Category Archives: Pasta

Mixed seafood linguini in lemon-butter sauce

I’m very thankful that I have the ability, when I’m at the grocery store and see a bag of mixed seafood on sale, I can just throw it in my cart and think nothing of it. That’s exactly what happened last week. I saw the mixed seafood on sale, and decided seafood linguini was for dinner that night.

1/2 lb pasta
1 lb bag mixed seafood
1/2 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 tbsp garlic
1/3 cup butter/margerine
1/3 cup lemon juice
Sprinkles of garlic, italian seasoning and sea salt
(I added a few squirts of fish sauce because I have that. Because I’m weird. But it’s salty and goes great with seafood.)

Step 1: Boil the pasta. While it’s boiling, throw all the other ingredients into a pot. The lemon, butter and spices will coat the seafood and veggies. Simmer with a lid for about 5 minutes, then without a lid for another 10 or so. 

 Step 2: Once the pasta is done (~7/8 minutes) throw that in the pan to coat with sauce. You can adjust by adding butter, oil, lemon juice, or white wine as needed. Cornstarch or flour can thicken the sauce too.

 Once the seafood is soft, and the vegetables give when poked with a fork, or you’re hungry, it’s done!

Cheeseburger Mac

This classic student-loved recipe is still delicious as an “adult”, though you can fancy it up with different cheeses and noodle shapes if you want. Super simple to make yet very filling. It’s like macaroni & cheese only beefier.

1 pound of macaroni
2 cups of cheese (any kind, shredded or cubed)
1 pound of ground beef
1 cup of milk

Step 1: Boil the macaroni for about 7 minutes, until al dente. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef and drain the fat.

 Step 2: Drain the pasta, add it back to the pan. Add in the cheese and milk, heat until the cheese melts, stirring often so the cheese doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan. Add the beef back in, mix well.

I used half cheddar and half pepper jack cheese, so it was a little tangy. I’d recommend trying it. You can use any kind of cheese and noodle shape you want, and even add veggies if you’re feeling crazy.

Crusted salmon & veggie alfredo

Still trying to use up all my freezer/pantry items, I pulled together this meal with frozen fish fillets (1 cod 1 salmon) a box of straight pasta, a can of alfredo sauce, frozen veggies, crackers, and various spices. This is a good example of what I call “kitchen improv”.
2 fish fillets, ~6 oz
1 cup crushed crackers
Black pepper
Garlic salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 lb pasta
2 cups frozen veggies
1 can alfredo sauce

 Step 1: Smash the crackers in a plastic bag & add spices. Coat the fish on both sides. Spray a frying pan and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes (to thoroughly thaw) then flip and cook another 10 minutes.

 Step 2: In a large pot, boil a gallon or so of water. Once boiling, add the pasta and simmer 7-9 minutes, until al dente. Add the frozen veggies and boil another 2 minutes. Drain.

 Step 3: Put the pasta back into the pot, add the alfredo sauce and stir well.

Very filling and lots of protein & Omega-3s. This is a good way to get your fish for the week without it seeming too ‘fishy’, which turns some people off. Even the salmon taste & smell wasn’t terribly strong thanks to the alfredo flavor and crust.

Sneaky bean & beefy pasta

In an effort to not only be healthier but also use up canned goods, I decided to take the old student standby of pasta with meat sauce and kick it up a notch. I had a half jar of Ragu from a few days ago, so I just used a small can of tomato sauce to round it out, and a can of chickpeas. (You could probably use any bean here, but chickpeas were what I had, plus they blend better than pinto or black) I didn’t just want chunks of beans in my sauce, so I blended them. Makes the sauce thicker and adds protein and fiber.

1/2 jar pasta sauce
1 can tomato sauce
1 can chickpeas
1 box pasta noodles of your choice
1 pound ground beef
Handful spinach

Step 1: Open the can of beans and drain half the liquid. Pour the rest and the tomato sauce into blender and liquefy it. Add extra water if it’s too thick.

Step 2: Fill a large pot half full of water, add salt if you want. Bring to a rolling boil, and cook the pasta 5-8 minutes. While cooking, complete step 3. Drain when al dente (aka soft but not mush).

Step 3: Brown the ground beef in a frying pan. You want to make sure it’s fully cooked. Then add the handful of spinach and cover. Cook for 3 minutes to wilt the spinach. Pour the sauce on top, mix well and cook on medium, covered, until heated through.

