Stuffed Peppers in under 30 minutes

Guys and Gals!!! Who doesn’t like a quick, easy, and healthy weeknight meal?!? I know I DOOOO…especially with our crazy schedules.

Here’s a quick recipe that will leave your family full, and satisfied.

All you’ll need:

1 pepper per serving

1 lb. of ground beef/turkey/pork

1/2 white onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Shredded cheese to top the peppers

Green onions for garnish

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried cilantro (1/2 tsp each)

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put your peppers on a baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with Pam nostick spray. Drizzle the peppers with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and pop them in the oven.


While the peppers are cooking in the oven (about 20 minutes), sauté the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes for about 2-3 minutes until tender and translucent. Add in your ground meat, and cook on medium to high heat for about 10 minutes or cooked through. Next, drain the grease from the meat in colander.


Remove the peppers from the oven, and spoon in the meat mixture all the way to the top.


Top the peppers with shredded cheese and return to the oven and let cook for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is all melted. Serve with your favorite side dish, and enjoy!!


Dinner is served!!

What is your favorite weeknight meal?



Keto adventures, Recipes

Meatballs with marinara sauce and ricotta cheese!

Tonight we had meatballs and marinara sauce topped with ricotta cheese. I know I’ll be eating carbs tomorrow for Sunday’s race so wanted to eat healthy today. Yum!! And so easy!! 1 lb of ground beef, 1 egg, 3-4 tsps of almond flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper flakes (seasons to taste, about a tsp each) and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Form the meatballs and sear on all sides. Top with marinara sauce and transfer into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. For the last five minutes remove and top with ricotta cheese and return to the oven that’s been turned up to broil for five minutes. Voila!!

What’s your favorite weeknight meal? Do you have any races this weekend? Good luck if you do!!




Keto Meatballs

Tonight’s easy Keto meal. Meatballs with sautéed spinach. Meatballs: 1 lb of ground meat, 2 diced baby portobello mushrooms, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, salt and pepper to taste. Gently Work mixture together and form in to balls. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Top with a slice of fresh mozzarella and return to oven for a few minutes to melt. Sautéed spinach: slice three slices of bacon and cook until done. Drain the grease on a paper towel and wipe out (but don’t rinse!) the pan. Add one pat of unsalted butter, minced clove of garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan you cooked the bacon in. Place a heaping mound of spinach in the pan as it shrinks down. Add in your bacon and season with salt and pepper. Voila!! Cheers! We have bad storms here but I managed a 25 minute cardio workout while the meatballs were cooking! Gotta get it done while you can!

How was your day? Share your workout/dinner below!!!



Recipes, running, training, Uncategorized

Weekend wrap up, fitness, and food in no particular order…

Last week was a tough week for me.  I’m not sure if it was the bitter temps, or the hubby traveling for the second week in a row but I admittedly found myself in tears more times than I care to admit.  My eldest daughter tried my patience, multiple times, and I found myself with my head in my hands choking back the sobs early Friday morning.  Could I DO this yet another week on my own?  And then at around 9:30 a.m. while I was at work I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket.  “I’m sorry for being grumpy this morning.”  Smiles…I immediately felt better.  It’s amazing what a simple acknowledgement to even unintentional hurts can do…so as the day went on, we planned a nice dinner out after school/work to celebrate another week of surviving Chiberia 2015.  J and S decided on our favorite Mexican place called Sergio’s.  If you are ever in the western suburbs of Chicagoland I highly recommend it.  It’s family owned and operated, has fresh ingredients, and SOOOO affordable.

