Category Archives: Pasta

Beef and Lamb Main Meal Pasta

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lamb and Sweet Potatoes

Big News!

A third roommate moved into our apartment this weekend.

It was kind of last minute, but I think it was a great decision.

He is really quiet, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and he really likes to just chill.

Meet Killian!

He is my new pal. I am fostering him for the holiday season until he finds a home.

How did I end up with this cute little fluff ball on my couch, you ask?

I volunteer for an incredible organization in LA that helps rescue dogs from the streets and shelters and bring them into loving homes. There is no organization headquarters, so all dogs are fostered in homes of various volunteers until they become adopted. I had been thinking about fostering for awhile, but I wanted to wait until I was more settled in after my move. Well, I finally decided to take one of these cuties in for the holiday season.

Killian is a poodle-terrier mix. He is playful, snuggly, loving and all around perfect.

I’m wondering if I’ll be able to give him back…

I’ve noticed that one of Killian’s favorite things to do is watch me in the kitchen.  This weekend there was a lot going on- my roommate’s birthday, a holiday party with friends, a potluck for work, etc. etc….and I cooked for each event. Needless to say, I was BUSY.

Killie (obvious nickname choice) just sits attentively and watches as onions are chopped, pots are stirred, and trays go in and out of the oven. He never gets in the way. I’m telling you…he’s PERFECT.

Killie was REALLY licking his chops on Sunday night when I made whole-wheat pasta with lamb and sweet potatoes.

(Which is kind of funny because we think he looks like a little Lamb….don’t you think?)

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lamb and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

This dish was delicious and unusual for me. I love lamb, but I usually only ever have it in chop or shank form. Buying ground lamb was a great alternative to ground beef or ground turkey. Your can find it at your local Whole Foods.

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lamb and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

The flavors are fabulous. This is a perfect, warm meal for a fall night — even a weeknight; it is more simple than you’d think!

Now excuse me, but I have a cute puppy I have to go spoil…


Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lamb and Sweet Potatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into ¾inch pieces
  • 2.5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1lb ground lamb
  • 2.5 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/.5 cups canned crushed tomatoes (from a 28oz can)
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 12oz package whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with 1.5 Tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then lay the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet in single row. Roast in the oven until edges begin to brown, flipping with a spatula every so often, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and the onions. Saute until the lamb browns on all sides and the onion softens, about 8 minutes. Break up the larger chunks of lamb as you saute. Next, add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne, stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes. Season with pepper to taste.
  3. Serve in large bowls with whole-wheat spaghetti on bottom, topped with the lamb and sweet potato mixture, and then a sprinkle of cilantro and parmesan.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit


Main Meal Pasta Vegetarian Meals

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnuts

Done. With. Finals.

Officially a second semester senior.

When did i get so old?

Last thing I remember is cooking Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese and watching Full House reruns at my kitchen counter when I got home from school.

When did things get so fast-paced? When did we have to start making so many big life decisions? Can we slow down a little? Just a little bit.

Let’s start with making an involved, long, perfect dinner.

Why? Because I am home now and I have time.

Home means wonderful people, relaxing, and delicious food. When I am home I am lucky enough to get to cook with my dad and bake with my mom (well, when she lets me help…)

This weekend my dad and I made the most delicious pasta dinner together. My parents have been trying a lot of vegetarian dishes recently, which are not dishes that I usually choose. I am a chicken / meat / protein kinda girl and I usually find that vegetarian dishes leave me hungry.

Not this pasta!

Boy was it filling. The recipe claims it serves 6 – but I promise you it is for at least 8 – so prepare accordingly.

I always love cooking with my dad. He always seems to know exactly how to pair different ingredients and combine dishes to create the most fantastic meal.

He definitely had to get used to cooking with me because I stop and take pictures of…everything.

This is definitely a good dish to cook with another person (who you trust in the kitchen) because it is fairly involved and you use the oven and stove simultaneously.

In the end it is totally worth your hard work. It is the perfect winter dish. Warm and filling.

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnuts Recipe

We had a really yummy salad on the side with apple, cranberries, walnuts, and a light pear dressing.

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnuts Recipe

It was the perfect meal and a great way to start my vacation.

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnuts Recipe

I love home.


Pasta with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Hazelnuts
Prep time
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Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¾ inch cubes (makes about 6 cups)
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts online, cut into ¾ inch half-moons (about 4 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves (if your cloves are small, more is better)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta (or any other tubular pasta), cooked al dente
  • ¾ cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • 5-6 cups Roasted Butternut Squash (recipe above)
  • ¾ cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted, skinned, and chopped**
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Set the oven rack in the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl toss the squash cubes with the 2 Tablespoons olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine. Spread the squash pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Roast until tender - not mushy - about 30 minutes, flipping the pieces at 15 minutes.
  2. Cook the pasta al dente and reserve ¾ cup pasta cooking water. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil.  Add the leeks and a dash of salt, cook until softened (about 4 minutes).  Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute. Add the wine, adjust the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the chicken broth and return to boil, again allowing the liquid to reduce to half (about 5-6 minutes).
  4. Adjust the heat to medium-low and stir in the parmesan, and half the goat cheese. Then add the pasta and the squash.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about one minute.  Toss in most of the hazelnuts and the rest of the goat cheese. Add the reserved pasta water slowly and mix so that the pasta regains proper consistency.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley and the remaining hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
*For the hazelnuts: Set oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes.  Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1-2 minutes.  Rub in the towel to remove loose skins.  Let cool completely and then chop.

