Greek Yogurt, Broccoli & Bacon Mac & Cheese

greek-mac-final-2After a few tough family days we all needed a yummy meal that we could enjoy and not feel too guilty about. We had recently gotten a reality check when it comes to spending time together as well as enjoying everything we have. I spent the afternoon making this recipe at my parent’s house because I knew they needed a break and to be taken care of for a change.

My parents have never let a day go by without either calling or doing something for my sister and I and our husbands. In moments where they are in need we begin to realize that even more and how truly blessed we are to have them. They deserve to be taken care of, just as they have my sister and me our whole lives.

With all that said I decided to add a twist to traditional mac and cheese because I wasn’t about to make something for them out of a box- although we do eat them occasionally and enjoy them. This particular day called for something comforting, homemade and delicious!

(serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • Dry elbows or small pasta of your choice (2 lb)
  • 3 cups shredded cheesemain-ingredients-final
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice- for creamier pasta use a full cup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1 package of bacon (12 oz)
  • Bread crumbs if desiredmilk-and-salt-final

Directions:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees
  • Begin to cook bacon in the oven until crispy- alternatively you can cook your bacon in a pan and drain the fat.
  • Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in salted water until al dente- in the last few minutes of cooking pasta add broccoli to slightly softenbrocolli-and-pasta-in-pot
  • Drain your pasta but don’t rinse.drain-pasta-final
  • In a small pot, stir together the milk, cheese, and salt until cheese melts.melting-cheese
  • Meanwhile, chop your cooked bacon and add it to your pasta and broccoli mix
  • Add the yogurt and cook on low, just until the sauce is hot.
  • Chop your cooked bacon and add it to your pasta and broccoli mixadding-bacon-final
  • Stir in the cooked pasta, broccoli and bacon into the sauce mixtureMixture-final
  • Ladle your mix into a casserole, top with extra cheese if you would like.greek-mac-not-baked
  • Bake for 10 min to warm through
  • Broil towards the end of cooking process to brown bread crumbs if desired.greek-mac-final

 

This recipe can easily be reduced to make smaller portions but we used this for a family day and ended up having a second casserole to eat at Christmas Eve dinner which worked out really nicely. I hope that this dish brings you as much comfort as it did us

Salud!


Nutritionals per serving:
Calories: 518
Carbs: 33
Fat: 31
Protein: 25
Sodium: 912
Sugar: 3

 

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Pasta Chicken Bake

I love meals that can be made easily and that are one whole meal in one casserole. Not only did this meal come together easily but I had all the ingredients in my pantry and fridge and it was ready quickly. I put this one together on one of those night when we weren’t exactly sure what to eat and it was already going to be a late night.

casserole final

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, chopped and cooked (or 2 cups of rotisserie chicken from the store)
  • 12 oz. noodles of your choosing ( I used penne noodles)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese ( I used Colby Jack Cheddar blend)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Chicken pasta bake ing

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to box directions and set aside
  • Preheat your oven to 375
  • In a large skillet melt butter and add onion and garlic, Cook the onions until they are translucent.
  • Add in flour and whisk- let it brown slightly
  • Slowly add in milk and cook on medium low until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove the mixture from the heat.
  • In a separate bowl coat your chicken, noodles and tomatoes with the milk mixture and 3/4 of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

cheese into chicken

  • Add all ingredients into a casserole and top with remaining cheese

casserole before oven

  • Bake for 20-30 minutes and then broil on high to add a yummy crisp to the casserole

You are now ready to dish up and enjoy!

Casserole corner

Salud!

Turkey Sausage and Whole Wheat Tortellini Soup

Go home Colorado weather, you’re drunk!

One day it is 60 degrees out and the next it is snowing and my fingers feel like they might break off while I am scraping off the snow on my windshield. I know, I know, this is typical- the weather changes all the time here but man oh man this has just gotten crazy!

Anyhow, on one of the particularly cold and snowy days I decided to come home and make some soup. I had found some turkey sausage on sale at the store and decided to work off that.  So here it is!

soup

Ingredients
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage links
1 medium yellow onion, chopped up
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes (we like things spicy so add to taste)
1 box of quinoa pasta
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup of water
4 cups spinach mix greens mix torn up by hand or chopped
salt and pepper

ingredients

Directions

If you are using regular pasta- quinoa or whole wheat whatever your choosing: Cook your pasta as directed on the box- I leave mine just a bit under cooked because you will be adding it in at the end and bringing it all to a boil.

