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


4-6 Servings

Prep time

15 Minutes

Cooking time

30 Minutes




  • 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


  • 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.
Super Fast Faux Pizza | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

Super Fast Faux Pizza

Super Fast Faux Pizza | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

We’re halfway through Christmas break, and I’m still loving the solitude. I’m sending love to all my friends who are starting to wish they could send their kids back to school already. Do children ever stop being hungry? Do they ever stop wiping their face on your skirt?

I know I personally ate so much at Christmas dinner, I thought I’d never have to eat again. I sometimes wish I was one of those animals, like an alligator or something, that only needs to eat every few weeks. Surely all that turkey and sweet potatoes should last us a little bit longer. Why do humans seem to never stop eating?

Super Fast Faux Pizza | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

So if you’ve run out of turkey sandwiches but you still need to feed yourself and others, I’m bringing you something simple and quick that will please even picky children. This Super Fast Faux Pizza can be topped any way you like, and it takes basically no effort.

Measure, mix, pour, bake, top, done. We went with simple cheese and pepperoni this time, but you can easily clean out your fridge with this one. This pizza is best eaten straight out of the oven, so bring a hungry friend or two, or maybe some kids into the kitchen to help you finish this off. You could also easily section this off with different toppings for different people. It’s the flexible dish you need to get you through Christmas break stress-free.

Super Fast Faux Pizza | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

Keep the mellow feeling alive. Don’t let anything get in the way of your relaxation. Make life simple by making Super Fast Faux Pizza. It’s gonna be awesome.

Super Fast Faux Pizza


2-4 Servings

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cooking Time

35 minutes


  • 1 egg
  • 100 grams plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250 ml milk
  • 100 grams shredded cheese (anything you have around)
  • Your favorite pizza toppings (any meats should be pre-cooked)


  • Preheat oven to 400F (200C) and lightly coat a 9-inch pie pan with oil.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg, flour, salt, and milk until fully combined.
  • Stir in half of your cheese to the batter.
  • Pour the batter into your waiting pie pan and bake for 30 minutes. It will be golden and puffy.
  • Remove your crust from the oven, add your favorite toppings and remaining cheese, and pop it back in the oven for three to five minutes to warm the toppings and melt the cheese.
  • Slice and serve.

Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheesy Chorizo Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheesy Chorizo Chili

Cheesy Chorizo Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve never been particularly good at being normal. Whenever I start to inch toward typical, I get a twitch. I like to be weird, but I know it puts people off, particularly some of the teenagers I work with. They hate my red coat and the fact that I wear sunglasses any time there’s daylight. They hate that I drive a moped and that I know how to waltz. Possibly their favorite thing is making fun of my accent, but that only makes me weird to them.

Of course, some adults find my “uniqueness” awkward as well. Good thing I don’t really care what anyone thinks.

Cheesy Chorizo Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This chili recipe is a bit unusual as well. For one thing, it doesn’t contain any chili powder. The main flavoring coming from the chorizo. It’s spicy and smoky, and I can’t get enough of it. It also contains two balls of fresh mozzarella. It permeates the whole pot with its stringy cheesiness. You still have some of your usual suspects like ground beef, chopped tomatoes, and kidney beans, but there’s also a bit of cocoa powder, so don’t get too comfortable.

Don’t let the unusualness of this recipe put you off. It’s easy to make and delicious in a unique way. It’s an awesome, cozy, one pot winter meal, and you should totally give it a try.

Cheesy Chorizo Chili | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Keep it weird, friends. Keep it awesome.

Cheesy Chorizo Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Cheesy Chorizo Chili might seem a bit unusual, but that's what makes it so awesome.


  • 140 grams chopped chorizo
  • 500 grams ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 x 125 grams fresh mozzarella balls, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a heavy pot with a lid, cook your chorizo over medium heat until it starts releasing its orange oil.
  2. Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until it's just cooked through.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, oregano, and tomato paste and stir to combine.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and then add the water to the can and give it a good swirl before adding to the pot, taking any leftover tomato bits with it. Add the Worcestershire sauce and kidney beans, stir it all together, and bring the whole thing up to a simmer.
  5. Turn the heat to low, clamp the lid onto the pot, and let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. After everything has had a chance to get to know each other, turn the heat off under your pot, and stir in the chopped mozzarella. Season to taste. Serve hot. Crushed up tortilla chips at the bottom of your bowl never hurt anything.
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34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me here in Scotland because I’m basically the only person I know who even cares about its existence. It’s my favorite because the food is the star, and I don’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift or looking a certain way. I just have to put a beautiful meal on the table for people I love, and even though it can get stressful, it’s also so much fun.

I may be a failed blogger and a million years behind the times, but just in case I’m not alone in not yet planning my Thanksgiving menu, here are the 34 absolutely awesome recipes I’m going to choose from for my dinner next Saturday. Enjoy your days off, American friends. I’ll be at work remembering how thankful I am to have a job that allows me to pay for imported cans of pumpkin puree.

