Thursday, May 21, 2015

Butternut Squash Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Last night I had a really great dinner at Crosby's Kitchen.  The food was delicious and it is a really cute place.  I went with my buddy, Katie.  She is leaving for a 10 day trip to Israel! I am quite jealous of this.  It was so nice to enjoy a nice meal together before she leaves.  We both ended up ordering the Wrightwood Salad which has their famous cornbread croutons in it!  Cornbread croutons!!!  It was pretty darn delicious and it made me want to figure out a way to make this incredible salad at home.  I'll see what I can do and get back to you guys.  

I also picked up their homemade veggie burger to bring back for Bri.  He is such a veggie burger fanatic and when I saw that they made a homemade one, I figured he would want to give it a try.  The reviews are in and he said it was a really great veggie burger!  I figure that in the spirit of this awesome meal, I would share one of my own veggie burger creations.  I love how you can basically throw a bunch of your favorite flavors/health ingredients into a food processor and make a really yummy burger.  We make a bunch and freeze them for easy weeknight meals.  I love how easy this makes dinner and the recipe I have today was incredibly yummy.  

Butternut Squash Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Butternut Squash Black Bean Veggie Burger

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
slices of cheese (I used pepperjack)
sliced tomatoes
ketchup or mustard (Bri is a ketchup fan, and I love spicy dijon mustard)

Directions:1. Heat olive oil and butter in a pan over medium heat.  Add in the squash, shallot, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, until squash can be pierced with a fork.  This took about 10 minutes.
2.  Place the squash mixture in your food processor and pulse until it becomes smooth.  Add in the black beans and pulse a few times to combine.
3. Place mixture in a bowl and stir in the beaten egg and the bread crumbs.  Place mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.  At this point, you can form your patties and freeze them for later use.  Otherwise, see number 4.
4. Once chilled, heat a skillet over medium and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Form burgers using your hands.  This mixture should make 6-8 burgers.  Place each burger on the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes or until burger starts to brown.  Flip the burger and repeat with the other side.  At this point, place cheese on top so that it melts.  Serve burgers with buns or bun-less and add whatever toppings you would like!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wedding Planning Wednesday Part 4

My students are taking the PARCC test right now and I have a ton of time on my hands.  We are down to the last 7 days of teaching and I already have everything planned out, my copies are made, my finals are finished, and I am totally ready for summer.  With summer right around the corner, I am also ready to hard-core start wedding planning.  Here is my imminent to-do list:

1. Ask Bridesmaids/Maid of Honor to be in the wedding
2. Find a DJ
3. Work with venue to plan tastings with possible caterers
4. Schedule a few wedding dress shopping extravaganzas

Numbers 1 and 4 really go hand-in-hand because I want my girls to be there with me for advice and also so that we can find a bridesmaids dress as well! I have been researching like crazy and I wanted to ask: Does anyone have suggestions for bridal dress shopping venues?  I am on a budget so I can't go too crazy, but I also want to find the perfect dress.  I tried on a few styles at a David's Bridal out in Arizona and I have a good sense of what I want.  I would love an a-line gown with a Sweetheart neckline.  Like this one:
Wedding Dress

I have heard of Fifi's, Jasmine, 826, and a few others, but I need to narrow down the list.  I want something in/near Chicago.  Help!

I also have big plans for popping the "Will you be my bridesmaid/maid of honor?" question.  However, I am still working on that and I don't want to ruin the surprise!  I can't wait to show you what I've been doing, but we will have to wait for a future episode of Wedding Planning Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Quinoa Salad with Corn, Tomatoes and Red Pepper

Let the countdown begin! There are only 9 more days of teaching and 3 days of finals until the end of the school year! I can't believe I am at the end of year 2!  I have gained so much confidence and experience in these past two years and I can't wait to embark on year 3. But first, summer!

This is a great, light summer recipe.  Quinoa recipes are awesome becasue you know they are a little healthier and gluten-free!  I have quite a few friends who can't have gluten and so this is the perfect recipe for a picnic or BBQ with them!  I was inspired by a recipe from Fitness Magazine.  This site comes up with great ideas for lighter recipes and with summer right around the corner I know these kinds of recipes are on my mind.  I am eating healthier because I am going to start wedding dress shopping soon! 

