One Pot Pasta

One Pot Pasta

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Literally throw it all in a pot

Happy Sunday! Hope everyone had a great weekend. If you’re struggling for simple recipe ideas for the upcoming week, I’ve gotcha covered. This is seriously one of the simplest and tastiest week night meals ever! I first saw this and was like “ummmm what? there’s no way you can cook it all together and it doesn’t get gooey and mushy and naaaasty”  There were too many good reviews for me to not try it and also the hope that it really would be delicious was too much for me to take- I gave it a try.

I’ve made this multiple times since the first time and I’ve made a few adaptations. First of all, I really did find it a little “gummy” the first time- I’ve found that a good way to help reduce this is to not add all the water right at the beginning and then add more towards the end of the cooking if it needs it. Also one time I made this I had some extra spinach lying around which was close to being not so great anymore, I threw it in right at the end and let it wilt and it really look this to the next level. As you can see in the picture above, you seriously just throw it all together and let it cook. Magical! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces whole wheat linguine (or spaghetti, really just a long pasta)
  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly or minced
  • 1/2 -1  teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups water (or chicken or veggie stock for added flavor)
  • 3 oz Fresh Spinach (about half a standard bag)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and about 3 and a half cups of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated/soaked into pasta, which takes about about 10-12 minutes. This is where you can add more water if need be.
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach and let it wilt (like 2 minutes). Then season to taste with  extra salt and pepper, plate it up and garnish with basil and Parmesan cheese.
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ta da!

Sooo good. We love this and it’s packed with veggies and nutrients and yet soooo delicious you wouldn’t know it.

I have also made a Spicy Peanut Thai version of the one pot pasta- serisouly ALSO freaking delicious! Look for it in an upcoming post!

As always- thanks for reading, friends!

xoxo

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Mediterranean Mac & Cheese

Mediterranean Mac & Cheese

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Hello! So I started a thing where every week I’ll ask Jake to look at my food Pinterest board and pick a recipe for me to make during the week. I just get so sick of allllllwwaayyys picking what we eat and when I ask Jake he says ” um, I don’t know. Anything.” I mean doesn’t he browse blogs all day long and have a million recipes just floating around in his head? No? Ok then he needs a little inspiration 🙂 This was one that he picked. Clearly didn’t read anything about it since it contains olives which he ‘thinks’ are the spawn of satan but I adapted and only added those to my plate. Honestly this doesn’t have a TON of cheese in it, really you are creating a yummy creamy sauce from the flour and milk- which sort of makes you think it’s all cheese but it’s not too crazy. You can totally adapt and remove items you don’t like or add ones you like better. Enjoy!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 big (14.5 oz) can fire roasted, diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 cup chopped black or kalamata olives (I used about 1 tbsp of capers too!)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 box pasta(16oz)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 coves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 Tbsp a.p. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an oven save dish (I used 9×13) & set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine drained diced tomatoes, chopped olives/capers, 1 Tbsp basil and dried oregano, set aside.
  • Boil pasta to al dente according to directions listed on package. Drain pasta well and return to pot.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter along with olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and saute until soft and lightly golden, about 3 – 4 minutes, adding in garlic during the last minute of sauteing.
  • Whisk in flour, and cook stirring constantly for 1 minute. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil, don’t stop stirring!
  • Once mixture reaches a boil reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened, about 4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in 2 oz feta cheese and the mozzarella cheese then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour tomato mixture over drained pasta and toss, then pour sauce over pasta mixture and toss all to evenly coat.
  • Pour coated pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 4 oz crumbled feta cheese. Bake in preheated oven 20 – 25 minutes until edges are bubbling and top is golden brown.
  • Serve warm and garnished with basil!

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Ok see this is an example of a draft I created before I started my new photography initiative. Please excuse my orange ‘blaaaa’ lighting…I promise that it’s equally as delicious as if I’d taken the picture with my Nikon. Just tryyyyy it!

xoxo

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Holy Guacamole

Holy Guacamole !

I’ve been told to quit my day job and become a professional guacamole maker….. not kidding. I have this dowwwwwn and could definitely sit by myself and eat an unhealthy amount of this goodness. Just look at it.

