Category Archives: Dinner

Spicy Italian Drunken Noodles

New favorite pasta alert!! I made this for my hubby last night for Valentine’s Day and it was all I hoped it would be and more. Full of spice, flavors, beautiful colors, and the pasta was so silky and delicious. You could lighten this up with turkey sausage, but it was a special occasion, so I went all in.

Begin by warming a couple tablespoons of EVOO in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove casings from 5 spicy Italian sausage links and crumble into medium size pieces.

Once browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Now add a thinly sliced onion and cook for 5 minutes or so in the sausage drippings until they begin to caramelize. While the onions cook, thinly slice a red, yellow, & orange bell pepper.

Add the peppers into the pot with the onions along with about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and cracked salt & pepper.

Once the peppers soften, add in about a tablespoon of minced garlic and a half a cup of white wine. Once the wine has reduced, add a 28oz can of diced tomatoes with the juice and fold your sausage back into the mixture.

To finish the sauce, drizzle more EVOO on top, and about 1/4C of fresh chopped basil leaves & around 2tbl freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley.

Prepare pappardelle noodles according to the al dente instructions. Toss the noodles into your sausage mixture. Serve and top with additional basil and shredded Parmesan cheese.

So, so good!!!

Adapted From: The Cozy Apron

Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

I literally hadn’t made these in years and we forgot how amazing they are. They were one of my original freezer meals back in the day. This meal is so easy and tasty – perfect for kids and grownups alike.

Begin by cooking 16-18 jumbo shells about 2 minutes shy of their cooking instructions. Drain and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of EVOO over medium heat. Add an onion and a pound of Italian sausage and cook through. Add a spoonful of minced garlic, cook for 30 more seconds, and remove from heat. Set aside.

Now combine 7-8 ounces of fresh, cooked spinach or a box of frozen spinach that has been thawed and wrung out with the following: 1 lightly beaten egg, 1.5C grated Parmesan, 1/4C Italian style breadcrumbs, 15oz ricotta cheese, 1tbl chopped fresh basil, and cracked salt & pepper to taste.

Add in your sausage and onions and fold to combine.

Using a 28oz can of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, spoon a layer into the bottom of a large baking dish. Begin filling your shells and line them close to each other.

Top with the remaining tomatoes.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes.

Top with shredded parmesan. Serve with salad and crusty bread to complete!🥖🍷

Adapted From: Everyday Annie

The Perfect Steak

So, my husband is letting me share this unbelievably amazing steak recipe that he spent months perfecting. I literally don’t order steak anymore because it won’t compare…..not even close.

You MUST begin with a great cut of meat. We look for beef tenderloin sales and then have the butcher cut it into 1.5 inch pieces. Ryan pressure seals them in twos or threes and we thaw them usually once a week.

Begin with room temperature steaks.

Coat them with EVOO and an obscene amount of cracked salt and pepper on all sides.

Put cast iron skillets on your grill and let them get super hot. Like, I’m talking 550 degrees hot!

Lay down your steaks.

Cook for approximately 3 minutes per side and then switch to 1 minute per side for medium to medium rare steaks (you will waste good steak if you overcook it, trust me). So, a total of about 8 minutes.

Put them on a plate and cover them with foil to rest for 10 minutes. This is a VERY important step.

We love surf & turf combo but literally this goes with anything.😋

Crockpot Pesto & Mozzarella Chicken Pasta

On Sundays we put the lean eating aside for an indulgent family dinner. I look forward to this tremendously.😋

Trying out new recipes makes my heart so happy. As soon as I saw the words pesto, cheese, & pasta I knew this would not disappoint.

I always make my own pesto because it’s super easy and noticeably better, but if you’re short on time you could substitute with a jar variety. My pesto is easy: Simply combine the leaves of 1 basil plant, 1/3C pine nuts, 1/2C shredded Parmesan, 1/2C EVOO, juice of a lemon, and cracked salt and pepper to taste.

