Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad


Tri-color Rotini

I hope everyone had a happy and safe Fourth of July celebration with lots of delicious food. 🇺🇸 It’s been a while since I posted a new recipe (I’ve taken a little hiatus in the kitchen), and thought I’d share this one I made yesterday. It can be a nice main or side dish, and is yummy both warm or chilled. I kept this pretty simple which made it quick and easy, but you can add your favorite vegetables, and/or chicken or tofu… lots of possibilities. I used tricolor rotini, but feel to go with whatever pasta you’d like (bowtie, penne, small shells, etc.).

The sun-dried tomatoes are used to make a “pesto”, which I decided to do without the use of a food processor. It was a little more work, but I wanted chunkier bits incorporated into the salad and I think it was perfect.

This serves 3-4, so double the ingredients if needed.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. (about half a box) of tri-color rotini
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Basil, for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine your finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, garlic, olive oil and balsamic in a bowl and stir very well.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Drain pasta and reserve some of the cooking liquid.
  4. Toss the pasta with the tomato pesto, and season with salt & pepper, to taste.
  5. Fold in 1 1/2 oz. goat cheese, until melted and well incorporated, and add the cherry tomatoes.
  6. Crumble the remaining goat cheese and sprinkle on top.
  7. Garnish with fresh basil.

Sun-dried Tomato Rotini

 

 

Five Ingredient Chicken with Sweet and Spicy Broccoli


5 Ingredient Chicken and Sweet & Spicy Broccoli

I realize it’s been two whole months since I posted a recipe so am way overdue. I made this delicious meal last month, and it’s super easy to put together. I cooked the chicken on top of the stove, but you can definitely use the grill if that’s your preference.

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. chile paste (like Sambal Oelek)

Directions

  1. Preheat burner to high.
  2. Using 2 tbsp. olive oil, cook chicken for 4-5 minutes without moving them, then turn over and finish cooking on the other side.
  3. Transfer chicken to a small plate or bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, honey and chile paste in small saucepan. Stirring with a whisk, bring to a boil, and continue cooking for four minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken, as much or little as desired.

Sweet and Spicy Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. package of broccoli
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Directions

  1. Cook broccoli using your favorite method. (I prefer to steam)
  2. Combine all ingredients (except broccoli) in a small bowl, stir well and drizzle over broccoli.

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Honey Chipolte BBQ Chicken Sandwich


Honey-Chipolte BBQ Chix Sandwich

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July with your family and/or friends, and you got to indulge in some really good eats! I came across this recipe yesterday, and it looked so good, I just had to make it. I tweaked it just slightly to suit my taste, and it came out incredibly delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
  • 1 (7-oz.) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic 
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup canned tomato puree*
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 sandwich rolls
  • 1-2 slices Swiss cheese (or you favorite kind)

Directions

  1. Combine water, 1 tsp. cumin, 4 sliced garlic cloves, and chicken in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Drain, and place chicken on a cutting board. Cut chicken across grain into thin slices; keep warm.
  2. Remove 1 tbsp.  adobo sauce from can; set aside. Remove 1 chipotle chile from can; remove seeds, finely chop and set aside. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use. (If you want more heat, remove 2 tbsp. adobo sauce and use 2 chiles.)
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp. minced garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Add 1 tsp. cumin; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomato puree; cook 4 minutes or until mixture thickens to a paste-like consistency, stirring constantly. Stir in reserved 1 tbsp. adobo sauce, 1 chopped chipotle chile, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Add sliced chicken to sauce; simmer for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  4. Preheat broiler.
  5. Split rolls in half; arrange in a single layer, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until lightly toasted. Remove top halves of rolls from baking sheet. Divide chicken mixture evenly among bottom halves of rolls, and top chicken mixture evenly with cheese. Broil chicken-topped rolls 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven, top with roll halves and serve immediately.

* A substitution for tomato puree is to use 2 tbsp. of tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water.

Honey Chipolte BBQ Chick Sammy

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Baked Cod with Basil Chive Yogurt Sauce


Cod with Basil Chive Yogurt Sauce

Last weekend, I stopped at my neighborhood Smart & Final for just a few things, and decided to pick up some frozen Cod. I typically prefer my fish to be fresh, but when in a pinch (or I’m being lazy), I’ll grab some frozen. I wanted something light, but flavorful so perused a bunch of recipes for both fish and different types of sauces. I like this Cod dish as it has some crunch on the top while remaining healthy since it’s seared quickly then baked. As for the yogurt sauce, I find it be a nice complement to the fish in terms of flavor points and adding some additional protein. I suggest making the sauce first (directions further down) so it’s ready when the fish is done.

