I am just going to come out and say it… this is some thick ass sauce right here y’all! This zesty spaghetti sauce recipe with Ancient Harvest pasta is nowhere near being skimpy and naked. We got it all going on over here with grass-fed ground beef, ground Italian sausage, three colors of bell peppers, oodles of minced garlic, half an onion, and a whole lot of basil and oregano! How does that sound? Keep reading to find out how I made this set-it-and-forget-it sauce. I will also talk about the Ancient Harvest gluten-free pasta that I used with this zesty spaghetti sauce recipe. I tried them out for Tried It Out Tuesday!
This zesty spaghetti sauce recipe does require a little bit of prep but it is essential. You can’t just toss raw ground meat products into your slow-cooker and expect good results. You gotta brown that meat. Next you are also going to want to saute your onions and garlic until they achieve a translucent appearance and become aromatic and fragrant. I also take the time to soften up the three peppers.
I recently came across a Cheeseburger Casserole recipe from SkinnyTaste and I was intrigued so by it, I just had to give it a whirl! I would have never even thought of enjoying a cheeseburger in casserole form until I saw this brilliant recipe of hers. My family really enjoys their cheeseburgers and we love our pasta too so this seemed like a winner winner cheeseburger dinner!
If you are not familiar with SkinnyTaste be sure to check out her website for some brilliant recipes that will help keep you on track with a healthy lifestyle. I made a gluten-free version of her Cheeseburger Casserole and my family enjoyed this recipe. I will be whipping up this dish again in the near future. Keep reading to hear more about this unique casserole dish.
Cheeseburger Casserole is a simple & easy recipe
What I really loved about this recipe from SkinnyTaste was the simplicity of creating it. The recipe was easy to follow and the ingredients were very simple to prepare. I started out by boiling the pasta and browning the beef. There was very little prep involved. I used two shallots in this recipe and had to slice those, easy peasy! The recipe calls for garlic as well and I just use my trusty Spice World squeeze bottle. I love simple recipes… who doesn’t?? They are wonderful on busy weeknights or when you are feeling too lazy to cook.
Gotta have my grass-fed beef in my Cheeseburer Casserole!
I recently made the switch to grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is not only more beneficial to your health but I believe it tastes better than regular beef. The grass-fed beef that I purchase at Kroger is also organic. That means that the cows graze on pesticide-free grass. Grass-fed cows also mean that the meat is free from added hormones that are typically given to cows. Sometimes I think of my body as an automobile. Your body needs good to fuel to run. You don’t want to put crappy fuel into your car so why would you want to put bad fuel into your body? Grass-fed beef costs a bit more than regular beef but I believe that the added benefits are worth the extra cost.
A few modifications to the Cheeseburger Casserole recipe
I made a few modifications to her recipe for my family. Instead of using an onion I used two sliced shallots. I discovered shallots earlier this year and prefer their taste and often swap onions for shallots now. I also incorporated some onion powder to the meat while browning it. I love the added flavor that onion powder lends to ground beef. Also, instead of using Dijon mustard I went with my favorite mustard by Boar’s Head. The mustard is a Delicatessen style and it gave the dish a wonderful flavor.
Another swap that I did with this dish was that I used gluten-free noodles. I use Kroger’s ClickList and wanted some rotini pasta but they were out of stock and they gave me penne pasta instead. That was fine with me but I do think that rotini would have been best. I used Ronzoni brand and I believe that they do make a very tasty gluten-free noodle. I don’t think they taste much different than regular pasta. This dish would have been great with Banza’s chickpea pasta as well. They are another one of my go-to brands for gluten-free pasta.
A great cheeseburger has to have great cheese. I love Tillamook’s shredded cheese and I ended up pouring the entire bag of cheese all over this Cheeseburger Casserole. The recipe calls for 2 cups of cheddar and the one bag of cheese was equivalent to two cups. I used a sharp cheddar and this was a great choice for the casserole. Tillamook creates some damn good cheese. It is my go-to brand for shredded cheese. I also use their mozzarella on my homemade pizzas. They take great pride in creating their cheese and I can always rely on Tillamook to deliver a quality product.
Pickles on a casserole?
Who would have thought that pickles would be an acceptable topping on a casserole dish? I’m telling you guys, this works and the pickles actually turned out to be my favorite part! Any type of pickles will work well with this casserole. I ended up going with bread and butter pickles. Dill pickles would we splendid on this as well!
Giving it a whirl
I was so excited when my oven beeped and my casserole was ready to dig into. Check out that ooey, gooey melted cheddar, OMG! I love anything with melted cheese on it and this recipe did not disappoint. When the casserole came out of the oven I topped it with some bread and butter pickles. This dish was love at first bite. The cheeseburger really translated well into a casserole dish. I was amazed! This is a dish that I would gladly make for my family again since we all enjoyed it.
My daughter, Chloe, really enjoyed this recipe and she really got a kick out of those pickles that we topped the casserole with. Pickles are an ingredient that you wouldn’t normally use in a typical casserole. For us, the pickles were actually our favorite part of this dish! The more the merrier! The next time I whip up this recipe I will definitely be adding an abundance of pickles on top!
