Spaghetti with Ragu

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There are a million ragu recipes out there and I know there’s nothing particularly unique about this one, expect that it is SO. EASY. Internet, if you’re looking for a quick and dirty ragu recipe that is also, you know, delicious, you’ve come to the right place. Listen, I love three-hour pasta sauces as much as the next carb-lover out there, but sometimes you just want something easy.

I’ve made this with hand-rolled pasta but your run-of-the-mill grocery store spaghetti will do just fine here, too.

Spaghetti with Ragu

Ingredients:

1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1 pound and 2 ounces ground beef
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Parmesan cheese, for grating

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat and add the onion and garlic, cooking slowly for about 10 minutes, until softened and lightly colored. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, ground beef, and tomatoes. Stir well, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours with a lid on the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary from the pan and discard.

2. About 15 minutes before the ragu is done, cook the spaghetti in a separate pot according to package directions. Drain the spaghetti and stir the pasta into the hot ragu. Serve with a generous amount of grated Parmesan.

Scrambled Eggs with Sausage and Thyme

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Cream cheese does the heavy lifting in this easy scrambled eggs recipe, making for a fluffy and decadent texture. The whole thing comes together in a matter of minutes. Serve this on sourdough bread and you’re all set.

Scrambled eggs with sausage and thyme

8 eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces cooked smoked turkey sausage or similar, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1. Whisk eggs, mustard, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend well. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and saute until brown, about 3 minutes. Add green onions and thyme and saute 1 minute. Transfer mixture to bowl.

2. Add 1 tablespoon butter to same skillet; melt over medium heat. Add eggs and cheese; stir until eggs are softly set and cheese begins to melt, about 3 minutes. Add sausage; stir until eggs are just set, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to platter. Serve with bread.

Artichoke-Spinach Dip

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The best spinach dip I’ve ever had is my mom’s: fresh and tangy and served in a sourdough boule to mop up all the good bits. This baked artichoke-spinach dip the cousin of that nostalgic Favorite Dip of All Time That I Can’t Stop Eating. Packed with loads of artichokes and spinach, the healthiness almost masks the generous amount of cheese. Say hello to your new favorite winter appetizer.

Artichoke-spinach dip

Ingredients:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
1/2 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped thawed frozen spinach, drained well
3/4 cup canned or frozen artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cayenne pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Crostini or crackers, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Stir together cream cheese, gouda, mozzarella, spinach, artichokes, green onions, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl until smooth. Spoon into a 1-quart baking dish; sprinkle top with Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven until browned and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Serve with crostini or crackers.

Cheddar-Cauliflower Gratin

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Do me a solid and ignore how #uglydelicious the photo of this cauliflower gratin is. Really, the picture doesn’t do it justice. Tender cauliflower is coated in a gooey, cheesy bechamel and topped with crunchy panko for the ultimate winter side dish. This dish is heavy on the cheese, but also, like, vegetables. Win-win!

Cauliflower gratin

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 medium cauliflower heads (about 4 pounds total), cut into florets
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon butter, divided
3/4 cup flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
8 ounces aged sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
7 ounces Dubliner cheese, shredded (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup panko
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high. Season with 1/4 cup salt. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain cauliflower and set aside.

2. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium. Gradually whisk in flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in warm milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in cheddar, Dubliner, pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt until smooth.

3. Transfer cauliflower and 5 cups cheese sauce to a large bowl; stir to coat. Spoon mixture into a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Pour remaining 1 cup cheese sauce over top. Bake in preheated oven until edges are bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Place melted butter, panko, and Parmesan in a small bowl; stir to combine. Sprinkle panko mixture over casserole, and bake until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Cinnamon-Spiced Sweet Potatoes

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This holiday side dish couldn’t possibly be any easier to make. Flecked with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lots of butter, these slightly caramelized and not-too-sweet come together in about five minutes, which is a good thing since you’ll probably be busy cooking, eating, and uh, eating some more.

Cinnamon-spiced sweet potatoes

Ingredients:

4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces and lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, to taste
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish. Sprinkle sugar, salt, cloves, and cinnamon over sweet potatoes. Dot with butter. Bake in preheated oven, turning every 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and liquid is syrupy, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.