Baked Orzo with Kale and Cheese



Finding new ways to incorporate my veggies into my stomach has been interesting. I’m trying to include at least one veggie into my dinners. This is something I always intend to do, but have been slacking at considerably. I’m such a meat and potatoes girl. A pizza and ice cream girl. I like carbs and I like sweets and I like junk food. It’s a struggle to get my head into thinking otherwise. But I started this new year with a bang and so far have been pretty successful.

This was a smitten kitchen recipe which I slightly altered to make it work with the ingredients I had.

Baked Orzo with Kale and Cheese

2 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz uncooked orzo
1/2 tsp tomato paste
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 oz shredded mozzarella
3/4 oz grated Parmesan
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 head kale, sliced into thin ribbons
salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat your oven to 350. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and saute the celery for 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.  Stir in the orzo and tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan, tomatoes, kale, lemon zest, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

2. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes.

* serves 2
* shared with Mix It Up Monday & Mealtime Monday 

Spaghetti Squash Casserole


I’ve never participated in the Alphabakes Challenge before, but there’s always a time to start new things! Alphabakes, hosted by Ros and Caroline, where each month bloggers are challenged to make a dish that features an ingredient made with the random recipe of the month. This month’s random letter is S. You can find more information about this month’s Alphabakes here.

The cold weather has made an increase in squash consumption in my house. Since squash starts with an S (and so does Spaghetti Squash!) this seemed to be the perfect dish to share with Alphabakes.

I wish I could claim this recipe. It is however not mine. Everyday Maven posted this recipe and I was intrigued, for good reason. I should have roasted the squash the day before and if you do make this recipe, you should also roast your squash earlier than I did. By roasting the squash, prepping the dish, and then baking the casserole all back to back made this a pretty time consuming meal. But it really was worth it.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

1 large spaghetti squash (you can prep the spaghetti squash in advance, but the directions to roast it are below)
1 egg
15-oz ricotta cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 lb ground beef
1 head kale, sliced into thin ribbons
15-oz crushed tomatoes (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs


1. First prepare the squash. Preheat your oven to 350. Slice the top end of the squash. Cut the squash longwise so that you have two halves. Remove the seeds from the inside of the squash, scraping clean.

2. Place the squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.

3. Once the squash is cooked, remove and let cool. Once the squash is cool enough to touch (but not cold) take a fork and scrape the inside of the squash, to remove the strands of the spaghetti squash. Place them into a bowl.

4. Now you can prepare the rest of the casserole. Combine the egg, ricotta, 1 tsp salt, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.

5. In another small bowl combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Set aside.

6. Turn the heat on the oven up to 425. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside. Place a large skillet (or a big pot) over medium-high heat. Once hot add 1 tbsp olive oil. Then add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender.

7. Add the ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until almost all the pink is gone.

8. Add the kale and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine. Place the lid on the skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the kale is wilted.

9. Remove the lid and add the spaghetti squash. Mix until well combined. Remove the dish from the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese mixture.

10. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and use a spoon to even out the top. Bake for 40 minutes.

11. Remove from heat and top with the breading. Spray with cooking spray and bake for 10 more minutes.

12. Let the dish sit for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

* serves 8
* besides Alphabakes, I have shared this recipe with Weekend Cooking

By the way, entries for Pantry Party should be entered during this next week!

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Butternut Squash Pizza

One of my resolutions for the new year is to lose 30 pounds. To lose that weight I have to make healthy decisions in terms of the food I put in my mouth. The meal I had tonight was definitely a healthy choice. It only took about a half hour to make too, so not only was it healthy, but it was also easy! The best of both worlds, yeah?

I really enjoyed the taste of these little squash pizzas. They were also really easy to eat and could be made for lunch or even a snack.

Butternut Squash Pizza

1 butternut squash
1 chicken sausage
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup kale, chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Olive oil, salt, and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. Slice the neck off of the squash. Set the body aside. Slice the neck of the squash into 1/4-inch pieces (mine made 11 slices.)

3. Place the squash on a baking sheet. Brush a small amount of olive oil on both sides of each squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.

