Beefy Penne Bake – Help Crush Hunger

red-gold-kids-eating

I have shared a lot of posts and recipes over the years, but this is one of the most important.  In a world that can seem a little (or a lot) out of control, with more bad news than we think we can handle, we also have the opportunity to join together for good.

This October, Red Gold is partnering with Feeding America for the #HelpCrushHunger campaign.  And we can easily join in to help!

For each Red Gold product purchased throughout the month of October, Red Gold will donate a meal to someone in need.  The goal is to donate 1.7 million meals to Feeding America food banks across the country.

You guys!  How easy is that?  All we need to do is buy Red Gold tomato products in October and a meal will be provided for people who need it!  Since every grocery list I’ve ever put together has canned tomatoes on it, this is a no-brainer, simple way for me to help.

red-gold-buffet-line

Our church has a small after school program for kids that live in a nearby neighborhood.  This year the organizers of the program committed to including dinner as part of the program.  Many of the kids don’t get enough to eat at home.

I made a big pan of Beefy Penne Bake to share with them last week.  They ate it up!  Another woman brought a watermelon from her garden.  The kids love fresh fruit.  One little guy is a true watermelon lover.  I lost count of how many pieces he ate.  I remember him loading up on watermelon during Vacation Bible School too.

I hope you’ll join me and #HelpCrushHunger during the month of October. When you show or tell about a family meal experience on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, use #HelpCrushHunger in the caption and you’ll be entered to win a Red Gold Family Meal Kit and $100 to donate to your local food bank.  Visit www.HelpCrushHunger.com for more info.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Beefy Penne Bake:   [Read more…]

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Pasta Puttanesca – So easy to make, so amazing to eat!

pasta-puttanesca-so-easy-to-make-and-amazing-to-eat

The first time I heard of Pasta Puttanesca, was in the book Belong to Me by Maria de los Santos.  (Fabulous book, by the way.)  Something triggered my memory of the dish the other day and I decided to make it.

Oh my!  This pasta is full of flavor!  Garlic, tomatoes, olives, basil, Parmesan and anchovies all come together in a burst of taste.  Please don’t leave because I said anchovies.  They add so much flavor and you’ll never even know they’re in there.  They disappear when cooked, leaving behind only a wonderful taste.  Even your kids won’t know about it if you don’t tell them.

This dish is so quick to make.  I pulled it together on a Sunday for lunch after church.  It’s ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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Quick and Easy Homemade Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

Quick and Easy Homemade Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

Spaghetti or pasta is a favorite weeknight go-to dinner for many families.  It is for us too.

I used to reach for a jar of prepared pasta sauce, but once I figured out that homemade pasta sauce didn’t have to take all day to make, I rarely grab the jar.

Instead, I use some version of this recipe.  It starts with a can of Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes.  Well, actually I started this version with the Italian sausage, but the crushed tomatoes are the main ingredient.

The sauce comes together in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.  It’s so easy!  Homemade is so much better than store-bought and it’s just about as easy as opening a jar.

Italian sausage and plenty of herbs spice up the good tomato flavor.  It’s fantastic over any type of pasta.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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Chipotle Ranch Chicken Pasta

The Eat at Home Challenge is off to a great start! Nearly 1800 people have joined.  I’m doing the challenge right along with everyone else, but last week I was sick all week.  Summer isn’t supposed to be for viruses, but this one sure did lay me flat!  It’s put me a little behind and made the Eat at Home Challenge a bit more challenging for my family.  We haven’t eaten perfectly planned meals, but we have eaten.  Fingers crossed that this week is better!

Today, we’ve got a recipe from Kate.  This one looks fantastic!

I know the summer stereotype is lazy days but my summers are always busy. The longer days always seem to keep us out and about later, which often means less time to make dinner. This pasta has been one of my favorites so far this summer. It’s a recreation of something I got at a local café and it comes together in about fifteen minutes. If you cook the pasta the night before, you can have it on the table in about five.

ChipotleRanchChickenPasta

I prefer to serve this cold – it feels more refreshing on a summer night, especially with fresh-from-the-garden corn and tomatoes – but you can heat it if you want to.

ChipotleRanchIngredients

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Pasta
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. mini penne
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 ear of corn, grilled and cut off
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 8 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 tsp. chipotle sauce, or more, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ranch dressing and chipotle sauce.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, chicken, corn, tomato and onion. Pour the dressing over and toss to coat. Add the cheese and stir until evenly distributed.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Kate is a home cook and new mom  from New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.

