Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce

With all of this holiday eating and cooking, making a big meal may not be your biggest priority right now. And you’re probably out of leftovers….. so, here’s a solution to still having a quick, easy, home cooked meal. It would take longer for you to call and order a pizza and wait for it to be delivered, than it would take to make this. This is a dinner we’ve had on our “Meatless Monday” nights. Yes, I’m aware it’s now Tuesday. But it’s great any time you need something fast.

Just be warned, I took pictures of this dish MONTHS and MONTHS ago. Like, almost a year. And I’ve just never posted it before. And the food was taken with my old phone. At night, when it was totally dark. So it’s really not the best¬†picture you’ve ever seen. But make the food anyways, and you’ll see in person it’s much tastier looking than my crappy photography makes it out to be! ūüôā

 

pasta ingredients

Don’t be alarmed by the date on the half & half. This is an old picture!

Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce

  • 1 lb. pasta, noodle type is your choice
  • 1/2 c. half & half
  • 1/3 c. prepared pesto sauce
  • 1 tomato, chopped

Cook pasta according to directions on box. In a small saucepan, add the prepared pesto and the half and half. Heat on medium low, until warm, and stir together. When pasta is cooked, drain and add to a bowl. Pour creamy pesto sauce over the top and add chopped tomato. Stir and serve.

It’s seriously that easy AND only 4 ingredients. Feel free to add some cracked black pepper or a little bit of grated parmesan but really, it has a ton of flavor already.pasta

Creamy Mediterranean Dip

cm dip 2I first tasted this dip quite a few years back when a friend brought it over to my house. Yummy! I had to have the recipe!¬†Although it’s been quite awhile since I last had it, it recently popped in my head and I had to make it.¬†It’s very creamy (hence the title) as well as crunchy, garlicky, and very fresh tasting. Great summer appetizer, but delicious at any time of year.

Well, my parents raved about it when they ate it. And my mom told me I must post it on my blog. I’ve altered the original recipe to fit finicky taste buds and along with that, gave it a new name because what used to be an “Italian” dip, now seems to me to be very much Mediterranean. Here it is!!

Creamy Mediterranean Dip

  • 1, 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 large green onion or 2 small green onions, sliced
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 baby cucumber, diced small
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced small
  • 2 tbsp. red or white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Italian dressing

cm dipIn a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, garlic, green onions and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread onto a plate to form an even layer. In another bowl, mix together the cucumber, tomato, onion and dressing with a dash of pepper. Spoon over the top of the cream cheese mixture in an even layer. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with crackers or pretzel crisps.

P.S. Check out my vintage milk glass platter. This one happens to be my FAVORITE platter EVER. I’ve recently become over the moon for milk glass and am building up a collection. Best part is that these beautiful pieces have been gifted to me by loved ones!

Macaroni & Cheese

mac n cheeseThere are so many mac and cheese recipes out there! So why make this one? Simply put, it’s GOOD! Very creamy, easy to make, and it¬†doesn’t require baking time in the oven. Plus, it doesn’t call for any special fancy ingredients. Look in your pantry and fridge and I’m sure you’ll have everything you need to make this side dish. Annnndddd…. no heavy cream. Yet, it’s delectably creamy. Yes, it’s possible to have that consistency WITHOUT all that fat. Your thighs just thanked me!

P.S. If you’re having a BBQ this holiday weekend, this is the side dish to make!

Macaroni & Cheese

  • 10 ounces elbow macaroni noodles
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups of milk (I use 1 %)
  • 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Dash of cayenne powder
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper to taste (I used an 1/8 tsp.- 1/4 tsp. each)

Heat a pot full of water to boiling. Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. In the same pot, add butter over medium heat. Melt the butter and then add in the garlic, as well as the rest of the seasonings. Saute for a few minutes and then add in the flour. Stir using a whisk and let cook for about 1 minute. Add in milk, whisking as you pour. As the sauce heats up, it will start to thicken and bubble. Make sure to stir occasionally during this. When the mixture just comes to a bubble, add in the cheeses, stirring until the cheese melts. Add the noodles back into the pot and stir together. Turn off heat and taste, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.

mac n cheese 8mac n cheese 7mac n cheese 6mac n cheese 5mac n cheese 9mac n cheese 4mac n cheese 3mac n cheese 2This stuff also reheats pretty well, so if you have leftovers, don’t throw them away!

Grilled Romaine Hearts w/ Balsamic Dressing

grilled romaine 4It’s getting hot out! Well, at least here in my neck of the woods. Should hit the triple digits today. Know what that means? It means I DO NOT, and I repeat, I DO NOT, want to turn my oven on. Time to head outside to grill.

This recipe is great for a hot day, but I could eat it pretty much any time of year. If you’ve never had grilled salad before, try it out. It may sound strange but it’s oh so good! Really!

I like this salad best with balsamic dressing. If you don’t have time to make it yourself, there’s some really great store bought options out there. But I’ve included below a creamy balsamic dressing recipe that I found from Pinterest. It’s simply delightful. This salad is also¬†great with just some extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar¬†drizzled over the top. Your choice!

Grilled Romaine Hearts

3 romaine hearts, washed and cut in half lengthwise with the base slightly trimmed (you want the heart intact still)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

grilled romaine

Washed and drizzled with olive oil

grilled romaine 2

Cooking the salad? Weird, but delicious

grilled romaine 3

Get some good grill marks

Preheat your BBQ to a medium heat. An indoor grill pan will work too. Drizzle your romaine hearts with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place romaine hearts on the grill and let cook for a few minutes, until they start to brown and wilt slightly. Flip over and do the same to the other side. Once cooked, place on a plate, drizzle with dressing and freshly grated parmesan.

grilled romaine 5

Dig in!

Balsamic Dressing (original recipe at My Life as a Mrs.)

(makes 1 2/3 cups of dressing)

4 cloves garlic, grated
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning (I didn’t have this so I omitted this ingredient)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra light olive oil

Whisk together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, dijon mustard, sugar, Nature’s Seasoning, and salt until well combined. Add the balsamic vinegar and whisk well. Slowly add in the olive oil (while whisking). Refrigerate until ready to use.