Sunday, October 26, 2014


This is the best lasagna I have ever had.  Seriously, ever.  In my entire life!  I am not patting myself too hard on the back here because all the credit goes to Guy Fieri.  His recipe was perfection.  Click here to find out for yourself!

This is a tomato-less lasagna and that includes the sauce.  Instead of a marinara, it oozes with a creamy white cheese sauce.  Surprisingly it didn't feel heavy, like a typical creamy pasta dish.  The addition of mushrooms, spinach and zucchini help push it away from the "heavy" category as well.

Speaking of spinach, I made a couple tweaks to the recipe.  Spinach was not listed as an ingredient.  Nor did the recipe call for copious amounts of cheese.  I know you are absolutely SHOCKED to hear that I deviated from the plan, and for that, I apologize.  No, you know what?  I don't!  I will never apologize for using extra cheese.  Anyway, here are the changes:  a full cup of parmesan for the sauce, chopped fresh spinach mixed into the ricotta mixture, aaaaaaaand like maybe double the amount of mozzarella.  What?  Cheese is delicious.

P.S. The people I served this to had seconds.  Gave compliments to the chef with their mouths full.  Asked for leftovers to take home.  Two mushroom haters gobbled it down.  It's that good.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Do you ever bookmark recipes, only to forget about them and then of course, never make them?  Yeah. Me neither.  So when my friend, Nicole, sent me this recipe for Hummus Crusted Chicken I had two thoughts.  1, this chicken looks AMAZING.  And 2, this chicken looks FAMILIAR.  So I searched my saved recipes, and sure enough, there it was!  That's when you know you have to make something.  Nicole has never led me astray when it comes to food, and she absolutely raved about this chicken.  Oh, and did I mention it cooks in one pan and requires minimal prep?

I didn't follow the recipe EXACTLY (shocking, I know) so here are my changes: I used my mandoline to slice the veggies in record time, forgot to use an onion, fileted the chicken breasts so they'd cook faster, and used sumac AND smoked paprika for flavor.  Pat the chicken as dry as you can get it so the hummus sticks on there really well. 

Delicious and healthy dinner in half an hour, what more could you ask for?

P.S.  Apologies for the not great pictures.  Lack of daylight and desire to dig in are to blame.

Monday, September 15, 2014


I don't know about you guys, but I am feeling lazy.  September means school is back in session and ordering pizza/Chinese/both is becoming extremely tempting.  Measuring ingredients and reading a recipe seems like too daunting a task these days.  So when I saw this "recipe" I knew it had to happen in my kitchen.  We've had this pasta twice now, and the first time I found a bag of shaved brussels sprouts at Target.  The second time, I finally got to use the amazing mandoline my lovely friend, Andrea, gave me for my birthday!  It was fun.  The pieces were more substantial than the bagged kind and had fresher flavor.  You could also use a very sharp knife if you aren't lucky enough to have an Andrea in your life.

The amount of pesto, pasta, cheese and brussels sprouts really depends on your personal taste.  I used an entire pound of veggies, but you may not love brussels sprouts so you could use less, of course.  Mix and taste until you find the amount perfect for you!

P.S.  This is fabulous leftover and definitely makes lunch a happy occasion.

Yup, that's all you need!

I love you, mandoline.
Crispy and browned.

Don't forget to save some yummy pasta water!

Mix mix mix.
Dig in.  I dare you to resist!


1 lb pasta (any short shape will do)
1 lb Brussels sprouts, shaved
7-10 ounces refrigerated pesto basil
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
grated parmesan cheese (I used 1/2 cup)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup reserved pasta water

Boil pasta in salted water in a large pot, according to package directions. Meanwhile, saute Brussels sprouts in olive oil until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  When pasta is al dente, scoop out about a cup of pasta water.  Drain pasta and return to pot.  Add pesto, brussels sprouts and almost all the pasta water.  Stir to combine, then add cheese.  Give it a good stir, and decide if you need to add remaining pasta water to give it a saucy consistency.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve immediately. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I tore another recipe from one of my mom's magazines.  Better Homes and Gardens had this amazing recipe in their February issue.  I was instantly sold because I love tender, shredded meat and I do NOT like ricotta cheese.  This is a ricotta-less lasagna!  Instead, it has a creamy Gruyere cheese sauce.  It was so comforting and delicious.  Short ribs simmered for a few hours with carrots, onions, mushrooms, beef broth and red wine. Layered with the cheese sauce and pasta, baked to perfection!  Yum.  MAKE THIS!

A few tweaks to make this lasagna as flavorful as possible: after shredding the meat, add a little salt and pepper to taste.  Don't completely drain the meat super dry, let it stay juicy; you want those flavors in your finished product.  Season the cheese sauce with salt and pepper before assembling the lasagna.  Taste it and make sure it's to your liking.  Also, my meat took about four and a half hours to finish cooking on the stove top, so don't bank on yours being done after the stated time in recipe.  My meat was thick!  Broil at the end if you want a golden crust on top.

Hello, meat.

Hello, lasagna.

Monday, July 28, 2014


I am a Mexican food addict.  Regular spaghetti with pasta sauce?  Meh.  Spaghetti with spicy enchilada sauce, veggies, chicken and cheese?  Yes, please!  Usually, I cook chicken to make this dinner, but I got lazy and purchased a rotisserie chicken breast instead.  SO MUCH BETTER!  The flavor was fabulous.  This recipe is huge and uses an entire pound of pasta, so feel free to halve it if you're still determined to maintain your summer bikini bod.

