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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Candied Sweet Potato Casserole


Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

With the holidays quickly approaching, visions of dinner menus have been dancing in my head. One of my staples is a sweet potato casserole which always receives rave reviews, and I just realized I haven’t posted it. I took the traditional marshmallow-topped dish, and took it to a new level (in my humble opinion). I also decided to use canned sweet potatoes instead of fresh strictly to save on time.

Ingredients

  • 2 (29 oz.) cans sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice (if you’re not an OJ fan, you can use skim milk)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Topping

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup butter, egg, white sugar, oj, marshmallows, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Transfer to a lightly greased 9″x13″ baking dish.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine topping ingredients and mix well (using your hands) to a consistency of course meal. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until topping is crisp and lightly browned.

Gourmet Sweet Potato Casserole

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Japanese Cucumber Salad


Japanese Cucumber Salad

I love the cucumber salads at sushi restaurants, and a while back, made a copycat version at home. After recently buying an English cucumber for another recipe (which I can’t even remember now), I thought about making this super simple and yummy side dish again tonight. And when I say simple, I mean one of the easiest dishes you can make. If you like cucumbers, and enjoy vinegar flavor, you will love this refreshing salad.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cucumbers, or 1 large English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted *

Directions

  1. Rinse cucumber(s) and pat dry. (I like to keep the skin on, but you can take it off, if you’d like.)
  2. Slice thinly using a food processor or sharp knife.
  3. Place in a double layer of paper towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess moisture.
  4. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve.
  5. Add the cucumbers and sesame seeds; toss well to combine.
  6. Serve immediately.

* To toast sesame seeds, heat a small dry skillet over low heat. Add sesame seeds and stir constantly until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

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Fresh Corn OFF The Cob


Fresh Corn

Believe it or not, I’ve never stripped corn to get fresh kernels… until today. I came across a recipe for linguine with fresh vegetables, which included corn, and although it looked delicious, I’ve been veering away from pasta as of late. So, I thought I’d make the corn and either eat it solo or add it to a salad. This is a quick and easy recipe, which yields super yummy corn!

Ingredients

  • 1 ear of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Remove the leaves and “silk” from the ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels — either stand ear upright on its base and shave downward, or lay on its side on a cutting board to slice off the kernels.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add corn, garlic and salt and pepper to pan.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 3-5 minutes until tender.
  5. Serve hot or cold.

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Avocado and Mango Salad


Prior to dressing & cilantro
Prior to dressing & cilantro

I recently had dinner at my neighborhood sushi restaurant, and remembered the last time I ate there was when my best friend was visiting over Memorial Day weekend. We ordered their mango and avocado salad, which was seriously amazing. I didn’t order it this time (sigh), but kept thinking about it after I got home, and decided to make a similar version after a trip to Trader Joe’s the following day. There is so much flavor in this quick fruit salad, not to mention, it’s extremely healthy. Two days later, I’m still enjoying it!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 mangos, cubed
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 8-10 plum or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced

Directions

  1. In a large serving bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in oil.
  2. Toss in mangoes, avocado and tomatoes to coat.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Mango & Avocado Salad

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Sautéed Kale


I realize this recipe may not be as exciting as some of my others, but knowing that it is a superfood, should entice you to try it (if you already haven’t). The skinny on this leafy green is that Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. It’s available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. So… with all that being said, eat your Kale!

This recipe is super easy to prepare and adds some really nice flavor.

Sauteed Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock (can use 1/2 cup water if desired)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar (can substitute balsamic)

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and let them sizzle a bit in the oil.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored.
  4. Add the stock and kale, and toss to combine.
  5. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all (most) of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and add vinegar.

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Maple Glazed Carrots


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope today finds you blessed with an abundance of love, happiness, and of course, food. This year, I’m having a very low-key day by celebrating the holiday at home with just my pet family, but I’m still planning on having a scrumptious dinner with the traditional fixin’s. I always make carrots as one of my side dishes, and usually cook them with some honey, but decided to try them with maple syrup last night. I only taste-tested a couple, as I’m saving them for today’s “big” feast, but they were amazing. And, the fact that there’s only four ingredients and are super easy to make, is an added bonus!

Ingredients

  • Approximately 25 baby carrots
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Directions

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add carrots and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain & set aside.
  2. Combine butter, 1/4 cup water, and maple syrup  in large skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. When butter is melted, mix in carrots and cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Cook until most of liquid evaporates, stirring frequently, approximately 8 minutes.
  5. Uncover, stir, and cook one more minute.
  6. Enjoy!

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Cornbread and Bacon Muffin’ Stuffin


I was watching The Chew last Friday (again) and saw Carla Hall & Daphne Oz make this incredible muffin stuffing recipe, and decided this was going to be on menu this year since I’m just cooking for one (me). I really love the idea of individual servings, and the fact that you can customize these babies when serving a group. The original recipe calls for using sausage, but I substituted bacon since I had some in the fridge. I also halved the recipe, which produced six “muffins”, but am giving you the ingredients to make a dozen. I made these tonight to test them out, and have to say, they’re seriously delicious! I plan on reheating them tomorrow in the oven to accompany the rest of my turkey day meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups prepared cornbread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 thick slices of bacon
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup red onion (small diced)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Scallions
  • 1 cup celery ribs (small diced)
  • 1/2 cup red pepper (small diced)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup Swanson’s chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh Sage
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Have the cornbread in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, remove it & break into pieces to the bowl of cornbread.
  4. Add the butter to the pan and then toss in the onions, scallions, celery and red pepper.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the vegetables to the bowl. Then, add the chicken stock, the seasonings, milk, and egg. Toss lightly to combine.
  7. Butter the muffin tins and then spoon the cornbread in. Compress the muffins and then add more stuffing on top.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from tins.

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Corn Pudding


Surprisingly, I had never tried corn pudding until recently, and am a little sad it took me so many years to discover it. Most of the recipes I found were baked dishes, which I may try at some point, but I wanted something with more of a creamy consistency like I had in July and that was prepared on the stove top. I came across one from McCormick & Schmick’s, which was served with King Salmon and sautĂ©ed spinach, and since my first experience with corn pudding was paired with salmon also, I knew this was the one I wanted to make. I adjusted the recipe (and preparation) a bit, and am so pleased with how it turned out. If you’re a fan of corn, then you’ll surely love this.

Corn pudding served with steak and baby potatoes

 

Ingredients

  • 1 can whole-kernel sweet corn (I would’ve used fresh corn from the cob, but didn’t have any on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add drained corn and sugar.
  2. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
  3. Remove corn from pan & place into a bowl, set aside.
  4. Using same pan, add milk and slowly whisk in cornmeal.
  5. Add the cooked corn, jalapeños, and red peppers.
  6. Bring to a boil to thicken, while continuing to stir.
  7. Once thickened to desired consistency, remove from heat and add salt.
  8. Serve immediately with your favorite dish.

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