Easy Beef Rouladen

Oh, welcome Fall! The smell of rain and spices are in the air. And in my kitchen, I desire the smells of the hearty flavors of one of my favorite fall dishes. Quick and Easy Beef Rouladen!

Traditionally, rouladen is thinly sliced meet (most likely originally veal or pork), wrapped around pickles, mustard and bacon. Well, onions are in some traditional ones, but we don’t need to go into my dislike for onions (although, I must admit, I am slowly making progress after many decades). Then its served with potato dumplings or noodles and pickled cabbage.

I love making sp√§tzle, so I will share that recipe with you, too! It’s super simple and is a quick and easy noodle dish that consists of flour, eggs and milk.

This dish can sometimes take hours to prepare, slow roasting the beef. But for you, my friends, I’ve got a version for you that is less than 45 minutes! So go to your Spotify and while you prepare this savory dish, let me suggest you put on an Oktoberfest Playlist.

Continue reading

Zesty Zucchini Chowder

I love soups in the fall and winter!  And here in the Pacific Northwest, we got hit hard this winter with ice storms, freezing temperatures and snow, which is pretty unusual.  So on a magical snow day, I went to my fridge, saw this beautiful organic zucchini and came up with this Zesty Zucchini Chowder.

I wanted something quick and simple. I wanted something that didn’t require a lot of cooking or prepping and where zucchini will be the star of the dish. This would be a great soup for a last minute lunch or dinner idea. And this is a quick meal if you are short on prep time to get dinner to a busy, hungry family in a hurry.

Let’s Make the Chowder

First, grab your zukes and wash and chop them.  I like to quarter them into nice bite sizes for the chowder.

I made this a little differently from when I created this post and took some of my photos. (See NOTE below.)

What I did differently was after chopping the zucchini, melt 2 TBSP of butter in a big sauce pan.  Once melted,  toss in zucchini just until it becomes lightly browned and softened.

Sprinkle 2 TBSP flour (I used GF) until well coated.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  Stream in the stock (chicken or veggie).

Now add veggies and spices.  Once it was slightly bubbling, turn heat to low, put a cover on. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the zucchini and corn (frozen) are tender.

NOTE: The reason I tossed in the zucchini with the butter (unlike the photos below where I tossed the veggies in all at once) was because my first batch with the zucchini tossed in, the peel was a little rough and tough.  Saut√©ing the zucchini in butter first gets it nice and soft, especially the skins.

After your soup has simmered and your zucchini is tender, it’s time to add the milk and cheese to make this creamy and cheesy.

I like to use 2% milk just for less fat.  To make this zesty I like to add pepper-jack cheese.  But this will work great with any cheese you have on hand from cheddar to Monterey Jack.  If you use one of these other cheeses, I would add in some extra seasoning such as chili powder, garlic and cumin or chilis. And as you will learn about me, I am a self-proclaimed ‘spice wimp’, so when I say zesty, it is pretty mild.  Don’t judge!

Ladle up the chowder into soup bowls and top with more cheese, parsley or cilantro.  Enjoy!

Zesty Zucchini Chowder

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A perfect fall or winter chowder to warm you up when it's chilly outside.



  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 medium zucchini, washed, cut and quartered
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 can diced mild green chilis
  • 10 oz. frozen corn
  • 2 cups of Chicken/veggie broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pepper-jack cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parsley or cilantro to garnish if desired


  1. Melt 2 TBSP butter in sauce pan.
  2. Add quartered zucchini.
  3. Cook until zucchini is softened.
  4. Add 2 TBSP flour, mix well.
  5. Stream in 2 cups of Chicken/veggie broth and stir continuously to thicken.
  6. Add in corn, diced chilis, salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin.
  7. Bring to a slow boil, turn heat down to a simmer, cover with lid and cook for about 5 – 10 minutes until zucchini and corn are tender.
  8. Add in milk; heat until warmed.
  9. Add cheese and parsley for garnish if desired.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Zoodles

One of my families favorite meals is Parmesan Chicken. ¬†However, as kids and picky eaters go hand in hand, every once in a while we will notice the cheesy saucy noodles are consumed, but the chicken is hardly touched. ¬†So I thought how could get them to get their protein part of the meal. ¬†Recognizing they eat beef and turkey meatballs happily, so why not make some Chicken Parmesan Meatballs and make it into one of our favorite dishes. ¬†It worked! I’m still trying to sneak the zoodles in on them. ¬†So far, it’s only worked on the husband. ¬†True story. ¬†He even requested them the other night!

