Happy National Cheese Day! What better way to celebrate that with some pasta covered in it? When it comes to mac and cheese, I tend to prefer the stove top varieties bnecause they are creamier. I have never met a baked version that could compete. That was until this recipe happened because it just may be the creamiest baked mac and cheese ever.
When Lindsay (Love & Olive Oil) posted about this recipe and explained how many sub-par batches of mac and cheese she and Taylor had to eat before reaching the perfect consistency and flavor, I knew I had to make it with the exact same cheeses. It was surprisingly difficult to locate mild white cheddar in the grocery stores near me, but finally found one and it was well worth the hunt.
Don’t like Brussels sprouts? Leave them out or substitute for another veggie, such as broccoli. This creamy mac and cheese is the perfect base to which you can incorporate any of your favorite add-ins.
Posts on Sunday? Yes because it’s Single Serving Sunday! Remember the leftover avocado from the breakfast taco I shared last Sunday? Well today I am sharing a simple pasta dish that uses it for a sauce. Using some of the cooking water and a little bit of seasoning, the avocado turns into a creamy delicious sauce. You may even find yourself whipping this up in larger quantities when cooking for others. No one has to know how easy it was to prepare.
Add some red pepper flakes if you want a little kick!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.)
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
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