Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

Creamy Ranch Soy Mac & Cheese

Hubs and I both enjoy our usual mac & cheese recipe, but when I saw this one on Taste of Home, I figured it was worth a try (with just a few tweaks, of course).

Soy sour cream is a fabulous addition and helped this mac & cheese be much creamier than usual – the ranch mix also helped cut some of the ‘twang’ often associated with soy cheeses.

I added some cubed turkey kielbasa to the finished dish…it was delish!

1 package (16 ounces) Small pasta shapes
1C. Unsweetened soy milk
1/4C. Butter or vegan margarine, cubed
1 envelope Ranch salad dressing mix (many of these mixes contain dairy, so if you are dairy-free, look for the Lipton brand kosher packets – they are dairy free!)
1t. Garlic salt
1t. Black pepper
1t. Lemon-pepper seasoning
2C. shredded Soy cheese of choice
1C. Soy sour cream
1/3C. Parmesan cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the milk, butter, dressing mix, seasonings and heat through.

Stir in cheese and when melted, stir in sour cream.

Drain macaroni and stir into cheese sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Husband Rating – 4 out of 5 – “Very creamy, but also incredibly dense.  A little goes a long way.”


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Clams Casino Pasta

I’m a huge fan of clams casino and will often order it when it is on a restaurant menu.  I mean, what’s not to love … clams, bacon, peppers, butter, garlic …

**wipes drool from lips**

Ahem, sorry about that.  Anyway, I came across this recipe on How Sweet It Is the other day and couldn’t wait to make it.

This pasta dish is wonderful and tastes just like clams casino!  It was easy to put together and the flavor is really outstanding.  We’ll definitely make this again soon!

2T. Olive oil or bacon grease
1/2C. Chopped red peppers
1/2C. Chopped onions
3 Cloves garlic, minced
2 cans Minced clams in clam juice, 13 ounces total
1/2C. Dry white wine
1T. Butter
4 Slices bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2lb. Pasta of choice
1/4C. Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
Freshly chopped parsley for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil (or, if your bacon isn’t already cooked, cook the bacon first and reserve a little of the grease to use when cooking the veggies).  Add chopped onions and peppers with a pinch of salt and saute until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

Add in both cans of clams + juice and bring the mixture to a boil.  Add white wine and let mixture simmer for about 5 full minutes.  Stir in butter.

Turn heat down to low and add cooked linguine. Toss to allow the noodles to soak up the sauce. Add Parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon and parsley.

Serve with additional Parmesan.

Husband Rating – 4.5 out of 5 – “I wanted to write a haiku about this dish, but it just wasn’t happening tonight – just know I loved it enough to spend 5 minutes trying to write a clams casino haiku.

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Another snow day here in Connecticut.  Snow AND ice this time.  Yippie!  (please note the sarcasm).  I’m getting really sick of this white crap.

School was canceled again today so I decided to switch around the meal plan and make this tonight instead of later in the week.  It’s not the quickest side dish (I served it with sliced lemon garlic pork tenderloin) but it is worth the time.  It was delicious!  A nice, hearty, and tasty dish to chow down on while we recuperate from all of this shoveling!

This gem is from the most recent edition of Bon Appetit Magazine.

1lb. Kale, large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
3T. Olive oil, divided
1 Yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2C.)
8 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2lb. Spaghetti
2t. Lemon juice
Finely grated Parmesan cheese (soy cheese works well here)

Rinse kale. Drain; transfer to bowl with some water still clinging.

Heat 2T. olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add sliced garlic and sprinkle with salt; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add kale and remaining 1T. olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry, about 20 minutes (mine took closer to 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in medium pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/4C. cooking liquid. Add cooked spaghetti to kale mixture in pot. Add lemon juice and 2T. reserved cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry.

Sprinkle spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Husband Rating – 3 out of 5 – “Kale still kinda scares me, but this was pretty tasty!”

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I just knew this recipe would be a winner the minute I read the title.  I mean, what’s not to love?  Lots of yummie green veggies with pasta and shrimp.  And best of all, it was very simple to convert to be a dairy-free recipe.

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven!

1lb. Asparagus spears
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1/2C. Soy Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1C. Pine nuts (did not use)
1/4C. Olive oil, plus 1T. for cooking the shrimp
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1lb. Pasta
1lb. Raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
1t. Garlic powder
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2-3T. Blackening spice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the rough ends off of the asparagus spears and then cut the remaining spear into 3 pieces.  Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder and pepper.  Toss to coat and bake 10-12 minutes.

