Spaghetti Squash Crusted Quiche

In honor of Earth Day tomorrow – April 22nd – our Recipe Redux blogging members are sharing recipes to help reduce food waste!


What’s the most likely food item to go to waste? For most, including myself, it can be fresh produce.

A couple ways to cut down on this waste is:

  1. Meal Planning, meal planning, meal planning!   I can’t say it enough, plan your meals for the week, buy only what you need, and it will tremendously save you time, money, and waste!
  2. Buy frozen vegetables.   They equally , if not more nutritious, than fresh and cheaper! Plus the freezer keeps them preserved so if your meal plan happens to take a wrong turn during the week, they won’t go bad until you use them next.

One of my favorite ways to use up veggies, prep for the week, and have a protein rich meal or snack option is to make a veggie-loaded make-ahead omelet, egg muffins, or quiches; essentially they are all the same. It comprises sauteed veggies, eggs + egg whites, all baked together in a dish over the weekend. Then during the week you have a ready-to-o breakfast or even lunch, snack, or dinner whenever you need.

I usually make a crust-less version, but adding even more veggies to your usual recipe – like turning leftover spaghetti squash into a crust – is a fabulous way to reduce waste, add nutrients, and change up the flavor profile!


This recipe came to mind as I had tried to make a baked spaghetti squash- egg casserole without really following a recipe and it was a total recipe fail.  I salvaged the spaghetti squash, and there’s a few leftover pieces of feta cheese and eggs, but that’ll work perfectly with my solution to not throw the whole thing out!

Enter my go-to everything-but-the-kitchen-sink solution!


Spaghetti Squash Crusted Quiche

Serves: 10


1 spaghetti squash, cooked

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 red onion, diced

1 package mushrooms, sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced

6 eggs

1-2 cups egg whites

freshly ground black pepper

couple dashes Tabasco hot sauce

2 cups baby spinach



Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non stick spray.

If the spaghetti squash is not already cooked, you can microwave it for about 8-10 minutes ’til it’s soft and tender on the outside. Then (with an oven mitt on to hold the squash stable) carefully slice the squash lengthwise to open it. Spoon out the seeds in the center, and shred the flesh with a fork.

Press the shredded squash into the baking dish. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 30-45 minutes – just keep checking on it every 5 minutes after the 30 minute mark. This step is fairly optional. I just wanted to have a crispier crust, but if you are indifferent, this isn’t super important.

In a skillet, add the olive oil, garlic, onion, mushrooms, and peppers. Saute until soft.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, egg whites, black pepper, and hot sauce.

Combine the egg mixture and the veggie mixture. Throw in the spinach and gently stir to combine.

Pour the egg and veggies into the spaghetti squash crust. Bake for another 30-45 minutes until the eggs cook through (the liquid is absorbed and when you gently jiggle the dish, the eggs are set).


Truly, you can enjoy this for breakfast, snacks, even lunch or dinner! It’s lean protein and veggies, so you have your most important meal components.


It even makes a great dish to share at any gathering. If you don’t mind a little a few stray pieces here and there. =)




For other great recipes to reduce food waste, check out my fellow Recipe Reduxer posts here:


Meal Planning Series: 3.0

If you’ve joined me for the last two sessions (here’s the first), then you have gotten this weekly meal planning down pretty good. Well at least I know I have.

It’s always been one of my main goals to 1: reduce food waste, 2. eat out less, 3. save money as much as possible. For all of these, (and more!) meal planning is key!

On the menu for our family this week is:


Saturday: Baked Pork Tenderloin & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

A simple, oven-baked option that once the veggies are chopped, everything goes into the oven and it does all the work.

As tired as we are from a hectic week, it’s nice to eat out every once in while, but working low key, easy and delicious dinners will always be more nutritious.

Sunday: Homemade Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Throw some chicken breast, chopped veggies, in a large pot with water. Add rosemary, garlic, celery, etc (whatever you have on hand will work) and let the chicken create it’s own yummy stock as it simmers in the water. I added a good tablespoon of tumeric for a nice golden, rich color + antioxidants.

