A Month of Thanks

I have seen so many “days of thankfulness” posts and they always just make me smile. Obviously, there are things we are thankful for every day – but I really enjoy reading about the little things that you might not normally think about.

Like comfort food. Who doesn’t love a body and soul warming bowl of soup or a casserole? But do we really think about how thankful we are for those things?

So, I just wanted to share with everybody a few of the little (and big) things I’ve found myself thankful for this month. I hope to continue with the list so when I find myself in a not-to-thankful mood, I can look at this and remember how blessed I truly am and knock “grumpy Mary” out of her foul mood.

Day 1 – My husband’s friends. I often get a little down because a lot of my best friends live so far away, but it’s been fun really getting to know this great group of people over the past 5 years and I’m so thankful that they have become my friends too.

Photobooth Fun

Day 2 – College football. Seriously, I love waking up Saturday mornings for College Game Day and catching football action all day long!

CGD

Day 3 – Sleep. Especially when it’s an extra hour for Daylight Savings…

Day 4 – My co-workers. They help keep me sane on the really stressful days!

Day 5 – Our church community. I sometimes struggle with integrating myself into a group and really feeling like a part of that group, but we have been blessed with the people we’ve met through 2PC.

Day 6 – My love for cooking. I am so thankful that my mother taught me how to prepare meals and how to love cooking and hosting. I can’t imagine what my days would be like if I didn’t look forward to coming home and preparing a delicious dinner.

Party

Day 7 – My wonderful husband. We spent Thursday night celebrating a major milestone in his personal life and in his career and I could not be more proud. He is the man of my dreams and I cannot believe I have been lucky enough to have met him almost 5 years ago. He is my best friend and I cherish every moment I’ve spent with him – whether traveling to Mexico, reading on the couch, touring Disney or just having a picnic on our floor, my heart is always full when I’m with him.

HusbandDate night

Day 8 – My husband’s family – they helped shape the man he is today and I love when we’re able to spend time with them.

Day 9 – My nephews. The hubby and I were in charge of ALL 4 boys for 24 hours this past weekend. Not gonna lie, we both opened a well-deserved beer at 8:00 p.m. and were wiped out – but they are so precious. It’s wonderful seeing them interact with each other and it makes me feel pretty darn special when they’re sad to see us go. I love my Pookers!

Day 10 – Ice cream. Like I said, we watched 4 boys over the weekend. Ice cream makes everybody happy, right?

Ice Cream

Day 11 – The amazing U.S. of A. No matter what opinions you have on politics, religion, etc.  – I am thankful that we’re able to hold and voice those opinions without fear.

Day 12 – Our home – because it’s home, not just a house.

Day 13 – Seasons. I love experiencing changes in the weather – each season gives me something to be excited about – football, fireplaces, family time, vacation. Except for raking leaves, I’d gladly give that one up…

Seasons

What are you finding yourself thankful for today?

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

I know I’ve said before that I have kind of a weird memory. But like, y’all don’t even know the extent.

An example:

I remember the first time I ever ate a caper. It was the summer after 7th grade and my mom and I were in Florida with my best friend, her mom, and her sister and two of her friends. We all went out to eat before the mothers headed back to the condo and the rest of us went to a club for some sort of teen night – which turned out to be hilariously sketchy.

For dinner, I ordered Chicken Picatta. I was hesitant about the little green pod looking things, but figured, meh, what the heck. I ate one and loved it. It reminded me a little of a green olive (I also love all things olives). In that moment, I fell in love with capers. I’m not even sure how to describe them other than “like a green olive, but not as potent.” Yes, they are salty. Maybe with a hint of citrus?

Anyways, I feel that they are underutilized. I mean, other than my eating them straight of the jar (hey – this is a judgment-free zone) – what else do I really use them with other than my “picattas”?

Smoked salmon. But I never actually make that at home. I do love it when I’m out for Sunday brunch somewhere and there’s a table with smoked salmon and all of the fixings. Chopped egg, red onion and, obviously, capers. Any excuse to load up on capers/olive/pickles in public and you can count me in! (Again – no judging!)

