Dinner with Georgeanne: Veggie S’ghetti

This Christmas, Carter and I received a gift we didn’t even know we wanted… an Instant Pot! I’ve seen recipes and heard from friends for years how amazing these are, but I never thought I had a use for one. Man was I wrong… It cuts down on cook time, the house smells so fragrant, and most importantly it cuts down on dishes!!!! To say we’re obsessed is an understatement.

So let me share one of our go-tos: Veggie S’ghetti.

Y’all know by now that I try and cram as many vegetables into my picky-eating children as possible. Everyone in my house loves this recipe, and even my youngest vegetable refuser consistently asks for seconds!
*Note: I usually use chickpea noodles, but with the Instant Pot, the Barilla veggie noodles seem to cook better. 

Ingredients:


1/2 cup frozen chopped onion
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 12 oz. box Barilla rotini veggie noodles
1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
3 cups water

Method:


1. Put InstantPot on saute mode for 5 minutes. Let veggies saute and soften.


2. Add 10 minutes to the saute mode; push the veggies to one side, and add the ground beef.


3. Brown, and after 10 minutes drain the fat. Cancel saute mode.


4. Add spices and stir into beef/vegetable mixture.


5. Add noodles, then sauce, then cups of water. Make sure noodles are completely covered by sauce/water mixture.

6. Place lid on Instant Pot and put on high pressure for 8 minutes.


7. After the 8 minutes, do a 5-minute natural release, and then finish with a quick release.


8. Stir to mix together and then serve!

*My crew loves this topped with cheese, surprise surprise. But you can also top with fresh basil!

If you also love your Instant Pot, please share your favorite recipes in the comments!

Dinner with Georgeanne: Ann’s Spinach Dip

You know those best friends you meet in preschool who stay with you through all the awkward middle school years, into college, and then into the whole adult-and-having-kids phase of life?

That’s my friend Becca.

She’s been through it all with me.

And one thing as constant as Becca, is her mom Ann’s spinach dip. This dip has been on her table at every off-campus lunch in high school; it was sometimes the only edible thing in our fridge in college, and it has been a staple at every girls night, wedding/baby shower, or other general get-together for our friend group.

So as you can see, this spinach dip is more than a delicious blend of spinach and cheese, it’s truly soul food, laden with memories…

If you are looking for an appetizer, especially at Christmastime, this red, white, and green dip is perfect for any party or get-together where there are hungry humans!


INGREDIENTS

2 bags or boxes frozen chopped spinach
1 can Ro-tel, undrained
1- 8 oz. block cream cheese (2 blocks if you want a creamier dip)
2 bags shredded pepper jack cheese

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Thaw spinach in microwave according to package directions.
  3. While the spinach is thawing, let the cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, and Ro-tel sit in a mixing bowl or KitchenAid mixer to soften and let the flavors soak together.
  4. This step is the most labor-intensive but the most important: you must drain the spinach. Not just in a colander — you have to squeeze the water out of the spinach. If you don’t, it’ll taste too spinach-y.
  5. Combine the spinach with the other ingredients and mix (or stir) until combined.
  6. Put all ingredients in a 9 x 13-inch pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy with Fritos, Wheat Thins, tortilla chips, on sandwiches, or basically any way you can!

Dinner with Georgeanne: Harvest Lentil Soup

We loved the autumnal aroma that filled the house…

Eating vegetarian is one of my very favorite things — I like how it makes me feel, the energy it gives me, and frankly, the taste of veggies over meat. My husband likes the idea of it, but he has a hard time getting full without meat.

So when I found myself craving both a vegetarian meal and pumpkin pie flavor, I knew lentils were the answer. They’re filling, nutritious, and versatile. I dug out an old faithful lentil soup recipe and tweaked it with fall veggies and spices.

Not only was the soup a husband hit, but we loved the autumnal aroma that filled the house!

Ingredients:

1 16 oz bag lentils
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup frozen chopped onion
1/2 bag matchstick carrots
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
6 cups vegetable broth
1 can pumpkin puree
1 can tomato paste
1 bag frozen sweet potatoes

Method:

  1. Rinse and then soak a 16 oz. bag of lentils. The bag itself will tell you there’s no need to soak, but I always do just to make sure they cook and then digest well — so I soak them for a few hours while at work.
  2. When ready to make the soup, rinse the lentils again and set aside.
  3. Over high heat, sauté onions and carrots in olive oil for about five minutes (until tender).
  4. Add the spices and lower the heat to medium and stir until fragrant.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  6. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for approximately one hour.
  7. Before serving, taste and adjust spices to preference. (I added a dash more nutmeg and my husband added some worcestershire sauce atop his.)

Pro tips: I like to let mine cool for a bit before eating because the flavors seem to come through more, and it’s as good if not better the next day as leftovers!

Dinner with Georgeanne: ‘Pinkalicious’ Pasta

The bonus, and don’t give up on me, is that the pink noodles are actually made from lentils.

Does anyone else live in a household where people want to eat dinner every. single. night?! On my best days, creating a family meal is inspiring, and even an artistic expression. But on my worst days, it’s a chore void of any excitement or creativity.

On one of the latter aforementioned afternoons, my six-year-old wandered into the pantry and was ecstatic to find “pink” noodles. She asked if we could eat those for dinner, and since I had no better plan, I was grateful to have a starting point.

I had turkey meat in the fridge and found a jar of Bertolli vodka pasta sauce. After browning the meat and simmering in the sauce, I added the cooked noodles. The result? A “pink” pasta  (yes, technically it’s more red/orange, but don’t ruin this for us!) that my daughter dubbed “Pinkalicious Pasta.”

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The bonus, and don’t give up on me, is that the pink noodles are actually made from lentils. So they’re chock-full of protein, and even have fiber. They do not taste earthy or even any different than other noodles to us. Trust me. Try them.

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Ingredients:

1 10 oz pkg Lensi Red Lentil Fusilli

1 32 oz jar vodka sauce

1 lb ground turkey

Brown turkey. Drain, and add vodka sauce. While that simmers, boil noodles according to package directions. Combine and serve!

My girls love it topped with mozzarella, and you can can’t go wrong topping with fresh basil.

Dinner with Georgeanne: ‘Hodge Podge Soup’

The dilemma:
To make broccoli cheddar soup and add potatoes? OR, to create potato soup and add broccoli?

A few weeks ago, I opened my front door, and immediately noticed a crispness in the air.

Finally… the much anticipated fall season was in the works.

As I’m day dreaming about all things pumpkin and thinking there’s no way my morning could get any better, it did.

My phone rang. On the other end was a dear friend needing my help to help create a soup. Her husband was craving both broccoli cheddar and potato soup.

The dilemma:

To make broccoli cheddar soup and add potatoes?

OR

To create potato soup and add broccoli?

We decided the way to go was to make potato soup and add broccoli (mainly because bacon is more acceptable with potato soup). This has quickly become a staple for both of us, and it’s soup-er easy 😉

Modifications: My husband requested more protein, so white beans were a late (and great!) addition.

HodgePodge Soup

To cook, put everything into the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or on high  for 3. Stir midway through cooking if possible.

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Optional prep – My family likes the matchstick carrots and the broccoli florets chopped smaller, but if you’re in a time crunch or not serving picky eaters, it isn’t necessary. 

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Top with cheese, chives, bacon, sour cream, or any other of your favorite soup toppings! We usually serve alongside salad and bread. 

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 Cost = $13.75 excluding toppings, garlic 

and pepper, according to Wal-Mart 

grocery app.