A creamy, veggie-filled pasta dish that comes together quickly with lots of pantry ingredients.
Does anyone else watch Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network? Ever since we moved to Nashville and got a DVR [yes, I know these have been around forever but we didn't get one til a year ago. We are way behind technology-wise.] I have been obsessed with recording episodes of cooking and HGTV shows. Because I can, and because they’re good tv shows to watch while blogging or reading magazines or something. I never watch and only watch tv. I need to be doing something else in the process, so I need somewhat mindless shows that aren’t totally trashy. Does that make sense? This one, if you haven’t seen it, requires chefs to dash around a grocery store in search of ingredients for an assigned meal/category of food, and then COOK their meal… but there’s always a twist or challenge. I never in a million years would want to be on Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, or any of those other cooking shows… but if I had to choose a cooking competition show to be on, this would be it. It’s relatively tame, Guy seems nice, and hello! Grocery stores are my favorite place to browse. Is that weird? Ha. Anyways, on a recent episode of triple G, one of the judges said that pasta dishes aren’t supposed to be light. She thought they needed to be heavy, or at least, hearty to be a true pasta dish. I have to say I disagree with that. There’s a place for heavy, hearty dishes like baked pasta or lasagna [take a look in my archives, I have tons of recipes like that!] but sometimes lighter pasta dishes totally hit the spot. Maybe they aren’t traditional but I love ‘em.
This pasta dish is exactly the kind I love–full of flavor and interesting things, but still relatively light. It uses cream cheese and Parmesan cheese but also a lot of tomatoes, onions, and spinach to balance everything out. You can make this pasta in a pretty short amount of time, using mostly pantry ingredients, so it’s great for weeknights. The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks, so it really doesn’t take more time to make than a box of mac ‘n cheese. So what if it’s not this big, hearty meal? Isn’t that what sides are for? :) To make this more of a one dish meal, I think some sliced grilled chicken, shrimp, or even some canned white beans would be great additions. I’ll have to try that next time! Enjoy!
one year ago: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce
two years ago: Pumpkin Cornbread
three years ago: Honey Whole Wheat English Muffinsfour years ago: Pumpkin Pasta Sauce, aka “Pumpfredo”
Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta
from Budget Bytes
- 1/2 pound small pasta like penne
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- pinch red pepper flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4-5 ounces fresh spinach [frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained should also work too]
Prepare pasta [al dente] according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened about 7 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so until fragrant. Add tomatoes [undrained], oregano, basil, red pepper, and black pepper and stir to combine. Add tomato paste and 1/2 cup water to skillet, stirring until tomato paste has dissolved. Reduce heat to low and add cream cheese cubes one by one, stirring until incorporated. Then add the Parmesan cheese gradually, stirring until it is creamy.
When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Top with spinach, cover, and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes until spinach wilts. Stir in and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve immediately.
This delicious, smoky chili is so easy and full of flavor! Serve it alone, or Cincinnati-style over spaghetti for a fun twist!
This week I’m sharing tailgate-style recipes as part of #10DaysofTailgate, the special blogging event I am participating in through the rest of the month. This event has been graciously organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla. While you’re thinking about it, be sure to pop over here to read all about the event and enter the giveaway. You won’t regret it! :)
I went to college in Ohio [yeahh Wittenberg!] and I remember the first time I was in the dining hall on chili night. Looking all around I saw people ladling chili on… what’s that… spaghetti! How bizarre, I thought, until I remembered that Cincinnatians [is that a thing? It is now!] eat their chili over spaghetti noodles. I thought it was really strange and didn’t try it for a few years until I was in a situation where it would have been super rude to not, plus I would have ended up starrrving. And we all know that’s not a good thing, righto? Truth be told, I before making this recipe I had only eaten Cincinnati chili a handful of times. But now that I have this easy recipe in my repertoire, I think it’ll end up on our dinner table more often in the future!
