Taco Pasta

I love a good flavor merge! This pasta dish is so quick and easy. It boasts a unique blend of bold Italian and Tex-Mex flavors that honestly just meld together and work. The flavorful pasta cooks on a bed of salsa so you can make it as mild or spicy as you wish! The classic taco filling has a creamy edge and a lot of melty cheese goodness to top it off!

Food H & P:

½ box of jumbo pasta shells (15-20 shells)

2 ounces of cream cheese

1 pound of hamburger meat

1 pack of taco seasoning

2 sprigs of green onions

¾ cup of shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups of Salsa

Food Rx:

Cook pasta shells in boiling water per package directions until al dente, about 10 minutes. While shells are cooking brown the hamburger meat in a skillet, drain the fat, then sprinkle taco seasoning over the meat. Next add ¾ cup of water, and simmer on low 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and add cream cheese, stirring until incorporated. Next drain the pasta. Get a 9×13 inch pan and spray with non stick cooking spray. Pour 1 cup of salsa in the bottom of the pan. Get a spoonful of the hamburger meat mixture and place inside pasta shell, continuing to line the filled shells in 9x 13 pan. Top pasta shells with remaining salsa, chopped green onions, and cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and pasta is heated through.

Nursing tip: Someone once told me that ER nurses know a little about a lot but not a lot about a little. Meaning the scope of knowledge is broad; however, we just scratch the surface on many issues and usually lack in having deeper experience on one topic. That’s why I love working with doctors that have multiple specialties to gleam knowledge from on alternative therapies and treatment plans! 

Caramel Apple Cookies

When Fall is beginning with it’s cool and crisp breeze and the leaves are starting to change, I can not help but dream about apple cider. The warm apple flavor makes me feel so cozy. I then begin to enjoy all Fall has to offer from campfires to tick-or-treaters! Then there is this beauty of a cookie that is the perfect composition of the changing seasons. It really is Fall perfection in every bite. The unmistakable flavor of apple cider covering a delicious and chewy soft caramel center. I have adapted this recipe from my Cake Mix Cookies. This wonderful cookie really does make it impossible to have just one!

Food H & P: (makes 2 dozen cookies)
1 box of yellow cake mix
2 eggs
½ cup of vegetable oil
6 packs of instant apple cider mix
24 pieces of individually wrapped soft chewy caramels

Food Rx:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything together except the caramels. Unwrap the caramels and place enough of the apple cider cookie dough around the caramel to cover. Place round cookies on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes my cookies are just beginning to set and the edges are barely brown. I let the cookies rest on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


Nursing tip:
Speaking of only having one cookie, if you have to grace the doors of an Emergency Room don’t expect to tell your reason for coming only once. If you are lucky you will only have to state it three to four times. The process starts with registration, then a triage nurse, your regular room nurse, then provider. As a Nurse Practitioner I am never surprised to get a completely different story than registration or other nurses; however, it is entertaining for us to compare notes!

Savory Sweet Potato Quesadillas

In an effort to remain healthy my parents, brother, and sister-in-law have gotten to where they do not eat meat during the week. Although my husband is not in favor of jumping on this bandwagon I have started trying more meatless meals especially when cooking for my family. I have made these sweet potato and black bean quesadillas a few times and I have to say they are delicious! My meat loving husband is also a fan! Don’t be fooled by the sweet potato name as theses quesadillas have a Mexican inspired flare that is far from sweet!

Food H & P: (makes 5-6 folded Quesadillas)
3 sweet potatoes
1 pack of taco seasoning
½ can of black beans- drained and rinsed
1 1/2 – 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
Juice of 1 lime
5-6 soft tortillas
Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional toppings: sour cream, salsa, avocado, or cilantro


Food Rx:
Peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Place on baking sheet with a generous drizzle of olive oil and sprinkled with pack of taco seasoning. Roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until very fork tender. You will need to stir one or two times to prevent burning. Once potatoes are soft place in bowl and mash with fork or potato masher until smooth. Squeeze in lime juice and add salt and pepper if needed. Cover half of tortilla with a layer of mashed sweet potatoes then top with a spoonful of black beans and a generous handful of cheddar cheese. Fold other half of tortilla over and grill on stove or griddle until outside is lightly brown and cheese is melted. These are great plain or enjoy with your favorite Mexican toppings.


Nursing tip: I love how these sweet potatoes are transformed into a savory dish. In the ER we also find new uses for standard equipment such as; a syringe and IV tip with the needle removed make an excellent ear or wound irrigation tool. Also, one of my favorites is a nasal cannula connected to a bag of saline can be placed on the top of the nose near the eyes if both eyes need to be flushed to remove a chemical.