In the end you have a nutritious soup. I top mine with fresh spinach and serve it with a whole grain grilled cheese croutons! Yum yum! These are perfect to save in small batches and freeze when someone gets sick or you need a reheatable meal one night of the week (post vacation anybody?).

Monday: leftovers

Mondays can be tough. Enough said. So why come home and make dinner? Eat some of those leftovers from the weekend! We had enough from those two dinners (there’s 3 in our family) to eat off of for lunch and dinner plus have extras to save for later!

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Throw in some chicken, slice onions and bell peppers, toss in slow cooker. Sprinkle on fajitas seasoning, set on low for 6 hours. Just shred the chicken with two forks when you get home and dinner’s done. Pair it with some guac and a corn tortilla.

Wednesday:  Shrimp Stir Fry

Chinese-style is not crave-worthy for me, (now that I say that though, I could use eat some sushi soon!) but when I can throw together dinner in like 20 minutes with no recipe, I’ll like stir fry during the week as often as I need! I used frozen shrimp (it’s a staple we have on hand nonstop for nights like these), with frozen veggies like snow peas, broccoli florets, and riced cauliflower.

Thursday: Chicken Sausage, Pesto, Pasta, and Snap Bean Saute

The name really says it all. It’s a 4 ingredient dinner that comes together in one pan. Slice and brown chicken sausage (lower saturated fat but full of flavor), drop in some snap beans  and when it’s done toss everything together with a heaping spoon of pesto. If you can skip the pasta, fine, but if you need the pasta, you do want to cook it separately and combine when throwing in the pesto at the end. Save a bit of the pasta water in case you need the liquid.

Friday: Take out or Homemade Pizza

It’s good Friday tomorrow and I’m craving a family night out at a local Tex Mex place up the street from our house. The babe can play outside in the courtyard with their games and we can enjoy the weather and Friday night vibes.  It’s also crawfish season and I could go for some crawfish and Abita Strawberry beer (I know that’s not an Abita below- it’s a margarita mocktail!). So we’ll see. It’s the one night that is up in the air with a few different options.


Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! Don’t forget to take some time to make our meal plans for next week!



Mommy | RD approved Tot & Travel-Friendly Snacks

Every time I think about time I get a little emotional. Next month will mark three years since we found out we were pregnant with our little pumpkin. Three years! And now I have a two year old. How does this happen?

In honor of this rapidly evolving and quickly passing season in our lives, I’m starting a new series on the blog that’s dedicated to feeding little mouths from babies to tots and on, even including prenatal and breastfeeding tips as well.

Since my daughter is now two and providing the healthiest snacks possible is always on the top of my brain, I’m sharing my mommy | dietitian-approved tot-friendly travel snacks.  All our perfect for heading out of town for a long vacation or just needing some fun snacks for afternoon activities out and about.

kiddie snacks


I’ll start by always going back to the fact that nothing can replace whole, natural, raw foods like vegetables and fruits and these are the ideal and perfect snacks- for all of us, not just kids!

But let’s be real, life is crazy. We are stressed, busy, and tired- to say the least.  And it doesn’t help that kids, even the youngest ones, can be easily influenced {or jealous} when they see what their peers are eating. So when it comes to offering only the healthy options to toddlers, life can get in the way, and often easily stray us from our healthy intentions.

That’s where these items come in. They may be packaged and slightly processed, but if they make offering healthier options to your little mouths easy and enjoyable, and also provide some nutrition at the same time! That’s a win- win!

It also helps get my mommy & RD seal of approval when there isn’t any artificial colors or preservatives, there’s only a handful (or less) of ingredients, and these are as simple as can be!

