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Thursday, July 29, 2010

BLT Creamy Mac 'n' Cheese

Dinner today was rather tasty so I thought I’d share the recipe!  This one comes from the Rachael Ray Magazine website and is a 30 minute meal.  There’s a chance it actually took me 20!  I’ve made a few changes to it – most importantly I cut it in half, so if you want the original you can find it here.

Makes 3 Servings


  • Salt
  • 1 cereal bowl full of mini shell pasta (somehow we figured out that when cooking for the two of us, if we measure the dry pasta in our Fiesta cereal bowls that plenty for us plus some leftovers)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 leek—trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise and rinsed in cold water
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 cups shredded asiago, grana padano or parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups spinach


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.

  2. While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp at the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute. Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water, most of the shredded cheese  and stir until melted together. 

  3. Add the pasta and spinach to the sauce and toss until the spinach is wilted.

  4. Optional: Pile into a casserole and top with the tomatoes and remaining shredded cheese. Bake until browned on top, 7 to 8 minutes.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!  If you try it, let me know how it went!

Until the next time …
The girl behind the lama

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Monday, July 26, 2010

What’s To Eat This Week?

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How do I plan my meals?  There are two websites I always check first.  I am a huge Rachael Ray fan.  About 5 years ago I started watching 30 Minute Meals and it has changed my life.  I learned how to make quick meals that were all from scratch – good bye mixes and cream of soups!  By watching I also learned about vegetables and spices I had never head of and learned how to chop everything in a jiffy. 

It made cooking a complex meal easy to do because you could watch how she multi tasked and had 3 pots going at once.  Better yet?   How to make a meal and not have to worry about coming up with 2 other sides to go with it – these meals had it all built right in. 

Since then I’ve really leaned what I like and how to swap things I don’t like out for things that are more to my tastes.  So the first two places I always go are two RR weekly meal sites to see if anything good pops up: 

Weekly Grocery List – on her day time talk show she always cooks something.  This list gives you the ingredients you’ll need to cook along.  They don’t post the recipe until the day of the show, so it’s  a bit of a mystery on what you’ll be cooking.

Weekly Menu Planner – Each issue of the Rachael Ray Magazine always has a section that is a weekly meal plan.  On the magazine website they also have a different meal plan for each week.

After that?  Well then I go through other recipes I’ve pulled from other magazines and websites.  If I don’t have enough for the week I go to my trusty recipe binder.  Each time I find a recipe that we really like, it gets numbered and catalogued into my binder.  Yes it involves a spreadsheet – I’m a nerd like that.  But that way everything is in a random order and I can just open it up to the middle somewhere and take the next 3 recipes in the book and be done with it.  And yes, if I’m looking for something specific I can sort my spreadsheet alphabetically, by category, by type of meal and by main ingredient – no joke – I’m that much of a nerd.

So here’s where that brought me this week!

Sunday – Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Parsley Potatoes and Johnson Family Corn
Monday -  Meatloaf with Cheesy Cauliflower
Tuesday – BLT Mac & Cheese
Wednesday – Chicken and Ham Rolls with Spinach
Thursday – Warm Provencal Chicken Salad
Friday – LMM’s day off :)
Saturday – Date night – Steaks, Fried Ravioli and Creme Brulee

Cooking I did last week that you might be interested in:

  • Dill Pickles
  • Spaghetti Sauce (back from the Spaghetti Sauce Adventures of 2008!)
  • Peach Cupcakes

Which recipes do you want to see??


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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who has forgotten about the fact that she has a bolg??

ME!!!!!  I have been so absorbed in work and summer and you know … that baby on the way … that the blog has been severely neglected.  Not for long!  I finally have some creative mojo again – so be prepared!

What’s to come?

  • Big shop announcement (unless you already heard the news on Facebook …)
  • More adventures in cooking – if you are really lucky I’ll get back to Meal Planning Monday blogs so I can share what we’re eating for the week
  • New store products
  • Baby updates

Anything else you want to read about?? 

Until the next time (soon!)…
The girl behind the lama

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