Summer lunches have been interesting so far.

One day last week my 4 year old requested a vienna sausage sandwich.

Yeah. Vienna sausages on bread.

Even my husband – who could live on fried bologna sandwiches – gave that one a “WTF” when I told him about it.

I just have no interest in cooking actual meals at lunch time. So it’s microwavable mac & cheese cups and hot dogs most days. With an occasional vienna sausage sandwich thrown in.

I wanted to change things up but still keep it simple. These Zesty Turkey Roll-Ups were perfect for a outside lunch one day when they were splashing around in mud puddles (that they created by dumping out their little pool as soon as I filled it up).

They roll-ups are super colorful and fun and amazingly, my kids did not complain about the lettuce or the tomato. Or the strange green tortilla!

Zesty Turkey Roll-Ups

adapted from Oh Sweet Basil


1 cup mayo
1 (1.25 ounce) packet taco seasoning
6 large spinach flour tortillas
1 pound deli-sliced turkey
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 roma tomatoes, diced
green leaf lettuce


  1. Stir together mayo and taco seasoning. Start with about half of the packet and add more to taste.
  2. To assemble, spread desired amount of mayo on each tortilla. Place turkey slices on one side of the tortilla. Layer lettuce, tomatoes, and lettuce in the center of the tortilla.
  3. Starting on the side with the turkey, roll the tortilla up tightly. Use a bit more mayo if you need to, to help keep the tortilla closed.
  4. Sliced each rolled tortilla into 8 slices. Refrigerate until ready to eat.


I’m going through this phase where I’m obsessed with sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash. And I make them both the same way, multiple times a day. Because when your husband deployed and your kids want hot dogs for every meal, you can eat spaghetti squash all day long and no one complains!

I normally just cook up a couple pieces of chopped up bacon, cook the spaghetti squash (or shredded sweet potatoes) in the yummy bacon fat, and then top it all with a runny-yolk egg.

But this weekend I went back to an old favorite: Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai!

And I realize there is absolutely nothing authentic about this Pad Thai but when you’re doing the paleo thing, this feels like a takeout cheat meal. But it’s still paleo! And delicious!

It’s really easy to customize to suit your needs/likes too. I add all sorts of veggies to it typically and have use ground beef, chicken breasts, even ground pork.

One year ago: The Seductive Swan
Two years ago:  Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream
Three years ago: Taco Pasta
Four years ago: Cardamom Crumb Cake
Five years ago: Cheesecake

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai


For the sauce:
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter or almond butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
To make the Pad Thai:
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
1/2 pound ground turkey (or any meat, really)
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup snap peas, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 cups cooked spaghetti squash


    To make the sauce:
  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make the Pad Thai:
  3. Whisk the eggs with the coconut aminos (or soy sauce).
  4. Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat in a medium-sized pan until melted. Add egg mixture and scramble until cooked through. Set aside.
  5. In a separate large pan, heat remaining teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Add turkey and cook, breaking up, until no pink remained. Drain if necessary. Add onion and snap peas and stir until vegetables have softened, about 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in spaghetti squash and sauce. Stir to coat everything with the sauce. Heat until everything is hot.
  7. Garnish with raw, sliced snap peas, green onions, and cashews or almonds.


My kids love meatballs. I could literally put a bowl of meatballs – no sauce, no pasta, nothing – in front of them and they would tell me it was the best meal they ever had.

I’ve had these Turkey Teriyaki Meatballs bookmarked forever but kept putting it off because I wasn’t sure if they would dig the teriyaki sauce. I finally made these a few weeks ago and my kids gobbled them up. There were zero meatballs left when my husband came home from the gym. Whoops.

They really are delicious and pretty healthy. And I especially love that the recipe only calls for things that I always have in the house! I served them on brown rice and drizzled some of the sauce over the rice but you could just serve them on toothpicks as an appetizer if you wanted.

Three years ago: Salted Butter Break-Ups
Four years ago: Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Five years ago: Parmesan Pull-Aparts

Turkey Teriyaki Meatballs


For the meatballs:
1 1/4 lb. ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Add all of the ingredients for the meatballs to a large bowl and use your hands to combine until evenly distributed – try not to overmix. Using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture (I just eyeballed it), form the meatballs by rolling the mixture into a ball in your hands. Arrange the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  3. To make the sauce: Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small pan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
  4. When the meatballs have finished cooking, remove them from the oven and brush liberally with the sauce then return to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.


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I’m sure I’ve talked about my love of hashbrowns a million times but today I’m going to talk about it some more. I love fried potatoes in pretty much every form but I’m pretty sure I could happily survive on hashbrowns alone for the rest of my life.

About a month ago I posted a recipe using the diced hashbrowns and it became a family favorite almost instantly.

