While making this dish I learned something new about buttermilk.  Despite what its name implies, it is much lower in fat and calories than a regular cup of milk.  On average, one cup of buttermilk has 99 calories and 2.2 grams of fat.  It is also high in potassium, vitamin B12, calcium, riboflavin as well as a good source of phosphorus.  Feel better about buttermilk?  I  know I do.  

With that said, tonight's meal is a light and fresh dish that you can feel good about eating.  Even better, you can quickly throw everything together, so it works great when you want a home-cooked meal without all the fuss. 

Chicken Paillard with Spinach Salad 
Total Time: 16 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes

What you'll need 
For the Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets 
1/4 cup buttermilk 
1/4 cup flour 
salt and pepper 

For the Salad
2 cups spinach salad 
1/2 cup grape tomatoes 
4 scallions, sliced 
3-4 tablespoons Honey-Buttermilk dressing

For the Dressing
1/4 cup buttermilk 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper to taste 

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Dip seasoned chicken in buttermilk, then dredge in flour. 
2. In a medium skillet, brown chicken in oil over medium-high heat until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add a couple tablespoons of the honey-buttermilk dressing to the chicken.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, add spinach, tomatoes, scallions and dressing.  Toss well.  
4. Top each chicken paillard with salad.  If desired, garnish with fresh parmesan.  Serve and enjoy!
Are you in the mood for a juicy steak?  Well, I've got a great marinade recipe that will help give you just that in today's featured recipe for two -- Pepper Steak.

I'll be serving the Pepper Steak with a side of the other mashed potato -- Mashed Cauliflower.  Mashed cauliflower really can make it work on the dinner plate.  So much so, I didn't even miss the potato.  Therefore, these are a must try, especially if you are looking for a healthier way to enjoy mashed potatoes.  

What you'll need
2 small Ribeye, Round or Sirloin steaks 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon tomato paste 
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
ground black pepper

1. Generously season both sides of the steak with ground black pepper.  Firmly press pepper into meat. 
2. Mix together garlic powder, paprika, tomato paste and soy sauce.  Then, add red wine vinegar.  Mix well.  Pour over meat. 
3. Cover and refrigerate over night.  Turn meat in the morning. 
4. Grill or bake at 300 degrees F. for 1 hour or until meat is cooked to desired doneness. 
Mashed Cauliflower
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

What you'll need

1/2 head of cauliflower
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 scallions, sliced
cheddar cheese

1. Chop the cauliflower and remove the stems.
2. Place the chopped cauliflower in a  medium size pot.  Add enough water to just cover the top of the cauliflower.
3. Bring to a boil.  Cook for 15 minutes.
4. Drain cooked cauliflower and pour into a large bowl.  Add butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.
5. Mash with a potato masher.  Top with cheese, scallions and a little bit of paprika.
6. Serve with Pepper Steak.  Enjoy!
Mashed Cauliflower recipe adapted from A Zesty Bite
With Thanksgiving behind us, I'm back in the chicken spirit with today's featured recipe for two -- Mozzarella and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Roll-Ups.  The creaminess from the mozzarella and the kick of garlic from the sautéed spinach make a great filling for the seasoned and seared chicken cutlets.  

I'll be serving the stuffed chicken with a side of wild rice.  I like to add a half of a cup of grape tomato halves to the wild rice to infuse a sweet taste into every bite. 

Mozzarella and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Roll-Ups
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
4 chicken cutlets
4 slices mozzarella cheese
2 cups spinach 
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press 
Italian style bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1 cup wild rice
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1. In a medium skillet, add garlic and 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  Let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until butter is melted. 
2. Stir in spinach.  Sauté for approximately 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Season one side of the chicken cutlets with Italian style bread crumbs, salt and pepper. 
4. Apply a thin layer of fresh mozzarella cheese and 1 tablespoon of sautéed spinach to each chicken cutlet. 

5. Roll each cutlet over the spinach and mozzarella.  Stick a toothpick through the chicken roll to help hold everything together. 
6. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add stuffed chicken rolls and cover.  Cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through. 
7. Cook rice according to package directions.  Just before serving, remove rice from heat and add tomatoes. Mix well and let rest for 2 minutes. 
8. Serve and enjoy!
Monday: Mozzarella and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Roll-Ups with Wild Rice • sautéed garlic spinach and fresh mozzarella rolled between seasoned chicken cutlets.  Served alongside wild rice and tomatoes

Tuesday: Pepper Steak with Mashed Cauliflower • perfectly seasoned pepper steak served with a side of creamy mashed cauliflower

Wednesday: Chicken Paillard with Honey-Buttermilk Spinach Salad • spinach salad tossed in a honey-buttermilk dressing served over lightly breaded chicken 

Thursday: Gazpacho Salad with Spanish Rice • fresh vegetables, spinach and Spanish Rice tossed together in a spicy and sweet dressing

Friday: Pork Chops with Garlic and Parmesan Cauliflower • pork chops marinated in pineapple and apple juice and seasoned with an oil and paprika basting sauce.  Served alongside garlic and parmesan baked cauliflower  
I have now listed all of my blog posts on the main page of the Recipe Book.  Be sure to check it out, so that you can quickly and easily find your favorite recipes. 
Put your Thanksgiving leftovers to good use by baking them all together in a comforting post-Turkey-Day Casserole.  You'll end up with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and turkey all in one bite.  And what's not to love about that?

Thanksgiving Casserole
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes

What you'll need
mashed potatoes
green beans 
1 can 98% fat free cream of celery soup 
cheddar cheese (optional)
browned bread crumbs (optional)
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. In a small baking dish, line the bottom with a layer of stuffing.  Then, add a layer of mashed potatoes.

