Monthly Archives: September 2013

Potato Leek Soup with crispy pancetta

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I was on pinterest the other day looking through some of the recipes I had pinned (read: thousands of recipes). Sometimes I go looking for new recipes instead of browsing through the delicious recipes I’ve already pinned so this time I decided to look through what I already had in my “pinterest archives”. I found SO many awesome recipes that I had forgotten about pinning. In particular, I was looking for recipes for soup. I’ve been craving soup lately I guess because it’s starting to get cold again. I found this particular soup while I was browsing and thought wow, that looks pretty delicious. Often times I find recipes and wind up changing them completely. I use the recipe for inspiration and then create my own spin-off depending on what I have on hand in my pantry and fridge and what I’m in the mood for. The pinterest recipe was a slow cooker recipe, which I definitely had not planned ahead for and I had other ingredients in my fridge that I thought would work really well with this soup. So, as usual, I changed the recipe quite a bit. Here is my version of it. I hope you love it as much as I did. For the original recipe that sparked my inspiration for this soup, click here. Continue reading

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A salad I would order again

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If I’m being honest I generally hate ordering salads when I’m out to eat. It always seems like such a waste. There are usually so many other things on the menu I would rather be eating than a boring old salad. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely moments when I crave salad and when made with fresh, good quality ingredients salads can be really yummy. But for the most part when I’m out to eat I always want to try other things on the menu. It’s pretty easy to skip over the salad section. Continue reading

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Chicken, asparagus and mushrooms with white wine and thyme

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I should really cook with chicken more. I cook with it a fair amount but I just realized that not many of my recipes on this blog include chicken, which is weird because it’s one of the most popular foods around. It’s pretty versatile. You can do a lot with chicken. It’s also a healthy, lean protein, which I could definitely eat more of. Another plus is that Matt loves chicken. I’ve mentioned before that I could live off of vegetables and carbs so sometimes cooking with meat is a challenge for me. I’m always looking for recipes that incorporate meat in a way that both Matt and I will be happy with.

This turned out to be a really satisfying meal. I made up the recipe as I went along (as I often do) and the ingredients wound up complimenting each other nicely. I served this with my roasted vegetable couscous but this could easily be served over some angel hair pasta or some brown rice or even alongside some simple roasted potatoes. This meal definitely falls under the comfort food category in my book. Both cooking it and eating it turned out to be very relaxing. Tender chicken cooked in white wine, chicken broth and thyme with loads of fresh asparagus and baby portabellas, what could be more comforting than that? Continue reading

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My favorite meal of the summer

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This was hands down my favorite meal of the summer, perhaps my favorite meal in years. I cannot remember the last time my taste buds rejoiced the way they did with this meal. We were in Maui on vacation and had decided to hike to a waterfall that morning. We were in gym shorts and t-shirts and probably could have used a good shower after the hike and the swim in the waterfall but we were all really hungry and remembered passing a cool restaurant on the drive up to the waterfall. We decided we would stop on the way back for lunch and hope there wasn’t a dress code.

The place was called Mama’s Fish House and happened to be sitting on one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The view was absolutely breathtaking. I could have stayed there all day. The restaurant is open air and sits on it’s own private beach. Between the ocean breezes, the view and the soft Hawaiian music playing in the background, I felt like I was in heaven. Mama’s Fish House is also one of the fancier restaurants on Maui. We were underdressed to say the least. It’s the kind of place you wear your best to and you definitely don’t wear your workout clothes after schlepping up a mountain and swimming in questionable, murky (freezing) water. Nonetheless, they sat us and no one questioned our attire. Continue reading

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Roasted vegetable couscous

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I truly love couscous and if you follow my blog you probably already know that (I have posted quite a few couscous recipes). I love cooking and eating it. It’s so versatile. You can flavor it with so many different things. I almost always put lemon juice in mine, and this roasted vegetable couscous was no exception. This was the perfect accompaniment to my chicken with wine and thyme sauce (recipe to come). The lemon juice brightens the flavor so it’s still light and fresh enough for summer, but the roasted vegetables give the dish a nice depth, so it also works for fall.

