Cheesy Bacon & Vegetable Tortellini Bake

Cheesy Bacon & Vegetable Tortellini Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

And just like that, It’s the new year.  We’re supposed to be setting resolutions, eating healthier and moving in new and exciting directions with our lives.  But right now I feel more like pouting that the holidays are over and snuggling up under a warm blanket.

This is the perfect recipe to warm those tummies in the cool weather and bring the family back together around the table.  Is it healthy?  Oh heck no.  It’s creamy, indulgent, cheesy and delicious.  And bacon.  Because, why not?  I keep it healthy around here most of the time.  And you can diet next week.

Cheesy Bacon & Vegetable Tortellini Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

I’m keeping this one short and sweet, because there are so many other things to do right now to clean up from the madness of the last few weeks, so I’m going to be #lazyblogger today.  Go crank up the Christmas music and pretend we don’t have to wait another 50 weeks until Santa comes back around!

Cheesy Bacon & Vegetable Tortellini Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Creamy Bacon & Vegetable Tortellini Bake
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 20 oz tortellini, cooked according to package and drained
  • 6 pieces of bacon
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 1 - 1.5 cups asparagus, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 t basil
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t parsley
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1½ T flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet on medium high until crispy. Set aside and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Drain all but about 2 T of bacon fat from the pan and add onion and garlic, and cook for 3-5 minutes
  4. Add asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, basil, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  5. Stir in flour until everything is coated and there are no chunks
  6. Stir in milk and let cook for an additional approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in cooked tortellini, crumbled bacon and 1 cup mozzarella until heated and combined.
  8. Spray a 9x11 pan with nonstick spray
  9. Turn tortellini mixture into the pan and top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup parmesan.
  10. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until bubbly and beginning to brown
  11. Enjoy immediately topped with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Cheesy Bacon & Vegetable Tortellini Bake | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Jambalaya Pasta

Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Alternate Title: That Time That Everyone Went Back For Seconds

…and wanted to go back for thirds.

Our family usually eats our portion and finishes up {other than little miss “more”…mostly with her fruit and snacks rather than her zucchini…}.  We don’t do a lot of seconds of things unless they’re so good that we’re willing to stuff ourselves with them.  This recipe was that good.  And then some.

Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Jambalya was one of the first meals that Hubby and I ever made together.  And when I say “made,” I mean mixed together a box of Zatarain’s with some precooked sausage and were ridiculously proud of our “cooking skills.”  In a dirty little apartment in Los Angeles.  We probably ate it off of paper plates.  But we both loved it.

This variation uses pasta to bulk up the meal a bit and throws in some good ol’ bell peppers so the kid is getting a little bit of veggie mixed in.  And, mostly because I realized we were out of cajun seasoning when I went to make it, it features a homemade cajun blend.  If you’ve got a shaker of the premixed stuff, feel free to use that in place of the listed spices.

Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Jambalaya Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Cajun
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lb spicy sausage {or go with a sweet sausage if you're more sensitive to heat}
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t garlic salt
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1½ t cayenne pepper {less if you're sensitive to spiciness}
  • 1½ t thyme
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1 box penne pasta, cooked
Instructions
  1. Prepare hot water and cook pasta according to the box. When finished, drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add sausages and cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove and chop into bite sized pieces and return to skillet to brown.
  4. Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add bell peppers and spices and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in milk and pepper jack cheese until cheese is melted.
  7. Stir in cooked pasta and combine until everything is coated with sauce and cheese.
  8. Enjoy immediately.

Jambalaya Pasta | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Potato Bacon Chowder

Slow Cooker Potato Bacon Chowder | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

This recipe started off as a yummy, relatively healthy crock pot recipe.  And then bacon happened.  And it turned into a not so healthy, totally delicious, knock your socks off kind of a recipe.  I’m glad that bacon happened.  I always am.  It’s not quite as simple as some of my other slow cooker recipes, but trust me, it’s worth it.

This soup is totally delicious with a fabulous depth of smokey bacon flavor and tons of herbs and spices.  And the thick potatoes will fill your tummy with warm happiness.  Which is perfect for those of you stuck in the icy tundra that is pretty much the entire country right now.  We’re still wearing flip flops in So Cal, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t still need our winter chowders to keep us warm and cozy at night.

So try this one.  It may not help you keep your new years resolutions, but you’ll sure be full and happy.  Because when bacon happens, you always are.

Slow Cooker Potato Bacon Chowder | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Slow Cooker Potato Bacon Chowder
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 8 slices of smokey applewood bacon
  • 2 russet potatoes, cleaned and diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 - 15 oz can corn
  • 1 T preminced garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 t basil
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t savory
  • 1 t thyme
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup low fat sour cream
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 T flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon on medium high heat in a large skillet, flipping frequently, until crispy.
  2. Remove bacon from the pan, crumble and set aside in the refrigerator
  3. Combine potatoes, onion, corn, and garlic in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, so they are able to absorb the flavor
  4. Add the entire contents of the pan to the slow cooker
  5. Add vegetable broth, basil, oregano, savory, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  6. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  7. Stir in milk, sour cream, cheddar cheese, about half of the crumbled bacon and flour and allow it to combine and cheese to melt for about 10 minutes
  8. Use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup according to your taste. I prefer it to be mostly blended with a few potato chunks remaining.
  9. Stir in remaining crumbled bacon and serve hot, garnished with bacon and cheddar cheese.

