Monthly Archives: November 2016

Party Pasta

Ok, so whenever I have people over I like to make pasta, because it is the easiest thing to make for a crowd. We tend to have people over a lot–mainly because mama doesn’t want to drink and drive, and having the luxury of a closet full of pj’s to change into when your jeans are cutting off your fupa is delightful. Pasta is also a great way to entertain people pretty inexpensively, so you won’t break the bank! You will, however, break the scale if you eat this all by yourself, so make sure to share with friends.


Pecan Pesto Toasted Orrechiete with Broccolini and Italian Turkey Sausage

Serves 6

  • 1 box of orrechiete pasta
  • 2 stalks broccolini
  • 2 cups of basil
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ c. toasted pecans
  • 2 lbs. of ground turkey
  • 1 tbs. Italian seasoning

Preheat your oven to 400

Step 1: Steam your broccoli. I infuse my water with a little bit of crushed garlic and lemon and steam in a steamer basket, but you can just do a regular steam on the stovetop or microwave. Set the broccolini aside for later. **You can use regular broccoli as well, I just prefer broccolini b/c the stalks are tasty

Step 2: Cook your pasta according to the box directions, minus one minute

Step 3: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto. Toast your nuts and let them cool. In a food processor, combine the basil, 2 cloves of garlic, parmesan, nuts salt, pepper and drizzle the oil in. Once the pesto is done, set aside.

Step 4: Combine the turkey and Italian seasoning. Heat 1 tbs. olive in a large pan. Add the turkey and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until done. Since ground turkey has very little fat, I don’t drain the meat—you would want to drain if you used a different meat.

Step 6: Drain your pasta, but make sure you save 1.5 cups of the water that you cooked the pasta in (chef’s secrets!) and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Spread out on a sheet pan. Put it in the oven for 8 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes. This gives the pasty a nutty flavor and a great texture!

Step 7: Combine everything together, including the pasta water, and enjoy! I add lots of crushed red pepper and a bit of parmesan!


Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Crispy Broccoli


I’m clearly on a meatball kick, and these might be my new favorites. If you want to mix it up and add in little pearls of mozzarella to the balls and they’d be even cheesier. You’ll love my balls, I promise….

Serves 4, total cooking time 45 minutes

Tools needed: blender, skillet, baking pan, microplane or lemon zester

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

2  tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. tomato paste
2 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch basil
1 cup fresh spinach
4 cloves peeled garlic
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 lbs ground chicken breast
1 cup Italian panko breadcrumbs (if store doesn’t have Italian seasoned panko, regular panko is ok)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package whole wheat linguine, or other whole wheat long pasta
1 jar tomato sauce-I prefer Michaels of Brooklyn or Rao’s tomato basil
Blend the first ten ingredients in a blender until the spinach and basil are incorporated. The result will look like a thick pesto. Combine the “pesto” with the ground chicken, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs until well mixed. Be sure not to overwork the meat, which will result in a less than desirable texture. Heat oven to 350 and Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Using wet hands, roll the meatballs in to golf ball sized balls and place in the pan. If you have the time, it is best to let the meat sit in the fridge for 2 hours before balling it, but it is definitely no necessary-just makes the meatballs easier to shape. Bake for 20 minutes then remove from the oven. Move all the meatballs into the center of the pan so that they are as close together as possible. Add a spoonful of tomato sauce to each meatball, the top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted. In a skillet, heat the remaining tomato sauce (there will be a bit of extra) until simmering. Once the meatballs are done, transfer to the sauce skillet.


clump the balls together and add sauce


add cheese to your saucy balls

add cheese to your saucy balls


Crispy Panko Broccoli


1 package chopped broccoli (1 lb.)

1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs. butter

Juice of ½ lemon. *Zest the lemon first and set aside for garnish

½ C. panko breadcrumbs (you’ll have extra from the recipe above)

½ C. parmesan cheese

½ tsp. garlic salt


Combine the butter, olive oil, garlic salt and lemon juice together in a large bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, until the butter is melted. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cheese,  then toss in the broccoli and combine with the breadcrumb mixture.  Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and spread the broccoli evenly across the pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350, stirring halfway through. Top with the zest of the half lemon.

Takeout Tuesdays: Chinese Style


So, I’ve been craving good Chinese since my sister told me that she had ordered 96 dollars worth of Royal China for two people, and I’ve been trying to figure out what I would make for a few days. Since my husband has basically threatened to divorce me if I serve him roasted/grilled chicken ever again, I decided to do a beef dish. Turns out, I’m pretty legit with Asian cuisine. I didn’t make my own dumplings from scratch this time (I will try and remember how I made them in the past), but steaming them in a steamer basket makes them taste pretty close to restaurant style. Cut the recipes in half if you want to just make it for two. Or one….  you’ll have leftovers for you and the cat I assume you live with.

Total cooking time, 45 minutes. Additional ingredients/ equipment needed: 1 serving of dumplings from grocery store sushi section if wanted. Heavy bottomed pans (2) and a steaming basket for the dumplings if you want them.

Beef & Broccoli


Serves 4. Total cooking time 30 minutes.

  • 2 boneless ribeyes, excess outside fat trimmed
  • ¼ C. low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs. sambal olek (**use less, or none if you aren’t a fan of spice!)
  • 1 tbs. ginger paste (the kind you find near the herbs in the vegetable section
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 bag (1 lb) chopped broccoli, steamed for half the time the bag calls for
  • 2 chopped green onions (for garnish)
  • 1 tbs. toasted sesame seed (for garnish)
  • 2 tbs. high heat cooking oil (stir fry oil if they have it, if not, olive oil is fine)
  • 2 tbs. cold water
  • 1 tbs. cornstarch (whisk the water and cornstarch together to create a cornstarch slurry)

Cut the ribeyes into rectangular pieces, similar in size to Jolly Ranchers, about 1” long by ½” thick. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oil, sambal, ginger and garlic. Add the steak to the bowl and let it marinate for 10 minutes. If you have time, let the meat sit in the sauce for several hours, but that is not necessary. While the meat is marinating, heat 2 tbs. of stir fry oil in a pan until hot, but not smoking. Once the oil is hot, test a piece of the meat. If it sizzles loud, the pan is hot enough. Add in the meat (use tongs or your hands to add the meat in, as you want to save the marinade). Cook the beef for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the broccoli and cook for another 3 minutes. Add in  the remaining marinade and the cornstarch slurry and stir to combine well. Simmer for another 3  minutes until the sauce turns thick and the meat is cooked through. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Quinoa Fried Rice


Serves 4, total cooking time 20 minutes

In a large pan, cook Asian veggie medley according to directions with 1 tbs. oil. As the vegetables are nearing completion, add in the 4 eggs and scramble in the same plan. I usually make a well in the center and spray cooking spray then add in the eggs and scramble. Once the egg is scrambled, add in the quinoa, butter and soy sauce. Stir to combine, and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the quinoa is hot. I topped ours with an additional fried egg for looks.

I like to serve the dish with some steamed store bought dumplings. The dumplings can be found in the sushi section in the deli area. I prefer pork dumplings. Simply steam for 5 minutes and they will be heated through.