Enchanted Mommy

Cheesy, Spinach, Spaghetti Squash!

Spaghetti squash is so yummy and can be cooked so many different ways!  We have been cutting down on carbs lately and trying to eat more veggies!  Spaghetti squash is a great carb substitute!  We regularly use it in place of pasta in our spaghetti.  So yum!

This recipe has been floating around pinterest lately so I decided to give it a try.  I did change it up a bit to take the carbs out.  The original recipe is made with flour and milk.  I did like the dish, however, if I made this again I wouldn’t bake it.  I would just cover it in parmesan cheese and eat it!

This is it before being baked.

This is it before being baked.

 

This is it after it baked for 30 minutes.  It was good, and melted all the cheese, but I think it would have been just as good without this step.

This is it after it baked for 30 minutes. It was good, and melted all the cheese, but I think it would have been just as good without this step.

 

Start with cooked spaghetti squash

Start with cooked spaghetti squash

 

Saute it up with baby spinach, cheddar cheese, onions, and chicken broth.

Saute it up with baby spinach, cheddar cheese, onions, and chicken broth.  I added a bit too much broth.

Goes perfect with this salad!  MIxed greens, tomatoes, avocado, feta, parmesan, and sliced almonds!

Goes perfect with this salad! Mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, feta, parmesan, red onions, and sliced almonds!

Ingredients to make it even healthier.

Ingredients to make it even healthier.

I try to use the No Sodium salt and smart balance butter when I am cooking.  It is much healthier.  I also opted for the 99% fat free chicken broth.  It all gets mixed in together and tasted great.  My uncle would laugh at this, but he is the one who introduced me to the No Sodium salt.  He calls it the “girl salt.”  We use to eat dinner with him all the time when we lived out west and he would always say, “Please pass the girl salt.”  It always made me laugh!

Cheesy, Spinach, Spaghetti Squash!
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cooked spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ thinly chopped onion
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 8 oz 2% reduced fat mild cheddar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups baby spinach (I used half of regular size bag)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan (to be sprinkled on top)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To cook the spaghetti squash, cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds and lay on a baking sheet facing up. Put a tsp. of butter in each half and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take squash out of the oven and scrape insides into a bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute onions for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and let simmer on medium high for several minutes. Add the cheddar cheese and keep stirring until cheese is completely melted into the broth. Add spaghetti squash and baby spinach. Stir until combined and flavor with salt and pepper. Put it all into a baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Make Your Own Popcorn And Save Tons

popcorn Collage

Here are the 5 easy steps to making your own popcorn without spending a fortune on the portioned bags from the store!

  • Just buy the huge bag of popcorn kernels (the everyday price on 32 oz. at my grocery store was $1.97).
  • Pour 1/4 cup kernels into a brown paper bag.
  • Roll bag two times.
  • Hit popcorn on microwave.
  • Remove and enjoy!  Feel free to add the amount of salt and butter you prefer!
Make Your Own Popcorn And Save Tons
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup popcorn kernels.
  • paper bag.
  • Salt and butter are optional.
Instructions
  1. Put ¼ cup kernels into brown paper bag.
  2. Roll bag over two times.
  3. Put in microwave and hit popcorn button.
  4. Pour into bowl and enjoy!

 

 

IMG_5847

Look at this delicious money saving popcorn!

 

Yum yum yum!

You could also make a popcorn cake or caramel popcorn from this recipe!

Broccoli, Grape, Pasta Salad

pasta salad

This is the perfect dish for your next gathering or pot luck.  It makes a lot, is served cold, and is delicious!  The bacon is awesome in it and even my brother-in-law went back for thirds.

All three of my boys are playing sports this season and we have 4 games a week, plus practices.  To say it is a bit nuts is an understatement  but others who have gone before me have told me this is just the beginning and to get use to it!  Ha!  Anyway, on the weeknight games and practices I am always looking for quick and easy meals to feed the family so we can run quickly to our events without leaving a ton of clean up.

This meal does that. I made it earlier in the day and let it chill for a couple hours so the dressing could be absorbed and soften the broccoli.  All I had to do was pull it out, serve it on some paper plates with a side of fruit, and we were out the door.

I didn’t add the pecans in mine, simply because I didn’t have them on hand.  I wish I had though!  I bet they would be yummy!  I also stayed away from the salt.  Its a new kick I am on.  I try not to cook with salt at all, but after a dish is done I might add a little to taste at the table if I feel it needs it.  Most of the time though, I don’t need it or miss it at all.

