Tag Archives: Pasta

Mexican pasta bake

15 Oct

I came up with this recipe in the best way possible – trying to clean out my fridge. We had left over taco meat and what usually happens is taco salad, more burritos or taco omelets (mmm those are good!).

The day Mexican Pasta Bake came alive in my kitchen I had arrived home from work, tired and just wanting to lay on the couch with Jacob, Netflix and my silly cuddly animals.

Jacob was not taking the queue so I quickly threw this together and in the oven.  The result was so delicious that I’ve made it again without random leftovers.


Mexican Pasta Bake

Serves 4-6


1 lb taco meat (1 lb ground beef cooked with 4 tbsp taco seasoning and a bit of water)
6 ounces whole wheat egg noodles
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 peppers (2 bell peppers and 1 anaheim), de-seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1 peach, chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup salsa (peach salsa works well in this)
1 cup sharp cheddar, grated (half in the mixture, half on top)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and coat a large casserole dish in olive oil spray.

Cook your pasta to al dente according to directions.  I like the egg noodles because they take about 5 minutes to cook – great for quick meals.

Once the pasta is done cooking combine everything in a large bowl (only half of the cheddar) and stir until the creamy yogurt and salsa is evenly distributed.

Pour into the prepared dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, until fully warmed through and the top becomes a bit crispy.


Serve with your favorite taco toppings – avocado, salsa or sour cream/plain yogurt.


The peach may seem like a strange addition to this but with the hotter anaheim pepper it compliments the dish well.  Leftovers are superb.

Requests for this dish come with open arms because it is so easy to make and the outcome is comforting and delicious.


Tasty Tofu and the Battle of the Blenders

19 Jul

I can probably count the times tofu has passed my lips.  In my banana blueberry tofu muffins you would never know that it existed.  Instead of a heavy creamy white sauce silken tofu does the trick with a few other ingredients.

However, a few months ago my tofu attempt was less than perfect.  Actually it was pretty nasty to me and I couldn’t even eat it.  So when TofuXpress was willing to have me review their product I was interested but then nervous at the same time.  I took on the challenge, picked up a block of firm tofu and got to work thinking.

I didn’t really know what to do with it.  I’ve seen quite a few curry recipes that utilize tofu but Jacob is never a fan when curry is used in a dish so that idea went off the table. 

With only a smidgen of thought about what I would make I put the TofuXpress to work.  Only 1 hours is needed to press the excess liquid out of the tofu, but more time is okay too.  I ended up leaving my tofu in the press for about 34 hours.  It took me that long to decide (and get the courage) to make a simple dish for dinner.

I chose to make pasta with a tomato sauce and sauted tofu.  Simple right?  Actually it was.  For the tomato sauce I took 1 can of diced tomatoes, a sweet onion from our garden, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 kale leaves, 2 swiss chard leaves and 2 other leaves that sort of looked like parsley but were not (they came from my CSA so I wasn’t sure what it was).  Along with some other spices, seasonings and tomato paste I simmered this for about 15 minutes then pureed it in the food processor.  Once that was finished I cooked the whole wheat pasta and added it to the sauce.  For the tofu I heated a skillet with some olive oil on med-high heat.  After removing the tofu from the press I sliced it and put it in the heated skillet.

After a few minutes of flipping the pieces around I seasoned with some sea salt, pepper and basil.  Once all sides were golden brown I added 1 tsp tomato paste that had been watered down with about 1 tbsp water.  The tofu was done and ready to eat.

I was actually pretty surprised that I enjoyed it and went back for another piece of tofu once I finished my bowl of pasta + sauce, mozzarella and tofu.  Jacob even said he would eat it again.  Score!

I believe my fear of eating tofu may be gone now.  I think the spongy tofu experience I had a few months ago will still be in the back of my mind but hopefully this one takes its place soon enough.

I’m excited to use the TofuXpress for other things like frozen spinach.  I am never good about squeezing all of the excess liquid out by hand.

Battle of the Blenders

CSN, an online store selling almost anything your little heart desires from dining room items, to kitchen gadgets and even shoes recently contact me to review one of their product – my choice!  I need some helping choosing the product though.  Maybe some of you have these individual blenders yourself and can give me your likes and dislikes about them.

The battle is between the Magic Bullet

and the Tribest Personal Blender.