Trim 3 chicken breasts and place them in your crockpot. Top with a liberal amount of cracked salt and pepper.

Top with your pesto and one tablespoon of stick butter.

Turn your crockpot to low and let cook for 5-6 hours (don’t remove the lid!).

Shred you chicken and add in 1/2C shredded Parmesan and 1/2lb pasta.

Grate 2C mozzarella. Buying shredded cheese isn’t the same as grating your own. Trust me.

Combine your Parmesan and pasta with the chicken. Top with the mozzarella and cover for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with grated parm, dried basil, and cracked pepper. Bread and a mixed green salad would complete this meal.😋

Adapted from: The Magical Slow Cooker

Turkey & Spinach Meatballs

So I convinced my husband to do a juice cleanse with me for the past couple of days. About halfway through (in the midst of stomach growling and grumpiness overload), I told him that at the end of the tunnel (today), I would make him anything he wanted for dinner. Much to my surprise he asked for something from the vault…..something I haven’t made in so many years…..something I used to make weekly when we were getting in shape for our wedding.👀

I honestly forgot what they tasted like. That was before I attempted to up my cooking game when I became a stay at home wife. They were part of the menu when there were only about 5 things on the menu. So, I wasn’t sure if they would be worth talking about…but they are!

Start with 2lbs of lean ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Add a pack of frozen spinach (thawed and wrung out with a kitchen towel), 1 large egg, 3/4c Italian bread crumbs, 1/2c grated Parmesan, 2tsp minced garlic, 1/4c milk, & 1/2 of a finely diced onion. With your hands, mix to combine.

Divide your mixture into 4 sections for easy dividing. Now form 12 large meatballs and place on prepared baking sheets.

Drizzle with EVOO and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

These can be served many ways; over sautéed veggies, spaghetti squash, traditional pasta, alone with melted cheese? The possibilities are endless. Tonight, I made homemade marinara and served them over angel hair with pecorino romano cheese. They were so good. Back on the rotation for sure.😋

Adapted From: Rachel Ray

Holiday Slaw with Homemade Honey Mustard

We all know most food during the holidays isn’t necessarily figure friendly. Well let me introduce this perfect companion to your guilty indulgences. I served this for Thanksgiving and used it for my detox food for the 3 days that followed. So, so good.

Begin with a bag of cruciferous greens such as a kale and broccoli mix. You need sturdy greens that won’t get soggy in the dressing. Trader Joe’s is a good spot to grab a bag of this.

Combine 1/3C vegetable oil (I’m sure EVOO would also work), 1/4C apple cider vinegar, 2tbl honey, 1tbl whole grain Dijon, and 1/2tsp salt. Whisk to blend. Now add 3/4C sliced green onions. Set aside.

Using a large mixing bowl, combine about 10 packed cups of your greens, 1C dried blueberries, 1C dried cherries, 1/2C sunflower seeds, and 1C coarsely chopped smoked almonds.

Toss in your dressing and enjoy!!

Adapted From – The Kitchn

Sausage Stuffed ‘Shrooms

I feel like winter holidays need a sausage dish; whether it be sausage stuffing or sausage balls, it’s just a festive comfort food. This year I made something different and I’m so glad I did! I made around 50 of them, and there was not a single one leftover.

Begin with whole Bella mushrooms and rinse well.

Remove the stems and save them for dicing.

Spray a baking dish (or 2!) with non-stick spray and place your mushrooms hole side up.

Warm a tablespoon of EVOO in a sauce pan and combine your diced stems, 1 chopped onion, and 1lb of Italian sausage. I used mild, but sweet or spicy would be delicious as well. Cook until sausage is fully browned. Add in 1 minced garlic clove and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Remove from heat.

Let cool completely.

Stir in 1C herb stuffing mix, 1/3C Monterey Jack cheese, 3tbl mayo, and 1/2tsp black pepper.

Fill your mushroom caps. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, top with fresh parsley and serve!

