BBQ Pasta Salad

Original Recipe HERE
I love me some pasta salad.  And barbecue sauce.  And onion.  And cheese.  And garlic powder.  And honey.  And yogurt.  So...this recipe was clearly created with me in mind.
It was easy to prepare and assemble, and it held up well until the next day when I finished off the leftovers.  I liked that it was different from the traditional pasta salads accessorized with oil-and-vinegar or bottled salad dressing.  The fresh vegetables made it seem lighter than it probably was.  All in all, a solid pasta salad recipe that I hope comes to mind the next time I ask a host if I can contribute anything.  It can easily be adjusted based on what vegetables and cheeses and other add-ins you have available.  Update: I've subsequently made it using thawed frozen peas and mixed veggies, snow peas (not so good), caramelized red onions, steamed broccoli, etc.  Also, one time I had some homemade mustard sauce to use up...so I put in a splash of regular BBQ sauce and used my own stuff for the rest.  Turned out just as well.
I used cellentani pasta, which was a good choice because it held up well against the crunchy vegetables and didn't turn to mush upon lots of stirring.  However, it didn't trap the sauce very well, and along with all the above-listed things I love, I love when sauce (of whatever kind) is trapped in pockets of my pasta so I get a little bonus every few bites.
1 pound elbow macaroni or other pasta shape
1/2 cup diced onion
4 green onions, sliced thin
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder [or to taste]
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder [or to taste]
pinch cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 to 1 cup of any combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, and Greek yogurt
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
2 cups corn [fresh, frozen, or canned]
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese [not the finely shredded kind]
2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
(1) Cook pasta according to al dente directions, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Drain.  Rinse with cold water until cool; drain again.  Transfer to a large bowl.
(2) In a separate small bowl, whisk together vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and honey.
(3) Add mayonnaise/sour cream/yogurt and barbecue sauce to spice mixture.
(4) Pour sauce over pasta; mix well.  Add in onions, corn, cheese, and tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Kid Participation:
* Whisk together sauce ingredients
* Stir all ingredients
* Complain about having tomatoes in your dinner yet again


Roasted Peaches with Yogurt Sauce

Original Recipe HERE
My mom brought several peaches to us during her last visit.  I can always use fresh fruit to make meals for *P*, but I figured we all should enjoy the bounty this time.  I was going to serve these post-dinner one night, but my meal planning skills failed me and I was left without enough food to serve.  I decided that these weren't too dessert-y and made them as part of the main meal.  They were a hit, and in the future I think they'll be a good way to get some fresh fruit and protein and calcium into my kids.
Also, the yogurt sauce can stand on its own as a great fruit dip.  Hence why this recipe has the labels "dip" and "appetizer" applied. 
4 peaches, ripe but firm
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt [or whatever type you have]
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon [or to taste]
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon honey [or agave syrup]
(1) Preheat oven to 450 F.  Line a baking sheet or casserole dish with foil.
(2) Wash peaches.  Cut in half; remove pits.  Place cut-side up in pan.
(3) Mix together cinnamon and sugar.
(4) Brush butter on peach halves.  Sprinkle each with pinches of cinnamon-sugar mixture.
(5) Cook peaches about 10 minutes, or until they are softened and easily cut.
(6) Meanwhile, mix together yogurt, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey.
(7) Serve peach halves in individual bowls.  Pour several spoonfuls of yogurt sauce over each.
Kid Participation:
* Brush butter
* Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture
* Whisk yogurt sauce ingredients

Sausage, Pepper, & Potato Bake

Original Recipe HERE
I made some tweaks to the original recipe - namely, adding turmeric.  It wasn't sure if the dish would have enough flavor for my liking.  And there's only so many times you can dump garlic salt into something before your taste buds start getting immune to the flavor.  I fished around my spice shelf, opened a few containers and sniffed, and decided it was turmeric's night to shine.  I liked the result and resolved to use this unappetizingly colorful spice more frequently.
4 precooked sausage links [I used chicken]
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cups red potatoes, cubed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric [or to taste]
2 peppers, diced [red, green, yellow, or orange]
1 leek [white part], cleaned and sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
14-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice [I used garlic & herb]
(1) Preheat oven to 350 F.
(2) Slice sausage in half lengthwise and then into thin slices.
(3) Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat.  Add sausage; brown.  Remove from skillet; set aside.
(4) Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil to skillet.  Add potatoes; cook 6-8 minutes or until a light brown crust forms.  Halfway through cooking, add turmeric.
(5) Add peppers; saute 2-3 minutes or until peppers are tender-crisp.  Remove mixture from skillet; set aside.
(6) Add remaining olive oil to skillet.  Add leek; saute 2-3 minutes or until tender.
(7) Add garlic; saute 1 minute.
(8) Add tomatoes to skillet; stir mixture well.
(9) Add broth; bring to a gentle boil.  Season with salt and pepper.
(10) Pour mixture into 2-quart casserole dish.  Cover with foil; bake 45 minutes.  Remove foil; sprinkle with cheese; bake an additional 10 minutes.
Kid Participation: None.

20-Minute Black Bean Soup

Original Recipe HERE
Easy to throw together, quick to cook, and consumed by every family member (some via more helpings than others, but no one complained...that's a win in my mind).  It was filling while still feeling "light" and not overwhelming (either in taste or in heft).  I bet this could be made in the slowcooker.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 15.5-oz cans black beans, drained & rinsed
15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup corn [fresh, frozen, or canned]
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 c feta cheese [optional]
shredded cheese [optional]
sour cream [optional]

(1) In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 6-8 minutes or until beginnning to brown.
(2) Stir in cumin and chili powder.
(3) Add beans, tomatoes, corn, broth, and salt. Bring to a boil; allow to cook for 2 minutes.
(4) Transfer 1 cup to a blender.  Process until smooth; stir back into soup (or use an immersion blender and blend to your liking).
(5) Remove from heat.  Serve topped with cheese(s) and sour cream.
Kid Participation: None.