These cheeseburger turnovers are an appetizer turned into a main dish! Follow how my mind worked: I started out with the idea of a cheeseburger eggroll but then decided I really didn’t want to fry anything so I went with crescent dough. I then the more I thought about tiny ones made me think that it’d be way faster to make fewer but big turovers/pockets. Thus, my cute app became dinner! There’s a key ingredient to make them so much more fun than burger filling into pastry….
I put tater tots into them! Those become such a fun and a bit unexpected bite! Like burgers & fries! I prepped and partially baked these in advance, then just warmed to eat come dinner time! I loved these burger pockets and would totally make them again. Maybe next time they’ll even get to live out life as an appetizer!
Ingredients: (for 4)
1/4 bag of tater tot crowns (the flat disks, or regular ones will work too)
1/3 pound ground beef/chicken/turkey
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tube crescent dough (mine was a single sheet, or pinch seams together if using crescent triangle dough)
~1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped (they’ll stay together better than a big tomato chopped)
~3 pickle spears, chopped
~1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Bake the tots according to the package.
Saute the ground meat until it is cooked through seasoning with worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Then remove the meat and saute onions in the same pan until they are translucent and getting golden.
Chop tomato and pickles.
Unroll the dough and slice into 4s. Top with cheese, ground meat, tots, onion, tomato, pickles, and more cheese.
Fold it and pinch or use a fork to close all the edges together.
Poke holes onto the top to vent and bake for ~15 minutes (bake according to the crescent dough packaging). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds a few minutes before they finish cooking.
These are so fun and a great dinner to prep ahead of time! I almost did a special sauce drizzle inside – maybe next time. If you like these, then you’ll love Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Turnovers or Chicken Parm Turnovers. I made the Chicken Parm Turnovers as mini apps for a holiday party and they were a hit!
Making fun dinners in advance is the story of my life right now. I want dinners to be varied but that time between daycare pick up and dinner is a rush. Throwing dinner in to warm up while I get to change out of work clothes, cuddle the baby before she’s ohh-so-ready for her post-daycare nap, play or at least converse while the preschooler plays, encourage hand-washing, and dodge the dogs who are underfoot to be fed- is in-ter-est-ing to say the least.
February seemed to just roll right along. The end of February means my birthday is right around the corner! Bring it on! It has been strangely rainy without too much snow. I’ve tried to get outside as much as possible and I think it makes a world of difference for myself and the little ones. I wish daycare could take the preschoolers out more – there’s some magic temperature they have to go by but I have more faith in our hearty little New England babes than the temperature suggests!
This crispy fish rice bowl was prob my fav thing I made all month. It was on repeat a few times! I transformed a fish taco concept into a rice bowl and loved it.
This Greek Orzo Chicken Soup with Lemon was such perfectly. I prepped it to be lunch for a few days and found it comforting with more flavor and interest than it even looks like!
I have some good stuff ahead for March – an appetizer that turned into dinner, and maybe a smoothie. I’m going to test out a breakfast option so we’ll see how that goes.
The Baby Girl:
She’s such a smiley baby! Her party tricks include sitting and rocking back and forth on all fours. Baby girl wants to move! She’s sleeping like a champ even since we swapped out the magic merlin suit (which really is magic) so now she rolls all around and can re-discover her pacifier to settle back into sleep. Baby C tried cereal and loved it. She’s had some purees too and loves eating them and wants to do the spoon herself! She looks so big sitting in the high chair with us at the table! There’s a tooth coming in! I just went through her next size of clothes and realize I don’t take her to nearly as many formal occasions as other people who hand down dresses with tulle. Her fav toys are an activity cube with a mirror, and rubber toys to chew which look SO much like dog toys. She LOVES the tub and will kick her feet to splash for as long as we’ll let her.
