Mediterranean Tortellini Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Tortellini Pasta Salad makes a filling vegetarian meal, or a flavor-packed Summer side dish. With bright, fresh veggies, cheese filled tortellini pasta, and salty feta cheese tossed in a Greek-style red wine vinaigrette this is bound to be the headliner of any menu.

Mediterranean Tortellini Pasta Salad

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Sous Chef Sunday: Homemade Spaghetti & Meatballs Garlic Bread Sub

The Sons’ are at it again, bringing the masses another recipe they’ve knocked out of the park.

Garlic Bread meets Spaghetti and Meatballs meets the Meatball Sub and the result is out of this world!

Spaghetti & Meatballs Garlic Bread Subs

This recipe will leave your house smelling like a heavenly Italian restaurant and you’ll be lucky if you can keep your family from devouring it before it makes it to their plates. I think the Sons were worse than our pug that night, loitering around the kitchen and watching for any missed speck of this recipe while they waited for me to plate everything up for them.

Savory, buttery, crispy garlic bread stuffed with delicious spaghetti and meatballs… it’s a match made in heaven. How could I blame the little scroungers?!

I’m always watching the sons turn their spaghetti and garlic bread into an open faced sandwich (I’ll admit it freaked me out slightly the first few times), so I knew this would be right up their alley. And oh boy, were they sure on to something…

 son 3 helping

(The apron says it all)

Son # 2, just like his Daddy 🙂

He could easily (and quite happily) eat spaghetti and meatballs every night of the week. Which is why he nominated himself to oversee this particular meal.

 Spaghetti & Meatball Sub Sandwich

It may not be the prettiest presentation, but it delivers 100 % on flavor. All the sons and the hubs gave it two thumbs up. Just make sure you have some napkins handy, because it is messy. But man, you can’t go wrong with Garlic Bread meets Spaghetti and Meatballs meets the Meatball Sub! Enjoy!

Homemade Spaghetti & Meatballs Garlic Bread Sub

Spaghetti & Meatballs Sub Sandwich

recipe adapted from The Cards We Drew

frozen, or homemade, meatballs (we used about 1/3-1/2 of the package)
Parmesan, and/or Mozzarella cheese, to taste (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 box of spaghetti noodles
1 loaf of Italian bread
garlic butter (either store bought or homemade)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce

Directions

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
2. Cook meatballs according to package directions.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the meatballs with the spaghetti sauce until evenly coated. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and then set the aside.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
5. Cut your bread loaf in half length wise, and liberally coat both sides of the inside with garlic butter.
6. Place bread in a baking dish, or on a baking sheet, with the insides facing up and bake it until the butter is melted and inside is lightly crisped.
7. Once the bread has baked, top the bottom half with the cooked spaghetti, top the spaghetti with the meatball and sauce mixture, and then sprinkle some parmesan, and/or mozzarella cheese on top.
8. Put the loaf back in the oven until the cheese is nice and melty and the sauce is heated through. Slice loaf into individual sandwiches and serve with salad for dinner.

UPDATE: The Sons’ found this gem and declared it a must share. Son # 1 putting his spaghetti on a baked potato! Bleck!!

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Welcome to my life 😉

Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

A few months ago, a friend of mine on Facebook posted that they were making this dish for dinner one night. I immediately headed on over to Pinterest and searched stalked her boards until I found the recipe. Still, it sat all alone and neglected on my own ‘to try’ board for quite some time. I’d almost completely forgotten about it. Lucky for me, I was totally un-inspired for dinner a few weeks ago and went through all 1,283 pins on that board looking for a recipe spoke to me. This didn’t speak so much as shout, ‘EAT ME,’ at me.

That night, after devouring this amazing crockpot pasta, the hubs and sons all looked at me like I was insane for not having made then and I just stared back at them innocently, like “I’m not the only one who can search Pinterest and throw ingredients in the crockpot, little sweeties.”

Simple, totally indulgent, delicious. You need this in your life.

Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Creamy Crockpot Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Pasta

recipe originally from Crockpot Gourmet

1 to 1½ pound boneless skinless chicken
3 cups chicken broth
½ cup buffalo wing sauce (1/4 cup now, ¼ cup later)
1 tbsp ranch dressing mix (dried packet kind)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp celery salt
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp water
16 oz linguine noodles
chopped cilantro for garnish, optional

Directions

1. Place chicken, broth, ¼ cup buffalo sauce, and seasonings into the crockpot.
2. Top with cream cheese and shredded cheese.
3. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
4. When chicken is fully cooked remove to separate bowl and shred.
5. Add remaining ¼ cup buffalo sauce to chicken and toss to coat.
6. Set aside the shredded chicken.
7. Whisk together corn starch and water and add to crock.
8. Use a whisk and stir until cheese and cream cheese is all combined and smooth.
9. Break noodles in half and place in crock.
10. Top with chicken and cover.
11. Turn crock on high for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally so the noodles don’t stick together, until noodles are fully cooked.
12. Garnish with cilantro if desired and serve immediately

Crockpot Lasagna

I love a good classic.

A classic novel. {i.e. Pride & Prejudice}

A classic movie. {i.e. Roman Holiday }

And I most definitely love a classic lasagna recipe. {i.e. this one!}

Let’s keep it real though. On top of it being an all-out yummy classic comfort food, lasagna is a busy mom’s secret dinner weapon. It’s such a great option, especially when we’re talking about a crockpot, not oven, version because it’s so easy to throw together and it’s really filling, so a little goes a long way.

Crockpot Lasagna 5

Plus, this recipe usually makes enough for leftovers, which is a bonus because lasagna is one of those foods that almost always tastes even better the next day. Lasagna also keeps well in the freezer, so if you have the carb-resisting strength, you can freeze the extra for another meal. Maybe a lunch or light dinner? It’s safe to say that given the sheer number of lasagna recipes out there, the secret to making great lasagna is finding a recipe with ingredients that you love. For us, the trick comes down to quality meats (that’s right, meats, plural), quality cheeses (again, plural), and a top notch sauce.

 crockpot lasagna 3

Just look at that? Does it get anymore perfect than this, cooked to bubbling perfection? I was always so tired of getting it wrong when I would bake them in the oven. We love a few crispy edges, but not throughout the whole thing! And, then… voila!

Crockpot Lasagna 4

 This is a no-fail recipe that guarantees you won’t end up with hard, crusty noodles or a totally dry dish. Just layer the ingredients in the crockpot, sit back, and relax!

Crockpot Lasagna 2

Three different cheeses simmer right along with delicious ground meats and perfectly herbed pasta sauce in this easy, no fuss, delicious lasagna.

Dinner is serrrved!

Crockpot Lasagna

crockpot lasagna

recipe adapted from Creating Through Life

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1 small onion, diced
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
29 oz can tomato sauce
8 oz pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese + 1/2 cup
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

Directions

1. Brown the ground beef and ground sausage. When they’re about half way done add in the garlic and onions. When the meat is browned drain and return to the pan or skillet.
2. Stir the tomato sauce in with the cooked meat.
3. Spread 1/4 of the meat sauce on the bottom of a prepared (sprayed well with non-stick cooking spray) crock-pot.
4. Arrange 1/3 of the uncooked noodles over the sauce, breaking them up to fit better as you go.
5. Combine the 4 cups of mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses in a bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the noodles. Gently spread it out to form a layer that covers the noodles.
6. Repeat these layers twice.
7. Top with the remaining meat sauce.
8. Cover and cook on low for 4 hrs.
9. Let the lasagna stand in the crock-pot with the lid off for at least 10 minutes. 5 minutes before serving sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella over the top.

