Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayo

Happy Monday, I hope you had a fabulous weekend! Our weekend was great; we had friends visiting from Chicago. The unusually mild January weather allowed us to go to the zoo on Saturday morning. We also enjoyed brunch out, as well as Saturday night drinks and dinner with a group of friends. Like most weekends with guests, I felt like I was in an eating competition. First off, our friends brought my favorite guilty pleasure from Chicago, Doughnut Vault! We literally devoured the doughnuts with coffee before the zoo. I was in sugar heaven. Then, Saturday night was a fried chicken dinner and all the tasty sides at Old Standard. It never fails that I find myself trying to get back to healthier eating come Monday! Does everyone go through this crazy cycle, or is it just me?!

To start off the week, we’re eating Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayo from Cooking Light. I’ve been loving spaghetti squash lately because of its versatility. It can be topped off with any sauce, eaten with other veggies, or even with just a little olive oil and parmesan. The fact that I’d never prepared spaghetti squash in fritter form was what drew me to this recipe. Plus, I knew that the sriracha mayo dipping sauce would interest my husband! I’ll be serving the fritters with a big salad, but they would also be great alongside a bowl of soup. I love that these were unique, not difficult to make (although they do take a little time), and that I can cook the spaghetti squash in advance and prepare the rest at another time. I’m certain that spaghetti squash lovers and skeptics would enjoy these fritters!

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Spaghetti Squash Fritters with Sriracha Mayo

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

What You Need

  • 1 (2-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 1 (8-ounce) package baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 5 teaspoons canola mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

What To Do

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Place squash halves, cut sides up, in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave at HIGH 20 minutes or until tender. Let stand 10 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghettilike strands to measure 4 cups.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach to pan; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Place squash and spinach on a clean dish towel; squeeze until barely moist. Coarsely chop squash mixture, and place in a large bowl. Add panko and next 4 ingredients (through baking powder), and toss well to combine. Beat egg in a separate bowl and fold egg whites into squash mixture.
  3. Fill a 1/4-cup dry measuring cup with squash mixture. Invert onto work surface; gently pat into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture, forming 10 patties total. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add 5 patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove patties from pan; keep warm. Repeat the procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and squash patties.
  4. Combine mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with fritters.


I did cook my spaghetti squash in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour, then I cut it in half and scraped out seeds and then squash. I included the microwave directions from the original recipe for those who would like to save time. Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. You may need another tablespoon of oil for frying the fritters. Also, Cooking Light reviews did say that adding sautéed onion to the fritters added great flavor. I did not make mine that way, but would like to try that next time.

Thick Turkey Chili

You know what’s really sad? Not like sad sad, but more just unfortunate? When your favorite lipstick color gets discontinued. Or when you go to Trader Joe’s specifically to buy shredded brussels sprouts, and then they’re fresh out. Or when your neighborhood restaurant with the best turkey chili EVER either goes out of business or changes their recipe. This last “tragedy” has happened to me twice, once in Chicago and now in St. Louis. Isn’t this like lightning striking twice in the same place?! What’s a girl to do?!

I set out on a mission to find a turkey chili recipes that rivals the two now unattainable bowls of chili. What I loved about the restaurants’ chili is the thickness, flavor and uniformity. I prefer my chili to be the same throughout, not having tons of big chunks. Although the recipe that I found is pretty darn amazing, I still haven’t mastered the exact texture that I’m aiming for. However, I’ve started adding an extra step that helps me get close: I put the cooked turkey meat in the food processor. Hear me out here. I know this sounds bizarre, but no matter how long I stand at the stove and try to break up the meat in a pan, I still can’t get the finely and uniform bites that I prefer. So, putting the ground turkey in the food processor and pulsing it just two or three times helps me get what I want out of my chili. Of course, you don’t have to do this extra step, but its completely worth it from my perspective, and I hope you agree!

I’m still mourning the loss of my favorite places to get turkey chili, but until I discover another restaurant that has it down, my version will be serving as a great stand-in.

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Thick Turkey Chili

Recipe adapted from

What You Need

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow sweet onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans in chili sauce (do not drain)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 (10 ounce) cans tomatoes and green chilies
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and onions for garnish

What To Do

  1. Chop all vegetables into small pieces.
  2. In a large pot saute the vegetables in olive oil until soft. 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan, cook ground turkey until fully cooked. Do not worry about getting the meat into very small pieces. When the meat is done, add it to the bowl of a food processor. Using the Pulse function, pulse the meet about 3 times, until the meet is ground into fine, tiny pieces. We're not trying to liquify it or anything! If you do not care about bigger chunks of meat, you can skip this step.
  4. Add the meat to the cooked veggies.
  5. Stir in all seasonings; cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, celery salt, kosher salt. Mix well to incorporate all the seasonings.
  6. Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and pinto beans with the chili sauce.
  7. Mix all ingredients well. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour to meld all the flavors and thicken the chili. Stir often. Be sure to taste the mixture to see if it needs more salt, pepper or chili powder to your liking.
  8. Ladle chili into large bowls and garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and finely chopped fresh onion.

Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables

It’s official: the holidays are over and it’s back to reality! This past week was a lot of fun with New Year’s Eve and my husband’s friend in town. For New Years we stayed in and cooked a feast with our friends. We ate our hearts out, dining on crab legs, flank steak with chimichuri sauce, Caesar salad, roasted brussels sprouts, steak fries, and chocolate lava cake with vanilla gelato for dessert! Needless to say, like most people beginning their New Year’s resolutions today, I’m ready to get back to healthier eating and to get started on my resolutions.

So, on the first Monday of the year, I wanted to start the week right with some good “Meatless Monday” food in the fridge. I made a Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Fontina so I could have a veggie-packed dish that would still satisfy after eating all the rich and heavy food last week. If you’ve never had farro, it is a hearty, nutty grain that is sort of like a cross between barley and rice. This dish combines many of my favorite veggies, and is topped off with balsamic, olive oil and chunks of creamy fontina cheese. The best part is, you can add whatever combination of veggies that sounds good to you. I’m looking forward to having this in my fridge for the next few days.

I hope your year is off to a great start!

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Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Veggies and Fontina

Yield: 3-4 servings

Recipe from The Kitchn, with slight adaptations

What You Need

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes (I sliced mine in half, but can leave them whole)
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, cut into small chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered (or minced if you don't like garlic chunks)
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup farro
  • 2-3 ounces fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • small handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

What To Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and onion in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper, chopped rosemary, and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the farro. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, season with salt, and add the farro. Cook for 10 minutes, (or according to package directions) until soft but still chewy in the center. Drain.
  4. Combine the cooked farro and vegetables, then add the fontina and parsley. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, seasoning with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the farro mixture.

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars

Like many people, the week leading up to the new year really gets me thinking about my new year’s resolution(s). In the past I’ve made some resolutions that have stuck, and I’ve made others that haven’t. Back in high school I gave up pop (aka soda), and a few years ago I vowed to give up artificial sweeteners; I’m proud to say, both of these resolutions are still in effect today. As I look to the year ahead, I’m thinking my new year’s resolutions are going to be to drink more water and to (try to) reduce processed foods. The latter one is tough, since occassionally processed foods are needed for convenience purposes, not to mention, sometimes they taste good!

One way I already try to reduce my processed food in take is by making one of my favorite, go-to snacks, rather than buying it packaged. I love granola bars because they’re filling, satisfying, easy to grab on the go, and they’re something I can give to my son. There are so many recipes for granola bars, but when I discovered this simple version of Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars, I knew it was a winner. With sweet dates, oatmeal, almonds, almond butter and chocolate chips, this recipe is sure to please almost any palate. Since making this recipe several times, I’ve switched out the almond butter for peanut butter, and I’ve also tried dried blueberries instead of chocolate chips. In addition to changing the nut butters, I’ve also used almond slivers instead of whole almonds when I’m giving this to my son. The best part is that these granola bars can be stored in the freezer for prolonged freshness, and they thaw in only about 15 minutes on the counter!

Before I share the recipe, I wanted to tell you about a great program and special offer that I’ve learned about through my partnership with Cooking Light Magazine. Although I don’t know the exact stats, I’d guess that the majority of people making resolutions focus on health or weight loss, so telling you about the Cooking Light Diet comes at a good time! The CLD is calorie-driven weekly meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Through the plan, you’ll receive a meal plan, that is easily customizable, sent to your inbox. You’ll receive sample menus, and if you don’t like something on the menu, easily swap it out by scrolling through the many alternatives that fit within the calorie allotment. If you’re interested in signing up for the Cooking Light Diet, visit and use coupon code DIETSAVE20 to save 20%.

I wish you all luck with your resolutions and a very happy New Year!

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Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars

Adapted from the Minimalist Baker

What You Need

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey (sub maple syrup or agave if needed)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter or unsweetened peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup raw nuts (almonds, almond slivers or pecans)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips or dried blueberries (or any other dried fruit)

What To Do

  1. Place dates in a food processor and mix until small bits remain and they form a ball. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add oats, nuts, and chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking down the dates so they disperse fairly evenly throughout the ingredients. Small chunks are OK.
  2. Warm honey and almond butter in a microwave safe dish, (being careful not to heat too long), pour over dry ingredients. Stir quickly to evenly coat. The chocolate chips will get a little melty, which is great.
  3. Transfer to a shallow pan (such as 8×8 or loaf pan) lined with parchment or plastic wrap and top with another piece of plastic wrap and use your hands to form the mixture into a tight square (keeping in mind you want them about 1/2 thick and you’ll cut them into 10-12 bars) with a uniformly flat top.
  4. Still covered, pop them into the freezer to set for 15 minutes. Remove and cut into 10-12 bars. Store in an airtight container or bag in the fridge to keep fresh, or in the freezer for longer term storage.

Happy Holidays


It’s a beautiful day in St. Louis today, and it doesn’t feel at all like Christmas. We’re spending time outside and later going to family’s house for a delicious meal. Whatever your holiday traditions entail, I wish you and your family a Happy Holiday!

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