Category Archives: Recipes

30-Minute Gourmet: Shrimp and Mushroom Butternut Squash Ravioli

This recipe is something very different for me. Normally I tend to shy away from dairy-heavy recipes for my own reasons, however I modified this a bit to fit my appetite and I believe it is a staple for any night of the week.

 

Like a few of my other recipes, this recipe can be easily altered to taste. The recipe I am posting here is the base recipe, but I like to add Sriracha, red pepper flakes, and other spices depending on what I am feeling for that night. Also, the shrimp can be switched out for squid, chicken, or another protein, but it might require cooking the protein prior to adding it.

 

Making this recipe in thirty minutes will require some multitasking so if you are in a rush, be prepared to stay on your toes. At least two burners are essential, but if you are using a protein like chicken, a third will come in handy to cook the chicken or other protein while also cooking the pasta and starting the sauce. However, since this recipe is not too complicated and does not require any real special skills, the multitasking is luckily not a huge challenge.

 

One thing to look out for in this recipe is melting the cream cheese. The cheese must be at room temperature and the pan cannot be too hot or else the cream cheese will get clumpy as it melts. If this happens it is not the end of the world, just add some of the boiling water and whisk the sauce to break up the clumps.

 

Lastly, the cleanup for this recipe is relatively easy. Going off of the recipe I am posting, only three cooking dishes need to be cleaned; the pot, the pan, and the colander. Other than that, stirring utensils and the cutting board will need to be cleaned, but this can be accomplished relatively quickly making this recipe truly thirty minute gourmet.

 

And without further ado, here is the recipe.

 

Shrimp and Mushroom Butternut Squash Ravioli with Cream Sauce (adapted from allrecipes.com)image2

 

  • 1 (12oz) package of butternut squash ravioli
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 10 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 handful spinach, sliced (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon basil (to taste)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ravioli and cook until al dente. Drain.

 

While the pasta is cooking, heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook and stir until tender. Transfer to a plate.

 

In the same pan, melt 1/2 cup of butter with minced garlic until fragrant. Reduce the heat and add the cream cheese, breaking it up as it melts. Stir in the parsley, basil, and spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in boiling water until the sauce is smooth. Add the shrimp and continue cooking the sauce until shrimp is pink. Add mushrooms and ravioli and stir until heated and incorporated.

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30-minute Gourmet: More Spicy than Sweet Honey Sriracha Chicken

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So far my recipes have really stuck to the title “30-minute gourmet” in their prep, cook time, and cleanup. Unfortunately, this recipe is just 30-minute gourmet. It can be prepared in 30 minutes, but you will have to kick it into high gear, which shouldn’t be an issue if you have dinner around the corner and need something fast.
With that being said, this recipe also differs from previous posts in that it is not incredibly versatile, but that does not mean it is any less delicious. It is a hybrid between Chinese takeout chicken and homemade breaded chicken. Because it is baked, it does not have the same crunch that takeout might, but it is healthier since it is not deep fried. If you want that crunch, just fry the coated chicken in very hot oil in batches until very lightly browned, let dry on a paper towel, and then fry again until golden brown. This does require a large pot and either tongs or a slotted spoon.
As for this recipe, the sauce is very flavorful and relatively spicy (depending on your tolerance) so I like to pair it with rice and sometimes broccoli to really get as much of the takeout experience as I can. This might just be an old wives tale, but I am pretty sure the spice in the sauce can help reduce cold symptoms, but don’t quote me on that. Also, seasoning the chicken before it is dredged helps give it flavor beyond just the sauce-coated exterior. Especially if you have big pieces, this will help keep those meaty centers from being bland.
Cleanup for this will take at least another 15 minutes, so I suggest planning this recipe appropriately. It can work wonders, but if you are looking for 30-minute gourmet because you will have 25 minutes to make a meal, put this recipe on the shelf for now and come back when you have enough time that you won’t be screaming at chicken to cook faster.
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Now for the recipe:
1lb chicken breasts or thighs, cubed about 1-inch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, whisked
3 cups Panko bread crumbs (I use Japanese style)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch white pepper
1 pinch salt
green onions & sesame seeds (for garnish)
Sauce:
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
8 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons sriracha
6 tablespoons honey
8 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Toss the chicken with the sugar, salt, and white pepper. Place the flour in one bowl, the whisked eggs in a second bowl, and the bread crumbs in a third. In batches, coat the chicken in the flour, soak in the egg, and then coat in the bread crumbs. Line the chicken on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook until lightly brown on the outside and fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk the soy sauce, sriracha, honey, water, and the red pepper flakes together. Add to the saucepan and cook for about 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Set aside over low heat until ready to toss with the chicken.
When the chicken is finished cooking, toss with the sauce. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds if desired and serve immediately.

