Get Cookin with Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto (Review and Giveaway)!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. For more information about the use of affiliate links and partnerships, visit my disclosure page. 

Yesterday we had an amazing dinner! We’re still without a full-size fridge, so we’re without meat or a lot of our usual ingredients, thankfully Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto to the rescue! I paired the pesto with farfalle (bowtie pasta), and roasted veggies. It was tasting, filling, and a great way to get veggies into your kiddos.

I wrote down the recipe to share with you. The Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto sauce is so rich and creamy and pairs really well with the veggies I chose.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Veggies and Farfalle with Creamy Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 6.2 oz jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto
  • 1 box of pasta (I used Barilla Farfalle)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded, and cut into slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into coins
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan to taste

Directions:

  1. Roast Veggies (complete directions can be found here)
  2. While veggies are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Cook pasta per box directions.
  4. Reserve 3 T. of pasta water when draining cooked pasta.
  5. Mix a jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto into the cooked pasta.
  6. Add roasted veggies to the pasta/sauce mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve with a little extra parmesan cheese, as needed.

This is a great, easy dish that’s perfect for meat-free nights. This Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto is so versitile. In addition to using on pasta, it makes a great veggie dip (I might be guilty of dipping some of the raw veggies into the jar while I was cooking), a sandwich spread (in place of mayo or mustard), or for marinating meat. Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto does not need to be heated prior to eating, and it’s shelf-stable prior to opening. You can find it in the store near the jarred pasta sauces. I found it at Target, but you can also find it on Amazon.

Giveaway: I want to share Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto with you! I’ve got 2 coupons each for one free jar (up to $3.99) of Barilla Pesto (expiration 12/31/2021). I will choose 2 winners on 10/8/2021 and notify them via email. 

Entering is easy: Leave a comment on this blog post with how you would use Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto!

 

2021 Summer Lunch Programs for Kids (And Other Free Food Resources in San Diego)

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I have been working on this post for weeks, making phone calls and researching. I wanted to get this post up as soon as I could. Unfortunately, there are still some areas that haven’t posted their plans for free summer meals for kids.

Santee School District will be providing summer drive-thru meal distribution from June 14 through July 30, Monday-Friday, from 10:00-10:30 am, at Pepper Drive and Rio Seco schools.  Extended school year (summer school) and students attending Project Safe will be provided with food.

San Diego Unified School District has partnered with San Diego Parks and Recreation to have food available at neighborhood schools and Recreation centers throughout the city of San Diego. The complete list of locations can be found here. Times vary by location.

Grossmont Union High School District will be providing lunch for kids 2-18 all summer. Kicking it off, they will be giving out meal boxes on Monday June 7 from 11:30 to 1:30 on a first come first serve basis in the same area where lunches are distributed.  Summer meal distribution starts on June 14th 11:30-1:30 Monday through Friday.

Other school districts may be offering free lunches this summer, but currently there isn’t much information available.

If you don’t find any facilities near you offering free lunches, I recommend contacting 211, they may have more updated information.

And the San Diego Food Bank is continuing their neighborhood distributions– Lots of produce and goodies are available each week. No proof of need or residency requirements.

There are all sorts of organizations looking to help families in need.

Even if you are not in dire need, if you need help stretching your budget, these resources are here for you!

Talk Back: How are you stretching your food budget this summer?

5/23/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

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The fridge was fixed on Tuesday and I filed claims for the lost groceries through the warranty, however, the check hasn’t yet arrived yet.

I have yet to shop for groceries this week, but at least I know what’s in our CSA box that arrives tomorrow.

The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes each week, and that really gives me an upper hand when it comes to meal planning for the week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I’ll be hitting up the grocery store this afternoon. Today I’m making a big batch of bolognese sauce today- I’ll be using it a few times this week, and freezing the rest for future use.  Tomorrow once the CSA box arrives I’ll prep the veggies and fruit for the rest of the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: Kids take lunch to school. I eat leftovers. Everyone rejoices.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Bolognese Sauce, pasta, roasted cauliflower
  • Monday:   BBQ chicken, salad, texas toast
  • Tuesday:   Soup Night: Soup, biscuits, fruit salad
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night (nuggets, fruit, crackers, milk)
  • Thursday:   Baked Ziti (with bolognese sauce, cheese, and veggies: zucchini, carrots, onions, celery)
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Meal o’ Snacks and /or leftovers

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

New Recipe: Loaded Roasted Cauliflower

I’ve seen this kind of recipe before and I had never made it because it’s really hard to pick decent fresh cauliflower, and honestly, frozen cauliflower is always kinda… soggy (?) when you defrost it and cook it.

We’ve been getting a lot of cauliflower in our  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box over the past 5 weeks, so I figured it was time to give it a shot.

This recipe is easy. And tasty. It does not duplicate potato skins. I don’t care what any low carb/potato hating website tells you.

