Tag Archives: pasta

Spaghetti and Meatballs

27 Aug

Spaghetti and Meatballs 4
Noah had his first day of preschool a couple weeks ago and we did lots to celebrate the big day. It mostly revolved around food because that’s how we roll around here. Big, fancy breakfast, out to his choice of restaurant for lunch (HuHot of course) and his request of spaghetti and meatballs with bell peppers for dinner.
Spaghetti and Meatballs 1
I have a meatball recipe I usually go to for spaghetti but I thought I would switch it up and try something different. I’ve always wanted to try the combination of beef and pork for meatballs so I went on the search and decided on an Ina Garten recipe since you can’t really go wrong with anything she makes. I did adapt the recipe to make them clean by switching white bread for whole grain and using only olive oil to cook them in. Still super delicious and I couldn’t tell the difference. I also opted to make my favorite spaghetti sauce rather than the recipe she included.
Spaghetti and Meatballs 5
This recipe makes a lot so you can cook them through step 2 then cool and freeze them. Or just wait until next week for a delicious way to use the leftovers.

Ina Garten’s Meatballs
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup fresh whole grain bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry whole grain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Olive oil
Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce (prepared without the ground meat)*
Hot cooked whole wheat noodles

1. Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. You will have30 to 32 meatballs.

2. Pour  olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don’t crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.

3. Place meatballs in spaghetti sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, or until co0ked through.

*I subbed 3 tablespoons organic cane juice for the 1/4 cup sugar in the sauce to keep it clean.

Veggie Lo Mein

20 Jun

Veggie Lo Mein 4
When Joel is out of town or has to work late, I almost always make some kind of version of this. Whether it’s all veggies or chicken and broccoli, it’s always my go to meal. He’s not a big veggie guy if you guys haven’t figured that out by now.
Veggie Lo Mein 5
This is quick and easy to make while making sure your 3 year old isn’t throwing a baseball in the house and the baby isn’t crawling up the stairs or chewing on cords. Not that I know from experience or anything.
Veggie Lo Mein 3
Since I’ve always preferred pasta over rice, lo mein is far superior to fried rice in my book. And this is so filling it’s a meal in itself. Perfect for those crazy, busy summer days!
Veggie Lo Mein 1
Veggie Lo Mein
recipe adapted from Chinese Food DIY

6 ounces vermicelli, uncooked
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-5 cups chopped bok choy (I couldn’t find any so I used cabbage mix)
1 cup low sodium fat free chicken broth
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Additional low sodium soy sauce

1. Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat a wok or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat then coat with cooking spray. Add sesame oil, garlic and bok choy and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, soy sauce and crushed red pepper and stir fry 1 more minute. Add carrot and stir fry another minute.

3. Stir in pasta and cook for a minute until thoroughly combined and heated through. Add more soy sauce if desired.
Veggie Lo Mein 2

Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese

19 Feb

Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
Since I’ve started dieting, the thing I’ve missed the most by far has been pasta….and bread. But mostly pasta. I’m kind of a carboholic if you hadn’t noticed by now.

A big pasta craving struck recently so I went to my pasta pinterest board in hopes that I had something somewhat healthy there that I could add to the menu for that week. And I was totally in luck when I came across this cauliflower mac-n-cheese recipe.
Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
Skim milk and some reduced fat cheeses along with cauliflower combine to make this a lightened up and filling mac-n-cheese. I love that the cauliflower adds lots of bulk and replaces some of the pasta. That way, I can still get my pasta fix but not overload on it. Plus there’s cheese so that’s always a win.
Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
Cauliflower Mac-n-Cheese
recipe slightly adapted from Eat Yourself Skinny

1 (12 oz.) box elbow macaroni (I used veggie pasta)
1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
4 Tbsp. reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add macaroni. When there are 5 minutes remaining for the macaroni, add the cauliflower. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water then drain macaroni and cauliflower.

2. In a small bowl, combine Italian breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese and the chopped parsley.

3. Dump cheddar, cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, milk, salt and pepper in the pot you used to boil the macaroni. Mix in the macaroni and cauliflower.  Stir until combined and cheese is completely melted.  Add reserved water.

