Mexican Pasta with Meatballs and Tomatillo Sauce

Hubby said I could make this again.  It has a nice tangy, smoky taste.


Mexican Pasta with Tomatillo Sauce and Meatballs

2 c. Smart Taste penne


½ c. diced onion
1 lb 99% fat free ground turkey or chicken
1 egg
½ c. panko
2 TB fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 TB finely chipped fresh thyme
Few dashes hot sauce
Fresh ground black pepper


1/3 c. onion
Smoked garlic powder
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
1 c. Mexican beer (or broth)
10 tomatillos, diced
2 TB fresh chopped cilantro
Smoked salt, to taste
1 chipotle pepper, finely diced
1 tsp chili powder
Couple dashes smoked paprika

 Preheat oven to 400*. Bring pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook pasta al dente.

Meanwhile, combine meatball ingredients and shape into 24-25 meatballs. Bake on jellyroll pan for 15 minutes.

Spray large skillet with cooking spray and add onion, garlic powder and jalapenos. Cook 5 minutes and add beer and cook 1 minute.  Add tomatillos, cilantro, salt, chipotle pepper, chili powder and paprika. Fold in pasta and meatballs.

Yield: 4 servings.

DDD Review- The Monument Cafe

DDD Review #4  The Monument Café, Georgetown TX  5/27/18


As we headed home today we stopped in Georgetown for one more DDD restaurant, and were we glad we did!  It’s a little bit off highway 35 but not difficult to find. We arrived about 11:30 and we had to wait 10-15 minutes for a table–this place was packed! They have a nice courtyard outside with coolers of water for you while you wait. Lots of herbs growing outside, an apple tree, and I think I saw rhubarb out there!  Hubby ordered the corned beef hash ($12), made with brisket, sweet potato, carrot and topped with two poached eggs, plush some peppers that gave it a nice spicy flavor, but no heat to burn your face off.  I ordered a breakfast taco ($4) with eggs, bacon, cheese and potatoes stuffed in a flour tortilla. We split a cinnamon roll, which is actually for mini cinnamon rolls and they were perfect! Perfectly doughy (no dry dough here!) with cinnamon and sweet frosting. Yum!

We give The Monument Café ***** (5/5 stars)




DDD Review- Maria’s Taco Xpress

DDD Review #3   Maria’s Taco Xpress, Austin TX  5/26/18


Saturday Hubby and I did a little shopping in San Marcos then stopped by Maria’s Taco Xpress on our way back to the hotel in Austin. What a delightful place! The outside is colorful and creative with a outside eating area and balcony eating area as well. Inside is cozy and sports a wall of articles about Maria’s Taco Xpress.  This little gem made it on a Rachael Ray $40 a Day, besides DDD. Hubby had street tacos with delicious seasoned beef (chipotle?). I had huevos ranchero which included eggs over easy with pico, potatoes, refried beans and bacon.  No way to go wrong there.  We ordered salsa and chips –good salsa!

We give Maria’s Taco Xpress ***** (5/5 stars)


DDD Review- The Noble Pig

DDD Review #2- The Noble Pig, Austin TX   5/25/18


So Hubby and I took a little trip to Austin this weekend to celebrate our 1st anniversary and of course we found some DDD restaurants to visit. After rolling into town we found our way to The Noble Pig. It was about 2:30p so there wasn’t a large crowd inside but there were a couple tables enjoying the small sandwich shop.  Hubby ordered The Noble Pig sandwich on bacon bread ($9) and I ordered a half Cuban ($5.50).  Both sandwiches were delicious! My Cuban had a little pickle and mayo action, delightful with the ham. Hubby says his sandwich was “the”.    : /   “The bacon in the bread gave it a crunchy texture, the meats were well seasoned, juicy and delicious.”  The sandwiches come with fresh-made chips that were crisp and tasty, maybe a light garlic salt?  Also there is a tasty relish. Try the carrots!

We give it ***** (5/5 stars)

TASTY!  I love subbing butternut squash for higher carb veggies like potatoes.

Butternut squash chili cheese fries
 1  medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds — large enough to yield 20 ounces uncooked flesh)
1 cup low-fat veggie or turkey chili
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp. kosher (or regular) salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Optional Toppings: fat-free sour cream, chopped scallions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Poke a couple holes in the squash with a knife and put in the microwave for 3 minutes or so.  After it’s cool, use a sharp knife to remove the ends of the squash. Cut squash in half widthwise (making it easier to manage) and then peel squash halves using a vegetable peeler or a knife. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and then scoop out all the seeds. Next, cut squash into french fry shapes (for best results, try to keep them even in size). Using a paper towel, pat squash pieces firmly to absorb any excess moisture. Place squash in a bowl, add a light mist of nonstick spray, and sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper. Toss squash to evenly distribute salt and pepper, and then transfer to a large baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Use 2 pans if needed. Squash pieces should lie flat in the pan. Place pan(s) in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or so (longer for thick-cut fries, shorter for skinnier fries), flipping halfway through baking. Fries are done when they are starting to brown on the edges and get crispy. Leaving the oven on, transfer fries to a large oven-safe plate. Prepare the chili as directed on the package, and then pour it over the fries. Sprinkle with cheese, and place the plate in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Carefully remove from the oven and, if you like, top with sour cream and scallions. Makes 2 enormous and amazingly delicious servings.

Colander Planter

I found this cute silver colander at a thrift store for 70 cents. Today I finally turned it into an adorable planter.

colander 1colander 2  I got this chain at a home improvement store and just cut the link with bolt cutters. That hook goes into the holes on the colander.

colander 3   Got this carabiner at the home improvement store too. It works great to hold all 3 chains and connects to the hook to hang.

colander 4colander 5    And there you have it!  I got this sad clearance plant for $3. It just needs a little love…ok…water.

colander 6

If I decide to make it shorter I can just place a different link into the carabiner. No problem.

Cauliflower Fritters

These were really good. Hubby took the leftovers to work. “Those make a great snack!” he said.

Cauliflower Fritters

1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets

½ c. Bisquick

3 large eggs

1 pkg dry Italian dressing powder


Process cauliflower in food processor until finely minced. Place in large bowl and add Bisquick, eggs and dressing powder. Spray large skillet with cooking spray and put 4 large scoops of cauliflower mixture into pan, patting down into patty shape. When bottom is lightly browned flip over.  Continue until all cauliflower mixture is used.

Yield: 12 large fritters