• Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas

    You can make this salad with chicken or keep it vegetarian by adding chickpeas.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. orzo
    • Salt
    • 4 mini cucumbers, chopped
    • 2 c. grape tomatoes, sliced
    • 6 oz. feta
    • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
    • 1/2 c. mint, chopped
    • Chopped cooked chicken or 1 can of chickpeas, drained
    • Mixed lettuce greens

    Dressing:

    • 2 lemons, zest and juice (about 1/3 c.)
    • 2/3 c. olive oil
    • 2 TBSP honey
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt and orzo and cook until al dente. Once it’s done, rinse it with cool water and let it drain thoroughly. Transfer to a large bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, prep all the salad ingredients.
    3. Add the dressing ingredients to a jar or small bowl, and whisk/shake until well combined.
    4. To the bowl with the orzo, add cucumbers through chicken/chickpeas.
    5. Toss the salad with the dressing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
    6. Serve salad over mixed lettuce greens.

    Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas:

  • Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes

    This is the perfect side dish to prepare ahead of time. Tastes like delicious twice baked potato filling.

    Ingredients:

    • 4-5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
    • 8-10 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
    • 1/2 c. butter, melted
    • 3-4 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 c. sour cream
    • 1/2 – 3/4 c. milk
    • 1/2 c. green onions, thinly sliced (reserve some for garnish)
    • 2 tsp. onion powder
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. pepper

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Place the garlic cloves on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose the garlic; then drizzle garlic with olive oil. Seal foil tightly and roast for 15-20 minutes, until garlic is soft and creamy. Remove from oven and mash garlic into a paste.
    3. Meanwhile, cut potatoes and add to a pot and cover with water. Boil over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, or until soft, and then drain.
    4. In a large bowl add all of the ingredients and mash until creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
    5. Either bake for 45 minutes or cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. If baking later, remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, then bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through.

    Make Ahead Creamy Mashed Potatoes:

  • Veggie Palak

    Ingredients:

    • Olive oil
    • 1 lb. fresh baby spinach
    • Salt, to taste
    • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
    • 1 TBSP minced garlic
    • 1 TBSP ginger paste
    • 1 tsp. garam masala
    • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
    • 1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
    • 1 14 oz. can kidney beans, drained
    • 1 lb. potatoes, cooked and roughly chopped
    • 1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
    • 1-2 tsp. sugar or honey
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice

    Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the spinach in batches and season with salt. Sauté until spinach is wilted.
    2. Once spinach is wilted transfer to food processor, and pulse until chopped and smooth.
    3. After all the spinach is sautéed, add the tomatoes through cumin to the hot skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes; then add the spinach, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, and potatoes; then add the coconut milk and toss to combine.
    4. Once the coconut milk comes to a boil add the sugar or honey and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.

    Veggie Palak:

  • Lemon Linguine – Instant Pot

    Ingredients:

    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 4 TBSP butter, divided
    • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 TBSP salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 4 c. water
    • 1 lb. linguine
    • 10 oz. (or 1 1/4 c.) plain Greek yogurt
    • 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (or more)
    • Milk, if desired to thin

    Directions:

    1. Turn Instant Pot to sauté. Once the Instant Pot says HOT, add the olive oil and 2 TBSP of butter. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Hit cancel.
    2. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and water to the Instant Pot. Break the linguine in half and alternate the direction you place the linguine in the Instant Pot as you add more.
    3. Close the lid, and select manual for 3 minutes. When it beeps after the 3 minutes, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
    4. After 5 minutes, remove the lid. Stir the noodles around, and then add the remaining 2 TBSP of butter and Greek yogurt and stir to make the sauce creamy. Linguine will continue to absorb the liquid. Add the parmesan, and add any milk to thin, if desired.

    Lemon Linguine – Instant Pot:

  • Gogi Bowls

    Vegetarian Korean salad that will make your taste buds explode!

    Note: if you can’t find the gochujang paste at your local Asian market, you can substitute Sriracha in lieu of the Spicy Gochujang Sauce.

    Salad Ingredients:

    Cucumber and Carrot Salad:

    • 1/4 c. rice vinegar
    • 3 TBSP honey
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
    • 1 c. thinly sliced cucumbers
    • 1 c. shredded carrots

    Spicy Gochujang Sauce:

    • 3 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1 TBSP sesame oil
    • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
    • 4 TBSP gochujang paste
    • 2 TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 green onion, chopped (optional)
    • 2 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Cook brown rice according to package.
    2. Prepare the Crispy Baked Tofu and then toss with Korean Marinade and Sauce.
    3. Cucumber and Carrot Salad: Combine all cucumber and carrot salad ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Chill until ready to use.
    4. Spicy Gochujang Sauce: Combine all Spicy Gochujang Sauce ingredients in a bowl.
    5. Fry eggs.
    6. In individual salad bowls: add mixed greens; then add a scoop of brown rice on the side of the greens; then add a scoop of the Cucumber and Carrot Salad onto the greens; then add the Crispy Baked Tofu; then drizzle salad and rice with some of the Cucumber and Carrot Salad sauce and some of the Korean Marinade Sauce; then top the dish with fried egg(s); and then drizzle the Spicy Gochujang Sauce on top.

    Gogi Bowls:

  • Crispy Baked Tofu

    Ingredients:

    • 1 block of firm or extra firm tofu
    • 1 TBSP cornstarch
    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • Splash of soy sauce or generous pinch of salt
    • Cooking spray

    Directions:

    1. Press the tofu: place a clean kitchen towel on the counter, slice the tofu in half, place another clean kitchen towel over the tofu, place a baking sheet on top of the towel, and add something heavy to the baking sheet. Let tofu press for 20-30 minutes.
    2. Preheat the oven to 450.
    3. After you press the tofu, cut into cubes and add cubes to a bowl.
    4. Add the cornstarch, olive oil and soy sauce or salt to the tofu and gently stir to cover the tofu.
    5. Take the baking sheet you used to press the tofu and line with foil; then spray with cooking spray. Add the tofu to the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 20- 30 minutes, or until desired crunchiness.

    Crispy Baked Tofu:

  • Cacio e Pepe (Cheese and Pepper Pasta)

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    This is some seriously good pasta.  Even Ellie, who doesn’t like much pasta, loves this dish.  It’s peppery and goodness with lots of pecorino Romano cheese.  It goes great with grilled steak, and the leftovers are really good too.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. angel hair pasta
    • salt
    • 2 c. finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1 TBSP (plus or minus to your liking) freshly ground pepper
    • Good olive oil (we like a basil infused olive oil probably a couple of TBSP)

    Directions:

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, add pasta and cook according to package.
    2. Meanwhile grate the cheese.
    3. In a large pasta serving bowl combine cooked pasta, cheese, pepper, and olive oil.  Toss to combine.  Add 1/2 cup or more of pasta water to help melt the cheese and combine.

    Cacio e Pepe:
    5star

  • Pasta Caprese (aka Best Pasta Sauce)

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    We love Italian, but unfortunately the kiddos don’t like ricotta cheese (gasp!).  I have finally found a lasagna like dish that everyone loves, and this has become our go to “lasagna”.  Every time I’ve made this the kiddos have asked for seconds.  That’s a score in my book!

    ******I also make just the sauce from this dish and use it in all my Italian cooking.  It is the BEST pasta sauce…can’t ever go back to the jar stuff…yes, it really is that good!  This is our go to red sauce for all dishes we make.******

    Adapted from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 TBSP olive oil
    • 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
    • 3 28-oz. cans Italian tomatoes (like San Marzano)
    • Crushed red pepper to taste
    • Salt to taste
    • Sugar to taste (I usually use about 2 TBSP, but it all depends on how sweet or sour your canned tomatoes are)
    • 2 c. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (I use a fine microplane grater–if you use a larger shred, your amounts will need to be adjusted downward since with the fine grater there is a lot of air taking up the 2 c. space)
    • 1 lb. Campanelle pasta or pasta of your choice
    • 1 lb. pearl mozzarella
    • 1 c. shredded fresh basil leaves

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and blitz until you reach a desired texture (we prefer smooth with some chunkier pieces). Then add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper, if using, to the skillet.  Season with salt and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, to reduce until you get your desired consistency.  We like a thicker sauce, so I simmered for about 30-45 minutes. Taste and add sugar and salt as needed.  Add the Pecorino Romano cheese and stir to combine.  If you use finely grated the cheese the cheese will “melt” into the sauce quite easily.  Taste again adjust seasoning as necessary.
    3. Bring a pot of water to a boil; add salt; and cook pasta according to the box.
    4. When pasta is al dente, add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce, and toss to combine.  Add the fresh mozzarella and chopped basil.

    Serve with garlic bread, salad, and fruit and enjoy!

    Pasta Caprese:

    5star

  • Ramen Broccoli Salad

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    This salad is so good, and a great side for a hot day.  Both Ethan and Ellie were skeptical at first, but then they tried it.  Ethan had 3 servings, and Ellie had 2 servings.  That never happens!  We had it just a few days ago and it’s already been requested for this week’s menu.  Definitely a hit!

    This is a great dish for a potluck or picnic because there’s no mayo to worry about.

    Version 1 Ingredients (Omit Seasoning Pack):

    • 1 12 oz. package of broccoli slaw mix (in produce section with packaged sugar snap peas, etc.)
    • 1 package of chicken or Oriental flavor Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
    • 1/4 c. grape seed oil (can use vegetable or canola oil)
    • Splash of sesame oil
    • 1/4 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 c. honey
    • 3 tsp. soy sauce
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 green onion, sliced (green only)

    Version 2 Ingredients (With Seasoning Pack):

    • 1 12 oz. package of broccoli slaw mix (in produce section with packaged sugar snap peas, etc.)
    • 1 package of chicken or Oriental flavor Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
    • Ramen seasoning package
    • 1/4 c. grape seed oil (can use vegetable or canola oil)
    • Splash of sesame oil
    • 1/4 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 c. white sugar
    • 1 green onion, sliced (green only)

    Directions:

    1. In a mixing bowl, mix together broccoli slaw and broken Ramen noodles.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together Ramen seasoning package, grape seed oil, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar.
    3. Toss dressing mixture with the broccoli slaw until well coated.
    4. Top with sliced green onion and serve chilled.

    Ramen Broccoli Salad:

    5star

  • Ginger Scallion Noodles

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    This side dish is so simple yet so good.  We seem to always have a batch in the fridge, whether for a dinner side or just to snack on.  Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
    • garlic, minced
    • 3 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 1/3 c. grape seed oil
    • 6 TBSP vinegar (we use 3 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar and 3 TBSP ancho vinegar from a local specialty shop)
    • 2 tsp. soy sauce
    • 2 6 oz. packages of Wel-Pac Chinese Chow Mein Stir-Fry Noodles (or any egg noodle or any noodle you like)

    Directions:

    1. Combine green onions through soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add salt and then add noodles and cook according to directions.
    3. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water and then add to mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.  Serve chilled.

    Ginger Scallion Noodles:

    5star