Chicken and Spinach Enchilada Casserole


In this healthy updated version of a chicken enchilada casserole, I made a homemade cream sauce and added spinach which boosted the nutrition while still keeping the comforting taste of the original recipe. Making a homemade white sauce is easy and much healthier than typical  store-bought white sauces that are high in sodium and processed ingredients. This white sauce uses a “roux” as the foundation and thickener for the sauce. A “roux” consists of equal amounts of fat (butter) and flour. It is a classic cooking technique to make sauces, gravies, and soups.

Chicken and Spinach Enchilada Casserole


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 -4oz can of mild chiles
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 10 ounce package frozen spinach thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 15 (6inch) flour tortillas cut in half
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken breast
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup  fresh chopped cilantro

1 whole avocado



Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coat a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.

  1. Begin by making the white sauce. In a sauce pan heat the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and using a whisk stir until smooth and the roux begins to thicken and bubble.
  2. Gradually add one cup of the chicken broth and continue to whisk until blended well. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Add remaining chicken broth , green chiles, and cumin. Continue to stir and simmer until slightly thickened for 2-3 minutes. Add the Greek yogurt or sour cream and mix well.
  4. Reserve one third of the sauce. To the remaining sauce add the drained spinach and mix well.
  5. Assemble Enchilada Casserole, by first layering 10 flour tortillas halves evenly on the bottom of your casserole pan. Next layer 1/2 of the spinach sauce , then 1/2 of the shredded chicken, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Repeat the layers and top with the reserved sauce and remaining 1/3 of the shredded cheese. IMG_0158IMG_E0079
  6. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 15 minutes until lightly brown.
  7. Garnish with chopped avocado and cilantro.




Lemon, Zucchini, and Almond Bundt Cake




A typical winter day in Wisconsin means snowy and cold. For me it was the perfect day to create another new bundt cake recipe. I think the bundt cake has to be my most favorite baking obsession. There are so many creative combinations of flavors and ingredients and they are so much fun to decorate to.  In my bundt cake recipes I like to use a combination of butter and oil, and natural ingredients and flavors to sweetened rather than large amounts of sugar. This recipe gave me the chance to try out my new 6 cup Nordic bundt pan.



Lemon, Zucchini, and Almond Bundt Cake 


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup finely shredded fresh zucchini


Lemon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup fine powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed  lemon juice

mix all ingredients together until smooth

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Lemon Sugar Topping 

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

mix together and let sit for 5 minutes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 6 cup bundt pan. I like to use a non-stick baking spray.


  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  2. Using a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer in a larger bowl on high speed beat oil, unsalted butter, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  On medium speed add  eggs one at a time mix  just until yolk disappears. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract, and mix well.
  3. In a separate small bowl whisk together sour cream or yogurt with milk.
  4. On slow speed of standing or hand-held mixer,  add the flour and sour cream mixture separately to the batter beginning and ending with flour in 3 additions.
  5. With a spatula fold in the shredded zucchini.
  6. Pour and spread cake batter evenly into the bundt pan.
  7. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or cake is lightly brown and springs back.
  8. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Gently remove cake from pan by placing cake up side down on a cooling rack. Continue to cool thoroughly before glazing.
  9. Drizzle with lemon glaze and decorate with sliced almonds. Sprinkle with lemon sugar topping.



Cranberry Orange and Rosemary Bundt Cake


There is no other cake that has a more beautiful presentation than the bundt cake.  This is my first time adding Rosemary to a cake. Rosemary has a festive pine scent that compliments well with the sweetness and tartness of the orange and cranberries. This bundt cake is not only pretty and delicious, but has healthy ingredients to. I reduced the amount of sugar and butter while keeping the moist, tender, and butter flavor of a traditional pound cake.  Cranberries and oranges are super foods that are high in Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.


Cranberry Orange and Rosemary Bundt Cake


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped fine
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries sliced in half



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a non-stick baking spray, coat a 10-cup bundt pan and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed beat the butter, oil, and sugar together until light and fluffy and add the vanilla.  On low speed add the eggs one at a time mixing just until the yolk disappears.
  4. On low speed in three additions, alternate the milk and the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. In a small bowl mix together the orange juice, orange zest, and rosemary. Add to the batter.
  6. Gently fold cranberries into the batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth to even out.
  8. Bake on the center rack of the pre-heated oven for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack and gently remove pan.
  10. After the cake has completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.




Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Pizza


It is the season for Butternut Squash. Not only is butternut squash super nutritious, it adds the perfect flavor to many of our holiday recipes.

Butternut squash is a good source of manganese, vitamin A (carotenoids and beta-carotene), vitamin C, fiber, potassium, folate, copper, riboflavin, and phosphorus.

It is used in both sweet and savory dishes including pies, puddings, stuffing, soups, pasta, and vegetable recipes.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Pizza is my new favorite personal pizza. It is easy to make, vegetarian, and combines all my favorite fall flavors. The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Food & Nutrition Magazine Test Kitchen Program.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Pizza


Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples (recipe to follow)

Caramelized Onions (recipe to follow)

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) hummus

4 whole multi-grain Pita rounds (I used Brownberry)

1 cup fresh arugula

1 cup chopped walnuts


Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples

  • one pound of butternut squash sliced in half lengthwise. Peel and remove seeds. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes (approximately 4 cups).
  • one medium honey crisp apple peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 13 by 9 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium size bowl, mix together olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add cut-up butternut squash and apples and mix well. Transfer to the 13 by 9 inch pan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes , stir and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes until tender. Set aside.


