Archive for March, 2009

I was looking for a way to spice up my boring salad lunches, so I decided to make this easy salad after seeing something similar on Martha Stewart’s website. This was super easy and I was actually excited for lunch today! I filled Tupperware with some leafy greens and baby carrots. Then I added about 3/4 cup of the Chickpea salad and enjoyed it with a whole wheat pita. Yum!

Ha ha, so much so that I finished it off before I remembered to take a photo! Use your imagination….

1 can chickpeas
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
2 oz. crumbled feta (approximately)
1 lemon (juice + zest)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Combine chickpeas, tomatoes, red onion and feta in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Voila! Lunch is served!


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adapted from Cookie Madness

Tony turned the big 3-0 this past weekend! We celebrated with family a week earlier and out with friends the night of, so instead of baking a cake for just the two of us I had the perfect idea to make a GIANT chocolate chip cookie cake! Tony loves chocolate chip cookies and this way he could (a) have a cake and (b) break off pieces and enjoy cookies all week long (or however long it lasts…). It turned out great! I was most concerned with the shape and it surprisingly came out perfectly round. The cake/cookie was soft and definitely more “cake-like” than a traditional chewy or crunchy cookie. This would probably work with any standard cookie recipe. The possibilities are endless. I would say, having a round pizza stone definitely helped- not sure if it would have turned out as pretty if done free form!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 oz unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 bag semi-sweet or regular chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 regular size bag plain M&M’s


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 12 inch round pizza stone with a circle of parchment or non-stick foil. Mix flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. Cream butter and white and brown sugars with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. When well mixed, add flour mixture and mix until blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour the batter onto the prepared pizza stone and press it into a circle (I found using a spatula around the edge helped create the circle shape). Stop the circle about 1 ½ to 2 inches from the rim. Press M&M’s decoratively into top.

Bake on center rack for 35 minutes or until cookie is golden around edges.

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adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

It’s SPRING! I was actually watching Giada’s show and saw this and had to make it! She made it look so easy and sound so good! It’s a great salad, side dish or dinner. We had it with some tomato, basil and burrata cheese (my favorite!) and italian bread. The perfect Spring meal!


  • 1 cup orecchiette pasta (we used small shells because our pathetic Giant didn’t have orecchiette)
  • 2 cups Mediterranean-style mixed salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese, crumbled (we definitely used more than 1 tablespoon!)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper


Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the water.

In medium bowl, mix the salad greens with the sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and Parmesan. Top with warm pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine and wilt the greens. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper, or to taste. Garnish with additional Parmesan, if desired, and serve. So easy!

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Healthy Baked Ziti

I made this a few weeks ago when it was freezing cold and Tony wanted to make something warm and preferably something we could freeze and use for leftovers- it was a lazy Sunday and we had the time. So I decided to try to make a “healthy” baked ziti. He was game. The main change was that I decided to make my own tomato sauce instead of using sauce from a jar that is full of sugar and sodium and calories. I have become a huge fan of canned tomatoes lately- I buy them every week at the grocery store and always find ways to use them. So I just created a sauce by sauteing garlic, onion and dried herbs in some olive oil, adding canned tomatoes (plain in their juices) and letting it all simmer down for about 20 minutes. I also used all low-fat cheeses. So as far as baked ziti goes- this turned out to be both yummy and healthy!

1 box pasta (ziti or rigatoni)
1 cup part skim ricotta
3/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup part skim mozzarella
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dried or fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, etc.)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (plain in juices)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat oil in pan and saute garlic and onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add herbs and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to instructions, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about a cup of pasta water (to add to sauce in case its too thick). Combine ricotta, 1/4 cup parm, and half mozzarella in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

In the bottom of a casserole dish, spread half of the tomato sauce. Top with pasta, then cheese mixture and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining parm and mozzarella. Bake in the oven until cheese is slightly brown and sauce is bubbling- about 25 minutes.

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Indian Curry Stew

adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food


This was really easy to make and it definitely spiced up our normal dinner! Tony has been on a curry kick lately and I saw this recipe as a good way to incorporate the spice into a weeknight dinner that we could both eat (i.e. sans meat!). And even better, we already had all of the ingredients in our kitchen. Love that! We will definitely make this again!


1 cup long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups tomato sauce
2 cans (15 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

Cook rice according to package instructions; cover, and keep warm. While rice is cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add curry powder and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomato sauce, chickpeas, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve stew with rice and yogurt, garnished with lime wedges and a pinch of curry. Simple!


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I love St. Patrick’s Day! It marks the beginning of spring and is really just a silly holiday centered around food, beer and the color green! What’s not to love? We celebrated early this year and had St. Patrick’s Day family dinner on Sunday. I am not a traditional corned beef-and-cabbage kind of girl, so dinner was another test of my culinary comprising skills! We had Irish Soda Bread, Irish Potato Soup (with corned beef) and Spring GREEN Risotto. An enjoyable feast for the meat lovers and non-meat lovers alike (I spooned out some soup before adding the corned beef)!


Irish Soda Bread

Bon Appétit, October 2002



  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups raisins
  • 3 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an ovenproof 10- to 12-inch-diameter skillet with 2- to 2 1/2-inch-high sides (or cake pan, which is what I used). Whisk the first five ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the butter, using your fingertips, rubbing in until it forms coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. Whisk the buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl to blend. Then add the wet mixture to dough. Using a wooden spoon, stir just until well incorporated (dough will be very sticky!).

Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Smooth the top, mounding slightly in the center. Use a small sharp knife dipped into flour to cut a 1-inch-deep X in the top center of dough. Bake until the bread is cooked through and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Irish Potato Soup
adapted from The Daily Green


  • 4 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup corned beef, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 112-ounce bottle Pale Ale


In a large saucepan sauté onion, leeks and celery in butter, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add flour and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Then slowly add milk, and the mixture will start to thicken. Add the potatoes and half of the beer and bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir regularly to avoid scorching, and add milk as needed if soup is too thick. Add caraway, sour cream and ¾ cup of the cheddar cheese. Wisk until cheese melts and sour cream is incorporated. Add corned beef. Top with chopped parsley and remaining shredded cheddar. Serves 4-6.

Spring Green Risotto

adapted from 2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups simmering chicken broth
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken broth, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water (this step is easier if done right before you begin).

When the risotto has been cooking for about 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding broth, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

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