Home Cooking · Italian

Little Bitty

Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna

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After a very mild few weeks, fall is 100% here and I’m becoming okay with that.  Something about having those extra few weeks of nice temperatures is somehow making it easier – feel like we “cheated” in a way.  The nice weather also made for some strange food overlaps as cherry tomatoes kept trickling in to the markets which are normally long gone by this point.  Again it feels like we’re cheating!  With that, I wound up with a bunch of random vegetables at the end of the week so I decided to just take everything out of the fridge and see what I could do with it.  In the end it came down to a pizza or lasagna and a rogue sweet potato made the decision for me: lasagna!

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 For a different twist switch out the sweet potato for any type of squash – or use a variety of wild mushrooms.  Spinach, swiss chard, or kale would also go fantastically in this dish either fresh or pre-cooked with the mushrooms and onions.  Since my main mission was to clean out the fridge I just used what I had on hand, and it worked fantastically!  If you don’t have alfredo sauce on hand a simple bechamel sauce can also work, tho you might want to add more garlic/salt/pepper in order to keep the dish from being too bland.

In other news, our little one made her appearance last Friday (11/27) and we are 100% smitten.  She arrived at 7:02 am weighing 8lbs 13oz and has the cutest chunkiest little cheeks!.  After years of fertility treatments and wishing/hoping/praying it is such a relief to have her home!

Hot Summer Eats · Italian · One-Pot

All Over Again

Pasta with Ricotta Herb Sauce

Pasta Ricotta

Welcome back to #HotSummerEats!  When I first started planning recipes for this link-up I had a hard time thinking of my favorite summer recipes as generally during the summer I’m living off of salads which aren’t really that exciting.  To me summer is about light meals with as little “active” cooking as possible and as many fresh ingredients as possible.  Since it’s not yet summer and most of my herbs are still in the youngling stage, I decided to take advantage of the goodies I got from Gourmet Garden.  I grabbed some chunky garlic and Italian herbs thinking they would go perfectly with some grape tomatoes I had picked up at the market – just had to figure out the main ingredient.  With such flexible ingredients, and zero prep, I debated everything from bulgar wheat to orzo to frfalle before going with some thin pasta for fear of picking a grain that would over power the simple herb “sauce” I was thinking of.  A bit of ricotta and I was in business!

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Did I mention there was a giveaway – because there is totally a giveaway!  A few awesome readers will win some of the incredible products featured during #HotSummerEats.  How cool is that?!?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsDisclaimer – Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds. Pirate Jonny’s, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheffor providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own. I’m so thrilled to be participating in another blog round-up, Camilla you are awesome!  Now that you’ve seen my recipe make sure to check out all the others below.

52Weeks · Casserole · Italian · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Gives a Smile

4 Cheese Pasta Bake

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Nothing like a dairy challenge to get my husband involved with planning a meal – so thank you /52weekofcooking for that!  He tossed around lots of ideas, and at least one of them will be making an appearance in a few weeks, but for today I’m sticking with a super cheesy pasta dish that comes together in record time.  In fact, if you have some pre-made sauce in the freezer this delicious dish can be on the table well within an hour of getting home!  This was also my first time testing out some treats from Gourmet Garden, which I got as part of a blog challenge I’m participating in come February.   As for the cheeses, well I just grabbed whatever I thought would work – and then grabbed a few more!

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Needless to say one must really enjoy cheese in order to enjoy this dish, so if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant this might be a good recipe to skip.  It can be easily adapted for gluten free by switching out the whole grain pasta for a gluten free variety, of which there are more and more available!  For even more vegetables, I love that there are more and more vegetable flavored pastas – tho it does keep me from making my own.   For a super healthy option, switch out the pasta entirely for spaghetti squash – just reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes to prevent the squash from becoming totally dried out.

I have to say, using the Gourmet Garden pastes really sped up the process – and the flavors were fantastic!  I only wish more of the pastes were vegan, with the collection I got only the ginger was whey free and while that isn’t a HUGE issue for me it would still be nice.  However the convenience of the products is insane and I love that the ingredients are all organic, plus it tells you right on the container how many fresh cloves, bunches, etc went in to the container.

 Note:  I received a bunch of Gourmet Garden pastes and herbs as part of the #TripleS blog challenge, which starts February 2nd.  I was not required to use the products, or post anything about them outside of acknowledging that I received them, so all opinions and experiences are my own.    

Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Italian · Simple and In Season

Want me Baby

Butternut Squash Lasagna

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I’m not a fan of fall weather, even more so when it comes to the season after fall, but I am a fan of many of the vegetables that pop up during these chilly months.  From the winter squashes, to the greens, to the delicious root vegetables – the fall is well stocked with delicious vegetables. Today’s treat features a number of those goodies, including some of the last of the produce from the Farmer’s Market at my office.  Butternut Squash is a familiar vegetable in our house and it really seems to go with everything.  In this case I added some swiss chard, baby kale, and some mashed pie pumpkin (thought the variety was called baby boy but that just resulted in lots of baby costumes) that was leftover from making the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

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Lasagna will never be a healthy dinner option, and it’s not always the most budget-friendly option, but it will always be something delicious and hearty and fantastic.  I figured that if I only make it a few times a year it’s not that bad…right???  I’m sending this recipe over to November’s Secret and in Season, which is being hosted by Katie of FeedingBoys and was founded by the awesome Ren.   There are so many delicious fall recipes being linked up over there, I can’t wait to give them a whirl!!!

Gluten Free · Italian · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Vegan

Steal My Sunshine

Summer Tomato Sauce

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Working a Farmer’s Market is fantastic, especially when there are leftover tomatoes at the end of the day!  Second tomatoes aren’t always the easiest to use, but if you are willing to put the work in when it comes time to cutting they are a fantastic (cheaper) option.  It also means getting a variety of types, so I indulged in some research to figure out what I had and what it would work as.  A quick google led me to realize that the Green Zebra would be a fantastic addition for a stew or a quinoa dish – and I was really craving some pasta.  This left me with some Cherokee  purple, yellow pear, and Virginia sweet all of which were perfect for the sauce I was hoping to create.  All I needed was to go to my herb garden and grab a handful of basil, and figure out where the missing vidalia onion was hiding.

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By allowing the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce it was able to suck up every last drop of tomato goodness, and also gave the pasta a fantastic pink shade (this trick also works with gluten free pasta!).  Joe topped his with some cheese while I kept mine on the naked side, though as with any pasta dish there is no right or wrong.  The only important thing is to make sure all the sauce is fully enjoyed otherwise it’s a total sauce foul!

I’m also sending this over to Franglais Kitchen – where this month’s Simple and in Season is being hosted.   Also sending a HUGE thanks to Chocolates and Tomato Farm for growing and harvesting such tasty treats!

52Weeks · Home Cooking · Italian

From that Ledge

“Sausage” and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shell Stuffing

I’m finally back in the kitchen, and hoping to stay upright and cooking for at least the next week or so…but we shall see how that plan goes!  I’ve been spending some of my down time going thru old cookbooks and recipe notes, keeping track of all the new things I want to try.  That’s one of the best parts of spring, all the new produce showing up at the markets – and being in a new city that also means checking out new to me markets!  The spinach in today’s recipe is one of those finds, as are some carrots that wound up going straight in to my belly via dip instead of soup – but that’s okay!  The spinach turned the stuffing a fantastic spring green color, and it worked perfectly with the Italian sausage and the simple sauce – perfection 🙂

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Normally I try to take a picture of the finished dish, but in this case the finished dish doesn’t look different from any other picture of stuffed shells.    The stuffing would also work great inside of ravioli, or as part of a vegetable lasagna!  This is a dish all about the filling, which is why I focused on that for my picture.  I’m also sending this over to /52weeksofcooking for their soy challenge, and this will probably be the last soy dish on here for a bit since we are still on a low soy diet.  However there’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat!

Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Italian · Vegan

Home is Wherever

Cabbage & Polenta

Cabbage and Polenta

Kitchen is set up, unpacked, and finally usable – and with that the first recipe from our new place in Baltimore!  While it took a fair bit of time to get to this point, it feels like things are finally get back on track with new routines and ways to do things.   With that I have been cooking in our new place but I’ve been relying on old favorites, things that I could easily put together while also working on the million other projects going on.   This recipe falls in to the category of old favorite, as I grew up eating it, but it took a bit of time to figure out how to make this vegetarian.  Cabbage and polenta was a family tradition, we knew that if my Grandma was visiting we would have this filling dish at least once.  I attempted to make it a few months ago ala veggie but the resulting taste just wasn’t the one I remembered.  I debated using a meat substitute but in the end I decided to stick with the vegetables and adjust the seasonings.

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Growing up my Grandma would have made the polenta on the stove top, but I went for baked polenta in order to save time and energy.  I also added 1/2 tbsp of dried oregano to the recipe to give an extra kick – which worked perfectly!