If you are using tortellini  that are refrigerated or frozen you will add the tortellini in at the end so no need to cook before hand.

Heat oil over medium-high in a pan.  Add sausages and cook, make sure to roll your sausages over occasionally until they are browned all over. Take them out and place them on a paper towel to remove the excess grease.

Add your onion to a pot and cook over medium heat until softened, usually about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add your garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and seasonings, and bring to a boil.

Slice sausage to desired thickness and add back to the pot. Stir in the pasta and simmer gently until your pasta is completely tender. Stir in spinach mix and cook until just wilted.

soup in pot 2

Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Now spoon into your bowls and enjoy.

Side note- this ended up reducing quite a bit so if you plan on feeding more than 4 people I would double up on the recipe.

Salud!

Everything should have bacon- Spaghetti Pie!

A while back I was going out of town for a few days and I wanted to leave an easy meal that Jake could pop into the oven and reheat. Jake is a good cook on his own but if he can he will typically grab a frozen pizza and throw that in. So I decided to try my hand at a spaghetti pie. My brother in-law Trevor, his mom makes a mean spaghetti pie, in fact she is pretty famous for it. So what I decided to do was reach back into my memory and think of how I thought she might make hers and of course put my own twist on the recipe.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

1 box of spaghetti (I used whole grain-we had it on hand)

1 pkg bacon

1 yellow onion finely chopped

1 container part-skim ricotta cheese

3 large eggs

2 cups milk (we had 1% at home)

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup Parmesan cheese

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 cups frozen broccoli florets

Handful of Italian shredded cheese for topping

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
  • Cook your pasta as directed on your box to al dente
  • Meanwhile fry your back to a little over halfway done- (you can chop it up into small pieces or leave it strips and then cut it up. (I baked mine first in the oven and then chopped it up to not have so much bacon grease in my pan- completely up to you.)                                                                                                                                                   20131006_143802
  • Next in the same pan add your onions and cook until they become translucent on low heat.20131006_14373620131006_144140 - Copy
  • While onions cook in a large bowl whisk your ricotta cheese, eggs, milk, cayenne pepper, half of the Parmesan and your salt together.
  • At this point you will be ready to mix your cheese mixture and your pasta. Drain your pasta well stir in your ricotta mixture with your pasta fold in your bacon and onion mixture and your broccoli.
  • 20131006_14425520131006_144942
  • Once your mixture is well combined spread it evenly in a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan and the Italian cheese if you choose to use it on top. I also added a little salt and pepper to the top.
  • Bake the spaghetti pie for about 30 minutes or until the mixture has set well. (You can do the first 15-20 minutes covered and the last 15-10 minutes uncovered)                                                                           20131006_153642

Now just dig in and enjoy! The nice thing about this recipe is that you can easily put this spaghetti pie together, bake it and then freeze it which is what I did when I went out of town. You then just pop it in the oven at 400 or so for about 20 minutes and you have dinner all set.

Salud!

Cajun Chicken Stuffed Shells

I have always wanted to try my hand at stuffed shells. I used to work at an Italian restaurant and they had these amazing stuff shells!
So I decided to go ahead and make up my own mixture to put inside. I went for a spicy mixture because my dad is in town and he loves spicy food. You could always replace the Cajun spice with simple salt and pepper or even lemon pepper. You could add marinara- the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients
12 oz. box jumbo shell pasta
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon of pepper
4 cups cooked and shredded boneless, skinless chicken breast (I made mine a pressure cooker)
16 oz. skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese

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Directions:

Cook your pasta shells as directed on the box- usually about 9 minutes in boiling salted water

*In a separate bowl Mix together sauce:
1 cup of heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup of Mozzarella

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*In another bowl make chicken mixture:
11/2 cup of heavy cream
Shredded chicken
1 egg
Ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon of cajun seasoning
(I also add tomatoes to my chicken mixture at the last minute just for fun)ImageImage

Once your pasta has cooked- drain it and let it cool. Stuff shells with your chicken mixture, about 1 Tablespoon per shell.
Place in an oven safe dish. Cover shells with your sauce mixture and sprinkle with extra shredded Mozzarella.

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Bake at 350F about 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.Image

*Side note: pre-made Cajun seasoning from the store tends to be salty so if you ask me salt is not needed in this recipe! I will also suggest looking up your own Cajun seasoning recipe so you can control that factor.

Salud!

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