Baked Bacon-Blueberry Ricotta Pasta

A luscious, creamy baked pasta with crisp bacon, succulent fresh corn, a pop of sweet blueberries, and a crunchy topping made out of a surprise ingredient. Intrigued now?

Baked Bacon-Blueberry Ricotta Pasta | an easy, cheesy baked pasta with a surprise topping! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.comAt my house, you can’t go wrong with baked pasta. Ben and I can eat an embarrassingly large portion of baked pasta at a single meal. Then after it’s wrapped up for the fridge, we are constantly opening it up and using a fork [or our fingers, sorry Mom] for another bite. There’s just something about baked pasta. From looking at the title of this recipe, Baked Bacon-Blueberry Ricotta Pasta, you’ve probably surmised that there’s at least something a little unusual with this pasta dish. Bacon and ricotta… pretty standard fare for Italian food. Blueberries? Now that’s a little odd, but it’s summer so sometimes berries creep into weird places. But then you look at that photo and you’re like, wait… is that oats? On pasta? Ummm, what’s going on? Well, that my friends, is granola. Granola?!?! Well, yes. That’s what my husband said too. Ha!

Baked Bacon-Blueberry Ricotta Pasta | an easy, cheesy baked pasta with a surprise topping! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.comI developed this recipe as my entry in the Golden Girl Granola Blogger Recipe Challenge. When I first received the package of Bluesberry Granola I planned to use it in a breakfast dish, such as french toast or breakfast quesadillas, or the like. But it’s a contest, and I figured everyone would do that. So I did something different! And guess what? It worked!

Baked Bacon-Blueberry Ricotta Pasta | an easy, cheesy baked pasta with a surprise topping! Find the recipe on thepajamachef.comThe sweetness of the blueberry, almond, and coconut granola [which is SO delicious, btw] is cut by the salty bacon, creamy ricotta, and the freshly grated Parmesan cheese mixed into the topping. I also mixed in some fresh sweet corn since I can’t get enough of that in the summertime, and a handful of herbs from my garden. Perfection on a plate! This isn’t your average pasta dish… it’s even better! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

one year ago: Coffee Blondies
two years ago: Pineapple Cream Pie
three years ago: Grandma’s Blueberry Muffins
four years ago: Linda’s Caramel Ritz Bits Crackers

Baked Bacon-Blueberry Ricotta Pasta

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 40 minutes
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  • 8 ounces pasta* [I used Trottole, a curly, thick, corkscrew shape but any small pasta would do]
  • *1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup corn [frozen or fresh]
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • a small handful of fresh basil, minced
  • a small handful of fresh lemon thyme
  • white pepper
  • sea salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup Bluesberry Granola – from Golden Girl Granola
  • 5-6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10 inch round casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.

Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp, then drain on a paper towel. Chop when cool.

Then, stir together ricotta cheese, corn, blueberries, rosemary, basil, and lemon thyme until combined. [If you don’t have these herbs, substitute about 1/4 cup fresh herbs of choice, or ~1 teaspoon dried herbs.] Season with white pepper and sea salt, then taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Then add egg and bacon and stir again.

When pasta is finished cooking, reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta. Fold pasta into ricotta mixture, adding reserved pasta water in 1/4 cup increments until sauce evenly coats pasta. Spoon pasta into prepared casserole dish.

In a small bowl, gently crush granola with the back of a wooden spoon until just broken down. Mix in Parmesan cheese, then sprinkle mixture over pasta. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until heated through. Serve immediately.

Disclosure: Golden Girl Granola sent me one bag of granola of my choice for the purposes of participation in this recipe challenge. I received no further compensation and was not asked or paid to publish positive comments. Please check them out on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find their products in various stores on the east coast. Thank you for the chance to try your granola!

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers

These chickpea burgers are amped up with bacon and Sriracha, making them a fabulous addition to your burger repertoire!

