Spicy Garlic and Anchovy Farfalle

Pasta can get boring but I love finding new and exciting recipes to spice up boring ole pasta. This recipe is a keeper!

Spicy Garlic and Anchovy Farfalle

spicy garlic and anchovy farfalle


Kosher salt
1 pound farfalle pasta
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cups baby spinach leaves (about 6 ounces)
½ cup plain breadcrumbs
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the extra-virgin oil over medium heat. Add the anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook until aromatic, 2 minutes. Add the spinach and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes.

In a large serving bowl, toss together the breadcrumb mixture, cooked pasta and half of the cheese. Add in the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and serve.

Recipe source: http://www.giadadelaurentiis.com/recipes/1181/spicy-garlic-and-anchovy-farfalle


Cheesy Greek-Style Baked Quinoa

This healthy quinoa bake is so good you won’t even realize how healthy it is! Plus it is so easy to make with simple ingredients that wont break the bank. It’s the perfect healthy comfort food!

Cheesy Greek-Style Baked Quinoa

 cheesy greek style baked quinoa


  • 2 1/2 cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup Fat Free Feta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 cup Chopped Spinach
  • 1 cup Diced Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Skim Milk
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • Salt & Black Pepper


  1. Prepare the quinoa as directed.  While quinoa cooks, dice cherry tomatoes and chop spinach leaves, then set aside.  Next, in food processor combine feta, skim milk, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley, blending until smooth.
  2. When ready, cherry tomatoes and spinach into quinoa, plus 1 tbsp oil, stirring well.  Pour over with feta sauce, then season with onion powder and salt & pepper, combining thoroughly.
  3. Transfer mixture to oven safe casserole dish, spreading evenly.  Top with mozzarella, then bake at 400F for 15 minutes until top has melted.  Immediately plate and serve.

Recipe source: http://cookingwithcakes.com/cheesy-greek-style-baked-quinoa/

Pesto Pasta Bake

I have been really into bakes lately and this one is one of my favorites. The original recipe has you making your own pesto, but with my busy schedule I just used pre-made pesto. The best thing about bakes is that you can add whatever you have on hand to make this dish suitable to your tastebuds. You can add artichokes, different cheeses, a different tubular pasta, really whatever you have on hand.
Pesto Pasta Bake
pesto pasta bake
  • 1 lb. whole wheat rigatoni
  • 2-3 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups of chopped spinach
  • ½ cup pasta water
  • ½ cup shredded cheese of choice (I used mozzarella)
  • pesto (as much or as little as you like)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, chop up the tomatoes and spinach and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cooked noodles with the chopped tomatoes, pesto, and a little pasta water if it needs to be more saucy. I usually had enough pesto to coat all the pasta. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Recipe source: http://pinchofyum.com/healthy-baked-pesto-rigatoni

Quinoa and Spinach Un-Mac n’ Cheese

This recipe takes my favorite mac and cheese to a whole new level. Instead of pasta, it uses quinoa which adds protein and cuts back on the carbs. Adding the spinach adds a little vegetable to the dish making it that much more healthy! This recipe has been added to my list of favorite comfort foods!

Quinoa and Spinach Un-Mac n’ Cheese

quinoa and spinach unmac n cheese


  • 2 cups Quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Shallot (minced)
  • 8 ounces Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (divided)
  • 1 bag Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 4 tablespoons Butter (melted)
  • 3/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and the shallot. Cook until the shallot is slightly soft then whisk in flour. Continue to whisk until a paste forms and becomes light golden in color.

Whisk in the milk and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil while whisking. Stir in nutmeg and salt along with the cheddar cheese. When the cheese sauce is smooth, remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix cooked quinoa, cheese sauce, spinach and half of the parmesan cheese. Transfer mixture to the casserole dish. Top with the remaining parmesan.

In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe source: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/quinoa-spinach-un-mac-n-cheese-dana-urbinati

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

I love spinach artichoke dip! This recipe is a smaller, bite size, version of spinach dip! It is spinach dip wrapped in bread…what is better than that!?

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

13.3 oz roll of refrigerated french bread loaf, I used Simply Pillsbury
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 Cup light sour cream
2 Tablespoons fresh shredded parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper (I used Chili Powder)
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Garlic Salt
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt (I used Kosher salt)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes then add garlic, cook and stir for another minute then turn heat off.

3. As the spinach and garlic cool down a bit, spray 10 regular muffin cups (can also use mini muffin tins) with non stick cooking spray.  Unroll package of french bread loaf and slice into 10 equal size slices, about 1 inch thick.  Press each slice into about a 3 inch round, I did this by pressing in between my hands.  Press into the bottom and up sides of the muffin cup.  Set aside.

4.  Mix cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Ancho Chili Powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.  Mix until well combined.  With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dip into each of the centers of bread bowls.  Top evenly with shredded cheese and bake for 15-17 minutes until just turning brown on edges.  Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from oven.

Recipe Source: http://picky-palate.com/2011/01/31/baked-spinach-dip-mini-bread-bowls/

Lemon Cumin Chicken with Homemade Pesto

I love finding recipes that turn chicken into something spectacular. This dish does just that! The homemade pesto is so delicious, and what I love about pesto is you can use it on absolutely anything! I love to make pesto in abundance and use it throughout the week.

