Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce


Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce
Adapted from Simply Recipes and Pioneer Woman

2 c basil leaves, packed
1/2 c grated parmesan
heaping 1/3 c walnuts
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 c heavy cream
2 T butter
12 oz pasta
grape tomatoes, halved

1) Boil water and cook pasta to desired doneness.
2) In the meantime, combine basil, parmesan, walnuts and garlic in food processor; pulse until finely chopped.

3) Slowly add olive oil while food processor is on; add salt & pepper.
4) Add butter and cream to medium saucepan; heat until butter melts and stir in pesto.
5) Warm over low/med-low heat until pasta is cooked.
6) Drain pasta and pour in serving bowl.
7) Stir in basil cream sauce.
8) Garnish with grape tomato halves.

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Creamy Mac & Cheese

Mac & cheese is one of my favorite foods, and this version is the best I’ve had in a long time!

Creamy Mac & Cheese
Adapted from The Kitchen Prescription

8 oz pasta
olive oil
3+ T butter, divided
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c chicken stock
2 T flour
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 milk
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 c sour cream
2-3 splashes hot sauce (optional)
2 1/2 c cheese (we used 1 c monterrey jack, 1 c cheddar, 1/2 c parmesan)
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 c panko bread crumbs

1) Bring water to boil and cook pasta until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes.
2) Transfer pasta to colander, rinse with cold water and drain.
3) Transfer pasta to buttered baking dish and toss with 2-3 tsp olive oil.
4) In a medium sauce pan, melt 2 T butter over med-low heat.
5) Add onion and garlic; saute for 3-4 minutes.
6) Whisk in flour; cook two minutes, whisking constantly.
7) Add chicken stock, cream, flour, mustard and sugar; simmer gently for 15 minutes, whisking periodically.
8) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
8) Stir in cheese into liquid until melted; season with salt and pepper.
9) Remove pot from heat; stir in sour cream and hot sauce.
10) Pour cheese mixture over pasta, and stir to combine.
11) Melt 1 T butter in small skillet.
12) Stir panko into butter; do not brown.
13) Sprinkle panko over pasta.
14) Bake 30-35 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and panko is browned.
15) Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


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Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This recipe is a good way to use up leftover chicken. The hot sauce is incorporated into the pizza sauce, so you get the classic buffalo chicken flavor without burning your taste buds. If you prefer a spicier foods, you can sprinkle hot sauce on the top of the pizza as well.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Adapted from Fifteen Spatulas

1 T butter
1 T flour
1/2 c milk
1/4 c hot sauce
dash apple cider vinegar
1/2 packet dry ranch dressing mix
pizza dough
mozzarella cheese, shredded
cheddar cheese, shredded
red onion, thinly sliced
cooked chicken, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) In a small saucepan, melt butter, whisk in flour, and cook 2-3 minutes.
3) Whisk in milk, hot sauce, vinegar and ranch dressing mix; cook while stirring until slightly thickened.
4) Stretch pizza dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet (I use a large jelly roll pan).
5) Spread desired quantity of sauce on pizza dough; top with cheeses, onion and chicken.
6) Bake 15-18 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

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Salmon Cakes

We’ve been eating a lot of salmon cakes lately.  Wild caught fresh salmon is expensive, so using the canned variety is a great way to get the beneficial omega-3s at a more reasonable price point.  This recipe is flexible, and you can adjust the quantities of mayo and breadcrumbs to achieve the desired consistency.  If you don’t have a shallot on hand, just use a bit more red onion.  A squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice is also a nice addition.  We are still working on developing the perfect sauce to serve with the salmon cakes, but we’ve been experimenting with yogurt/mayo/sour cream combinations, accented with garlic and dill.

