Homemade pasta is one of my favorite things to eat, and it is surprisingly simple to make. Many restaurants have gotten away from the art of making dough by hand and our culture has become accustom to the taste of store-bought pasta. I savor the practice of making pasta by hand, and it has become a favorite stay-home, date night activity. The experience of making the pasta together creates much anticipation for enjoying this delicious meal, and it tastes like takeout from a family-owned Italian restaurant.
With Italian music playing in the background and glasses of our favorite Pinot Noir in hand, my husband and I begin the process of creating pasta dough. We use this recipe for Food-Processor Pasta Dough from William Sonoma, and once it’s ready we roll the dough into thin strips with an old-fashioned style pasta machine just like the one pictured in the pasta recipe photo. One of us turns the dough crank and feeds the ball through the machine, while the other catches the flat sheet of pasta from the other side. We use a ravioli mold to create our stuffed pasta, but you can also make tortellini without any equipment.
Ingredients for Pasta Filling: 1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced 1 (15 to 16 ounce) container of ricotta cheese ⅓ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
Other Ingredients: Pasta dough 1 (26 ounce) jar of marinara Parmesan cheese for grating
Place chicken, ricotta and Asiago cheeses, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse, until chicken is finely chopped.
Follow recipe for Food-Processor Pasta Dough and roll the pasta into thin sheets as directed in the recipe, but do not cut pasta. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can use a rolling pin.
To make ravioli, place a sheet of pasta dough over a ravioli mold and gently press down to add space for the filling. Use a spoon or small scoop and place an equal amount of filling into each square. Brush the edges of the dough with a small amount of water and top ravioli with another sheet of pasta dough. Gently roll over the top sheet of dough with a rolling pin to cut and seal the ravioli.
To make tortellini, cut the sheets of pasta into 3 inch by 3 inch squares. Place your filling into each square and brush the edges of the dough with water. Fold into triangles and wrap the bottom two corners together to seal tightly in a kerchief shape.
Heat marinara sauce and serve ravioli or tortellini with desired amount of sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.
Move over croutons, cornbread tastes better with this hearty salad. Garlic lovers will love the sautéed garlic scapes along with tangy ranch, crunchy bacon and buttery lima beans. It’s a perfect meal to make with leftover cornbread and grilled chicken. If you have extra cornbread, store it in the freeze and defrost for future salads.
Salad Dressing Ingredients: ⅔ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt ¼ cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic scapes or green onion ½ teaspoon dried dill ¼ teaspoon white pepper ⅛ teaspoon salt
Salad Ingredients: 2 teaspoons olive oil 3 tablespoons garlic scapes or green onion, sliced 1 large head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated and torn Cornbread, prepared 1¼ pound chicken breast, grilled 1½ cups lima beans, prepared from fresh, frozen or canned 8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, buttermilk, vinegar, garlic, green onion, dill, pepper and salt. Whisk until well combined. Cover and refrigerate salad dressing until ready to serve.
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic scapes or green onion slices and sauté until lightly browned.
Place an equal amount of lettuce on four plates and add a slice of cornbread in the middle. Top each plate with ¼ of chicken, lima beans, bacon and sautéed garlic scapes. Drizzle with ranch dressing and serve.
Lettuce wraps are a creative way to enjoy fresh lettuces and they are also fun to make, eat and serve. I love dishes that you can dive in and assemble at the table as you share a meal with family or friends. This one is super fast and easy to make and a light meal to enjoy with a hot cup of asian tea.
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons canola oil 1 teaspoon sesame oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 pound ground chicken 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped 1 medium bell pepper (any color), chopped 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos 1 teaspoon sriracha 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger 1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated
Optional Ingredients: Handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons Peanuts, chopped Brown rice, prepared
Add canola and sesame oils in a wok or large skillet and heat to medium-high temperature. Add garlic and cook for about a minute or until fragrant. Add chicken and break up with a spatula until it starts to brown.
Add carrots and bell pepper to wok or skillet and cook stirring frequently until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 7 to 10 minutes.
In a small mason jar, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, siracha and ginger. Shake until evenly combined and pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. Stir to evenly coat and cook for another minute or two.
