Posts tagged ‘pasta’

January 9, 2012

Food: Cold Sesame Tahini Pasta.

First of all,¬†I don’t like the title of this.

Second of all…this is to die.

To die for. I mean it.

This is a pasta dish you can feel good about eating.

It is packed with good things. and it is crunchy.

Cold Sesame Tahini Pasta


  • Brown Rice Pasta, cooked according to package.
  • 1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
  • Siracha, a few drops or more depending on how you like you heat
  • 1/2 cucumber, pealed, seeded, cut in 2 inch strips
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon scallions, chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste


1. After pasta is cooked, rinse with cold water and set aside.

2. Combine almond butter, tahini, Siracha and a pinch of salt. Heat in a microwave for 10-15 seconds. Remove and stir. Cook another 10-15 seconds. Stir and set aside.

3. In a medium sized bowl, combine pasta and half of tahini mixture. Add cucumber, peppers, sesame seeds, parsley and scallions. Toss to coat. Add more tahini mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

4. Enjoy right away at room temperature or good the next day!


November 30, 2011

Food: Butternut Squash Pasta Shells with Sage Butter.

I can’t stop thinking about butternut squash. and butter.

I think my clients are getting a little bored. I’ve been ‘hiding’ it in their meals…I think they are catching on. Seriously, this is a sickness. A Butternut Squash Intervention will be happening at my house very soon. Until that happens, I’ll continue to make these…

Goat cheese. Butter. Pasta. Mozzarella Cheese. Butter. Walnuts. more Butter. and the key ingredients, butternut squash and sweet potatoes..

This isn’t a meal if you are cutting calories. It is the holiday season, folks and winter is upon us. Pack on some warmth for the coming months. This meal will help you accomplish that.

I can’t imagine any other ‘sauce’ on these delicious shells. Sage, freshly ground pepper and butter…what is not to like.

Butternut Squash Pasta Shells with Sage Butter


  • 16-18 pasta shells, cooked according to package
  • 4 tablespoon salted butter, divided
  • 1/4 white onion, small dice
  • 1/2 roasted butternut squash
  • 1/2 roasted sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled walnuts, more for garnish
  • 3¬†pinches of ground/semi-ground dried sage, divided¬†(fresh works too)
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable stock
  • 1 heaping tablespoon goat cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 mozzarella cheese, grated


Preheat oven to 425.

1. While pasta shells cool slightly, sweat onion in 1 tablespoon of butter on medium high heat. Stir occasionally; cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.

2. In a food processor, combine onion, butternut squash, sweet potato, walnuts, 2 pinches sage, vegetable stock, goat cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Taste test Рadd more salt and pepper, if needed.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Pour into 9×9 baking pan. To assemble shells, add 1 tablespoon of filling to each shell. Place each filled shell in baking pan on top of the melted butter.

4. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 pinch of sage together. Pour over filled shells. Top with grated mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until filling is hot.

5. Melt the final 1 tablespoon of butter with some ground black pepper on high, until it is foaming. Pour over shells once they are plated. Add a few crumbled walnuts too!

November 7, 2011

Food: Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Shells with Smoked Spiced Turkey Tomato Sauce.

It is sometimes hard to condense recipe titles.

I want to include as many ingredients into the title as possible. I’ll work on condensing them.

Moving on. Check these shells out. The roasted garlic and mushroom combination with ricotta cheese is really tasty. Then you add the smoky and spicy tomato sauce – you now have a complete meal. Maybe next time I’ll make a green salad to go along with it?!?!

These freeze really well too. If I have time, I make two baking dishes. Freeze one and eat one.

Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Shells with Smoked Spiced Turkey Tomato Sauce


  • 1 box of large pasta shells
  • 6 garlic cloves, roasted and mince
  • 1 8 oz. container sliced mushrooms
  • Kosher Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or dried basil (reduce amount if dried)
  • 1 1/2 quarts Smoked Spiced Turkey Tomato Sauce


1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions – cook about 1-2 minutes less – since the shells will cook more in the oven. Strain and let cool in sink. Adding a drizzle of olive oil on the top of them, helps prevent them from sticking together.

2. Saute sliced mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, until browned and somewhat soft – only 4 minutes on medium high. Let cool.

3. Combine garlic, mushrooms and remaining ingredients into a bowl (only 1 cup of mozzarella). Stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

4. Once pasta shells are cooked and are cool enough to handle, spoon in about 1 1/2 tablespoons or more of cheese filling into each shell. Place in a baking dish, that is covered with a layer of tomato sauce. Fill baking dish completely up Рtop with more sauce and remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted and begins to brown. Serve hot.

**to roast garlic cloves…cut the ends off, drizzle a little olive oil on top, wrap in foil and roast in a hot oven until they are soft. Push them out of their skins and mince.


November 2, 2011

Food: Smoked Spiced Turkey Tomato Sauce.

I am going to tell you a secret.

But don’t tell anyone.

Homemade meat sauce is SO easy to make.

Don’t be intimidated. With a few staple¬†ingredients that I usually have around, this delicious flavorful sauce is born.

