Browsing Tag


Sun-dried Tomato and Asparagus Pasta Salad

July 6, 2011

Thanks for all your kind words and support about our race. I’m already searching out my next race. Joey, on the other hand, is taking a few steps back from distance running and is going to focus on shorter runs paired with lots of lifting and agility workouts.

Races aside, we are in full-on wedding mode over in this neck of the woods. Tomorrow is my last day of work before the wedding, and my family starts arriving in town tomorrow, too. I’m so excited to spend a few days with my mom, dad, Andrea, my little sisters among other family members before the wedding day arrives.

But amid the craziness, a girl’s gotta eat, right? My mom and I made this tasty and off-beat pasta salad last week, inspired by Food Network’s ‘Mix and Match Pasta Salad’ article. To be quite honest, the combination of ingredients was fun and tasty, but the Creamy Parmesan Dressing was anything but rich and complex. So we did our thing and dressed it up a bit with the addition of Greek yogurt, balsamic vinegar, dried dill and a little olive oil for a thinner consistency.

Thank goodness there is plenty of summer left to make this again and again.

A serious dose of wedding updates coming up soon!

Sun-dried Tomato and Asparagus Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad
*1 lb. fusilli pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed under cold water and drained again
*2 cups steamed chopped asparagus
*3 ears of cooked fresh sweet corn kernels
*1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

*1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt (plain)
*1/2 cup sour cream
*1/3 cup olive oil
*3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
*1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1/2 teaspoon dried dill or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese 
*Salt and pepper to taste

*Place cooked pasta in a very large bowl along with the asparagus, corn and sun-dried tomatoes.
*In a small mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture atop pasta mixture in larger bowl. Toss or stir until well-combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour before servings. Makes 8 to 10 side-dish servings

Happy Cooking!


Brown Butter Angel Hair Pasta

March 15, 2011

Note: In light of the recent tragedies in Japan, I am thinking of putting together a virtual bake sale with the proceeds going to disaster relief. If this is something you would be interested in participating in, please send me an e-mail ( so I can gauge interest. 

Daylight savings time and a hectic week are really cramping my photo schedule. So instead of bathing my recipes in morning light, I’m photographing my recipe under artificial light in my pajamas at 5:45 in the morning. It’s a glamorous life, indeed.

But if you can manage to look past the bad lighting, this recipe is a true gem. Ever since reader Colleen said her favorite comfort food was spaghetti with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, I had the idea for this pasta on my mind. Pasta, dressed with a delicate, savory browned butter sauce. Peppered with notes of sage and salty Parmesan cheese.

Health food? No. A divine indulgence? You better believe it.

Brown Butter Angel Hair Pasta
Be careful not to over brown the butter. A couple more minutes after the butter is melted should be enough to give you the flavor and color you’re looking for. 

*2 oz (1 serving) angel hair pasta
*3 Tbsp. salted butter
*Kosher salt
*1/8 tsp. rubbed sage
*Grated Parmesan cheese

*Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
*In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, continue to cook, swirling frequently, until butter begins to brown and turns a light amber color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt to taste, the sage and 1/2 tsp. Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.
*Pour butter sauce over pasta and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and kosher salt, if desired.

Happy cooking!


Freezer Lasagna for Two

January 20, 2011

Tonight I’m posting something unlike anything I’ve posted in the last 10 months. You see, as most of you know I have been a vegetarian for almost a year, meaning the recipes containing meat on Espresso and Cream have all but disappeared. What hasn’t changed during this time is Joey’s love for beef, chicken, pork and the like.

Most of the time when we’re together, we find some sort of compromise. When we eat out, the places we frequent are those with options that are both friendly to my diet and appealing to him. Ethnic restaurants are great for that very reason. And when I cook for us, meat is usually a side-dish to whatever meal we are having. A few grilled chicken breasts here, some meat sauce there, a veggie burger for me – a real burger for him.

Fact: During our marriage counseling, when asked what type of food we would be eating as a married couple Joey responded (on his own prompting) “flexitarian.” I was so proud.

So even though I may not be eating meat, it is most certainly being consumed by the man I love. That said, I thought that for my upcoming trip I’d fix him something special to keep in the freezer on the nights I’m not around. So, my friends, I give you Freezer Lasagna for Two (aka: Lasagna for Bachelors, Fiancées, and Helpless Husbands).