Loaded Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 T. Olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup bacon crumbles (use real bacon, not baco’s)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Sour Cream (optional, but tasty)
Served with a green salad, rotisserie chicken, and half an avocado. YUM.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place cookie sheets lined with foil into oven to heat up with the oven.
  2. While oven/pan is heating, toss cauliflower in oil, salt & pepper.
  3. Once oven is heated to 450, remove pan, spread cauliflower out in a single, well spaced layer.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn veggies to roast evenly.
  5. Return to oven and bake for another 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Top with cheese and bacon. Broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is melty and bacon is hot.
  7. After removing from broiler, top with green onions and eat up ASAP.
  8. Serve with sour cream, or salsa. Or both.

This serves 2-4 people as a side dish, or be greedy and eat the whole recipe as a main dish. I won’t tell anyone. I make this at least once a week.

This recipe is gluten free. You can make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon.

4/5/2021 Weekly Meal Plan!

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The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes on Monday, so that’s helped me be able to meal prep and write up this post.

I usually spend time over the weekend getting the meal plan and prep started. Saturday I made banana bread (recipe here), and a big box of chicken brown rice. I portioned the cooked rice out so we can have it for lunch and dinner as a side dish a few times this week.

Sunday I made chicken stock using the rotisserie chicken carcass I had tossed in the freezer a few weeks ago, along with the veggie scraps I keep in a large bag in the freezer. It’s usually celery tops, carrots bits, onion skins, and the ends and pieces from various vegetables from my weekly veggie prep. I cooked the stock most of the day, strained off the solids, and used the stock to make a yummy chicken vegetable soup. I used this recipe, substituting the chicken stock for veggie stock.

I did a grocery trip on Saturday- Milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. We are pretty well stocked on most other stuff. I went to Costco last week and did the quarterly stock-up trip- Snacks for lunches, coffee, powdered peanut butter, trash bags, laundry soap, paper towels, and toilet tissue, and a few other things fell into my cart.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: The little kiddo and I usually have something quick and filling, lately it’s been sandwiches on croissants, and strawberry yogurt.  Big kid takes his lunch to school.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday: Vegetable Soup, homemade apple sauce, sourdough toast/Banana Bread
  • Monday:  Poached Eggs with Hashbrowns, fruit salad, Protein shakes (Big kid doesn’t like eggs)
  • Tuesday:   Tamales, Salad, Rice
  • Wednesday:  Roasted Veggies, Baked Potatoes (with an array of toppings)
  • ThursdayCheesy Bacon Meatloaf, Roasted Broccoli, Noodles (or rice)
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Leftover Fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Recipe Round-up: Fruit and Veggie Extravaganza!

Spring is upon us, and that means that there will be all sorts of fruits and veggies coming into season.

Here are some of our family’s favorite recipes featuring fruits and veggies! These are all easy to make and will satisfy everyone in the family- even the pickiest eaters.

Fruit:

 

Veggies:

Roasting Veggies: Simple and Tasty!

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying to get us to eat more veggies. But honestly, you can only eat so much mixed green salads and steamed broccoli. My prior attempts at oven roasted veggies were basically a hot pile of steamed veggies that lacked any of the qualities of oven roasted veggies I knew- none of them were sweet, with crispy edges, tender but not soggy. Thankfully with our CSA box coming straight to our door weekly, were getting tons of tasty new veg to try!

I did some reading in a few cookbooks, websites, and asked some of my friends who are chefs/professional cooks. The secret to perfect oven roasted veg? Space. Room. The veggies need space for the heat of the oven to circulate and heat them evenly.

Second tip: place the pans in the oven and allow them to pre-heat. Once the oven has pre-heated, pull your pan(s) out and place your veggies on the pans, then back in the oven.

Third tip: Half way through roasting, turn over/flip your veggies to ensure they are getting equal roasting time in that hot pan. I say pan, but I use a baking sheet lined in foil, like this one.

It’s all about high temp and short cooking time- 450 degrees! Your veggies will be done in less than 45 minutes and you’ll be feasting away! And anyone can make roasted veggies- as long as you have the following:

  • Cooking pans (like these)
  • Aluminum Foil (I like it because it makes clean up easy)
  • 1-2 lbs of your favorite vegetables, chopped up into evenly sized pieces (the secret to having them come out perfect)
  • 3 Tablespoons oil (I like canola, avocado, or grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on how seasoned you like your veg) fresh cracked pepper

With the CSA boxes we’ve been receiving weekly, making roasted veggies is a snap. Here are cooking times for a few in season veggies. These times presuppose that you have cleaned/peeled as needed, and cut them into 1-inch pieces as needed. Cooking time is for 1 lb.

