Creamy Avocado Pasta with Lemon and Garlic

This creamy avocado pasta with lemon and garlic is ready in less than 30 minutes with the help of our sponsor, Barilla, available at Walmart. 

You know when you’ve been so busy the whole weekend and then realize you completely forgot to come up with a game plan for dinner on Monday night? This is the meal I make when that happens. And wouldn’t you know? it happens more often than not. 

Luckily avocados are in season right now and we can go pick a few off our neighbor’s tree (after asking of course) to use when we need them. Our lemon tree is doing quite well too so pairing the two flavors together make for a pretty delicious meal pairing. 

One thing I love about this meal is that it uses ingredients I either always have on hand or have readily available with little effort. We try and stock our pantry with must-have items like Barilla Whole Grain pasta and sauces. Not only are they great for meals in a pinch, but I also know that my family is getting a meal that meets their nutritional needs. 

Barilla Whole Grain pasta is a great source of fiber and is made with 100% whole wheat. My family is getting 56g of whole grain in each serving of pasta. It also pairs perfectly with lean proteins like salmon or chicken but can hold it’s own as a full meal as well, just like this recipe. 

Normally we make creamy avocado pasta and pair it with salmon when we have it on hand, but if we don’t, we can forgo the lean protein and just eat this dish as a full meal. I’ve also been known to throw some shrimp into the dish as an alternative option. The creaminess of the avocado adds to the delicacy of the seafood. And who doesn’t love the flavor of garlic and lemon with salmon and shrimp? 

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Creamy Avocado Pasta with Lemon and Garlic

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces Barilla Whole Grain Linguini
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil divided in half
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons Barilla pesto
  • 1/2 avocado diced & mashed
  • salt to taste
  • Saute onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.

Instructions

  1. Saute onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Cook Barilla Whole Grain Linguini according to package directions. Drain and add to a heated pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Add sauteed onions and garlic and Barilla pesto to pasta and cook 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add mashed avocado and stir to combine. Remove from heat and serve.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1/2 cup of pasta

What’s your favorite springtime flavor to pair with pasta? 

Looking to save a little more than time on this quick and easy dinner? Grab a coupon from Ibotta to use at Walmart when you’re stocking up on your favorite Barilla pasta and sauces! 

Find more great recipes to enjoy with your Barilla pasta and sauces by following this Pinterest board for simple, delicious pasta dishes inspired by Barilla. 

5 Tips for Making Weeknight Dinners Easier + A Southwestern Steak + Sweet Potato Bowl Recipe

These 5 tips for making weeknight dinners easier were inspired by our sponsor, Terra’s Kitchen. Read ahead to find out how you can save time and money in the kitchen while still getting delicious dinners on the table during the week! 

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We are now in the throes of school life and as we near the busiest time of the year, I’ve really started planning ahead. That means keeping up with my calendar, staying on top of our budget, and making sure I have dinner on the table every night. Sometimes that last challenge is harder than you’d think! 

In an effort to not only stay on top of our budget (eating out is expensive!) but also make sure I have dinner ready nightly, I’ve come up with a few ways that I can cut a few corners by planning in advance and using tools like Terra’s Kitchen to make my week a LOT easier. 

5 Tips for Making Weeknight Dinners Easier

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1. Meal Delivery

I’ve tried out a few frozen or prepared meals out in the past but I just can’t get over not being able to cook my own food. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love my microwave for things like popcorn and microwavable bacon (the kids can make their own and there’s no mess!). But cooking my meals in the microwave from the freezer just isn’t as tasty. 

So when I heard about Terra’s Kitchen and looked at the weekly menu offerings they had, I was excited to try out a few of their meals through their meal delivery program. Not only is it not frozen, it comes in a climate-controlled vessel straight to your front door. When I unloaded the vessel, I simply removed the removable shipping label, placed it back outside, and it was picked up the next day and on it’s way to shipping more food to someone else. These vessels can be used up to 100 times! Waay better than the styrofoam packaging I was used to for previous services. 

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2. Meal Planning

With Terra’s Kitchen, I can input the meals I’ll be making from them into my weekly meal plan. That means I’m only shopping for breakfast and lunch (and a few items for snacks). I don’t have to worry about dinners because I’ll be making healthy meals in 30 minutes or less with my Terra’s Kitchen orders! 