Place chicken and vegetables on a serving platter along with lettuce leaves and sprinkle with peanuts and basil if using. Assemble wraps at the table and serve with brown rice if desired.
Tender cabbage coated in mildly spiced peanut sauce replaces noodles in this delicious Thai bowl. Carrots and bean sprouts add color and crunch to this veggie packed dish paired with your favorite protein. It is really quick to make and you can even turn this into a 10-minute meal if you grill your protein and make your sauce in advance. Leftovers are delicious the next day if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.
Ingredients: ½ cup light coconut milk 1 tablespoon red curry paste ¼ cup peanut butter 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos ½ lime, juiced 3 to 4 dashes of Sriracha hot chili sauce 2 large or 3 medium carrots 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 medium head of cabbage, cored and finely shredded 2 green onions, thinly sliced 4 ounces bean sprouts Grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu Optional: chopped peanuts
In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, juice from lime and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Process until smooth and creamy.
Trim and peel carrots. Cut carrots into noodles using a spiralizer and set aside.
In a wok or large skillet, heat sesame and canola oil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and cook stirring frequently for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
Pour ⅓ cup sauce over cabbage and cook for an additional minute. Serve cabbage in bowls topped with carrots, green onions, bean sprouts and grilled chicken, shrimp or tofu. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and drizzle a little extra peanut sauce if desired.
A salad you can hold in your hand is the perfect backyard grub to serve on a hot summer night. The fresh vegetables make a colorful presentation for this build-your-own dinner, and you can change or add more protein options by grilling pork or tofu along with your chicken.
Grill your meat and slice your toppings in advance to have a meal you can serve in just a few minutes on a busy night or on an evening when you’d rather kick back and enjoy the sunshine.
1 head romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
¼ cup pitted Greek olives, thinly sliced
Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients:
1 small cucumber, finely chopped
1 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
Trim the bottom of the lettuce and separate leaves. Wash and set on a towel to dry.
In a small bowl, combine oregano, garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir to combine and brush mixture over chicken. Grill chicken breasts until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and thinly slice.
Combine cucumber and yogurt in a small bowl. Zest and then juice lemon, adding 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice to the bowl. Add garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Add lettuce leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese and olives to a couple of large plates along with the Zatziki sauce, and serve buffet style.
Nothing says fall like a bowl of chili, especially one with seasonal squash. Fresh pumpkin or acorn squash would also work well in this recipe. In less than 30 minutes, you can serve a warm bowl of comfort food to your family. Leftovers taste just as good, if not better. If you do not eat all the leftovers, this meal freezes well in a tightly sealed container or zip-top bag.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 (15.5 ounce) cans low-sodium Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons Sriracha hot chili sauce, plus more for serving
1 lime, sliced into 6 wedges
cotija cheese, crumbled
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the ground chicken, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Break up chicken with a spatula and cook until it begins to brown, about five minutes.
Add the butternut squash, beans, chicken broth and Sriracha hot chili sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Ladle chili into six bowls and squeeze a lime wedge over each serving. Top with cilantro, cojita cheese and additional Sriracha hot chili sauce if desired.
Here is a delicious and nutritious meal you can eat with your hands. Small cabbage leaves make perfect cups for holding chicken and vegetables, and these are drizzled with my spicy Thai peanut sauce for just a touch of heat. The ingredients can be prepared in advanced and assembled when ready to eat, making this an excellent meal for busy nights or lunches on the go. If you can only find large cabbage, fold the leaves like a burrito to create cabbage wraps.
½ cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
¼ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 lime, halved and divided
3 to 4 dashes of Sriracha hot chili sauce
2 cups any combination of vegetables, diced or shredded (such as bell pepper, cucumber, radish or carrots)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small head cabbage, leaves separated
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
¼ cup unsalted chopped peanuts
In a blender or food processor, combine coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, soy sauce, juice from ½ of lime and Sriracha hot chili sauce. Process until smooth and creamy.
Combine vegetables in a large bowl and squeeze the juice of the remaining lime half over the produce. Add cilantro and stir to evenly combine.
Fill each cabbage leaf with an equal amounts of chicken and vegetables. Drizzle each cup with peanut sauce, top with peanuts and serve.