Tuesday, July 28, 2015

4 Cheese Baked Pasta - Lightened Up

Last night, Bri and I met up with some friends for dinner and trivia.  I had never done trivia before and I was pretty pumped.  We were terrible!  However, the restaurant/bar was great and we had a ton of fun.  I will def be trying this out again.  I feel like if I continue to go to trivia, I should learn more and more so that I can be better at trivia...right?  

I wanted to share this recipe today because it just felt like an easy, pasta sort of day.  You know what I mean?  This is the kind of dish that I make ahead of time on a Saturday or Sunday and then eat the leftovers for like the whole week.  It was super yummy and those BBQ chips on top were one of my finer ideas.  You can also vary this dish greatly.  Try out different types of cheese, different toppings, different pasta! 

Four Cheese Baked Pasta

(adapted from How Sweet It Is)

1 lb. whole wheat pasta
1/2 tsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups skim milk
1/3 cup marscapone
5 oz gruyere, shredded
8 oz light mozzarella, shredded
8 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
BBQ chips

1. Make pasta according to directions, but drain 2-3 minutes before al dente.
2. In a large, oven-proof skillet, heat over medium.  Once hot, add in olive oil and butter.  Once butter has melted, add in the shallot and cook for 1 minute.  Then add in garlic and let cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk constantly for about 2 minutes.  Pour in the milk while continuing to whisk and let cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Stir in the marscapone until well combined and then add in most of the cheese.  Save about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.  Stir until melted.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
3. Preheat oven to 375.  Pour the drained pasta into the cheese skillet and toss until coated.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.  Crush the BBQ chips over the top of the pasta and let bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Marathon Training Monday

So this Saturday was a 12 mile run followed by an amazing breakfast at Whole Foods with my some people from my running group.  It was one of the most fun runs I've had in a while.  Now, for all you people out there who think I am crazy to run 12 miles, I sort of agree with you.  I mean, I just said I had fun running 12 miles.  But, the crazy thing is I totally did and it is mostly because I run with a group.  I love meeting new people and we all run at a pace where we are comfortable talking so it ends up being super social.  This was the first time I went to the breakfast after and that made the whole experience even more fun!

I felt great after the 12 miles and I think that was due to the fact that I didn't complete all the mileage during the week before.  Because of the half marathon I ran last weekend, I decided to "taper" the runs during the week so that I would feel better by the weekend.  It worked!

This week the mileage is 3, 6, 3, 13.  My goal is to complete all the miles.

In other running news, I am considering getting one of those cool Garmin watches.  Does anyone have any advice when it comes to running watches?  I can't decide if it is worth spending the money on! I really like this guy:

Also, I am almost at my goal of $1,500 for my charity, Have Dreams.  To learn more about this amazing charity please check out my page: Jodie B Team Have Dreams. It is a great organization and if you know anyone who might be interested in donating please share!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

BBQ Onion and Gouda Quesadilla

My birthday celebration was a ton of fun and it was yet another reminder of all the amazing people in my life.  I couldn't be more grateful.  Dinner at RPM Italian didn't disappoint.  They brought us a complimentary Prosecco Toast to celebrate Bri's and my engagement, dinner was fantastic, and then they also brought out complimentary gelato to celebrate my birthday.  OH! And, we also so Coach Quenneville from the Chicago Blackhawks eating dinner with his family! It was so cool!

So now it's back to the daily grind.  Last night when I got home, I wanted to make something for dinner, but I didn't want to spend a ton of time on it.  I stopped by the grocery store and they happened to have samples of this spicy 3 Pepper Gouda.  It was creamy with just a bit of a kick and it was super good.  I had also recently seen a recipe for a quesadilla with bbq onions in it so I figured I would combine these two.  I also used these great "healthy" veggie quesadillas.  Put together, this was one amazing quesadilla that is good for you too!

BBQ Onion and Gouda Quesadilla
(makes 4)

1/2 onion, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp bbq sauce
1/3-1/2 lb of gouda cheese
4 quesadilla tortillas

1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium and add the sliced onions.  Cook until onions soften and start to brown.  This will take a bit of time and you should toss the onions frequently.  Season with salt and pepper and add in the bbq sauce.  Toss to combine.  Turn off heat.
2. Shred the gouda cheese into a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place tortilla in the skillet and sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over 1/2 of the tortilla.  Top with 1/4 of the onions.  Use a spatula to flip the other half of the tortilla on top and then cook until both sides brown a bit and cheese melts.  Repeat with the rest.

I had mine with some veggies and a wheatberry salad on the side.  Is that healthy or what???

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Red Velvet Cookie Dough and Brownie Parfait

It's my birthday! I decided to share this treat today because it is one of my favorite treats that I have made! But first, let me tell you all about the fun birthday events I have been up to!

First, on Saturday, my family and Bri went to dinner at Due Lire.  I had the Tortelli and it was quite delicious.  Then, on Sunday, I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon and afterwards, went to lunch at D4.  Yesterday, Bri and I went for a little picnic for dinner in the park and now today is the big day!  Today, my family is coming downtown and we have reservations at RPM Italian.  I have never been, but I have heard phenomenal things.  I am pretty excited.  I also baked some of my famous Inception Cookies to bring to my staff at camp today.  I sorta feel like I'm in elementary school again; I'm bringing treats for my class :)

So this dessert basically combines all of my favorite things.  It has brownies, red velvet cookie dough dip, and homemade whipped cream.  I LOVE whipping cream.  I think it is just so cool,  Plus the brownies were the beer brownies that Bri and I made with spent grain from brewing.  This dessert was just outrageously delicious.  

Red Velvet Cookie Dough and Brownie Parfait

(this fills one large mason jar)
2-3 brownies (I used my Beer Brownies)
Red Velvet Cookie Dough Dip:
8 oz low-fat cream cheese
1 cup non-fat, greek yogurt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2-3 tsp red food coloring
Whipped Cream:
4 oz low-fat cream cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Bake the brownies or use your favorite store bought brand.
2. Make the red velvet cookie dough dip: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the greek yogurt.  Beat in both sugars until well combined and then add in the cocoa powder and red food color.  Mix until well combined.
3. Make the whipped cream: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with the powdered sugar.  Add in the cream and beat on high until peaks begin to form.  Continue to beat until you have stiff peaks.  
4. Use a mason jar or other container to layer your dessert.  Start with some crumbled brownies, then red velvet dip, and then whipped cream and repeat. 
Enjoy :)