I can’t heeeeellllpp it. It’s sooooo beeeauuutiful”. – and name that movie 🙂

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I mean real talk- I’ll eat that all. Kidding I wont. I would if it was socially acceptable and I was able to get my mind to forget how many calories that contains….but I could probably make a good dent in it.

Lets get up close and personal with this stuff.

Ahhhhhh feed me.

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Ok so I know you guys totally want some of this. Here is my top secret recipe revealed to you! (you lucky readers you)

I pretty much shoot from the hip with this and of course it depends how much of this you’re making and how many mouths you want to feed. I’ll show you my typical ratio I use for a group of people and keep in mind you can par this down or bumb it up depending on your crowd (or how hungry you are 😉 )

Ingredients:

  • 3 Avocados
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ jalapeno, chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp. ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp. Chipotle Pepper Powder
  • ½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Directions:

  • Peel and cut your avocados into smallish cubes. Use a fork or potato masher to gently mash up the avocados. I don’t mash all the way up because I like some chunks in mine, but that’s up to you.
  • Juice your 1/2 lime into the avocados and stir to evenly mix.
  • Dice your onions, tomatoes, jalapeno and cilantro and gently mix in as well.
  • Then sprinkle your spices into the mix and stir to combine.
  • Chill and serve! Chilling isn’t necessary but know you can make this ahead of time.

 But WAIT?!?!? What about how avocados turn brown and look like something that comes from….well never mind you get the idea- not super appealing. No problem-o, I have toooooootally found the solution to this.

 First of all the fact that you just put the juice of half a lime into your guac will really help keep the browning to a minimum. But truth be told even then you can sometimes get the dreaded icky brown. Here’s what you do. If you’re serving it right away, don’t worry. This baby won’t stick around long enough to even begin to brown. If you are making ahead of time and planning on serving later, all you do it follow all the steps above and put into a container. This can be your serving bowl or just a storage bowl. Then you take some plastic wrap and lightly press down and make sure it’s touching the entire surface of the guac(*don’t worry it won’t stick when you take it off*) then pop in the fridge and try not to sneak any of it while you wait! And I swear to you it could last 5 days and it would hardly brown! Not joking.

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Thanks for stopping by and by the way, notice how my pictures are umm, how do I say, not taken with my iPhone? I am taking initiative to step up my food photography game, which isn’t to say some drafts I have started already and publish at a later date won’t have the sub-par quality 😉 Inspired by Lindsay over at Pinch of Yum. She is my little mini hero breathing new life into my blog pics! And not to mention I think I’ve noticed about 1/3 of my posts are recipes from her site! If you haven’t looked at her blog- ummmm you need to. ASAP. Like why are you still reading my blog? GO! 🙂 Kidding stay as long as you’d like ❤

xoxoxo

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Venison Lasagna

Venison Lasagna

I grew up in Wisconsin in a family that hunts deer. Specifically a family that deer hunts to get that delectable venison to eat 🙂 Now a lot of people are totally turned off by the thought of eating venison. If you’re one of those people, we can’t be friends. Kidding. But I’m thinking you haven’t tasted it or that you had a bad deer. Once a deer is over about 2-3 years old, I wouldn’t eat them. From personal experience, younger does taste better, the older you get (such as bucks with huge spreads) the “game-ier” they taste. It’s all preference but this is not actually a post about hunting so I’ll shut up 🙂

My younger brother was gracious enough to give me some of his vension from a kill this year and this is one of the ways I used it. Of course you can substitute the venison for beef if you so choose.

