Posts Tagged ‘pasta’


(adapted from Cooking Light)

the original recipe called for asparagus and peas. i didn’t have either on hand (hubby doesn’t like asparagus anyways); instead i used broccoli and green beans, as that is what i had from the farmers market. so if you do like and/or have asparagus and peas, use those instead. or, if you really like veggies, add all four! (whoa! gettin’ kinda crazy over here with all these veggies!). other veggies could very easily be substituted or added in. i decided to start with the basic this time.


8 oz. rotini, penne, fettucine, or linguine (i had tri-colored rotini on hand)

1 broccoli crown, chopped into bit-size pieces

½ – 1 lb. fresh green beans, diced (hubby doesn’t care too much for green beans so i cut them really small. but you could leave them whole or just cut in half)

olive oil

1 c. chicken or vegetable stock

1 ½ tsp. cornstarch

1 T. butter

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

½ c. half and half

juice of 1 lemon

½ c. shredded parmesan or asiago cheese


freshly ground pepper

a dash or two of cayenne powder


1)  cook pasta according to instructions. drain; set aside.

2)  in skillet, saute veggies in olive oil until desired cruchiness (or mushiness, as the case may be. if you prefer it on the mushy side, add some broth to steam them a bit). place into separate bowl and set aside.

3)  whisk together broth and cornstarch; set aside.

4)  add butter to skillet over medium/medium-high heat.  add garlic; saute until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. add broth mixture. bring to a boil; cook until thickened, stirring constantly. add cream and lemon juice. stir with whisk to combine; remove from heat.

5)  add cheese and stir until melted. stir in veggie mixture. add pasta and toss to combine. serve with shredded parmesan cheese on top.

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my mother-in-law makes this AMAZING tortellini soup. (my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.) i was craving it one night so decided to try my best at recreating it. the bad part — i forgot to write the recipe down! i thought that i used another soup recipe as a skeleton, but now that i look at it, it doesn’t seem at all similar to what i made. so i’ll have to go off of my taste bud memory and the picture to do the best i can. here’s my best shot:



olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

4 c. chicken/turkey broth (or vegetable broth, for a vegetarian option)

1 c. diced tomatoes (maybe about 2 large tomatoes–add more to your liking)

spinach, fresh leaves or frozen

swiss chard (or double the spinach if you don’t have this/don’t want to buy it)



cayenne powder


parsley (optional)

cheese ravioli or tortellini/tortolloni

shredded cooked chicken or turkey (optional)



1)  in dutch oven pot set over med-high heat, saute onions until lightly golden brown. add garlic; saute about 1-2 minutes longer.

2)  add next 9 ingredients (broth through parsley — if using frozen spinach, don’t add until step 3). bring to a boil; simmer for 20-30 minutes.

3) add ravioli/tortellini ( and frozen spinach, if that’s what you’re using, and optional chicken). cook for whatever length of time is on the pasta box.


if you like your food spicy, try adding a serrano pepper or two.

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(adapted from Cooking Light)

i know. everyone claims that they have the recipe for the best mac and cheese ever. and here i am claiming just the same. but believe me, this is goooood. if not for his loving and caring wife, my husband would eat stouffers mac and cheese every day for every meal: believe me, he is pretty high maintenance when it comes to mac and cheese. after experimenting a few different times, he finally gave me permission to call it quits at this recipe.  i have made these for potlucks and have always received rave reviews. (hopefully they weren’t just being nice!) but my husband has an amazingly great palette, so if he likes it, i figure it must be good.

also, don’t shy away from the mac because it’s a kid food. this is america, after all. just embrace the mac.



2 c. uncooked elbow noodles (actually, I prefer to use medium shells or rotini for the extra crevices that trap the cheese sauce. i also use whole wheat pasta, just to make myself feel better about consuming all that cheese.)

4 T. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 c. milk (i’ve made these using 1% and using non-fat, and they both turned out the same)

1/4 c. cream cheese or neufchatel, softened

2 tsp. dijon mustard

2 tsp. worcestershire sauce

1 1/4 c. shredded cheese (i use a mixture of somewhere around 1 c. extra sharp cheddar and 1/4 c. parmesan.)



1)  cook pasta according to directions on box. (continue with following directions while past is cooking.) drain and return to pot.

2) while pasta cooks:  place flour, salt, and pepper in a large sauce pan over medium heat. add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk until well blended.

3)  drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to boil over medium-high heat while continuing to stir constantly with whisk. once starts to boil, immediately reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, or until thick and cream cheese is melted.

4)  stir in mustard and worcestershire sauce; simmer for 1 minutes or so. remove from heat.

5) add cheeses, stirring until melted. if it’s too thick, add more milk to thin down, but only a few splashes at a time to avoid putting too much in. as it cools, though, it will thicken up a bit.

5) add to cooked noodles in pot. stir well to combine.


this yields a really creamy pasta, so if you don’t like more sauce than pasta, feel free to add another cup of noodles.


*try experimenting with adding different kinds of cheeses in, like brie or pepperjack. you could probably even substitute gorgonzola and other white cheeses for the cheddar for a completely different dish!

*for another completely different dish, use cubed potatoes instead of noodles!