There are a million variations. I had ground turkey in the freezer, that was reaching it’s freezer life – ground beef, ground pork and a combination works great too.

This sauce freezes great! I make a lot of this and freeze in quart containers.

Smoked Spiced Turkey Tomato Sauce

Makes 2 quarts


  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 2 medium/small carrots, small dice
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon medium chili powder
  • 2 dashes cayenne powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can italian stewed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


1. Heat large pot on medium heat with Olive oil. Add diced onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots and a dash of salt and pepper, cook for another 2 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

2. Turn up heat to medium high. Add ground turkey and cook until browned and all pink is gone. Add the remaining ingredients. Turn heat to low and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.

3. This can be simmered more but is great right away. I freeze 1 quart and eat 1 quart right away.


September 6, 2011

Food: Summer Corn and String Bean Pasta.

This is sort of a¬†strange title for this post. I wasn’t loving Summer Pasta or Summer Vegetable Pasta. And I thought that I should be specific in my title.

Okay, I’m rambling.

Corn on the cob is one of my favorite summer sides. Corn off the cob is just as delicious plus you don’t need floss at the end of your meal.

String beans add that punch of green and crunch. What is not to love about a string bean?

I just happened to plant about 10 extra cherry tomato plants than necessary. I mean I’ve been giving tomatoes away. Each afternoon I end up picking a bowl full. So adding these into the pasta mix was not only necessary since my counter is full of them but also so flavorful. I also love when¬†they pop in your mouth.

A little warning about the leeks. I’m not sure if you are a leek person. I mean they can be overpowering in a dish. Here they aren’t overpowering but you can taste them. They can be omitted or substituted out for regular olde yellow onion saut√©ed until soft. I enjoy the bite that leeks have plus I think they go great along side of cilantro. Try it and let me know what you think.

Summer Vegetable Pasta

Yield = 4 portions for hungry people.


  • Penne pasta
  • String beans, cleaned, ends removed and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2¬†ears of corn, cut off cob and¬†cob reserved
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or more if you are like me)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Asagio cheese, grated


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, blanch string beans in small pot of boiling water – approximately 3-4 minutes. Drain and let sit in colander.

2. In a medium-sized non-stick pan melt butter over medium heat. Add chopped leeks. Saute for 2 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes and saute another 2 minutes – stirring occasionally. Add corn, saute for 1 minute, just to heat through.

3. Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot with 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Add string beans, leek mixture, cilantro, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and coat pasta with liquid. Add more liquid if desired. The pasta will soak up the liquid and create a sauce with the ingredients.

4. Plate individual portions and top with asagio cheese and more cilantro (if desired). Dig in while its hot.

July 27, 2011

Food: The Grill.

Grilling is fun. 

I use our grill often.

I’ve been known to remove some snow off the top and light er’ up.

I love when I cook the entire meal on the grill. Less dishes is always a good thing.

Check out some grill friendly recipes, that I’ve made!

Black Pepper and Lemon Grilled Chicken Thighs

Tandoori Chicken Kabobs

Garlic Filet of Beef with Mushroom sauce

Grilled Corn Salsa

Lemon Basil Pasta and Grilled Chicken

Summer Sausage and Pepper Pasta

Beer Can Chicken

BBQ Sauce

Smoked Paprika Grilled Corn


July 25, 2011

Food: Chicken Bacon Pasta.

Quick story about bacon pasta.

Mr. A and a friend lived together during a semester abroad in New Zealand.  One night bacon pasta was born.

He¬†tells me, “We were in college and it was good New Zealand bacon, mixed with pasta sauce.”

“Like thick Canadian bacon?”, I ask.

“No, good bacon. Google it.”

The End.

Mr. A was excited about this meal. Honestly, my creative juices weren’t following but my stomach was screaming at me to feed it. So I threw this together and it was good. I think this might have been a little better than the college bacon pasta or at least healthy with the addition of chicken and peppers.

Chicken Bacon Pasta

Serves 2 hungry people


  • linguine, half a box
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into 2 inch/bite sizes
  • 3 strips of thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2/3 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 can of italian stewed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper


1. Cook pasta according to package. While pasta is cooking, cook bacon until browned and crispy. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel lined plate. Discard of fat – but don’t wipe out the pan.

2. Add chopped chicken to saute pan. Cook for 2 minutes on medium high heat on one side, then flip over for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan, place on plate to rest. Add 1 teaspoon Olive oil to pan. Add onions and peppers and saute on medium/low for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Add can of stewed tomatoes. Bring to a rapid simmer until pasta is done.

3. Drain pasta and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add chicken and bacon to tomato sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through. Serve it up!

**Note about the stewed tomatoes. I quickly ran mine through my Cuisinart to puree. Completely personal preference though. Tomatoes could be crushed by hand or knife or not at all.


July 5, 2011

Food: Summer Sausage and Pepper Pasta.

It is hot out.

I had 3 burners going on the stove and the grill on high. It was worth it for this summer pasta.

It ended up being cooler outside than in my kitchen. We ate outside.

There is something about eating hot food on a hot summer evening. It cooled me off. Plus, this pasta wasn’t steaming hot or even spicy. Just perfect.

