Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Product Review – Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese

February 14, 2011 1 comment

When I worked for the paper, we had a policy of not writing bad reviews. I tend to stick to that, but today, I’ll make an exception.

In my sickness-induced shopping last week, I picked up a bag of the new Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese (Italian herb version). I thought it would come out similar to my mom’s baked maccaroni.

No dice.

Maybe it’s only this “herb” version, but it has absolutely NO flavor. none. Not a hit of oregano, cilantro, basil, not a single Italian spice.

Just mushy noodles and breadcrumbs.

In the same amount of time it took me to boil the noodles, melt the butter, stir in “herbs” and melt down “cheese” (yes, it’s that scary cheese like in velveeta shells and cheese that comes gooey out of a packet), I could have made “Mom’s Recipe.”

Maybe I’m a weird kid because I never have liked Kraft…I just knew “Mom’s” was better.

Why do I keep putting “Mom” in quotes? I swore for the first 20 years of my life she had some super awesome baked maccaroni recipe.

I called her for it one day when I lived in my first apartment. She read the whole recipe to me and I painstakingly took it down word for word.

Then she laughed at me and said “Or you can just read the side of the Mueller’s box. Really Mary?”

Anyway, nothing touches it.



February 9, 2011 2 comments

We’ve all done it. You cook a casserole or other huge meal for dinner, then when you’re done with the first serving, goop whatever is leftover into whatever available storage dishes you have available.

I hate that.

The food is always upside down or not at all what it looked like.

And I love all things minature. I love getting to eat an ENTIRE pizza or ENTIRE casserole all by myself.

Enter cute little dishes 🙂

I started with several mini pyrex dishes (they look just like the big ones!).

For Christmas, I got these cute ruffly dishes. Last week I made tuna casserole (on my comfort food kick) and filled 5 mini dishes with individual servings. Perfect! My lunch today looks so fancy 🙂

3 cups brown rice pasta, parboiled. Mix one can reduced fat Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup with 1 cup skim milk, 1 can of tuna and a cup or two of defrosted peas (I really like peas so I add extra!). Mix in the pasta and divide. Cook for about an hour (until bubbly) at 350. I added Parmesan cheese during the last 10 minutes for a slight “crust.”

Monday Night Dinner

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Even Charles was impressed with how quickly dinner came together last night.

I’ve been feeling sorta crappy (I blame vacuuming. I swear it makes me sick!). Instead of going to his house for dinner as I usually would on a Monday, I begged Charles to come cook for me. Thankfully…it never takes much begging with him!

I was feeling all mucousy, so I requested something not too heavy…but carby if possible. He came right through.

We started with a spinach salad with tomatoes, almonds and avocado. He bought refridgerated ravioli, but we can never eat just a package of pasta. While the ravioli cooked, he sauteed mushrooms and grilled portobello chicken sausages. Mix together and drizzle with olive oil and parmesean cheese…yum!

And of course, garlic bread on the side.

The only downfall was that he only bought one orange soda…so we were forced to share. I could have used a second 🙂

Couscous with Mix-ins!

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Pardon the photo quality. My camera died on me 😦

I’m a fan of most any food to which you can add toppings – potatoes, ice cream, oatmeal, cake (never heard of cake with toppings? Meet my friend Gretchen), couscous!

I think the first time I ever had couscous was at Coastal Flats. Their pecan crusted trout (yum!) is served on top of a bed of couscous with almonds. What the menu doesn’t reveal, is there are also tons of other yummy bits (craisins, raisins, scallions, etc.) mixed in.

I was happily surprised when I discovered how easy couscous was to make. I thought pasta was simple, but woah! 3 minutes and it’s done!

This caused me to branch out even further, trying Israeli couscous, quinoa, barley, etc. They take a little longer, but have more “stick with you” power than the quick stuff. Especially Israeli couscous, which literally, sticks to you.

I discovered conveniently mixed “Harvest Grains Blend” at Trader Joe’s and gave it a try. In an easy, ready in 10 minutes package, they’ve combined Israeli couscous, orzo, dried beans and quinoa.

