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I had a request for a super easy, minimal ingredient dinner. This is for you Pat!

Aside from salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar…these are staples most people have in their kitchen…this is super easy and yummy…AND only 5 ingredients to buy at the store.

1. Whole wheat penne pasta

2. Cherry tomatoes

3. Basil

4. Fresh mozzarella

5. Grated parmesan cheese

Cook whole wheat penne pasta in a pot of salted boiling water. Drain. When pasta is still warm toss with halved cherry tomatoes, torn basil, bite size pieces of fresh mozzarella, olive oil, salt, pepper and vinegar (red wine or balsamic), top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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I love soups of all kinds and they are so easy to make!  Sauté any veggies you have in your fridge, add some spices, boxed broth and simmer away for 15 minutes. Healthy. Delicious. And a great way to use up leftovers in your fridge.

This is my super easy minestrone. Sauté a cup each of chopped onions, zucchini, carrots, green beans and celery until crisp but tender. Add in a box of chicken broth, a cup of crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, herbs de provence, oregano and fresh parsley. Stir in a can of drained white beans. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with a small shaped pasta and grated parmesan. Make a batch on Sunday and eat it for lunch all week long. Tons of veggies and protein from the beans…just yummy!

In a pinch to make a quick dinner? Serve an easy arugula salad over chicken cutlets. You can make the cutlets or buy them in the store. Top with baby arugula mixed with chopped fresh mozzarella, sliced roasted red peppers, cubed tomato, torn basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss with salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Super simple. Super delicious.

Enjoy!

I am moving to a new place in a few weeks so I am on a mission to clean out my fridge / freezer / pantry. The more stuff I use, the less I have to move….and the cheaper the grocery bill will be over the next few weeks. So this dish was developed based on this adventure! I just threw it together and didn’t measure, so here are the approximate directions.

For the pork chops:

Marinate for about 10 minutes in chipotle in adobo, orange juice, olive oil, paprika, chili powder and cumin. Sear on both sides (about 4 min per side) in a hot skillet with melted butter and olive oil. Cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For the sauce:

Saute finely chopped onion in olive oil with salt and pepper until tender. Pour in about 1 glass of red wine (I used cabernet) and a splash of orange juice. Let reduce by half. Add in lots of cracked pepper, salt, 2 tbsp  honey and a cup of blackberries. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until the blackberries start to break up and the sauce thickens.

Serve the sauce over the pork chops. Round out the meal with some cous cous and green beans.

Here are some great ways to use up your leftovers….

  • Turn your veggies and turkey into a turkey pot pie or turkey and veggie soup
  • Use leftover biscuits to make egg sandwich sliders for a yummy breakfast
  • Turn mashed potatoes into potato croquets by mixing with chopped parsley and shredded mozzarella, rolling into a ball, dip in breadcrumbs and fry.
  • Scoop the inside out of a pecan pie and warm, top with caramelized bananas (saute with brown sugar until brown)
  • For a side dish, put candied yams in a food processor and blend to make whipped yams to serve along side chicken or fish
  • Use stuffing to stuff a pork tenderloin or chicken breasts to make another dinner

 

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is rapidly approaching which means busy times and plenty of food to go around!

I have found that Bon Appetit has the best Thanksgiving guide around. Check it out here – They have everything from the best turkey recipes to sides and appetizers. Highly recommend this site.

What are all of you making for Thanksgiving? What are your favorites? Feel free to post some winners here!

My favorite is my grandmothers Sausage Stuffing…but sorry, it’s a family secret!

With flu season looming….here is my easy and healthy chicken soup packed with vitamins to get you back on your feet quick. And the best part is, it’s ready in no time at all.

Directions…

Saute chopped onions, carrots, celery, parsnips and zucchini (or any veggies you have on hand or like) in a large pot with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until they are slightly browned. In the mean time, shred up left over chicken or a store bought rotisseriee chicken (remove the skin). Add boxed chicken stock, herbs de provence and chopped parsley to the pot. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Serve over cooked egg noodles or left over pasta. Enjoy!

photo-1For a chilly Sunday night beef stew was the perfect meal. I have a yummy cookbook that I never get to cook out of because everything takes too long or requires a million ingredients. Not so friendly for a weeknight. But here is an easy one that was oh so yummy thanks to Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris — with my special added touchs of course.

Added bonus…it tastes better the second day!

Ingredients…

Olive Oil

4 ounces bacon, diced

1 1/4 lbs beef chuck cut into 1 inch cubes

salt / pepper

1/2 lb carrots sliced into 1 inch chunks

1 onion sliced

1/2 bottle good red wine, like a burgundy or cabernet

1 1/4 cups boxed beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon herbs de provence

3 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 lb frozen peal onions

1/2 lb mushrooms thickly sliced (any kind you like)

1/4 lb frozen peas

handful chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup cream

How to make it….

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until the bacon is slightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Dry cubes of beef and season liberally with salt and pepper. In batches sear the meat in hot oil on each side, total about 3-5 minutes. Removed the beef and add to the plate with the bacon.

Place the carrots, onions, salt and pepper in the pot and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the onions are lightly browned add the meat and bacon back into the pot with any juices from the plate. Add the wine and beef broth. Mix in the tomato paste, thyme and herbs de provence. Bring to a boil and cover. Turn heat to low and cook for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and carrots are tender. (Resist the urge to open the lid – all of the heat will escape).

Mix 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the pearl onions. In a separate pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add them to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add peas, parsley and the cream. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve over buttered egg noodles and top with extra chopped parsley.

photo-1

Lobster was on sale for half price at the supermarket….$4.99 / lb — A Steal! Here’s my recipe for what turned out to be delicious lobster rolls. Serves 2. ENJOY!

Ingredients

2 – 1 1/2 lb. lobsters

2 tbsps mayo

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 ribs celery chopped small

1/4 cup cucumber, seeds removed, chopped small

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

sprinkle of dried dill (or fresh if you have)

squeeze of lemon

splash of red wine vinegar

salt / pepper

hot dog rolls

teaspoon butter

Directions

For the lobsters: Bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the 2 lobsters, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 – 22 minutes. Let cool. Crack and remove meat. Cut into chunks.

Mix together the mayo, mustard, lemon, tarragon, dill, vinegar and salt / pepper. Add in lobster, celery and cucumber. Mix to combine.

Melt butter in a pan. Toast up hot dog rolls on the inside and outside. Spoon lobster salad into toasted rolls. Serve with a simple salad and kettle cooked chips.

eggplantI have so many yummy veggies left from the farm, so I decided to make a great caponata to use them up. I used a Tyler Florence recipe and adapted it to use up what I had in the fridge.

This is delicious warm, cold or room temperature. Sever on toasted bread as an appetizer, mix with pasta or serve with chicken or fish for an easy dinner. This is a very versatile dish…and yummy too!

Ingredients…

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

dash of red pepper flakes

1 large eggplant, cubed

1 zucchini cubed

2 ribs of celery cubed

2 tomatoes, halved and seeds squeezed out, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 tablespoons capers, drained

1/2 cup pitted kalamata and green olives

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

pinch sugar

handful of torn fresh basil

salt and pepper

Directions…

Pour the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant in the oil. Add red pepper flakes. Cook until brown, be sure to stir often. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, zucchini, celery and onion cook for about 15 minutes until the veggies are soft. Add the capers, olives, balsamic vinegar, sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and slowly simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes until thickened.

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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