Crock Pot Sausage, Spinach and Bean Soup

January 2017 – Theme

Budget-Friendly Eats

How low can you go? Can you make a meal for less than $3 per serving? Whatever your budget, show us your healthy entree recipe to help keep food spending in check in 2017

I love this month’s theme the Recipe Redux has chosen to use! The New Year usually means New Year resolutions, and that usually has something to do with budgeting or saving more money than you did the previous year, right!? We all have goals that we try to reach and if you are trying to budget or cut back on the amount you spend every night for dinner this dish is a great start to save. It is so easy for money to add up and this can last you all week! Most of the ingredients for this soup is probably already in your pantry or fridge–this is a great way to make sure those ingredients don’t go to waste.

It has been raining more than usual in Monterey these past few weeks and I love it! Rainy weather means soup and cozy comfort foods. I have been on a soup kick lately and I am trying out new recipes with my crock pot. I just started to use my crock pot again because it is so convenient and easy. I wanted to make this soup on my stove and the day I planned on making it, our stove and oven stopped working (how convenient)….but I was still wanting to make soup so I used my crock pot instead. This soup can last a whole week and I like to freeze half of it so I always have soup on hand. Besides this soup being budget friendly, it is also a great hearty soup loaded with fiber, protein and plenty of vegetables!

Crock Pot Sausage, Spinach and Bean Soup

Crock Pot Sausage, Spinach and Bean Soup

This comforting soup is heart healthy, delicious and budget friendly!


1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 (12.8-ounce) package of chicken sausage, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cups baby carrots; chopped

2 stalks celery; diced

2 (15-ounce) cans beans, drained and rinsed (I used white beans)

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 bay leaves

4 cups chicken broth

2 cup beef broth

Black pepper, a pinch

3 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup pastina (small pasta)

Parmesan cheese; to sprinkle on top (optional)

Crackers or bread for dunking (optional)


  1. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a crock pot. Add all ingredients except for spinach and pasta.
  2. Cover crock pot and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. During the last 45 minutes of cook time, add pasta and spinach. Stir until combined. Once cooked, enjoy with bread or crackers all week long! Enjoy!




Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

“I received a free sample of Kikkoman soy sauce mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Kikkoman and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

This dish is extremely quick, easy, hearty and full of delicious flavors. The best part is I used Kikkoman’s Less Sodium Soy Sauce so I reduced the sodium intake on this! Soy sauce is rich in savory unami flavor that gives this dish a bursting flavor! This dish can be served as lunch, dinner, snack or even an appetizer by making these bite size.

This dish is light and has an abundance of fresh flavor! I used spinach and carrots as my veggie because that’s what I had in my fridge as leftovers from another recipe. However you can use other veggies such as zucchini, squash, bell peppers, kale or eggplant–the possibilities are endless! Use what you have!

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

This dish is extremely quick, easy, hearty and full of delicious flavors--It also takes less than 30 minutes to make!


1 lb. ground turkey

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 small yellow onion; diced

2 cloves of garlic; minced

1 cup of fresh spinach; roughly chopped

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp. Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce

2 tsp. sesame seeds

1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger

Green onions; thinly sliced for garnishing

1 head of butter lettuce


  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan on high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent.
  2. Add ground turkey, spinach, carrots and ginger. Cook until turkey meat is fully cooked and browned.
  3. Once turkey is cooked, drain to remove access fat then put in a medium bowl. Stir cooked turkey meat with hoisin sauce, Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce and sesame seeds.
  4. To serve, spoon in meat mixture onto butter lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds.

If you are wanting to make more of a meal out of this, simply add cooked quinoa, rice or brown rice to the turkey meat! I like to keep it light for most of my meals but there are times where I crave those extra carbs. This dish is perfect because you are getting lean protein and vegetables–a perfect combination to eating healthy and getting the right nutrients in too.


