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Showing posts from 2015

Baked Ziti with Sausage

This dish started off as a "got to make this dish one day" and morphed into a "my friends and I are drunk and need to eat" dish to a "can we have that one dish again please?"

This is a mish mash of 2 Kenji Lopez-Alt recipes: The Food Lab's No-Boil Baked Ziti and Easy Skillet Baked Ziti With Sausage and Ricotta. I had shopped for one recipe but in my post festivities state I was trying to follow the instructions for the other recipe. I wanted to try the real recipes but my friends all said why mess with a good thing. So below is my version of Kenji's baked ziti dish with sausage.

Browning the sausage:
I always let one side sear very heavily in the pan before I start to move the meat around. This way you can get parts with deep flavor but not overcook and dry out the whole batch.

Cooking the onions:
To get  translucent onions with no browning, reduce heat to medium, create an even bed of meat to elevate the onions from the bottom of the pan,…

Easy Pastry Crust Recipe without a Food Processor

As a follow up to my Curry Minced Beef Pot Pie post. I thought I'd share how I got over my fear of pie dough.

As usual it starts with my food idol Kenji Lopez-Alt and his super simple recipe for an easy pie crust. The only catch was that he used a food processor and I don't have one. I had faith in Kenji's recipe development skills when he said that this was fool proof so I followed his step by step photo gallery and used the pictures to gauge if I was doing it right.

I figured that I could do this dough by hand since the first step was to create a paste with the butter and 3/4 of the flour. That's easy enough - that is if I had remembered to take the butter out of the freezer first. Fast forward 30 minutes with the butter at room temperature, a little elbow grease and voila - pie crust!

Instead of using the food processor, I simply smashed the butter into the flour and used the fork to scrap any dough/ butter off the wooden spoon. I was not gentle. I poked, prodded, …

Curry Minced Beef Pot Pie

I'm so happy that I put my big girl pants on and got over my fear of pie dough. Ok, Kenji kicked my butt over the hump with his ridiculously easy pie dough recipe! It turned out better than I could have hoped and it made the perfect casing for a simple pot pie.
I used my standard shepherd's pie recipe and instead of topping it with mashed potatoes, I put them into dough lined ramekins to bake. Supper simple and guaranteed to be gone in 5 minutes flat!
Key Notes: This recipe is very forgiving so don't stress too much about size of the carrots or celeryThe key thing is to add enough flour to create a gravy in the pan when the beef stock is addedReduce the gravy down until it all sticks to the meat. You DO NOT want the meat sitting in a bunch of liquid at the bottom of the pan Ingredients:

1/2 recipe Easy Pie Dough Recipe from Serious Eats/ The Food Lab, rolled out 2 - 3 inches wider than pie plate or desired ramekin 1 T olive oil 1 lb ground beef 1 small onion finely chopped 1 ca…

Silicone Spatula that actually works

Having the right tools in your kitchen can turn jobs into joys. From stirring stews to scraping out bowls, a silicone spatula is essential in any kitchen.

I was resistant to moving into the modern world and getting a silicone spatula for a long, long time. I figured if a wooden spoon was good enough for my mom (who taught me to cook), it's good enough for me. Who needed this new fangled fad?!?! Nope, not me! Especially when I got a silicone spatula in a gift bag and it did not work. It was me and my slightly burned wooden spoons for a few more years.

On a whim while watching an America's Test Kitchen episode, I figured if a silicone spatual is good enough for ATK then it will be good enough for me! At only $13.74 I figured I really can't go wrong by getting the Kitchen Aid Commercial High-Heat Scrapper, 13.5-Inch.

It was a dream. Here are some highlights:

Doesn't stainLight weightLarge spatula surface to make folding and stirring a breezeCleans out a bowl or pan like a…

Chicken soup for a cold

Growing up, my mom would make a big batch of chicken soup with random vegetables, potatoes, and chicken. It wasn't fancy but it warmed me from inside out. I crave this soup whenever I get sick.  So when a cold got the better of my boyfriend I knew I had to give him some kitchen therapy in the form of this homey soup. There's no hard and fast recipe and the measurements can be tweaked with whatever you have on hand. Simple Chicken Soup Ingredients:
- 4 quarts water or chicken stock
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 daikon, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 finger ginger, cut into 1 inch pieces
- salt, pepper, sugar to taste
- 2 really big potatoes (russet, Yukon gold or red will all work fine)
- 1 pound chicken (I prefer all dark meat), cut into 2 inch pieces Garnish: parsley, fresh black pepper Instructions:
1. Combine first 6 ingredients (water/stock, onion, carrot, daikon, celery, ginger) in…

Mexican Cheesy Rice Casserole

My pantry was going crazy so I decided to give it a once over and see what I could make for dinner. That's how this super easy Mexican Cheesy Rice Casserole cam about. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, divided
- 1 14 oz can whole black beans or any you have on hand
- 1 14 oz can nacho cheese, divided
- 4 cups cooked rice
- black olives
- green onions, sliced
- sour creamDirections:
1) heat oven to 375F. Butter a 9x11" casserole dish and set aside.
2)Heat oil over high heat in a non stick skillet until shimmering. Add beef and brown until no longer pink.
3) sprinkle taco seasoning on beef and mix well. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
4) add tomatoes and beans, mix well.
5) add 3/4 of the cheese
6) add rice and mix through
7) pour mixture into casserole dish
8) spread remaining cheese on top of casserole.  garnish with black olives

Zucchini with Herbed Breadcrumbs and Goat Cheese - Easy but Fancy

We all face the same challenges - fast, easy and TASTY weeknight meals. I've made my life simple by relying on my Sous Vide Supreme Demi to make cooking proteins a no fuss operation but I do like having a fresh component on my dish. I generally saute or roasted a veg - kale, spinach, brocolini, etc.

More often than not zucchini makes it on my plate. It's mild flavor that goes with everything, it cooks quickly with a minimum of oil, and it comes in convenient size options - no leftover leaves hanging around. 1 zucchini does the trick for my 2 person household!

I generally chop it up and saute with some garlic. But sometimes you want to be a little fancy and it is still very simple and adds only a little of prep time to the overall cooking.

Zucchini with Herbed Breadcrumbs and Goat Cheese

1 tsp of oil (canola, olive oil - anything neutral) 1 medium zucchini, chopped (1.5 inch chunks, rounds, or half moons - whatever you want)Salt & pepper to taste 2 cloves of ga…


It's been a long, long while since I've written anything. Lots of changes with work, lots of changes with my diet or lack thereof. Yup, I'm off Intermittent Fasting as a matter of course. I do use the techniques I learned to triage a few pounds of here and there when needed. In fact one of the best things I learned from the 5:2 diet was how to deal with hunger and not go over board when eating again. But that wasn't a consideration the last month when I was in vacation in Thailand! I gobbled up so many delicious foods and experienced so many new dishes. It was fantastic. I was grateful to have preemptively lost a few pounds before landing in Bangkok as I gained a bunch by the time I left! I'll be posting up my food adventures soon. In the meantime feel free to check out my Thailand pictures on my Instagram account. In the meantime I will leave you with my happy worn to the US and blogging and of course some #foodporn - crispy lad na from a local food court for 40 b…