Posts tagged ‘quick & easy’

Winter Veggie Pasta

Lately I’ve been looking for foods that are low in fat and calories, but high in protein, fiber and of course… flavor. This pasta dish was tasty, satisfying, and left me completely guilt free. (yes, please!)

8 oz uncooked whole grain spaghetti
3 cups broccoli florets
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp snipped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook pasta according to package directions (but omit the salt). Add broccoli to pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and return to pot.

Stir in tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper; heat through. Stir in parsley and sprinkle each serving with cheese.

This recipe is from the Eat Better America website, which is a great place to find “healthified” versions of yummy recipes. Check it out for more recipes like this one.

(original recipe here)


January 16 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Sausage Balls

I have memories of my mom making Sausage Balls for various Christmas parties and other gatherings growing up.  So when a friend asked everyone to bring a holiday favorite to her Christmas soiree, I dug up this recipe and whipped up a batch.

They were a huge hit! Everyone loved them, and I had several people ask me how I made them. They’re so quick and easy, I just kept reciting the simple recipe over and over:

1 lb ground sausage
1 lb shredded sharp cheddar
2 cups Bisquick

Combine all ingredients. Shape into walnut-sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until cooked through. (Makes 30 balls)

Now, these ingredients are pretty hard to mix together. I really recommend letting the sausage warm up a bit and then using your hands to combine them. Also, it helps to line your pans with parchment paper to avoid sticking.

If you want to, you could bake them on wire racks over baking sheets to drain off some of the grease. (I think they’re perfect how they are, though.)

December 19 at 7:52 pm Leave a comment

Tomato Basil Chicken

We’ve made this recipe a couple of times now and love that it’s both easy to make and healthy, but also tastes fantastic. It came from one of our new favorite websites, Eat Better America, and there’s not a singe bad-for-you thing in it.

8 oz uncooked whole wheat fettuccine
2 tsp olive/vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped*
2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey breast
3 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp red pepper sauce

Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisp-tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except pasta; reduce heat to medium.

Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft. Serve over fettuccine.

*If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can substitute 2 14.5-oz cans of diced tomatoes. We did, and it definitely saved us on prep time.

March 24 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

Black Forest Mousse

This is a simple dessert that looks really pretty and tastes even better. It’s perfect to bring to a party or potluck. We brought it to a family holiday dinner and it went over really well. The best part is that it’s so easy… I even gave the recipe to a girlfriend of mine who totally can’t cook, with full confidence she could pull it off. Ha ha! 🙂

1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 3-oz package chocolate pudding
1 8-oz tub whipped cream
16 Oreos
1 1/2 cups cherry pie filling

Pour milk into a large bowl. Add pudding mix and whisk for 2 minutes or until well-blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped cream.

Cut remaining 5 cookies in half and place on top of dessert. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Coarsely chop 11 cookies and stir into the pudding. Spoon half of the pudding into a 2-quart serving bowl. On top of the pudding mixture, layer 1 cup whipped cream, 1 cup pie filling, remaining pudding, remaining whipped cream, and remaining pie filling.

*Original recipe and photo courtesy

August 13 at 4:47 pm Leave a comment

Inside-Out Blue Cheese Burgers

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that my husband found and made for the two of us and his mother. It was our first experience making an inside-out burger… and a blue cheese burger for that matter! But we liked them so much we’ve been telling everyone about them. Can’t wait to try the technique with other mixtures!

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp butter
4 hamburger buns

In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together the blue cheese and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the parsley. Divide the mixture into four disks about 1 1/2 inches across. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, season the beef with salt and pepper and mix well. Form into four equally sized patties about 3/4 inch thick.

Form a deep cavity in the center of each beef patty. Place a cheese disk in each cavity and pull the meat together to completely cover the cheese.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook about four minutes on each side for medium. Serve on the buns with your choice of condiments and veggies.


August 4 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Gnocchi al Pesto

An amazing dish I had at a local restaurant inspired me to try making gnocchi for the first time. I’d seen it in the store and heard it talked about on The Food Network, but this was my first shot at making it.

Turns out that potato gnocchi (pronounced nyō’kē) is not only SO GOOD, it’s also super quick and easy to make. This recipe* is a great way to get started making (or in our case, eating!) gnocchi.

1 18-ounce package potato gnocchi
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1 cup chopped tomatoes

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the zucchini and yellow pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Drain gnocchi; add gnocchi and pesto to skillet. Gently stir until well coated. Stir in tomatoes. Sprinkle with pine nuts if desired.


*posted by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen on

June 29 at 4:08 pm 3 comments

Tortilla Pizza Primavera

I found this recipe on one of my favorite cooking blogs, Cooking With Court.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s so easy to make, yet it comes out delicious. You could seriously make these little guys in 20 minutes, including time to preheat the oven! It was perfect for a quick dinner after a long day of work.

2 10-inch flour tortillas OR already made pizza crust
Olive oil
5 oz Monterey Jack cheese
5 oz cheddar cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup ripe sliced olives
Black pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 400°. Lightly brush the tortillas with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and bake for five minutes on each side or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350°. Top each tortilla with half of the ingredients. Bake for five minutes or until cheese melts.

A couple of quick notes based on our experience:

  • If you’re using a dark baking sheet, reduce the tortilla cook time to three or four minutes on each side to avoid burning. We ended up having to do one tortilla over again. (Oops!)
  • Make sure to pop any bubbles that form in the tortilla during the baking process, before they become crisp. Oddly shaped tortillas are very hard to put toppings on. 🙂
  • We used mozzarella rather than MJ, because that’s what was in our fridge. Still tasted amazing.
  • Next time I think I’ll use 8-inch tortillas, just so I can fit more than one on a baking sheet. Using a whole sheet per pizza would be totally impractical if you’re cooking for more than two people.

Tortilla Pizzas

February 11 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

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