On one of my most recent adventures to Nashville, I (of course) stopped in to Trader Joe’s to stock up on old and new favorites. This particular journey I found myself flinging all kinds of newly found items into my shopping cart. One item that became a projectile happened to be dried mini cheese ravioli. Just like a girl, I got all excited over their small cuteness.
Once I got them into my kitchen I found I couldn’t just throw them into just any old sauce – they were just too special. So I made a creamy pesto sauce by mixing pesto and Greek yogurt together and tossed in some roasted asparagus, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes. Roasting vegetables has become my go-to vegetable cooking method and the combination definitely did the mini raviolis justice. But feel free to use regular (less exciting) sized ravioli if you cannot find minis.
Two years ago: Guiltless Cajun Chicken Alfredo
CREAMY PESTO WITH MINI RAVIOLI, ASPARAGUS AND SUN DRIED TOMATOES
8 oz. mini cheese ravioli (I used Trader’s Joe’s)
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
1/2 head of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use 2% Chobani)
1/3 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes, drained
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well and return to pot.
- While the pasta cooks, place the asparagus in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Top with garlic slices, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste; gently toss to combine.
- Place into the oven and roast for 8-12 minutes, or until tender but crisp. Let cool before cutting into 1.5-inch pieces.
- In the pot with the pasta, add and combine the asparagus, pesto, Greek yogurt, and sun dried tomatoes. Serve.
I am currently battling some sort of cold. I call in sick to work but yesterday was one of those days. I’ve slept over 12 hours the past two days and I’m still not feeling any better today. However, being sick is kind of boring, especially without the internet, so I actually did run into work quick to get some things to work on at home (and to post this).
Sometimes I don’t read ingredient lists properly. I either screw up writing down the correct amount needed or the ingredient itself. Take this recipe for example: I bought orzo instead of arborio rice. So viola I made orzo intead of risotto, and it still tasted great. The fried sage and balsamic drizzle are must haves for this dish. Never thought that fried sage would be so wonderful. They turn into crispy little flavor wonders.
One year ago: Chicken Pad Thai
BUTTERNUT SQUASH ORZO WITH PINE NUTS, BALSAMIC DRIZZLE, AND FRIED SAGE
1 small butternut squash (or about 2 cups peeled and cubed)
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable for a vegetarian option)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 cup whole wheat orzo
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
8-10 fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Prick outside skin a few times with a fork. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender (20-25 minutes if used cubed). Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Scoop flesh out of skin and purée in a food processor until smooth. Measure out 1 cup of purée and set aside.
- Meanwhile, warm chicken stock in a small saucepan set over low heat. Cover and keep warm.
- To prepare garnishes, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a very small saucepan set over medium heat. When oil is hot, add pine nuts, stirring until coated with oil. Toast for 2 to 3 minutes or until nuts start to turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them, they can go from toasted to burnt very quickly.
- Remove nuts from pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add remaining 4 tablespoons oil, or enough to form a 1/4-thick layer in the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add sage leaves, 2 or 3 at a time (be careful, they will crackle). Cook for about 30 seconds then quickly remove from oil and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to cool. Repeat with remaining leaves.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute until softened and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chopped sage and cook for another minute. Add orzo and stir until grains are coated.
- Add wine and stir the wine has completely absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of warm chicken stock to the orzo, stirring until liquid is mostly absorbed before adding more. Continue to add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly after each addition. After about 10 minutes, when the orzo is almost done, stir in squash purée. Continue to cook until orzo is creamy and al dente. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat, reduce the balsamic vinegar combined with brown sugar until thick and syrupy. Set aside.
- Finish orzo with butter and 1/4 cup grated Asiago, stirring until fully incorporated. Divide among serving bowls and top with remaining cheese, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, pine nuts, and sage leaves.
Source: Spontaneously adapted slightly from Love & Olive Oil.
