10/17/19 National Pasta Day!

d885edea4dac6850a5f9bdde459b5c86.jpgDid you know that 10/17/19 is National Pasta Day?

I didn’t. There aren’t tons of freebies. Like… None.

Olive Garden has some sort of shenanigans going on via Twitter, but ain’t nobody got time for that. IF you sign up for their email club, you can get a free app or dessert.

For those of us who don’t have time to chase deals, and want to eat a bowl of plain ‘skettis at home, here are some yummy pasta recipes to try:

The kids have requested Mac and Cheese for dinner- so we’re celebrating!

Quick & Easy Meal: Ravioli Soup

cooking-1.jpgThis recipe is super easy, you can add meat (like in the picture) if you like, or keep it meat-free and add some extra vegetables.

I try to have the ingredients for this soup on-hand. It’s quick and perfect for when you want a hearty bowl of soup in a hurry.

Ravioli Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 c. each: chopped carrots, celery
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 14.5 ounces (or so) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1-quart vegetable stock
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 T. Mural of Flavor
  • 1 9oz. package of Ravioli (I Like 4 cheese)
  • 1/2 c. good quality parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, heat olive oil and saute all of the veggies for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat to medium/low, add tomatoes, tomato paste, and veggie stock.
  3. Simmer on medium/low for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add ravioli and cook 8-10 minutes, until ravioli are cooked.
  5. Ladle into 4 bowls, top with cheese and serve with a green salad.

It’s that easy!

Substitutions-

  • Add 1/2 lb. of protein- your choice. I like cooked, crumbled Italian sausage. Meatballs or  Italian sausage sliced into rounds work great too. Add into the soup after step 2.
  • Use ravioli with meat if you prefer.
  • Use Gluten-free ravioli if you need to.
  • If you want more veggies in your soup, add 3-4 cups of fresh spinach when you add in the ravioli.

 

 

Recipe: Not Your Average Taco Salad

IMG_7688_woventexture4.jpg

My Taco Salad is a little different than most, there is no big, greasy, deep-fried shell. Instead, I use tortilla chips as a garnish. This was one of the first recipes I concocted after we committed healthy eating about 10 years ago. It’s very filling and has tons of veggies.

There are all kinds of changes and modifications that can be made to accommodate any dietary concerns.

Not Your Average Taco Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground meat of your choice (Beef, chicken, turkey, or pork, or a mixture)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed (or you can use 1.5 cups of frozen corn)
  • 1/4 cup water (or however much the packet tells you to use)
  • 2 cups Tortilla chips (I like these flax seed Tortilla chips)
  • 2 cups (per person) Salad greens of your choice

With the following ingredients, use as much as you’d like, I prep 1/2 cup-1 cup per person:

  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped bell peppers (I usually use one red, one yellow, and one orange pepper for color/variety)
  • Shredded carrots
  • Cucumber slices
  • Avocado slices or guacamole, whichever you prefer
  • Shredded or crumbled cheese
  • Black Olive Slices
  • Jalapeno peppers Slices
  • Sour Cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Salsa of your choice

Directions:

  1. Brown meat, set aside.
  2. Using any residual fat in the pan, and adding olive oil, cook onions until clear and soft.
  3. Add meat back to pan, mix in taco seasoning and water. Cook as directed on the taco seasoning packet.
  4. Add in both cans of beans and corn, cook until heated throughout.
  5. To plate, on a dinner plate or a big bowl- arrange 2 cups greens, top with 1/4-1/2 cup meat/bean mixture, top with other veggies and 1/2 cup chips and cheese and a dollop of sour cream/sour cream.
  6. If you NEED dressing, mix a little sour cream or plain Greek Yogurt with salsa or hot sauce and top your salad.

For a vegetarian taco salad- use soy/veggie crumbles instead of meat.

