For my birthday (which was many moons ago now) my Mister bought me a gift card to this amazing European market in Boulder. I finally went shopping and purchased some orecchiette imported from Italy. Now if you’ve never had orecchiette, think of them as tiny pasta bowls.
In Italian‘orecchio‘ means ‘ear,’ and the suffix ‘etto’ means ‘small’ because these resemble the shape of small ears. Which, I admit, sounds a bit weird at first, but after you take a bite of orecchiette brimming with delicious sauce, you’ll understand why this pasta is so good.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the green beans and peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and vegetables and return them to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the sausage, pesto, Parmesan, and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and vegetables and toss to combine (add more cooking water if the pasta seems dry).
Le sigh… it’s been a very hot summer. Even still, I feel like it’s flown by. It’s almost the end of Summer now. Do you know what that means? It’s almost the end of zucchini season too. Say a little prayer for these guys and devour ’em.
Zucchini alone can be a bit bland. They’re due for roasting, or sauteeing, or do what I did here, and stuff them with oodles of deliciousness.
I found these San Marzano Italian plum tomatoes at the European Market and I had an overwhelming urge to make red sauce… immediately! It was like someone possessed my body , sped my car home, chopped onions and made this sauce. Before I knew it, I had amazing marinara sauce to use for these zucchinis.
Look how happy she is. That’s because she makes some damn fine tomatoes! I have to say, after I made marinara sauce with these tomatoes, I’ve never wanted any other marinara sauce ever again. They’re THAT good!
My marinara recipe changes a bit every time I make it, but the basics never change:
I’ve also added balsamic vinegar, cayenne, bell peppers, and mushrooms to my sauce depending on my mood.
Make your sauce, stuff some zucchinis then save the remaining sauce for another day. The flavors really meld after a day or two. And of course, you can use store bought red sauce for this recipe if you’d like a quicker version.
Mushrooms, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, optional
For the Rest:
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Toss in onions, garlic, red pepper (if using) and salt. Saute on medium/low heat until onions begin to sweat. Add in any optional vegetables. When onions are clear, pour in red wine and turn up the heat to boil of any alcohol. Add tomatoes, reamaining seasonings, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh basil, cover and let simmer on very low for 30-60 minutes. Stir your sauce occasionally or it will stick to the bottom of your pot.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the tough ends of the zucchinis off and cut each in half, lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet sliced side-up and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon marinara sauce into each boat and bake the boats for 15 minutes. After the zucchinis have baked for 15 minutes, sprinkle the cheese over the zucchinis and return to oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 10 minutes longer.
*times do not include cook time for homemade marinara sauce
Happy Labor Day! Are you enjoying your weekend? I’ve been so busy this weekend that I almost feel like I need a weekend after this weekend! It’s a good thing I only have four work days this week. I have a feeling that next weekend will be very similar.
Peach season is rockin’ and rollin’ here in Colorado. There are fruit stands on almost every corner with loads of freshly picked peaches. These peaches are absolutely divine by themselves, but I have food A.D.D. and wanted to try cooking with them too. Something so deliciously sweet needs something smokey and salty to balance everything out, don’t you think? What a perfect opportunity to slow-roast some pork shoulder.
*drool* Okay, I confess… I’ll use any excuse to make slow-roasted pulled pork. You really don’t have to twist my arm there. I know this sounds a bit odd, but keep an adventurous mind here folks. The combination of these savory morsels alongside perfectly juicy peaches will leave you with a mouthful of heaven my friends.
I added some cilantro for some brightness and a bit of shredded cheddar to bind everything together (Chedda’ makes everything betta’). I served mine with BBQ sauce on the side, which I personally enjoyed but Mister was mowing these down without any sauce. I must have done something right. I love it when I do that.
Spray a large frying pan with a bit of cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Prepare your quesadilla by sprinkling cheddar across one half of the tortilla and ten spread some pork, cilantro and lots of fresh peaches around the same half of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and place it on the warm pan.
Use a heavy pan (cast-iron if you have it) and lay the pan across the top of the quesadilla to weigh it down. You'll get a nice crispy crust on the tortilla this way. Give it a couple minutes and remove the heavy pan and check the bottom of the quesadilla. Flip it over when it is golden brown (and adjust your heat as necessary). Place the heavy pan back on top of the quesadilla and wait a couple more minutes. Once both sides are browned, remove the quesadilla. Set it aside and repeat these steps with the second quesadilla. Cut both quesadillas into fourths and serve with BBQ sauce.
