Posted by: Lauren | January 31, 2010

“throw together” dinners

Last week Joe and I went to hang with his sisters Anna and Lora and our niece Madelyn (Lora, please tell Brandon that we wish he didn’t work every time we hang out!). It’s kind of funny how we hang out at their parent’s house while they were out of town with Em and Steve and new baby, Sam! LB and GB, we missed you!

IMG_0866 Oh, Joe. P.S. He is growing a beard.

So anyways, I brought the fixings for taco salad. This really isn’t a recipe, more like an idea for dinner, so I dub this “throw together” dinner number one.

The ground turkey was kind of lame, to be totally honest. I seasoned it with chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and then some tomato paste, but it was drier than I wanted and kind of bland. 😦 BUT, if you mix something with lots of salsa, fresh cilantro, sour cream, guac, etc. It will taste good!


After making this, I proceeded to eat half a bag some more chips with cilantro, salsa, and sour cream on top-like mini nachos one by one. I love fresh “Mexican” food, what can I say?

This did make tasty leftovers too. Once again I ate more of the blue chips “nacho” style like I would never get to eat them again.


Mmm love me some cilantro. So I think I liked what I did with the leftovers (second pic) more (less meat, lots of spinach, more black beans warmed up with chili powder, and even more cilantro). If you want to make, here are some of my favorite mix-ins.

Taco Salad

  • Black beans, rinsed and drained, warmed up with some chili powder
  • Medium salsa (gotta have a little kick)
  • Spinach and romaine
  • Tortilla chips (I love the organic kind because then I think they’re “healthier” and I can eat more! I kid I kid…
  • Organic sour cream/plain yogurt/Greek yogurt
  • Fresh cilantro!
  • Fresh guacamole
  • And if you want meat: make sure you season well and taste/adjust before serving :/
  • Oh, forgot about cheese. Probably because it gets lost in there so I don’t always  bother. Unless you’re at Chipotle and they give you a pound of it. Yum.


Throw together dinner number two: Baked Pasta with Broccoli


I think everyone and their mom has made a version of this. All I did was just add a little ricotta that I had leftover to cooked brown rice pasta with a jar of marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic, and broccoli that I added to the boiling pasta for a few minutes. Topped with some parmesan and mozz and baked at 375 for about 15 minutes.



Throw together dinner number three: General Tso Shrimp and Veggies

Once again, guys, this isn’t a recipe, or creative, just an idea, but it was so yummy, so I’m sharing!


Stir fry at least one large bag of mixed veggies (I had a mix that had broccoli, carrots, onions, water chestnuts, and sugar snap peas, then added half a bag of frozen peas). After rinsing frozen medium shrimp under cold water for a few minutes to defrost, I added them to the veggies. Then I topped with half a bottle of Trader Joe’s General Tso sauce. Yum! Served on top of brown rice. It tastes even better when eaten with chop sticks.

After you eat this, make these: Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels!


I’ve had these from TJ’s before, but I had just plain peanut butter filled pretzels, which I think a lot places sell, so I decided to make them much better by dipping in melted chocolate. Um ridiculous.


Somehow I took like 8 days to put together this post. Huh. I will have a weekend recap soon.

Church today was amazing. For the next eight weeks we will be completely devoted to studying serving as a whole church, in our small groups, and we are getting out and doing it. Our church has always provided SO MANY opportunities to serve others, but this is just an awesome refreshing reminder and boost in that direction, both in ways to serve our loved ones, and the community and world at large.

We read today about Jesus washing his disciples feet, something that was considered the lowliest servant task. He showed us to serve in the everyday, little things, and in HUGE ways as well-giving up his life for us. I was reminded how much I need to ask the Lord to fill me with His love-a perfect love-every single day. I will struggle to have the energy, joy, and commitment to serve with my own conditional love. Jesus humbled himself that night he washed their feet, loved his disciples who weren’t always a loyal bunch, and gave us another beautiful example to follow.

Jesus said: “And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. You know these things-now do them! That is the path of blessing.” John 13:14-17





  1. Woah! I just baked a pasta bake last night. We must be on the same wavelength!! I added eggs and milk along with cheese and pasta. Made it thick and goooood.

  2. Hello! Just found your blog. Your food looks amazing!! That pasta bake looks divine!!!

  3. how is the brown rice pasta? I am experimenting with removing wheat from my diet. (I started on Monday) I thought pasta would be out. your meals look delish.

    • Actually, it’s really good! I’ve had it several times and always enjoy it-no matter the brand. I think it might actually be more similar in texture to regular pasta than whole wheat is. I’ll eat any kind of pasta though!

  4. Mmmmmm….everything looks delish! I love how you added broccoli to the pasta….great idea for getting another veggie in. Oh, I am waiting for my Magic Bullet…..I bought one on E-bay. I can’t wait to use it for your yummy pnut butter smoothies. What else do you use yours for? Love you!

    • Oh have fun with the bullet!!! Lately, I love to make these “nut butter bites” I pulse dates and peanut butter and add dried fruit-dried cherries are amazing. They are so good! I have also made a really easy chocolate mousse with I think whipping cream and chocolate syrup. Hmm…let me think…I probably don’t utilize it to its fullest. Mostly smoothies! Love you tons and tons!

  5. LOVED this post! Sorry I haven’t been commenting on your blog, Lauren, but I want you to know I do read it! There were lot’s of yummy sounding/looking things on your blog today! (actually, everything ALWAYS looks good! lol) I am thinking I should probably make dinner for Eileen and Charlie sometime soon and will probably use a recipe from your blog. I’ll let you know when I do! Anyway, you’re wonderful Lauren! I love and miss you tons! ❤

    • Thanks Mar! Oooh that would be so sweet of you to make Eileen and Charlie dinner! Let me know if you want any other ideas if you don’t see something on the recipe page-or if you need to adapt a recipe. I’d love to help! Love and miss you so much!!

  6. You and me, Mexican food is my favorite of all times! I never stick to the proper portions when it comes to taco night or corn chips. Corn chips and nacho cheese are a weakness of mine for sure. I cheat and add taco seasonig when I make tacos. Maybe try adding cumin, I think it adds a lot of flavor.
    Humbling is a very important topic-thanks for touching on it. 🙂

    • I know what is it with tortilla chips?! Yes cumin! I definitely forgot about that-thanks so much!

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