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comAre you scared of veggie burgers? If so, no shame necessary here… these aren’t TRUE veggie burgers! I say they’re close enough though. Legit vegetarians can use facon instead of bacon to make these tasty treats, and the rest of us can use the good stuff. :) I have a long history with veggie burgers, though I am most certainly not a true vegetarian [though I do threaten to become one from time to time, just to agitate my husband]. Back in the day, I’d love to have some packaged veggie burgers or black bean burgers in the freezer at all times for an effortless, tasty dinner. But in recent years, I’ve made my own. I’ve tried alot of recipes online and have invented some of my own, with mixed results. While I’ve seen some highs in this veggie burger quest, I’ve also seen some lows. Some really, really deep lows. Ben would agree that the lowest point of them all was a sweet potato burger that I [secretly] hated but pretended I liked so I could convince him to eat them. What can I say? The recipe made a bunch and I HATE food waste. Oops.

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comI doubt you’ll have to waste any of these burgers though. They are good. SO good in fact, that you may not want to share them. I certainly didn’t. The burger itself is made out of chickpeas, so they’re kind of reminiscent of falafel, except with a spicy, meaty twist. They’re chewy and hearty, just as a burger should be. If spice isn’t your thing, omit the sriracha and things should be justtt fine. If you like spice, I would think some red pepper flakes or jalapenos might make a tasty addition. I like some spice, but not a ton, so I was happy with the recipe as written.

Spicy Chickpea Bacon Burgers | thepajamachef.comAs you can see from the above photo, I’m a ketchup-lover and I don’t care who knows it. I don’t style my food in ways that I wouldn’t eat it, and the naked bun looked plain so I added my condiments. :) The original recipe suggested serving these burgers with a roasted garlic yogurt sauce [YUM], arugla, and red onions, all of which sounded amazing. But I used what I had, which was [a giant piece of] lettuce and ketchup. No matter how you serve these burgers, they are fab. I highly suggest you make them asap! Enjoy friends!

one year ago: Zin-Zen Chicken
two years ago: Guacamole Salsa
three years ago: Ham & Cheese Baked Pasta
four years ago: Oreo Truffles

Spicy Bacon Chickpea Burgers

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 50 minutes
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from Running to the Kitchen


  • 3 slices thick cut bacon [or 4 slices of regular bacon]
  • 3 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed [from 2 – 15 ounce cans]
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 inch thick slice of onion [or a few green onions if you want a milder onion taste]
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  •  1/2-1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • buns, optional
  • toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, ketchup, Sriracha, honey mustard, etc.


In a large skillet, fry bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Place bacon on a paper towel to drain, and reserve bacon grease in the skillet. When bacon is cool, chop into small pieces.

Next, place half of the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Remove to a large bowl.

Add remaining chickpeas, garlic, onion, sesame seeds, Sriracha, cornmeal, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and egg to the food processor. Process until smooth, then transfer to the bowl.

Stir chickpeas, chickpea mixture, and mayo together. Fold in bacon.

Form mixture into 8 patties, about 1/3 cup each. You can use a scoop or your wet, clean hands. Place on a lined baking sheet and cover, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat skillet with reserved bacon grease over medium-high heat. When hot, cook for 3-4 minutes per side until crispy and golden brown.

Serve on a bun with desired burger toppings, or serve fritter-style with a dipping sauce [honey mustard, mayo + ketchup + Sriracha, garlic yogurt sauce, etc.].


Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart

This tart is full of hearty butternut squash and mushrooms, and of course has some cheese and bacon on top for extra deliciousness! 

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart |

Tarts and quiche are some of my favorite foods! They’re fancier than a regular frittata but almost as easy. The thing is… I like to fill them with things like butternut squash, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, and the like. All veggies that while Ben tolerates, he doesn’t really like. Soooo when I know I’ll have an evening to myself, this is just the sort of dish I like to make. Cooking for one only has to be a bore if you let it! Though, I must say, I don’t cook for one very often these days so when I do it’s kind of a novelty. But back to this tart!

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart | thepajamachef.comA slice of this tart is pretty much the best thing ever. Though it has a lot of steps, the work goes quickly and when it’s done, you get to eat! :) I used the crust the recipe suggested, and it’s pretty basic with the twist of using olive oil for the fat and seasoning just with salt and pepper. You could certainly use your favorite tart/pie crust though. This crust was super flavorful and once it was topped with the filling it was just perfect! I loved that the cheese was spread out throughout the tart, not just on top, but next time I will probably mix together all the veggies and the bacon with the eggs, and top with cheese for simplicity’s sake.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart |

I enjoyed this tart for dinner, but the leftovers were equally fabulous for breakfast and lunch, so make it anytime you please! Enjoy! :)

one year ago: Oatmeal Fudge Bars
two years ago: Lemon Pasta Salad
three years ago: Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken
four years ago: Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops with Pineapple

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Tart

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 30-40 minutes
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from Cooking Light


for crust

  • 5.6 ounces all-purpose flour [about 1 cup + 2 tablespoons]
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
for filling
  • 3 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup diced onions
  • 2/3 cup [2.5 ounces] swiss or Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces pancetta or 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 5 ounces sliced mushrooms [shiitake is preferred but any will work]
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken stock


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9 or 10 inch pie pan coated with cooking spray. Begin by making the crust.