  1. Siggi’s Yogurt Tubes | I love strained yogurt for it’s many benefits including calcium, probiotics, + protein! I also love that this brand has very little added sugars, and while I’d prefer none and really only offered plain varieties to LEM until she was about 18 months, I also needed an option for daycare and I knew the other kids would be eating flavored varieties. That’s where these yogurt tubes are great; their portable, nutritios, and LEM loves them! If you’re at home, pour it into a bowl and have them use a spoon, but if you’re traveling thier compact and versatite.
  2. String Cheese |  This one didn’t enter into our options until fairly recently. My daughter loves cheese {loves loves loves} but she’s hit or miss with string cheese. It’s an option I’ll offer for especially for traveling to get in some nutrients like calcium and protein, and if she won’t eat it, at least I will!
  3. Larabar |  I love this brand for little ones because you can find varieties that are nothing more than fruit and nuts- super wholesome and nourishing! So rather than giving her a bar that’s loaded with sugar, I love that there’s no sugar added and just simple wholesome ingredients! It’s also fun for her to eat, and perfect for grab and go when needed!  We like the blueberry flavor best, but any unsweetened varieties get our check of approval!
  4. Barbara’s Snackimals |  Even my husband likes these cookies, so that’s really saying something when you can get your picky “I don’t like whole grains” hubby to eat something the little one will eat! I love these because they taste good, their whole grains, and they are a great alternative to graham crackers, animal crackers, or even vanilla wafers {all of which are popular, but not-so-healthy snacks for littles}. These do contain some added sugar, but I’ll take a cookie that mimics others, but that’s truly 100% whole grains- trust me, that’s hard to find! These are also great because they are individually portioned which is perfect for little hands!
  5. Van’s Cheese Crackers | These are one of the first items I found for LEM when we we’re starting snacks at daycare. I love that they like cheese-itz or goldfish, but 100% whole grains {also happen to be gluten free for those that need it} and they taste great! These are another that my hubby will eat! So rather than buying Annie’s cheddar bunnies that are nothing more than enriched flour, pick these instead!
  6. Cheerios | I love Cheerios, specifically plain Cheerios – only 1 gram of sugar, as they are finger-friendly, few ingredients, wholesome whole grains. Think outside of breakfast here for a versatile snack on it’s own for traveling or mix it with other items for a fun mommy-made ‘trail mix’.
  7. No sugar added applesauce | We buy these in the cups or the pouches and have them on hand for when life calls. The key is to get no sugar varieties, and if you buy the GoGo Squeez pouches, try to incorporate the ones with veggies also mixed in like carrots, beets, etc. just for some added nutrients from those veggies with even less -albeit natural- sugars. And if you’re in the car, the pouches can keep everything clean and allow some indepence, but you can always pour the contents into a bowl and work on hand eye coordination with a spoon.
  8. Bare Apple Chips | I love these nothing-more-than-dehydrated-apple-slices as a way to incorporate apples, not offer chips, and still get wholesome goodness. My daughter does’t love these so much, but nutritionally I do so, we offer them. I’ve been mixing them in our homemade travel trail mix and right now she picks them out – or even gives them to the dogs- but I’ve learned that could change one day! So until then, I’ll be patient.
  9. Simply Balanced Fruit Strips |  These are another one that my daughter isn’t too keened on. She’s probably only eaten them 1/3 of the time, but I like them as a little treat so we get them occasionally! These are 100% healthier than your standard fruit snacks, fruit strips, or another other fruit-like sugar laden kid friendly snack. These Simply Balance strips are just dehydrated fruits {or the juice of fruit} with no added sugar! They fun, portable, tasty and nutritious! So they are approved for age-appropriate tots! Special note: while I am not a fan of fruit juice to drink, I give these a break even though they are made with fruit juice concentrates since they are a better option than traditional fruit snacks that have extra sugars added.

I’ll say it again, this list is not an excuse to not offer or have wholesome fruits and veggies available. These just make life manageable, tasty, and fun all while providing valuable nutrients to little ones and adults alike!

While I’d love nothing more than to make everything from scratch, only offer snacks of yogurt, fruits, and veggies, I’m thankful as a working mom that I have the next best items available. Life handed me a curve ball when we had to have some flexibility and alternatives when we started daycare and while it’s been challenging and frustrating at times, I’m grateful for the learning experience. I’ve found some better-for-you products that I can share with you!







Broccoli Ranch Salad

Each month seems to go by faster and faster & we’re already at our monthly Recipe Redux challenge!