Making the Chicken Parmesan Meatballs!

First, warm your oven to 375¬į. Get a large mixing bowl. ¬†Place ground chicken, bread crumbs, egg, parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder and parsley (or Italian Seasoning). Mix by hand. ¬†I like to use food handler gloves so I can quickly mix and begin to shape without repeated hand washing. Shape into small balls. I like little superball size balls for my family, but I also have done ping pong size balls. ¬†Place on a baking sheet. ¬†Here, I am using a Pampered Chef Medium Bar Pan that is well seasoned. Brush with your favorite pasta or marinara sauce. I like using a basting brush. Making chicken Parmesan Meatballs Sprinkle on some shredded Parmesan Cheese. ¬†I really like my Pampered Chef Rotary Grater (that I don’t have pictured). Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. ¬†If you like them a little extra saucy, remove pan after about 15 minutes and reapply sauce. While the meatballs are cooking, let’s get to the zoodles!

Making the zoodles!

Clean and wash your medium sized zucchini. ¬†I would count on 1 zucchini per adult serving. ¬†Trim off one end, place in spiralizer and make your zoodles! Making homemade Zoodles With spiralizer Get a medium size skillet and turn burner to medium heat. ¬†Place 3-4 tablespoons water, enough to cover pan. ¬†I have made many zoodles and have made many mistakes making them. ¬†I’ve made the mistake of putting in too much water and they are a big soggy flavorless mess. ¬†Think a mix of steaming and pan frying your zoodles and they should come out perfect for you! Plate your zoodles or your noodles, place your meatballs on top. ¬†Then top with extra sauce if you desire and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Links to Tools I Used:

Gloves- Lately, I’ve found it easier, quicker and cleaner to use these Food Handling Gloves. Zoodle Tool – Quick and easy tool for spriralizing veggies. ¬†A must have! Find here.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Zoodles

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A low carb twist to a classic dish.



  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 TBSP parsley or Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup basil marinara (or your favorite red sauce)
  • 1 zucchini


  1. Preheat over to 400.
  2. Mix all ingredients, except sauce in a bowl.
  3. Roll into small balls.
  4. Brush each meatball with sauce.
  5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until balls are browned.
  6. Will meatballs are baking, start your zoodles.
  7. Wash your zucchini. Cut off one end. Place in zoodle maker and start twisting.
  8. Heat up skillet pan with 2-3 TBS water, enough to cover bottom.
  9. Cook/Steam zoodles 3-4 minutes until tender.

Using Pinterest Boards for Meal Planning and Saving Time

Favorite Friday

Today, I want to share with you the way I found saves me time in menu planning, shopping and actual preping for dinner. ¬†It doesn’t seem like a big deal to most, but discovering a way to organize my Pinterest Boards that really work for me is a BIG Deal to me!

It took me a while, but I finally figured out how I utilized Pinterest. ¬†I did my best to really break it down in categories of my interests: Food, Baking, Seasons, Crafting, Gifts, DIY, etc. ¬†In the early days of me using Pinterest, I quickly discovered I couldn’t find a recipe if it was just under ‘food’. ¬†So now I have several boards called FOOD, with subcategories. ¬†For example Food ~ Breakfast. ¬†Food ~ Chicken Dinners.

Back in the olden days (as my kids would say) before Pinterest, I used a binder to keep my recipes and ideas in. ¬†Then when I went to plan dinners for the week, I would peruse my binder and pull out the recipes for the week, make my shopping list from the menus and keep them on the fridge with a magnet so they were handy to access. ¬†Sometimes, when life got busy, I would forget to return them in proper place which made it hard to find then next time. ¬†Or I’d forget all together and would have a pile up on my fridge.

I really forgot about¬†this step with Pinterest, I putting everything in smaller, easier to find places. ¬†There is search, but sometimes the key word I would use to find a recipe isn’t used when I quickly pinned it. ¬†Although I have the convenience of the recipe literally at my finger tips on my phone (really handy in the grocery store!), I still had to hunt and peck my way through my boards (after I finally remembered the answer to “what am I making for dinner Tuesday night again?”.

