Acorn Squash Turkey Chili

Serves 2.


Cold night? Craving chili but also want something healthy?  Well then, this Acorn Squash Turkey Chili is perfect for the winter chill and will fulfill your appetite.  I was inspired to make this after seeing it on blogger Skinnytaste's instagram.  Off I went to Trader Joe's and Fairway to pick the ingredients for this delicious meal!

Full credits to Skinnytaste for this amazing and healthy recipe!
* Click for the original recipe here

I modified the original recipe for two servings instead of four but kept some of the spice measurements the same. 

Here's what you'll need:

1 acorn squash (cut in half, seeds removed)
1 lb ground beef, 80% lean, 20% fat
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced (instead of crushed)
10 oz. Rotel canned tomatoes with green chiles (Fairway or Whole Foods has this)
1/4 cup diced canned tomatoes
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
Freshly shredded white cheddar (be generous!)
Fresh cilantro (use as a garnish - wash before using)


  • Preheat your oven to 400 F degrees.  Use a baking pan and cover with foil. Spray with non-stick baking spray, olive oil spray, or drizzle olive oil over covered baking pan. 
  • Place the squash halves in the baking tray, cut sides down on the foil. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until squash is soft. Let cool.
  • While the squash is in the oven,  heat a large cast-iron skillet or non-stick skillet over medium-hihg heat and cook the ground turkey until brown turkey. Make sure to break up the meat as it. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Once the ground turkey is brown and cooked through (be careful to not overcook it) add chopped onion and minced garlic; cook for about 2-4 minutes over medium-heat.
  • Add water, bay leaf, chili powder, cumin, diced tomatoes, and the can of Rotel tomatoes.
  • Cover skillet and simmer over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes, stir occasionally.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the turkey mixture and flip the squash over. Fill each half with chili forming a slight mound. 
  • Sprinkle freshly grated sharp white cheddar cheese and place the squash in the oven to bake at 300 F for about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Impressed? You should be! Now you're ready to eat and impress your family and friends with a unique looking and savory meal. Enjoy!

Flatbread Pizza, Four Ways

If you're craving pizza but don't have enough time to make the dough from scratch, you can use flatbread purchased from your local supermarket as a healthy alternative.  

I made four different kinds of flatbread pizza using these ingredients:

Thoroughly wash and chop the yellow onions into thin strips, dice the plum tomatoes, and slice the button mushrooms making sure to get rid of any questionable parts. Rinse the cilantro and basil leaves then pat dry. Chop the cilantro into fine pieces. Place the prepared ingredients into separate bowls for easy pizza decorating later on.

For the sausage, remove the casing and flatten the meat. Pour 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a small frying pan over medium heat and place the flattened sausage in it. While the sausage is cooking, break the meat up into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is no longer red and both sides are browned.  

To caramelize your onions, slowly cook them in a large pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with extra virgin olive oil, butter, and sugar (optional). Let the onions sweat and cook until tender and fragrant.  Refer to full cooking instructions here.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use a large non-stick baking sheet and cover with a thin layer of cooking spray.  Spread a generous amount of pizza sauce on each flatbread and start decorating with your prepared toppings. Bake one or two flatbread pizzas at the same time for 10-12 minutes until crust is golden brown. 

These are the combinations I created (from left to right):

  • Sweet Italian Sausage, Basil, and Mozzarella Cheese
  • Brie and Caramelized Onions
  • Goat Cheese, Cilantro, and Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Italian Seasoning

This is a great recipe to use when hosting friends at a housewarming party, baby shower, or an informal get-together.

What other toppings would you use? Share your suggestions in the comments below. 

Have fun with it!

Lemon Garlic Chicken w/Cherry Tomatoes & Corn

Serves 6.

I found this recipe on the New York Times, and it was great that it's an easy and healthy dish to make for dinner!  I realized I didn't have any chicken breast in the freezer, so I used chicken tenderloins instead. Six pieces came in the package, so after defrosting them I just cooked all of the pieces. One person could actually eat two or three pieces, because they're relatively small in size.  You could save the other pieces for a packed lunch the next day or even leftovers.

