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Three cheese calzones with chicken sausage and spinach

Only bad thing about these was burning the roof of my mouth. Other than that these were pretty excellent calzones. This was one of those, we have a lot of random ingredients in the fridge, let’s throw them inside of some pizza dough and make calzones. 

ImageWe had (get ready for a long list) half of an onion, three chicken sausages, 1 bag of spinach, 1 head of garlic (only used 5 cloves), 1/2 empty container of ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and two bags of dough from Trader Joe’s, one whole wheat and one white. And this is how it went…

Chop onion into long, skinny strips and saute with chopped garlic and a little S&P for about 4-5 minutes. Cut the chicken sausage into small coins and like cut in half and add to mixture. The sausage I used was already pre-cooked so I only want to heat them up. Add spinach and saute until wilted. 

To be fair to Mike I removed half of the filling for his calzones and added some red pepper flakes to my half and sauteed for a couple more minutes. I really enjoy the heat that red pepper flakes add, Mike does NOT. 

Roll out pizza dough. I usually opt for the dough from Trader Joe’s because it is SO convenient. Split the dough into two and roll out into flat, rectangle shapes. I buy two bags so we end up with four total calzones. Two for dinner for us and two for lunch.

Combine the three cheeses and a pinch of nutmeg and lay flat on one side of the dough. Top with filling and lay the other side over the top and seal the edges. Just like the burgers I made, proper sealing is important here. You don’t want all those yummy insides leaking out. I roll the two sides together to form a tight seal.

Bake at 400 degrees for our 20-23 minutes or until brown on top and the crust is done. Serve with your favorite tomato sauce. And wait until they are a little cool, or you will wind up like me. 

PS – Don’t mind the small hardware store on our kitchen table, Mike has been doing some bathroom repairs. 


Stuffed burgers.

Our favorite place to get Juicy Lucy’s is at the 5-8 Club in Minneapolis. Specifically the pig pen and one that I don’t remember the name of. The pig pen is stuffed with cheddar cheese and bacon (obviously Mike’s favorite) and the other is filled with cream cheese and green olives (my favorite). Mike put in a request for these this week and did my best to recreate them. I think they turned out quite well.

I’m going to let you in on a little stuffed burger secret…Make sure the top and bottom of the burger is sealed really well around the filling. If you don’t seal properly there will be filling leakage. 


1 lb ground beef

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp worchestire sauce

1 tbsp dijon mustard


Filling (burger #1):

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

3 slices bacon

Filling (burger #2):

1/4 cup cream cheese

1 1/2 tbsp chopped green olives

Combine burger ingredients and separate into 4 chunks. Split each chunk into two and spead out as flat as you can get, without putting any holes into the patty. Place the filling on top of one of the halves and spread out, but not all the way to the edges. Place the other half on top and pinch the burgers together so they are sealed. Remember the importance of the seal. Fill and seal all four burgers and let sit for about 5-6 minutes and check for any holes in the seal. Grill on each side for our 4-5 minutes. These will cook faster because the meat is pretty thin. Serve with your favorite toppings. 

I also made some oven fries and roasted broccoli. Both are chopped, mixed with olive oil, seasonings of choice and roasted at 400 degrees. The potatoes take about 38 minutes and the broccoli takes about 25. Both have become very regular sides in our house. 





Turkey and kale panini

I do my best to get some greens in with every meal and this sandwich is my new favorite way to sneak them in. The sauteed shallots, garlic, kale, I mean come on what better additions to a turkey sandwich. Plus I got some really good smoked gouda and bam (not to quote Emeril) we’ve got a turkey and kale panini. For those of you that don’t like kale, I would highly recommend sauteing and adding to whatever you may be making, pasta, rice, sandwiches, it really takes on the flavor of whatever it’s with and you can hardly taste it. 

Mike actually really enjoys kale, so we don’t usually have any troubles there.


1 lb sliced turkey breastImage

10 slices of smoked gouda (or whatever cheese you prefer)

1 bunch of kale

2 shallots

5 garlic gloves

Italian loaf (just make sure it’s good bread)

Pinch of red pepper flakes (don’t tell Mike :))


Chop kale, shallot and garlic and saute in 1 tsp of olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add in red pepper flakes and S&P and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until kale is wilted. 

Butter the outside of two slices of bread and layer kale mixture, cheese, turkey and the other slice of bread. Place sandwich in frying pan and cook until brown on both sides or until the cheese melts. 

Serve with your favorite side. I went for roasted green beans and some salt and pepper kettle potato chips. BEST potato chips ever. Seriously, go buy some now. For the green beans, mix beans with olive oil and your favorite seasoning and roast at 400 for about 20-25 minutes.

Steak sandwiches and oven fries.

Well if I didn’t redeem myself with the orange chicken, I certainly did it with this recipe. No question. Any opportunity for Mike to eat steak is a good meal in his book. We had a couple ribeye steaks left from our cow that we purchased this winter, so sandwiches it was. I really had no idea what type of cut that is and if it would work well for sandwiches, but it totally worked. I could have cut it with a butter knife it was so tender. 

I adapted this recipe from a couple steak sandwiches I’ve made in the past, putting together all the good pieces into one. And I made oven fries with a mix of yukons and sweet potatoes. Mike of course prefers the regular potatoes and I the sweet potatoes. It really works out perfect for all involved.


1 lb ribeye steak

1 purple onion

3/4 cup chopped mushroom (or more if you’re mushroom fans)

2 cloves of garlic


12 slices of havarti with dill

6 sourdough rolls 


Garlic aioli:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp stone ground mustard

1 garlic clove, pressed or finely minced

Cut onions into thin rings and then slice in half, chop mushrooms and garlic and add to pan over medium low heat with 1 tsp of olive oil. Cook down while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Bring steaks to room temperature and season with salt and pepper. Heat grill to medium heat and cook to your desired doneness. I went about 8 minutes for medium. Remove steaks from grill and let rest, important step (thanks for the tip, Kristen).

