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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

My little sister Gabi recommended this recipe to me after she made it and omg omg is it yummy!! I loved it so much that I made it twice in two weeks. ūüôā The second time I added a bag of fresh spinach that I had in my fridge and in addition to adding some extra nutrition it tasted delicious! This recipe is fabulous for leftovers too…portion it into individual tupperwares, pop in the fridge, and grab one on the way to work or heat up for dinner.

Here is the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1¬†package(s)¬†(20-ounce)¬†peeled and trimmed butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1¬†medium¬†(8- to 10-ounce)¬†onion, finely chopped
  • 3¬†¬†fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2¬†tablespoon(s)¬†olive oil
  • ¬†Salt
  • ¬†Pepper
  • 1¬†pint(s)¬†grape tomatoes
  • 1¬†pound(s)¬†(16- to 20-count)¬†shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/8¬†teaspoon(s)¬†cayenne pepper (ground¬†red¬†pepper)
  • 2¬†cup(s)¬†(12 ounces)¬†whole-wheat¬†orzo
  • 2¬†ounce(s)¬†goat cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In 18-by 12-inch jelly-roll pan, combine squash, onion, sage, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Roast 15 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and roast 15 minutes longer.
  3. Meanwhile, heat covered 4-quart covered saucepan of water to boiling on high. In medium bowl, combine shrimp, cayenne, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil until well mixed. Add to pan with vegetables and roast 7 to 9 minutes or until shrimp just turn opaque throughout.
  4. Add orzo to boiling water and cook as label directs. Drain and return to saucepan. Add goat cheese, vegetables, shrimp, accumulated pan juices, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir until well combined.

roasted veggies & shrimp

Recipe Source: Good Housekeeping

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We have been having such a hot summer and the last thing that I want is to make something hot for dinner. I made this pasta salad the other night and it was light, healthy, and delicious. The best part was all of the leftovers- I think I got at least 4 meals out of it! I love the crunchiness of the veggies and knowing how healthy it is with the salmon and whole wheat pasta. It would be a fabulous side to bring to a BBQ or party!

Ingredients:

  • 2 5oz. cans salmon (in water)
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/ 2 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, mix together all other ingredients.
  3. When pasta finishes cooking, drain and let cool. Gently mix in other ingredients and put in the fridge to chill before serving.

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This recipe is an upgrade on one of my absolute favorite comfort food recipes, broccoli casserole. ūüôā Some of my favorite foods are pasta, cheese, and veggies and the addition of ham to this casserole adds extra protein and LOTS of flavor! I decided to toss ham and mushrooms into the casserole tonight since I had them in my fridge and I am a huge fan of using things in my fridge before they go to waste. This recipe is one of my favorites because you can assemble it in advance, pop it in the fridge, and cook it when you are ready to eat. I did all of the prep, went to yoga, then came home and popped it in the oven, cooked it for 30 minutes and it was piping hot and ready to eat! The best part? LEFTOVERS! After eating my dinner, I put the rest it into tupperwares and placed them in the fridge so now when I need a quick lunch or dinner this week I can pop one in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until hot and ready to eat. A yummy meal in an instant!

Here is the recipe for this yummy casserole:

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 small heads of broccoli, rinsed and chopped
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, rinsed
  • 1 green pepper, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I buy it pre-grated!)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 12 oz. wide egg noodles
  • 8 oz. chopped black forest ham (I used the sliced deli meat since I had it in the fridge. It was super easy to just chop it up into little pieces to toss into the mix)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse and chop veggies and place in a large mixing bowl. Add in ham. Mix together gently.
  3. Add in cream of mushroom soup and mix in gently.
  4. Cook pasta noodles according to package instructions and mix in when they are done and drained.
  5. Add in cheese and mix in.
  6. Add salt and pepper as desired.
  7. Place mixture into a large casserole dish (you may need to use two since it makes a lot) and put in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, until noodles start to brown and casserole is cooked through.

Note: I LOVE veggies and cannot get enough of them. If you or the people that you are cooking for are not huge veggie lovers, feel free to cut the amount of veggies in half that you use. But remember that the more veggies, the healthier your meal! ūüôā Enjoy!

Egg noodles cooking away!

Veggies and ham waiting for the pasta and cheese!

The finished product!

Leftovers for the week!

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2011 is here, I just turned 27, and it’s been far, farrrr too long since I’ve contributed anything to this blog.¬† And while I can’t change how fast time seems to fly these days, I can make it a point to share my latest foodie adventures with all of you – and between the holidays and some major culinary indulgence recently, I have a whole lot to say.¬† I just finished putting together a list of my favorite Japanese restaurants on Oahu for a client (which of course led to me spending about an hour compiling a list of the rest of my current favorites…), and I thought I would start of my 2011 blog entries with it.¬† So here goes…If you’re in Hawaii you’ve got to give them all a try, if not, this list looks like the perfect reason to book a trip!

