Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake

This post is brought to you by Silk // I’ve been doing this whole food blogger gig for 2 1/2 years now. In the beginning, I used my cheap-o point and shoot camera and horrible lighting to capture and share some of my favorite family-approved recipes with you. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a start. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? Fast forward a few years, and I’ve moved up to my big girl camera, learned how to edit my photos, and even taught myself some fancy words like aperture. I’ve expanding my cooking skills and learned to love foods I never thought I’d put in my mouth… like coconut and avocado. The jury is still out on quinoa…

And in my quest to continue learning and growing, I made it a goal this year to come up with a recipe using the most popular fall ingredient in a savory way… pumpkin! We’ve all eaten our fair share of sweet pumpkin desserts… my pumpkin bread and classic pumpkin pie are my favorites!… But have you ever cooked with pumpkin before? Put pumpkin in your dinner? Well today we’re going to tackle that goal with this deliciously cheesy pumpkin pasta bake!

Pumpkin isn't just for dessert anymore! This Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta Bake is super creamy and SO delicious! |

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White Chocolate Pecan Caramel Corn

I’m all for pumpkin and apple recipes this time of year, but I couldn’t let this season pass without sharing another one of my favorite fall treats… caramel corn! Anytime we have a chance to go to a fall festival, I buy the largest bag of caramel corn I can find and spend the next three days devouring the salty-sweet popcorn until we’re all fighting over the last piece in the bag. I’ll give you one guess who usually wins that battle.

This year I made my first batch of homemade caramel corn and couldn’t believe how easy it was to do at home. As I sat eating my first bowl of this sweet, delicious treat, I decided that this new culinary accomplishment would mean a whole lot more hours spent working off the caramel-y goodness… then I decided approximately 30 seconds later that it was totally and utterly worth it because my life would no longer be complete without this homemade caramel corn in it! You can use this as a basic caramel corn recipe or dress it up with some crunchy pecans and a decadent drizzle of white chocolate like I did. Either way, this will definitely be a recipe you make again and again! And did I mention it’s perfect for gift-giving? Read my tip below!

Learn how to make homemade caramel corn from scratch! It's easier than you think! Step-by-step instructions at
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Balsamic Rosemary Steak Kabobs

Thank you to Walmart and Kingsford charcoal for sponsoring this post // For the past few months, our weekends have been taken over by sports. Our youngest plays soccer, the oldest plays football, and my husband helps coach. Once you add in cheering for the Bears and Colts each week, we are watching A LOT of football these days. Back before I had all these boys in the house, I couldn’t care less about watching a football game. In fact, I’m sure that in high school, I was probably more concerned with which cute football player’s jersey I was going to wear to the game than actually paying attention to who won. (Pretend you didn’t read that, husband.)

But my love for football has come a long way since then, and now I’m right there with my boys, yelling and cheering for our favorite teams. Aside from the excitement of the game itself, the best thing about football is inarguably… the food. Last weekend we decided to fire up the grill for some tailgating food, and these Balsamic Rosemary Steak Kabobs turned out utterly delicious. Trust me when I say that steak and potatoes have never tasted this good!

Steak, potato, and mushroom kabobs are soaked in a flavorful balsamic rosemary marinade and grilled to perfection! This takes steak and potatoes to a whole new level! |

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Three Cheese Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese

It doesn’t matter how young or old, rich or poor, down-home or fancy-pants you are… everyone loves a good macaroni and cheese. There’s just something about a dish full of creamy, melty, gooey cheese-covered pasta that makes people happy. Total comfort food, right? Today’s recipe should bring a big smile to your face, as I share my favorite mac and cheese recipe with a twist… Three Cheese Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese!

Three Cheese Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese - Creamy, cheesy comfort food made with three different cheeses and little bites of popcorn shrimp! |

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Italian Salad

As I’m sure I’ve shared with you before, my house is full of ranch dressing lovers. Ranch with their salad, ranch with their pizza, ranch with their vegetables, and my personal favorite, cheesy, creamy ranch bread. It’s true… these boys don’t often stray from their beloved salad dressing of choice, but the other day I served them a yummy Italian Salad for lunch and got quite a few compliments on the dish.

It started off as a… “You know, Mom, this salad isn’t that bad.”

Then it moved to a… “Actually, it’s really good!”

I watched them all clean up their bowl full of crisp lettuce, spicy pepperoni, juicy tomatoes, and the perfect Italian dressing with big smiles on their faces, and I knew this recipe was a winner. It’s a great quick meal when you’re short on time and the simple, nutritious ingredients make this a meal you can feel good about feeding your family!

A simple, fresh Italian Salad is a great healthy meal idea! Crisp lettuce, spicy pepperoni, juicy tomatoes, and the perfect Italian dressing! |

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Pumpkin Protein Shake

After a long summer of indulgent eating, I’m trying hard to get back into a workout routine and fit back into my favorite pair of skinny jeans. It was like one day they decided to shrink about 2 sizes, and it now takes a small army to help zip me into them. Not cool! One side of my brain is saying, “It’s all the dryer’s fault. The dumb dryer shrunk them into child size skinny jeans!” The other smarter, more practical side of my brain is saying, “Get your lazy behind out of bed and dust off the workout DVDs. And for Heaven’s sake, stop eating so much pumpkin bread!”

That bread is gooood. Now that fall (a.k.a. pumpkin-flavored everything season) is here, I can’t get enough of sweet pumpkin treats. But in an effort to conquer those shrunken skinny jeans, I came up with this recipe to satisfy my pumpkin craving without breaking the calorie bank… a healthy, delicious Pumpkin Protein Shake!

Turn your protein shake into a delicious pumpkin treat! Healthy, satisfying, and super tasty! |

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Beef and Bacon Baked Beans

Apparently, all I can think about lately is hearty, beefy comfort food! Last week was my special ingredient meatloaf recipe, and now I have an extra meaty baked beans recipe for you today! Maybe it’s the cooler weather. Maybe it’s my husband’s beef-loving ways starting to rub off on me. Or maybe it’s just because being a carnivore is so utterly delicious! Sorry vegetarians… just look away this week!

Okay… let’s talk baked beans. Do you love ‘em or hate ‘em? If we’re talking about the straight out of a can, plain jane baked beans, you can count me out. I’ll save room on my plate for something else! But if we’re talking about good baked beans with beef and bacon and barbecue sauce and brown sugar and bacon and oh, did I mention bacon? Yeah, I’m in!

This meaty baked beans recipe is easy and inexpensive to make and happens to be the perfect side dish for parties, cookouts, or tailgating. With options for baking in the oven OR using your slow cooker, this recipe is sure to become a family favorite!

Perfect baked beans made extra meaty with ground beef and bacon! Full of flavor, easy to make, and a great side for parties, cookouts, or tailgating! |
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