Quinoa Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, and Red Pepper

Quinoa Salad
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dijion mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cups corn kernels
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, dijion mustard, and vinegar.  Whisk in the salt, pepper, chopped shallot, and minced garlic.
2. Place quinoa and 3 cups water in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cover.  Let simmer for 20 minutes and then use a fork to fluff the quinoa.  Place cooked qunioa in a large bowl.
3.  Add the pepper, corn, and grape tomatoes to the quinoa and toss to combine.  Pour in about half of the dressing and toss.  Add more dressing as needed.  Let the mixture chill in the fridge.

Enjoy :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Chicago Marathon 2015

I'm in!  I decided to run the chicago marathon and support this fantastic organization, Have Dreams.  Running for Team Have Dreams means that I will be helping support students with Autism all over the Chicago-land Area.  I am very excited about running my second marathon and I think that this organization is truly wonderful.  If you would like to learn more about Team Have Dreams or if you could help me achieve my goal, I would truly appreciate that!  Check out more at my site: Team Have Dreams - JodieB.

Marathon training is a little ridiculous.  I was looking over the training schedule from last year and I guess I sorta forgot hot intense it gets and how quickly that happens.  Training kick-off is June 13th and I will be training with CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) again.  My buddy, Jana, who ran the last race with me, is also running again.  Plus, my friends Lauren, Ashley, and Hannah, are also all signed up to run their first marathon!  I am so proud of them for signing up and I am so excited for our shared experiences through these next 4-5 crazy months!

With training right around the corner, I'm looking into buying 2 new pairs of shoes.  Two pairs is the way to go because you burn through the first pair before you get to race day, but you want to break in the second pair before actually running the real thing.  I wear my first pair until peak week (where you run the 20 miler), and then I switch to my second pair for the final three weeks before the race.  Training also means I am re-stocking my running gels, tank-tops, and pants.

Running marathons takes a lot, but it helps me focus on a goal and it is something that for some crazy reason I love.  I am super pumped to see how this one goes and hopefully I even set a new PR! So, get ready for some new Marathon Monday posts about my running experiences!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cream Cheese Brownies

I had a bit of a rough day at school the other day.  It's the end of the year and more students than usual are restless and not putting forth their best efforts/behavior.  It is frustrating for me because I want to see them finish the year strong and get good grades.  However, that is  just not happening with some of them.  I was feeling sad, so when I got home I decided that I needed to bake brownies.

I also went for a 6 mile run so I felt like brownies were a good way to motivate myself to run the full 6 miles and then also have a little treat to help make me feel better.  It helped!  Plus, the next day was better.  Sometimes I guess there is just something in the air at high school that makes students act a little crazy.

These brownies were delightful.  I got the idea for them from browsing the website at America's Test Kitchen.  I adapted their recipe a tad, but overall I followed similar instructions.  They had really great ideas for making the brownies look beautiful and to make sure that the brownie and cream cheese swirls nicely and the cream cheese doesn't sink.  They were pretty tasty and I am pretty excited about having even more brownies waiting for me when I get home!  Bad day or not, these brownies are a great recipe to have for special occasions or just to enjoy a little treat after dinner! 

Cream Cheese Brownies

2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp espresso powder
4 oz 70% cacao chocolate
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz light cream cheese
1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 325 and line a 9 by 9 inch pan with foil.  Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.  
2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese for a few seconds and then microwave for 30 seconds.  Beat in the 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp flour until creamy.  Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, place butter and cut up chocolate.  Microwave at 50% powder for about 1-2 minutes or until the chocolate is melted.  Stir every 30 seconds to check.  
4. In a seperate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder.
5. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the chocolate mixture until well combined.  Then, mix in the flour mixture until just combined.  Set aside 1/2 cup of the brownie batter.
6. Spread the brownie batter into  your prepared pan.  Then, spread the cream cheese mixture over the top.  Finally, use the 1/2 cup of reserved brownie batter and place 6 spoonfuls on top of the cream cheese layer so that they are spread out.  Using a knife, swirl the batter by cutting through the layers horizontally and then vertically.  
7. Bake for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Use the foil to remove the brownies from the pan and let cool for about 1 hour before cutting. 