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Yummmmmmmmmm- such good comfort food

Bolognese Sauce
a glug of olive oil
a Tbsp of butter
1 medium onion – chopped
2 cloves of garlic – minced
2 stalks of celery – finely chopped
2 medium carrots – finely chopped
pancetta or thick bacon cut into cubes
1 # venison, cut into a small cubes
1 cup milk (Full fat will make it creamier but any kind will work)
a glass of dry white wine(to drink while cooking- kidding you actually need it for the sauce. Probably about 3/4 of a cup to 1 cup)
2 cups tomatoes – chopped, with the juice. Or you can use a large can of diced tomatoes too
a sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup of vegetable stock

White Sauce
2 & 1/2 cups of milk
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of flour
salt

Lasagna
Either strips of already cooked lasagna pasta or the ready to bake lasagna noodles (*or if you’re Betty Crocker you could use freshly made lasagna noodles- if you do this, we should be friends)
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Instructions

First make the bolognese sauce, which needs a long cooking time but it really does make for the most tender and succulent sauce, plus you don’t have to cook it all in one session, you could do the first stage in the morning and the final cooking later the same day. It can also be cooked ahead of time and kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen.

– In a large, heavy bottomed pan melt the butter and oil, add the onions and gently saute until they become translucent . Add the garlic, celery and carrots, stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes.

– add the pancetta or bacon cubes and sauté gently for a further two minutes.

– add the venison, a large pinch of salt, some pepper and cook until it has lost its raw red color

– add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has reduced almost completely.

– add the wine, let it simmer until mostly evaporated then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all the ingredients.

– when the mixtures starts to really boil, turn the heat down to low and cook, uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring from time to time and topping up occasionally with vegetable stock to keep it from completely drying out. *You could totally speed make this and just cook all together for about 30 minutes to an hour, and it would still taste great I’m sure but you get deep complex flavors the longer you cook it 🙂 *

Next, make the deeelish white sauce;

– warm the milk gently in a saucepan on medium, low heat

– in a another large pan melt the butter gently on a very low heat and once it’s melted add all the flour, stirring it in completely. Cook and constantly stir for 2 minutes.

– take the pan off the heat and add the milk in small measured batches, letting the flour mixture soak up the milk while you stir. Do this slowly and stir continuously while you do so you don’t get any lumps.

– place the pan back on a low heat and stir until the sauce gets a thick and creamy consistency.

Now, let’s build the lasagna!!

You’ll need a large oven-proof dish, you could use a variety but I used a Pyrex 13×9. Pre-heat your oven oven to 375 F.

– smear the bottom of the dish with a little of the bolognese sauce and then place a layer of the pasta sheets on the bottom.

– ladle over a thin layer of each of the sauces, sprinkle with paremsan and a little mozzarella then add another layer of pasta

– continue this until you have used all your sauce, the top layer should be the bolognese with the rest of your cheese.

– bake in the oven until golden and bubbly, this should take about 40-50 minutes.

*Note- if you are using the ready to bake noodles I would probably prepare your bolognese to be a little more liquidy so your noodles cook fully. Or you can add a little tomato sauce/juice to the bottom of the pan before your noodles.

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Get in my bellllllly

Admittedly, not the lowest fat meal in the world- but sometimes you just have to indulge. It tasted delicious!!! Jake was VERRRRRYYYYY skeptical of the venison befor he tried this, but he really enjoyed it and said it tasted like really really good beef. I’ll take it 🙂

Hope you enjoy and of course thanks for checking out my blog!

xoxo

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Oven Baked Fajitas

Oven Baked Fajitas

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 This is one of my favorite fast and easy go-to recipes. You can throw it all together (even ahead of time if you want) and just let it do it’s thing! I’ve made this a few times when we had company coming to visit for Friday night as I don’t really feel like slaving away after a day of work and want to hang with the guests too! 🙂 My only adjustment to this was that the first time I made it added the whole can of Rotel without draining at all and it was reallllly juicy so now I try to drain the tomatoes/chilies as much as possible. I’ll usually accompany this with my special homemade guacamole (to.die.for) and chips and just tortillas for the fajitas. Jake likes a little cheese on his, I don’t- so just pick whatever you want! Hope you enjoy!!!
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This is a separate time making this. But just proving you can use any ingredients you have on hand!

 Ingredients:
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Drained as much as possible)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 large bell peppers, seeded and sliced (I use any color I feel like/have. Sometimes I even use those fun little colored peppers too!)
  • flour tortillas
  • Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, cilantro and guacamole – if you want
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt
  3. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  4. Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.

See ?!?!? Easssssy Peassssy

xoxo

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