Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes

Again...Pinterest. I heart Pinterest.

I had 2 large heads of cauliflower to use and wanted something different so...I searched Pinterest and found the base of this recipe. We really loved this pasta and I will make it over and over again. I used brown rice penne, but any short-cut pasta would be great.

To make prep go more quickly, I roasted the tomatoes, cauliflower and garlic in the morning so I could just throw this all together quickly at dinner time.

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes
recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

1 small head cauliflower or 1/2 large head, chopped
3 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
10 cloves garlic, peeled
olive oil
1 lb short-cut pasta
1 box spinach, thawed and drained completely
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
a few Tb. julienned sundried tomatoes
1 c. white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. granulated garlic
salt & pepper to taste (hold off on the salt until the end)

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with foil and lay out the cauliflower and tomatoes.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap the garlic cloves in foil and stick it in the oven with the other vegetables.  Shake the pan every 10 minutes until the cauliflower is browned and somewhat crispy and the tomatoes look soft, about 25-30 minutes.  The garlic may take longer, it should be lightly browned and soft. Remove from the oven and let cool. When the garlic is cool, chop it.
While the pasta is boiling, cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain the grease out of the pan.  Add in the sundried tomatoes, cauliflower and spinach.  Pour in the wine and cook a few minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and garlic, cooked pasta, granulated garlic and parmesan cheese.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

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Pulled Pork Tacos with Smoky Cilantro Slaw

One more Pioneer Woman success. I love her. I made this slaw and I have to admit that I had to make a couple changes b/c it wasn't super flavorful, which I'm assuming was my error but after I added my flair we loved it!! I decided to make tacos instead of sandwiches because it seemed like the right thing to do. And it was. As you can see, we like an even slaw-to-pork ratio.  Don't let that scare you.

For the kids I made this into quesadillas and layered the pork, slaw, and some cheese in between two tortillas which was also super delicious and they scarfed it down, which is more than I can say for their usual behavior towards anything with the word "slaw" in it.

Smoky Cilantro Slaw
recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 head cabbage, sliced
4 green onions, sliced
1 c. cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. milk
3/4 c. mayo
1 Tb. vinegar
1-2 Tb. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of cayenne pepper
2 Tb. adobo sauce (leftover from pork)

Mix everything together and refrigerate an hour before serving.

Pulled Pork Tacos
recipe from Pioneer Woman

3 lbs pork loin roast
1/2 can chipotle in adobo (just toss 3-4 chipotle peppers and drizzle some of the adobo sauce on there)
1 can Dr. Pepper (I used diet, worked great)
1 Tb. brown sugar
1 onion, quartered
corn tortillas

Place the onions on the bottom of a crockpot and put the roast on top of them. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Pour the chipotles and adobo sauce on the top of the roast. Pour in the Dr. Pepper and stir the brown sugar into that. Cook on low heat all day. When the roast easily falls apart with two forks, remove it from the pot and shred. Chop the chopotles up. Skim the fat off of the top of the cooking liquid and discard. Put the shredded pork back & chipotles into the liquid. Keep on warm setting until you're ready to eat. To assemble tacos put a couple fork-fulls of pork onto the corn tortilla. Top with lots of smoky cilantro slaw. Enjoy!

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Quinoa Salad with Shrimp & Lemon Vinaigrette

I found this recipe and it looked amazing. It called for quinoa but I had on hand some "Harvest Grains" from Trader Joes that had Israeli couscous, quinoa and some other stuff and that was really good! So I say, make it with quinoa or Israeli couscous.

I ate some leftover for lunch on a bed of spinach and it was really great, so good that next time I'll serve it as a tossed salad on spinach or arugula. A few things I'll do differently next time: leave out the pomegranate arils (turns out I'm not a fan), add the corn (that I defrosted and left in the microwave), and serve on greens.

I must admit, that as much as I liked this, my family wasn't a huge fan of this salad....kids especially and they pretty much eat everything so maybe not super kid-friendly!