30-Minute Gourmet: Sweet Chili Salmon


This week I am finally moving from the stove to the oven with my Sweet Chili Salmon. This recipe is adapted from this recipe from Pinterest and an old family favorite from Mark Bittman, which consists of nothing more than butter, salt, and pepper. Like all my posts, this recipe is versatile and can be paired with nearly any vegetable, starch, or grain, especially my One-Pan Pasta or my Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Skillet.

Like my previous recipes, this is another one-dish wonder. It does require removing the dish from the oven a few times, which can be tricky to do effectively so as to not lose too much heat from the oven. This skill, along with the ability to gauge when to finish cooking the fish, is essential for mastering this recipe. Luckily for us, the rest of the recipe is extremely easy and cleanup takes about five minutes.

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Salmon is my favorite fish for many reasons. Firstly, it’s incredibly versatile in that it can be eaten with flavorful sauces, such as teriyaki and sweet chili, but it also has wonderful natural flavors that be brought out with just a touch of salt and pepper. Furthermore, it can stand alone or be incorporated in salads, pastas, and many other dishes. This particular recipe utilizes both salmons natural flavor and it’s ability to pair with sauces to achieve a good balance. I also sautéed some greens quickly in a pan on the stove while the salmon was cooking as a side, which  was done by heating some butter and garlic in a pan and sautéing the greens until wilted.

A side note before I get to the actual recipe, the recipe from Pinterest called for the salmon to be marinated, which could be great for the flavors, however it would make this recipe take longer than thirty minutes to prepare. Also, broiling the salmon as suggested in the Pinterest might create interesting textures, however I have not yet figured out how to use the broiler on my apartment’s oven.

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And without further ado, here is the recipe.

1 3/4lb salmon fillet

2-3 Tablespoons of Thai Sweet Chili sauce

3 Tablespoons green onions

1-1/2 Tablespoons butter

Salt (to taste)

 

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and place a small baking dish of butter inside to melt the  butter. Once the butter is melted, remove from the oven and place salmon fillet flesh side down in the dish. Cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and flip salmon so the flesh side is facing up. Brush 2 Tablespoons of Chili Sauce over the top of the salmon. Place white part of green onions around the salmon and put back in the oven for 3-6 minutes (or if desired, remove halfway and add more chili sauce)

Garnish with remaining green onions and serve.

 

Kale Almond Pesto Tagliatelle

Home for spring break? Want to impress your family or treat your friends to a delicious dinner? I have the perfect recipe for you.

The other day, I was testing pesto recipes for work. When I say testing recipes, I mean testing A LOT of recipes. I can officially make pesto with my eyes closed. And yes, I still smell faintly of garlic. You may ask: what does one do with so much pesto? There are three answers: (1) Eat it on chips, (2) Jar it and give it to your boyfriend’s mom for extra brownie points, (3) Make something fabulous for dinner to go with it. We’re going to focus on number three.

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This pasta is covered in a kale & almond pesto that I made with all my leftover ingredients from that day. For an added textural component, I threw in some larger pieces of kale. At the very end I tossed in some sliced grape tomatoes for brightness.

This recipe serves 2, but feel free to double or triple amounts for larger parties.

Kale & Almond Pesto 

  • 1 cup of roughly chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons of roasted almonds
  • 3 tablespoons  of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth)
  • zest of a whole lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt & pepper

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until you reach a spreadable consistency that isn’t too creamy. It should not be fully smooth!

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To assemble the pasta…

You need:

  • 1 more cup of roughly chopped kale
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes sliced lengthwise
  • Extra parmesan cheese & black pepper to top off

To make the Tagliatelle, follow the boiling directions on the package. I say this because it varies from brand to brand. If you can’t find Tagliatelle, Linguini would work great in this as well.

Roughly chop the kale and stir it in to the pasta after draining. If you put the lid to the pot back on for a few minutes, the kale will wilt perfectly.

Add the tomatoes and the pesto last and toss it all together until evenly mixed.

Serve and top with parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to taste! Enjoy!

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30-Minute Gourmet: Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Skillet

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I have to correct myself and say that this recipe wins the prize for most versatile, despite my praise for the One Pan Pasta I posted previously. Similar to the pasta, this is one of those recipes where you throw everything in and the rest is almost done for you. Just some light mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula to sauté the ingredients and it’s done in five minutes.

Although this recipe may seem bland (I mean, quinoa, spinach, and mushrooms don’t exactly have the reputation of being the most flavor packed ingredients out there), cooking the spinach and mushrooms brings out flavor many don’t know exists. For my version, I added ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and Sriracha to add a bit more kick to the dish, but it is really up to the palette of the chef and audience.