**Adapted from The Boston Globe Magazine.


Main Meal Pasta Vegetarian Meals

Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

This past weekend my friend Emily was in a show, so I decided to make dinner for us afterwards. We both love comfort foods, but we also like to eat well.  We also both love sweets (like brownies)…. so we decided we should probably also love running. So, Em has become my running buddy at school. She’s also my “OK I’m really not feeling running today. How ‘bout we walk and talk?” buddy. She’s my travel buddy. She’s my getting-ready buddy (you’ll really only ever get that if you’re a girl). She’s my wing girl. She’s my okay-to-call-at-2:00AM buddy. She’s my best friend.

Emily is one of those people that you run into on the street and you walk away smiling for the next hour. She just makes you happy. It’s incredibly contagious. The world needs more Emilys.

I’m really lucky to finally be living with her this year. It sure makes things a lot more convenient, and it also means that neither of us will be getting any work done.

Most importantly, it means lots of impromptu dinner dates, like this one. I decided I wanted to try to recreate everyone’s favorite homemade Mac and Cheese into something slightly healthier (okay, A LOT healthier). After browsing through a bunch of recipes, I got to work in the kitchen.

Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli Recipe

I used whole wheat pasta and eliminated at least 50% of fat from your standard Mac and Cheese recipe.

Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli Recipe

The crispy breadcrumb + parm topping adds so much flavor.

Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli Recipe

MMmmmm. Baked to perfection.

Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli Recipe

Em made the really yummy salad.

Our roommates came downstairs to check out what the smell was….

and dug right in. It’s okay, we didn’t mind sharing.

There was a fight for the last piece…

So much for leftovers!

P.S. A BIG thanks to Lindsay who has been letting me borrow her camera 🙂



Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli
Prep time
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Serves: 4
  • 6 oz. whole wheat pasta (elbows, penne, or shell will work great)
  • 6 oz. fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • ⅛ cup flour
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 1 cup skim or reduced fat milk
  • ½ fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1.5 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I advise against reduced-fat versions - you’re going to lose a lot of flavor that way).
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • ¼ cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs (I seasoned my own with pinches of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper)
  1. Cook the pasta and broccoli together in a large pot of salted water, according to the package directions for al dente. (The pasta will continue to cook when you bake it in the oven). Drain and set aside. Spray an 8”x8” or 11”x7” baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and continue to cook for one more minute, until the flour is well combined. Add the milk and chicken broth and whisk the mixture. Raise the medium-heat to high until it comes to a boil and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the sauce is smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. When the sauce is thick, remove it from heat. Stir in the cheddar cheese and mix until the cheese has melted into the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli and mix well. Pour the mixture into the sprayed baking dish. Top with the parmesan, then the seasoned bread crumbs. Spray the top with a little more cooking spray (this will help the top to crisp).
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Then, broil for 2 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden. (Be careful not to let it burn!)


Beef and Lamb Main Meal Pasta

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Travis and I had been eating chicken all week and I was so tired of it. Chicken Parmesan, grilled chicken, chicken stir fry, chicken quesadillas, chicken this, chicken that.

ENOUGH chicken. No more chicken!

We were both ready for a change. I had been craving spaghetti all week and neither of us had ever made meatballs before, so we decided it would be a perfect time to try. And let me tell you, they were delicious.

Spaghetti and Meatballs RecipeSpaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

The recipe is our own – we basically threw in whatever we thought would taste good. I encourage you to do the same: add more red pepper flakes for more spice, more garlic, less onion, some ketchup, etc. Have fun with it – I’m sure the outcome will be delicious.

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

What makes these meatballs so delicious is that you simmer them in the sauce so that they absorb each other’s flavors.

Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

After simmering, scoop up a few meatballs and some of this delicious sauce and pour it over cooked spaghetti. Finish with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan and you will have yourself a delicious dinner and even better leftovers for lunch the next day.


Spaghetti and Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
Meatball Ingredients:
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 small onion diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like the extra spice)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1½ Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesean Cheese
  • ½ cup bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • vegetable oil
  • olive oil
Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 can (24-28 oz) crushed tomatoes (slightly drained)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
For the meatballs:
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine lightly with a fork. Using your hands, form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. I ended up with about 14 meatballs.
  2. Heat equal amounts of the vegetable oil and olive oil in a 12-inch skillet. In small batches (about 4 at a time) place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium, low heat. Turn the meatballs carefully with a spatula (try your best to make sure they do not break apart). Place browned meatballs on a plate lined with paper towels. Each batch should take about 10 minutes.
For the sauce:
  1. After all the meatballs are cooked, discard the oil from the pan, but do not clean in.
  2. Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook for one more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue until all of the liquid evaporates (this should take 3-4 minutes). Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  3. Carefully, place the cooked meatballs into the sauce, cover and simmer on very low heat for at least 25 minutes. (In my opinion, the longer the better).
  4. Serve the meatballs and sauce over spaghetti of your choice (I used whole wheat) with freshly grated Parmesan.