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder and pulse until combined. In a measuring cup, whisk together oil and water. With processor running, slowly pour in oil mixture. Process until dough is just barely crumbly. Press dough into an even layer on bottom and sides of pie pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Next, make filling. Place butternut squash into food processor [no need to clean first!] and pulse for about 1 minute to finely chop squash.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. When hot, saute squash and onion for 7-9 minutes, stirring constantly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1/3 cup cheese, eggs, and pepper. When squash is cooked, fold in with egg mixture. Evenly spread over pre-cooked crust, then return to oven for 9 minutes.

Using the same skillet as before, set over medium-high heat, cook pancetta or bacon until it starts to brown [about 1 minute for pancetta, more for bacon]. Add oil if necessary. Add mushrooms and reduce heat to medium, then saute for 5-6 minutes until browned. Season with pepper to taste, then add wine/stock and turn heat to high. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes until liquid cooks down.

Spread mushroom mixture over egg mixture, then top with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake for 4-5 minutes until cheese melts. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

#10DaysofTailgate: Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon

Green beans tossed on the grill with mushrooms and duck bacon get toasty and roasty. They are so delicious!

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon | #10DaysofTailgate

This week I’m sharing quite a few tailgate recipes with some blogging friends as part of #10DaysofTailgate. Camilla did a great job organizing this event and wrangled 14 great giveaways for you guys! So check out the giveaway here. :)

#10DaysofTailgate Sponsors

Green beans are one vegetable that Ben and I both LOVE so we have them as a dinner side pretty often. Usually I just steam them on the stove. Occasionally I toss them in the oven to roast with some sweet potatoes, but that’s usually the extent of my green bean repertoire. Not anymore! Now, I’m gonna be grilling them up every chance I get! Especially when I have mushrooms and duck bacon laying around. Mmmm! You guys… that was just the most amazing combo ever! These veggies grilled up roasty and sweet, caramelized from the grill… and the salt of the bacon just made that taste even better! I know green beans and bacon are a thing, but I hadn’t had it very often so it was a new flavor combo for me. And the fact that it was DUCK bacon took this side over the top. Before #10DaysofTailgate duck bacon was pretty unfamiliar to me. Maple Leaf Farms [out of Indiana–woohoo!] is one of our generous sponsors and sent the team ground duck, duck bacon, and duck fat to try out. I was surprised at how tender and flavorful the bacon was. It definitely had a different flavor than regular bacon, but it wasn’t gamey at all–sort of similar to turkey bacon but with more oomph. The fact that it’s applewood smoked probably helped. :) I could have made an entire meal of these veggies! But I also had some beef skewers [this awesome recipe is coming soon!] to enjoy on the side. Rough life, huh?

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon | #10DaysofTailgate

You might notice that I didn’t just throw the veggies on the grill. That’s my handy new stainless grilling skillet thanks to another #10DaysofTailgate sponsor, Mr. Bar-B-Q! Before this, our grilling was pretty frills-free… just us and our grill. The grilling skillet allows for a little more control of things, but you could certainly make this recipe sans skillet by wrapping everything up in a foil packet. I gotta admit that having some grilling tools is pretty fun though! I’m sure glad that grilling season in Tennessee lasts well into the fall so we can have more tasty outdoors with my new toys. If you want to check out our generous sponsors on their social media so you can get more info on their products here’s all the info you need: Maple Leaf Farms is on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, and you can find Mr. Bar-B-Q on Twitter and Facebook too. Thank you both so much for your generosity! But they also have great prizes in our giveaway so be sure to go enter NOW! :)

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon | #10DaysofTailgateI just loved these veggies and duck bacon! Wish I had some to enjoy right now…even though it’s 8 am! :)

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

  • 1 pound green beans, washed, dried, & trimmed
  • 4 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, cleaned & sliced into large pieces
  • 4 slices duck bacon [from Maple Leaf Farms], sliced into eighths
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt

Directions: Add green beans, mushrooms, and bacon to a mesh grilling basket. Season as desired–I always use a lot of pepper and very little salt. Grill over indirect heat for 20 minutes, shaking every 5 minutes or so, or until bacon is fully cooked. If you don’t have a grilling basket, you can wrap ingredients in foil and grill in a foil packet. It won’t be exactly the same but the smoky flavors will still shine through.

