Dinner and Dessert

I made new-to-me recipes twice in one evening! First, I made Ginger-Sesame Oats with Mushrooms and Charred Green Onions for dinner. My five-year-old son, of course, hated it.

Ginger Sesame Oats

After he went to bed, I made Cinnamon Roll Muffins. (He already knows he’ll get a muffin for breakfast tomorrow.)

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

I was pretty pleased with both endeavors, and baking after my son went to bed kept me from snacking, so that’s a win, too.

I’m well on my way to cooking/baking 50 new-to-me Recipes in 2017!

TIL my muffin pan is not, in fact, nonstick. From now on I follow @altonbrown‘s advice and take out a little nonstick insurance every time.

Leftover taco meat + frozen veggies + instant potatoes = quick shepherd’s pie. Good for painful #braces and only 7 #weightwatchers SP!

That awesome zero-point dessert smoothie I came up with earlier? Plugged it into the recipe builder and discovered that it’s actually 5SP.

Capellini with Tomatoes

capellini wih tomatoes

I was looking for a quick and easy way to serve my homegrown tomato crop over pasta. I searched online for tomato pasta recipes, and found a few that were similar enough that I realized that the cobbled-together idea in my head was completely legit.


One tomato, diced, sautéed in 1 tsp butter and pinch Splenda (or sugar). Serve over noodles with basil and Parmesan.


As soon as I took a bite, I knew I had to serve the tomatoes over angel hair pasta next time. Why? Because my stepdad Tom served his homemade spaghetti sauce over angel hair — or vermicelli, or spaghettini, but rarely spaghetti.

His was the first and only homemade spaghetti sauce I’ve ever tasted (to my knowledge), and his was the only spaghetti sauce I’d had up until then (age twelve) that included sugar. It’s definitely different than any sauce out of a jar. He also had a different method of serving pasta, where he’d mix a little of the pasta sauce with the capellini in the serving bowl, so it wouldn’t get sticky. I got out of the habit of drowning my spaghetti in sauce, and instead would just add a touch more sauce — and usually some meatballs or sausage, too.

I remember standing in the doorway of the kitchen in the little house he rented (Mom and I moved into the rented house with him when they got married), watching him watching the big tall pot on the stove, simmering the Roma tomatoes we’d harvested from our garden. Years later, after he and Mom divorced, I remember visiting with him in his rented trailer in Amish Country, and him serving up that same pasta sauce with capellini, in the same blue-floral serving bowl, with the same serving tongs and silverware we’d eaten with in the little house in Burbank.

My slapdash 30-minute meal pales in comparison to the depth of his spaghetti sauce, but still — every time I make it, the smell of cooking fresh tomatoes straight out of the garden combined with the sweetness of sugar (or Splenda) and the aroma of oregano and basil… I’m back in Tom’s kitchen again.

He’s been gone exactly 20 years this month. I hadn’t realized that when I sat down to write this. Amazing how smell and taste can trigger memories that seem like yesterday.

One tomato, diced, sautéed in 1 tsp butter and pinch Splenda (or sugar). Serve over noodles with basil and Parmesan. t.co/tfrCLsUa13


Quick Butternut Squash Penne

The squash had been sitting in a container in the fridge for nearly a week, peeled and cubed and ready to be roasted. I didn’t have a specific plan for it, but I knew I really should roast it soon, before it turned into an inedible science project. So, I roasted it earlier this week, and back into the fridge it went. Once I realized I would be making lunch on this snow day, I just could not resist it anymore, and concocted this quick pasta dish for my husband and my son and myself.

Point being, this recipe would be even quicker if you opted to use butternut squash puree instead of roasting your own, but it might lose a little oomph in the flavor department.


  • 1 ½ cups butternut squash, roasted and mashed
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat penne pasta
  • ¼ cup fat free cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp lowfat milk

Cook penne pasta to desired firmness; drain.

In a microwavable bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Microwave in 20-30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the cream cheese is melted. Combine cheese mixture with mashed squash; once thoroughly combined, add squash mixture to penne.

Makes two servings of approximately 1 ½ cups each.

Calories per serving: 400
PointsPlus per serving: 6

Next time I make this, I will likely experiment with seasoning it with thyme, as in this Weight Watchers recipe that I also love, but for which I rarely have all the ingredients handy.

I loved that this only took a matter of minutes to make (not counting the roasting of the squash) and was only six PPVs — and counted for a serving of veggies! I ate a giant helping of fruit alongside and had a very filling lunch.

Avocado Linguine

So far, I’ve posted exactly five recipes to my blog in the past nine years. That’s a testament to a.) how often I concoct recipes of my own, and b.) how often they turn out good enough to share.

I had a hankering for avocados this week, so I asked Aaron to pick some up when he went grocery shopping yesterday. This evening, after Connor went to bed, I laid eyes on them unexpectedly and knew exactly what I wanted to make.

I’d found a recipe on Pinterest some time ago — a couple of recipes, actually — for pasta with an avocado sauce. I made one on Mother’s Day last year and loved it, and had filed the other one away for future reference, as I never have gouda cheese on hand. Tonight, though, I came up with the idea to add an avocado into my standard quick-and-easy microwave alfredo recipe (which may deserve a post of its own, now that I think about it).

Keep in mind that I made this with the intention of eating it for my lunch tomorrow, so this is either a main course for one person or a side dish for two. Also keep in mind that I totally eyeball all my measurements — except for the linguine, which I weighed on my digital scale. Yeah, I’m consistent.


  • 4 oz linguine
  • ½ avocado, mashed or pureed
  • 1 oz fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup milk, 2%
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Cook linguine to desired firmness; drain, reserving a small amount of pasta water.

In a microwaveable bowl, combine cream cheese, Parmesan, and milk. Microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring after each interval until the cheese is thoroughly melted. Combine with avocado and lemon juice, then toss with cooked linguine. Add pasta water a tablespoon at a time if needed, to bring the sauce to the desired consistency.

Calories: 675
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 18

Yeah, the PPVs really shocked me, since I calculated the whole thing after the fact. It was the 11 Points of linguine that killed it. Whole wheat linguine would bring it down a Point, but what would really make it interesting would be to serve the sauce over shirataki noodles or spaghetti squash…

Even though I’m eating it for lunch tomorrow, of course I had to taste it tonight. It’s dang good. That’s why I posted it here.