Category Archives: recipes

Walnut Zucchini Pasta

Last week I put together a little vegetarian dinner for some friends, and I figured I’d share it here since I haven’t shared a recipe in a  while (mostly so I can have record of it when we want to replicate it!)

This is a summer time pasta dish with nice color and wonderful flavor. We’re not even vegetarians, but the artichokes and walnuts contribute such a nice heartiness, it can easily stand alone as a meal!

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Walnut Zucchini Pasta

serves 8-10

1 16 oz pkg linguine pasta, cooked and drained

2 large zucchinis, thinly cut into half moon shapes

1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup olive oil soaked sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

4 oz crumbled feta

3-4 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

fresh oregano, for garnish

grated parmesan, for garnish

Directions:

Cook linguine according to package. Drain and set aside. Heat walnuts with salt and pepper in large skillet until lightly browned. Remove from pan. Add 1-2 Tbsp olive oil until heated. Saute zucchini with salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and artichokes, cooking another 1-2 minutes. Add mixture to drained pasta, stirring to combine. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and walnuts. Add balsamic vinegar and olive oil, increasing oil amount if dry. Garnish with parmesan and oregano.

Serve warm to room temperature.

Enjoy!

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Birthday (A Cheesecake Review)

My birthday was over a week ago. I turned 28 on the 28th of January (something I looked forward to all of my childhood) while I happened to be 28 weeks pregnant. I think it’s safe to say that will never happen again!

It was a really wonderful weekend full of planned celebration: an upscale dinner out, an evening in with dear friends, and a low-key family gathering. He even got me a retro desk fan for our room!

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He knows me so well…it’s beautiful and exactly what I wanted! And this thing is legit! The fan blades are metal and, as you can see, there is little to no protection from the encasement. Definitely not a fan that can go in the kids’ room. (It turns out it also might be dangerous when I’m sleep walking. This was not considered when purchased.)

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I’m totally thrilled!

Anyway, I actually wanted to dedicate a post to the unbelievable cheesecake that he made.

love cheesecake.

Because of this, I requested a traditional NY style cheesecake for my birthday a few years ago. Jonathan is a great cook, but more of a cook than a baker (not that he’s bad at baking). It was his first attempt at cheesecake, and while I thought it was just fine and totally edible, he was so disappointed with himself.

That’s why, when I requested a cheesecake again this year, he was hesitant. I knew it would be a great chance to redeem himself, though. I knew he had it in him.

This is what I chose:

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A Lemon White Chocolate Cheesecake. Oh my, my, my, my, my, my. Let me tell you, it was good.

Let me also put a disclaimer out there that while it may not be the quickest or easiest thing to make, it is worth it! This recipe has a five star rating.

The recipe is from Taste of Home, found here.

We did a little research beforehand and learned two things about making the perfect cheesecake:

1) Make sure the cream cheese and eggs are really room temperature before you combine them. (We set ours out the night before.) Apparently, it really is crucial for creaminess and preventing cracks. This may freak some of you out, but let me assure you that the cake cooks for quite a while. No one got sick…that’s all I’m saying. And creamy, it was.

2) Placing the spring form pan in a bath of water ensures even heat distribution and also prevents cracks. We wrapped the bottom and sides of the pan in double foil before placing in our broiler pan and filling it with about an inch of water (the only thing we had large enough for the pan to fit). It turns out, our recipe called for that, but we were planning to do the water bath regardless because of what we’d read.

Here’s how ours turned out (garnished with lemon rind, white chocolate chips, and blackberries):

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You all know by now that I’m not known for my photography skills, but it looked as perfect as a magazine in real life.

More importantly, it was soo good; everybody who tasted it loved it.

And as far as Jonathan regaining confidence in his cheesecake making abilities, I think it was mission accomplished! (Just glad I could help him out! Ha!)

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Turkey Avocado Open-face Sandwich with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Garlic Aioli

We had a little experimentation going on in the kitchen at our house today and I thought I’d share it!

I present to you:

Turkey Avocado Open-face Sandwich with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Garlic Aioli

Let me tell you, it was GOOD.

Ingredients:

1/2 French Baguette, sliced lengthwise

1/4 pound of sliced roasted turkey breast

1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced

sliced sharp cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

2 fresh garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes

olive oil

salt, pepper, and paprika

Slice baguette and avocado, and set aside. Preheat oven to broil.

Place sun-dried tomatoes in small container (we used a coffee mug) and drizzle with olive oil, adding salt and pepper. Allow to soak (this will plump up the tomatoes) over 10-15 minutes. Chop into smaller pieces and add back to oil.