Asian and citrus ingredients give these succulent grilled shrimp the extra oomph they need to make those taste buds really roar. These shrimp skewers are the bee’s knees! They are spicy, sweet, salty and creamy all at the same time. Did I just have a MOUTH-GASM? How embarrassing…
The marinating process is super simple and doesn’t take long at all. Save a little of this flavorful liquid to baste your plump shrimp while they’re getting their grill on. And if you have it handy, splash a little tequila in the bowl for an extra punch. POW!
zest of 1 lime and it's juice, plus wedges for garnish (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 small scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce, or to taste
a splash of tequila, optional
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to an hour.
Soak wooden skewers in water at least 20 minutes (or use metal skewers) and skewer shrimp, reserving some of the marinade. Heat a grill to medium-high.
Grill shrimp, turning once, until just opaque, about 4 minutes per side. Brush some of the marinade on the shrimp occasionally. Once cooked, transfer to a serving platter and garnish with extra lime wedges and chives.
Are you looking for something new to make for brunch this weekend? Try this scramble on for size. With the right method and seasonings, this dish will mock scrambled eggs.
This is one of those recipes that is super versatile too. It’s great for those days when you want to use up some leftover produce odds and ends from the previous week. Add or omit cheese to make this a vegan dish. Wrap in a flour tortilla for an easy breakfast burrito. Serve with breakfast potatoes for a heartier meal. Experiment with different vegetable combinations.
1 cup diced vegetables (I used broccoli, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes)
1 block tofu, drained and pressed
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Shredded mozzarella, Parmesan or feta (or nutritional yeast)
Dash of turmeric, optional (this will make your tofu look more like real eggs)
Using either your hands or a fork, crumble the pressed tofu.
Sautee onion, vegetables and crumbled tofu in oil for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium and allow to cook 5-7 more minutes, stirring frequently and adding more oil if needed.
Serve as is, wrapped in a flour tortilla, or on top of a pile of breakfast potatoes.
Nutritional information based on a recipe that does not include dairy or potatoes.
I had a craving for tacos the other day but I wanted to try a lighter alternative to your typical, high-fat taco shell. BAM! This lettuce taco wrap was born. Just like when you add shredded lettuce to any taco, the lettuce adds a fresh, crispness to the otherwise heavy ingredients. Mind you, these aren’t “walking tacos” in the sense that they aren’t finger-licking messy. Depending on your lettuce, you may need one or two pieces to keep everything in there. Keep lots of napkins handy!
What’s the benefit to using pieces of lettuce as your shell? You don’t feel as heavy after eating one. So do what I do, and have two or three or even more. Plus, I always say that anything messy is just plain tasty.
Pad Thai is one of my favorite dishes to order at a Thai restaurant. For some reason I can never quite master this recipe at home. I don’t know what their secret is but this time around I came pretty darn close.
Most Pad Thai sauces call for tamarind, sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, tomato paste and chili pepper. Unfortunately I could not find tamarind to make my own Pad Thai sauce at my average grocery store, so I had to use Pad Thai sauce from the store. Maybe that’s where the real magic resides.
1/2 package of Thai rice noodles, fettuccine width (8 oz)
1/2 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 package of extra firm tofu (7 oz), sliced into 1″ long matchsticks
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pad thai sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro and/or Thai basil, chopped
1/2 cup Chinese chives, thinly sliced into 2″ long matchsticks
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
Ground black pepper and red crush pepper to taste
Soak the rice noodles in lukewarm water for 7-10 minutes, and then drain and set aside. The noodles should be flexible and solid, not soft and completely expanded. The noodles will continue to cook when you start stir-frying so if in doubt, undersoak.
Heat up your wok or large pot over medium-high heat. Fry the peanuts in the dry pot until toasted and then set aside for later use.
Leave the heat on medium-high and add the oil to your wok. Mix in the garlic, shallots, and tofu and stir fry until they start to brown. Add the shrimp and sauté until pink.
Make room for the egg by pushing the shrimp and tofu to the edges of the wok, and crack the egg in the middle. Scramble the egg until almost completely cooked.
