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Meals/ RECIPES

6 Super Simple Dinner Recipes Using Trader Joes Ingredients + A Shopping List

egg carton from Trader Joes

I have a dear friend whose husband was in a bad car accident last November. He suffered a traumatic brain injury & her world has been turned upside down. He has been healing all of these months and is not home yet. As you can imagine, keeping up with meals has been a challenge. Her daughter asked me to make a simple meal plan with some quick meal ideas for her Mom to make, in between trips to caring for her husband.

My friend likes simple, healthy food, so I hope this plan will serve her well & the grocery list make shopping convenient for her.

6 Super Simple Dinner Recipes

This plan has one chicken dish, one ground beef dish, one fish dish, 2 vegetarian soups and one “brinner” or breakfast for dinner.  This will give 6 meals total.

These dinner recipes are super simple, quick and easy, & are made using Trader Joes groceries.

Serve each meal with a big, green leafy salad and one another type of vegetable on the side, if desired.

 

Chicken

Balsamic Slow Cooker Chicken  & Roasted Potatoes

 

 Buy:

4 organic chicken breasts

organic chicken broth (in a box)

balsamic vinegar

brown sugar, 3 cloves garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried rosemary

Red potatoes

 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 boneless, skin-less chicken breasts

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

salt & pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, brown sugar and garlic; set aside. 

Season chicken breasts with basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper.

Place chicken breasts into a 6 qt slow cooker. Stir in balsamic vinegar mixture. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.  

 

Roasted Red Potatoes

Wash potatoes. Cut into 1/4. Put in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil & seasons with salt, pepper & some dried rosemary. Toss (I use my hands) then place in a single layer once again. Bake 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and able to prick with a fork.

 

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Soup #1

Easy Black Bean Soup with $.99 Pretzel Bread

 

Buy:

15 ounce can black beans

frozen corn

salsa

vegetable broth

cumin

$.99 cent pretzel bread (small loaf, comes in a paper sleeve)

 

Make:

Using recipe below, which really just takes minutes, make the soup.  Serve in bowls with pretzel bread for dipping.

 

Easy Black Bean Soup
{happy herbivore}

15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (or not:))
1 cup salsa
11/2 cups vegetable broth (more or less, depending on desired thickness)
1/2 tsp cumin
dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

tortilla chips (optional)

Place 1 cup beans, salsa, broth and cumin in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add remaining ingredients except chips. Stir to combine and heat thoroughly over low. Once warmed, serve and garnish with broken chips.

 

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Fish

Swai Fish Filets on a Bed of Wild Rice, Veggie & Salad

 

To Buy:

Swai frozen fillets (any white fish if Swai is not available)

frozen multi-grain rice packs

dried dill

butter

 

Make:

Line baking sheet with foil. Lay out thawed fish filets. Sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper and dill. Add a pat of butter on to of each filet. Bake 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until no longer opaque in the middle and flakes easily. Serve with rice, veggie & salad.

 

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a pan full of ingredients for sloppy joes

Beef

Sloppy Joes with Mashed Potatoes

 

Buy:

1 lb Organic, grass-fed beef

hamburger buns

mashed potatoes (in a bag in the freezer section)

ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, lemon, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, paprika, oregano

 

Make:

Use this recipe for Sloppy Joes, but substitute the lentils for the ground beef.  So easy! Serve on buns with a side of mashed potatoes.

 

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Soup #2

Easy Tomato, Pesto, Tortellini Soup

 

Buy:

Organic Tomato Soup (in a box)

Container of prepared pesto (in refrigerator section)

Container of fresh tortellini pasta (in refrigerator section)

Sourdough bread (optional)

 

Make:

Pour the tomato soup into a sauce pan. Let come to almost a boil, then reduce heat.  Add tortellini pasta and cook for 4-6 minutes or according to package directions. Taste one to make sure it is tender. Last step, add 2 large spoonfuls of prepared pesto & swirl into the soup. Serve with crusty bread.