Family Favorite Recipe: Mountain Man Breakfast Casserole

daddfe86a40aeab53d4014a6760a317e.jpg

This is a great old Boy Scout/backpacking recipe. We eat it when we go camping, cooked in a dutch oven. You can cook it at home in a baking dish in the oven if you aren’t out cooking in a field.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 4.38.58 PM.pngIngredients

  • 1 bag O’Brien Potatoes, approx 28 ounces- defrosted
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage (like Jimmy Dean) cooked, crumbled and patted to absorb the excess oil
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sour Cream and Salsa (for a topping)

Directions

  1. Mix the sausage,  1 cup of  the cheese, and potatoes in a bowl
  2. Pour sausage/egg/cheese mixture into a 9×11 baking dish
  3. Scramble eggs and milk and pour over sausage/egg/cheese mixture
  4. Top the dish with the remaining 1 c. cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20-35 minutes until the eggs have set and the dish is brown, bubbly and delicious.
  6. Serve with Sour Cream and Salsa.
  7. Serves 8-10 at home 4-6 when camping (fresh air makes you hungry).

If you have any leftovers, it’s great in a warmed tortilla the next morning as a burrito! I’ve also been informed that this is really good with avocado slices on top.

 

Modifications for special dietary concerns:

  • You can make this vegetarian by using soy sausage crumbles.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
  • This recipe cannot be made vegan.

Family Recipe: Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce

file3611341262531.jpg

I’m always on a mission to add more fruits and veggies into our diet. My pasta sauce recipe is full of veggies: Onions, peppers, carrots, zucchini, celery, fresh tomatoes.

And because I love meaty sauce, I can’t forget the 80/20 ground chuck!

I served it last night with both whole wheat pasta and Italian squash that I ran through the spiralizer (I have this one).

The kids aren’t too big on zoodles, but that’s ok. We paired our meal with a green salad (cucumber slices for the kids), and garlic bread (a family favorite).

 

Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs ground chuck or your favorite ground beef (don’t use super lean beef)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. each chopped or diced: carrots, celery, bell peppers (I used red)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes 
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 t. Shallot pepper seasoning
  • 2 T. Italian Seasoning
  • 4 large zucchinis, spiralized, ends diced and reserved for sauce

 

Directions

  1. Brown meat in olive oil over low, breaking up meat as it cooks.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cook until soft and onions are translucent.
  3. Add garlic, cook until fragrant.
  4. Add fresh and canned tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  5. De-glaze pan with wine, add seasoning, and small pieces of zucchinis leftover from spiralizing.
  6. Cook on low for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. To cook zucchini spirals, steam for 6-8 minutes, drain and serve right away!

 

This sauce freezes well too and gets better overnight in the fridge.  You can also use this sauce to make lasagna.

Hot Weather Recipe Round Up!

6abe78f703f592bb6f723441e2cae41a.jpg

I mentioned in the Weekly Meal Plan post yesterday that it’s going to be a hot one this week. Ugh.

That means lots of time swimming and lots of time at the YMCA enjoying their AC and doing fun activities- Big Kid just did the fitness orientation and he is excited to start exercising. Mostly he wants to take boxing classes with me on Saturdays.

All that activity requires good, healthy fuel, and I do not want to fire up the stove or oven when it’s over 90 outside.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to serve when it’s hot outside!

As you can tell there are a lot of dessert recipes. Because, really, who doesn’t like dessert?

 

Talk Back: What do you cook when it’s hot?

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow is National Cheesecake Day!

01407.jpgI just told the Boy Child and he was so excited about this “holiday”, he almost burst.

July 30th is National Cheesecake day and there are all kinds of awesome deals to help you enjoy:

Cheesecake Factory is celebrating by offering dine-in guests any slice of its more than 30 legendary flavors of cheesecake for half price at all of its restaurants nationwide.
unnamed.jpgIf you are in San Diego, stop by DZ Akin’s for $5.00 Cheesecake slices (and their slices are HUGE).

I personally am most excited about this deal. Their cheesecake is so good, and I will also grab some Matzo Ball Soup to go as well!

If you want to make your own at home but it’s too hot to turn on the oven, I love this Philadephia cheesecake filling in a graham cracker crust. You can top with your favorite fruits, or sprinkle chocolate shavings on top.

It also comes in Chocolate or Key Lime. Check your local grocery store.

If you are watching what you eat and still want to celebrate, I love the Cheesecake Jello Pudding mix. Make it as the directions indicate, or add 1-2 tablespoons of the powder to your favorite protein shake powder and blend with water, ice cubes, and fruit.

And I saw this while browsing Amazon, but I’ve never tried it. It’s Sans Sucre Cheesecake Mousse Mix. It looks interesting.

Talk Back: Are you planning on celebrating with a slice of cheesecake tomorrow?