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and Lemon Vinaigrette
recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/2 c. plus 2 Tb. fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
5 garlic cloves, pressed
dash of sugar
1 Tb. honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
lots of fresh black pepper
1 c. olive oil
dash (or two) of cayenne pepper

Mix everything together in a jar and shake well.

Quinoa Salad:
1 1/4 c. dry quinoa or Israeli couscous, prepared & cooled
2 oranges, peeled, segmented and chopped
1 c. frozen or fresh corn
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2-3/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 c. pomegranate arils (optional)
4 green onions, chopped
1 lb shrimp, peeled and rinsed

Toss the shrimp with a few tablespoons of the dressing and refrigerate while you prepare the salad. To make the salad mix cooked quinoa or couscous, oranges, corn, cucumber, black beans, cilantro, pomegranate and onions together in a bowl. Then heat a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat, add in the shrimp and coook until just pink. Try not to overcook the shrimp. Serve the salad at room temperature or cold, with shrimp on top and drizzle with dressing.

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Green Chile & Cheddar Chicken and Cilantro Lime Rice

We love green chiles. And cheese. And cilantro. This is one of our favorite cominations. I found the rice recipe on Our Best Bites (shocker) and I find that it goes with almost anything. Next time I'm going to try making it with brown rice.

We were lucky enough to be in Flagstaff Labor Day weekend when the farmer's market was roasting and selling fresh Hatch green chiles and we bought a case. I mean a half case or quarter case just wouldn't have been enough...right? This is a great way to use a fresh, roasted green chile OR just use a while green chile from a can.

I marinate the chicken in a mesquite marinade that I love from Fry's, but any mexican/smokey marinade would be great or you could season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and cumin.

Green Chile & Cheddar Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. bottled mesquite marinade
4 whole green chiles, roasted
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese (preferably Tillamook)

Marinate the chicken in the mesquite marinade for several hours. Heat a grill and cook chicken several minutes on each side. When the chicken is almost cooked top with a green chile and slice of cheese. Close the grill just long enough to melt the cheese.

Cilantro Lime Rice
recipe from Our Best Bites

1 c. white rice, cooked as directed
2 Tb. butter
1-2 limes, juiced (taste as you go, I use 2)
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained well
3/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper

Once the rice is cooked, and still hot, stir in the butter, lime juice, pineapple and cilantro. Serve immediately. Goes great with enchiladas, tacos, or just about anything.

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Steak with Onions and Blue Cheese Sauce

My husband came home from 12 days in China and requested a big American steak so...I delivered. We wanted blue cheese and I remebered this sauce from Our Best Bites so I whipped it up really quick and it turned out great! (It's also great on burgers which is what they use it for.)

Any kind of steak would be fantastic, we used porter house steaks from Costco--or do the whole thing on a burger too.

Steak with Onions and Blue Cheese Sauce
Blue Cheese Sauce:
adapted from Our Best Bites

1/2 c. mayo
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tb. red wine vinegar
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. blue cheese

Mix everything together and let refrigerate until you're ready for it.

Caramelized Onions:
2 medium yellow or white onions
2-3 Tb. butter

Slice the onions thinly. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add in the onions and saute until they begin to soften. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until they are brown and caramelized.

4 small or 2 large steaks (about 1 1/2 lbs)
sea salt
fresh black pepper
granulated garlic

Heat a grill or grill pan. Drizzle steaks with a little olive oil and season both sides liberally. Cook the steaks according to your done-ness preference. We like ours medium-rare so we cook a couple minutes on each side.

Remove steaks from grill and top with lots of onions and serve the blue cheese sauce on the side.

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Quick Pesto Marinara

I whipped this up the other night to have over spaghetti squash, which is not exactly a complete substitution for actual noodles, but it is better on the daily calorie count so...anyway--this sauce is very good! I don't know why I never thought to put some pesto into the marinara before but it added lots of great flavor.