I have a confession to make. I am a candle hoarder. You see, I love finding candles in amazing scents and thinking how great they will make my apartment smell. Yet somehow they end up being stashing away for some “special occasion” because I don’t want to waste such an awesome smell on just a regular ol’ day. And what if I cannot find that scent again? The horror! Apparently my own existence in my apartment did not seem like a good enough reason to burn them. And that makes absolutely no sense. So, I have since changed this strange habit of mine because candles are meant to be BURNED. Plus I refuse to box up several large candles whenever I graduate and move this summer.
While I am offering up my habits, I present to you yet another variation of guiltless alfredo. I cannot get enough of it – it’s just so easy to make! And with the absence of heavy cream there’s really no excuse not to make it. This version is made with avocados and results in an amazingly green and creamy sauce. But just so you are ware, it is thicker than traditional sauce due to the avocados. It is also especially delicious when paired with the spicy chicken.
GUILTLESS AVOCADO ALFREDO PASTA WITH SPICY CHICKEN
4 servings of pasta of choice
1 cup arugula (I use spinach because the grocery was out of arugula)
2 large avocados
1-1/2 cups 2% milk
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan plus 1/4 cup
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch cayenne (plus additional as desired)
2 Tbsp olive oil
- Cook pasta in lightly salted boiling water until almost cooked through (just before al dente). Reserve a cup of the cooking water.
- In a food processor add the flesh of the avocados, milk, cream cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan, flour and process until smooth. Transfer to a pot over medium high heat. Simmer until warmed, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, plus additional to taste. Add the noodles into the sauce, simmering until noodles have finished cooking, about 3 additional minutes (add reserved cooking water if sauce becomes overly dry and thick).
- In a bowl stir together the black pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder salt and cayenne. Add additional cayenne for a higher level of heat. Add chicken and toss until well coated.
- Heat olive oil until hot but not smoking in a pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken, flipping once, until cooked through.
- Plate pasta, top with arugula and then chicken. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from Domestic Fits.
There are times when I go to the grocery store and somehow leave without actually getting everything on my list. And then there are times when I cross every last thing off, only to get home and realize I didn’t buy enough of something or forgot to put something on the list in the first place. Enter improvisation. When making these stuffed shells, I substituted broccoli for shredded zucchini because I failed to buy any, and also some of the ricotta for Greek yogurt because I didn’t buy enough! Some people say you shouldn’t admit to screwing up and instead say it was all planned out from the beginning. However, I prefer admitting how awesome my creative skills under pressure because these shells were still awesome.
Two years ago: Butterscotch Haystack Cookies
PEPPERONI PASTA BAKE
15 oz. part-skim ricotta
5 oz. plain Greek yogurt (I used o% Chobani)
1-1/4 cups chopped broccoli
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
3 cups marinara sauce, divided
28 (7 oz.) jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package drections
2 oz. mini turkey pepperoni slices
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine ricotta,broccoli, basil, and egg. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
- Spread 1 cup marinara in prepared baking dish. Fill each shell with 1 heaping tablespoon ricotta mixture and arrange in an even layer in dish. Top with remaining 2 cups marinara, then pepperoni and mozzarella.
- Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Heat broiler, remove foil, and broil until cheese is browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Top with additional basil and serve.
Source: Adapted slightly from Everyday Food, October 2012.
Happy Valentine’s Day!! What do you have planned today? I am going to the Brooks Museum with some friends for a visiting internet cat video film festival! It’s going to be absolutely ridiculous and I cannot wait. After all, I don’t need to do anything mushy today because I already celebrated Valentine’s Day over the past weekend when I was visiting my boyfriend. We actually made the ravioli I am sharing with you today!
I packed my ravioli press in my luggage, but unfortunately my stand mixer + pasta rolling attachments were unable to come with me. So the BF used his muscles to roll out this dough by hand with a rolling pin. Serious dedication. He even got creative and made a little heart ravioli for me out of the last pieces of dough (which you can make out on the top of the pile).
So stay at home tonight with your favorite person, and make this dish for/with them. Serve with some roasted brussels sprouts and a nice glass of wine. Oh and don’t forget dessert! How about an easy jumbo cookie stuffed with a 5 ounce heart-shaped Reese’s? Scroll down for that lovely treat.
