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Asian-style Soy Sauce Oil with Fish

My husband brought home rainbow trout after a fishing trip. I knew I wanted to celebrate the freshness and flavor of the fish so I thought a simple Asian-style preparation would be best. I was right! Here’s how I did it:

1. Salt fillets and place in foil tent. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.
2. While fish is baking, saute chopped garlic and ginger in olive oil. Once garlic and ginger has softened, add chopped green onions, chopped ginger and a dash of sesame oil to the pan. 
3. When fish is done, remove from oven. Turn oil on stove to high.
4. Drizzle soy sauce over fish. Immediately drizzle hot oil over fish.

The sauce will work with any light, non-oily fish - especially white fish like tilapia, cod and sole. This simple preparation will allow you to taste the freshness of the fish while the garlic and herbs complement the fish. The oil adds an unctuousness to the meat. This dinner is literally ready to eat in 15 minutes and I couldn’t be happier to share this dish with you!

Asian-style Soy Sauce Oil with Fish

My husband brought home rainbow trout after a fishing trip. I knew I wanted to celebrate the freshness and flavor of the fish so I thought a simple Asian-style preparation would be best. I was right! Here’s how I did it:

1. Salt fillets and place in foil tent. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.
2. While fish is baking, saute chopped garlic and ginger in olive oil. Once garlic and ginger has softened, add chopped green onions, chopped ginger and a dash of sesame oil to the pan.
3. When fish is done, remove from oven. Turn oil on stove to high.
4. Drizzle soy sauce over fish. Immediately drizzle hot oil over fish.

The sauce will work with any light, non-oily fish - especially white fish like tilapia, cod and sole. This simple preparation will allow you to taste the freshness of the fish while the garlic and herbs complement the fish. The oil adds an unctuousness to the meat. This dinner is literally ready to eat in 15 minutes and I couldn’t be happier to share this dish with you!

Guava Cake

Note: I adapted this recipe from my Guava Cupcakes recipe. Guava puree and guava buttercream recipes can also be found in the cupcake recipe.

I used a “white cake” cake mix (Duncan Hines is better than Pilsbury IMHO) and substituted the oil with guava puree while adding a drop of red food coloring. I baked the cake according to the directions on the box in a 9x13 pan.

While the cake baked, I peeled and thinly sliced a very ripe mango. 

Once the cake cools, you can cut the cake horizontally to make thin even layers of cake. I also trimmed the edges so that I was working with squared off edges.

Before layering and frosting the cake, I placed a dallop of frosting on the cake platter to keep the cake from sliding around. Then, I layered the cake components:
1. Cake
2. Buttercream
3. Mango
4. REPEAT

I frosted the entire outside of the cake with buttercream. I should’ve decorated the top with mango slices in hindsight but will save that for the next cake. I used a mango because that is what I had in the kitchen but bananas, berries and stone fruits would be just as delicious!

I am not used to baking and I should take a cake decorating class but I hope this post exemplifies how fun and creative baking can be, even for beginners like me.

Guava Cake

Note: I adapted this recipe from my Guava Cupcakes recipe. Guava puree and guava buttercream recipes can also be found in the cupcake recipe.

I used a “white cake” cake mix (Duncan Hines is better than Pilsbury IMHO) and substituted the oil with guava puree while adding a drop of red food coloring. I baked the cake according to the directions on the box in a 9x13 pan.

While the cake baked, I peeled and thinly sliced a very ripe mango.

Once the cake cools, you can cut the cake horizontally to make thin even layers of cake. I also trimmed the edges so that I was working with squared off edges.

Before layering and frosting the cake, I placed a dallop of frosting on the cake platter to keep the cake from sliding around. Then, I layered the cake components:
1. Cake
2. Buttercream
3. Mango
4. REPEAT

I frosted the entire outside of the cake with buttercream. I should’ve decorated the top with mango slices in hindsight but will save that for the next cake. I used a mango because that is what I had in the kitchen but bananas, berries and stone fruits would be just as delicious!

I am not used to baking and I should take a cake decorating class but I hope this post exemplifies how fun and creative baking can be, even for beginners like me.

Guava Cupcakes

my grandma gave me a bunch of guavas and while i love guavas, i really had no idea what to do with them! so first, i made guava puree:

1. peel, seed and chop guavas.
2. place guavas in pot with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. let guavas stew for 30 minutes on low/medium heat. you can add more water or sugar if you need to.
3. blend the guavas until smooth. puree will be slightly pulp-y but that is OK.

then, i bought white cake mix which i know isn’t really made from scratch but oh well. in the recipe, i substituted the oil with guava puree. my guavas were a whitish yellow pink color so the puree turned my cake mix dirty white so i added a drop of red food coloring for that typical guava color.

while the cupcakes baked, i made the buttercream frosting: room temp butter (1 cup / 2 sticks), 1/4 cup cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup guava puree. i didn’t know how much powdered sugar to add to the frosting so i just added to taste - prob about 1 cup. it really depends on how sweet your guavas are and how sweet you want your frosting. oh! i also added some red food coloring because frosting should be fun!

just a warning: because guavas are pulpy, your cupcakes and frosting will be a little pulpy. but i promise they taste yummy and not too unhealthy since you subsitute the oil with puree, similar to people subbing oil with applesauce. i hope you like this recipe!

Guava Cupcakes

my grandma gave me a bunch of guavas and while i love guavas, i really had no idea what to do with them! so first, i made guava puree:

1. peel, seed and chop guavas.
2. place guavas in pot with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. let guavas stew for 30 minutes on low/medium heat. you can add more water or sugar if you need to.
3. blend the guavas until smooth. puree will be slightly pulp-y but that is OK.

then, i bought white cake mix which i know isn’t really made from scratch but oh well. in the recipe, i substituted the oil with guava puree. my guavas were a whitish yellow pink color so the puree turned my cake mix dirty white so i added a drop of red food coloring for that typical guava color.

while the cupcakes baked, i made the buttercream frosting: room temp butter (1 cup / 2 sticks), 1/4 cup cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup guava puree. i didn’t know how much powdered sugar to add to the frosting so i just added to taste - prob about 1 cup. it really depends on how sweet your guavas are and how sweet you want your frosting. oh! i also added some red food coloring because frosting should be fun!

just a warning: because guavas are pulpy, your cupcakes and frosting will be a little pulpy. but i promise they taste yummy and not too unhealthy since you subsitute the oil with puree, similar to people subbing oil with applesauce. i hope you like this recipe!

Smoked Turkey Soup

Every year, my family smokes a turkey for Thanksgiving. The result is wonderful, smoky turkey meat and a very tasty carcass. I always use the carcass for turkey soup using mainly leftover ingredients from our big Thanksgiving meal. Here is my recipe:

- turkey carcass
- leftover turkey meat, shredded
- potatoes, peeled and diced
- garlic, peeled and chopped
- any other vegetables leftover from the crudite platter, chopped (I found carrots and celery)
- corn, either frozen or leftover
- chopped spinach, frozen
- bay leaf

1. Place carcass in large pot filled with water. Bring to boil then simmer for two hours or until broth is rich and flavorful. Strain broth and skim surface to keep broth clear. Set aside.
2. In a pot or dutch oven, saute the garlic and potatoes in olive oil and season with kosher salt. Next, add bay leaf, carrots and celery*. You’ll want the veggies to be just underdone.
3. Add the broth to the pot of veggies. Add the shredded turkey meat, corn, spinach and any other ingredients you want to add to your soup**. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and/or chili flakes.

*You’ll want to add your vegetables to the soup according to their cooking time: veggies that take longer get added first, quicker cooking veggies get added last. If you throw all your veggies in at the same time, you will have raw potatoes and/or soggy celery! Frozen veggies get added at the very end because they need zero cooking time. 