This month we were challenged to use at least 3 ingredients we had on hand, really trying not to buy anything new, to make a fun recipe to share! A kitchen spring cleaning, if you will!

I love this concept! It’s especially great for time-saving, penny pinching needs when you can’t or don’t want to get to the store. Just find what you have on hand and try to whip up something delicious and nutritious. Sounds easy, right?

Not so much, it’s like trying to play Chopped in your own kitchen, minus the strict time limits {and fierce competition}.


I had all of these ingredients on hand from items not fully used in previous recipes to staples I always have in my house. I did a little chop, toss, and twisted a family favorite pasta salad recipe that closely resembles it only makes it many times more nutritious and still delicious.

It all starts with broccoli crowns or a head of broccoli. Simply break off the florets, trim as needed, and toss into a bowl. I had the broccoli sitting in the fridge as it was intended to use with dinner in our weekly meal plan, but plans changed and then I needed to use up the broccoli before it went bad. Enter this salad recipe.


Next, just add in whatever veggies you have on hand. I opted for red onion, which is always in my pantry and grape or cherry tomatoes because they are a delicious pop-in-your-mouth snack while cooking. Cauliflower, sliced kale, or even leftover cabbage would be nice additions, too!

I also added a few slices of no-nitrate or nitrite pepperoni, a leftover ingredient we use in our homemade pizza nights.


The next step is to assemble the dressing. Instead of using a store-bought ranch dressing or needing to run to the grocery for the packet of mix to make your own- I made my own mix! It helps to have a well stocked cabinet of spices and seasoning.

If you don’t have something on hand, challenge yourself to leave it out or make a similar substitution. I usually look up the ingredients of a ready-made product that I’d like to replicate  as my starting point of ingredients to use at home.


Mix the dressing together with some plain strained yogurt, drizzle it over the veggie mixture, and toss everything together!

This salad is great because:

  1. It’s not a traditional salad so it adds a nice change up to a usual routine!
  2. It can go with a lot of other dishes from a side at lunch to a veggie with pizza night to a vegetable option at a picnic!
  3. It tastes great right away and doesn’t need to marinate for the flavors to develop!


Italian-Style Broccoli Salad

Serves: 4


2 broccoli crowns, florets trimmed

1 pint grape tomatoes, whole or halved

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

4 slices, no nitrate|no nitrite pepperoni, julienne or diced

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon Homemade Ranch Mix {see recipe below}

2 teaspoons Salad Supreme

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, grated

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

couple dashes hot sauce

freshly ground black pepper


Prep the base: Add the broccoli, tomatoes, red onion, and pepperoni to a bowl.

Prepare the dressing: Mix together the Greek yogurt with the homemade ranch mix, salad supreme seasoning, Worchestershire, grated fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.

Put it all together. Toss and enjoy anytime you need a side veggie!


For the no added salt homemade ranch mix:

2 tablespoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons dried onion flake

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon dried chives {I actually used a blend of freeze dried salad herbs that was mostly dried chives along with some other herbs}

freshly ground black pepper

Combine in a mason jar and use as needed.


Can you whip this recipe up with ingredients you have already at home?

Always remember, you can twist it to make your own version!



To find out other great recipes from this month’s recipe redux, make sure to check out the following link:


Meal Planning Series: 2.0


I have a new family meal plan to share with you!

If you missed the introduction to the series, be sure to check it out as it walks you through why my week is arranged this way and how to make similar accommodations in your own family’s plan!


The menu for this week is:

Monday: Bell Pepper Taco Nachos

This is an easy meal that can be individually customized. Simply brown some meat and prepare the toppings. For the hubby, I had him add his own toppings to make a traditional taco. For the little one, I can whip up a quick quesadilla for her. And for me, the bell pepper nachos. One base meal made a few different ways relatively simply and quickly.

