Creamy Pesto Pasta

I am all for flavor packed dishes. They’re even better when their easy & full of flavor. This recipe is one I’ve been working on for a while and I think it’s ready to share. Pesto is one of my favorite flavor combinations – herbs, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese – yum! I love the Penne Basilica at Buca di Beppo – and this is my version.

It took me a while to find the perfect AND easy creamy element – I tried sour cream, thinned cream cheese, heavy cream…each had their own ups but also just as many downsides. And then…I found it! Philadelphia Cooking Creme. They have a few different flavors – so far I’ve tried the Santa Fe Blend and the Original flavors. It has all of the benefits of sour cream, but you don’t have to worry about it doing strange things when you heat it.

This recipe is also very customizable! You can change the veggies, add no veggies, add chicken or even sausage. It can be a main course or a side dish. You could even make your own pesto or use a different flavor pesto – red pepper would be lovely!

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Our Best Bites’ Quick & Easy Black Beans

Let me just start by saying that I am huge fans of Our Best Bites! Sara and Kate are two moms who love to cook. Their recipes are a good mix of quick and easy, healthy, and fun to make. I’ve been following them for about a year and have loved every recipe of theirs I’ve tried.

Alright, now on to the food! I love black beans and I happened to be looking for a good go-to recipe based on canned beans that I could incorporate into my taco night menu. My brother is a vegetarian, so veggie tacos were something that I’d been wanting to make for a family dinner (hint – next and last of this Mexican series of posts!). I happened to be looking at Sara and Kate’s site and found this recipe. I modified it a bit to my liking and we make these at least once a month at our house. I use two big cans of beans and we eat off that batch all week in nachos, tacos, and quesadillas. These are even great served as a dip with chips.

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Roasted Root Vegetables

The definition of roasting is to cook (meat or other food) by direct exposure to dry heat, as on a spit. Well, I dont have spit, but I do have an oven!

My mom has made roasted root vegetables as long as I can remember. They are one of my favorite things ever (yes, I probably say that about a lot of things, but I mean it this time…and every other time, too…). This side dish, and really anything roasted, is great to entertain with because it usually takes 45 mins to an hour to roast and you can finish your makeup or pick up whatever your cat/kids/husband has knocked over while you were cooking. The second perk is that roasting is extremely easy. Toss it with some seasonings and olive oil, stir every 15-20 minutes, and an hour later – ta-da! Done! (more…)