Stuffed Jalapenos

True story-- When we lived in Vermont, every single time I made these peppers, I would make enough for an extra tray to put into the freezer of some of my favorite people, Mark and Jeff. These were their favorite.  After we all moved away from each other, I stopped making them, because it made me too sad. But Mark came to visit last month, so I got to make them again! YAY! So yummy and so much fun to share!


1 lb. ground hot Italian sausage

20ish jalapenos, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed

1 8-oz. block cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchatel, which is a little lighter but still with all the creaminess.)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/2 to 1 cup cooked red quinoa

sriracha to taste

Tony Chachere's seasoning to taste

shredded cheddar and/or Parmesan for topping peppers


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place seeded jalapeno halves into shallow glass baking dish. If desired, pre-cook for 10-15 minutes to soften and mild. (The longer the peppers cook, the milder they become, so use your judgment as to how much you might like to mellow the heat. You can start from raw or pre-cook up to 15 minutes.)

3. Cook sausage until browned and set aside.

4. Discard excess oil, and then use same pan to caramelize onions and garlic.

5. In large bowl, mix cream cheese and Parmesan.

6. Add sausage, garlic and onion, sriracha, Tony Chachere's, and quinoa, and mix well.

7. Fill peppers and top each with shredded cheese of your choice. My favorite is cheddar, but use whatever tastes best to you.

8. Bake for 20 minutes or until filling is fully heated and cheese is bubbly and browned.

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.)

Italian Stew

This has all the comfort, flavor and heartiness of a beef and potato stew, but with far fewer carbs and calories and much more nutritional value. We're replacing beef with lean turkey Italian sausage, potatoes with cauliflower and gravy with crushed tomatoes. And adding kale and quinoa. So, you know... we'll practically be bionic after we eat this. :-) Plus it's YUMMY! So it's good news all around!


Olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces



1 pound lean turkey Italian sausage

6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic (or just plain tomatoes, and you can add your own seasoning)

1/3 cup rinsed red quinoa

2-3 handfuls of kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons garlic paste

Your favorite shredded cheese to accompany Italian dishes (I used a blend of parmesan, asiago, romano and mozzarella)


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven or soup pot with olive oil. Add onion and saute over medium heat until it becomes translucent.

3. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until well-browned. (Don't be afraid of some pretty dark edges. It adds so much flavor.)

4. Add Italian sausage to onions and cook until browned. Drain well and return to pot.

5. Add chicken broth (more or less depending on how thick you like your stew) and crushed tomatoes and mix well. Increase heat and bring to boil.

6. Add quinoa and allow to boil for 5 minutes.

7. Reduce heat and add garlic paste. Blend well. Add kale and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

8. Add roasted cauliflower and stir to combine well. Simmer until warmed through.

9. Serve with a sprinkling of shredded cheese(s).

Eggs in Clouds over Seasoned Red Quinoa

So my friend who's here this week--you know, the one who loves Pots de Creme? She sent me a link to a video about this whole egg in a cloud idea. So of course I had to come up with my own version. Ummm.....

WHY did I never think of this before? It's so delicious! I love that this sort of serves the same purpose as a yummy fried egg with a rich, glisteny, runny yolk, but it's much easier to prepare lots of these to be warm and ready all at the same time than to try to fry a bunch of eggs all at once. And I super love the idea of mixing in all sorts of deliciousness into the whites before baking them. I used green onions and Parmesan this time, but I can think of at least 10 other combinations that I'm excited to try. YUM!


4 eggs

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound bacon

2 cups cooked red quinoa

olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 small jar (4 oz.) diced green chiles

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


1. Cut bacon into lardons and fry over medium-high heat until evenly crisped. Drain on paper towels.

2. Coat a nonstick or cast iron pan with olive oil and add diced onion. Cook until onions begin to caramelize. Add garlic and garlic paste, and stir until garlic paste is completely melted. Stir in green chiles and quinoa. Add chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder, and stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

4. While bacon and quinoa are cooking, separate eggs, keeping all yolks individually set aside and adding whites to mixing bowl. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in green onions and Parmesan. Place 4 "piles" of the egg white mixture onto parchment-paper lined pan and create a deep well in the center of each. Bake for 3 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and add one egg yolk to each shell. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for an additional 3 minutes or until yolks are cooked but still runny.

