4 Easy Pasta Recipes for Spring

Winter is about indulging in all of those favorite savory comfort foods that wrap your body in a cloak of warmth and caloric flavor; now, it’s time for spring, and while the temperature is slowly rising and hibernating under that weighted blanket your mother-in-law bought you as a last-minute Christmas present is no longer acceptable, craving pasta is a year-round affair. It’s time to swap out those seasonal offerings (goodbye sage and pumpkin, we’ll see you come autumn) and load your pan up with a fresh harvest of springtime ingredients like spinach, artichokes, and garden herbs. April showers may bring May flowers, but the months are also bringing bowls of hearty, flavorful pasta, like the four ideal-for-spring recipes you’ll find below:

1. Zingy Artichoke and Lemon Pasta

Adults will love the simple yet sophisticated taste of this dish; kids will love the funky bow tie shapes. Served as either a side or as a main course, this yummy dish manages to be both light and satisfying. Start by trimming a 1/2 pound of asparagus into 1-inch pieces; boil the asparagus pieces in salted water for 1-2 minutes, or just until tender. Remove from water and transfer to an ice bath; once cooled off, remove and pat dry. In that same pot of water, cook 4 cups of uncooked bow tie pasta until al dente, being sure to reserve a cup of pasta water before draining. While the pasta cooks, toss 1 can (drained) of artichoke hearts in olive oil over medium-high heat until slightly browned; stir in 2 cloves of minced garlic, and cook for an additional minute. Combine artichoke and garlic mixture with both the pasta and asparagus; add in 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, reserved pasta water, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Heat through, and serve garnished with a crumble of feta cheese and a sprig of parsley.

2. Classic Pasta Puttanesca

This delicious Pasta Puttanesca will help to use up some of the basil that’s probably growing abundantly in your herb garden right around this time. Begin by cooking 1 pound of linguine in salted, boiling water until al dente. While the pasta boils, toss 3 of those infamous (but delicious) anchovy filets with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 cloves of smashed garlic over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until garlic becomes golden. Once golden, pour in a (drained) can of whole plum tomatoes, crushing the tomatoes with your spoon as you go. Add salt and pepper to taste; cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat, or until tomatoes have broken down into a sauce. Stir in 3 tablespoons capers, 1/2 cup pitted black olives, and red pepper flakes to taste; once combined, add in the drained pasta. Plate with a generous helping of fresh basil leaves.

3. Quick Spinach and Mushroom Linguine

By the time the week is halfway through, both your energy level and your wallet seem totally depleted. Whip up a dinner that’s quick, easy, and cheap by dressing up a store-bought jar of alfredo sauce with a splash of white wine, minced garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook down 1/2 pound of sliced button mushrooms into the sauce, followed by 3 cups of loosely-packed fresh baby spinach. Mix in a box of linguine pasta, cooked to al dente, then finish with a final grind of black pepper.

4. Refreshing Avocado Pasta Salad

This refreshing (yet filling) dish is the perfect vegan side to dazzle any cookouts or dinner parties you’ll be … Read the rest


All American Comfort Foods

Some people say America is a melting pot for cuisines. There are countless dishes that the majority of Americans consider comfort food. Here is a sampling of the foods that are the hardest to resist when comfort is on the menu.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie? You name one person in this world that has never had one. I bet you can’t do it. Because chocolate chip cookies are the ultimate sweet snack. And we have a woman in Massachusetts to thank for that. It was Ruth Wakefield’s brilliance that brought about the idea of putting chocolate chips in cookies. For that, we owe her a debt of gratitude.

Macaroni & Cheese

On the other end of the spectrum, you can’t forget macaroni & cheese. Thomas Jefferson first brought it to the attention of Americans, though we don’t know who to give credit to for inventing this classic dish, to begin with. But ever since the American people were introduced to this delicious concoction, we’ve been putting our own spins on it. Everyone has a preference for how they like their macaroni & cheese, from using multiple types of cheese to sprinkling the dish was grated parmesan. Find me one Italian that would resist that and you will have found the world’s biggest liar.

Apple Pie

Who hasn’t heard the expression, “American as apple pie.”? You can’t be an American and not be familiar with that expression. It is synonymous with our great country. If your mouth is now watering at the thought of it, give this apple pie recipe a try. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Baby Back Ribs

When it comes to tender meat, baby back ribs are my favorite comfort food. If you disagree, you don’t know what you are missing out on. I dare you to find your local barbeque restaurant and prove me wrong. Unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you aren’t a true American until you’ve had baby back ribs falling off the bone. If you don’t enjoy that, I don’t know what I can do to convince you.

Pickled Okra

My southern heritage compels me to list pickled okra among all American comfort food you never knew you wanted. It’s easy to make even if you aren’t a whizz in the kitchen. Since it’s healthy too, I don’t know a Southern mother or grandmother that doesn’t serve it to the family every chance she gets. If you want to try it, click here for the easiest pickled okra recipe.


IHOP is international for a reason. It’s because the rest of the world should know what we already do. Pancakes are a classic all American food that I dare you not to include in your diet.