This past weekend I headed to Walmart for an Ore Ida Hash Browns demo. I hung out with the sweet demo lady for about an hour and got to hear all about the Ore Ida Hash Browns and the Cheesy Potato Casserole that she was making. It’s delicious and super simple!

Cheesy Potato Casserole

from Ore Ide


1 (10.5 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup *
2 Cups Sour cream
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground black pepper
2 Cups Shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 Cup Sliced green onions
1 Package (30 oz.) Ore-Ida® Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes
2 Cups Crushed corn flake cereal
1/4 Cup Butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together soup, sour cream, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese, onion and hash browns until well mixed. Spoon evenly into baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together cereal and butter. Sprinkle evenly on top of hash brown mixture.
  4. Bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if desired. Garnish with additional sliced green onion if desired.

After tasting the Cheesy Potato Casserole at the demo, I wanted to make something with the Ore Ida Shredded Hash Browns and I came up with this Hashbrown Taco Casserole.

i know, sounds weird but hear me out. Whenever my BFF from back home and I would make late night runs to our favorite taco drive-thru, I always got a potato taco. I just love them!

So there’s everything that I’d put in a potato taco but without the taco shell! I used the Ore Ida Shredded Hash Browns, ground turkey, beans, olives, cheese. It turned out really good and if you had some taco shells in your pantry, you could definitely make a extra delicious meal by stuffing this into them!

Ore Ida has an awesome Disney’s Frozen Sweepstakes going on right now which you can check out on their site.

Hashbrown Taco Casserole


1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 pound lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can kidney beans
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 cup salsa
3 cups Ore Ida Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes, thawed
2 cups cheddar cheese
sour cream, cilantro, and extra salsa, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 3 quart baking dish with oil. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Once hot, add onion and ground turkey. Cook, breaking apart meat, until turkey is completely cooked through. Drain if necessary and return to pan over medium heat.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together taco seasoning and water. Add to the turkey mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and allow it to cook down until the meat is coated in the taco seasoning.
  4. Stir in kidney beans, black olives, salsa, and Ore-Ida Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes.
  5. Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over top. Spoon the remaining mixture into the dish and top with the rest of the cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until the dish is bubbly and the hash browns are completely cooked.
  7. Serve hot with sour cream, cilantro, and extra salsa on the side.



One thing I wanted to do this year, in regards to this little blog, is give away a bunch of cookbooks. (And also buy a lot of cookbooks for myself. But that’s beside the point.)

So every month I’m going to pick out a just released cookbook and buy a copy for me and one for a lucky reader. I won’t be accepting freebies for reviews so these will all be books that I’ve been anticipating and books that make me excited to cook.

I’m kicking it off with my all-time, all-time, all-time favorite Top Chef contestant’s books. Cooking with Love by Carla Hall! This one actually came out a few months ago but January was slim pickins so I cheated a little. I was super excited about this book and got even more excited when I opened to the table of contents and saw she has a gumbo recipe named after the Saints! The whole book is filled with good Southern comfort food.

This was the first recipe I made and it definitely got me pumped to make more. I’m not usually drawn to buffalo recipes (overdid it years ago – dip, lasagna, soup, pizza, name it and I made it) but I loved that these burgers included a blue cheese slaw.

They’re so delicious! The burgers themselves aren’t very buffalo-ish but you can either pile on the spicy mayo to get that flavor if you’re a huge fan or just do a light smear if you’re like me and feel kind of iffy on it. The slaw is supposed to be made solely of celery and blue cheese but celery is that one thing that I just can’t eat. So I used cole slaw mix instead and it was perfect!

I hope you guys are excited about all the upcoming giveaway! Enter below using Rafflecopter if you want to win Cooking with Love!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buffalo Wing Burgers with Blue Cheese Slaw

4 burgers


For the slaw:
4 celery ribs, thinly sliced at an angle (or 3 cups cole slaw mix)
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley (or cilantro)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
For the spicy mayo:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the burgers:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for frying
1/3 cup yellow onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 pounds ground chicken or turkey
4 rolls, toasted if desired


    To make the slaw:
  1. Combine the celery, onion, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Add the vinegar, oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and toss well. Gentle toss in blue cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. To make the mayo:
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce, honey, and cayenne until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. To make the burgers:
  5. In a small skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. When the butter is almost melted, add the onion and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, then stir in the garlic. When the onion is golden and soft, stir in the hot sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl and cool to room temperature.
  6. Combine the chicken with the cooled onions using slightly damp hands. You want it well mixed, but you don't want to squeeze it and make it tough. Form the mixture into 4 burgers. Use your thumb to dimple the center of each patty.
  7. Coat a large nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook until browned, about 3 minutes, then carefully flip them. Cook until the other side is browned and the meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. The burger will feel firm and the juices will run clear.
  8. Slather the spicy mayo on the buns. Divide the burgers among the bun bottoms and top with the slaw. Sandwich with the bun tops and serve immediately.