6. To serve, plate a nice bed of quinoa and put the egg "basket" over the top. Sprinkle with bacon and serve warm.

Sushi Bowls

Alright, listen. I love me some sushi. And I typically love re-creating all of my favorite foods at home. But mad respect for the experts, yo. There is an art to perfectly rolled sushi that I simply haven't mastered. (Probably never will, but I'll keep trying.)

Meanwhile, though, I do still want to enjoy some of those flavor combinations at home. So--sushi bowls. Not quite the same, but still fun to mix and match in the same way you might build a roll (if you're so inclined.) 

This also allows me to use quinoa (my food crush) in place of rice without worrying about the roll falling apart since it's almost impossible to get quinoa to be as sticky and sturdy as rice within a roll. So yeah. Not all bad to just eat it out of a bowl I guess. Try it, and let me know what you think.

Oh, and don't skip the sauces on this! They are super simple to make, and they change the flavors from "good" to "magical". I promise.

Sriracha Mayo (Sauce #1):


1/2 cup light mayo

1 tablespoon Sriracha (you can adjust to your heat tolerance)

1 teaspoon rice vinegar


Mix well and set aside. (Store leftovers in refrigerator.)

Eel Sauce (Sauce #2):


1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup Mirin (sweet Japanese wine) If you can't find this, you can use dry sherry or marsala or really any cooking wine, but you will probably want to sweeten a bit.

1/2 cup coconut sugar


Combine all 3 ingredients in small sauce pan over medium high heat. Simmer at a gentle boil, stirring often, until reduced by about half. Set aside to cool and thicken. (Store leftovers in refrigerator.)

Sushi Bowls:


2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 leek, finely diced (Or really any onion. I just had a leek, and I really like them, so I threw it in there.)

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1/2 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks

1/2 cup cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 cup frozen shelled edamame 

1 avocado, diced

1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined

6-8 oz. fresh tuna

coconut oil (for coating pan 3 times)


1. Prepare edamame according to package directions and set aside.

2. Coat a non-stick pan with coconut oil and saute leeks over medium heat just until fragrant and slightly wilted. Add cooked quinoa and garlic paste and heat just until well-combined and warmed through. Set aside. (It's totally fine to serve this at room temperature. No need to keep it piping hot.)

3. Coat pan again with coconut oil and toss shrimp over medium heat just until firm, pink and opaque. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

4. Coat pan one more time with coconut oil and increase heat to medium-high. Sear tuna ever so briefly on each side--no more than about 30 seconds. Just enough to get a nice brown layer of flavor on the outside but stay pretty rare on the inside. Remove from pan and slice.

5. Build bowls by beginning with quinoa/leek mixture. Then add veggies and avocado. Layer protein over top and drizzle with sauces. 

6. Go back for seconds, 'cause you're gonna want 'em. :-D

And just because I think it's so pretty, one more picture...

Baked Eggs in Quinoa with Mock Mole Sauce and Queso Fresco

Did you just roll your eyes because I'm talking about quinoa again? You did, didn't you? I can't help it. It's pretty much my food crush. But listen! I have good reasons! I mean, besides the fact that it's delicious and so good for your body (which should really be enough), it's also so amazingly versatile! You can use it in breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, whatever, and you can make it taste a million different ways with just a few ingredients. So really you should probably get used to hearing about it, 'cause I've only given you like 4 recipes so far, which means I have at least 999,996 more to go. So. ;-) 

Oh, but also, I should tell you why I'm calling this "mock" mole sauce. It's because I've been told that a good, authentic mole takes hours to make. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I'm not pretending to be some awesome little Mexican grandmother who has slaved over her stove top all day long. I just think this tastes an awful lot like many of the mole sauces I've tasted. But it is actually pretty quick and easy to make, so I'm calling it "mock mole" out of respect. Taste it and see what you think. 