TOP SIX – Reservations are a must for these, and I highly recommend sitting at the sushi bar and asking the chef to serve you what they think is¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† best/fresh that day…you’ll never be disappointed!

  • Imanas Tei: http://www.yelp.com/biz/imanas-tei-restaurant-honolulu this website rates it as being quite pricey, but you can go and have a mid-range¬†meal there easily.¬† The sashimi platter is the very best…the fish is very, very fresh.¬† I hear their nabe is also really good.¬† Amazing delicious and not too formal, this is the perfect go any night of the week kind of place.
  • Sushi Izakaya Gaku: http://www.yelp.com/biz/sushi-izakaya-gaku-honolulu My absolute number one favorite sushi place in all of Hawaii right now.¬† The fish is unbelievably fresh, their Izakaya dishes are to-die-for and the service and ambiance are wonderful.¬† The head chef of Imanas is the guy who owns/runs Gaku.¬† Very limited seating and very popular, so make sure to make reservations.¬† It is pricey, but worth every single penny, I promise!¬† Just make sure you give the seared O-toro and the Spicy Negihama Tartare.
  • Hakkei: http://www.yelp.com/biz/hakkei-honolulu Hakkei specializes in Oden which is a Japanese soup similar to Nabe or Shabu-Shabu.¬† Their focus is much less on sushi (we had some sashimi but that was the only raw fish dish to be seen) and more on warm, comfort type food.¬† Don’t be mislead though, they change their menu monthly to focus on season ingredients, and each and every dish is creative and exceptionally delicious.¬† They have three tasting menus or you can just order off the menu.¬† Very traditional from the food to the ambiance and the staff, I felt like I was back in Japan for a few hours!¬† Apparently they also serve lunch (check out their website).
  • Ideta: http://www.yelp.com/biz/ideta-restaurant-honolulu Incredibly fresh fish, very straightforward, traditional yet inventive, clean, focused and mouthwatering flavors.¬† Sit at the sushi bar for sure, the chef/owner is a true master.¬† This one is a bit off the beaten path and¬† bit pricey as well, but most definitely worth it!
  • Matsugen: http://www.yelp.com/biz/matsugen-honolulu If you love fresh Soba this is the place to go.¬† Make sure to try the duck broth with the soba and their fresh tofu as well.
  • Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tonkatsu-ginza-bairin-honolulu Right next door to Matsugen, this place serves Tonkatsu like nothing you’ve ever had before in your life.¬† Top-grade pork (when you call to make a reservation you can actually reserve the pork as they only have so much and tend to run out as the night goes on), only the freshest ingredients flown in from Japan and an old man whose life has been dedicated to perfecting this dish makes for an unforgettable meal.
Low-Mid Range Favorites
  • Phuket Thai:http://www.yelp.com/biz/phuket-thai-restaurant-honolulu very, very good thai food!
  • Hale Vietnam: One of my very favorite Vietnamese restaurants…you must try the Imperial Rolls if you go!¬†http://www.yelp.com/biz/hale-vietnam-restaurant-honolulu Reservations are accepted here.
  • Covenant Books & Cafe:http://covenantbooksandcoffee.com/ Hawaii really lacks good soup & sandwich places, but Covenant really makes up for it in every way possible.¬† Nestled in a Christian bookstore, their sandwiches are amazing, and they make a different soup every day that makes you want to melt (they have a soup calendar on their website!).¬† They also serve an incredible breakfast.¬† I live for their croissant french toast with flambeed bananas….closed on Sunday.
  • Cafe Kaila:http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-kaila-honolulu Cafe type food, really yummy breakfast and lunch place.¬† Crazy on Sat/Sunday mornings, but always worth the wait.
  • Bogart’s Cafe:http://www.yelp.com/biz/bogarts-cafe-honolulu Very similar to Cafe Kaila
  • Diamond Head Grill:http://www.diamondheadmarket.com/ When I don’t feel like cooking or sitting down at a restaurant, but I want take-out that is healthy and always top-notch, I go to Diamond Head Grill.¬† They have prepared food available in the market to take home and heat up, or you can order from the grill outside.¬† Their ahi salad at the grill and their desserts in the market are my favorites.¬† If you like scones, they have the most insanely good blueberry and sometimes banana scones unlike anything you’ve ever had before.
  • Olive Tree:http://www.yelp.com/biz/olive-tree-cafe-honolulu BYOB, this is the hands-down the best Greek restaurant on the island.¬† Fat Greek which is down the hill from your house is good as well, but Olive Tree really kicks it up a notch.¬† VERY busy all the time, so either get there early, order take-out, or be prepared to wait.¬† There is a wine shop right next door for your convenience ūüôā
  • Little Village:http://www.littlevillagehawaii.com/ I know we have a China Town teeming with Chinese food places, but trust me when I say that Little Village is the very best.
