• Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas

    You can make this salad with chicken or keep it vegetarian by adding chickpeas.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. orzo
    • Salt
    • 4 mini cucumbers, chopped
    • 2 c. grape tomatoes, sliced
    • 6 oz. feta
    • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
    • 1/2 c. mint, chopped
    • Chopped cooked chicken or 1 can of chickpeas, drained
    • Mixed lettuce greens

    Dressing:

    • 2 lemons, zest and juice (about 1/3 c.)
    • 2/3 c. olive oil
    • 2 TBSP honey
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt and orzo and cook until al dente. Once it’s done, rinse it with cool water and let it drain thoroughly. Transfer to a large bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, prep all the salad ingredients.
    3. Add the dressing ingredients to a jar or small bowl, and whisk/shake until well combined.
    4. To the bowl with the orzo, add cucumbers through chicken/chickpeas.
    5. Toss the salad with the dressing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
    6. Serve salad over mixed lettuce greens.

    Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas:

  • Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

    Recipe from Cooking Con Claudia.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 poblanos, roasted, skin and seeds removed, chopped
    • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
    • 6 TBSP butter, divided
    • Small onion, diced
    • 8 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp. salt to taste
    • 6 TBSP flour
    • 2 c. chicken broth
    • 2 c. milk
    • ½ c. crema
    • 5 oz. cheddar cheese
    • 5 oz. pepper jack cheese
    • 5 oz. mozzarella cheese

    Directions:

    1. Set oven to broil.  On a baking sheet add the poblanos and roast all sides until charred.  Once charred place poblanos in a Ziploc bag and seal the bag.  Let the poblanos steam in the bag for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, remove poblanos and peel the skins, remove the seeds and stems, and chop.
    2. Cook pasta according to box, slightly undercooked.
    3. Heat 3 TBSP butter in large skillet over medium-high heat; then add the onions and sauté for 3 minutes, until translucent.  Add garlic, chopped poblanos, pepper, smoked paprika, and salt and cook for 1 minute.
    4. Create a well in the center of the skillet with the veggies surrounding the well and add the remaining 3 TBSP of butter and melt.  Once melted and the flour and stir until flour is dissolved.  Then add the broth, milk, and crema, and bring to a light boil.
    5. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the cheeses, and stir until cheese is melted.  Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine.  The macaroni and cheese will thicken as it cools.

    Poblano Macaroni and Cheese:

  • Lemon Chicken Orzo

    This dish is the complete package of comfort food. The recipe below is doubled to be served as a main dish. If you want this as a side, halve the recipe below.

    Adapted from Salt & Lavender

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 4 TBSP butter
    • 1 medium onion chopped
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 2 c. uncooked orzo pasta
    • 4 c. chicken broth
    • 4 TBSP lemon juice
    • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
    • 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 6-10 oz. fresh baby spinach
    • Salt & pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Add the oil, butter, and onion to a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes.
    2. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and orzo. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often (this infuses the orzo with more flavor and toasts it a little).
    3. Stir in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and cream. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often. You will probably need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). It should gently bubble vs. furiously boil, and you don’t want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked.
    4. Stir in the chicken.
    5. Take the pot off the heat, stir in the parmesan and spinach, and cover the pot for 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking. Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately.

    Lemon Chicken Orzo:

  • Lighter Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

    So flavorful and comes together in 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

    Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. spiral pasta or other short cut pasta
    • 4 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 lb. chicken, cut in bite size pieces
    • 1 TBSP plus 1-2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 2 bell peppers, sliced
    • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 c. chicken broth
    • 1 c. milk
    • 3-4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 2 TBSP basil, chopped

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta al dente according to the package, and then drain.
    2. Meanwhile, heat skillet to medium high and add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, onion, chicken, and 1 Tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes, and then remove chicken from pan onto a plate.
    3. To the skillet, add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, the bell peppers, and garlic. Cook another 5 minutes, until peppers are soft. Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook another minute, then add broth and milk. Then add the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Bring sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Stir in parmesan, then add the pasta and cooked chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add basil.

    Lighter Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta:

  • Greek Orzo Salad

    This orzo salad is so flavorful and perfect for potlucks, picnics, etc. since there is no mayonnaise, and I actually prefer the salad at room temperature.

    Recipe from Midwest Foodie.

    Ingredients:

    Salad:

    • 16 oz. orzo pasta
    • 1 c. cucumbers, sliced
    • 1 c. sundried tomatoes, julienned
    • 1 c. Kalamata olives, halved
    • 1 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts
    • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
    • 1/4 c. finely diced red onion
    • 1/4 c. parsley, chopped
    • 4-6 oz. feta, crumbled

    Dressing:

    • 2/3 c. olive oil
    • 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
    • 1 lemon, zest and juice
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
    • Kosher salt
    • Pepper

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta al dente according to package. Drain and then place in a large bowl and toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in fridge to cool.
    2. Meanwhile in a bowl, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest and juice, oregano, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper, and whisk until well combined.
    3. Remove pasta bowl from fridge, and add cucumber, sundried tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, red onion, parley, and feta. Add dressing, and toss to coat.

