Thursday, August 10, 2017

#2,000: Trader Joe's Inspired Mango, Jicima Coleslaw

I can't believe I'm posting our 2,000th recipe (although it could be more because I'm pretty sure I've misnumbered a few times!  Lol)  I whipped this recipe together after I had a salad similar to it at Trader Joes.  (Can someone PLEASE convince TJ's to come to our town?!?!).  I'm seriously contemplating a trip up there this weekend just to stock up on stuff I love.

Anyhow, this salad was super easy to make and really quite good.  The dressing I got was a little bit spicy so it gave it a lot of flavor.

The measurements for the ingredients are just estimates because I made a salad for 2 (2 servings, don't be fooled to think anyone else in my family ate this!) and just put as much in it that I knew I liked.

In a bowl combine:
1 1/2 cups of shredded coleslaw mix (no dressing, just the shredded cabbage and carrots)
1 mango cut into really thin pieces and strips (like REALLY thin...Trader Joes shredded theirs but mine was too soft to attempt that)
1/4 of a jicama shredded
handful of cilantro, chopped
1-2 green onions, sliced
Handful of toasted sliced almonds
2 tbsp Mango Chardonnay Vinaigrette (the brand I used was Marie, found in the produce section)

#1,999: Cranberry Lime Spritzer

I made this simple and refreshing drink using 3 ingredients.  Cranberry juice, Sprite, and Lime Vitality essential oil from Young Living.  My kids are loving this!!  I'm going to try switching out the Sprite for plain seltzer water to cut down on the sugar for them.  This is such a great summer drink!

I also think this would be great with 100% cherry juice!!  
In an 8 oz glass or larger:
Fill 1/3 of the glass with 100% cranberry juice.
Add desired amount of ice cubes. 
Fill the remainder of the glass with Sprite (or Seltzer Water).
Add ONE drop of Lime Vitatlity Essential Oil.
Stir lightly to combine the flavors. 

From the Young Living Blog: 
Young Living’s Lime essential oil has a wide variety of uses. Aromatically, the pleasant citrus scent is invigorating and may help promote mental clarity and encourage creativity.* Topically, Lime provides antioxidants to the skin, which may reduce dark spots due to aging and acts as an insect deterrent.* Taken internally, Lime supports a healthy digestive system and may aid in weight management. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

#1,998: Low Carb (Quick and Easy!!) Flatbread Pizza

I have an abundance of basil growing in my garden (anyone want some?!) and ONE small orange bell pepper that I wanted to use up.  So I grabbed a low carb tortilla and topped it with diced bell pepper, diced sun dried tomato chicken sausage, shredded mozzarella cheese, and some chopped basil.  I popped it in the oven for about 12 minutes or so until the cheese was melted and the tortilla was crisp (370 degree oven).  Healthy, delicious, and easy!  

Friday, July 7, 2017

#1,997: Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant Stacks

This super easy side dish was SO good.  It took no time at all to throw together and even my 10 year old enjoyed eating it with me.  It's quite filling too so this would make a great, healthy side dish to some grilled meat (skirt steak sounds especially appealing!).  This is a perfect summer recipe...especially when you have basil in your garden (and zucchini growing!).  

1 (1½ lb.) eggplant
1 large zucchini
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1½ cups tomato sauce (your favorite kind)
10 large basil leaves

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Cut the eggplant into ½-inch slices (total 12 slices). Cut the zucchini in half crosswise. Cut each half into ¼/-inch slices (total 8 slices).

Lay the eggplant and zucchini slices on a baking sheet. Brush on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill until the vegetables are tender, but not overcooked, about 4 minutes per side for the eggplant and 3 minutes per side for the zucchini.

In the last 30 seconds of cooking, divide the mozzarella evenly between the eggplant rounds. Re-close the barbecue lid and cook for additional 30 seconds, or until the mozzarella is melted.

Lay one eggplant round on each of 4 plates. Top each with 2 tbsp tomato sauce. Next, divide half of the basil between the 4 portions.

Top each with one zucchini slice. Continue stacking in this order, ending with an eggplant round and tomato sauce. Spoon any remaining tomato sauce around each stack.
Serve immediately.