Broccoli, Grape, Pasta Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped pecan
  • ½ (16oz) box of bow tie pasta
  • 1 lb fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup mayo
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Peel away tough outer layer of stems, and finely chop stems.
  4. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Valentine’s Style

I’ve been wanting to practice some delicious new cupcakes for my almost 2 year old’s (seriously WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE??) birthday.  Everyone notices how delish the icing is and could often care less about the taste of the cake, sad but true.  Also, today my husband wanted a cheat day from his strict Paleo diet.  Why not practice?  So, I did practice and I ate lots!  I got the icing recipe here.

So easy, delish and pretty!

 
Ingredients
  • 1 Devils Food Cake Box and the ingredients listed on box.
  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
  • ½ Cup Butter Softened
  • 3 Tb Milk
  • Chocolate Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Make cupcakes according to box.
  2. Let cupcakes cool.
  3. Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.
  4. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
  5. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.
  6. Decorate your cupcake.
  7. Add sprinkles and your choice of decoration.

This icing is SO easy and so much better than any store bought.  I want to do these and a buttercream for Anna’s 2nd birthday and put some Minnie Mouse decorative sticks in them.  Remember, people eat with their eyes and barely anyone passes up peanut butter with chocolate!

In case you’re wondering, I used this cake tip by Wilton.

Happy Cupcake Making!!!

Related posts:

Awesome 3rd Birthday Cake
Ella’s 3rd Pancake and Pajama Birthday Party
1st Birthday Party Ideas
Cupcake Cake Idea
Lion Birthday Party
Super Hero Birthday Party 

The Best Zucchini Lasagna

New Year’s resolutions here I come!  The story of my life right!  It’s not like I don’t want to eat healthy, because I do… Its just that when I cook something healthy I really want it to taste like fried chicken!  Too much to ask?!?!?!

We are all trying to lead healthy more active lives this year as one of our family goals.  We are off to a good start as we have our first Rad Run Race in a week and a half.  I am teetering on whether or not to let my 5 year old run it with us.  It is 3 miles so I am a bit worried it would be too much for him this time.  What do you think?  My 7 year old is all ready for it.  He has been practicing for months now and is so excited about his first race!

So here is a yummy lasagna recipe I made for the family this week.  I was so excited to find it on skinnytaste.com.  This recipe uses strips of zucchini instead of lasagna noodles!  So yummy, and saves you hundreds of calories!  My sister made a pan of regular lasagna and I made this zucchini lasagna the same night.  I wasn’t sure what we could get the kids to eat.  So guess which one was gone first???  Mine of course!

Fresh tomatoes from the garden!  They grow in the winter in Florida!

I used fresh tomatoes from the garden! They grow in the winter in Florida!

 

Fresh basil from my garden! Yippee for living in Florida!

Fresh basil from my garden went in as well! Yippee for living in Florida!

 

Not from my garden, but still yummy!

Not from my garden, but still yummy!

ZUCCHINI LASAGNA
1 lb lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
1 Tb olive oil
salt and pepper
28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 Tb chopped fresh basil
4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8inch thick
15oz part skim ricotta cheese
16oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg

***Brown the meat and season with salt.  Drain the meat in strainer or colander to get all the excess grease out.  There wont be much if you use the extra lean beef.  Heat oil then saute onions and garlic for a couple minutes.  Add the beef, tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper.  Simmer on low for 30 minutes.  The trick is to get  your sauce thick and not watery.

I actually added tomato paste to mine since I also used fresh tomatoes from my garden (lightly blended) instead of canned.  Really you could use any recipe you wanted for the sauce.  I wanted to add green peppers, but the one in the fridge wasn’t fresh enough.  Sliced carrots would be a great addition to the sauce as well!

Salt your sliced zucchini and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.  Then use a paper towel to dab all the excess water from the zucchini.  Zucchini adds a lot of water when cooked and salting it helps take some of it out.  Now, grill the zucchini on a grill or grill pan.

I admit, my grill is out of gas and the grill pan is still in storage while the house is being built so I just baked mine in the oven at 35o for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix the ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and egg together in a small bowl.

In a 9 x 12 casserole dish spread the tomato sauce down on the bottom.  Then layer with strips of sliced zucchini.  Spread the ricotta mixture next, then the mozzarella cheese. Now repeat until you are out of zucchini.  End with zucchini, sauce, and mozzarella cheese.  I also sprinkled the left over shredded parmesan cheese on with the mozzarella.  I might have cut my zucchini a little too thick because I had only enough to fill a smaller 9 x 9 pan.

Cover dish and bake for 45 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  I actually did 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered and hardly waited at all to cut into it… we were hungry and impatient!  Ha!  It didn’t matter though it was perfectly delish!

You will love this low carb dish!  So good!

You will love this low carb dish! So good!