 

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piece of bread with an egg cooked inside of it

“Brinner” (Breakfast for Dinner)

Toad In a Hole + Nitrate-Free Bacon

 

Buy:

Organic Eggs

Bread

Nitrate-Free Bacon (get the ‘already cooked’ kind, in the bacon area)

Frozen berries (your choice, I like blackberries)

 

Make:

Make Toad In a Hole using this recipe. Heat bacon for just seconds in the microwave according to directions. Serve with slightly thawed berries.

 

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Trader Joes Shopping List

 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Dish Ingredients

4 organic chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)

organic chicken broth (in a box)

balsamic vinegar

brown sugar

garlic

dried basil

dried oregano

dried thyme

dried rosemary

red potatoes

 

Black Bean Soup Ingredients

15 ounce can black beans

frozen corn

salsa

vegetable broth

cumin

$.99 cent pretzel bread (small loaf, comes in a paper sleeve)

Tortilla chips (optional)

 

Fish Dish Ingredients

Swai frozen fillets (any white fish if Swai is not available)

multi-grain or organic brown rice packs (in freezer section)

dried dill

butter

 

Beef Dish (Sloppy Joes) Ingredients

1 lb Organic, grass-fed beef

hamburger buns

mashed potatoes (in a bag in the freezer section)

ketchup

mustard

Worcestershire Sauce

lemon

chili powder

brown sugar

cumin

paprika

oregano

 

Tomato, Basil, Tortellini Soup Ingredients

Organic Tomato Soup (in a box)

Container of prepared pesto (in refrigerator section)

Container of fresh tortellini pasta (in refrigerator section)

Sourdough bread (optional)

 

“Brinner” (Breakfast for Dinner) Ingredients

Organic Eggs

Bread

Nitrate-Free Bacon (get the ‘already cooked’ kind, in the bacon area)

Frozen berries (your choice, I like blackberries)

 

Misc.

Bagged Salad Greens to eat with each meal

Frozen sides of veggies to eat with each meal

Something Sweet (I love Trader Joe’s bag of Nutty Bites)

Wine {smile}

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Would you be willing to know more about our dear friends and consider giving toward a fund we set up to help lighten the load? We are getting close to the goal and I know every bit helps and so appreciated!

If you are unable to give, will you pray for them? The journey has been long and the road is hard. I know your prayers will bring continued peace & healing.

Meals/ POPULAR/ RECIPES

30 Minute Sloppy Joes

Pan of Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes have always been a comfort food for me.  This 30 Minute Sloppy Joes Recipe is a keeper. It’s almost as comforting as the recipe I’ve grown to love, which is the one my Mom makes and of course, can’t be replicated.  She just throws ingredients together, then tastes it, and it is magically perfect!

My recipe is very, very similar to hers, and uses the ingredients that she does, with a few added herbs and spices.  It was very easy to make, and even though the recipe ingredient list looks long, most of the ingredients are spices.

It excludes the garlic and green/red pepper that many Sloppy Joe recipes use, so the only chopping is an onion. This not only keeps the flavor simple but keeps the preparation simple, too! It really is a breeze to mix together for a quick, filling, comforting family dinner.

Continue Reading…

Meals/ RECIPES

Slow Cooker Meatloaf Meatballs & Sauce

SLOW COOKER MEATLOAF MEATBALLS & SAUCE

I’ve been collecting easy recipes for the slow cooker that my whole family will love and eat. These Slow Cooker Meatloaf Meatballs & Sauce fit the bill and then some.  They are delicious, inexpensive, quick & easy, made in the slow cooker, and everyone loves them!

SLOW COOKER RICE MEATBALLS

They taste like delicious little meatloaves. The binder to hold them together is cooked rice.  My Mom used to make something similar called Porcupine Meatballs, but they remind me of a meatloaf recipe I’ve made that also uses rice, so I named them Meatloaf Meatballs.  They have definitely become one of our family’s favorite meals!

I’m trying to get into the habit of making a slow cooker meal on Sundays.  It is a busy day for our family, as my girls are involved in church and youth group activities, and it seems like everyone needs to be somewhere at different times, and arrive home at different times– hungry & wanting food!