The Little Boy:
I’m shocked to say he’s really not into rice/grains at the moment. He wants pasta whenever he gets to choose. I loved seeing him jump right into the crispy fish in a taco. He didn’t eat much on a his/hers night of steak & salmon but tried each without any prompting from us. Then he went to town on chicken and black bean enchiladas one night and pulled pork another night so it is safest not to assume anything. He loves the snow and is enjoying winter. We took him to a Paw Patrol Live show and he was enthralled in his way of quietly absorbing a new activity. He’s been great in his toddler bed and takes the ok-to-wake rule of his light/sound machine very seriously. He stays in and calls out “mommy daddy, my light is greeeeen”!
Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: My closet feels like shopping with matching hangers! Next I have my sights on the kitchen utensil drawers.
Feeding Littles: The pre-schooler was trepidatious but loved the Copycat Cracker Barrel meatloaf. The combo of getting dinner on the table and not having phones at the table is tricky for photos since I also don’t want to interrupt a hungry little guy.
Work on advanced food prepping: I’ve been on top of prepping some things in the morning. Even clustering ingredients in the fridge or from the basement freezer is helpful.
What I’m reading: I read The Girl with Seven Names for bookclub and The 57 Bus and All We Ever Wanted.
What I’m watching: We watched a few movies- Bad Moms Christmas, Gone Girl, and Crazy Rich Asians. I loved Bad Moms and wasn’t impressed by Gone Girl as a movie. Crazy Rich Asians was pretty good, but much better as a book. I caught up on a few Project Runway All Star episodes and loved them. I haven’t done any Bachelor this season- am I missing anything? I’m loving a CNN series of the 1980s- which seems like a necessary refresher for politics in our lifetimes, and have the 1990s next. I really think I could have benefited from more US history and government education instead of Mesopotamia, or so much on ancient Egypt, or all the hours I spent in early art history being quizzed on cave drawings- don’t get me started on Shakespeare’s Histories and Tragedies or astronomy which never covered any stars.
One little box of orzo pasta seems to have about 10 lives. Soup felt like a good idea to make in advance and to pack for lunch. This one was ohh-so-amazing despite seeming ordinary so I might need to whip it up again. At first I thought about a small batch but then I added in the remainder of my box of orzo and kept adding broth to keep it soupy. I absolutely loved the lemon and found it really comforting.
Greek Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
Ingredients: (for ~5 servings)
~1 1/2 cups roasted chicken (~1/3 of a roasted chicken)
4 cups water (to make chicken broth from the roasted chicken bones, or 4 cups broth)
2 large carrots, chopped (or 2 cups baby carrots)
1 cup orzo
2 tablespoons (~8 sprigs) of fresh oregano
Remove the roasted chicken from the bone and reserve 1/3 of the chicken for this soup. (I froze the rest & used some in enchiladas and some became chicken salad.)
Place the chicken bones, chicken skin, the carrot ends, onion peal, and oregano sprigs into a large pot with 4-5 cups of water. Heat to medium high heat and cook for 15 minutes.
While making the broth (homemade broth is really good and so worth it), in a heavy pot saute the onion in olive oil for 10 minutes over medium heat, then add the carrots when the onion is getting clear.
Strain the bones and veggie remains and put the chicken broth into the pot with the onions and carrots.
Add in the chicken and juice from the lemon and cook for about 5 minutes.
Pour the orzo into the pot and cover the pot to cook for 10 minutes.
Add in the oregano, stir well, and enjoy!
The lemon makessss this soup. It is so flavorful from the lemon and the oregano to instantly transport you to the Mediterranean. I made mine super thick so I added water just before heating come lunchtime at work. Baby carrots are a little bit funny but they’re so perfectly all the same size!
It feels very Barefoot-Contessa to say “if you don’t make your own, pre-made broth is OK too”. This is just an easy time to use a roasted chicken and make some broth with the bones, carrot tops, onion peal, and oregano sprigs. I froze some and it tasted great but some of the orzo broke down a bit in the freezing/defrosting/warming and stirring. I can deal with that though.
We don’t eat a whole lot of fish at our house, but I like it would like our preschooler seeing it more often. Variety is key! This was totally the easiest way to make that happen on a weeknight, in a format everyone likes! I used frozen breaded fish pieces that were super quick to cook up and serve as tacos or taco bowls. I went for a bowl and Mr. J and the little guy had the same as a taco. I liked it so much I made another one for a weekend lunch one day shortly after!
