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Jo-Anna@APrettyLife

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Roasted Tomato Pasta Dinner

This Roasted Tomato Pasta Dinner is a healthy and delicious dinner that can be on your table in under 1 hour!

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It’s January and many of us have resolved to eat more healthy, so I got together with 11 other bloggers to bring you some healthy and scrumptious meal ideas for you and your family!

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be daunting.  In fact, with easy to access nutritious recipes and quick meal ideas, eating healthy can be easy!  I never resolve to lose weight at New Years, because I know myself well enough to know that the second I give myself constraints like a diet, I will fail.  It’s just the way I am.  Instead I will choose to try to eat healthy, and not compromise on taste or quit any particular ingredient.  I won’t stop eating pasta or bread or dessert, instead I will choose to eat less of these things, or choose a more healthy option like whole grain bread or whole grain pasta and maybe a smaller piece of pie instead of half a pie. Ha!  Really, I try to eat as healthy as possible all year round, so I can sneak in the occasional slice of chocolate cake or my favourite cookies.

But I can always use new healthy meal ideas in my recipe box, and maybe you can too?  So after my recipe, at the end of this post, make sure to check out 11 more meal ideas!

Without further ado, as part this Healthy Dinner collaboration, I brought this Roasted Tomato Pasta Dinner to the table.

Roasted Tomato Pasta Dinner

The homemade sauce of this dish is loaded with healthy ingredients like roasted tomatoes, garlic and spinach, which is served over a plate of ancient grain noodles, and with a sprinkling of ricotta cheese.  Just look at how bright and delicious this pasta looks!

Roasted Tomato Pasta Dinner

What I love the most about this dish are the roasted tomatoes.  Roasting tomatoes in the oven with olive oil and slices of fresh garlic, makes for THE most tasty pasta sauce, because by roasting the tomatoes, their flavour becomes so rich and bold.

Roasted Tomato Pasta Dinner

Then tossed with noodles, fresh spinach, chopped basil and fresh ricotta this dish is a winner!  Winner winner pasta dinner!

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Roasted Tomato Pasta Dinner

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Author Jo-Anna@APrettyLife

Ingredients

Roasted Tomatoes

  • 2 lb grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 6 cloves garlic sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Pasta

  • approx 1 lb dried pasta of your choice (See Notes)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 juice from 1 lemon (optional)
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled ricotta cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic:

  1. Cut the grape tomatoes in half.

  2. Slice the garlic lengthwise.

  3. Toss the tomatoes and garlic in 3 tbsp of olive oil.

  4. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

  5. Spread the mixture out onto a cookie sheet, then roast for 20 - 25 minutes.

Putting together the pasta:

  1. While the tomatoes are roasting, chop the fresh basil.

  2. Then start making your noodles according to the package directions.

  3. In the last 30 seconds of boiling your pasta, toss in the fresh spinach.  This is just to wilt it slightly.  Then drain the noodles and spinach.

  4. Once the tomatoes and garlic are roasted, pulse them in a food processor with 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Pulse for only about 10 seconds just to slightly break down the tomatoes and garlic.

  5. Toss the noodles and spinach with the roasted tomatoes, chopped fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

  6. Squeeze on some lemon juice, then toss again.

  7. Sprinkle with the ricotta cheese and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can use any kind of pasta that you like with this dish.  I used an ancient grains rotini noodle for some extra nutrition, but whole wheat or your favourite noodle would work great as well!

Roasted Tomato Pasta Dinner

Make sure to stop by the links below for more delicious meal ideas!

Here are more Healthy Weeknight Dinners:

Healthy Weeknight Dinners

Have a delicious day!

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Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe  //  A delicious and easy breakfast!

Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe

This Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe is a perfect weekend breakfast!  Serves up to 6 people.  Enjoy with a selection of fresh fruit!

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Just in time for the weekend I’m sharing this simple Dutch Baby Pancake recipe.  This is one of our most favourite breakfast recipes.  It’s like eating a giant popover for breakfast, and really, what’s not to love about that?  Definitely a treat.

Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe // A delicious and easy breakfast!

It’s funny because every time we make one of these puffed pancakes they always look a little different.  They way they puff up is totally unpredictable and you just never know what you’re going to get…except that it’s always guaranteed to be delicious.  But don’t be alarmed when your Dutch Baby is sky high right out of the oven, then 30 seconds later it’s flat as, well, a pancake.  It’s all part of the process and charm of this delicious pancake.

Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe // A delicious and easy breakfast!

The great thing about this breakfast is that you get all the best parts of a pancake, without having to stand at the stove and flip endless batches while everyone eats all of your hard work.  One dish with this Dutch Baby recipe, and we all get to eat at the same time.

Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe // A delicious and easy breakfast!

Now how to enjoy these puffed pancakes?  Everyone in my family likes to dress their piece of puffed pancake a little differently.  Some like maple syrup and others, like myself, enjoy it with cinnamon & sugar sprinkled on top.  Oh and butter.  I like mine served hot with lots and lots of butter.  A definite indulgence.  Then when we’re done, we all politely fight over all of the delicious crispy buttery bits on the bottom of the pan…you’ll see exactly what I mean when you make one of your own.

Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe // A delicious and easy breakfast!

Enjoy with a selection of fresh fruits for a well rounded breakfast!

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Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe  //  A delicious and easy breakfast!
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Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe

Use an 12 inch in diameter pan for this recipe as the batch makes a very large pancake.  If you have a smaller pan, feel free to cut the recipe in half.

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 tbsp butter (See notes below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the milk, flour, sugar, and eggs until smooth.  Really froth this mixture up!  The more frothy, the puffier the pancake will be.

  3. In a large skillet (12 x 9) (like a cast iron pan if you have one), melt the 8 tbsp of butter over medium heat until it is bubbly, and tilt the pan until the butter coats the bottom and sides of the pan.

  4. Pour the pancake batter into the skillet and let it cook for about 1 minute, without stirring!
  5. Then place the skillet into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
  6. The pancake is done when it is golden brown and puffed up.
  7. Once the pancake is done serve immediately (while it's puffed up), because it will shrink quickly!

  8. Serve with syrup or cinnamon sugar.

Recipe Notes

Feel free to use less butter if you prefer.  We always use 8 tbsp, but if you find this to be too much for your liking, use 4 - 6 tbsp. 

Recipe from Joy of Cooking

Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe // A delicious and easy breakfast!

Love breakfast?  Here are more delicious recipes:

Have a delicious day!

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Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies, also known as Chippers, are a delicious and adorable treat!  This is my MOST FAVOURITE chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.

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There’s something about January that makes me want to clean everything and bake cookies.  Weirdest thing, but it’s true.  January’s were made for cookies.  So cookies I will make.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Over the years I have made many chocolate chip cookie recipes, but I just never found THE chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Nothing was soft enough, or just the right combo of crispy and chewy, or with enough flavour.  Until now.  I think this is my most favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe of all time.  Yes.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

And it’s not just the size of them that I love.  But really, who can’t love a mini chocolate chip cookie?  They’re just all delicious and ridiculously cute…pretty much irresistible.  The problem with these cookies is that because they’re SO good, having just one will not do.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s the flavour and texture of these Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies that makes them the best.  They are soft, sweet, chewy, crunchy and chocolaty all at the same time.  I looooooooove them.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

The biggest tip I have about making these mini cookies, is to use only 1 tsp of batter for each cookie. I know it seems ridiculously small, but any more and these won’t turn out as mini cookies.  Trust me on this one.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
The small size of these cookies makes them perfect for snacks and school lunches. As well, the huge batch size of this recipe makes them great for bake sales.  And if you’re not into mini cookies, you can use this recipe to make regular sized cookies too.

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Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings 12 dozen mini cookies
Author Jo-Anna@APrettyLife

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Whisk together the flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

  3. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugars.

  4. Add the eggs to the butter mix, one at a time.  

  5. Then add the vanilla.

  6. Slowly add the flour mix to the butter mix, and combine.

  7. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

  8. To make mini chocolate chip cookies, roll 1 tsp of dough for each cookie, and place them on a cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.

  9. Bake for 8 minutes or more if needed.

Recipe Notes

 

Regular Size Chocolate Chip Cookies:

If you prefer to make regular size chocolate chip cookies this recipe will work just great!  It will make approximately 2 dozen medium sized cookies.

Recipe adapted from New York Times

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hope you try this recipe and love these Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies as much as we do!

Have a delicious day!

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Cake Doughnut Muffins

Cake Doughnut Muffins

These  Cake Doughnut Muffins are a delicious and easy homemade snack!  A sweet light cinnamon flavoured muffin with a scrumptious cinnamon sugar mix on top!

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There are fewer ingredients in life that go together better than cake, cinnamon and sugar.  And these Cake Doughnut Muffins are basically these 3 ingredients…and they’re delicious.  And don’t they just sound so warm and squishy?!  Cake.  Doughnut.  Muffin.  My 3 favourite things all in one recipe.  Life is good.

Cake Doughnut Muffins

This is a great recipe for those days when you need something to snack on or something for the kids lunches, because almost everyone likes them.  And they’re easy to make with simple ingredients you likely have in your pantry already.   In fact they’re so easy, you should have your kids make them, they’re a great beginner baking recipe.