Ingredients 

  • 2 (6-ounce) cod fillets
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place the fillets on a sheet tray or rack so the fish can release its natural juices.
  2. Place the bread crumbs into a shallow dish.
  3. In a separate shallow dish, add 1 beaten egg. Season both sides of the fillet with salt and pepper. Once seasoned, brush the belly side of the cod with the egg. Dip the egg side into the panko bread crumbs.
  4. In a cast iron skillet, add grapeseed oil. Before placing fish into pan, make sure the skillet is very hot. Sear only 1 side of the fish (the side with the bread crumbs). Once the 1 side is seared, place the skillet in the oven for about 4-6 minutes until cooked. *If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use a regular skillet, then transfer to a greased baking dish, and increase the time to about 10-12 minutes.
  5. Once the fish is cooked, flip it over and add the lemon juice, butter and sprig of thyme. Let melt and baste the fish with the juice.
  6. Remove from pan, place onto plate and top with sauce.

Chive Basil Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. garlic powder, depending on your garlic preference
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • The finely grated zest and juice of a 1/2 small lemon
  • 4 tsp. of dried parsley
  • A small fistful (about 3 tbsp.) of fresh basil, stems removed, chopped
  • A thumb-thick bundle of fresh chives, chopped (or approx. 1 tbsp. dried)
  • 1/2 cup thick natural yogurt; use full-fat Greek yogurt if calories aren’t an issue
  • 1 tbsp. good-quality light mayonnaise, such as Hellman’s (optional)
  • Salt and milled black pepper

Directions

  1. Stir mustard, garlic, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl, mix/mush well.
  2. Add parsley, then very finely chop the basil and chives, and add them to the bowl.
  3. Stir in the yogurt and mayonnaise (if using), and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Seared & Baked Cod

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Pennette Lasagna


Pennette Lasagna

A couple of weeks ago, a coworker friend of mine brought me in some of his homemade lasagna and it was incredibly delicious. It took me a few meals to finish it as I like to eat pasta sparingly; however, when it was gone, it left me yearning for more, so I decided to make some and improvise with the ingredients I had on hand, which included pennette pasta. If you’re not familiar with pennette, they’re simply a shorter and thinner version of penne pasta, and have ends that are cut at an angle. I threw this together without doing a lot of measuring (and made a small serving), but am providing my best guesstimate on the amounts I used. To be honest, I was a little nervous how it would turn out, but much to my delight, it was truly scrumptious. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 container (around 11 oz.) of ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup 2% mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 tsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic 
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups pennette pasta
  • 2-3 cups prepared marinara or pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 cup Mexican Style Four Cheese Blend

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta, cook for 8 minutes (they won’t be completely done but they finish cooking in the oven).
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. Mix together ricotta and egg, then add mozzarella, parmesan, basil, oregano, garlic and salt.
  5. Spray a small baking dish with Pam (I used a small 5″ x 7″).
  6. Put a layer of marinara in the bottom of your pan, sprinkle some red pepper flakes and then 1/3 of the noodles (lay them flat), spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles, put a layer of sauce on top of the cheese, add pepper flakes, top with 1/2 of noodles, repeat process again, and finish with remaining sauce and the Mexican 4 Cheese (there should be 3 layers).
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  8. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Creamy, Dreamy Chili Mac & Cheese Casserole


Chili Mac & Cheese

I decided since I was off work today, and it was a long & grueling week due to our fiscal year-end crunch, some comfort food was definitely in order. I was thrilled and honored when I was asked by Ragú® earlier this week to create my own spin on their Chili Mac recipe, so I chose to add the ooey-gooey goodness of cheese, both Colby Jack and cream cheese, in addition to some sautĂ©ed chopped onions, to turn it into a hearty, creamy casserole masterpiece. This is serious comfort food at its best! If you’re a meat eater, and enjoy mac and cheese, you will truly love this dish!

Feel free to substitute cheddar if you’d prefer, and/or to turn up the heat on this dish, you can increase the chili powder to two tablespoons or add some red pepper flakes.

Tra-Dish Logo

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked & drained
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 jar (1 lb. 8 oz.) Ragu® Old World Style® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook onions for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring and breaking up into small pieces.
  5. Stir in pasta sauce, chili powder, and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
  6. Stir in cream cheese until blended, then add cooked pasta, and 1 cup of Colby Jack cheese, and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 baking dish, and cook in oven for 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  8. Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese, and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese begins to melt.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Creamy Chili Mac & Cheese Casserole

