Easy Chili Cheese Dip | How to Be Awesome o $20 a Day

Easy Chili Cheese Dip

Easy Chili Cheese Dip | How to Be Awesome o $20 a Day

This Easy Chili Cheese Dip is so simple, absolutely anyone can make it. It’s also impossible to stop eating. Perfect for game day, game night, or any gathering. Get your friends together, and dig in.

I’ve lived with a proper football (aka soccer) fan for so long, I don’t even know if people still watch American football. I have fond memories of everyone getting together at the weekend to watch what seemed like endless football. I was never really interested in the games, but the food was always pretty awesome.

Because it’s all supposed to be “man food,” whatever that means, you don’t have to pretend to be healthy, which I love. Though I’m guessing there are probably plenty of vegan football fans these days. And that’s cool, too. Not gonna lie, though, I’m here for the hot cheese dips consumed with an endless mountain of tortilla chips.

Easy Chili Cheese Dip | How to Be Awesome o $20 a Day

This Easy Chili Cheese Dip is exactly that kind of food. People don’t really get together to watch the game here, so we just sometimes eat this for dinner because we’re horrible people. And by horrible, I mean awesome. It’s spicy, cheesy, gooey, and irresistible.

And as the name suggests, Easy Chili Cheese Dip is unbelievably simple to make. Spread a baking dish with some cream cheese. Mix together a can of your favorite chili with a jar of your favorite salsa. Scatter some shredded cheese over the top. Bake. Eat with chips. Live your best life.

Easy Chili Cheese Dip | How to Be Awesome o $20 a Day

Make Easy Chili Cheese Dip any time you get together with friends. Football, basketball, board games, book club, heck break this out at a baby shower and watch everyone lose their minds. This is the food you really want to eat. Let’s do it.

Recipe adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook – 25 Dip and Spread Recipes.

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells are creamy, cheesy, and packed with veggies. This is an excellent meat-free meal, even for picky eaters who normally turn their nose up at vegetables. Yes, that’s me.

As a food blogger, the things I have always struggled most with is photography. We live in a visual world these days, and the pressure to make your life look perfect online has never been higher. It seems people will spend hours styling a shot that makes them seem effortlessly chic. The irony really smacks you in the face.

When I took these photos, I had a moment of real self-defeat. I made the wrong choice before this dish even went in the oven. That left it looking less than perfect by the time I got it in front of the camera. I was criticizing myself in a way I would never speak to another person.

What could I do? I could have started over. I could have bought all these ingredients again and taken more photos that may or may not have been better. What I’ve decided to do instead is share with you what this dish will really probably look like when it comes out of your oven. I’ve decided to remind you to be kind to yourself and allow yourself space to grow. This is the gift I’m going to try to give myself.

Guys, I also really want you to make this recipe. Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells are absolutely perfect for Autumn. It’s a great option for meatless Monday, but any day of the week will do. I love this dish, and I normally stay far away from vegetables. Chewy pasta, soft squash, creamy bechamel, and of course, plenty of mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of sage make for the perfect dinner.

While nothing here is difficult to make, there are a few components to this dish. And your kitchen will not be clean by the end. I use frozen butternut squash chunks to save some time. And any time you make pasta, the first thing you should always do is put a pot of water on to boil. If you call in a little help to stuff your shells, you could easily get this on the table on a week night.

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’re keeping it real here, friends. We’re always learning, we’re eating awesome food, and we’re doing it all with kindness.

Recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats.

Oozy Risotto Balls

Oozy Risotto Balls| How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Things are getting a little personal today, so if you’re just here for those delicious Oozy Risotto Balls, keep scrolling. I won’t be offended. This recipe is awesome.

I started out writing this post with the usual trite nonsense, then I deleted that because I was already bored with myself. Is the world bored with this whole blogging thing in general? Everyone seems to be getting their need met by 17 year-olds on YouTube or 25 year-olds on InstaGram. Is there even a point to having my 40 year-old voice here on this static page on your screen? This question sounds like self-pity, but that’s really not what I’m getting at. I promise

I’ve been embarking on something that’s had me thinking a lot about what I really want. Most of the time the answer to that question is just a cheeseburger, but I’ve been trying to take the question a little more seriously. In many ways, I’m content. I’m in a relationship that is beautifully imperfect, but I never doubt it. While we’re far from rich, I’m more financially stable than I’ve ever been, though sometimes my gut forgets and still tells me to panic.

My job is fine. I’m good at it. It’s pretty easy. It’s insanely stressful sometimes, but I’ve even gotten good at managing that. I guess there are a few benefits to being 40. But when I close my eyes and imagine my perfect life, I’m not daydreaming about sitting behind a desk. The kids I work with are amazing, and I’m glad I get to help them, but when I picture myself as truly happy, I’m baking cookies and cake and, well, whatever I want. People are drinking tea and coffee and reading books, some of which they’ve bought from the books I sell. Maybe we host events with local artists, and it’s a true community space. Everyone is smiling because you can’t be unhappy while you’re eating brownies. There’s a cat, and it’s cozy, and it’s filled with love. Maybe I want to bring my food into the real world. But that’s a dream. Can it be real?

