Category Archives: Pasta

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac

I’ve been making this Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac for well over a year now since Joanne posted it, and have no idea why I haven’t blogged about it yet. It is AMAZING! It’s no secret that I like baked pasta, cheese, and Southwestern/Mexican food, and this dish fits the bill for all three of those categories. Saaaweeeet!

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac |

Or more accurately, sweet ‘n spicy. This version of chile mac features a hearty sweet potato sauce, some spicy chorizo sausage, and just enough cheese to be yummy but not too indulgent/unhealthy. I mean, I love a super cheesy dish as much as the next girl, but there are other flavors I like too… and this dish brings it! If you have all the ingredients at your disposal and are currently snowed/iced/frozen in, then I highly suggest you make this today! If not, then by the end of the week, stat!

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac |

I’ve been trying to figure out what my favorite part of the dish is, and the sad answer is… I don’t know! The spicy meat pairs so well with the smooth sweet potato sauce that neither is overwhelming. Ben isn’t a huge sweet potato guy but this is one dish he really can get into. For the most part, I followed Joanne’s original recipe, but of course I had to add my own little twist, my own little departure from regular ‘ole chili mac… and that is to toss everything in the oven for just a bit, to create some crunchy noodles and a nice layer of melted cheese. By jove, I’ve got it! The crunchy noodles are my favorite part. Crunchy, cheesy, spicy, sweet potato covered noodles, that is! Enjoy! :)

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac |

one year ago: Chicken Tinga Tacos
two years ago: Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce
three years ago: Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Sweet Potato Chorizo Chile Mac [from Joanne via Marcus Samuelsson]
click to print


  • 2 large sweet potatoes [approximately 2 pounds]
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-6 ounces shredded cheese [sharp Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack], divided
  • 8 ounces small whole wheat pasta [shells or macaroni]
  • 8 ounces chorizo
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • sour cream, for serving


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork. Place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through.

While sweet potatoes cook, prepare pasta according to package directions.

When cooked sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and place in a large bowl. Add milk, chipotle chiles, and a generous amount of pepper. Mash and stir in half of the cheese, then add pasta to sweet potato mixture.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, then add chorizo and cook 4-5 minutes until brown, stirring to crumble. Add to bowl with sweet potatoes and pasta. Stir together along with half of the green onions and cilantro, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Top with green onions and cilantro and serve with sour cream [if desired].

Time: 40 minutes.

Yield: 10 servings.

About these ads

Mystery Dish: Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta

Welcome to another edition of Mystery Dish! This month Krista from Joyful Healthy Eats challenged us to use three of the following ingredients: lamb, apple, butternut squash, puff pastry, Frosted Flakes, goat cheese, fresh rosemary, cherry pie filling, spinach, or corinader. I decided to use apples, butternut squash, and fresh rosemary to make a delightfully cheesy baked pasta.

Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta2

The pasta features two kinds of cheese AND chicken sausage [that also contains spinach--bonus points for me!], so when I was trying to come up with a name for this dish, Ben suggested we called it “cheesy baked everything pasta” because it contains everything that’s good… fruit, cheese, veggies, meat, pasta. Pretty much all we eat on a regular basis. If only I had also included yogurt! Haha.

Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta

Anyways, this pasta is basically a kicked up mac ‘n cheese. All the magic begins with the sauce. While this sauce does include cheese–swiss and ricotta, to be precise, what makes this sauce stand out is that it starts with butternut squash soup. So Krista, I hope you don’t mind that I took a little liberty with this month’s ingredients. :) At the core, butternut squash soup still features the squash itself as the star ingredient. For my dish, you can make your own soup [use leftovers] or use some storebought soup. Either way, butternut squash soup is so creamy that it thickens up perfectly with a little flour, seasonings [rosemary!!!], and cheese. It’s the perfect coating for pasta, sweet apple slices, and sliced chicken sausage.

Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta3

Now, I know for the hardcore mac ‘n cheese lovers out there, there may be two red flags. First, the cheeses. Ricotta and swiss are NOT very strong. But they are flavorful and creamy, which helps this baked pasta dish stay velvety and indulgent on the inside, while still being a little crisp and heartier on the top. [On a sidenote, I love baked pasta so much because I adore standing in the kitchen after dinner, picking at the dish and grabbing the crunchy, cheese-covered noodles. Ben makes fun of me, but please tell me I'm not the only one who does this?!?] Also, this dish is a little sweeter than your average pasta… but really, the apples are just a fun addition and pair so well with the rustic herb-flavored chicken sausage and the woody rosemary. Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta is truly a great fall dinner… comforting and full of amazing fall tastes! I can’t wait to make it again!

one year ago: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
two years ago: Thai Peanut Ginger Chicken Wings
three years ago: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce

Cheesy Baked Everything Pasta [adapted from Eats Well With Others]


  • 16 ounces rigatoni
  • 32 ounces butternut squash soup [storebought or homemade]
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups grated Swiss cheese, divided
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 apples, sliced [I used Jonathan]
  • 12 ounces chicken sausage, sliced [I used Trader Joe's Spinach, Fontina, & Roasted Garlic variety]
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish by greasing with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook rigatoni for 3 minutes less than the recommended cooking time. Drain and return to pot, setting off the heat.

Meanwhile, heat the soup over medium heat. Stir in the flour, half the rosemary, and some pepper. Simmer until it starts to thicken, then add half the swiss cheese and all the ricotta cheese.

Add cooked pasta to sauce, then fold in apple and chicken sausage slices. Pour into greased baking dish, then top with remaining rosemary, swiss cheese, and panko bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are golden brown.

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Be sure to check out the other recipes for this month’s Mystery Dish here:

Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto + Summer Vegetables

I’ve tried so many non-basil pestos this summer. It has been absolutely great! Though I love love love this kale pesto, I think I have found a new favorite… and it’s really fun. This pesto is made from two of my favorite herbs and my favorite nut. Already sounds like a winner, huh?

Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto + Summer Vegetables |

Mint, parsley, and pistachio. YUM! It’s pretty much the most awesome combination ever. Though I can’t take credit for it [Cooking Light wins here], I can take credit for the addition of some fun summer vegetables. Tossing tomatoes, zucchini, and red bell peppers in with a herby, nutty pesto make this dish SO filling and incredibly flavorful. Mint is an herb that I love to use in iced tea and the occasional fruit salad, but I loved how it worked in this fresh, savory pasta.

Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto + Summer Vegetables |

Topping everything off with some asiago cheese is highly recommended too, but I won’t cry if you use Parmesan instead. Asiago is just my ultimate cheese pick though! Normally I have a 50/50 track record with “topping” dishes off with whatever suggestion a recipe makes, but it’s essential to this dish since the pesto doesn’t include cheese. I almost added some but decided not to once I gave it a taste. Totally unnecessary with all the fresh flavor in that pesto. Hope you try this pasta out before the summer’s up. I know I’ll be making it again soon!

one year ago… Peaches and Cream Pancakes
two years ago… Roasted Tomato Sauce

three years ago… Cran-Oat Muffins

Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto + Summer Vegetables [adapted from Cooking Light]
click to print


  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, shelled dry-roast pistachios, plus 4 teaspoons for sprinkling [divided]
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces dried fettuccine [or 9 ounces fresh fettuccine]
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced [about 1 cup]
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 ounce freshly shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of water to boil.

In a food processor, combine mint, parsley, 1/4 cup pistachios, salt, pepper, and garlic. Pulse several times to combine, then stream in 3 tablespoons olive oil, scraping the sides if necessary.

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add zucchini and peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add tomatoes and heat until pasta is ready.

When pasta is fully cooked, return to pot and toss with pesto. Add vegetables and toss again, then serve with cheese and pistachios.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt

A few years ago, I made Avocado Soup. It was a cold, gazpacho-esque soup made with yogurt, avocados, and seasonings. Hardly any liquid and served cold, it has gone down in history as one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever served for dinner. Nowadays I would have revamped it as a dip or a sauce, but four years ago it just went in the trash. And with it, my desire to use yogurt as anything more than something to eat with granola or occasionally in baking.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt |

With that history of yogurt as a dinner ingredient, it came as a surprise to me when I saw this Creamy Shells and Yogurt recipe online and decided to make it. I know warm yogurt sounds weird, but hear me out. This is totally not what you think. Here, Greek yogurt makes a surprisingly delicious rich pasta sauce when combined with eggs and cheese.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt |

As the sauce comes together, it is almost reminiscent of a rich macaroni and cheese. It is truly one of those dishes that you just have to taste to truly understand.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt |

The eggs, cheese, and yogurt come together to make a tangy sauce that tastes rich while being actually pretty light, but the true star of the sauce are fresh herbs and lots of lemon zest. I used lemon thyme and mint for my herbs, but you could use whatever you have on hand. I think parsley, basil, oregano, or any of the usual suspects would work perfectly–but do try the minty lemon combo if you can. It is divine! For a little extra something-something I added some kale to the mix. You know how I love my kale!

