Tomato Time Pasta with Fresh Corn

I was going to make my tomato time pasta for the two of us and I was using fresh cherry tomatoes and whole wheat pasta. I had two ears of beautiful fresh corn and I figured how can that taste bad? Corn and Tomatoes are delicious and mixed in with the pasta they were just a perfect summer meal. My original Tomato Time Pasta was posted on August ’14 and that was the basis for this. This is what I did last night for our dinner.

Ingredients:

This recipe is for 4-6 servings , I cut in 1/2 for the 2 of us.

1 lb. spaghetti, I like long ropy spaghetti for this recipe , use whatever you like. I also used whole wheat pasta last night.

4 -6 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil — start out with 4 and you might want to add a little more during the cooking process. I used 3 for 1/2 of this recipe.

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced.

4 ears of fresh corn–I used 2 for 1/2 this recipe so I would double for whole recipe.

*1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper– we like it spicy but obviously you can use more or less depending on your taste or omit entirely. I used a lot.

2 pints of cherry tomatoes ( app. 3 cups fresh tomatoes) I cut the larger tomatoes in 1/2 and left the little ones whole.

Fresh Basil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Freshly Grated Parmesan — on the table at your own discretion

Directions:

Cook Corn in boiling water for 2 minutes –Bring water to a boil and place corn in water for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with ice water and cool corn down. When corn is cooled off –cut the corn off cob and set aside.

Cook Pasta according to the directions on the box for al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water in the event you may need a little more liquid in your sauce. Add salt to the cooking water for pasta.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat — add olive oil then lower the heat and add garlic , cook until garlic is golden brown and not burned. About 2 minutes– watch the garlic –just to soften and get fragrant. Add the crushed red pepper and the tomatoes, and cook over medium low to medium heat. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt at this point –and some freshly ground black pepper about 1/4 teaspoon. Stir together all ingredients for a bit, making sure garlic isn’t burning and tomatoes start to burst and deflate for about 10 minutes. I then lower the heat and let the tomatoes simmer in the pan for at least 15 minutes and last night for 1/2 hour. This is when I added the fresh corn. Let it sit together for the last 15 minutes of cooking.  I even turned off the stove and let it just sit there , i then turned heat back on just before adding the pasta. Taste for Salt and Pepper.  Remember to reserve a cup of pasta water. I added a little water at a time to the tomatoes and corn at a low flame– stirred it in–probably used about 1/2 cup . It will give the sauce some needed liquid. Just stir in slowly don’t dump the whole cup in at once. Next add the cooked pasta right into the pan and stir it all up good. Tomatoes will be smashed up and olive oil will have turned a lovely light orangey red color. Add in the Fresh Basil–I cut it up into small pieces –again this is your choice you can throw it in whole leaves as well. There you have it. Dinner in 1/2 hour.

I plated it up and fresh parmesan was on the table if anyone wanted to use it.

Yum and even more delicious the next day cold out of the fridge.

 

 

 

Bucatini al’Amatriciana

Amatrice is a small town in Italy outside of Rome and this dish is named for it. This dish is intended to be made with guanciale , which is a pig jowl and it tastes like a porkier version of bacon or pancetta. I use pancetta, which now comes pre-diced in packages making for a very easy time. I also keep packages of the diced pancetta in my freezer, they defrost very quickly which makes them a perfect dinner ingredient.  I also use bucatini pasta which is thick and ropey with a hole like a straw. I wouldn’t wear white while eating this it’s a messy one. Super easy and delicious. I made it tonite with my marinated flank steak. I also used 2 containers of grape tomatoes, but you can easily substitute with 1 large  can of San Marzano tomatoes ( crushed )The cherry/grape tomatoes give it a lighter sauce, and I prefer it especially in the summer months.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 – 6 oz. diced pancetta ( or 1/4 lb. glacial)

1/2 yellow onion chopped finely

2 garlic cloves , minced

2 containers of tomatoes halved ( I used grape tomatoes , I love them )

*1 teaspoon red pepper flakes ( we like spicy) use your own discretion , can always add at the table

1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese, or any kind of Parmesan Cheese

1 lb. bucatini ( you can obviously use 1/2 pound and save any leftover sauce to freeze for another time) any thick spaghetti will do but I love this one in this recipe. Perciatelli is another good choice.

Directions:

In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly. I like my pancetta crispy, but just get it golden brown, about 5 – 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove pancetta into a separate bowl. Add onions to olive oil till translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes , I do this off the heat. I then add all the tomatoes, some kosher salt ( to taste) and some black pepper and add back in the pancetta. I also add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the tomatoes till they start to break down and form a sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for at least 45 minutes , up to an hour for perfect sauce.

Cook Pasta according to package directions, tender but still firm to the bite. Before draining pasta take out about 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl, I add a little of the pasta water and then I add the sauce. Toss gently and serve. I served with Parmesan Cheese .

Traditional Chicken Salad

IMG_5357This is an “oldie but goodie” made with real deal mayonnaise and other delicious ingredients. Nothing fancy going on here just good old fashioned goodness. Of course if you would like to lighten it up you can use Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise. I didn’t. This is a delicious, quick meal and perfect for a summer get together or luncheon any time of the year. I like to make it the night before and give the ingredients a chance to meld together. I take it out of the fridge about an hour or so before it is getting eaten so it comes to room temperature.