Why Our Family Needs Slow Cooker Sunday

My 16-year-old Teagan teaches Sunday School for 5-year-old’s during the first service, my Colsie & Avery attend youth group first service, and Todd and I sit attend church & listen to the sermon during the first service.  Then Todd takes the younger two home, & I have been attending a teen parenting class during the second service while my Teagan sits in church with her friends to hear the sermon during the second service.

Some Sunday afternoons Teagan has youth leadership team meetings and every Sunday evening my 2 high school girls attend youth group. Whew! I told you Sundays are crazy! I am so thankful for our church and all that we learn there as a family, and I’m so thankful my 3 girls all love being there.

SLOW COOKER RICE MEATBALLS & SAUCE

Slow Cooker Sundays

Can you see why I need to utilize my slow cooker on Sundays? I love coming home from church to a house that smells delicious & food that is ready to eat.

These meatballs are a snap to put together, but if you would rather not be handling raw ground beef first thing in the morning, this can be thrown together the evening before, and kept in the refrigerator until morning.

A key step in keeping this recipe easy is to have rice that is already cooked.  Rice freezes beautifully in jars, so I always make extra when using my favorite rice maker.  Sometimes I get lazy and just buy Trader Joes frozen rice. They have a rice blend that uses a few different types of grains & adds extra fiber to this meal.

Do you have any favorite slow cooker recipes you love? If so, please share in the comments!

SLOW COOKER MEATBALLS & SAUCE

This recipe is from How Jen Does It. Click to watch her make this recipe on YouTube.  I add some onion powder & top them with ketchup for some added flavor and zing, which I thought was much needed.  Otherwise, I follow her recipe.

Slow Cooker Meatloaf Meatballs & Sauce

1 lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed & organic)

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 egg

2 8 oz cans tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

salt & pepper

1/4 cup or so of ketchup

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or wipe with oil.  Pour one can of tomato sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Mix ground beef, egg, rice, onion powder, salt & pepper.  Form into 1 1/2 inch balls.

Place on top of tomato sauce & pour 2nd can of tomato sauce on top of meatballs.

Top with ketchup (I just eyeball this and squirt it directly from the ketchup bottle, topping each meatball and adding the nice acidic tang that ketchup has.)

Cook on high 3 1/2 – 4 hours or low 7-8 hours.

Tips:

Do not stir.  These are tender and can fall apart easily.

Use good quality ground beef with lower fat content.

Great served with mashed potatoes & green beans!

FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ Meals/ RECIPES/ Sides/ Thanksgiving

Fabulous Turkey Cranberry Stuffing Sliders

FABULOUS TURKEY CRANBERRY STUFFING SLIDERS

Oh how I love Thanksgiving and all the wonderful flavors of this tasty holiday! These fabulous Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Sliders recipe taste just like Thanksgiving- in-a- sammy and makes me very, very happy!

I got the inspiration for this sandwich from Starbucks.  They serve a panini sandwich this time of year that has turkey, stuffing & dried cranberries in it.  I thought I could take the recipe to another level by making my Hall Of Fame Cranberry Sauce, taking a sandwich recipe that is already to die for, and switching the sandwich fillings up a bit.

The result was so very yummy.  I am going to make these little sliders for our family’s Thanksgiving Day Brunch.  They are a great way to get the traditional flavors into a non-traditional meal.

To make this recipe, you simply make your favorite stuffing recipe (mine happens to be the 5- minute- type from a box) and this Hall Of Fame Cranberry Sauce recipe, have some white turkey breast, swiss cheese, & Hawaiian Rolls on hand, and whip up a zesty butter sauce to brush on top of the sandwiches.  You than assemble the sandwiches by slicing the rolls open, adding turkey, stuffing, cheese & cranberry sauce as the filling, adding the top roll, then brushing it with the butter sauce.  After just a few minutes in the oven, you have soft,oowy gooey cheesy rolls with a bit of a crispy bottom, as some of the butter sauce drips down the sandwiches and makes the most amazing crust.  The sandwiches are soft on top and filled with the savory stuffing, and the sweet but tart surprise of the cranberry sauce is what makes these sandwiches shine.  I can’t tell you how wonderful this recipe is! I can’t wait to make them for my guests.