Cake Doughnut Muffins

My kids have finally reached that age where they are big helpers in the kitchen.  They’re old enough to complete a recipe from beginning to end without much involvement from me.  At first I actually found it kind of hard to have them take over in the kitchen, but I have learned to embrace and really appreciate it.  If they want to bake cookies or make lunch, I’m all for it.  Their contribution to our family in ways like this are invaluable.  It takes a lot of pressure off of me, and provides great learning for them.  I love it.  My daughter has turned into quite the baker…she’s made some cookies that rival mine for sure!  Love that.

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Cake Doughnut Muffins

In fact, my daughter made these muffins, and they’re delicious!  Don’t they look great?

Cake Doughnut Muffins
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If you’re looking for a simple and delicious muffin recipe, this one is for you!  These are also SO good with raspberry jam spread on them.  Yum yum yum.  I hope you enjoy them! – – – ———-

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Cake Doughnut Muffins
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Cake Doughnut Muffins

Servings 12 medium muffins

Ingredients

Muffin:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg and milk.

  4. Add the milk mix to the flour mix and gently combine. Don't over mix the batter or the muffins will be chewy.

  5. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper muffin cups, then fill them about 2/3 full with the batter.

  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

While the muffins are baking, make the topping: the melted butter and cinnamon/sugar are to be prepared separate!

  1. First melt the butter in one bowl.

  2. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

  3. As soon as the muffins come out of the oven, remove them from the tin.

  4. Dip muffin tops in butter, then dip in sugar/cinnamon mix.
  5. Enjoy!

Adapted from Muffin Mania and the Joy of Cooking
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Have a delicious day!
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Winter Living Room Decorating

Winter Living Room Decorating

Embrace winter and decorate your home to reflect this beautiful season!

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This year during the week between Christmas and New Years I took down all of my Christmas decorations.  It seemed like the perfect time to get our house back in order.  There’s just something so beautiful about that lull between holidays, the pressure of Christmas is off, the fridge is stocked with delicious holiday leftovers…but the best part is that we never have much on our schedule so we’re sloooooow moving.  The kids are busy with their Christmas gifts, and I get busy getting my house cleaned and ready for January.  One of my most favourite feelings is that one when the house is a clean slate again…the tree is down, the decorations are put away, and now I have a fresh start.  I love January.

At this point many people start decorating for Valentine’s Day, but I just can’t, it’s too early.  I don’t want to move too fast into the next holiday, so instead, this is the time of year when I choose to embrace winter.  Currently we are in a deep freeze with more snow in the forecast, so there is no denying winter is here to stay for a while.  And instead of dreading it, we embrace it, both outdoors and indoors.  Outside we’ve been busy snowshoeing, skating, walking, and tobogganing, and inside we’re cozying up on the couch with homemade hot chocolate, fires and tonnes of Netflix.

So come inside my winter home, it’s fresh and cozy in here.

Winter Living Room Decorating

Winter Living Room Decorating

The nice thing about decorating for winter is the use of bright and fresh winter colours like white and and icy shades of blue.  These colours create such a cheery and light space.

Winter Living Room Decorating

I started with my mantel which is the focus of our living room area.  I wanted to keep it simple and light so I didn’t do much decorating here.  I added in natural elements like pine cones and birch branches, which both are things I love so much in home decor.  I used many of the same elements on my Winter Porch!

Winter Living Room Decorating

I actually kept a couple of things out from my Christmas decor…I left the pinecone garland on the mantle, and kept out the tree candle holders, but moved them to my bookcases.  I think they both work great for winter decorating.

Winter Living Room Decorating

But my favourite part of our winter living room is our couch loaded with soft blankets and tonnes of pillows.  I have a thing for throw pillows in case you haven’t noticed!  But I love how they look on my couch, and I like to snuggle in with them…my husband not so much, he tends to shove them aside but whatevs.  😉

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Molly loves the pillows too.  Isn’t she the cutest?

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I found the snowy owl and birch tree pillows on clearance at Chapters…they were part of their Christmas decor, but I thought they were perfect for winter…the snowy owl and birch trees are all images of our Canadian winters and I LOVE that.

Winter Living Room Decorating

When I was growing up seeing Snowy Owls swoop between fields was a regular occurrence, so when I saw this pillow I was instantly in love.

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Love love love so much.

Winter Living Room Decorating

Winter Living Room Decorating

Fresh and airy, yet comfy.  I’m really happy with how it came together, I especially love it at night with the fire going and candles lit.  It’s all of this that helps me love January as much as I do.

Winter Living Room Decorating

So there is my winter living room!  We’re going to enjoy it for a couple of weeks until I pull out all of the Valentine decorations!  Do you decorate for winter?  Or do you go straight to Valentine’s Day?