#1,996: Garlic and Lemon Butternut Squash Noodles

Kroger, my favorite grocery store to wander around in the mornings when it is quiet, had butternut squash noodles for 20 cents (you read that right), so I grabbed a few containers for lunches this week.  I found this super easy recipe that ironically had every things I needed on hand (it was meant to be!).  This is so good, I will probably eat it again for dinner.  
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups spiralized butternut squash "noodles"
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

In large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add squash, rosemary, salt and pepper; cook 5 minutes or until squash noodles are tender, stirring frequently. Add lemon juice; toss until well combined.

Serve noodles garnished with cheese.

#1,995: Lavender Lemonade

After having lavender lemonade at the Young Living Farm in Mona, Utah, I was excited to come home and try this recipe on my family and friends.  It was so simple to make and personally I really, really enjoy it (and it brings me back to the farm when I drink it).  It's not overly tart, nor too sweet, so it's a perfectly refreshing drink.  Make sure to only use 1 or 2 drops of the Vitality Lavender or it will be way too overpowering.  

6 lemons, juiced
1 lime, juiced
½ cup honey (I used agave)
2 drops Lavender Vitality essential oil
Ice water, about 10 cups
Lavender sprigs, optional

Combine lemon juice, lime juice, honey, and Lavender Vitality in a large glass pitcher.
Add water to taste.  Stir until well mixed.  Garnish with sprigs of lavender.

#1,994: Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo

I'll be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to like this recipe. I'm not a fan of spicy and I don't love adobe peppers.  So I thought adding the peppers and the sauce to the burger would make it too hot, and I never thought I'd eat the mayo at all.  This recipe totally proved me wrong!  The burgers were very easy to make and it is definitely even better with the melted cheese AND the chipotle mayo on it!  The original recipe says to serve immediately, but we had these a second time as leftovers, and they were just as good (obviously best fresh, but reheated works too).  

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used vegan mayo)
2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce 
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from the can of chipotles)
1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
Pinch kosher salt

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 egg
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 small clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

16 slider buns or dinner rolls, sliced in half
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced
Sliced sweet pickles

Chipotle Mayo:
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

Black Bean Burgers:Place beans in a small bow and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add egg, bread crumbs, adobo sauce, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne (if using), salt and pepper. Mix well.  Form into one-ounce patties – about 2 tablespoons per patty – by rolling mixture into a ball, packing together firmly, then flattening slightly.

Add the olive oil to a large saute pan over medium heat. Working in batches so that the burgers aren’t too crowded, cook one one side until browned – about 5 minutes, then carefully flip and cook until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes total.
Remove patties to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and cool slightly.

Put slider buns sliced-side up on a cookie sheet. Add black bean patties to the bottom halves of the buns and top with cheese. Place under oven broiler until cheese has melted and buns are golden brown, about one minute (depending on your broiler – just watch carefully!)

Remove from oven and slather chipotle mayo on the inside of the bun tops. Top burgers with red onions and pickles, sandwich with the bun top, and secure with a toothpick or skewer. Serve immediately.

#1,993: Mexican Street Corn Salad

So I am having a slight (TMI) issue with corn so I really had to avoid this recipe unfortunately.  But I still made it for my family and made sure to get their reviews/take on this dish.  When I first served it they all thought it was just ok....then it sat in the fridge overnight and it got MUCH better reviews.  My family all agrees, the longer this sits and the flavors blend, the better it is.  Good to know.  :)  We served this as a side dish to burgers, they ate it with tortilla chips, and some threw it on top of their burrito bowls.  As you can see, this dish is super versatile!  Yes, I will definitely make this again!
Also, I looked all over for cotija cheese and couldn't find it, so I subbed out feta.  Cotija would have been better!  (I just didn't have time to run to an authentic grocery store).

½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 Tbsp lime juice 
1 tsp honey 
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cumin

Splash of oil
4 ears corn about 3 cups, shucked and kernels removed
1 clove garlic minced
2 Tbsp lime juice 
¼ tsp salt
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
½ cup chopped red onion 
½ cup packed fresh cilantro chopped
½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled, can sub feta

Mix all dressing ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil over medium/high heat in a large saute pan then add garlic and corn. Cook about 15 minutes, flipping frequently, until corn begins to char a bit. Gently toss with lime juice and salt.

In a large bowl, combine corn mix, black beans, pepper, onion, cilantro, and cheese. Drizzle sauce over and serve either warm or cold. Perfect over tacos, as a chip dip, or by itself!