So the other night, after attending my workplace’s annual chili cook-off at lunch, I needed something a bit lighter for dinner. I decided on smoked salmon flatbread and I think I have found a new favorite! This version is super easy because I went with a pre-made version but I am sure you can trim off some WW points making your own dough!

Smoked Salmon Flatbread (1 Flatbread = 13 WW Points)

1 piece whole wheat Naan

Olive oil spray

Garlic salt

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese

1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped red onion

2 Tbsp. capers

1 1/2 oz. smoked salmon

Dried dill

Salt and pepper

This is so embarrassingly easy that I didn’t even take step-by-step shots! Spray the flatbread with olive oil or cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 5 minutes.

Spread cream cheese on top, sprinkle onion and capers evenly on top of the cheese. Bake another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and layer the salmon on top. Sprinkle with dill, salt and pepper.

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

Slice, serve and devour. I enjoyed this deliciously light meal with a glass of crisp chardonnay and liked it so much I did it again 3 nights later.

Give it a try and tell me what you think!

Have a great weekend y’all!

Chicken with Pepperoni Marinara Sauce

Dear October,

Where did you go?

Y’all, seriously. I just looked at my calendar and freaked out a little. I have been a very very bad blogger! It has been absolute chaos (the fun kind!) in our house these past few weeks. Just a little overview:

  • Wrapped up Sept. with a church community service project and then drove to Oxford, MS for a cousin’s wedding and some family birthday celebrating.
  • Then finished our bathroom (woot woot!).
  • Rang in October by celebrating our 2nd anniversary which included a delicious meal cooked by my husband and one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in my life at a restaurant I’d been dying to try. I may have made reservations in July to make sure we got there.
  • Hosted a couple’s shower for some friends – I love throwing parties, but they leave me exhausted. At least we had leftovers to eat for 3 days before we packed up again!
  • Headed to Orlando for another wedding – this time one of my best friends from college. Spent a day with Mickey and the gang, ate our way around the world at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival (which was AMAZING), got some girl time with my besties (sadly minus my Punk – but gotta keep her baby safe!) and celebrated the marriage of two wonderful people.
  • And this past weekend we celebrated another wedding – one of the husband’s best friends from college. He was in the wedding – so a whole weekend of festivities.

So – all of that to say. Hi. I’m back. And happy to be back in my kitchen cooking meals for 2 people for a little while. In order to get back in the swing of things, I needed a super easy recipe with stuff I had on hand and I found this little gem on the Cooking Light website.

Chicken with Pepperoni Marinara Sauce (Serves 4 / 7 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

Original recipe found here.

4 (5 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I buy thin sliced or cut a big one in half)

1 tsp. olive oil

Garlic powder and pepper

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

16 slices Turkey pepperoni, chopped

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce

1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded

Heat a large saucepan to medium. Coat with nonstick spray and add olive oil.

Sprinkle chicken breasts with a little garlic powder and pepper on each side. Add to skillet and cook 3-5 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.

Steps

Add garlic and chopped pepperoni to pan and cook about 2 minutes. Pour in marinara sauce and stir in Italian herb seasoning and garlic salt. You may want to add a little more salt or some pepper depending on the sauce you purchase – I like to cut the sweet a little.

Pour sauce over the chicken breasts and add 2 Tbsp. cheese on top of each piece. (To make this an easy one-pan meal – I pushed the sauce to one side and then added the chicken back in.) Cover for 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted.

Close Up

This was super easy and required ingredients I usually have on hand – so it worked out perfectly, I didn’t even have to make a run to the store! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Chicken Pepperoni-Marinara Sauce

Have a great weekend y’all!

Deviled Egg Spread

My sanity has been less than even-keeled this week.

Okay, that’s a lie. For the past 3 weeks. And okay, while we’re being honest – even-keeled went “bye-bye” a while ago.

As I have mentioned, we tackled our first “DIY” project this month: re-doing our half bath off the kitchen. You know, the bathroom all of our guests see. It is almost done – barring any more unforeseen issues. And we’re hosting a couple’s shower at our house in 8 days.