And the wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can alter the ingredients according to taste. I have always wanted to try kale for a bitterer, earthier taste, or chard to add some color. I use baby bella mushrooms, but portobello or shitake also can alter the profile dramatically, depending on the tastes. Lastly, something I meant to add this time around but regretfully did not, was cilantro. I, luckily, am not afflicted with the hatred of cilantro, and it would be interesting to try the combination of the earthier mushrooms with the cleaner bite of cilantro. Even if that didn’t work, the legendary combination of cilantro and Sriracha might be enough to save the dish.

Depending on how you cook your quinoa, this could takeover thirty minutes, however I have always been able to throw it together before passing the limit. Furthermore, the quinoa can be cooked previously, as it heats up in the pan once added. Cooking the quinoa the night before could make put the time stamp on this recipe at about five minutes, maybe eight or ten depending on the heat of your stove. Overall though, since cleanup is a breeze with the absence of sticky sauces and the use of only one pan (or two depending on when you cook the quinoa), the cooking time for the actual skillet recipe almost cannot exceed twenty minutes, unless you are really that determined.

 

With all that being said, here is the recipe for my Mushroom Quinoa Skillet:

 

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(Adapted from Julia’s Album)

 

Spinach Mushroom Quinoa Skillet

  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 oz fresh spinach (to taste)
  • 2 oz fresh arugula (to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Heat butter and olive in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until mushrooms get soft and golden-brown color. Season with salt.

Add fresh spinach and arugula to skillet and reduce heat to low. As spinach begins to wilt, sauté with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa to the skillet and cook on low heat for another minute, allowing quinoa to warm and spinach to wilt more. Add Sriracha, red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper, and mix/sauté to incorporate.

 

Frozen Banana Pops

If you’re like me, the warm weather could not come any sooner. The days are growing a little longer, the slush has disappeared from the streets, and that Spring Break count down is ticking by FAST. Yes!

I know what you’re thinking: the only thing that would make this situation better is a beautiful, yet confusing treat. One that looks like fruit, but tastes like ice cream. One that satisfies your chocolate craving, yet provides a variety of key nutrients. But could such a thing exist?

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Introducing the Frozen Banana Pop! A chocolate-dipped banana, covered in sundae toppings, and frozen to perfection.

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Here’s what you need to make these gems:

-1 bar of semi-sweet Ghiradelli’s chocolate (or milk chocolate if you prefer)

-2 over-ripe bananas

-A pinch of instant coffee or espresso (Because the Barefoot Contessa says so)

-Your favorite sundae toppings (I chose crushed pecans and sprinkles)

-4 sticks

-1 old cardboard box you won’t miss (I used the box from my Sleepytime tea)

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Step 1: Break down the chocolate into a bowl with the instant coffee/espresso and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted.

Step 2: While microwaving, poke holes in the cardboard box for your skewers.

Step 3: Peel the bananas and cut them in half. Then skewer them lengthwise.

Step 4: Dunk your bananas one at a time in the chocolate, using a spoon to help cover all the spots.

Step 5: Sprinkle on the goods.

Step 6: Freeze for at least 2 hours or until chocolate is hard. Longer is better though :)

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That is all! Then invite your favorite friends over and pretend you’re indulging on something naughty.

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Enjoy!

30-Minute Gourmet: One-Pan Pasta

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If you are looking for a quick and versatile recipe to add to your collection, look no further. This recipe for one-pan pasta is probably my #1 go-to when I need to make something impressive. It can easily be prepped, cooked, and cleaned in less than thirty minutes, making it a perfect recipe for nearly any occasion.

 

Even beyond the speediness, its taste alone will make it one to ad to your bookmarks bar. Cooking all the ingredients together allows the water to absorb all the flavors, which is then absorbed by the pasta. Instead of having a heavy sauce coating the pasta, the recipe relies on the natural flavors to give the pasta a much lighter and subtler taste.

 

Something else I love about this recipe is that it can stand alone or be a perfect side to nearly any main course. One of my favorite pairings for this recipe is a lightly seasoned salmon. Just a light brushing of butter, salt, and pepper draw out the natural flavors of the fish, much like this recipe does for the pasta, making it a perfect match. And the recipe is highly malleable. I have tried different ingredients and found that as long as the proportions are right, there are very few ingredients that would pair poorly with this pasta. I altered my personal recipe based on food sensitivities and other preferences, so it’s good to try many different variations to develop a personal recipe for your taste.

 

One final thing I have to compliment this recipe on is that cleanup takes less than five minutes. The cutting board and knife can be cleaned while the water is heating, leaving just the pan, tongs, a fork, and a plate or bowl (unless of course you are sharing the pasta). And because there is no sauce, there is hardly any mess to take care of. Really, it is so simple it can be done in a matter of seconds.