Tuesday: Lemon Chicken with Pasta and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This is a family favorite that I do not need a recipe for. No matter how late it is, how tired I am, this is my go to recipe. The whole family likes it, or at least the little one will pick and choose whatever she likes and wants to try for that particular day…

Wednesday: Pulled Pork

There really isn’t any day of the week that doesn’t pose its own unique challenges, but Wednesday being in the middle of the week just has that fatigue-feeling at the end of the day. If you can plan a simple enough recipe on Tuesday (or even eat leftovers or if you’ve gone out), prepping a slow cooker meal for the next day is a smart move to ease the to do list on Wednesday.

Pulled pork – or any pulled meat- is my favorite, and this recipe is perfect to solve those humpday problems. Throw a lean pork tenderloin into a slow cooker, add some vinegar and spices, in the am and at the end of the day you simply shred it and eat! Pair with a salad or quick slaw and a 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat sandwich thin | round | flat- any brand will do!

Thursday: Dietitian-Approved Burgers

I recently tested out having Thursday nights be the night I have the hubster cooks, and it worked beautifully! It freed me to focus on the babe, do a load of laundry or anything else I need to get done as the week winds down.

Keeping it something simple and grilled, is the key here, at least for his culinary preferences. He can throw together some homemade burger patties made with ground sirloin {90/10 or 93/7}  and I can roast some sort of vegetable to go with it. He gets whatever bun he wants and I’ll use my go-to sandwich thins.

Friday: Homemade Pizza

This is another themed-meal where it can be individually customized. I can use a 100% whole grain tortilla, English muffin or pita whereas my husband can use Naan bread. The baby will eat anything cheese + bread so this is a family favorite for Friday night. It’s minimal cooking and if we don’t have everything we need on hand, it’s a quick trip to the local store for just a few ingredients. I’ll use up a homemade marinara if I have some in the fridge, if not I opt for a lower sodium sauce.

Saturday: Fish Tacos

Another customized meal? You guessed it. I’m not ever going to recommend that anyone makes multiple meals for their family, but it’s nice when meals can be tailored to consider other’s preferences with just a little extra effort.

I’m not a fan of just baked white fish. But my husband can be in charge of cooking the fish and boiling water for his beloved daily rice. I’ll work on a veggie for all plus make a quick zesty slaw for myself. We always have tortillas on hand – because I’m part Hispanic, didn’t you know? So I turn baked fish into fish tacos and everyone is happy. Except Lillian, she’s not a fan either so we are still working on what she can do on this night. Eat leftovers? PB & J?

Sunday: Zucchini Lasagna

If I’m going to make a more labor intensive type dinner, 99% of the time I’ll save it for Sunday. I can kind of work on it throughout the afternoon while doing other things as well. I make two small batches of his and her lasagna. His comes with regular lasagna noodles, her is made with grilled zucchini or eggplant. Both are made with the same cheese-mixture- and meat sauce using reduced fat cheeses & extra lean ground meat.

If for some reason our plans change and the nights switch or we decide to grab take out instead, that’s no big deal, just one less meal to figure out for next week!



Frozen Margarita Mocktail

I’m not the type of come home every night and need a drink. I’m not judging those that do, and don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want that glass of wine.

But my weakness is Margaritas, so much so, that when I was pregnant the one thing I needed my husband to do with me is not have any margaritas either. He could drink anything else, our signature wedding cocktail { A Rusty Nail}, beer, or other cocktail, but not a margarita. Especially if he’s making his beloved recipe. Nope, that was non-negotiable!

Fortunately, he happily complied.


His signature recipe comes from his stepfather and it uses a simple store-bought mixer as a base. And while it’s a delicious combo, and I’ll always love it, it’s also loaded with sugar. Add the double layer of alcohol on top and you get a super high sugar and high calorie drink.

Special occasions? Fine.

But everyday, not so good, especially when you could easily drink more than one and that’s just not healthy.


So when I was researching how to make a tasty and satisfying lower sugar recipe, one of my favorite chef’s to the rescue- Ina Garten! Her traditional Margarita recipe is just fresh citrus, juiced, and mixed with ice and alcohol.