4. Place in a 9×13 baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture (I used fun, colorful mini loaf pans for part of it and an 8×8 pan for the remaining pasta).  Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until bubbling and the crumbs are browned.

Fried Ravioli

7 Feb

Fried Ravioli
What’s better than pasta? Pasta coated in breadcrumbs, fried and dipped in marinara sauce. I made these up along with some pizza poppers for the Super Bowl last weekend. This is a little off topic but I made the poppers with Pillsbury garlic breadstick dough this time and omg were they good. Definitely recommend doing that asap.

Back to the ravioli. These are super simple to whip up and only require a few ingredients making them the perfect appetizer for your next gathering. I only let myself have one then proceeded to drool as Joel ate a hefty amount of them.
Fried Ravioli
These are definitely better with fresh ravioli (5 cheese is my favorite) but if they aren’t available frozen will do. Try these crispy little babies out, you won’t be sorry.

Fried Ravioli
recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 box store-bought ravioli, thawed if frozen
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
marinara or pizza sauce for dipping

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Meanwhile, place the milk in a one bowl. In another bowl (I use a pie plate), combine both breadcrumbs with the 2 Tbsp. parmesan.

2. Dip the ravioli’s in the milk then into the breadcrumb mixture until fully coated. Fry, a few at a time, until golden. Drain on a paper towel then enjoy with marinara or pizza sauce.

Smoked Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

30 Jan

Smoked Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Ok, so I know I have been talking about how I’ve been eating super healthy lately but I keep sharing recipes that say otherwise. Well, that’s because most of the healthy recipes I’ve tried have just not been blog worthy. Blah, do you guys have any healthy meals that taste really good? I’ve been striking out.

What I really want is to stuff my face with a bowl of this cheesy goodness. For real. I actually made it a few months ago but I’m still dreaming about it.
Smoked Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Cheese is one of my favorite things and could pretty much be its own food group in our house. I love a classic cheddar and reach for it almost every time I’m making something cheesy. That being said, I don’t really discriminate and gouda is one of my favorites to mix it up. So naturally when I saw this recipe I knew it HAD to happen.

I saved this recipe for when my cheese loving family came over for dinner. Well, everyone loves cheese but my dad and we all thinks it’s just wrong. So we make cheesy things anyway. We always make sure there is something he likes so don’t worry that the poor man’s taste buds get ignored. But seriously, not liking cheese is beyond my comprehension.

This mac-n-cheese is smoky, cheesy, creamy, sharp and delicious. It would be so yummy with a pulled pork sandwich during the Super Bowl. Gah, I may have to change my menu to include it. So good.

P.S. shout out to my niece Faith who is 5 today! Happy Birthday you sassy girl!

Smoked Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
recipe from Just a Dash

4 cups dried macaroni
1 egg beaten
4 Tbsp. butter
¼ cups all-purpose flour
2-½ cups fat-free half and half
2 teaspoons dry mustard
⅓ pound smoked gouda
½ pound cheddar cheese
¼ pound  sharp cheddar
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoons ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Cook macaroni until very firm. Drain and rinse with cool water.

3. Grate all of the cheese, reserve.

4. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.

5. Slowly whisk in the milk and dry mustard. Once all cream has been incorporated cook until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

6. In a small bowl, beat egg.Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs.

7. Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth and uniform in color.

8. Add in all but 1 cup of cheese and stir until melted, then stir in salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more seasoning if desired. Mix should taste salty, add more salt if needed. Add back in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Pour mix into a greased baking dish, top with remaining cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
Smoked Gouda and Sharp Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Penne Gorgonzola

6 Dec

Penne Gorgonzola
This past weekend, we took Noah to see his first movie in the theater. We saw Frozen and it was the cutest animated movie we have seen in a really long time (besides Despicable Me, I love those dang minions). It might seem silly but I found myself tearing up during the movie, watching him snuggle daddy and stick his hand in the giant tub of popcorn. It was a special little date for the three of us and I really enjoyed it. He is growing up way too fast and I don’t like it. Not one bit. Mmmkay?
Penne Gorgonzola
I don’t have a good transition to the recipe so I apologize for that but I just had to share about our movie date.

