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Jalapeno & Bacon Mac n’ Cheese #SundaySupper

Jalapeno & Bacon Mac n' Cheese 3

This is the time of year for comfort food.  As soon as the weather turns cooler, we all start craving those warm comfort foods.  Today for #SundaySupper Isabel, of Family Foodie is hosting this great “Comfort Food with Lee Woodruff” event.  This is sure to be a fun event.  Not only do you walk away with 50+ comfort food recipes, but Lee Woodruff herself is joining us for the Twitter Chat this evening.  Come join in the fun, and you will have a chance to win 1 of 5 signed copies of her new book, Those We Love Most.

I asked my husband for help with this weeks theme.  He came up with a few ideas, but I thought his Jalapeno Mac n’ cheese was the best.  I did add some bacon to make it even better.  I seeded the jalapenos so it wouldn’t be too spicy, but if you want some serious heat; leave the seeds in.  My husband loves things spicy, so I probably should have left more of the seeds in, but I needed to be able to eat it too :)

Now, I know mac n’ cheese is traditionally a very high calorie meal.  This is by no means a light version, and could be lightened up more, I am sure.  I did try to make it a little more healthy.  I reduced the amount of butter from some other recipes I saw.  I used skim milk, and in place of the cream I used half and half.  Finally, I found a reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese by Cabot that I used.  It was still creamy, and cheesy, and comforting, so I don’t think any calories were missed.  Plus, if you use whole wheat pasta (or a brand made with veggies like I did), you are upping the fiber and protein.

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Balsamic Pasta with Chicken Sausage & Veggies

Balsamic Pasta with Sausage and Veggies 4_labeled

Do you ever see recipes, and immediately make them?  Sometimes I come across a  recipe that is so perfect, I have to make it right away.  This was one of those.  Cassie made a version of this pasta, and I knew we would love it.  My husband loves just about anything with balsamic vinegar, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought about doing this yet.

My husband isn’t all about lots of veggies and no meat, so I had to switch it up a little.  I used some spinach & artichoke chicken sausage I had in the freezer, and just a few veggies.  This was amazing.  Balsamic vinaigrette is one of my favorite dressings, so adding it to pasta was only natural.  The chicken sausage makes it a heartier meal, but still good for you.

I have made it a couple times already, and I know it will be a staple in our house.  You could switch up the veggies to just about anything you have on hand, or what is in season at the time.  Leave out the meat, and this would be a great cold pasta salad.  I served with a little grated Parmesan cheese, but Cassie used goat cheese.  So feel free to switch it up!

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Spaghetti with Kale & Sausage #SundaySupper

Spaghetti with Kale and Sausage 3_

Who doesn’t love it when dinner comes together with just a few ingredients?  For me that usually means less dishes, less clean up, and dinner is on the table quickly.  All good things.  This week that is the theme for #SundaySupper. Dinners, breakfasts, desserts, appetizers and more, all of them with 5 ingredients (water, salt and pepper don’t count) or less.

I made this quick and easy pasta dish, that is full of lots of flavor.  This was my first attempt with kale, and I was a little nervous.  But it worked perfectly with the pasta and sausage.  I know I will be buying kale again and trying it in more recipes.  I used hot Italian sausage, so it would have a little kick, without added ingredients.  Italian sausage, or any sausage really, is great because it has lots of seasonings already in there.  So it cuts down on what you have to add to the dish.

We eat a lot of pasta here.  This is a great one now that the temperatures are starting to cool down at night.  Creamy, spicy, and just a comforting dinner.  If you can’t find kale, I think that spinach would hold up well in here as well.  I don’t have much experience with dark greens, so maybe another green would work well too.  Try it, and let me know!

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Szechuan Chicken and Noodles

Szechuan Chicken and Noodles

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new ideas for dinner.  We eat a lot of chicken, but I try to change it up as much as possible.  Stir fries are an easy way to do that, but even that can get a little old sometimes.  Plus I like it to be good for you, so sometimes that can be limiting.  Not too much cream, or butter, or cheese  – you know the good stuff :)  I gotta save my calories for dessert!

As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  It was so colorful, full of veggies, and lots of flavor.  And….it is good for you!  It took awhile before I finally got around to making it, but it was worth the wait.  It is a simple, quick, weeknight meal that you can throw together in under 30 minutes.

I used rice noodles that you would make Pad Thai with, because that is what I had.  But really any noodle would work here, vermicelli, spaghetti, lo mein, whatever!  My husband liked to drizzle some hoisin sauce on his.  I tried that with the leftovers, and it really was a nice addition.

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Homemade Pasta and Mother’s Day

bread

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

breadcrumb pasta 3 thumb

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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