I want a small blender that packs a powerful blending punch.  I am leaning toward 1 of them but I’ll share that after I hear what others have to say.

Please let me know your thought in this Battle of the Blenders brought on thanks to CSN.

Hamburger saves dinner

11 Mar

I’m so glad to have a few more days of vacation before I have to head back to work on Monday.  Not being in a routine has made me feel a bit lazy though… I had a bunch I wanted to do today but didn’t really get around to it. 

I was super glad to throw together a quick, easy and healthy dinner in no time using a little something I picked up at one of the wineries we visited in Chelan. 

I cooked some brown rice pasta and threw in a few handfuls of spinach in the boiling water for the last minute right before straining it.  Next I heated up half the jar of artichoke walnut pasta sauce with a left over crumbled hamburger Jacob made a few days ago (so glad he made extra!).  Tossed it all together – amazing 🙂

Dessert even made an appearance tonight too and in a new way.

At this cute little book store attached to Starbucks in Chelan I picked up this book:

There are so many yummy looking recipes to try out that use a dehydrator.  Lucky me I’m borrowing one from my parents right now!

Tonight I planned to make the almond-cranberry thumbprint cookies.  The recipe called for dried cranberries, but I didn’t have any on hand so I used dries cherries.  These were so simple.  The few ingredients were flaxseed, oats, dried cherries, dried figs, almond butter and orange juice.  Pretty healthy cookie ingredients, eh?

After 2 hours Jacob, my little bro Trevor and I tried them out.  Verdict… soft and fruity.  I’m going to let them dehydrate a bit more to get a little crunch action.  I can’t wait to see how other recipes in my new book turn out!

I plan to get a nice longer run in tomorrow morning rain or shine  I’m getting out there!


Question: Do you have a dehydrator?  What do you like to make with it?


25 Feb

Wow it’s felt like a crazy week.  Rush rush rush, thats how it’s been for me.  Each night when I get home from work I’ve felt like I rushed to the kitchen to get dinner going, then we eat, hang out for a bit and I’m off to bed.  With my early wake up call I get real tired so early in the evening.  Sometimes it makes the day feel so much shorter 😦

The dinner’s I’ve rushed to make have been very tasty though.  Wanna see? yes yes yes

Mango chicken with sauted veggies over soba noodles.  This was my first time cooking up soba noodles (which for anyone wondering are made with buckwheat flour) and we really liked them!  Plus they were done in 3 minutes.  Total time saver.

Italian barley bake (Italian turkey sausage, barley, tomato sauce, mushroom, onion, spinach and mozzarella) and a side salad.

Polenta pizza



My friend at work actually challenged me that I couldn’t make a polenta pizza… oh yes I can!  The mini’s have all different topping combos using italian sausage, asparagus, onion, red bell pepper, swiss chard, butternut squash and mozzarella.  They were yummy and fun, but the crust was a bit more labor intensive.

One thing that helps keep me sane when life gets busy and stressed is exercise.  It’s my time away from everything and ends up giving me energy to handle life.

So far this weeks my exercise has gone like this:

Sunday – 9.1 mile run
Monday – 25 minute walk and 15 minutes of abs
Tuesday – 50 minutes of shoulders, triceps and biceps
Wednesday – 2 mile run
Thursday – 35 minutes of legs and back and 15 minutes of abs

I’ll probably get some more walking in and some yoga this weekend. 

What does your exercise look like this week?

Quick dinners and a sandwich idea

10 Feb

Wow, I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already!  This week is flying by way too fast.

I didn’t follow my meal planning tips, so the past two night when I get home I’ve been quickly throwing meals together with whatever we have in the fridge/freezer.  Luckily I like to keep both well stocked with essentials.

Monday’s quick dinner was a yummy salad topped with a bit of chicken/turkey sausage, avocado and tomato with some olive oil and lime juice too.

Juicy pear on the side.

Tuesday’s dinner was carby and yummy.  I made some sweet potato mozzarella whole wheat ravioli a few months ago and kept a bunch in the freezer.  Perfect for nights when I want something quick and don’t have anything planned.  I sauteed some sweet onion with the last of the chicken/turkey sausage and slightly wilted some spinach in the pan before combining everything together.  We had pear on the side again.

This meal took maybe 15 minutes but tasted like it took much longer.