Oozy Risotto Balls| How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

While we’re thinking out loud about our heart’s desire, we should probably share some Oozy Risotto Balls. Remember that White Risotto that we made last week, and how I told you we’d transform it into something awesome? This is that. We turned leftover risotto into crispy croquettes stuffed with oozy fresh mozzarella. These are the perfect mixture of crunchy, chewy, and creamy. You can dip them in marinara if you want, but I think they’re great as they are, fresh from the fryer and just cooled down enough to avoid burning your fingers off.

These are actually relatively easy to make as well. It’s a bit of a sticky mess forming the actual balls, then we get messy again using a standard three-step breading technique with flour, egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs, but it’s all totally worth it. These fry up perfectly is seven minutes. Let them cool a big, then dig in while the cheese in the center is still gooey.

Oozy Risotto Balls | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Things are stirring in our souls, friends, and we’re open to it. We’re asking questions and listening for answers. And of course, eating well along the way. It’s gonna be awesome.

Recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Risotto

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We have been pretty much non-stop on the go in the beginning of August, including two late nights out in a row this past week. For an introvert who absolutely requires sleep and quiet time to feel normal, it’s been a blessing but also a struggle to socialise so much. Saturday was meant to be the first day I’d have to myself in a long time, and I was really looking forward to it.

Did you guess what happened yet? I woke up with a horrible cold that no amount of apple cider vinegar could abate. Sometimes I think my body manages to fight off illness as long as I keep moving, then when it senses I’m about to relax thinks, “Okay, you’ve got time for all these viruses now. Enjoy!” I assure you I have not. Or maybe this was the universe’s weird way of granting me my wish to stay in bed reading all day.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I did manage to make you some White Risotto over the weekend. Don’t worry, I washed my hands a lot and didn’t sneeze on it. This is a pretty basic risotto recipe, no frills or fancy flavors. I kept it simple because we’re turning the other half of this risotto into something even better next week. But sometimes simple, starchy, and savoury is exactly what you need when you’re feeling under the weather.

Because this is a pretty basic recipe, you’ll want to use the best ingredients you can find, but you know me. If that means Parmesan from a green bottle, I’m still gonna love it. But if you do happen to have some quality Parmesan cheese at your disposal, and you’ve been saving it for something, I’d whip it out here.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I hope you’re all happy and healthy, friends, and I hope you take some time to get into the kitchen and make this White Risotto for yourself because it’s completely awesome.

Recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver.

Pepperoni Pasta Bake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Pepperoni Pasta Bake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Basically everyone on Instagram is on a major organizing binge right now. Whether Netflix has them KonMari-ing their lives or they’ve finally decided 2019 is the year they’re becoming a minimalist, my stream is full of people putting things in order and clearing things out. Somehow they still seem to have five hundred pens and fifty pairs of shoes, but to each their own.

I learned a few years ago that the best way to simplify your life is to move to a different country with only what you can carry in your two suitcases without going over the airline’s weight limit. I’ve done this three times now, so my brain is pretty well trained to resist bringing clutter into my life. We’ve bought a flat now, so I’m finally letting myself collect books again instead of going to the library, but other than that, if it doesn’t serve a purpose that can’t be fulfilled by something I already own, it doesn’t make it into my home.

Pepperoni Pasta Bake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

There are a couple of spots in my house that can get a bit clutter from time to time. You guessed it, the fridge and the pantry. That’s why baked pasta is so genius. This Pepperoni Pasta Bake was made with two half full bags of pasta I had languishing in a cupboard, two half full bags of shredded cheese from my fridge, and the pepperoni I had leftover from this pizza. Cleaning up never tasted so good.

The recipe below is really just a suggestion. You can use any type of pasta, so long as they’re of similar shape and size so that they have a relatively similar cooking time. Use any type of melty and mild cheese such as mozzarella, fontina, provelone, or even a mild cheddar. You could also add any bits of leftover meat hanging out in your fridge. I used pepperoni, but salami, sausage, or ground beef, pork or turkey would all be awesome. You can make your own sauce, but I always use my favorite jarred pasta sauce because I’m lazy. In terms of measurements, just eyeball it to balance out what you need to use up. Go with your gut, and your taste buds will be rewarded.

Pepperoni Pasta Bake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s always the right time to learn how to live with less, go lighter through the world, and simplify your life. Why not keep it delicious while you’re on this journey. Pepperoni Pasta Bake is a great way to start.

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Yield

4-6 Servings

Prep time

15 Minutes

Cooking time

30 Minutes

Difficulty

Easy

Ingredients

  • 500 grams small pasta such as macaroni or small shells
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 jar tomato basil pasta sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 15 slices pepperoni, cut into quarters
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and lightly spray a casserole dish with oil.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, then add your salt. Dump in your pasta and cook as long as it says on the package for your chosen shape. Give it a stir occasionally to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together.
  • When the pasta is al dente, drain it, and return it to the pot, off the heat. Add the pasta sauce, about two thirds of the cheese, the pepperoni, and the crushed red pepper flakes to the pasta. Stir well to combine everything.
  • Transfer your pasta to your casserole dish, then sprinkle the rest of the cheese evenly over the top.
  • Bake your pasta for about 15 minutes to melt the cheese. If you prefer your cheese to be a bit more brown, you can just keep it in the oven for longer.
  • Allow the pasta to cool for at least five minutes before serving.
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