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Homemade Pasta and Mother’s Day


homemade pasta

I spent the day yesterday at the zoo with a bunch of first graders.  It was a little crazy at times, but all in all, it was fun.  Luckily, I didn’t have to drive the 60 minutes there and back on the bus, or I might think differently :)

As I said yesterday, I wanted to share my Mother’s Day with you.  I said all along, I didn’t need presents.  What I wanted was to not have to cook and clean all day.  Well my husband went above and beyond with my wish.  On Saturday, he got in the kitchen and started working on some bread.  He decided to go all out and try a Peter Reinhart recipe that involved a starter.

On Mother’s Day, I got to sleep in!!!  My 7 year old is an earlier riser, so sleeping in hasn’t really happened since he was born.  Then they served me breakfast which was homemade waffles topped with homemade strawberry sauce.

After breakfast I got to open my son’s present, which was a ring they had made at school.  He was so proud, and did a great job making it.  My husband gave me Avocado Oil, which I am super excited to try out!  Then we went mini golfing, played arcade games, and rode go-karts.  My 7 year old planned this outing, and it was lots of fun.  For lunch my husband grilled us turkey brats!

After a relaxing afternoon at home the whole family made homemade pasta together.  It was much easier than I thought it would be, and it was fun to have everyone in the kitchen helping.  The dinner was amazing, and the pasta went perfectly with the homemade bread my husband made.

We went for a walk in the gorgeous weather after dinner.  And after my son was asleep, we splurged and had a bowl of ice cream :)  It was an amazing day, and I am so thankful to have these guys in my life.

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Greek Pasta Salad

greek pasta thumb

greek pasta salad

I think I am finally feeling caught up after my busy weekend.  I have groceries in the house, laundry is caught up (well, I could do another load now), the floor is vacuumed, and my kitchen is in good shape.  We have had doctors appointments this week, football practice, and a big report my 1st grader has been working on.  Needless to say, I am ready for the weekend!  Too bad it is only Thursday :(

Remember  awhile ago when I made that Greek Vinaigrette dressing?  This is one of the things I did with it.  It was so good.  I marinated the chicken in some of the dressing, and then I grilled it.  Then I used the vinaigrette again as the dressing for the pasta salad.  I ate this hot and the leftovers cold, it was great both ways.  It was supposed to have black olives in it.  I even had them out on the counter, but forgot to put them in!  I do not like Feta, but if you do, it would be a great addition and make this even more Greek. As for the avocados….I have no idea if they are Greek.  I just like them, so I put them in.

This would be a great side dish for your summer barbeque or to bring to a pot luck.  I would just leave out the meat, and it would be equally delicious!

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Pasta with Garlic Breadcrumbs

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Guess what I am doing today?  Spending the day with my parents!  My 6 year old doesn’t have school today, and my parents flew in yesterday for the weekend!  We haven’t seen them since January, so we are excited to have them here.  They even get to see my son’s first flag football game on Sunday.  Should be a wonderful weekend.

I hate those nights when I don’t know what to make for dinner.  I wait for my husband to get home thinking he will have a great idea I can go with.  But he gets home, and says “Oh, I will just have cereal.”  Seriously?  Not what I want to hear.  If you know me, you know cereal is not my favorite.  I am a person who likes my dinner to be an actual dinner.  Now, dinner can be waffles or pancakes, but not cereal!

So recently when this happened, I said fine, but I am still having dinner.  I went to Pinterest to find some inspiration.  I found a meatless pasta dish that I could make quickly and just for me.  My husband wouldn’t have liked it anyway.  Unless it has a ton of sauce on it, he doesn’t want it!  I on the other hand, loved this.  I am a big fan of a light pasta dish. This was even good as leftover the next day for lunch.

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Spicy Asian Noodles

peanut noodles thumb

I have a cold.  I managed to catch it from my 6 year old.  Somehow he seemed almost unaffected by the cold.  Slightly runny nose, but that is it.  I on other hand am exhausted.  It really isn’t that bad of a cold, I had a runny nose for one day.  But today I feel like I could take a nap at any time.  Unfortunately there is too much to do to actually take that nap :(  Maybe I will just go to bed early instead.

It is a good thing we have lots of leftover ham, so I don’t have to cook tonight.  Although, I must say after 3 meals of ham so far, I would much rather have this pasta.  We love Asian flavors here, so when I saw this recipe, I knew I was going to make it.  I have made it a couple times already.  The first time I made this I did a vegetarian version.  The second time I used beef strips, which was also really good.  Next time I might do pork tenderloin!  I love this sauce, you could really do whatever you wanted in this, and it would be delicious.