Meal planning really does help for more than just dinner. And it’s a great way to stay on track with our budget because we only buy what we’ve planned to eat. It also allows me to keep an eye out for weekly specials and coupons in the paper. It may sound daunting to take this time on the weekend but it does pay to plan ahead when there are PTG meetings, soccer practice, and homework looming over our heads during the week.  

Terra’s Kitchen includes the ingredients list and recipes of each of their meal items and it’s conveniently printed on a 3 hole punched piece of card stock so you can easily add it to your meal planning binder. If you love a recipe, you’ll know exactly what to purchase to recreate the meal again and again in your home! 

3. Prepping Ahead

When I meal plan for the week, I also try and get all of my prep work done in advance on Sundays. That way I don’t have to think about cutting and chopping during the week. I also pre-package the kids snacks for lunches as well so they’re easy to grab. 

Well, Terra’s Kitchen does the same thing! All of the ingredients I received were pre-portioned and pre-chopped ready to go straight to the fridge. And the containers they were in fit perfectly on top of one another. It was kind of fun playing Tetris in my fridge to get everything to fit perfectly! Plus there was still room for the essentials we always keep in the fridge. 

Tip: You can use the containers your food comes in as seed starters for your garden! We’ll be sharing our seed starting tips next week so stay tuned! 

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4. Freezer Meals

Now I know that things do come up and sometimes we don’t even have the mere 30 minutes to cook a meal. So I prep ahead and turn leftovers from one meal into freezer meals for a meal in the future. I turned the leftovers from this amazingly delicious Southwest Steak and Sweet Potato bowl into mini pot pies to gobble up in the near future when all I have time for is turning on an oven and sticking a freezer meal in to bake. By prepping freezer meals for the oven or the slow cooker, I can make sure the days we don’t have a Terra’s Kitchen meal are covered! 

5. Time Management

My biggest enemy during the week is time. The time between picking the kids up from school and dinner is a big black vortex that seems to disappear before my eyes. No, seriously. I have NO idea how time goes so quickly between then. 

So in an effort to be better with time management, in addition to meal planning, shopping, and prepping on the weekends, I also set a timer to go off 30 minutes before my husband normally comes home from work so I know when I have to start cooking dinner. It’s so easy to get sucked into working just a little longer when you work from home so setting limits and timers is important. 

By setting aside this time and scheduling it for these tasks, I’m able to stay on top of feeding the family. And a fed family is a happy family! 

5-tips-for-making-weeknight-dinners-easier-delicious-meals-from-terras-kitchen

Southwestern Steak and Sweet Potatoes Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Terra’s Kitchen

  • 16 ounces sweet potato chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • .7 ounces jalapeno slices
  • .3 ounces minced garlic
  • 12 ounces skirt steak
  • 2.25 ounces sliced scallions
  • 1 avocado

1. Preheat the oven t o450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. 

2. Cook the Potatoes: Pour sweet potatoes onto baking sheet. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of cumin (optional) over sweet potatoes and toss with your hands to coat. Place in the oven and roast until browned and tender (approximately 20 minutes). In the last 5 minutes of cook time, chop the remaining jalapeno and use a spatula to stir it into the potatoes along with the remaining garlic and all of the scallions.  

3. Make the Steak Rub: Pour half of the jalapeno slices, half the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into a small pile on a cutting board and keep cutting through the mixture with your knife until the jalapeno releases juices and you have made a wet paste. Rub mixture over steaks. 

4. Cook the Steaks: Rub a grill pan with 1 teaspoon of canola oil and place over high heat. Once grill starts to smoke, add steaks and cook to medium rare, turning once (approximately 3-4 minutes per side). Remove to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain and make sure to save the juices on your plate to use later. 

5. Dice the avocado by cutting in half, removing the pit, using a pairing knife to cross hatch the flesh and scoop out flesh with a spoon. 

To Serve: Divide sweet potatoes between two bowls and drizzle the steak pan juices over each. Fan sliced steak over potatoes and top with diced avocado. 

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Do you have any tips for easy weeknight dinners? 

