Tag Archives: pasta

Bacon, tomato, and corn pasta

Is it creepy that every day I’m more and more convinced that I moved to the best place on earth? Are you tired of me going on and on extolling the virtues of living in the woods? Well, tough! Cause I love it here, and you get to hear all about it.

That’s not to say that there aren’t things that are tough, but everything seems so much more balanced than previously. I worked crazy long hours this week, but that just means I get a three day weekend. It’s been cold and gloomy this week, but last weekend was gorgeous and this one promises more of the same. We have a lot of yard work and cleanup on the agenda in the coming weekends (having moved into a place that was vacant and had the bare minimum done to the landscaping) but we have a hot tub to sink into after completing the work. See, it’s hard to get cranky when you’re surrounded by awesome.

I also continue to be amazed at the wildlife that surrounds us. Take for example this adorable (and nuisancey) deer. Sure, it means extra protection on the garden and apple trees, but that sight there still takes my breath away. Ok, maybe it’s because I’m screaming, “Cripes! Watch out for that deer!” but still.


So yeah, it’s been a busy, busy week, and I’m ready to collapse with a book (perhaps into the aforementioned hot tub). But that’s ok, because this tasty-asty pasta comes together in a snap. The bacon, of course, is amazing, but the balsamic cuts the richness. And fresh corn and tomatoes, yum! Even if it doesn’t look like spring yet, delish produce is making it’s way into the stores up here. Normally, you’d find me going on about the importance of local vegetables, but let’s be honest, it’s been a long winter, and that “fresh” sweet corn is starting to look awfully good. So don’t wait until high summer to make this, in fact, don’t even wait until tomorrow!


Bacon tomato corn pasta

Bacon, tomato, and corn pasta

3 ears corn
8 ounces spaghetti
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/2 – 1 inch slices
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper diced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes halved
1Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove corn from cobs and set aside. Place cobs in water and add pasta. Cook pasta to desired doneness. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss pasta with 1/2 Tbsp oil. Return pasta to pan, covering to keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium high heat until browned. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel. Drain all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat from pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and green pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add corn and cook about 3 minutes more. Add tomatoes and basil and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in vinegar.

Add vegetables and bacon to pasta, toss with reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan.


Cheesy southwest baked pasta

Guys! I’m back. Happy, shiny, best version of Jess has returned! And I’m bringing with me the advent of SPRING! Are you as excited as me? Oh, what a silly question, of course you are! I mean just look at all the exclamation marks I’m peppering you with, how can you not be excited?

Not only am I bringing spring with me today, I’m bringing awesome news too. Guess who’s got two thumbs and an offer to do some freelance writing? No, don’t be silly, Himself isn’t the writer in this household, I am! I don’t want to jinx anything, so you’re going to have to wait until I have all the hot little details before I spill the beans. Needless to say though, it does help reaffirm that Himself and I made such a good decision to chase these crazy dreams of ours.

Moving back to our talks of spring, it’s time to make the hard decisions this week. After months of mulling over just what is going into that 500 sq ft (!) garden of mine, I’m going to have to finally commit and order those seeds. Oooooh, the pressure. And now’s the time where I tell you all about my secret weapon. The overly organized, plan and list junkie, wee bit obsessive me has found the perfect tool for gardening. Let a garden run rampant? Let greens trail and grow where they please? Not in this yard, my friends. Ok, that may not be entirely true, but control freak me absolutely loves my smart gardener website. I say my website, but what I mean is my garden plan. Now, smart gardner has no idea who I am, so you can rest assured these opinions are wholly my own. “Well, get to it,” you’re saying, “what the heck is it?!” Ok, it’s a website where all I have to do is select my plants (downside you’re limited to plants in their database) and tell them the size of my garden. The site lays everything out for me, from how far apart to plant everything to the best companion plants. All I have to do is stick my hands in the dirt. Winning! So, while my attitude has totally been adjusted, I’m still going to be over here in the corner hiding with my seed catalogs.

While I’m pouring over these magazines, making all the hard decisions, you need to be making this cheesy pasta. Think mac and cheese, but with chicken and salsa. Once upon a longish time ago, I used to work in a crisis residence where we’d get this cheesy, chicken goodness in prepackaged frozen form. There’s nothing frozen here, my friends, this is all tasty, cheesy goodness. Oh, but wait, when you look at the picture there, just image a lovely, fresh sliced avocado in that wee blank space. It was a long night in the kitchen, and I somehow managed to leave space for the avocado, but completely neglect to plate it. Le sigh. But I can rest assured that you, my lovely, invisible internet friends, will learn from my mistakes.


Cheesy southwest pasta

Cheesy southwest pasta

8 ounces pasta
4 tablespoons butter
½ sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons taco seasoning (my trusty Arizona Dreaming makes another appearance!)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 ½ cups shredded cheese, Mexican blend or Monterey Jack, divided
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies, drained
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced as desired
1 cup corn chips, coarsely crushed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and keep warm, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile in a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for three minutes or until fragrant and slightly softened. Add the flour and cook into a roux for another 3 minutes, stirring often. Slowly add the milk about ¼ cup at a time, heating between additions. Add taco seasoning and cumin. Continue stirring until sauce is slightly thickened, just before reaching a gravy consistency. As you remove the spoon from the pan, the sauce should slowly drip off. Remove from heat and add 2 cups cheese. Continue stirring until cheese is melted and incorporated.

