Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

The day I spent prepping meals for the freezer was certainly a long one. I was 38 weeks pregnant with swollen ankles and general exhaustion. But my nesting urges/energy helped me push through. Then when it came to making the very last thing and suddenly my energy was gone. I wanted so badly to just leave the kitchen (and the mess!) and hit the couch. But it was close to dinner time and I knew we would need to eat anyway, so I decided to make a large batch of dinner and freeze half of it. Then I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

I am so glad I pushed through! While I’ve made a lot of versions of stuffed shells, I have to say that these were by far my favorite. I think I finally got the perfect ratio of ingredients to make a flavorful filling that’s not dry and really hits the spot. I’m also happy to report that the portion that was frozen was just as delicious!


Other deceivingly easy, delicious pasta dishes!
Creamy Shrimp Pasta
Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
Cream Lemon One-Pot Pasta
Cajun Chicken Pasta


Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta – Winner Announced

UPDATE: I plugged the numbers into and a winner has been chosen! The winner is comment #14! Kate said, “I’ve tried a bunch of Nicole’s recipes – they’re always a hit. The baked blooming onion is one of my favorites! Her Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Tacos with Jicama Slaw are on my shortlist to try soon.” So check your email Kate! If the prize isn’t claimed within 5 days a new winner will be selected. Thank you for all of your entries! It was awesome celebrating Nicole’s new cookbook!

I know I say it all the time, but one of the best parts about blogging is creating connections and friendships with fellow bloggers. It’s so fun to be connected with so many people spread across the United States, people that would otherwise be complete strangers if it weren’t for this weird hobby I have making food and taking pictures of it. The coolest is part is that these people get me. They don’t bat an eye when we meet in “real life” for the first time and I take a picture of my grilled cheese sandwich. And I don’t bat an eye at them taking pictures of their food either.

Nicole is one of those friends. We first met in person at the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco and we instantly clicked. Like we had known each other for years! I was absolutely thrilled to get to see her again a few weekends ago when a group of awesome Chicago foodies and bloggers welcomed me to the area with a brunch and baby shower.

Needless to say, when Nicole announced that she was writing a cookbook, I was thrilled!! She has such an amazing vision when it comes to food and health. Her focus is on healthy eating without sacrificing taste and flavor. She’s a registered dietician that believes in balance and that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. I absolutely LOVE her blog, Prevention RD, and I knew I would love her cookbook just as much. And I was right. Each recipe has an awesome and large photo, easy to follow ingredients and directions, nutrition information, and a comment from Nicole herself! The cookbook is also packed full of recipes for everything from appetizers to main course dishes and even (healthy!) desserts! You must check it out!

I selected a recipe from the cookbook to make and share with my readers! I love this recipe because it uses ONE pot and it comes together super quickly. I have a week and half old baby and I was still able to whip together this dinner in no time. Thanks so much Nicole!

And here’s more good news! I have a copy of this awesome cookbook to giveaway to one lucky reader! Here’s the details!
Giveaway closed and winner announced!

How to enter:

Pay a visit to Nicole’s blog then head back here and leave a comment answering the question telling a recipe of Nicole’s that you would like to (or already have!) tried!
Sorry, only US residents please

Deadline & Winning Information:

The deadline for entry will be Saturday, September 21
Winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be announced at the top of this post on Sunday, September 22
The winner will receive an email from me (so be sure to enter your correct email address!) and will have 5 days to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen.


I was offered a copy to review and a copy to giveaway by Nicole’s publisher. However, the opinions and review are my own!



Tuxedo Layered Cheesecake

In the Weekend Dish Post I wrote on Sunday I talked about how crazy it is that it is already August. It’s not crazy just because it’s a month before my due date. And it’s not crazy just because it’s already the 8th month of the year. It’s also a little bit crazy because it’s my birthday month. And not just any birthday. My 30th birthday. The big 3 – 0. I have officially said goodbye to my 20s and hello to my 30s. I needed to celebrate. With cake. A rich, chocolatey, over-the-top cake.

This cake met all 3 of my birthday cake requirements. I was initially inspired by Cheesecake Factory’s Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake and I had hoped to recreate it, but the paranoid pregnant lady in me decided to avoid the eggs in the vanilla cream mousse. I think what I came up with instead was even better. Who doesn’t love a tall layered birthday cake?




Looking for more birthday cake ideas?

Chocolate Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Birthday Cake
Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Cookies and Cream Oreo Cake Birthday Cake
Not-Ice Cream Sundae Birthday Cake

Weekend Dish – 7/28

Weekend Dish is a place for me to get a little more personal! If you just come to Sunny Side Up for the food, feel free to skip this post but be sure to check back this week for new food photos and recipes!

This week really seemed to fly by! I’ve got just a few more weeks left of my summer semester so I’ve been trying to wrap up a lot of that work. I’m not typically a “work ahead” kind of student (more like a “better finish that assignment that’s due in an hour” kind of student), I am just so over this class that I actually have motivation to just get it over with! Between that and starting to really prep for the baby, time flies. I had intended to get two new recipes up this week, but I was fighting with myself over what photos to use for the second recipe and then the week was over. So that recipe will go up tomorrow (and you won’t want to miss it!!). Now for a little weekly recap –

Blog Recap –


Creamy Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops – A dream child straight from my pregnancy craving dreams. The filling was so scrumptious that I may or may not have just pulled it out of the left over pork and eaten it on its own with leftover rice.

Pregnancy Update –


The expanding belly!
15 – 22 – 33 weeks

Holy COW! I am almost 35 weeks pregnant! Do you know that today I bought a carton of heavy cream that doesn’t expire until AFTER my due date. Yeah. Unbelievable. I still remember looking down at my belly and wondering when I would start to show and when we would know what we were having and when we would feel baby kick. Now I have a second bedroom with a CRIB set up. And I spent part of my week washing and prepping cloth diapers. And I’m contemplating which of her adorable outfits I should as her “coming home from the hospital” outfit. All of that because…. I’m going to be a mom!! EEK!

In other news, I have chosen my new Chicago OB. I was pretty nervous about this, as I didn’t know as many people to give me recommendations. But the doctor seems nice and seems to be on the same page with me. This week I’m going to bring a copy of my birth plan (yeah, I’m one of those people) for him to look over. I tried to keep it short and sweet and totally respectful of medical team’s talents/knowledge. Hopefully he thinks it’s as awesome as I do. 🙂

My week through Instagram –


Are you at all familiar with this? Growing up my sister and I had the book and we also listened to the record and cassette tape. I think it’s originally from a made for TV special in the 70’s. It’s pretty awesome stuff. Takes me straight back to childhood. My wonderful mother sent this as a gift for baby girl. I can’t wait to play it for her! In case you’re wondering what it’s all about, just check this out.


Friday night I made some of the largest (and most delicious!) calzones ever. They were humongous and exactly what we were craving. And it totally hit me that I have yet to post a calzone recipe on the blog. One will be coming soon, because calzones are one of our faves!


Saturday we decided to check out this famous Chicago restaurant to see what the fuss was all about. Walking in and ordering we were totally overwhelmed, but once our order was ready we fell in love. YUM!


Obligatory weekly cat pic. Aren’t they the cutest? (This was a rare moment when they actually shared the cat tree, usually they take turns)

That’s a wrap! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. Stop by tomorrow for a fresh  new recipe!