Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli and Crab

My cooking style has changed quite a bit over the years, but there are a handful of dishes I've been making forever that never seem to get old. One of those just happens to be Fettuccine Alfredo. It was always my favorite dish to order on the odd occasion we ate out as a family, so it shouldn't come as any great surprise when I say it went to the top of the list of things I wanted to learn how to make once my parents put me in charge of making Saturday night dinner at the tender age of 9. 

As the years went on I began to put my own spin on the dish by adding chopped broccoli, imitation crab meat, and a ton of extra garlic. It was, and still is, my go-to recipe whenever I want to impress someone with my badass cooking skills, yet don't want to spend all night in the kitchen.

I still remember the first time I made it for my husband—he officially dubbed "Awesome Pasta." It still makes me chuckle every time he asks when I'm going to make that awesome pasta again. He's lucky it's one of my favorite meals since that means I'll make it every time he asks.

Fettuccine Alfredo w/ Crab aka Awesome Pasta | Not Starving Yet

Awesome Pasta

 

makes 6 - 8 servings

 

Ingredients


¼ cup salted butter
3-5 garlic cloves, minced (or more, you can never have too much garlic)
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup frozen broccoli, chopped
8 ounces imitation crab meat, shredded
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
freshly ground pepper, to taste
18 ounces refrigerated fettuccine noodles


 

Directions

 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting, place butter in a saucepan and allow it to melt over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, approximately 5 minutes. Add whipping cream, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the mixture reduces slightly and starts to thicken; approximately 15 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, make sure to stir frequently so the bottom doesn't burn.

  • Once the sauce has thickened add broccoli, shredded crab meat, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cook until the broccoli has warmed through, then season with freshly ground pepper.

  • Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions, usually 2 - 3 minutes. Once cooked drain the pasta well, cover with sauce, and serve immediately (topped with plenty of extra cheese.)

 

 

 

Homemade Spaghetti O's Pasta - Spring Forward with OXO Tot #Sponsored

Now that my son is getting older I'm looking for healthier alternatives to some of the foods that I loved at his age. Things like Chicken Soup with Stars and Spaghetti O's were staples as I was growing up and those same foods were what I turned to in college when I wanted a comforting meal that was quick, easy, and didn't require a kitchen. These days I tend to make much healthier choices, both for myself and my family, but I still long for the days of fun-shaped pasta drenched in a sweet and salty tomato cheese sauce. 

The good news is that making a healthy, homemade version of this classic food isn't much more difficult than opening a can. It's even made with ingredients most of you will already have on hand. If you're looking for a fun, yet healthy meal you and your kids will love, give these homemade spaghetti O's a shot.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Forward with OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Forward with OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Homemade Spaghetti O's
 

makes 2 - 4 servings

 

 

Ingredients


1 tablespoon salted butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
16 ounces tomato sauce (I used Red Gold)
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cups ring shaped pasta
 

Directions
 

 

  • In a saucepan add butter, milk, and cheddar cheese. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the butter and cheese has melted completely. Add tomato sauce and paprika, then allow to simmer while your pasta is cooking (approximately 8 - 10 minutes.)
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, top with tomato cheese sauce, and serve immediately.
     

Notes


Both sharp and aged cheddar cheese has a tendency to separate and leave behind little lumps of cheese. If you have a little one who is particular about texture consider using mild cheddar or monterey jack instead.

Having trouble finding ring shape pasta? I was able to find Creamette brand rings at Target as well as our local grocery store, but you could use mini shells, alphabet noodles, or another small size pasta in its place.

For a healthy meal your child will love I recommend pairing this with one of our homemade apple sauces. Check out our recipes for easy crockpot applesaucevanilla bean peachstrawberryspiced blueberry, and gingerbread.

Make sure to keep reading for our OXO Tot product review!

Today we'll be looking at the On-the-Go Wipes Dispenser w/ Diaper Pouch,
Flippy Snack Cup, Straw Cup (7 oz.), and Cleaning Set for Straws and Sippy Cups

Review


OXO On-the-Go Wipes Dispenser w/ Diaper Pouch

Out of all the products OXO has sent me over the years, this has ended up being one of my favorites. It's one of those things I wish I had when my son was still in diapers, but even though he's fully potty trained I still find it incredibly useful.