This recipe is from an Ellie Krieger cookbook which means two things: 1) it’s healthy, and 2) it’s super flavorful. The seasonings in this recipe are SPOT ON, folks. I didn’t change a thing! Just the right amount of heat and warm spices to make a smoky, alluring chili. Yup, I just called chili alluring. You gotta make it now! Be sure to top it with whatever you please… cheese, onion, sour cream/greek yogurt… the more the merrier! That’s part of the fun of Cincinnati chili! :)
three years ago: Honey Fig Scones
four years ago: Radiatore Lasagna
Cincinnati Turkey Chili
from Ellie Krieger’s Comfort Food Fix
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 green bell peppers, diced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 15 ounces tomato sauce – look for salt-free
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes in tomato juice – look for salt-free
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces spaghetti, cooked
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 teaspoons minced red onion
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often until soft–about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in turkey, breaking up with a wooden spoon, and cook through. Add peppers and cook for a couple minutes until they are just beginning to soften. Add spices–chili powder, cocoa powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, pepper, and cloves. Stir in and cook for about a minute until they start to smell delicious. Finally, add in tomato sauce and tomatoes, water, molasses, and the bay leaf.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook down for about 2 hours. Chili should still be soupy.
Remove the bay leaf, then stir in the kidney beans. Serve over spaghetti and top with cheese and onion.
Here’s what the rest of the team brought to the table…
So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. In fall 2012, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!
from April 14, 2011… this salad is delicious and I need to make it again!
My husband and I each take our lunches with us almost everyday, him to work and me to grad school. Not only is it less expensive to pack lunches, but it’s a lot healthier (and tastier) than eating out as long as you pack the right things. I discovered early on in our marriage that the best way to ensure that we each had delicious, filling lunches that would rival anything at a restaurant was to spend some time in advance doing some lunch preparation. So I started spending an hour or so every Sunday after church prepping our lunchtime vegetables and making a grab-and-go main course option. Then, every week night while we’re cooking dinner or cleaning up, we assemble our lunches for the next day. Having components in the fridge ready to go makes it a snap!
Pasta salads are one of my top choices for packed lunches as they are good served hot or cold, are customizable, and can be quite filling depending on the ingredients. I love that I can make a big batch to eat from throughout the week. This Greek-inspired dish was born out of the need to finish some random ingredients taking up space in my fridge such as a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives that I used in a recent dinner, Pantry Pasta for Two
. Each bite is a little different, and the sweet tang of lemon and tomatoes coupled with the bite of olives and the rich flavor of feta cheese is incredible. You’ll have to try it to believe it, but one bite and you’ll be hooked. It’s like a trip to the Greek Isles without every leaving your lunchbox! Not that I’ve ever been… (hint, hint husband!) I’m not sure this is a super kid-friendly dish depending on picky eaters’ palates, but I think it’d be great for girls’ lunches or family gatherings. Enjoy!
Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
- 1 cup orzo pasta, uncooked (or any small pasta)
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used the oil that my tomatoes were packed in for extra flava!)
- zest of 1 large lemon (maybe a couple tablespoons?)
- juice of 1 large lemon (perhaps 1/4-1/3 cup?)
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/3 cup spinach leaves, torn and packed
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup pasta water, reserved
Prepare orzo according to package directions. Before draining, be sure to reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. If you’re like me and don’t have a fine strainer, place a (unused) coffee filter inside your regular strainer. Then drain your pasta carefully so as not to tear the coffee filter and spoon the pasta into a medium bowl. Immediately stir in sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, olives, lemon zest, spinach, and parsley. Mix gently to combine, then add lemon juice. Add feta cheese after a minute or so to let the pasta cool off (unless you don’t mind melted feta cheese). If needed, incorporate a little pasta water to make sure everything is fully coated, especially if you’ll be storing the salad for more than a day, as the sauce tends to be absorbed by the noodles over time. I used about 2-3 teaspoons of water. Season with black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Spicy peanut sauce, noodles, kale, and edamame meet in an addictive, easy pseudo-takeout meal that can be enjoyed hot or cold–what’s not to love?!
This spring/summer Ben and I have been eating sesame or peanut noodles all. the. time. [Side note: is there an actual difference between them? I'm sure there is. The librarian part of me is itching to google this up and see what I find out, but I'll restrain myself.] They have replaced our easy mac & cheese from a box dinners. I have a hard time telling you what recipe I’ve used because a) I have many pinned on Pinterest and b) don’t really measure ingredients for sauces like this because I’ve never taken the time to take a few pictures to share the recipe here! But this time I did. Measure and photograph. :) And this time I didn’t use any recipe except what sounded/looked/tasted good to me. It’s a good thing I did, because my noodles were utterly amazing.