The beans makes the sauce thick and gives it a certain depth of flavor without being too obvious. You could also blend in the spinach once cooked so you don’t even know it’s there. Mixed with the plain Ragu pasta sauce and ground beef, it isn’t too noticeable. This is a good way to sneak extra nutrition past whiny kids and picky hubbys. Those adjectives are probably also interchangeable. Just saying.

Spaghetti squash ‘pasta’ with Turkey Meatballs and Tomato-Chickpea Sauce


I had bought a spaghetti squash a few days ago, and finally got around to making it. I was not sure what to make with it, so I went with the “spaghetti” theme and made turkey meatballs and a tomato-chickpea sauce. Like real pasta only tons more fiber and quite delicious!

Spaghetti squash

1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, diced
Italian seasonings
1 1/2 cups water/chicken stock

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 onion, grated
1/4 cup ketchup
1 egg
1/4 cup blue cheese/parmesan cheese

Step 1: Bake the spaghetti squash face-down for 1 hour at 375 or microwave 10 minutes then bake for 30.

Step 2: Mix all meatball ingredients in a bowl.

Step 3: Cook the chickpeas in a sauce pot for ~5 minutes. Then add the diced tomatoes, water, and seasonings and simmer.

 Step 4: Roll the meatball mix into 1-inch balls and bake on a sprayed cookie sheet for ~10 minutes at 350, or until brown and cooked through. Then add to the simmering sauce.


Step 5: When the squash cools, use a fork to pull the strands out.

In a bowl, add the squash, a meatball or two, and pour on some sauce. Enjoy!

Chicken & veggie alfredo

This is just something I came up with on the fly, I was hungry and needed something quick which didn’t take much time to make. My usual on the fly recipe is meat + carb + veggies. When I checked the pantry, I found pasta and alfredo sauce, which I love. Then I had a chicken breast in the freezer as well as frozen spinach. I added some shredded carrot, which turned out to be a great addition as it looked like cheddar cheese but way healthier!

1/2 pound rotini pasta
1 jar alfredo sauce
2 carrots, shredded
1 chicken breast
1/2 bag frozen spinach

Step 1: Begin boiling the water, and thaw the chicken in the microwave 2 minutes on each side.
Step 2: Boil the pasta 7-8 minutes. Cut the chicken into 1 inch thick pieces and put in a frying pan with 1 tbsp oil. Add any desired spices to the chicken, and cook about 5 minutes on both sides, until browned and chicken is no longer pink.
Step 3: While chicken is cooking, shred the carrots.
Step 4: Drain the pasta. Add the spinach, carrots and cooked chicken. Mix well and ensure it is heated through and the spinach is thawed. Add the alfredo sauce and enjoy!

This was deliciously creamy and fulfilling!

Creative leftovers: Butternut Squash Mac n Cheese

The best recipes in my opinion are the ones that either get eaten the first time around, or lead to easy leftover combinations. I hate to see food go to waste, and unfortunately when you’re cooking for only 1 or 2 people that can happen quite often.
You make something that tastes great the first time, and the second time, but by days 3 and up you are sick of it. So it sits in the back of the fridge, hidden by water bottles and fresher produce until you clean out your fridge tri-monthly and get grossed out by the mold and bacteria on it.
Therefore I try to cook things which easily lend themselves to meal makovers to dress up the leftovers and make it feel like a whole new meal. So I took some macaroni & cheese I’d made earlier, leftover chicken, and bruchetta topping (since the bread was now mush) and mixed it up for a super-easy, quick & healthy lunch.
Less wasted food = more money in your pocket = win-win.
2 diced roma tomatoes
1/4 white onion, diced small
3-4 oz cooked chicken breast (or meat of choice, or no meat if you prefer)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave on high 1-2 minutes. You can sprinkle with extra cheese, or add any kind of cooked veggies you like. Enjoy!


Butternut squash mac-n-cheese (Bonus snack)

So I came across a recipe for butternut squash macaroni and cheese, and since it is getting into the fall season (and sounded delicious) I decided to try it. I had most of the ingredients, I just needed to buy the squash and some cheese. Of course, I made it my own as I always do. You can find the full nutrition info here.
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (Save the seeds for a bonus snack!)
1 1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp brown sugar
Sprinkle black pepper & salt
1/2 pound macaroni of choice (I used elbow)
2/3 pound fresh Cheddar
1/2 cup skim cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Step 1: Get water for pasta boiling. Meanwhile, peel and dice squash. Put squash, stock and milk in a pan, simmer 10-15 minutes until squash is fork-tender. Boil the pasta ~ 8 minutes and drain.