    Greek Orzo Salad:

  • Lemon Linguine – Instant Pot

    Ingredients:

    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 4 TBSP butter, divided
    • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 TBSP salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 4 c. water
    • 1 lb. linguine
    • 10 oz. (or 1 1/4 c.) plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (or more)
    • Milk, if desired to thin

    Directions:

    1. Turn Instant Pot to sauté. Once the Instant Pot says HOT, add the olive oil and 2 TBSP of butter. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Hit cancel.
    2. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and water to the Instant Pot. Break the linguine in half and alternate the direction you place the linguine in the Instant Pot as you add more.
    3. Close the lid, and select manual for 3 minutes. When it beeps after the 3 minutes, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
    4. After 5 minutes, remove the lid. Stir the noodles around, and then add the remaining 2 TBSP of butter and Greek yogurt and stir to make the sauce creamy. Linguine will continue to absorb the liquid. Add the parmesan, and add any milk to thin, if desired.

    Lemon Linguine – Instant Pot:

  • Sheet Pan Mac and Cheese

    The creaminess of the mac and cheese coupled with the crispy breadcrumb topping is so delicious!

    Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. large elbow macaroni
    • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 medium shallot, minced
    • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 2 c. whole milk
    • 1 c. heavy cream
    • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 16 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
    • 1 c. Italian Panko breadcrumbs

    Directions:

    1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
    2. Preheat oven to broil on high. Arrange an oven rack 6-inches from the broiler. Lightly oil an 18 x 13-inch sheet pan or coat with nonstick spray.
    3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and shallot, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
    4. Whisk in flour and smoked paprika until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, heavy cream and Dijon until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    5. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, Parmesan and pasta until well combined; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    6. In a small bowl, combine Panko and remaining cheddar cheese.
    7. Spread pasta mixture into the prepared sheet pan; sprinkle with Panko mixture.
    8. Place into oven and broil, rotating the sheet pan a few times, until golden brown and crispy, about 5-6 minutes.
    9. Serve immediately.

    Sheet Pan Mac and Cheese:

  • Cajun Alfredo Pasta

    Pasta Ingredients:

    • 16 oz. fettuccine/linguine noodles (reserve 1/3 pasta water)
    • 1 TBSP Olive oil
    • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 large red onion, sliced
    • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

    Cajun Alfredo Sauce Ingredients:

    • 1 jar of sundried tomatoes, julienned or chopped
    • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
    • 2 c. low sodium chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 c. milk 
    • 1 TBSP cornstarch
    • 1 TBSP tomato paste
    • 2-3 tsp. Cajun seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 2 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cubed
    • 3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan + more for topping
    • Juice of a lime

    Directions:

    1. Prepare pasta according to box.
    2. Peppers: Heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium high heat. Add peppers, onions and 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and saute for one minute. Remove to a plate.
    3. Cajun Alfredo Sauce: To the hot skillet, add the entire jar (plus oil) of sundried tomatoes and garlic. Saute for one minute. Sprinkle in flour and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
    4. Turn heat to low and stir in chicken broth. Whisk cornstarch with milk and add to pan along with tomato paste, 2-3 tsp. of Cajun seasoning (or more to taste), salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer and continue to cook and stir until sauce is thickened (but not overly thick), approximately 5 minutes.
    5. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream cheese until melted, followed by Parmesan cheese until melted. Add pasta, peppers and toss evenly to coat, adding desired amount of reserved pasta water a little at a time to reach desired consistency.
    6. Mix in juice of 1 lime and top with parmesan cheese.

    Cajun Alfredo Pasta:

  • Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

    After going to Maui and having Hawaiian macaroni salad, I’ve been determined to find a recipe that reminds me of Hawaii.

    This is the closest I’ve found, and it’s really good.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. potatoes, cooked and cut up
    • 1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked according to box
    • 4 TBSP apple cider vinegar
    • 3 carrots, shredded
    • 1 small onion, shredded
    • 2 1/2 c. mayonnaise
    • 1/2 c. milk
    • 4 tsp. sugar
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Additional milk or half and half to thin, if desired

    Directions:

    1. Cook potatoes, and cut into bite size pieces.
    2. Cook pasta according to box, and drain.
    3. In a large bowl add hot pasta, and sprinkle with the vinegar, carrots and onion. Toss together until well combined, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
    4. In a smaller bowl, whisk mayo, milk, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, and add additional milk or half and half to thin, if desired.
    5. Fold mayo mixture into bowl with pasta, add the potatoes, and season with salt and pepper.
    6. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

    Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:

  • Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta)

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    This is some seriously good pasta.  Even Ellie, who doesn’t like much pasta, loves this dish.  It’s peppery and goodness with lots of pecorino Romano cheese.  It goes great with grilled steak, and the leftovers are really good too.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. angel hair pasta
    • salt
    • 2 c. finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1 TBSP (plus or minus to your liking) freshly ground pepper
    • Good olive oil (we like a basil infused olive oil probably a couple of TBSP)

    Directions:

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, add pasta and cook according to package.
    2. Meanwhile grate the cheese.
    3. In a large pasta serving bowl combine cooked pasta, cheese, pepper, and olive oil.  Toss to combine.  Add 1/2 cup or more of pasta water to help melt the cheese and combine.

    Cacio e Pepe:
    5star