Dinners

Recipe—Quick and Easy Swedish Meatballs

I am a huge fan of Swedish meatballs but so many of the recipes out there call for unique ingredients that I don’t typically have on hand, like lingonberries. I was craving some Swedish meatballs and decided to whip up this super easy version using things I did have on hand. This recipe took less than 15 minutes to make, cost less than $10, and was a hit with the whole fam damily. (And that my friends, is the perfect recipe for a happy mom.) This is the ultimate in classic comfort food.  Hearty, simple, and delicious! 

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp butter
1 lb frozen beef meatballs
salt and pepper
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c beef broth
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet.
  • Add the meatballs to the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pan-fry the meatballs until they are a nice brown color all over making sure to move them around frequently.
  • When the meatballs are thoroughly cooked, sprinkle them with the flour, stirring to coat.
  • Add the beef broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce mixing well.
  • Slowly pour in the heavy cream and stir to combine.
  • Allow to come to a boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until the sauce is the desired consistency.
  • Taste the sauce and season as desired.
  • Serve the meatballs over cooked egg noodles, top with additional sauce, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
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Dinners, Soups

Recipe—Tuscan Tortellini Soup

I saw this recipe a couple of months back for a ravioli soup and knew I had to try it. Well I am never one to really “follow” a recipe so I mixed things up and created a tortellini soup. Tortellini are far less doughy so you have these fabulously light cheese filled pillows floating around in a rich creamy tomato soup and then of course some big hearty chunks of sausage in the mix as well. This soup was phenomenal! My four-year-old son gobbled it up and he is usually kind of weird about soups (I think it is a texture thing). This recipe made a massive pot, which allowed us to have a full dinner and then also freeze a bunch for future meals. Tuscan tortellini soup is perfect for a chilly winter day and is so quick and easy to prepare. I could go for a big bowl of it right now!

INGREDIENTS
2 lb ground Italian sausage
4 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
4 c chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 c half & half
1 c heavy cream
6 oz bag baby spinach leaves, chopped
18–20 oz fresh four cheese tortellini (I got two 9 oz packages.)
1 c parmesan cheese, shredded
croutons

STEPS

  • Brown the sausage over medium-high heat in a VERY large soup pot.
  • Once the meat is about halfway cooked add the butter, onion, and garlic and cook until the union is soft and transparent.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, and chopped spinach.
  • Bring to a boil and add salt and garlic powder.
  • Boil for 10 minutes making sure to stir frequently.
  • While the soup is boiling cook your tortellini in a separate pot per package instructions and drain.
  • Add the half & half and heavy cream to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the parmesan and cooked tortellini until the cheese is melted.
  • Transfer the soup to a bowl using a ladle.
  • Top with croutons and additional parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Kleinworth & Co.

Dinners

Recipe—Swiss Chard and Chicken Pasta

Sometimes when I want pasta I want a dish that isn’t smothered in sauce, something more refined. This rustic pasta dish is it. You have some nice hearty chunks of chicken, bits of salty prosciutto, a mild creaminess from the ricotta, and of course some healthy greens mixed in, and it’s all finished off with a nice crispy topping. It really is a perfect balance. There is just something about hot baked pasta coming straight out of the oven and onto the plate that warms my belly and makes me happy. I just put the entire baking dish down on the table and let my family serve themselves. Unfortunately, we lack self-control and could not stop eating it! It was just so good!

Note: In case this is one of your first times cooking with chard be sure to wash it thoroughly and then pull the leaves off the thick stalks. They can be tough and bitter so you just want to eat the leafy green part.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 lb (8 oz) penne pasta
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
4 oz prosciutto (chopped pieces for cooking)
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 c white wine
1 1/2 c ricotta cheese
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded
2 tbsp butter
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c panko crumbs

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
  • Add the pasta and cook until al dente per the package instructions. When the pasta is done drain will and toss with a generous amount of olive oil (enough so that all the noodles have a nice coating but aren’t swimming in it). Set aside until you are done with the rest of the filling.
  • While the pasta is cooking heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large wok or pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.
  • Add in the garlic and prosciutto and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the Swiss chard to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the chard for 8­10 minutes stirring occasionally until the greens are wilted and tender.
  • Stir in the wine and ricotta until well combined and then mix in the chicken and cooked penne.
  • Transfer your pasta to a medium sized baking dish.
  • Melt the butter in a small bowl.
  • Add in the Parmesan and panko and stir until well mixed.
  • Sprinkle the panko mixture over the top of the pasta,
  • Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the top just starts to turn a golden brown.
Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

My husband and I grew up in a very small town so on the weekends it was not out of the norm for us to drive an hour to go to the closest mall or to go find some entertainment outside of town. On our way back home we frequently passed this wonderful little Italian deli. They had the BEST sandwiches and side salads. One of the side salads, which my husband absolutely loved, was their Italian pasta salad. I did my best to recreate this salad just for him. This makes a party sized batch, so if you are just making it for the family I recommend halving it. This is a perfect salad for a bbq or potluck and is sure to be a hit with all partygoers.

