Pasta with Beef Sirloin and Beans

This recipe reminds me of a hearty chili but with healthier sirloin meat and rotini pasta. The melted shredded cheese on top was my favorite part!  Highly recommend for a quick week night meal.


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (I used sweet onion, red onion would also be good!)
  • 1 lb boneless beef sirloin (add/subtract based on number of people feeding)
    • trim and cut into bite-size pieces
    • If on sale, I buy top sirloin
  • 2 to 3 tsp chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (14.5 oz) reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 (14.5) oz no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (8 oz) can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 cups rotini
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • frozen whole kernel corn
    • (I put in about 1 cup, recipe calls for an entire bag, that is too much)

In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic cook and stir 1 minute, being careful not burn.

Meanwhile, combine the chili powder, Italian seasoning and pepper in a small bowl; add to the skillet with the bite-size pieces of meat. Cook 3-4 minutes or until meat is browned.

Stir in the beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and stir in pasta, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in beans and corn. Simmer, covered, 3-5 minutes or until heated throughout.  Dish into bowls and sprinkle with cheese!

**An alternative is to cook the pasta separately and add to dish at the end.

**Adapted from Skinny One-pan Recipes, 2016

Range Top Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

This is a surprisingly healthy mac and cheese option since it omits the butter usually found in baked mac and cheese.  There is a good amount of cheese in this recipe so there will be a bit more fat from this, but when paired with healthy vegetable options and the lean chicken protein it makes for a healthy dinner option!


  • 1 1/2 cups dried multigrain or regular elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 (6.5 oz semisoft cheese (such as harvati, mexican blend, etc)
  • 1 2/3 cups fat free or 2% milk
  • 1 TBS all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups baby spinach (optional, I wasn’t a huge fan of this)
    • Recommend subsituting red pepper and aspargus instead
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain.

Add olive oil or grapeseed oil to a skillet, heat over medium – high heat. Add chicken, cook 4-6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring frequently. Remove chicken and set aside, add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. (If onion browns to quickly, turn down heat to medium).

If adding pepper and asparagus, cook in a separate skillet, or remove the chicken and onion, cook the vegetables and then return onion and chicken to skillet for the next step.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the semisoft cheese until melted.

In a bowl, whisk together milk and flour until smooth, gradually stir into chicken mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low, gradually stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Add cooked macaroni, cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until heated throughout. Top with tomatoes and any additional garnish such as parsley.

**Adapted from Skinny One Pan Recipes, 2016

Crispy Salmon & Fries

Quick and healthier version to fish sticks & fries!


  • 1-4 cups frozen french fries
  • 2-4 salmon fillets (3-4 oz each, skin removed)
  • 1 TBS prepared horseradish
  • 1 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp (pinch) salt
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp thyme, rosemary or your favorite seasoning
  • cooking spray

Crispy Salmon

Preheat oven to 450. Arrange the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake on the lowest oven rack 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown.

While the fries are baking, place foil on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. (Don’t skip this step or the breadcrumbs will stick!)

In a bowl, (shallow bowl is best) combine horseradish, cheese Worcestershire sauce, mustard and salt, then stir in breadcrumbs. To add additional flavor, add one of your favorite seasonings such as thyme and stir in the mixture.

Press the salmon pieces into the fillets and shake off extra breading. Lightly spray the tops of the breaded salmon with cooking spray.

Bake salmon in middle oven rack for 8-10 minutes or until it begins to flake easily with a fork. Serve with fries and a vegetable, such as Cauliflower and broccoli bake.


**Adapted from Taste of Home Cozy Fall Cooking, Magazine 2014

Moroccan Chicken Couscous

I discovered this recipe a few weeks ago from a new cookbook I bought at World Market.  That same week I also found tri color pearl couscous at Whole Foods and fell in love with this product!  The flavors blend really well and I don’t normally cook with raisins but loved them in this recipe.  This is also a quickly prepared meal, great for weeknights or when you have little time for prep or cooking time.

moraccan chicken1


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, chopped into cubes
  • 1 small onion (sweet), chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (feel free to increase to 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh chopped parsley (optional, garnish)

In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium to high heat. Add the chicken, onion, garlic and carrot and golden raisins. Stir and let cook for about 8 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.

Stir in the turmeric and cumin.  Add the couscous and chicken stock and stir. Season with salt and pepper, add the lemon juice and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the couscous is cooked through, 5-10 minutes. (I think I did 12 minutes just to be safe!)

Remove bay leaf before serving and garnish with parsley.

moraccan chicken2

**Adapted from 30 minute One Pot Meals cookbook


Favorite Veal Paprikas

I have a similar recipe for veal paprikash posted on my blog but I love this version more as it calls for fresh tomatoes and a dash of hot spice pleasantly overpowered by sweet Hungarian paprika.  There are also less steps to this recipe and once the onion and pepper are chopped, most of the cooking time is spent letting the meat tenderize via a simmer. If you have leftover chopped or diced tomatoes from another recipe, feel free to add those as well!

Cuts of veal

veal cuts

  • veal for stew are cut into one or two inch squares.
  • The pieces are usually cut from the shoulder, shank, or round, as these are the best cuts for braising or simmering meat for an extended time.
  • Meat cut from the front of the shoulder contains connective tissue that breaks down when braised and makes for a great sauce.
  • Generally, this is also the most cost effective cut of veal
  • Do not use meat made for Scaloppine as its very thin and expensive as the fibers are removed.


