52Weeks · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Can I get

Three Cheese Swiss Chard

Mac & Cheese

mac_n_cheese

Sometimes it’s fun to be a bit indulgent, for example using three types of cheese to make mac & cheese.  I try to keep my dairy intake to a reasonable amount as I’m slightly lactose intolerant but sometimes have to just take a lactaid and enjoy the cheesiness of life!  In attempt to tease myself into thinking this dish is at all healthy, I added some swiss chard.  Regardless, it’s all 52weeksofcookings fault as they were the ones who posted a Mac and Cheese challenge – so totally blaming them for all the calories in this dish!

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This Mac&Cheese is so rich that we actually had leftovers for lunch the next day which is something that normally doesn’t happen.  I warmed everything back up on the stove, adding just a bit of olive oil as this dish did not need more diary.  Joe then topped his with Old Bay (shocker!) while I enjoyed mine as is.

Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club

End of the

Pasta with Creamy Roasted Garlic Sauce

pasta_creamy_garlic

Welcome to the November Edition of Group A’s Secret Recipe Club!!!!  This will also be my final SRC post of the year as I’m taking December off.  I plan to be back in February and have been working on a few posts that will go up while I’m adjusting to my new role as Mommy.  It’s hard to believe that after three years of trial and tribulation we are only weeks (days?) away from being parents!!!  As part of this upcoming change, I have been stalking blogs and rereading cookbooks in search of quick and easy and delicious dinners that take little thought or time.  Needless to say being partnered with a(nother) vegetarian blog was perfect!  Racheal is an Aussie living in Switzerland who went veggie while in her teens, as did her husband, so her kids were raised vegetarian – did I mention this was the PERFECT blog to get this month?!?!  I essentially flagged every recipe on her blog before remembering there are only so many dinners in a month and cut back to a final three: vegetable tian, tofu mozzarella balls, and pasta with creamy garlic sauce.  In the end the pasta won out as I just can’t say no to roasted garlic.  The only “change” I made was converting the measurements – otherwise everything is as is!

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 For anyone new to roasting garlic check out this link for a quick and dirty tutorial.  Once you have had roasted garlic, it can be a bit hard going back to the “normal” stuff.  Needless to say my final SRC post of 2015 was a huge success!  This dinner came together so quickly that I can say with confidence that it will on the regular rotation once the little one arrives – one more quick and easy meal to add to the list.

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One-Pot · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Rain Starts

Cheese”burger” Mac & Cheese

seitan_mac_cheese

When I first went vegetarian, I thought I could just make up a box of something and just leave out the meat – then I started reading labels and realized how so not healthy that option was.  With that I started experimenting to see what “out of the box” options I could come up with that would have the same great taste but healthier (i.e. less sodium).  It took a bit of time until I could figure out the right method, but now I have down to a science!   Even better, this dish can be adapted for vegans and all cooks up in one pot.  The one pot paste took a bit of time to get used to but the trick is to add less water than you think as seriously much easier to add more water later than to eat a soggy mess (trust me).

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For an added crunch, add some fresh spinach at the very end – or some kale!  To add an extra punch, I used tomato pasta which also gave the dish a fantastic shade of red.  I’m a huge fan of flavored pastas, especially ones that I don’t have to make myself, even if I know they aren’t as healthy as they might advertise to be.  All the flavors of a cheeseburger, minus the meat!

Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · TripleSBites

A Long

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

butternut_mac_cheese

I can’t believe it’s already day 5 of TripleSBites!  Last night we had our awesome twitter party, which included a few of our awesome sponsors and lots of tasty recipes.  Today’s feature is one that takes a bit of prep work but offers a great twist on a classic dish.  While a few of my twists on Mac & Cheese haven’t been blogworthy (hello, cauliflower) but this one is out of the world!  To save some time I used a few of my Gourmet Garden treats and also added just a touch of a new goody: Chili Cumin from Acala Farms.  Normally I use mustard seed in my mac & cheese but decided to switch it up this time!

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Another HUGE HIT!  For a quicker version, drop the baking part and serve right after mixing everything together.  Always been a big fan of the breadcrumb crunch but some nights there just isn’t time.  If using a gluten free pasta, add 2 tbsp of milk to the dish before baking to prevent the noodles from drying out.

Have you entered the Giveaway yet?!?

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52Weeks · Casserole · Italian · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Gives a Smile

4 Cheese Pasta Bake

mushroom_spinach_bake 

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.    

Casserole · Secret Recipe Club

Get Better

Poblano Mac & Cheese

poblano_mac_cheese

First Monday of November – and with that time for the Secret Recipe Club!  This month I was sent out of the US and south of the border to check out Leslie’s La Cocina de Leslie blog which is packed full of spicy traditional dishes.  I’m a huge fan of spicy food, and over time my husband has also grown to appreciate the delicious  that comes from a good pepper.  Leslie’s blog had so many delicious treats to pick from, and more than a fair number of them used ingredients or techniques that were new to me – which are my favorite dishes to pick!  In the end I decided to go with one that had a new ingredient as well as a new technique – as a bonus it’s a technique that wouldn’t have worked at my old place with our electronic stove.  So enough teasing – time to share her incredible Poblano Mac & Cheese which made enough for a fantastic dinner and a tasty lunch the next day.  I had to a make a small change due to allergies but since her recipe was already vegetarian perfection it was only the lime/cilantro that had to go away.  I used wasabi arugula from Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm but any variety would work – just figured the added spice would fit right in!

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I also bookmarked another handful of dishes for the future, most of which will need to wait until next summer when fresh tomatoes are available.  The first on the list are her entomatados with the rajas con crema close behind.  So many amazing dishes to try – a few of which I had never even heard of!  Needless to say this SRC was another smashing success.

Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Vegan

Sock You

Spicy Kale and Tomato Sauce

Spicy Kale Sauce

It seems the end of one growing season is already here as I look outside to see lots of wilted greens that weren’t picked in time.  I’m hopeful that the farmer’s markets but have some for at least the next week or two – but soon I’ll be forced back to the grocery store in order to get one of the staples of my diet: kale.  It wasn’t too long ago that I was living a kale-free existence, unaware of this amazingly healthy and tasty treat.   Now that I know it’s there – I essentially add it to everything!  It adds the perfect crunch with just a hint of bitter, which is perfect for me since I’m allergic to the more common acids (aka citrus).  I also understand that kale is not for everyone but I firmly think that’s just because everyone hasn’t tried kale!

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I served this sauce over some whole wheat pasta but spaghetti squash or polenta would also work well.   What’s next? Kale cookies? Kale Cake?? Probably not, but I plan to continue this love affair as long as possible – unless I turn my skin green in which case I might back off.

Now for other gardening news: first red tomato has been picked!  There is one more that’s on the verge of ready and another 3 dozen or so close behind.  I’ve also jumped up to 8 fairy eggplants and 5 jalapenos 🙂 I have a feeling July is going to be a delicious month!!!