In mom news, her MRA had to be postponed yesterday due to some minor things and as a result was not able to go home yesterday. But I talked to her and she sounds good although still tired. Best part is her vision has already started to improve!
One year ago: Raspberry Hugs Cheesecake Blossoms
Two years ago: Sweet Swirl Cookies
SUN-DRIED TOMATO RAVIOLI WITH BASIL CREAM SAUCE
1-3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch salt & pepper
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 egg yolks (set 2 egg whites aside)
BASIL CREAM SAUCE
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
- Pour flour into a mound on your chosen surface. Make a well in the center of the dough. Add eggs, tomato paste, olive oil, salt and pepper to the well. Using a fork, begin to whisk the eggs with the tomato paste. Begin to incorporate the flour into the eggs. As the dough begins to form a shaggy mass, switch to using your hands. Begin to knead the remaining flour into the dough, pressing with the heel of your hands. Once all of the flour is incorporated into the dough, form it into a ball and wrap in plastic. Set dough aside for 1 hour.
- Prepare filling by mixing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set egg whites in another small bowl.
- Divide the past dough in half. Using your desired method, roll out pasta until it is about 1/8-inch thick.
- If using a ravioli form: Lightly coat with flour and lay a sheet of pasta over it. Place the top of the form on the pasta sheet, pressing gently to make impressions for the filling. Remove the top of the form, and place 1 tablespoon of filling in each impression. Lightly moisten the border of the pasta sheet and in between the filling with the egg whites, using a pastry brush. Cover the filled impressions with a second sheet of dough. use a rolling pin to roll over the top of the form to cut and separate the ravioli. Push the finished ravioli out of the form. Let finished pasta rest on a baking sheet dusted with flour for about 5-10 minutes.
- If free styling the ravioli: Flour your work surface and place one sheet of pasta dough on the counter. Add tablespoons of filling about 1-2 inches apart. Using a pastry brush, paint around the ricotta filling with the egg whites. Lay the second sheet of dough on top of the first. Press the top layer of pasta onto the lower layer, trying to remove any air bubbles from the ravioli. Cut the ravioli apart using a knife, pizza cutter or pasta cutter. Let finished pasta rest on a baking sheet dusted with flour for about 5-10 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. As the water comes to a boil, prepare the cream sauce. Combine basil, white wine and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour contents of the blender into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add heavy cream and stir with a whisk. The sauce will take about 15 minutes to reduce. Don’t be tempted to raise the heat to high, let it reduce slowly. Once the sauce is close to your desired thickness, give it a taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- As the sauce is reducing, add ravioli to the boiling water. Don’t walk away, it won’t take that long to cook the ravioli through. Once the pasta floats to the top, it is done, this will take about 3-5 minutes. Fish out pasta with a slotted spoon and set to drain in a colander. Allow pasta to drain for 1 minute before serving. Serve ravioli with basil cream sauce.
Source: Adapted slightly from Wilde in the Kitchen.
JUMBO REESE’S HEART STUFFED COOKIE
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp beaten egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp old-fashioned oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp festive pretzel M&Ms
2 Tbsp white chocolate chips
1- 5 oz. Reese’s Peanut Butter Heart
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a small heart shaped spring-form pan with nonstick spray.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir the butter and sugars together until creamed. Add the egg and vanilla and mix.
- Stir in flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir until fully incorporated. Add in M&Ms and white chips and stir.
- Place half the dough in the center of the pan. Press until evenly spread over the bottom. Place the Reese’s heart on top and cover evenly with the remaining dough.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the edges are browned. Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove from pan and serve with ice cream.
Source: Adapted from Bake Your Day.
Last week, Stephanie (another student in the lab who is planning to graduate this spring) and I attended an electronic dissertation formatting workshop. It was 3 hours long and we both wanted to strangle someone by the time it was over. Actually, we had that impulse before we even got to the workshop because we had an assignment to complete prior to the workshop which consisted of going through a 35 page mock dissertation and editing the formatting errors! Thankfully I did learn something from all of that, but think it could’ve been acquired less painfully. At the same time, neither of us now have very high hopes of finishing the write up of our dissertations in time to start the formatting review process the first of April. Especially since we both have lab work we’re still trying to finish up. It’s a good thing one can just finish whenever you’re done in grad school instead of only two days a year.
