Three Day Weekend – Recipe: Fall Pasta

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The littles are at home today because we have a three-day weekend.  How I love it when the weekend is lengthened, which, in turn, makes the school week shortened.  It then leaves me thinking that every weekend should be three days….hence every school/work week should be four.

We had planned to go to the Pumpkin Patch to soak in the fun of the season.

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But, it rained.  And, we are not complaining.  We had not received real, substantial, ground-soaking rain since the first week of June. We had received a couple of showers the past couple of weeks, but nothing like this – thunder, lightning, rain.  Rain so hard that it sent the middle little straight into bed with us.  And, it was good, very good.

So, we are spending the day in our pajamas, baking, watching movies, playing games.  Just enjoying being at home.

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And, it is pasta night, which is always a family favorite.  I created this fall pasta with cream sauce, and it was a hit.  I love how we can still keep our theme nights, while mixing in the flavors of the season.  It is truly one of the joys of cooking – always finding new ways to enjoy old favorites.

Fall Pasta

Fall Pasta

Ingredients

16 ounces vermicelli

1 sweet potato, diced

1 butternut squash, diced

4 gloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

cooking spray

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 ounces cream cheese

3 ounces creamy goat cheese

Seasoned salt, to sprinkle on vegetables

Ground black pepper, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Parsley flakes, to sprinkle

Paprika, to sprinkle

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking pan with foil, and spray with cooking spray. Add the chopped vegetables. Drizzle on the olive oil and minced garlic, and sprinkle with the seasoned salt. Bake for 30 minutes, until tender.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water.
  3. Add the whipping cream, cream cheese, and goat cheese to a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking together while the cheese melts. Reduce heat slightly. Allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes, while the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the pasta to a pasta bowl. Add the cream mixture, and toss together. Add the vegetables, and gently toss together. Sprinkle the bacon, parsley flakes, and paprika on the top.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/10/10/three-day-weekend-recipe-fall-pasta/

 

Enjoy!

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Exchange sponsored by Le Creuset.

I have shared this recipe over at Skip to My Lou, Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, A Southern Fairytale, Eat at Home, and Mrs. Happy Homemaker.

Just Another Manic Monday – Recipe: Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

My sister told me something today that I will remember.  Each Monday takes us one week closer to the summer break…well, my niece actually decided that we should take one step at a time and count down to Thanksgiving break first.  Works for me.  So, I will think of that on Mondays now.  Each Monday brings us one week closer to Thanksgiving break.  Not that I am trying to rush time, because I am definitely not.  I just really, really, really love having my littles at home with me.

And, another great thing about this Monday…Hexbugs Nano.  Until Ethan got one for his birthday yesterday, I had never even heard of them.  Let me tell you…they are just about the cutest things ever.  All three of the littles love them.  They loved Ethan’s so much that I had to break my “no presents until Christmas” rule and go buy one for each of them today, in their colors (blue, green, and pink), so that they could all play with them together.  I just could not help it.  And, it was so worth it.  Watching them play with them after school just made my day.

If it is possible for two things to make my day, the other one was Ethan’s visit to the pediatrician.  We go to a big practice, where we can see any of the doctors.  Summer had a great experience last spring with a wonderful, kind doctor, so I decided to have her see Ethan today.  She was so incredibly great with him.  I told her when she walked in that he was primarily non-verbal.  So, he proceeded to “talk” to her, interact with her, and answer all of her questions.  She was quite amused with him…more of that charming magic that he has.  Before we left, she said, “To be non-verbal, he communicates quite well.”  Oh, how that made me smile.  I had been so worried about taking him to a doctor who did not know him…because….trust me, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.  This one was good and beautiful in every way, just like my Ethan.

To top off this Monday…this Monday that puts us one week closer to Thanksgiving…we had pasta for dinner.  Since Ethan chose spaghetti for his birthday dinner last night, my Monday pasta meal was thrown off a bit.  But, as soon as I saw Pioneer Woman’s post on her Cajun Chicken Pasta, I knew that we would have a variation of that for dinner.  I have made her Cajun Chicken Pasta before, and it was a hit. So, I adapted it according to what we had in the refrigerator and pantry, and I made it gluten and dairy free.  It did not fail to disappoint a hungry family on this Monday.

Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

Cajun Chicken Pasta Primavera

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1 cup broccoli, fresh or frozen

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup soy milk

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Pasta

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Once the chicken is almost cooked through, add the bell peppers, broccoli, and corn. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. As the chicken and vegetable mixture is cooking, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water.
  3. Mix together the chicken broth, soy milk, Old Bay Seasoning, and corn starch.
  4. Add the milk mixture to the chicken mixture, and cook until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the chicken mixture over the pasta and toss together. Add more salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning, according to taste.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/19/just-another-manic-monday-recipe-cajun-chicken-pasta-primavera/

Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Cajun Chicken Pasta

Enjoy your week!

Monday, Monday – Recipe: Spaghetti with Special Meatballs

While Friday is one of my favorite days of the week, Monday is one of my least favorite days.  Sean goes back to work, the boys go back to school, and Summer and I are happy that we are home together but sad that three-fifths of what makes us whole is gone.

We had a great weekend, though, and I am glad that I had those fun memories to look back on today and smile.  I flipped through that scrapbook in my brain quite a few times today, thinking of certain smiles, sounds of laughter, and moments that made me very joyful.

One of the things that helps me perk up on Monday is the thought of it being Pasta Day in our home.  Some days I know exactly what I want to make, and other days, like today, allow me to get my creative cooking juices flowing as I look in the freezer, the refrigerator, and the pantry to decide what to put together.  Once I did that, I started planning for dinner tonight, knowing that we would be complete as a family again….and already looking forward to Friday.

Of course, when I do things like that to try to speed up time, I realize that it also accelerates all of the moments that I do truly enjoy throughout the week.  So, while I will probably not like Mondays anytime soon, I am trying to appreciate that even Monday holds some beauty in it, even if it is something as simple as Pasta Day.

Spaghetti with Special Meatballs

Spaghetti with Special Meatballs

I kept the sauce, meatballs, and pasta separate because everyone likes their spaghetti a bit differently. So, I made a little spaghetti bar and allowed everyone to add what they wanted to their spaghetti.

Ingredients

Sauce

Olive oil

3 gloves of garlic, minced

2 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

Salt

Pepper

Italian seasoning

Onion powder

Sugar

Meatballs

1 pound of ground beef

1 egg

2 ounces of soft goat cheese

Salt

Pepper

Italian seasoning

Extras

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

Sausage link, diced (about 1 cup)

Spaghetti pasta

Instructions

    Sauce
  1. Add olive oil and garlic to medium sauce pan, and saute over medium heat.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings - I use about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes on low heat.
  4. Meatballs
  5. While the sauce is simmering, mix up the meatballs.
  6. Mix the ground beef, egg, goat cheese, and seasonings.
  7. Form the meat into balls, about the 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  8. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
  9. Add the meatballs and allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  10. Extras
  11. Add the onion and bell pepper, and allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  12. Then, add the sausage.
  13. Cook everything together for another 5-6 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  14. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/12/monday-monday-recipe-spaghetti-with-special-meatballs/

This pasta magically turned Monday into unicorns and rainbows, after all.