**Other ingredients that would be good in soup: beans, avocado, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes (not candied), the possibilities are endless. Have fun experimenting!

Smoked Turkey Soup

Every year, my family smokes a turkey for Thanksgiving. The result is wonderful, smoky turkey meat and a very tasty carcass. I always use the carcass for turkey soup using mainly leftover ingredients from our big Thanksgiving meal. Here is my recipe:

- turkey carcass
- leftover turkey meat, shredded
- potatoes, peeled and diced
- garlic, peeled and chopped
- any other vegetables leftover from the crudite platter, chopped (I found carrots and celery)
- corn, either frozen or leftover
- chopped spinach, frozen
- bay leaf

1. Place carcass in large pot filled with water. Bring to boil then simmer for two hours or until broth is rich and flavorful. Strain broth and skim surface to keep broth clear. Set aside.
2. In a pot or dutch oven, saute the garlic and potatoes in olive oil and season with kosher salt. Next, add bay leaf, carrots and celery*. You’ll want the veggies to be just underdone.
3. Add the broth to the pot of veggies. Add the shredded turkey meat, corn, spinach and any other ingredients you want to add to your soup**. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and/or chili flakes.

*You’ll want to add your vegetables to the soup according to their cooking time: veggies that take longer get added first, quicker cooking veggies get added last. If you throw all your veggies in at the same time, you will have raw potatoes and/or soggy celery! Frozen veggies get added at the very end because they need zero cooking time.

**Other ingredients that would be good in soup: beans, avocado, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes (not candied), the possibilities are endless. Have fun experimenting!

Caramelized Onion and Potato Frittata

After my morning workout, I’m starving. I usually have eggs in my fridge and potatoes and onions in my pantry. Here’s what I do with these three ingredients for a quick, hearty breakfast. 

- onions, sliced thin
- potatoes, peeled and diced
- eggs, beaten

1. Turn broiler on to 400*
2. In a skillet, saute the onions in olive oil over low-medium heat. Season with kosher salt. 
3. Once the onions become soft and translucent, remove from skillet. 
4. Add potatoes to the skillet on medium heat and season with kosher salt. Once the potatoes are soft and brown on all sides, add onions back to the skillet.
5. Turn heat to low and pour the beaten eggs in to the skillet. Let the sides set (turn solid) a bit. No stirring or scrambling necessary.
6. Remove skillet from heat and put in oven for one minute. Watch the eggs so that they don’t burn and/or turn brown!
7. Flip the frittata on to a cutting board so the potatoes and onions are visible. Slice and enjoy!

Note: Wrap foil around your skillet handles so the rubber/plastic doesn’t melt.

Caramelized Onion and Potato Frittata

After my morning workout, I’m starving. I usually have eggs in my fridge and potatoes and onions in my pantry. Here’s what I do with these three ingredients for a quick, hearty breakfast.

- onions, sliced thin
- potatoes, peeled and diced
- eggs, beaten

1. Turn broiler on to 400*
2. In a skillet, saute the onions in olive oil over low-medium heat. Season with kosher salt.
3. Once the onions become soft and translucent, remove from skillet.
4. Add potatoes to the skillet on medium heat and season with kosher salt. Once the potatoes are soft and brown on all sides, add onions back to the skillet.
5. Turn heat to low and pour the beaten eggs in to the skillet. Let the sides set (turn solid) a bit. No stirring or scrambling necessary.
6. Remove skillet from heat and put in oven for one minute. Watch the eggs so that they don’t burn and/or turn brown!
7. Flip the frittata on to a cutting board so the potatoes and onions are visible. Slice and enjoy!

Note: Wrap foil around your skillet handles so the rubber/plastic doesn’t melt.

Chicken Parmesan

What genius thought to themselves, how can I make a piece of pan fried chicken better? I know! Serve it with spaghetti! 

Chicken parmesan - it satisfies your crunchy, crispy fried chicken craving while getting a comforting portion of carbs. Can a meal get any better? Get ready for a nap, people…

Hopefully, you know how to make spaghetti (sauce + noodles = spaghetti if you didn’t know) so I’m just focusing on the chicken parm recipe here. You can make homemade marinara if you have the time or you can use the bottled stuff - totally up to you. 

1. In a deep pan, add enough vegetable oil to cover the chicken 2/3 of the way up. The chicken should not be completely covered in oil. Keep on medium heat.
2. In one dish, add one part breadcrumbs, one part grated parmesan cheese. In another dish, add three eggs, beaten.
3. Butterfly chicken breasts and use your palm to pund the breasts making the thickness equal.
4. Dip the chicken in egg then roll in crumbs.
5. Place the chicken in the oil. Fry for 5 minutes, then flip chicken for another 5.

Once the chicken has been pan fried, ladle marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Place chicken on the sauce then add mozzarella on top of the chicken. Broil in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese gets melty and gooey. Serve with spaghetti.

Why isn’t there cheese in my picture? Because we like our chicken parm extra crispy and sometimes the cheese makes it soggy so we forwent the cheese. Enjoy creating your own version!

Chicken Parmesan

What genius thought to themselves, how can I make a piece of pan fried chicken better? I know! Serve it with spaghetti!

Chicken parmesan - it satisfies your crunchy, crispy fried chicken craving while getting a comforting portion of carbs. Can a meal get any better? Get ready for a nap, people…

Hopefully, you know how to make spaghetti (sauce + noodles = spaghetti if you didn’t know) so I’m just focusing on the chicken parm recipe here. You can make homemade marinara if you have the time or you can use the bottled stuff - totally up to you.

1. In a deep pan, add enough vegetable oil to cover the chicken 2/3 of the way up. The chicken should not be completely covered in oil. Keep on medium heat.
2. In one dish, add one part breadcrumbs, one part grated parmesan cheese. In another dish, add three eggs, beaten.
3. Butterfly chicken breasts and use your palm to pund the breasts making the thickness equal.
4. Dip the chicken in egg then roll in crumbs.
5. Place the chicken in the oil. Fry for 5 minutes, then flip chicken for another 5.

Once the chicken has been pan fried, ladle marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Place chicken on the sauce then add mozzarella on top of the chicken. Broil in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese gets melty and gooey. Serve with spaghetti.

Why isn’t there cheese in my picture? Because we like our chicken parm extra crispy and sometimes the cheese makes it soggy so we forwent the cheese. Enjoy creating your own version!

Garlic spam and eggs with rice.

Garlic spam and eggs with rice.

Guava Cupcakes

my grandma gave me a bunch of guavas and while i love guavas, i really had no idea what to do with them! so first, i made guava puree:

1. peel, seed and chop guavas.
2. place guavas in pot with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. let guavas stew for 30 minutes on low/medium heat. you can add more water or sugar if you need to.
3. blend the guavas until smooth. puree will be slightly pulp-y but that is OK.

then, i bought white cake mix which i know isn’t really made from scratch but oh well. in the recipe, i substituted the oil with guava puree. my guavas were a whitish yellow pink color so the puree turned my cake mix dirty white so i added a drop of red food coloring for that typical guava color.
while the cupcakes baked, i made the buttercream frosting: room temp butter (1 cup / 2 sticks), 1/4 cup cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup guava puree. i didn’t know how much powdered sugar to add to the frosting so i just added to taste - prob about 1 cup. it really depends on how sweet your guavas are and how sweet you want your frosting. oh! i also added some red food coloring because frosting should be fun!

just a warning: because guavas are pulpy, your cupcakes and frosting will be a little pulpy. but i promise they taste yummy and not too unhealthy since you subsitute the oil with puree, similar to people subbing oil with applesauce. i hope you like this recipe!

