Creamy Butternut, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Cavatappi

Hello! Remember me? Sorry for the delay in posts…I have been super busy moving to a new state! We are still not settled in, but we are getting there. Last night I cooked for the first time, and this is what I made! It was good, and surprisingly, my 8 year old loved it (he had seconds!). This was really, really good! I had the leftovers for lunch, and it was even better! My only change would be to add more squash!

rating: 9

Creamy Butternut, Blue Cheese, and Walnut Cavatappi
(Cooking Light)

serves 6

Ingredients:

4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/3 pounds)
2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
8 ounces uncooked cavatappi
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk, divided (I used plain almond milk)
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 large egg yolks
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Combine squash, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 24 minutes or until tender, stirring once.
3. Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta; keep warm.
4. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in 1/2 cup milk, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Combine remaining 1/2 cup milk, flour, and yolks in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Slowly add egg mixture to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently with a whisk.
5. Combine squash, pasta, and milk mixture in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and nuts.

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Corn Frittata with Pecorino-Romano Cheese

This was good, and was a nice change of pace from the usual dinner stuff. It was very light, so it would be great for a brunch or lunch, too. Mine didn’t look as pretty as Cooking Light’s photo, but it tasted great. I used almond milk, so maybe that had something to do with it?

rating: 9

Corn Frittata with Pecorino-Romano Cheese
(Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
1/3 cup diced shallots
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk (I used almond milk)
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons butter
1 ounce pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

1. Heat a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add corn and shallots to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and paprika, if desired. Place corn mixture in a bowl; cool slightly. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.
2. Place remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, milk, and eggs in a bowl; stir with a whisk until well combined. Add corn mixture to egg mixture, stirring to combine.
3. Preheat broiler to high.
4. Return pan to medium heat. Add butter to pan; swirl until butter melts. Add egg mixture to pan. Cook 1 minute, without stirring. Gently slide pan back and forth to keep eggs from sticking. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 4 minutes or until eggs are set and golden on the bottom. Sprinkle cheese evenly over eggs. Broil 1 minute or until eggs are just set and cheese browns. Sprinkle evenly with parsley.

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Tomato-Ricotta Spaghetti

I think my pasta-tomato ratio was a little low, but other than that, this was really good! I took the liberty of adding black olives to this. My kids really liked this, and the adults did, too! I think next time I will keep the olives and add twice as many tomatoes.

rating: 9

Tomato-Ricotta Spaghetti
(Cooking Light)

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 4 cups)
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  • 1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  • 2. Place tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until tomatoes collapse.
  • 3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta and reserved liquid to pan; stir in tomatoes, remaining 4 teaspoons oil, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, basil, pepper, and cheese. Toss well. Serve immediately.photo
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Pinto Bean Nachos

These were really good, but I didn’t love the homemade tortilla chips. They ended up being really chewy! But I liked the toppings a lot! And you could add a lot more toppings, too, like chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, etc.

rating: 8

Pinto Bean Nachos
(Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, quartered
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 cup bottled salsa
  • 1 cup diced peeled avocado
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  • 2. Arrange half of tortilla wedges in a single layer on a large baking sheet; lightly coat wedges with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 8 minutes or until crisp. Repeat procedure with remaining tortilla wedges and cooking spray.
  • 3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add pinto beans, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes. Partially mash bean mixture with a potato masher until slightly thick. Place 8 chips on each of 6 plates. Spoon about 1/2 cup bean mixture evenly over tortilla chips on each plate; top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons queso fresco, 2 1/2 tablespoons salsa, and 2 1/2 tablespoons avocado. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cilantro.

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Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto

Man, was this good! Risotto is so hard for me, for some reason. It’s never done when the recipe says it should be done. I had to add an extra cup or so of broth to this one. But the end product? AWESOME! I had no leftovers!

rating: 9/4

Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto
(Cooking Light)

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes (I didn’t have any, so I used 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes)
2 ounces chopped fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups torn fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil (I omitted)
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Directions:

1. Bring vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add rice to pan; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup broth to rice mixture; cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reserve 1/3 cup broth. Add remaining broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 22 minutes total). Stir in tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add cheese, pepper, and salt to rice mixture, stirring constantly until cheese melts. Remove from heat; stir in reserved 1/3 cup broth, spinach, and basil. Place 1 cup risotto in each of 4 shallow bowls. Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil over each serving.

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Raspberry and Blue Cheese Salad

I have started making recipes from the “Cooking Light Diet” plan. A lot of them I have made before, since I love Cooking Light magazine. I had not made this one before, and I have to say, it was good! The combination of the dressing, blue cheese, raspberries and nuts was just really good.

rating: 9

Raspberry and Blue Cheese Salad
(Cooking Light)

serves 4

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
5 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 ounce blue cheese

Directions:

Combine olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Add mixed baby greens; toss. Top with raspberries, pecans, and blue cheese.

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Cheesy Scrambled Egg Fajitas

Eh. This sounded so much better than it was. I was underwhelmed.

rating: 6

Cheesy Scrambled Egg Fajitas
(Good Network magazine, July/Aug. 2015)
serves 4
time needed: 30 min.
Ingredients:

1 avocado, diced
1 large plum tomato, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)- I omitted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for topping
Juice of 2 limes
8 large eggs
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 bell peppers (any color), sliced
1 Vidalia onion or other sweet yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 3/4 cups shredded monterey jack or pepper jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
8 6 -inch flour tortillas
Directions:

Gently toss the avocado, tomato, jalapeno, chopped cilantro and lime juice in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a plate using a slotted spoon. Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until almost set, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted.

Warm the tortillas as the label directs. Divide the scrambled eggs, sauteed vegetables and avocado mixture among the tortillas and top with cilantro leaves.

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