If you haven’t seen my Winter Porch, make sure to pop over!

Decorating the Porch for Winter

Shop This Post:

Have an inspired day!

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Homemade Hot Chocolate

Make this Homemade Hot Chocolate with just 2 simple ingredients!  You’ll never buy mix again!

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Our winter has been SO cold and snowy, and I’m loving every second of it!  We’ve been out skating, snowshoeing and tobogganing as much as we can, just enjoying all of the snow.  In fact one of my favourite times with my kids are the nights outside at our lake skating…there’s just something so great about being able to do this together.  Then we come home and have homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows.  LOVE.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

I used to think in order to have hot chocolate, I had to have a can of mix that I bought at the store.  I have since learned that THE BEST hot chocolate is one you can make right at home with just 2 simple ingredients from your panty.  No extra chemicals or colour, just cocoa and sugar, that’s it.  And so easy to make too.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

You can make 1 cup of hot chocolate with 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tbsp sugar…that’s it.  Not much easier than that!  And if you want to keep a stash of this mix ready on hand, just mix up a full jar and keep it in your pantry.  Then when you want a cup of hot cocoa, add some mix and milk to a saucepan and heat on your stove, or put it in the microwave for about 1 minute.  That simple.  So yummy!

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Homemade Hot Chocolate

Servings 1
Author Jo-Anna@APrettyLife

Ingredients

Ingredients for 1 cup of Hot Chocolate:

  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk or more if you like it less sweet

Instructions

  1. For an individual cup of hot chocolate, add 1 tbsp of cocoa, 1 tbsp sugar and 3/4 cup to 1 cup of milk into a saucepan on the stove.

  2. Heat over low on the stove, whisking often.

  3. Pour into a mug, add marshmallows and enjoy!

Make a Jar for your Pantry

  1. If you want to keep the hot chocolate mixture ready to use, you can make a jar of it and keep it in your pantry.  It will last for months.  Just add equal parts cocoa and sugar to the jar, and mix well.   Then add to milk when you want a cup of hot chocolate.

 Enjoy this hot chocolate with homemade chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  A perfect treat.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

I hope you try this and love it!

Have a delicious day!

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Decorating the Porch for Winter

Decorating the Porch for Winter is a great way to embrace this beautiful season and greet your friends & family!

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Let’s take a little adventure today and visit a couple of beautiful winter porches, and maybe gather some inspiration to decorate your own porch, entryway or front step for winter!  I’m participating in a Winter Porch Blog hop with Design, Dining and Diapers and House 214 Design, and we are excited to share our winter decorating with you!  Winter is a beautiful time to decorate…

With winter being our most predominant season here, I think we should welcome it with open arms. Or at least a decorated porch!  Haha!  But honestly, I like welcoming in our different seasons with a little festive decor…it helps break up the monotony of what can feel like a verrrrrrry long winter/spring.  And I have to admit the house feels pretty bare after all the Christmas decorations come down.  So to keep our home feeling cozy during our winter, I add some winter decorations.  I’ve got my living room all decorated, and yesterday I decorated my porch.

Welcome to my Winter Porch!

Decorating the Porch for Winter

Because our winter has been SO cold and snowy this year, I decided to decorate to reflect this weather…which I love, I might add!  Cold and snow needs cozy and rustic, so that’s how I decorated.  And as you can see we have a tonne of snow, and it just keeps coming and coming but I love it.

Decorating the Porch for Winter

To decorate this porch space, I decided to ‘shop’ my home, so to speak.  My goal this year is to keep things as simple and minimal as I can around here, so that means less shopping for stuff.  I have too much stuff already, so I’m just going to try to decorate in new ways with it all.  This porch was decorated with items I have already.  Love that.

Decorating the Porch for Winter

Cozy blankets, pillows, candles, my favourite Sorel winter boots, snowflakes, birch logs and pine cones.  Wintery indeed.

Decorating the Porch for Winter

Decorating the Porch for Winter

What I love most about this space is how quiet and neutral it is.  All soft  colours that reflect what our winters look like here…white, brown, grey, sparkly.  Calming and really lovely.  Winter really is a nice season.

Decorating the Porch for Winter

Add some light from the candles and this is a lovely winter space.

Decorating the Porch for Winter

I love how it all came together…it almost makes me want to sit out here with a cup of hot chocolate.  I said almost.

Decorating the Porch for Winter

Now hop on over to visit Taryn’s Winter Porch over on Design, Dining and Diapers!

Design, Dining and Diapers Winter Porch

So how about you?  Do you decorate for winter?  Or are you all ready for Valentine’s Day?

Have an inspired day!

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Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting A Pretty Life blog!  xo