Main Dishes-Pasta

"Cooking for Comfort's" Baked Macaroni and Cheese-Famous Fridays

Let's just take a deep breath, shall we?!! Certainly we've gone through more hectic stressful days than the ones we've had lately,but it feels like we're mired in an endless cycle of days that are so chock full of activities that late at night you can't believe that something that happened early in the morning was actually on the same day as the one where you're still doing laundry at 11:00pm! And I know we're not the only ones. So many people that I've talked to lately are experiencing the same sort of overload. Is this some sort of strange June phenomenon in which after months of waiting, the weather has finally turned warm enough to make you actually long for outdoor time--taking walks, lounging at the beach, having picnics but some cruel twist of scheduling fate makes you too busy to do any of those things?!! If ever there was a time for comfort food, now is it, so thank goodness for Marian Burros' book, Cooking for Comfort, today's Famous Fridays focus and her wonderful recipe for classic baked macaroni and cheese, the ultimate comfort food. It's time to show ourselves a little lovin' around here!!

"Cooking for Comfort's" Baked Macaroni and Cheese-Famous Fridays

Weeknight Ricotta & Spinach Pappardelle

Traveling on the weekends is loads of fun, but not so much the coming back part and the hurtling of oneself into the Monday routine. Everyone's tired and cranky and by everyone, I mostly mean me, and those are not exactly qualities that promise great culinary success, so on nights like these when we want a home cooked meal after eating out for a bunch of days, I need something quick, comforting and tasty. Luckily this Weeknight Ricotta & Spinach Pappardelle really fits the bill. The whole thing practically cooks itself, which leaves you plenty of time to do all the laundry you just lugged home! Ha!

Weeknight Ricotta & Spinach Pappardelle

Bow Ties in Brown Butter Sauce with Sweet Potato, Brussels Sprouts, Feta, Pecans and Craisins

Long title! I know! But I just wanted to make sure that each and every separate delicious component that collectively makes this such a stand up and take notice pasta dish, got it's appropriate recognition. No sad, unappreciated ingredients here! And if Meatless Monday is something you do (or are trying to do better) I've got an easy, ready-in-under-an-hour dinner that's yours for the taking (well, you're going to have to actually make it yourself since the Willy Wonka technology of grabbing the food through the screen hasn't quite been perfected yet!)

Bow Ties in Brown Butter Sauce with Sweet Potato, Brussels Sprouts, Feta, Pecans and Craisins

Quick and Light Spinach Fettuccine

This dinner is dreamy and not just cause there are ribbons of spinach nestled among tender fettuccine noodles all smothered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce, but because it comes together in under 30 minutes, AND is remarkably low in fat and calories for a normally whoppingly fattening dish. Run to the store to get the ingredients now. You can thank me later!

Quick and Light Spinach Fettuccine

"Mom" Katie Workman's One-Pot Cheesy Beef and Macaroni-Famous Fridays

Mommy, Madre, Mére, Mutter, Okaasan, Ima--no matter what culture you look at, there's a word for mother and you know what that means? That every day, all over the world, busy women with crying toddlers hanging off their legs, are racking their brains, trying to figure out what to feed their finicky kids!! It's a universal we just can't escape and a great leveler on the most basic terms. Makes us remember we're not all that different, right? Enter Katie Workman, mother of two, prolific food writer, blogger, activist for hunger issues and author of two terrific family-friendly cookbooks designed to make cooking for families more fun and better tasting. So today for this edition of Famous Friday's we honor not only Katie, but all the moms (and grandmas and caregivers) out there who nurture the next generation every day and yes, this post would probably make more sense if this coming Sunday were Mother's Day but hey, I'm a tired carpooling mom, so give me a break and instead revel in Katie's easy and totally perfect recipe for cheesy beef and macaroni. It's just the kind of food that'll make a mom famous!

"Mom" Katie Workman's One-Pot Cheesy Beef and Macaroni-Famous Fridays

Lucky Peach's Jap Chae-Famous Fridays

Whew! What a week it's been--crazy weather, a broken arm scare (she's ok, thank goodness) too much going on! TGIF has never been more appropriate!! So now that all that's out of the way, let's get to what makes Fridays around here so much fun (at least for me--I hope it is for you too!) Famous Fridays! Since Chinese New Year is next week, I thought this would be a great oppportunity to share a really amazing Asian cookbook by Peter Meehan, Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes. If cooking Asian food at home is slightly intimidating, this is the book for you. It's filled with easy recipes specifically designed for the home cook and relatively accessible ingredients. Everything I've made from the book so far has been flat-out fantastic and this Jap Chae, or warm Chinese-style vegetable pasta salad is no exception. I've made it twice and each time it's been instantly slurped up!

Lucky Peach's Jap Chae-Famous Fridays

Lasagne Roll-Ups

I really don't make pasta that often because it's high in carbs and if I'm going to indulge I'd rather have dessert, but there's just something about the prolonged cold weather that makes my hips crave noodles and cheese and tomato sauce! I know, I'm doomed! But tough times demand great comfort food and these my friends, are truly great and absolutely worth a few extra miles on the treadmill (or whatever your preferred brand of torture is) as atonement. If you've never had lasagne roll ups, you owe it to yourself to try these now!

Lasagne Roll-Ups

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

A couple of weeks ago, my sisters and their families were coming for dinner and the weather looked iffy so I opted not to barbecue. For the kids, I made my more kid-friendly mac and cheese and for the grownups, this Roasted Vegetable Lasagne. Boy, was I off by a mile! Turns out that what the kids wanted was this amazingly delicious and chock-full of roasted vegetables concoction. And I can't say I blame them--this lasagne is pretty fabulous!

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

Ellie Krieger's Light Chicken Alfredo with Zucchini Ribbons-Famous Fridays

Can it really be Friday already and the middle of July?!! Why does the summer always hurry by when the winter seems to hang around forever?! It's one of life's strange phenomenon, I guess. Well, no matter, it gives me yet another chance to showcase another fabulous chef--this week it's Ellie Krieger, not only the host of the Food Network's Healthy Appetite, but a registered dietitian as well and a woman who is passionately committed to improving the way we eat without having to sacrifice taste and enjoyment. Take for example, this Light Chicken Alfredo with Zucchini Ribbons, which has almost half the calories of the regular version, but still tastes entirely decadent and satisfying. My whole family loved this and it will definitely be going into the regular repertoire!

Ellie Krieger's Light Chicken Alfredo with Zucchini Ribbons-Famous Fridays