3. Sprinkle on a layer of green beans and a layer of turkey. 
4. Top with cream of celery soup.  If desired, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and/or browned breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper. 
5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until soup begins to bubble.  
6. Serve and enjoy!
I try to count my blessings every day, but in the chaos that is life, sometimes we all need to stop for an entire day to reflect on all that we have, as opposed to complaining about all of the things that we don't have.

And today I'm especially grateful for my family, my friends and my freedom.  

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! 
Mashed potatoes don't always have to be a side dish, you can also use them to make a delicious bowl of Chili even more delectable by adding a few spoonfuls of perfectly whipped potatoes to the bottom of your Chili bowl.  I must warn you though, once you've tried Chili with mashed potatoes, it will be hard to ever have a bowl of just Chili again.

What you'll need
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 pound ground turkey 
3/4 to 1 cup water
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced 
1 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 can red kidney beans
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
leftover mashed potatoes (I prefer garlic mashed potatoes)

1. In a large pot add crushed tomatoes, water, celery, salt, pepper and chili powder.  Mix well and simmer. 
2. While the tomato mixture is simmering, sauté onion and pepper in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add ground turkey.  Season generously with garlic salt and pepper.  Cook until ground turkey is no longer pink.  
3. Drain any excess fat from ground turkey.  Add ground turkey, peppers and onion to the tomato mixture.
4. Mix well.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.  Drain red kidney beans.  Add beans to the chili a few minutes before serving.
5. Heat leftover mashed potatoes on the stovetop or in the microwave.  Add a couple of spoonfuls of mashed potatoes to the bottom of your chili bowl. 
6. Pour chili over the mashed potatoes. 
7. Serve and enjoy! 
*Note -- if desired you can top Chili with sour cream, shredded cheese and/or chopped scallions.
Today's featured Turkey Day leftover recipe for two is an old-favorite with an Italian (and Thanksgiving) twist.  With cheese filled tortellini and turkey, this upgraded version of traditional chicken noodle soup is hearty, cheesy and better than ever!   

Turkey Tortellini Soup
Total Time: 50 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes

What you'll need
1 cup onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced 
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1 1/2 cups refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste 

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat.  Mix in onion, celery, carrot, garlic and Italian seasoning. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
2. Stir in broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 
3. Add turkey and tortellini.  Simmer for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until tortellini is cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
4. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Cuisine Tonight Quick and Easy Italian Magazine. 

*Note -- If desired, you can substitute the turkey for rotisserie chicken.
The countdown to Thanksgiving is officially on.  With only three days to go, I've certainly got my Thanksgiving favorites on my mind -- turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes...oh my!

While there is much to anticipate about Thanksgiving dinner, I'm also already looking forward to the leftovers!  If your family tends to cook for a small army, like mine does, then there will be plenty to go around.  

And there are many delicious Thanksgiving leftover inspired meals that you can create, so don't be shy when leftovers are on offer.  I find, if you go in with a game plan, and think of it like a free grocery shopping trip (like my cheap, I mean frugal, self does), you'll end up saving time and money in the days that follow.  Plus, you'll have some really great dishes to enjoy all week long.

To help you with your game plan, I'll be featuring recipes that are inspired by Turkey Day favorites.  I'm going to kick things off with a Spinach and Cranberry Salad with Stuffing Croutons.  This salad is so amazingly good that I don't know where to begin in raving about it, so I'll just leave it at, this is a must try recipe!
Stuffing Croutons
Total Time: 70 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 

What you'll need 
10 tablespoons stuffing 

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 
2. Scoop 1 tablespoon of stuffing and form into a cube.  Repeat 9 more times to make 10 croutons. 
3. Place stuffing cubes onto a baking sheet. 
4. Bake for 1 hour.  

5. Remove from oven.  Let cool.
6. Place the croutons on a plate, and allow them to continue to cool in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. 
Spinach and Cranberry Salad
Total Time: 15 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes

For the salad 
4 cups spinach salad
1 cup cooked green beans 
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
slivered almonds
dried cranberries 
stuffing croutons

For the dressing
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1 shallot, pressed with a garlic press
1 clove garlic, pressed with a garlic press

1. Add spinach, green beans and onion to a large mixing bowl.  Sprinkle on cranberries and slivered almonds. 
2. Top with stuffing croutons. 
3. Mix together dressing ingredients.  Add dressing just before serving. Toss well.
*Note -- you probably won't need to use all of the dressing. I'd apply about half of the dressing, toss, taste and decide if you need more. 
4. Serve and enjoy!
Mom's Stuffing
I know everyone says their Mom makes the best stuffing, but my Mom really does make the best stuffing! It is so good, that I have to share her recipe.  Caution, the quantities aren't reduced for two.  This recipe makes 4 quarts, which should generously serve about 10-12 people.

What you'll need
2 bags unseasoned Cubed Country Style Stuffing (I prefer Pepperidge Farm)
1 package sage flavored Jimmy Dean sausage
1 package reduced fat Jimmy Dean sausage 
4 celery stalks (aka celery ribs), chopped 
1 small onion, chopped
49 ounce can chicken stock
16 ounce carton chicken stock
1 egg 
1 tablespoon butter
1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Sauté celery and onion in butter.  
2. Add sausage.  Brown sausage, while stirring frequently, until sausage is cooked through, about 15 minutes. 
3. Add bread cubes to a large mixing bowl.  Top with sausage, celery and onion.  
4. Pour in 49 ounce can of chicken broth.  Mix well. 
5. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
6. Before baking, add the additional 16 ounces of broth and 1 egg.  Mix well. 
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
8. Transfer stuffing to a 4 quart baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes.  Serve and gobble, gobble!