Fire Up The Oven

If you aren’t making these comfort foods, you should be. Once you give this apple pie recipe a try, don’t forget baby back ribs are my favorite, and they complement each other well. While you are at it, click here for the easiest pickled okra recipe and thank me later.
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The Ultimate Gumbo Recipe

It’s starting to get cooler outside, and warm food is about to have its season. One warm food I particularly enjoy is gumbo!

This stew is, of course, popular thanks to Louisiana, but gumbo is universally delicious and easy to make at home. But we don’t just want easy: we want the best! So I’m going to show you how to make the ultimate gumbo.

My grandmother ain’t from New Orleans, no, she’s from Nashville, but she makes gumbo that’ll make you want to slap your mama. Or, you know, slap someone who deserves it. I hope grandma doesn’t mind me sharing!

You’ll need a few things to get started. You’ll need a few cans of chicken and sausage gumbo (what?? canned gumbo to make gumbo?? I thought you were a professional!), just bear with me. You’ll need chicken broth, canned chicken, dry rice, and chili powder. Of course, if you like some heat, bring along some hot sauce too! Shrimp is optional for those who don’t mind some sea critters in their stew.

This recipe is cheap, quick, easy, and tastes great on crackers! I encourage you to try this recipe and see for yourself! I’ll show you how to throw it together real quick.

Get a big ol’ pot and open up your cans of gumbo into it. Turn your heat on medium and let it cook a good while, mainly just until you’ve warmed up the contents. Then empty a tin of chicken broth into the pot. Stir everything up a little to get it all heated and mixed, then upturn the canned chicken into it too!

While that’s all warming up, you’ll need an additional pot to make the dry rice. Of course, the canned gumbo has rice in it, but you’re cooking for 5 people or more, and you need to supplement that stuff! Follow the instructions for the rice; white rice is fine, whatever you prefer works.

Now let’s add the rice to the main pot of stew. Easy does it. When it’s mixed in, you’ll need your chili powder. The canned gumbo should come in a bright orange-ish color. We want it to look like a scarlet sunset. Add chili powder until it reaches scarlet sunset level of redness, then stir it all together once more.

If you haven’t already, turn the burner on high and allow it to bubble and boil for a moment, just to ensure everything is warm and cooked and conjoined.

If you want to add shrimp, simply pan-fry the shrimp (I recommend seasoning it with garlic and/or Worcestershire sauce) and add it like you did the rice and chicken.

Leave a bottle of hot sauce at the table for folks who need some extra fire to take liberty with. You know the scarlet sunset I mentioned? I like to turn that into a rose with some hot sauce. But everyone has their own tastes.

Nashville isn’t quite Louisiana, but my grandmother, feeding 4 kids, single, and broke, was able to afford to bring a hint of Louisiana to her family and, now, I regularly enjoy a bowl with some saltines and hot sauce. I’m a college student now, so affordable, quality food is essential. Try this recipe and see for yourself that my grandmother really was on to something!
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How To Use An Air Fryer And Great Air Fryer Recipes For Family Gathering

If you’re like millions of other Americans, you jumped on the air fryer fad because this trendy appliance promised to give you the best of both worlds. Who wouldn’t want a gadget that made foods taste deep-fried but with only a fraction of the oil and calories? However, you might be surprised and pleased to learn that is only the beginning of the air fryer’s capabilities.

Tasty Toasty Appetizer

Many Italian restaurants offer fried ravioli as one of their appetizer selections along with the antipasto and arancini. Thanks to your air fryer, you can serve this comforting and savory hors d’oeuvre to your family anytime. You will love the crispy coating that the air fryer brings out to perfection.

Savory Seeds

If you haven’t made delicious and nutritious pumpkin seeds a part of your snack routine, start today by letting the air fryer brown some up for you in just 15 minutes. That’s about one-fourth of the time you would spend if you were toasting them in the oven.

Bake With Air

You might find this difficult to believe, but many baked goods can be made easily and deliciously in an air fryer. These include lava cakes and several different kinds of cookies. Note, however, that you should not rely on your standard recipes. Instead, seek out instructions particularly customized to your air fryer to ensure that your desserts come out yummy.

Healthy Fish

The air fryer provides you with a fun and new way to make fish. When it’s too cold to grill outdoors and you’re bored with your usual oven preparations, it’s time to try an air fryer salmon recipe. In just a few minutes, you can whip up delectable seafood and fish entrees that would work well for everything from a simple meal with the family to a dinner party.

Healthy Chips

When you got your air fryer, homemade French fries might have been one of the first things you attempted. Yes, they do come out delicious and low-calorie, but you don’t need to stop there. The air fryer is also great for making chips out of everything else from sweet potatoes to kale. Even thinly sliced pickles make a delicious and unique side dish.

Chinese Comfort Food

Do you find that your fried egg rolls are either burned on the outside or not fully cooked on the inside? Making them in the air fryer allows you to get that perfect tender middle surrounded by a satisfyingly crispy crust. Why get takeout when you can make something this easy and delicious with your air fryer?

When you first took your air fryer out of its box, you may not have realized the world of cooking possibilities it represents. For something that takes up so little space on your countertop, this appliance is a multi-talented food preparation powerhouse. Why not try something new tonight?
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