Category Archives: Main dish

Spaghetti Squash Taco Boats

This recipe has been floating around on social media for awhile and I have to say it really piqued my interest.  So much that here I am blogging about it!  There are so many recipes out there using spaghetti squash and if you were like me it is a vegetable that I did not know too much about.  Year’s ago I received one in my CSA box and had to do some research on what to do with it.  Here is what I shared a while back.  My love for spicy food led me to try this along with the fact that the calories per serving were only around 300 and no carbs.  That is definitely a win for everyone.

This recipe was inspired by Skinnytaste.  If you have not seen her blog check it out and her new cookbook is out also.  It is great!  I have been trying out many of her recipes since I acquired myself the infamous Instant Pot.  Do you have one?  I love mine, but yet another story.

So let’s get cooking.   If you like to plan ahead then it would be a great idea to make the taco meat a day ahead or even make it and freeze it.  I think it is much more flavorful.  But, making it the same day as you serve it is good!  I chose to make the taco meat from this recipe that I love from Gourmet Magazine 2003.

I just adore Skinnytaste’s pico de gallo.  It is similar to this one  I have used, but I do like that it calls for scallions instead of red onion.  That way my husband who is not a lover of onion thinks that he is just eating cilantro!!!  Give this pico about 15 minutes for the flavors to blend and enjoy!

Now to the cooking of the squash.  Don’t let it intimidate you because believe me without proper instruction cutting it might lead you to the emergency room.  This was the method that I used.  Just be cautious and don’t overcook it!   Not a good thing when that happens.

Using a knife make small cuts from stem to stem as you would make a dotted line to use when you cut the squash in half.

Place the squash in the microwave on high for about 4 minutes for a 24 ounce squash.

Let it cool so you can handle it or use an oven mitt.  Using a sharp knife cut in half along the dotted line that you created.


Scrape out the seeds and strands not the flesh from the sides .  Discard the seeds and strands.

Spray or brush with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place on a pan with parchment paper cut side down  and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.


Watch carefully because it is easy to overcook this squash.  The squash is done when a fork pierces the flesh easily.  PERFECTION!


I love this recipe!  It is so flavorful and very filling!



Spaghetti Squash Taco Boats inspired  from Skinnytaste

  • 3 small spaghetti squash about 24 oz. each
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Shredded Mexican blend cheese

Taco Meat filling  from Gourmet

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 fresh serrano chiles (including seeds), finely chopped ( I used jalapeno)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb ground chuck
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pico de Gallo from Skinnytaste


  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  2. Use a knife to make small cuts from stem to stem on the squash.  Microwave on high for about 4 minutes.
  3. Let it cool or handle with an oven mitt.
  4. Using a sharp knife cut in half along the dotted cuts.
  5. Scrape the seeds and strands from the flesh.  Discard.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or two if they don’t fit). 
  7. Spray or brush the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the squash facedown on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the flesh easily pierces with a fork.
  8. Meanwhile, brown ground meat  in a large skillet breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink add dry seasoning and mix well. Add the onion, pepper, water and tomato sauce and cover. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
  9. Combine the ingredients for the quick pico de gallo in a medium bowl. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
  10. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the inside so the strands appear. Spoon scant 1/2 cup meat inside each squash bowl.
  11. Top each with 2 tbsp cheese and transfer them to the oven and bake another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  12. Remove from the oven, top with pico de gallo .




Filed under Main dish

Layered Taco Salad

layered taco salad

I love Mexican food and there is no other words to describe this salad but fantastic!  The salad part is just like any other salad with lettuce, tomato, olives, cheese, and avocado.  The stars of this main dish are the meat and the dressing so don’t change a thing when you make this because they are perfect as they are.  This is an easy to prepare so you will win all around.  The most time-consuming is chopping the onions, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and cilantro.   It does make a lot.  I mean that I served 10 people and had 2 servings as leftovers.  The leftovers are still good the next day if you don’t add the dressing to the top.  I do like it with some heat so I put really  hot jalapeno peppers with seeds and all in there.  You adjust the heat to your taste.  I love serving this with some crunchy tortilla chips and homemade Pico de gallo.  Yummy!   Make this for your next get together,  serve it on your deck or patio or take it to  your friends to enjoy.  They will thank you!

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Stuffed Hamburger-Cabbage Buns

cabbage rolls

I just love this recipe!  It’s made with pizza dough.  Now who is not going to like it ?  Right?  It can be made ahead and frozen.    I use my made from scratch pizza dough recipe, but you can use frozen dough or buy dough from your local pizzeria.   Any way these are really special!