The storage pouch is large enough to hold roughly 5 diapers, 4 pairs of pull-ups, or several pairs of big-boy underwear. The wipes portion is a little on the small side, but it generally holds enough to get me through an entire day (as long as it doesn't involve spaghetti, at that point I find myself longing for a garden hose or a bath tub.)

What I love about this dispenser is that even after my little one is out of diapers it's still useful. My son is 4 and fully potty trained, but I still don't leave the house without wipes and a selection of small toys. The diaper portion of the dispenser is the size to hold a handful of hotwheels, a box of crayons, and a small notepad to keep my little guy occupied on shopping trips or long waiting lines.

As I said, it's incredibly useful.

OXO Flippy Snack Cup

The design of the flippy snack cup is absolutely genius, especially if you travel with your tot. The lid has a set of soft flaps that allows little ones to easily reach their snacks and those same flaps help keep snacks contained if the container is ever dropped or thrown.

What I don't like about this cup is the type of plastic it's made from. It's been my experience that hard plastic cups such as this one don't hold up to the long-term abuse of a toddler, especially if you have a tile floor. I'd prefer to see it made of a different type of plastic that doesn't scratch or break as easily, but if you have carpet it's a nice solution to keep snacks up off the floor.

OXO Straw Cup (7 oz.)

I have a real love/hate relationship with my son's sippy cups and after trying out nearly a dozen different designs over the past four years I have enough opinions to fill an entire blog post. OXO’s straw cup really appeals to me for a number of different reasons, but it isn’t without its faults. I love the markings on the side that easily allow me to see how much milk I’ve poured into the cup. While I don’t control the portions of my son’s drinks, I do like to keep track of how much he’s had, especially on a warm summer day. This is the only cup I’ve owned that has measuring marks and I absolutely love this feature.

I did mention that this cup isn’t without its faults and for me, one of the huge negatives is the design of the lid—it’s made of multiple pieces that don't disassemble. The simple fact is, at some point or another, if you are a parent you are going to lose a sippy cup only to find it a month later under the couch or in the car, full of moldy milk. This is a frequent occurrence in our house which is why it’s so important that the lid can be completely disassembled and cleaned. If you doubt me on this, do a google image search for moldy sippy cup, the results are absolutely disgusting.

For this reason alone I’m less inclined to buy a cup I can’t take apart completely, but at least this cup does have a replaceable straw (many brands don't offer replacements.) This is especially important when it comes to teething tots who will gnaw on squishy straws until there is nothing left.

OXO Cleaning Set for Straws and Sippy Cups

This last item is one I consider a must-have, even if you don’t have tots. It’s great for cleaning reusable straws and not just those attached to sippy cups. The three piece set has a large, rounded cleaner which is the perfect size for cleaning around rims and other stubborn areas, a long cleaner for reusable straws, sippy cups, and travel water bottles, and a toothpick-style cleaner for removing stubborn, stuck-on food from small spaces. This handy tool is a real time saver!


Where to Purchase



OXO On-the-Go Wipes Dispenser w/ Diaper Pouch — OXO.COM or Amazon
OXO Flippy Snack Cup — OXO.COM or Amazon
OXO Straw Cup (7 oz.) — OXO.COM or Amazon
OXO Cleaning Set for Straws and Sippy Cups — OXO.COM or Amazon

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Forward with OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

 

 

Chicken Soup with Stars

This is one of those simple recipes that is guaranteed to make you feel better, no matter what ails you. Whether you're sick, tired, sick of being tired, tired of being sick, or just love a good bowl of soup—this is the recipe for you. It's not a miracle cure, but it's pretty darn close. You can make your broth from scratch or cheat a little and buy it at the store. No matter how you make it it turns out perfect every single time. If you have any left over it freezes well, so makes sure to keep some on hand for last minute company or when you don't feel like cooking.

