Cheesy Mexican Rice Skillet DIsh


This dish was requested by my husband… and once you see the ingredients, you will see why! ūüôā Once again, taco/mexican/salsa etc. ingredients. He’s so funny, I love that he’s predictable in his likes for food. He’s very easy to please and will really eat anything I put in front of him… but he LOVES anything with this specific theme.

So, here is the “skillet” meal:

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/4¬†sweet¬†onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon¬†olive¬†oil, plus an extra drizzle for cooking the onions
  • 2-3 ¬†cups cooked white rice (or leftover frozen rice… I cooked mine in my rice cooker)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1¬†teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup medium salsa (I use Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup Rotel (or similar)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 small sweet yellow peppers diced (or 1 small bell pepper)
  • ¬ĺ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (why mozzarella? Because that’s what I had… )
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 green onions (scallions) diced
  • Fresh cilantro, to taste


  1. Start the rice in the rice cooker according to package.
  2. Add oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the ground beef (or chicken, turkey, etc.) and break it up a bit with a wooden spoon. Add the diced onion and minced garlic, and cook until the chicken has browned and the onion is translucent.
  3. Stir in the spices, chicken broth, salsa, rotel, peppers, corn, and black beans. Bring the liquids to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low.
  4. Once the rice is done, spoon into the meat mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle the cheese, and avocado over the rice and then cover once more until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Then sprinkle with green onion and cilantro and serve!

Filling!! And, if you are so inclined, would be great inside of a burrito shell, I am sure! Great great meal, and quite tasty and filling!!!! YUM!


And now, for the quote of the day:



CousCous Stuffed Acorn Squash


As the weather cools I usually start craving different squash dishes, and warm baked dishes. Now, the “cool” part of the day here is still not dipping very low, but this acorn squash just sounded delicious!

It’s more of a “southwestern” take on it, or tex-mex… maybe? But this one turned out great! You can make it your own too by adding your own leftover meat from the week, or leaving the meat out and letting it be vegetarian!

This one is a good one!


  • 3-4¬†acorn squash (about 2-3 lbs each)
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 3 TB butter
  • 1¬†cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¬ľ tsp salt
  • 2¬†tsp cumin
  • 1¬†cup diced fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 can¬†black beans
  • ¬Ĺ cup grated mozzarella¬†cheese
  • fresh minced cilantro for serving
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 cup leftover turkey sausage crumbles
  • 3/4 cup leftover shredded pork
  • salsa (optional)



  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the tops off each acorn squash and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Toss seeds in the garbage and lay the squashes, cut side down, on a greased foil lined sheet tray. Roast for about 30-40 minutes until very tender when pricked with a fork.
  3. While the squashes are roasting, prepare the filling. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium sized saucepot with the butter, olive oil and the salt and cumin. Once boiling, add the couscous and remove from the heat and place lid on. 
  4. In the mean time, place the heated up pork (or whatever leftover meat) and the sausage in a large bowl, the can of tomatoes, black beans, and chopped cilantro into the bowl. Once the couscous is done (according to pkg), pour into the bowl with the other ingredients and mix well.
  5. Fill the inside of the squashes with the couscous mixture and top with mozzarella cheese. Broil on low for about 5-6 minutes until cheese melts.
  6. Top squashes with fresh cilantro, more hot sauce and salsa if desired.

Yield: 6-8 servings



And now, for the quote of the day:


Polenta Pizza


Ok, this recipe is GOOD… the taste is just… sooo good! There’s just some kinks I still have to work out.

I have learned this by making it 2X already, and not quite getting it right, but it tastes good enough that I seriously wouldn’t mind making it 1x per month just to work it out!

The issue is the polenta. The first time I tried to make it, I used corn FLOUR… oops! This time, I used Pre-cooked polenta. I learned, as I was putting away the leftovers, that if I had let the pizza set for a bit and cool down, the “crust” would have set and it wouldn’t have been a pile of Italian mush…. tasty mush though! Ha!

So, I’ll post any changes, but if you make this… LET IT COOL to help set the crust.


1 TB olive oil, plus a bit more for the pan
1 roll of pre-cooked polenta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
 kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 ounces part skim, low moisture FRESH mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10 leaves of basil sliced into thin pieces
1/2 cup black olives sliced
cherry tomatoes cut into half
1/2 to 3/4 cup of marinara sauce
2 strips of cooked bacon, and crumbled into small pieces


  1. Heat oven to 425¬į F. Oil a 9-inch cake pan; set aside.
  2. Crumble the polenta into the bottom of the cake pan and mix with the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the polenta over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, and remove.
  4. Add sauce into the crust.
  5. Place the toppings onto the pizza, ending with the sliced mozzarella and basil.
  6. Bake until the polenta is crisp around the edges, 25 to 35 minutes.
  7. Let sit and cool for 15-20 minutes until crust sets.