Guava Cupcakes

my grandma gave me a bunch of guavas and while i love guavas, i really had no idea what to do with them! so first, i made guava puree:

1. peel, seed and chop guavas.
2. place guavas in pot with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. let guavas stew for 30 minutes on low/medium heat. you can add more water or sugar if you need to.
3. blend the guavas until smooth. puree will be slightly pulp-y but that is OK.

then, i bought white cake mix which i know isn’t really made from scratch but oh well. in the recipe, i substituted the oil with guava puree. my guavas were a whitish yellow pink color so the puree turned my cake mix dirty white so i added a drop of red food coloring for that typical guava color.

while the cupcakes baked, i made the buttercream frosting: room temp butter (1 cup / 2 sticks), 1/4 cup cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup guava puree. i didn’t know how much powdered sugar to add to the frosting so i just added to taste - prob about 1 cup. it really depends on how sweet your guavas are and how sweet you want your frosting. oh! i also added some red food coloring because frosting should be fun!

just a warning: because guavas are pulpy, your cupcakes and frosting will be a little pulpy. but i promise they taste yummy and not too unhealthy since you subsitute the oil with puree, similar to people subbing oil with applesauce. i hope you like this recipe!

Chicken Enchiladas

Ever get stuck with leftover tortillas? I inevitably do after taco night (are 8 tortillas per bag too much to ask for!?). Instead of angrily staring at leftover tortillas while they get stale day after day, make these chicken enchiladas. You use up your tortillas, most of the ingredients are leftover from taco night and you get a yummy meal (or two!) out of it.

1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded
28oz can of Las Palmas enchilada sauce 
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack
8 tortillas
3 tbsp. crema mexicana or sour cream

1. Heat the enchilada sauce in a pot. Add shredded chicken to the sauce.
2. Dip tortilla in sauce so that both sides are wet. Place tortilla In a 9x13 dish.
3. Scoop and spread chicken on tortilla. Add cheese. Roll the tortilla so that filling is inside and seam is down.
4. Repeat until your tortillas are gone!
5. Pour leftover sauce on top of enchiladas. Heat in oven at 400* for 15-20 minutes (until cheese is melted). 
6. Drizzle crema mexicana over the top before serving. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and/or anything else you have leftover from taco night!

Chicken Enchiladas

Ever get stuck with leftover tortillas? I inevitably do after taco night (are 8 tortillas per bag too much to ask for!?). Instead of angrily staring at leftover tortillas while they get stale day after day, make these chicken enchiladas. You use up your tortillas, most of the ingredients are leftover from taco night and you get a yummy meal (or two!) out of it.

1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded
28oz can of Las Palmas enchilada sauce
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack
8 tortillas
3 tbsp. crema mexicana or sour cream

1. Heat the enchilada sauce in a pot. Add shredded chicken to the sauce.
2. Dip tortilla in sauce so that both sides are wet. Place tortilla In a 9x13 dish.
3. Scoop and spread chicken on tortilla. Add cheese. Roll the tortilla so that filling is inside and seam is down.
4. Repeat until your tortillas are gone!
5. Pour leftover sauce on top of enchiladas. Heat in oven at 400* for 15-20 minutes (until cheese is melted).
6. Drizzle crema mexicana over the top before serving. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and/or anything else you have leftover from taco night!

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

I’ll admit the title of this dish doesn’t sound fab. BUT THIS DISH IS. Trust me! If you like quick meals, simple recipes, pasta dishes and/or shrimp, you’ll love this dish. Very few ingredients but this pasta recipe is full of flavor. Here’s my recipe:

1/2 lb angel hair pasta, cooked and drained (do not rinse!)
1 lb. shrimp (I like to peel and devein the shrimp myself but you can buy it cleaned)
4 tbsp butter
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
10 basil leaves, julienned
2 tbsp red chili flakes (or more if you can handle it!)

1. Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add garlic and chili flakes. Let the butter slightly brown on medium heat.
2. Add shrimp to the pan. Turn heat to medium low (shrimp cook quickly!).
3. Once the shrimp are pink and slightly curled, remove the pan from heat.
4. Add lemon juice to the pan. 
5. Toss the pasta in with the shrimp. Add in lemon zest. Make sure noodles are covered with sauce thoroughly. 
6. Sprinkle the basil leaves on top before serving. 

These ingredients and their quantities can be modified to your liking, as can the order of preparation. I like to add the lemon juice after the heat has been turned off because I don’t want to lose any of the bright acidity from the lemon. Also, I add the basil last because I don’t want the basil to lose it’s vibrant green due to the heat. Sometimes I add chopped tomatoes to this dish for substance and texture. Alternatively, I’ve used linguine and thin spaghetti noodles instead of angel hair and the results were just as great. Feel free to edit accordingly. I’d love to hear how you make your pasta!

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

I’ll admit the title of this dish doesn’t sound fab. BUT THIS DISH IS. Trust me! If you like quick meals, simple recipes, pasta dishes and/or shrimp, you’ll love this dish. Very few ingredients but this pasta recipe is full of flavor. Here’s my recipe:

1/2 lb angel hair pasta, cooked and drained (do not rinse!)
1 lb. shrimp (I like to peel and devein the shrimp myself but you can buy it cleaned)
4 tbsp butter
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
10 basil leaves, julienned
2 tbsp red chili flakes (or more if you can handle it!)

1. Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add garlic and chili flakes. Let the butter slightly brown on medium heat.
2. Add shrimp to the pan. Turn heat to medium low (shrimp cook quickly!).
3. Once the shrimp are pink and slightly curled, remove the pan from heat.
4. Add lemon juice to the pan.
5. Toss the pasta in with the shrimp. Add in lemon zest. Make sure noodles are covered with sauce thoroughly.
6. Sprinkle the basil leaves on top before serving.

These ingredients and their quantities can be modified to your liking, as can the order of preparation. I like to add the lemon juice after the heat has been turned off because I don’t want to lose any of the bright acidity from the lemon. Also, I add the basil last because I don’t want the basil to lose it’s vibrant green due to the heat. Sometimes I add chopped tomatoes to this dish for substance and texture. Alternatively, I’ve used linguine and thin spaghetti noodles instead of angel hair and the results were just as great. Feel free to edit accordingly. I’d love to hear how you make your pasta!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I saw a recipe on Pinterest for a strawberry lemonade cake but with way too many steps (I’m a lazy baker!). My fiance loves strawberry lemonade so I decided to make up my own recipe and bake cupcakes. Here’s how I did it:

1 box strawberry cake mix
1 stick butter
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 lemon, juiced
1 pkg strawberry lemonade mix (I used Smucker’s brand)

1. Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe on the box. Let cool.
2. For the frosting, combine the lemon juice with the strawberry lemonade mix first. This will allow the sugar crystals from the drink mix to dissolve a bit (or else you’ll get grainy frosting). 
3. Combine the cream cheese, butter and lemon juice.
4. Frost your cupcakes and decorate!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I saw a recipe on Pinterest for a strawberry lemonade cake but with way too many steps (I’m a lazy baker!). My fiance loves strawberry lemonade so I decided to make up my own recipe and bake cupcakes. Here’s how I did it:

1 box strawberry cake mix
1 stick butter
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 lemon, juiced
1 pkg strawberry lemonade mix (I used Smucker’s brand)

1. Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe on the box. Let cool.
2. For the frosting, combine the lemon juice with the strawberry lemonade mix first. This will allow the sugar crystals from the drink mix to dissolve a bit (or else you’ll get grainy frosting).
3. Combine the cream cheese, butter and lemon juice.
4. Frost your cupcakes and decorate!

Penne Rigate with Garlic Cream Sauce, Chicken and Mushrooms 

My friend came back from France and gave me mushroom salt. I didn’t know how to use it so I thought mushroom cream sauce over pasta would be a safe experiment. Here’s my garlic cream sauce recipe:

Ingredients
1 lb. chicken breast
1 box mushrooms, sliced  (use your favorite type! I used baby bellas)
1 box penne rigate (the rigate will help the cream sauce to stick to the noodle)

Garlic Cream Sauce
3 c. whole milk, warmed up
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp flour
5 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. salt 
1 1/2 tbsp. pepper
1/2 tbsp. chili flakes
freshly grated nutmeg (just a sprinkle)

1. Cook the chicken in a grill pan or poach the chicken breast for a healthier version. Remember to season the chicken (or water if you poach).
2. Cook the pasta in salted water.
3. In a sauce pot, melt the butter and saute the garlic on low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour. This combination, a roux, will bubble up and that is OK! Keep stirring.
4. Once the butter turns golden (not brown), add the milk and turn on medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together so the sauce is not lumpy.
5. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes and nutmeg to the sauce. Keep whisking.
6. Reduce heat to low once the sauce gets thicker.
7. In a separate pan, saute mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter. Do not add salt because that will cause the mushrooms to release water and make the pan watery!

Now that all your components are cooked, just compile the ingredients! Toss the pasta in the garlic cream sauce and place sliced chicken and mushrooms on top. Now you know how to create a cream sauce and you can add cheese for a cheese sauce on nachos. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

Penne Rigate with Garlic Cream Sauce, Chicken and Mushrooms

My friend came back from France and gave me mushroom salt. I didn’t know how to use it so I thought mushroom cream sauce over pasta would be a safe experiment. Here’s my garlic cream sauce recipe:

Ingredients
1 lb. chicken breast
1 box mushrooms, sliced (use your favorite type! I used baby bellas)
1 box penne rigate (the rigate will help the cream sauce to stick to the noodle)

Garlic Cream Sauce
3 c. whole milk, warmed up
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp flour
5 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. pepper
1/2 tbsp. chili flakes
freshly grated nutmeg (just a sprinkle)

1. Cook the chicken in a grill pan or poach the chicken breast for a healthier version. Remember to season the chicken (or water if you poach).
2. Cook the pasta in salted water.
3. In a sauce pot, melt the butter and saute the garlic on low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour. This combination, a roux, will bubble up and that is OK! Keep stirring.
4. Once the butter turns golden (not brown), add the milk and turn on medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together so the sauce is not lumpy.
5. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes and nutmeg to the sauce. Keep whisking.
6. Reduce heat to low once the sauce gets thicker.
7. In a separate pan, saute mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter. Do not add salt because that will cause the mushrooms to release water and make the pan watery!

Now that all your components are cooked, just compile the ingredients! Toss the pasta in the garlic cream sauce and place sliced chicken and mushrooms on top. Now you know how to create a cream sauce and you can add cheese for a cheese sauce on nachos. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Ever feel like throwing something in the oven for 15 minutes and calling it “dinner?” I do all the time! My lemon garlic salmon recipe is as simple as that…it’s healthy, simple and cooked in 15 minutes. Here’s my recipe:

1 lb salmon fillet
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juice only
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

1. On a large piece of foil, place the cabbage in the center. The cabbage will act as a bed (and a side dish!) for your salmon.
2. Place the salmon on the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add garlic and lemon slices to the top of your salmon. Squeeze lemon juice over the top.
4. Fold the foil so that you form a package around your salmon and air won’t escape. Place in over for 15 minutes at 375*. Salmon will be tender and cabbage will be softened and seasoned from the salmon. 

You can try this dish with other veggies: kale, spinach and collard greens would work nicely. You can also experiment with seasonings for the fish: chili powder and cayenne would add a nice smoky kick to the fish, soy sauce and sugar would add a nice Asian flavor to the salmon, and dill and lemon would also brighten up the fish nicely. Enjoy!

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Ever feel like throwing something in the oven for 15 minutes and calling it “dinner?” I do all the time! My lemon garlic salmon recipe is as simple as that…it’s healthy, simple and cooked in 15 minutes. Here’s my recipe:

1 lb salmon fillet
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juice only
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

1. On a large piece of foil, place the cabbage in the center. The cabbage will act as a bed (and a side dish!) for your salmon.
2. Place the salmon on the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add garlic and lemon slices to the top of your salmon. Squeeze lemon juice over the top.
4. Fold the foil so that you form a package around your salmon and air won’t escape. Place in over for 15 minutes at 375*. Salmon will be tender and cabbage will be softened and seasoned from the salmon.

You can try this dish with other veggies: kale, spinach and collard greens would work nicely. You can also experiment with seasonings for the fish: chili powder and cayenne would add a nice smoky kick to the fish, soy sauce and sugar would add a nice Asian flavor to the salmon, and dill and lemon would also brighten up the fish nicely. Enjoy!

Vermicelli (Bun) with Dressing (Nuoc Cham)

I love refreshing meals in the summertime. One of my favorite meals is vermicelli, aka bun, a Vietnamese noodle salad. The concept is similar to soba/somen salad: noodles, lettuce, veggies, meat in a tangy dressing. Everyone has their own dressing, aka nuoc cham, recipe but here is the one I like to use:

Nuoc Cham
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
2 lemons or limes, juice only
3 cloves garlic, smashed (so you can remove it later) or minced (if you want to leave it in)
crushed red pepper flakes or chili oil

The great thing about vermicelli is once you boil the noodles (they only take a few minutes!), you can be creative. Add veggies like cucumbers or carrots, peanuts for crunch and/or meat. Add your dressing last or else the noodles will soak up too much of the dressing. This is a quick dinner, or a tasty lunch, or even a light first course. Modify the nuoc cham recipe according to your preference. Enjoy!

Note: In the picture above, I substituted romaine lettuce with kale because I had it in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend this because kale is too hard and overpowers the noodles.

Vermicelli (Bun) with Dressing (Nuoc Cham)

I love refreshing meals in the summertime. One of my favorite meals is vermicelli, aka bun, a Vietnamese noodle salad. The concept is similar to soba/somen salad: noodles, lettuce, veggies, meat in a tangy dressing. Everyone has their own dressing, aka nuoc cham, recipe but here is the one I like to use:

Nuoc Cham
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
2 lemons or limes, juice only
3 cloves garlic, smashed (so you can remove it later) or minced (if you want to leave it in)
crushed red pepper flakes or chili oil

The great thing about vermicelli is once you boil the noodles (they only take a few minutes!), you can be creative. Add veggies like cucumbers or carrots, peanuts for crunch and/or meat. Add your dressing last or else the noodles will soak up too much of the dressing. This is a quick dinner, or a tasty lunch, or even a light first course. Modify the nuoc cham recipe according to your preference. Enjoy!

Note: In the picture above, I substituted romaine lettuce with kale because I had it in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend this because kale is too hard and overpowers the noodles.

S’mores Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend who doesn’t cook. She swore it was easy and IT WAS!

1. Lay wax or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place graham cracker squares on wax paper. 
2. On graham cracker squares, layer marshmallows then cookie dough on top.
3. Bake according to directions on cookie dough (Nestle Tollhouse says 375* for 13 minutes).

S’mores Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend who doesn’t cook. She swore it was easy and IT WAS!

1. Lay wax or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place graham cracker squares on wax paper.
2. On graham cracker squares, layer marshmallows then cookie dough on top.
3. Bake according to directions on cookie dough (Nestle Tollhouse says 375* for 13 minutes).