Who is SkinnyTaste?
SkinnyTaste was created by Gina Homolka. She is an author, recipe creator, and a photographer. She is a pro when it comes to the recipe world. SkinnyTaste began in 2008 and now has 3 million monthly viewers on her website… can you say goals?? I would love to someday achieve greatness like her. Her philosophy of eating is to eat seasonal, whole foods and to maintain portion control while eating. Her website has a wide variety of recipes for several different diets. I am sharing this with you today because her recipes are top-notch. Yes, I am a food blogger and yes she is a food blogger. I don’t see her as competition. When I fall in love with something I feel the need to share it with the world. I am sharing her recipe website because I believe in her philosophy and I like to encourage people to eat the right way.
Does this look like a recipe that your family would enjoy? What other SkinnyTaste meals sound great to you? Leave me a comment and fill me in!
You can see all of the recipes at SkinnyTaste on her website. The Cheeseburger Casserole recipe can be found HERE.
It seems a bit early in the year still for chili but temps are cooling down a bit here in Michigan and I so ready to make my first batch on Sunday night. This version that I created was totally paleo (gluten-free) and this time around to keep it paleo I avoided kidney beans, which I usually do love to use in my chili. I also usually use ground beef and I switched it up and went for a lean ground turkey. I had a craving for some paleo turkey chili and I had to make it to satisfy my craving! The added turmeric was a nice touch as well. My husband and I reveled in this bowl of comforting chili. There is just something so comforting about eating chili. It is always satisfying and it is also so simple to make!
How I created this paleo turkey chili
This chili will make quite a few servings. I would say anywhere from 4-6 servings, depending on how much you place into your bowl. It started off with garlic and onion sauteed in the Staub until it reached a nice translucent, golden color. You will need a large pot to prepare the chili in. I love to use my Staub dutch oven for meals like this. The Staub is a heavy-duty piece of cooking equipment. It is very durable and built to last a lifetime. I always enjoy cooking with it.
Then came the lean ground turkey. I broke that up with a wooden spoon and continued to brown it. I seasoned the turkey with some organic chili powder, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. This was my first time using turmeric in my chili so I was not sure how we were going to like it.
While the meat was browning I also added in some diced red and green bell peppers. Every chili needs to be chock full of peppers for me. Peppers in every bite! For this chili, I also decided to add some chopped zucchini pieces.
Once the meat was cooked and browned I added in an entire can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes. This is my favorite brand of tomato products that I currently use. Muir Glen is an organic line of tomato products and they always lend an extraordinary flavor to the dish I am preparing. You can read more about Muir Glen HERE and their principles as a company. They are outstanding!
I allowed this chili to simmer for a couple of hours. This can also be prepared in a slow-cooker and simmer all day in there. Just be sure to brown/cook the meat before putting it in there.
My husband has a new work schedule which clears his Fridays and Saturdays for family togetherness time. The last two days were full of fun and there were so many cooking/baking frenzies happening over her in the Give It A Whirl Girl kitchen! My family gets so much pleasure a food-filled weekend. This will be an ongoing series of our weekend adventures. More to come soon! Our two days together kicked off on Friday morning with some Unicorn French Toast. I have a major weakness for paleo-friendly French toast. I am always brainstorming some new ways to prepare it. It actually might just be “paleo-ish” and “healthy-ish” because I just had to add a sprinkling of candy sprinkles on there… another major weakness of mine. This was a total blast to make for breakfast and even more fun to sit down, eat, and enjoy it! I think this was next-level French toast because for this batch I made a vanilla custard batter to dip & soak the bread slices in.
Unicorn French Toast for breakfast! YUMMY
Miles Cake & Candy Supply
Later on that day (Friday) I had my husband chauffeur me to the baking supply shop in Clinton Township~ Miles Cake & Candy Supply. I used to visit this store often when I made resin jewelry. I would shop there for sprinkles to preserve in the resin. Now that phase of life is done and over with and I am buying these things for actual baking! I went there with the intention of purchasing a donut pan and I did score a nice pan from Wilton. It is a six cavity mold so you end up with a half-dozen of baked donuts.
Milestone Grill Restaurant
Friday evening we were looking for a new place to dine at. We found a coupon for a restaurant in Eastpointe, MI I and it was the Milestone Grill. Our meals there were quite disappointing if I am going to be blunt about it. I ordered some baked whitefish with a cup of lobster bisque. When I see lobster bisque as an option I do get quite giddy and excited about it. Oh man… my soup came out and I then discovered (and I am certain of this) that it was FAUX LOBSTER! You know, like the fake crab stick meat. Yeah. Ugh. I recently ordered lobster biqsue at Nino Salvaggio’s and that soup was chockful of big lobster meat pieces. That bowl of soup there was just divine. The soup at Milestone Grill was a major letdown.
My baked whitefish was just ok to me. Pretty bland if you ask me and also my steamed vegetables looked quite dull. Joe had some chicken fajitas. When you order fajitas you expect Spanish rice. They served the fajitas with a RICE PILAF with peas and carrots in it. What???