So I created a New Board ‘WEEKLY MENU’. When I sit down and set my menu for the week, I will search out the recipe on my Pinterest Board and move it to my ‘Weekly Menu’ board.

Here is how I do it (after some trial and error and having duplicate pins!  You can learn from my mistake.):

  • Find your pin. ¬†Let’s say it’s called ‘Pesto Pasta Bake’
  • If using your phone device, tap the photo until the Save/Edit/Send/More buttons pop up
  • Select Edit
  • Under Edit Pin, tap the Board selection (this is what you are going to temporarily edit)
  • This moves you to a Select Board screen. ¬†I select ‘Weekly Menu’


Search your pin


Tap photo until edit buttons pop up


Select ‘Edit’ button


Edit Board location


Select New Board like ‘Weekly Menu’

Now you have them all ready to access as you move along your busy week! ¬†I can’t tell you how much time this has saved me searching and printing recipe ideas for the week(and losing my print out, whoops).

My follow up to this once the week is over and I am planning for the new week, I simply reverse this process.

  • Select Pin on ‘Weekly Menu’ board
  • Tap photo until¬†Save/Edit/Send/More buttons pop up
  • Select Edit
  • Under Edit Pin, tap the Board selection
  • This moves you to a Select Board screen. ¬†I select where I retrieved this pin in the first place. ¬†In my case of the ‘Creamy Pesto Pasta Chicken Bake’, I select my ‘Food ~ Casseroles’ board

I menu plan on a planner. ¬†This is new (again) to me. ¬†I used to use many variations of lists and forms, which ended up being scraps of paper in a trail all over the house, and¬†it didn’t work for me. ¬†You have to find what works for you! ¬†I thought I would try to keep up with the less-paper/paperless digital world and do everything on my smartphone. ¬†I use a calendar app that has a built in shopping list. ¬†I tried for too long to make it work until I realized I needed to have ONE paper place where I could put in calendar items and notes. ¬†So off I went for a planner.

After I have everything in my planner, have my shopping list entered into my app and have filled my Weekly Menu Pinterest board, I have one final step.  I usually involve my kids and family in the planning and grocery list, but this last part they really enjoy doing.  I created an Erasable Menu Frame.  My kids like the writing part of this task, so I usually let them have a go at it.  We keep it in a visible area in our kitchen.  Sometimes I even take a screen shot on my phone so when I am out and about and have something come up in reference to a menu item or what our dinner plans for the night, I have this to refer to.

If you like this and would like to make one, you can go HERE to my other blog post on how I made it!

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Bake

Oatmeal Bake

I’m a breakfast person.  I am not necessarily a morning person.  Not a super combo when you want to eat a good healthy breakfast but lack the attitude or ambition in the morning.

That’s why I love this recipe.  I can make this anytime during the day, when I am working in the kitchen when I am in my groove.

I also love this recipe because it can feed a group.  And I do a lot of things in group activities.  Recently, my aunt moved into a retirement community.  There are several options for meal plans there, and I know they all come at a different cost.  We were chatting one day when I was helping her set up her computer and deleting her 1,694 emails about her meals and attending the dining room for meals and using her kitchen.  I was curious if some mornings or afternoons if she just didn’t feel up to getting herself put together enough to trek down to the dining room and have a meal with her new friends and neighbors.

So I asked her if we could start an arrangement where I could start making her some breakfast and lunch dishes that would supplement her meals during the days she didn’t want to pay extra for a meal (above her current plan) or just didn’t want to miss her 11:00am news for lunch and have the luxury of staying in her cozy home.  She thought this would be a lovely idea.  So for Christmas I purchased her to smaller baking dishes with covers and printed out a list breakfast and lunch ideas.  The idea will be once a week I bring a full dish and return with a clean dish.  And the bonus is visiting with her while I set up her new Gitterbug phone or show her how to record and watch her favorite shows.

How To Make

I always like to grab all my ingredients and tools gathered before I start.

You can tell from here that I use frozen fruit.  I really like slicing up my bananas that I can’t use before they go too brown and put them in snack bags.  They work great in smoothies and for baking!

Preheat the over to 375¬į.