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Rigatoni Lasagna Pie


Rigatoni Lasagna PIe

One of the things I truly love about Facebook, aside from being able to stay connected to family & friends both near and far, is the food pictures and/or recipes which inspire me to get into the kitchen and try them out. Most recently, a childhood friend posted a photo of her rigatoni pie, and it was seriously so pretty, I had to try to make it for that reason alone (well, it also looked delicious). I searched online and found quite a few recipes, and went with two I wanted to modify. Since I knew this pie was going to be a bit labor-intensive, and in the interest of time, I decided to use store-bought pasta sauce instead of making my own, but by all means, if you make a mean sauce, go ahead and use that. I am thrilled to report that this pie turned out amazing and absolutely scrumptious!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rigatoni pasta
  • 1 jar (24 oz.) pasta sauce (I used Bertoli Italian Sausage Garlic & Romano)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
Fill up the springform pan with all of your cooked rigatoni
Fill up the springform pan with all of your cooked rigatoni
Ricotta cheese mixture ready to pipe into rigatoni
Ricotta cheese mixture ready to pipe into rigatoni

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente (12 minutes for my pasta). Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water and drain again. Stir in 1 tbsp of the olive oil and set aside. (This keeps the pasta from sticking.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Gently stir 1 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese into the cooked rigatoni.
  4. Stand the rigatoni up vertically in a greased 9″ springform pan, using the entire pound of cooked pasta.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and oregano until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Use a pastry bag, or put a zip lock bag inside a tall glass, and fill the bag with the cheese mixture. Close the bag and snip the corner of the bag and pipe a decent amount into each noodle (don’t fill all the way).
  7. After piping the noodles with the cheese mixture, carefully pour about 3/4 of the jar of sauce over the whole top and push down as much as possible. (I wanted to save some sauce to heat up and use later for leftovers.)
  8. Top with the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  9. Put the springform pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has fully melted.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow it to stand in the springform pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the pie from the pan, then remove the sides.
  11. Slice the pie and garnish with parsley, if desired.

A piece of the "pie"

Rigatoni Pie

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Slow Cooker Beef Ribs – Set It & Forget It


Slow Cooker Beef Ribs

I fully realize this is my third recipe for boneless beef ribs, but figure everyone can use another great and easy crock pot recipe, right? This literally takes about ten minutes to throw everything together prior to cooking. The sauce is just slightly different from my other recipes, but equally as delicious. You can use your favorite barbecue sauce, but I think homemade is always better. A lot of people like searing their ribs prior to cooking them (including me) as it gives a nice, caramelized crust, but it’s not a “must-do”. I’ve including the instructions on how to do that, but feel free to skip it if you desire.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Chuck boneless beef short ribs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 oz. (half can) tomato paste
  • 6 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (or 1 tsp. onion powder)
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (if searing the ribs)

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat
  2. Season ribs with salt & pepper, and sear on both sides until lightly browned.
  3. Mix all ingredients in crock pot until brown sugar & salt are dissolved.
  4. Add ribs & stir to coat. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4.

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Lean Crescent Taco Pie


Crescent Taco Pie

I regularly receive emails from Pillsbury, and after seeing a yummy one for a Crescent Taco Bake, I decided to buy the few (missing) ingredients I needed. I made some modifications, like I normally do, to make this a bit healthier/lighter and added a couple of ingredients I thought would increase the tasty factor; however, you can omit these if you choose. This is a good basic recipe which can be suited to your own preference, if you have a favorite way to make tacos. Feel free to add jalapeños, beans (refried or black), onions, etc.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 lb. lean (at least 90%) ground beef
  • 3/4 cup salsa (I use medium heat)
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning mix (from 1-oz package)
  • 1/2 can Rotel Mexican Lime & Cilantro (optional)
  • 1 cup light shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Shredded lettuce, (optional)
  • Diced tomato, as desired
  • Black olives, as desired
  • Avocado slices/cubes (optional)
  • Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles. Place in ungreased 9-inch square pan or 10-inch pie plate; press over bottom and up sides to form crust. (I had some overlapping, so removed and threw away some of the dough.)
  2. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in salsa, Rotel (if using) and taco seasoning mix; simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Spoon meat mixture in crust-lined pan; sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake 18 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted.
  5. Serve topped with diced tomato, black olives and lettuce (if desired), and avocado and plain greek yogurt on the side.

Taco Bake

 

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Mustard Maple Glazed Chicken With Apples & Leeks


Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken with Apples & Leeks

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while… I did a little traveling to South Florida and went on the most amazing adventure trip to Costa Rica with a ginormous group of friends. Truly EPIC! But I’m back now, and have a scrumptious recipe to share (courtesy of my Mom). I was very anxious to see how the apples would mesh in this dish, and honestly, was blown away when it was done!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 crisp, sweet apple, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. coarse ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat large sauté pan on medium.
  2. Add 1 tbsp. oil to pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in pan; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until well browned.
  3. Add leeks, apples, and garlic to chicken; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until leeks begin to soften. Reduce heat on pan to low.
  4. Combine broth, syrup, mustard, vinegar, and thyme, then add to chicken; simmer 2-3 minutes or until mixture thickens and chicken is 165°F.
  5. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes to rest.
  6. Slice chicken, serve and enjoy!

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