Creamy Shells and Yogurt |

Everything about this dish screams summer, and even though I only made this pasta a couple weeks ago, I’m craving it so badly now and am wondering if I can justify dirtying up the {clean} kitchen at 10:30 pm just for a small bedtime snack. Of yogurt pasta. And this after making Pumpkin Soup for dinner and telling Ben how I just cannot WAIT for apple picking, apple cider, pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins, and all the joys of fall [which do NOT include football, thankyouverymuch. That's Ben's department.]. I am so seasonally confused. I want it all, summer and fall. But most of all, I want a big bowl of Creamy Shells and Yogurt. It is totally a bright and cheery summer comfort food. I am sooo glad to have tried this pasta–hope you will too!

a year ago… Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
two years ago… Chorizo and Potato Tacos
three years ago… Taco Casserole

Creamy Shells and Yogurt [adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen]
click to print


  • 12 ounces shell pasta
  • 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt [whole or 2%]
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped + more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon thyme, chopped
  • 3 green onions
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 ounce Mozzarella, shredded or cubed + more for serving
  • 1 large handful kale [~1.5 cups]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt


Bring a large pot of water to boil, then add shells and cook to al dente.

Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt, eggs, mint, lemon thyme, green onions, lemon zest, and Mozzarella. Wash kale, remove thick stems, and tear into small pieces.

When pasta is ready, drain and reserve ~ 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in kale. Then add 6 tablespoons water to yogurt sauce and whisk well to temper egg. Pour yogurt sauce over pasta and kale and stir vigorously to coat. Keep stirring until Mozzarella melts, then season to taste with peppers and salt as desired. Serve with additional mint and cheese as desired.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings.

Linked up with: What’s Cookin’ Wednesday.

Kale Pesto Pasta

If you read my menu plans with any regularity, you might notice that our vegetarian meals tend to fall into one of three categories: black beans, eggs, and kale. Before we got married, I never thought Ben would be a guy who enjoyed vegetarian meals, and I certainly didn’t think he’d be a kale aficionado. But he is, and I am grateful because it’s healthier and easier on the budget to eat vegetarian meals a night or two per week. One of our fave veg meals is Lemony Kale Pasta, and once I saw this recipe, I knew that we had to try it. I am so glad we did, because it is absolutely amazing!!

Kale Pesto Pasta |

I’m a big fan of pesto in any form–classic basil, sundried tomato, and now, kale. Pesto can totally be made with a variety of herbs/greens, nuts, and cheese–this version is flavored with just a few fresh ingredients: kale, walnut, garlic, and lemon. And don’t forget the cheese! I used asiago, but Parmesan or any other hard or semi-hard Italian cheese would also work. I just love the flavor of Asiago… and have since my first taste of those famous Panera bagels. :) But back to this pesto. I could just eat it by the spoonful, sans pasta. It is utterly heavenly!

Kale Pesto Pasta |

Each bite is a burst of nutty, lemony, cheesy flavor. This is a great starter kale recipe, since there are many other strong flavors in the sauce. If you aren’t into lemon, or don’t have one lying around, it can easily be omitted but I highly recommend it! The flavors just go so well together.

Kale Pesto Pasta |

I can’t wait to make this pesto again. I think it would be a fabulous appetizer or light lunch–you could spread it on mini toasts, use it as a breadstick or veggie dip, or as a pizza sauce… or really, however you use pesto normally. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! What do you use pesto for? I’m in search of excuses to make this pesto again soon. :)

Kale Pesto Pasta [slightly adapted from What Megan’s Making]
click to print


  • ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1 large bunch kale, stems discarded, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup grated asiago cheese [2 ounces] + more for topping
  • 1 clove garlic
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 12 ounces fusilli or other short pasta


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Cool, then chop 2 tablespoons of walnuts and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, then add kale and boil for 30 seconds. Remove kale to colander, saving the cooking water. Return to a boil, then add pasta to water and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, add asiago, garlic, ½ cup walnuts, lemon zest, and pepper to a food processor. Use spatula to press kale against side of colander to squeeze out excess water. Add kale to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. With food processor running, pour oil in through the feed tube in a steady stream.

When pasta is cooked, reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return to pot. Add the pesto along with ¼ cup cooking water, tossing to coat. If pasta seems dry, add more water as necessary. Serve pasta with additional toasted walnuts and grated asiago.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.