8 DAYS PEOPLE!

As in, I’ve been so busy with the reno – that I almost forgot I needed to like, plan a party. You know, invitations, food, beverages, decor. Oh, and we’re heading out of town in a few weeks and need to plan our itinerary. Oh, and we’re attending 3 weddings in the next 4 weeks.

Why did I just now discover that Wine Ice Cream exists? I still haven’t tried it…but I’d be surprised if I made it home without a pint (or 5) to add to my freezer. I need it in my life now – I’m lookin’ at you Chocolate Cabernet.

Needless to say (silly phrase, since I’m about to say what is needless to say) – I haven’t been whipping up masterpieces in the kitchen lately. However, I do have a recipe I forgot to blog about a while back to share with you. Who knew my absent-mindedness would save the day?

This is a great snack to serve for a small group – but beware if you have deviled egg lovers like my dad. This could disappear quite quickly!)

Deviled Egg Spread (Serves 4-6 / 7 total WW points for the spread + cracker of choice)

Ingredients

3 medium eggs

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 1/2 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1/2 tsp. ground mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. curry powder

Paprika for topping

Place eggs in a medium pot and cover with water. Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar (helps seal the egg in case of a crack!). Bring water to a boil and allow to boil about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, allowing the water to simmer 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover and sit 10 minutes. Once the eggs have cooled, tap shell on a hard surface and peel the shell off the egg. Repeat, and then slice hard-boiled eggs in half.

Remove yolks and add to a mini food processor. Add 3 halves of the egg whites in with the yolks. Add mayonnaise, mustard, dry mustard, curry powder, salt and pepper. Pulse the processor a few times until the ingredients are blended well. Begin with half of the measurements above – and just add as texture and taste dictate. (Example – I usually start with 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise add if the mixture needs to be smoother).

Step by Step

Take the remaining halves of the egg whites and give them a coarse chop. Add to small bowl, then stir in the yolk mixture.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, sprinkle with Paprika and serve! I used the Everything Pretzel Crisps and found them to be the perfect pairing…

Deviled Egg Spread

Have a great weekend y’all!

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Sooo, here’s the thing about our not-so major DIY project:

I have zero patience.

As in, I am annoyed that it’s not just done. As in, I found myself wanting to just stay home from work in order to get stuff done at home. Pesky jobs. You know, other than funding the project.

The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Which is good considering we’re throwing a party in 2 weeks and well, the half bath is kind of crucial for that type of event.

I am loving watching everything come together and to see the fixtures and miscellaneous items we’ve ordered arrive. I always panic when I pick out things that aren’t “meant” to go together – like at my wedding, thought I had a theme in my head but was so freaked out it would just look like a bunch of random crap. It did not. So I think I need to have a little faith in myself. And my husband. And vice versa. *Wink wink.*

Luckily we have lights on for now and barring a few more hours of allowing paint to try, we should have lights from here on out – which is fantastic for my sanity! It means I don’t have to come home and chop and prep like a mad woman with the daylight hours waning.

So obviously, that means we need to celebrate. And you know how we celebrate on this blog, right? Buffalo chicken.

I figured if my buffalo chicken tacos turned out to be a hit, these had to be. Y’all. They are delicious – I highly suggest them for a delicious dinner the next time you just want to park on your couch and watch a big game. Super easy and they do not take long to throw together. I know you might think I’m ashamed of my love for all the buffalo things – but I’m not. Not even a little.

Close Up

Give these a try and let me know what you think!

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas (5 WW pts. per enchilada)

Ingredients

5 whole wheat and/or high fiber tortillas

1 cup shredded chicken breast

1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

2 green onions, chopped

1 medium stalk celery, chopped

1 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce

1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/3 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix together enchilada sauce with 1/3 cup hot sauce. Adjust as your heat tolerance dictates.

Mix cheeses together in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, mix shredded chicken with 1/4 cup shredded cheese, green onions, celery, 2 Tbsp. hot sauce and about 1 Tbsp. of the enchilada sauce mixture.

StepbyStep

Add a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a lightly greased casserole dish.

Add 2-3 Tbsp. chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Roll lengthwise and fold ends under and place seam-side down in the casserole dish. When all of the tortillas are filled, pour remaining enchilada sauce over top. Add remaining shredded cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with blue cheese and cook another 5-7 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted…yeah baby.

