Fajita Bowtie Salad


Simple and full of great flavors this pasta salad would be a fabulous addition to any Cinco de Mayo celebration!


My Fajita Bowtie Salad is perfect when you’re looking for something people haven’t been served a million times before. Simple and full of great flavors this pasta salad would be a fabulous addition to any Cinco de Mayo celebration!

This pasta salad also makes a great lunch. Of course you can also make it for dinner, simply round it out with a bowl of fresh fruit, and maybe some cornbread. Dinner is served!

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One Skillet Chili Mac and Cheese


This One Skillet Chili Mac and Cheese is the perfect weeknight dinner when a little comfort food is what you’re looking for – and it’s pretty darn healthy! :)


Chili Mac is a great dinner the whole family can enjoy! Chili Mac is one of those dishes you can make so many different ways and I love that!

The flavor of this One Skillet Chili Mac can’t be beat. The best part is there’s are a lot of healthy ingredients in this dish such as extra lean ground beef, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and green chilies. So many great flavors!

Then at the end I like to top it off with a little Chipotle Cheddar and let it melt in just a bit. One Skillet Chili Mac and Cheese is one great meal waiting to be served!


The Chipotle Cheddar is always so good, but feel free to use regular cheddar or any other cheese you prefer.

Personally, I like to add a 1/2 cup of shredded Chipotle Cheddar at the end, let that sort of melt in, stir to incorporate the cheese, then top with another 1/4 cup of Chipotle Cheddar immediately before serving.


So many great flavors going on you can’t go wrong with this one! Some days I like to add a finely chopped jalapeño just to kick it up even a little more!


When I make my chili mac I use a 10-inch skillet with deep sides. It turns out great! You could use a stock pot if you prefer. I cook everything in this one skillet, including the pasta.


One Skillet Chili Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:                                          2015-11-02-7516

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 pound lean ground beef, or ground turkey

4 cups chicken broth

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1 can (5.5ounce) Spicy Hot V-8

1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2-3 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

1/2 cup shredded Chipotle cheddar cheese + 1/4 cup

Fresh chopped parsley, or dried parsley


1. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add minced garlic, onion and ground beef, and cook until nicely browned. Drain excess fat.

2. Add the beans. tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, V-8 juice, and seasonings. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 12-16 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese; cover and let stand until cheese is melted. Gently stir in cheese to evenly disperse cheese throughout. Immediately before serving top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese, garnish with parsley if desired.

Makes 6 Servings 

Looking for another great pasta dish that is sure to get rave reviews?

Try my Roasted Broccoli White Cheddar Pasta!

It makes a great side dish, or add some cooked chicken and make it a main course!


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Roasted Broccoli White Cheddar Pasta


My Roasted Broccoli White Cheddar Pasta makes the perfect side for any dinner! The flavors going on in this dish couldn’t be better..and it’s a veggie and pasta in one!2015-04-29-5153 Where to start with this roasted vegetable and pasta delight? Honestly I’m not even kidding. Seriously, I’m not even sure. I like to serve this dish with baked fish or rotisserie chicken, although it’s good with just about anything!

Be sure to add the chopped garlic to the broccoli before it goes in the oven as I explain in the recipe! The golden brown chopped garlic pieces are so good! Although you can’t really see the garlic in the photographs, it’s there and it wonderful!

This side dish is a snap to put together. Oven roast the broccoli, boil the pasta, put together the sauce and you’re done!

Roasted Broccoli White Cheddar Pasta…hope you enjoy!

5138 You will need a 12 oz. bag of fresh broccoli florets, or a head of broccoli that you trim yourself. Season broccoli with a little kosher salt, a little freshly ground pepper, and two cloves of chopped garlic, and put it in the oven to roast.

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Creamy Pasta with Ham & Peas


My Creamy Pasta with Ham & Peas makes dinner hassle-free and delicious any night of the week! 2015-01-06 Creamy Pasta with Ham & Peas 4148 Pasta always makes a great weeknight dinner. You can do just about anything with pasta. If your house is anything like mine you probably see happy faces when you serve pasta for dinner. My guys love pasta! I mean they love, love, love a good hearty pasta dish. That’s why I am constantly playing with different pasta combinations just to keep things fresh.

Today I share with you my own version of Creamy Pasta with Ham & Peas.  Unlike many sauces out there this one does NOT start with two cups of heavy whipping cream. This dish is incredibly easy to whip together and is full of easy ingredients.

Basically, I took a few of our favorite ingredients, pasta, ham (great way to use up leftovers), peas, and of course a nice flavorful creamy sauce. Okay you got me, my youngest is not a pea enthusiast, but with the Pipe Rigate (large shells) some of the peas ended up in the pasta. You mean some of the peas end up in the pasta and can’t be seen, huh? :)

Hope you really enjoy this one!   [Read more…]

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Weeknight Creamy Pasta Carbonara


My Weeknight Creamy Pasta Carbonara makes dinner simple, stress-free and delicious!

2014-10-21_3424 Weeknight Creamy Pasta Carbonara

If your kids are anything like mine, they probably love pasta carbonara! Actually, I think most people are quite fond of the flavors in carbonara. Really, what’s not to love?

Carbonara is typically made up of some combination of eggs, bacon, black pepper and grated cheese, right? Then of course there are variations that may or may not include peas, mushrooms, other vegetables and cream.

Today, my goal is to give you another variation of carbonara that is simple & delicious and easy to make any night of the week for dinner. For real!