Chicken Soup with Stars

Chicken Soup with Stars
makes approximately 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

2-3 chicken leg quarters
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup baby carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, diced
32-64oz chicken broth (see notes)
7oz star pasta, either pastilla or stelline (see notes)
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Add chicken leg quarters, onions, carrots, celery, and 32 ounces of chicken broth to the crockpot, set to high, and cook for 3-4 hours or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  • Remove the cooked chicken and allow it to cool before shredding the meat. Return shredded chicken to the crockpot.
  • On the stove partially cook your star pasta. Since cooking time on the various shapes is different, cook your pasta for half the time stated on the package, drain, and add it to the crockpot to finish cooking.
  • Allow the soup to cook for an additional 30 - 60 minutes, or until the pasta has cooked completely and the carrots are no longer crunchy. Cooking time varies greatly between models of crockpot, so I suggest checking the soup periodically during the final step so you don't overcook the pasta.
  • Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, as well as additional chicken broth as necessary (up to 32 ounces.) The partially cooked star pasta soaks up a lot of the broth while cooking, infusing it with flavor. Add the amount of broth you feel is necessary, you may not want to use the full 32 ounces.

Notes

This recipes calls for store bought broth because it's convenient, but I highly recommend making your own if you have the time. It's a fairly simple although somewhat time consuming process, however the results are definitely worth it.

To save time you can make this with leftover chicken, you'll need about 2 cups worth. I prefer to use chicken leg quarters as they're the least expensive cut of chicken sold in my area. I can usually pick them up for $0.49/lb where as a whole chicken usually runs about $1.19/lb.

This recipe is incredibly flexible, so add to it! Try adding fresh herbs or garlic to mix things up a bit. When it comes to chicken soup there is no wrong way.

Whole Wheat Penne with Caramelized Vidalia Onion, Fennel, and Pancetta

I've had a bit of a love affair with fennel lately. It started last fall after I picked up a bulb at the farmers' market on a whim, hoping it would turn out to be the missing ingredient to my stuffing recipe. I've been tinkering with my stuffing recipe for over five years now, it's tasty, but not quite perfect— something that has been a source of frustration every time the holidays roll around. At least with this latest iteration I learned something new about my husband, he enjoys fresh fennel nearly as much as I do. 

Since this discovery fennel has become become a staple in our house, so I wasn't surprised to find a forgotten bulb when it came time to clean out the fridge before my trip. I gathered up all of my leftover bits and bobs— scraps of parmesan, Vidalia onion, and bell pepper, plus a pint of cream a little past its prime, then spun a little kitchen magic. Today's recipe, born of nothing more than leftovers and a box of whole wheat penne I bought by mistake, turned out to be something worth making again. I ran out to the store in the middle of the night so I could share it with you. It's a little labor intensive for a week night meal, but if you're looking for comfort food or a special dish to share with someone, then look no further because this is it.

Whole Wheat Penne with Caramelized Vidalia Onion, Fennel, and Pancetta

Whole Wheat Penne with Caramelized Onion, Fennel, and Pancetta
makes 4 - 6 servings

Ingredients

3 ounces pancetta, diced
1 cup Vidalia onion, thinly sliced (see notes)
1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
¼ cup salted butter
½ cup whipping cream
1 cup parmesan, freshly shredded
sea salt, to taste

Directions

  • In a skillet, over medium-low heat, cook pancetta until crispy. Set aside on paper towel to drain. Do not drain the grease from the skillet, you'll need it for cooking the veggies.
  • Add thinly sliced onions and fennel to the skillet. Cook for 30 minutes, over medium-low heat. Give the pan a good stir every 10 minutes to help everything cook evenly. 
  • After 30 minutes add bell pepper and shiitake mushrooms to the skillet, cook for 10 minutes.
  • While the peppers and mushrooms are cooking, boil your pasta according to package directions. Once the pasta has cooked, drain the water and add a tablespoon of salted butter to keep the pasta from sticking.
  • Remove the cooked veggies from skillet and add to pasta. Leave the heat for the pasta turned off so you don't overcook the veggies.
  • In the skillet add three tablespoons of salted butter and two cloves of minced garlic. Cook for several minutes, until the garlic turns slightly translucent.
  • Add whipping cream and parmesan, then turn heat to medium. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until it thickens. Add the finished sauce and the pancetta to the cooked pasta. Stir until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and top with salt to taste.

Notes

My husband and I disagree about how much salt this pasta needs. I'm content not to add any additional salt, there is already a fair amount from the pancetta and salted butter, but he insists that this benefits from a pinch or two of salt. So, take a taste of the final dish and salt it to your preferred tastes.

Vidalia onions have a short growing season, if you can't find them feel free to substitute with yellow onions.