Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

*From Food Network
Ingredients
Salt
1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound assorted mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup
1/4 cup Romano, plus 1/3 cup
2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons
12 ounces mozzarella cubed (about 2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and the onion is golden, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes

In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup Romano. Spread the softened butter in a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish and sprinkle half of the bread crumb mixture inside the dish to coat.

In a large bowl combine the vegetable mixture with the cooked macaroni, cubed mozzarella, the remaining Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and the nutmeg. Spoon into the prepared baking dish, top with the remaining bread crumb mixture, and dot the top with the remaining butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Gentle Oatmeal Body Scrub

As most of you know I am on a mission to save money on Beauty products as well as skin care and body care. I am an addict for this stuff and sometimes my budget for these items gets blown on two products. For the last couple of months I have been doing the DIY route for some of these items. This time I wanted to break down the math and see if I really saved any money. This is what I made this time around : Gently Oatmeal Body Scrub.

What I used in the Past- Burt’s Bees Cranberry & Pomegranate Sugar Scrub, 8 oz- 12.97 at Wal-Mart. Using it twice a week it lasts 5 1/2 weeks.

Gentle Oatmeal Body Scrub:

Ingredients:

1 cup finely ground oatmeal- I used a food processor to ground up quick style oats. I bought them at our Sav A Lot- 1.39 for 42 oz container

8 drops lavender essential oil, 8 drops tangerine, 8 drops rosewood, 4 drops chamomile– I really do not like lavender so I omitted that but the essential oils were already in the house but I paid 4.97 a piece for 0.5 oz. They have lasted forever but if you wanted to make this and did not have the oil then then oils would be 19.88 for the oils. ( I buy mine from Amazon.)

In a glass or ceramic bowl, add essential oils drop by drop, stirring constantly to avoid clumps. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge – keeps for up to 1 year. To use, combine one Tbsp of the mix with a little water to form a paste, then gently rub onto skin.

This keeps up to 1 year. I made it in April and use it twice a week. I have skin problems from a really bad sunburn years ago which is why I use it twice a week but if you have normal skin you could use it just once a week.  So actual money I would have spent to make it without already having the oils -$21.27 which is quite a bit more than Burts Bees however Burts Bees would have already been gone a few weeks ago, forcing me to spend another 12.97. I am still using this and it has been 9 weeks. I still have quite a bit left over. So I am definitely saving money. But is the money I am saving worth it? Do I like it better than Burts?

In all honesty I do. I admit it took a little getting used to. I felt at first like I had poison ivy and had calamine lotion on. However the results afterwards was amazing. My skin really does feel softer and I have noticed it is not as dry. So all in all I am pleased with this one.

What type of DIY scrubs do you use?

Essential Oils on Amazon

Till We Dish Again,

Rebelle

Cold Coffee- Chocolate

Ingredients

Chocolate (simple) 500 grams
Coffee powder 1 tbspoon
Milk 1 cup
sugar (as per taste)
cream and chocolate chips (as per taste)

Directions
Mix chocolate, coffee powder and sugar in milk and leave this mixture for some minutes.
After that blend this mixture in blender and then blend it again with ice.
Pour in the glasses and garnish it with cream and chocolate chips

Basil Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Mint

*Vegetarian- I eat a lot of vegetarian dishes now and this is one of my faves 😀

Ingredients
1 pound dried pasta
1 small clove garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, washed
kosher salt and pepper
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, torn
Directions
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, place the garlic, pine nuts, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. While the machine is running, drizzle in 2/3 cup of the oil through the feed tube, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan.[break][break] Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the mint.
Divide the pasta among bowls and spoon the pesto and zucchini over the top.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Asparagus and Hazelnuts

 

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*Vegetarian– Another favorite!

Ingredients
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) hazelnuts—toasted, skinned, and roughly chopped (or use pine nuts)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small wedge (about 2 ounces) Parmesan
Directions
With a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus lengthwise into long ribbons.
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, adding the asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Drain the spaghetti and asparagus and return them to the pot.
Add the oil and hazelnuts; toss. Add the salt and pepper; toss again.
Divide the spaghetti among individual plates. With the peeler, shave the Parmesan over the top.