Cauliflower Crust Spinach & Feta White Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Spinach & Feta White Pizza.

I love pizza!

But I’ve been trying to avoid it in an attempt to lose some weight.

I also adore cauliflower, so I finally jumped on the cauliflower crust bandwagon, and O M Geee!  It is awesome!

Have you tried yet?

I did some reading on it before trying and found an important tip that causes many people to be unsuccessful and create a soggy crust…   It is super important to squeeze the water out of the cauliflower rice.  I got almost a whole cup of water out of my large head of cauliflower rice, and the crust turned out so nice and so delish!

I made this last weekend when the family came over for Father’s Day brunch.  It is quite healthy and low fat/calorie.  I used fat-free mozzarella cheese, fresh sauteed spinach and crumbled feta for my toppings.  YUM!

Here is how I made it.  Would love to hear your thoughts if you try it and/or your tips if you’ve made it other ways.

I loved it hot and also loved it cold the next day for lunch at work.  (Though I am one of those crazy peeps who loves everything cold as well!)

Cauliflower Crust Spinach & Feta White Pizza



  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
  • 6 oz. feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut cauliflower into florets and “rice” in food processor in batches.  Place in microwave-safe glass bowl with lid and cook for 8 minutes on high.  Allow to cool slightly and place cooked riced cauliflower in 3-4 even batches at a time in a dry tea-towel.  Roll up and squeeze water out of the riced cauliflower.  Squeeze hard and get as much out as you can.  This is an important step in creating a crust that will not be soggy.  You may get up to a total of a cup of liquid out.

Add eggs, cheese and seasonings to cauliflower and blend well using your hands.  Place on a parchment-lined baking stone, and pat into a crust.  Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

While crust is baking, saute minced garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil until soft and fragrant.  Add fresh baby spinach and cook until just wilted.  It only takes a minute or two.  Remove from heat and set aside..

When crust comes out of the oven, top it with the shredded mozzarella followed by sauteed spinach and then topped evenly with crumbled feta and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Place back in oven for about 10 more minutes.  Tastes wonderful hot (and cold!)

You can also add other favorite toppings like sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, grilled chicken – the possibilities are as endless as your personal palate!  


Cheers & Hugs,


Spinach & Goat Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops.

It is taking me a while to learn to cook for just two since becoming “empty” nesters.  Lately, it seems, we order in, go out, eat simple, or eat leftovers for days and days and days when I do cook.

I still try to make a nice meal on Sunday, even if it is just the two of us.  This past Sunday, I decided to make stuffed pork chops with a pack of (just two!) beautifully thick, center cut Iowa Chops I had picked up.

Instead of the usual bread stuffing, though, I wanted to do something different.  So after perusing the web and finding a number of interesting combinations, I came up with a combination of fresh iron-rich spinach, creamy goat cheese, garlic to kick it up, and ruby red roasted red peppers for their beautiful color and flavor.

It made a beautiful, delicious, and healthier stuffing for our chops, and I served them on a bed of zoodles (spiral cut zucchini noodles).

How do you like to stuff your chops?!  Hope you’ll give this version a try.  Simply double or triple depending on how many you are cooking for if you are fortunate enough to be serving a crowd.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops


  • 2 thick boneless Pork Chops (I used Iowa Chops*)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 cups fresh Spinach
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt



Steam spinach in microwave with 1 Tbsp. water for 1 minute on High until wilted.  Drain, and squeeze water out.  Add chopped roasted red peppers, minced garlic, and goat cheese.  Stir to combine.

Cut a slit in each pork chop to create a pocket, being careful not to cut through to other side.

Spoon half of spinach mixture into the pocket of each pork chop.

Mix breadcrumbs, basil, oregano, parsley, and seasoned salt in shallow dish.  Press stuffed pork chops  on both sides into the bread crumb mixture to coat.

Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium/high heat.  Add pork chops, and cook 4-5 minutes until nicely browned.  Flip over and brown on other side until now longer pink in the middle.  (If chops are extremely thick, you may want to put chops in preheated 375 degree oven for an additional 10 minutes once browned.)