Note: This pasta salad will last approximately 4 days in the fridge. It gets better each and every day as the Italian dressing soaks into the pasta and veggies.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb rotini noodles
2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 c Newman’s Family Recipe Italian dressing
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 c red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c red onion, chopped
1/2 c celery, sliced
2-6 oz jars artichoke hearts. drained
1 1/2 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 c mozzarella cheese, cut into squares
2.25 oz can black olives, sliced
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of water and the 2 tbsp of salt to a boil.
  • Add noodles and cook per package instructions.
  • Drain the cooked pasta and rinse with cold water.
  • Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bow.
  • Add the Italian dressing, garlic, red bell pepper, red onion, celery, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and olives.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
  • Refrigerate the pasta for 3 or more hours.  The longer the better.
  • Stir well before serving.
Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Orzo Pesto Pasta

In my office we all have a habit of bringing in various treats to share with each other throughout the year. (I know rough environment to be working in right?) Several years back we had an awesome (student assistant named Sarah. One day Sarah brought in this incredible orzo pesto pasta salad. I was in love! (With both Sarah and her pasta. Sarah was awesome.) She made her own pesto from scratch and I will not lie, I was impressed. This is the perfect summer salad. You have the seasonally fresh tomatoes and zucchini mixed with tangy vinegar and pesto giving it a wonderfully light and refreshing flavor. I make it several times of year and whenever I am generous enough to share with my friends I am asked for the recipe. It is definitely a favorite in our household. My son was even eating it by the bowlful when he was 1 1/2 years old. If you are looking for a tasty recipe for any summer cookouts or BBQs then search no further. This is perfect. While that little box of orzo may not look like much, it expands a great deal so this makes a very decent sized bowl of the tasty pasta salad.

Note: I save a couple of tablespoons of the feta and pine nuts to garnish the top of the salad with.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb box of orzo pasta, uncooked
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise and then sliced
salt and pepper
4 oz feta cheese crumbles (see above note)
2 c pesto (make your own or get some from the market to save time)
3/4 c white vinegar
2 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 c pine nuts

STEPS

  • Cook orzo pasta per package instructions.
  • While the orzo is cooking, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add zucchini and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the zucchini for 3–4 minutes just slightly cooking it and then remove from heat.
  • Drain the orzo and place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the feta and pesto stirring to combine.
  • Drizzle the vinegar while stirring.
  • Stir in the cooked zucchini, tomatoes, and pine nuts.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with extra feta and pine nuts if you saved any.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2–3 hours before serving.
Dinners

Recipe—Summer Squash with Cheese Tortellini in a Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

Many pasta dishes have a certain heaviness to them, which makes them great comfort foods for fall and winter. This is a pasta dish that defies that logic. The lemon zest and fresh summer squash gives this dish a wonderful light and refreshing quality that will have your taste buds tingling all summer long. The sauce is what I would call a grownup version of alfredo sauce. It has that wonderful creamy quality but with more flavor. This recipe is great for many other reasons. It is incredibly cheap to make, it’s super easy, it’s delicious, and it took me under 15 minutes from start to completion, making it the perfect dinner for a busy night.

Note: You can also substitute ravioli for the tortellini.

INGREDIENTS
16–18 oz cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
3 summer squash (zucchini and/or yellow squash), thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp green onions or chives, chopped

STEPS

  • Cook the pasta per package instructions.
  • While the pasta water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shallot s and garlic and cook for 3–4 minutes.
  • Add the squash and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4–5 minutes.
  • Add the cream and lemon zest and cook until the cream begins to simmer and thicken.
  • Add in the grated parmesan and stir to combine.
  • Drain the pasta.
  • Once the sauce is the desired thickness, add the cooked tortellini to the pan.
  • Transfer to serving dishes and top with extra parmesan and a sprinkling of the green onions.

Recipe adapted from Real Simple.

Dinners

Recipe—Creamy Lemon Pasta with Seared Scallops and Peas

Quick and super easy recipes are always popular with me and it’s even better when I can actually find one that is delicious and somewhat gourmet. A meal like this makes the average day feel a little extra special. Scallops aren’t something I cook very often due to the price but they sure are awesome to indulge in every now and again. They are incredibly simple to cook and have a really mild flavor sure to please the whole family. This sauce is the perfect pasta sauce for summer. It’s light and super refreshing with all that lemon. Whether you are looking for a quick dinner for a work night or even an elegant one for company, this is a great go to recipe.

Note: Start with the lesser amount of lemon zest and lemon juice and adjust accordingly per your taste.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb fresh scallops
salt and pepper
lemon pepper
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
16 oz fettuccine noodles
1 tbsp butter
1/2–1 tsp lemon zest (depends how much you like lemon)
1/8–1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
15 oz container ricotta cheese
1/2 c peas (if using frozen be sure they are defrosted)

STEPS

  • Bring a large pot of water on to boil.
  • Rinse scallops and pat dry.
  • Season the scallops with salt and lemon pepper.
  • Put the pasta on to boil and cook per package instructions.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter over medium high heat in a large skillet.
  • Add the scallops to the skillet in a single layer.
  • Cook turning once until golden on the outside and no longer opaque in the center, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Transfer the scallops to a large plate.
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, and additional salt and pepper.
  • Stir in the ricotta until you have a nice creamy sauce and then add in the peas.
  • Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Transfer the pasta to a serving dish and top with the seared scallops.

Recipe adapted from Crumb.