#1,992: Balsamic Green Beans

I made this recipe for our family over the 4th of July.  Personally I really enjoyed it and as you can see (sort of) from the photo, I added in some roasted red potatoes (cut into pieces) to make this more of a heartier side dish.  This was good leftover the next day, but after that it was absorbing the dressing too much and getting a bit soft for my liking.  There definitely needs to be more feta in this, but my sister is a feta hater so I tried not to add too much.  

1 lb. green beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 small red onion (ugh I totally forgot to add the red onion!)
Optional: Soy feta

{For the dressing}
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.

Trim ends off green beans and rinse. Steam (or boil) for about 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender. In a colander, rinse well with cold water to stop cooking, then pat dry. Cut green beans into 1 to 2 inch pieces.

Dice red onion and halve cherry tomatoes.

Place onion and green beans in a bowl. Drizzle dressing over top and toss to coat.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to marinate.

When ready to serve, add in tomatoes and soy feta and lightly toss.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

2017 Summer Bucket List

So here it is...our annual Summer Family Bucket List.
If you decide to do a bucket list too, let us know.  We'd love to see what everyone else is doing too!!  
Now to get started on crossing things off!

Make homemade pretzels
Try a new food (for mom and for kids)
Kids plan and cook dinner (each kid) (C: 7/13, M: 7/14)
Visit the ISU Horticulture Center Children's Garden (6/28/17)
Go to Lambert's Cafe (in Missouri) (7/23)
Create a travel bug (Geocache) and send it on its way (7/25)
Find a geocache in every state we visit this summer (This summer we have geocached in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Iowa)
Walk 100 miles as a family
Try a new restaurant in town 
Go to a White Sox Game (7/30)
Road trip to Oklahoma (7/25)
Go to Mrs. Wilcox's House....again (7/21)
Playdate with the Rizzo family (6/26/17)
Go to Six Flags at least 4 times (we went at least 4 times by 6/4/17)
Playdate/Visit Milwaukee Friends
Plant a new herb/fruit/vegetable in the garden (this year we are trying boston lettuce and orange peppers as our new veggies)
Go to Monkey Joe's (7/25)
Eat at Sugar in Peoria (Changed our minds due to current menu and went to Firehouse Pizza instead)
Paint 2 bedrooms (and move Matthew into his own room) (6/27/17: Matthew is in his own room and his room is painted a very bright blue (that he picked out))
Go to IKEA (7/30)
Do a Random Act of Kindness with the kids (1 act done 6/30)
Everyone catches a fish in Green Lake (we barely made it, but it happened 4th of July weekend)
Primitive camping (Tracy's version of it)
Go to the pool at least 6 times (completed by 7/31)
Play Pass the Water Game with our cousins
Go to a beach (7/27)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

#1,991: Strawberry Pecan Pretzel Salad

This picture does not do this recipe justice and I will be making it again just to be able to take a picture!  This is SO good.  This is the type of picture you get when you're like "hurry and take a picture before everyone eats it and it's gone."  I mean this is SOOOOOO good.  If you have ever eaten strawberry pretzel jello, it's a lot like it, except that it doesn't have the jello in it.  Personally, the jello part is my least favorite part of the recipe, so this recipe is perfect (no jello at all!).

1 cup crushed pretzels
½ cup chopped pecans
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
2 cups diced strawberries
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz whipped topping

Mix together crushed pretzels, chopped pecans, brown sugar and melted butter.
Spread on a large baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and then break it into small pieces.  (Then resist the temptation to eat this pretzel mixture on its own.  It's delicious!) 

Beat together softened cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla.  Fold in whipped topping.

Before serving, stir the diced strawberries and sugared pretzels and pecans into the cream cheese mixture.  

#1,990: Taco salad for a crowd

My family regularly eats Dorito taco salad at family gatherings, so I wanted something similar to it, but with a tiny twist.  I also needed something fairly large since I was making it for my daughter's first communion (and I wanted most of it done ahead of time so I could just throw it together).  When I came across this recipe I was excited to give it a try, and hoped that I would enjoy it as much as my mother-in-law's taco salad.  Here's the good's delicious.  I loved it.  But I love "stuff" in my salads; the more the better!  I didn't say it was healthy though (Doritos, thousand island, and sugar will do that to a recipe), but it is very, very good.  The bad news....this will get soggy if you pour the dressing all over it so leftovers will not be salvageable.  I would certainly make this again though! 