Salmon Cakes
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

4 T olive oil, divided
2 cans wild Alaskan salmon
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 bell pepper, finely diced (red, green, yellow, or any combination you please)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 T parsley, minced
4-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or to taste)
1/4 c mayo
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 eggs, lightly beaten
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/2 c bread crumbs

1) Heat 2 T olive oil in large skillet; saute onion, shallot, celery, pepper and garlic until tender; let cool.
2) Place salmon in a large bowl, breaking up as necessary; add onion mixture and mix.
3) Add parsley, Worcestershire, Old Bay, mayo, mustard, eggs and salt & pepper; lightly mix.
4) Stir in bread crumbs until mixture holds a firm patty shape (not too dry/not too wet).
5) Refrigerate for at least an hour.
6) Heat 2 T oil in a non-stick skillet.
7) Form salmon mixture into 3″ patties (about 3/4″ thick); fry on medium-low until golden brown (approx. 15 mins per side).

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Ricotta Mini Meatloaves

This recipe is a tasty twist on a traditional meatloaf.  We prefer mini meatloaves, but you could certainly follow the original recipe and make one large meatloaf.  We served these with Framed Cook’s tomato sauce.

Mini Ricotta Meatloaves
Adapted from Framed Cooks

1/3 c milk
1 c day old bread cubes
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
2/3 c ricotta cheese
1/3 c chopped green onions
3 T parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2/3 c mozzarella cubes
olive oil
tomato sauce

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Pour milk over bread cubes and let sit 2-3 minutes, until saturated.
3) Gently squeeze milk out of bread cubes; crumble bread into large bowl.
4) Add beef, egg, ricotta, green onions, parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper; mix thoroughly.
5) Add mozzarella and mix until well distributed.
6) Form into 6-7 mini meatloaves and place on lightly greased baking pan.
7) Spray tops with olive oil.
8) Bake 20-22 minutes, until internal temp reaches 160 degrees.
9) Remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes.
10) Serve with tomato sauce.

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Chicken Pot Pie

This is a hearty, satisfying dinner.  I love that we can load this dish up with our favorite vegetables.

Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from

1/2 lb chicken breast, cubed
3 red potatoes, cubed
1+ c sliced carrots
1+ c frozen peas
2 c chicken broth
1/3 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 c flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
dash marjoram
dash sage
dash onion powder
1 c milk
1/2 recipe pie crust, prepared and chilled

1) Combine chicken, vegetables and broth in a saucepan; boil for 15 minutes.
2) In a separate saucepan, melt butter;  saute onions until tender.
3) Stir flour and spices into onion mixture; cook for 2-3 minutes.
4) Strain chicken/vegetables; set aside.
5) Add broth and milk to flour mixture; simmer until thickened; adjust seasonings to taste.
6) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
7) Roll out pie crust.
8) Combine sauce and chicken/vegetable mixture; pour into greased 8 x 8 baking dish.
9) Cut pie crust to shape; lay over top of mixture.
10) Bake for 30-35 minutes, until browned and bubbly.

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Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas

Over the course of the past year, I unknowingly pinned two separate sour cream enchilada recipes on Pinterest.  A few weeks ago, I purchased all of the ingredients for this recipe, but I was halfway through making dinner before I realized that I was following the other recipe (and thus missing a few ingredients).  I made it work and we were happy with how that batch of enchiladas turned out; I was even going to blog the recipe.  Then we made these.  These blow the first batch completely out of the water.  These are creamy and cheesy with just a little bit of spice.  For some variety you could substitute black beans or sauteed veggies for the chicken.


Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas
Adapted from This Week For Dinner

1 1/2 c chopped cooked chicken
1/2 c sour cream, divided
large handful finely chopped cilantro, divided
1 can of chopped green chiles, divided
1 1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 T cumin
1/3 jar salsa verde
1/4 c water
6 small flour tortillas

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) In a large bowl, combine chicken, half of the following ingredients: sour cream, cilantro, chiles and cheese, bell pepper, garlic and cumin.
3) In a separate bowl, mix the salsa verde, water and remaining sour cream, cilantro and chiles.
4) Spread a thin layer of salsa mixture in the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
5) Spoon equal portions of the chicken mixture down the center of the tortillas; tuck ends and roll up the tortillas.
6) Place enchiladas in the baking dish; top with remaining salsa mixture.
7) Bake uncovered for 35 minutes; sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

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