Next, mix the dry ingredients together: oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a smaller bowl (2 cup measuring cup works great!), add liquids: egg, milk, syrup, vanilla and coconut oil.

Next, lightly spray pan with oil.  Then spread sliced bananas on bottom of baking pan.  Sprinkle the dry ingredients evenly over the top.

Then spread the liquid mixture evenly over the oats.  Use a spatula to gently move oats around to make sure liquids penetrates the oats.

Sprinkle the berries over the top.

Pop the pan(s) into the oven for 30 minutes and clean up.  From this photo, you can also see how I separated this dish into two pans.  The glass one is for my aunt that I will be delivering right after it has come out of the oven and cooled enough for me to put the lid on it.  This dish is a 5 x 7.  This recipe fits into an 11 x 7 perfectly.

As I use measuring cups and spoons, I like to grab a small container as my cleanup bowl. My prep space is across the kitchen from my sink and I loath carrying dirty items back and forth.  So I drop my dirty utensils and garbage into this container so I can make one trip to the garbage and sink.  Squirt a drop of soap into the dish and wash and dry them.  By the time my dish comes out of the oven, everything could be back in their drawers or cupboards.  Happy!


Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Bake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A comforting morning breakfast bake.



  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon (I love cinnamon)
  • dash of salt
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil (or sub 1 tsp butter, softened)
  • 2-3 banans, sliced
  • 1 cup blueberries
    *frozen fruit works perfectly fine


  1. Preheat oven to 375¬į.
  2. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients: Oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix liquids: Milk, egg, syrup and oil/butter.
  4. Lightly spray pan with oil (I use Coconut Oil).
  5. Spread sliced bananas on bottom of pan.
  6. Evenly spread dry mixture over bananas.
  7. Pour liquid mixture over the top.
  8. Top with Blueberries.
  9. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Snicker Doodle Cake

This holiday season is full of cookies.  I wanted to have a dessert for my sweet tooth, but not cookies.  But if I were to choose a cookie, a snicker doodle would be my first choice. I’ve enjoyed a Snicker Doodle recipe in the past but it was an enhanced white cake mix.

I wanted to spice it up a bit.   So I searched for a snicker doodle cake recipe and came up with a few recipes that didn’t nail the idea I had in my head.  So I came up with this one. It’s a little naughty and nice, and full of sugar and spice! Oh, and a little holiday cheer in the form of spiced rum and cinnamon whiskey!

I call this cake a little naughty and a little nice because it includes some healthy ingredients (I used organic cane sugar instead of processed white, Greek Yogurt, and use my backyard chicken eggs when they are laying and not free-loading) and then some from the naughty list (pudding mix, veggie oil).  The Rum and Fireball can be on which ever list you prefer at the moment!


Preheat your oven to 350¬į.  Also, remove 2 ounces cream cheese at this time for the glaze so it is softened.

I began by placing all the dry ingredients in my mixing bowl and gave them a good mix.  I then added my liquids: the eggs, yogurt, oil and then the Rum and Fireball (use milk if you prefer).  I chose to use this mix of alcohol because although the cinnamon whiskey seems right up the alley for the recipe, sometimes it can be a strong flavor and I wanted to cut it back with the flavor of a nice spiced rum.

I mixed this for about a minute or two until everything was fully incorporated and my batter was of a thicker consistency.

I sprayed my bundt pan with Coconut Oil Spray completely.

This went in the oven for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool 30 minutes before flipping it onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 ounces cream cheese

Thin out with a mix of rum and fireball (or milk!), add slowly until you get it the consistency you want.  Aim for a little more on the runny side as you want it to drizzle and start to slide down the cake, but firm enough to not slide all the way off!

Place a bag (zip lock or large twist tie) in a measuring cup.  This will help hold the bag open so you can scoop your glaze into the bag with out a heck of a mess or frustration!

Squeeze out the air, give the bag a twist at the top of the glaze then snip a corner large enough to pipe the glaze over the cake.

Top off with fancy shimmering sugar.

Snickerdoodle Cake

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A naughty and nice and sugar and spice cake version of the classic cookie.




  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  •  tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 oil
  • *1 cup liquid (I did 1/3 cup Fireball + 2/3 cup Spiced Rum) You can simply use milk, too!
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened



  1. Set oven to 350¬į.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
  3. Add in the wet ingredients. Beat on medium for 1 minute until well combined.
  4. Grease bundt pan.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool 30 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once completely cooled, set on your cake plate.