Anywho, pardon my rant. I will make it up to you with yet another recipe involving Meyer lemons. It’s cheese tortellini, mixed up with bacon and spinach then covered in a Meyer lemon cream sauce. Feast your eyes upon that plate of glory. (And watch as my frustration magically dissipates a little.)
One year ago: Lighter Pizza Dip
TORTELLINI SPINACH BAKE IN CREAMY MEYER LEMON SAUCE
12 oz. cheese tortelini (I used frozen)
4 oz. (4 strips) bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 30 seconds. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk until browned, about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.
- Add Meyer lemon zest and juice to sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan and also crumbled bacon.
- Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Source: Adapted slightly from Our Best Bites.
Before I begin, let me preface today’s post by saying I 100% support the motivation of those people who have newly joined a gym and are actually using it and attending group fitness classes. I will always cheer on any person who makes a commitment to their health and well being. That being said…
At the beginning of each new year there is a large influx of new members to gyms everywhere, and the one at which I am a member is no exception. Parking spots have become a little harder to find, but who cares if I have to park further because I’m there to work out, what’s a few extra steps? Upon entering the gym, the cardio and weight lifting areas also have more people utilizing the space, but I purposely joined this gigantic Mecca because even with the influx there are still open machines here and there most of the time. If not there is a short wait.
However, I start to get annoyed when I have to show up at least 30 minutes early to the group fitness classes in order to get in. Thankfully (being a graduate student working in a lab), my schedule is flexible to an extent which allows me to leave a little earlier in order to stake a claim on a bike/mat/etc. But sometimes even getting there 30 minutes ahead of time isn’t enough and that’s when I get really annoyed. When that happens I try to make the best of it and use one of the ellipticals that may be open on the cardio floor instead. But it’s just not the same when no one is in front of you saying “FASTER”, “MORE RESISTANCE”, etc.
Anyway like I said in the beginning, I could never be mad at anyone who is trying to do the same thing as me. So hop on that spin bike and afterwards, make these awesome stuffed shells for dinner! Cause that’s what I would do . Serves with roasted brussels sprouts.
One year ago: Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bricks
Two years ago: English Muffins
BUTTERNUT SQUASH STUFFED SHELLS
Makes 20 shells, and serves approximately 4
20 jumbo shells
2-1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1-1/2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese (I used cream cheese)
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 pinch of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
10-15 sage leaves
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butternut squash on a baking sheet and toss with salt, pepper, nutmeg and olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, flip, then roast for 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and mash with a fork or potato masher until almost pureed.
- Boil water and prepare shells according to directions. Mine called for 9 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside to cool. While pasta is cooking, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter, garlic and shallots. Whisk until brown bits appear in the butter, then mash into the butternut squash, along with the mascarpone and and tablespoon of parmesan. Spray a baking dish (8×8) or pie plate with nonstick spray. Spoon about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons (depending on the size of your shells) of squash into each shell, then lay in the dish. Repeat.
- To make the bechemal, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and cook until golden and a nutty aroma appears. Add milk and parmesan and let come to a simmer while whisking constantly. Once sauce has thickened, stir in nutmeg and taste – add salt and pepper if desired. Pour mixture over top of shells, then add mozzarella and sage. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Source: How Sweet It Is
To make up for yesterday, I am giving you a skinny chicken pasta dish for dinner tonight. That way you won’t feel guilty about all those cookies you will then eat for dessert! For those of you who did not make an eating-habit resolution (like myself), you still need to make this. It’s always a good time to eat something healthy AND delicious.
I’m at a loss of what else to say, because after two weeks of mental freedom I am back to the grind getting ready to set up more 12 hour experiments while attempting to write up two papers to be published on my research and then my dissertation in time to graduate this spring. Eeeek! Hopefully the food juices will not run completely dry inside of my brain in the meantime.