You can really use whichever veggie combination sounds good to you, whatever you have on hand, as long as they roast well (obviously don’t use veggies like cucumbers or celery). I happened to have asparagus spears, sliced baby portabella mushrooms (another item I cook with frequently), red bell pepper, leftover yellow squash, and some red onion. All the veggies should be cut into bite sized pieces. Continue reading

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My favorite restaurant at the Jersey shore

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Believe it or not my favorite place to eat at the Jersey shore is not a seafood joint. Most people really look forward to the fresh seafood when eating at the beach but my favorite beach restaurant happens to be a casual little restaurant that serves up Mexican and Tex Mex food. Ever since we moved to New Jersey, my family has been taking summer vacations in Wildwood. I have eaten at numerous restaurants there, some fancy, some casual and dinner at Bandanas Mexican Grille is still the meal I look forward to the most. The festive atmosphere and the delicious food keep me coming back each summer. And, by the way, I’m not a dessert person but the dessert here is FANTASTIC.
Continue reading

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Veggie Pasta aka Pasta Primavera

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I was watching reruns of Pioneer Woman the other night (exciting night, I know) and on one of the episodes she made a pasta primavera that inspired me to come up with my own version of the dish. I used a lot of the same vegetables she used in her recipe as well as her cooking method. I cooked the vegetables in batches for a short amount of time, just like she recommends. She’s right, if you cook the vegetables too long they get mushy because they continue to cook when you add them back into the sauce. So the veggie part of the dish is very similar to her recipe but the sauce in my version is entirely different. Mostly because I didn’t want to go out and buy heavy cream and half and half, which are two important players in her version of this classic pasta dish. I think my version, although it does call for cream cheese, is probably a tad bit healthier as well.

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This is a pasta you can, or at least I can, feel good about eating because there is so much nutrition packed into the dish, especially if you use whole grain or whole wheat pasta like I did. It’s also packed full of veggies like carrots, squash, broccoli, and mushrooms. So even though the sauce is a bit decadent the dish is actually pretty good for you. The ratio of pastas to veggies is pretty equal. It’s also so tasty and very colorful. Just looking at the pasta with all those beautiful, vibrant vegetables is enough to cheer me up. Another bonus of making pasta primavera is it’s a great way to use up veggies in the fridge. Continue reading

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Breakfast for one

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I’ve mentioned in previous posts that breakfast is generally a very rushed meal for me. I’m also not all that hungry in the morning, at least at 6:30am when I get up. Usually, breakfast consists of some sort of fruit, cheese stick and a big glass of water. I enjoy my sleep, so on weekdays breakfast has to be something quick and something I can just grab and run out the door with. The only time I truly look forward to and enjoy breakfast is when I’m on vacation or traveling. Then it becomes one of my favorite meals. I love a good omelette and some toast when I’m on vacation but that’s because I have the time and I also usually sleep in and so I’m definitely more hungry when I wake up at 10:00am. Continue reading

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Spaghetti squash with cheesy mushroom and leek sauce

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I’ve been wanting to cook with spaghetti squash for a while. Spaghetti squash recipes are all the rage on pinterest right now. I think that’s what got me thinking about cooking with it. I also have TONS of fresh vegetables in my fridge right now that I need to cook up ASAP before they all go bad. I always do this. I buy too much fresh produce because everything looks so good in the store and because I love vegetables. Portabella mushrooms and leeks were among the veggies I purchased this time along with the spaghetti squash. I also bought cabbage, carrots, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, baby zuccini and a vegetable stir-fry mix from Trader Joes (which had tons of yummy fresh vegetables already chopped up for me). Needless to say, I’ve been eating A LOT of veg.

This was my first time cooking with spaghetti squash and it was fun, very easy, and obviously a healthy alternative to pasta. Also, because I wasn’t eating actual pasta, I felt like I could make the sauce a little more decadent. The sauce started out as a classic bechamel sauce (a white sauce consisting of milk thickened by a butter and flour roux) and then I added a whole bunch of sharp white cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese to the already thick and creamy sauce. I also sauteed some leeks and mushrooms and added that to the sauce. It was the perfect accompaniment to the spaghetti squash. If you don’t like spaghetti squash, you can obviously serve the sauce over pasta but really spaghetti squash is so much fun! It’s also so versatile. This will not be my last time cooking with it. Continue reading

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Holy cow! That’s a lot of Sushi

Just had to share this picture…

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This is from Sushi Palace in Kingston, NJ. All you can eat sushi has never thrilled me because it usually isn’t the best quality. That goes for most all you can eat places, in my opinion. But the sushi at Sushi Palace is GOOD quality and for $25 you can eat your fill of the stuff. We definitely did as you can see from the pictures above! I love trying the specialty rolls, but I have to say, spicy tuna is really a favorite of mine no matter where I go. It’s so good! What’s your favorite sushi roll?

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