Tag Archives: Pasta

Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

10 Oct

Charity’s sensory issues have led me to cut artificial food dyes out of her diet.  Among the bajillion culprits lies Kraft’s Macaroni and Cheese, which uses yellow dye.  This has placed me on the hunt for a good homemade macaroni and cheese recipe.  In general I don’t like Velveeta recipes because they seem to turn out so thick and sticky.  And homemade versions using real cheddar, flour, and milk always seem a bit chalky and pasty to me.  This version of Velveeta macaroni and cheese, utilizing butter, flour and LOTS of milk creates a much creamier pasta than the recipe on the Velveeta box.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. uncooked macaroni
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 14 oz. Velveeta, cut into chunks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs tossed with 3 T melted butter (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare macaroni almost according to package directions.  Undercook by a minute or two and drain while still al dente.  You want a firmer pasta, so it doesn’t turn to mush as it bakes for 20 minutes.  Pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Melt margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for a few minutes, until color begins to darken without burning.  Whisk in milk and cook, stirring constantly until mixture bubbles and thickens.  Add chunks of Velveeta and stir to melt.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over macaroni. If desired, top with buttered panko.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Recipe inspired by food.com

Mom’s Creamy Macaroni Salad

4 Mar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup macaroni
  • 2 ea cucumber
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 ea roma tomatoes
  • 1 ea  green, red, or yellow pepper
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/2 cup Hidden Valley Ranch

Preparation:

Boil macaroni until tender and drain. Rinse with cold water. Add chopped cucumber (unpeeled), chopped green onions, diced tomatoes and chopped peppers. I like to take about a third of each pepper color to add to the mix for color and flavor, also this recipe can be adapted to the size and quantity you desire. Remember when I make this the macaroni is added by the handful, so the quantities listed are general. Experiment…can also add radishes, chopped ham,etc. or leave out the tomatoes if Tamra is going to be there.

From the kitchen of Cathy Knorr

Tamra’s Italian Pasta Salad

2 Mar

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. combination of tri-color rotini and elbow macaroni
  • 2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 green, red, or yellow pepper
  • 1 envelope Good Seasons powdered Italian dressing
  • 3/4 bottle or more Wishbone Italian salad dressing

 Preparation:

Boil macaroni until tender and drain. Rinse with cold water. Add chopped cucumber (unpeeled), chopped green onions, diced tomatoes and chopped peppers. I like to take about a third of each pepper color to add to the mix for color and flavor.  Add powdered and liquid dressings and mix.  Chill before serving and, if salad is dry, add more bottled dressing accordingly.

From the kitchen of Tamra Blake

Creamy Ham Casserole

17 Jan

creamy ham casserole 1

It’s certainly not low-fat (lots of “cream” ingredients), nor is it a true favorite of Derek’s or mine, but it’s pretty good and is great for serving to little ones.  It is an especially good beginning finger food for eight month old Henry, just learning to feed himself.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces kluski noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked ham
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced celery
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded colby jack cheese

Cook ham, pepper, onion and celery in oil in a large skillet over medium heat for five minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat; stir in soup, sour cream, and cooked pasta.  Spoon into a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake, uncovered for five more minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

creamy ham casserole 2

Recipe by Southern Living: Easy Weeknight Favorites

Photos by me, My Little Food Spot

Creamy Spinach Mushroom Orzo

10 Dec
creamy spinach mushroom orzo 4
I buy huge tubs of spinach at Sam’s and can never get through it fresh before it starts to get oh so slimy.  I’m always looking for ways, other than a basic sautee, to serve it, and found a winner here.  But don’t take my word for it.    IMG_8693-001
IMG_8695-001
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces orzo
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 4 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed well & chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
Cook orzo according to package directions.  In a large skillet over med-high heat, cook garlic, onion & thyme in oil for about a minute.
Add mushrooms, cook about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to brown& their juices begin to run.
creamy spinach mushroom orzo
Sprinkle with flour& stir about one minute, then slowly begin to add the milk, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the spinach, basil, salt& pepper& cook until the spinach begins to wilt.
creamy spinach mushroom orzo 2
Serve sauce over pasta & grate fresh parmesan cheese over individual servings.
creamy spinach mushroom orzo 3
Recipe inspired by Moody on food.com
Photos by me, My Little Food Spot

Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce

3 Oct

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 6 ounces
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, a couple of sprigs, chopped or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, eyeball it
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half, a couple turns of the pan
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, a generous handful, or 1 tsp. dried

Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add orzo pasta. Cook to al dente.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

Return the skillet to the heat, turn heat back a bit, and add the butter. Once the butter melts add the mushrooms and brown stirring occasionally for about 4 to 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms are brown season with salt and pepper then add the garlic, thyme and shallots. Cook stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes or until the shallots are wilted. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook 2 minutes more. Whisk in the stock, balsamic vinegar and the cream. Turn the heat up to high and simmer for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice the chicken on an angle. Add the parsley and the chicken back to the skillet to heat up, about 1 minute.

