Macaroni with Broccoli

Happy Friday! I love Fridays. Luke drives me into work on Fridays which is such a treat for me. Lately I’ve been struggling to keep my eyes open on my drive in (the time change didn’t help since it’s now dark for almost the entire drive) but on Friday’s Luke drives so I get to sleep! I even brought a pillow and a blanket this morning and had the heated seat on! It was delightful! While I worked Luke spent the day running errands, studying (at the beach!), hanging out at a sports bar…etc and met me for lunch at PF Changs 🙂 It was a great day and I am thrilled for the weekend.

I had nothing planned for dinner except for no meat (on Fridays) so I looked in the fridge and we had parmesan. I decided to make mac and cheese. Then I totally surprised myself by adding broccoli to it! For anyone that knows me…I would not have touched broccoli with a ten foot poll a year ago (or any veggie for that matter) but marriage has broadened my horizons! It was delish 🙂 The recipe is adapted from our fav book The Silver Spoon. Bon Appetit!

Macaroni Macaroni-3Macaroni with Broccoli

Serves 4

Preparation: 40 minutes Cooking: 15–20 minutes

2 Tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing
1 quantity of Béchamel Sauce (recipe below)
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
12 ounces macaroni (I like Tinkyada gluten free macaroni noodles)
1/4 head broccoli, stalk cut off and cut the head into very small pieces

Bechamel Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix)
2 1/4 cups milk
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Make one quantity of béchamel sauce (recipe below). Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pot of salted, boiling water until just al dente, then drain and pour into a bowl. Add the broccoli to a pan with about an inch of water, bring to a boil and then turn to medium low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Next add the Parmesan, butter, and egg yolks to the béchamel sauce, stir to combine and melt together. Gently stir in half of the béchamel sauce mixture with the macaroni noodles. Stir in the broccoli. Pour the pasta into the prepared dish, then spoon the remaining béchamel sauce mixture on top. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden brown.

Béchamel Sauce:

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in all the milk, making sure the sauce is smooth between each addition. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously until it starts to boil. Season with salt, lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and not run off. Taste, add more salt if necessary, and season with pepper.


This is a little late…but Happy Thanksgiving!! Luke and I are so thankful that our family was able to travel down to see us here in Florida. Even my parent’s dog Lucy made the trip! We had such a fun week together hanging out, eating, going to the beach, eating, playing mini golf, eating, poker and did I mention eating?? 🙂 Check out our week in pictures.ThanksgivingWe took everyone to Clam Pass Beach. Our favorite beach in Naples. The weather was perfect! We spent hours lounging and throwing around the football followed by a delicious meal on the grill 🙂
Sunday morning we all went to Mass together before parting ways with the boys. They went to Luke’s favorite sports bar to watch football and us girls went downtown to walk around. Later that evening we all met up for dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, Pazzo.
Thanksgiving-3My brother Paul arrived a few days after everyone else so we took him back to the beach to catch the sunset…gorgeous!
Below are a few photos Luke snapped on his phone. My dad, brother and Luke all went golfing the day Paul got here. Check out the visitor they had, below. The other pics are from mini golf. I had three epic hole in ones!! But I lost…Paul came out on top!phonephotosThanksgiving day we received beautiful flowers from our family in Oregon. They were the perfect center piece! Thank you Ann, John, Laurie, Sean, Ian and Kevin! 🙂 It was fun having Thanksgiving at our place. We usually spend Thanksgiving with family in Kansas City and my aunts do all the cooking but since it was just a small group this year my mom and I did all the cooking. Everything turned out delish! We decided to cook the turkey on Luke’s beloved grill and it turned out great!Thanksgiving DayI hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Thank you Mom, Dad, Ann, Paul and Reza for making the trip down here…we miss you guys already! 🙂Mom and Dad

Happy Birthday to me!

Luke and I celebrated my birthday this weekend! We headed out for an early dinner downtown Naples at Pazzo’s. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed a table outside on 5th Avenue.
Whenever I go out to eat I love to go somewhere that doesn’t just offer gluten free options (meat, potatoes, veggies) but has food that wouldn’t otherwise be gluten free….like pasta! Naples is awesome for gluten free options and they have tons of authentically Italian restaurants. Pazzo’s is rated the number 1 Italian restaurant in Naples and it lived up to it!

They had a separate gluten free menu with lots of options. They had four pasta dishes that could be made gluten free by substituting the regular noodles with your choice of gluten free penne or spaghetti.

I had the tomato soup (so good!) and Pappardelle Ragu Alla Bolognese: Noodles tossed with slow roasted ground veal and beef, arugula, peeled cherry tomatoes, crushed red pepper, pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Luke had bruschetta and Linguini e Crabe: Jumbo lump blue crab, king crab and linguini tossed in a spiced marinara with jalapeño and fresh basil Topped with toasted ciabatta bread crumb.

Both our meals were incredibly yummy! They also gave us a complimentary drink afterwards. It was a combination of chocolate and red wine 🙂After dinner we walked around downtown for a little bit before stopping into Grace and Shelly’s for some gluten free cupcakes and then over to The Brick where Luke had some coffee.It was such a fun night! We thought about going out somewhere to dance but I felt pretty tuckered out at the late hour of 7:45 pm 😉 So we headed home and snuggled up to a movie instead.

Oh! I should also mention…Luke did AWESOME on my birthday presents! First he got me a gift card to Gap so I could get some much needed shorts! (Shorts are year round in Florida :)) Then he totally surprised me and got me the most beautiful drapes for our bedroom!! They are gorgeous! I had registered for drapes when we were married in January but didn’t receive them and it wasn’t something I felt comfortable spending our money on since we didn’t really need them. Every now and I again I would think about how nice they would look but figured we could get them in our next move (in a few years). When I opened his gift I was so surprised! Drapes weren’t even on my radar anymore! Plus they are even more beautiful then the ones I had originally registered for (that were no longer available) so it worked out perfectly! I have the best husband ever…just sayin’ 🙂

Lasagna Bolognese

This was too good not to post. I’ve never been a huge fan of lasagna….until now 🙂

This recipe is originally from The Silver Spoon, but can also be found here. The recipe in that link calls for ground beef, however, you can use a variety of ground meat. It can also be adapted for those of you who are gluten free like me by simply using gluten free noodles. My favorite are the Tinkyada Brown Rice lasagna noodles. They are superb 🙂

We had ours with grilled asparagus on the side. Drizzle a little olive oil over the asparagus, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill on high heat for about three minutes. This is our favorite way to make asparagus…sooooo yummy! Enjoy!

Eggs with Tomatoes

Happy Saturday! What a great way to start our day with this yummy breakfast and a fun skype session with family! The recipe below comes from our favorite cookbook The Silver Spoon. If you like Italian cooking and love good food…it’s a must!Eggs with Tomatoes

Serves 4
Preparation: 30 minutes Cooking: 25 minutes

2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
4 large tomatoes
pinch of dried oregano
4 eggs
1 sprig fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush an oven proof dish with olive oil. Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh. Sprinkle the insides with a little salt and place them upside down on a paper towels for about 10 minutes to drain. Season the insides of the tomatoes with oregano and pepper and divide the olive oil among them. Place the tomatoes in the prepared dish and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, break an egg into each tomato, return the dish to the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Note: We don’t like our eggs quite as runny so we put them back in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes! Maybe our oven is off or maybe the recipe is off…you decide!I’m off to pick up some items for our herb garden that I will be planting today…can’t wait to see how it turns out 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!