Posts filed under ‘Recipes’

My New Favorite Dish: Tomato, Sausage and Pecorino Pasta

You guys know that I struggle with meals that call for more than 4-5 ingredients. I get bored and whiney and most certainly screw something up. But, this dish was so easy and had so much color & aroma that I actually thought I was doing it wrong. I thought, “it can’t be this easy!” and I must’ve checked the recipe a million times to make sure I had everything in there. And, this was the first meal I’ve made where I felt comfortable enough to exercise some creative freedom and make some swaps to the recipe. Let me tell you – it had so much flavor (which is not something I can usually boast) that I’ll most definitely be making this my “go to” dish.


Seriously, how good does this look?


  • 8  ounces  uncooked penne (I’m a sucker for the Barilla PLUS line)
  • 8  ounces  sweet Italian sausage*
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1  cup  vertically sliced onion
  • 2  teaspoons  minced garlic
  • 1 1/4  pounds  tomatoes, chopped*
  • 6  tablespoons  grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  cup  torn fresh basil leaves*

*I made my own changes here – since Shawn has a thing about the consistency of tomatoes (he freaks out because they’re squishy), I left the tomatoes out of the recipe and instead mixed the dish with marinara sauce at the end. Also, since I find fresh herbs to be a waste of money (seriously, you use a fraction of what you buy and the rest goes bad), I just used regular basil from the spice rack. Finally, I substituted sweet Italian sausage with Al Fresco chicken sausage, which is incredibly good and much healthier. Specifically, the sundried tomato flavor was a good choice for this recipe.


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  2. While the pasta’s boiling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. I removed the sausage from the casings just by slicing it length-wise and pulling off the casing, then chopped the sausage into small pieces. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage and onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring to ensure that the sausage cooks through.
  3. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes.
  4. At this point, the original recipe said to stir in tomatoes; cook 2 minutes. Instead, the pasta was good and ready, so I drained it and combined it with the sausage / onion / garlic mixture in a giant serving bowl.
  5. Stir in 2 tablespoons cheese, salt, and pepper. The original recipe also suggests you sprinkle it with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and basil, but I just added basil. It already had so much flavor without a ton of the cheese, so you’re doing yourself a favor by cutting back.
This is the nutrition information from the original recipe, but I think with my substitutions above, you might even save yourself a few more calories.
  • Calories per serving: 389
  • Fat: 10.7g (sat 4g,mono 4.5g,poly 0.7g)
  • Protein: 21.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 53.5g
  • Fiber: 4.5g

September 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm 1 comment

Things I’ve Learned from Shawn: Lasagna For Dummies

Shawn is much more comfortable in the kitchen than I am, and – believe me – I exercise this fact regularly. When he moved to New Hampshire, little did I know that I would get not only a live-in boyfriend, but a great cook (err personal chef) as well! One of his best dishes (thanks to his mom, I believe) is this easy lasagna recipe. Ever since my short bout with the South Beach Diet, I haven’t been much of a pasta eater, but I will always have room for this lasagna. This is the kind of dish where the leftovers are better than when it’s fresh from the oven.


  • 15 lasagna noodles
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (with seasoning to taste – basil, salt, pepper, etc.)
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (our fave: Prego Three-Cheese Pasta Sauce)
  • 1 container low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 block of mozzerella cheese, cubed


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook noodles as directed. When they’re al dente, take them off the stove and strain. Set aside.
  2. In a pan, sautee the onions and garlic for a few minutes, then add the ground turkey until cooked through. Add some seasoning to taste (ours usually consists of the pre-mixed Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, a little bit of basil.. you know, whatever you’re in the mood for).

ground turkey

3. Add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom ofthe baking dish, and layer 3-4 noodles across the bottom (enough to cover the bottom).

first layer

4. Layer on the ground turkey mix and top with chunks of mozzarella cheese and random dollops of ricotta cheese. Continue to layer the ingredients like this 5-ish times, depending on how deep the dish is. Sauce, noodles, turkey, cheese. Sauce, noodles, turkey, cheese.

second layer

5. Cover in tin foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes.


Mmmm.. this serves 8 to 10 if you’re normal, or 2 if you have leftovers for lunch and dinner throughout the week. I don’t have nutritional information, but if you use low-fat cheeses and ground turkey instead of beef (and even use whole wheat noodles, if you want), you are erring on the side of a healthier version. Never in my life did I think I would make lasagna, but I didn’t realize how easy it is.