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
2 envelopes taco seasoning, divided
1 medium head iceberg lettuce (I used iceberg and romaine)
1 package (10 ounces) nacho-flavored tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I used black beans)
3 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies (I only used 1)
1-1/2 cups Thousand Island salad dressing
1-1/3 cups salsa
1/3 cup sugar

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef with 1 envelope plus 2 tablespoons taco seasoning until no longer pink; drain.

In a very large serving bowl, combine the lettuce, chips, tomatoes, beans, olives, cheese, onion, chilies and beef mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the salad dressing, salsa, sugar and remaining taco seasoning; pour over salad and toss to coat. Yield: 26 servings (1-1/3 cups each).

#1,889: Monkey Toast

I don't know if this really counts as a recipe or not (I made TOAST!), but Matthew was watching a video on youtube and begged me to make this for him.  He loved it, and asked that I make it for him again.  I'm sure I can make that happen buddy.  :)  This is also a super ridiculously easy recipe that I'm sure you can figure out just by looking at the photo, so I'm only going to list the ingredients below.

Bread, toasted
Banana, sliced

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#1,888: Crockpot Hamburger Soup/Stew

Busy working mom, looking for super simple, healthy lunch ideas.  Yep, that's me.  And as much as I love to cook, I just don't have a ton of time to commit to being in the kitchen anymore.  (Hangs head in disbelief and sadness)  When I came across this recipe (and had everything on hand except for the sweet potato), I knew it was one I desperately wanted to try.  

Although a little bland, I actually did like this.  It definitely needs more seasoning though!  Italian seasoning, fresh herbs, I don't know what, but add whatever you love to this dish.  :)  Besides that though, it has great potential.  Except next time I'm omitting the celery because I just don't love it.  I might substitute zucchini instead...  ???
2 lbs grass-fed ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 lb white sweet potatoes or potatoes, chopped 
42.5 ounces diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ tsp ground mustard
1 tsp salt
Handful fresh parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain grease.Add ground meat to the slow cooker along with all other ingredients.  Stir to mix well.  Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6 hours or until potatoes are soft.

If you want to make this more of a soup than stew all you need to do is add in 2 cups of low-sodium beef broth.  (I definitely added some broth which gave it a little more flavor and helped it cook faster!) 

#1,887: Italian Wedding Soup

As we are inching our way to May, I know that it is moving from soup/crockpot weather, to grilling season, however, I am in the need/mood for super simple, filling, healthy recipes, and soups are the first thing that came to mind.  So when I came across this easy recipe, I decided to give it a chance for my lunches this upcoming week...And maybe a breakfast (which I got some very weird looks for).

Overall, I really did enjoy this soup/recipe.  I took the lazy way and let the meatball cook right in the stock (instead of pre-cooking/browinging them).  And although I would still do that again for ease, they probably would have been better if browned first because they would have had a slightly firmer texture.  Regardless, I thought this one was pretty good...and SOOOOOO simple.   

1 lb ground pork
1/2 C Italian breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Chili flake, to taste
1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C finely chopped onion

2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 C ditalini or other small pasta
8 C good chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 C water (may or may not be needed)
One 5-ounce package fresh spinach
Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

If you are cooking your meatballs separate, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  For the meatballs, mix all of the meatball ingredients together by hand.  Roll the meatballs into mini meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Bake the meatballs about 20 to 25 minutes or until well browned and done.

For the soup, put the stock, celery, onions, and garlic (and meatballs if cooking in the soup) into a large pot or dutch oven.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat slightly, making sure it is still boiling.  Cook the veggies about 5 minutes. 

I cooked the pasta separately, then let cool before adding it to the soup so that it wouldn't get mushy/overcooked.  Add in the pasta and bring it back to a boil.  
Once at a full boil again, reduce the heat again slightly but keep it still bubbling.  Cook and stir until the pasta (and meatballs) are done.  

If necessary, add in the 2 cups of water if it seems your stock is cooking out too much.  Once it's done, turn the heat off and stir in the meatballs if you cooked them separately.  Stir in the spinach until it is wilted.  Serve with the shaved Parmesan, if desired.

#1,886: Parmesan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I think brussel sprouts is one of those veggies you either love or hate.  I personally love them.  I'll pretty much eat them any, cold, roasted, shaved, as a salad....doesn't matter, I enjoy them.  So a few weeks ago I made some microwavable meal that had brussel sprouts and a light sauce.  It was a wonderful lunch...however my coworkers and students did not feel the same way about my lunch because of the slightly unpleasant odor it left behind.  I say it wasn't that school disagrees.

