer.  I am here to help!  This quesadilla is an awesome way to have a hugely flavorful, simple meal while making sure you don’t waste any of those super expensive super foods in your fridge! Plus, if you have kids, they will love you for this one!  There is a little bit of chopping required, but I promise it is worth every second of your time!  This recipe is really just a guide to get you started–use the veggies that YOU love (or want to love :))!  ENJOY!

Crisper drawer quesadilla

Servings:  2

  • 4 flour tortillas
  • Veggies in your fridge.   I usually have some of the following on hand for this dish:  corn (frozen, but fresh in the summer), bell pepper, onion, tomato, cilantro, yellow squash, jalapeño pepper, garlic, argula, asparagus.  About 3 cups total.
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c shredded mexican cheese (leave out for vegan)
  • 2 t fresh salsa
  • splash of EVOO
  • sour cream (tofutti for vegans), avocado slices as garnish

Heat a medium size skillet over medium low heat.  Add the EVOO, cumin seeds and chipotle pepper flakes.  After about a minute add the garlic and corn and roast until the corn starts browning.  Clean and prep your veggies, add them to the skillet and cook until they are al dente.

While the veggies are cooking, warm up your George Foreman grill and give it a quick spray with PAM.

Once the veggies are cooked to the texture you desire it is time to build and cook your quesadilla.  Throw one tortilla on the grill, add a big scoop of the veggies, cover with cheese, put the top tortilla on, and close the GF lid.   Cook the quesadilla until it is a golden brown and the cheese is melted.  Garnish with a scoop of sour cream, sliced avocados, and chopped cilantro.  Serve with a side of your favorite salsa.

Quesadilla starting to brown in the GF

Now doesn’t that look good??

PeppaDO! pasta

Can you see the sauce starting to caramelize??

This pepper pasta is truly a no-brainer and is one of my favorites from the ‘I am NOT in the mood to cook’ menu here at the casa.   If you aren’t familiar with the peppadew pepper let me take this opportunity to introduce you to this sweet, warm, red beauty and super fruit.  It is similar in nutritional value to the red bell–low calorie, no fat, loads of antioxidants (vitamin c!), and a nice bit of fiber.  They do pack SOME heat (similar to a pepperoncini) but fear not, it scores very low on the Scoville scale.  The story behind the peppadew is pretty interesting!  In short, about 18 years ago a South African farmer came upon an unfamiliar bush with these small, bright red fruits.  Upon tasting this unique sweetie, he realized he had found something very special.  He played around with the seeds to perfect the plant and patented the fruit under the name peppadew.  He has recently sold the rights and now the pepper is readily available here in the states.  You can most likely find them at your local grocer–Whole Foods even has them in bulk at their olive bar–which is the most economical way to purchase them right now.  Five years ago my hubby and I were lucky enough to source seeds (very, very hard to do!) through a seed saver from Austria — yep, our babies have traveled a long way to be with us here in Missouri!  The plants are late, but heavy producers.  This year I hope to have 8-10 plants bearing loads of them for us!  If all goes according to plan, there will be a whole slew of peppaDO! recipes on the blog by years end!

So, back to the recipe…Shrimp pairs very nicely with this pepper and adds a little more ‘weight’ to this sauce, but it is truly delightful without it!   Toss a big salad, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get ready to enjoy your simple, heart healthy and satisfying dinner!

Bon Appetit!

PeppaDO! pasta

Servings:  4-5

  • 1 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 1 1/2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (Bertolli Tomato Basil for me, thank you!)
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1-2 T diced garlic
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1 c (or more) peppadew (piquant) peppers
  • 1/4 c peppadew (piquant) brine
  • 1/2 -1 # large uncooked shell-on shrimp (optional)
  • Garnish of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large saute pan warm the EVOO over medium-low with the chipotle pepper flakes.  Add the garlic, basil, oregano, and black pepper and heat for a minute or two.  Add the peppadews and juice and stir well.  Cook for 3 or so minutes, until it starts to caramelize just a touch.  Add the jarred sauce, turn the heat down to low and cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook another 5 – 7 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through.  Be sure not to over-cook the shrimp or you will have a rubbery disappointment on your hands!

While your sauce is doing its thing, start your pasta by bringing a stock pot full of water (I like add 1-2 T kosher salt and 1/2 t hot pepper to flavor the pasta, but this is totally optional) to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook until al dente-usually 11-12 minutes.  Drain and do NOT rinse.

Serve the pasta with a heaping scoop of sauce.  Garnish as desired!

PeppaDO! Pasta