My version is inspired by her simplicity and wholesome ingredients, but it goes even further to make it a mocktail! That’s right, the tart and refreshing flavor, with only a few calories, low sugar, and alcohol free!  It’s great for pregnant and breastfeeding mommas, anyone watching their sugar or calorie intake, or those that just don’t want the alcohol!


Frozen Margarita Mocktail

Serves: 2


1 cup ice

1 1/2 lime, juiced

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 orange, juiced

1 cup seltzer water

2 packets True Lime

1 packet Truvia


In a blender, combine the ice, lemon, lime, and orange juice. Pulse until the ice starts to break apart. Pour in the seltzer water and pulse again until the ice is crushed and everything is well combined.

On a small dish, mix together the True Lime and Truvia. Rub the rim of each cocktail glass with a leftover wedge of lime.

Dip the rim in the lime-Truvia mixture. Pour the frozen mixture into each cocktail glass. Serve with lime slices and mint.

Per Serving: 15 calories, 0 fat, 15 milligrams sodium, 6 grams carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 2 grams sugar, 0 protein


Fair warning, this recipe is slightly tart due to the only sweetness being provided by natural fruit sugar. You could add a touch of your own preferred sweetener to the mixture. I only used the Truvia on the rim as a bit of sweetness right on the tip of your tongue when you take that first sip.  I like it this way, but your tastes are different than mine, so make it your own and adjust as needed!

If you’re like me, no there’s no need to wait ’til Cinco de Mayo or National Margarita Day to enjoy your favorite cocktail- mocktail style!




Bell Pepper Taco Nachos

If you aren’t familiar already, I’m part of this awesome community of food bloggers called The Recipe Redux where we create and share better-for-you recipes. Each month we have a themed-recipe challenge and this month our theme is tacos!


If you also don’t know, I love anything tex-mex and tacos are a go-to easy weeknight meal that’s an all-time, long-time family favorite! That makes this month’s theme extra challenging though as it’s hard to twist something that is so beloved in it’s classic form.

These bell pepper nachos are a perfect blend of traditional with a twist.

Simply brown your extra lean ground meat (beef or turkey breast) and sprinkle the meat along with your favorite toppings over chunked bell peppers. Broil and eat as nachos!


And, truly that’s the whole process. It’s more nutritious with the fiber and nutrients from the peppers as well as lighter in calories and sugar-carbs (albeit potential whole grains) from corn or whole wheat tortillas or chips.

It’s easy to make any night of the week or even serve it up at your next party with friends!


Bell Pepper Taco Nachos

Serves: 4


93% extra lean ground beef or 93-99% fat free ground turkey breast

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon homemade taco seasoning

3 bell peppers

1 cup black beans

1/2 cup 2% shredded cheese

1/4 cup corn

shredded lettuce

1 avocado, diced


In a large skillet, brown the meat until it is fully cooked through and sprinkle on the taco seasoning.

Cut the bell peppers into large chunks. Layer them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. {Try to not leave any empty spaces to the meat and toppings get onto the peppers as much as possible and not the pan}.

Sprinkle the meat onto the bell peppers in an even layer. Repeat this process with your favorite toppings. I chose black beans and corn.

Bake in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, just until the beans and veggies have warmed through and the cheese melts.

Sprinkle on the shredded lettuce and avocado.


You can also add tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos- whatever flavors you like! I try to use up whatever I have on hand without making extra trips to the store, so this was what I had at the moment.


You could also whip up a greek yogurt-lime and cilantro dressing to drizzle on top for extra flavor and depth, but it’s not completely necessary. The cheese, avocado or guac definitely give it that ‘dressing-like consistency you may desire.


This is a great recipe for nights you don’t want to strictly follow a recipe.

You can really add as much or as little of the ingredients as you’d like. Just be careful with portions of the fats like the cheese and the guacamole or avocado, but there’s free range with items like peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

You could even make this completely vegetarian and just saute beans and lentils or even tofu in place of the meat, sprinkle on the seasoning and then layer everything onto the peppers!


I hope you enjoy this and find it as tasty as I do! For more recipe inspiration check out these other Recipe Redux-ers and the blog posts this month: