Cheesy Mushroom Farro and Oven Roasted Acorn Squash

Evening folks! As promised, here is the recipe for my dinner tonight. The Farro is nutty and creamy and the earthy mushrooms have a great meatiness for a healthy meatless dinner. The oven roasted acorn squash is sweet and tender and is perfect for the start of fall! Have a great rest of the night!

Cheesy Mushroom Farro

10 ounces mixed mushrooms (or whatever you have on hand)
1/2 onion, chopped (or 2 shallots or 2 leeks)
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 cup farro, rinsed
1 cup of any dry white wine
3 cups broth (veggie broth to make vegetarian)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a medium sized pan (I used my medium sized dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat for 30 seconds.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook down about 10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the onions. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions until soft about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Season with a bit of salt.

Add the farro to the pan and stir to coat the grains in the oil and toast slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and stir. Cook the farro, stirring occasionally, until the wine cooks down almost completely, about 8 minutes.

Add the broth about 1 cup at a time, cooking until the liquid almost completely evaporates before adding the next increment; this will take about 45 minutes to complete. Remember to stir often to create a creamy texture.

When the farro is tender and absorbs almost all of the liquid, stir in the mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano and butter. Continue to stir until the butter is melted in and the mixture is creamy.

Oven Roasted Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, washed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Halve the squash, scrape out the insides, and slice into 1/2″ half moons.
In a large bowl, toss together the squash, oil, salt, and pepper. Lay the squash out on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until super tender.

Chicken Tikki Masala

Hope you guys are having a great Sunday! Ours was pretty nice. We slept in until 9ish, then I made a yummy breakfast of bacon, hash browns, and scrambled eggs. Since we just got back from vacation, I thought we would be making a trip to Waffle House, but luckily we had these in the fridge. Perfect Sunday morning!

The rest of the fridge and pantry were pretty bare, so the girls and I took a trip to the market. We got enough food to last us a few days. I decided to step up my culinary game by researching and creating new dishes this week. Tonight- Chicken Tikki Masala.

I love Indian food. I mean, for real, I LOVE it. I really could eat it everyday. I know that is extreme, but there are so many things on the menu that I want to try, so it is true. Unfortunately, I am the only one in my family who likes it. My husband and girls tolerate it. Hubby doesn’t like curry or coconut. The girls are still wary of new spices. I would bathe in coconut milk and add curry to all my meat if I could. I love chickpeas more than the average American. I think lamb kebabs should overtake hamburgers. I may be on the extreme just a bit, but there are some really amazing Indian dishes out there that I think you should try.

So I thought I should try this one first; Chicken Tikki Masala. Mild flavors and one of the main dishes on the “kid menu.” I researched a bunch of dishes and here is what I came up with. Everyone loved the chicken and seemed to just be content to eat Naan and soak up the sauce. Just enough leftovers for me =)

Chicken Tikki Masala

3-5 boneless chicken thighs or breasts
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 to 2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika- sweet or smoked
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes- (or use roasted for a more smoky flavor)
3/4 cup coconut milk or heavy cream
Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 cups cooked rice, to serve


Cook the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, paprika, and kosher salt. Cook down, about 10 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices. Mix for about 5 minutes. Add in your chicken cut up in small, bite-sized pieces. Cover and cook 30-40 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the heavy cream. Taste and add more garam masala or salt if needed.

Serve over white rice. I would use basmati or jasmine. I cooked it according to package with chicken stock instead of water. I also added 2 tablespoons of butter. Top with fresh cilantro if you like. Serve with a side of toasted Naan bread.



Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Skillet Green Beans and Rice with Pine Nuts

Hello! Tonight I made a family favorite that I have done in many variations on the blog before. I had some beautiful green beans freshly picked from my garden and some pine nuts leftover that needed to be used up. I made enough to have for leftovers for another night!

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

4 chicken fillets
1 onion, diced
1 carton mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of crushed and diced garlic
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 container of reduced sodium chicken stock
add salt and pepper to taste


Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken pieces to hot oil in a single layer without crowding. Cook 4-5 minutes per side or until chicken is browned; remove from pans.

Add in your veggies. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the stock. Cook down about 5 minutes.
Add your chicken back in the pan. Cook for 30 more minutes with the chicken in the sauce. Take out the chicken and add in the cream cheese and heavy cream. Stir and let them all melt together. If you want a thicker sauce (to dunk bread), add in more cream cheese. If you want a thinner sauce (to add to pasta) add in more cream. Add your chicken back in. Cook for just a few more minutes… Again…Perfection.