Unfortunately, I ran out of parmesan cheese and wine (shock, I know!), so I excluded that from the list of ingredients. They help with the seasoning but without them, the chicken and tomatoes are still juicy and full of flavor. Sometimes you have to improvise! 

If you choose to use chicken breast or tenderloins, you'll need a meat tenderizer for this.

After an epic summer barbeque at my cousin's and excess amounts of tasty grilled food, the corn my family brought over was left untouched so we brought some back, and I added the cooked ones to this meal.  Good alternative to the usual fluffy white rice I have. It's easy and fun especially if you've never used a meat tenderizer before. It was my first time, so I got little carried away and almost flattened all of the chicken. Anyway, I hope you enjoy making this!

Recipe from the New York Times here. 

Bacon Wrapped Chicken + Goat Cheese


Since I use goat cheese often and need to utilize the stash of turkey bacon in the freezer, I came across this interesting recipe on the Lean Green Bean one night and that became our dinner!

I substituted the regular bacon for turkey bacon, and instead of the aspargus on the side, I put together a baby spinach salad with chopped cherry tomatoes and raspberry vinagrette dressing. Once all the ingredients are prepared, the stuffing and wrapping are quick. Cook time is only 20 minutes. You'll be surprised how quickly you can prepare, cook, and enjoy eating this meal!

Before cooking...

...and the finished result!

Recipe and full instructions here.

Best Basic Risotto with Chicken & Parsley

Serves 2.

I've been having a fun time improving my cooking skills through recipes from several recipe websites and favorite food blogs. The risotto I've made here is from a recipe by Food Republic. For some protein and heartiness, you'll need to cook two chicken breasts roasted with butter in a pan while the risotto is cooking.  Mix in freshly chopped parsley and the cut chicken breast to the risotto before plating each dish. Prep time took about 15-25 minutes for me (longer cooking time for the chicken), and cook time was approximately 40-45 minutes. Pretty quick for a weeknight dinner!

Click for the recipe and instructions here!

Feeling hungry yet? 

Feeling hungry yet? 

Roasted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese

Serves 2.

I tried recreating this recipe a second time from one of my favorite blogs, The Kitchn.  Seems like I'm getting better at cooking it!  This is my rendition of the goat cheese stuffed roasted chicken breast.  I left out was the mushrooms. since I forgot to look up the ingredients before heading to the supermarket. The first time I made this, I used chicken breast with the skin and bone-in like the recipe calls for, but the one pictured below is skinless & boneless.  It also turned out nicely!

Preparing the goa cheese mixture

Preparing the goa cheese mixture

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

All done...voilà!

All done...voilà!

Find the full recipe and instructions here.

Happy cooking, and bon appétit!

Red Pepper Ziti with Mushrooms & Italian Sausage

Serves 2.

I threw these simple and tasty ingredients together and created an easy, hearty dish!

You'll need...

2 cups ziti pasta
1/2 lb Sweet Italian sausage
1 cup button mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 - 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt, Pepper, Thyme for seasoning

Boil the ziti pasta, add about 1 tablespoon of salt to the water (cooked al dente) - drain and set aside. Remove casing from the sweet Italian sausage, flatten them in heated pan with two teaspoons EVOO in a medium pan. Break apart the sausage while cooking. Add some chopped button mushrooms, chopped red pepper, and a teaspoon of minced garlic in a small pan with 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil; saute until soft.  Add your favorite pasta sauce to the ziti, mix in the sausage, pepper, garlic, mushroom, season with some freshly ground pepper, thyme, and top with Pecorino Romano cheese.  Serve immediately.


Serves 1.

Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese "pancake" or "pizza" that is originally from the city of Osaka, Western Japan in the Kansai region. It's popular throughout the country with many regional versions available. It's actually closer to a scallion pancake. I've made the original here.

TIP: You can purchase the Otafuku brand okonomiyaki batter mix at any Japanese supermarket,or you can make your own using the ingredients listed in the recipe.

Get the Otafuku recipe here.