This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Cooking Light and Real Simple, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FreshandFab

I think this is my favorite time of year for food. I know I always get ridiculously excited for pumpkin in the fall but I think the vibrant berries and abundance of veggies in the stores right now get the win from me.

I have been making salads of pretty much just kale all winter so it makes my day to have a big salad full of color and fresh produce. I just feel better – body and mind – when my diet is full of fruits and veggies.

So last week I was bored and looking for a time waster and ended up driving to the big (Super) Target on the other side of town. Do you ever do that? Go to a different Target because they might have something different and better? It’s one of my favorite hobbies.

But I picked up a copy of the April 2014 issues of both Real Simple and Cooking Light. Real Simple because my house could use a good cleaning and the cover says it can help. Cooking Light because it’s just my all-time favorite food magazine.

And right now, you get a $5 Target gift card when you buy both! So hurry because it’s only while supplies last.

This Linguine with Garlicky Kale and White Beans comes from Cooking Light. This is what I love about Cooking Light. Pasta would usually be on my “no go” list this time of year but they do it in a way that makes it feel light and fresh and doesn’t ruin my diet!

Anything with kale just calls my name and beans are among my top 10 favorites foods. So this was a definite winner. I had it 4 separate times over the weekend and I’m still not tired of it. I’m really starting to dig “sauceless” pastas – the garlic really stood out in this dish and made the kale that much better.

It’s completely vegetarian and it’s light but still fills you up. I will definitely be making this one again.

Linguine with Garlicky Kale and White Beans

4 servings

Serving Size: about 1 3/4 cups

from Cooking Light, April 2014


8 ounces uncooked linguine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
1/2 cup water
1 (8-ounce) package prechopped kale
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
  2. Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. When garlic begins to sizzle, add 1/2 cup water and kale; cover and cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occa­sionally. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper over pasta. Serve immediately.


Lasagna is one of those meals that you really can’t beat. It seems like everyone loves it and it doesn’t require a whole lot of fancy ingredients or complicated steps.

Today I’m bringing you a twist on the classic. Ragú asked me to turn lasagna into a New Tra-Dish with a fun spin. Since I love lasagna so much, I wanted to make it easier and faster to prepare while keeping the taste pretty close to the original.

I’m sure you guys know that lasagna is kind of a labor of love. You have to make the sauce which can take hours depending on your recipe, cook the meat, boil the noodles, and then layer, layer, layer.

In my version, you use the Ragú Old World Style® Traditional Sauce - which, if you didn’t know, has 11 juicy tomatoes in each jar – and frozen meatballs to cut down the recipe prep by more than half! I love using Ragú in recipes like this because it has than authenic Italian taste that I love and really tastes like it’s been simmering on the stove all day.

Everyone in my house loved this recipe! I think all kids love meatballs so of course mine went nuts when they realized there were meatballs in the lasagna. The whole dish took me about 15 minutes prep thanks to Ragú, the meatballs, and the no-boil noodles. This makes it a perfect weeknight meal!

For more easy and delicious Ragú recipes, head over to their Facebook page and then stop by the Ragú Better and Better Sweepstakes for a chance to win great authentic Italian themed prize packs, including the grand prize of a trip to Italy for 4!

Easy Cheesy Meatball Lasagna

15 ounce container ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
12 ounce package frozen Italian-style meatballs, thawed and cut in half
2 24-ounce jars Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
1 pound no-boil lasagna noodles
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl, beat together ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper until everything is combined. Set aside.

To assemble, spread about 1 cup of Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce onto bottom of a 9×13” casserole dish. Top with lasagna noodles in a single layer. Spread ⅓ of the ricotta mixture on the noodles. Spread 1/3 of the halved meatballs out on the noodles. Sprinkle with ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese. Top with ⅓ of the remaining sauce. Continue this pattern until you use all the ingredients. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the noodles are cooked and the cheese is bubbly. Allow to cool about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ragú®. The opinions and text are all mine.


This Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken Farfalle is one of my family’s all-time favorite meals. I haven’t made it in years because my husband was deployed and then he was Paleo but now that bulk season is in full effect, this is back in the rotation.

I actually blogged about it years ago but the picture is pretty awful and I feel like it didn’t come across as tasty as it really is.

It’s really simple – the chicken is cooked in the slow cooker all day and then it’s shredded and tossed with bacon, heavy cream, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. I know you’re going to look at it and go “Whooooaaaa! A cup of heavy cream?!” but I have cut this recipe down so much. The original – which I got from a lady on a pregnancy board almost 8 years ago! I’ve been making it that long! – called for a whole stick of butter and an entire pound of bacon. And I won’t lie, doing it that way is pretty amazing. But I managed to cut it down to what you see below and my family didn’t notice a difference.

Make it! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

One year ago: Meyer Lemon Bars
Two years ago: Graham Crackers
Four years ago: Italian Bread

Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken Farfalle


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (12 oz) Lawry's mesquite marinade with lime juice
1 pound farfalle pasta
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoons pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 - 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Put chicken in slow cooker and cover with marinade. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt butter, add garlic, whipping cream, pepper, parmesan cheese, and crumbled bacon. Whisk together on low heat for 3-4 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, pour the sauce over cooked, drained pasta, add chicken and stir through. Sprinkle a little bit more shredded parmesan cheese on top.


Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole is a comforting, family pleasing dinner.

I’ve always said that the way to make a dinner that my family will love is to take chicken, pasta, cream of whatever soup, and cheese, smash it all together and bake it. And they will eat every last bite.

This casserole is just that with some sour cream mixed in and Ritz crackers on top. All the men in my life went crazy over it and I won’t lie, I found it hard to walk away from too. I had no intention of eating this for dinner but gave it a try just to make sure it was okay and kept going back for more!

If you need a warm, comforting dish that will please your entire family, this is definitely it!

Three years ago: Pizza Bread
Four years ago: Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole


1 pound chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 pound wide egg noodles, cooked
24 ounce container sour cream
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9x13" baking dish.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, noodles, sour cream, soup and cheeses. Pour into prepared dish.
  3. Mix together cracker crumbs and margarine; sprinkle over top.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until crackers are crispy and golden and cheese is melted.


Sunday morning I let it be known to everyone in my house that I was not cooking this week. Nothing. Not a thing.

Later in the day we headed out to Costco and filled our trunk with things my husband can cook for himself (meat), things the kids like (Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets), and a tub of peanut butter-filled pretzels. I planned on stopping by a regular grocery store on the way home for Amy’s tamales and a bunch of Lean Cuisines since I am a PITA and like things Costco doesn’t carry. But y’all, there’s nothing like 2 hours at Costco the week before Christmas to make you want to avoid stores at all costs.

So I ended up having to cook a little something for myself and it was so worth it. It’s the simplest pasta but it’s so delicious. You can’t really go wrong with pasta, bacon, and Parmesan cheese, right? But the best part was obviously the fried egg on top. There is nothing better than breaking open a yolk and then tossing it with hot pasta. I’m pretty sure I could eat a version of this every day and never get tired of it.

One year ago: Oatmeal Toffee Cookies
Two years ago: Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies
Three years ago: Cookies and Cream Fudge
Four years ago: Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Five years ago: Buttery Jam Cookies

Late Night Pasta


6 ounces dry pasta
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-1/2-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 large eggs


  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet set over medium heat until crisp. Add the onion and pepper to the pan, and continue cooking until the onion softens and becomes translucent.
  3. In a separate small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook just until the whites are set (the yolks will still be runny). Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.
  4. Add the garlic to the bacon and onion pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Reduce the heat to low, and add the drained pasta to the pan, followed by the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat under the pan. Gradually add the cheese, tossing the pasta with tongs to incorporate. After you've added all of the cheese, you can adjust the consistency of the dish with the remaining reserved pasta cooking water.
  5. Divide the pasta between two bowls, and top each serving with one of the fried eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.