*Iowa Chops:  The notorious “Iowa Chop” is a seriously thick and succulent pork chop cut from the lower back of the hog just behind the rib.   The thickness (1.25-1.5 inches) of this chop led it to be coined “The Iowa Chop” in the 1980’s by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.


Cheers & Hugs,

(P.S. If you are a subscriber and seeing this twice, sorry for the inconvenience!  I somehow scheduled it to publish in an incomplete state last evening, so have updated.  Thanks for reading!)

Roasted Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna


Roasted Butternut Squash….
Fresh Baby Spinach…
Spicy Pepperoni…
Cheese, Cheese, and just a little more Cheese….

O. M. G!

This might seriously be the most delicious thing I have ever made…

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna.

(Either that or I was just totally craving butternut squash…. which I was… but still…)


When I saw one of my blogging buddies, Jenna at The Painted Apron, share this recipe a few days ago, I could not resist making it that same evening!


I may have added a bit more cheese (because… well…. just because…) and Jodi’d it up a teensy bit, but Jenna totally gets the credit for sharing this amazingness!!!

This is one of those recipes where you kinda moan in delight after each bite.  (Well – at least I did!)  Hubby absolutely loved it too.  A LOT!

And when I shared some with my son, Nick – he called it “ridiculous!”

I think this might just be my absolute favorite lasagna recipe ever, and I can’t wait to make it again and share for company or a potluck or party.

Okay – I think I’ve told you enough how much I loved this.  Now – please – go make it – and tell me it isn’t so!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna


  • 6 Barilla Oven Ready Lasagna Pasta Sheets
  • 1 Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni slices
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz (4 thick slices) fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated  Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Parmesan Cream Sauce

  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup freshly grated  Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Place cubed butternut squash on a baking stone/sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, ginger, and minced garlic.   Roast at 425 degrees F for 20 mins.

Place chopped pepperoni slices on a paper towel or napkin lined plate and microwave on high for 20 seconds to render the fat.

Prepare sauce by combining butter, milk and wine (or water) in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Briskly whisk in flour until incorporated and thickened.  Stir in 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano.

Spread about 1/4 sauce on the bottom of 9×9 square baking dish.   Place two lasagna sheets side by side on top of sauce.  Layer half of the roasted butternut squash on top, followed by half of the fresh spinach, half of ricotta, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and half of the pepperoni.  Top with another 1/4 of sauce and repeat layers.

Top with remaining 2 sheets of lasagna and spread with remaining sauce.  Add sliced mozarella cheese and a few reserved pieces of pepperoni.  Finally top with 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano.

Bake in 350 degree F oven uncovered for 30 minutes, or until hot and browned and bubbly.   Let set for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,



Spinach Blueberry Salad & a Blueberry Botanical

blueberry watercolor 5x7 arches 140lb rough prussian blue panes gray green gold

Blueberry watercolor 5×7 arches 140lb rough prussian blue panes gray green gold

For today’s #WorldWatercolorMonth Painting, I present:   Blueberries in Prussian Blue.  This is a “botanical” painting of sorts and possibly one of my more “realistic” paintings.  A bit of a diversion for me.

And while we are on the subject of blueberries – the yummy, nutrient-packed fruit of the gods,  here is a recipe for a spinach salad I made last week with blueberries in it.  DIVINE!

Spinach blueberry salad

I tossed some fresh spinach with blueberries and blue cheese (but you could use feta or goat or any other cheese you like), toasted walnuts, and green onions, and then drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette for a really fresh, yummy salad.

Spinach blueberry salad 2

Some other favorite blueberry recipes I’ve shared in the past you might want to check out are my “almost famous” to-die-for Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies and melt-in-your-mouth  Fresh Peach and Blueberry Streusel Muffins.  Maybe not quite as healthy, but very delish!


Spinach & Blueberry Salad


  • 1 lb Spinach
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup toasted and sugared walnuts*
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup Balsaimic Vinaigrette

Combine fresh, clean spinach, blueberries, green onions and walnuts and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.  Top with crumbled blue cheese and serve immediately.

