Week 11 Meals


Today is April 29, and I as I am sitting here working on this, I am watching the snow fall.  I always grew up thinking how wild Texas weather could be, however as I have lived in Colorado I have decided, the weather is crazy and inconsistent everywhere!  Just like our life!(I will be honest I do not miss springtime in Texas!)  A simple deconstructed cabbage casserole, a crockpot “barbacoa” tacos with revamped leftovers, and Perini Zucchini will make meals to simplify life, but not flavor.

Monday:  Deconstructed Cabbage Casserole and Salad20160419_191036

This is yet another recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen.  What can I say.  Her recipes have turned out great.  However, I used some leftover cauliflower rice in my casserole instead of brown rice to sneak some extra vegetables in for a healthier meal.  My oldest son was scarfing this down by the spoonful, and when that happens, I consider the recipe a most definite win!

Deconstructed Cabbage Casserole

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can no salt added petit diced tomatoes
  • 1 can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cooked cauliflower rice
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet heat 1-2 tsp of olive oil.  Add onions and cook until clear.  Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook the meat until done(160 degrees).  Drain any excess fat off the meat.  Add the meat back to the skillet and add the thyme, paprika, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water.  Mix together and let simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the meat is simmering, heat about 2 tsp of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the chopped cabbage and cook until the cabbage is wilted and about half cooked, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When the meat has simmered for about 15 minutes, add cauliflower rice to the meat mixture and stir gently.

Spray a large glass or crockery casserole dish with non-stick spray and the layer half the cabbage, half the meat mixture, other half of cabbage, and other half of meat mixture.  Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

Remove foil, cover with cheese and cook for another 15 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted.

*If you don’t want to use cauliflower rice just substitute the same amount of cooked brown rice.


Since this casserole was already loaded with vegetables, I just used the lettuce straight out of the bag and added dressing.  Nothing fancy!  Just an effort to get extra vegetables in.

Tuesday:  Barbacoa Lettuce Tacos 20160420_181033

I know this is not a true barbacoa, lets face it it is done in a crock pot and uses a roast instead of the Mexicans really use.  This recipe from Gimme Some Oven is a nice variation of this Mexican classic.  The use of flavors in this recipe is amazing, so amazing I cut back the amount because the first time I made this during the summer I don’t know if the kids would have been able to eat it!  But even cutting back the spices,  this meat had a nice kick that everyone at my table loved!


  • bottom round roast
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • onion, diced
  • juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp. oregeno
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted beef broth

Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper, to taste.  Add the meat and all remaining ingredients to the crock pot.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours, or until the meat will easily shred with a fork.

Using 2 forks shred the meat in a bowl and remove any excess fat.  Return the meat back to the juices in the crock pot and let cook in the crock pot for another 20-30 minutes.

To serve:

I used a lettuce leaf for myself and just tortillas for my rancher and kids.  For myself I placed about 1 1/2 oz of meat per lettuce leaf and served with a sprinkle of pepper jack cheese and fresh cilantro.  For the regular tortillas, I sprinkled with lettuce, and cheese.  I wrapped the kids up like a burrito so it was easier for them to eat.

Wednesday:  Zucchini Perini with Broccoli Pasta and Salad20160422_182309

In Texas, I don’t know if there is a rancher, cattle person, or food lover in general that isn’t a fan of Tom Perini and his cowboy cooking.  People flock to his restaurant from miles away to get a taste of Perini’s famous cowboy cooking.  Luckily, he has a cookbook, Texas Cowboy Cooking, so I can get a little of his famous cooking in my own home.  This Zucchini Perini is on page 150 of Texas Cowboy Cooking as a side, but with the sausage and ground meat in the recipe is filling as a main dish.

Zucchini Perini

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes, mashed and drained
  • small can tomato paste
  • can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp of oregano
  • dash of garlic powder
  • 2 pounds of zucchini, sliced 1/4 in think
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 12 slices of freshly sliced mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, brown the ground beef, sausage, and onion.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Drain the excess fat off the meat, trying to leave a little in the pan.  Add the zucchini to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes or until slightly tender.  Add the meat back to the pan along with the tomato paste and tomato sauce.  Mix together.  Add the oregano and garlic powder, mix well, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Place in an oven safe baking dish and top with mozzarella slices and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To Serve:

I served mine over steamed broccoli slaw and made some whole wheat pasta for my rancher and kids.  I served with a salad topped with red onion and grape tomatoes.

*For a weekend quick meal, I had some whole wheat English muffins.  I toasted them, topped them with a spoonful of Zucchini Perini, and a little extra cheese.  Put in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese was melted.  And the kids really enjoyed these little pizzas!

Thursday:  Dance night!!

Friday:  Bell Pepper “Nachos” with Cilantro Cole Slaw20160423_185152

Nachos are one of my favorite food groups.  I could eat all kinds of nachos.  Since I am doing my best not to eat chips, I have been missing out on one of my favorite treats. Using mini bell peppers and the barbacoa from Tuesday night, this version of “nachos” will fit in my low carb lifestyle and delicious as well.  Now I just need fall to get here so I can enjoy these while I cheer on my Fighting Texas Aggies during football season.

Bell Pepper “Nachos”

I only ate about 3 halves.  I think my rancher ate some(and liked them) and my youngest daughter ate a couple halves.  Make as many of these as you think you will enjoy.  ( I did make some with regular chips because I knew there was no way my boys would eat the bell peppers.)

  • mini bell peppers
  • can of refried beans
  • barbacoa
  • shredded Mexican cheese
  • pickled jalepeno slices
  • fresh cilantro

Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Cut the mini bell peppers in half, cut off the top, and scoop out the seeds.  Layer on the bell pepper a small spoonful of refried beans, barbacoa, and shredded cheese.  If desired top with a jalepeno slice.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and warm throughout.  Top with a sprinkle of cilantro.

Cilantro Cole Slaw

I didn’t make very much of this because I knew I would be the only one to enjoy it.  And I did enjoy it.

  • bagged coleslaw mix
  • jalepeno ranch dressing, to taste
  • green onion, sliced
  • handful of chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients together and chill for about 20 minutes.  Serve cold.

With life being as crazy as the weather, I hope this meal plan will simplify a little part of your life storm.  All of those battling the storms, stay safe!!  And if you aren’t in the tornado shelter, gather the kids, pull up a chair, and ring the dinner bell.  It’s time for dinner!







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