A Study in Meh: Lasagna-Style Baked Pennette with Meat Sauce

I’ve been obsessed with lasagna my entire life. It’s safe to say that I’ve eaten and cooked thousands of variations.

Yes, thousands. I’m dedicated.

I found this recipe for Lasagna-Style Baked Pennette on Food & Wine magazine years ago, back when I was still a subscriber and an omnivore.  Apparently I was less discerning then because all I needed was to see the word “lasagna” and that meant I was going to cook it.

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A lasagna, it ain’t.

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Spaghetti & Meatballs: Top 25 Vegetarian Weeknight Meals

Spaghetti and meatballs fall into the category of “discomfort” cooking. This one-pot meal itself is comforting and everyone loves to eat it, but the cooking process involves extra steps like shaping meatballs into pleasing sphere shapes and then cooking them in the best way possible–bake, fry, cook them directly in the sauce–hoping that they maintain their spherical shape during the cooking process otherwise the dish will look ridiculous and all that hard work is for naught. Meanwhile, you still have to make a delicious sauce and cook spaghetti and then clean up your kitchen but you have to hurry because the dish still needs to be hot when you serve it–

And then you decide, screw it, I’ll just make goulash.

Here on AwK, we’re no strangers to meatballs (Barefoot Contessa & James Beard = Love 4 Ever, Mini Meatball Heroes, and that time Citizen Chef baked an entire lasagna made of meatballs and forgot to take pictures) so we understand the struggle. Though the end result is a one-pot meal, it takes a bit to get there.

Unless you’re a vegetarian and you can whip up your meatless meatballs in a mere five minutes via a food processor.

Spaghetti & Meatballs
Be-cause that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) we like it (uh huh, uh huh)!

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The Monthly Muffin: Blueberry Flax Seed Muffin

I didn’t take any “in progress” photos because I really went off-roading with this recipe and you know that when I take a huge detour from the recipe, things happen. Unspeakable things. Or, at least, inedible things.

To my shock, that didn’t happen here. I ended up with a nice, healthy muffin that I’m going to make again.

Blueberry Flax Muffin

It’s okay, you can be surprised too. We’re all friends here.

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Top 25 Vegetarian Weeknight Meals: Spicy Quinoa Tacos

AAAAAND we’re back. It’s only been a mere five years since our last update. I’m sure no one noticed.

Anyway, a few things have changed for the AwK contributors, especially me: I’m now vegetarian! Everyone I tell that to usually asks me a lot of questions about becoming vegetarian (How long have you been vegetarian? How did you decide to become vegetarian? Do you miss bacon?) and I’m happy to talk about that at another time.

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Right now, the only thing you need to know for this post is, while my need to cook chicken badly every single night of the week has changed, my need to find weeknight meals has not. The crusade has continued, but more successfully than when I was an omnivore. You’ll probably be surprised to hear that becoming vegetarian has forced me to become ten times as adventurous with my food!

I know. It was a surprise to me too.

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Coffee Cake Muffins

After subjecting my household to an uber-healthy muffin, I decided to go in the opposite direction with dessert-style treat: The coffee cake muffin.

This soft and sweet muffin was also meant to have a drizzle of sugar icing over the top, but when they came out of the oven they looked and smelled so amazing that we didn’t wait to add that step. I’m sure it would have been great.

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Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

My schedule ended up being a little off this week since my evenings have been hectic, which is why the Monday/Thursday update was interrupted. Next week we will be returning to our regularly scheduled program. I promise.

In the meantime, I wanted to revisit the potluck discussion we touched on last week. Best potluck main dishes — what are they?

When my mom and I were discussing potluck dishes, the chili wasn’t the only one that sprang to mind. I also thought of this Chicken Pot Pie recipe that was recently published from, of course, Cook’s Illustrated.

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Turkey & Vegetable Chili – A Potluck Hit

My mom called over the weekend and said she had a potluck coming up. She typically brings side dishes, but this time around she wanted to bring a main. Both of us own ATK’s Light & Healthy 2010 book that I’ve been covering over the last month, so it just made sense for me to find something in there.

Right away I spotted “Vegetarian Chili” and promised I’d feature it on the site this week. After we got off the phone, our web admin politely reminded me that I had already made that recipe and we disliked it. A lot.

Huh. Really? This delicious pot of goodness?

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Whole Wheat Bran Muffins with Figs and Pecans

This weekend I was in the mood for a healthier muffin, so I pulled this mouthful from Bon Appetit: Whole Wheat Bran Muffins with Figs and Pecans.

And I liked that it gave me a reason to use the wheat flour and oat bran I have sitting in my pantry.

I liked these muffins and I’m sure you’ll like them too — provided you don’t mind the distinct flavor of oat bran. And I have to say that the most ironic thing about them is that these very healthy muffins are best served warm with butter.

Yep. Bake up something that’s healthy for your bod, then slather it all in tasty, tasty butter.

What, you have a problem with that?

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Tortellini & Vegetable Soup

To say that I love soup wouldn’t quite be enough. I heart it. I have a box with all of my soup keepsakes under my bed and at night I practice writing my name with soup’s last name.

Too much information?

Anyway, ATK’s Light & Tasty has a version of soup that elevates a delicious vegetable soup by combining it with a tortellini soup.

A regular tortellini soup is mostly just a garlic broth with cheese tortellini and wilted spinach leaves tossed into it. That’s a very tasty combination, but the texture always leaves me wanting. It’s light, it’s mushy, and I suppose it will do on a cold night when you want pasta and a hot soup and can’t decide which you prefer.

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