Caramelized Onions

  • 1/2 of a medium size sweet onion (4oz) sliced into thin strips
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium  size sauté pan heat olive oil to medium-high heat, add onions and brown sugar. lightly salt and pepper. Sauté onions for 15 to 20 minutes until light golden brown. Set aside.

Assemble Pizza

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

  1. Spread 2 tablespoons of hummus on to each pita round.
  2. Divide onions into 4 servings and transfer to each pita round
  3. Put one cup of roasted butternut squash and apples onto each pita round
  4. Bake for 15 minutes
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped walnuts and fresh arugula



Pumpkin and Chocolate Swirl Bundt Cake



One of my favorite fall ingredients to bake with is pumpkin. Pumpkin is very  nutritious having twice our daily value for vitamin A and containing lutein and beta-carotene, antioxidants which are linked to improving eye health and cancer prevention. Pumpkin is not only good for us but it is delicious in both sweet and savory recipes and can be used as a healthy substitute for oil, butter, and eggs in baking.

What I like best about this bundt cake recipe is that it combines all my favorite flavors including pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso.

Pumpkin and Chocolate Swirl Bundt Cake


  • 3 cups all purpose flour sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup or 14 ounces of pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup or 2 ounces of dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

powdered sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the softened butter, white sugar, and light brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Reserve one cup of the batter for the chocolate swirl.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon to the remaining butter mixture and mix until well blended.
  6. Using a double boiler method, slowly melt the dark chocolate, milk , and espresso powder together. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool slightly and whisk in the  unsweetened cocoa powder. Add the reserved one cup cake batter and mix well. IMG_1483
  7. Spoon one-third of the pumpkin batter into the prepared bundt pan, and spread evenly. Spoon half of the chocolate batter by heaping teaspoons over the pumpkin batter and smooth with a spatula. Repeat layers, spooning remaining pumpkin batter on top.
  8. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Flip over,  remove cake from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Rhubarb and Almond Muffins


Rhubarb is popular for its bright red color,  natural tart flavor and the way it compliments well with many foods.  It is often combined with fruit or sugar in muffins, cakes, breads, pies, and sauces.  The peak season for rhubarb is early summer but it can be frozen and used in recipes throughout the year.


This rhubarb muffin recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking.  In my version, I substituted part of the white flour for almond flour,  decreased the amount of sugar, and added almond slices to the topping resulting in a muffin that  is moist and has the tartness and the natural sweetness of rhubarb.

Rhubarb and Almond Muffins

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose white flour sifted
  • 1/2 cup super fine almond flour sifted
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb (1/4 inch in size)


Clean and rinse rhubarb under cool water, trim and lightly peel off outer fibrous layer.


  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds



Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk to blend.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until the batter just comes together. Do not over mix.
  4. Gently stir in the diced rhubarb. The batter will be thick.
  5. Spoon the matter evenly into the muffin cups.
  6. Top each muffin with sliced almonds.
  7. Prepare topping: In a small bowl mix together 3 tablespoons of sugar with a 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  8. Bake muffins on a center rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer muffins to a wire rack.






Chocolate Ganache Mini Fruit Tarts


These mini fruit tarts may look fancy but are easy to make and healthy to.


The gluten-free tart crust has a light buttery taste and a delicate crumb texture that is similar to a shortbread cookie. Instead of a high fat creamy filling I used a dark chocolate ganache as a base for my raspberries.  Different fruits can be substituted such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and mandarin oranges.  These mini fruit tarts are the perfect portion size and very diet friendly.


Almond flour is a healthy gluten-free baking alternative to processed wheat flour.  It is carbohydrate friendly and more nutritious than traditional wheat flour.  Almond flour is  a good source of fiber, heart- healthy mono-unsaturated fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.

Chocolate Ganache Mini Fruit Tarts



  • 1 1/2 cups super-fine almond flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter chilled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a small bowl whisk egg yolk, cream, and vanilla together.
  2. In a food processor mix almond flour and powdered sugar until combined. Scatter butter pieces over the top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses.      IMG_1317
  3. With the food processor running, add the egg mixture through the feed tube and continue to process until the dough just comes together around the processor blade, about 12 seconds.
  4. Turn the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper fold over and flatten into a 6 inch disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling the dough out, let sit on a counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
  5. Roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Use a round cookie cutter  approximately the diameter of a muffin cup to make the mini tart crusts. Place each mini tart crust in a muffin tin lined with paper cupcake liners, making approximately 14 tarts. Chill tart dough for approximately 20 minutes. This is a good time to preheat your oven.
  6. Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake tarts for 20 minutes until lightly golden brown.
  7. Cool on a wire rack and make the Chocolate Ganache.


Chocolate Ganache


  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Warm cream in a microwave or stove top just enough to melt chocolate.  Mix well and drop by a level teaspoon evenly on to cooled tart shells. If desired tarts can now be frozen and topped later with fruit and seedless strawberry jam.

Top with raspberries. Melt seedless strawberry jam and with a pastry brush lightly spread over the raspberries.