I googled the recipe to see if I would be lucky enough to find it because I cannot remember where I got the recipe.   I’ve been using it for years.  There are plenty of recipes that are similar to this one.  Most of them make a huge amount using 3 pounds of pizza dough.  I cannot imagine making that many rolls.  WOW!  In fact this recipe could make 16 rolls which is the perfect size.  I usually make 8 rolls because I’m just too lazy!  Continue reading

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Southwestern Brisket in the Slow Cooker



I’ll be dreaming about this recipe for months.  I have been searching for the recipe  for years.  I love the brisket. There are so many possibilities with this recipe.  In the next couple of months you are going to see several recipes that I am testing to find the perfect brisket.  This one could be THE ONE!  When you make it you’re going to think it is just too easy to be good, but it is THAT good!   I saw it on Smitten years ago and pulled it out when I was cleaning my freezer and lo and behold found a 6 lb brisket.  I know that’s a lot of brisket but the two of us ate every bite and slurped every drop of broth wanting more.  Now here is a recipe that you can put in the slow cooker a couple of days before Christmas and you can feed the hungry for many times.  In fact you have to make this at least a day before serving it since it takes about 10 -12 hours to cook .   A must do step is to store the meat separated from the broth.  It will make it easy to skim the fat from the broth and  you will be surprised at how little will be to skim.   So get your cooking on for the holiday season with this brisket. It is as good as my favorite restaurants or better because you have all the control!  Enjoy!

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Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Garlic-Herb Pasta

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken

Publix and I are best friends.  When you spend hours at the grocery store as I do you have to love the place.  I love their apron simple meals and have used them on this blog and have prepared them for my classes many times with great results.  This Parmesan-Crusted Chicken that I discovered this summer is a keeper.  Anyone that can boil water and turn on the oven has got it made.  Plus the meal is so delicious.  By the way for all of you that are interested school starts for me two weeks from today.  Where has my summer gone?  So I’m digging in and enjoying every last minute.

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Taco Cups

Taco cups

Whoever came up with the idea of using wonton wrappers as the base of everything from lasagna to tacos is a GENIUS!  These are great for parties.  Anything that does not require a fork when eating is always a hit.  And who doesn’t love a taco both kids and adults .  These are so quick and easy that your kids can put them together.  They’ll have a blast in the kitchen.

I first had Taco Cups at my neighbor Kim’s  along with this.  YUM!  I got there early and watched her put these together in a matter of minutes and popped them in the oven for just seven minutes.  She pulled them out and served.  That quick and I was sold!  Guests then topped them with their favorites such as this guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and jalapenos.

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We all want that quick fix for dinner.  I’ve found that perfect fix.  Quesadillas!!  They are fast, easy, so versatile and above all tasty.  My students made these last week and they had a blast.

The photo is from my second period.  I was so impressed with their work.  I loved their extra effort and their super excitement in class.  And yes they will get extra credit.

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Crispy Baked Hot Wings

Hot wings

Oh Yes!  Baked Wings you can make that will knock your socks off.  And they are just in time for your Super Bowl party.  You’ll  be so proud of yourself for pulling this off without all of the calories of frying.  I cannot think of anyone that does not love hot wings, but I’ll be the first to say that I cannot eat them without the guilt.  We now can  because of the recipe that I saw posted from my friend Diana last year during the super bowl from this fabulous blog.  Yes, a year ago.   I’ve made these a dozen times and have enjoyed them immensely.  Today I made them for lunch and finally could take a decent photo. So  here it is for all of you to try.  You’ll never buy them again.

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Italian Sausage Tomato Cups

Italian Sausage Tomato Cups

These are perfect for Sunday’s Superbowl Game!  They’re so cute and so good. Think spicy pizza bites, but better.  Carter said, “This is in the top three Mrs. Lupo!”  Now that’s good!  Two years ago I was introduced to this variation and they were a hit.  I wanted to try them again but with a little change-up.  It worked well.  If you are trying to make out a Superbowl menu make sure you serve these little cups.  They are super easy and will be a party pleaser for sure.

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Tuna Pasta Salad with Apples & Grapes

Tuna Pasta Salad with apples and grapes

I came out of my comfort zone today with this  salad.  Adding fruit to fish or chicken is just not my style, but this salad is really good .  It comes together in the ten minutes it takes to cook the pasta.  If you really don’t care for the taste of canned tuna the apples and grapes turn it into a not so tuna salad.

So here’s how it came down for lunch…

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Filed under Main dish, Salad