Seriously… this is a good one!


And now, for the quote of the day:


Beef Stir Fry


I looked up south american dishes, and this one came up:¬†¬†(Lomo Saltado). It was ALMOST exactly what I wanted to make… but I made a few changes… of course.

So, here is my version:

For the Beef:

  • 1 lb lean sirloin tips
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 medium red onion, sliced into thick strips
  • 2 mini sweet yellow bell peppers or 1 large
  • 1 large jalapeno, ribbed and seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Handful of whole grape tomatoes (10-15)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (use tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1/4 cup chopped¬†parsley


Meanwhile, season meat with salt, garlic salt, pepper and cumin. Heat a large wok over high heat. When hot add the oil and the steak, cook about 2 minutes, until browned on both sides. Add the onions, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, soy sauce and vinegar, broccoli and cook 1 more minute. Season with more salt as needed, remove from heat and finish with cilantro. Serve immediately with french fries and white rice and divide evenly between 3-4 plates.

I served mine with Trader Joes Parmesan Garlic French Fries and white rice.


And now, for the quote of the day:


Crockpot Roasted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans


I needed something with a lot of flavor, and something I could put in the crock pot since I didn’t have a ton of time to cook… SO, i picked up a whole chicken w/the skin on. I wanted to be able to use the leftovers for a couple of meals for my hubby while I am out of town this weekend!

I will have to post that recipe at a later time!!

Ok, so here is the Crockpot roasted chicken!

Peruvian Roasted Chicken
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: varies
Points+ with Skin: drumstick 2 pts, wing 3 pts, thigh 4 pts, 4 oz breast 5 pts


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 bottle IPA beer (or a light beer)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1¬†lemon, zest and juice of
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 lime cut into slices
  • salt
  • paprika

Wash chicken and remove any giblet bag that is in the cavity. Salt and pepper the chicken. Place into the crock put and put on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 7-8 hours. Pour the beer over the chicken, and the rest of the liquids. Put the lemons and limes inside of the chicken cavity. Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix. Rub all over the chicken and place lid on. Put on low or high depending on cook time you want.

To test for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken; the thermometer should read about 160¬įF. The chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165¬įF, but after the chicken is¬†done, it should basically be falling apart. I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed green beans with onions.


For the mashed sweet potatoes I did the following:


8 SMALL sweet potatoes peeled, and cut into 8 pieces per potato
2 TB margarine or butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar


Put the potatoes in a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 9-12 minutes until a fork easily goes through the potatoes. Drain, and mash and add above ingredients. If you prefer it even smoother, you can take a hand mixer and whip them!

For the green beans, I just sautee them in a skillet with about 1/4 cup onion and 1 tsp minced garlic for 10 min until softened, but still a bit crunchy.



And now, for the quote of the day:


Arroz Con Mariscos (Or Rice with Seafood) My version… :)


So we are studying geography in homeschool with my daughter, and I thought… lets learn about dishes from different countries! So, for the next week or so we are going to do a few South American dishes. This specific one was Peruvian inspired… but with my own twist. And… DELICIOUS! I can only imagine if I had access to FRESH seafood… oh man! But alas, I must use frozen… still so good though! This dish took 30 minutes start to finish too, and that’s with kids crying and hanging on my ankles… so that’s a definite win! Easy, quick, TASTY, and not too heavy on the calories. Who wouldn’t want that! Please try this one for sure, and let me know how it turns out for you!



  • 1 lb. Trader Joes Seafood Blend (a blend of shrimp, bay scallops and calamari)
  • salt to taste
  • frozen mixed vegetables – 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice (I rinse and cook in my rice cooker)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 2 tb cilantro
  • 1/3 cup of chopped carrots
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cajun seasoning
  • lemon zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce


First: rinse your rice and start cooking. If you do not have a rice cooker, follow the directions on the packaging. If you do, rinse, put into the pot, fill with water corresponding on the directions… and press the button! Lovely right? It should take around 15 minutes.

Second: After about 10 minutes of the rice cooking, get the onions, garlic and olive oil simmering on the stove.