Baked

Add to your plate…

Ariel Shot

And of course, devour.

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Have a great weekend y’all!

 

Hoisin Plum Chicken

So it has been interesting in my house for the past week.

Well, more like in the half bath and kitchen. You see, the husband and I decided to re-do our half bathroom downstairs right by the kitchen. So for the past few weeks, our kitchen table and counter tops have been covered with cabinets to be painted, hardware to be replaced and lots of other goodies like paint trays, brushes, and tape.

Last week, in order to finish priming, we took out the light fixture in the bathroom. Which just so happens to be on the same circuit as our kitchen light (not appliances, thank goodness). Know what that means? This food blogger has been trying to squeeze in all prep work upon arriving home now that it’s starting to get a little darker out earlier.

Cooking in the dark. Probably not as much fun as dancing in the dark. (All 80’s fans – particularly my Biffer – you are welcome for that awesome reference.) The name of my blog now feels like a web of lies…

Anyways, I have managed to whip up a few things with enough lighting to give the people what they want – delicious recipes!

Twice this week, I’ve had people comment on some of my recipes having lots of ingredients – which I know can be overwhelming. Guess what – this one is super easy and has minimal prep work and just 10 ingredients (including salt and pepper!). It’s a surprising combo of flavors – a little sweet BBQ flavor with some tart from the fruit, and the green onion brings it all home for me. Try this one out and let me know what you think!

Hoisin Plum Chicken (2 servings / 5 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

2 thin cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw (4-5 oz. each)

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 medium scallions, chopped

1 small plum, diced

1/4 tsp. minced garlic

2 1/2 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store)

1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth

1/2 lime, juiced

Begin by heating oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Add to skillet and cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm.

Saute and Sauce

Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, onion, plums and broth to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in hoisin sauce and stir. Cook 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened and stir in lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and pour sauce over chicken breasts.

Spoon Sauce

Serve and devour. Told you it was easy!

Hoisin Plum Chicken

Have a great weekend y’all – I’ll be working in our bathroom and hopefully getting the lights back on soon!

Buffalo Quinoa Cakes

Y’all.

Do you even know what tomorrow is? I mean – other than the last day in August. And Saturday.

It’s pretty much my favorite day of the year. My 2nd Christmas if you will. Today, my friends, is my Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow is the first College Football Saturday of the year. I know there was some action last night (apologies to all of our neighbors last night who were NOT watching the Ole Miss game) – but Thursday night football is kind of like an appetizer. Tomorrow, we feast.

His and Hers

“His & Hers”

Not just in the metaphorical sense either – because clearly, this is a cooking blog so I have some goodies to share with you. Now some football weekends, you give in to the bar food and beer and couch and swear to yourself you’ll work it off the next day.

But what if you could have your “cake” and eat it too?

Thanks to my Biffer’s recent quinoa kick – I remembered a recipe I made a few weeks ago and had not gotten around to sharing with you yet. And what perfect timing, because you know what goes great with college football? My favorite food group – buffalo chicken everything. This one is a little different, but I promise you – it’s delicious and filling and is perfect to serve as a little appetizer, or do what we did and serve it as a main course (with my ranch baked fries, duh).

Buffalo Quinoa Cakes (Makes 9 cakes – 2 WW pts. per cake + 2 pts. for 1/3 cup Ranch)

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup water

1 egg, beaten (I used about half)

4 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/4 cup minced yellow onion

2 small stalks celery, minced

1/2 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (panko or regular)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup fat-free ranch

Begin by cooking your quinoa according to directions. Add to a medium bowl and let cool for 5-7 minutes.

Add onion, egg, blue cheese, shredded cheddar, celery, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to the quinoa. Mix together using a rubber spatula, then stir in hot sauce.

Using your hands, form about 9 cakes out of the quinoa mixture.

Steps

After you wash off your hands (trust me, you’ll need to) heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add cakes and saute 3-4 minutes per side until lightly browned.

Plated Cakes

Serve with some ranch for dipping, and enjoy!