Asian-style Soy Sauce Oil with Fish

My husband brought home rainbow trout after a fishing trip. I knew I wanted to celebrate the freshness and flavor of the fish so I thought a simple Asian-style preparation would be best. I was right! Here’s how I did it:

1. Salt fillets and place in foil tent. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.
2. While fish is baking, saute chopped garlic and ginger in olive oil. Once garlic and ginger has softened, add chopped green onions, chopped ginger and a dash of sesame oil to the pan. 
3. When fish is done, remove from oven. Turn oil on stove to high.
4. Drizzle soy sauce over fish. Immediately drizzle hot oil over fish.

The sauce will work with any light, non-oily fish - especially white fish like tilapia, cod and sole. This simple preparation will allow you to taste the freshness of the fish while the garlic and herbs complement the fish. The oil adds an unctuousness to the meat. This dinner is literally ready to eat in 15 minutes and I couldn’t be happier to share this dish with you!

Asian-style Soy Sauce Oil with Fish

My husband brought home rainbow trout after a fishing trip. I knew I wanted to celebrate the freshness and flavor of the fish so I thought a simple Asian-style preparation would be best. I was right! Here’s how I did it:

1. Salt fillets and place in foil tent. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.
2. While fish is baking, saute chopped garlic and ginger in olive oil. Once garlic and ginger has softened, add chopped green onions, chopped ginger and a dash of sesame oil to the pan.
3. When fish is done, remove from oven. Turn oil on stove to high.
4. Drizzle soy sauce over fish. Immediately drizzle hot oil over fish.

The sauce will work with any light, non-oily fish - especially white fish like tilapia, cod and sole. This simple preparation will allow you to taste the freshness of the fish while the garlic and herbs complement the fish. The oil adds an unctuousness to the meat. This dinner is literally ready to eat in 15 minutes and I couldn’t be happier to share this dish with you!

Guava Cake

Note: I adapted this recipe from my Guava Cupcakes recipe. Guava puree and guava buttercream recipes can also be found in the cupcake recipe.

I used a “white cake” cake mix (Duncan Hines is better than Pilsbury IMHO) and substituted the oil with guava puree while adding a drop of red food coloring. I baked the cake according to the directions on the box in a 9x13 pan.

While the cake baked, I peeled and thinly sliced a very ripe mango. 

Once the cake cools, you can cut the cake horizontally to make thin even layers of cake. I also trimmed the edges so that I was working with squared off edges.

Before layering and frosting the cake, I placed a dallop of frosting on the cake platter to keep the cake from sliding around. Then, I layered the cake components:
1. Cake
2. Buttercream
3. Mango
4. REPEAT

I frosted the entire outside of the cake with buttercream. I should’ve decorated the top with mango slices in hindsight but will save that for the next cake. I used a mango because that is what I had in the kitchen but bananas, berries and stone fruits would be just as delicious!

I am not used to baking and I should take a cake decorating class but I hope this post exemplifies how fun and creative baking can be, even for beginners like me.

Guava Cake

Note: I adapted this recipe from my Guava Cupcakes recipe. Guava puree and guava buttercream recipes can also be found in the cupcake recipe.

I used a “white cake” cake mix (Duncan Hines is better than Pilsbury IMHO) and substituted the oil with guava puree while adding a drop of red food coloring. I baked the cake according to the directions on the box in a 9x13 pan.

While the cake baked, I peeled and thinly sliced a very ripe mango.

Once the cake cools, you can cut the cake horizontally to make thin even layers of cake. I also trimmed the edges so that I was working with squared off edges.

Before layering and frosting the cake, I placed a dallop of frosting on the cake platter to keep the cake from sliding around. Then, I layered the cake components:
1. Cake
2. Buttercream
3. Mango
4. REPEAT

I frosted the entire outside of the cake with buttercream. I should’ve decorated the top with mango slices in hindsight but will save that for the next cake. I used a mango because that is what I had in the kitchen but bananas, berries and stone fruits would be just as delicious!

I am not used to baking and I should take a cake decorating class but I hope this post exemplifies how fun and creative baking can be, even for beginners like me.

Guava Cupcakes

my grandma gave me a bunch of guavas and while i love guavas, i really had no idea what to do with them! so first, i made guava puree:

1. peel, seed and chop guavas.
2. place guavas in pot with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. let guavas stew for 30 minutes on low/medium heat. you can add more water or sugar if you need to.
3. blend the guavas until smooth. puree will be slightly pulp-y but that is OK.

then, i bought white cake mix which i know isn’t really made from scratch but oh well. in the recipe, i substituted the oil with guava puree. my guavas were a whitish yellow pink color so the puree turned my cake mix dirty white so i added a drop of red food coloring for that typical guava color.

while the cupcakes baked, i made the buttercream frosting: room temp butter (1 cup / 2 sticks), 1/4 cup cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup guava puree. i didn’t know how much powdered sugar to add to the frosting so i just added to taste - prob about 1 cup. it really depends on how sweet your guavas are and how sweet you want your frosting. oh! i also added some red food coloring because frosting should be fun!

just a warning: because guavas are pulpy, your cupcakes and frosting will be a little pulpy. but i promise they taste yummy and not too unhealthy since you subsitute the oil with puree, similar to people subbing oil with applesauce. i hope you like this recipe!

Guava Cupcakes

my grandma gave me a bunch of guavas and while i love guavas, i really had no idea what to do with them! so first, i made guava puree:

1. peel, seed and chop guavas.
2. place guavas in pot with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. let guavas stew for 30 minutes on low/medium heat. you can add more water or sugar if you need to.
3. blend the guavas until smooth. puree will be slightly pulp-y but that is OK.

then, i bought white cake mix which i know isn’t really made from scratch but oh well. in the recipe, i substituted the oil with guava puree. my guavas were a whitish yellow pink color so the puree turned my cake mix dirty white so i added a drop of red food coloring for that typical guava color.

while the cupcakes baked, i made the buttercream frosting: room temp butter (1 cup / 2 sticks), 1/4 cup cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup guava puree. i didn’t know how much powdered sugar to add to the frosting so i just added to taste - prob about 1 cup. it really depends on how sweet your guavas are and how sweet you want your frosting. oh! i also added some red food coloring because frosting should be fun!

just a warning: because guavas are pulpy, your cupcakes and frosting will be a little pulpy. but i promise they taste yummy and not too unhealthy since you subsitute the oil with puree, similar to people subbing oil with applesauce. i hope you like this recipe!

Smoked Turkey Soup

Every year, my family smokes a turkey for Thanksgiving. The result is wonderful, smoky turkey meat and a very tasty carcass. I always use the carcass for turkey soup using mainly leftover ingredients from our big Thanksgiving meal. Here is my recipe:

- turkey carcass
- leftover turkey meat, shredded
- potatoes, peeled and diced
- garlic, peeled and chopped
- any other vegetables leftover from the crudite platter, chopped (I found carrots and celery)
- corn, either frozen or leftover
- chopped spinach, frozen
- bay leaf

1. Place carcass in large pot filled with water. Bring to boil then simmer for two hours or until broth is rich and flavorful. Strain broth and skim surface to keep broth clear. Set aside.
2. In a pot or dutch oven, saute the garlic and potatoes in olive oil and season with kosher salt. Next, add bay leaf, carrots and celery*. You’ll want the veggies to be just underdone.
3. Add the broth to the pot of veggies. Add the shredded turkey meat, corn, spinach and any other ingredients you want to add to your soup**. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and/or chili flakes.

*You’ll want to add your vegetables to the soup according to their cooking time: veggies that take longer get added first, quicker cooking veggies get added last. If you throw all your veggies in at the same time, you will have raw potatoes and/or soggy celery! Frozen veggies get added at the very end because they need zero cooking time. 

