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Giada’s Pasta Primavera

12 Oct

The first time I had this was when the lovely Weesie made it for me – it was SO good that I just had to make it myself.  I’ve made it a couple times and every time, I love it.  It’s healthy and filling and delicious – what more could you ask for.  It’s perfect when you want something with a lot of vegetables.  Here it is:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (I’m not a huge red bell pepper fan, so I used orange instead and it’s a great substitute)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I used a little extra, of course)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
  • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (as always, a little extra cheese)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets.

Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten.  Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.


Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

28 Sep

This post is brought to you by Giada and it is absolutely delicious.  I’ve made it twice now and absolutely love it.  Best of all, it’s not only delicious, it’s also healthy! Here it goes:

  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti pasta
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (as usual, I used a little bit extra)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 (4-ounce) pieces salmon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pan and cook until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan.

Add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine.

Set out 4 serving plates or shallow bowls. Place 1/2 cup spinach in each bowl. Top with 1/4 of the pasta. Top each mound of pasta with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Cheesey Chicken & Roasted Pepper Calzones

31 Aug

Hello friends! The original recipe that I found in my Pillsbury Complete Cookbook was entitled “Cheese & Roasted Pepper Calzones”; however, I modified it slightly… and it was kind of delicious. I added the following ingredients and created Andee’s “Cheesey Chicken & Roasted Pepper Calzones”: sun dried tomatoes and chicken.

This was my first time to make it, and both my husband and I enjoyed it. I hope you will, as well. Bon appetit, friend!


1 (10.2 oz) can large refrigerated buttermilk home-style biscuits

2 oz (1/2 cup) shredded Swiss cheese

2 oz (1/2 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup roasted red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (from a jar), diced

2 chicken breasts



Herbs de Provence


Season chicken with Salt, Pepper, and Herbs de Provence. Cook chicken in large skillet until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, cube chicken into bite size pieces.

Combine diced roasted red pepper, diced sun dried tomatoes, and cubed chicken in medium bowl.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Separate dough into 5 biscuits. Press or roll each to form 5 1/2-inch round.

Sprinkle all cheeses evenly onto biscuits. Top each with chicken mixture. Fold half of biscuit over filling; seal edges. Press edges firmly with fork to seal. Cut 3 slits in top of each for steam to escape. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Hazelnut Crusted Halibut with Hatch Chile Lime Sauce

26 Aug

So right now at Central Market, it’s Hatchmania.  Basically, there are these things, hatch chiles, that are grown in New Mexico that are only available for about three weeks.  And CM buys tons of them.  So if you go in the store, all of their samples have hatch chiles and they are really just everywhere.

So I went in a week or so ago and tired a delicious sample they had out: Hazelnut Crusted Halibut with Hatch Chile Lime Sauce.  Lucky for me they had a recipe to go with it so I could make it on my own (and share it with all of you here).  Hatch chiles won’t be available for much longer, but I’m pretty sure you could substitute another type of chiles and it would be just as good.  So give it a try.

Hatch Chile Lime Sauce

1 8 oz container sour cream (in an attempt to be slightly healthier I used light sour cream)

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 roasted Hatch peppers, skinned and seeded (if you go to CM they sell them roasted so you don’t have to do it yourself)

juice of 1/4 lime (I really like lime so I used 1/2 a lime)

salt to taste

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan, and heat gently over low heat.  Keep warm while preparing fish.

Hazelnut Crust

8 oz hazelnut meal (I didn’t need nearly this much)

2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 lb halibut fillets

grape seed oil for frying (I didn’t want to spend $6 on grape seed oil to use it once so I just used olive oil instead)

Combine hazelnut meal, salt & pepper on a plate.  Dredge halibut, shaking off excess.

Heat the oil in a skilled on medium high heat; add fish and cook until firm and flakes with a fork, turning once.

Ladle sauce over halibut and serve immediately.

It was seriously delicious, give it a try.

