Pumpkin Mac N Cheese

One of Bre’s favorite dishes is creamy macaroni and cheese.  This year I introduced her to…pumpkin mac n’ cheese!  I know what you’re thinking, that I’m crazy for wasting a perfectly good pie filling but I assure you, it’s one of the creamiest recipes I’ve found to date.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb macaroni noodles
  • 1 lb shredded cheddar cheese (I use mild but sharp works just as well)
  • 1 small pumpkin (roughly 3-4 lbs) OR 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni al dente (i.e. leaving it cooked but still firm), set aside.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. If you are NOT using pumpkin in a can: De-seed your pumpkin, cut it into wedges, place wedges on a cookie sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees until a fork easily slides into it.  Set aside to cool. Once cooled, remove skin and mash in a large bowl.
  4. Add ricotta, sour cream, pumpkin and cheddar cheese to a large mixing bowl and thoroughly incorporate.
  5. Add noodles to cheese mixture and mix till all the noodles are well covered.
  6. Pour noodle mixture into a large casserole pan and spread evenly.
  7. Bake until peaks are a light brown.
  8. Top with sun dried tomatoes and sprinkle with garlic powder.
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Deven’s Broken Lasagna

Disclaimer: As the image shows, if you are someone that judges their lasagna success with perfectly square stacks of layered pasta and cheese, DON’T try this recipe.  Why? Because it is what the name implies… broken.
With that out of the way… let me introduce you to one of my favorite dishes now converted to the slow cooker!  Having spent so much of my adult life in New York, where Italian food is on every corner, making lasagna is second nature to me.  And if you’ve ever made lasagna before, you’ve already got a good idea of how it should work.  All you’ll really need is a few pointers for converting your recipe to the slow cooker.
Ingredients (6 quart slow cooker):
  • 3 packages of 9 oz. “No boil” lasagna noodles
  • 32 oz. red sauce
  • 1 lb. shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 32 oz. Ricotta cheese
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 16 oz. frozen spinach
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, mix everything but the pasta.  Yes, you read that right, everything.  Even the sauce.  Go head, I promise it still tastes amazing.  Cream then together until fully incorporated.
  2. In a large plastic bag, break up your pasta.  This is to keep it from flying across the kitchen.
  3. Combine the cheese mixture and your broken pasta pieces in the cooker until well mixed.
  4. Set your cooker to low.
  5. Set your timer for 3 hours.
  6. At the end of the 3 hours, check your noodles to ensure they are the right consistency for your tastes (if you like al dente, check the noodles after two hours and continue to cook to perfection).
  7. Serve as is!
I know it doesn’t exactly look like lasagna but I can assure you, it is VERY tasty and a great way to make a family favorite without slaving away and babysitting your stove!  And it freezes VERY well!

Garbanzo Bean Salad

Grrr…I redid this image about three times and each time… I misspelled something!  So I’m just not going to bother… it’s one of those days.  Garbanzo (not Garbonza) beans or Chickpeas are a tasty little treat I always have around the house (because they are the main ingredient in hummus).  I love this quick summer salad that keeps well for a few days in the fridge and is quite healthy too!
Ingredients:
  • 15 oz. can of Garbanzo beans
  • 16 oz. bag of wide egg noodles
  • 16 oz. bag frozen broccoli & cauliflower mix
  • French Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Parmesan Cheese
Directions:
  1. Prepare your egg noodles as directed on the package.
  2. While your noodles are cooking, open your can of garbanzo beans and thoroughly rinse them in a strainer.
  3. Without removing your beans from the strainer, add your frozen veggies.
  4. Once your noodles have finished cooking, drain noodles by pouring the water over the veggies and beans (this thaws the veggies and cools the noodles).
  5. Empty the strainer with noodles, now thawed veggies and beans into a large bowl.
  6. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad while stirring with a large spoon to lightly coat everything.
  7. Sprinkle the cheese while still stirring until, again, lightly coated.
  8. Put a lid on the bowl and pop it in the fridge until entire mixture is cooled.

Fancy Tuna Casserole

I’m often accused of making even the plainest, most common dishes extraordinary and this is no exception.  I love the rich taste of this dish and it is extremely quick and easy to make!

Ingredients:
  • Egg noodles
  • can of tuna fish in water drained
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives
  • 1 cup steamed spinach
  • Croutons
  • 2 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2-3 cups Cheese (I love using mixed cheeses for this so pick up a bag of your favorite shredded cheese mix)
Directions:
  1. Make your pasta as directed on the package until they are al dente (or still quite firm).
  2. Put the pasta in a casserole dish.
  3. Add butter to the pasta while it’s still hot to melt it.
  4. Add cheese, tuna, tomatoes, olives, and spinach and mix.
  5. Bake in the oven on 350 degrees until the cheese is melted.
  6. Add croutons to the top and serve!