Sorry for the week long hiatus! I really have no wonderful reason behind it besides being on the job search and to be quite honest, not feeling the inspiration bug for recipes last week. Sometimes you just don’t feel it. I did try out a few recipes last week though that weren’t blog worthy, but definitely will be in the future with a little tweaking (coming soon: Mexican fried rice and Thai peanut noodles).
My husband and I made our first trip back to the Midwest this last weekend to celebrate our niece’s second birthday. She had sooo much fun, and it’s awesome to see them get excited about every little thing. She got this My Little Pony – the purple one – and apparently it can fly on the TV show so she went around throwing it up in the air. Haha, it was ridiculously cute. We had a great time, but coming back to Boulder made me realize that Colorado is kind of starting to feel like home as bittersweet as that is.
When we got back to our apartment, I looked at my counter and saw 4 mushy, brown bananas which might gross some people out but to me it screamed “time for something bread-y”! Usually banana bread it my go-to but this time I was feeling something a little different, and I was craving peanut butter. MMMM, you really can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter. Plus you get to pretend these are healthy because they have bananas in them.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
Moist, delicious breakfast on the go treat
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel and mash the ripened bananas
Mix egg, butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla with the bananas.
Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt with the flour. Slowly add to banana mixture.
Scoop into muffin pan lined with baking cups. Fill until 3/4 full.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy!
It was one of my New Year’s resolutions to eat less red meat, and to try to eat healthier not only for myself but for my husband. We eat out wayyy too much but we also know that for now there is just the two of us, so those care free, spur of the moment nights out are probably limited. We have a tradition of going out on Thursday nights – I don’t remember how it started. I think we decided to go out for Mexican and margaritas one Thursday in West Des Moines, and after that we decided that the $11 pitchers (best. deal. ever.) were definitely right up our alley.
Sorry about that little side note. Anyway, the other nights of the week I try to make something home cooked. Last night’s specialty was my version of a tortellini casserole. We have tried many many many different kinds of tortellini, and the next statement is my own personal opinion: please buy refrigerated. We have tried frozen and dry but in my experience the refrigerated kind just cooks better. We prefer Costco’s Five Cheese Tortellini. I should also disclose to you that I am the master of choosing a casserole dish that is too small for the amount of food I am cooking and not realizing it until it is too late. This means that I usually end up doing more dishes that I desire to because I have to put a cookie sheet under the casserole dish so my oven doesn’t become a hot mess (literally).
This is a great recipe to ad lib and add your own flare. This time around, I had to make my own spaghetti sauce because I didn’t have any on hand. I mixed a can of diced tomatoes with garlic and onion and a small can of tomato paste in a medium sauce pan and brought it to a simmer; then add water until it becomes the consistency that you want. When you are making the casserole, alternate layers of sauce, tortellini, and mozzarella. The secret to the creamy, richness of this dish is a layer of 1/4 cup cream mixed with 3/4 cup parmesan in the middle of the casserole. When cooked and dished up, the secret layer adds richness and tones down the tomato-y flavor a tad. You can totally omit this if you want!
I know, I know, this isn’t the healthiest of meals but a small portion is very filling and it makes for great leftovers. It would freeze great for meals in the upcoming weeks also!
Look at all that creamy, cheesy pasta. Yes ma’am. Mmmhmmm
Creamy Tortellini Bake
Cheesy, creamy, rich pasta goodness make for a fantastic meat-free meal!
Bring tomatoes and tomato paste to a simmer. Add water to take it to the consistency you desire (I like mine on the thick side)
Cook tortellini according to package instructions. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Just a little hint - you really don't need to stir while they are cooking, and most usually take 2-3 minutes tops.
In the bottom of a casserole dish (I recommend a rectangular one), spread 1/4 cup of your tomato sauce then layer 1/2 of the tortellini followed by more tomato sauce and a layer of mozzarella cubes.
Before adding the second layer of tortellini, mix the cream and parmesan in a bowl and pour over the first layer.
Repeat layers, using the rest of your ingredients and finishing off the top with the cubed mozzarella.
Cook at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until mozzarella begins to brown.
Serve with a sprinkle of Italian seasoning. Enjoy!