Do you love these classic Italian flavors? Need some more easy meal inspiration? Check out these other similar recipes.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Italian Drunken Noodle

Italian Drunken Noodle

4 Sons 'R' Us: Baked Gnocchi

Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato, and mozzarella

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Buttery, Herbed Egg Noodles

Since before the sons can even remember they’ve been eating buttered noodles. It was one of their favorite (and most requested) lunches, especially when visiting Nanni’s house. Of course, Nanni will put more butter on your butter. Mean Mommy? Not so fast. Seriously though, buttered noodles were a life saver on more than one occasion for a last minute lunch for one very overwhelmed Mom, especially after we brought son # 4 home from the hospital and I was in the homestretch on summer vacation with two weeks left. We all totally agree, that while buttered noodles are the bees knees, add in some herbs and a dash of garlic, and they’re just plain awesome.

  4 Sons 'R' Us: Herbed Egg Noodles

They’re so simple and incredibly easy to throw together at the last minute. I mean seriously, tender noodles coated in buttery sauce? You can’t go wrong with the addition of dill and thyme. A little garlic gives them the perfect little bit of pizzazz. Besides being a great last minute lunch they also make a great side, complimenting any meaty entree you might throw their way.

Herbed Egg Noodles

Herbed Egg Noodles 2

8 ounces uncooked egg noodles
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Directions

1. Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in the garlic, salt, dill and thyme.
3. Drain the cooked noodles and add to butter mixture and toss to coat.

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

Don’t you just love a good pasta salad? They just seem so summery to me. Whether as a light side with dinner, or as a lunch. My favorite though are the heartier versions where I can dump everything in, give it a good solid stir, and after it’s cold… voila! Dinner is served. Pasta salad literally provides endless possibilities for new flavor combinations and ingredients. It makes me so happy, like kid on Christmas morning happy. This particular pasta is one of my personal favorites. It also happens to include one of our favorite ways to season/prepare chicken. It’s so simple too!

 Generously season your chicken breasts with taco or fajita seasoning, and then bake them for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cooked through. While having some on hand does give me an extra excuse to whip up one of our favorite pasta salads, we just genuinely like it that much. I love to dice it up and toss it in with some lettuce to make a nice hearty salad. The hubs uses it to make his own little protein packs to take to work. For the pasta salad though, you can make it all at once, or cook your chicken as much as a couple days ahead of time and have it ready to go.

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

Seriously, just look at those juicy slices of perfectly cooked chicken.

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Eat your colors’? Fresh ingredients can be so vibrant, and I’m really starting to notice the burst of intense, natural flavor they add to our meals. My favorite chicken, vine-ripened tomatoes, bacon, and a Mexican blend of cheeses over a bed of pasta. Oh the intensity! They all combine beautifully with just a tiny bit of help from the special sauce.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad 2

Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the recipe!

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad 3

recipe adapted from Recipes for our Daily Bread

3 chicken breasts, seasoned with taco or fajita seasoning
1/2 pound of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
12 oz package of spiral pasta
1/2 cup Ranch dressing (not dry mix)
1/2 cup salsa, regular NOT a fruity blend
1 teaspoon taco or fajita seasoning
1 fresh tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, or cheddar cheese

Directions

1. Generously season the chicken with either taco or fajita seasoning and bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through, at 350 degrees.
2. Allow the cooked chicken to cool slightly and then dice.
3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Set aside to cool.
4. Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Allow grease to drain by putting the cooked bacon on some paper towels and when cool, crumble it.
5. Chop the tomato.
6. In a a large bowl combine all ingredients, stirring to mix everything together.

That’s it! Told ya, simple. While it’s great straight away, it tastes best when allowed to chill. It’s just as good if made the night before and left to refrigerate overnight.

This recipe was taken over to Fiesta Friday # 24 which is hosted every Friday by Angie on The Novice Gardener.

Asian Style Chicken Spinach Pasta Salad

This Asian Style Chicken Spinach Pasta Salad, tossed in a sesame oil and soy sauce-based dressing, is a refreshing, Asian-inspired side dish perfect for picnics.  This is great for lunch, a light main meal, or even a supper-time side dish. Serve it for the family, or make it ahead for your next barbecue.

Asian Style Chicken Spinach Pasta Salad

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