Category Archives: Husband’s Picks

Easy Pasta with Vegetables

I’ve been meaning to share this quick and easy pasta recipe with you for a few weeks. I debated about whether or not it was too simple to share. And, it is a very simple recipe.  But, it’s recently become a favorite at my house, and after making it for dinner the fourth week in a row, I decided it needed to be shared.

You may find it hard to believe that this has recently become one of my husband’s favorite foods.  Of course, he’s a bigger fan of salads than I am, so maybe it’s not really much of a surprise.  It doesn’t really sound like “man food” since it is loaded with veggies, but he seems to really like it.  He’s been the one requesting that I make it week after week.  And, I’m not complaining… I like it, too.

Of course, I also love how simple this dish is to make.  In the time it takes to cook the veggies, you can cook the pasta to al dente.  Then, all you have to do is toss it all together and throw some freshly grated cheese on top. It’s really that fast and easy!

The other thing I love about this recipe is how versatile it is. You can substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand, or whatever is fresh and in season.  I know I’ll be making this a lot over the summer when we have lots of fresh veggies from our CSA. You can play around with the pasta, too. My husband likes long noodles, so I’ve been using whole wheat thin spaghetti. But, whatever you prefer will be just fine.  Just be sure not to overcook the noodles. The pasta is a large part of the dish, so you want the texture to be just right! Continue Reading

Ricotta Gnocchi

A few months ago, I introduced my husband to ricotta gnocchi. I ordered it at one of our favorite local restaurants, and he gave me a skeptical look. But, then he took a bite. Ever since, he’s been hooked.

The thing is, I’ve never actually made gnocchi before. Not successfully, at least. I’ve attempted to make sweet potato gnocchi in the past, but they turned out gummy. And, we ended up ordering takeout that night. So, I’ve shyed away from it ever since.

For this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp challenge, I decided that it was time that I revisit gnocchi. Since my husband is so smitten with ricotta gnocchi, I figured that was a good place to start. The fact that it’s not made with potatoes and wasn’t as likely to be a gummy mess like my last gnocchi attempt certainly didn’t hurt, either.

I used the recipe in The Professional Chef as my guide for the gnocchi. I was really surprised how easy the recipe was. I really should have given it a try sooner! The only slight issue that I had was that the batter is supposed to be shaped into quenelles using two spoons as it’s dropped into the boiling water. My quenelle skills are a bit lacking, so I ended up with more of a lopsided dumpling shape. But, they tasted fantastic. My hubby said they were as good as the ones from the restaurant and informed me that I should add them to his Husband’s Picks category right away. I consider that a success! Continue Reading

Bacon Wrapped Guacamole Poppers

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hass Avocado Board featuring Hass Avocados for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I happen to be one of those women who loves football season. This year I’m even in a fantasy football league! But, even if you’re not a football fan (and I realize a lot of you aren’t), keep reading. I think there’s something that we can all get excited about… Football food!

I was asked to develop an avocado recipe for the Kick Off with Hass Avocados Recipe Contest, and I jumped at the chance. I cannot get enough avocado, and I love football season. So, it’s the perfect pairing for me. I’ve had game day appetizers on the brain lately, and my mind immediately jumped to jalapeño poppers.  I made a creamy guacamole filled, bacon wrapped jalapeño popper. And, they were good. Really good.

While my jalapeño poppers are certainly not what I’d consider a healthy snack (and we won’t even discuss the fact that I may have eaten them for dinner one night!), avocados are a pretty healthy option for game day fare… They are packed with vitamins and are very nutrient dense. Plus, they’re a great source of healthy fats.  That makes me feel better about snacking on some poppers or digging into a big bowl of guacamole… Wouldn’t you agree? Continue Reading

Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream

Remember when I mentioned yesterday that you should save a few of those Red Velvet Cupcakes? Well, now you know why!

Yesterday, I told you about my husband’s love of red velvet cake.  Secretly, I’m convinced that he really just likes the cream cheese frosting. So, knowing what you do now, you can surely understand how excited he was to discover red velvet cake ice cream at a local ice cream shop last summer. He’s been talking about it ever since.

To him, it is the holy grail of ice cream, and he has been searching high and low for it every time we go out for ice cream.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a real popular flavor, and it’s only available at one local ice cream shop that we’ve found.  That would be all fine and well, except that we don’t really like said ice cream shop all that much. I won’t go into details, but I prefer to avoid it, if at all possible.