Note: These can be prepared the night before.🙌🏼

Adapted From – Spicy Southern Kitchen

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

I’ll be honest, I didn’t grow up eating mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. We were a sweet potato casserole group (and I’m still on that team). However, my husband of almost 10 years (13 years together), insists on mashed potatoes every year.

Previously I’ve made a loaded potato casserole with cheddar, bacon, green onions, etc., but this year I decided to make traditional mashed potatoes. I was skeptical as a non-fan, but these are pretty darn tasty.

Begin with 4lbs of russet potatoes.

Skin and rinse.

Cube into 1 inch pieces.

Transfer to a large pot and add 2tbl room temp 1/2 inch butter squares, 2 smashed garlic cloves, and 2tsp salt.

Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once it bubbles, simmer over low for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Drain, remove garlic cloves, return to pot, and mash.

Add in 3/4C grated Parmesan, 1/2C low sodium chicken bone broth, 8oz mascarpone cheese, 2tsp salt, 1tsp pepper, and 4tbl cubed butter. Cracked pepper to taste. Stir over low heat until creamy. Enjoy!😋

Adapted from: Giada De Laurentiis

Creamy Sundried Tomato & Mushroom Chicken

This may be the ultimate comfort food without the guilt.I made it last night and am still thinking about it — so, SO good!! It tastes like it must be loaded with butter and heavy cream, but guess what? It’s not!!🎊

Combine 2tbl flour, 2tbl grated parm, 1tsp salt, and cracked pepper.

Slice 2 chicken breasts horizontally and dredge them through your mixture.

Rinse 2 cups of sliced baby bellas and drain an 8.5oz jar of Italian sliced sundried tomatoes (save the oil).

Warm half of the reserved oil into a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add in your chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side until it’s browned and cooked through.

Remove and place on a warm plate.

Pour the rest of your tomato oil into the saucepan. Now add 2tbl of minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (until fragrant). Add your mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and cook until mushrooms soften.

Turn your heat down to low. Add in 12oz of evaporated milk. I used reduced fat, however I think fat free would be fine as well. Stir in a couple of teaspoons of Italian seasoning and cracked salt & pepper to taste.

Combine 2tbl milk and 1tbl cornstarch.

Once the sauce is simmering, quickly stir in your cornstarch mixture. Once it thickens, add in 1/3C shredded Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.

Now add back in your chicken and top with fresh basil.

Serve over pasta, rice, quinoa, veggies, or anything really. Top with more shredded Parmesan and cracked pepper. Try not to have seconds (or thirds!)!😃

Adapted from – Cafe Delites

Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with Chicken & Asparagus

So, this is another recipe that was passed down to me by my cousin….yes, the same one who brought you the Shrimp & Grits and the Tomato Pie.

Nothing really says fall like pumpkins….pumpkin spice, pumpkin creamer, pumpkin candles, porch pumpkins, etc, etc…..

Enter pumpkin ravioli. Wow. Trader Joe’s sells this seasonally, however, you can always buy the butternut squash variety which is equally as decadent.

Rinse and chop up an asparagus bunch and cut it into thirds. Set aside. If you hate asparagus, this would also work with snap peas, green beans, or any vegetable really.

Cook your ravioli for 1 minute and then toss in your asparagus to the boiling water for the second minute. Reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta water. Drain and set aside.

Horizontally slice 2 large chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper.

Sauté over medium high heat with a couple of tablespoons of EVOO until they are browned and cooked through.

Remove chicken from pan and allow to rest for a few minutes. Chop 2 tablespoons of fresh sage and 1 shallot.Now add 3 tablespoons of butter to your hot pan. Once melted, add the chopped shallot and allow to brown. Now add in your sage. Once fragrant, pour over your pasta and asparagus with the saved pasta water. Add in the sliced chicken. Sprinkle with grated pecorino and cracked salt & pepper. Serve with a mixed green salad and crusty bread. Enjoy!