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Sesame Soba with Chicken and Edamame

29 Apr

soba with edamame and chicken
Soba noodle dishes like this can be served warm, room temp, or chilled for your enjoyment and convenience!

Time: 20 minutes                  Serves: 2


  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oi
  • 1/2 pound chicken tenders
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, grated
  • 2 green onions, sliced – white & light green parts separated from dark green
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use tamari, which is wheat-free)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 6 oz. soba noodles, cooked according to package instructions, drained & cooled
  • 1 cup edamame, cooked according to package instructions, drained & cooled
  • cornstarch slurry – optional for thickening
  • radishes, sliced – for garnish

How to make it

  • Heat vegetable and sesame oils in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes, turn. Add garlic, ginger, and light green parts of green onions to pan and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Meanwhile, combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Add to skillet.
  • Add cooked soba and edamame. Toss to combine. Allow to heat through.
  • If needed, add cornstarch slurry to thicken sauce.
  • Garnish with sliced radish and tops of green onions.

Rice Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce and Roasted Tofu

27 Mar


Spicy peanut sauce that will make you want to lick your bowl clean! with rice noodles and roasted tofu. Add a side of steamed broccoli to round out the meal. The month of March happens to be National Noodle Month, National Peanut Month, and National Sauce Month and this bowl of goodness delivers on all three of those. So, enjoy and cheers to the rest of March!

Time: 30 minutes             Serves: 5


  • Tofu

  • 14 oz. pack extra firm tofu, drained and pressed to release moisture
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tsp each olive oil and toasted sesame oil, combined
  • Sauce & Noodles

  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 6 stalks fresh lemongrass – inner bulbs only, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 thumbs ginger, grated/finely minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
  • zest and juice from a lime
  • heaping 1/3 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy will do)
  • 1 pound brown rice noodles or soba
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

How to make it

  • Tofu

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cube tofu. Toss with tamari and oil.
  • Place in roasting pan and bake for 25 minutes, until edges are browned.
  • Sauce and Noodles

  • Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a rapid boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • Process in a blender, processor, bullet…lemongrass, garlic, ginger, shallot, and chile paste.
  • Heat oils in a large skillet over medium-high. Add mixture to pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant – about 2 minutes.
  • Add tamari, vinegar, honey (or brown sugar), peanut butter, and lime. Whisk to combine.
  • Add cooked pasta and toss to coat.
  • Serve the roasted tofu right on a mound of these yummy noodles. Top with cilantro and green onions. And don’t forget to eat your veggies!


Baked Pasta with Meat Sauce

11 Jan


This name sounds very ordinary but this dish is extraordinary! I’m open to suggestions on how to spruce of the name. This is a great make ahead dish to keep in the freezer for an effortless homemade meal. The slow-cooked sauce develops such great flavors as it sits, so make it a day or two before you plan to make the baked pasta.

Time: 45 minutes hands-on               Serves: 12


  • Meat Sauce

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound mild/sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 3 celery stalks, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed & roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 6 dry bay leaves
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 16 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Béchamel Sauce

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used a Gluten Free baking mix to keep it wheat free)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Gouda blend cheese
  • The Rest

  • 16 oz. short cut pasta, cooked al dente (I used quinoa and corn elbows, again to keep the dish wheat free)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Gouda blend cheese

How to make it

  • Meat Sauce

  • Pour 1/4 cup water in bottom of a large medium stock pot, you’ll want about 1/4 inch. Heat over medium. Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook for a few minutes.
  • Next, add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add parsley, basil and oregano and cook, stirring, until beef is browned all over and vegetables are tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  • Add Lawry’s and stir. Then, add bay leaves and remaining ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn to simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours. Tastes best after sitting, so allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Béchamel Sauce

  • Heat 3 tbsp butter over medium heat in a large skillet or medium saucepan. Add mushrooms and saute for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Add flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until lightly browned. Slowly whisk in milk. Add nutmeg. Cook for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add cheese and stir. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • The Rest

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a very large mixing bowl or stock pot, combine meat sauce and cooked pasta. Toss well.
  • Pour mixture into baking dish. Pour béchamel sauce over top evenly. Top with grated cheese. Cover and bake in middle rack of oven for 40 minutes.
  • Switch oven to broil at 425F. Uncover and place on top rack under broiler. Broil for about 4 minutes, until top is golden brown and lightly crisp. Check every minute or two to see that it does not burn. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before serving.


