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!
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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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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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My Strange Obsession: Bibibop Addition

I am obsessed with Bibibop.

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I am obsessed with Bibibop.

Sounds strange, right? But it's true.

For those of you who have never had the opportunity to experience Bibibop, Bibibop is an Asian Grill set up similar to Chipotle. You're able to go down the line of food, choosing a base (always go with the purple rice), hot toppings (they all slap), protein (the tofu is to die for), some cold toppings (a great way to try kale for the first time), and a sauce (if you don't get the Yum Yum sauce, you're weird.)

And, let me tell you, the final product is always delicious.

I hadn't been introduced to Bibibop until this past year, but once I tried it for the first time, I never looked back. Now I am constantly craving the taste of the Yum Yum sauce. I usually hit up Bibibop once every two weeks, but if I was rich, I would probably eat it every other day.

Though, admittedly, the prices are pretty good. And they celebrate meatless Mondays with 20% off to anyone who doesn't get meat in their bowl.

Plus, it's pretty healthy. Unlike most restaurants, like Chipotle, where your somewhat healthy meal can instantly become bad for you with the addition of something on the menu, Bibibop's entire menu provides nutritional value and offers gluten-free and vegan options.

Basically, Bibibop is the most underrated and most delicious restaurant in the world, which is why my obsession with it runs so deep. Although I would usually admit that obsessions are unhealthy, I think this one might be okay.

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