4 Pasta Recipes to Warm Up Your Heart And Fill Your Stomach

4 Pasta Recipes to Warm Up Your Heart And Fill Your Stomach

Ghett Shelled!

So it has been an unbelievably cold season this winter and I can bet that everyone is turning to their favorite comfort foods. One of mine during this chilly season is pasta. Pasta is such a wonderful and versatile food, and they have all sorts of varieties nowadays like gluten-free and vegan. So today I'm going to share with you some of my favorite pasta recipes to warm you up this winter.

Rich N' Tasty 4 Cheese Mac

Personally, I love a nice thick and rich Mac N' Cheese, but you can add your own features to it if you'd like.

First I start off with gluten-free pasta elbows, cover them with water and sprinkle in a pinch of salt. Then I put them in the microwave for 11 minutes then drain them in a colander, rinsing them slightly. Once drained I add about a cup and a half of shredded mozzarella, a half cup of feta cheese crumbles, a dusting of parmesan cheese crumbles and a half cup of pepper jack cheese then mix it all together making sure it is well melted.

If you want to get really crazy you can add breadcrumbs to the top and bake it at 350 F till the top is a golden brown crust. If you want more bold flavors, add in 1/8 cup kalamata olives, or a half cup of bacon crumbles.

Mediterranean Pasta Explosion

I am a huge fan of Mediterranean flavors in my food, and this dish is a perfect example of my passion for flavor. To start, prepare one portion of any style pasta you like (I prefer elbows for this recipe). Once prepared, pour over a decent coating of extra virgin olive oil and a vinegar of your choice (I prefer to use balsamic or red wine vinegar for my recipe). Then I add in one and a half cups of shredded mozzarella, a half cup of feta cheese and then mix. Next, I add in about half a packet of smoked sockeye salmon torn into smaller bite-size pieces, 1/8th cup kalamata olives, 1/8th cup manzanilla olives, and one teaspoon of capers. I mix it all together adding salt, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder as I go. Sometimes I use a clove of fresh garlic minced. Sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and onions are also great add-ins. Once you mix everything you want in, add parmesan crumbles on top for added cheesiness and flavor.

Pesto Pick Me Up Pasta

One of my favorite Italian staples is pesto, and when you mix it with spaghetti it's a star-studded combo that delights the taste buds and pleases the tummy. First, you want to prepare one box of spaghetti and drain and rinse it. Once in a bowl, you want about two teaspoons of pesto and mix in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Next you add about a cup and a half of chicken strips. I like to use Perdue's already prepared olive oil and rosemary seasoned strips, and I use about half the bag or more. I like to add about a cup of kalamata olives and a cup of feta cheese, but you can also add halved cherry tomatoes. Then I put in a garlic clove or two minced with Italian seasoning and a dash of ginger. After mixing I top it with a dusting of crumbled parmesan. With all that it will really put a kick in your step.

Ground Meat Cheesy Mac

The last recipe I'm going to share with you is one of my favorite comfort foods on a cold and dreary winter day. Fusilli, penne, rigatoni, cavatappi, orecchiette, and elbows work best for this recipe. Choose whichever you like best and drain and rinse it. In a non-stick pan prepare 1 pound of ground meat seasoning with salt, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder; (I usually cook the meat in either butter or extra virgin olive oil). My preferred meats for this recipe are ground beef and venison (deer). Once it is cooked to your desired rareness, you can mix it into your pasta with a tablespoon of olive oil to lubricate. Then you can add in one and a half cups shredded mozzarella and 1/4th cup caramelized onions. Mix and enjoy! You could also add tomato sauce and peppers if you'd like.

I hope you enjoyed my pasta recipes and that you play around with them and make it truly uniquely you. Feel free to share your favorite pasta eats in the comments. Next week we'll be gearing up for the Superbowl, so there may be some game day ready recipes coming your way. Food is the best way to celebrate a victory!

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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How To Play 'New Girl's' True American Drinking Game

"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."

I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches "New Girl" knows about True American. This crazy, nonsense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in season one, episode 20.

The game, as described by "New Girl" character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.

The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True

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Here's how to play:

Step #1: Prepare the "castle"

First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.

The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.

Step #2: Set up spaces

Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.

Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.

Step #3: Pick teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1 to 5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.

Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.

Step #4: Begin

Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.

The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.

Step #5: Make moves

The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.

Mini-game No. 1: The player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.

Mini-game No. 2: The player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.

Mini-game No. 3: The player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places, or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.

For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).

Step #6: "Play on, playa."

Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.

The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.


You are now able to impress all of your "New Girl"-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly, and enjoy!

Cover Image Credit: i.amz.mshcdn.com

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The Year of the Pig

Happy Chinese New Year! My family has a few traditions that we do to celebrate the new year together, but this year my mom and I decided to start something new.


Do you remember the controversial maybe even disturbing short film before Incredibles 2? The one where the mom eats her son who is a small steamed bun? Even though it might have been disturbing, you have to admit that the buns the mother and her son made together looked delicious!

The food in the short film is called bao and it is a traditional Chinese steamed bun that typically contains pork as its filling. My mom and I were inspired to try to make our own and maybe after this article; you'll be inspired, too!

Here are the ingredients you will need:

1. Premix flour steamed bao (you can find this at the Asian market)

2. Steamer (we used bamboo steamers from the Asian market)

3. Ground chicken breast

4. Chopped Portabella mushrooms

5. Chopped green onions

The first thing we did was prepare the filling for the bun. Traditionally, pork is supposed to be in the bun, but we decided that we would do chicken instead.

1. Add grapeseed oil to a large, frying pan

2. Add minced ginger, onions, and mushrooms (measurements are optional)

3. Add the ground chicken breast

4. Add the seasoning as you continue to sauté all the ingredients.

5. Season with soy sauce, hoisin sauce and ginger (measurements are optional)

Make sure your center stays heated while you start to make the bun. The instructions for how to make the buns are on the packaging of the bun powder. Once you mix all the ingredients, you have to knead the dough for quite a while.

You can always make your buns from scratch. You can find a recipe for homemade steamed buns here.

Once the dough is kneaded, separate it into 18 strips. It is difficult to roll out the dough at first, but it becomes easier after a while. Once the dough is divided, roll them out into flat circular shapes and place the filling in the center of the dough. After you put the filling in the center of the bun, grab all of the edges of the dough together and twist them at the top, forming a swirling shape at the top of the bun.

We placed four bao on wax paper in one steamer and steamed them for 15 minutes. Each bao must be placed on separate sheets of wax paper. After 15 minutes, you have your bao!

This is a family-friendly activity that not only entertains your family, but it also feeds them! Celebrate the Year of the Pig by making bao with your friends and family! It's an experience that brings people together and gives them memories to cherish for a lifetime!

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