Browsing Tag


Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Shiitake Mushroom Pasta

July 20, 2010

I love weekends. I eat them up, every second of them. And though I can’t say this is anything new, being in a long distance relationship has most certainly caused my weekend love to grow. Last weekend I ventured out to Illinois on a mission to spruce up J.’s apartment and make it feel a little bit more like home before he started life as a working man.

For someone who loves to take photos of food, I do a very bad job about taking my camera along anywhere besides the kitchen, meaning I have no fun before and after photos to share. The only photo I have is this one, taken before I left for Illinois, wearing these nerdy fake glasses that I’m convinced J. will grow to love if I wear them enough. Okay, so I have some serious doubts, but a girl can try, right?

Besides playing interior decorator for the weekend and wearing glasses that make me look like I need a pocket-protector and a calculator, we also cooked and worked on a few basics, like cooking broccoli, picking a healthy yogurt, navigating the frozen food section, and how to make my favorite peanut butter-brown sugar oatmeal for the mornings.

And while cooking for one on J.’s end might look a little different than dinner at my place on a Monday night, there is something nice about knowing we are both eating dinner at the same time, even when separated by miles and hours. Monday night dinner at my place looked like this and it was delicious. The ingredient list is short, and the toughest part of the whole process is being patient while the onions caramelize. It’s pretty magical when you combine a little olive oil and some sweet onions in a pan and let them do their thing. After that, it’s pretty much a toss-and-eat affair. Some spinach, shiitake mushrooms, and another drizzle of olive oil over a bed of whole wheat angel hair is my kind of supper.

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Shiitake Mushroom Pasta 
(Printable Recipe)

*4 oz. whole wheat angel hair pasta or regular angel hair (equal to two servings of pasta) 
*3 Tbsp. olive oil
*1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
*1/2 tsp. salt 
*1 cup Shiitake mushrooms, chopped
*1 cup spinach
Freshly ground black pepper
Additional olive oil


*Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and keep warm until ready to use.
*In a large skillet heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 12 minutes, until onions begin to caramelize and turn deep golden brown.
*Turn off heat. Add the mushrooms, spinach, and the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until spinach begins to wilt and mushrooms are heated through.
*Divide the pasta between two bowls. Top with the onion mixture. Drizzle with additional olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

Happy Cooking!


Spinach-Parmesan Multi-Purpose Spread

April 16, 2010

I’ve had a few people ask me if I eat everything I put on my blog. The short answer is: no. With the endless parade of cookies, pies, cakes and desserts of all kind that find their way to Espresso and Cream, it would be an amazing feat if I were able to. Instead, most of my sweet treats get packed up and shipped off or taken with me to work. Thus far, none of my coworkers have complained.

I love making desserts, but it’s the savory dishes I consume every day that I am most passionate about, though I post these recipes less frequently because they are somewhat second nature, rarely even involving a recipe. But when I realized how much I was using this spread, I thought it was time to whip out my measuring cups and really find out what I was putting in my Spinach-Parmesan Multi-Purpose Spread.

I find endlessly useful and super delicious. Sandwich spread? Check. Salad dressing? Check. Chip and veggie dip? Check and check. Like I said, it’s so incredibly versatile. A little bit salty, creamy, and even a bit healthy (hello spinach!) it stores well when tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Spinach-Parmesan Multi-Purpose Spread
*3/4 cup olive oil
*1 cup tightly-packed spinach
*2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
*2 Tbsp. dried Italian herb mixture
*1/4 c. sour cream
*3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

*Add all the above ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
*Serve atop toast for a sandwich spread, as a dip for veggies, or in place of your favorite salad dressing.

Happy Cooking!


Spinach and Shrimp Crostini with Mozzarella

January 19, 2010

As a food editor at Better Homes and Gardens, it’s my job to think about food all day – planning, photographing, tasting, testing, and writing. So despite my love for all things food, when I get home at the end of the day, actually making myself dinner takes more than a little effort. Throughout the day thoughts of what I could do for dinner with the items at home float through my mind, but when I kick off my shoes and actually think about cooking it seems daunting.

Moms, working adults, college students – everyone has something in common; we’re tired! Weekends and special events may prompt more elaborate recipes and meals, while dishes like Spinach and Shrimp Crostini with Mozzarella are perfect for weeknights. It took me less than 30 minutes to whip this up, and about 5 minutes to eat it! 🙂

*4 slices french bread or other type of bread, toasted
*1 1/2 cups frozen spinach
*1 tsp. olive oil
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/4 tsp. black pepper
*1 tsp. Dijon mustard
*2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
*8-12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
*1 clove garlic, minced
*1 tsp. butter
*4 slices mozzarella cheese, about 2 oz.

*Preheat oven broiler.
*In skillet over medium-high heat, cook spinach and olive oil until leaves are softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a food processor. Add in salt, black pepper, Dijon mustard, and vinegar. Process 1 minute or until smooth. Set aside.
*Remove the tails of shrimp and discard tails. Chop shrimp into pieces. Cook in a skillet (I used the same one the spinach was in to save on dishes) over medium heat with the garlic and butter, about 5 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Remove from heat.
*Evenly divide the spinach mixture over the four pieces of toast, followed by the shrimp. Top each slice with a piece of mozzarella. Place on a baking sheet, under the broiler, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Happy Cooking!


Green Detox Smoothie

December 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed, and my guess is that many of you are in need of a break. A break from butter and sugar and almost anything sweet that comes out of an oven, only to be covered in icing and powdered sugar or topped with whipped cream (and maybe even a break from family). So while I have a delicious oatmeal-coconut cookie recipe to share and a fruit pie that is to die for, I’m moving on to lighter, healthier fare – the kind that makes you feel good about what you just put into your body.

I love to eat, and because of that you will never see me posting anything about the Master Cleanse diet – a celebrity diet consisting of drinking nothing more than water mixed with lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. If that’s a detox, I want nothing to do with it! But after the holiday season has come and gone, I find myself needed to lighten it up a bit.

It doesn’t get any healthier, or easier, than this smoothie. Packed inside this little glass is a serving of veggies (yes, veggies), fruit, and dairy. And when paired with a salad for lunch, it packs even more punch. As usual, feel free to play around with the fruit in this smoothie. The spinach is a great choice for the veggie because it has a very mild, and slightly sweet flavor that doesn’t overpower the sweetness in the yogurt and fruit. Trust me, you won’t even know the spinach is there.


1 (6-8 oz.) yogurt (preferably one with 100 calories or less)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup fresh or frozen spinach
1/2 banana
2 handfuls ice
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice


*Mix all the above ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Top with grated lemon peel, if desired.