Spice up your Spaghetti!

Ok…so it’s kind of silly to make a post about spaghetti. I mean spaghetti is pretty basic, its the meal you cook because you don’t want to think about it and you want something cheap that doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself, lol. Well, I am not going to take that away from you. There are subtle add-ins and changes you can make to doctor up your spaghetti. Making it more awesome and flavorful while still being a cheap, filling option for your family!! Also HEALTHY, the changes that I make in this spaghetti recipe makes it even better for you!!!! Pair it with an easy side salad made up of a spring mix and some cherry tomatoes. Add some bread if you like!

INGREDIENTS:     MAKES: 5-6 servings

1 pkg. Whole Wheat spaghetti

1 16oz jar of Spaghetti sauce (your choice)

1 Shallot, minced

1 lb Ground Turkey

lightly dried Parsley ( you can find in your produce section)

lightly dried Basil  (you can find in your produce section)

Red pepper flakes, minced onion flakes, Italian seasoning, chili powder, garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions
  2. Saute the shallot and then add the ground turkey to brown. If you get 98% lean turkey there wont be any grease to drain. Add some parsley, basil, salt and pepper to meat.s1
  3. Drain pasta and add sauce to the pot. Simmer sauce and add the remaining seasonings to taste. Add the meat and spaghetti to the pot and combine. s2

 

That’s it!! Switch the pasta to whole wheat and the meat to ground turkey to make your basic spaghetti healthier. Add some sauteed onion or shallots to your meat for extra flavor. Doctor up your store bought sauce with extra seasonings that you probably already have on hand. It’s still basic, yes, but its tastier 🙂

 

Enjoy ❤

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Welcoming new people to the neighborhood has become a lost art. Society has adapted a very what’s mine is mine and whats yours is yours mentality. I’ll stay over here and you stay over there. We have become so introverted and so trapped in our own minds and busyness that we have forgotten what its like to know our neighbors. To ask for a cup of sugar or even to offer a cup of sugar (so to speak). I love giving gifts and I think it’s an easy way to welcome a new person to your neighborhood. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, just something that says a friendly hello. A plant, a candle, something seasonal, a muffin basket, maybe something creative like an “unpacking gift basket”, you can even make it practical. It doesn’t have to cost alot of money and it doesn’t have to take alot of time.

We recently had a nice older lady move in across the breezeway from us. It is the beginning of autumn so I knew I could find an inexpensive candle and little fall decor to get her. She saw me gardening one day and came over to talk so after that I decided to add a plant to my gift for her. 🙂 n1

I love cards and always have cards and stationery on hand, so I just whipped one of those out. Wrote a little note welcoming her to the neighborhood and letting her know if she needed anything not to hesitate to ask. n2

I left it on her door step but then as I was leaving for work I knocked on the door and offered it to her. She loved it so much. She said “that no one had every done something like that for her before” which made me sad. I spent very little money and very little time on this little gift and it meant the world to her. n3

Let’s love our neighbors. Offer help to others. Offer kindness to others. Smile and say hello. Life is lived so much better when you let people in and when we are ok with being selfless. Maybe you don’t have anyone new in your neighborhood, that’s ok. Put a little something together for your next door neighbor and have the courage to give it to them and say “I just wanted to do something kind and friendly for you, I hope you enjoy it”

 

That’s it, it’s that simple ❤

Chicken Pot Pie (veggie packed)

When you tell someone you made homemade chicken pot pie it always sounds impressive. Pot pie has become a bit underrated nowadays, but it can be so yummy and a great way to eat tons of vegetables. This recipe is fairly healthy and fairly easy. Also don’t be afraid to switch it up, vegetable wise,  maybe you don’t like mushrooms but you love squash? Really whatever combination of vegetables sounds good to you!

 

What I learned: I used broccoli in this recipe, after making it I realized that I like it much better without.