Slow Cooker Potato Bacon Chowder | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Bacon Apple Avocado Sandwich {yum}

Bacon Apple Avocado Sandwich | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Happy Halloween week {and holy smokes where did the month of October go}!  My little ghost has already gone to the pumpkin patch twice, dressed up in her costume once, and taken about a zillion halloween related photos.  Because we go a little overboard with the holidays around here.

And can we talk about something for a second?  I have officially decided that once Halloween is over, it’s completely acceptable to listen to Christmas music.  Thoughts on this?  I’ve been quietly listening to my holiday pandora station for…well…a month and a half.  It calms the baby down.  That’s the only reason that I do it.  You believe me, right?  But I feel like I can officially blast it at the end of the week.  I may be jumping the gun on it but whatever.  It’s my happy place.

Also my happy place?  This sandwich.  I don’t even know if it should count as a recipe.  I just took all of my favorite things and threw them together on a baguette {which is another one of my favorite things…} and called it a sandwich.  With crispy bacon and apples, chunks of avocado, sweet grilled onions and a bite of gorgonzola cheese, it was quite possibly one of the best things I’ve ever made.

Bacon Apple Avocado Sandwich | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Bacon Apple Sandwich
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • ½ of a french bread baguette
  • 1 package of bacon, cooked crispy
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1 green apple, sliced into thin slices
  • ¼ onion, chopped
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • ¼ cup gorgonzola cheese
  • 1-2 T mayonaise
Instructions
  1. Add olive oil to a small pan and heat over medium high.
  2. Add onions and brown sugar and cook until onions are browned. Set aside.
  3. Cut the baguette into two pieces, and then slice in half. Toast on a griddle or in the oven.
  4. Spread mayonnaise over baguette as desired.
  5. Layer bacon, then green apples, then avocado, then onions and finally gorgonzola cheese.
  6. Enjoy hot.

Bacon Apple Avocado Sandwich | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Semi-Slow Cooker Spicy Sausage & Chicken Lasagna

Semi-Slow Cooker Spicy Sausage & Chicken Lasagna | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Can I start by apologizing for the pictures in this one?  I’m really seriously sorry.  They’re awful.  The little table with the good light that I use for my photos has been taken down and packed away, so I’ve been stuck trying to take decent photos under the glaring lights of the little kitchen.  And it’s not working out so well.  And I’m lazy from being sick and kind of sort of packing {read: forcing my poor husband and mother to do it for me}. But this recipe was really too good to just leave alone, so I figured I’d share anyway.

The next recipe or two are going to go into the category of “make it or move it.”  As in, we’re moving this weekend.  And instead of going with my normally planned menu, I thought it would be wise to use up what was in the fridge, freezer and pantry so that they don’t have to be loaded into the moving van and driven over with the other 20398012983 boxes.

All of our other moves have been little hops from one apartment to the next within the same city, and this is finally the big move all the way out to our very own house in the burbs.  So it’s not like we can just pop into the old place and bring over the food once the moving is done {my habit in the past}.

Anyway, this was about day day five of cleaning out the pantry.  I realize that the majority of my frozen food and many of my refrigerated condiments are spoiled.  How does this always happen???  Ok, regroup.  Recipe ideas are now limited.  What was supposed to be a chicken and veggie lasagna isn’t going to work anymore.  But cleaning out the fridge, I come across a couple of sausages that still have a few weeks til their pull date.  Score!  And thus, this semi-slow cooker spicy sausage and chicken lasagna is born.

Just as a note, I’m only sharing the *fancier* dishes that I’m coming up with, as chicken and rice or pasta isn’t quite cool enough for a cooking blog in my opinion.  I’m not sure how we got so much chicken, rice, pasta and pasta sauce, but I sure as heck don’t want to be the one schelping it over the the new house.  If you have any creative ideas of how to throw these together, do let me know!

Semi-Slow Cooker Spicy Sausage & Chicken Lasagna | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

Semi-Slow Cooker Spicy Sausage & Chicken Lasagna
Author: 
Recipe type: Lasagna
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 spicy italian sausages
  • 1 jar spicy italian pasta sauce
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 T savory
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup + 2 T mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
Instructions
  1. Place chicken, sausage, sauce, garlic powder, savory, salt pepper, and crushed red pepper in the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.
  3. Come back, cut the sausage into bite sized pieces and shred the chicken with two forks.
  4. Add 1 cup of mozzarella and cream cheese, mix and let sit until melted.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Spray a 9'x9' pyrex with cooking spray.
  7. Add a little of the sauce to the bottom of the pan, then lay down lasagna noodles to cover.
  8. Add a layer of the chicken and sausage mixture, then a layer of noodles, and repeat until full. Finish with sauce and 2 T mozzarella.
  9. Bake for around 30 minutes, until bubbly and cooked through.

Semi-Slow Cooker Spicy Sausage & Chicken Lasagna | Little Kitchen, Big Bites

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