  • Mocha Java:http://www.yelp.com/biz/mocha-java-cafe-honolulu Located at Ward Center, this is a wonderful healthy place to go for breakfast and lunch.
  • Himalayan Kitchen:http://www.yelp.com/biz/himalayan-kitchen-honolulu Love this place!¬† BYOB also (go to Tammura’s down the street for great wine and beer!) We eat here all the time – great ambiance (lots of outdoor seating) and delicious food.
  • Waioli Tea Room:http://www.yelp.com/biz/waioli-tea-room-honolulu If you want to get out of the city and escape into the jungle, this is the place to go.¬† They serve a great lunch all week, but it is for their breakfast brunch on Saturday and Sunday that I hold out for.¬† Eating here always makes me feel like I’m on Kauai ūüôā
  • Formaggio: http://www.yelp.com/biz/formaggio-honolulu Great french/Italian food and awesome wine list.¬† Perfect place to go during the week for a quick but great meal and some really yummy wine.
  • JJ Dolan’s:http://www.yelp.com/biz/jj-dolans-honolulu Simple but delicious pizza and beer place located Downtown.
  • V Lounge:http://www.yelp.com/biz/v-lounge-honolulu More artisan style pizza place that is definitely worth a try.
  • KCC Farmers Market: Saturdays from 7:30-11:30 a.m. at Kapiolani Community College…..best Farmers Market on the island, the produce, food, flowers, and everything else there makes it my favorite place to be every single week.
  • Tango:http://www.tangocafehawaii.com/ More in the mid-high range, this place serves excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Tokkuri-Tei: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tokkuri-tei-honolulu another hole in the wall Japanese place, the food here is amazing.¬† It’s small and very popular, so you might have to wait¬†if you go on a popular night, but it’s well worth it. (Since I wrote this I think they’ve expanded to a larger location, but I hear it’s still packed!)
  • Tsukenaya: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tsukuneya-robata-grill-honolulu this is different than any Japanese food you are used to and its wonderful!¬† The style of cooking originates from Nagoya in Japan so the focus is less on sushi and more on the robata or bbq style of cooking.
  • Maguro-Ya: http://www.yelp.com/biz/maguro-ya-honolulu Go here for the sushi.¬† Very traditional and straightforward, I’ve never been disappointed here.¬† If you like green tea and azuki beans for dessert, theirs is a must-try!
  • Kochi: http://www.yelp.com/biz/kochi-restaurant-and-lounge-honolulu If you are looking for a good place for happy hour and sushi rolls, this is the place to go.¬† It’s on King St. and I think it’s a bit of a hidden gem.
A bit pricy but VERY worth it:
  • Alan Wongs:http://www.yelp.com/biz/alan-wongs-restaurant-honolulu very pricey (appetizer, food, dessert and alcohol aprox. $100 a head) but SO SO SO worth it.¬† Alan Wong is one of Hawaii’s very best chefs and I promise that you will not be dissapointed.¬† If you go to one restaurant while you are in Hawaii, this must be it!¬† Make sure to make reservations WAY in advance.¬† Style of food is very pacific rim, fresh and local.
  • Hoku’s at the Kahala Hotel:http://www.yelp.com/biz/hokus-honolulu this is another amazing one, and the location is just beautiful.¬† It is about a 15-20 minute cab ride from your hotel.¬† If you go, I recommend going early to have drinks first, and then to dinner…the hotel is breathtaking. Style of food is very pacific rim, fresh and local.
  • Town: Farm-to-table, the ingredients are always fresh, and local and organic whenever possible.¬† One of my all-time favorites for sure.¬† http://www.yelp.com/biz/town-honolulu#hrid:kEZQplvbjxjkTEBjAT_4mA/src:search/query:town%20restaurant
  • 12th Ave. Grill:http://www.yelp.com/biz/12th-avenue-grill-honolulu#hrid:_887lbqstrayqaZ6BZSeIA/src:search/query:12th%20ave%20grill fantastic food, totally hole in the wall restaurant.¬† Right near Hale Vietnam and Town.¬† Food genre is “New American.”
  • Chef Mavro:http://www.yelp.com/biz/chef-mavro-honolulu One word: unbelievable.¬† Different than anything you’ll find here in Hawaii, Chef Mavro’s french restaurant is worth the indulgence (both financially and in calories).
  • BLT Steak:http://www.yelp.com/biz/blt-steak-honolulu I’ve heard mixed reviews, but my experience there was fantastic.¬† I think it’s the best steakhouse on the island personally.
  • Royal Hawaiian Hotel: http://www.royal-hawaiian.com/ just renovated, the Royal is one of Hawaii’s landmark hotels and one of the most beautiful.¬† Great restaurants but quite pricey – at the very least go for a Mai Tai at their beach front bar because they make the meanest Mai Tai’s you’ve ever had!
  • Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel: http://www.moana-surfrider.com/ another of the landmark hotels in Waikiki – their ocean front veranda is beautiful and a great place for breakfast, tea, or drinks at sunset.¬† I hear the restaurants are good as well, but on the pricier side for sure.