turkey cranberry stuffing sliders

Fabulous Turkey Cranberry Stuffing Sliders

2 packages of King Hawaiian Rolls (12 count each)

2 -7 oz packages sliced turkey breast (about 24 slices) OR (about 2 cups shredded, cooked turkey)

6 slices swiss cheese (cut in 1/4’s)

2 cups stuffing (one box of stuffing usually makes about 3 cups)

1 cup cranberry sauce (I used my Hall Of Fame Cranberry Sauce (recipe below–make ahead and cool to let flavors meld))

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup Butter melted

1/2 tablespoon Onion Powder

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

 

Step 1
Brush 9×13 baking dish with a bit of the butter mixture. Slice rolls in half (keeping them attached to each other while cutting all at once is much easier than slicing each individually) and place bottom of rolls in buttered pan.  Place a slice or two of turkey (or layer shredded turkey over rolls evenly) and top with stuffing, layering it evenly over the turkey. Drop small spoonfuls of the cranberry sauce evenly over the stuffing, then add a slice of swiss cheese on top of each roll. Replace the top of the rolls and bunch them closely together into the buttered baking dish.

Step 2
In a medium bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, melted butter, onion powder and Worcestershire sauce.

Step 3
Brush the rest of the sauce over tops of the rolls. Cover with foil.

Step 4
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and the bottom of sandwiches are slightly crisp. Watch closely and avoid over-browning. Serve warm.

HALL-OF-FAME-CRANBERRY-SAUCE-2

HALL OF FAME CRANBERRY SAUCE

1 1/4 cups brown sugar (original recipe calls for white sugar. I was out so I used brown, and it was so delicious that I will always use brown!)

3/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries

Zest of 1 orange (orange part only)

 

~In a large saucepan, add sugar, water and spices.  Cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and syrup comes to a rolling boil, about 3 minutes.

~In a colander, rinse and pick over the cranberries to remove any mushy ones.

~Add cranberries to boiling syrup and continue cooking, uncovered, just until they begin to pop, about 2-3 minutes (set the timer). Be careful not to cook them to long of they will get mushy.  I allowed mine to pop quite a bit, as I wanted the syrup to ooze into the cracks to infiltrate the cranberries.

~Remove from heat, stir in the orange zest.

Note: Syrup will thicken and turn a beautiful cranberry color once cooled and refrigerated.

Optional: mash some of the berries, keeping some of them whole. How much to mash? This depends on the consistency you personally like. I like half of them mashed, and half left whole.

~Cool to room temperature, uncovered.

~Ladle into clean jars and refrigerate until serving time.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups of sauce, enough to serve 6-8 people.

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What are your Thanksgiving Day Plans?  What is a favorite recipe that you are making or look forward to each year?

Brunch/ Holidays/Parties/ Meals/ RECIPES/ Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving Day Brunch Menu – 11 Great Recipes!

Thanksgiving-Brunch-Menu-Recipes

I am having my family over for Thanksgiving Brunch this year. I have 3 sisters and their families coming, and my Mom & Mother-in-Law. I’m truly looking forward to some fun family time.  I have the most precious nieces and nephews, 3 are teens and 3 are under the age of 4. I can’t wait to see them all!

I’m excited to switch up our regular menu and come up with some great breakfast/brunch recipe ideas.  I have a few ideas of my own that I will need to experiment with before Thanksgiving day, and I also found some amazing recipes on Pinterest that I want to try.

Here is the menu

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Best Ever Cranberry Sauce

Jaw Droppinly Good Cranberry Mimosas

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spiced Chai

Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Sauced Sliders

Oven Scrambled Eggs

Cornflake Topped Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

Apple Kale Slaw With Curried Almond Dressing

Deviled Eggs

Easy Elegant Yogurt Berry Parfait in a Trifle

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Perfect Ancestral Pumpkin Pie

Coffee | Hot Tea

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Best Ever Cranberry Sauce – Hall Of Fame Version

After trying many different cranberry sauce recipes, this one is by far my favorite. Everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe. It is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Some cranberries are left whole, some and smashed. It is not too spicy with just a touch of cinnamon. It is perfection, and thick enough to smear on a piece of toast like a jam.