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day


Cran-Orange-Apple Juice – for anyone who doesn’t want alcohol, or as a mixer for anyone who does.

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry Margarita

Apple Margarita

Orange & Amaretto Cider

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

Pumpkin Spice White Russians

Apple Brandy Punch

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail

Garlic & Thyme Baked Camembert | How To Be Awesome on $20 a Day

To Get Things Started

Garlic & Thyme Baked Camembert

Cranberry Brie Bites

Apple Butter & Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese – cut into cute little triangles for snacking

Cranberry Shoyu Sausages

Holiday Brie

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The Main Event

Red Currant Glazed Ham – because there’s no law saying you have to serve a big turkey

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy – for a traditional meal for a small crowd

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf – our family tradition

Rosemary Potato Rolls from Awesome on 20

Sides (obviously the best part)

Sweet Potato Rolls

Ridiculously Awesome Mashed Potatoes

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Maple Butter

Rosemary Potato Rolls

Sweet Potato Gratin

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day


Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream – to go with all your pie

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Maple Cheesecake

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake – this one tastes most like traditional pumpkin pie

Baked Sweet Potato Brulee – simplest “dessert” of all time

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Pumpkin Cake

No-Bake Double-Layer Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice Brownies

Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cakes

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Breakfast (for your overnight guests)

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Scones

Cowboy Spaghetti | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cowboy Spaghetti

Cowboy Spaghetti | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I look forward to occasionally staying at a hotel or a person’s house with cable so that I can relive my Food Network binging days when things get boring. I was a bit let down the last time I tried this. Food Network in the UK is sort of awful. They basically only have a handful of shows that the play in four to six hour blocks. One of them is Jamie Oliver, and that’s beautiful, but they also play The Pioneer Woman for hours on end, and I just can’t abide. It’s a good thing no one reads my blog because I’m sure I’d get kicked out of the blogosphere for it, but I find her show so annoying and contrived.

I miss the good old days when Saturday and Sunday mornings featured a different show every half hour, each one with actual recipes and cooking, not silly food competitions or restaurant tours. Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen shared a clip of Sandra Lee making a cocktail the other day, and it was a hilarious hit of nostalgia. I vote they make a Food Network Classic channel where they just replay all the great shows from the 2000’s. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

Cowboy Spaghetti | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s official. Bacon makes everything better. Case in point, this Cowboy Spaghetti. What makes this different from regular spaghetti bolognese? There’s your standard onion, garlic, and tomato, but along with bacon, there’s also beer instead of red wine, a bit of hot sauce, and cheddar cheese instead of parmesan. It’s an absolutely delicious twist on a family classic. I was proclaiming myself a genius as I ate. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice Geoff stealing the remaining bacon that was meant to accompany the rest of the pot of pasta.

This is adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe from her 30 minute meal days, so you know it’s easy to accomplish. It will also easily feed your whole family, as we’re cooking up a whole package of spaghetti here. With just the two of us in the house, we’ll be eating this for probably three days, but I’m not mad at it.

Cowboy Spaghetti | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cowboy Spaghetti has all the good things. Who’s coming over for dinner?

Cowboy Spaghetti
Serves 6
Cowboy Spaghetti is an awesome twist on a family classic, loaded up with bacon and cheddar cheese.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. 1 pound spaghetti
  2. salt
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 3 slices of bacon
  5. 1 pound ground beef
  6. 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  8. black pepper
  9. 1 tablespoon hot sauce (or more if you're into that sort of thing)
  10. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  11. 1/2 cup beer
  12. 1 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  13. 500 grams tomato sauce or pasata
  14. 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  1. Put a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Don't forget to put a lid on it, or it will take forever. When the water boils, add salt and spaghetti, stirring occasionally.Cook according to package instructions, but check it a minute early to make sure your pasta isn't overcooked.
  2. In the mean time, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cut your bacon with scissors right into the pan. Cook to desired level of crispness (the correct answer is very crisp). Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and pour off some of the fat, leaving enough to coat the pan.
  3. Add your ground beef to the pan to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Depending on how lean your beef is, you may want to drain the fat off before proceeding.
  4. Add the white part of your green onions (save the green tops for later) and garlic to your ground beef and then season with hot sauce and Worcestershire. Add the beer and scrape up any bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and sauce. Bring everything back up to a simmer and check for seasonings. This is usually where I add more hot sauce. Simmer for about five minutes to allow the sauce to thicken a bit and for all the flavors to marry.
  6. After you drain your pasta, put it back in the pot, then pour the sauce over the spaghetti and stir to combine.
  7. Top your bowl or plate of spaghetti with plenty of cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of crunchy bacon, and the green tops of your green onions.
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
How to be Awesome on $20 a day

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