Category Archives: cooking

Whole grain rotini with balsamic marinated chicken and asparagus

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This recipe is super simple, fairly healthy, and does not require a lot of ingredients. It’s rare to find a pasta dish that is both healthy and comforting and although portion control is always important, I didn’t feel too guilty going back for seconds (read: thirds). That’s a winning pasta dish in my opinion. Continue reading

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Black Bean Soup

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I should really call this recipe bean soup instead of BLACK bean soup because, truth be told, I actually only had one can of black beans in my pantry when I decided to make this. I used a can of pinto beans as a substitute for the second can of black beans and it was just as good and it actually still looked like black bean soup. So, just pretend it’s truly black bean soup.

I made this soup for lunch one day when I was home sick from work. Nothing I had in my fridge sounded very good and I was craving soup. I always crave soup when I feel under the weather. So, I took stock of what I had in my pantry and came up with this delicious, flavorful, healthy soup. I used chicken broth but you could definitely use vegetable broth and make this vegan. Continue reading

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Blue cheese butter for steaks

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For our wedding, which was two and a half years ago, one of our friends got us a gift certificate for some Omaha Steaks. We were cleaning and organizing the apartment the other day and stumbled upon it. Apparently we had never used it. I am notorious for doing this, by the way. I lose gift cards and gift certificates. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I think part of the problem is I always want to save them for a special occasion and then I just forget about them. I should probably just use them right after I get them to avoid this problem. Anyway, we ordered the steaks. Continue reading

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Polenta rounds topped with creamy mushrooms

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Polenta is one of my new favorite items to pick up at the grocery store. I usually buy the precooked polenta “logs”, cut them into 1/3 inch rounds and then sear them in a pan with a little olive oil. Once the polenta rounds are seared you can top them with almost anything. One of the reasons I love cooking with polenta is because it’s a blank canvas and works well with so many different flavors. It’s an easy way to be creative in the kitchen. I’ve made many variations, but this recipe is probably my favorite polenta recipe.

Matt has been sick with the flu and hasn’t had much of an appetite the past few days so last night I was cooking for one, myself. I’ve mentioned before that Matt prefers meals that include some type of meat. I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it and try to eat meat free a few times a week. Since he wasn’t really hungry last night and it had been an incredibly busy day, I wanted to make something quick yet satisfying for myself, preferrably meatless. Enter polenta and portabella mushrooms. I suppose most people might consider this to be a side dish but last night it hit the spot as a main course for me. The creamy mushroom topping was the perfect accompaniment to my seared polenta rounds. Continue reading

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Spicy Broccoli Stirfry

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Broccoli is one of those vegetables I hated as a kid but somehow it’s turned into one of my favorites now that I’m older. I cook with it about once a week. My favorite way to cook broccoli is very simple. I usually just roast it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s one of my staple vegetable side dishes because it always turns out really well and it’s so easy. But sometimes you have to switch it up and last night I was in the mood for something different.

I had some leftover brown rice and some soy and ginger marinated cod from Trader Joe’s so I decided to use some of those same flavors in my broccoli side dish. It turned out really yummy and was perfect served over the leftover rice, which soaked up all the stirfry sauce. Continue reading

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Make potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes

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I love mashed potatoes but I often make too much for just Matt and myself and then we wind up eating mashed potatoes for days. Not that there is anything wrong with leftover mashed potatoes but sometimes they can get a little boring. These potato cakes are the perfect way to spruce up those cold, leftover potatoes.

You guys, these are SO good. I form small patties with the leftover cold mashed potatoes, coat them in crispy breadcrumbs and salty parmesan cheese and then pan fry them until they turn a golden brown color and the coating gets crisp. These take comfort food to a whole new level. They are the perfect side dish for almost any meal. Last night I served these alongside a mediterranean stuffed chicken breast I picked up from Trader Joe’s on the way home from work and Ina Garten’s green beans gremolata. Continue reading

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Easy Pasta with bacon, peas and lemon

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Last night was another “clean out everything in the fridge” night. I was away this weekend at a conference and haven’t been to the grocery store in over a week so when I got home on Sunday night I was truly at a loss as to what to make for dinner. I debated calling for Indian take out but my checking account is verging dangerously close to a $0 balance. All my bills happen to come out in the first few weeks of the month and so I always have to be a little more careful in the beginning of the month. So, even though every fiber in my being wanted to call for take out or delivery I decided to open my almost empty fridge and see what I could scrounge up for dinner. Continue reading

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Brunch Pesto Frittata

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I know I may be in the minority when I say this but I love snow. I don’t particularly like the cold but if it’s going to be cold I want it to snow! Lucky for me, we have about 5 inches on the ground right now and the snow is still coming down. I got to work from home today which basically means monitoring my emails and making a few calls. Working from home also means lots of free time for things I love like cooking.

One of the things I made on my “snow day” was this pesto frittata. First of all, let me just say that frittata’s are awesome. They are basically a delicious way to use up any leftover veggies, meat or cheese you have in your fridge. They are incredibly easy to make and the finished product always looks beautiful. Frittatas are a great brunch item because they don’t have to be served piping hot. They are delicious at room temperature too. You also don’t have to stand at the stove flipping omelets or pancakes. The frittata starts on the stove but finishes cooking in the oven. Continue reading

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turkey chili rice

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I couldn’t think of what else to call this recipe. It’s sort of a combination of turkey chili and fried rice. Or maybe it’s just a chili recipe that I added rice to. Whatever. It’s not a very creative name but the recipe itself did turn out yummy and it comes together really quick too.

It was a last minute dinner, as many of mine are, and I came up with this recipe as a way for me to clean out my fridge and pantry. I used ingredients I always have on hand like rice, diced tomatoes, black beans, onions, garlic and spices. These kinds of dinners don’t always turn out well but in this case, it did. It’s pretty healthy too. Except I served mine with a generous helping of cheddar cheese and a big handful of crunchy tortilla chips. I wound up eating the “turkey chili rice” like a dip, using the chips as my utensils. So, if you eat it that way it’s not that healthy. It’s pretty good on it’s own too so the chips and cheese are optional. Continue reading

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whole grain pasta shells with sausage, spinach and tomato

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Pasta and portion control. Two areas of weakness for me. I’m actually going to try to make pasta less because I just can’t control myself around the stuff. This will be tough because pasta is so easy to make and it’s so versatile. On those busy days and nights it’s the perfect go to for a quick and tasty meal. But in an effort to eat less carbs and work on portion control I’m trying to branch out and make other things for dinner. That’s not to say I’m giving up pasta for good though (duh, I’m not crazy) as evidenced by the title of this blog post.

This particular pasta dish is actually quite filling which helps with the portion control aspect. It still requires some self control because it’s so delicious but the whole grain shells, the lean chicken sausage and the fresh spinach do help to fill you up. The wine adds another layer of flavor to the sauce and a pinch of red pepper gives the dish a kick. They say that spicy food helps make people feel more full. I haven’t found that to be true, but you may want to add more red pepper if you think you can handle the heat! Continue reading

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