Here’s what everyone brought to the table today…

Cheesy Maple Leaf Farm Duck Bacon Oven Chips by Making Miracles
Mango-Mustard Crock Pot Wings by Curious Cuisiniere
Cheesy Pulled Pork Egg Rolls by From Gate to Plate
Herbed Deviled Eggs by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Amaretto Spiced Apple Cider by The Spiffy Cookie

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Green and Gold Grilled Chicken (Green Curry and Pineapple) by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Turducken Meatballs by Miss Laura’s Kitchen
Meaty “Beast Mode” Baked Beans by OnTheMove-In the Galley
Chicken Apple Bratwurst Burgers by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Grilled Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Duck Bacon
 by The Pajama Chef

Disclosure: I received a complementary stainless grilling skillet from Mr. Bar-B-Q and complementary duck bacon, ground duck, and duck fat from Maple Leaf Farms as part of my participation in #10DaysofTailgate. I was not compensated in any way–for my time, to create a recipe, or to publish positive comments. I was not required to use these products as part of my recipe. My opinions are my own.

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

These Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs are a fun topping to a garlicky, buttery base of spaghetti squash. Though this dish takes awhile to prepare, it’s totally worth it!

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash |

I don’t know about you, but I’m on a quest to eat as much pumpkin in the next three months as possible. It’s my goal to make/blog about at least one pumpkin dish per week! We’ll see how I do. :) So first…I have a confession to make. I made this dish last year. In fact, it was one of the first new recipes I made in our new Nashville kitchen after we moved here last year. And it just didn’t make it on the blog. Oooops! Moving to a new state and starting a new job kinda takes a lot of time. :) But despite the length of time between eating this dish and sharing it here, I think it’s utterly fabulous! Most people think of pumpkin as a sweet ingredient [helllooo pumpkin pie, cookies, bread, muffins, yada yada yada] but I love it when used at dinnertime. Though pumpkin by itself is actually a little bland, it can add some color, moisture, and substance to sauces, meatballs, or soups when used in a savory sense.  This was my first time using pumpkin in meatballs and I must say I’m super impressed! These meatballs were sooo flavorful and indulgent… if meatballs can be indulgent, haha.

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash |

And don’t forget about the spaghetti squash! It’s garlicky and buttery and just plain perfect. It was Ben’s first taste of spaghetti squash and he loved it… especially because of the bacon. Everything’s better with bacon, right? Even pumpkin! With this dish you’ll certainly have one of the more unique ways to enjoy pumpkin. And it’s awesome! Hope you enjoyyy!

one year ago: Autumnal Muffins
two years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
three years ago: Peach Shortbread
four years ago: Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Pumpkin Chicken Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2 hours, most of that not active so don't freak out
  • Print

from We are not Martha


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground chicken [ground turkey would also work too]
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Butter Olive Oil – or regular butter or olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully poke holes all over the spaghetti squash with a sharp knife. Place in a baking dish and bake for 80 minutes, rotating halfway through.

While spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare meatballs. In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken, pumpkin, ginger, thyme, panko, parmesan, and egg. Scoop mixture into golfball-sized balls and place in a baking dish that has been greased with cooking spray. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and crisp on the outside. [Hint: put the meatballs in the oven after the squash has cooked for about 65 or 70 minutes–that’ll be good timing so everything is finished about the same time.]

After 80 minutes, remove squash from oven and let cool.

When cool enough to touch, carefully cut in half. Scoop seeds out, then use a fork to remove the “spaghetti” and set aside.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, add olive oil and cook garlic for one minute. Add squash, sage, and crumbled bacon, then cook for about 3 minutes until tender.

Serve meatballs over spaghetti squash with parmesan on top.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friends Friday.