Crispy Fish Rice Bowl
Ingredients (for 2)
2 cups brown rice
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2-4 small pieces of breaded fish
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 cups corn
2 tablespoons mayo
1/4 cup salsa
Cook the rice and stir in the taco seasoning when cooked.
Bake the fish according to the package.
Toss together the cabbage, mayo, and vinegar (can be prepped the night before).
Cook the corn.
Assemble the bowls with rice, fish, slaw, corn, and avocado.
Stir together the salsa and mayo and drizzle over the top.
I really love bowls and it was a fun variation for me outside of regular taco night. Try it with a little one or one who doesn’t love fish. This is such a gentle flavor of fish and when it is accompanied by other foods everyone has seen, it makes it easy. The crispy factor is also super appealing. I love this and will definitely make again!
Winter doesn’t scream salad because a) nothing locally is in season here in New England b) it isn’t warm & comforting like winter food and c) aren’t we wearing chunky knit sweaters for a reason? However, hitting a bunch of food groups in one dish makes me feel accomplished and there’s nothing more grown up for my lunch than arugula salad – compared to eating the crust of somebody’s pb & fluff sandwich while doing something else. This is a home lunch, or a dinner! I do not condone warming fish at the office. Nope. I bring you this salad with juicy shrimp, peppery arugula and pear to inch us towards the local produce that will be, once the seasons change and because we all deserve a restaurant-quality salad at home.
Veg, fruit, nuts, and fish -all in one dish? Yesss! Plus, my dressing hack takes zero brainpower and is ohh-so-perfect!
Winter Salad with Shrimp, Arugula & Pear
Ingredients: (for 1)
~4 large shrimp (~4 per person depending on med/lg/jumbo or swap with salmon/etc)
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups arugula
1/2 pear, chopped
1 tablespoon Italian Dressing
1 tablespoon Honey Mustard Dressing
In a completely dry pan, toast the walnuts over medium-low heat, being careful not to let them burn – about 3-5 minutes.
Peal & de-vein the shrimp. Then heat a small pan to medium heat with the butter. Sear the shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side until pink and just cooked through. Remove promptly from the heat and set to the side.
Mix together the arugula, toasted walnuts, pear and shrimp.
In a small jar (or in a bowl with a whisk) shake together the two dressings.
Toss the salad in the dressing.
Serve and enjoy!
I love the sweet pear with the peppery arugula. There is such great flavor here without becoming super complicated- which is how I normally like salads = all.the.stuff. The dressing is spot-on and would be that dressing at a restaurant you love that you can’t put your finger on what exactly it is. The Italian dressing decreases the sweetness of the honey mustard. The best Italian is this one – seriously, so perfect.
January is fun for us, not the holiday-letdown that I hear others speak of. My little boy is 4! We celebrated with a family party for him & his cousin to jump at the trampoline park and pizza and cake at home. Another weekend we had a trip to Maine. Mr. J and I went out to dinner at a new-ish Mexican restaurant in our town and we looooved it. Now it is almost February!
I have to come clean. I was going to sneak meatless tacos in one night but Mr. J unloaded the groceries. I was being secretive but Mr. J will try anything so I didn’t really need to be. They were a hit! I love tacos as a meatless option since it is so much faster to get ready (especially from frozen) and a meal where the flavor and texture is really fine. I fully recommend this beefless ground with some taco seasoning added in and a splash of salsa. Seriously, I bet you could fool anyone in a taco or nachos. This infographic blows my mind for environmental impact of eating meat. While we’re not going vegan over here, the water use, deforestation, and climate change all make me know I can do more.
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad was a nice change for lunch.
Just because it is January doesn’t mean we don’t need something sweet, right? Everything Cookie Brownie Bars to the rescue.
Quick Ham & Cheddar Pizzas with a Mustard Drizzle hit the spot for a cool winter night.
For February, I’m excited for superbowl snacks and I have some really great posts to work on. I’ve been stumped on breakfasts so I need to get myself more creative & easy options. I never want winter smoothies, it is just too cold.