Inspired by the lovely Amy of fearless homemaker and HER spicy peanut & sesame noodles, I added mix-ins to my noodles for the first time ever. What a good choice! Adding some kale and edamame made the textures of everything just pop and look pretty. Dontcha just love all that green?! :)
Ben walked in the door just as I was mixing everything together and was like, “what in the world is that fabulous smell?! You must be the best wife ever for cooking such an incredible dinner.” Okay, maybe his words didn’t come out exactly like that, but the sentiment was there. I know it. But seriously–these noodles DO smell fabulous. The sauce is the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and fresh flavors. I used ground ginger in the sauce but if I had had fresh ginger… oh man. Use that if you can.
Though I served these noodles as a vegetarian main course, this is a great base recipe to add some meat. I think grilled chicken or thinly sliced steak would be great. Or even shrimp or tofu. This could even be a side dish if you like. We loved every last one of these yummy noodles, and like all good Asian-ish recipes…you can enjoy them hot or cold. They’re great both ways. In the recipe below I included notes about how to prepare them to be more picnic friendly, but no matter how you make them, I’m sure you’ll love ‘em! Enjoy!
one year ago: Ginger Banana Waffles
two years ago: Minty Asian Slaw
three years ago: Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame
- 16 ounces thin spaghetti noodles [any sort of thin noodle would work--Asian of any type, linguini, etc.]
- 3 cups kale, tightly packed & thinly sliced
- 1 cup Thai basil, loosely packed & chopped
- 1 cup edamame, shelled & room temperature
- green onions, sliced, for garnish
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- juice of half a lime [roughly 2 tablespoons]
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger [use 1 inch grated fresh ginger if you have it]
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ~1/2 cup pasta water, to thin sauce
Prepare noodles according to package directions. Be sure to reserve about half a cup of pasta’s cooking water to thin the sauce.
While noodles are cooking, whisk together all ingredients for sauce except for the pasta water.
When pasta is ready, drain, and return to pot [or a large bowl]. Add kale, basil, and edamame and toss. Thin dressing with 3 tablespoons of pasta water, whisk, and the pour over noodles and vegetables. Toss well to coat. If necessary, add additional pasta water to thin sauce further, up to a full half cup.
Serve noodles with green onions for garnish.
Can be enjoyed warm or cold, but the dressing does really absorb into the noodles after refrigeration [which doesn't bother me but does affect presentation] so if you’re making these noodles for an event and want to serve them cold, be sure to rinse well after draining to get rid of starch, toss with a bit of sesame oil, and then refrigerate separately from the sauce and veggies. Toss together before serving. I haven’t tried this technique with this recipe, but I have done similar things for other dishes so I assume it’d work well! Using rice noodles [that you don't boil to cook, thus, they stay cold] might be a good option too.
This baked spaghetti is jazzed up with BBQ sauce, ground beef or turkey, and vegetables. It’s as cheesy and delicious as it sounds!
Ben and I are HUGE baked pasta people. If we ate baked pasta as much as we wanted to, we would probably be huge. Haha! :) Anyways… this BBQ Baked Spaghetti is awesome and I wish I had some to enjoy right now!
I got the recipe from one of the first food blogs I ever started reading–Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures. Everything I make from her blog is just delicious, family friendly, and wonderful. This baked pasta dish is no exception. It’s cheesy pasta goodness that no one can resist, even though BBQ and spaghetti may not be the first food combination that you would think of when brainstorming for dinner. It’s a unique dinner that you’ll want to make again and again.
Like I do with a lot of baked pasta dishes, I made this dinner a day or so before I wanted to eat it. If you cover it and stick it in the fridge, it’s an easy homemade convenience dinner for later in the week! This pasta dish kind of reminded me of the ubiquitous BBQ burgers I see all over Nashville–except a more carblicious rendering of that.
If you like baked spaghetti and you like BBQ, you’ll love this dinner! Enjoy!
one year ago: Honey Lemon Thyme Iced Tea
two years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
three years ago: Spiced Waffles
BBQ Baked Spaghetti
from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
- 1 pound spaghetti noodles
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups bbq sauce [I like Sweet Baby Ray's]
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and then cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Meanwhile, brown ground beef or turkey in a large skillet set over medium heat. While meat is browning, add green pepper and onion. Cook until tender, then drain grease if necessary. Return pan to heat and add garlic powder, bbq sauce, and tomato sauce. Cook over medium heat until hot.
Combine spaghetti with sauce mixture. Stir in half the cheese, then spread into prepared pan. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes until hot and cheese is bubbly.