When cooked, set aside the pretty asparagus tips and keep warm.  The bottoms will be pureed for the pesto.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

If using, put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned.  Remove and set aside.

Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts to a food processor. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice, salt, and black pepper and continue pureeing until mixed.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1T. olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add in the shrimp, and immediately sprinkle with blackening powder.  Stir until it is mixed in, and then continue stirring occasionally until the shrimp are pink and just cooked.  Remove to a small bowl and set aside.

After draining the cooked pasta, toss immediately with the asparagus pesto.  Add in the shrimp and asparagus tips, and stir briefly until well mixed.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts (if using) and some extra Parmesan.

Husband Rating – 4 out of 5 – “YUM!  This is delicious!”

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Chicken Pot Pie Penne

Last night was a particularly chilly night here in CT.  Even though it is not technically fall yet, the cooler weather is making me crave some of my favorite fall foods.  Pot pie is one of my favorites – and this dish is perfect because it is so quick and can  be thrown together anytime the craving hits!  Yum!

Recipe from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.

2T Unsalted butter or olive oil
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves garlic, minced
10oz. white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1T. All-purpose flour
2C. Low sodium chicken broth
1C. Half & half or heavy cream (I used soy milk)
1 Rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite sized pieces
1C. Frozen veggie mix
1T. Fresh lemon juice
1t. Minced fresh thyme
1-2C. Dry penne pasta

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  When done, place hot penne pasta in a large bowl and set aside.

Melt the better (or oil if using) in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms in the skillet until golden brown.

Sprinkle in the flour over the mushroom mixture in the skillet and stir.  Cook for a few seconds to rid the floury smell then add the broth, half & half (or heavy cream) to the skillet.  Deglaze the skillet, scraping up any bits of fond at the bottom of the skillet.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered until the liquid is slightly thickened.

Add the chicken, frozen vegetable mix, lemon juice, and thyme to the skillet.  Cook until heated through and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Place the hot penne pasta into the skillet and toss to combine.  Add the cooked penne pasta and toss to coat pasta. Serve hot.

Husband Rating – 3 out of 5 – Pretty good, but I could do without the mushrooms.

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Usually, when I browse through my monthly Bon Appetit magazine, I pull out multiple recipes I want to try.  This month…not so much…but I did find one that looked very tasty.

It was suggested that this pasta dish be served as an appetizer, but it looked hearty enough for a main dish so we decided it would make a great Sunday dinner.  And, we were right!  It was very very tasty!

Usually in a recipe like this, I admit, I cheat and use frozen corn.  But, there was some great-looking corn at the farmer’s market this weekend so I decided to go with fresh.  It’s totally worth it!  If you have access to fresh corn, use that.  You won’t regret it.


4 Bacon slices, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
4C. Fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears)
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4t. Kosher salt
3/4t. Freshly ground black pepper
1/2C. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3C. Pine nuts, toasted
1/3C. Extra-virgin olive oil
8oz. Tagliatelle
3/4C. Coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided

Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often.  Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.  Pour off all but 1T. drippings from skillet.

Add corn, garlic, 1 1/4t. salt, and 3/4t. pepper to drippings in skillet.  Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes.  Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve.  Scrape remaining corn mixture into processor.  Add 1/2C. Parmesan and pine nuts.  With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth.  Set pesto aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.  Drain, reserving 1 1/2C. pasta cooking liquid.  Return pasta to pot.  Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/2C. basil leaves.  Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes.  Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves and reserved bacon.  Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan.

Husband Rating – 4.5 out of 5 – Really tasty!  Could have used more bacon, though.

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I’ve had this recipe saved in my Google Reader for a ridiculously long time and am so glad I finally got a chance to make it!  It’s a wonderful change from mayo-based pasta salads that are everywhere during the summertime.

Christopher added some diced raw onion to his and loved the crunch – I don’t care for raw onion, so I left it off.  I also used a stick of pepperoni instead of the pre cut slices, I thought the big meaty chunks would be good…they are!

Found on Lemons & Love.

1 16oz box Pasta shapes
1 bottle Basil vinaigrette dressing (or regular Italian)
1 Stick Pepperoni, diced
4T. Parmesan cheese (I used soy Parm.)

Boil pasta according to package directions, drain.

Add 3/4 bottle of salad dressing.  Toss to coat.  Add pepperoni and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Before serving add Parmesan cheese and rest of dressing if needed.  Enjoy!

Husband Rating – 4 out of 5 – “Really good!”

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