To serve, pile orzo on dinner plates and top with the sliced chicken and sauce.

Recipe inspired by Rachael Ray

Photo by me, My Little Food Spot

Lemony-Orzo Veggie Salad with Fresh Dill

5 Sep

I love lemons.  I’ve been known to eat a wedge or two plain on occasion.  My daughter has inherited this trait from me as well; her inspiration for lipstick she got else where.  In spite of this, I’m not always a huge fan of this wonderful citrus flavor in my salads or on my fish or in other dishes.  I changed my tune for this salad.  It pairs amazingly well with the other ingredients in this vinaigrette, and with the feta, to create a light, fresh, totally delicious, want to go back for fourths salad.

Ingredients

  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp each of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 cup of uncooked orzo
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese (more if desired)
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, together in a bowl. Whisk until well combined then set aside so the flavors can mingle. Cook the orzo per instructions; drain and rinse with cold water. Combine the orzo together with the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, fresh dill, and the lemon vinaigrette; toss to coat evenly. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Top with feta cheese and serve. Enjoy.
Recipe found at fortheloveofcooking.net
Pictures by me, My Little Food Spot

Asian Pasta Salad

4 Sep

One of the best cookbooks I have ever invested in is my Southern Living: Easy Weeknight Favorites.  I purchased it around the time we were married and, after eight years, I have probably made about every recipe in it, loving all but a handful.  I have made this salad a few times and definitely enjoy the texture and favors.  My only complaint is that it is very difficult to get a good bite-full on a fork.  It may work better with a shorter noodle, but I would miss the texture of the linguine.  I will try it sometime and update with my thoughts, or, better yet, someone else try it and let me know.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dry linguine
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 4 green onions (sliced)
  • 2 large carrots (sliced diagonally)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)

In large pot with boiling water, cook pasta. Drain, rinse pasta with cold water and let drain again. Place pasta in a large salad bowl, add broccoli, next 3 ingredients and toss well. In a small bowl or jar with lid, combine soy sauce and remaining 6 ingredients. Whisk together or cover tightly and shake vigorously. Pour mixture over pasta and toss gently.

Picture by me, My Little Food Spot

Garlic-Artichoke Pasta

14 Jun

If you like artichokes and you LOVE garlic, this recipe is da bomb.  It is simple and very flavorful.  This works as a vegetarian main dish, but because, in my husband’s opinion, no meal is complete without meat, I like to serve it with grilled or sauteed chicken on the side.  Tonight we accompanied it with grilled sweet Italian sausages topped with sliced, grilled bell peppers.  A winning combination.

Ingredients:

  • 3 14-1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 14-oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 6-9 cloves minced garlic
  • a few leaves of fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 12 oz. dried linguine, angel hair or other favorite pasta
  • Finely shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Coat the inside of a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Drain 2 of the cans of diced tomatoes (do not drain remaining can). In the prepared cooker combine drained and undrained tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and garlic, basil and oregano.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. Stir in whipping cream and let stand about 5 minutes to heat through.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Serve sauce over hot cooked pasta. If desired, top with cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Recipe inspired by Better Homes and Gardens

Photo by me, My Little Food Spot

Hungarian Portabella Paprikash

14 Jan

A great vegetarian dish packed with smoky flavor.  The roasted peppers and smoked paprika are the stars of this dish, in my opinion.  It was too mushroom-y for Derek, who doesn’t think any meal is complete without meat, and my mom agreed it would be better with the addition of some beef tri-tips.  But don’t let that steer you away (steer, get it?). What else would I expect; I married a rancher’s son.  If you enjoy mushrooms (and I would like to add that portabellas are a good source of protein) then you may just love this.  I do actually think it tasted better on day #2 so entirely support making it ahead.  When the lady who recommended the tri-tip addition ate some as left-overs, she all but raved about it.

Ingredients

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large portabella mushroom caps, gills scraped, wiped clean and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 chile peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 4 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 ounces kluski noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, parsley, or dill, or dried equivalent
  • Sour cream, as needed

Char the peppers on the stovetop or under the broiler with the oven door cracked for the steam to escape. Place the charred peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool. Scrape or peel the skin from the peppers, then seed, and thinly slice.

Heat 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and brown 12 to 15 minutes until darkened and tender. Add the chile peppers, onion, carrot, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper, and cook to soften, 10 minutes more.

Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and stir 1 minute. Add the stock, wine, Worcestershire sauce, and roasted red peppers. Simmer a few minutes for the flavors to combine, then cool completely and store for make-ahead meal.

Reheat the mushrooms and sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

In boiling salted water, cook the egg noodles or egg pasta to al dente and toss with butter and herbs.

If desired, stir a few spoonfuls of sour cream into the paprikash and serve in shallow bowls on a bed of noodles or pasta.

Recipe by Rachael Ray

Photo by mylittlefoodspot