Over The Top Shrimp Scampi

5 Jan

A decadent spin on a familiar favorite.

Time: 45 minutes            Serves: 2


  • ½ lb shrimp, cleaned, deveined, & butterflied
  • ½ lb angel hair pasta
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, whole or halved
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • ½ pint heavy cream (half & half also works)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp+ olive oil
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated finely
  • milk
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

How to make it

  • Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Be sure there is enough to cover the bottom of the pan, add more if needed.
  • Soak the shrimp in milk.
  • Combine flour, 1 tbsp cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl. Mix well.
  • Coat shrimp in mixture and fry in oil for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. When cooked, transfer to paper towel lined plate. Tent tin foil around plate and pierce vents with fork. Keep plate on range top.
  • Add garlic to oil. Stir for a few minutes, scraping up the flour mixture left in pan. Turn heat to medium low.
  • Add wine SLOWLY (as it might spray out if pan is still very hot). Bring to a boil, and then turn heat to medium low. Cover and let reduce for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Cook pasta according to instructions.
  • Add cream to wine reduction and turn temperature back to medium high until it comes to a boil. Then, turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add tomato, shallots, basil, and remaining cheese. Mix well. Add shrimp to sauce and remove pan from heat. If sauce is not thick enough (for your liking), let cool for a few moments and it will thicken.
  • Serve shrimp & sauce over pasta. Garnish with parsley. Enjoy with the rest of the bottle of wine 🙂

Broccoli And Sausage Pasta In Creamy Tomato Sauce

12 Oct

Another quick, versatile pasta recipe that may be mixed & matched to suit your tastes and what you have on hand.

Time: 20 minutes             Serves: 4


  • 1/2 pound pasta (I used penne), cooked al dente
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 specialty chicken sausage, sliced or diced (I used spinach & Asiago)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about one medium)
  • 4 oz baby bella mushrooms (or more if you’d like, that’s all I had)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes – with liquid
  • 1/2 large head broccoli cut into florets – lightly steamed
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes – to taste
  • fresh basil to garnish
  • grated Parmesan to garnish

How to make it

  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, stir, cook for 5 more minutes. Add broccoli, tomatoes with liquid, and cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well to incorporate. Add pasta and toss well. Serve garnished with basil and Parmesan.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

6 Oct

It just so happens to be National Noodle Day, so let’s celebrate with this recipe! My mom used to make tuna noodle casserole once in a while when I was a kid and it was so delicious! I was thinking about it one day and decided to look at recipes but when I started browsing online none of them really looked like they would match my mom’s. I know she did not use cream of mushroom soup and always used fresh veggies. Instead of calling to ask her, I ended up coming up with my own recipe. I love macaroni & cheese and have experimented with it a lot over the years, so this recipe incorporates a simple but delicious baked mac & cheese.

Time: 45 min prep, 20 min cook             Serves: 6-8


  • 1 small onion, white or yellow diced
  • 1/2 head of celery stalks, diced
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled & diced
  • 1 small head of broccoli, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Mrs. Dash Original to taste
  • 2 cans tuna, drained (I use chunk white)
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni (may use farfalle, penne, rotini or egg noodles)
  • 3 tbsp butter, plus a bit extra to grease baking dish
  • 3 tbsp flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese (you can have fun here, mix it up between cheddar and pepper jack or any other that strikes you)
  • Emeril’s Essence seasoning to taste, about 1 tbsp
  • a handful of potato chips, smashed into small pieces

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add veggies to pan and season with salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash. Stir, and cover. Allow to cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.Remember, they will cook a bit more while baking in the casserole so this is just up to your personal preference as to how crisp or soft you’d like them. Once the veggies are cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
  • As they cook, cook pasta according to directions. Generally a minute or two less than recommended is good as they too will cook more in further steps. Drain pasta & set aside.
  • In a medium-large pot melt butter over medium heat, add flour and stir occasionally for about one minute, or until flour is absorbed. Then whisk in milk, about a half cup at a time. Cook for three minutes, whisking occasionally, until it thickens somewhat. Add Emeril’s Essence to taste. Then, add about 2 cups of the cheese, veggies, and tuna and stir. Remove from heat and add pasta, mix well, then pour into casserole dish.
  • Top with remaining cheese and crushed potato chips. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until top reaches a light golden brown.

