Make this and eat it.

I made this as a side dish for Thanksgiving, and it was so good I just made it again so I can eat it for a few days as an actual meal.

I pretty much followed these directions exactly. I used Johnsonville Three Cheese Italian Chicken Sausage, a pre-cubed container of butternut squash, dried sage and Boar’s Head goat cheese, so I have maximum laziness yet still delicious results.

Click here to see the recipe – it’s Butternut Squash Crack from (Her blog is cool in general if you have time to check it out – she has identical triplet boys.)

Here is a picture of how mine turned out:




More Food: I’ve been pinning like crazy!

I’m only 2.5 months into eating healthier and I’m already sick of eating the same things over and over. So, I created a Pinterest board just for pinning low-carb, low-gi, paleo or just healthier alternatives to what I want to eat. Here is a link.

I’ve already tried out a bunch of these over the past month. Last night I fixed Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin from Kalyn’s Kitchen, but I subbed crumbled turkey bacon for the ham and regular onion for the green onion. I also tried out a 1/2 batch of this primal fudge recipe, but I have to say that it requires a taste for coconut! My husband surprisingly liked it a lot.

Some repeat favorites for me:

In panic, I’ll either eat pre-made meatballs with steamed veggies or scrambled eggs or a salad. Almost every morning I eat greek yogurt and apples, but on the weekends I always have scrambled eggs 🙂

I’m still a clumsy cook, but since I’m really the only one eating my food I can afford to be a little terrible at it. N will try almost anything I fix, but he is particularly fond of the stuffed peppers.

Wish me luck,


Food: What I’m Eating

Is this Ally blogging about food like she knows how to cook? Yep!

I know this concept is hilarious since cooking is not my strength, but I have been attempting to shed some weight and therefore am forced to try. Really the only type of dietary change that helps control my cravings is cutting out the sugar and cutting down on the carbs in general. In the past I’ve followed the South Beach Diet with success, but this time I’ve followed most of the basic principles without following the diet exactly. I never cut out fruit, I’ve kept in starchy veggies like carrots and I am still not eating red meat. Also, I’m not a fan of sugar substitutes so I really have only had them in smaller quantities in sugar-free jello and pudding. This time around, I haven’t been able to eat peanuts or peanut-contaminated products since we keep a peanut free house.

I’ve been at it for 2 months so far and I’m still feeling pretty good. I thought I would share some of the recipes that have turned out well and are super simple for people like me who aren’t very talented in the kitchen.

Today’s lunch: Crockpot Turkey Chili

What I did:

Browned 1lb lean ground turkey with olive oil, then threw it in the crockpot with 1 large chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper, (2) 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes (I get the no-salt ones), (2) cans kidney beans (I’ve used dark or light, reduced sodium), about 10 diced jalapeno slices from a jar, a teaspoon of minced garlic, a lot of chili powder (I use a salt-free one, can you tell I hate salt?), a lot of cumin, quite a bit of black pepper and a bit of basil and oregano even though I don’t really think that matters. I put cook it on low overnight and it’s ready in the morning to pack some up for lunch.

I’m sure you appreciate my exact measurements above. When I heat it up, I throw some shredded cheese and sour cream on top. Yum. My husband and I can usually eat this up in a few days, and I usually eat it for lunch, dinner, lunch, then dinner before I get sick of it.

Here is an old picture I took way back when I was doing Project 365:



It looks better once it’s finished cooking.



#Project365: Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Chicken (137/365)

Technically, this was more of an assembly than a real cooking project.  Literally nothing was homemade because I’m just not there yet.  I looked up a recipe for just general baked chicken breasts, then added my own ingredients that I happened to be craving.  A local restaurant, The Copper Penny, makes the BEST chicken sandwich with pesto and roasted red peppers.  Since I’m still watching what I eat, I made my own version, minus the sandwich part.  Here’s what I did:

Covered a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Pre-heated oven to 400 degrees.

Put 3 chicken breasts in a ziplock bag with about 4-5oz pesto (I bought it pre-made) and rolled them around until they were thoroughly covered.

Placed on baking sheet, cooked for 30 minutes.

Removed from oven, topped with roasted red peppers (from a jar) and a generous amount of 2% shredded mozzarella.

Baked another 5 minutes.  The end.  Three servings:

A better cook can probably roast their own peppers and make their own pesto.  I found a recipe for pesto online and I have an unused food processor, so maybe I’ll try to make some next time.

#58: Learn to cook 5 dishes

Check off alert!  Check off alert!  This is dish #5.

SWEDISH MEATBALLS (south beach friendly)

These turned out fairly well.  My husband actually ate some, and he usually doesn’t touch my (so-called) cooking.

What I did:

Dash of sea salt, maybe a tsp of fresh ground pepper, and a tsp or so of salt-free grilling seasoning (the recipe called for Allspice, but I didn’t have any).

I put the above in a bowl, then dumped 1.5 lbs extra lean ground beef on top.  Mixed it up really well, then shaped 1″ meatballs out of  it.  It made 32 meatballs, I think.

In a skillet, I heated 2 TBS olive oil over med-high heat, then cooked the meatballs for about 2 minutes per side.

I then reduced the heat to medium and cooked the meatballs about 4 minutes, shaking the skillet to roll them around evenly.