Want to try Terra’s Kitchen for yourself? Use code SIMM30 at check out and save $30 off your first order (no expiration). The only condition is a minimal order of $64.99 (which is always the minimum to ship). Enjoy! 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Terra’s Kitchen. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs on the Grill

Looking for a fun and easy dinner this summer? Try these Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs on the grill. Not only are they delicious, they’re easy too! 

Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs on the grill

Do you ever have one of those days in the summer where you just don’t want to turn on the oven? Living in SoCal, we have about a month of that. So on those sweltering hot days I turn to the outdoors and our barbecue to get creative with dinner. But I don’t leave all of my kitchen tools in the kitchen! I also bring them to the grill.

This past weekend I busted out the pizza stone and made some delicious chili cheese crescent dogs on the grill. Not only were they quick to put together (I used leftover chili I froze earlier in the month), they took less than 15 minutes to cook on the grill. And? I wasn’t sweating while eating my meal. Now that’s a win!

Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs ingredientsChili Cheese Crescent Dogs with Hebrew National

Stuffed crescent dogs are so easy to make. And even when I’m watching what I eat, I can easily modify them by using fat free beef franks and fat free crescent rolls.

Just make sure you leave a little edge to use while wrapping them up together. And pinch the seams of the crescent dough together really well (or use a rolling pin to roll the dough out flat) so that none of the stuffing comes out.

Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs stuffed

Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs grilling on a stone

Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs baked on the grill

5 from 2 votes
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Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 4 Beef Franks (or Reduced Fat Beef Franks)
  • 1 tube of Crescent Rolls
  • Chili
  • Cheddar Cheese

Instructions

  1. Start up the grill. If using charcoal, make sure to wait until the charcoal is all white/gray. Place a pizza stone on the grill to heat up.
  2. While grill is heating up, roll out crescent dough and break off into four rectangles (each rectangle will be made out of 2 triangles). Press seam together by using your fingers or a rolling pin.
  3. Place a hot dog on each of the rectangles. Top with choice of toppings (about 1 tablespoon of chili and 1 tablespoon of cheese) and seal together by wrapping dough around the hot dog and toppings. Make sure the seams are pinched together.
  4. When grill is at the right temperature (375 if a gas grill, white hot coals if a charcol grill) place stuffed crescent rolls onto the pizza stone. Bake on the grill for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown and the dough is completely cooked.
  5. Remove from the stone and serve. Enjoy!

Chili Cheese Crescent Dogs on a pizza stoneChili Cheese Crescent Dogs grilledChili Cheese Crescent Dogs - simple and easy

What’s your favorite way to doctor up your hot dogs?

Easy Dinner Solutions for the Busy Mom

I found easy dinner solutions with Campbell’s® Sauces as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. #CampbellsSauces

Easy Dinner Solutions for the Busy Mom - dinner ready in less than 30 minutes! #CampbellsSauces

This pregnancy has thrown all thought of meal planning and cooking out the window. When I find myself at a loss for what to make for dinner around 4pm I frantically call the husband to see if he can save the day. But there are only so many weeks of burgers, pizza, and tacos before it all starts to taste the same.

So I’ve decided to get a bit more serious about planning. I mean… not too serious but just enough to find some good staples to keep around for those days I’m tempted to call the husband to the rescue.

Luckily I found a great cooking aid – Campbell’s Skillet Sauces!  [Read more…]

Lemon Artichoke Chicken Pasta + Pantry Staples to Save Time

Artichoke Chicken Pasta + Pantry Staples to Save Time

One thing I depend on as a busy mom (and exhausted pregnant lady) are the kitchen hacks I’ve come to learn over the years. One of my favorites depends on a well stocked pantry and freezer. I’ve been saved countless nights from the dreaded “what’s for dinner” question by having go-to pantry meals to serve for dinner.

Now I’ve been buying Dorot frozen crushed garlic and chopped basil for years now but during a recent grocery trip I was surprised to find sautéed glazed onions next to my beloved garlic and basil. I may have shed a small tear of joy (because I wouldn’t have to chop onions anymore!!).

By stocking up on Dorot products I bypass the time it takes to chop up herbs, garlic, and now onions before preparing my meal. That’s like 5-10 minutes of savings!