Lemon Cumin Chicken with Homemade Pesto

lemon cumin chicken with homemade pesto


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Four 4- to 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 packed cups fresh mint leaves (about 1 large bunch)
1 packed cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Cook’s Note)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 a large lemon)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Vegetable oil cooking spray

For the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper flakes until smooth. Add the chicken and toss until coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Can also be made in a resealable plastic bag.)

For the pesto: In a food processor, blend the mint, spinach, cheese, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper until chunky. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until smooth.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Spray the grill lightly with vegetable oil cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Place on a platter and serve with the pesto.

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/lemon-cumin-chicken-recipe.html

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

This chicken recipe is like a stuffed chicken parm. The stuffing is definitely what makes this dish delish! The spinach-ricotta filling gives a unique twist to this classic dish. And rolling it up and stuffing it just makes it fun 🙂

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

baked mozzarella chicken


  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (8 4-ounce pieces)
  • 1 cup whole wheat Italian style bread crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 clove minced garlic and olive oil for sauteeing
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ⅓ cup beaten egg whites (I used something similar to Egg Beaters)
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup marinara sauce


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

2. Prep the chicken: Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and pound the pieces until they are thin (for quick cooking and to make room for more filling).

3. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and set aside.

4. Prep the filling: Chop the spinach and saute it with the garlic and just a drizzle of olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until just barely wilted.

  • Combine the sauteed spinach with the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and 2-3 tablespoons of the egg whites. Place the remaining egg whites in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.

5. Assemble the chicken: Oil the bottom of a large baking dish. Put a spoonful of ricotta-spinach filling right in the middle and roll the chicken up so that the edges meet to form a “seam”.

  • Dip the entire chicken roll in egg whites, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining 7 pieces of chicken. Bake for 25 minutes.

6. Finishing touches: After 25 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through (white on the inside) and browned on the top. Cover the chicken with the marinara sauce and slices of fresh Mozzarella. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Recipe Source: http://www.lovewithrecipe.com/recipe/681.html

Healthy Stuffed Chicken

By far the easiest, most delicious chicken I’ve ever had! It combines a bit of greek flavors with the herbs and feta cheese, but you can’t get any tastier and healthy than this recipe. If you don’t like feta cheese I am sure you can substitute for goat cheese.

Healthy Stuffed Chicken

healthy stuffed chicken


  • 2 pounds skinless boneless Chicken Breasts; flattened


  • 6 oz Low-Fat Feta Cheese; crumbled
  • 1/2 cup packed; Chopped Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper


  • One 14 oz can of tomato sauce (I used a tomato-basil sauce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon seeded and diced Jalapeño (optional)


Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl. Spoon the mix onto each Chicken Breast. Roll the chicken around the stuffing and place in a small baking pan brushed with oil. Bake for 35 minutes.

With the leftover mixture, put it in the food processor with about 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 tsp of salt. Blend until smooth (it should look like a pesto).

To prepare the sauce: combine the tomato sauce and jalapeño in a pot over medium heat. Simmer until warmed through. If you don’t want to add the jalapeño, you can simply just used a jarred tomato sauce of your choice.

To plate: circle the “pesto” around your plate, place your chicken in the center and spoon the sauce on top of the chicken.

Recipe source: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/healthy-stuffed-chicken

Spinach Balls

I got this recipe from my aunt and I have officially declared this the easiest appetizer (and healthiest) of them all! It is a simple mix, form, and bake routine. You can have these as a side or as an appetizer but either way you can’t get any better than these bite size morsels of goodness!

Spinach Balls

spinach balls


2 packages of frozen chopped spinach; thawed and drained (I used frozen whole spinach in the pic above because that it what I had on hand)
2 cups italian breadcrumbs
1 medium onion, diced
4 eggs
3/4 cup melted margarine or butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Form into balls with your hands (however big or small you prefer). I usually make these as a side, so I half the recipe (because there is only 2 of us), and form the balls about the size of my palm.
Bake on a baking pan for approximately 20 minutes or until golden. Do not let them brown.

Pasta with Spicy Pesto

Anything pesto I love (you will see that in posts to come). Pesto is an easy, healthy sauce that keeps well in the fridge. You can make pesto in batches and use it on pasta or use it as a spread on sandwiches! Again, since my husband is a fan of spicy food, I kicked my love for pesto up a notch and added a special ingredient that gives it a nice kick.

Fusilli with Spicy Pesto

spicy pesto pasta


1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 (~2-inch long) jalapeño pepper, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 cups grated (4 ounces) Asiago cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces baby spinach
3 ounces arugula
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fusilli pasta


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

For the pesto: In a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, jalapeño, cheese, salt and pepper. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add the spinach and arugula and process until blended. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil.
(If you don’t like things spicy, remove the seeds from the jalapeño pepper. If you like it more spicy, add more than just 1 jalapeño).

Place the cooked pasta and pesto in a large serving bowl. Toss well and thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Asiago cheese and serve.

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/fusilli-with-spicy-pesto-recipe/index.html