But that’s not enough variety for me. It’s still too, well, grainy. (And what do vegan zombies eat? grAAAAAINS)

Last night I whipped up a batch (or, the other half of the bag that was left) using 1/2 the water they call for and subbing lemon juice for the other half (I love lemony grains). Once cooked I added in a handful of craisins and a handful of slivered almonds (both left over from the cheeseballs!). To finish, I stirred in a tablespoon of chutney for even more fruity flavor (yet slightly spicy…also, leftover from the cheeseballs).

It was delicious! And I’m super excited to get to eat cold leftovers with my dinner tonight!

Shrimp Pasta Salad

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

For today’s lunch, I’m eating the last portion of pasta salad I made this week. I started with a recipe, but I can’t follow one to save my life and it ended up totally different!

1 lb frozen peeled shrimp (this time I bought them uncooked), thawed
1 cup whole wheat rotini
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
dash of red pepper
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil

Add the rontini (or other pasta) to boiling water, cook for 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp and continue to boil for another 3 minutes. Drain.

Mix pasta and shrimp with the rest of the ingredients.

Seriously? Yes. It is that easy! And the simple cilantro and lemon make it very refreshing and light tasting.

Nutritional info for this dish is about 120 calories, 2 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber.

If I was to make it again, I’d probably use more pasta.

Easy Dinner – Thanks TJs! Gnocchi, sausage and peas. Oh My!

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Tuesday night I wasn’t feeling all that great (which led to me being sick yesterday) so I was looking for a super simple dinner. When I made coffee that morning, I noticed I had gnocchi on hand. I’d had a craving for spaghetti, so close enough, right?

I had frozen a pack of chicken sausages from Trader Joe’s and always try to keep a can of tomatoes on hand.

I boiled the gnocchi (all of their pillowy goodness).

Meanwhile, I defrosted the sausages and threw them on the Forman Grill.

In a saucepan, I heated the tomatoes (which I sliced) and added some corn starch to thicken it a bit (tomato paste is better, but I don’t tend to remember to buy it often!). I added a tablespoon of basil and 1 cup frozen peas.

I’ve loved pasta with peas ever since the pasta bar in college. My go to was half red/half white sauce, with mushrooms and peas. Yum! How I managed to lose weight in college and not gain I’ll never really understand!

I topped the finished gnocchi with half a cup of sauce and a sliced sausage. And yum! A total comfort food dinner for about 300 calories, 7 grams of fat and 4 grams of fiber.

Pasta with Caramelized Fennel and Veggies

July 23, 2010 3 comments

Lauren's picture is much prettier than mine! My final product picture didn't do it justice.

So I finally cooked this week. Last night I tackled Healthy-Delicious‘ Pasta with Caramelized Fennell and Summer Vegetables.

I was drawn to it because it wasn’t over-complicated and the ingredients were easy enough to buy this time of year. And strangely, I’ve sort of been craving fennel lately. Weird thing to crave if you ask me!

I had a lot of the staples on hand (pasta, olive oil, spices) and spent less than $14 picking up the veggies, cheese and pesto. $14 for four servings…not bad at all in my book!

I had about 6 oz. of Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetable Radiatore on hand so I used that (and with a tiny less pasta, lowered the Weight Watchers Points value of the meal by nearly two points. Thanks Lauren for posting the nutritional info on your recipes!).

Look at all those Veggies!

I’m a HUGE fan of veggies in pasta. Pasta with mushrooms and peas was one of my favorite meals in college (and the only thing I would change about this recipe is to add more peas!). And let’s face it, I love a great excuse to bring out the Cutco knives and practice my chopping and dicing skills!

With prep and cooking this recipe took an hour or less to prepare.

I’ll apologize now for my horrible quality photos that I’ll be posting until I find the charger for my camera battery. It’s awful that I moved nearly a year ago already and I still can’t find things!

Hopefully this weekend will be a much better weekend as far as staying on track with the healthy eating since I have three more HUGE servings of this dish waiting for me in the fridge.

Happy cooking everyone!