Instead of making a tomato sauce or heating up a jar of the store-bought stuff, I decided to simmer a can of stewed tomatoes. The can that I had was sliced Roma tomatoes with oregano and basil. Simmering the ‘sauce’ while the pasta cooked created a thick enough¬†consistency¬†that coated the pasta but left the tomato slices intact. I wanted a chunky yet light sauce over the pasta and I got just that.

Summer Sausage and Pepper Pasta

4 servings


  • 4¬†Italian¬†sausage links
  • linguine¬†or your favorite pasta
  • 2 teaspoons rice bran oil
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 8 oz can organic Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • handful of basil leaves, chopped


1. Heat grill to medium/high heat (around 375-400 degrees). Cook sausage on one side for 8 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from grill and let rest/cool on plate.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat medium-sized saute pan on medium heat with rice bran oil. Add peppers and onions and saute until soft – about the time it takes to cook pasta. Keep warm if finished before. Also while pasta is cooking, heat canned tomatoes in small pot. Bring to a simmer and keep simmering for at least 8 minutes.

3. Slice sausage links on the bias. After pasta is drained, mix in Olive Oil.

4. Mix pasta with a couple spoonfuls of tomatoes and sauce, peppers and onions. Add sausage. Top with Parmesan and basil. Enjoy!!!

June 22, 2011

Food: Pesto Pasta with almonds and zucchini.

This was/is my first pesto making of the summer. I was looking for a quick meal just to serve one person, myself. And it just happens that our basil plants are growing like crazy so it was time for me to trim off some of the larger leaves. I had enough leftovers for another single serving to freeze for another time.

I don’t buy a lot of pine nuts – love the flavor but I’m not too crazy about the price tag. I have a very large bag of sliced roasted almonds in my pantry so I tossed them into the mix. The combination of basil, garlic, almonds and olive oil creates such a fresh¬†simple sauce that melts and spreads when it hits the hot pasta.

Sprinkle a little freshly grate Parmesan over the top and you have yourself a meal.

Oh, wait, I can’t forget the zucchini. I have to be honest, the zucchini is kind of lost in this dish but I felt better incorporating it in than throwing it away. It is not¬†essential but I ended up eating less pasta because the zucchini was in the mix and added some filler and balance – without that I probably would have eaten 4 bowls of pasta instead of the 2 with the zucchini.

This recipe is so easy. I mean with a few fresh ingredients this can be made in a snap. Like I said, it’s easy….

Pesto Pasta with almonds and zucchini

made for 1 but can easily be doubled, tripled, etc…


  • 2 cups basil leaves, washed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2-3 tablespoons sliced roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini, patted dry with paper towel.
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Combine basil leaves, garlic, almonds and olive oil in a food processor. Mix until everything is incorporated and it forms a paste – add more oil if it is too chunky. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then taste. Add more if desired.

2. Cook pasta according to package. When the pasta had 3 minutes remaining cooking time, add shredded zucchini to a dry saute pan that has been preheated on medium/high heat. Cook until the moisture has evaporated. Drain pasta. Add zucchini to draining pasta. Stir/toss (using tongs) to drain all water and incorporate zucchini and pasta together.

3. Add desired serving size to bowl and add 1 tablespoon of pesto at a time. I added 3 tablespoons to mine – I like pesto! Sprinkle cheese on top. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve as quickly as possible!

March 15, 2011

Food: Chicken Tetrazinni

Pasta + chicken + broccoli + mushroom sauce = a comforting weekday meal. Instead of using milk or cream, I used chicken stock. Yep, I was thinking. Fewer calories without compromising the taste! Win. Win.

Makes enough for 4 hearty portions with leftovers!


  • 2 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1-2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 8oz. container of mushrooms, pre-sliced is nice
  • 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoons thyme
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 2 1/3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup¬†Parmesan¬†cheese, grated
  • 1/2 lb.¬†linguine¬†(any shape/kind of pasta will work)
  • 2 medium to large heads of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • optional: 1/2 cup frozen peas (I didn’t add them this time)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees – if roasting chicken. If not, preheat oven during step 3.

1. Either use left over cooked chicken that you already have or roast some for 34-40 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Let cool before you shred.

2. Melt butter in medium to large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and a sprinkle of both salt and pepper. Saute for about 5-7 minutes, stirring every once in a while. Add thyme and flour. Stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes to cook out flour taste. Add wine, stirring constantly – mixture will be thick. Add 2 cups of stock while stirring. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook until the liquid is somewhat thick.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package, strain and keep warm.

4. Turn heat to medium low. Add cream cheese and Parmesan to mushroom stock mixture. Stir occasionally. Might have to break up the cream cheese while it is melting. Cook until cream cheese is well combined, then turn heat off.

5. Combine cooked pasta, broccoli, shredded chicken and mushroom cheese mixture together into a deep oven proof dish. Mixing it in the dish works best- so you don’t have more dishes to do! Add 1/3 cups of the rest of the stock to the top. Cover with foil and cook until piping hot. About 30 minutes.

*if you add peas, add them with the broccoli- they don’t have to be thawed – since they will cook in the oven.

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