Caprese Pasta Salad

This was a pretty pasta salad for our Kentucky Derby party this year.  Colorful and it had a lot of flavor.  And of course pasta salad is always great for a crowd.




Baked Ziti

My favorite baked ziti recipe – easy and always awesome.  I usually just make it with ground beef and season a lot, but it would also work with ground turkey or sausage, as the original recipe (from Smitten Kitchen) suggests.  We’ve also done this with shirataki and liked it just as much. 🙂




Orzo Salad

This is one of my favorite side dishes, and I especially like it with anything Mediterranean.  I made this to go with lemon-oregano grilled lamb chops for dinner, and probably could have hoovered the entire thing myself.  This is good warm or cold, so leftovers are very useful.  This could also be a main dish for a vegetarian night if you paired with a salad, etc.


Chicken and Kale Casserole

We got a big, lovely bunch of kale in our CSA this week that needed a job.  I was contemplating something to do with it besides a soup, and found this casserole on Serious Eats (originally Martha Stewart, I think).  It’s nice for a summer casserole – lighter and very bright.  It made a ton of course, which was my intent…lots of lunches!  This was pretty easy to make a bit healthier with whole wheat pasta, part-skim cheeses, and Smart Balance instead of butter.



Pasta and Greens Salad

I can eat an army’s worth of pasta salad, seriously.  It’s kind of ridiculous.  This is a taken from something my mom emailed me about 10 years ago that I think *she* had on hand for 10-15 years. I could never get enough. I started mixing it with far less pasta and lots of greens (arugula or a spring mix are best…something a little bitter takes the dressing well and doesn’t get lost in the pasta) and using whole wheat  pasta and here we are.  No less delish, and it’s actually a complete meal or a nice cookout side dish, whichever works for what you’re doing. Very bright, adjustable, and great leftovers for lunches.


Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

The groundhog was seriously wrong and Spring did not come early.  In fact, it’s rather late…it’s snowing right now, no lie.  We were thinking today that comfort food would go well with this disappointing weather, and given it is MMM, Mac and Cheese was the first thing that came to mind.  Definitely a splurge meal, but we enjoyed it. 🙂  I used a Cooking Light recipe and tweaked it a bit – we will definitely do this again.  Recipe below is with my adjustments/additions.



Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of my favorite dishes, and I often order it in restaurants.  It never really occurred to me to make it at home until Mostly Meatless and a butternut squash on our counter that needed a job.  I got this recipe from Bon Appetit, and it was outstanding…I would make a few changes, and it was a little time consuming, but it is a definite repeat.  A little less butter next time (even halved, depending on your taste), and increase the nutmeg and squash so they don’t get lost in the flour/potato.  It can be made ahead, which is great for get-togethers!    I served this with a side of sauteed herb and garlic broccoli.



Lamb and Feta Lasagna

This month’s Cooking Light has a feature on lightened lasagnas.  Can’t beat low-cal lasagna!  Oddly enough, the lightest of the bunch was a lamb and feta.  Two things we both loved, lower-cal…that’s a winner!  I did not deviate from the recipe except to use my own tomato sauce instead of canned, and it was very good as-is…the only change I would make besides would be to add some spinach for some bulk and color.  I would stay to stick with an actual marinara/tomato sauce over just the canned crushed tomatoes – whether homemade or a jar, it will lend more flavor.  Definitely a great “light” lasagna!  This made a ton so plenty of leftovers for lunch, or a lazy cooking night…always a good thing!



Ham and Green Pea Pasta

Well, I’d had something more elaborate planned for the first meal in our new house.  But then I ran out of time to go to the store because I much preferred riding the horse and unpacking to the grocery store on football Sunday.  Cook with what was in the meager post-move fridge it was, and this is what resulted!  Last of the Thanksgiving ham, some leftover cream, some cheese…and here we are.  We were quite pleased with it!





Italian Pasta Salad

This is a great pasta salad to have as a meal or as a side at a picnic.  Lots of flavor and easy to adjust to tastes.  I got this one from Chowhound, and we made this one for our Memorial Day picnic.