So, to avoid having to go out to the dreaded ice cream parlor every time my hubby wants some red velvet ice cream (at least once a week), I decided that I would take matters into my own hands… Or, perhaps I should say, into my own kitchen.

This ice cream is easy to make (especially if you have some leftover cupcakes on hand!)… It’s based on my standard custard recipe, and I have added cream cheese to give it that extra cream cheese frosting flavor.  The result is a rich and creamy ice cream with all of the flavor of red velvet cake.

My husband has reqeuested that this recipe go straight to the Husband’s Picks page… And, you can be sure that we won’t be visiting that ice cream parlor again any time soon!

Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream
(Makes about 1.5 quarts)

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 red velvet cupcakes (with icing)

Combine the heavy cream and milk in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, but do not allow the mixture to boil.

Meanwhile, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is light and lemony in color.  Add the cream cheese, and beat until the mixture is smooth. While mixing, gradually add in about 1 cup of the hot cream. This will temper the eggs so that they do not scramble.

Then, add the tempered egg and cream cheese mixture to the sauce pan, and continue to cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Allow the ice cream base to cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap (pressing the plastic wrap against the surface of the custard), and refrigerate until cold (at least 2 hours). Freeze in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s directions.

While the ice cream base is freezing, unwrap the cupcakes, and place them in a large mixing bowl.  Use a fork to smash the cupcakes and mix the crumbs with the icing. Once the ice cream base has frozen (it will be the consistency of soft serve ice cream), transfer it to the mixing bowl, and quickly fold the cupcake crumbs into the ice cream.  Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for a few hours to let it harden to hard serve consistency.

If the ice cream is too hard to scoop, allow it to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes prior to serving.

Creamy Carrot and Potato Soup

I loooove this soup!

That’s what I used to tell my mom when she made this soup for me when I was a kid… And, now that I’ve made it myself, I’m still raving about how much I love this soup!

I guess I should start at the beginning. Long before Lonely Island proclaimed their love for being on a boat, there were Bert and Ernie… You know who I’m talking about – from Sesame Street!  Perhaps this clip will jog your memory a bit…

I watched quite a bit of Sesame Street in my day.  So, when my mom made this carrot and potato soup for me when I was a kid, I would walk around letting everyone know how I felt about the soup, Ernie style. In fact, my mom has a handwritten note in her cookbook that says “Jenny LOVES this soup!” (Yes, I was known as Jenny back then, too… And, there may be a few people who still call me that.)

Fast forward a few years to this Christmas… My mom gave me a copy of the More With Less Cookbook,the source of the infamous soup recipe.  If you’re not familiar with it, I’d recommend picking up a copy. My mom did a lot of cooking and baking from the cookbook when my brother and I were growing up, and she still does. It’s a great source for feeding your family on a budget while also being responsible about what you eat.

I knew that I had to give the soup recipe a try, and I put a bookmark on the page so that I wouldn’t forget. After a bit of a hiatus over the holidays, I am doing my best to get back to the kitchen this week, so I thought that this soup would be a good place to start… Especially since I chose soups as this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp challenge.

I did change up the recipe a bit.  Since my hubby and I do our best to eat “meatless” meals on Mondays, I made a vegetarian version of the soup.  The original recipe called for chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce (which often contains anchovies, did you know that?).  Instead, I used vegetable broth and decided to add some Dijon mustard and change up the herbs a bit.  The end result was still the familiar soup that I remember from my childhood. And, I still love it.

It gets better, though… Now my husband “LOVES” this soup, too. In fact, he’s added it to his Husband’s Picks page!

Creamy Carrot and Potato Soup
(Makes 6-8 servings, adapted from More With Less Cookbook)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 6 large carrots (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Hot sauce

Begin by heating the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until soft and translucent.

Meanwhile, peel and shred the potatoes and carrots using a box grater. Add the shredded potatoes and carrots to the pot and stir to combine with the onions.  Stir in the thyme and dill.  Add the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

Stir in the milk and dijon mustard.  Continue to cook for an additional minute or two, until the milk is warmed through.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar cheese.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve each bowl of soup topped with a dash or two of hot sauce.

Disclosure – Please note that the link to the More With Less Cookbook provided on this page is an Amazon affiliate link.