Removed meatballs with a slotted spoon, then turned the heat back up to med-high and added 1 cup low sodium chicken broth.

Let it boil for 5 minutes, reducing the liquid by about 1/2.

Added 4 TBS low-fat sour cream, whisking it in.

Cooked 1 minute, then added the meatballs back in.  Removed from heat, mixed the meatballs well with the sauce, and served with parsley sprinkled on top.

I ate steamed squash with this meal.

#58: Learn to cook 5 dishes

I’m on a roll.  I’ve figured out I can pretty much follow a recipe if it’s not too complicated.

I had some chicken breasts already thawed in the fridge and I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store, so I poked around on Recipezaar for a South Beach friendly recipe that included only ingredients I already had in the house.  I found…


In a skillet, brown 2 chicken breasts with a little olive oil.

I should have used a non-stick b/c my chicken kind of stuck.  Oh well.

After browning the chicken, remove it and add a little more olive oil, 2 thinly sliced onions, and 2 cloves of minced garlic (1tsp pre-minced).  Saute until onions are translucent.

Yeah yeah yeah, I see the kind of burnt crap on the pan.  Sigh.

Next, add back the chicken, a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, and salt & pepper (in my case, since I don’t use salt I just put a lot of pepper).

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Now for the zucchini:  it’s supposed to be 2 medium zucchini cut into 1/2″ thick slices, but one of my zucc was starting to go bad so my pieces are ugly.  Sorry.

Add zucchini to skillet, re-cover and cook 3 min or so (long enough to cook the zucc but not let it get mushy.

The end!  It ended up being very tasty, so I was pleased.  Maybe if I use a bigger skillet next time I can double the recipe so I’ll have 4 servings to last a few days.

#66: 2 week sugar detox

Finished!  And I’m still alive!

I’ve done a detox before, back in 2008, to break a sugar addiction so I knew I could do it again.  It’s difficult to do.  The first few days are uncomfortable, and I always find myself having at least one panic moment where I almost grab something and omnomnom it.

Now that I’m finished with the detox, I’m supposed to add fruit, milk, and whole wheat grains back slowly.   I’m looking forward to eating an orange tomorrow.  After two weeks of meatsandveggiesandcheeseandmeatsandveggiesandcheese I’m sure an orange will taste like heaven to me.

In case you wondered, my detox followed the guidelines of Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.    It does make the scale drop but most of it is just bloat/water weight and it comes right back once you add carbs back to your diet.  So, I will consider anything I lose from this point ON real weight loss.  Hopefully I will be able to shed a few lbs and not get back to my 2 cupcake a day diet plan.

#58: Learn to cook 5 dishes

Number 3 out of 5

This one was a little more complicated than my other two, but it still turned out well.  I’ve been craving Italian food during this sugar detox, and since I can’t have any kind of pasta (even wheat) my choices are limited.  I found an interesting recipe on Recipezaar for a South Beach Phase 1 friendly noodleless lasagna.   Here was the process:

Browned 2 lbs extra lean ground beef

Added 1 small onion , 1/2 green pepper (both chopped) and 4 cloves garlic (I used pre-minced)

When onion became transparent, added 8oz can tomato sauce, 6oz can tomato paste, 1/4c parsley and some oregano, rosemary, and basil.

Mixed well, covered and let simmer for 20 min.

Mixed 16oz part-skim ricotta cheese, 2 eggs and pepper in  a bowl.

Sprayed 9×13 dish and put 1/2 meat mixture on bottom.

Topped with a layer of sliced zucchini (2 medium zucchini).

Spread ricotta mixture on top of zucchini.

Topped ricotta with sliced mushrooms and 1lb steamed spinach.

Covered with 1c shredded low-fat mozzarella and 1/4c shredded low-fat Parmesan

Layered other 1/2 of meat mixture

Finished with another layer of cheese mixture.

Cooked 45 min on 325 until cheese was slightly golden.

Finished product:

#58: Learn to cook 5 dishes

Since I’m currently doing a two-week sugar detox, I’ve been checking out Kalyn’s Kitchen blog for ideas on how to stop eating the same exact thing over and over.  Her blog specializes in South Beach Diet cooking, and although I don’t plan to follow the entire diet I am using the Phase I guidelines for this detox.

I followed the South Beach Diet before for 4 months with great success, though I gained the weight back immediately when I veered off the path.  I don’t think it’s something I’m interested in doing again, though I hope this detox will break my strong sugar addiction and I will be able to use more moderation when it comes to junk food.

Kalyn’s Kitchen has instructions for making a breakfast casserole, which I followed loosely to make my own version.  If you know me, you know that I’m a terrible cook with very little cooking instinct so I usually avoid it.  (Luckily, I’m married to an amazing cook.)

Here is what I did, loosely:

Non-stick spray on a glass casserole dish.  Diced green peppers, red onions and mushrooms.  Put vegetables in dish:

Mixed 9 eggs, ground pepper and some shredded cheese in a bowl:

Dumped egg mixture over vegetables, poked the veggies around a bit to make sure they were spread evenly.

Baked for about 25 minutes at 375 degrees.  About 3 minutes before baking ended, I put more shredded cheese on top.  I think I put a bit too much, so I’ll try less next time.  The dish seemed to be cooked all the way through with a slight crust on top.

Hope it’s good!