Doesn't get much better than this...
Doesn’t get much better than this…

Today, as most non-working outside of the house Saturdays go, I had a full schedule.  I had planned on meeting up with my run club for coffee after my dreadmill run, but I slept through my alarm and started my day an hour and a half behind schedule.  The hubby arrived home late last night, but only for his Army drill weekend so I saw him all of 30 minutes.  But that extra glass of wine probably was NOT a good idea seeing the fact I had 6 miles on deck this morning.  I got up, ate my tablespoon of PB with chia seeds, texted Maria, and hopped on the ‘mill. I knew immediately this was going to be tough.  Barely half of a mile in, and I wanted to cry.  I cussed quietly, at myself, the ‘mill, and anyone who would listen.  And at 60 minutes, the ‘mill reset, and real tears formed in my eyes.  I wasn’t quite finished with my 6 miler, but thankfully I finished.  That is all I can say.  I did it.  It sucked.  And Mother Nature could bring on spring like temps ANY time now…please…

Week 1, long run, DONE.
Week 1, long run, DONE.

After my run it was time to EAT.  It’s been a while since I said 6 miles was a long run, but I was famished.  What did I eat? Check it out…

My go-to post long run meal.  Yup...bacon and eggs.
My go-to post long run meal. Yup…bacon and eggs.

And then it was time to shower, and tackle 3 hours of housework.  I turned up the tunes, scrubbed bathrooms, vacuumed floors, dusted, washed bedding, and mopped.  My house now looks and smells amazing! YAY!!  Then, it was time to shop for the week so the girls and I headed to Aldi to stock up on groceries.  I love this store sooooo much.  My basket was completely full of fresh produce, fish, chicken and healthy snacks for such a reasonable price. Winning!

So tonight for dinner I decided to make something simple after such a busy day.  I made a yummy gluten free pasta dish, that had my famous semi-homemade marinara sauce.

Here’s what you’ll need for the sauce:

1 package of turkey sausage links cut into bite size pieces

1 cup of diced pancetta

1 small white onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped

Crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, kosher salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what to do:

In a wide sauce pan heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Add in your onion, garlic, mushrooms and red pepper flakes and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add the turkey sausage and pancetta and cook through for about 12 minutes.  Season with kosher salt, pepper, and Italian herbs to taste.  Once the sausage is cooked through, drain off the grease.  Also, wipe your pan out with paper towels removing the excess grease.  Add everything back into the pan, and pour in a jar of your favorite marinara sauce.  Taste for seasoning, adding in more S&P if needed.  Let simmer for about 25 minutes.  The longer, the better…

I served over gluten free rotini, and as always it was a hit with my family.

Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese!
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

Lessons learned this week:

1. Running is hard.  Running on the treadmill? Even harder.

2. Teen kiddos will test us more than nearly almost anything in life.  We won’t always pass, but there is always room for growth.

3. Knowing your passions in life, and participating in said passions is freeing…really.

4. Ask someone how THEIR day is, or what THEY are up to…it truly can make a difference.

5. It’s ok to cry. But don’t forget to wipe away those tears and move forward.

I am rounding out the week with 15 miles of running, 1 yoga work out, and strength training as well.


How was your week?  How do you deal with one sided conversations?  What are your favorite “easy meals?”

❤ Michelle


food, Three things, Thursday


Three Things Thursday!

Ok, so my Three things Thursday post is going to go a little like this:

1. I’ve been at my current job for nearly 10 months now.  I’m finally settling in, feeling more comfortable, and really making connections with my staff, peers, and Pathology staff.  I’d been told a pay raise was in the works, as my annual merit raise was pennies since I was only with the hospital technically one quarter of last year (June 30th ends the fiscal year for our hospital).  Today when checking my pay stub, I saw that my raise kicked in and I smiled.  It’s not huge, but it made me feel really good that my hard work is recognized.  YAY. Every little bit counts!

Pic credit:
Pic credit:

2. Today marks the 2 week anniversary of my self mutilation – aka Christmas injury.  You can read about it here: I am happy to report that for the first time in 2 weeks, I was able to take a REAL shower without my uber bandaged thumb.  The wound is healing NICELY, I am able to cook again, and am looking forward to RUNNING next week!!!  Tonight is the first time I have a regular Band-Aid on the wound, but will probably add more padding when I leave the house-just for safety purposes.  It’s still very tender, hasn’t closed completely quite yet and is still very bruised.  But…it gets better every day, and soon I’ll be back it all with full force, despite lacking a slice of my digit LOL!!


