Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Eats

Merry Christmas!!

Happy New Year!!

Hope you all had a great, relaxing, loving holiday season this year. I sure did. Spent time with family that I have missed and continued some traditions. Got some cookie baking done (peanut butter blossoms, chocolate m&m cookies, and 7 layer cookies) and hoping to make sesame and pignoli cookies for padre at some point. But you can't just eat cookies, well you could but that might not be all that great on the waist (cough cough older brother cough cough, but some how he does not gain an ounce) so how about some real food too.

For a family get together I made a pasta salad. I was inspired by my Nana's pasta salad she would always make that I really loved. Hers had black olives, broccoli and the tri- color pasta, I think I'm missing some other veggies that were in it, but I was young. It was really good though. I made mine with roasted eggplant, spinach, and artichokes, and tri-color pasta.

Veggie Pasta Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

1 package of your favorite brand tri-color pasta (I used a brown rice pasta)
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed
1/2 bag of baby spinach
1 large eggplant, roasted
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon each onion powder, coriander and pepper

Roast the eggplant, I did this with my usual seasonings onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper and coriander.

Cook the pasta according to the directions.

Rinse and chop the artichokes.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and toss with spinach so that it starts to wilt.

Mix the dressing, while the pasta is cooking, just mix all of the spices, tahini, and lemon juice together until it comes together.

Toss everything together.

It came out way better than a version I had made over the summer. I think its because I made the dressing this time.

For Christmas dinner I finally fulfilled the request of making Mac and Cheese. But this is a healthier version so I has all the essence of mac and cheese just if you haven't eaten it in years it taste amazing (to me) to others it might be dry, to fix that make a creamier cheese sauce. I happen to like that crispy crunch on my mac and cheese so I really enjoyed this.

Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese

1 package whole wheat pasta
1/2 bag each reduced fat 4 cheese Italian blend and 4 cheese Mexican blend (or 1 bag or either)
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon flour
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, salt, onion powder, and pepper

Boil water for the pasta, and cook according to directions.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the flour to make a roux.

Slowly add in the water and boil until it thickens.

Add in the milk and spices. Let it thicken.

Mix in cheeses leaving some to top the mac and cheese with and let them melt.

Drain pasta and mix with the cheese sauce.

Place in an oven proof pan and top with remaining cheese.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

The inside was so cheesy and gooey and good. Oh how I have missed melted cheese.

Look at the difference of plates between me and my bf.


This does not mean I am going to be eaten cheese on a regular basis now but I will allow myself to eat it if my body is craving it. I have never been a big cheese fan but it I want to make pizza I will or ravioli I will or more mac and cheese.

Here is a really funny Christmas treat that is fun and easy to make...Coal haha. It's only 3 ingredients! My bf found the recipe so we made it. Oreos, marshmallows, and butter. One package of Oreos (use your favorite one, we used mint which ended up being a great choice even after I made a fuss about them <3 ya babe), one bag of mini marshmallows, and four tablespoons butter. Crush the Oreos, melt the butter with the marshmallows. Then mix in the Oreos and place in a parchment lined baking dish. Allow them to cool then cut up and yo have coal!

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!! I'm hoping 2013 will allow me some more time to get back to being creative with cooking and baking, I really hope so, I miss it!
Here was the dish I made for a New Years Eve Dinner Party:

quinoa with roasted red, yellow, and orange peppers, roasted corn, tomatoes, topped with guacamole. I wanted to mix the avocados in the salad but they were too mushy so I had to make the guac.


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