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Tag Archives: blogger

Fusilli Pasta with Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Pasta. Who says no to pasta? There’s virtually endless “pastabilities” when it comes to making pasta as a meal. You can add vegetables, a variety of meats, different sauces, different shapes of pasta, even alternative pastas such as Banza (chickpea) or brown rice pasta! It’s literally one of the most reliable pantry items that never disappoints.

I’ve wanted to try and make an easy cream sauce and figured being at home lends itself to more experimenting in the kitchen. I had a jar of roasted red peppers and some heavy cream, and decided to throw it into a blender with some dried herbs and parmesan. I will say that this sauce is heavy on the red pepper flavor, so if you aren’t a roasted red pepper fan, this may not be for you. However, I love them so this was incredibly tasty for me (my husband not so much… but hey, ya can’t win them all).

This sauce has layers of flavor: the cream, the parmesan, the peppers themselves, and then the oregano and basil added into it. Tossed with some fusilli pasta – one of my favorites – and it was exactly what my belly needed.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 package of preferred pasta
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Begin by boiling a pot of water. Salt the water and begin to cook your desired pasta until al dente and strain. Pour into a bowl. For the sauce, blend the peppers, cream, parmesan, and spices together in a blender. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine. Sprinkle a little more salt, pepper, and parmesan and mix. Serve with fresh basil, a dollop of ricotta, or even some sautéed spinach or zucchini! Plus, this pasta and sauce tastes EVEN BETTER as leftovers the next day. #winning

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Barbacoa (Steak) Quesadillas

Day number 49723.6 of quarantine during this global pandemic, and here we are, staying at home, cooking up a storm, and watching reruns of reruns of The Office. Days are blending into the next, and with each day passing a small glimmer of hope appears. I continue to think about the families who lost all their income, the students who are without any source of food, and new moms such as myself navigating parenthood with very limited interaction with family and the real world. What a time in our history, huh?

Over in our home, we love a good Mexican night. What’s not to love? Guacamole, margaritas, and delicious food, such as quesadillas. I didn’t swap anything for these: I used Whole Foods organic flour tortillas, a chuck roast, homemade guacamole and Organic valley mexican blend cheese. THAT’S IT. Barbacoa is traditionally a stewed beef in an oven or a slow cooker, and so that’s what I did. I’ll admit, I started cooking a little late so it wasn’t as tender as I would have preferred, BUT the flavor was spot on and had it cooked for another 2 hours it would have been perfection.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2lbs chuck roast
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 1 package mexican blend cheese
  • Beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Homemade guacamole or store-bought
    • for homemade:
      • two ripe avocados
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
      • half a lime to squeeze in juice
      • salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

First and foremost, prep the chuck roast by patting it dry and seasoning generously with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Place into the slow cooker and fill with 2 cups of water and 32oz broth (I LOVE Kettle and Fire’s beef broth – it’s delicious and packed with collagen and incredible benefits). Set on low cook for 8 hours, or high cook for 6 hour. You want the meat to be as tender as possible.

When the meat is done, pull apart with two forks or use poultry scissors to cut the meat into smaller pieces (this is what I did). Add the meat back to the stock and let it marinade. Spray cooking spray into a skillet and heat on medium high heat. Take a tortilla and let it begin to crisp. Add in the meat, then a few pinches of the cheese. Let it cook for two minutes on this side. Top the tortilla with a second tortilla and flip. Cook again for another two to three minutes. Repeat until all tortillas are used or to your desire. You can always leave some for leftovers tomorrow. Pair with the guacamole and an extra large margarita 🙂 Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Muffin Bars

Can you believe we are already 11 days away from the end of May, and about to enter Summer? I can’t stand how time is flying right now and that our son is two months old. I remember writing recipes in October, basking in the second trimester glory, anticipating what the end result will be, and boy was it a journey (interested in my story? Here’s the link to my blog post).

This recipe was sitting in my notes on my phone for a very long time, probably since September last year, when I wrote it down while I was contemplating what to do with overripe bananas, because regardless of a pandemic or not, I always have at least two bananas that are about to RIP. Scrolling through my recipes I stumbled upon it again and as the ingredients are pretty simple, I decided that it’s about time I make it and see how it turns out – the result is AMAZING. Even my husband said they were good, and he is my biggest critic when it comes to cooking and baking.

These muffin bars are gluten free and made with Thrive Market cassava flour, calls for just one cup of sugar (both coconut and cane), two ripe bananas, and one of my favorite chocolates from Hu Kitchen. What I love about this recipe is that the bars came out so fluffy with a perfectly golden bottom, each bite has a delicate flavor of banana, and the chocolate literally came oozing out. This recipe yields approximately 12 smaller bars, but that depends on how you slice it 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (you could sub almond or oat milk too)
  • Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Cassava Flour
    • You can find my favorite cassava flour on Thrive Market –> hit the banner to the right and it’ll bring you there!
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    • (I do recommend Hu Kitchen because they are a paleo-friendly and “back to human” style eatery located in NYC but you can find their products here. I LOVE their crackers too!

Preheat your oven to 375* and pre-grease a 9×9″ brownie or baking tin. Begin by adding the wet ingredients into a bowl (eggs, bananas, vanilla, sugars, and milk). Blend to combine. Then layer in the dry ingredients – I like to pour the flour in a bit at a time so that it doesn’t fly everywhere. Mix to combine until smooth, there will be some chunks because of the banana.