Now, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Take a baking dish or a lipped cookie sheet and line with tin foil. Dump out the seafood blend (or similar blend) onto the pan. Make sure a single layer… don’t have any overlapping, you want them to cook evenly. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, 1 Tb lemon juice and zest. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes. That’s it for the seafood!!! Now, if you have larger seafood than I did, you will want to bake longer. I had some jumbo shrimp that I cooked from frozen and it took 13 minutes… just make sure that it’s cooked through, curled up and not at all translucent.

Once the seafood blend is in the oven, add the frozen vegetables to the simmering onions and garlic in the pan along with the chopped carrots. Then add the remaining lemon juice and zest. Once the vegetables are still firm, but hot and cooked through. Then, spoon in the rice and stir. Take the seafood out of the oven, and pour into the skillet and stir. Add the turmeric to get the yellow color on the rice, and then season with a dash or so of soy sauce.

And… serve!!! I served mine with some chips and guacamole, but you could do it with some fruit, some bread… man, really anything! It’s versatile!

And now, for the quote of the day:


Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Tenderloins with a Creamy pesto Sauce


So I had absolutely no clue what I was going to make… I looked at my planned meals, and I had not thawed ANY of the meat that I was going to make… WOOPS! So, then I noticed that I had prosciutto left over from a couple of weeks ago that I hadn’t used… and some extra frozen chicken tenderloins,…. voila! DINNER! I also had a bag of Trader Joes zucchini fries and some lettuce… higher in fat, but making the portions smaller definitely helps with overall calories. This dinner, my portions, was right around 550 calories. I used chicken tenderloins though… a lot of people would opt for an entire chicken breast… which would require more prosciutto wrapped around it… smaller = lower calories!¬†

Ok, so here’s my process:


  • 8 chicken tenderloins
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour, or more
  • 8 pieces of prosciutto (or 4 if you cut them in half)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup homemade basil pesto (NO NUTS or parmesan in the pesto… reduces calories!)
  • 1/4¬†cup half and half (or a little less…. I didn’t use much)

Serves 4 people




  1. I actually partially thawed my Trader Joes chicken tenderloins. That isn’t something I do often because they cook so perfectly from frozen… but this time I did so that the flour and prosciutto would stick to them. Put the flour and salt and pepper into a bowl, and then dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture.
  2. Wrap each piece of chicken with a piece of prosciutto.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium and add the diced onions. When it is hot, add the wrapped chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until browned. Then, in your skillet (IF YOU HAVE A OVEN SAFE SKILLET!!!) put the chicken directly into the oven @ 400 degrees for 8 minutes to finish cooking.
  5. I served this with Trader Joes zucchini fries that are baked at 400 degrees also, so the temp worked and both cooked at the same time. 
  6. In a small bowl (or glass jar) whisk together the pesto and cream.
  7. When the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and place onto a serving plate or dish. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the pesto mixture into the pan to pick up the onions and all of the drippings and stir until it slightly thickens. Pour over the chicken and serve!. Serve with a light lettuce salad!

It was absolutely delicious and spilling over with flavor! To me, completely satisfying and filling. The guys at my table may have preferred another couple pieces of chicken… but then again who wouldn’t when it’s wrapped in bacon, right?



And now, for the quote of the day:


Orecchiette Pasta Bowl with Tomatoes, Roasted Broccoli and a Light Cream Sauce


Chicken, pasta and vegetables anyone??? ūüôā Only my favorite mixture to a recipe EVER. This one I had to make the sauce 2x. I messed it up the first time… whoops! HA! It’s light and creamy, and definitely crave-worthy. Added protein with a couple of chicken tenderloins added to the top, and voila! My sweet hubby hinted that it was like a restaurant dish! Alright!!! ūüôā

So, let’s see if I can remember this recipe… I made the mistake of not writing anything down because I was planning on blogging this last night, and it didn’t happen… I had to watch the finale of Bachelor in Paradise. Yeah, I said it. Don’t judge.. ūüėČ

So, here goes!