Next time I'll double or triple this and freeze the leftovers.

Quick Pesto Marinara

1 Tb. olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
6 oz can tomato paste
14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
2-3 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. sugar
dash of crushed red pepper
2-4 Tb. pesto

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Saute peppers and onions for a few minutes, until soft. Add in garlic and lower heat to medium and cook a minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook a couple minutes until the paste starts to deepen in color. Add in seasoning, sugar, crushed red pepper, tomatoes, sauce and pesto. Taste and adjust seasonings.

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Enchilada Soup

I saw this recipe and it looked so great I had to make it! I've now made it five times!! We usually make it vegetarian so I'll include both the chicken and vegetarian version in this post, the picture is of the chicken. I made a few changes to the original recipe and this is now one of our winter favorites!

After much taste-testing I've decided my favorite enchilada sauce is the Market Pantry from Target, super gourmet I know! It is very good and not bitter like some seem to be.

Enchilada Soup
adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

2 10-oz cans red enchilada sauce
15 oz can black beans, rinsed
15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes or diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 1/2 c. frozen corn (I prefer Trader Joe's super sweet frozen corn)
1 can cream of chicken soup (cream of mushroom for vegetarian)
1 1/2 c. milk
2 chicken breasts (sub an extra can of beans of your choice for vegetarian)

In a small saute pan, cook the bell pepper and onion until soft. Combine all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high 3-4 hours or low all day. Before serving, shred the chicken breasts with two forks if using chicken. Serve with crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheese.

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Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

My cousin told me about a salad she had at a restaurant and it sounded really good, so we made it the next day. It was good! I think some homemade dressing would be great but I had some Ken's light Caesar on hand and it turned out great.

The recipe isn't very precise, I just grilled some chicken, boiled some pasta and assembled individual salads for lunch so you could easily make a huge family-size bowl for lunch or dinner and adjust as you like it.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
makes 2 individual salads

4-6 c. chopped romaine lettuce
1 large chicken breast, grilled with lots of garlic pepper and sea salt
2 c. cooked short-cut pasta (I used rotini)
fresh parmesan cheese, shaved (as much as you like)
1/4 C. Caesar dressing, divided

To make the salads, layer in a bowl 3/4-1 c. cooked pasta, 2 or 3 c. chopped romaine, sliced chicken breast, parmesan shavings and drizzle with as much dressing as you like. Toss to coat.

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Spaghetti & Meatball Soup

I saw this recipe on one of my new favorite blogs Skinny Taste, which is super awesome because she makes everything low-fat, low-cal and lists the nutrition facts and Weight Watcher's points...so if you're into counting calories go there!

I did adapt the recipe a bit but overall the basis is the same and it was really good! I think next time I'll add some diced bell pepper with the onions.

Spaghetti & Meatball Soup

adapted from Skinny Taste

For the soup:
2 tsp. olive oil or cooking spray
1 onion, chopped 1/3 c. set aside
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
8 c. chicken stock
4 c. water
2 c. marinara sauce (canned or jarred is great)
1 Tb. dried parsley
1/2 Tb. dried basil
pinch of crushed red pepper
salt & pepper to taste
12.5 oz box thin spaghetti, broken in pieces (I used wheat)

For the meatballs:
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. chicken or turkey italian sausage
1/3 c. chopped onion, reserved from above
2 eggs
1/2 c. seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley

In a soup pot heat olive oil or cooking spray over medium-high heat and saute onion for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Add in garlic and cook another minute. Stir in stock, water, seasonings. Heat over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble and let simmer for 5 minutes. In the meantime mix together the meatballs and roll into small, 1 inch balls. Drop the meatballs into the broth and let cook 5 minutes. Drop in the broken spaghetti and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Be careful not to overcook the noodles because they will continue to absorb liquid as the soup sits. Enjoy with a slice of crusty bread or rolls.

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