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now, don’t let the title scare you away. i’d thought about naming it “w/ mystery pink sauce” but i figured that would harken back to grammer school days of eating mystery meat from the cafeteria, which isn’t necessary any better than beets. so i just decided to keep it real.

i got this recipe idea from my sister-in-law (who has the same name as me) and her husband. since the four of us share a csa box, they, like us, had beets stored up that they didn’t quite know what to do with. last sunday when we met them at the farmers market to split up the box, there were even more beets that came in it. “have you used your beets yet?” she asked. definitely no. “you should make this yummy pasta we made the other night!”

when i got home, i couldn’t remember how she had said they made it, except that they put sausage in it. so i attempted to make my own. and it was DELISH! i couldn’t taste the beets in even the slightest bit (and neither could hubby, whew!) – -thanks to the spiciness. who would have thought — pasta, beef, and beets???? weird! the best part about this:  i used only 1 pot to make it all. i love when that happens! (so does hubby, since he’s the official dish washer.)

i didn’t have sausage, so i spiced up some ground beef with ingredients i thought would be sausage-esque. and, like my other recipes, i threw in random veggies from my csa box that i needed to get rid of in a sneaky way. feel free to omit those if you don’t have them on hand, or to substitute them with other veggies to your liking.



whole wheat spaghetti noodles (i believe i used ¼ – 1/3 box)

approx. 1/3 lb. ground beef **

1 medium onion, chopped

1 jalepeno, diced** (with or without the seeds, your choice — remember, the seeds make it hotter!)

chili powder**

cayenne powder**

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

3 small radishes, scrubbed clean and shredded

3 small fresh beets, peeled and shredded

a few leaves of swiss chard, chopped (my sister-in-law used the green tops from the beets)

shredded parmesan, for topping


**substitute these ingredients for sausage



1)  cook spaghetti according to directions on package. drain, reserving about 1 cup pasta water; set aside both water and pasta.

2)  in the same pot you used to cook the pasta in, set to med-high heat, add ground beef and onions. cook until beef is browned. add next 7 ingredients (jalepeno through chard) and reserved pasta water. cook about 10 minutes.

3)  return spaghetti to pot. stir to combine.

4)  serve garnished with shredded parmesan on top.

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easy alfredo sauce

(note: i was so focused on eating dinner that i completely forgot to take a photo until it was too late. please don’t let that deter you; trust me, it’s delicious! 🙂 )

the first thing i found out about my husband when i met him: fettuccine alfredo. (nevermind, nix that: the first thing was actually beer; fettuccine alfredo would be second on the list. forgive me, my love, for forgetting myself.) not that he IS fettucine alfredo or that he can make it, but rather that he loves, loves, loves it. we could go into a little mom-and-pop italian restaurant that has all these delicious sounding entrees on the menu, and he will choose the one that has ALFREDO attached to it. “but, honey, don’t you want to reach out and try something else, something different, something unique to this restaurant only?” “hm, no.” it used to drive me up the wall. but then i learned to embrace it. and now i am thankful for it because it led me on one of my many food quests — my search for the perfect alfredo sauce recipe.

as i searched, however, i discovered that alfredo sauce is extremely hard to make! and it’s pretty fattening…duh, what delicious make-your-mouth-water food isn’t fattening? isn’t that one of the biggest curses in life? but, as those of you who keep up with my recipe posts might have discovered, i refuse to give in to fat and refuse to surrender completely to health. in life i’m all about finding the perfect balance (isn’t that, in a sense, what “all things in moderation” is about, finding the balance — or the fulcrum, for you science peeps — in life?). while not all my recipes are the healthiest foods in the world, i try to tweak any recipe as much as possible to make it as healthy as possible without sacrificing taste.

well, after that huge tangent, i hopefully didn’t loose your attention. and you’re probably thinking, “yeah, yeah. give it to me already!” but all good things must wait. wait, i think i mixed my idioms up. i always do that. it is one of the greatest joys in my husband’s life — “what is my crazy, silly wife going to say next?” he would swear that english is my second language the way i mix my words up. does anyone watch NCIS? you know Ziva, and how she is always mixing up idioms/metaphors? that’s me, only she has an excuse; i don’t. oh, i remember it now: good things come to those who wait. (and have i ever mentioned how i like to talk in stream of consciousness?) and because you have been so patient, here is my scrumptiously delicious easy alfredo sauce. if it’s good enough for my husband and his sometimes-annoyingly precise palate, then it’s good enough for my recipe box; hence, my mission — accomplished.


1 T. butter (i use earth balance)
2 T. flour (since I’m using it as a thickening agent, i use straight flour, not my typical half wheat-half white mix)
2 c. hot milk (i’ve used 1% and non-fat; both work just fine. traditionally it calls for whole or heavy cream)
1 c. shredded parmesan cheese (or, if you’re feeling gluttonous as i often do when it comes to cheese, add an extra 1/2 cup)
salt & pepper

optional flavorings:
freshly squeezed lemon juice (or maybe even a bit of lemon zest)
minced or pressed garlic


1)  in a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. add flour; stir with a wire whisk (because i have non-stick pans, i use a silicone-covered wire whisk) until combined into lumps.

2)  slowly add hot milk, stirring constantly w/ whisk until the flour/butter lumps are dissolved into the milk. reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.

3)  add cheese, salt, and pepper; stir until cheese is melter. remove immediately from heat.

4)  season with any of the optional ingredients as desired.


i like serving this sauce over whole wheat pasta and steamed fresh spinach leaves. therefore, i tend to mostly add nutmeg to my sauce.

i went to a restaurant one time that had chicken spinach alfredo pizza, and it was probably the best pizza i have ever had. one day i mean to attempt recreating this heavenly masterpiece.

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