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Perfect Pasta Salad {plus tips I’ve learned}

4 Tips for Making Perfect Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a great dish to bring to a party, family get-together or for summer entertaining. It makes a great side, and if you are like me, you can make a meal out of it. It’s also so versatile, that you can add just about anything to it. However, for years…I just couldn’t get it right. After much trial and error, I have come up with what I think is the Perfect Pasta Salad!

Perfect Pasta Salad Bowl EAH

 

  • First tip, it’s important to cook your pasta al dente (it should say on the box how many minutes this is, I like to use rotini pasta and it’s usually 7 minutes). This will prevent the pasta from getting too mushy/soggy because the pasta will soak up some of the dressing as it sits.
  • Second, and this is where I often went wrong, you need equal amounts of pasta to vegetables/add-ins. I like to chop my main veggies fairly uniform (“bite” size), like cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. My other ingredients that I use less of because of the strong flavor, such as onions and peppers, are chopped smaller. By add-ins, I am talking about not only vegetables, but also cheese, meats (pepperoni, ham, chicken), etc.
  • Third,  the dressing…everyone has their favorite and how much they like, but too much or too little can turn your perfect pasta salad into a “ehhh, it’s okay” pasta salad. My rule of thumb is 4:4:14 cups cooked pasta, 4 cups veggies/add-ins, 1 cup dressing. Even when I make a large batch for a cook-out or party, I stick with my ratios. See, math does come in handy sometimes! The pasta and veggies will soak up some of the dressing, so if you make this the night before, you may need to add a little more dressing the next day. This is a good starting point, and you can adjust to suit your taste buds.
  • Finally, and this is just a suggestion because they are not always readily available, but I highly recommend adding fresh herbs. My favorites to use are basil or cilantro.

Pasta Salad Ingredients EAH

I am particularly fond of the above ingredients for my pasta salad. However, I usually add peppers and I always add some kind of cheese, which somehow did not make the picture! I usually use feta, but feel free to add whatever is your favorite.

Perfect Pasta Salad {plus tips I've learned}
This pasta salad is the perfect side or light meal. Great for parties, cookouts, and more.
Ingredients
  • 8 oz dry pasta (will yield about 4 cups when cooked)
  • 4 cups desired vegetables/add-ins (such as cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, fresh herbs, cheese)
  • 1 cup dressing (such as House Italian, Oil & Vinegar, etc.)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package for al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. Place drained pasta in a large bowl, adding vegetables and desired add-ins.
  3. Add dressing, salt, pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Place in fridge to chill or serve immediately.

P.S. Want to save $60 and 2 hours each week on grocery shopping? Click herehttp://eatathomecooks.com/MealPlans429

Kim is a contributing writer for Eat at Home and author of food & family blog, Makin’ it Mo’Betta. She blogs about her adventures in the kitchen, incorporating life as mom to teen and tween girls, as well as a young son with nut allergies, and wife to a diabetic husband. Life is never dull!

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Quick Mediterranean Pasta Skillet

When we were first living together, my husband and I started making “clean out the veggie drawer pasta” once a week. It’s exactly what it sounds like: once a week, anything that was left in the drawer went into our dinner. Some weeks it was unexpectedly awesome – some weeks not so much. Over time, it evolved into a few different go-to dinners.

MedPastaSkillet

This variation of the pasta is my personal favorite. I’ll still make substitutions depending on what we have on hand – chicken instead of ham or peas instead of tomatoes make frequent appearances – but these are always what I hope to find in the drawer when we start prepping dinner.

MedPastaIngredients

I love how fast this comes together. I usually start my chopping right after I dump the pasta into the water and then by the time I’m ready to add the pasta to the skillet, it’s done cooking. Paired with a salad and a loaf of crusty bread, it’s an awesome, quick meal.

Quick Mediterranean Pasta Skillet

Serves: 4 Servings

Ingredients
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large ham steak, diced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ⅓ cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and ham and cook until onion is translucent and ham is browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds more, until fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and sliced olives and cook another 1-2 minutes, until the tomatoes start to give up their juice.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to combine. Add more olive oil as needed to coat. Stir in Parmesan cheese, top with basil and serve.