 

Jaw Droppingly Good Cranberry Mimosa

This is also a recipe from Shockingly Delicious.  She takes a tablespoon of the Best Every Cranberry Sauce recipe above, puts it in the bottom of a champagne flute, adds some sparkling wine (I plan on using Moscato) & serve! Can’t get much easier than that.  The color of these Mimosa’s is so pretty, & I plan on adding a spiral of orange peel to each glass to make them look even more festive.

 

Turkey, Stuffing, & Cranberry Sliders

This is a recipe I will need to experiment with. Update: I did! Here it is.  I was inspired by Starbucks Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Panini– a sandwich that tastes like Thanksgiving!   I will be making these for dinner next week & will post the recipe if they turn out yummy!

 

Oven Scrambled Eggs

Sometimes simple is better.  I was going to make quiche or a breakfast casserole, but with so many other rich recipes that we will be having, I thought I would keep the eggs pure and simple.  I love this recipe. It makes enough for a crowd and couldn’t be easier.

 

Cornflake Topped Cheesey Hashbrown Casserole

This recipe has been made by our family for years.  It is so far from good for you, but boy, it sure tastes good!  I like to ask my sister to bring this. She makes it the best, and then I don’t have to face how junky the ingredients really are for you! Those cream of ‘something’ soups get me every time, but it IS a celebration, so bring it on.

 

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Apple Kale Slaw With Curried Almond Dressing

I must have some greens on the plate at any holiday celebration.  This recipe for Apple Kale Slaw is really hearty, delicious & beautiful to look at.  I am going to leave out the tomatoes and add dried cranberries or maybe pomegranate seeds.  Mmmm!

 

Deviled Eggs

We always have deviled eggs at our family Thanksgiving celebrations.  My older sister makes these the best, too! Her secret ingredient?  Instead of using regular mustard, she uses a bit of honey mustard.  The teens go nuts over these so she usually makes a couple dozen.

 

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Easy & Elegant Yogurt Parfait

I love the idea of using a classic trifle dish to make this pretty parfait! Just simply layer in granola, fruit & yogurt.  Can’t get any easier!

 

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Frosting

I may put my 13-year-old baker to work on these the day before Thanksgiving.  She is a super gifted baker and would do a great job.  This recipe caught my eye because they can be rolled out and sliced the night before, then raise for an hour in the morning, then baked.  I like the idea of greeting my guests with the scent for freshly baked cinnamon rolls!

 

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3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spiced Chai

I plan on brewing this ahead of time and keeping it warm in the crockpot for guests to help themselves.  It is such a warming, comforting drink! It tastes like fall!

 

Perfect Pumpkin Pie With A Secret Ingredient

Gotta have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving! This recipe is my all-time favorite recipe for Pumpkin Pie.  My sweet neighbors spoil us by delivering pumpkin pie during the holiday season, and it was by far the best pumpkin pie I had ever tasted.  I asked for the recipe & then of course, had to write a blog post about it.  It uses a secret ingredient! Click through to see what it is.

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I’m so ready for Thanksgiving Day Brunch with my sweet family.  Cannot wait to savor the food & the moments with them!

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More Thanksgiving Posts From New Nostalgia:

Thanksgiving-Ideas

13 Easy Ways To Host Thanksgiving In Style

A Perfectly Imperfect Thanksgiving Day Banner

Using Willow Tree Figurines For A Thanksgiving Day Tablescape

Getting Ready For Thanksgiving

A Child’s Heart On Thanksgiving

A Casual Un-Perfect Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Craft – A Thankfulness Tree

Giving Thanks In The Midst Of The Unknown

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What are YOUR Thanksgiving Plans?

What is your FAVORITE Thanksgiving Day Recipe?

Meals/ RECIPES/ Sponsored

Creamy Tomato Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta With Arugula & Topped with Crunchy Breadcrumbs

CAULIFLOWER-ALFREDO-PASTA

I loved gathering my family around the table for this good-for-you but oh- so- creamy pasta dish.  They never guessed by looking at it that the creaminess of the tomato alfredo sauce comes from cauliflower & avocado!  When they saw pasta with creamy sauce and  crunchy breadcrumb topping, they were ready to dig in.