Not to give up on these delightful babies, I was super excited when I came across a very simple parmesan roasted recipe...and the recipe did not disappoint.  I'm already planning on heading back to the store for another batch of brussel sprouts.  I love most veggies roasted, but adding the parmesan (which I often don't do) really made this one good.  Two thumbs up for this recipe

1 1/2 pounds fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.

Combine brussels sprouts and olive oil in a large zip close bag and shake to coat. Add the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the bag and shake to coat.

Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 17 minutes until the cheese is melted and the brussels sprouts are lightly browned.

#1,885: Easy Orange Glazed Meatballs

I was looking for a quick, easy, little-fuss recipe to make for an upcoming party and came across this recipe.  I was a little leery of trying it because it had so few ingredients but decided to try it anyways.  I omitted the spicy pork sausage and just added a few shakes of crushed red pepper instead.  Although these aren't bad, they certainly are a bit dense.  I think this might be better if I added at least an egg to the mixture to give it more moisture.  Also, maybe some garlic too.

Instead of letting this sit in my crockpot, I let the liquid cook down on the stove top.  You definitely want to let it cook down so it is more of a thick coating/glaze.  I can't decide if I like this recipe or not.  As I eat it, I certainly enjoy it, but I don't think I love the orange aftertaste you get from it.  Yet that didn't stop me from eating another one.  I'm taking these to work tomorrow to let my co-workers try it....I'll let you know the concensus from that group.  :) 

1 pound ground spicy pork sausage
1 pound ground pork sausage
1/2 onion, diced
1 (6 ounces) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

Combine pork sausage, spicy pork sausage, and diced onion together in a bowl using your hands. Form mixture into meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each.

Fry meatballs in a skillet over medium heat until browned and completely cooked through (15 to 20 minutes). An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Transfer meatballs to a large bowl and add 1/2 of the orange juice concentrate; gently toss to coat, adding more if needed to completely coat.

Put meatballs in a slow cooker and add the remaining orange juice concentrate; turn on the Low setting to keep warm before serving.

#1,884: Grape Glazed Doughnut Holes

So I came across a super cute recipe in a recent issue of Taste of Home that uses confectioners sugar and juice concentrate to make a glaze for store bought cake doughnut holes.  Let me start by saying, I could not find plain cake doughnuts at the store, so I thought why not just get the sour cream cake doughnut holes instead?! know why you aren't supposed to use this kind of doughnut hole?  Becuase it's already glazed!  How dumb am I to not think of that when I bought them?!  But since I had already made the grape glaze, I figured I'd just go with it.  Although super weird in color, my girls (and I) actually really liked these doughnut holes.  But who doesn't love sugar on top of sugar?!  So this may not have been the healthiest thing I've served my kids for breakfast, but they thought it was a fun treat.  And that's exactly what it was...a treat.  I would not be making these on a regular basis for them by any means.  Matthew (5) refused to even try them because the said he "doesn't like red doughnuts."  His loss.  

1 package/container of cake doughnut holes
2 c confectioner's sugar
Grape juice concentrate (thawed)
You can use any juice concentrate as desired if you do not like grape
Whisk the confectioner's sugar and enough juice concentrate to create your desired consistency.  Dip plain doughnut holes in the glaze, and then transfer to waxed paper to set.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

#1,883: One-Pot Spaghetti and Sausage

This super simple recipe got super good reviews from my family even though they were appalled that I would put grated carrots in this dish.  Can you even see them?  NO...yeah, neither could I.  But my husband and my middle child both tried picking it out at first.  (Insert eye roll here).  My husband complained that his body would start rejecting the veggies as soon as he started eating it.  Needless to say, we had leftovers, and my husband happily ate those (I thought he was going to have to fight my oldest for it, but she was kind and let him have them).  :)

The only thing I did differently with this recipe was that I did NOT add the canned cherry tomatoes.  Adding grated carrots was a big enough risk for me to take, and I knew they would all just pick out the tomatoes anyways.  This is definitely best served with grated parmesan cheese on top.  I will definitely make this again. 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste (I probably used more like 2 tbsp)
10 ounces spaghetti, broken in half
1 14-ounce can cherry tomatoes (I omitted and added a little bit of jarred spaghetti sauce instead)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Pour off the fat from the meat.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the onion to the skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrot, garlic and tomato paste and cook until the garlic softens, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add 4 1/2 cups water, the spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the sauce thickens, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the parsley; season with salt and pepper and toss.