So how’s everybody’s Saturday going??
My Saturday turned out to be pretty fantastic, despite a less-than-stellar turnout for our garage sale today. Even though we only ended up making $15.00 (a full $100 LESS than yesterday!), we still have a way to get rid of almost ALL of our leftovers, thanks to Jay’s mom. Thank GOODNESS…and good riddance!!
After closing up shop at the sale, I decided to pop in our wedding video and watch that. I’ve been wanting to watch it for a while now, and boy I’ll tell ya…that video gets me every time. This resulted in a good hour and a half of my afternoon with me simultaneously laughing and balling my eyes out. Happy tears of course!
After an unexpected afternoon nap (which I hardly ever do, but think I need to try it more often) it was time to start making some dinner.
And let me tell you…tonight’s dinner was, in one word: epic.
While getting things prepped in the kitchen, I sipped on a fab glass of vino. In my opinion, it’s the best way to cook.
And apparently, it also helps in the creation of one phenomenal meal…
Had I anticipated this becoming such a great concoction, I probably would have taken some photos of my prep, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Here’s how things went down…
-Earlier in the day, I roasted up a big batch of veggies under the assumption they would probably be used tonight. I just wasn’t sure how.
-Then, I realized we had a big pack of chicken breasts in the fridge that needed to be separated and frozen, so I figured that I would incorporate some of that too.
-Then a commercial for Olive Garden came on television, and a huge hankering for pasta came swarming over me…
-aaaaand the rest is history.
I think one of my favorite parts about this meal is that it was created entirely without a recipe. I was a free woman in the kitchen, and I LOVED IT. I wish I had that confidence all the time!
And do you want to know the best part of this meal?? It even incorporated my current food obsession: pumpkin!!
(Jay still doesn’t know there was pumpkin in the recipe…mwaaahahaha!)
Check out the stringy cheese…mmmmm.
I really didn’t do too much measuring of anything, but I have a pretty good idea; so without further ado, let me share with you my fabulous creation for…
Baked Pasta with Pumpkin, Roasted Veggies, & Chicken
- 8-10 oz. Carba Nada pasta (I eyeballed it…any pasta would be fine)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large boneless & skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups roasted veggies (I used zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, & carrots)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
- 1-1 1/2 cups part skim mozzarella, freshly shredded
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Salt & pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta al dente, drain & set aside. Heat olive oil in a pan. Saute chicken pieces a few minutes & then add onion & garlic. Cook for a few minutes until almost cooked through.
In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, cooked chicken mixture, marinara sauce, pumpkin, cheeses, peas, dried basil, salt, pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.
Pour the pasta into an11x7 inch pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with a light sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.
I served our baked pasta dish with some simple mixed greens, drizzled with a little Ken’s Light Balsamic Vinaigrette. It turned out to be the perfect accompaniment!
And better yet, my “wing-it” portions ended up leaving us with tons of leftovers…which is A-OK with me!
Jay and I are planning on spending the rest of our evening low-key, on the couch, catching up with our DVR, and enjoying a little dessert that came our way today…
Jay’s parents took a trip out to Vermont today, and on their way back, stopped by to drop off some goodies they picked up for us. Jay got a box of his favorites, chocolate-covered cherries, while I got an assortment of various caramel-filled chocolates. Ummm, could it get any better???
Actually, it did…when I realized there was a whole bottom layer in the box.
Looks like a perfect way to end my Saturday!
Question for the Night:
Do you ever use pumpkin in savory dishes?
I need to try this more often!