Posts Tagged: 'recipe'

When Pepperoni and Tortellini Collide

Around our house during the summer months, a cutting board and sharp knife are always within reach. I like to use mineral oil to prevent cutting boards from becoming dry and brittle, which can cause a cracked board. In some cases, they assume permanent residence on our kitchen counter for days at a time. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and aromatic herbs – either from our own backyard garden or Nelson Produce – are breakfast, lunch, and dinner staples.

When the June calendar turned to July and a family Fourth of July cookout called for a side dish, I had two no-brainer assumptions: search for a recipe on Pinterest, and ensure said recipe called for fresh produce. Plenty of fresh produce.

I was delighted to locate this easy, delicious cold pasta dish that called for ingredients nearly everyone enjoys: cheese tortellini, cherry (or grape) tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, pepperoni, Caesar salad dressing. (Are you drooling yet?)


Judging from my ceramic casserole dish at the end of our dinner, the recipe was devoured by many. Only a few tomatoes and slivers of basil remained.

As you’ll read in the following recipe, many of the ingredients could be substituted for your family favorites: another blend of cheese, red peppers, diced ham.


Cheese Tortellini Pasta Salad

1 (20-ounce) package of refrigerated cheese tortellini

1 cup of fresh mozzarella, cubed

1 cup of pepperoni, chopped

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

2/3 cup Caesar salad dressing

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the cheese tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again. Pat the pasta dry and allow it to cool completely. Transfer the cooked tortellini to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Toss well. Garnish with fresh basil. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.


Editor’s note: Recipe courtesy of Dream Home Cooking Girl.

Eat This: Did Someone Say Nutella?

Certain recipes and I have become the very best of friends.

(Thanks, Pinterest!)

Which is not to say that I fancy myself a good cook. Far from it. I’m an average cook who has a penchant for order, which means I can follow directions (structure) to the letter.


Any number of the recipes I’ve posted in this special space are among my favorites and those I’m best at preparing. I feel it my responsibility to share such recipes with my readers who pine to perform in the kitchen, but aren’t always certain where to start.

Which brings me to Nutella.

Yes, Nutella. That creamy, sweet, gooey, curiously wonderful, hazelnut spread that some love and some loathe. I wouldn’t call Nutella a replacement for peanut butter (it’s not), but rather a scrumptious condiment I dare you to try if you haven’t already done so.

Don’t let the brown coloring fool you. It’s sweet, but not sweet like chocolate.

Those who love Nutella will back me up. Fork over the four dollars, buy yourself a small tub, and spread it on toast or a banana (my favorite). If you don’t immediately follow that by eating the rest with a serving spoon, you’ll have enough Nutella left to make this delectable recipe that I have made three times in the past two weeks.


These cookies are far beyond the beloved chocolate chip cookies you know and love, so take advantage of this cookie gifts delivered service and surprise your family. They take dessert (or, if I’m completely honest, breakfast) in a wonderful new dimension and direction.

I present to you Nutella Lava Cookie Cups by Julie Chiou of the too-cute-for-words food blog Table for Two.

Trust me when I say this recipe is worth bookmarking and baking throughout the year. It may take a bit more handiwork, but they’d also be adorable made using a pan of mini muffins. Don’t just keep special treats for the holidays! And be sure to have enough cold milk or hot chocolate on hand.

Eat This: Cheesy Pasta Bake

Recently I stood at my kitchen cabinets and discovered I had precious little to prepare for dinner. The staples for spaghetti with meat sauce were within reach, however. But spaghetti again?


Instead, I relied on a favorite recipe from my mom: cheesy pasta bake. It’s essentially your standard, predictable dish but baked with a thick layer of melted, bubbling mozzarella cheese on top.


Some thirty minutes later, my 9×13 casserole dish was being pulled from the oven. Served alongside garlic bread and salad, this dish is effortless, delicious, and hearty enough for lunch the next day.




Cheesy Pasta Bake

1/2 pound of penne or rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained

1 pound of ground beef, browned and drained

24 ounces of your favorite pasta sauce

1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup  of grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once the pasta and ground beef are prepared as directed, combine together, mixing in the pasta sauce and a small handful of shredded mozzarella. Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the mozzarella cheese is melted and bubbling slightly.


Eat This: Creamy Garlic Pasta

There are nights when I arrive home from work and feel like a dinner that’s lighter than usual. A bowl of cereal. Some fruit. Cheese and crackers. Cottage cheese.

But last night? Last night was certainly not one of those nights. Cheese, garlic, carbohydrates. That is what I craved. And thankfully, after rummaging through my pantry, I found the fixin’s to assuage my hunger for the holy trinity of goodness.

This pasta recipe was one I discovered last year after joining Pinterest. Upon reading the brief description by a fellow pinner (“I won’t be able to sleep until I can EAT THIS Creamy Garlic Pasta”), I saved this recipe for later. It is one I have returned to countless times and one that pleases nearly every pallet.

Last night I substituted basil for the parsley, and it tasted just as delicious. In past preparations I have also added sauteed mushrooms and diced chicken.


Creamy Garlic Pasta

2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
¼  teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken stock/broth
½ pound (8 ounces) spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the butter until melted. Add the salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and let it come to a rolling boil.

Additionally you can add grilled vegetables to enhance the flavors, an indoor grill is the best option in such cases.  Now add the pasta and cook for as long as the box’s directions indicate. Reduce to medium heat and mix in the Parmesan until completely melted.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parsley. Serve immediately.

Eat This: Tuna Noodle Casserole

Long before I expanded my palate to the savory foods that arrive with adulthood, I was steadfast in my love of simple, homemade meals. My mom’s recipe for tuna noodle casserole was one of them. It quickly became a Friday dinnertime favorite during Lent. Yet thankfully, we enjoyed it much more often than that.


It wasn’t so much the tuna I anticipated as much as the crispy, salty, crushed potato chips that gently sat on top. Each tasty crunch made me smile and left me wanting another spoonful (or two) before dessert.




When I first made this recipe many years removed from my childhood, I forgot the dill weed. And let me tell you that the casserole I remembered was anything but. After the potato chips, the tender flavor the dill weed provides makes it just about perfect.


This casserole is prepared in a flash and uses pantry staples that easily cost less than $10. Best of all, it reheats beautifully and is nearly foolproof.


Tuna Noodle Casserole

2 cups of rotini pasta (or any pasta you prefer), cooked and drained
2 small cans of tuna, drained
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1/2 cup of peas, canned (drained) or frozen
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of dill weed
A few handfuls of crushed potato chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter your casserole dish if it’s NOT nonstitck.


Combine all ingredients (except the crushed potato chips) in a casserole dish. Mix well. Top the casserole with the crushed potato chips.


Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and heated through.