People usually love this dish because it has those yummy, comforting flavors so many of us truly enjoy! Of course, feel free to change it up however you want to.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet_114

Throw together my Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet for your family this week! It’s good family food done just right!   

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet_114

How’s everyone doing today? Great, I hope! 

Every so often I like to put out some straightforward dinners that you can easily put together for your family. I know how hard it is to come up with ideas night after night. Especially when there are picky eaters in the house. Yes, I have one of those, and that’s all I’m going to say about Sir Picky Pants, at least for today. 

So back to dinner, this pasta dish is a very satisfying dinner because it has all the wonderful flavors of a bacon cheeseburger, but it’s kicked up a notch with a few favorite grown up flavors.

My Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet with a nice green salad, or a fruit salad and some cookies for dessert makes the perfect meal!

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Creamy Tortellini Carbonara


Cheese-filled tortellini in a parmesan-romano sauce, topped with crisp bacon pieces. My version of Creamy Tortellini Carbonara is so good all I have left to say is – Buon Apetito!

creamy totellini carbonara_002

Think of those yummy creamy Italian sauces made with lots of love, and that’s what you get here with my Creamy Tortellini Carbonara. But no heavy cream, and I love that. :)

This sauce is like so many wonderful sauces you’ve had before, but at the same time it’s something just a little different.

I tell you guys all the time, I tell it like it is, so here it is. On one of several days in a row with a -25 windchill, it was just too cold to go to the grocery store. Okay, okay, I just didn’t want to go out again into the tundra.

So, I made a sauce I knew they would love. Something warm, a little heavier but not too rich, plus I know what they like.

I knew I hit the mark when my youngest asked me if I made this!? He does that all the time when he really likes something. Who made this? No, really who made this? Is what he usually says. Or did you make this? That one always makes me chuckle.

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Spaghetti Carbonara


Spaghetti Carbonara

This is a total comfort dish at our house! :)

It has been very cold here lately, and we all needed a little warm, yummy comfort food tonight. When I say cold, I mean cold. We all have our weather to deal with and here in Minnesota winter is always tough.

Just in case you’re curious – here is our local weather forecast.

WIND CHILL ADVISORY: Expect dangerously cold wind chill values of -30 to -40. Bundle up. 

If you’re wondering what -30 to -40 is, that’s 30 to 40 degrees below zero!

We needed some comfort food here and this without a doubt is one of our absolute family favorites! One day I was in my car and I heard just a snippit of an interview with Ruth Reichl on Public Radio. She said she hasn’t met a child yet who doesn’t like this dish.

Like a cat, my ears stood up right away, I am always very curious when someone makes this claim because, yes we do have one very picky eater at our house. His issue seems to be with texture more than flavor.

Anyhoo, I digress.

As I listened a little more to the interview I thought hmm, these ingredients are so simple and so basic. My son might actually eat this, and I know my other pasta- loving fella’s will too.

I just didn’t expect everyone to like it as much as they do!

So let’s talk pasta…


No Name is a local brand, if they don’t carry it in your part of the country that’s fine. Just make sure you purchase thickly sliced good quality bacon.

Don’t worry about the green dot. That just means it was part of a Stock Up & Save Sale @ my local grocery store. Thick Sliced Peppered Bacon is always my first choice, but we were out. This is all that was left in the freezer.


A close up shot of the yummy pasta just waiting to be eaten. :)


Spaghetti Carbonara


1 pound spaghetti

1/4 to 1/2 pound thickly sliced good quality bacon

2 cloves garlic, peeled – garlic cloves work best, but if you don’t keep those on hand garlic powder can be used, don’t use garlic salt

2 large eggs (take out of the fridge about 30 minutes before making this dish; set aside in a safe place)

Black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for the table


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When it is boiling, add the spaghetti, and a generous amount of sea salt, or kosher salt. Most dried spaghetti takes 9 to 10 minutes to cook, and you can make the sauce in that time. Check the side of the pasta box for exact cooking time.

2. Cut the bacon crosswise into pieces about 1/2 inch wide. Put them in a skillet and cook for 2 minutes, until fat begins to render. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook another 5 minutes, until the edges of the bacon just begin to crisp. Don’t overcook; if they get too crisp they won’t meld with the pasta. Meanwhile, break the eggs into the bowl you will serve the pasta in, and beat them with a fork. Add some grindings of freshly ground black pepper.

* I always over cook the bacon a little. We don’t care about it melding to the pasta. Cook the bacon however you prefer.

3. Remove the garlic from the bacon pan. If it looks like too much to you, discard some, but you’re going to toss the bacon with most of its fat into the past. When it is cooked, drain the pasta and immediately throw it into the beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. The heat of the spaghetti will cook the eggs and turn them into a sauce. Add the bacon with its fat, toss again, add cheese and serve.

*Note: Usually I never using bacon drippings in my cooking, but it’s worth it here. That’s why you use a good quality bacon, usually there is less fat.

*Also when I serve this dish to my family we just go with the regular Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese. However, if we’re having company and serving this dish I will pick up a small block of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Make 3 servings – that’s what the recipe says, however this makes more than enough for four people.

What’s for Dinner Tonight?

Spaghetti Carbonara: main course

Adapted from: Ruth Reichl.com

Tossed Salad: purchase your favorite bagged salad combo 

Garlic Bread: make or purchase your family’s favorite 

Dulce de Leche Swirl Brownies


Buon appetito! Come back soon!



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