Kate is a home cook and new mom  from New Jersey. In addition to sharing recipes with Eat at Home readers, she blogs her cooking adventures at Kate’s Recipe Box. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find her reading or tending to her garden.

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Homemade Alfredo Sauce Recipe (For Chicken Alfredo Pizza or Pasta)

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

 

We’ve been loving our pizza Fridays!  I’ve shared some tips on homemade pizza making with you, an easy and fantastic sauce recipe and the pizza dough recipe that’s working for us.

Last week my kids lobbied for Chicken Alfredo Pizza.  I wanted to make homemade sauce for it, rather than using jarred Alfredo.

When I make Fettuccine Alfredo, I don’t make the sauce separate from the pasta. (Sometimes, instead of half and half, I use cooking water from the pasta pot.)  This is the best and easiest way to make homemade Fettuccine Alfredo.

But since we wanted the sauce to put on pizza, I needed to make a separate sauce.  Thankfully, it’s very easy to make and it only takes a few ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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The Best Homemade Pizza Sauce – and it’s really easy too!

Pizza Sauce recipe ingredients

 

Last week I shared with you how I’m learning to make great, homemade pizza.  I shared what I’ve learned so far in the process too, along with a few easy takeaways so you can up your pizza baking game.

Today, I’m sharing my current favorite sauce recipe.  The only photo I have is the one of the ingredients.  But sauce is sauce, at least to look at.

Taste is another matter.  And this sauce tastes incredible!

I altered the recipe from the Craftsy pizza class I told you about before.  The chef in that class added water, which I didn’t think was needed.

I also used a specific brand of tomatoes – Cento San Marzano.  A friend recently told me about these tomatoes.  They are more expensive than other brands, but if you’re making something where the tomatoes are the stand out ingredient, this is the way to go.  Find them near the spaghetti sauces, instead of near the other tomato products.

Make this sauce before you start assembling your other pizza ingredients so it can have a chance for the flavors to come together.

The Best Homemade Pizza Sauce - and it's really easy too!

Serves: about 2 cups

Ingredients
  • 28 oz can San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes
  • ½ Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Pour the tomatoes and all the juice from the can into a blender.
  2. Quickly blend just to chop the tomatoes. Sauce shouldn't be smooth.
  3. Pour from the blender into medium sized bowl.
  4. Stir remaining ingredients in by spoon.
  5. Any extra sauce can be frozen.

 

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15 Minute Meal Series – Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

pepperoni-pizza-pasta-done

 

Pasta meals are often quick to fix.  They also tend to be inexpensive.  Win-win.

This recipe uses pepperoni for protein and flavor.  That means that there’s no meat that has to cook.  You can’t get easier than that.

I make mine chock full of bell peppers and onions.  Feel free to add any pizza topping that your family likes.  Mushrooms, banana peppers, olives or anything else your imagination and pantry yield.

Click here to see the recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Pasta.

15 Minute Meals for Back to School

This post is part of our new series on 15 Minute Meals.  You can find the other posts in the series linked here.

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Cajun Chicken Skillet with Pasta – a take on Basic Chicken Skillet meal builder

Cajun Chicken Skillet with Pasta

 

My family loved this meal.  Give them pasta, chicken and lots of flavor and they are happy people!

This Cajun Chicken Skillet with Pasta is a take on the Basic Chicken Skillet I showed you a few weeks ago.

You start with the basics:

Basic Chicken Skillet

 

And then you accessorize to make it something special.

In this case, I added tomatoes, creamy half & half, linguine, a little Parmesan and plenty of Cajun Seasoning from McCormick.

Cajun seasoning McCormick

 

These simple ingredients come together to create a meal that’s worth gathering around the table to eat together.  Not only that, but it’s easy to fix.  And any leftovers can be reheated for the stragglers.  In our house, we never know if we’ll have 7 or 8 people at dinner or just 3!

American Homemade meals automatically call for family and friends to gather around the table.  This summer McCormick is celebrating American Homemade and giving you a chance to share your recipe stories.  There are many recipes from all around the country shared on the American Homemade site.  And you can upload your stories here.  Also, visit American Homemade on Facebook.

Back to the story of this pasta.  This is easy, family pleasing pasta dish.  The Cajun Seasoning adds bold flavor to the meal.  Pair this with a crisp, green salad for a complete dinner.  Here’s what you’ll need to make Cajun Chicken Skillet with Pasta:   [Read more…]

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