Goat Cheese Tortellini with Roasted Vegetables

Goat Cheese Tortellini with Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 small beets
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • olive oil
  • handful of fresh herbs, stemmed and chopped (rosemary, oregano, thyme and chives)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 package of goat cheese tortellini (in the refrigerated section)
  • parmesan cheese
  • crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prep the butternut squash by peeling the outer skin and removing seeds, dice into 1-inch cubes. Peel beets and dice into small cubes. Cube the eggplant and zucchini and toss all vegetables in olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Place on a large cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and toss with the roasted vegetables, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Serve and enjoy!


Grilled Sausage and Summer Vegetable Pasta

This is another one of my go-to weeknight recipes. While I’m in the kitchen prepping the stove top ingredients, my husband is manning the grill outside. I’ve also made this before in the winter, but instead of grilling the sausage I’ve cooked it in a pan. The nice thing about this tasty pasta dish is that you can use whatever veggies you like, especially if you have a picky eater in your house.

Grilled Sausage and Summer Vegetable Pasta

  • 1 package (16-ounce) penne or bowtie pasta
  • 4 hot Italian poultry sausages
  • Frozen or fresh grilled summer vegetables (such as asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, green beans, etc.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, grill sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Remove from heat and slice into bite sized pieces, then set aside. On the oven, add vegetables, garlic, oil, salt, pepper and pepper flakes to a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute until vegetables are tender then add cooked sausage and pasta to skillet. Stir until well incorporated and warm.  Serve Parmesan cheese and additional red pepper flakes.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli

This is one of those recipes that’s super easy to make because you should already have all the ingredients on hand. At least, I know I always have cheese and pasta on hand in my house. The original recipe called for adding mascarpone, but I only had Greek yogurt in my fridge. It made the sauce more creamy and also added a bit of a tang to the overall flavor. I also felt that the cheese crisps in the original recipe were an unnecessary step for just a regular dinner at home so I decided against making them. We had steak in the fridge so I served this as a side dish, but you could certainly serve this as an entree.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli
adapted from http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/stovetop-mac-and-cheese-with-cheese-crisps

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups mild white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni or other preferred pasta (I used Rigatoni)
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli florets

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and paprika and cook over moderate heat until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in Both cheeses and cook over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the Greek yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. About a minute before the pasta is finished cooking, add the frozen broccoli florets to the boiling water. Drain and add to the cheese sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until hot and bubbling, about 2 minutes.

Baked Penne

Baked Penne

  • 1 box whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 6 slices provolone cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add ground beef, italian seasoning, garlic powder and red pepper flakes over medium heat and brown. Add spaghetti sauce to the ground beef mixture and simmer 15 minutes. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with butter, oil or cooking spray. Mix together pasta and beef mixture. Begin to layer as follows: 1/2 of the pasta/beef mixture, 1/2 of the ricotta cheese, 3 slices Provolone cheese, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese, remaining pasta, remaining ricotta, remaining Provolone, remaining mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

(Mostly) Organic Meatballs

The key: fresh/all-natural/organic ingredients wherever possible!

I could only find whole seed organic fennel – good excuse to use my mortar and pestle!

Fresh grated pecorino romano and minced garlic for some punch

Throw it all together….

Mix with love – by hand.

Roll into golf-ball sized meatballs and watch ’em get beautiful.

Sauce ’em up.

Et voila! (Maybe I’m just a little more proud of myself than is called for…)

Hello! I’m Jessica’s pesca-vegetarian friend Jordan, here to offer up the occasional guest post or two. I’m super excited to join Jess in sharing our kitchen adventures! With her words of wisdom, I have begun my own study of preparing more all-natural, organic dishes, and like her, I am always on the quest to make food that satisfies my desire to cook something new, while satisfying my husband’s desire for something delicious. This recipe is one that hit the mark.Enjoy!

(Mostly) Organic Meatballs
Adapted from http://www.epicurious.com:80/recipes/food/views/Classic-Beef-Meatballs-369151#ixzz1lvDOhbsz

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds 93/7 ogranic, grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 large organic eggs (or 1/2 cup egg beaters)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 cloves of garlic (more if you like!)
  • grated pecorino romano (I used about 1/3 of a wedge)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel (I used whole seed organic fennel, ground with a mortar and pestle and sifted with a mesh colander)
  • 4 cups tomato sauce (I used Seeds of Change)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle a 9×13 pan with olive oil and coat the entire surface evenly using your hand. Set aside.

Combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, fennel, garlic and grated cheese in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches, makes 50), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.

Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.

While the meatballs are roasting, heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often.

When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, remove them from the oven and drain the excess grease from the pan. Pour the tomato sauce over them. Return the meatballs to the oven and continue roasting for another 15 minutes.

Serve with organic whole wheat spaghetti, and dig in.

Penne alla Vodka

I know, my stove is really gross and I could stand to purchase a new set of pots and pans. Don’t judge me.

Forgive my yellowy iPhone picture, as it makes the pasta almost look like cheeseburger helper. It’s actually more of a pale pink, rather than orange.

This is one of those dishes I make when company comes over or on a busy weeknight. I just kinda eyeball everything and it can be easily customized to whatever your taste buds desire.

Penne alla Vodka

  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter (not needed if adding sausage)
  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • 3-6 links hot or mild poultry sausage, casing removed
  • 1 cup light whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup mid-grade vodka, plus 2 tablespoons (such as Skyy, Svedka, Smirnoff, Absolut or Stolichnaya. DON’T USE CHEAP VODKA!)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Since I’m adding sausage which typically has enough fat in it, I’m omitting the butter, but if you intend on making it without sausage make sure you add butter. Brown sausage in a large pan over medium until cooked thoroughly. Add cream, tomato paste and vodka, stirring until combined. Add basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Cook pasta simultaneously according to package directions. Drain and add pasta to sauce. Season with Parmesan cheese and additional red pepper flakes. Yum!

Some variations would be to add shrimp or chicken, fresh or frozen broccoli florets or serve it as a side dish without a protein added. I’ve also made it with spaghetti before, but the penne seems to be the best option because it holds the sauce really well.

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