3. We are currently experiencing Polar Vortex #2 with our 3rd day in a row of a crazy artic blast.  Temps have plummeted, schools closed, and winds are blowing at top speeds. I also just found out that I’ll be back on single Mom duty for the next month and a half while my husband travels off and on… SOOOO….What does that mean?

COMFORT FOOD!!!!  Here’s my take on a healthy beef stroganoff:

What you’ll need:

1 lb of beef chuck roast, cubed, and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.  Place in a bowl, and sprinkle a 1/8 cup of flour (I used gluten free, Namaste brand-my fav!!) Set aside.

1 can of low fat golden mushroom soup/1 cup of low sodium beef stock.

1 white onion, diced

3 gloves of garlic, minced

2 cups of mushrooms, chopped (I used Shitake, but any brand will do)

2 tablespoons of low fat sour cream (add this at the VERY end)

4-5 splashes of Worcestershire  sauce

Thyme, chives, and parsley-pinch of each

1 cup of gluten free rice (or the rice/pasta of your choosing), cooked to package directions

Preheat your wide sauce pan with EVOO at medium to high heat. Cook your beef until golden on each side-do not cook through.  Remove from the pan, and drain the grease.  Add a touch more oil, and sauté your onions, garlic, and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

prep work!
prep work!

Add back in the beef, and increase the heat just a touch.  In a separate bowl, add the mushroom soup and stock and mix well.  Pour over your meat.  Add 4-5 splashes of Worcestershire  sauce.  Season by adding the Thyme, Parsley, and Chives.  Lower the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes (I use this time to cook my rice).  Add in the sour cream in the last 2 minutes, stir well and get ready to plate. Taste for seasoning, serve, and enjoy!!!

Fancy?  Nope..Yummy?  You bet!
Fancy? Nope..Yummy? You bet!


Time for 3 questions!!!

How do you handle recognition/raises at work?  Is it frigid where you live?  What’s your favorite comfort food?


Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!

❤ Michelle



Pork, black bean, and quinoa stuff peppers


What you’ll need-

Ground pork (I grinded my own, using left over ribs from last weekend)

1 package of quinoa, cooked according to the package directions (reserve 1/2 for plating)

Add in taco seasoning, kosher salt & pepper (I always use kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper), 1/4 cup of water and dry cilantro-mix well

One can of black beans, rinsed well

1/2 onion diced

Mix all these ingredients together, and set aside (remember to use only half the quinoa in the mixture)

Prepare your peppers by cutting off the top and cleaning out the ribs and seeds.

If needed, cut the bottoms just slightly to flatten them out so they won’t tip over.

Place your peppers in a casserole dish, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon your mixture, packing well, into each pepper.

Sprinkle with your favorite cheese (optional), I used grated Queso fresco (a white Mexican cheese), and bake at 350 or until the cheese is golden brown. 

To serve, take a spoonful of the reserved quinoa and place it in the middle of your plate.  Take the pepper, and place in the middle of the quinoa, as it helps anchor the pepper.

I served with freshly steamed green beans.  DELISH!





Shrimp and pasta with some zing!

Tonight I’ve prepared an easy, quick, and healthy meal for my family. I like to call it shrimp with a zing…you’ll see why as you read along!

What you’ll need:
1 bag of precooked large shrimp
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small white onion, diced
6 mushrooms, sliced
Red pepper flakes to taste for some ZING
1 jar of gluten free marinara sauce-I get mine from our local market (Caputos)
Oregano, basil, parsley, kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 box of rice pasta

Boil water for the pasta….cook time is about 10 minutes, so I start this first.
Sauté the garlic, onions, red pepper flakes and mushrooms for about 3 minutes or until the onions become soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper, and add in your red sauce. Next add in your oregano, basil and parsley and simmer for about ten minutes…while the sauce simmers, salt your boiling water and drop in your pasta.

Lastly, add your shrimp for the last few minutes, just to warm through.

Serve the shrimp sauce over your pasta, and ENJOY!

