I’ve had two packages of lemon pepper pappardelle from Trader Joe’s sitting in my pantry for quite some time. I’m not sure why since I cook pasta pretty often. Last night, I guess I suddenly felt inspired and I finally decided to use the pappardelle. The recipe I came up with, lemon pappardelle with mushrooms, is a very simple one and although the pasta and the mushrooms are hearty, the dish itself doesn’t feel very heavy because the lemon and basil in the pasta sauce add a bright, freshness to the dish that’s very reminiscent of spring. (more…)
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. (more…)
Okay, obviously home made mac and cheese from scratch is divine. I’ve made a number of different mac and cheeses from scratch, including my Grandma’s amazing mac and cheese and Ina Garten’s famous classic mac and cheese. I want to try Ina’s variations on her classic too. She makes a “grown up” version with blue cheese and bacon and a lobster version that I can’t wait to try. If you have the time, home made mac and cheese from scratch is the way to go. But if you don’t have the time or if you’re just lazy like I was the other night, I’ve found a store bought variety of mac and cheese that comes dangerously close to the delicious home made versions we all know and love. I’ve never really enjoyed the store bought versions because they never come close to the decadent, creamy, home made real stuff…until now. This I would buy again. It was so spur of the moment too! I happened to be at Target (love Target!) and just threw a package of Archer Farms Italian Style Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese Dinner into my shopping cart. It turned out to be a delicious decision. But if you’re looking for a healthy recipe, look away! There is NOTHING healthy about this…except for the portabella mushrooms.
Spaghetti and meat sauce definitely fall under the comfort food category in my book. Especially when the meat sauce is a bolognese and is rich and creamy. Friday was one of those days that just called for comfort food and luckily, I had all the ingredients to make spaghetti and meat sauce.
A lot of meat sauce recipes, although delicious, can be really fattening. Bolognese often is laced with heavy cream. This meat sauce is actually quite healthy. It still had that creamy taste because I used a surprise ingredient, fat free sour cream (Greek yogurt would work equally well). I also “beefed” up the recipe with lots of vegetables, like onions, carrots, and mushrooms and I used a very lean ground beef. I have to say, I wasn’t so sure about adding the mushrooms in but I actually really like the flavor they give the sauce. (more…)
Sometimes some of my best creations in the kitchen happen by accident. This was one of them. I had one lonely leftover eggplant that was in danger of going bad and a whole pack of sliced portabello mushrooms that I hadn’t used yet. I had already decided that I was going to be cooking up some mahi mahi burgers from the freezer that night because I really didn’t feel like cooking but then I remembered that I had these vegetables and the thought of food going bad and then throwing it out makes me really sad. So, I thought I’d just try roasting them. I roast veggies all the time and I think it’s the best way to cook them. They get carmelized and crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. Delicious. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how eggplant and mushrooms would turn out if I just roasted them in the oven like I do so many other favorite vegetables. Sometimes eggplant can be bitter if it’s not cooked the right way so this was a gamble. But, as I said, I didn’t feel like cooking and roasting vegetables is so easy that it almost doesn’t even count as cooking. The oven does all the work.
Let me just say that what I thought would be an average maybe even bad dish turned out to be one of the best vegetable side dishes I’ve ever made. And it is SO easy. I am going to stop at the grocery store after work today to pick up more eggplant and mushrooms because I’m going to make it again tonight. It was THAT good. (more…)
Two pasta posts in a row! I guess I’m on a pasta kick lately. But pasta is one of those things that I just never get sick of. It’s also the ultimate comfort food. Then, when you combine leeks, bacon, and mushrooms in a creamy sauce and pour that over the pasta, it’s pretty much heaven in a bowl.
I have a confession. This was my first time cooking with leeks. I love the flavor of leeks so I don’t know why I’ve never cooked with them before. I guess because they are a pain to clean and always look a little intimidating in the grocery store. Also, I’ve never really made anything and thought, “you know what this is missing? Leeks!”, but needless to say, they really are a delicious veggie. They have a great mild onion flavor and they go really well in pasta dishes and soups. Trader Joe’s also sells pre-trimmed leeks (is that cheating??) and I guess that made it a little easier for me. But I can assure you, this will not be my last time cooking with leeks and next time I may even buy the untrimmed, unwashed version and do it all myself! Sometimes you gotta take risks… (more…)
This may be the best pasta dish I’ve ever made. You won’t miss the meat at all, I promise. The pasta is full of flavor with beefy baby portabello mushrooms, grated zucchini, and freshly grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese. Seriously, I could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting. I ate about half…Self control.
Anyway, make this pasta. It’s delicious. (more…)