Homemade Pesto

Homemade Pesto

As you might have seen from my last post, I am up to my ears in fresh herbs (which is such a good thing)! I have been making this Homemade Pesto recipe lately on a weekly basis to go over pasta, served alongside grilled chicken or shrimp or as a topping to fresh salmon. This recipe is so easy to make—my fifteen year-old, Zachary made this batch for me. Toss fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, salt and a touch of a fresh lemon juice in a blender or food processor. It’s that easy!

Similar to cilantro, basil if filled with many health benefits including helping to rid of acne, help replenish iron and more. Basil is a good source of vitamin A and can help with cardiovascular health. Basil is also an anti-inflammatory food so it can also help individuals with inflammatory health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions. Try this recipe and enjoy fresh basil all summer long.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

If you like Spinach Artichoke Dip, this Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake is for you. My daughter, Leigh, asked why I had not thought of this sooner. It’s the perfect side dish with chicken or even main dish. Also, putting chopped chicken in this also works too, and adds even more protein. I used whole grain noodles and light cream cheese, part skim cheese and nonfat plain Greek yogurt so you’ll get a nice mix of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and not too high in fat. It is so simple to make–I think the toughest part honestly is thawing the spinach and making sure you get all the water out (I press the spinach with the tines of a fork to speed up the process). Enjoy for a weeknight dinner or side dish. I bet you will love it too!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I truly have and thank my awesome husband for a candlelit dinner at home last night. I just landed in St. Thomas for a magazine story. Photo taken at Mariott Frenchman’s Reef. It’s a little cloudy on this Sunday afternoon, but no complaints from me. Have a great week, Alison

St. Thomas Mariott Frenchman's Reef

Crockpot Turkey Spagetti Sauce

Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti Sauce

My son, Zachary, asked after school today if we were having chicken again tonight. I told I made something he’s going to really like, a new pasta dish with a homemade Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti Sauce. It’s so easy! Start browning the ground turkey with Italian seasoning. Then, add the remaining ingredients. Set the timer on your crockpot for 4 or 7 hours (depending on when you’ll be home) and that is it. I was so excited to use the new Organic Hunts Diced Tomatoes, Sauce and Tomato paste. 43% of consumers are trying to include organic foods in their diets, and Hunts does a great job creating tomatoes with fantastic flavors. Hunts cans each tomato for their sauces and whole and diced tomatoes within hours of picking them from the field. This flash steaming process is only done with water so these are products are super fresh! This recipe can also be made with ground beef, chicken or pork. Toss with your favorite pasta; serve with a salad and call everyone to the table for dinner.

Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti Sauce

Penne With Tomato Basil Sauce

Penne With Tomato Basil Sauce

TGIF! We have had the best week at the beach and are headed home today! It has been amazing one-on-one family time! Thinking ahead… what’s for dinner when we get back? This 15 minute recipe for Penne with Tomato Basil Sauce is on my list for something really easy and quick (under 15 minutes). This is also a great way to use up some of your fresh basil (if you’re growing it this summer).  You can also use summer fresh tomatoes, roast them and puree them. I am hoping to get to the Farmer’s market this weekend to make some sauce to freeze. I hope you have had a great week too! Cheers to summer!

 

Three Cheese Baked Penne and Giveaway

For the Oscars tonight or any weeknight dinner, I love this Three Cheese Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables. This is the type of make-ahead casserole that is perfect to take to a potluck dinner or for someone who just add a baby. I love serving to company, especially if there is a vegetarian in the crowd. Your family will love it too, and you can easily make it in two 9-inch (2.5 L) square baking dishes to freeze one and enjoy the other now. A crisp green salad goes well with the smooth texture of the deliciously melted cheeses. This recipe is one of many fabulous ones in the 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals Cookbook by Rose Murray. You’ll find everything in this book from big casseroles, to long-simmering stews as well as skillet meals such as quick stir-fries. And… I am giving away a copy.

To enter the giveaway, leaving a comment telling me your favorite casserole. For more chances to win, do the following and leave a comment telling me you did. The winner will be chosen randomly on Monday, March 10th at 8 A.M. Good Luck! :)

1. Like Ingredients, Inc. on Facebook

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest

Courtesy 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals by Rose Murray © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Baking Kitchen Shortcuts

I am always looking for kitchen shortcuts, quick cooking ideas and any helpful tips to make getting dinner on the table easier. You know… busy working mom with 3 kids. Pot-Sized Pasta from Ronco is my latest find. It comes in a pantry-friendly, top-opening box for easy storage. The pasta has been cut in half so it goes into the pot straight out of the box. Now you don’t have to break it, or deal with the mess. Despite its cute and easy size, each box still contains a full pound of pasta. Head over to Facebook for Ronco’s “Show us your shortcut promotion”  to vote for my kitchen shortcut (hint: how to quickly soften butter for baking). You may vote up to once per day for a chance to win one of 6 weekly drawings for a $100 American Express gift card. Vote here and good luck!

Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

The weather has been such a bummer lately. My kids have missed 2 days of school this week due to “inclement weather”, and it has not snowed yet (it’s supposed to be coming as we speak). Tonight we’re having this Easy Baked Ziti recipe that is warm, comforting and delicious! Hope you are having better weather than we are. Very ready for spring

Penne Pasta with Pine Nuts

For National Pasta month, how about this Penne Pasta with Pine Nuts? This simple pasta recipe is quick and easy to whip up, and the combination of ingredients makes it a heartwarming and flavorful meal that is sure to be a dinner favorite in your house. Did you know it’s actually suggested that eating two tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to monounsaturated fat. Enjoy on a busy weekday or for weekend entertaining. It’s so easy!

 

Iberia Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil and hand-selected, harvested olives processed in Spain.  The Spanish olives used are extracted using a “first cold press” process, which provides the rich aroma and flavor quality – ideal for using on salads, pasta, fish, meat dishes and marinades. Available at select retailers including Walmart. 

Vegetarian Pasta: Clean out the Freezer

I cleaned out the freezer this weekend, and I created the most awesome Vegetarian Pasta dish. My kids loved it, and they asked me if we were having company coming over. This is so easy and quick, under 30 minutes to prepare. Feel free to use any frozen vegetables in this recipe or add leftover cooked chicken or shrimp if you wish. People tend to forget that frozen foods and vegetables are picked at their peak and then flash frozen so they are just as nutritionally healthy and sometimes even more economical. Read more about the use of frozen food tips on Easy Home Meals and NFRA.

Also, check out my television appearance last week in New York on Fox & Friends First and  Fox & Friends on “What to Toss and what to keep”. It was such a blast! Video is here.

Stuffed Shells with Kale: Kid Friendly

Who else is really into kale? I am, and it’s awesome that my 3 kids love it too. Not only is it so healthy, but it is very inexpensive and a lot goes such a long way. This recipe for Stuffed Shells with Kale is one of my newest favorites and was inspired by my friend, Kelley of Mountain Mama Cooks. I saw it on her blog, and I made it right away. My kids loved the recipe too so it goes on our family favorites list. Feel free to add other vegetables, beef or sausage, to change it up a bit. It’s perfect for weeknight dinners or even Valentines Day!