Mince garlic cloves in another small bowl. Add mayonnaise, and a dash of salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix together.

Put baguette slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread garlic mixture on each side of sliced baguette. Add tomatoes and oil. Next, layer the turkey and top sandwich with sliced cheddar.

Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Top with avocado and s&p.

Serves 2 people.

Mmmmm…

A few amendments we’d have for the next time we make this:

I think baking the sandwich for 5-10 minutes at a lower temperature before broiling it would help to heat all of the ingredients better (and make it gooey-ier).

Place the avocado before the cheese. In general, we prefer raw avocado, but I think the cheese will protect the avocado from too much heat (and make it easier to eat).

I hope you make this. We will again. And soon. It’s so yummy. 🙂

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Cheddar Beer Soup and Green Chicken Salad

It’s recipe time again!

First, let me say that I need a better camera for food pictures. I hesitate to even post pictures because my camera sucks. I’m just telling you like it is. Anyway, please don’t hold it against these recipes. I wouldn’t share gross recipes with you.

So, I know it’s been a hundred degrees and all, but I was thinking I’d share an excellent recipe for soup. Who’s with me? Just save it for later if you can’t stand the thought of eating soup in July. 🙂

I got this recipe from my friend, Sarah, and it’s a keeper at our house. I had tried a few beer and cheese soup recipes before, but this one is by far the creamiest.  (I said creamiest not healthiest, just to be clear.)

Cheddar and Beer Soup

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

2 small (not baby) carrots, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups whole milk

12 oz beer (any lager is fine, but nothing dark)

3 cups grated cheddar

1.5 tsp salt

0.5 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

Chop onion, celery, and carrots. Saute veggies and garlic in butter until soft and onion is translucent. Approximately 10 minutes. Add flour, stirring to make a paste. Next, add the chicken broth slowly, stirring to thin the “paste”. Cook for approximately 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Once broth is heated, add beer, cooking until there is no foam left (usually about 20 minutes). Then, pour the whole milk and heat (but do not boil). Stir in grated cheese until all is melted and soup is hot. Add spices to taste.

Feeds 4-6 people. This soup would be really yummy with some whole grain beer bread!

Okay, on to recipe #2. Think of it as an ode to summer. Sort of the opposite of recipe #1 (although, they would be tasty paired together).

This one comes from my neighbor (and friend), Lisa. It’s a delicious and refreshing take on chicken salad. The problem is, I don’t really have (any) measurements. Just have fun with it. Go crazy. Trust your cooking instincts. 🙂

Green Chicken Salad

shredded or chopped chicken (rotisserie, boiled, or grilled. maybe 2 cups)

ripe avocado, diced (1 or so)

green onion, chopped (from both ends: green onion and chives. maybe 3)

fresh cilantro, chopped (a small “bunch” or whatever)

mayonnaise (just a little. 1 or 2 Tbsp)

lime juice (not too much. 1 or 2 tsp)

salt and pepper (to taste…of course!)

I know those directions are clear as mud, but mix and enjoy!

Makes…however much you decide to make. Super yummy (and this one is healthy).

Alright, friends, let me know if you try ’em and what you think! Bon Appetit!

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On Top of Spaghetti…

…as in, a recipe for Turkey Meatballs!

In starting this blog, I wrote that I would include some recipes, but I have yet to make good on that promise. Many of the recipes I do these days come from Pinterest. No shame. But I wanted my first one to not (this one is from my friend, Amy). This is nothing fancy. A comfort food (with a healthier twist), but it’s good.

Truth is, I’m not much of a spaghetti and meatballs kinda girl. Every recipe I’ve tried previous to this one are sorta dry. Not this one. Tender and moist (I think it’s the ketchup). Yum.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey

1 small onion (I usually use less– like a 1/3 cup), chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or use italian breadcrumbs and forego the parsley)

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Mix ingredients with fork and shape into ping-pong sized balls.

Pour approximately 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium/large pan over medium heat. Cook meatballs in pan until browned on all sides. Drain excess oil (if needed) and add 26 ounces spaghetti sauce.

Simmer on medium/low heat for 15-20 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Voila. Easy peazy.

Paired with whole wheat thin spaghetti, steamed broccoli, and jalepeno-cheddar toast and you have a tasty weeknight dinner.

I also like that I can make (even cook) the meatballs during Liam’s nap time and just heat with sauce at dinner time.

Bon Appetit!

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