Shuga' Mommas

Shuga’ Mommas: Recipe for Success, and Chilli Mac!

My husband has been going through a particularly busy patch with grad work this semester and while it is safe to say that I do see him off to work every weekday morning, our time to spend together has all but dwindled to about an hour and a half in the evenings. We make the most of this meaningful time, though: this is when we cook dinner!

Cooking for me is a fairly new endeavor. My husband deserves the accolades for cooking in the past but, given our current season of life – I was excited to step up to the plate (ha!), and have started creating our weekly dinner menus. Because of this, I truly look forward to this time together because it not only gives us a set “dinner date” nearly every night of the week, but also has given me the confidence to do something that I was so weary of before. Sure, we eat a little later than most, but the time we get to spend in the kitchen and subsequent dinner together is totally worth it. I’m even finding that I love all this cooking going on in my kitchen! :-)

The first recipe I want to share is one of our recent favorites. We can usually save some for a following evening because there’s definitely enough for leftovers.

One Pot – Vegetarian Macaroni Chili



  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. ground veggie crumbles or ground turkey (I use Lightlife: Smart Ground)
  • 2 Tbs chili powder (I used powdered red chile, found at Whole Foods)
  • 2 tsp taco seasoning (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can rinsed black beans
  • 1 ½ Cups macaroni noodles
  • 2 ½ Cups water
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping


  1. In a large pot (I used a dutch oven) heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, green pepper, and garlic. Sauté until softened, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add veggie crumbles or turkey and break into small pieces. Cook until brown.
  3. Add chili powder, taco seasoning, cumin, salt, tomatoes, beans, noodles, and water. Stir to combine, bring to a boil and then reduce to a medium low heat.
  4. Cook until noodles are soft, approximately 10-12 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese.
  6. Serve with more shredded cheese on top.
  7. Enjoy!


Shuga' Mommas

Shuga’ Mommas: Weeknight Mushroom and Kale Pasta

I’m a huge fan of the blog 100 Days of Real Food. (You should check them out if you haven’t). Last week, Lisa posted a wonderful recipe for Mushroom and Kale Pasta. I decided to cook it for my family, and it was a huge hit! Given that it is a vegetarian meal, it’s also extremely cost effective for those of us on a graduate budget!

I’ve included Lisa’s recipe below; the only changes I made was serving gluten free pasta, instead of whole-wheat.

Weeknight Mushroom and Kale Pasta

Serves: 3-4
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat pasta, boiled and drained according to pasta directions
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 cups loosely packed kale, with big stems removed and cut into strips
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a small pot, add the dried mushrooms and cover with water (minimum of 1 ½ cups). Bring to a boil and cook until the mushrooms have softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain while reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Dice the cooked mushrooms (I do this by using culinary scissors).
  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan and cook while stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the white wine and turn up the heat so the mixture comes to a boil. Cook until the wine almost completely boils off, about 3 to 4 minutes (if you are doubling this recipe, it will take longer).
  4. Pour in the 1 cup of the reserved mushroom cooking liquid and cook until reduced by half.
  5. Turn the heat back down to medium and add the heavy cream, kale, salt, and pepper to the pan. Cook until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 more minutes. Fold in the noodles, garnish with Parmesan, and serve.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Shuga' Mommas

Shuga’ Mommas: (Back to the Basics) Simple Cheese Platter

Today’s post comes to us from former graduate wife and feature contributor for the blog, Tori.  Tori has graciously helped us put together a simple and charming little series called…

If you are anything like me, there are some basic kitchen tips that somehow got overlooked.  Tori is going to take us through some tutorials on basic kitchen skills like kneading dough and chopping vegetables.  For now, enjoy her first post on understanding and creating a simple well-rounded cheese platter.  For all you shuga’ momma grad wives out there, enjoy!

How do you create a well-rounded Cheese Platter?

Create your cheese platter to include a variety of textures and flavors.

I’ve listed five cheeses that should be easily to find in most well-stocked grocery stores.

Good accompaniments include table water crackers (there’s no strong flavor to compete with the cheese), grapes, figs, honey, nuts, and berries.

*Always let your cheeses sit out at room temperature for an hour before serving.  Cold cheese doesn’t have as much flavor as room temperature cheese.

Shuga' Mommas

Shuga’ Mommas: Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms

Back during our Atlanta football tailgating days, I started bringing cheesy stuffed mushrooms to the games. It became such a crowd favorite, that we were virtually barred from attending any events with friends unless we brought the ‘shrooms.  (Now I’m paranoid. Did our friends actually love us, or the mushrooms? Who knows!)

Even if you aren’t a mushroom lover, you’ll love this recipe. The most wonderful thing about it is the versatility; you can take them to a football game, or you can make them a gorgeous start to a 3 course meal by throwing them on a bed of rocket (arugula), and drizzling with balsamic vinegar. Your guests will swoon with delight.

CHEESY STUFFED MUSHROOMS                                                     

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • couple of dashes of nutmeg
  • 1 package of whole closed cup mushrooms

Knead first 5 ingredients together. Core out center of mushrooms, and spoon cheese mixture into mushrooms. Place in casserole dish with sides touching, and back at 375F (190C) for 30 minutes or until the tops are browned.

You will not be disappointed. I promise.