Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

A colorful Italian-inspired pasta salad dressed in a sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette.

It’s perfect for potlucks or picnics or just stowing away in your refrigerator for those snacky, hungry moments when it’s too hot to cook and you want something good to eat fast.

I use rotini pasta so the lovely dressing can stick to all the nooks and crannies.

Also in the mix are salty bites of salami, creamy mozzarella cubes, nutty chickpeas, meaty black olives, briny capers, fresh tomatoes and red onions with crunchy little pine nuts and a smattering of Parmesan cheese to bring it all together. … 

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Thai Noodle Salad with Grilled Chicken

Thai Noodle Salad with Grilled Chicken

Noodles tossed with a colorful mix of sautéed veggies including fresh corn off the cob, sugar snap peas, roasted red peppers and carrots.

They get all dressed up in a spicy coconut milk and lime dressing. You can eat it as is or top with grilled chicken or even shrimp for a fresh and delicious lunch or dinner. … 

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Baked Meatballs with Pasta in Parmesan Spinach Sauce

Baked Meatballs with Pasta in Parmesan Spinach Sauce

Homemade meatballs baked on top of penne pasta smothered in lots of rich, creamy spinach sauce. This comforting pasta dish is perfect for serving on a special family night or bringing to a potluck or party.

The recipe starts by making the meatballs with ground beef, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs and egg. While they get busy baking halfway there’s time to boil the pasta and make the awesome sauce.

The sauce is made of chicken broth, half & half, spinach (frozen or fresh) and Parmesan cheese on top of the stove where it’s then pureed with a hand blender making the spinach front and center in every bite from the first to the last.

You absolutely-positively must  like spinach. A lot. It can’t be avoided, you can’t eat your way around it or pick it out.

#Sorrynotsorry…. 

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Green Goddess Pasta Primavera

Green Goddess Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera is a spring dish full of green vegetables. Fresh asparagus, string beans, peas and linguine are tossed together in a light sauce with Parmesan, garlic and lemon. The emphasis is on the vegetables. The ratio is almost equal – the vegetables might even be winning.

They’re surely the main attractions with just a smattering of other ingredients to help it come together. The sauce is made from a little half & half combined with some of the starchy pasta cooking water along with Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. A sprinkle of pine nuts at the end gives it a soft crunch and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil adds a dash of luxury…. 

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Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Lemon Chicken Salad

A Greek inspired pasta salad with bright and sunny flavors! Lemon-marinated chicken is tossed with pasta, feta cheese, tomatoes, zucchini or cucumber, red onion and almonds in a tangy lemon dressing.

The lemon dressing also serves as a marinade. A small amount of it is removed and poured over the chicken before grilling or baking. It’s made of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and zest, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, thyme and oregano. So good, you could almost drink it. It helps tenderize the chicken and keep it juicy.

I don’t know if I ever shared my secret for juicy chicken every, single time without fail…. 

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Cheese Tortellini with Spinach Feta Alfredo Sauce

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach Feta Alfredo

Cheese tortellini smothered in a rich, creamy spinach and feta alfredo sauce. The entire dish comes together in about twenty minutes making for a great anytime meal but especially fitting when you don’t have a lot of time but need something hot and comforting. Something that tastes like you fussed.

The sauce is made in the time it takes to boil the tortellini. It starts with red pepper, garlic and fresh baby spinach followed by a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese, half & half and crumbled feta. The tortellini gets tossed in along with a little of the pasta water to help thicken it and form a silky sauce. The outcome is pure decadence.

This is one of my favorite go to meals – you can switch up the pasta, the vegetables, add in shrimp or cooked chicken. It’s highly customizable and … always delicious.

Spinach Alfredo Cheese Tortellini

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach Feta Alfredo Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3 - 4 servings

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach Feta Alfredo Sauce

Cheese tortellini smothered in a rich, creamy spinach and feta alfredo sauce. The entire dish comes together in about twenty minutes making it a great meal without a lot of fuss.

Ingredients:

12 ounces tortellini (preferably fresh)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 roasted or fresh red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
5 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup crumbled feta

Instructions:

  1. Cook the tortellini in plenty of salted water to al dente according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan heat the oil over medium-low heat and cook the pepper and garlic 4 - 5 minutes stirring often.
  3. Turn heat up to medium and add the spinach. When it begins to wilt add the half & half. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often 3 minutes.
  4. Add the Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 cup of the water from the pasta pot and the cooked tortellini. Stir gently to coat the pasta until a sauce forms about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the feta and remove from heat. Let it sit a couple of minutes for the sauce to thicken up. Serve with more Parmesan.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/cheese-tortellini-with-spinach-feta-alfredo/

Baked Chicken Ziti Stuffed Peppers

Baked Chicken Ziti Stuffed Peppers

Colorful bell peppers stuffed with a skillet chicken ziti for a delicious twist that brings two classics together in a new way. The stuffing is made of diced tomato sauce, ricotta and mozzarella with vegetable rotini pasta and bites of tender chicken.

The filling comes together in a skillet and then gets stuffed into the peppers and baked. For ease you can use leftover or rotisserie chicken but if you don’t have either on hand it’s simple to bake up the chicken while you’re making the sauce and pasta.