Add the noodles and the pad thai sauce to the wok. Stir quickly to avoid sticking. Mix in the bean sprouts, scallions, and cilantro/thai basil. You can set some herbs aside for garnish later. The noodles should be very soft and tangled. Add ground black pepper and red crushed pepper flakes to taste. Here is where you can tweak with more sauce, heat, sweetness, etc.
Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle the roasted peanuts on top. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with a lime wedge.
If you need to double the recipe, I’d recommend using two woks or two large pots, otherwise you will have noodles and bean sprouts flinging everywhere.
If you’re like me, sometimes you find yourself staring into your pantry or fridge and see something that inspires the heck out of your next meal. Today’s entrée was inspired by a can of artichoke hearts leftover from Mister’s Vegan Baked Ziti dish. I originally saw this recipe on Kate’s Framed Cooks blog and mentally bookmarked it.
The artichokes in this recipe soak up the lemon juice like little flavor-packed sponges. Who knew artichokes could hold so much bright citrus? They really freshen up otherwise dull chicken breasts. The hint of fresh thyme is a nice touch too – mostly because it gave me an excuse to go to the local greenhouse and buy myself a thyme plant. Double win.
It’s Saturday and I’m still exhausted from this previous week’s work. I need a vacation. After putting in another 10 hour day, Mister was kind enough to take over the kitchen. I saw this recipe on Skinny Taste and shared it with him. He did an amazing job with it. I’m quite proud actually. Now, if only I could get him to clean his room more often. One step at a time.
The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous this week. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m afraid the weather wont last. Every year for the last three years the midwest experiences their Spring thaw while Colorado gets hit hard with late-season snow storms. I thought I would get one last “winter-esque” recipe in before our thaw hits. Here’s hoping that Spring is just around the corner – I’m so excited to plant my fresh herb garden again this year!
Ragoût is a the French version of thick, hearty stew. Like any stew you can put just about whatever you want into the pot. I had some chicken sausage and leftover kidney beans so I threw those in here. The result was super satisfying and relatively low in fat content, which is always a nice bonus. Plus this is a perfect weeknight meal seeing that it only takes 30 minutes to complete.
My first memories of trying lobster were with my mom. Being a single, hard-working mother never stopped her from indulging in a lobster tail from time to time and if anyone deserved food luxury, she definitely did. I remember her telling me that you should always eat lobster drenched in drawn butter and morsel by morsel. I broke the rules here, so she is going to lose a little respect for me after she reads this one. Sorry mom, I love you!
I got the idea for this recipe on Framed Cooks. She used clams in her recipe but Mister and I got this smokin’ hot deal on lobster tails and I decided to try this recipe with the lobster meat instead. The result is rich in lobster and bright with vodka sauce – completely satisfying. Comfort seafood anyone?
2/3 cup heavy cream (or half & half to save on calories)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs or 2 slices of hearty bread, chopped in a food processor
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the lobster tails until they float and are pink in color. Remove the cooked lobster, remove the legs and shell and chop the meat into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Cook the pasta in the same pot of water, drain and set aside. Reserve about a half cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the vodka and tomatoes. Return the skillet to medium-low heat and simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Add cream, lemon juice and salt to taste and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the lobster meat and stir to combine.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta water to loosen, if needed. Cover and set aside.
In the meantime, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan until bubbling, then add the breadcrumbs. Stir until golden brown, about 4 minutes and cool slightly. Stir in parsley.
Omit the vodka sauce and use fresh cherry tomatoes and olive oil to save on calories and fat.
What a day! Mister and I were exhausted after a long night, a long day at work, and an intense few hours at the rec center. These flatbread pizzas were the perfect solution to satisfy our hunger, attend to our healthier eating styles and were easy enough to make without breaking the bank or using too many brain cells.
Like any pizza, this recipe is super versatile. Use whichever toppings you’d like. We used pre-made pizza sauce, cheese, fresh tomato, spinach, garlic and feta on ours. With vegetables, this tasty pizza adds up to less than 300 calories per serving (more if you use meat).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the wrap, spread it around and place the wrap directly on the oven rack to cook for 4 minutes. Carefully remove the wrap, add your sauce and your toppings. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the wrap is crunchy. Cut your pizza and enjoy.