Creamy Sweet Potato and Kale Orzo

This easy, creamy pasta-based dish has all the makings of a cravable, comforting fall dinner. Creamy Sweet Potato and Kale Orzo may not look like much, but it tastes like a million bucks!

This easy, creamy pasta-based dish has all the makings of a cravable, comforting fall dinner. Creamy Sweet Potato and Kale Orzo may not look like much, but it tastes like a million bucks!

Eeek, I don’t want to tell you  how long ago I made this recipe! It’s embarrassing. But I wanted to wait until fall to share this gem of a meatless meal with you. This easy, creamy pasta-based dish has all the makings of a cravable, comforting fall dinner. Creamy Sweet Potato and Kale Orzo may not look like much [and my indoor photos don’t help it… alas], but it tastes like a million bucks!

This easy, creamy pasta-based dish has all the makings of a cravable, comforting fall dinner. Creamy Sweet Potato and Kale Orzo may not look like much, but it tastes like a million bucks!

Despite this dish’s less-than-steller appearance, it is so unbelievably good, whether prepared fresh or reheated for lunches later in the week. Mmm! The star of this meatless sensation is absolutely the creamy, sweet potato-based sauce. It’s just a little cheesy [thanks ricotta!] and somewhat reminiscent of summer since the flava flava comes from none other than pesto! So you can reminisce about warm days while cozying up with a warm bowl of this goodness.🙂 Of course, you can’t just have the sauce… you gotta add some extra deliciousness to it! This time I added kale, sun-dried tomatoes, and orzo to the mix, but you can absolutely use other veggies or even some meat. I think bacon would be great here too… but can you ever go wrong with bacon? No matter how you mix it, this dinner is great! The slight crunch of the kale, the sweet essence of sweet potatoes [sorry that sounds weird but it was just speaking to me today–haha!], and the fun add in pasta shape of orzo makes this a dish that I know you’ll love! Enjoy!🙂

one year ago: Cantucci (Almond Biscotti)
two years ago: Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
three years ago: Autumnal Muffins
four years ago: Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
five years ago: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
six years ago: Spaghetti + Meatballs=Love

Creamy Sweet Potato and Kale Orzo

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 30 minutes
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adapted from The Smart Cookie Cook


  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 16 ounces orzo pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups kale, tightly packed [about 2/3 of a large bunch–washed, thoroughly dried, stems removed, and chopped into bite sized pieces]
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes [dry packed or drained and patted dry if water/oil packed]


Wash and dry sweet potatoes, then pierce with a fork all over and place in a microwave safe container. Microwave on high for 6 minutes, then flip and microwave for another 4-5 minutes or until potatoes are cooked all the way through. Set aside to cool in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes, then peel and chop into chunks. Discard skin.

Meanwhile, cook orzo to al dente according to package directions.

In a separate pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute, for about 4-5 minutes until onion is tender. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds until fragrant. Season generously with pepper. Add milk and broth, then bring to a boil, being careful to not let it boil over. Reduce heat to low.

Add sweet potato chunks, ricotta, pesto, and crushed red pepper to broth mixture. Whisk constantly until all has been incorporated. Break up the sweet potato chunks as you go, and if desired, use an immersion blender to completely smooth the sauce. Next, add kale and sundried tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes until kale has reduced in volume. Stir in orzo and serve immediately.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken

This delicious, creamy pasta dish comes together in a flash! It’s like a grown-up broccoli & cheese casserole, pasta-fied!

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli + Chicken |

I don’t think “pasta-fied” is a word, but I want it to be. This pasta dish is one of my absolute favorite quick dinners… and you gotta make it soon! Promise? It is reminiscent of SO many other dishes that I bet you know and love… those rice/pasta packet side dishes… the ever-classic broccoli & cheese side dish… pesto pasta… mac & cheese… I could go on and on and on, but then I wouldn’t get to the goodness of this dish! Sure, it’s not the healthiest pasta dinner, but it is flavorful and has veggies, protein, and carbs so it’s pretty all-encompassing. And on nights when you have less time than you want, but still want a homemade dinner, meals like this are the BEST.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli + Chicken |