Enjoy :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Chocolate Ganache

It's Thirsty Thursday and the Scandal finale is on tonight!  What better way to celebrate than with a recipe for Red Wine Chocolate Cake!  I found this recipe over at Food & Wine and I adapted it slightly.  It was the perfect way to celebrate a recent birthday and it was an amazingly decadent chocolate cake!  

In other news, I went to my second Cubs game of the season last night.  My brother is in town and it was so fun to hang out with him.  Plus, the cubs won!  It was a pretty chilly night for a game, but we still had a great time.  It was a little weird to be out late on a Wednesday and I'm a little sleepy today, but I'm sure I'll be fine! I guess I should also mention that tonight there is a pretty big basketball game involving a Chicago team...if you're into that...I just can't wait for Scandal :).  I'm sure my sport-loving fiance will keep me updated on the sporting world anyways! 

I hope that you all enjoy this recipe!  Get out a good bottle of red wine, try not to drink too much while you bake, and have fun! 

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Ganache
1 1/4 cups dry red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Ganache:1 cup chocolate chips (I used a mix of dark and milk)
3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp red wine

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a bundt cake pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined.
4. Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Then, add in 1/2 of the wine and mix until combined.  Continue with another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the wine, and finally the rest of the flour until just combined.  Pour the batter into your prepared pan and place in oven for 45 minutes.
5. While the cake is baking, make the ganache: In a heat-proof bowl, place the chocolate with the cream.  Let the bowl sit over a pot of boiling water and stir once the chocolate starts to soften.  If your mixture doesn't come together, you can add a little more cream.  Once smooth, stir in the red wine and remove from heat.
6. When your cake is done, let cool for 15 minutes and then frost with the ganache.  Let cake cook completely and ganache set.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dinner for Two: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan Risotto

It's another Wedding Planning Wednesday!  We haven't made much progress lately because we have tons of time.  The latest development in our wedding plans was that we found a photographer!  There are so many to choose from, but the portfolio's we saw online looked great and when we met with the guy he seemed awesome.  We get an engagement shoot included in our deal and I am excited to test out the photography experience through this!  I will obviously be sharing details later on so stay tuned! 

The weather has been so wonderful lately! Chicago is an awesome place to be when it is nice out.  Bri and I have already taken advantage of walking to dinner and going to a baseball game.  We went to a cubs game last weekend and it was so much fun.  Tonight, my little bro is in town and we are going to another baseball game! I am very excited about this.  Now that my grad classes are done and school is winding down, it feels great to enjoy the nice weather and relax.  

I also have more time to cook!  This week I am planning on making some veggie enchiladas and cream cheese brownies.  I have been craving both foods and I have all the supplies I need!  But first, I am going to tell you about a dish that I made a while back: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan Risotto.  This was a great dinner for me and Bri.  It made enough food for two people and it was quick.  Therefore, this is the perfect date-night dinner.  First, I roasted some brussel sprouts in the oven, and then I mixed it into some homemade parmesan risotto.  Everything was really tasty.  I am obsessed with brussel sprouts so this dish made me super happy.  

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan Risotto
1 lb brussel sprouts, peeled and halved
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil on a baking sheet and spread out halved brussel sprouts over the sheet.   Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder over the sprouts.  Use a spoon to toss the sprouts and make sure they become coated with olive oil and seasonings.  Place in oven and cook for 20-30 minutes.  Check every 10 minutes and flip the sprouts about half way through cooking.  Remove from oven.
3. While the sprouts are cooking, pour vegetable broth in a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium heat.  
4. In a separate large saucepan, heat the rest of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the chopped onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add in the arborio rice and toss with the onion and garlic.  Let cook for another 2 minutes.  Then, add in the wine and cook until the rice has absorbed all the wine.
5.  Add in 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and stir until it is absorbed by the rice.  Continue doing this for about 20 minutes or until the rice is done.  Stir in the parmesan cheese and brussel sprouts.  

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

I just submitted my last final and my classes are over! My grad classes that is...My high school classes are done as of June 4th.  I am so excited to be done with these grad classes I can't even explain.  It is a great feeling and now I can officially start the countdown to the end of the school year and the start of camp!  I am going to be working as a camp director again and I am really excited about it.  I can't wait for another summer filled with art projects, playing on playgrounds, and going to waterparks!  

