Stuffed Pepper Soup

This is one of my favorite soups of all time. It is so hearty, so healthy, so flavorful and so filling. It freezes beautifully, and it tastes even better leftover, so there's no such thing as too much. Get out your biggest pot. You'll be glad you did.


1-1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef

3-4 peppers, any color, diced (but use variety if you can) My favorite thing to do is use 1 of each--green, yellow, orange and red

1 large onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

4-6 tomatoes, finely diced (or you can use 2 cans petite diced or crushed tomatoes)

2 cans tomato sauce

2-4 cups low sodium chicken broth (use as much or as little as you like to get the consistency you prefer.)

3 cups pre-cooked quinoa (red is my favorite, but any kind will do)

sriracha, Tony Chachere's seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste


1. In large soup pot or dutch oven, brown ground beef and drain.

2. Add peppers, onion, and garlic and cook just until vegetables become very fragrant and begin to soften.

3. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken broth and simmer for at least 30 minutes over medium heat or up to several hours on low heat. (You can't really overcook this. The longer is simmers, the better the flavor. Just make sure the heat is low enough to avoid any scorching.)

4. Add Sriracha, Tony Chachere's seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

5. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and top with cooked red quinoa. (You could really add raw quinoa to the soup at the same time you add the tomato sauce and broth and let it cook in the soup. I like to use pre-cooked and add it right when the soup is ready to eat just to make sure it maintains the texture I like best, but it would be delicious either way.)

Pastitsio (Sorta)

Pastitsio is basically an Italian version of Shepherd's Pie, usually with a tomato-ey ground beef mixture, macaroni, and a cheesey sauce. But if you know me or are getting to know me at all, you probably know I didn't want to use macaroni. ;-) So I substituted roasted cauliflower. So much healthier and honestly more flavorful if you ask me.

This is certainly not the most beautiful dish I've ever made, but it was very tasty, and as soon as I took the first bite, I immediately had a whole list of ideas as to how to make it even better. We'll see if any of those pan out the way they look/taste in my mind. But for now, this:


I head of cauliflower, chopped in fairly small chunks 

olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1-1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup burgundy cooking wine

1/2 cup low sodium beef stock

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons coconut flour

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

salt and pepper to taste

Sriracha to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss cauliflower in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and somewhat caramelized.

2. Coat a nonstick or cast iron pan with olive oil and saute onion and garlic over low heat until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant. Increase heat to medium and add beef. Cook until browned and then drain.

3. Return beef to pan and add tomato paste, beef stock, wine, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

4. Add to roasted cauliflower 1/4 cup Parmesan and nutmeg and mix well.

5. In a 9x12 or similar casserole dish, layer half of the cauliflower mixture followed by the seasoned beef and then the second half of the cauliflower.

6. In small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add coconut flour. Cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in milk until well-combined. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Temper egg by adding milk mixture 1 tablespoon at a time until egg mixture is warmed, then add back to milk in pot. Season with salt, pepper and Sriracha and pour over casserole.

7. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and warmed through.



London Broil with Basil Butter

I have a weird confession. There's a strange little glee that happens in my heart when I have a big piece of red meat marinating in the fridge. Especially if I have the patience to leave it there for a day or two. The anticipation! It's like waiting for Christmas morning! So good. This is just such a recipe. And I love it.



1 stick butter, softened (Don't get nervous. You won't actually eat all of this in this recipe, but just stay with me.)

1-1/2 teaspoons sweet basil paste, divided

2-3 pounds London Broil (flank steak)

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup Burgundy cooking wine

1/4 cup olive oil

1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning

1 splash Sriracha

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix softened butter with 1 teaspoon basil paste. Place onto piece of plastic wrap, roll up and secure ends. Place in freezer to become firm.

2. Place London Broil into shallow baking dish. Mix together all remaining ingredients and pour over meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, but preferably 24+. Flip meat in marinade occasionally.

3. When ready to cook, remove meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towel.

4. Add marinade to small sauce pan and bring to a boil to thicken. (Never serve marinade that has had raw meat in it unless it has come to a full boil.)

5. Melt a coin of previously prepared basil butter in cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Sear steak on both sides for 3-5 minutes depending on desired doneness and thickness of steak. 

6. When meat is cooked through, remove to cutting board and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.

7. After resting, slice against the grain. Place several coins of basil butter on top and drizzle with reduced marinade to serve.

***I served this with wilted spinach and cauliflower hash. While we were eating, I noticed that Grace hadn't touched anything else on her plate. I said, "Grace, do you not like the cauliflower hash?" And she responded, "This steak is so delicious, I forgot all about it." :-D So there you go. Family approved.