 

Here are some other LOW CARB  options:

Meatza
The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup
Steak and Cheese Stuffed Peppers
No Potato Salad
Butter Chicken- Paleo Style
Healthy Avocado and Tomato Salad
Crock pot Mexican Style Lettuce Wraps
Avocado Hummus

 

Meatza: South Beach Friendly

Last week husband was gone for 6 days on a business trip.  He came back feeling awful and needed a little detox from all the eating out and high carb meals.  So, now he’s trying to really limit his carbs.  Tonight I made him some meatza.  It’s like pizza, but without the crust and instead uses ground beef.  It actually is really good and a great low carb meal.

 

Yummy Meatza!

Yummy Meatza!

Here is what you need:

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (I actually used 2 lbs because my meat comes in 1 lb packages)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (fresh or from a jar)
1 tsp. dried oregano or Italian seasoning
8 oz. sugar free pizza sauce (Hunts Garlic and Herb in can)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
Toppings (peppers, mushrooms, olives, whatever you like)

Here’s what the garlic and herb sauce looks like (It’s the one we’ve found with the lowest amount of sugar)

Sauce with the lowest sugar.

Sauce with the lowest sugar.

All you do is:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl combine the meat with the onion, garlic and
oregano or Italian seasonings.
3. Pat the mixture out in an even layer in a 9×12 baking pan. Bake
for 20 minutes.
4. When the meat comes out, it will have shrunk a fair amount. Pour
off the grease and spread the pizza sauce over the meat. Sprinkle on
the cheese.
5. Add toppings.
6. Put the Meatza 4 inches below a broiler set on high. Broil for
about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
(Can also place in regular oven and bake until cheese is melted)

Plenty of leftovers too!

Plenty of leftovers too!

We let the girls make their own pizzas but using whole wheat toasted sandwich rounds.  I will miss one day how excited these girls get to make pizza!

My sweet girls!

My sweet girls!

Last week I posted how I lost my pregnancy weight.  I definitely made this a lot then!

Meatza: South Beach Friendly
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
It’s like pizza, but without the crust and instead uses ground beef. It actually is really good and a great low carb meal.
Author:
Recipe type: South Beach Friendly
Cuisine: Italian/American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl combine the meat with the onion, garlic and
  • oregano or Italian seasonings.
  • Pat the mixture out in an even layer in a 9×12 baking pan. Bake
  • for 20 minutes.
  • When the meat comes out, it will have shrunk a fair amount. Pour
  • off the grease and spread the pizza sauce over the meat. Sprinkle on
  • the cheese.
  • Add toppings.
  • Put the Meatza 4 inches below a broiler set on high. Broil for
  • about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  • (Can also place in regular oven and bake until cheese is melted)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine the meat with the onion, garlic and
  3. oregano or Italian seasonings.
  4. Pat the mixture out in an even layer in a 9×12 baking pan. Bake
  5. for 20 minutes.
  6. When the meat comes out, it will have shrunk a fair amount. Pour
  7. off the grease and spread the pizza sauce over the meat. Sprinkle on
  8. the cheese.
  9. Add toppings.
  10. Put the Meatza 4 inches below a broiler set on high. Broil for
  11. about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  12. (Can also place in regular oven and bake until cheese is melted)

 

Some other good healthy eating recipes!

Whole Grain Lasagna

Broccoli Salad

No Potato Salad

Chicken Salad

Coconut Milk Tropical Smoothie

Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica!

What is with this icky flu stuff going around?  It seems like everyone I know has had it… including everyone in my family.  It has been pretty awful really!  After nursing myself, hubby, and kids for the last two weeks through this nasty virus, I was ready for some real comfort food.

Pasta is always comfort food for me!

This has always been one of my favorite things to eat!  Ever since I worked as a waitress at Macaroni Grill in college, I have loved eating Penne Rustica.

Someone introduced me to this awesome cookbook that replicates restaurant recipes.  This is where I found my beloved Penne Rustica recipe!  So yummy!  I have made it for big crowds as well as small family dinners… doesn’t matter, it is always a hit!

Seriously, doesn’t it look so yummy?!  I love this stuff!  It always impresses!  This meal will go very fast at your next get together or pot luck!

Penne Rustica (Tastes just like Macaroni Grills version)
From Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Recipes

Ingredients
1 lb penne rigate pasta
12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 skinless chicken breasts
½ cup thick-sliced smoked prosciutto, chopped

SAUCE

3 Tb butter
2 Tb minced garlic
3 Tb Marsala wine
2 Cups heavy cream
1 Cup grated parmesan cheese
½ Cup milk
½ Cup chicken broth
1 Tb cornstarch
1 Tb Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Minced fresh rosemary (I used dried and it works just as well)
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. fresh thyme (I used dried)
¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper

TOPPING
3 Tb grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ tsp paprika

***Garnish with rosemary sprigs if desired

Directions

1.Preheat grill to high.