Rice with Pine Nuts-

1/2 stick of butter
1 small bag of rice
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1 container of low sodium chicken or veggie stock

Toast some pine nuts in a pan for a few minutes on low heat. Watch these; they burn quickly.
In a large round pot or pan, heat butter on med heat until it melts. Add in your rice and cook for a few minutes. This toasts the rice and helps give it a nice nutty flavor. Then I added all of the stock in the pan, mixed well, and put on the lid. Every 5 minutes or so, I stirred it to make sure the bottom didn’t burn or stick. Near the 20 minute mark, I felt mine needed a little more liquid, so I added a few more tablespoons of water. I mixed well and added in my pine nuts. Delicious!


Skillet Green Beans

I had these beauties from my garden.

So I threw them in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of bacon fat (butter or olive oil would be fine). I cooked them about 15 minutes. stirring them occasionally. In the end, I threw in a handful of the toasted pine nuts.


Spicy Veggie Couscous

Hello again! So I was thinking about what I wanted to take for lunch tomorrow. Today I ate a  whole wheat wrap with spicy chicken, spinach, and hummus  from my school.  I added a bit of  Light Ranch (the only kind they have) to the mix. It was actually pretty tasty. I would get that again! The menu tomorrow is not very promising, although they do have a veggie burger. Unfortunately, by the time I get to the veggie burger, it is  pretty cold and stale. I don’t think many middle school kiddos choose it. Who can blame them…

So tonight I had some couscous left over at dinner. I also had half of both a yellow and orange sweet pepper, 1 jalapeno, 1 sweet onion, 1 small head of broccoli, and 2 cloves of garlic leftover from last weeks groceries. I chopped up all the veggies and cooked them in a bit of peanut oil for about 10 minutes. Then I added the couscous and a bit of soy sauce and pepper to add a bit of flavor. I stirred well, and cooked for another 5 minutes. Now I have a yummy lunch for tomorrow! =)


Spicy Chicken and Veggie Risotto

It seems lately I have been on a spicy kick. I have been adding hot sauce, red chili flakes, and jalapenos on just about everything. Maybe it is the cool weather rolling in that makes me want to spice it up? In any case, I felt like adding a punch to my dinner last night. Everyone was doing their own thing and going in different directions, so it was either have straight up leftovers or create something out of the leftovers from the fridge. I decided to create something new from something old.

Spicy Chicken and Veggie Risotto


1/2 rotisserie chicken, finely chopped or shredded
3 tablespoons butter or oil
half a can of tomato paste
3/4 opened stock in a box
half an onion, chopped
handful of mushrooms, quartered
can of green chilies
about 1/2 cup rice
1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup parm cheese


Heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium sized pot over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until beginning to soften and brown around edges, about 5 minutes. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add in tomato paste and green chilies. Mix together well. Add 1 cup broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining broth by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Continue to cook until rice is just tender but still very creamy, stirring gently and often, about 10 minutes longer (about 25 minutes total cooking time). Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and chicken. Stir to warm the chicken through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl and serve with additional Parmesan cheese. You could make this vegetarian by leaving out the chicken and using veggie stock or water.


Baked Enchilada Farro with Beans and Corn

Happy Tuesday, ya’ll! So the other day I made this.

It is super healthy and delicious, but after a few servings, I needed to find a way to change it up. So, I made it into tacos. Yum. Then I made it into this cheesy bake. All I did was add a another small can of enchilada sauce and 1 jar of salsa to the mix. Then I spread it into a sprayed casserole dish and topped it with shredded cheese. I baked it at 350 until all the cheese was melted and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Freezing half of this for my future. 



Enchilada Farro with Beans and Corn

Hey guys! I know that it has been awhile. It has been a pretty busy week and there has not been a lot of innovative cooking. Mostly old stand bys…BBQ chicken, pasta, and a few more quick dinners out and clean out the fridge nights than normal. This week there will probably be more of the same. 3 kids equals a lot of busy nights…

We have been trying to avoid going to the store and spending money, so I raided the pantry for this meal. It will serve as a quick lunch and dinner for the next week. Since I have a whole pot of it, I may try different things with it throughout the week; thinking of topping it with shredded cheese and bake it or even make it into veggie enchiladas. For tonight, I found it super satisfying the way it is. Look for more variations coming soon. I hope you give it a try!