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken is fast and flavorful. The creamy sauce is basically pesto + cream cheese + chicken broth [ooooh pesto, how I love thee! Make your own, or use some storebought pesto… it matters not]. The creamy sauce coats your pasta [duh], chicken, and broccoli to make a wonderful all-in-one meal that’s just a bit cheesy and creamy and a whole lot delicious. You can use fresh chicken for this, or even leftover chicken [rotisserie chicken would be SO  yum and SO easy I think]. I used frozen broccoli for ease, but fresh steamed broccoli would be great too. Basically, this recipe is just a guideline. The sauce makes the dish though so keep that in mind. I hope you love it as much as we do!🙂

one year ago: Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw
two years ago: Healthy Crumb Topped Zucchini Bread
three years ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
four years ago: Chocolate Mousse
five years ago: Pumpkin Granola
six years ago: The Bestest Pizza Sauce Ever [+ Pizza How-To]

Budget Bytes

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
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  • 8 ounce small pasta, like bow ties
  • 8 ounces frozen broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced [or 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken – rotisserie chicken would be great here!]
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed [I always use 1/3 less fat]
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping, optional


Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Once pasta is nearly cooked, add frozen broccoli to the water with the pasta. Cook for a minute, then drain pasta and broccoli together.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet set over medium heat, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add sliced chicken and season with black pepper. Stir frequently, and cook for about 5-6 minutes until cooked through [no pink]. If you are using pre-cooked chicken, simply heat chicken in pan over medium-low heat until hot. You can add a little olive oil or water if you would like to keep it moist.

Then, add pesto and chicken broth to cooked chicken. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in cream cheese gradually, constantly stirring to allow the sauce to thicken. Fold in cooked and drained pasta and broccoli. Stir well to combine, and serve!

Pasta is best fresh, but heats up well. You can top it with a little Parmesan cheese too… extra cheese never hurt anyone!🙂

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup reminds me of chicken noodle soup, hold the chicken and add the meatballs. This version has tiny turkey meatballs and is SO tasty!

Italian Wedding Soup |

I feel like every other recipe I’m making and sharing this winter has been soup! But it’s just so good this time of year so I can’t resist.🙂 Before making this Italian Wedding Soup, I’m not sure I had ever really had it before. I just saw the recipe in a magazine and thought it would be good! Guess what? It was! Ha. Big surprise there, right?

Italian Wedding Soup |

Since I don’t have a family version or favorite restaurant version to compare this to, I can’t really say that this is the best Italian Wedding Soup of all time or anything like that. But I can say it’s incredible! And why wouldn’t it be? It really does remind me of a twist on chicken noodle soup. You have the same basic base: chicken broth, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, pasta… and then you add in some cute ‘n tiny meatballs [with a twist of lemon for some extra tasty oomp!] and some spinach. Then BOOM! You’ve got a tasty and interesting soup, hearty enough to eat alone, with some crusty bread and a side salad or a tasty sandwich. Enjoy!🙂

one year ago: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice
two years ago: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
three years ago: Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites
four years ago: Sunrise Muffins
five years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Italian Wedding Soup

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 45 minutes
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from September/October 2014 Taste of Home


for meatballs

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey

for soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups small pasta [like acini di pepe, orzo, or ditalini]
  • 2 – 10 ounce packages fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • additional Parmesan, for serving


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well–your hands are going to work best! Roll into small, 1 inch meatballs and place on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill for a few minutes.

Next, begin on the soup. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion and cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add celery and cook another 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in chicken broth and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Gently drop in meatballs. Allow to cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add pasta and allow to cook for another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until meatballs and pasta are fully cooked. Stir in spinach, then serve, topped with more Parmesan. Enjoy!


Beef Stroganoff #bookclubcookbookcc

Tender strips of beef are sauteed with mushrooms and butter, then tossed in a creamy sauce and served over egg noodles for the ultimate family meal… comfort food at its finest! 

Beef Stroganoff - a hearty, creamy, delicious family dinner via #bookclubcookbookCCWhen I think of family meals, beef stroganoff is one of THE meals that come to mind. Growing up, my mom served beef stroganoff fairly often and I’ve had it a time or two at friends’ houses also. Though it’s not the most glamourous dish, there’s no denying that it is delicious. If you aren’t familiar with the deliciousness that is beef stroganoff, all you need to know is beef + mushrooms + onions + sour cream = amazingness. Sour cream haters like my husband still love this dish because the sour cream is just used to thicken and add creaminess to the stock-based gravy. And though I am not a fan of traditional gravy, in this dish I love it! The mushrooms help too.🙂

There are many versions of beef stroganoff [and like the name suggests it has a Russian heritage], and I’ve read in a cookbook before that this became a popular dish in the post WWII era. In some ways it reminds me of other classic family dishes from that era like Swedish meatballs, porcupine meatballs, or even meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Can you really go wrong with a meaty dish served with rice or noodles and a creamy sauce? No, I didn’t think so.🙂 Comfort food heaven! If you need any further confirmation that beef stroganoff is a comfort food thing, look no further than the Hamburger Helper aisle at the grocery store. If they have a version, you know it’s a thing! [I’ve never tried that version but I have no doubt that mine is better!]