Tortilla Soup

23 Aug
The school year has officially begun. That means that when I arrive home, I’m tired AND hungry.  Behold! A reeeally easy dinner that will make your family and friends think you’re a rockstar.  Perfect ending to a busy day.
1 small onion, chopped
1 small jalapeno, seeded & chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 lbs cooked shredded chicken (3-4 boneless breasts)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 (16 oz) can stewed tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can Rotel
1 (10 oz) can beef bouillon
1 (10 oz) can chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can tomato soup
1 1/2 c water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
6 corn tortillas halved, then cut into 1/2 in strips
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese 
Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot.  Saute the onion until translucent (a couple of minutes).  Add the garlic, jalapeno, and chicken. Stir and continue cooking for several more minutes.  Add tomatoes, soups, water, and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for one hour.  Add tortilla strips and cheese.  Cook for 15 minutes. 
Top with cheese and avocado chunks.
Holly’s Notes:
**This soup is excellent the next day for lunch.  If you are a teacher, all the other peeps in the lounge will be
***For all of you who cook ahead and freeze meals, listen up.  I have doubled the recipe and frozen it before.  However, the tortillas (sadly) did not survive the freeze…they were mushy. Yuck.  Next time I’m planning on preparing the soup through the simmering step, cooling it down, and popping it in the freezer. When we finally decide to eat it, I’ll heat it up and then add the tortillas and cheese.

Mexican Pizza

22 Aug

I found this recipe at and I have been wanting to try to make it for a while. I finally got a chance to try it out tonight, and it turned out pretty tasty. I am still a beginner in the kitchen, but this was pretty easy for even me to pull off…although I did make a few changes to the original recipe. Since my husband and I are not big fans of chorizo, I substituted strips of fajita chicken instead. I also used two avocados instead of one to make up for not having any green onions in my kitchen and also because avocados are my favorite. The ingredients are:

  • 8 oz. chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup deli-fresh chunky salsa with corn and beans
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 7 – to 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (4 oz.)
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  1. Preheat broiler. In large skillet crumble and cook chorizo over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain in colander. In small saucepan heat salsa over medium heat until heated through.
  2. Lightly coat large baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange tortillas, two at time, on baking sheet; top each with one-fourth the cheese. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is melted. Top each pizza with one-fourth the warm salsa, cooked chorizo, avocado, green onions, and cilantro. Pass lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Chicken with Avocado and Roasted Red Pepper Cream

13 Aug
If computers had scratch-n-sniff capabilities, now would be the time to use them; this dish smells incredible and tastes even better.  Be careful who you serve this to though…they’ll want to marry you. Seriously. It’s that good. 
3 red bell peppers
1 c uncooked long-grain rice
2 c heavy cream, divided
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 avocados
1/2 c sour cream
Preheat oven broiler.
Quarter the red peppers removing the seeds and place the peppers flesh-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet (about four slices per pepper). 
Char skins until blackened.  (Disclaimer: this is not the part of the experience that smells good. You’re burning food for crying out loud! Be patient. Goodness is on her way.)
Now when I say “blackened”, I mean seeeeriously dark.  If you take them out prematurely, it’s much harder to remove the skins.
Remove peppers from baking sheet and place in a plastic bag.  Close tightly and allow to steam for 10 minutes. 
Cook rice according to package directions.  When the rice is cooked, remove from heat and keep warm.
Carefully remove peppers from the bag.  When peppers are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard charred skins. 
Coarsely chop the peppers. (YUM.)
Combine the peppers and half of the heavy cream in a food processor (or blender).  Process until smooth.  Stir in remaining cream. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the chicken until brown on both sides. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Pour cream mixture over chicken.  When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to a vigorous simmer.  Cook until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, about 20-30 minutes.  Adjust seasoning to taste. 
Just before serving, peel & thinly slice the avocados.  Remove chicken from the sauce and stir in the sour cream.  Serve chicken over rice with plenty of sauce, and garnish with the avocado slices.