May 10, 2009 at 7:30 pm 2 comments

Just in Time for BBQ Season: Classic Potato Salad

(NOTE: Totally forgot to take a picture — the blogger in me wasn’t on her game when we made this) I have to admit, I googled “how to hard boil an egg” in order to make this salad. I was suspicious of the directions below, but as it turns out, it works! I figured you’d have to keep them in boiling water a lot longer. In my hard boiling egg history, I’ve dumped eggs into a boiling pot of water. That usually turns out pretty bad, as the shell cracks and you wind up with a watery version of cloudy egg drop soup. Yuuuuck

But, this recipe from Sunset Magazine is exactly what I was in the mood for. My mom makes an amazing potato salad, but she wasn’t around to send me the recipe, so I was on my own. I might even like this version better! I opted not to include other suggested ingredients like celery and pickles and used red potatoes instead of russets.


  • 3  eggs
  • 2-ish  pounds bliss red potatoes
  • 1  tablespoon  plus 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3.5  tablespoons  white wine vinegar
  • 1/2  small red onion
  • 1/2  cup  flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2  cup  mayonnaise
  • 1/2  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  1. Put eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover, take off heat, and let sit 14 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Transfer eggs to ice-water bath. Let sit at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, until you are ready to use.
  2. Cut potato into bite-size pieces. Put potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Add 1 tbsp. salt, reduce heat to maintain a slow boil, and cook potatoes until tender to the bite, about 8-ish minutes. Drain potatoes, put in a large bowl, and toss with vinegar. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, finely chop onion and parsley.  In a bowl, mix mayonnaise, onion, parsley, mustard, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Peel and slice eggs.
  4. Gently toss cooled potatoes with dressing. Gently mix in eggs. Serve immediately.

Nutritional info

Calories: 218 (54% from fat – which could be a bit lower if you use light mayo)
Protein: 5g
Fat: 13g (sat 2.3)
Carbohydrate: 22g
Fiber: 1.8g
Sodium: 439mg
Cholesterol: 88mg

April 11, 2009 at 7:42 pm Leave a comment

Somewhat Guilt-Free Cookies: Kitchen Sink Cookies from Ellie Krieger

When it comes to baking, I’m no Martha Stewart. Actually, when it comes to entertaining, cooking dinner and crafts, I’m no Martha Stewart either. But that’s besides the point. I loooove cookies, end of story. I’d take cookies over cake, pie and brownies anyday. I can usually oversee the guilt that comes with them, but thanks to Tony Horton (creator of the P90X fitness program), I’m intensely aware of every calorie that I consume.

Enter Ellie Krieger‘s Kitchen Sink Cookies.


Okay, yes, they’re still cookies, but they’re made with oatmeal and applesauce, so they’re a much healthier alternative to Dunkins’ 5-inch-in-diameter chocolate chocolate chunk. Feel free to substitute any of the add ons (more chocolate, fewer apricots, etc.), and I tend to add an extra teaspoon of cinnamon, but here’s the gist of what I believe to be the best cookie recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, cut into chunks
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine butter, oil and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down bowl, until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add applesauce, egg white and vanilla and mix to combine. Add flour, oatmeal, salt and cinnamon and mix just until just combined. Add cherries, apricots, walnuts and chocolate and mix to combine.

Spray 1 baking sheet with cooking spray. Using 1 tablespoon cookie dough at a time, roll into balls and place 2-inches apart on baking sheet. Press cookies down with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly, as cookies will not spread as much as cookies with more butter. Bake for 12 minutes (should be enough, they dry out easily), or until lightly browned but still soft. Remove from oven and cool on racks.

Yields 18-20 cookies, 2 cookies a serving.

Nutritional Info (per serving)

Calories: 200 (how many homemade cookies do you know that pack only 100 calories)
Total fat: 10g
Total fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 3.5g
Monounsaturated fat: 3g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 7mg
Sodium: 74mg
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrates: 26g
Fiber: 2.5g

March 30, 2009 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

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