Ingredients:

1 pound of chicken ( give or take) I used a store-bought rotisserie chicken and removed the skin and cut into cubes and shredded the rest of it.

1 cup chopped celery–I like my celery in small thin pieces –do whatever you prefer

1 cup red seedless grapes–halved

1/2 cup roasted chopped pecans–roast at 400 degrees for app. 4 minutes

1/2 cup dried cherries — or raisins or whatever you prefer

1 cup Mayonnaise–I used good old-fashioned Hellmans Mayo

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Add chopped chicken to a large bowl along with celery, grapes, dried cherries, chopped pecans, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Stir together until just combined. Refrigerate over night and taste for salt and pepper the next day before serving. Bring to room temperature to serve it at its optimum taste!

 

Napa Noodle Salad

This one I got from a neighbor in Colorado, and it’s become a staple in the Kolen household in the summer. But it’s great all the time! It’s the time of year when cold salads are abundant but this beauty is wonderful all year round.

Napa Noodle Salad

4 cups sliced Napa Cabbage ( I cheat and buy the cabbage in a bag. It’s not always Napa but sometimes I don’t feel like chopping.  if you buy the bag, it’s fine, just use 1 whole bag. It’s more than 4 cups but it’s fine, and if all you can find is the cole slaw kind it’s Ok too, it will just have some carrots and some purple cabbage.

5 green onions (scallions) sliced very thin (green parts only)

Mix cabbage and green onions and refrigerate for a few hours (at least 2). This gives it a chance to meld and wilt a bit.

2 packages of Ramen noodles (It doesn’t matter which flavor you buy b/c you should throw away the flavor pack )you won’t be needing it for this salad.

handful of sliced almonds

1/2 cup sesame seeds (available in the spice aisle)

1/4 cup butter

Take the noodles (hard crunchy ones) and put in a large plastic bag. Bang noodles with a mallet or your fist (fist is fine) and just crack them up. They’ll be easier to work with. Add the almonds and sesame seeds and brown all together in the butter.

Dressing

1/2 cup sugar ( I know, but I never said I cook DIET)

1/2 cup salad oil (plain old vegetable oil will do just fine)

1/4 cup vinegar (I use white rice vinegar, which is available in Asian section of supermarket or just wherever the vinegars are.)

1 Tbsp. soy sauce (low sodium always)

Toss all together and Serve

*cabbage and onions need to meld and wilt a bit, so make sure to give them at least 2 hours in the fridge. The hard noodles should stay a little crunchy. Don’t burn–just brown–the ingredients until the butter gets a bit bubbly; not burnt. Be careful. While you’re browning the noodles with the almonds and sesame seeds, move them around with a wooden spoon so it all gets buttery.

I know this is fattening, but isn’t everything fattening so yummy??? And you’re not eating the whole thing, so enjoy!!!

Of course you can double up this recipe, it’s just a whole lotta cabbage to toss! As a side dish, this is a nice amount as is.

Serves 4 – 6 as a side dish

Broccoli Salad–no cooking involved here

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Brocccoli Slaw with same dressing

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Original Broccoli Recipe made with whole florets

I had this broccoli salad recently at a friend’s house and completely fell in love with it. It was so delicious.  Mind you I don’t even love raw broccoli , I usually prefer it cooked. This was really good and I even broke my own rule and made a new recipe for company. It is so simple to make and ingredients are easily obtainable.  So give this a try and Thanks to Huddy for this wonderful recipe which I will use again and again . No fuss and no muss here.

I put it together in the morning but you can definitely put together the night before. I would suggest making it at least 8 hours ahead of time so broccoli softens and soaks up some of the delicious marinade. Mix bowl throughout the day .  I left it out for 2 hours before serving to bring it to room temperature. It’s a great summer salad that you can make ahead of time and doesn’t require any cooking!

I also made it with broccoli slaw ( you can shred yourself or buy bags already made) Pre-made broccoli slaw is available almost everywhere now. If using the slaw I would use 3- 12 oz. bags . Just keep mixing it and make ahead so it can absorb, it was equally as yummy. I put photos of both salads on here.

Great recipe for those of you who don’t want to turn on the oven!!!!

Ingredients:

1 Large Bunch of Broccoli, broken up into florets

1/2 cup Red Grapes, I sliced them in half

1 cup chopped celery

1 bunch of scallions greens and whites only , sliced thinly

1/2 cup pignolli nuts or sunflower seeds

Dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise ( you can use light but not fat-free please)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice , I used the juice of one small lemon.

Directions:

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients for the salad.

In a small bowl whisk together the mayo, sugar and lemon juice.

When dressing comes together and has a nice consistency pour over the broccoli give it a good mix and refrigerate. Give it a few mixes during the day and that’s it!

