Creamy Spring Tortellini with Bacon

The weather has been off here in PA, so we’re now just getting spring veggies. I’ve been craving green vegetables lately, so when I got a box of spring peas in my CSA, I knew I wanted to whip up a pasta dish with them. I found this quick and easy recipe for tortellini with peas, asparagus and bacon – PERFECTION! I mean really, you can’t go wrong with bacon!! Another perk of this recipe, it’s quick and easy for those busy weeknights.

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Lasagna Stuffed Shells

Do you love lasagna? We love it too – it’s probably one of my son’s favorite foods and something he never complains about eating. We always end up with four empty plates at dinner. I wanted to change things up and make stuffed shells, but in place of my regular filling recipe, I used the ingredients to make lasagna as my filling. It was a definite winner and made enough for leftovers and a few days of lunch for me. I’ll definitely be making this recipe again!

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Meatballs in Mozzarella Basil Cream Sauce

This recipe has been on my “to make” list for a while now and I finally got to it! It was really good, despite my kids complaining about it. I think the Parmesan was a little too strong for them. This meal is definitely on the heavier side with the cream sauce, and would be good served with a green salad. I made the meatballs ahead of time, so it would cut down on prep time and make this a meal I could make during the busy, work week.

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Turkey, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna

I think fall has finally arrived and it’s time to break out all the recipes for hearty and soul-warming foods. Lasagna is definitely one of those recipes and this one definitely doesn’t disappoint! I’ve made this recipe several times before but realized I hadn’t blogged about it yet. So here it is! It’s super easy to make and I love having it for leftovers. I also love the combination of the mushroom and spinach, it helps stretch out the ground turkey plus I can add some greens into my kids. I usually serve it with a green salad and fresh bread.

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Pasta

Evenings have been a little crazy around our house the past couple of weeks, so I’m always looking for ways to get dinner on the table quickly. This recipe definitely did that…except I was the only one who enjoyed it. Everyone else in my family was just blah on it. Oh well, you can’t always please everyone 🙂 I still wanted to share it with you all! I liked the hint of barbecue sauce with the shredded chicken. I served it with a green salad and dinner was ready in no time at all.

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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Last month, I picked up an Instant Pot during the Prime Day sale on Amazon. I’ve been eyeing one and it was finally time to bite the bullet and get one. I’ve used it sporadically over the last month and I’m really going to use it once school starts next week and my dinner prep time gets cut in half on nights I coach cheerleading.

I was a little hesitant to use the IP for the first time since I had never cooked with a pressure cooker before….but there was nothing to be scared of! It was easy to use and I have loved everything I’ve made it in so far. I never thought about making pasta in a pressure cooker, it came out great! Even my picky kid gobbled it up!

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Pesto Baked Rigatoni

Well it’s been a crazy week! I had all intentions to get caught up on recipes this week,  but sometimes life throws you for a loop and everything goes out the window.  My little guy started to get sick on Thursday night and I thought he was improving, but we ended up making a midnight trip to the ER on Sunday night.  It was a whirlwind of 36 hours spent being observed in the peds floor for dehydration. He was released on Tuesday afternoon and is doing much better.  Then my daughter got sick…. Luckily it was short-lived and she’s already better.

Now onto the recipe…pesto baked  rigatoni. I loved this pesto especially since it’s a combination of spinach and kale. Both the kids loved it and it was quick and easy to make. It would be great to take to a potluck or a meal for new parents.

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1 lb whole wheat rigatoni
2-3 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup reservation pasta water
1/2 shredded mozzarella cheese
Pesto

Pesto
2 cups spinach
1 cup baby kale
1 cup basil
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan asiago cheese
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, add in all the pesto ingredients and puree until smooth.

In a large stock, bring water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a large bowl. Add in the pesto and the cooked pasta. Add in half of the reserved pasta water and mix until it’s well combined. Add more water if necessary to make it saucy. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish and top with the mozzarella cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese has melted and the dish is warmed through.

Source: Pinch of Yum

Pasta Pie

I’ve seen pasta pies all over Pinterest and I thought it was about time that I try one out. My husband is not a fan of spaghetti, so I hoped he would like this. I’m a pasta lover and could eat spaghetti several times a week, but we rarely have it because he complains about it every time.

This recipe is time consuming but it’s worth it! While doing this, I found several things that would help the next time I make it.

1. Find the largest rigatoni you can find. It will be easier to fill.
2. Make sure you really crumble the meat.
3. Fill the rigatoni with as much sauce as you can, use a straw to push it all the way to the bottom.

I’m looking forward to making this again now that I have one under my belt.

1 lb Rigatoni
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef and ground pork mix
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
8 oz grated mozzarella cheese
In a large stockpot, slightly undercook the pasta in salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and then rinse with cold water. Place back into the pot and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish. 
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the beef and pork mixture and cook until brown. Add in the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional two minutes to cook the garlic. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 
Butter a 9 inch springform and set aside. Take the cooled pasta and toss in the Parmesan cheese until the pasta is well coated. Tightly pack the pasta into the pan. Fill the rigatoni with the meat sauce, pushing down the sauce all the way to the bottom of the pasta. While you’re filling the pasta, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the top of the pie with the grated mozzarella cheese. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. To loosen the pan, run a knife along the edge and then unhook the latch to remove the ring. Cut into wedges to serve with any remaining sauce. 
Source: Noble Pig

Skillet Ziti with Ground Pork

First, I’ve finally created a page on Facebook for my blog. I know what’s taken me forever and what was I waiting for. I’m not really sure since I spend so much time on social media both personally and for work. Make sure you like my page! www.facebook.com/joinuspullupachair

I bought a pound of ground pork from a local butcher and it was the most delicious pork I’ve ever eaten. It was really lean and I was surprised how great it tasted in this recipe. You could easily swap out the pork for another ground meat – beef, turkey or chicken. It’s a really versatile recipe. We all enjoyed it and I liked that it took less than 30 minutes to make – a great meal for busy night! It makes great leftovers too!

1 lb ground pork
8 oz penne
jar of tomato-basil sauce
3/4 cup lowfat ricotta cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water. While the pasta is cooking, brown the pork in a large skillet. Drain and add in 1 cup of the sauce. Simmer the pork in the sauce for 5 minutes.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the skillet. Add in the remaining sauce and stir to combine. Stir in the ricotta cheese and cover to heat through.

Sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Mediterrean Mac & Cheese

I love experimenting with different flavors of macaroni and cheese. This was such a different combination and it was really good. I love the addition of feta and the crunchy feta on top…YUM! I now need to find a recipe for broiled feta. This would be great served with grilled chicken breast or with a small green salad.

Think outside the box and try something different!

14.5 oz can fire roasted, diced tomatoes, drained well
1/3 cup chopped black olives
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp dried oregano
8 oz elbow macaroni pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
6 oz reduced fat crumbled feta cheese
2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9 inch deep dish pie dish with cooking spray and set aside.
 
In a small bowl, mix together the tomatoes, olives, 1 Tbsp basil and dried oregano. Set aside. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the directions of the package. Drain the pasta well and return to the pot.
 
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter with the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.Add the onion and saute until soft and golden about 3 to 4 minutes, add the garlic when the onions are almost done. Whisk in the flour and cook stirring constantly for 1 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in the milk to make a rue. Bring the mixture just to boil and continue stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer. The mixture will get thick and you will need to continuously stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 oz of feta cheese and the mozzarella cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
Pour the tomato olive mixture over the pasta and stir to toss. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Pour the pasta and sauce into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the pasta with the remaining 4 oz of feta.
 
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.