Artichoke Chicken Pasta + Pantry Staples to Save Time like frozen herbs and onions

I also try and keep items like marinated artichoke hearts in the pantry for my favorite fresh AND easy 30 minute meals – like this lemon artichoke chicken pasta.

Being able to simply dump out a jar of artichoke hearts into the basil, garlic and onions already cooking is far easier than adding the various seasonings needed to get the delicious flavor these marinated artichoke hearts give to the dish.

Artichoke Chicken Pasta + Pantry Staples to Save Time - thin chicken saves cooking time

Bonus Tip: Another great time saving kitchen hack? Pound your chicken breasts into thin cutlets so they cook faster!

Artichoke Chicken Pasta + Pantry Staples to Save Time - dredge chicken in flour

What I love about recipes like these is that I literally have everything I need right in my pantry and freezer! The only thing I added was a fresh squeeze of lemon but if you have lemon juice in the fridge you’re good to go!

The only thing I have to remember? To take the chicken out of the freezer! You’d be surprised at how hard this step is when you’re running around all day.

Artichoke Chicken Pasta + Pantry Staples to Save Time - reduce sauce

Pasta is a great go-to on busy nights. And sauces like this don’t have to be complicated. A few simple ingredients that lend themselves to one another can create a stellar dish even picky eaters like mine will enjoy.

Or you can always reach for my other pantry staple – marinara sauce. With the holidays coming up I foresee a busy time ahead and will need all of the hacks I can use!

If you’re looking for more kitchen hacks I highly suggest checking out the Hacks of Life pinterest board. So many great ideas and a TON of genius cooking hacks.

Artichoke Chicken Pasta + Pantry Staples to Save Time - simple and easy pantry meal

5 from 4 votes
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Lemon Artichoke Chicken Pasta

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 box angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • flour for dredging
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 Dorot crushed garlic cube
  • 1 Dorot chopped basil cube
  • 1 Dorot Sautéed Onion cube
  • 1 jar Fresh & Easy marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Instructions

  1. Set pot of water on the stove to boil. Sprinkle in some salt.
  2. While waiting for water to boil, place chicken breast (1 at a time) in a quart size zippered bag and pound to about 1/2 an inch thin.
  3. Heat a large pan on medium and add olive oil.
  4. Add salt and pepper to flour and dredge thin chicken breasts in it on each side. Place chicken in olive oil once heated and brown on both sides. Take chicken out and set aside.
  5. By this time your water might be boiling. Add pasta and cook as directed on the packaging.
  6. Add garlic, basil, and onions to the pan and sauté until thawed. Add the jar of artichoke hearts and cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and let cook until pasta is done, allowing sauce to reduce.
  7. Chop chicken into strips or small pieces, whichever you prefer.
  8. Once pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce pan. Sprinkle with juice of 1/2 a lemon.Toss, serve in a bowl, and top with chicken.

 

Artichoke Chicken Pasta + Pantry Staples to Save Time with Dinner

What’s your favorite kitchen hack?

Black Beans and Rice with Sausage

Black Beans and Rice with Sausage - a quick and easy dish that's perfect for any night of the week!

As many know, I love a good bottle of wine. But with this pregnancy I’ve had to find more useful ways of incorporating wine into my life. Luckily I was recently sent two bottles of Oberon wine, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Cabernet Sauvignon. And I knew exactly how to use one of them!

This black beans and rice with sausage recipe is one of my favorites and is full of flavor. It takes only a few minutes to throw together into a pan and about 20 minutes of simmering on low.

I served this to a few friends for lunch one afternoon and paired it with the Oberon 2013 Sauvignon Blanc for the non-pregnant women. They were quite delighted with the flavor and how it paired with this dish.  [Read more…]

Easy Summer Dinners: KRAFT Chopped Grilled Chicken Salad

This post brought to you by KRAFT Natural Shredded Cheese and Safeway. All opinions are 100% mine.

Easy Summer Dinners Kraft Chopped Grilled Chicken Salad

During these hot months the one thing I love are easy summer dinners. Meals that I can prep in advance and throw together in minutes for the whole family to enjoy as well as meals that are tasty and perfect for when we have company over.