Whenever we go out to an Italian restaurant, if Penne Gorgonzola is on the menu I almost always order it. I’m a sucker for a creamy, cheese drenched pasta and it was never something I thought about making myself. Well, until now.
Penne Gorgonzola
I reduced the amount of gorgonzola because I only had a 5 ounce container but it ended up being a good thing. I think any more would have been too strong for us…it was the perfect amount of strong, stinky cheese for this household.
Penne Gorgonzola
This recipe is simple and can be made in less than 30 minutes but is still fancy enough to serve to company. Or you husband and three year old. Then said three year old will find the big jar of sprinkles when you have your back turned and add a nice helping to his plate. Then luckily you will turn around before he gets to the rest of the plates. I always thought sprinkles made everything better but penne gorgonzola…not so much.
Penne Gorgonzola
I hope you try this recipe out soon. Sprinkles optional.

Penne Gorgonzola
recipe from Taste of Home

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup chicken broth
5 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
6 to 8 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in oil on all sides. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add wine, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.

2. Add cream and broth; cook until sauce is slightly thickened and chicken is no longer pink. Stir in the Gorgonzola cheese, sage, salt and pepper; cook just until cheese is melted.

3. Drain pasta; toss with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and parsley

Penne with Chicken Thighs

30 Oct

Penne with Chicken Thighs
A few weeks ago I received an email from a good friend telling me that Ree Drummond was coming to Omaha in November for a book signing and asking if I would be interested in going. My response: absolutely. I am so excited! I love her blog, Food Network show and cookbook. As soon as I found out about the signing, I jumped on Amazon and pre-ordered her new cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.
Penne with Chicken Thighs
Every one of her recipes I have tried has been a huge, delicious success. I love the ease of her recipes and her hilarious way of presenting them. This penne with chicken thighs was easy to throw together and really yummy. I usually like to make homemade spaghetti sauce but to make this recipe simple, jarred sauce is used but onion, garlic and fresh basil are added to make taste fresh and almost homemade.
Penne with Chicken Thighs
With the addition of Hannah to our family, this will certainly become a new favorite and go to for hectic nights (which I’m sure will be every night for the foreseeable future).
Penne with Chicken Thighs
Penne with Chicken Thighs
recipe from The Pioneer Woman

8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 whole large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jars (24 ounces each) marinara sauce
Fresh basil, to taste
Parmesan cheese
16 ounces penne or rigatoni

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear chicken thighs quickly on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet.

3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add marinara sauce and stir to heat. Place chicken thighs back into the skillet. Cover and put pan in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

4. During the last few minutes of cooking, boil the pasta according to package instructions. Spoon out pasta then top with 1 chicken thigh and marinara sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

4 Sep

Roasted Tomato Sauce
You know how I’ve been complaining about the abundance of zucchini from my garden the past few weeks? Well, now it seems to be done and the tomatoes have taken over in full force. I picked 20 just yesterday. And you know the funny thing? Nobody in my house, including me, likes raw tomatoes. So that means I’ve been searching for recipes to use them up (and I’ve given away a big bowl to my parents too).
Roasted Tomato Sauce
I knew I wanted to make a huge batch of tomato sauce that I could freeze and have on hand once the peanut arrives. I went searching on Pinterest for something a little unique and this recipe immediately caught my eye. I’ve said before that I love roasting veggies because it brings out such a delicious sweetness so I knew this would be a great recipe to use up a bunch of those garden fresh tomatoes.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
The recipe resulted in a sweet, garlicky sauce that will be so delicious (and easy) for the upcoming months. And who wouldn’t love to have a nice stock of fresh tomato sauce in the freezer all winter long to remind you of sweet summer?

Roasted Tomato Sauce
recipe from Disney Family

3-4 pounds ripe tomatoes, stems removed
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. sugar + more depending on taste
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise, then arrange them cut-side down, in one layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange the onions, garlic and herbs over the top, then drizzle the whole thing evenly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, sugar, and pepper.

2. Bake for an hour and a half to two hours, until the tomatoes are browning in spots and have fully collapsed. Around an hour in, the tomatoes will be sitting in a flood of juice in their pans, and then this juice will reduce as they cook further, which is what you want for a the thickest and most flavorful sauce.