 Step 2: Put squash into blender (or mash) to make it smooth. Add salt, pepper, sugar.

 Step 3: Put macaroni into a greased pan, pour squash over top. Add cheeses and mix well. Cover with foil & bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Uncover, sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan on top. Bake uncovered for another 20-30 minutes, until golden and crispy on top.

 Step 5: Let cool, scoop out a helping and enjoy!

Bonus snack!
While peeling and dicing the squash, save the seeds. Rinse thoroughly to get rid of slimy part. Sprinkle sea salt over top. Toast the seeds in the oven at 350 for ~20 minutes, stirring at least once. The seeds are light and smoky, and taste like fall! I could eat bushels of these things!

Shrimp & Bell Pepper Linguini Alfredo. Bonus dessert: Peach Soup

This is a recipe I invented last year. I was in my apartment and starving. Red bell peppers had recently gone on sale, so I had about a dozen. Plus some pasta like most college kids, a jar of alfredo sauce, and half a bag of shrimp in the freezer. That’s how this came about, and it was so good, it remains one of my favorites.
It’s easy to customize too, you can use any kind of fresh veggies, and if you don’t want meat then you don’t need to add shrimp. Also you can flavor the shrimp with whatever you want. This recipe makes about 4-6 servings.
1/2 lb linguini
1/2 lb shrimp, thawed
2/3 jar alfredo sauce
1/2 red, yellow and orange bell pepper
1 tbsp butter
pinch Thai spices
garlic powder

Step 1: Boil the noodles in salted water with a tbsp oil to keep the noodles from sticking.

Step 2: Add the butter to a frying pan, begin cooking the shrimp. Add whatever spices you like, and stir occasionally.

Step 3: Once boiled, drain the noodles and return to the pot. Add the alfredo sauce and mix. Set aside.

Step 4: Once the shrimp are pink, with a slight brown crust on both sides, add the diced peppers. Mix and put the lid on, cook for ~5 minutes or until tender.

Step 5: Once cooked, add to the noodles and mix everything well. Enjoy!



Bonus dessert: Peach Soup
From: Cooking for 2, summer 2008, pg. 25.
1 1/2 cups fresh peaches
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp almond extract

Blend all ingredients together until smooth, and refrigerate until serving. Add a dash of cinnamon on top. Makes 2 servings.

Peach soup: cold, sweet and refreshing!

Goat cheese lasagna


Well, as December is chock-full of holidays and I spend half of it at home, I did not do much cooking past the 20th. It’s nice to be at home where someone else cooks for me and does the dishes. Like a restaurant, but with more love and fighting.

Anyhow, it’s 2012 now, time for some more creative kitchen adventures. I’m sure I will have plenty of old standbys like tacos and ramen noodles, but there are also some recipes on my mind I’d like to try soon. Plus, I’ve resolved to eat healthier and exercise more because the holiday weight gain really snuck up on me this year. So hopefully you will see lots of salads, soups and veggies.

Since I have not yet made anything spectacular, today I will post the last meal of 2011 that I made, goat cheese lasagna! This stuff is amazingly delicious, and terribly detrimental to the health of anyone kidney-stone-prone. But I had goat cheese and I love the stuff, so I went ahead and made it anyways as an end-of-the-year treat.

Lasagna noodles
Pasta sauce
Ground beef
Goat cheese
Ricotta or cottage cheese

Step 1: Boil a large pot of water. Add the noodles once fully boiling and boil for 7-9 minutes. Once al dente, drain.

Step 2: While water is boiling, brown about 1 pound ground beef and drain excess grease. If you want, you can combine the meat and sauce in a bowl.

Step 3: Mix the cheeses together well in a separate bowl.

Step 4: In a baking pan or crock pot, layer the noodles, cheese, sauce and meat. Bake at 375 for 1 hour, or on high for 4-5 hours. You can also sprinkle some mozarella on top.

Then just sit back and enjoy! The salty tang of the goat cheese is phenomenal. I’d recommend adding a layer of spinach in there to healthify it and add extra nutrients.