INGREDIENTS:  MAKES: 2 full size pies

2 tbsp oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 large carrots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed for thickness

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup vegetable/chicken broth

2 cups Almond milk

2 cups broccoli florets

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

2 store-bought frozen pie crust packages (should each have two pie crusts in them) Thaw only slightly!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pot over med heat, heat oil. Add onion and carrots-cook for 5 min or until onions are translucent. cp2
  2. Add garlic, celery, and mushrooms. Cook another 5 min or until tender. cp3
  3. Add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and flour. Stir to combine.
  4. Add lemon juice, broth, milk, broccoli, and chicken. Stir to combine. Add more flour, if needed until the mixture is to your desired thickness. Remove from heat and allow to cool.cp4
  5. Preheat oven to pie crust package directions. Place one pie crust into an un-greased pie dish. Fill with vegetable mixture and then top with another pie crust, folding under any excess crust and crimp edges to desired design. Brush evenly with beaten egg. Cut slits in the middle of top crust. cp6
  6. Bake according to pie crust directions.

TIP: I let my pie crust thaw too much and it was quite hard to handle. Only let your crust thaw slightly so it is pliable but still holds it shape and doesn’t adhere to the aluminum pan it comes in. cp7

That’s it! Slice and serve warm 🙂 ❤

Egg-free Potato Salad

I LOVE potato salad. It is one of my favorite things about summer actually, lol. Barbecue’s, cookout’s, Independence Day get togethers! Potato salad is a frequent and familiar visitor at events like these. One of the biggest things that usually turn people off about potato salad is the fact that it has boiled eggs mixed in it. I know that is the case for my husband. He can NOT stand boiled eggs, so when I said I would bring potato salad to a life group cookout I knew I would have to make the salad from scratch so I could leave out the eggs. It was delicious! I ended up bringing home an empty bowl, which warms my heart beyond words 🙂 SO, if boiled eggs are keeping you from enjoying the mustardy, starchy goodness that is potato salad, let me introduce you to egg-free potato salad. This is a mustard version, but you could do a redskin potato/mayo version if you like 🙂

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup mayo

2 tsp mustard (add more for taste preference)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup celery, chopped or minced

3 tbsp chopped parsley (I use loosely dried parsley that you find in the produce section)

6-7 dill pickle slices, minced (I use burger pickles)

Paprika for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the potatoes and salt together in a pot of water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and set the potatoes aside in large bowl to cool.
  2. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the paprika.
  3. Once potatoes have cooled add the wet mixture to the potatoes until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then top with paprika.
  4. Put in fridge to chill before serving. Add some extra parsley right before serving. p1

That is it! Think of it as a summery loaded mashed potato!! Make it for your next summer get together or in the cooler months to reminisce over the warmer weather that was 🙂

TIP: If you want it to be more creamy you can use an electric mixer on the potatoes as they are cooling. I prefer chunky so I just combine, gently with a spoon.

Enjoy ❤

 

 

Nutella Puff Pastry

So…I can’t consider these homemade. I didn’t make the puff pastry from scratch. I didn’t make the chocolate spread from scratch and furthermore, in my humble opinion, it’s not worth the time and effort to make puff pastries from scratch. Just buy the frozen puff pastries at your grocery store and call it good! BUT I did assemble and bake them 🙂

What I love about puff pastry desserts is the versatility in how they can be designed. All the different shapes and styles and added touches make puff pastries a fun, easy and truly beautiful dessert. I picked a basic shape for these pastries but if you look up different puff pastry shapes you will find some really pretty ones that are fairly easy to replicate. I lOVE nutella!!! but you can fill these with anything! I, personally would leave fruit for the outside as a finishing touch, but that’s because I don’t like the texture of cooked fruit in pastries.

These come out as a flaky, buttery, chocolaty treat!

 

INGREDIENTS:                    SERVES: 8

1 frozen puff pastry sheet (package will probably have two)

Small container of Nutella/Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

1 tbsp melted butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Allow your puff pastry to thaw in fridge for a bit then lay out on cutting board. Preheat oven to 375. Nead the seams together to make one big square.
  2. Spread nutella evenly across the pastry and then use pizza cutter to cut pastry into 8 triangles (or cut whatever way is needed to create the shape desired) n2
  3. Roll your triangle and place on a baking sheet that has been covered in parchment paper. Brush each pastry with melted butter. n3
  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes or untill the pastry looks flaky and golden brown! Cool completely. n1

Tip: Puff pastries can be deceiving. You will think they are done when they are not. Trust me, wait until you see it rise and become flaky otherwise it will NOT taste as wonderful as it has the potential to taste.

 

That’s it! Enjoy ❤