 

 

Now onto the actual recipe I have been raving about.

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One-Pan Pasta (Adapted from Lottie + Doof  )

 

12 oz linguine

12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large

3 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

7 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 sprigs of basil

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4 ½ cups of water

 

Combine all the ingredients in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs until water has nearly evaporated. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

 

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Avocado Egg Boats

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Hi everyone! 

As the semester draws to a close there are two things running through every student’s mind:

  1. WINTER VACATION
  2. Finals. Finals. And more finals.

So, because we’re all so busy right now, I wanted to share one of my simplest, healthiest, and tastiest recipes. It’s a hearty, filling treat that takes almost no time and will keep you kicking through these final few weeks. 

An Avocado Egg Boat is basically an egg baked inside an avocado half. There are a few simple steps, and all you need is one avocado and two eggs.

Preheat oven or toaster-oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with tin foil.

First, cut a ripe avocado in half. Remove the pit carefully by piercing it with the knife and pulling it out. 

Next, scoop out another fourth of each half around the pit. You just want to make a bigger hole than there already is. 

Place each half on the tin foil covered sheet.

Then, crack an egg into the hole you just made. One egg goes in each half. Carefully, put baking sheet in the oven.

Cook for 30-40 minutes. Note that a toaster-oven will cook on the faster side.

Finally, top the finished product with salt and pepper. If you have some fresh herbs, add some on top for a bit of freshness!

Eat up, stay nourished, and good luck on your finals! 

Winter Italian Recipe: Minestrone Soup

Winter is coming and we all need something hot and nice to warm us up. What is better than a Minestrone soup? It is a easy dish from Northern Italy, typical of winter season. You can put in it more or less what you want, from beans to zucchini, from lentils to potatoes. If you want to use dried beans or lentils, you just have to remember to leave them in a bowl with some water for at least two hours before beginning to prepare your soup.

Here is my soup. Begin with a soffritto: put onions on olive oil, and add celery and carrots.

SoffrittoSoffritto with carrots and celeryYou can add on it any vegetable you like: zucchini, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, peas.. etc.

Vegetable mix

At this point it is time to put the legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas, soya beans, what you want is fine! The more varieties of legumes, the better your minestrone will be! Just add them with at least two cups of water, and some salt.

You have to stir your soup once in a while and let the beans and lentils cook for at least half an hour. Then, depending on your taste, you can add more water to make it more “minestrone” or let all the water evaporate to make it more “soup”.

Minestrone styleSoup style

Your minestrone soup is ready. Enjoy the winter!

Raspberry Peach Olive Oil Cake

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Hey everyone!

So, I think it’s time we made something sweet, right? It’s a complete myth that gluten-free baking can only be done well by a professional. There are some things you can make with no flour at all like cookies, fudge brownies, and oatmeal bars. But what happens when all you want to do is have a nice fork-full of cake? All you need is to get a really good gluten-free flour blend. (A little tip: the more unknown the brand, the higher the likelihood that the flour blend will be better. Try to steer clear of the big brands trying to embrace the gluten-free craze.)

This recipe is not entirely mine. I was on a farm in Spain when I first tried it. One of my hosts made it to have with coffee, and I could not stop eating it. So, I obviously begged her for the recipe. The best part is, it’s incredibly simple! My addition to the recipe is the flavors, which can be altered to your liking as long as you stick to the basic recipe proportions. 

The secret to making this cake is one thing: a personal-sized yogurt. Not only is the yogurt used in the recipe, but the container is your measurement tool for everything! Amazing, right?

You’ll need:

  • 1 Personal-Sized Yogurt (peach)
  • 3 Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • Gluten-Free Flour Blend (or regular flour for those who can tolerate wheat)
  • Baking Powder
  • Raspberry Preserves
  • 3 Peaches

Preheat the oven to 350.

First, dump the contents of the yogurt in a bowl. Rinse out the container and dry it.

In a separate bowl, mix together 3 room-temperature eggs and 2 containers-full of sugar. 

Then, add the yogurt and 1 container-full of olive oil. Mix together well.

Finally, stir in 3 containers-full of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. 

Now that you have your mixture, line a 9-inch circular pan with parchment paper. Pour your mixture into the lined pan and cook in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes (but check on it after 20 and do the toothpick test to see if its done.)

While it’s cooking, slice your peaches in thin crescents.

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When it is done, let it cool. Then, spread the raspberry preserves generously over the top of the cake. Finally, layer the peaches on top. When you’re ready to serve, take the parchment paper off the cake and enjoy! Goes best with tea or coffee, and good friends or family. 

Happy baking everyone!

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