For the aioli, mix together the mayo, mustard and garlic and let sit.

To build the sandwiches, top rolls with steak and sliced cheese and broil for a couple minutes to melt the cheese. Spread aioli on top half of bun and top melted cheese with onion and mushroom mixture.

Oven fries:

1 lb yukon potatoes

1 lb sweet potatoes

Seasonings of your choice

Slice potatoes into thin wedges and mix with seasoning and olive oil. I used garlic powder, oregano, a little creole seasoning and s&p. Bake at 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of your potatoes. Flip the potatoes half way through cooking to brown both sides.

If steak and potatoes isn’t man pleasing, I don’t know what else I can do. 

Orange chicken.


I love Chinese food and so does Mike and I’ve tried so many times to recreate our favorites with very little luck. Either there isn’t enough sauce or it’s not thick enough or it tastes the same as it did the last time. Due to multiple unsuccessful attempts I had given up and just let someone else do the work (takeout). But then I found this recipe and I decided to give it another try. Plus, I had some making up to do from the last recipe I tried. 

Usually Mike comments on the thickness of the sauce. When I saw that this recipe called for cornstarch I knew it was headed in the right direction.

Adapted from Epicurious


  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

The recipe called for deep frying the chicken. I choose to just pan fry the chicken in oil after mixing it with the cornstarch. Mike was hoping I would fry it, can’t always get what you want. 🙂

Orange sauce:

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger 
  • Crushed red pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsprice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Thinly sliced scallion greens
  • Cooked rice for serving

The steps are a little labor intensive, but totally worth it. 

In a bowl toss the chicken pieces with the soy sauce and sesame oil, set aside while you make the sauce.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 lengthwise strips of zest from 1 orange, each strip should be about 3-4 inches long. Put the zest between paper towels and microwave on high for about 40 seconds, be sure it doesn’t burn. Let the zest cool then finely chop it. 

Next, juice the oranges to measure 1/2 cup. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice and 2 tsp cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved.

Heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and dried orange zest and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 seconds. Stir the orange juice–cornstarch mixture then add it to the skillet. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 minute. 


Coat chicken in cornstarch and pan fry in canola oil. Place on plate covered with paper towels.

To serve:

Cook the chicken and set aside. Make the sauce and combine with cooked chicken. I also added chopped carrots, chopped onions, frozen green beans and broccoli right after the sauce is done. Combine all ingredients and heat through. Serve over cooked rice. 


I redeemed myself, thanks goodness.

Meatballs and mint pesto.

This one did not fall into the category of man pleasing, which is unfortunate because I actually really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure how he would react to the pesto, but I was hoping he would like it because he’s a big fan of traditional basil pesto. He took one bite looked and me and asked “what is this?” with a look of concern on his face. “Mint pesto,” I said with the most enthusiastic tone I could muster, knowing I had already lost him. 

So, I ate meatballs and mint pesto and Mike ate Annie’s mac and cheese. More leftovers for me. I got this recipe from my friend from work, Kristen, and Mike asked me not to make anymore recipes from her. Sorry, Kristen. 🙂

I made a couple changes to the recipe, mainly because of what I did/didn’t have at home. For the meatballs I used ground turkey instead of lamb, mainly because it’s way cheaper per pound and the co-op didn’t have any. I also cooked some couscous and added some olive oil, lemon zest, grilled onion, feta cheese and s&p. I added the sauteed zucchini to that mixture and a little pesto.

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp saltImage
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lb ground lamb or turkey
  • 4 zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp mint pesto (recipe below)
  • S&P

Combine ground meat, spices and scrambled egg. Form into golf ball sized meatballs. I added a little lemon zest too. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes on a lined cookie sheet.

Cut zucchini into thin, strips with a mandoline. I found it was easiest to cut in half and then use the mandoline. Saute zucchini with olive oil, garlic and s&p for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the zucchini get mushy. 

Mint pesto

  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (I used almonds because I didn’t have walnuts)
  • 1 cup mint leaves

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse. Adjust accordingly to taste. 

Only suggestion, make sure the person you’re making dinner for likes mint pesto.

Turkey and spinach stuffed manicotti

Another one of those great Sunday meals. I seriously love cooking on Sundays. Not only did I make this tasty meal yesterday, I also made some granola for the week. 

Mike is a huge lasagna fan, so I know I’m always on the road to success when the recipe includes meat, cheese, marinara and noodles, even it isn’t lasagna. This one looks deceiving complicated, but it was actually pretty easy to do. Lots of cook time involved though because you don’t cook the noodles at all prior to filling them. 

Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine (I didn’t have any wine so I substituted white wine)Image
4 cups diced tomatoes or marinara
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 box manicotti pasta tubes
5 ounces of soft cheese (I used goat cheese)
1 cup shredded parmesan

Add olive oil to pan and brown the ground turkey, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the onions and garlic and cook 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Deglaze the pan with the wine or chicken stock, and add 2 cups tomato puree, followed by the defrosted spinach. Stir, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Pour the remaining 2 cups tomato puree into a baking dish.

Melt the butter in saucepot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute. Then add the milk, bring to a bubble, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and cook until it’s thick enough to coat a spoon. Stir in the soft cheese.

Fill the manicotti with the meat mixture using a spoon. Top the manicotti with the white sauce and Parmesan. I had some leftover filling, so I put that on top of the noodles and then topped with the white sauce. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.


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