I was kind of scared about this weeks BSI choice – I am not that familiar with artichokes at all!   Have you ever had marinated artichoke hearts?  OMG, so delicious – just by themselves!  So while I was going to do one dish for two different contests (the second being 5-Star Foodies pasta makeover) I decided to make two different dishes.

First up – artichoke pasta!  So simple really!  And total credit goes to Tony – he came up with this one! 😀

Biz’s Artichoke Pasta

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, drained

Yep – that’s it!  I decided this was six servings, so each serving comes in at 266 calories, 2.1 fat, 51 carbs, 3.7 fiber and 9.6 protein.

drain the artichokes, but make sure to reserve the liquid for your pasta sauce

pulse until dough forms into a ball - about 1 minute 😀

I absolutely love the feel of this dough - can you see the bits of artichoke in the dough?

I used my Atlas hand roller to roll out the dough

It takes about 10 times through to get the right texture

I used the fettucine attachment

I separated the strands before putting in hot, salted water.

ready for the water! it only takes about 2-3 minutes to cook


For the sauce I started with this can of tomatoes:

I heated up 1 teaspoon olive oil and browned some minced garlic – about a tablespoon.  Then I added the tomatoes and cooked for about 30 minutes.  I removed from heat, added 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and 1/2 cup fat free half and half – I wanted the pasta to stand out so I went with a light sauce.

it was a delicious lunch!

So for my BSI entry, I decided to use 1/6th of the dough to make pizza!  I wasn’t sure if the dough would work since it’s got eggs in it, but wow, did it come out great!!

I rolled out the dough and cooked the dough blind for about 5 minutes at 425 degrees.

For the sauce I used this – about a heaping tablespoon – a little of this goes a long way!  I can’t wait to toss it in some pasta!

Then topped it with 2 ounces of fresh mozzarella:

Bake an additional 8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned.

Holy yum is this a delicious pizza!  The oil from the jarred pesto kind of melted into the dough, making the outside really crispy, but the inside was super tender.

So who knew that pasta dough could become pizza dough??!!

Reason 1,061 I love Tony! He made me sauerkraut!  Tony made dinner last night – he saw a recipe where you cook ribs in a dutch oven covered in sauerkraut and cooked with white wine.  It simmered in the oven for about 5 hours at 220 degrees.  I cannot express how good this sauerkraut was!  It was so flavorful from the ribs!  About an hour before coming out of the oven, we added diced red potatoes:

Look at how delicious this looks!!

Since I am the only one who likes sauerkraut, I am going to try to make a sausage/kraut soup with the leftovers!

He then finished the ribs off on the grill – my barbecue sauce was bottled mustard/vinegar sauce – a perfect compliment to the sauerkraut!

I got to look at our pretty lawn while grilling – it looks great Tony!  Whenever I try to cut the grass, it never turns out as good and it takes me 5 times as long!  I am kind of scared to go fast on the riding mower for some reason!

My dinner plate:

Thanks for dinner Tony - it was delicious!

I have lots of inspiration this week for my meal plan!  Check these out!

What’s on your menu this week?

Enjoy your Sunday!  Looks like a pretty day in Chicagoland! 😀

Spaghetti Squash/Quinoa casserole!

Thanks to, I was introduced to spaghetti squash, and haven’t looked back since!

But I found that I was only using it as I would spaghetti – topped with pasta sauce and cheese.

I wish I had come up with this idea, but I got it from here:

I did change it up a bit, with what I had on hand, and changed some amounts to make it healthier (AND NO ONIONS!).  This is four servings!

here it is before getting mixed together - love only using one bowl!

here it is before getting mixed together - love only using one bowl!

can you see the bits of bacon and quinoa?!  Yum!

can you see the bits of bacon and quinoa?! Yum!

  • 2 cups cooked spaghetti squash, chopped
  • 8 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (forgot to add bacon before I took the pic above!)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • two big pinches of crushed red pepper
  • cracked pepper to taste

Each serving: 314 calories, 16.25 fat, 22.5 carbs, 1.25 fiber, 19 protein

My daughter and I each had a sliver while still warm last night, and it reminds us of quiche.  And guess what?  She actually had a slice for breakfast! 

I imagine this would be good for a Sunday brunch for something a bit different.  And since the spaghetti squash was chopped, you really couldn’t taste the spaghetti squash, everything just melded so well together!