I made this super yummy macaroni and "cheese" recipe recently and it has been on my mind ever since.  I have seen a ton of recipes that sub out cheese for some sort of veggie to make the dish a little lighter and healthier.  This recipe uses mashed butternut squash mixed with some cheese to create a delicious and creamy "cheese" sauce.  You would never know that there are veggies in this!  Bri and I had this for dinner, but then there were enough leftovers for me to have lunch at school the next day too! 

I had a squash lying around so I decided to experiment with a new recipe.  I wanted to make something quick so I went with a stove-top style recipe.  I cooked some pasta, cooked/mashed the squash, and came up with this awesome cheese sauce.  You can use your cheeses of choice, but I went with some sharp cheddar and gorgonzola.  It was awesome!  I can't wait to try other variations of this dish in the future! 

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese 

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

12 oz whole wheat macaroni noodles
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups skim milk
8 oz of cheddar and gorgonzola (4 oz each), shredded/cubed
1 tsp hot sauce (or more to taste)
1 tsp mustard (or more to taste)

Directions:1. Make the pasta according to directions to al dente, drain and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil over medium in a pot and place butternut squash in.  Let cook for 5 minutes or so then add the salt, pepper, cinnamon, and vegetable broth.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork.  Using two forks or a potato masher, mash the squash until you have a smooth paste.  Pour in the milk and cheeses and mix until cheese melts.  Stir in the hot sauce and mustard and season with more salt and pepper if desired.  Pour the the pasta and stir to coat.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! 

Every day is mother's day.  I mean, what would we do without mom's?  Literally, no one would exist!  My mom is pretty amazing and I just wanted to say, I love you!  Bri and I are planning on having brunch with my mommy today and then dinner with his mommy later.  It is going to be a really nice day!  

Here is a round-up of some of my mommy's favorite recipes that I have made in the past:

I hope that all the mother's out there have a really great day!

Enjoy :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Crock Pot Honey Chipotle Chicken Wings

It was my school mentor's birthday last weekend and therefore chicken wings are on my mind.  I know that sounds a little crazy, but both of us love chicken wings so there you go!  I got to see her on her birthday weekend since we both live in the city and she had a really nice dinner!  

We went to Piccolo Sogno, which is this amazing Italian place that I have heard all about, but I had never been.  I was pretty pumped about going and it did not let me down.  This place is in the heart of the West Loop in Chicago and has unbelievable food.  We tried things such as seafood pasta, kale salad, spaghetti bolognese, and of course, molten lava cake for dessert.  It is a great place to have a special event at and it was awesome for a birthday dinner.  

This Friday, in honor of the birthday festivities,  I wanted to share this recipe for real chicken wings.  I had never cooked with chicken wings before and they were really yummy.  After a dip in the crock pot, these wings were incredibly tasty and the chicken fell right off the bone.  This is a great recipe for an easy dinner option.  Just make sure you leave yourself enough time to let the chicken cook!  I was inspired by Creme de la Crumb who used homemade chicken bites instead of wings.  If that interest you head on over! 

Crock Pot Honey Chipotle Chicken Wings

Ingredients:2 lbs Chicken Wings (or really any chicken part!)
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 heaping tsp of adobo sauce (Just the sauce that Chipotle peppers are in)
1 tbsp hot sauce (I used Frank's)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp white vinegar
2/3 cup water with 4 tbsp of cornstarch 

1. Wash and pat dry your chicken.
2. Whisk all the ingredients from honey to white vinegar in your crock pot.  
3. Place chicken in the sauce and cook on low for 6 hours.  Start checking the chicken around 5 hours to see if it is done.  
4. Once cooked, mix the water and cornstarch together and mix into your crock pot so that the sauce thickens.  
5. Serve with any dipping sauce that you want!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Brewery Tours in Chicago

Oy vey! I fell behind!  I assigned a project for my Geometry kiddos to work on last week and this week I had to grade all their work!  Therefore, I fell a little behind.  Also, I have finals for my online graduate level classes so I have been working on those as well.  The good news is that I finished most of my work for the finals and I finished grading all the projects so now I am in a very happy place.  On top of all that productivity, Scandal and Grey's Anatomy are on tonight! Yay!  