If you’re looking for a way to shake up your baked ziti routine then this is a great way to do it. The natural sweetness of the peppers and the acidic tomatoes balance each other out and are perfect with the chicken and chewy pasta. Stuffing peppers is becoming routine in my house.

I love reinventing them.

Chicken Ziti Stuffed Peppers

Baked Chicken Ziti Stuffed Peppers

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Baked Chicken Ziti Stuffed Peppers

Colorful bell peppers stuffed with a skillet chicken ziti for a delicious twist that brings two classics together in a new way. The stuffing is made of diced tomatoes, ricotta and mozzarella with vegetable rotini pasta and bites of tender chicken.

Ingredients:

1 + 1/4 pounds chicken breast (about 2 + 1/2 cups cooked & chopped)
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14 ounce) cans petite-diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed between fingertips
6 ounces vegetable rotini pasta (or any medium-sized pasta)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 + 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup half & half
6 bell peppers, sliced in half lengthwise or with the tops cut off, seeds removed

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and bake until cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile in a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-low heat and saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, about a teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir often.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions.
  4. On a cutting board slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Turn off the sauce and remove about 3/4 cup of it - set it aside. Mix the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan and half & half into the sauce. Stir in the chicken and cooked pasta.
  6. Lightly grease the bottom of a deep-sided roasting pan and spread the cup of sauce in the bottom. Spoon the filling into the peppers and set them in the roasting pan, if they're touching that's ok.
  7. Cover with foil and bake 25 - 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the tops with mozzarella. Bake 10 - 15 more minutes.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/baked-chicken-ziti-stuffed-peppers/

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Parmesan Spinach Sauce

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Parmesan Spinach Sauce

Lasagna takes on a unique twist with butternut squash and a Parmesan spinach sauce. I hope the vegetables won’t turn you off because it’s everything you would expect from a traditional lasagna and more with layers of gooey cheese and carb-laden noodles. Even vegetable haters will like it, if you can convince them to give it a chance.

The butternut squash finds its way into the filling along with a trio of vegetables including onion, roasted red pepper and garlic. There’s also the requisite ricotta cheese, mozzarella, fresh parsley, Italian seasoning and a couple pinches of nutmeg.

The spinach sauce is crazy-easy to make and so moreish you could pour it right into a bowl and eat it straightaway with a spoon. Or a straw.

Running down the short list of ingredients you may not get the impression that the total sum of their parts could be so delicious. All you do is whiz together chicken broth, fresh baby spinach and sour cream in a food processor then stir in Parmesan cheese and a touch of red pepper flakes for an optional albeit subtle kick of heat. That’s it. Use as is. No cooking needed, it will thicken up all on its own as it bakes.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Let’s talk noodles. There’s three different types: fresh, oven-ready and dried. I prefer to use fresh ones. There’s no worries over whether they’re cooked enough like with oven-ready noodles. The dried noodles add extra time to an already time-consuming recipe plus you have to deal with breakage and noodles sticking together. The fresh ones are the easiest to work with and, I think, the best tasting. Plus, they’re time savers because you can use them straight from the package. Look for them in the refrigerated section where the fresh tortellini and ravioli are found.

The squash gives it a subtle sweetness that is well-balanced by all the savory goodness of the gooey cheese and the creamy, spicy spinach sauce that helps brighten everything up.

Truth be known, if this were to replace the traditional lasagna I’ve eaten my entire life, from here on out, I might not miss it at all.

Don’t tell my Mom.

Butternut Squash & Spinach Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Parmesan Spinach Sauce

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 servings

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Parmesan Spinach Sauce

Butternut squash lasagna with a creamy Parmesan spinach sauce. I hope the vegetables won't turn you off, it's everything you would expect from a traditional lasagna and more with layers of gooey cheese and carb-laden noodles.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and fresh black pepper
butter, for greasing the pan
3 cups firm cooked butternut squash, diced small or lightly mashed
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
12 ounces fresh lasagna noodles (or 9-10 ounce oven ready - no cook noodles)
Sauce:
1 can (14 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
3 cups fresh, uncooked baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a medium skillet or saute pan heat the oil over medium low heat and cook the onion, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning until soft, seasoning well with salt and pepper and stirring often. Allow to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and butter a 9x13 lasagna or casserole pan with deep sides.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce:
  4. Add the broth, spinach, sour cream and red pepper flakes to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth with some flecks of spinach. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a medium bowl mix the squash, eggs, ricotta, parsley, nutmeg, the sauteed onion mixture, and a 1/2 cup of the mozzarella together with a couple dashes of salt and pepper.
  6. Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of the sauce then cover with noodles. Spoon half the squash mixture over the noodles and spread out evenly with the back of the spoon. Cover generously with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella.
  7. Repeat the layering - start with a layer of noodles, the remaining squash mixture, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
  8. To finish top with another layer of noodles, a generous layer of sauce and the remaining mozzarella. You may have a little sauce left, you can simmer that in a small saucepan for five minutes to serve with the lasagna.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 50 - 60 minutes until piping hot in the center. Remove the foil 20-25 minutes into the cooking time so the top can brown. Allow to set for 10 minutes before cutting. Slice into squares and serve with a ladle of sauce if you have any leftover and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/butternut-squash-lasagna-parmesan-spinach-sauce/