Minestrone Verde

My son loves soup and has been asking me to make it for him. Most of the soups I make are in the fall and winter, and wouldn’t work for a hot summer night. I found this recipe for a light and brothy soup – perfect for summer! It’s a full of delicious fresh veggies and homemade pesto.

It was delicious and we all loved it! You can easily swap out some of the veggies for what you have on hand or prefer, but we loved it packed full of green vegetables.

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Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Red Peppers

I’m working on getting back to blogging regularly now that the spring sports season is coming to an end. There were only a few days in all of April and May that we didn’t have something going on which led me to make quick and easy dinners to get us to practices or games. I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen and unwinding with a little baking and cooking.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Red Pepper | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

I threw together this quick pasta dish on Monday night – we’re back to Meatless Mondays – and it was so simple and delicious! I think sometimes the most simple meals are what is needed every now and then. I used a new type of pasta – Casarecce. It’s a short, wide strip of pasta that is loosely rolled like a scroll and twisted. It as perfect for holding all space and pieces of garlic. I can’t wait to use it again with fresh pesto this summer!

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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 ūüôā 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.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Pasta | Join Us, Pull up a Chair
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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!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese | Join Us, Pull up a Chair
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Baked Turkey Meatballs

I’ve been in a bit of a food rut lately and haven’t been making many new recipes. I’m hoping I can get out of this funk soon and get back to blogging regularly. Part of the problem is that I’ve been working to clean out of our freezer and pantry, so there’s not been too many exciting meals that I wanted to shared. My kids are also going through a picky stage and sometimes it’s not worth the battle to make something where one or more of us ends in tears.

One meal that we usually can agree on is meatballs. I had a pack of ground turkey in the freezer and there’s always pasta and sauce in the pantry. This was a great recipe to use up some of the items I had in the refrigerator too – spinach and basil! These meatballs were really easy to make, plus I loved that they were baked and not pan fried. Everyone agreed and gobbled dinner up!

Baked Turkey Meatballs | Join Us, Pull up a Chair
1 large handful of spinach leaves
1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped
8 large basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp marinara sauce
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combined the spinach, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey and egg. Fold in the spinach herb mixture, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Form golf sized meatballs and place on a baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce and olive oil. Baste the meatballs with this sauce. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and golden brown.

Toss with warmed marinara sauce and serve with your favorite type of pasta.

Source: Foodie Crush

Spinach, Tomato & Shrimp in Garlic Butter Sauce

It’s been quiet around here and we’ve really enjoyed getting a chance to relax. This week is Thanksgiving and I’m so thankful to have a few days to recharge and get ready for a busy holiday season. We have some fun activities coming up and planning to take full advantage of all the amazing events that our community holds from Santa to train rides and everything in between.

I bought a pack of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at Costco recently and knew I had to make something with them! When I was working on my weekly menu, I came across this recipe on Pinterest. It looked amazing and would be a perfect way to highlight those tomatoes. It’s a quick and easy meal to make for busy weeknights too!

Spinach, Tomato & Shrimp in a Garlic Butter Sauce | Join Us, Pull up a Chair
1 lb uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
pint of grape heirloom tomatoes, halved
16 oz package baby spinach
3-4 Tbsp butter
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 small lemon
10 oz fettuccine or thin pasta
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
fresh ground pepper

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and half of the minced garlic. Season with the paprika and salt and saute for 1 minute or until the cooked side of shrimp is pink. Flip the shrimp over and cook for an additional minute or two. Transfer the shrimp to a plate. Add in another tablespoon of oil if needed and saute the spinach, tomatoes and remaining garlic until cooked. Remove from heat and add in the shrimp.

While the shrimp is cooking, start cooking your pasta according to the package. When the pasta is cooked to your likeness, add it directly to the skillet with the cooked shrimp. Place an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter on top and a squeeze the lemon over the pasta. Add a little pasta water if you need to thin out the sauce. Place the skillet back on the stove to make sure the shrimp are fully cooked and the entire dish is heated through.

Source: Julia’s Album

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli

Lately I’ve noticed both of my kids are rejecting vegetables. I’m not sure what happened, they used to be so good about eating salads and now the mention sends them into a tizzy. So needless to say, I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into our meals without them being as noticeable. This dish was a huge hit! Cooper gobbled it and up and asked for seconds! It was a quick and easy meal, especially since the broccoli and pasta are cooked in one pot.

Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 lb Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
12 oz pasta (I used orecchiette)
6 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain fat and remove from the heat. While the sausage is cooking, begin to bring a large pot of water to boil. Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta to al dente and add in the broccoli florets. Reserve one cup of pasta water and set aside before draining.

Return the pot to the stove and add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the garlic and saute until golden and then reduce the heat to low. Add the pasta and broccoli to the pot along with the cooked sausage. Mix well and add in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to create a thin sauce and add any additional water as needed. Serve in bowls and top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Source: Skinnytaste

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.

Pesto Rigatoni | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

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

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

Quinoa Mac & Cheese

My little guy loves mac & cheese…I mean, really loves it. I know it’s the one thing that he will always eat without fighting me. He’s starting to be picky and also with sitting at the table to eat, so needless to say, our dinners have not been very enjoyable. I’m looking forward to this phase being over.

I’m always trying to find new ways to incorporate protein into his food, because he doesn’t like meat. He loved this and it was great to send in for lunch to daycare. Madeline was just so-so on it, but I made it her eat it anyway. ūüôā I remember my mom making me eat baby brussel sprouts and baked lima beans as a kid…I now like brussel sprouts, but not the limas. This recipe is also easy to make and I always have the ingredients on hand, so I know I’ll be making it again. The original recipe called for a breadcrumb topping, but I’m not a fan of crust on my mac & cheese, so I left it off.

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tsp minced garlic
2 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. I used vegetable broth to cook the quinoa. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.¬†
While the quinoa is cooking, whisk together the eggs, minced garlic and milk in a large bowl. Add in the cooked quinoa and cheese. Mix well until some of the cheese melts. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with leftover grated cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is melted. Let set 5 minutes before serving. 

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