Enchilada Farro with Beans and Corn

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can black beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 can corn
1 can chopped green chilies
1 can enchilada sauce
1 cup farro (or quinoa)
2 cups veggie stock (or water or chicken)


Using a large heavy pot, cook your onions down in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on med/low heat for about 5 minutes. Add in your garlic. Cook down for 3 more minutes. Add in your farro. Cook for a few minutes then add all your canned ingredients. Mix together well. Add in your stock and mix well. Cover and cook until farro is tender; about 25 minutes.

I can’t stop eating this. It is SO good! I have a whole pot to much on throughout the week!

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Pepper and Creamy Cauliflower

Evening folks! If you read my meal plan earlier, you might remember that I was making sloppy joes. Once I made them and added pimento cheese to my sandwich. They were very tasty.

I was trying to think of another way to jazz up my sloppy joes. The girls love the sandwich; I think it tastes delicious, but it just needs another layer of flavor. I thought of just making it like a baked sub…top with cheese and melt and toast in the oven. Yum!!! Then I thought of when I make stuffed peppers with beef and rice and top it with cheese. That is pretty tasty…Could this work kind of the same way? Ummmm….YES!!!

I added a side of creamy cauliflower and a side salad of mixed greens topped with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. So good! Of course, my girls won’t touch my leafy greens with a ten foot pole, but you can’t win them all! They had Kraft macaroni and cheese… don’t judge! I had a bite and was transported to one of my high school friend’s house where we made it at every slumber party. Childhood in a box.

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
a generous shake of liquid smoke… Once I ran out and used worcestershire sauce and no one noticed.
a few shakes of onion and garlic powder

Directions- Brown your ground beef. Drain any grease leftover. Add all your ingredients. Put in a pepper- I used yellow- Cut in half, take out seeds and membranes. Top with cheese. I used mozzarella. Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes.

Creamy Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower cut in to florets
1 cup heavy cream
1 container of softened marscapone or cream cheese
1 cup grated parmesan
2 cloves crushed and finely chopped/minced garlic- or a tablespoon or garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 (can bake with your peppers)
Spray or butter down your baking dish
Add your cauliflower
Mix your cream, marscapone, cheese, and seasoning in a bowl and pour over your cauliflower.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and the top is bubbling.

Balsamic Dressing- I got this recipe from this website…

2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, balsamic, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic. Add the oil and whisk thoroughly to combine. Continue whisking until the dressing is fully emulsified.

Store in a jar with a lid and refrigerate. Shake well before serving.



Tilapia with Pesto and Cauliflower Gratin

I have heard some people say they don’t like cooking fish because they think it will stink up the house. They think it is hard to make. Well, I am here to prove them wrong. It couldn’t be easier and the house smells amazing. I also made a spinach and basil pesto to go with the fish. It matched perfectly. There were no leftovers…

Pan fried Tilapia

2-3 filets of tilapia cut in half
2 cups of flour
salt and pepper to taste
a couple tablespoons of oil AND butter

Sprinkle both sides of fish with salt and pepper; coat in flour. In large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat; fry fish in batches, turning once, until golden and fish flakes easily when tested, 4 to 5 minutes.



Spinach Basil Pesto

Directions- Mix the following ingredients in a food processor and stream in olive oil to make smooth and creamy;
1/2 container of pine nuts
1 handful of both spinach and basil
1/2 container of parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
photo 2

Cauliflower Gratin


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
Sea Salt and Pepper
3 tbl butter
2 tbl flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 cups of shredded cheese- I used mild cheddar and colby jack


Place cauliflower on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Generously salt and pepper your veggies. Toss and cover well all pieces with olive oil or cooking spray. Place in preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn to broil for the last 5 minutes to get the pieces golden brown. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add in the flour, stirring to make a paste. Continue stirring for about 5 minutes. Slowly add in heavy cream stirring and blending. Do the same with the milk. Reduce heat to low and add the cheeses a little bit at a time, stirring and allowing it all to melt. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place roasted cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Add creamy cheese mixture and blend well. Pour into a cast iron skillet and add more shredded cheese to the top. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven or until the top is golden brown.




Oh, and we had a side of couscous. That is always a hit. =) Hope you have a great week!