Chicken and Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta and a Giveaway!

Update: I plugged the numbers into Random.org and a winner has been chosen! The winner is comment #24! Rachel said, “I love eating it with granola for lunch.” So check your email Rachel! If the prize isn’t claimed within 5 days a new winner will be selected. Thank you for all of your entries!

I’m sure that my recent lack of posts has made it pretty obvious that I’ve been in a cooking/blogging funk lately. I’m not sure if it’s the excitement of the baby or this cold weather that’s getting me down, but I just haven’t had a whole lot of creativity or motivation in the kitchen. It feels like I’ve just been rotating the same 5 meals lately. Needless to say, I was so excited when my friend Jessica, from My Baking Heart, invited me to join a Virtual Cooking Party! Perfect opportunity to get some excitement back into my kitchen!!

For this party we all put our own spin on the same recipe, featuring Stonyfield Greek Yogurt. I am a HUGE fan of cooking with Greek yogurt, I often use it as substitute for sour cream in recipes and as a topping. I’ve even used it to replace the mayonnaise in a cole slaw recipe! It’s a great way to make some of my favorite recipes a little bit healthier without making a sacrifice in taste.

The recipe chosen for this Virtual Cooking Party was Spinach Yogurt Pesto Pasta. I love pesto because it is always so fresh tasting and it’s packed with layers of flavor. This recipe is no exception. I even told Jessica that I would happily just eat spoonfuls of this pesto for dinner. :) But, since I live with a meat and potatoes man, I used pasta AND chicken. The chicken seemed to grab onto just the right amount of the subtle lemon flavor. And as it turns out, the swirls of the rotini pasta made perfect pockets for holding on to the delicious pesto. I thought the Greek yogurt was the perfect way to add creaminess to the pesto. The slight tang of the yogurt perfectly balanced the fresh basil and powerful garlic. To help make dinner a little more economical, I substituted walnuts for pine nuts. All in all, dinner was a huge success! Big thanks to Jessica for bringing a fresh new recipe to my kitchen! Be sure to stop by her blog to see how the other party-goers put their own spin on this recipe!

For this party I was happy to get my hands on some free Stonyfield Greek Yogurt, and I’d love for you to be able to get your hands on some as well! Because what’s a party without a fun prize/giveaway?! Stonyfield has generously agreed to offer one lucky reader a case of Stonyfield yogurt and a Stonyfield Cookbook!

The giveaway is now closed and a winner has been announced!
How to enter:

Leave a comment telling me your favorite way to use Greek yogurt!
Sorry, only US residents please

Deadline & Winning Information:

The deadline for entry will be 11:59 pm Saturday, February 1
Winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be announced at the top of this post on Sunday, February 2
The winner will receive an email from me (so be sure to enter your correct email address!) and will have 5 days to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure:

I was offered free Stonyfield Greek Yogurt as a part of this Virtual Cooking Party. However, the opinions and review are my own!

 

 

 

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

The day I spent prepping meals for the freezer was certainly a long one. I was 38 weeks pregnant with swollen ankles and general exhaustion. But my nesting urges/energy helped me push through. Then when it came to making the very last thing and suddenly my energy was gone. I wanted so badly to just leave the kitchen (and the mess!) and hit the couch. But it was close to dinner time and I knew we would need to eat anyway, so I decided to make a large batch of dinner and freeze half of it. Then I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

I am so glad I pushed through! While I’ve made a lot of versions of stuffed shells, I have to say that these were by far my favorite. I think I finally got the perfect ratio of ingredients to make a flavorful filling that’s not dry and really hits the spot. I’m also happy to report that the portion that was frozen was just as delicious!

 

Other deceivingly easy, delicious pasta dishes!
Creamy Shrimp Pasta
Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
Cream Lemon One-Pot Pasta
Cajun Chicken Pasta

 

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta – Winner Announced

UPDATE: I plugged the numbers into Random.org and a winner has been chosen! The winner is comment #14! Kate said, “I’ve tried a bunch of Nicole’s recipes – they’re always a hit. The baked blooming onion is one of my favorites! Her Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Tacos with Jicama Slaw are on my shortlist to try soon.” So check your email Kate! If the prize isn’t claimed within 5 days a new winner will be selected. Thank you for all of your entries! It was awesome celebrating Nicole’s new cookbook!

I know I say it all the time, but one of the best parts about blogging is creating connections and friendships with fellow bloggers. It’s so fun to be connected with so many people spread across the United States, people that would otherwise be complete strangers if it weren’t for this weird hobby I have making food and taking pictures of it. The coolest is part is that these people get me. They don’t bat an eye when we meet in “real life” for the first time and I take a picture of my grilled cheese sandwich. And I don’t bat an eye at them taking pictures of their food either.

Nicole is one of those friends. We first met in person at the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco and we instantly clicked. Like we had known each other for years! I was absolutely thrilled to get to see her again a few weekends ago when a group of awesome Chicago foodies and bloggers welcomed me to the area with a brunch and baby shower.

Needless to say, when Nicole announced that she was writing a cookbook, I was thrilled!! She has such an amazing vision when it comes to food and health. Her focus is on healthy eating without sacrificing taste and flavor. She’s a registered dietician that believes in balance and that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. I absolutely LOVE her blog, Prevention RD, and I knew I would love her cookbook just as much. And I was right. Each recipe has an awesome and large photo, easy to follow ingredients and directions, nutrition information, and a comment from Nicole herself! The cookbook is also packed full of recipes for everything from appetizers to main course dishes and even (healthy!) desserts! You must check it out!

I selected a recipe from the cookbook to make and share with my readers! I love this recipe because it uses ONE pot and it comes together super quickly. I have a week and half old baby and I was still able to whip together this dinner in no time. Thanks so much Nicole!

And here’s more good news! I have a copy of this awesome cookbook to giveaway to one lucky reader! Here’s the details!
Giveaway closed and winner announced!

How to enter:

Pay a visit to Nicole’s blog then head back here and leave a comment answering the question telling a recipe of Nicole’s that you would like to (or already have!) tried!
Sorry, only US residents please

Deadline & Winning Information:

The deadline for entry will be Saturday, September 21
Winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be announced at the top of this post on Sunday, September 22
The winner will receive an email from me (so be sure to enter your correct email address!) and will have 5 days to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure:

I was offered a copy to review and a copy to giveaway by Nicole’s publisher. However, the opinions and review are my own!

 

 

Creamy Taco Mac

If you browse food blogs at all then there is a good chance you’ve seen this (or a version of this) before. Why has it graced so many food blogs? In short, because it’s amazing. Not amazing in a fine dining kind of way, but in a homey, comforting kind of way. It’s the from-scratch cook’s answer to Hamburger Helper. You can easily throw this meal together on a busy weeknight, but more importantly you can feel good about serving this to your family.

Jesse, bless his heart, has actually been known to request Hamburger Helper from time to time. In order to do my best to indulge him, I’ve made several homemade versions. He says they are all good but this one is the clear winner.

 

Looking for more easy, weeknight dinners? Check these out-

Shells and Cheese with Kielbasa and Peas
Mexican Lasagna
Sloppy Joes
Creamy Shrimp Pasta