2. Prepare sauce by melting butter over medium/low heat in a medium saucepan.  Add garlic and let it sweat for 5 minutes (Do not brown garlic!  If it browns throw it out and start over).  Add the wine and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Simmer for 10minutes.  Cover and remove from heat.

3. Cook Pasta al dente (a little tender, but not mushy) and drain.

4. Rub chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Stick the shrimp on skewers, rub them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5. Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side and grill the shrimp for 2 minutes per side.  Slice chicken into strips when finished.

6.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Use a large glass or ceramic baking dish.  Add pasta, chicken and shrimp to the baking dish, spoon sauce over the top and toss to coat.

7.  For the topping, mix the parm. cheese with the paprika.  Sprinkle over the top of the pasta.    Bake for 10-12 minutes or until topping browns.

Mini Cucumber Sandwiches

Happy {late} New Year!  I think this is the first New Year’s in about 4 years that I’ve made it til midnight.  We had some of my friends over and it helped that we both have a one and three year olds to run around the house until they crashed at around 11:30.  The three year olds thought it was so.dang.cool to share a bed.  So, I guess when you have people over, you HAVE to make some delicious food and since they came over a little later, I decided to do heavy apps.  I made these delicious looking cucumber sandwiches, three dips and a salami (don’t judge, I’ve been craving salami EVERY SINGLE DAY since I found out I was pregnant) and cheese platter.  I got this recipe here.

IMG_5789

These are so delish. Everyone loved them!

Don’t they look delish?!  Here’s what you need:

1 cup quality mayonnaise
1- 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 package dry italian dressing mix
1 loaf loaf french bread (I used wheat), sliced about 1/2 inch thick
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
chopped dill weed, fresh or dried
n a medium bowl, with an electric hand mixer, beat together mayo, cream cheese & Italian seasoning. Cover with plastic wrap & chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, spread 1-2 TBSP of cream cheese mixture onto sliced bread, top with a sliced cucumber & sprinkle with dill. Serve immediately.

 

IMG_5787

I used my pampered chef crinkle cutter to make the cucumbers look like this!

Happy New Year!

Bourbon Roasted Filet Mignon Tenderloin!!!!

We had the yummiest Christmas dinner this year!  In the past we have always done a huge prime rib, but this year we changed it up just a tiny bit and decided to do a whole filet mignon tenderloin.

I am the honorary roaster for Christmas dinner so I set off to find a recipe that would work for us.  I found this yummy Bourbon marinade from Paule Deen on food network, but used this other recipe here to roast the meet since I wasn’t interested in standing in the snow to grill.

First of all, I did learn that you need to trim up the tenderloin.  I found this youtube video to be perfect in explaining how to trim the meat.  I roasted to meat whole rather than slicing it up though as he does in the video.

Looks AMAZING and tastes AMAZING!

Marinating in the Bourbon- cilantro mixture.  There are not two filet’s in there… just decided to roast the filet “chain” from the trimmings as well.  It wasn’t very good, but the kid were fine with it.  See youtube video above for more info.

Perfection!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
  • 1 (5-pound) beef tenderloin, silver connective tissue removed
  • Oil, to brush on before searing
***Mix all the ingredients (except oil) together in a bowl after trimming the filet tenderloin.  Poor over the filet and marinade for at least 5 hours or over night.  I marinated mine over night and it has an AMAZING flavor.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Season the meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat until good and hot, then add the meat and sear until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total.

Transfer the meat to a rack set on a baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140 degrees F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove it from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.  I used a tenderloin just over 7lbs and it took 45 minutes to get to 140 degrees.

 

Brownie Christmas Trees!

Merry Christmas!!!!  I love this time of year!  So many yummy goodies and happiness all around!

I love to see so people around the world united in celebrating the birth of the Savior.  It is so magical.  People collecting gifts and food and giving to others.  The happiness this season spreads such feelings of peace during difficult times.

It always amazes me!

This year we drove from Florida to Northern Virginia to celebrate Christmas.  We have been busy meeting up with good friends and family.  I made these yummy Christmas tree brownies to bring to dinner at a friends house.

Just make your favorite brownies and cut them into triangles using a pizza cutter.  Have fun decorating them with your kiddos!

We had such a good time making them even though we left them sitting on the counter when we left for our friends. Ha!  Doesn’t the thought count more than actually remembering to bring the goodies along???  My mom got to take them to work to pass out to her coworkers instead!