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My boyfriend picked up these couscous gourmet meal kits at the grocery store recently and I am so glad he found them, because they are so yummy and so quick and easy to put together with chicken to make an amazing meal. They come in two flavors, Mediterranean Herb and Chicken Provencal and both are delicious. Just follow the directions on the back of the box and serve with your favorite vegetable… we did broccoli.¬†

To learn more about these gourmet meal kits, click here!

Served with broccoli

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Shibi (baby yellow fin tuna), grapefruit, pickled fennel and a whole bunch of other yummy goodness

Saturday, as Lesley and I lazed around wondering what to do with ourselves, I flipped through the latest Twitter posts on my phone for some inspiration and came across a photo from @edstown of that night’s dinner menu at Town which looked incredible.¬† Lesley had never been there before and I’ve been craving it for months so we decided to splurge a bit and make it a date night – problem solved.

Beet, Arugula, Orange, Chickpea and Ricotta salad

Good thing we made reservations because it was packed when we arrived.¬† I love everything about this restaurant; the aesthetic of it makes you feel like you are at your friends house for dinner, the food is all farm-to-table (New American type dishes), the staff is great, and everything I’ve ever eaten there has been to-die-for delicious.¬† And that night was no exception.¬† We shared a bottle of white Italian wine, bread (I would kill for their bread recipe)/olive oil/butter/olives, a beet/orange/arugula/ricotta salad, shibi(baby yellow fin tuna)/pickled fennel/grapefruit appetizer, fresh ono with fresh veggies and a meyer lemon berry butter sauce, hand cut pasta with eggplant and prosciutto, and finally buttermilk panna cotta drizzled in honey.¬† If that doesn’t make your mouth water I don’t know what will.

So ono!

Great for lunch as well, I will have to make it a point to not let so much time go by before I find myself back there.¬† The game plan for next time however is to share an entree so that we can share the apple banana/chocolate panini for dessert….heaven in between two slices of bread I imagine.¬† Also on the list of things to try is their Wine Down Wednesday event where they have a special menu with wine pairings….For reviews, phone numbers etc. go HERE.

The hand-cut pasta was silky, flavorful and not overly heavy. The leftovers the next day were amazing!

"Milk & Honey" Buttermilk panna cotta drizzled in local honey....perfectly light and refreshing after a big meal!

Cheers to good food and even better company!

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Photo Credit: © John Kernick

The picture of this looked so good on the cover of my Food & Wine magazine that when it came time to figure out what to make for our dinner party last night there was no question in my mind.¬† The one hiccup was that I had trouble finding baby artichokes (big surprise that Hawaii doesn’t carry something like this…) so I had to use normal sized ones which meant that I had to let the onion, garlic, oil, pancetta, white wine and artichokes simmer a bit longer so that the artichokes became properly tender.

Served a bit later than I anticipated, it was quite delicious.  I paired it with roasted asparagus (ends chopped off, layed out on a cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil and put in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes) Рeverything was well worth the wait.

Ingredients

  1. 1 lemon, halved
  2. 8 baby artichokes (about 1 pound)
  3. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  5. 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  6. One 2-ounce piece of lardo or pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice (I couldn’t find a solid piece of it so I just cut up the deli slices I found into chunks and it worked just fine)
  7. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  8. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. 1 pound spaghetti
  10. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

Directions

  1. Fill a large bowl with water. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon halves, then add the lemon halves to the water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, peel off the dark green outer leaves. Cut off the top fourth of the artichoke; peel and trim the stem. Slice the artichoke lengthwise 1/8 inch thick and drop into the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and lardo and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain the artichokes; discard the lemon. Add the artichokes to the saucepan, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add the white wine, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water to the artichokes and toss over moderate heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the 1/4 cup of cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve the pasta, passing more grated cheese at the table.

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