I’m finding it hard to believe that my girls are growing so quickly.  I feel almost frantic to get them to the dinner table every day, just to hold on to the moments of us all being together as a family before they are all grown up and out of the house.  I’ve found myself mentioning this quite often on the blog lately, but boy, with 2 of my girls already in high school, reality has hit that they are growing up fast and that time flies.

Thankfully it does not take more than pasta & a great sauce to make my girls happy to come to our family dinner table, and Ragu has made it really easy to obtain a great sauce with just a twist of a jar.

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For this recipe, I did a little bit more that twist a jar open.  I’m participating in the Ragu Ready. Set. Cook! contest, which is a contest that challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring a product from the Ragu line, plus a set list of other contest ingredients.

Ragu Ready. Set. Cook! Contest

Would you like to enter this contest? I will give more details at the end of the post, but the grand prize is $5,000, runner-up gets $1,700 & people’s’ choice gets $750.  How fun would it be to win some cash while getting creative in the kitchen & feeding your family a great pasta dish?

To align with the contest, your recipe must include 4 of the below ingredients + Ragu.  You may also use ingredients outside of the list in your recipe as well.

Here is the list of ingredients you must choose from:

  • Italian Sausage
  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Eggs
  • Feta Cheese
  • Goat Cheese
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Arugula
  • Cilantro
  • Pine Nuts
  • Bacon
  • Shrimp
  • Polenta
  • Pasta
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Cauliflower
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Avocado

For my recipe, I chose pasta, cauliflower, avocado & breadcrumbs. I decided to keep it meat free as I am always looking for a hearty pasta dish for our Meatless Monday nights.

 

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Cauliflower-Ragu-collage

I love that you can now find pasta that has protein in it.  The pasta I used in this dish had 17 grams of protein per serving in it, all from plant sources (lentils, chickpeas, flaxseed, barley, oats & spelt).

Between the protein in the pasta and all of the veggies that create the sauce, I did not serve this pasta with anything but a few sliced tomatoes, the last from our garden.  We didn’t even need a salad as the arugula greens were right in the pasta! It was such an easy, hearty meal.

The sauce starts out with an entire head of cauliflower.  This is the key ingredient to making a creamy, vegetarian alfredo sauce.  You simply cut up the cauliflower, put it in a pan with some garlic and water, cover & let cook until very soft.  It must be soft if you want your sauce super creamy!

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When I saw that avocado was an ingredient in the contest list, I knew it would add some good-for-you fats into the dish while upping the creamy factor even more! I added lemon for 2 reasons–to keep the avocado from browning & also to add some acid to the dish, which is always pleasing to the palate.

While your pasta is boiling & your cauliflower is getting nice and soft on the stove, prepare your avocado with lemon by smashing them together with a fork.

Breadcrumb-collage

This is also a great time to prepare your crunchy breadcrumb topping.  This topping takes the recipe to a whole new level!  Putting just a couple of butter into breadcrumbs and adding just a bit of parmesan cheese makes such a great cheesy & crunchy topping to the creamy pasta.  This is so much better for you than having cream, butter and cheese in large portions in the sauce like most alfredo sauce recipes call for.

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Pictured above are all the components to the recipe that I prepared while the cauliflower is cooking.

Ragu sauce adds a ton of rich flavor & aroma to the sauce.  Ragu has been an Assunta secret recipe since 1937 & is made with vine- ripened, slow- simmered tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. I love that there is no artificial color, flavor, or high-fructose corn syrup added to their sauces.  They let us smell, see & savor their long-standing tradition of fresh taste, and they even offer an organic sauce!

Cauliflower-Blender-Rag

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The cauliflower should be cooked soft enough to easy break up with just a spoon.  Look how amazingly creamy it is after blending! That is just cauliflower, garlic, water, salt & pepper.  This alone tastes amazing, but for the contest, I wanted to kick it up even further.