Veal Paprikas


  • 1-3 lbs veal stew
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 heaping TBS sweet Hungarian paprika
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 small red pepper, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup regular sour cream (do NOT use low fat or fat free)
  • Egg noodles to serve with veal

Cut the veal into 1-inch pieces. Rinse meat well in a colander and shake off excess water, but do not pat dry. (You want some extra moisture). Melt the butter in the oil in a dutch oven over medium – high heat, add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the paprika and cayenne over the onion, then add veal to the pot; stir until meat is coated with spices. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat gives off a fair amount of liquid, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper, tomato and a generous pinch of salt, cover again and cook until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the flour with 2 TBS water, then stir in the sour cream; stir mixture into pot. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes to settle flavors. Stir well before serving. (Don’t be tempted to skip this step!)

**Recipe adapted from Braises and Stews Cookbook

MLA – “veal: major cuts”. Illustration. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web. 27 Feb. 2017. <

Smoked Paprika Goulash

This is not my favorite goulash recipe, but different in that it has a smokey versus sweet flavor.  I used de-boned, boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you can also use pork or beef.  I also found this recipe more similar to a stew or soup versus the thicker goulash I normally make served with spaetzle.


  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 celery stock, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1-2 lbs chicken, pork, beef cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 TBS smoked paprika
  • 1 (14.05 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable, chicken or beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or big pot over medium to high heat.

Add the onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper and potatoes and stir. Let cook for 3 minutes, just until the onion softens.

Add the meat pieces, thyme, bay leaf, caraway seeds and smoked paprika and stir. Let cook for 2 minutes.

**Since I used chicken thighs, I browned the chicken first, drained the fat and set aside.  Then I cooked the onion, other vegetables, returning the chicken to the pot once the vegetables softened and it was time to add the spices.

Stir in the diced tomatoes and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Lower the heat to medium and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

**Adapted from 30 minute one pot meals cookbook

Pesto Pasta & Leftover Veggies

For a quick meal to clean out your fridge of leftover veggies, add some pasta and use a jar of pesto from your pantry!  Add pine nuts for extra protein!


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • leftover veggies:
    •  chopped carrots, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, onion, celery
  • fresh or dry pasta
  • jar of green pesto
  • parsley (garnish, optional)

Chop all veggies, add add olive oil or grapeseed oil to a skillet.  Add all vegetables to skillet, add mushrooms last so they don’t over cook.  Cook for 5-8 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil water for pasta and cook according to directions.

Combine cooked veggies and pasta in a bowl; add 4-6 TBS pesto sauce and any extra olive oil desired.  Add pine nuts and parsley as garnish, serve immediately.

Pesto can also be used within the next 5-7 days to add to fresh or frozen ravoli or tortellini for an additional meal!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadilla

This I made on a whim, not expecting it to have a ton of flavor but I was pleasntly surprised and loved this recipe!  This will defintley be one of my go to recipes when I need a quick meal!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadilla


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 TBS lime juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • leftover tortillas (I used refridgerated white corn, but any will work!)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups baby spinach (optional, I didnt use these)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup tomato salsa, corn salsa, guacamole or chopped tomatoes

Microwave sweet potatoes for 2-4 minutes (prick with a fork first) then bake in the oven until soft at 400 for 15-25 minutes.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender. Stir in black beans, lime juice, oregano and cumin. Heat through, set aside.

Don’t warm tortillas before; place them on a plate and add the mashed sweet potatoes, black beans, cheese and any other desired ingredients.

Two options for adding the fillings:

  1. Add the ingredients to one half of the tortilla and then fold OR
  2. Add the ingredients to the entire shell, place another on top

Add tortillas to the skillet and cook on low heat for four minutes, flip and cook another 2-4 minutes until the cheese is melted and tortilla is soft and cooked.

Cut the tortillas in half and or in fourths, serve with salsa, guacamole, avacado and any other toppings.

**Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens weeknight Mexican

Pasta Fagioli Soup

This soup is packed with nutrients from the veggies and protein, antioxidants and fiber from the cannellini beans. This also uses the same chopped up veggie base as the sloppy joe recipe.

Pasta Fagioli Soup


  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (15 oz) cannellini beans (or white kidney beans)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked orzo (you can use any pasta, I used elbow macaroni)
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock (I use low sodium)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley (garnish, optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (garnish, optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or a large soup pot over medium – high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in the basil and oregano.  Add the bouillon cube (I just used extra chicken stock) and stir well. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, making sure orzo is cooked.

**I didn’t use orzo but instead cooked the elbow pasta separately and added at the end.

**Adapted from the 30 minute, one pot meal cookbook.

Sloppy Joes (with homemade pasta fagioli soup)

Great leftover if you buy extra ground beef at the store when making other dishes such as cottage pie or tacos.  Don’t season the meat for the sloppy joes but divide the raw meat before cooking and save a pound of meat to make the next day for these sloppy joes!

Sloppy Joes can use the same base as the pasta fagioli soup, so reuse those chopped up veggies for two meals!

Sloppy Joes (from the book “A Year Full of Recipes”)


  • 1 lb ground beef (we used 85% but try grassfed or 90% lean)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped or minced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • leftover celery, zucchini, carrot, red pepper
  • 1 TBS yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 TBS packed brown sugar
  • pinch of chili pepper or paprika (sweet)
  • hamburger buns
  • salt and pepper to taste

(makes about 4-5 servings)

  1. Put the beef, onion, garlic, and green pepper and any other leftover chopped veggies into a nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, for 8-10 minutes, until the beef is evenly browned and cooked through.  Drain fat.
  2. Stir in the mustard, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and chili powder/paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.
  3.  Divide the mixture among the burgers and serve.

Serve with 1-2 cups veggies such as green beans.  Can be served with soup or soup can be made as its own recipe.