One year ago: Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Hawaiian Pizza
Two years ago: Spinach Tomato Tortellini
SKINNY CREAMY ITALIAN CHICKEN SKILLET
1/2 bottle Lowry’s Garlic Herb Marinade
2 Tbsp pesto
4 small chicken breasts
PASTA AND SAUCE
8 oz. penne pasta
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 small onion, minced
Salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 tsp all-purpose flour
4 tsp pesto
Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
- Combine marinade and pesto in a large Ziplock bag then add chicken breasts and squish to coat. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.
- Saute marinated chicken in a large skillet sprayed well with non-stick spray over medium heat for 5-6 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then cover loosely with foil to stay warm and set aside. Carefully wipe out skillet with a spatula or wet paper towel. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil then season with salt and add penne. Cook until al dente then drain and set aside.
- Still over medium heat, add oil to the skillet then add onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until tender, then add garlic and saute, stirring constantly, for 30 more seconds. Carefully add chicken broth then let simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce and evaporated milk then whisk in flour, pesto and crushed red pepper if using. Simmer until thick and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes. Add cooked and drained pasta then toss to combine. Portion out to plates then top with cooked chicken.
Source: Iowa Girl Eats
Other than pumpkin, I think butternut squash may be my favorite type of squash. But for some reason I only think to cook with it during the winter and the same with pumpkin during the fall. To solve this problem, I decided to buy more butternut squash than I needed for this recipe, and saved the remaining peeled and cubed pieces in my freezer. Muwahaha! Now to just remember it is there to use later. That may be the bigger problem because if you saw how stuffed my freezer was year-round, you’d understand. “How long has that homemade ice cream been in here?? And what flavor is it? ::sniff::” Seriously happened. Also discovered frozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies the other day. How do you forget about those? Oh yea, they were blocked by the 10 packages of butter I stocked up on when it went on sale. Serious food blogger problems in my fridge.
But I digress, let’s focus on unfrozen food such as this pasta. The butternut squash is pureed to function as the sauce itself, and what a fantastic idea! It’s complimented very nicely with the spicy sausage and the winter-ific sage. And don’t forget the spinach to finish off this healthy meal. But I decided to curb that a little by serving it with pull apart garlic bread. Mmm garlicky carbs.
And a Happy Birthday shout-out to my big brother!! Happy 33rd!
One year ago: Blizzard Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Two years ago: Buttermilk Pancakes
PASTA WITH BUTTERNUT SAUCE, SPICY SAUSAGE AND BABY SPINACH
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced
10 oz. pasta of your choice
11 oz. (4 links) spicy chicken Italian sausage
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp fresh shaved Parmesan cheese
4 sage leaves, sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender or food processor, blend until smooth.
- Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water (I used about 1 cup) to thin out the sauce to your liking. Add baby spinach and stir in Parmesan cheese and sage.
- Toss in cooked pasta and sausage and mix until well coated.
- Serve with additional Parmesan cheese on the side if desired.
Source: Gina’s Skinny Taste
Cooking for one is a challenge. Normally I don’t mind leftovers because they are great for lunches, but I find myself overrun with leftovers these days. Both in meals and desserts. I am convinced at times my fridge looks like I am feeding a family of 4. I have been freezing as much as I can but at the rate I’ve been going, soon my ice maker will be filled with non-ice items.
Every now and then I run across a single-serving meal that is quick and easy to make, and it immediately goes on my to-make list. This simple yet delicious pasta dish is great for a busy weeknight or when the thought of adding another tupperware full of leftovers to your fridge makes you shudder.
Two years ago: Iced & Spiced Applesauce Cookies
CREAMY RICOTTA SPINACH & SHELLS
1/2 cup medium whole wheat pasta shells
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
1/4 cup marinara
2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the broiler. Cook pasta according to package directions, about 7-8 minutes. During the last minute of cook time add in the spinach to let it wilt with the pasta. Drain the pasta/spinach and immediately return to the hot pot. Stir in the ricotta cheese and milk until completely mixed. Season with the garlic powder and salt/nutmeg/pepper to taste. Pour into a ramekin and top with marinara and mozzarella. Cook under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Serve hot!
Source: Heather’s Dish