Avocado-Cauliflower-blender

I added the smashed up avocado & jar of Ragu sauce, then blended some more.

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Isn’t that a beautiful, rich, creamy dreamy sauce? Can you believe there is no dairy in it?

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I mixed the hot pasta and sauce together in a large pan, added the arugula and stirred until it wilted.

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I then put it into a baking dish and topped it with the prepared breadcrumbs.

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After just a few minutes under the broiler, the topping becomes a beautiful crunchy, golden brown & the parmesan cheese sizzles and smells SO good!

My family had no idea that the bread crumb mixture is the only place there is cheese in this recipe! They ate it up and asked for seconds.

IMG_6094

So what do you think? Do you think you would make this recipe for your family? Do you want to participate in the Ragu Ready. Set. Cook! contest too?  If so, keep reading for instructions after the recipe.

Creamy Cauliflower Tomato Alfredo Pasta with Arugula & Crunchy Breadcrumb Topping

1 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 head of cauliflower –  cut up

1-1/2 cups of water

1 lb pasta

1 avocado

juice of half a lemon

1 jar Ragu Sauce, Traditional

1 cup arugula

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt & pepper

 

Directions:

Saute the minced garlic in the olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat.  Allow to cook for a few minutes, until the garlic is tender and fragrant, but not browned.  Add 1 cup of water to the saucepan, along with the cauliflower, and bring the water to a boil. (The water will not cover the cauliflower, and that’s okay.) Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot for 8-10 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender and very soft. You may need to add a bit more water if it evaporates completely before cauliflower is tender.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta to al dente according to instructions on the box. Drain and set aside in the large pan it boiled and keep warm.

Meanwhile:

Smash avocado with juice of 1/2 of lemon. Set aside.

Mix breadcrumbs with melted butter & parmesan cheese.  Mix well and set aside.

When cauliflower is finished cooking, transfer all contents in the pan to the blender.  Blend until very creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Season well!

Add avocado & lemon mixture. Blend again.

Add jar of Ragu sauce. Blend again.

Add sauce to the pasta & toss.  Add arugula. Heat gently and stir until arugula is wilted.

Put pasta into a 9×13 pan, top with breadcrumb mixture.

Broil for just a couple of minutes, until the breadcrumbs are toasty brown.

Serve immediately while hot.

……………

Ragu Ready. Set. Cook! Contest Information:

Ready. Set. Cook! challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring a sponsored ingredient, plus a set list of other contest ingredients.

 

Recipe Contest Elements:

  • Entry phase –4 weeks from 11/2 – 11/30- (you can enter on Food.com/Ragu page. Live on 11/2)
  • Rate and review phase –2 weeks
  • Judging phase –2 weeks
  • Winner announcement
  • People’s choice award

Prizing:

  • Grand prize $3,000
  • Runner-up $1,250
  • People’s Choice: $750

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ragu. The opinions and text are all mine.

Meals/ RECIPES

17 Easy Meals To Get You (And Me) Out Of A Rut

Follow New Nostalgia

I’ve needed some meal inspiration, as we are getting in a rut this summer with meals.  I decided to make a list of meals we love around here, with a few sprinkled in from my Menu Plan board on Pinterest that I have not tried yet.  I marked those with a {*}.

What meals have been a staple for you this summer?  Leave links and ideas in the comments.

Moms-Taco-Salad

Mom’s Taco Salad

Mexican Food Pile On

1872fd414886c6d94f649dae44dc186f

Korean Beef

Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip For Nachos

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole

Popcorn Chicken & Roasted Red Potatoes

Company Pasta

Rotisserie Chicken

Cleansing-Chicken-Soup

Chicken Cleansing Soup

Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

3 Minute Asian Peanut Sauce For Noodles & Veggies *

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken *

Chicken-for-tacos

Portable Chicken Tacos

Ginger Garlic Baked Salmon *

SausageGrapeandPastaSkillet_02

 

Sausage, Grape & Pasta Skillet *

Chicken Fried Rice

Paprika-Chicken

Hungarian Paprika Chicken

………………..

17-EASY-MEALS{For Your Pinning Pleasure}

 

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