The veggies you put in are completely up to you.  The original recipe had broccoli, which we aren’t fans of.  So instead I used bell peppers, water chestnuts, mushrooms, snap peas, and green onions.  I really wanted to use bean sprouts, but couldn’t find any at the store.  You have bok choy to use up?  Throw it in.  A couple of carrots almost past their prime?  Add them.  You get the idea.  Just make this soon, you will not be disappointed.

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Pistachio Cream Pasta

What a great week to have spring break.  We have been in the 70′s all week.  Yesterday we went bowling in the morning, and spent the afternoon at a park.  I didn’t even think about sunscreen, so I managed to get my first sunburn of the season.  This weekend is supposed to be close to 80!  Too bad it isn’t going to last.  Although if it did, I would be kind of scared for how hot summer would get.  I broke out the grill this week too, spring is here!

So yesterday was Holiday Recipe Club, and the challenge was potatoes, pistachios or beer.  Well, did you notice I did all 3?  Lemon-Herb Potato Salad, Beer Cheese Soup, and then this pasta.  Apparently I couldn’t make up my mind!  My husband is a huge fan of pistachio’s, so when I found a recipe for pistachio pasta, I knew I had to try it.  This came together very quickly, and was a great weeknight dinner.  Unfortunately the pistachios didn’t come through as much as I had hoped.  I have a feeling if you let them steep in the cream for a little longer, you would get more flavor out of them.  Same idea as in my Pistachio Ice Cream that is full of flavor.  I used Evaporated Milk here to try to cut down on some of the calories.  But feel free to use cream, half and half, 1% milk; whatever you like to use for creamy pastas.  And it is vegetarian (shhh, don’t tell my husband)!

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Spaghetti and Meatball Soup

I first had this soup a couple weeks ago when we went to visit our friends in the mountains.  When Jessica told me she planned on making this for dinner I was excited.  This had been on my radar for awhile, I just wasn’t sure how it would go over with my husband.  I had pretty much written my 6 year old off as liking it.  I can sometimes get him to eat Spaghetti O’s, but that is about it.  He isn’t a huge fan of pasta either, so I figured I would end up picking the meatballs out and putting them on a plate for him.  Boy was I wrong!  He loved this soup.  He ate 2 bowls of it, and was asking when the next time we could eat it.

It has been hard to find a day to make soup this winter.  The weather has been so crazy and mild it just isn’t soup weather.  The day I planned to make this it was 60 degrees!  I said oh well, and went with it.  My son was so excited, and it had only been 5 days since we had it last.  It makes a ton of soup, so I ended up freezing the leftovers, so we can have it again in a couple weeks.

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Creamy Cajun Pasta

Back to reality today.   We had so much fun with our friends over the weekend.  My 6 year old was so worn out he was asleep by 7:00 last night.   Long weekends are tough when you are 6! :-)

We like spicy food in this house.  By we, I mean me and my husband.  Our 6 year old can’t stand spicy food.  Sometimes I can get him to eat the Indian Food we make if I mix it with a bunch of sour cream to cool it down.  We are from the Mid West, so we don’t have a ton of experience with Cajun food.  I saw a recipe at Eat. Live. Run for a lightened up version of a creamy Cajun pasta.  I am always looking for lightened up dinner recipes, so I was excited to give this one a try.

It came together very quickly and it was creamy and slightly spicy.  I thought this was a great weeknight dinner.  My husband ate it, and the leftovers, but it wasn’t his favorite.  He is not a big fan of chunks of fresh tomatoes, so I am not surprised he wasn’t a fan.  Next time I might use a can of crushed tomatoes to help win him over!

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Smokey Garlic Chicken Pasta

Smokey Garlic Chicken Pasta - a new weeknight favorite!

Smokey Garlic Chicken Pasta - a new weeknight favorite!

Photos were updated as of 7/31/14 (using real bacon in the recipe)

The other night while trying to figure out dinner, I was browsing Pinterest to see if something caught my eye.  I had pinned this recipe for Garlic Chicken Farfalle from Kevin and Amanda awhile ago.    I had just gotten chicken at the store, I had leftover half and half from Thanksgiving, and I had bacon bits left from the Monterey Chicken I made.   Dinner was decided! And it was a really good dinner, if I do say so myself.  This went over well with my 6 year old and my husband, that is what I call success!  If my husband has a say, I think this will make a regular appearance in our house.