Dirty "Rice" with Spicy Shrimp

Yeah, we're not making rice. Too many carbs. ;-) But at least it isn't quinoa this time for those of you who are sick of hearing about that. It's my other favorite food crush: cauliflower! (To be clear, quinoa and cauliflower are some of my food crushes mainly because they are just so helpful in keeping me happy without so many carbs in my life. If you wanna talk true love, we'll have to discuss chocolate and bacon and things like that, but that will be a discussion for a different day. :-D)

Anyway--riced cauliflower. Have you ever tried this? You should. I submit that not only is it a much healthier option than white (or even brown) rice, it honestly tastes better than rice to me if prepared correctly. And I would never lie to you about something like this. Ever.

Ok. Dirty Riced Cauliflower with Spicy Shrimp. Y'all hungry? Let's do this.


1 medium head cauliflower, riced (just do a rough chop and process in a food processor)

coconut oil for coating pan

1 chicken bouillon cube

dash cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon garlic paste

splash of Sriracha (optional)

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

Tony Chachere's seasoning to taste

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

chopped green onions for garnish


1. Warm just enough coconut oil to coat the bottom of a pan over medium heat. Add bouillon cube and stir until melted. Add riced cauliflower, cayenne pepper, paprika and thyme, and stir until cauliflower begins to soften.

2. Meanwhile in separate (larger) pan over medium heat, saute onion, garlic, green pepper and celery in just enough coconut oil to coat bottom of pan.  Once vegetables have softened, stir in ground beef and cook until fully browned. Drain and return to pan.

3. Stir garlic paste, Tony Chachere's and Sriracha (if desired) into cauliflower mixture and stir until garlic paste has completely melted into the mixture.

4. Dump cauliflower mixture into ground beef mixture and toss together until well-combined. Turn heat to low and keep warm.

5. In the same pan that you used to cook the cauliflower mixture (you might just want to give it a quick wipe with a paper towel if needed), warm just enough coconut oil to coat bottom of pan and add shrimp. Cook until pink and firm, tossing a few times to make sure all sides are cooked. Season to taste with Tony Chachere's seasoning and a Sriracha (if desired).

6. To serve, pour entire cauliflower/beef mixture onto a platter and layer shrimp over the top. Garnish with chopped green onions

Meaty Lasagna

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday, and this is one of her all-time favorite meals, so it was the obvious choice for today. :-) Happy Birthday, Grace! 

I wonder how many lasagna recipes exist. Surely the count is into the millions by now. And I bet most of them are perfectly scrumptious. If you already have one you love, I'm not suggesting you abandon it. Just offering my favorite for those who might be still looking.

These are some of the reasons this recipe is my favorite: 1. It is actually very easy to make, which is not always the case with lasagna. 2. It is so hearty and meat-filled that you can feed a pretty significant dinner crowd with just one tray. 3. It is easily adaptable to a low-carb meal by simply swapping zucchini strips for noodles and not losing any flavor at all. (Honestly, can we all agree that the noodles just carry the meat and cheese to your mouth?) 4. It is excellent for making ahead of time (or making several trays at a time) and storing in the freezer for a super quick homemade meal later. 5. It is Yummy! This recipe is a favorite of my entire family and a whole long list of my friends. It is probably my most-requested meal. If you don't already have a tried and true favorite, try it and see what you think!


1/2 pound lasagna noodles (or 2 zucchini thinly sliced in long ribbons)

1 pound lean sweet turkey Italian sausage

1/2-1 pound lean ground beef (I personally think there's no such thing as too much meat in this recipe, so I tend to go with the full pound.)

1 medium-large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (28oz.) chunky crushed tomatoes

2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste

2 teaspoons coconut sugar

2-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1-1/2 teaspoons dried crushed basil

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 container (15 oz.) part-skim ricotta cheese

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

4 cups shredded mozzarella

3/4 cup grated Parmesan


1. Boil noodles according to package directions or slice zucchini length-wise using mandolin. Set aside.

2. In large skillet over medium heat, brown beef and Italian sausage with onions and garlic until vegetables are tender and meat is no longer pink. Drain. Return meat mixture to pan and add tomatoes, tomato paste, coconut sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, basil and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

***Hey, can I show you a fun trick for getting tomato paste out of the can? Run your can opener around the top *and* bottom of the can, then use the bottom lid to push out the paste. No more trying to dig it out of the corners with a spoon.

3. In small bowl, blend ricotta, egg, Italian seasoning and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

5. Spoon 1-1/2 cups meat sauce into bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Layer 1/3 each of noodles (or zucchini), ricotta mixture, meat sauce and mozzarella into dish. Repeat twice. 

6. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle Parmesan over top, and bake an additional 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is golden and bubbly. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting. (Don't worry. It will stay molten lava hot much longer than that.)