2 cups pre-cooked quinoa 

1 small jar chopped green chiles

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

coconut oil for coating pan

1 teaspoon garlic paste

4-6 eggs

3 white onions, quartered

4 plum tomatoes, quartered

3 cloves garlic, peeled

2 anaheim peppers, stems and seeds removed

1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (these are quite spicy, so feel free to use less than the whole can or substitute mild green chiles or something along those lines if you don't like the heat)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups chicken stock

1 lime, juiced and zested (always smart to zest first)


1. Start by preparing the mole sauce. Raise oven rack to highest position and preheat oven to broil. Put quartered onions, tomatoes, whole garlic cloves and anaheim peppers on sheet pan and spray with olive oil or coconut oil. Broil until all vegetables are bubbly and tomatoes begin to blacken, stirring at least once. (Watch closely as this process happens fairly quickly, but don't be afraid of some black edges. That means flavor.)

2. When nicely charred, remove veggies from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. 

3. While these veggies are cooling, in an oven-safe skillet (cast iron would work perfectly), begin caramelizing chopped onions in coconut-oil coated pan over medium heat.

4. Dump broiled veggies into blender or food processor. Add chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a sauce pan. Add chili powder, cocoa powder and chicken stock and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.When onions are nice and brown, add minced garlic and green chiles and cook until fragrant. (This smells so crazy, I kind of just wanna eat it with a spoon. But please don't do that.) 

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. Add cooked quinoa and garlic paste to onion mixture and stir until all ingredients are well-combined. Spread quinoa mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan, then make a "well" in the quinoa for each egg. Carefully break one egg into each well and sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until eggs are set but yolks are still runny.

8. Add lime zest and lime juice to sauce and stir to combine flavors. Salt and pepper to taste.

9. Serve by plating each egg with a nice bed of quinoa. Drizzle mock mole sauce generously over the top and crumble over some queso fresco. Yum!

Quinoa Cakes with Garlic-Sriracha Sauce

So... Quinoa. I talk about this stuff a lot, because I pretty much have a crush on it. It's kind of perfect. You can use it a million different ways and come up with all kinds of creative ideas for replacing much less nutritious ingredients like rice, pasta and flour in some of your favorite dishes.

But. You either like it, or you don't. I get it. As my youngest daughter so profoundly said when she was just a tiny little munchkin, "You can't just decide to like something. Your tastebuds have to change or something." Indeed. That's true. Mostly.

But. (Yes, another but.) Even if you don't love it on its own, I do think there are ways to prepare it surrounded by other deliciousness in such a way that you will enjoy the final product. This is one of my favorite recipes for converting non-quinoa lovers. It works almost every single time. I love that. :-) 

The other thing I love about this recipe is that I've made it at least a dozen different ways with different combinations of cheeses, diced veggies, herbs and spices (and sometimes even a protein or two), and it is delicious every time. Today's combination went something like this:


1 cup pre-cooked quinoa (Any kind is fine, but my favorite is red quinoa prepared with low sodium chicken broth.)

coconut oil for coating pan

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon garlic paste, divided

1/4 cup freshly shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup goat cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon coconut flour

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped

salt to taste

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1/4 cup light sour cream

generous splash of Sriracha

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon basil paste

salt and pepper to taste


1. Cook diced onion in coconut oil on medium heat until it begins to caramelize. Add garlic and continue cooking until garlic is fragrant.

2. In medium bowl, combine quinoa, onion and garlic, 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste, all cheeses, egg, coconut flour, basil, salt and pepper. Mix well and form into patties.

3. Place patties on parchment paper-lined plate, and freeze for at least an hour. ***This is an important step as cakes will melt too quickly and not hold their shape if you try to pan-fry them before freezing.

4. While the quinoa cakes are firming up in the freezer, prepare sauce by combining mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, Sriracha, basil paste and salt and pepper.

5. Once cakes are nice and firm, heat coconut oil in medium-hot pan and fry each cake on both sides for 3-4 minutes. They should be crisp and brown on the outside and perfectly cheesy and gooey on the inside.

6. Serve on a beautiful bed of greens as a salad or as a stand-alone side dish to just about any meal. And don't forget the sauce!