**Other ingredients that would be good in soup: beans, avocado, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes (not candied), the possibilities are endless. Have fun experimenting!

Smoked Turkey Soup

Every year, my family smokes a turkey for Thanksgiving. The result is wonderful, smoky turkey meat and a very tasty carcass. I always use the carcass for turkey soup using mainly leftover ingredients from our big Thanksgiving meal. Here is my recipe:

- turkey carcass
- leftover turkey meat, shredded
- potatoes, peeled and diced
- garlic, peeled and chopped
- any other vegetables leftover from the crudite platter, chopped (I found carrots and celery)
- corn, either frozen or leftover
- chopped spinach, frozen
- bay leaf

1. Place carcass in large pot filled with water. Bring to boil then simmer for two hours or until broth is rich and flavorful. Strain broth and skim surface to keep broth clear. Set aside.
2. In a pot or dutch oven, saute the garlic and potatoes in olive oil and season with kosher salt. Next, add bay leaf, carrots and celery*. You’ll want the veggies to be just underdone.
3. Add the broth to the pot of veggies. Add the shredded turkey meat, corn, spinach and any other ingredients you want to add to your soup**. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and/or chili flakes.

*You’ll want to add your vegetables to the soup according to their cooking time: veggies that take longer get added first, quicker cooking veggies get added last. If you throw all your veggies in at the same time, you will have raw potatoes and/or soggy celery! Frozen veggies get added at the very end because they need zero cooking time.

**Other ingredients that would be good in soup: beans, avocado, stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes (not candied), the possibilities are endless. Have fun experimenting!

Caramelized Onion and Potato Frittata

After my morning workout, I’m starving. I usually have eggs in my fridge and potatoes and onions in my pantry. Here’s what I do with these three ingredients for a quick, hearty breakfast. 

- onions, sliced thin
- potatoes, peeled and diced
- eggs, beaten

1. Turn broiler on to 400*
2. In a skillet, saute the onions in olive oil over low-medium heat. Season with kosher salt. 
3. Once the onions become soft and translucent, remove from skillet. 
4. Add potatoes to the skillet on medium heat and season with kosher salt. Once the potatoes are soft and brown on all sides, add onions back to the skillet.
5. Turn heat to low and pour the beaten eggs in to the skillet. Let the sides set (turn solid) a bit. No stirring or scrambling necessary.
6. Remove skillet from heat and put in oven for one minute. Watch the eggs so that they don’t burn and/or turn brown!
7. Flip the frittata on to a cutting board so the potatoes and onions are visible. Slice and enjoy!

Note: Wrap foil around your skillet handles so the rubber/plastic doesn’t melt.

Caramelized Onion and Potato Frittata

After my morning workout, I’m starving. I usually have eggs in my fridge and potatoes and onions in my pantry. Here’s what I do with these three ingredients for a quick, hearty breakfast.

- onions, sliced thin
- potatoes, peeled and diced
- eggs, beaten

1. Turn broiler on to 400*
2. In a skillet, saute the onions in olive oil over low-medium heat. Season with kosher salt.
3. Once the onions become soft and translucent, remove from skillet.
4. Add potatoes to the skillet on medium heat and season with kosher salt. Once the potatoes are soft and brown on all sides, add onions back to the skillet.
5. Turn heat to low and pour the beaten eggs in to the skillet. Let the sides set (turn solid) a bit. No stirring or scrambling necessary.
6. Remove skillet from heat and put in oven for one minute. Watch the eggs so that they don’t burn and/or turn brown!
7. Flip the frittata on to a cutting board so the potatoes and onions are visible. Slice and enjoy!

Note: Wrap foil around your skillet handles so the rubber/plastic doesn’t melt.

Chicken Parmesan

What genius thought to themselves, how can I make a piece of pan fried chicken better? I know! Serve it with spaghetti! 

Chicken parmesan - it satisfies your crunchy, crispy fried chicken craving while getting a comforting portion of carbs. Can a meal get any better? Get ready for a nap, people…

Hopefully, you know how to make spaghetti (sauce + noodles = spaghetti if you didn’t know) so I’m just focusing on the chicken parm recipe here. You can make homemade marinara if you have the time or you can use the bottled stuff - totally up to you. 

1. In a deep pan, add enough vegetable oil to cover the chicken 2/3 of the way up. The chicken should not be completely covered in oil. Keep on medium heat.
2. In one dish, add one part breadcrumbs, one part grated parmesan cheese. In another dish, add three eggs, beaten.
3. Butterfly chicken breasts and use your palm to pund the breasts making the thickness equal.
4. Dip the chicken in egg then roll in crumbs.
5. Place the chicken in the oil. Fry for 5 minutes, then flip chicken for another 5.

Once the chicken has been pan fried, ladle marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Place chicken on the sauce then add mozzarella on top of the chicken. Broil in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese gets melty and gooey. Serve with spaghetti.

Why isn’t there cheese in my picture? Because we like our chicken parm extra crispy and sometimes the cheese makes it soggy so we forwent the cheese. Enjoy creating your own version!

Chicken Parmesan

What genius thought to themselves, how can I make a piece of pan fried chicken better? I know! Serve it with spaghetti!

Chicken parmesan - it satisfies your crunchy, crispy fried chicken craving while getting a comforting portion of carbs. Can a meal get any better? Get ready for a nap, people…

Hopefully, you know how to make spaghetti (sauce + noodles = spaghetti if you didn’t know) so I’m just focusing on the chicken parm recipe here. You can make homemade marinara if you have the time or you can use the bottled stuff - totally up to you.

1. In a deep pan, add enough vegetable oil to cover the chicken 2/3 of the way up. The chicken should not be completely covered in oil. Keep on medium heat.
2. In one dish, add one part breadcrumbs, one part grated parmesan cheese. In another dish, add three eggs, beaten.
3. Butterfly chicken breasts and use your palm to pund the breasts making the thickness equal.
4. Dip the chicken in egg then roll in crumbs.
5. Place the chicken in the oil. Fry for 5 minutes, then flip chicken for another 5.

Once the chicken has been pan fried, ladle marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Place chicken on the sauce then add mozzarella on top of the chicken. Broil in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese gets melty and gooey. Serve with spaghetti.

Why isn’t there cheese in my picture? Because we like our chicken parm extra crispy and sometimes the cheese makes it soggy so we forwent the cheese. Enjoy creating your own version!

Garlic spam and eggs with rice.

Garlic spam and eggs with rice.

Guava Cupcakes

my grandma gave me a bunch of guavas and while i love guavas, i really had no idea what to do with them! so first, i made guava puree:

1. peel, seed and chop guavas.
2. place guavas in pot with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. let guavas stew for 30 minutes on low/medium heat. you can add more water or sugar if you need to.
3. blend the guavas until smooth. puree will be slightly pulp-y but that is OK.

then, i bought white cake mix which i know isn’t really made from scratch but oh well. in the recipe, i substituted the oil with guava puree. my guavas were a whitish yellow pink color so the puree turned my cake mix dirty white so i added a drop of red food coloring for that typical guava color.
while the cupcakes baked, i made the buttercream frosting: room temp butter (1 cup / 2 sticks), 1/4 cup cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup guava puree. i didn’t know how much powdered sugar to add to the frosting so i just added to taste - prob about 1 cup. it really depends on how sweet your guavas are and how sweet you want your frosting. oh! i also added some red food coloring because frosting should be fun!

just a warning: because guavas are pulpy, your cupcakes and frosting will be a little pulpy. but i promise they taste yummy and not too unhealthy since you subsitute the oil with puree, similar to people subbing oil with applesauce. i hope you like this recipe!