Hearty Minestrone Lentil Soup

When the weather gets chilly, a big bowl of hot soup is my kind of meal. I love soup, all kinds of soup..especially hearty minestrone. Now that Fall is right around the corner, I am wanting to try out more soups with my crock pot so stay tuned! Usually I add pasta to some of my soups but I found cooked lentils (a healthier alternative) at Trader Joe’s and thought they could be an exceptional addition to this pot of soup–and it was! My Nana makes the best soups and I grew up eating her soups often. She has inspired me to make my own, so here I am trying out new recipes. Cooking big pots of soup is a great way to get plenty of vegetables. It’s also a great way to experiment and try out new vegetables that you normally wouldn’t opt to try. One serving of this soup is low in calories, high in protein and high in fiber! Your body will thank you for this. Make sure to take the time to make this healthy pot of goodness! You will be happy that you did! #TheRecipeRedux


Minestrone Lentil Soup

Minestrone Lentil Soup


1 Tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion; peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic; peeled and minced

3 carrots; peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces

3 celery stalks; sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

1 zucchini; diced into 1/4-inch pieces

2 cups canned low-sodium, diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes (including liquid or fresh tomatoes)

1 cup cooked lentils (I buy my cooked lentils from Trader Joes)

6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock

4 cups kale; washed and chopped into 1/4-1/2-inch pieces


  1. Put a soup pot on the stove over medium-high heat. When the pot is hot, add the oil, chopped onions and garlic--cook about 7 minutes until golden.
  2. Add carrots, celery and zucchini and cook about 10 minutes until slightly tender.
  3. Add tomatoes, lentils, vegetable or chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook 20 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and cook an additional 20 minutes. This soup makes great leftovers and you can even freeze extra leftovers for up to a few months! Enjoy!

Lasagna Zucchini Boats

I love zucchini boats because there are so many different options to stuff them with! I love lasagna so of course I wanted to stuff these with all of the same decadent flavors as you would get with the classic lasagna with noodles. This healthy twist is perfect without the carbs–believe it or not! They are also great reheated the next day so I would recommend making extra for leftovers.

*It’s important to look for zucchini that are a bit wider in width than usual so you have plenty of room to stuff. It makes a HUGE difference and is very helpful. #theRecipeRedux



Lasagna Zucchini Boat Lasagna

Lasagna Zucchini Boat Lasagna


4 medium zucchini, sliced into halves through the length

1 cup low fat ricotta cheese

1 large egg

1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

8 oz. lean ground beef or lean ground turkey

4 tsp olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 3/4 cup marinara sauce

1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats--set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl stir together ricotta cheese, egg and 1 1/2 Tbsp of the parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese--set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble beef into pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef when stirring, until browned. Stir in marinara sauce and 1 Tbsp of the basil, remove from heat.
  4. To assemble boats, brush both sides of of zucchini lightly with remaining 2 tsp olive oil and place in two baking pans. Divide cheese mixture among zucchini spooning about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each, then spread cheese mixture into and even layer. Divide sauce among zucchini adding a few heaping spoonfuls to each. Cover baking dishes with foil and place in oven side by side and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle tops with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella, return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle tops with with fresh basil and parsley and serve warm.





Heirloom Caprese Salad

Summer inspires all of us to include more fresh fruits and veggies in our dishes. Now is the perfect time to do so because we can never get enough fruits and veggies in our diets. I have been on a tomato caprese kick lately because there is nothing better or sweeter than an heirloom tomato. My Dad grows the tomatoes that I have been enjoying so they are extra sweet and fresh–I can’t eat them fast enough so making this dish definitely helps! My favorite way to indulge in these are to simply drizzle olive oil, balsalmic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. To make it even more exciting, I add fresh basil, and mozzarella cheese–and that’s what you call a caprese salad!

Heirloom Caprese Salad

Heirloom Caprese Salad

It's definitely summertime with these sweet and juicy tomatoes!


2 medium heirloom tomatoes; sliced thick

12 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese

Drizzle of olive oil

Drizzle of balsamic reduction

About 10 fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle of salt and pepper


  1. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. I also added the mini mozzarella balls because I had them left over and they are so cute! They make a great addition to the salad. Arrange basil leaves between the slices. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the salad, be sure you are getting a little bit on each slice. Do the same with the balsamic reduction.
  2. End with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. ****TIP: If you want to make your own balsamic vinegar reduction, its super easy! In a small saucepan, bring about 2 cups of balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes, or until balsamic has reduced to a thicker glaze. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl--allow to cool!