❤ Michelle


Easy week night meals…

Can be healthy too! Who knew? You don’t need to microwave chicken nuggets to feed your family when time is a factor! Nope…this dish will leave your family happy, healthy, and FULL!

Stir Fry made easy!

Here’s what you’ll need:
Protein of choice-although feel free to make this a veggie stir fry if you aren’t a meat eater.
I used two thick cut steaks which I seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Preheat a cast iron pan on high heat that has been drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Sear the steaks on both sides, for about 7 minutes. Turn off heat, and cover with aluminum foil to finish cooking. Let rest for at least 15 minutes. Once rested, slice thinly at an angle and set aside for plating.

While the meat is resting, chop your favorite veggies.
I used:
3 gloves of garlic-minced
Red pepper flakes-to taste
Toasted sesame seeds-set aside to garnish
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
1 red onion-diced
1 green pepper-chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 zucchini-julienned
6 baby Portobello mushrooms-sliced
2 green onions-thinly sliced and set aside for garnish

I love mushrooms, but if you don't care for them, feel free to leave them out!
I love mushrooms, but if you don’t care for them, feel free to leave them out!

Next, heat oil (I used grape seed oil, but any light oil will do) in a skillet to high heat.
Toss in your garlic, and give a quick stir ensuring you don’t burn the garlic or it will turn bitter.
Add your red pepper flakes, and then toss in your veggies. Add 3 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce, grated ginger, and salt and pepper to your liking. Toss for about 8 minutes, being careful to keep the crunch of your veggies.

I served over brown rice, added the steak atop the veggies and rice, and garnished with toasted sesame seeds and green onions. The entire meal can be prepared in less than 30 minutes.


❤ Michelle



BBQ chicken #whatsfordinner

My husband and I LOVE to watch cooking shows…it’s pretty much the only television I watch anymore. Last night we watched, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” as they featured a place we used to eat when we lived in San Antonio, Texas.

This immediately made us hungry for good BBQ. Sadly you can’t find a lot of good BBQ up here in Chiberia, so you know what that meant, right?

Right…I decided to tackle making homemade BBQ sauce-something I’ve never attempted. As always, I don’t ‘measure’ exactly, more so I use my pallet to judge how much of each ingredient I need. So take these ‘measurements’ with a grain of salt. lol, no pun intended.

BBQ Sauce-what you’ll need:
2 cups of ketchup
1/2 cup of brown sugar
a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
a few splashes of apple cider vinegar
Dash of cayenne pepper
kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Mix together in a bowl, transfer into a sauce pan, and simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes.

Chicken prep:
Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees
Pat chicken dry, and season with salt and pepper
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan to medium/high heat
Seer both sides for 3 minutes or so until golden brown (do not cook through)
Place chicken in a casserole dish (I line mine with aluminum foil for easy clean-up) and liberally cover with the BBQ sauce you’ve prepared.
Cover with foil, and bake for about 90 minutes to 2 hours.


Serve with your favorite sides! I sautéed veggies, and made homemade chips! Although I did fry the chips, I used peanut oil which is a little better for you? I only had a few!! LOL!



Shrimp salad with chopped veggies

Do you need a great, quick, and easy ‘go-to’ meal for those nights you don’t feel like slaving over the stove after a long day? This recipe will surely make your palate dance, and your belly full.

What you’ll need:
One bag of large, precooked shrimp. (I prefer tail on, as they seem larger and you get more bang for your buck-simply thaw and remove the tail)
1 red pepper, sliced in strips
1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced (place slices in a bowl of water for 10 minutes to remove some of the ‘bite’)
1 cup of chopped broccoli
10-12 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 head of romaine lettuce torn/chopped

Chop/prepare all of your veggies and lettuce, and set aside. Don’t forget to also season lightly with a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper! I like to serve my shrimp lightly sautéed over my salad, so I season it with kosher salt and pepper, and sear quickly over high heat in a pan drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Drain on a paper towel, and serve atop your salad.

Serve with your favorite dressing (mine is in the pic-YUM) and enjoy!

Prep time is only 10-15 minutes, so this is a win win on a week night!