Smokey Garlic Chicken Pasta {Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts}

The original recipe called for cooking the chicken in the crock pot with a mesquite marinade.  Considering it was already 4:30 that wasn’t going to happen.  I found a bottle of Garlic and Herb Marinade in my pantry, so I used that and added a little Barbeque Sauce to make it smokey.  I think a combination of Italian Dressing and BBQ sauce would work well for this too.   Next time I will follow the instructions and use real bacon, but all I had was real bacon bits this time.   I made other adjustments as well to reduce the calories and fat.  But I don’t think I missed out on any flavor, this was creamy, garlicy, smokey, and delicious!

Smokey Garlic Chicken Pasta - so good and perfect for a weeknight

This makes a lot (6 servings for us), and the leftovers were really good.  I don’t always like leftovers, and I happily ate these.

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Pumpkin and Sausage Baked Pasta

Hope everyone had a fun Halloween yesterday.  After the sugar coma I think everyone is in today, I am making you a healthy pasta dish.  It has pumpkin, which when made without all the sugar of a baked good, is really healthy for you.  I found this pasta recipe over at I was Born to Cook.  I have never had pumpkin with pasta before.  I have seen it before, but never been brave enough to try it  (I am a picky eater).  With my husband (non pumpkin lover) in Colorado and me here with my pumpkin loving 6 year old, I thought it was the perfect time to try it.  It was so good!  I will be making this again for my husband.  It doesn’t taste like pumpkin at all to me.  It just tastes like this rich and creamy pasta dish.  I really think that with all the sausage and sage in there, if I didn’t tell him it had pumpkin, he would never know.  My 6 year old ate it, but didn’t love it.  Now to be fair, he isn’t really a fan of noodles.  He did eat everything I gave him (I may have bribed him with these for dessert).  
Here are a few pictures from our Halloween.  My 6 year old was Perry the Platypus from Phineus and Ferb.  He was quite the hit with the teenagers who were answering the doors.

Pumpkin and Sausage Baked Pasta
Slightly adapted from I was Born to Cook
1 lb Italian Turkey sausage
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon dried sage
1/3 cup heavy cream (half and half or 2 % milk will work too)
1 box penne pasta, cooked
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
In a large pan brown sausage, until cooked through.  Remove from pan and drain over paper towel.  Set aside.

Using any oil (up to 2 Tbls) from the sausage, sauté onion, garlic and crushed red pepper until soft.  Stir in pumpkin, chicken stock and sage.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt.

Stir in heavy cream and sausage.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce comes together and thickens slightly.  Remove from heat, and add pasta.  Toss everything together. 

Place mixture in a casserole dish sprayed with non stick spray.  Top with Parmesan Cheese.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Taco Pasta

I think this was one of the first things I pinned when I joined Pinterest!  That site is amazing, so much better than just bookmarking.  It is addicting, which can be a problem!  I love following new people, so join me over there!

I am always struggling for dinners that all of us can enjoy. We are all picky in our own ways, that is undeniable.  But my 6 year old is kind of over the top.  So if I can get something all of us will eat 75% of the time, I am doing amazingly well.  Tacos are one of those that is always a hit! So when I saw this recipe for Taco Pasta I knew I had to try it. 

I was so excited for this!  I will say that if you do not like spicy foods you really need to use just plain diced tomatoes.  I didn’t have plain tomatoes, so I used the can of Rotel that I had.  It was fine for hubby and I, but not for my son.  We were adding shredded cheddar cheese and crushed tortilla chips to try to cool it down for him.  I think he drank 3 glasses of milk during dinner that night! He did like it though, and said if it wasn’t spicy he would eat it again.  My husband topped his with cheese too, but that is just because he likes cheese.  Don’t mind the mix of pasta shapes, I didn’t have enough macaroni, so I broke some lasagna noodles to fill in.  I am looking forward to making this again without the heat.

Taco Pasta
Recipe The Girl Who Ate Everything
Printable Recipe

1 pound ground beef
10 oz small pasta shapes
1 small onion,diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can Rotel tomatoes (or plain diced if you don’t like spicy)
1 packet taco seasoning
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet  brown ground beef, and onions over medium-high heat until cooked through. Once the meat is cooked, mix in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning.  Let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce.