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Easy Chow Mein

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I'm taking it back to my quick and easy meals for a sec.  I saw this recipe on Lauren's Latest blog and immediately thought, "Yes, I'm gonna need to make that."  I'm a sucker for quick and easy recipes.  I just don't want to spend all my time in the kitchen these days.  I'd rather be doing things like reading, or catching up with friends, or researching new places to travel.

Speaking of traveling, I just came back from a fabulous trip to Pittsburgh!  This is one of the places that I travel to almost every year.  I went to college there and didn't really start appreciating the city until after I left.  There are also so many new things to do and see every time I return!  My friend and I spent a day roaming the city, visiting the Andy Warhol museum, having brunch on Mount Washington, and visiting our old college campus.  We also went to the Steelers game on Sunday and it was a glorious, warm day, which was capped off nicely by a Steeler win!

So yeah, there are other things to do than spending all day in the kitchen.  This Easy Lo Mein recipe was the perfect thing to whip up in a few minutes!
 

Easy Lo Mein
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 4 packages ramen noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 10 oz. shredded cabbage
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

1) Add the ramen noodles to a large pot of boiling water.  Stir the noodles to break them apart as they cook.  Once the noodles are a chewy consistency and just cooked through, drain the water from the pot and set it aside.

2) In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, cabbage, salt, pepper, and ginger together in the pan.  Stir to incorporate everything and allow the mixture to saute until the onion and cabbage are softened.

3) Add the onion and cabbage mix to the pot containing the noodles.  Gently toss everything together.  Pour in the sugar, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Stir everything together until heated through.  Serve hot!

--recipe slightly adapted from Lauren's Latest

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Corn & Pepper Pizza

Yup, I have yet another pizza for you guys.  I can't stop.  I'm going through a heavy carb-loading moment, soooo you're on the receiving end of this part of my life.  I've also just come back from a fabulous trip to New Orleans and I haven't quite figured out how to detox from all the rich food.  I'm thinking about it, but even on my trip back to NJ, the airplane RAN OUT OF SALADS before I could order one.  How rude.  Guess what the only other food option was...buffalo mac and cheese.  Really? Really?

Make no mistake, this is not a salad that I'm presenting to you today.  It does have vegetables though, so it's a step in the right direction.

Plus, we have to take advantage of fresh corn when we can.  Summer is here!  To give this pizza a bit of a kick, I added a few blistered hot peppers, but you could always substitute green peppers if the heat is not really your thing.
 

Corn & Pepper Pizza
makes 8"-10" pizza

Print Recipe

  • 1 package prepared pizza dough, brought to room temperature
  • 3 long green peppers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup roasted corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2) In a small saucepan over medium or high heat, add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.

3) Use a pair of tongs to turn the peppers so they blister evenly on all sides.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, then remove from the pan and dice finely.

4) Stretch the pizza dough over the prepared baking sheet until it forms an 8"-10" circle.

5) Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over the dough and add the garlic.  Spread both evenly over the dough.

6) Sprinkle the mozzarella and goat cheeses on top, followed by the shallots, peppers, and the corn.

7) Bake the pizza for 15-20 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your pizza.

8) Once out of the oven, allow the pizza to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Saffron Rice with Almonds and Raisins

We fancy now, huh?

Yeah, you know.  Just hanging out throwing saffron all over the place like a boss.

But really though, 5 second rule if anything drops on the floor.  We're not actually living that high life.

I was very fortunate to receive a package of saffron from my coworker as a gift recently.  I immediately started planning what I was going to make.  In the end, I decided on saffron rice.  But not just any plain old saffron rice.  I wanted it to have a slight crunch as well as an added sweetness.  Enter sliced almonds and golden raisins.  Perfect!

I served this rice up as a side for roasted chicken breasts and it might have been the best decision ever.  However, I encourage you to pair any meat (or non-meat) entree with this rice.  And if you're feeling adventurous, switch up the additions of raisins and almonds to something else.  (Let me know which ones you try!) There are no limits, so dig in.

 

Saffron Rice with Almonds & Raisins
makes 4-6 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

1) Soak the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons hot water for 10 minutes.

2) In the meantime, wash and drain the rice until the water runs clear.

3) Place the rice in a medium sized pot, along with the broth, salt, and saffron threads still soaking in the water.  Bring the rice mixture to a boil over high heat.

4) Once boiling, cover the pot and turn the heat to Low.

5) Allow the rice to cook on low heat, undisturbed, for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit covered for another 5 minutes.

6) Once the time is up, use a fork to fluff the rice.  Fold in the almonds and raisins.  Serve warm.

Creamy Corn Basil Pasta

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** I actually wrote this post yesterday, but I unfortunately was not able to get a wifi signal which would allow me to upload my photos. Soooo, let's just pretend that I wrote this today.  OK?  Great!**

Fun fact:  I'm writing this as I'm sitting on a train from London to Scotland.  Woohoo!  I just spent a few well-needed vacation days exploring London and sight-seeing.  Now I'm off to experience Scotland for the first time!  Oh.  Yeah.  There will be another post to recap this trip, but more to come on that later.

At this current time, I'm sipping tea and / for castles outside my train window.  Did I mention that I'm eating a virtual TON of food?  Because I am.  Fish and chips, puddings, Indian food, desserts, etc…It’s been one food experience after the next and I’m not mad at it.  The temperature has been sort of temperamental.  The first day was sunny and scorching hot, while the following days exhibited highs of mid-to-low 60’s.  Thankfully I was prepared for both types of weather.  I am definitely missing the last days of summer in the US though!

Before I left home for this UK trip, I whipped up a recipe for Creamy Corn Basil Pasta that is just scrumptious!  I’m going to have to make this more often in order to make it through the dog days of winter.  You know it.  Winter is coming!  Ugh.  At least we can snuggle up at home and continue to experience bites of summertime.

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Cous Cous Salad with Feta & Mint

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Alright.  I'm going to state the obvious now.  It's hot.  Yup, it's hot and humid and I think my eyeballs are even sweating.  Nothing can escape it!  I am trying to just roll with it.  I'm thinking back to the days when I was bundled in my winter coat and scarf and hat.  I'm recalling when I could see my breath on the air and when the air hurt my face.  I need to appreciate the humid sweltering mess that we're living in right now.  The only recipe I could think to create during this time was a nice cool salad.  (I mean, I COULD have made ice cream, but I haven't decided the flavor that I want to go with yet.  Hopefully I'll have a new ice cream recipe posted on this blog for you soon!)


So....salad!  I wanted to go with a meatless salad option since I'm impatient when I'm hot, which means that I don't want to wait for any meat to cook through.  Don't get me wrong.  I realize that I'm impatient all the time, but it's magnified even more when I'm hot and uncomfortable. #hotandhangryI decided throwing cous cous and vegetables and cheese into one bowl, along with a lemon-flavored dressing would be a marvelous idea.  It would allow me to eat something healthy but filling and tasty.  And guess what!  I was right!

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Summer Pumpkin Pizza

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I'm convinced if you add basil and arugula to a thing, it can become a "summer" thing.  So even though I totally took a fall/winter vegetable such as pumpkin and added it to my pizza, once I topped everything with greens...voila...instant summer food!  Heck, even if I'm outvoted, you can't deny that this is basically a "salad".

I'm a big proponent of eating what I want when I want it.  In this case, I couldn't get the idea of a pumpkin pizza out of my mind.  This pairing was prompted by a find of both pumpkin puree and pizza dough in my freezer.  Once I saw both of them, I immediately knew what I had to do.  I wasn't sure this would be seasonally appropriate meal, but in addition to adding greens to this pizza, I also threw on some corn and sweet peppers.  Come on.  You can't deny it now.  Get on board this summer pizza/salad train as fast as you can!

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Baked Falafel Parmesan

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The other night, my power went out.  While this is a regular occurrence in the Bahamas, this is not something that happens very often in New Jersey.  It hasn't happened to me in over 3 years!

Interestingly enough, when the electricity stopped, I realized that there was still a lot of light in the room.  I looked down and saw that I was a) streaming a Youtube video, 2) reading several blog posts (I open several tabs at once because I hate hate hate waiting for pages to load!), and 3) trolling through Instagram on my phone.  Do I have a technology problem?  Don't think so...aka probably.  Ok, definitely.

Logically, my next step was to use my phone's flashlight to navigate around the apartment and light some romantic candles.  Then, I obviously continued to read through the open blog posts for the next half hour and not go to sleep early even though I had work the next day.  This is totally normal.  Just so you know.

Do you know what isn't normal?  Baked falafel.  Say whaaa?  Falafel is typically a fried food.  However, I have mentioned several times that I don't fry things in my house due to my desire to not singe myself or burn the entire building down.  Take your pick.  Having the option to BAKE the falafel instead of frying it opened up a whole new world to me!  And and and, there's cheese involved!  Now you've done it.  Pass this recipe over asap!

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Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Quiche

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Thanksgiving is almost here!  I'm pretty sure I can taste the turkey and the leftovers already.  Bring on the stretchy pants.  Totally kidding.  Totally not kidding.

Speaking of eating way too much, I made a quiche!  I haven't made one of these in a while and I was recently reminded by my coworker how good quiches are.  Since I'm still living for butternut squash and zucchini, I figured they should be the star of this new recipe.  Let me tell you that this quiche did not disappoint!  I would definitely recommend making this for Thanksgiving.  Do you really need an excuse to make something quickly and easily for the Big Day?  With everything else going on, I would definitely add this to my menu in a hurry.

Other random thoughts I'm having at the moment:

- I know it's not as cold in NY/NJ as other places in the US, but it's getting colder and I don't like it!  I'm going to sit on the couch and drink coffee in protest.

- There was a water main break in Hoboken on Sunday.  We were without water for about 8 hours.  Do you know what all you use water for at your place?  There are a ton of things you take for granted, such as brushing your teeth, cooking, washing the dishes, etc...I don't consciously think about using water for these things...until I have no water.  Thankfully the break has been maintained and the water has been restored!

- Did you know The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores are selling a Cookie Butter latte for the holidays?  It's a real thing! *gasp*  I haven't had it yet but I'm thinking that it will be mine before the end of 2015!

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Rigatoni with Marinara & Ricotta


Are we ready for Fall?

What I'm really asking is if we're ready for all the Fall recipes I have planned for you.  I'm in between jobs this week (starting my new gig on Monday!) and I've basically channeled my energy into cooking as much food as a human can.  I'm also saving some energy for working out, hanging with friends, and trying to weasel my way into a Yoga & Kitties class (WHY is this class full on the only day I can go to it!).

I want to kick things off with a simple pasta dish.  This is one of those recipes I've had on my "to make" list for a very long time, but I put it off because it's so simple!  Yes, I know that doesn't make sense, but it's true.  The other day, I was reminded how such simple dishes could be amazing.  I was out at a restaurant where I ate pasta tossed with cheese and black pepper.  It was to-die-for!  I didn't even order the dish and I might have eaten almost half of it.  My baddddd.

But back to this rigatoni.  I'm so glad I got around to making it finally because it was every bit as delicious as ALL the reviews indicated.  I'll never again underestimate the power of simplicity.

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Crustless Cheese Corn & Mushroom Savory Tart

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Could we just talk about this crustless quiche realllll quick?  OK, it may not be that quick, but really.  I am basically eating my feelings right now because my feelings are made up of corn, mushroom, and quiche.  And don't forget the cheese, please.

This quiche is brought to you by my monthly Secret Recipe Club assignment.  This month I had the pleasure of being assigned Maxine's blog with the most hilarious blog name I have seen in a while: Why I Am Not Skinny.  I definitely had a chuckle when I opened up my assignment email. (Side note: do people still chuckle? I do. I think.) But seriously, does it get any better than this name?  No, it does not.  The lady is just telling it like it is.

Maxine is from South Africa and is now living with her husband in Brussels.  I would like to visit both of those places someday, but if I can't be there, at the very least I can still make this dish.  Maxine mentioned that a savory tart in South Africa is very similar to a crustless quiche.  I like your style South Africa.  I think we would get along well.

I didn't mess around with Maxine's recipe much since I am a fan of all the ingredients, but she mentions that you can add meat if you would like.  Bacon and ham are at the top of her list.  Bacon would definitely be at the top of mine.  Can't ever have too much.  Why I Am Not Skinny is chock full of other goodies and I was so so close to making the Chili Con Carne or the Banana & Chocolate French Toast recipes.  I ended up not having all the ingredients on hand to make the chili and as for the french toast, I had already made something similar that I plan to post on the blog very soon, so that was also nixed.  But I know I still chose a winner in this quiche.  Maxine can plan my meals any day!

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