Recipe: Taco Black Bean Pasta

Published 4/21/14 by:

Taco Pasta Photo



The week before spring break, you’re trying to empty your refrigerator before departing to your (hopefully exciting) destination. Am I right? So when I found myself with a hefty sum of hamburger, and an entire sack of onions, I figured it was time to break out one of my most reliable recipes: Taco Pasta! This recipe has actually evolved over time because I’ve cooked it more than once – a major feat for this young chef! You can add pretty much anything to this recipe, and it won’t suffer (that much). Enjoy!



1/2 jar of your favorite salsa (or one can of Rotel)

1 box or bag of pasta

1 can of drained black beans

1 pound of ground hamburger (or you could do turkey burger!)

8 ounces of sour cream

3 ounces of cream cheese

4 tablespoons of taco seasoning

1 onion diced

1 shallot diced



Cook pasta according to directions and set aside (I would recommend starting this process prior to dicing your onions etc.)

In a large skillet (the deeper the better) cook your shallots, onions and hamburger on high heat until meat is no longer red.

Add taco seasoning and salsa into skillet. Stir until it’s mixed in evenly. Then add in your sour cream and cream cheese. Stir until there are no lumps left.

Add in your drained black beans and distribute them evenly in the skillet.

Once your skillet’s contents are nice and creamy add in the pasta.

For garnish you can add green onions or sprinkle shredded cheese on the top!



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Recipe: Creamy Tomato, Kale & Sausage Pasta Bake

Published 3/13/14 by:


Creamy Tomato Sausage Kale Recipe


I’m a teacher, so preparing a casserole dish or a soup that I can take for lunch all week is pretty glorious. So this past Sunday I literally took my soup ingredients (I was planning on making a sausage soup all week long) and said to myself, “what else can I do with all of these things?” Well, I was shocked with the result. This may be my favorite casserole/bake I’ve ever made! I’ve been eating it all week, and I’m still not sick of it! The tomato sauce is creamy without being heavy, and the sweet and spicy sausage create a fun tastebud dynamic! I hope you all enjoy it! Next time I may add more veggies like tri-colored peppers. I know – I’m so fancy.




1 jar of tomato sauce (I used Giada’s garlic roasted marinara)

8 ounces of plain Greek yogurt

2 cups of Kale

2 packages of chicken sausage (I used Apple and Jalapeño)

1 cup of shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)

1 box of pasta

1 shallot

1 sweet onion



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Cook the pasta according to directions. When the pasta is fully cooked, strain it OVER your kale to wilt it.

Dice your sausage, shallots, and onions and place them in the bottom of an oven safe casserole dish (I used my Dutch Oven).

In a separate bowl mix your jar of tomato sauce with your Greek yogurt until it’s creamy.

Add pasta, kale and creamy tomato sauce to the casserole dish and mix until all items are covered in your red sauce.

Sprinkle your cheese on the top, and bake for 20 minutes.

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Recipe: Horseradish Cheddar Greek Yogurt Macaroni and Cheese

Published 2/24/14 by:

 Horseradish Yogurt Mac and Cheese


So I found myself on Saturday morning in a fairly quiet Trader Joe’s. Yes, you just heard me correctly – Trader Joe’s wasn’t a zoo on a weekend day! I figured this was some sort of sign from the cosmos so I opened up my phone to Pinterest, and perused my Nom Nom page pins, and found this awesome Greek yogurt mac and cheese recipe. I soon realized that I don’t own onion or garlic powder, and that I had wholesale size (Thanks BJ’s!) bags of shredded cheese already, so I decided to do what I always do: modify! I have to say, this mac and cheese came out so much better than I anticipated, and the prep and cook time were so quick that I ended up eating dinner at 4:30pm by accident! Delicious and under 30 minutes to prepare and cook? I’ll take it! Please let me know if you make further accommodations when you cook this, and how it turned out!



16 ounces of your choice of pasta

8 ounces of your choice of plain Greek yogurt

1 shallot diced

1 cup of Cabot’s Horseradish Cheddar Cheese (shredded or cubed)

1 cup of shredded Mexican Blend cheese

3 cups of Kale (or spinach)

Salt, Pepper or other seasoning to your liking



Cook pasta according to package directions until it is at al dente status. Place your kale (or spinach) in the bottom of a strainer in your sink, and dump the pasta on top of it to wilt it. Save approximately 1 cup of boiling water from your pasta bowl to add to your cheesy yogurty sauce!

Return the pasta and kale to your original pot and add in yogurt, cheese, pasta water and shallots. Mix until everything is gooey, and serve immediately!


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Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bites

Published 2/11/14 by:

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bites

So I had a snow day last Wednesday and decided what better way to head into the last half of the work week than to make my co-workers some Valentine themed cookies? I tweaked the recipe from this Christmas cookie post to include some of favorite spread: the infamous Trader Joe’s/Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Butter Swirl. You’re welcome.


1/2 cup unsalted room temperature butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup Speculooks Cookie and Cocoa Butter Swirl (or any kind of cookie butter you like)

1 1/4 cup of flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (or regular, but I used sea)

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of light brown sugar (or whatever brown sugar you desire)

1 egg

36 Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups unwrapped (I bought the heart-shaped ones)

Colored sprinkles


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the sugars, liquids and butters in a bowl, and once it is at a creamy (not lumpy) status, add all of the powdery ingredients.

Spray a mini muffin pan, roll the dough into one inch balls, and place in the individual pan spots.

Bake the dough for 10-12 minutes until it looks lightly brown. (Note: the other blog said 8-10 minutes and that was not adequate and messed up one batch of the cookies for me)

When the cookies come out of the oven, firmly press a peanut butter cup into the middle of the cookie. Don’t be shy about pressing down. Yes, your cookies will crinkle, but no big deal.

When the peanut butter cups start to sweat (get gooey) garnish your cookie with some sprinkles.

Let these suckers cool FOR A LONG TIME. I moved mine too quickly and the chocolate and sprinkles started to drip down the sides. It was messy, but still delicious.

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Recipe: Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Published 2/1/14 by:

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

This morning I woke up to 40 degree weather, and because this is such a heat wave for Massachusetts right now, I had a strong desire to have a barbecue. Obviously that’s not happening, so instead I made a Mediterranean Couscous salad that reminds me of outdoor dining and the smells of a distant grill. This recipe comes from my good friends Mike and Karen, but I’ve tweaked it a little each time I’ve made it. For instance, I usually use a flavored couscous from the brand Near East (Parmesan is my favorite), but this time I used a traditional Israeli couscous from Trader Joe’s. It’s entirely up to you, and the flexibility of this salad is what makes it so fun! I made this for our end of the year teachers’ luncheon and it was a fun alternative to the typical pasta salads that appear at those kinds of functions.

Makes 6-8 Servings


Two boxes of flavored or unflavored couscous

3 bell peppers (choose your own colors)

1 onion (I use sweet, but any kind would do)

1 4oz container of Feta cheese

1 bunch of chives


Cook couscous according to directions on the box. Once it’s light and fluffy put it in the refrigerator to cool. While it’s cooling dice your veggies. Add the veggies and Feta to your liking and chill until you’re ready to serve. That’s it! Seriously! Some options for if you choose to use unflavored couscous: offer a vinaigrette salad dressing on the side, or sprinkle your favorite seasoning (seasoned salt, Emeril’s Essence etc.) into the salad.

Please let me know if you come up with fun alternatives for this salad!

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