The Baby Girl:
She’s doing so well yet I thought she’d weigh more at her last weigh-in, but she’s happy and healthy. She’s 12 pounds and super smiley. We’re now letting her sleep at night until she wakes hungry. Sometimes that has been the morning, other times it is a night-time feeding. She barrel rolls across the floor and can hold herself up with one hand while reaching with the other. Baby girl wants to move! We just set up the high chair and I think she’s enjoying being up to the table while we eat. Mostly, she just likes seeing exactly what her big brother is doing. We want to let her play with baby cereal but she naps 6pm-9:30 has a bottle, then sleeps. Maybe this weekend!!
The Little Boy:
He loved his birthday and then REALLY loved dancing to a DJ at his uncle’s birthday! I couldn’t get over my sometimes-shy-guy bustin’ a move on the dance floor. He had a fun Children’s Museum adventure with his Auntie and true to his nature, wasn’t sure he wanted to go when he really thought about it the morning-of. I knew he’d love it and he did. He’s currently obsessed with these new Cheerios. Our big guy wants his tacos regular sized (I used to cut a flour taco into mini triangles to be easier to hold) but he wants them in a taco stand and takes bites. The other night he ate 3 tacos! We transitioned his crib to a toddler bed and he’s done great! He doesn’t get out until his sleep machine turns from red to green, and even comically announces “my light is green” and waits for us before getting up. It is too cute. He is loving that baby sister can hold toys now.
Year of ___ decluttering/minimizing/organizing: I’m not all Marie Kondo but folding by drawer-clothes to see them all is so great! My closet is next.
Feeding Littles: I posted a few, this Peanut Sesame noodles & edamame and Meatless Tacos which are each crowd favorites around here.
Work on advanced food prepping: ehh. I can do more.
What I’m reading: I read My Name is Lucy Barton which was lackluster. I read Today Will Be Different. Bookclub read The Power which I went back and forth on – definitely different than ones I pick myself. Mr. J is a reading fiend right now- like a book every few days!
What I’m watching: I’m behind on my favs A Million Little Things and This is Us. I might have to accept that I just don’t have the time for the Bachelor. Maybe I’ll jump in a few weeks from now when there are fewer contestants and I’m not 6 hours behind. We watched The Big Sick and loved it so much- I laughed, I cried, I’d watch it again. The big thing is we got rid of cable. Mr. Roku saved us a chunk and might mean we’re a bit more strategic too versus DVR feeling like a to-do list!
I’m mostly into the Superbowl for the snacks and commercials so my home team playing is just a perk. I did watch to see who would go to the superbowl! If you haven’t planned your snacks, get on it! I have quite a list and need to narrow down a bit! We aren’t having a crowd so I’m still assessing what snack food we want to have. Our preschooler looooves when we have snacky dinner- as in, not a traditional meal. Maybe we’ll have something with him and then more when kiddos are asleep an hour into the game!
Nachos seem like a must-have so loaded waffle fries is a definite way to kick it up:
Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs will be gone before you know it, and are a good snack to make ahead of time or to bring since they don’t need reheating! Seriously, people chuckle when they see deviled eggs yet they’re always gone before I know it whenever I bring them somewhere. I’m sure I’ll make some since they are easy to just make a few of.
Skip the veggies with hummus and put this Greek Dip together- no cooking required! Layer hummus on the bottom, top with chopped cukes, tomato, feta, and Italian dressing and pita chips or wheat thins to dip. It is a crowd pleaser and couldn’t be easier. Packing tip: bring the hummus, chopped veggies & feta, and dressing all separate and assemble in 1 minute when you arrive at your viewing party.
I’m thinking about pigs in blankets (after finding mini chicken sausages! score!) and a dip seems necessary. What else, well, only time will tell!
A whole bunch of flatbread-ish pizzas on naan are great for a crowd. Build-your-own anything is fun- build your own sandwich/panini would be a festive option. I’d love to do build your own nachos with queso in a crock pot if I were hosting a group! Happy snacking!