Beef Stroganoff - a hearty, creamy, delicious family dinner via #bookclubcookbookCCThough we regularly eat beef stroganoff at home, I made this batch special for this month’s edition of #bookclubcookbookcc, a cooking project I’m a part of this year. This month, Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm was our hostess and she selected Julia Glass’ Three Junes. Though I didn’t make a recipe discussed in the book OR Wendy’s suggested recipe [a very delicious looking white chocolate pumpkin mousse]. I was inspired by the numerous family meals that accompanied events in the life of one family over [you guessed it] three Junes. And what better way to celebrate family than with a delicious family meal? I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. Though this isn’t the beef stroganoff I grew up with [I still need to make and share that recipe], this version of beef stroganoff is so good and is sure to be a family favorite! Don’t forget to scroll down past the recipe for the giveaway. You could win a copy of the The Book Club Cookbook so you can join us in this project in the future, if you wish!

one year ago: Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake
two years ago: Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip
three years ago: Mexican Rollups
four years ago: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
five years ago: Asian Chicken Bowls

Beef Stroganoff

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 60 minutes
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from Jenna’s Everything Blog


  • 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar [or light brown with a splash of molasses]
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • handful of parsley, minced
  • cooked egg noodles, for serving


In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. While oil is heating up, cut beef into bite-size chunks and season with pepper. Working in two batches, brown each side of the beef [about 3 minutes per side]. Beef doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through. When done, place in a bowl and set aside. Add a little more oil halfway through if necessary.

Next, add mushrooms and onion to the pan along with a little more oil. Cook until soft, about 6-8 minutes. Whisk in flour and tomato paste. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, then slowly pour in chicken broth. Add the brown sugar and the reserved beef. Stir together and reduce heat to low, then simmer uncovered for 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 16 ounces of egg noodles according to package directions. When simmer time is done, stir in sour cream, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve over noodles. Enjoy!!

This month Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm, this month’s host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!
One of our lucky readers – US and Canada only! – can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from October 1st till October 31st at 4 o’clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.
*Disclosure: Wendy received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club’s Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Cheesy Veggie Pasta

This pasta is creamy and cheesy, and full of lots of summer veggies. What’s not to love?!?

Pasta bursting with all your farmer's market faves and some yummy cheese! Cheesy Veggie Pasta via

Ahhh, pasta. If you’re like me, you probably have it at least once a week in some form or another. No matter how you fix it, pasta is always a vehicle for something delicious. Though baked pastas are my FAVE, in the summer, sometimes that’s too much. So this time, I threw in everything from my local farmer’s market and called it a day. I think the combo of mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, and corn was perfect. I thought about just tossing the veggies with an olive oil or butter-based sauce, but instead decided to try for a lighter creamy sauce. After cooking the veggies, I tossed in some flour and added some milk. After letting it cook down, I added cheese and herbs. I truly wasn’t sure how it would go, and was so happy with the results! In a word, or three… Flavorful, refreshing, and satisfying. Mmm!

Pasta bursting with all your farmer's market faves and some yummy cheese! Cheesy Veggie Pasta via

I absolutely inhaled this colorful and light pasta! It’s cheesy and creamy and super wonderful. Unlike some saucy pasta dishes, this one reheated well which was a pleasant surprise. You better believe I hoarded the leftovers and will be making this again soon.🙂 Enjoy!

one year ago: Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes
two years ago: Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
three years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
four years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce

Cheesy Veggie Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print


  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup corn, cut off the cob
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs – I used dill, basil, lemon thyme, and a tiny bit of mint
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella


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

In a large skillet, heat butter or olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and corn. Season with pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Sprinkle flour over veggies and stir to coat. Pour in milk and stir. Constantly stir, cooking until thick–about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

When pasta is cooked, fold pasta into sauce. Sprinkle with herbs and mozzarella. Stir until cheese melts, then season with pepper to taste.

Serve immediately, or toss in an oven safe baking dish and cook until cheese on top crisps up. I think some bread crumbs mixed with butter and lemon zest on top could be magnificent too!