  1. Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 oz softened cream cheese.
  2. Slowly thin out with milk or rum/fireball.
  3. Place in zip lock. Snip the corner and drizzle over completely cooled cake.
  4. Sprinkle cake with colored sugars, if desired.

Homemade Verde Enchilada Sauce

My family loves ‘Taco Tuesday’.  We use this term loosely around here and it’s safe to assume it just means it’s anything Mexican food night!  One of our favorite dishes is Verde Enchiladas. For years I would throw a can of green enchilada sauce into the grocery cart and call it good.

In the recent year, I’ve been really challenging myself to look closer into labels and ingredients.  Then comparing those to recipes and asking myself what it would take to make the same product at home.  My mind has been blown.  So much simpler, so much easier, so much healthier.  And oh so much more rewarding.

Off to the store I went with a list of ingredients I collected from a variety of different recipes.  First on the list was a tomatillo.  First item on my agenda when I entered the produce department was to seek out the produce guy and quietly ask “excuse me, I’m looking for a tomatillo?”  He happily took me over to the green section of the department by peppers, cucumbers and lettuce.  Nestled in there were these little foreign looking objects that look like they are covered in… paper leaves?

Behold...the tomatillo

Behold…the tomatillo


I needed between a pound and a pound and a half.  After a few times making this, I know 14-16 will get the job done.  Off they go into my basket. Luckily these guys are nestled by the peppers, so I pick a peck of peppers…just mostly the mild ones.  I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to heat in my food, so I stick to the mild peppers.  You can make this as mild or as spicy as you like.  I like the flavors of Anaheim, poblano and pick smaller jalapeno and Serrano peppers. Then I find a nice bunch of organic cilantro if my plant at home isn’t cooperating.  (Ok, still working on that green thumb of mine).  The rest, I usually have in good supply at home: garlic, cumin and chicken stock.

Now your back at home and ready to start making your sauce!

Peel away all the husks and you’re left with a little sticky green looking tomato!  Wash those up and chop them in half.

Remove stem and innards of remaining peppers.  Play around with a variety of peppers according to what’s in season and your heat level preference.  I’m pretty low on the heat level scale, so I gravitate to the milder peppers, but if you like heat go for the peppers with heat.  Just don’t invite me for dinner!

Place all the peppers and tomatillos on a oiled baking sheet.  Toss in your peeled garlic.  (I like to give my garlic a good crack with the flat edge of my knife to start to release it’s awesome aroma).


Roast for 20-30 minutes until skin is wrinkled and slightly charred.  An alternate is to broil them on low for the last 10 minutes.  Remove and cool.

Now you’re ready to make this an official sauce!  Place contents of baking pan into a blender, Vitamix or food processor.  Add 1/4 cup cilantro and 1/2 TBSP cumin.  Add 1/2 – 2 cups chicken stock.  Blend until smooth.


This goes great in a pan of chicken or pork enchiladas.  Keep following me and watch out for an upcoming post (my Recipe/menu Monday) for a quick and easy weekday version of Skillet Enchiladas with Verde Enchilada Sauce!

Homemade Verde Sauce

A delicious homemade version of your favorite green enchilada sauce.



  • 1 1/2 pound tomatillos
  • 1-2 Anaheim or poblano peppers (both fairly mild)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers (medium to hot, depending on age. If you like heat, look for more reddish peppers and white lines)
  • 1-2 Serrano peppers (medium to hot)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 TBSP cumin
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock


  1. Preheat oven to 350¬į.
  2. Remove husks from tomatillos. Rinse and cut in half.
  3. Cut and remove stems and innards of all other peppers.
  4. Place tomatillos and peppers on baking sheet skin side up. Drizzle sheet with oil.
  5. Peel garlic and add to baking sheet.
  6. Roast for 20-30 minutes until skin is wrinkled and slightly charred. An alternate is to broil them on low for the last 10 minutes.
  7. Remove and let cool.
  8. Add peppers and garlic to food processor, blender or Vitamix.
  9. Add cilantro, cumin and chicken stock. Add salt and pepper according to taste based on how salted your stock is.
  10. Blend until well mixed.