Fastest pizza/flatbread ever! I thought about a panini but then wanted it to be a pizza. Wheat naan make the fastest pizza crust ever and I love the individual servings. The really good quality cheddar cheese makes this, and of course the caramelized onions don’t hurt either.
Ham & Cheddar Pizza with a Mustard Drizzle
Ingredients: (for 4)
1 small white onion, cut into slices
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
~2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
2 slices spiral cut ham, diced
4 tablespoons honey mustard dressing
Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400 degrees.
In a small pan, cook the onion in butter or olive oil over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until gently caramelized.
Mix together the “sauce” of cream cheese and dijon.
Spread it onto the naan.
Sprinkle cheese on top, then add the ham and onions.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese melts and the naan starts to crisp. The naan stays mostly soft but the edges crisp a little.
Let cool for about 2 minutes out of the oven, then drizzle with honey mustard dressing.
I loved this! Outside the box pizza toppings are some of my favorites and this was the ideal leftover for some holiday ham slices that made their way into our freezer. Our pre-schooler is obsessed with honey mustard so it was my nod to him too. He ate about 1/3 of one, which I thought was a pretty solid quantity since he often likes his foods separate and meat isn’t always his go-to! It was a reminder too that 2 slices of ham went a very far way when chopped up to become 4 individualized pizzas!
This could be a fun brunch one too since topping it with a fried egg also sounds delicious!
Today I bring you a dessert I made during the holidays but thought it was a good choice for the day my little man turns 4! Woah! He’s just as sweet as these chocolate chip cookie + oreo + brownies.
Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
1 roll of chocolate chip cookie dough (brought to room temperature)
2/3 package of Oreos
1 box brownie mix, prepared as instructed
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Spread the cookie dough into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
Then line up Oreos across the cookie base.
Mix up the brownie mix with eggs, oil, and water, as directed.
Pour the brownie batter on top being careful to pour it all over (it doesn’t spread well without disrupting the Oreos).
Bake for about 45 minutes.
Let cool completely, then cut and enjoy!
I loved this but cooked mine a smidge long for my liking. Go for 45ish minutes. I left mine in for about 55 and that might be too much. I’d also like a bit more cookie on the base so next time I might do 1 & 1/2 rolls of cookie dough…I’m sure the remainder won’t go to waste.
These would be a natural birthday dessert offering for a now-4-year-old, but we’ll have leftover cake, complete with party hats even just for the 3 of us who can sit upright on our own. I’d imagine the babe might get a hat for a few minutes…and a dog or two might partake as well.
Happy New Year! As much as the clean slate and encouragement to do all the right things feels exciting it can also feel overwhelming. Suddenly we’re supposed to switch from Christmas cookies to all the kale salads? My plans for the upcoming year usually start in November, with my blogaversary but after some post-holiday clean up, I was feeling jazzed and inspired to help for those whose resolutions include the kitchen! By now we’re definitely into January but the number date doesn’t have to dictate when to get started on good habits!
I’m interested by the idea of a word for the year and I’m loving the lists of “more XYZ; less ABC” as a way to set some intentions versus specific goals. I asked on instagram what some food/kitchen related resolutions were which led me here!
If you’re trying to be more intentional with meal planning:
- Capsule Meal Planning: gives yourself some structure & starting points to plan a week of meals
- meal planning in 5 steps
- also, write it down! It helps you plan, shop, visually see what’s ahead (so you can prep ahead somewhat) and anyone else who is eating can see it!
- my fav grocery app (Anylist) is now on apple & andriod! Hallelujah! We tried so many when we weren’t both on iphones. You can share the list with family members annnnd save a photo with an item- if you’re super particular about say, pita bread, like me! You can even connect recipes so you shop for all the groceries. I keep lists for groceries, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Target.
If you’re wanting some smart breakfast ideas:
If packing your lunch needs some attention:
If you have a new appliance to play with:
If you’re wanting to do more meal prep in advance
(like me!) I’ll be sharing some of those tips on instagram.
Don’t feel the January pressure to do all the things. Take something that you WANT to do and just stick to that. Or pick a new resolution or intention for each month!
Year of organizing/decluttering
Advanced food prep