Rochester Mills Milkshake Stout
I do have one nice remark about that place… my beer was great! I ordered a Rochester Mills Milkshake Stout. Boy, was it ever good! I have tried their other beers in the past and they never disappoint. Any kind of stout with a dessert-like flavor is right up my alley of the tasty department… wink wink!
Homemade chocolate donuts with the Wilton Donut Pan
Saturday started off with me whipping out my new Wilton donut pan. I could not wait to use it. I found a recipe at Elana’s Pantry and used that for inspo. So shoutout to Elana’s Pantry for the amazing recipe.
The recipe called for four eggs. I only had two eggs to work with so I ended up making my own “egg”. Did you know that you can use chia seeds in place of eggs in a recipe? You need 1 tablespoon of chia seeds for each egg. You add three tablespoons of water to that and let it soak for a bit.
If you ever had a devil’s food Entenmann’s donut these sure did resemble that as far as the taste goes. The great thing about these donuts for me is that they are gluten-free. I used coconut flour to make them. I am pretty fond of coconut flour being used in recipes. I think it injects a great flavor into the final product. I used a generous scoop of LivFit Cacao Powder in the donuts. Cacao powder is an incredible superfood with some wonderful health benefits so I am excited to use it in my recipes.
Taking my Thunderbird Bars to Eastern Market in Detroit
The remainder of our Saturday was all planned out to head down to the city (Detroit) to go check out Eastern Market. I packed up my camera bag and brought along some of my Thunderbird Bars for the journey. I also had some of the ThunderKids Bars so I brought that along for my daughter, Chloe. It was our first time trying them and they were simply delicious. They offer a great line of bars with healthy and nutritious ingredients… real food! Their flavor combinations are quite unique. They are also filling. They are perfect for fueling your next adventure. I look forward to trying out the rest of my sampler pack.
We always love to visit MooTown Creamery during a visit to Eastern Market. I ordered a Maple Bourbon scoop, which I believe was paleo! How often do you find options like that at an ice-cream shop? I was so excited to see that and I was very pleased with the taste! Two thumbs up!
Vegan and Gluten-free ice-cream options
Maple Bourbon ice-cream
Eastern Market veggie haul!
After our ice-cream pitstop, we went to the sheds to look for some gorgeous fruits and veggies. Eastern Market is the place to be if you want great deals on great foods! You can check out my awesome haul in the photo below. I am most excited about those purple carrots. I was hoping to find them there and I scored a batch. I am going to serve them as a side dish with an herbed ghee sirloin steak.
One of my favorite places to go! Heidelberg Project in Detroit
We always make it a priority to stop at the Heidelberg Project during our Detroit day-trips. Tyree Guyton is constantly adding to this outdoor art installation. It truly is something that everyone should witness at least once in their lifetime.
Homemade from-scratch PIZZA!
It was a long day that made me feel a bit tired when I arrived home but I was bound and determined to make my family a couple made-from-scratch gluten-free pizzas. I had a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust Mix and it was simple and easy to use.
I also love to make my own sauce. I use Muir Glen tomato sauce and Muir Glen Tomato Paste to make a nice, zesty sauce. I used my pizza seasoning packet that I picked up at Eastern Market. Spice Miser made the seasoning and it was a great blend! I would have never thought to add anise and rosemary to my pizza sauce but it gave it a great flavor and it was the best pizza sauce I have made to date.
My family of 3 ate both 12 inch pizzas with one last slice leftover. We were too stuffed to eat that lone piece. Making a from-scratch pizza is a long process that requires dedication and time. It sure is rewarding though to sit down and enjoy your kitchen creation. To me, a homemade pizza is edible art!
My daughter, Chloe, also helped me make this pizza. It was her first time helping out with a pizza. I am spending more and more time with her in the kitchen. I see her passion for cooking and baking and it warms my heart and soul. She is my little foodie sidekick. For an 8-year-old child she has experienced a vast array of foods. She eats with an open mind and I am so proud of her! She currently wants to become a pastry chef. We owe that all to the Netflix show, Sugar Rush. We love watching that show together. She also loves Nailed It but we watched every episode of that already. She loves the show so much that she told me it is her birthday wish for me to make it onto the show. That would totally be a dream come true!
Carrot Cake Donuts
It is currently Sunday morning and I started the day off with a bang in the kitchen. I made some carrot cake donuts but my glaze was too thin. I can assure you that they were tasty because I ate two of them. I used one of my purple carrots to top the donuts and it really does look like chopped bacon! This recipe was inspired by Paleo Hacks. They are a great resource for paleo recipes.
Maranatha Almond Butter Fruit-Loaded Toast
Last but not least, Chloe had a piece of toast with some chocolate Maranatha almond butter on it. I also added some strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries to it. She is a big fan of toast like this. I know avocado toast is all the rage these days but for her it is berries, berries, and more berries!
I always love to crank out a great Sunday dinner but I have not made up my mind yet. It is either going to be an orange duck or sirloin steaks.
Wow! What a long post! If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading. I truly appreciate and love all of my readers. I am hoping to make this blog into something so fantastic someday. It is baby steps all of the way there. Thanks to all who are holding my hand to get to that destination with this blog. XOXO
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