  • Beets: 20-25 minutes
  • Carrots: 20-25 minutes
  • Brussels Sprouts (Cut off the bottom, and cut in half): 15-20 minutes
  • Onions (I usually quarter and slice them): 15-20 minutes
  • Garlic (peel each clove- if they are large, cut in half) 15-20 minutes
  • Green Beans: 15-20 minutes
  • Potatoes/sweet potatoes: 20-30 minutes
  • Zucchini/summer squash: 15-20 minutes
  • Bell Peppers: 15-20 minutes
  • Asparagus: 10-15 minutes
Brussels Sprouts and Purple Onions

If you’ve got something that isn’t on this list that you want to roast, I suggest starting with 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then flip the veggies over and see how they are doing. If they are brown and caramelized on one side, give it another 10 minutes for the other side to cook, then test for doneness with a fork. If they need longer, give them another 5 minutes and test again.

Fresh Fruit and Veg Delivered to Your Door with Yasukochi Family Farms CSA!

A bunch of you saw my unboxing pics on Instagram yesterday of my  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, and the incredible large bouquet of flowers.

The box was bursting! I’m so excited. Here is what we received in our box:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Fuji Apples
  • Navel oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Slicing Cucumbers
  • Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Salad Mix
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Celery
  • Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
  • Tangerines
  • Pears
  • Russet Potatoes

 

 

And the incredible Large Bouquet of Flowers! I divided the bouquet into two vases, and they are in Little Bit’s Room and on the mantle. There are a variety of add-ons berries, honey, eggs, jams, etc available each week.

Each Monday in March, we’ll be receiving a CSA box from Yasukochi Family Farms full of locally grown and sourced produce. I love Yasukochi Farms because everything in the box is all grown using organic farming methods while possible and using local, responsible and sustainable farming. The other thing that is incredible is the convenience of having these farm-fresh items delivered straight to your doorstep (with no additional delivery fee). It saves me a trip to the store where all the produce has been transported, touched, and picked over. My CSA Box is packed just for me!

No matter if you have a small or large household, Yasukochi Family Farms has you hooked up! There are two box sizes: Regular (feeds 1-3 people), or Jumbo (feeds 4-6 people).

If you don’t live in the delivery area, you can check out Yasukochi Family Farms at many of the local Farmers Markets in Southern California. A complete list can be seen here.

What am I making with all of these tasty veggies:

  • Last night we had roasted asparagus.
  • I made up a big salad for the week with the spring mix, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and bell pepper.
  • I also chopped up the bok choy, celery, carrots, snap peas, and onion and made a stir fry kit to have later in the week for lunch (with rice and Thai stir fry sauce)
  • I made a Marinated Salad
  • Tomorrow I’ll make a big fruit salad for a few upcoming meals
  • I’m planning on making a big baking sheet of roasted veggies for lunch- I’ll be posting pics on Instagram!

The strawberries got gobbled up last night at dinner.

I’ll be posting more pictures on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month will kinds of recipes and ideas. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

For more information on Yasukochi Family FarmYasukochi Family Farms, check out their website, Instagram, or Facebook.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bisque (GF, Vegan)

This recipe is super simple, and I’ve included some steps to shave off more time to get the soup in your belly faster!

Butternut Squash Bisque

Ingredients

  • 1 T. Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 Large onion, diced
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (You can save time by buying it in the frozen foods section)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Quart Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Hazelnut Milk
  • 1t. Rubbed Sage
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil. Add onions, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until clear and fragrant.
  2. Add squash and carrot. Cook approx 10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add vegetable stock, and simmer until veggies are tender/soft.
  4. Remove from heat, add hazelnut milk.
  5. Blend soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve this luscious, velvety soup with hot, crusty bread and a crisp green salad.  It freezes well, in case of leftovers.

1/11/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgWe’re starting to get into the swing of our 2021 schedule, and this week is going to be my OMG busy week. Have you ever noticed that there is usually 1 week each month that is crazy busy? Lots of appointments, phone calls, errands, etc.? This is my week- Insanity.

I had some free time over the weekend, and I spent it in the kitchen doing some meal prep for this week. I made a lot of lunch stuff for the littlest kiddo and myself. I also prepared veggies and stuff for stir fry.

I’ll go to the store this morning and get some more fruit and veggies. And Milk. Always milk.

I’m trying hard to stick to our budget of $100/week for groceries and prepare dinners that are filling and hearty.  It can be a struggle, but I shop sales, discount grocery stores, and use my cashback apps.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

The kids go back to school tomorrow! 1/2 days for the littlest bit, and full days for the big dude. This afternoon I need to pop over to the store and pick up some lunch goodies. Big kid takes his lunch to school, but little bit has lunch at home after school.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers (we all had big lunches, so it was mostly light snacking)
  • Monday:  Salad and Soup (We’ve got leftover beef stew from a few weeks ago- I stashed the extras in the freezer)
  • Tuesday:  Chicken and Cauli-rice casserole (It’s a frozen meal from Birdseye)
  • Wednesday: Veggies Burgers, Veggies Nuggets, fruit, and chips
  • Thursday:  Stir Fry with Veggies and rice
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Egg scramble (with veggies and cheese), Toast/Bagel, and Fruit Salad

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?