We’re in the midst of moving right now but still want to have friends over so this weekend we kept things simple and made this delicious Chopped Grilled Chicken Salad. [Read more…]

Caprese Salad Pasta with Chicken Sauté {Quick Dinner Recipes}

Caprese Salad Pasta with Chicken Saute quick dinner recipes #shop #sauteexpress
I’ve always been a huge fan of quick dinner recipes. Ones that don’t take a lot of time to prepare and just fall together easily. No worrying about if I remembered the vegetables or started the rice. My favorite quick fix meals are easy chicken recipes that my kids will eat.

Since the weekends are usually my time to kick back, relax, and enjoy some family time, I make sure I have some quick dinner recipes up my sleeve to make mealtimes easier. And luckily now I have Land O’Lakes Sauté Express® Sauté Starter to help me out.

The caprese salad pasta I made took less than 15 minutes to prepare and all I chopped up were the tomatoes and cheese. Nothing hard or time consuming about that. I didn’t even add salt and pepper before putting the chicken in the pan.

quick dinner recipes caprese salad pasta ingredients #shop #sauteexpress

Quick Dinner Recipes

As a busy mom with two little ones I have a few 30 minute meals up my sleeve that take little to no thinking on my part. Except for the fact that I need to have all of the ingredients on hand.

But now my life has been made easier… finding these Sauté Express® Sauté Starter packages from Land O’Lakes has allowed me to keep making delicious and tasty meals for the family but has cut the cooking time in half.

Another lifesaver? Chicken tenders! They take like a third of the time chicken breasts take to cook and are just as good. Plus the kids love the size.

quick dinner recipes chicken pasta close up #shop #sauteexpress

Caprese Salad Pasta with Chicken Sauté

  • 2 servings spinach linguini pasta
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, diced
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 Land O’Lakes Sauté Express® Sauté Starter in garlic & herb
  • 1/2 pound chicken tenders

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add spinach linguini and cook until al dente as per the instructions on the packaging.

While water is coming to a boil, cut the cherry tomatoes and toss with the diced mozzarella and pesto in a small bowl.  Set aside.

When pasta is cooking, grab a saute pan and add Sauté Express® Sauté Starter. Cook on medium low heat until bubbling. Add chicken to the pan and cook until browned on each side, about 7-10 minutes. Place cooked chicken on a plate and remove from heat.

Once the pasta is done cooking, add the noodles to the caprese salad mixture (tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto) and toss well. Serve pasta on a plate and top with sauteed garlic & herb chicken.

quick dinner recipes caprese salad pasta with chicken saute dish #shop #sauteexpress

What’s your favorite quick fix meal?

Green Chili Cream Cheese Chicken with Pompeian Olive Oil

Green Chili Cream Cheese Chicken

Last week I received a box of goodies from Pompeian including a nice bottle of their Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Inspired by the robust, delicious flavors of this olive oil and the fact that our garden has been overflowing with green chilis lately, I got a little creative in the kitchen last night. Since I was craving jalapeno poppers I figured I’d marry the flavors in with the chicken I already had in the fridge. And that’s where this green chili cream cheese chicken came to life.

I hate to pat myself on the back or toot my own horn but this is seriously one of the best dishes I’ve made in a long time. And I owe it all to my friend cream cheese. Well, it could also be attributed to the delicious Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil I used to saute the veggies and chicken in.

The one thing  I think everyone will agree on is the fact that this 30 minute wonder (what?? It’s quick to make too?) is hands down a winner! [Read more…]

Simply Delicious Pizza Balls

I really love pizza. And no matter what I do I can’t stop thinking about it when I’m watching what I eat. So instead of being tempted to order a pizza from my favorite pizza place I try and make it at home more often than not.

So I needed to change things around. Step it up a bit. And I was taken back to a meal that my mom made for us growing up. I had some pizza dough from Trader Joe’s in the fridge so I figured I’d try to wing it and hope for the best.

Well my attempt not only turned out good… it turned out better than I remembered! I was so excited to share this meal with the kids and my husband and was super happy to find out that their reaction was very pleased.

My son even asked me to make them again the next day. And he was going to help 🙂 This is now on our monthly rotation as either dinner or lunch and the kids always helps add the toppings and roll up the pizza dough into balls.

Simply Delicious Pizza Balls [Read more…]



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