Cheesy Chicken and Pasta Bake

Most people I know are busy.  Like really busy.  Baseball season for the kiddos is in full swing which means practice several evenings a week, or there's swim team, or dance, or music lessons, or karate... or all of the above!  And that doesn't include the PTA meetings or work functions or.......whew.  So a lot of nights we all have to choose between eating out or not eating.  And eating out is fine but it can add up and often times is not as healthy.  But what do you do when you don't ... Continue Reading

Spicy Garlic and Parmesan Pasta

This is Spicy Garlic and Parmesan Pasta is one of the easiest pasta dishes you could ever make but seriously one of my all time favorites.  Something magical happens with the combination of crushed red pepper flakes, basil, and fresh chopped garlic mixed with olive oil and then gently heated. And then when you add that salty, nutty parmesan cheese to the mix it's just out of this world delicious.  A combination made in culinary heaven.  Best of all it's fast and inexpensive!  Which ... Continue Reading

Mac-N-Cheese Bites

These mini bites of mac-n-cheese are hit in our house.  Whether it's a snack before soccer practice or served as part of my Back To School Party menu cooking mac-n-cheese in mini-muffin tins seems to bring new excitement to a classic.  It's the creamy, cheesy flavors you and your kids crave but with a little crunch from the breadcrumbs and parmesan. My recipe for these little gems starts with a traditional homemade mac-n-cheese.  I freshly grate medium cheddar and white cheddar, but use ... Continue Reading

Perfect Picnic Pasta Salad

I know I'm going out on a limb here calling this the 'perfect picnic pasta salad' but I am standing by it!  And I'm one who doesn't typically love pasta salad because it's often too goopy for my taste.  And bland.  Dreadfully bland.  But not to worry this pasta salad is neither goopy or bland.  In fact the pasta has a ton of flavor to it and it's all thanks to few tricks.  Here's the play by play. Make sure you have the mayonnaise, mustard and cheese mixture whisked together and ready ... Continue Reading

Browned Artichoke Pasta Salad

  Spring is here! And that means fresh artichokes everywhere I go from the grocery store to the farmer's markets.  The best fresh artichoke is one that is young and tender and a lighter green color versus the darker green with the larges outer leaves.  And the good news with those is there is less of a prickly center to remove, too. But get what you can find and this pasta recipe will help you deliver all the best flavor through blanching and then sautéing the artichoke hearts in ... Continue Reading

Walnut Basil Pesto

Walnut basil pesto is a wonderful twist on a classic pine nut pesto.  And if you live in Northern California, like me, then Walnuts are actually a local product and all the more reason to use them. But even if you don't, they are available year-round in any grocery store anywhere and are a healthy way to jazz up your pesto sauce.  They actually give the pesto a heartier profile and more texture and are less expensive than pine nuts.  Win-win.  But don't just take my word on it, try it!  I ... Continue Reading

Roasted Garlic Parsley Pesto and Blackened Chicken Pasta

Looking for a full-flavored chicken pasta dish that can work for a quick weeknight meal but is good enough for entertaining?  This is it, my friends.  By roasting the garlic you get a sweet, nutty flavor that really gives this pesto an amazing background flavor.  And you can make the pesto ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.  It will save for several days or even longer.  And by taking the shortcut of using your favorite blackening ... Continue Reading

Crispy Prosciutto and Parmesan Pearl Couscous

"I didn't mean to eat the whole thing."  That might just be your guilty response when you taste this yummy couscous .   And the entire dish took no more than 20 minutes to make, including crisping the prosciutto. I love risotto, which is a short grain, starchy rice that is slowly cooked with wine and chicken stock and then loaded with parmesan and butter -  but this Pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) is a great alternative for a ... Continue Reading

Bolognese Sauce with Breadcrumb Gremolata

I've often said this dish would be my last meal on earth if I had the choice.  It's just so darn....goooood.  And satisfying....and yummy. It's a dish I've been making for years and years now for friends and family and it's always a crowd favorite. The depth of flavor is really what sets this dish apart from other meat sauces I've tried.  And those deep, complex flavors can an only be achieved over time as the tomatoes and the meat and the wine ... Continue Reading

Smoked Mozzarella & Gouda Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

I'll be honest...I didn't think my kids were going to go for this one.  I knew the flavors were going to be amazing - and they are - but there would be too much going on for a five year old and seven year old palette. Not so, my friends.  I couldn't keep their fingers out of this dish as I was shooting the photos.  For the record they were my lighting crew and somehow I managed get a few good shots without said fingers in the picture.The smokiness from the ... Continue Reading