Important notes:  Depending on the brand of enchilada sauce you use, you may want to adjust your cayenne pepper amount.  Perhaps taste before adding the extra heat!  Also, if you salt your pasta water enough, you won't need to add salt at the end.

Love love love this paprika.
The most delicious cooking shortcut!


1 lb spaghetti (regular, not thin)
Shredded rotisserie chicken breast, about 3 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cans chopped green chiles, 4.5 oz each
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
3 cans red enchilada sauce, 10 oz each
1-2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
salt, to taste

Boil spaghetti in salted water according to directions on box for al dente.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil.  When smoking, add onions and cook for a couple minutes, until soft.  Add chopped green chiles, undrained.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Add garlic and stir for one minute.  Stir in cumin, chili powder, paprika and cayenne.  Pour in enchilada sauce and let simmer for about 8 minutes, until sauce has reduced a bit.  Add chicken and heat through, about 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Using tongs, add spaghetti in small batches to the sauce and combine.  Gently fold in the cheese and serve!  

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Have you ever seen that segment on the Rachael Ray Show where one grocery trip or one bag of groceries provides ingredients for a week's worth of dinners?  It never fails to blow my mind.  You can use the kale for a salad AND for a chicken dinner?  Some of the potatoes can be mashed one day and then used for soup on a DIFFERENT DAY?!  If I have to purchase a unique (or even standard) ingredient for just one recipe, I'll probably end up wasting whatever is left of it.  HOWEVER, I did get super crafty this week.  Not as cool and prepared as a TV show host, but close.  Remember these?  Whenever I buy wonton wrappers, I use them for one meal then throw them out once they've expired.  Remember these?  I used way too much ground turkey and had tons of leftover meatball mixture. Raw meat doesn't stay safe for long.  I decided to jazz up the filling and make wontons!

I added some soy sauce and sliced green onions to the meatball mix.  It was already pretty flavorful, the direction of the flavor just needed to shift a bit.  Note: I also tried out a few with already cooked meatball chunks.  Not so great.  The meat really needs to be raw, otherwise it tastes crumbly, dry and overcooked.  Go fresh, for sure.

Whenever we order takeout, I NEED pan fried dumplings.  Sure, the steamed variety are healthier, but they are slimy and gross.  These dumplings are made with NO oil, so they are a lot healthier for sure.

Start with these fabulous little things.

Add a teaspoon of filling to center of wonton, then spread water around the edges with your finger.
Lift a corner and pull it over to the opposite corner.  Pinch HARD to seal all around, eliminating any gaps.  Keep package of wontons and constructed dumplings covered with a damp towel while assembling.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Spray generously with nonstick spray once it's hot.  Add dumplings in a single layer, flat side down.  Let cook for 2 or 3 minutes without touching.  Spray tops with cooking spray, then flip.  Once browned, flip back.

Add 1/4 cup water and a few splashes of soy sauce to pan and cover.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer and steam until most of the water has evaporated, less than 5 minutes. 

So, so good.  Try not to eat 10 of these in one sitting. 

Pack leftovers in the container your usual Chinese food is delivered in.  Your coworkers will assume it's leftover delivery.  You can then blow their minds by bragging that you not only made dumplings, but also fried rice!  Stay tuned for that recipe.

To cook the dumplings, I used this recipe as a guide.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


These little meatballs are amazing.  Whenever I make them, I find myself hunched over the kitchen counter just popping them in my mouth.  You could find a more refined technique, like eating them with pasta and marinara, or inside a meatball sub, or with pesto and vegetables.  Don't be like me.  Or do, because it's a delicious way to live.  Also, these are delicious served with some soy sauce for dipping.

Before we get started, I need to tell you a little secret: you must taste the meatballs before you bake them!  How, you ask?  Prepare the meat mixture, then form a tiny little patty and cook it in a skillet, like a burger.  If it tastes fab, proceed.  If it needs some additional flavoring, add needed spices and test again.  Sounds like a pain, but it's a much better option than ending up with a huge batch of meatballs that aren't properly seasoned. 

Saute onions and seasonings, then add chopped spinach.

Allow the mixture of onions and spinach to cool, or throw it in the fridge to speed up the process.

Combine ground turkey, panko, and eggs.

Combine the two mixtures, then form into meatballs.

I am terrible at math, and Costco packages their meat in irregular portions.  I filled an entire baking sheet with meatballs only to realize I still had half the meat mixture left!  I also forgot we own several baking sheets, and instead grabbed a mini muffin tin, thinking, "Wow, this will be fantastic for meatballs!"  It was not.  The meatballs took longer to cook in the muffin tin, and got a weird char on the bottom.  Anyway, I ended up making a gazillion meatballs AND had meat leftover.  Stay tuned this week for a recipe (hint: homemade dumplings!) to use up any extra meat.  If you follow the recipe below and use the proper amount of turkey, you'll make about 40 meatballs.

Bake and enjoy!


2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 large eggs
1/2 to 3/4 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs (you may use more or less, depending on how sticky your mixture is)
4 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 bags spinach, 8 ounces each

Chop spinach and set aside.  Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in salt, pepper, oregano and crushed red pepper.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant.  Add a splash of Worcestershire if the mixture seems dry.  Add spinach by handfuls, stirring to wilt.  Cook until most liquid has evaporated from mixture, then set aside to cool.
Combine turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs and Worcestershire in large bowl.  Mix until well blended.  Add more breadcrumbs if mixture seems overly sticky.  Refrigerate 30-60 minutes to prepare the meat for handling, if necessary.  Combine meat and spinach mixture.  Prepare two baking sheets with Pam sprayed foil.  Form turkey into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.  Place on prepared baking sheets.  You should have about 40 meatballs.  Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through.