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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese perfect for fall

Here’s an earthy mac and cheese that takes a risk and wins! Pumpkin and cheese are actually make a great flavor combination. If you’re skeptical, substitute for another squash such as butternut squash. This quick dish is yummy and totally fun for fall. Imagine the surprise when you tell everyone it has a touch of pumpkin! The flavor isn’t overwhelming. It’s just subtle enough that you can taste the unique fall take on this class comfort food. Pumpkin puree has a moist, velvety texture, and it will keep the cheese gooey a little longer, I find. I like to grate my own cheese because it melts faster too, but whether you buy bagged or block, make sure it’s extra sharp cheddar — there’ just more flavor that way. Note: Be sure to use pumpkin puree and nothing labeled “pumpkin pie mix.” The latter has lots of spices mixed. Pumpkin Mac and…

Easy 20-minute Bone Broth Chicken Noodle Soup

Think back to your childhood. If there was one guarantee when you got sick, it was that Grandma would be making you a big batch of chicken noodle soup. But does chicken noodle soup have any actual impact on impending sniffles? According to UPMC, when you’re sick, your immune system can receive support to help fight infections from standard cold and over-the-counter medicines. However, in some cases, the nutrients you get from a big bowl of chicken noodle soup can give additional aid to that support system. Studies have shows that the anti-inflammatory effects from the ingredients in chicken noodle soup can help ease cold symptoms, while the warm broth can clear nasal congestion. So while it may not be a miracle cure-all, chicken noodle soup makes a great meal when you’re feeling under the weather because it’s packed with nutrients. They are easy to digest, soothing to the throat…

Pumpkin spice ranch-style salad dressing

I agree pumpkin spice has gone a little over the top at the grocery store (see below), but I can’t say the same when it comes to homemade pumpkin spice inspired foods. I can’t get enough of all of the homemade fall baked goods. Whether it’s pumpkin pancakes, smoothies, or other sweets, I’m pretty sure I haven’t turned one down yet. Here’s another take on pumpkin you’ve never thought of — salad dressing. Try this creamy pumpkin dressing as a dip for veggies or on top of a crispy green salad with cranberries and walnuts. Pumpkin spice salad dressing Ingredients 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling) 6 ounces of plain yogurt 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup extra light olive oil 3 tbsp maple syrup 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 small sweet onion, peeled, chopped 4-5 fresh sage leaves 1/2 tsp pepper, or more  (optional) 1/2 tsp salt,…

Easy slow cooker chicken tikka masala

Before we know it, colder temperatures will descend upon us. First chilly, windy fall. Then snow, ice, and slush. You can hardly wait, right? Well, if there is one thing to look forward to as the weather cools, it’s warm, delicious slow cooker recipes — the kind that give you the perfect excuse to cozy up inside on the couch and finish up your Netflix binge. Slow cookers are ideal because they magically turn ingredients from nothing into a delicious, flavorful meal. Plus you get credit for cooking, and reap all of the rewards, when you’ve really been lazy all day. This is a simple recipe that benefits from a long, slow simmer, so once you dump you ingredients into the pot, let cook and go about your day. Chicken, or paneer, tikka masala is probably one of my favorite foods on earth right now. I can’t get enough! But…

AUTUMN QUINOA SALAD

I’m convinced we grow sick of salads because we stop taking the time to focus on the flavors — or lack-their-of — that we’re adding to the bowl. We fall in a rut, and start throw tomatoes over lettuce, grab the nearest salad dressing and call it a day. With truly endless combinations of veggies, grains, and fruits, there’s no reason on Earth you should get sick of salad. Take the time to explore different fresh tastes and usual dressings, and you’ll surely opt for healthy salads much more often. Here’s a salad that’s interesting enough to serve to at a fall feast, yet simple enough to whip up for weekday lunch. You’ll have most of these ingredients already in your well-stocked pantry — just pickup an apple, lemon, and basil from the produce department. I like using Red Delicious apples because of the bright color and feeling of fall…

15 minute dinner: Taco soup

Here’s one for those of you with “no time to make anything tonight.” I think you can come up with 15 minutes, right? If you can find just 15 minutes, you can find this super simple and delicious taco soup recipe ready on your table. I say 15 minutes, and you say, “But I still have to stop and get groceries, don’t I? That’s time, too!” Well, yes. But almost everything in this recipe can be stocked in your pantry or freezer, ready to go when you’re out of ideas, and out of time. Add these ingredients to you next online or grocery store order, and pull this recipe up when the week starts to get a little crazy. Taco soup Ingredients 1 tsp olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 1.5 lbs. ground beef (at least 90/10) or ground turkey 1 15-22ounce can of fire-roasted tomatoes* 1 15-ounce can of…

Grilled artichoke spinach panini recipe

Whether served warm or cold, at the table or at the tailgate, spinach artichoke dip is always a hit. It’s always been one of my favorite appetizers, so I decided to try to make it officially into a meal. I had delicious success turning it into a loaf, so I thought, why not a sandwich! This recipe is bursting with delicious smokey grilled artichoke hearts, spinach and lots of gooey cheese, all piled high on toasty garlic bread — because garlic bread makes everything better. I used a panini press because it’s easier, but you can use a griddle or even a heavy pan on top of your sandwich to help give it a good squish as it’s cooking. Try this super tasty recipe for spinach and artichoke panini for lunch or dinner today. Grilled artichoke spinach panini Ingredients 8 slices of sourdough bread 1/4 cup butter 1 tsp garlic…

Turkey and cheese, pesto panini recipe

If you’re a bit of a food cheapskate like me, you probably skip right over panini on a menu. They’re undeniably delicious, but they’re outrageously priced — $17 for a warmed deli-meat sandwich?! You can make the exact same sandwiches at home — no exaggeration. You might spend the same amount on ingredients, but you’ll be able to make enough sandwiches to feed your whole family, or yourself for a week. Try this recipe for a warm, cheesy turkey and cheese panini with pesto. The pesto mayo and fresh baked bread make it taste like it came from one of those overpriced fancy sandwich shops, but you’ll be eater fresher and healthier, and of course, saving yourself some cash in the process. Turkey and cheese, pesto panini Ingredients 2 tbsp light mayonnaise 4 tsp basil pesto 4 slices of bakery bread, thin sliced (Sourdough is my favorite for this recipe)…

Caprese Pizza recipe

This warm and crispy pizza combines two Italian favorites. You might find yourself wondering you ever want to eat anything else again. And try these other delicious, original takes on Caprese. Caprese Pizza Ingredients 1/2 cup cooked chicken, cubed 12 ounce store-bought pizza dough 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes of varying colors, halved 2- tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 tbsp cornmeal 3-4 ounces of fresh grated mozzarella cheese salt and pepper 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin Directions Let pizza dough stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat broiler to high heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes and 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss to coat. Spread tomatoes on baking sheet in a single layer. Broil about 10 minutes or until tomatoes begin to lightly brown. Place your pizza stone…

Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

It’s finally that time of the year when you can introduce some lighter fare to your home cooked menu. Whether it’s lunch or dinner (or leftovers!), this Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad has all of the elements of a perfect summer meal. Just toss some bite-sized pasta and mini mozzarella, with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and add some chicken for some protein. Then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s all the summer flavors you love, reconfigured as a quick and easy pasta salad. When you combine pasta and Caprese, could you ever go wrong? Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients 2 cups pasta (any shape) 2 cups chicken, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces 2 cups mini mozzarella pearls 1 cup cherry tomatos, halved handful of fresh basil, chopped + extra for garnish 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar, or balsamic glaze salt pepper Directions Cook pasta until…