Add all remaining ingredients except ½ cup cheese and corn chips. Stirring well. Spread pasta into shallow 2 quart casserole dish. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle corn chips on top. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Browned butter, lemon and sage pasta

You guys, I seriously have the best job. Why just yesterday, I was plied with homemade sandwich loaf. Minneapolis was a desert for this delicious treat, and now it’s everywhere. Yayyyy! I know, you’re thinking, “How does homemade sandwich loaf equate to the best job?” Well, speaking from a girl who uses food to show how she cares about someone, it’s pretty awesome to walk into a room and have your favorite treat set aside for you.

But seriously, I have never before been made to feel so welcome at a job. My coworkers are the friendliest. And everyone is so concerned that I have the tools to do my job right. It’s a wonderful feeling!

I’m sure by now, you’re getting a little tired of me waxing melodic about how wonderful my job is, but to be completely honest, I haven’t had much time to do anything but work. Finding the balance in two jobs is taking a bit more time than I expected.

Moving on, Himself and I are not real big fans of Valentine’s Day. The holiday always feels like it’s placing so many expectations on people, so it usually slides under the radar here. That said, I should have shared this pasta recipe with you sooner, because it would have been a perfect V-day meal. So now, you have to promise to keep this in mind for your next date night. It’s a super quick recipe to put together, but will really impress. I mean, really, the “mmmmmm’s” coming from Himself were almost overwhelming. The recipe calls for a pre-made ravioli. Yes, it’s true, I did not make my own ravioli. Instead, you’re going to want to splurge on a really good, pre-made ravioli. Ours was a lamb and zucchini ravioli from the Sunrise Deli. Mmmmmmm. Now lamb ravioli won’t be found everywhere, but chicken or mushroom would work well here too. Just avoid anything acidic, as it will clash with the lemon.

Citrus has been sneaking into my recipes everywhere, I just can’t get enough of it. It’s that time of year, where even in the frozen hinterlands, the citrus is gorgeous and delicious. This recipe uses the juice and zest of lemons in it, but if you start to find yourself with extra peels, Kate at the Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking has put together a list of how to use up those peels. So far, I’ve been focusing on filling my freezer with all kinds of delicious packets of citrus zest.

This may be the most scattered, free form blog post of yet, so thanks for sticking through to the end. Now go make that pasta, my friends!


Browned butter sage and lemon pasta

Browned butter, lemon and sage pasta

12 ounces of your favorite pasta – pre-made ravioli works really well
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon sage, finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Parmesan cheese to garnish

In a large pot, cook pasta per package directions.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook butter over medium-low heat until fragrant and browned, approximately 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a separate saute pan, warm oil. Add garlic and lemon zest, saute until garlic is fragrant and just lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Add sage and cook just 1 minute more. Remove from heat and pour in browned butter and lemon juice.

Drain pasta, reserving ¼ of the pasta water. Toss pasta in sauce, adding pasta water if necessary. You need only add the pasta water if you want to cut the richness of the sauce. Sprinkle pasta with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Chicken caesar pasta salad

Whoooo hoooo! It’s finally the weekend. Course, I did work for couple of hours already this morning, but now my weekend has officially begun. And, let’s be honest, I sincerely need it. This has been such an odd week. Work has been hectic and our midweek trip to Minneapolis added more than a little stress with the terrible road conditions on the return trip. It seriously feels like the longest week ever.

So tonight, I’m prescribing Himself and I a night of relaxation and indulgence. I’ve long been a fan of the ideas of Ashley of Not Without Salt. She has a whole series entitled Dating My Husband. These posts are filled with delicious recipes they cook together. While not replicating the idea exactly, Himself and I love our stay at home dates, though it has been neglected as of late. These are nights where the meal is a little more intricate, the dessert indulgent, and everything is accompanied by a good bottle of wine and relaxed conversation. Sure those date nights out are awesome too, but there’s something special about carving out that space at home.

Now, this caesar pasta salad recipe is hardly the stuff of a date night at home, but it is nothing if not absolutely delicious. I love making this pasta salad almost as much as Himself loves eating it. This is the kind of staple I love having in my fridge to dish out for a quick lunch. The addition of the romaine and croutons makes it feel like a more complete meal. A delicious and super quick complete meal. And remember the breadsticks I love so much? Yup, those are a great accompaniment to this too.

I think you’ll notice that there’s quite a few recipes here that call for cooked chicken. The secret? Often when I make some sort of chicken for dinner, I’ll throw some extra in to have on hand for a meal to have in the next couple of days. Himself and I also love chicken on pizza, so we’ll keep some shredded chicken on hand in the freezer too.


Chicken caesar pasta salad

Chicken caesar pasta salad

12 oz package of your favorite pasta shape
1 lb chicken, cooked, cooled and shredded
1 to 1 ½ cups caesar dressing
½ cup chopped black olives, optional

Parmesan cheese
Baby romaine lettuce

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. When pasta is cool, place in large bowl. Mix in chicken, dressing, and olives.

To serve top pasta with parmesan cheese, croutons, and romaine.

Note: it’s best to top each individual serving with the cheese, croutons, and romaine, as the toppings will get soggy if mixed into the entire salad.

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