*Melt 1 Tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts, and sprinkle with sugar.  Saute over medium heat for approximately five minutes until sugar has melted and walnuts have browned.  Cool completely.

Cheers & Hugs,



Spinach Strawberry Salad with Candied Almonds & Goat Cheese

spinach strawberry salad with candied almonds and goat cheese 2

This weekend we celebrated the 25th birthday of a very special young lady in our lives –  our son Nick’s girlfriend, Liz.

spinach strawberry salad with candied almonds and goat cheese

For the special picnic we were invited to, I made a batch of my almost famous guacamole, a plateful of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and this YUMMMMMMY Spinach Strawberry Salad with Candied Almonds and Goat Cheese.

spinach strawberry salad with candied almonds and goat cheese 1

Drizzled with an easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette, the crispy fresh spinach, sweet juicy strawberries, crunchy candied almonds, and the creamy goat cheese just SING when tossed together!

Easy – fresh – delicious – beautiful – summery – this is a Five Star Salad you are going to want to try, and your family and friends are going to thank you for making.

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Candied Almonds & Goat Cheese*

Ingredients:spinach strawberry salad with candied almonds and goat cheese 1

  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach (approx)
  • 1 qt fresh strawberries (chopped)
  • 6-8 oz. fresh goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp coarse ground pepper


Prepare candied almonds by combining sliced almonds and sugar in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for several minutes until the sugar begins to caramelize.  Keep stirring until all the almonds are coated, and then spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Cool completely.  Once they are cooled, break them into chunks for little clusters of crunchy sweetness.

Prepare balsamic vinaigrette dressing by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

When ready to serve, combine spinach and chopped strawberries, candied almonds, and crumbled goat cheese.  Toss with balsamic vinegar, and serve immediately.

You could easily substitute your favorite greens for the spinach – perhaps arugala, romaine….  You could substitute the sliced almonds for walnuts or pecans…..  You could also substitute blue cheese or feta for the goat cheese.


Cheers & Hugs,

*Recipe slightly adapted from Veggie & the Beast

Tuscan Chicken & Penne Pasta

Tuscan Chicken and Penne Pasta 2

I have another Winner Winner Chicken Dinner to share with you today.

This is a great, quick recipe that uses a rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken.

Tuscan Chicken and Penne Pasta

It really is bursting with flavor, full of tomatoes and spinach and chicken, and pulled all together with a simple chicken stock based sauce and incorporated with pasta to make it a full meal deal!

Serve it with a salad and some crusty bread if you dare!

Tuscan Chicken & Penne Pasta*

Ingredients:Tuscan Chicken and Penne Pasta 2

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves fresh minced garlic
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach or 4 cups fresh chopped spinach
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 (14 oz ) cans diced tomatoes (or fresh if in season and plentiful)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 rotisserie chicken chopped or 2-3 cups chopped leftover grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup half and half or skim milk
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 lb penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • Garnish:  Fresh diced tomato, fresh chopped basil, shredded fresh parmesan cheese


In a 6 qt dutch oven, saute the garlic, spinach, and onion in the olive oil.  Add the spices, salt and pepper, tomatoes and chicken stock.  Bring all to a boil.  Add chicken.

Whisk together half and half and flour until no clumps remain.  Stir into boiling pot until combined.

Allow all to simmer about 10 minutes.  Add the pasta and mix well.  Garnish and serve.

This recipe is super yummy fresh, and it is delicious reheated the next day too as leftovers for lunch or dinner as the flavors have had time to truly meld.

Hope you give it a try and enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,


*Recipe originally found and slightly adapted from



Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberry Spinach Salad 1

Looking for a bright, light, fresh summertime salad?  How about fresh baby spinach leaves, slices of juicy ripe strawberries, chunks of creamy goat cheese, and crunchy candied walnuts all drizzled with a sweet and tangy poppy seed viniagrette?  It just screams summertime!

Strawberry Spinach Salad 2

Since we were talking about strawberries this week, I couldn’t resist making this when asked to bring a salad to Liz’s birthday party last evening.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Candying the walnuts is a cinch and homemade dressing makes it so much fresher.  This salad is super easy and bursting with flavor.


Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing


  • Large bunch or bag of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, broken into chunks
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts
    • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
    • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
    • pinch of salt
  • Poppy seed dressing
    • 1/8 cup white vinegar
    • 1/8 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp shallot or onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds


  • Prepare candied walnuts:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Mix dry ingredients in small bowl.  Set aside.
    • Blanch walnuts in a small saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes, and drain.
    • Mix sugar and walnuts together, and spread onto baking sheet.
    • Bake 10 minutes until golden.
  • Prepare dressing:
    • Whisk together vinegar and sugar until sugar is pretty much dissolved.  Add in shallot powder, salt, ground mustard.
    • Whisk in olive oil.
    • Stir in poppy seeds.
  • When ready to serve, toss spinach leaves with poppy seed dressing thoroughly.
  • Stir in sliced strawberries, goat cheese, and candied walnuts.
  • A protein can be added for a full meal (i.e. chicken breast slices, steak slices, salmon chunks

Happy Friday!  Enjoy the weekend, and have fun doing things at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,


Soft Pretzels stuffed with Bacon, Spinach & Artichoke Dip

stuffed soft pretzels

Imagine if steamy, fresh baked, salty soft pretzels had a love child with ooey gooey, creamy, cheesy bacon spinach artichoke dip…….

stuffed soft pretzels 3 filling

Can you E V E N imagine the gloriousness?

And then maybe kick up that pretzel bread dough with just enough beer to make it magical…

Look no further!  Here is the most amazing appetizer/snack/meal in a pretzel ever created!  Are you ready for the deliciousness?

stuffed soft pretzels 4

Though this is not a difficult recipe, it is definitely a bit time consuming.   But….  It is so worth it!

stuffed soft pretzels 5

If you are looking for a WOW factor treat to make and share, look no further.   Get your apron on and get ready to rock your socks!

stuffed soft pretzels 6

My son, Nick, originally found this recipe on an amazing food blog, Half Baked Harvest, and asked if I was up for “attempting these.”  Are you kidding?!?!  I live for this stuff!

Thank you Tieghan for sharing!  I tweaked it up just a bit – you know…. maybe just a bit more bacon (have you ever heard of using only two slices of bacon?!?) and always more garlic!  🙂 , but this is pretty true to Tieghan’s amazing recipe.

stuffed soft pretzels 2

Oh…. and besides going amazing well with a great draft beer, these go amazingly well with (yep – you guessed it…. a great red wine!)  🙂

Soft Pretzels Stuffed with Bacon, Spinach & Artichoke Dip

  • Servings: 8 Giant Stuffed Pretzels
  • Print

Pretzel Dough Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm waterstuffed soft pretzels
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup baking soda (for boiling pretzels)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Coarse sea salt

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Filling Ingredients:

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 8 oz. can marinated artichoke hearts, chopped


Pretzel dough:  Combine water, brown sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add melted butter, beer, salt, and flour to the mixture.  Mix on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 – 4 mins.  Remove dough from bowl and knead into a ball with your hands.

Coat a large bowl with oil, add dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size.

In the meantime, make the filling:  Fry bacon until crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  In the same skillet, melt  butter, add garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 mins, then pour in milk. Stir and cook 1 more minute.

Add cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan and black pepper. Stir until cheeses are melted. Stir in yogurt until smooth. Add chopped artichokes, spinach, and bacon, and stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

When pretzel dough has doubled, punch down and divide into 8 equal balls.  Roll each out into a 11×3 inch rectangle.  Spread about 2 Tbsp dip filling along the length of each piece. Roll the dough up into a log, enclosing the filling inside. Pinch the seams together and then very gently roll the dough with your hands to form an even cylinder and fully enclose the filling.  Form into a pretzel shape, and press to seal.

Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 2 at a time for 1 minute, splashing the tops with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula.

Place pretzels on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Brush tops with beaten egg and season liberally with sea salt.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.

Remove pretzels from oven and let cool five minutes.

If made ahead, you can reheat the pretzels at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes or until warm.  (But they are BEST fresh out of the oven!)

Cheers & Hugs,