Guava Cupcakes

my grandma gave me a bunch of guavas and while i love guavas, i really had no idea what to do with them! so first, i made guava puree:

1. peel, seed and chop guavas.
2. place guavas in pot with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar.
3. let guavas stew for 30 minutes on low/medium heat. you can add more water or sugar if you need to.
3. blend the guavas until smooth. puree will be slightly pulp-y but that is OK.

then, i bought white cake mix which i know isn’t really made from scratch but oh well. in the recipe, i substituted the oil with guava puree. my guavas were a whitish yellow pink color so the puree turned my cake mix dirty white so i added a drop of red food coloring for that typical guava color.

while the cupcakes baked, i made the buttercream frosting: room temp butter (1 cup / 2 sticks), 1/4 cup cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 cup guava puree. i didn’t know how much powdered sugar to add to the frosting so i just added to taste - prob about 1 cup. it really depends on how sweet your guavas are and how sweet you want your frosting. oh! i also added some red food coloring because frosting should be fun!

just a warning: because guavas are pulpy, your cupcakes and frosting will be a little pulpy. but i promise they taste yummy and not too unhealthy since you subsitute the oil with puree, similar to people subbing oil with applesauce. i hope you like this recipe!

Chicken Enchiladas

Ever get stuck with leftover tortillas? I inevitably do after taco night (are 8 tortillas per bag too much to ask for!?). Instead of angrily staring at leftover tortillas while they get stale day after day, make these chicken enchiladas. You use up your tortillas, most of the ingredients are leftover from taco night and you get a yummy meal (or two!) out of it.

1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded
28oz can of Las Palmas enchilada sauce 
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack
8 tortillas
3 tbsp. crema mexicana or sour cream

1. Heat the enchilada sauce in a pot. Add shredded chicken to the sauce.
2. Dip tortilla in sauce so that both sides are wet. Place tortilla In a 9x13 dish.
3. Scoop and spread chicken on tortilla. Add cheese. Roll the tortilla so that filling is inside and seam is down.
4. Repeat until your tortillas are gone!
5. Pour leftover sauce on top of enchiladas. Heat in oven at 400* for 15-20 minutes (until cheese is melted). 
6. Drizzle crema mexicana over the top before serving. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and/or anything else you have leftover from taco night!

Chicken Enchiladas

Ever get stuck with leftover tortillas? I inevitably do after taco night (are 8 tortillas per bag too much to ask for!?). Instead of angrily staring at leftover tortillas while they get stale day after day, make these chicken enchiladas. You use up your tortillas, most of the ingredients are leftover from taco night and you get a yummy meal (or two!) out of it.

1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded
28oz can of Las Palmas enchilada sauce
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack
8 tortillas
3 tbsp. crema mexicana or sour cream

1. Heat the enchilada sauce in a pot. Add shredded chicken to the sauce.
2. Dip tortilla in sauce so that both sides are wet. Place tortilla In a 9x13 dish.
3. Scoop and spread chicken on tortilla. Add cheese. Roll the tortilla so that filling is inside and seam is down.
4. Repeat until your tortillas are gone!
5. Pour leftover sauce on top of enchiladas. Heat in oven at 400* for 15-20 minutes (until cheese is melted).
6. Drizzle crema mexicana over the top before serving. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and/or anything else you have leftover from taco night!

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

I’ll admit the title of this dish doesn’t sound fab. BUT THIS DISH IS. Trust me! If you like quick meals, simple recipes, pasta dishes and/or shrimp, you’ll love this dish. Very few ingredients but this pasta recipe is full of flavor. Here’s my recipe:

1/2 lb angel hair pasta, cooked and drained (do not rinse!)
1 lb. shrimp (I like to peel and devein the shrimp myself but you can buy it cleaned)
4 tbsp butter
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
10 basil leaves, julienned
2 tbsp red chili flakes (or more if you can handle it!)

1. Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add garlic and chili flakes. Let the butter slightly brown on medium heat.
2. Add shrimp to the pan. Turn heat to medium low (shrimp cook quickly!).
3. Once the shrimp are pink and slightly curled, remove the pan from heat.
4. Add lemon juice to the pan. 
5. Toss the pasta in with the shrimp. Add in lemon zest. Make sure noodles are covered with sauce thoroughly. 
6. Sprinkle the basil leaves on top before serving. 

These ingredients and their quantities can be modified to your liking, as can the order of preparation. I like to add the lemon juice after the heat has been turned off because I don’t want to lose any of the bright acidity from the lemon. Also, I add the basil last because I don’t want the basil to lose it’s vibrant green due to the heat. Sometimes I add chopped tomatoes to this dish for substance and texture. Alternatively, I’ve used linguine and thin spaghetti noodles instead of angel hair and the results were just as great. Feel free to edit accordingly. I’d love to hear how you make your pasta!

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

I’ll admit the title of this dish doesn’t sound fab. BUT THIS DISH IS. Trust me! If you like quick meals, simple recipes, pasta dishes and/or shrimp, you’ll love this dish. Very few ingredients but this pasta recipe is full of flavor. Here’s my recipe:

1/2 lb angel hair pasta, cooked and drained (do not rinse!)
1 lb. shrimp (I like to peel and devein the shrimp myself but you can buy it cleaned)
4 tbsp butter
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
10 basil leaves, julienned
2 tbsp red chili flakes (or more if you can handle it!)

1. Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add garlic and chili flakes. Let the butter slightly brown on medium heat.
2. Add shrimp to the pan. Turn heat to medium low (shrimp cook quickly!).
3. Once the shrimp are pink and slightly curled, remove the pan from heat.
4. Add lemon juice to the pan.
5. Toss the pasta in with the shrimp. Add in lemon zest. Make sure noodles are covered with sauce thoroughly.
6. Sprinkle the basil leaves on top before serving.

These ingredients and their quantities can be modified to your liking, as can the order of preparation. I like to add the lemon juice after the heat has been turned off because I don’t want to lose any of the bright acidity from the lemon. Also, I add the basil last because I don’t want the basil to lose it’s vibrant green due to the heat. Sometimes I add chopped tomatoes to this dish for substance and texture. Alternatively, I’ve used linguine and thin spaghetti noodles instead of angel hair and the results were just as great. Feel free to edit accordingly. I’d love to hear how you make your pasta!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I saw a recipe on Pinterest for a strawberry lemonade cake but with way too many steps (I’m a lazy baker!). My fiance loves strawberry lemonade so I decided to make up my own recipe and bake cupcakes. Here’s how I did it:

1 box strawberry cake mix
1 stick butter
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 lemon, juiced
1 pkg strawberry lemonade mix (I used Smucker’s brand)

1. Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe on the box. Let cool.
2. For the frosting, combine the lemon juice with the strawberry lemonade mix first. This will allow the sugar crystals from the drink mix to dissolve a bit (or else you’ll get grainy frosting). 
3. Combine the cream cheese, butter and lemon juice.
4. Frost your cupcakes and decorate!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I saw a recipe on Pinterest for a strawberry lemonade cake but with way too many steps (I’m a lazy baker!). My fiance loves strawberry lemonade so I decided to make up my own recipe and bake cupcakes. Here’s how I did it:

1 box strawberry cake mix
1 stick butter
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 lemon, juiced
1 pkg strawberry lemonade mix (I used Smucker’s brand)

1. Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe on the box. Let cool.
2. For the frosting, combine the lemon juice with the strawberry lemonade mix first. This will allow the sugar crystals from the drink mix to dissolve a bit (or else you’ll get grainy frosting).
3. Combine the cream cheese, butter and lemon juice.
4. Frost your cupcakes and decorate!