In honor of this happy Thursday, I have to tell you all about some great breweries Bri and I looked at recently.  We did a mini Chicago Brewery Tour and tasted beers at Vice District Brewery and Haymarket.  Both places were great.  
Vice District Brewery
Vice District does not do food, so we went there first, and then we had dinner and drinks at Haymarket.  The food there is so yummy so you have to eat while you are there.  Basically, I think we had a great plan and I highly recommend doing something similar.  It was so great to pretend to be tourist in the city where we live! If you search for breweries in Chicago, the top three are Half Acre (been there), Revolution (been there a few times), and Haymarket.   We just had to go :) 

Any suggestions to widen our brewery search?  We are big fans of trying new things and finding good food along the way! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Breakfast Sandwiches

It's Cinco de Mayo on a Taco Tuesday?  That is just too much.

I decided that in honor of Cinco de Mayo, I would share this recipe for Mexican Breakfast Sandwiches.  I made some homemade guacamole, toasted some whole wheat English Muffins, found my favorite salsa at the store and I was ready to go!  Oh, and I almost forgot: THE CHEESE!  Holy moly this cheese was perfect.  I was searching the crazy, overwhelming cheese section at my local grocery store when the nice employee pointed me in the perfect direction.  Pico de Queso Cheddar.  It has the perfect amount of spice and it melted really nicely on these sandwiches.  This is such a yummy recipe and you end up with tons of extra salsa and guacamole for leftovers or to go with the tacos you will naturally want to make later.  I made four sandwiches for me and Bri, but you can make as many as you want with this recipe.

Cinco de Mayo Mexican Breakfast Sandwiches

Cinco de Mayo Breakfast Sandwiches

4 Whole Wheat English Muffins
4 eggs
Your favorite salsa
4 slices of Pico de Queso Cheddar
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1 avocado
3 tbsp cilantro
3 tsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Make the guacamole: food process the avocado with the cilantro, lime juice, half the black beans, and half the corn.  Add in the salt and pepper.  Once creamy, pour into a bowl and stir in the rest of the black beans and corn.
2. Toast the English Muffins and melt the cheese on one slice of for each sandwich.  Spoon a few tablespoons of the guacamole on the other slice of the English Muffin.
3.  I made my eggs over easy in a frying pan and then placed them on top of the cheese.  You can scramble, fry, or whatever.
4. Spoon some salsa over the eggs and then place the guacamole slice on top.

Enjoy :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

One Pot Whole Wheat Veggie Mac and Cheese

It's official! I am running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2015!!!! I am very excited about this and I am even more excited to be supporting a really great cause: Team Have Dreams.  This is an organization that supports people with Autism.   I decided to celebrate by going for a 9 mile run.  Things started off great, but then I noticed that it was HOT.  What is that about?  This is Chicago!  I swear I can't remember the last time I felt hot while running and I just wasn't ready for it.  I ended up having a pretty terrible run and I needed to walk a bunch.  Guess I'll have to start getting used to this new weather, though.  It is supposed to be 80 degrees today!

I will keep you all posted on marathon training take 2, but for right now, I'm just gonna relax :)

Oh, and tell you about this unbelievable meal!  I got really into one-pot meals during the winter.  I am super duper busy during the week as are most people so this sorta stuff is great.  You literally throw everything into one pot and cook.  How great is that?  What is really weird is that this a pasta dish!  I used whole wheat noodles, threw in my favorite veggies, mixed together some great tasting cheeses and ta-da!  It looks like a total mess, but comes out tasting amazing.  Plus, the pasta cooks perfectly!  I love this dish and it is completely vegetarian so Bri was pretty happy as well!

One Pot Whole Wheat Veggie Mac and Cheese

1 box whole wheat shell pasta
1 8 oz container of mushrooms
about 8 asparagus stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 container of grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup skim milk
1 cup vegetable broth
2 oz gruyere, cubed or shredded
2 oz colby jack, cubed or shredded
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
hot sauce, to taste

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the minced garlic, sliced mushrooms, and asparagus.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to shrink.
2. Add in all the other ingredients except the hot sauce, and bring mixture to a boil.  Stir everything, lower heat to medium-low, and cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the pasta is done.  Add in hot sauce at the end if you want!

Enjoy :)