Pasta w/Corn, Zucchini, & Tomatoes

corn, tomato and squash pasta

Last week I tried a new recipe from the Skinnytaste website: Summer Cavatelli w/Corn, Tomatoes, & Zucchini. I was on the fence about the use of sweet corn, but this was phenomenal! I will definitely be making this again. It worked up very quickly, too, so it will be a good weeknight meal once things get crazy this semester. Since this was just posted on that website, I am not going to rewrite it out here. But I will note where I made some changes, below.

  • I used pasta that I had on hand, rather than buying homemade cavatelli. Actually I used a random mixture of three different boxes that had a small amount left in each, so this was rather eclectic looking. I reduced the amount to 8oz, since I was using dried pasta, rather than the fresh called for in the recipe.
  • I chopped the zucchini in rather aggressive chunks rather than dicing it, and just used all of a medium zucchini I had on hand, rather than measuring out 1 1/4 cups.
  • I used frozen sweet corn instead of fresh.
  • And I rounded out my marinara (I didn’t have quite enough) with a blob of tomato paste, which is why I think my dish is so much redder than the original.

This was a really good dish to use up random leftovers and calls for items I tend to have on hand, so I can really see it becoming a staple pasta dish for us.


Spicy Roasted Carrots

broccoli cheddar casserole and spicy carrots

For my new recipe this week (made last week) I used a recipe in a recent issue of Cooking Light. Actually I used two — I made the Broccoli Cheddar Rice Cakes and Sweet & Spicy Carrots. Both of which I adapted to use what I had on hand. They were both really yummy, and I will make them again. The carrots especially were a tasty way to use a cheap vegetable as a side dish. Of course the original recipe called for snow peas, but I a) didn’t have any on hand and b) don’t love them enough to make a special trip for them. Although this week’s recipe is really the carrots, I have a few notes on the rice cakes, too.

  • As you can maybe tell from the photo, the rice cakes didn’t want to form into cakes, so I just made a casserole instead.
  • I used frozen broccoli, so didn’t cook it with the onions in chicken broth as the recipe suggests for those using raw broccoli. I omitted the chicken broth all together (perhaps contributing to the problem forming cakes).
  • I used leftover brown rice rather than the minute brown rice called for.
  • I didn’t have (and don’t especially care for) low fat cheese on hand, so used 2oz of regular sharp cheddar rather than the 3oz the recipe calls for.

Sweet & Spicy Carrots

very slightly adapted from Cooking Light


  • 1 lb carrots, sliced at an angle
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Slice carrots and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine oil, sugar, spices and seasonings. Stir to combine.
  4. Toss carrots in oil mixture until coated, then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Bake 15 – 18 minutes, stirring once half way through cooking time.


Use the longer roasting time if you prefer slightly caramelized veggies; that’s what I will do next time!

I think this is better if the oil mixture actually coats the carrots which is why I prefer mixing it up in a bowl rather than doing it all on the baking sheet as advised in the original recipe. I know that it saves dishes, but I feel like I spend more time trying to ensure everything gets coated when using a bowl is so fast.

This year I am joining The Frugal Girl in trying one new recipe each week. You can check them all out here. Did you make anything new this week?

A Dud


This week for my new recipe goal, I made banana bread using a recipe from The Prudent Homemaker. It wasn’t a complete failure, but it wasn’t anything to write home about, either. I did substitute some applesauce for the bananas (the recipe called for six).  And the recipe uses very little added fat, relying on the bananas for moisture. I rarely enjoy very low-fat baked goods, so I’m not sure why I thought I’d care for this one. I also had to bake it for much longer than indicated and it was still a little gummy.  We have about half the loaf left and I will probably use it to make French toast this weekend.

I know every new recipe can’t knock it out of the park, but I always hope they do!

Grilled Bacon Burgers w/Caramelized Onions


These burgers were amazing. I got the idea from The Frugal Girl, who had just posted about her own experience trying out this recipe. I looked it up right away on the Cook’s Country website (it may expect you to sign up for a 14 day trial membership — I didn’t get this message two of the three times I searched for the recipe, but one time I did…) because I thought this might be just the thing for our 4th picnic food. And it was. Everything else we had was pretty simple (but good), but these burgers knocked it out of the park. The recipe uses a technique where the bacon is cooked inside of the burger. I’d heard of this before, but never tried it out — we don’t eat a ton of burgers, so I tend to not be very creative. Cook’s Country has a bit of a twist in that you grind the bacon to a paste and then cook the ground up bacon for about five minutes to help render out the fat and give it a head start on cooking. It works. And it’s actually really simple. Michael loved these so much that he thinks we should make up big batches for the freezer. These seem a little decadent to me for a part of the regular meal rotation, but at the same time…if my husband wants to get in on some meal prep, I will not complain!

Some things I did differently than what is called for in the recipe:

  • I used 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
  • I used 93% lean ground beef
  • I added a little Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak seasoning to the beef mixture
  • I did not compose my patties on a cookie sheet
  • I didn’t use any cheese at all, they were rich enough as is
  • When I make these again, I will make slightly smaller burgers — these were huge!

All in all, I highly recommend this recipe if you are looking for a really good, but not totally crazy (I was just reading about a bulgogi burger…) new burger recipe.

This year I am committing to trying out at least one new recipe every week, inspired by Frugal Girl. They’re all tagged “new recipe Thursday” should you want to see all the posts on this subject for some reason. 😎