Add in the 1/2 cup of chocolate (I coat the chocolate with some flour so that it does not sink to the bottom) and fold in with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Pour into the tin and bake for 20-23 minutes. Let sit and spread on some almond butter, a dollop of whipped cream, or eat them all in one sitting with a cup of coffee and Bravo Below Deck marathon… no judgment. Stay safe friends!

French Onion Burgers

The weather is officially changing. Lawns are getting mowed, people are power-washing their homes, and opening up their pools. Yep, it’s almost summertime. That means lots of BBQ meals and dinners outside, except we have to socially distance and wear a mask. Honestly, after a few weeks it’ll feel more “normal,” even though everyday there’s more sadness with lives lost and more confirmed cases. Nevertheless, we persevere and continue to stay at home and cook – so I decided to make burgers!

Something about making burgers puts a smile on my face. Handcrafting the patties, choosing my own seasonings, and throwing them on a grill or a hot skillet gets me in the best mood – and I think we could all use some mood boosting recipes amirite? This burger has four seasonings to it and is donned with some classic caramelized onions and provolone cheese, sandwiched between a hearty potato bun. I had the last of them this afternoon for my lunch because they were THAT good. Also, a side of homemade fries and roasted squash isn’t too bad either. (working to perfect the fries so that’ll come sometime soon!)

Here’s what you’ll need for these burgers:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • Package of potato rolls
  • Arrowroot or cornstarch (to thicken onions as they caramelize)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • Onion salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Adobo
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Take your ground beef out approximately 20-30 minutes before handling, you want any meat to be relatively room temperature before manipulating. Add to a bowl and add in the seasonings, remember to be generous here as you want the burgers to be juicy and flavorful. Form patties by grabbing a fitsfull of meat and gently pressing into a circle, you don’t need a perfectly shaped patty and you want them to be loose (not super compact). Place on a plate and set aside.

Slice your onions and add to a pan with melted butter. Let them sweat and become aeromatic, stirring and letting the butter marinade into them. They will begin to soften and turn brown around 5 minutes, lower the flame and add arrowroot or cornstarch (arrowroot is a substitute from cornstarch and is less of an allergy than corn, plus it’s considered a healthier alternative and less processed). Continue to cook the onions on a low flame until they become super soft, holding their shape but are a golden brown. Turn off flame and set aside.

Use a non-stick skillet or even a cast iron (I was lazy and didn’t feel like taking mine out) and heat on medium high heat. Spray the pan with some cooking spray and add the burgers (I did three at a time). Cook for 3-4 minutes or your desired doneness. Flip and add the provolone to melt, another 3 minutes. Layer onto the buns and add some onions on top and voila, French Onion burger. Not so bad right? Get that grill going and crack open a White Claw – or a regular beer – and enjoy!

Balsamic Penne Caprese with Spinach

Stay at home week 9. We officially have a two month old (on Sunday the 17th) and I cannot believe how time flies in a matter of a snap. I kind of wish time would go quicker so I can have family and friends over again, be close enough to hug again, enjoy a brunch cocktail at a restaurant again, but all in good time. This time spent at home with Rowen is something that not many new moms experience so I am eternally grateful to have this special bond with him, and more time with my husband too. Having more time at home also allows me to be in my kitchen more which I will never complain about.

I’m going to officially call this week pasta week, because I’ve made pasta twice already, including the dish I’m sharing on the blog today: penne pasta with tomato and mozzarella (caprese) tossed in a homemade balsamic sauce/glaze with sautéed spinach. As most recipes do, this one came to me in the shower. Don’t judge me. I think a lot in the shower and I had a vision for a lighter, vegetable-based, with a touch of sweetness pasta dinner that would be good with a variety of mix-ins. Caprese, which is simply tomato and mozzarella, is delicious on its own, so to throw it together with penne pasta, a homemade balsamic glaze, and add in some spinach, what’s not to love?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pkg penne pasta ( I did NOT make this recipe gluten free but I imagine any gluten free pasta would do, Banza in particular or Jovial – found on Thrive Market – link to the site on the banner on the right!)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pint fresh mozzarella balls “ciliegine” style (size of a cherry tomato)
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil (to sauté the spinach)
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Oregano
  • Dried Basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the pasta:

  • Sauté the spinach on the stove with the butter and set aside (the spinach will wilt and become half the portion you put in).
  • Take out the mozzarella balls from its container and put into a separate bowl to let them dry. Rinse and quarter the grape tomatoes – set aside as well.
  • Prepare your pasta as described by the package and drain. Pour pasta into a large serving bowl.

For the balsamic:

  • Pour the cup of balsamic into a small sauce pan on medium heat.
  • Add in the coconut or brown sugar and maple syrup.
  • Whisk together and bring to a boil, stir for 3-4 minutes until it becomes a little thicker.
  • Turn off heat or set to a very low flame, be careful not to burn.

Combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach in with the pasta and mix. Pour the balsamic sauce/glaze all over and mix together. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried basil, and oregano. Serve with a side of garlic bread, a glass of Montepulciano, and a new show on Netflix and you’ve got yourself a great evening. NOMaste 🙂

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