UPDATE: After my friend and I reheated this for lunch, we both agreed that it was a tad dry, and we think that you could pass this off as a spaghetti squash/quinoa lasagna.  Making the same recipe as stated above, however, serving it with warm marinara drizzled over the top with grated Parmesan cheese. 

566 calories, 25 fat, 6 fiber, 37 carbs, 46 protein

With my huge side salad: 566 calories, 25 fat, 6 fiber, 37 carbs, 46 protein

It took me forever to find quinoa, and when I did, all the initial recipes I tried called for it cold, like a pasta salad.  I didn’t like it.  BUT I LOVE IT WARM!

Biggest Loser is on tonight!  See you at dinner!

Prince spaghetti

I love spaghetti squash, but no one in my family will touch it with a 10 foot pole, so I just bring it for my lunch.


  • 9 ounces cooked spaghetti squash
  • 1 ounce diced pepperoni
  • .5 ounce mozzarella cheese
  • 4 ounces homemade marinara

I just put everything in a skillet to heat it up and added a nice pinch of Mrs. Dash spicy seasoning (lots of crushed red pepper!)

307 calories, 16 fat, 4.6 fiber, 29 carbs, 13 protein

307 calories, 16 fat, 4.6 fiber, 29 carbs, 13 protein

I forgot to mention that after I dropped Hannah off at school, I went to the fitness center.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but then saw the spinning bike was open.  I did sprints/hills for 30 minutes.  Start out with 5 minute warm-up, the 5 minute of standing hill, 5 minute sprint, 5 minute hill, 5 minute sprint, 5 minute cool down.  I was sweaty after that!

Today at lunch I could only do 30 minutes of the treadmill because I did it at 15% incline!  I thought I was going to die, but I pretended Jillian was behind me ready to yell if I didn’t hit the 30 minute mark!  I did 5 minute cool-down after that – it said I burned 303 calories in 35 minutes, but I never know if those are accurate.

Okay, 5 minutes of lunch break left!  See you all at dinner.

BBQ Lunch

I had some leftoever ground sirloin from our tacos last week that I needed to use up, and thought a burger sounded good for lunch.  It was 3 ounces raw, and about 2.5 ounces cooked.  Added 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese, spinach, pickled jalapenos and lots of mustard (which I LOVE!).

My mother-in-law got me this book earlier this summer (and its autographed! – the picture of my book didn’t turn out)


Bon Appetit magazine hosted a show of all the best foods around the United States.  Best pizza, best seafood, etc.  Well the best barbecue in the United States is a little place in of all places, Murphreysboro Illinois!

What caught my attention was that their barbecue sauce was a mustard/vinegar base.  My husband quickly ordered me two bottles and their “magic dust” for my birthday last year.  So good!

What I like about this book is that not only is it a cookbook, but a story of all the famous small town barbecue joints around the country, and how they started.  My side dish for today’s lunch was an adaptation of their red slaw cabbage (paired down to 2 servings instead of 10).

  • 4 cups chopped red cabbage (9 ounces)
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/16 cup splenda (not sure what the equivalent is – tablespoon?)
  • 1/8 cup ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce

Whole recipe is 106 calories, 1 fat, 26 carbs, 6 fiber and 4 protein.  What made this slaw for me is another gift from my MIL, a hot sauce from Naples, Florida.

It’s called Good and Evil Hot Sauce and has a nice citrus hint to the hot sauce.  I love hot sauces, but I am not just looking for the burn.  It has to be flavorfully  hot and this fits the bill.

My other side dish was homemade potato chips.  I thinly sliced 4 ounces of potato.  Sprayed with Pam and sprinkled with french fry seasoning.  Baked in a preheated 350 oven for 10 minutes.  I then turned off the oven and left them in there overnight.  It ended up being 1 ounce of potato chips.


  • 1 Thomas’ light english muffin
  • 2.5 sirloin steak burger
  • 1 ounce spinach
  • 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese
  • pickled jalapeno peppers
  • lots of yellow mustard
  • 1 ounce potato chips
  • red cabbage slaw
522 calories, 21 fat, 64 carbs, 15.3 fiber (wow!), 33.5 protein

522 calories, 21 fat, 64 carbs, 15.3 fiber (wow!), 33.5 protein