Tag Archives: spinach

Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs.

Happy Friday, everyone!  This blog update is actually a two-fer.

A few weeks ago, we had some spaghetti and meatballs that a friend had made.  Turns out, the Fruitaholic really went crazy for the meatballs.  When I asked my friend for the recipe the other day, she kind of laughed and said that they were from Trader Joes!

So, I was all set to run over to TJ’s to stock my freezer when I came across a recipe for a pasta bake with mini meatballs.  BINGO.  I had found tonight’s dinner, and already had most of the ingredients at home.

I tweaked the recipe a bit for both the meatballs and the pasta bake and they came out great. I added an entire bag of baby spinach, which allowed me to “sneak” another vegetable into the Fruitaholic’s diet.  I’m really glad that we decided to split the dish into two small casserole dishes and freeze one so that we have another one waiting for a day when I’m too lazy to cook!  We used all of the meatballs in the pasta bake (except for the 6 or so that the Fruitaholic gobbled down) so I’m going to make another batch for the freezer this weekend.

This recipe can be made even healthier by using whole wheat pasta, adding additional vegetables, and subbing ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef.  It’s super adaptable, which I love!

Baked Meatballs – inspired by The Parsley Thief

– 1 Lb Ground Beef
– 1/2 Cup Panko
– 1/4 Cup Parmesan
– 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
– 1 Egg, Lightly Beaten
– Generous Splash of Milk
– Generous Splash of Worchestershire
– Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine all ingredients and mix gently by hand.  Form into balls (size of your choice) and place on a lightly oiled, foil lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12-25 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs – inspired by and adapted from The Parsley Thief

– 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
– 1 Onion, Chopped
– 4 Cloves Garlic, Smashed and Sliced
– 1 Can Diced Tomatoes, Drained
– 1 Jar Pasta Sauce
– 1 Box Rigatoni, Cooked Al Dente
– 1 16 oz Bag Baby Spinach, Chopped
– 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
– 1 Container Ricotta
– 1/4 Cup Parmesan
– 1 Container Baby Mozzarella Balls, Halved
– Baked Meatballs (see above recipe)
– 1 Pinch Nutmeg
– Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Warm olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, add sauce and cook an additional 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, parsley, ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg.  Add pasta, meatballs and sauce and mix to combine.  Reserve some sauce for serving.

Transfer to baking dish and top with mozzarella.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until browned, about 5 minutes.


MC’s Stuffed Chicken Rollettes with Spinach Salad.

I have something to admit to y’all.  I really can’t take any credit for this dish.  I didn’t have any part in cooking it.  I did, however, take part in the consumption of our entree.  This dish was prepared by my dear friend MC, the very person who the dinner party was in honor of.

MC and I met back in 2006, when we were working for the Coffee Devil and we’ve been besties ever since.

The one good thing the Coffee Devil bestowed upon the world.

When MC moved back to the Northeast in 2009, it was hard to get used to not having her around.    She’s my sister from another mister.  But, people, she’s onto bigger and better things and in about 2 years, I know she’s going to come running back to sweet home Chicago.

And so I present to you, MC’s Stuffed Chicken Rollettes with Spinach Salad – slightly adapted from Weight Watchers

– 2 tsp. Olive Oil, divided

– 1 Onion, chopped

– 10 oz Fresh Spinach

– 1 tsp lemon zest

– 1/4 cup Feta Cheese (we used low-fat)

– 1/4 cup Dried Apricots, chopped

– 1 tsp Salt

– 1/2 tsp Pepper

– 1 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Cutlets

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil.  Add onion to pan and saute until golden, about 5 minutes.

Wilt spinach, stir in zest, feta, apricots, salt and pepper.  Set aside

Divide spinach mixture between cutlets.  Roll up and secure with toothpicks.  Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.

In the same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Remove toothpicks before serving.

We served the Stuffed Chicken Rollettes over a spinach salad with an easy dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and parmesan cheese.

Tackling the Green Monster.

No, not this Green Monster (see you this weekend, btw!):

courtesy of wikimedia.com via google image search

I’m talking about this one:

note the irony here...


I’ve been drinking one of these bad boys for breakfast every morning for about a week now.  I came across the Green Monster while browsing the food blogs.  They’re chock full of nutrients and supposedly make your skin look better and your hair and nails grow faster and stronger.  I haven’t noticed much of a change in that respect yet, but man are they yummy!  I’ve never been a regular breakfast eater, but I find myself craving one when I wake up in the morning.  It definitely has a “green” taste, but you can adjust it to your preferred sweetness to mask it a bit.  I’ve found that with the exception of one shake that I’ve made, the greeniness doesn’t bother me.

Below is the recipe for the “Virgin Monster,” which is perfect for, uh, Green Monster virgins.


1 cup milk  – I’ve been using almond milk, because it’s delicious, but you can use any milk you want.

1 banana  – the riper the better!

1-2 handfuls spinach

1 tbsp flax seed

– Combine ingredients in your blender of choice (I like the Magic Bullet).  Blend for 1 minute.  Add ice to blender (I find 4 cubes to be the perfect amount of coldness) and blend again for 1 minute.

– Pour into glass and enjoy!

For more information on the Green Monster and for more recipes, visit Green Monster Movement