Buffalo Quinoa Cakes

With that, happy Game Day to all! I’ll be wearing my Blue and White and cheering on Penn State to victory tomorrow afternoon – who are you supporting this weekend?!

Pizza Casserole

I realize I may be a little ahead of myself, but I am so excited that Fall is upon us.

Not only does it mean that college football is almost here (single digits!) but it also means cooler weather, delicious smells, beautiful colors, cozy clothing and of course, comfort foods.

Comfort foods vary for everybody – for some it may be grilled cheese. For some it could be chicken pot pie. For some (like me) it’s soup. Notice a theme here? A lot of comfort foods are best served hot! (Okay, except for ice cream, but that’s just in a class of its own, right?)

One of our favorite comfort foods is pizza. Sometimes we try to be good and make our own using whole wheat crusts and lighter ingredients. Sometimes the ease of picking up the phone and ordering enhances the comfort. But sometimes, we just want that comforting flavor of pizza, without the uncomfortable thought of putting on jeans the next day.

I know I’ve shared my ultimate comfort food recipe with you before (Pizza Soup – the most requested meal in our household of 2), but today I have another combo deal for you – Pizza Casserole!

Pizza Casserole (Serves 6 / 7 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

6 oz. whole wheat rotini pasta

1 cup Ragu Pizza Sauce

8 oz. fat-free cottage cheese

2 1/2 links Italian turkey sausage, hot

24 slices Turkey pepperoni

1 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella

1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring medium pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions.

In a medium skillet, cook sausage (casing removed) and break into small pieces.

Mix pizza sauce, salt and pepper with the cooked noodles and spread into your baking dish. In a separate bowl, mix together cheeses with Italian seasoning. Spread cheese mixture over the top of the noodles. Top with favorite pizza toppings – we just went with pepperoni this time (and, of course, added some black olives after it was done cooking) – but make it your own!

Process

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly.

Slice and serve…

Pizza Casserole Plated

and if you have picky eaters, you can top the individual pieces after baking like we have to do so my olives don’t “contaminate” the husband’s portion…

Bite

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Tuna Steaks with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

You know, I’m almost a little embarrassed to share this recipe.

It’s so simple and delicious and I have been making it since college.

You see, while in college, my friend Erin and her parents invited me along on two of their summer vacations. They are big scuba divers, so it was always to a beautiful tropical destination. I know, they really had to twist my arm!

Our weeks were always filled with fun memories that we still joke about to this day such as an evening in St. Lucia when we were returning to our home for the week from dinner via an incredibly steep and windy road which also happened to be filled with gigantic potholes. We’d had a lot of beverages (water, and maybe some rum punches) at dinner – so our bladders were not too happy with the journey. So in order to take our minds off of the torturous ride, we decided singing along to the radio at the top of our lungs would help. What was on the radio? Celine Dion “To Love You More” – it was epic, especially when we got to the chorus.

There was also the evening in St. Martin when we went out for a fabulous dinner overlooking the ocean – and I got mugged after Erin and I walked to purchase her some replacement flip-flops since hers busted as we were walking into the restaurant.

All memorable times, but the most vivid memory was at a restaurant in St. Martin called Temptation. I remember exactly what I ordered, where we sat, talking to the piano player, and even our service. For dinner – I ordered the sashimi tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes. Y’all, it sounds simple – but the entire experience just stuck with me.

So obviously, as soon as vacation was over – I had to re-create it. While I may not be a gourmet chef, my little amateur version of this meal has been a family favorite for years now. The tuna definitely helps with the heat of the wasabi if you aren’t heat-tolerant – but the beauty of wasabi is that it’s a quick burn! Try this one out, it’s action-packed with flavor and is super easy to throw together…

Tuna Steaks with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes (Serves 2 / Tuna – 5 WW pts. per serving / Mashed Potatoes – 3 WW pts. per serving)

2 6 oz. raw yellow fin tuna steaks

1/3 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki marinade

1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed

1/2 Tbsp. fat-free milk

1/2 Tbsp. wasabi paste

1/2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine (I use Blue Bonnet Light)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow dish, pour teriyaki marinade and add raw tuna steaks. Marinate for 1 hour minimum, flipping halfway through the process. I threw mine in before I went to work one day – so they soaked up a lot of that goodness!

Remove tuna from marinade, reserve a few Tbsp. of what remains. Heat grill to medium-high and spray with nonstick spray. Add tuna steaks and grill 4-5 minutes per side to get a good medium center. Brush with a little more teriyaki when you flip them.

While all of this is going on, make sure your potatoes are cooking so they’re ready when the steaks are!

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the potato cubes. Boil 7-9 minutes until pieces are tender when pierced with a fork.

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Drain potatoes and add to a small bowl. Whisk in milk, wasabi paste, margarine, salt and pepper. I usually add a little more wasabi, but all depends on preference and texture – if it’s too lumpy, add another splash of milk.

Mix potatoes until smooth and add to plate, topped with grilled tuna steak…

Plated steak and potatoes

 

I roasted some asparagus with a drizzle of peanut oil, some soy sauce and topped with sesame seeds – the perfect addition to this plate of deliciousness. Let me know what you think if you try this recipe out, it’s definitely one of my favorites!

Teriyaki Tuna with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

Pesto Orecchiette with Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

Y’all, I was such a big girl this week.

I mean, almost a grown-up. And that says a lot being that I’m 29 and 1.

I have confessed to y’all that I have a bizarre perfectly normal fear of balloons. And needles.

This week – I faced both.

Wednesday we celebrated Baby Way’s (my youngest nephew) first birthday. So my 3 older nephews decided to put on a balloon show – which involved them throwing the balloons off of their 2nd floor into the entry way, with various spins and tosses. That part I handled like a champ.

However, you know that screechy sound balloons make when they have hands and feet on them? Like they are about to burst any minute? I heard that one a lot – because they didn’t want to put their balloons down and lose them. But you know what, Aunt Mary kept her cool. I survived!

Then, the next morning, I had my annual check-up and had to get my blood taken. Yes, as in with a needle. The past 2 times I’ve had this done, I’ve apparently gotten inept or brand new nurses who don’t know what they heck they are doing – so they’ve had to stab me with a needle twice. Which is one more time than I can handle without losing the blood in my face and my eyes rolling back in my head as I endured the torture. (I’d make a terrible spy – clearly I’m not to be trusted with government secrets). Thankfully, I had a pro this time around. I warned her I was a huge baby and she was nice. I still didn’t enjoy it, but at least I wasn’t reduced to a crumpled heap of Mary.

I know, I’m so mature.

So weeks like this one call for one thing – comfort food. For me, pasta is a great comfort food – it’s warm, usually has some form of cheese included and it’s super easy to throw together. Honestly, what good is comfort food if it takes forever to make and leaves a giant mess?

I discovered this dish on Pinterest (love) and it’s definitely in my comfort food rotation from now on! It’s easy, doesn’t make a giant mess, and it’s like a nice, big, warm hug that’s perfect for enjoying in your stretchy pants curled up on your couch – but also fancy enough that you can serve it to guests.

Pesto Orecchiette with Sausage and Brussel Sprouts (Serves 4 / 11 WW points per serving)

Adapted from original recipe found here.

Ingredients

8 oz. whole wheat orecchiette

2 1/2 links Chicken Sausage, Italian style (I used Archer Farms brand)

1/2 pound brussel sprouts, peeled and halved

4 Tbsp. store-bought Pesto sauce

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan

Preheat your oven to 400.

To prep your brussel sprouts, cut off the bottom “stem” and peel away exterior leaves. Then cut in half. Toss in a small baking pan with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 or so minutes.

While the brussel sprouts are cooking, heat remaining olive oil in a medium skillet. Slice sausage into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices. Saute in olive oil over medium for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until chicken is browned and cooked through.

Step by Step Collage

Boil the water for your pasta and cook according to directions.

When everything has cooked, drain pasta and stir in pesto. Add cooked sausage and roasted brussel sprouts, stir until incorporated.

Plate and top each serving with 1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan.

Plated

All we needed with this dish was some yummy garlic bread and a glass of red wine. Perfect way to enjoy a James Bond movie night with my husband…

Pesto Orecchiette

Hope y’all have a great weekend!