Freezer Lasagna for Two
(Printable Recipe)

*1 tablespoon olive oil 
*2 shallots, chopped
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1 lb. ground pork or beef
*1 tsp. Italian seasoning
*Salt and ground black pepper 
*6 no-boil lasagna noodles
*1 (15-oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese
*1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
*1 1/2 to 2 cups marinara sauce

*2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
*Chopped fresh tomatoes (optional) 

*In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add in the shallots and garlic. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in ground pork or beef and cook until browned, stirring frequently and breaking into small pieces. Remove from heat and stir in the Italian seasoning. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
*Lightly grease three miniature disposable loaf pans. Place 1 no-boil lasagna noodle in the bottom of each pan.
*In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese and egg until well combined. Spread some of the ricotta mixture atop each of the noodles in a thin even layer, followed by some of the zucchini, marinara sauce, pork mixture and cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients one more time.
*At this point, you can either cover the lasagnas with aluminum foil and freeze until ready to use. Or, preheat the oven to 375°F and bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and lasagna noodles are soft. Top with fresh tomatoes, if desired.
*If you do decide to freeze the lasagnas, thaw them in the refrigerator before use and cook as instructed above.

Happy Cooking!


Zucchini Spaghetti and a Winner

December 20, 2010
Happy Monday, everyone! First things first, let me say how much I loved hearing you all talk about what you’re thankful for. Each and every time I read one of your comments it brought a smile to my face and made me think a little more about being thankful in my own life. I really do have the world’s best readers. 
Secondly, a big congrats is due to Courtney Hughes, the winner of the Trader Joe’s Peanut Flour giveaway! Courtney, I’ll be getting you your gift over the holidays! 🙂
After last week’s confession about how very little cooking I had been doing, I decided to get back in the kitchen and make myself something worth eating – and sharing. This meal actually graces my table quite often, when I am craving pasta but know I need to eat a few more servings of veggies. 
The key to making this dish is to have a julienne peeler. If you don’t have one, it’s pretty much the best $9 investment you could make and a great gift idea for the hard-to-shop-for cook in your life. And the zucchini? Pretty much the best veggie to put it to use on. In both taste and texture, it’s amazing how similar the zucchini tastes to al dente pasta. 
Another bonus is the speed at which this dish comes together. For people like me, who are ravenous at the end of the day and can’t wait for dinner, it’s the perfect solution all around. Monday night dinner dilemma solved. 
Zucchini Spaghetti 
(Printable Recipe)
*2 medium zucchini, peeled into strips with a julienne peeler
*1/2 to 1 Tbsp. olive oil
*1/4 tsp. salt 
*1/4 tsp. black pepper
*1/2 cup marinara sauce 
*2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese or shredded cheese of choice 
*In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the zucchini to pan along with the salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, until zucchini is soft but still has a bit of crunch. 
*Add in the marinara sauce and cook 1 minute more, until marinara sauce is heated through. 
*Transfer to bowl and top with cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 1 as a main dish serving or 2 as a side dish. 
Happy Cooking!

Quick Spinach Manicotti

December 9, 2010

If you are anything like me, you’re a little crunched for time. Whether you’re a mom trying to meal-plan for the week, a student preparing for finals or an editor planning a wedding – time is tight.

During the weeknight, after a trip to the gym and a shower, I rely on meals like this. It’s enough to feed a family one night or a couple people for multiple nights. Me? I ate my way through this over the course of a week since I have no problem with eating the same thing night after night. And, like lasagna, it tastes better the second and third times.

And did I mention this dish is easy? Cook the pasta, stir together the ricotta and chopped spinach, fill the pasta, top with marinara and bake. Paired with a side salad this meal may very well get me through the winter. 

Quick Spinach Manicotti
From Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food 
(Printable Recipe)

*8 manicotti shells
*1 (15-oz.) container light ricotta cheese
*1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
*1 (8-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess moisture
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/4 tsp. black pepper
*1 tsp. dried basil
*2 cups marinara sauce
*1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


*Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta shells according to package instructions. Drain well and arrange in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan and spinach. Season filling with salt and pepper.
*Transfer filling to a large zip-top plastic bag. Twist and squeeze bag so filling is in one corner. With scissors, snip a 3/4-inch opening in corner. Pipe filling into both ends of each pasta shell. Arrange stuffed shells in an 8-inch square glass baking dish.
*In a medium bowl, whisk together marinara sauce and oregano. Pour sauce evenly over shells and top with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake until sauce in center of dish is bubbling and Parmesan is browned in spots, about 30 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Happy Cooking!