4. Remove the squash from the oven and flip each piece over. Cover each squash with some sausage, cheese, kale, and tomatoes, splitting the ingredients evenly above your squash pieces. Bake for 15 more minutes.

* serves 2
* about 333 calories per serving
* this post is being shared with Bake with Bizzy at Bizzy Bakes

Chicken Saltimbocca over Noodles with Sauteed Kale and Garlic

Until recently my two favorite vegetables were sweet potato and spinach. Recently a new veggie has made the list: kale. Seeing kale
in the store, I would never suspect that it would be something  I wanted to eat so bad. But having kale for the second time, it’s definitely finding a way into my regular diet.

The chicken saltimbocca required more work than what I would normally put into a weeknight meal, but luckily I still am on break! The sage had such a delicious flavor. And the prosciutto. Basically, the whole dish was YUM!


Chicken Saltimbocca

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
8 fresh sage leaves
4 slices prosciutto
1 3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp Brummel&Brown (or other butter replacement or butter)
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth


1. Lay the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap.  With a mallet pound the meat to 1/4 inch thick. Season each breast with salt and pepper.

2. Arrange 2 sage leaves on top of each chicken breast. Wrap 1 slice prosciutto around the chicken like a belt, covering the sage. Pour 1/4 cup of flour in a pie pan. Dredge the chicken in the flour.

3. In a large frying pan, melt 2 tbsp Brummel&Brown. Add the chicken in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside, covering to keep warm.

4. Reduce heat to medium. In the same pan melt the remaining Brummel&Brown and whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp of flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine and the broth and cook until the sauce has thickened. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

* serves 4
* 318 calories per serving
* the calorie count does not include the pasta

Sauteed Kale and Garlic

1/2 lb fresh kale, stem removed and leaves chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups water


 1. In the olive oil saute the red onion and garlic, until they begin to turn brown.

2. In the skillet add the kale with 1/2 cup water. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated. Add another 1/2 cup of water and cook the water off again. Repeat one more time.

* serves 4
* 62 calories per serving

Lentil Chicken Soup and Spinach Pinwheels

I’ve written about this before, but I’ll mention it again since it’s relevant right now because of the dish I’m posting. I’ve lost about 50 pounds since August of 2010. This has all been thanks to the website myfitnesspal. Besides the wonderful calorie database, it also has a great community of other individuals also losing weight. I’m part of a group over there called RECIPE SWAP. Each week two members of the group share a recipe for everyone else to cook.

Last week nattiec21 shared this recipe with the group. It definitely pushed me outside of my “normal” ingredients. I have never cooked with kale before and really, I’m not even sure if I’d ever eaten it before. Also, I had an unopened package of lentils in my cabinet, but I had never used them before. The nice thing about the group is I get stuck on the same flavors sometimes, the same ingredients, and the same dishes. This allows me try things I just wouldn’t otherwise.

I made this dish with those cute spinach pinwheels in the picture. They worked similar to croutons and were very delicious. Overall, I’d rank this dish high on the recipe chain and I would make it again.

Lentil Chicken Soup

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tbsp fresh basil
2 cups coarsely chopped kale
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup dry brown lentils


1. Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Preheat the pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the heated saucepan. Cook and cover for 5-7 minutes, allowing the vegetables to begin to tenderize, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the kale and the dried lentils. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and cover for 30 minutes.

3. Stir in the chicken, tomato, and basil. Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.

* serves 3
* 228 calories per serving
* shared to be by nattiec21

Spinach Pinwheels

1 8-oz package refrigerated reduced fat crescent rolls
2 wedges Laughing Cow creamy Swiss cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
several handfuls of spinach, coarsely chopped (I didn’t measure this)


1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. Split the crescent dough in half along the center to form a rectangle. Press the perforated edges of the dough together with your fingers.

3. Spread each rectangle with one block of the creamy Swiss cheese. Sprinkle with garlic powder and spinach.

4. Starting on the long side of the dough, roll together as if you were rolling a cinnamon rolls. Cut into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Continue until you have used up all of the crescent roll dough.

6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

* makes 10 servings
* 3 pinwheels per serving
* 165 calories per serving