  • 12¬†ounces¬†orecchiette or some other short pasta (3 cups)
  • 1¬†cup frozen broccoli
  • 6-8 chicken tenderloins (I sauteed 2 per person)
  • 1/4¬†cup¬†olive oil
  • 2¬†tsp minced garlic
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4¬†tablespoons¬†unsalted butter
  • 1/4¬†cup¬†fresh mozzarella cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp 21 Seasoning Salute (By Trader Joes)
  • 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup Half&Half
  • 1/4 onion diced
  • 12-16¬†grape tomatoes (or similar)



  1. Heat 1 TB olive oil in large skillet and place chicken tenderloins (if using TJ chicken tenderloins like me, no need to thaw before cooking) into hot oil, and sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper, and 21 seasoning salute (like Mrs. Dash). Add the diced onion, minced garlic and the grape tomatoes. Once the chicken has cooked through (about 5-6 min per side) remove the chicken and put on a plate to the side and cover. Add juice of 1/2 lemon and zest to the skillet and stir. Then add 2 TB butter. Cook until tomatoes start to burst. Once all of that is well incorporated, remove skillet from heat and slowly stir in the Half&Half.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. With orecchiette, occasional stirring will help them not to stick together.
  3. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli, olive oil, garlic salt, ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt, and ¬ľ teaspoon pepper and the juice and zest of 1 lemon.
  4. Roast, tossing once, under the broiler on LOW for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Toss the pasta with the broccoli mixture, and add the sauce from the skillet and stir.
  6. Sprinkle with the cut up fresh mozzarella before serving.

ENJOY! This was a favorite of mine… probably can’t make it too often seeing as how it has butter and half&half in it… but it will be a “indulge” meal. YUM!

And now, for the quote of the day:


Southwestern Quick Chili


So… I got new pots and pans!!! AND KNIVES!! WOOHOO!! I was having serious issues with my glass top oven, and it cracked, and now the glass is falling down inside of it, and I have 2 good burners… it was time to get a new stove! So, we got an electric induction stove! We found out afterwards, I had to get completely new cookware… oh darn! Right?! So, I wanted to make something tonight that I could use one of my new pans, and some of my knives… chopping necessary… SOOOO, southwest quick chili it is! And, it was DELICIOUS! To me, it was a bit spicy, but didn’t stop me from enjoying every drop in my bowl. Now, my father in law and husband were saying they had no clue there was much spice to it… so… if you like it FIERY… add a jalapeno… ??? ūüôā




  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, mini bell peppers and can of tomatoes and green chilis and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it is slightly darkened, 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the beans, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, ground cumin, hotsauce, 3 cups water, ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt, and ¬ľ teaspoon pepper.
  5. Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the corn.
  6. Divide the chili among bowls and top with the Cheddar and scallions and pieces of avocado… sour cream if so desired.


Seriously good. This will be repeated this winter FOR SURE! We had this with some Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips from Trader Joes and it was just so good. I thoroughly enjoyed my new cookware, and my new knives made cutting carrots and peppers seem like I was cutting butter… amazing. Seriously. I enjoyed cooking AND eating this one! ūüôā

And now, for the quote of the day:


Kielbasa and Mixed Veggies over Harvest Grains Mix


This is a lighter meal… but still filling, and FULL of protein! It has carbs, but good carbs. It’s a quick one… from start to finish will only take about 20 minutes, AND will feed 5-6 people depending on serving sizes! Delicious, light, and easy… WINNER! ūüôā


  • 2¬†tablespoons¬†olive oil
  • 1 nitrite and nitrate free kielbasa
  • 1¬†teaspoon¬†paprika
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon¬†ground¬†yellow curry powder
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/2¬†medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4¬†cups¬†Trader Joes Harvest Grain Blend
  • 1/2¬†cup¬†dried apricots, quartered
  • 1/2 cup frozen vegetable medley
  • 2¬†TB butter
  • 1 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth



  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the kielbasa into slices and set aside. Chop the onion and place into the heated oil along with the frozen vegetables. Once the onion has started to become clear, add the kielbasa, 1 TB butter and 1 TB water and put lid on and let simmer on low.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 1 3/4 cup of low sodium chicken broth to boil in a sauce pan.
  3. Once boiling, add 1 1/4 cup of Trader Joes Harvest Grain Blend to the pot and follow directions on cooking. Add the paprika and curry powder and cut up dried apricots into here before you place the lid on. (this blend has Israeli couscous, baby garbanzo beans, red quinoa, orzo pasta and dried bell pepper)
  4. Once the couscous is done according to directions on package, put 1 TB butter on top, stir, and serve under the kielbasa mixture that would be done by now.

I served this with pineapple… you can serve with any fruit to make it a well rounded meal. We all really enjoyed it! I will probably save it for a busy day when I need a quick and easy meal! So good!

And now, for the quote of the day: