easy baked ziti

Easy Baked Ziti | anutritionisteats.com

Who is ready for a non-Thanksgiving recipe? It was a wonderful evening, but I’m ready to get into the Christmas spirit! This doesn’t mean that I’ve got the decorations up, or even plan on getting a tree but I love giving gifts, lighting candles every night, and of course, the comfort food that cooler weather brings.

And baked ziti is the perfect comfort food.

Easy Baked Ziti | anutritionisteats.com

It’s comforting, it’s satisfying and it’s easy to make. Isn’t that what every dinner should be?

Bonus: it’s five ingredients and takes only 10 minutes of active prep time. It will be on the table in 35 minutes and everyone will be happy.

Easy Baked Ziti | anutritionisteats.com

Baked Ziti isn’t necessarily the prettiest food around, but it is tasty. No matter if your taste buds lean gourmet or picky – it’s a meal that the whole family will love. I used a spicy red pepper marinara (jarred) sauce but use your favorite jarred or homemade sauce.

Serve with a green salad – it’s all this dinner needs!

Easy Baked Ziti | anutritionisteats.com

Easy Baked Ziti
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 1½ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 25-oz jar of marinara sauce
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta as directed until al dente, drain and set aside.
  3. Mix together ricotta cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the bottom of an 8x8 inch pan with half of the marinara sauce.
  5. Top with pasta, ricotta mixture and remaining sauce.
  6. (Sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese if desired.)
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes, until bubbly.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 538 Fat: 19 grams Carbohydrates: 62 grams Sugar: 13 grams Fiber: 7 grams Protein: 28 grams Cholesterol: 145 miligrams

 

slow cooker paella

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Is this week over yet? Between having my parents in town (SO fun!), some big projects at work, a work trip to New York this weekend AND looking for someplace to live, I’m ready to collapse.

Which is precisely the time to bring out the slow cooker. (Or, actually collapse…which might happen.) So let’s pull out the slow cooker, slow things down a bit and enjoy a nice, easy dinner. And please drink some wine for me. At minimum, a glass – preferably more.

Paella. In. The. Slow. Cooker.

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.com

This isn’t really authentic paella. It’s more like the paella for those of us who don’t have a paella pan. And don’t really have the time to spend an hour and a half on dinner. And don’t really have the money for dinners that include not only chicken and chorizo, but clams, shrimp and lobster tails.

I like to think of us as normal people. Real people. And people who sometimes need to collapse. :)

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.comThis slow cooker paella takes a half hour of prep work and two hours in the slow cooker. (And NO clams or lobster tails!)

And after it’s finished in the slow cooker, and you’re ready to eat, you must promise me three things:

  1. You’ll squeeze some fresh lemon over each plate
  2. You’ll sprinkle fresh parsley over each plate
  3. You’ll season (each plate) with some (hopefully high-quality) salt if it needs it

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.com

Slow Cooker Paella
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ lb (skinless, boneless) chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups short-grain rice (I used arborio)
  • 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 oz cured chorizo, roughly chopped (I found this in the packaged deli meat section)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of saffron
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped parsley for serving
  • lemon wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large pan.
  2. Add chicken and sprinkle with half of paprika and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer chicken to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon.
  5. Add rice to pan and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to slow cooker.
  6. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  7. Cook on high for 2 hours, until rice is soft.
  8. Stir in peas and let sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with parsley and lemon wedges.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 467 Fat: 12 grams Carbohydrates: 58 grams Sugar: 8 grams Fiber: 7 grams Protein: 27 grams Cholesterol: 81 milligrams

 

slow cooker brats with sauerkraut + potatoes

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

If Wisconsin had a slow cooker-themed meal, this would be it.

And it feels SO appropriate to share a slow cooker recipe with you today, because I finally felt a bit of fall!

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

We spent last weekend in DC and while our first day was sunny and warm, the rest of the time was cold and drizzly. We’ve been craving this type of weather and while I would have preferred to be snuggled up watching movies to “enjoy it,” walking around the national mall made it really sink in. Cold feet, damp clothes and a yearning for anything hot. Hot chocolate, soup or a hearty slow cooker meal. Without access to a slow cooker, I settled for a coffee one afternoon and the next, some hot tea and a bowl of crab soup. Even with the less-than-ideal weather, DC was amazing. We went to the Capitol, walked down the mall, visited the Newseum (LOVED!) and Arlington Cemetery and had some perfect meals: Founding Farmers, Hanks Oyster Bar, Eat the Rich and the cafeteria at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Los Angeles greeted us with warmth and sun upon our return, but that small dose of fall was so very appreciated.

So from oysters to brats…how do you all feel about brats? It’s pretty much part of the culture I grew up in. The local meat market in Baraboo, WI has no less than 22 varieties of brats. We take it very seriously and from the moment it’s warm enough to step outside to grill (and let’s be real – even when it’s not for some) the aroma of brats are essential to spring/summer/fall nights.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Typically, brats are a warm-weather meal, but this slow cooker version takes it into fall and winter. Brats, sauerkraut and potatoes are slowly simmered in a mustardy-beer sauce. And though the result may not be the prettiest food around, the warm, comforting meal more than makes up for it.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Not only does your home (or tiny one bedroom apartment, in our case) smell incredible, but it takes a mere 10 minutes of prep work and some time in the slow cooker. It’s easy. It’s super-satisfying. It’s divine.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds of baby red potatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 5-6 brats (I used a 1lb, 3oz package)
  • 1 cup beer of choice
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Layer potatoes, sauerkraut, onion and garlic in slow cooker.
  2. Nestle brats on top.
  3. Combine beer, mustard and caraway seeds in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
  5. To serve, top with fresh parsley.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 734 Fat: 27 grams Carbohydrates: 85 grams Fiber: 8 grams Protein: 33 grams

 

broccoli pesto pasta

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

I’ve received some wonderful cookbooks lately but there’s one problem: I’m drawn to – and therefore bookmarking – all of the cozy and rich, fall and winter meals. And the only problem is that we just came off of another scorching few days (90’s and I’m so over it) and I can’t quite bring myself to make the hearty meals quite yet. (The soup was an anomaly!)

I managed to find something a little more forgiving in the heat: broccoli pesto pasta! We absolutely LOVED this meal.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

FRESH and LIGHT by Donna Hay* is the kind of cookbook I would love to write. It’s filled with beautiful pictures (simple ones, not heavily styled, which I’ve come to realize is what I’m drawn to) and recipes, ideas and inspirations for real food, kept both fresh and light. I have about 15 recipes bookmarked, but it’s the kind of cookbook that can be pulled out for inspiration on a regular basis. She has a number of sections in the book with a whole spread of simple variations on meals like pizza, pasta, dips and muffins. It’s my kind of cooking. Simple, no crazy-long ingredient lists or equipment required, just real food that’s full of flavor and perfectly healthy.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

(So yes, I HIGHLY recommend the book!)

Let’s talk about this pesto! I’m a pesto fan and so I was drawn to this variation right away. I’ve had kale, arugula and edamame pestos, but never broccoli pesto. It comes together really quickly (about 20 minutes!), requires only a few ingredients and I love that your entire meal is served in one bowl for a simple dinner.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

After taking a bite, my first thought was, wow, it tastes so fresh and light. (Yes, the title of the book!) But it really does taste so fresh and it’s while it’s a very satisfying meal, it’s light at the same time. Richie also loved this meal, and not just because it included pasta. :)

I think it would be great for kids who aren’t thrilled by the idea of broccoli on it’s own – it’s hard to resist when it’s combined with cheese, fresh herbs and pasta!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

Broccoli Pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups of blanched broccoli
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups hot spaghetti
  • parmesan
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine broccoli, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and olive oil in food processor and process until finely chopped. (You want to keep some texture to it!)
  2. Toss with hot spaghetti and sprinkle with parmesan and an extra drizzle of olive oil if desired.
  3. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 575 Fat: 22 grams Carbohydrates: 77 grams Fiber: 10 grams Protein: 20 grams

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