3. At this point, you have two choices. Either put the contents of the pan (including all the juices), through a food mill (this will make a smooth, skinless and seedless sauce) or you can blend it all in a blender or food processor, which will make a good but more roughly textured and seedy sauce. Taste the sauce, it will likely need a bit more salt and more sugar too, if it seems acidic (I added about 1 Tbsp. more sugar and just a bit more salt).

4. Serve sauce over hot pasta or allow it to cool completely for freezing. I spooned the sauce into muffin tins and froze them completely. Once frozen, run a bit of hot water around the pan and pop them out. Place into labeled freezer bags and store for future use.

Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad

2 Sep

Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
Happy Labor Day everyone! It has been unbearably hot around here lately. Like heat indexes of 105 degrees and up hot. And the pools are closed so that means I have pretty much locked Noah and myself in the house. It literally feels like stepping into a sauna when you go outside. Luckily, we are supposed to get a bit of a break for the next couple of days. I hope that you all are keeping cool during your holiday celebrations.
Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
I whipped up this Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad for Noah’s birthday but it would be just perfect for the last hurrahs of summer. This salad is packed with hardboiled eggs and relish all swimming in a creamy dressing to make a deviled egg-esque pasta that is just delish.

I changed the recipe a bit by reducing the mayonnaise (and using reduced fat) and upping the relish. It was honestly still incredibly creamy (even leftover the next few days) with a cup less mayo and you all know I love pickles so extra relish shouldn’t surprise you.
Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
I love having different pasta and macaroni salad recipes on hand so that we don’t get bored and we can mix things up all summer. This is definitely a new favorite that has been added to my repertoire.

Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
recipe adapted from Cassie Craves

1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
2 cups Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2-1 cup dill pickle relish (depending on how pickle-y you like it)
Paprika

1.Mix together the mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.

2. Gently fold pasta, eggs and relish into the sauce. Cover and refrigerate until serving (it’s best the next day). Sprinkle with paprika right before serving.

Pepperoni Sauce

14 Jun

Pepperoni Sauce 2
Have you ever done something that you immediately regret? I am usually a pretty cautious person and think things through but lately I’ve been having some blonde moments. I call pregnancy brain. It’s not been anything major but just enough to make me slap my head and think “well that was dumb.”

I totally had one of those moments when making this sauce. Who in the world thinks wearing a white shirt while making a tomato sauce is a good idea? Apparently me. And it will surely end in tragedy. I even thought as I was pouring the sauce into my food processor “I better be careful otherwise I am going to splat…” and it was done….all over my shirt. The pasta needed to be drained and the sauce smooth-ified so I kept on working. What are you gonna do? And just and fyi, Oxyclean gets this out of clothing. Ya know, in case you may possibly encounter the same problem.
Pepperoni Sauce 5
Moral of the story, wear an apron. And make this sauce, because it’s worth any stain you may encounter.
Pepperoni Sauce 3
I would have never thought of adding pepperoni to a tomato sauce and pureeing it but I am so glad I stumbled upon the idea. The recipe is from the Bravo show Top Chef and it’s definitely worthy.

I love the spiciness that the pepperoni lends to the sauce and the addition of fennel really puts it over the top. I love fennel so I doubled the amount and it was just perfect. I also bumped down the red pepper flakes since, as you know, I live with a big wimp (who I love dearly) who can’t handle the heat. Noah even likes things spicier…that’s my boy. So, adjust the spices as you prefer.
Pepperoni Sauce 7
If this was healthier, I would eat it once a week. So unique and delish!

Pepperoni Sauce
recipe adapted from Cassie Craves

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. pepperoni, cut into thin slices
2 tsp. fennel seed, toasted
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
14 oz. canned Italian tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 fresh bay leaf
Parmesan, for topping, optional

1. In a dry skillet heated to medium, toast the fennel seed making sure to constantly move them around. Once they slightly darken and become fragrant they are ready. Remove from the pan.

2. In a large, heavy bottomed skillet (I used the same as the one used to toast the fennel), heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until softened and caramelization begins, 5-10 minutes.

3. Stir in the pepperoni and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in fennel and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.

4. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth and bay leaf to the pepperoni mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally.

5. Remove the skillet from heat and fish out the bay leaf. Place sauce, you may need to do this in batches, into your food processor or blender and process until smooth. Serve over hot cooked pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan if you wish.

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