Penne Rigate with Garlic Cream Sauce, Chicken and Mushrooms 

My friend came back from France and gave me mushroom salt. I didn’t know how to use it so I thought mushroom cream sauce over pasta would be a safe experiment. Here’s my garlic cream sauce recipe:

Ingredients
1 lb. chicken breast
1 box mushrooms, sliced  (use your favorite type! I used baby bellas)
1 box penne rigate (the rigate will help the cream sauce to stick to the noodle)

Garlic Cream Sauce
3 c. whole milk, warmed up
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp flour
5 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. salt 
1 1/2 tbsp. pepper
1/2 tbsp. chili flakes
freshly grated nutmeg (just a sprinkle)

1. Cook the chicken in a grill pan or poach the chicken breast for a healthier version. Remember to season the chicken (or water if you poach).
2. Cook the pasta in salted water.
3. In a sauce pot, melt the butter and saute the garlic on low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour. This combination, a roux, will bubble up and that is OK! Keep stirring.
4. Once the butter turns golden (not brown), add the milk and turn on medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together so the sauce is not lumpy.
5. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes and nutmeg to the sauce. Keep whisking.
6. Reduce heat to low once the sauce gets thicker.
7. In a separate pan, saute mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter. Do not add salt because that will cause the mushrooms to release water and make the pan watery!

Now that all your components are cooked, just compile the ingredients! Toss the pasta in the garlic cream sauce and place sliced chicken and mushrooms on top. Now you know how to create a cream sauce and you can add cheese for a cheese sauce on nachos. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

Penne Rigate with Garlic Cream Sauce, Chicken and Mushrooms

My friend came back from France and gave me mushroom salt. I didn’t know how to use it so I thought mushroom cream sauce over pasta would be a safe experiment. Here’s my garlic cream sauce recipe:

Ingredients
1 lb. chicken breast
1 box mushrooms, sliced (use your favorite type! I used baby bellas)
1 box penne rigate (the rigate will help the cream sauce to stick to the noodle)

Garlic Cream Sauce
3 c. whole milk, warmed up
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp flour
5 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. pepper
1/2 tbsp. chili flakes
freshly grated nutmeg (just a sprinkle)

1. Cook the chicken in a grill pan or poach the chicken breast for a healthier version. Remember to season the chicken (or water if you poach).
2. Cook the pasta in salted water.
3. In a sauce pot, melt the butter and saute the garlic on low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour. This combination, a roux, will bubble up and that is OK! Keep stirring.
4. Once the butter turns golden (not brown), add the milk and turn on medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together so the sauce is not lumpy.
5. Add salt, pepper, chili flakes and nutmeg to the sauce. Keep whisking.
6. Reduce heat to low once the sauce gets thicker.
7. In a separate pan, saute mushrooms in 1 tbsp of butter. Do not add salt because that will cause the mushrooms to release water and make the pan watery!

Now that all your components are cooked, just compile the ingredients! Toss the pasta in the garlic cream sauce and place sliced chicken and mushrooms on top. Now you know how to create a cream sauce and you can add cheese for a cheese sauce on nachos. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Ever feel like throwing something in the oven for 15 minutes and calling it “dinner?” I do all the time! My lemon garlic salmon recipe is as simple as that…it’s healthy, simple and cooked in 15 minutes. Here’s my recipe:

1 lb salmon fillet
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juice only
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

1. On a large piece of foil, place the cabbage in the center. The cabbage will act as a bed (and a side dish!) for your salmon.
2. Place the salmon on the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add garlic and lemon slices to the top of your salmon. Squeeze lemon juice over the top.
4. Fold the foil so that you form a package around your salmon and air won’t escape. Place in over for 15 minutes at 375*. Salmon will be tender and cabbage will be softened and seasoned from the salmon. 

You can try this dish with other veggies: kale, spinach and collard greens would work nicely. You can also experiment with seasonings for the fish: chili powder and cayenne would add a nice smoky kick to the fish, soy sauce and sugar would add a nice Asian flavor to the salmon, and dill and lemon would also brighten up the fish nicely. Enjoy!

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Ever feel like throwing something in the oven for 15 minutes and calling it “dinner?” I do all the time! My lemon garlic salmon recipe is as simple as that…it’s healthy, simple and cooked in 15 minutes. Here’s my recipe:

1 lb salmon fillet
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juice only
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

1. On a large piece of foil, place the cabbage in the center. The cabbage will act as a bed (and a side dish!) for your salmon.
2. Place the salmon on the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add garlic and lemon slices to the top of your salmon. Squeeze lemon juice over the top.
4. Fold the foil so that you form a package around your salmon and air won’t escape. Place in over for 15 minutes at 375*. Salmon will be tender and cabbage will be softened and seasoned from the salmon.

You can try this dish with other veggies: kale, spinach and collard greens would work nicely. You can also experiment with seasonings for the fish: chili powder and cayenne would add a nice smoky kick to the fish, soy sauce and sugar would add a nice Asian flavor to the salmon, and dill and lemon would also brighten up the fish nicely. Enjoy!

Vermicelli (Bun) with Dressing (Nuoc Cham)

I love refreshing meals in the summertime. One of my favorite meals is vermicelli, aka bun, a Vietnamese noodle salad. The concept is similar to soba/somen salad: noodles, lettuce, veggies, meat in a tangy dressing. Everyone has their own dressing, aka nuoc cham, recipe but here is the one I like to use:

Nuoc Cham
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
2 lemons or limes, juice only
3 cloves garlic, smashed (so you can remove it later) or minced (if you want to leave it in)
crushed red pepper flakes or chili oil

The great thing about vermicelli is once you boil the noodles (they only take a few minutes!), you can be creative. Add veggies like cucumbers or carrots, peanuts for crunch and/or meat. Add your dressing last or else the noodles will soak up too much of the dressing. This is a quick dinner, or a tasty lunch, or even a light first course. Modify the nuoc cham recipe according to your preference. Enjoy!

Note: In the picture above, I substituted romaine lettuce with kale because I had it in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend this because kale is too hard and overpowers the noodles.

Vermicelli (Bun) with Dressing (Nuoc Cham)

I love refreshing meals in the summertime. One of my favorite meals is vermicelli, aka bun, a Vietnamese noodle salad. The concept is similar to soba/somen salad: noodles, lettuce, veggies, meat in a tangy dressing. Everyone has their own dressing, aka nuoc cham, recipe but here is the one I like to use:

Nuoc Cham
1 cup water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
2 lemons or limes, juice only
3 cloves garlic, smashed (so you can remove it later) or minced (if you want to leave it in)
crushed red pepper flakes or chili oil

The great thing about vermicelli is once you boil the noodles (they only take a few minutes!), you can be creative. Add veggies like cucumbers or carrots, peanuts for crunch and/or meat. Add your dressing last or else the noodles will soak up too much of the dressing. This is a quick dinner, or a tasty lunch, or even a light first course. Modify the nuoc cham recipe according to your preference. Enjoy!

Note: In the picture above, I substituted romaine lettuce with kale because I had it in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend this because kale is too hard and overpowers the noodles.

S’mores Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend who doesn’t cook. She swore it was easy and IT WAS!

1. Lay wax or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place graham cracker squares on wax paper. 
2. On graham cracker squares, layer marshmallows then cookie dough on top.
3. Bake according to directions on cookie dough (Nestle Tollhouse says 375* for 13 minutes).

S’mores Cookies

I got this recipe from my friend who doesn’t cook. She swore it was easy and IT WAS!

1. Lay wax or parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place graham cracker squares on wax paper.
2. On graham cracker squares, layer marshmallows then cookie dough on top.
3. Bake according to directions on cookie dough (Nestle Tollhouse says 375* for 13 minutes).

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