Refreshing idea

I’m not a huge fan of mayo, but I don’t like a dry tuna sandwich.  For yesterday’s lunch I combined a can of tuna with about 1/4 cup of peach habanero salsa.  Along with the avocado and spinach in my sandwich it was a great combo and the tuna was nice and moist.  Try it out!

Double Feature, Oats and Running

22 Jan

This week has FLOWN by.  Jacob and I are never as busy as we were each night and I could really tell I was just wore out when last night showed up.  Spent a nice evening couch potato style.

Because of that Thursday’s move of the day wasn’t posted so today you get a double feature!

Yesterday’s yoga focused move on the stability ball was the side arm balance, and today’s cardio/combo move is the stability ball frog squat n jump.  The great thing about the stability ball is that you can get a full body workout in if desired.  Try all 5 moves from this week for a quick full body exercise routine, or wait until the next 5 stability ball exercises are shown and create a 10-exercise workout.

SO what have I been eating this week??  Well I’ve been lacking in the picture taking department but here’s just some of what I’ve enjoyed.

Just a big ol’ jar of almond butter…

Or maybe a big ol’ jar of almond butter filled with pumpkin oatmeal and granola.

I underestimated the amount of almond butter left in the jar.  It was probably almost twice as much as I’d normally add to my oats so my stomach felt kind of sick for a little while.  The good part – it held me over until lunch time!  Ahh the work of fat keeping me full.

Yummy oats in my polka dot mug.  This morning I added in 2 egg whites for more protein and I was a bit nervous about how it would taste.  However while smelling it cook it reminded me of strawberry balsamic pancakes I haven’t made in a while so I knew I’d end up liking the egg white addition.  Twas good with banana, brazil nut butter and granola.

I love pasta especially when I’m tired and just want to veg.  Since veg-mode was in full effect last night I whipped together this dish: brown rice pasta, herb roasted chicken, kale, tons of onions, garlic, fresh mozzarella and a quick light sauce.  I know it’s a hit when Jacob wants seconds.  Along side we had some sautéed green beans from the freezer… I need to get to the store and stock up on veggies ASAP.

Exercise has been a bit lax this week because of the busyness.  I’ve only ran twice so far since Saturday, both under 3 miles.  I’ll make up for it on Sunday though!  Jacob ran with Joe and I this morning.  It’s nice to have a running partner (other than the dog) when it’s still dark outside.  Plus it’s more fun to have my hubs to talk.  I have gotten more walks in which is nice.  I just can’t resist not going on a walk during my lunch break when the sun is shining.  It brightens up my afternoons.

I’m excited to have the day off from work to get some stuff done around the house that I’ve been putting off.  Joe’s got a vet appointment and I’ve got a date with my kitchen to do some baking (I also have a date with the washer and dryer but I’m trying to stand them up) 😛

The poor unsuspecting pup does know what’s coming in 3 hours.  Haha guess he’s tired from this run this morning.

The Best Salad

6 Jan

I’m sure glad the work week is almost over.  I’ve been pretty tired when I get home from work, and I’m quite lucky I exercise in the morning because there is no way I’d have enough energy to get a good workout in.

As for exercise, this morning I put together a strength training routine that consisted of standard push ups, Y lifts + ski squats, 21s, shoulder press + plié, military push ups, bicep curl + forward lunge, skull crushers, row + rolling lunges, leg circles + butt lift, wacky jacks, concentration curls, the hundred and some jumping jacks, corner punches, wide knees and side jumps for good measure.  It took about 35 minutes and I felt real good afterwards.

Even though I’m tired I did do my sit ups right away when I got home just to get them out of the way.  YYYEES rest time!

I just snacked on some of this to hold me over while waiting for Jacob to finish up his P90X Yoga.

Sweet potato chips n salsa.  Oh how I love anything sweet potato 🙂

Tonight’s dinner is some leftovers from Monday.  Not too exciting.

Last night’s dinner was a different story though.  I threw together a couple delish bowls of pasta, veggies, chicken and spinach sauce.

Sometimes all I want is carbs and last night was one of those night.  It was perfect.

Okay before I re-heat some eats I’ve gotta tell you about my lunch.  It was THE BEST salad.

I tossed together a big bowl of spinach, salmon, tomato, yellow bell pepper, marinated artichoke hearts and sliced almonds in some tahini/almond dressing.  A beautiful 1/2 grapefruit to sweeten things up.  It was GOOD.

Have a relaxing night.