Green Spaghetti

29 Jun

My take on Tallarines Verdes, a Peruvian delicacy.

Time: 15 minutes            Serves: 4


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts,
  • 3 cups (packed) spinach leaves
  • 1 cup (packed) basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chives
  • 6 oz. cubed feta cheese (traditionally queso fresco is used)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

How to make it

  • Cook spaghetti al dente.
  • Meanwhile, make sauce.
  • Add pine nuts to a small skillet and toast over medium heat for about 2 minutes until just lightly browned on all sides.
  • Place pine nuts, spinach, basil, chives, cheese, milk and garlic into bowl of food processor fitted with S-blade. Process until smooth.
  • Slowly add the oil in a steady stream with processor on. Taste for seasoning, season with s&p accordingly.
  • Drain spaghetti and place back in pot. Add sauce and toss well to heat through.
  • Top with a bit of crumbled feta to serve.

Shrimp, Baby Bella, & Spinach Pasta in Garlic Butter

18 Jun

A quick, easy, tasty meal. Serve with garlic bread and a salad & you’ve got dinner.

Time: 15 minutes             Serves: 2


  • 1 tbsp olive oil shopping list
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 10 large or jumbo shrimp, peeled & cleaned
  • 8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, cut into chunks or thick slices
  • 6 oz. fresh baby spinach
  • 6 oz. spaghetti cooked al dente
  • grated asiago cheese

How to make it

  • Heat olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp & season with half of Old Bay, salt & pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn shrimp & season other side. Cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining tbsp of butter in another skillet. Add mushrooms & season with salt & pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally. Once mushrooms begin to release their own liquid, add spinach. Remove from heat & stir. Combine pasta, shrimp, and vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Cajun Mac & Cheese

26 Mar

Generally, when I get a craving for mac & cheese I go for baked. I came across a recipe in the Food Network Magazine for a stove top version that got my attention. I modified the recipe a bit and it is delicious, but I must stress this is hot & spicy! To tone it down, lessen the amount of Cajun seasoning and/or use a less spicy type of sausage.

Time: 30 minutes             Serves: 4


  • 12 oz. Conchiglie (shells) pasta – elbows ororecchiette work too
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 oz. andouille susage, diced (I used Trader Joe’s chicken variety)
  • 2+ green onions, thinly sliced to equal about 1/2 cup
  • 2+ celery stalks, diced to equal about 3/4 cup
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning blend
  • 2 tbsp AP flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (I used Tillamook)

How to make it

  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, add olive oil to large skillet or medium saucepan – large enough to house all ingredients eventually – over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown.
  • Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Add scallions and cook an additional minute.
  • Add Cajun seasoning and flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until sauce is smooth and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pasta and cheese and some cooking water, about 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is met. I used 1/2 cup.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

19 Mar

This quick, simple-to-make dish will make you look like a kitchen rock star. Pairs perfectly with grilled/roasted asparagus.

Time: 15 minutes                 Serves: 2


  • 6 oz. spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz. bacon or pancetta, cut into cubes or strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream or half & half
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine (may sub with chicken stock or more cream)
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt – to taste
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh herbs, plus a pinch for garnish (I used basil, oregano and flat leaf parsley)

How to make it

  • Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, combine egg and Parmesan in a small bowl and whisk together.
  • Heat oil in a deep skillet (big enough for pasta too) over medium heat. Add bacon and saute for about 3 minutes until crisp and fat is rendered. Shallots and saute for 1-2 minutes, then add garlic and saute an additional minute.
  • Add hot pasta to pan and toss for about 2 minutes to coat in bacon fat.
  • Remove pan from heat. Add egg mixture, tossing until eggs thicken. Add cream, wine and herbs and toss to incorporate. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Top with a pinch of fresh herbs and grated Parmesan to serve.