 

Shrimp on the Bar-B (marinade)

Shrimp for the BBQ

Joel cleaning shrimp for me!Shrimp for BBQ

For shrimp I use Under 12’s, that’s about 12 to a lb. You can use whatever you like. The larger the shrimp, the easier it is to skewer. Since I am married to a shrimp expert, I am a bit choosy about my shrimp. This advice comes straight from Joel: always ask for mexican, shell-on, white shrimp. For size, ask for under 15, under 12, or under 10. Of course, you will have to peel and devein these babies but they’re worth it. I left the tail on this past weekend for grilling.

Marinade: I put all ingredients in a glass measuring cup and use a whisk to mix together.

1/2 cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons dijon mustard

3 cloves garlic, minced

juice of 2 limes (this past weekend, I used lime; but you can also use 1 lemon and 1 orange or just lemons, oranges, or limes. ) you’ll want the citrus flavor

1 tsp. dried basil

2 tablespoons white wine (whatever is open)

I use about 1 tsp. kosher salt (I think you can add more, depending on your preference.)

freshly ground pepper

Marinate shrimp for about 1/2 an hour, then put on long skewers (I use metal b/c they’re easier to maneuver on the grill) and grill about 4 minutes each side. I put them on hot sprayed or oiled grill. you can take a shrimp off and cut into it, if it’s translucent leave it on grill for another minute or so.

 

Chopped Vegetable Salad

FullSizeRender (2)FullSizeRenderI was having a dinner party and thought this would be a perfect addition to my menu. It contained fresh  vegetables and a salad all in one! Perfect side dish served right along with dinner. Of course you can add a protein and make this the meal which would be ever so perfect. Perfection in a bowl. This is what I did and what veggies I used, feel free to use the vegetables you would love. These were the quantities that worked perfectly though. I won’t lie it took some prep for this and a good idea would be to chop a lot of the veggies ahead of time and have them ready. Avocado and lettuce must be added right before serving though. Dressing and veggies can be made ahead of time .

*I served as a side dish and it was generous for about 6 -8 servings , if you’re using for a main probably 4-6.

*Original Recipe from O Magazine–I made a few changes

Ingredients:

Dressing:

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

1 garlic clove–minced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt plus a little more to taste at the end

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste at the end

1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:

1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into small pieces — about 1/2″

2 medium carrots, cut into small pieces

3 ears of corn, cut kernels off cobs

1/2 pint small cherry or grape tomatoes cut in 1/2

2 ribs celery, cut into small pieces , about 1/2″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into small pieces , also about 1/2″ size

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1 head romaine , chopped

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Lastly, whisk in the oil slowly. Set aside.

When water comes to a boil, add cut up green beans and carrots to boiling water and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add corn and cook a couple of minutes more. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water, let veggies completely cool down. I let them sit till they were completely cool. Give vinaigrette a quick whisk, and add veggies to the bowl. Add in the tomatoes, celery , bell pepper and onion and toss well. Set aside and let marinate for at least 1/2 hour. I probably let it sit in marinade for about an hour.

Right before serving, add chopped romaine, avocado and parmesan . Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed. Toss gently to combine.

Serve immediately.

Lemon Cake with Blueberry Sauce–not so homemade

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Now this is something I don’t often do but sometimes it is just the right thing to do. I bought a boxed Lemon Cake, yes that’s right with all my recipes for delicious cakes from scratch I bought a Duncan Hines Lemon Deluxe Cake because I saw a recipe that called for it, then I decided to go in a completely different direction with this recipe! In any event why beat myself up for using a boxed cake mix????? It came out delicious and was pretty simply executed. By the way I cheated on the topping too, I used Cool Whip Light!

So go ahead cut step 1 and buy the box cake mix, and then the rest of it you’ll have to do on your own.

Sorry for the poor pictures , it really was light and refreshing!

Ingredients:

1 box Lemon Cake Mix ( I used Duncan Hines deluxe Lemon Cake Mix) and you’ll need vegetable oil, eggs and water .

Lemon Blueberry Sauce:

I used 2 pints of fresh blueberries

1 large lemon or 2 small lemons, zest and app. 1 Tbsp. of juice , you will need the zest of the 2 lemons or 1 large one.

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. corn starch

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping:

1/2 jar lemon curd

1 8 oz. container cool whip–yep I used Lite and it was perfectly delicious

Directions:

Prepare the lemon cake according to the package directions using a 9×13 baking dish.

Prepare the blueberry-lemon sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, add blueberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally , until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken ( it took about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside and allow to cool.

Remove the cake from the oven when it’s done and allow it to cool down for a little bit, app. 10 minutes. Once it cooled down I used the handle of a regular wooden spoon and I poked holes into the top of the cake that are about an inch apart. While the cake is still on the warm side, drizzle the blueberry lemon sauce on top of the cake. Spread the sauce into an even layer over the cake making sure that some of the sauce and the blueberries get down into the holes. Let the cake cool completely (about an hour) See photos.

Add the lemon curd and 1/2 cup of the cool whip to a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth. Add another 1/2 cup of the cool whip and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining cool whip to the bowl. Using a large spoon or spatula , gently fold the cool whip mixture into the lemon curd mixture. Spread the whipped lemon topping on top of the cake into an even layer. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. I kept it overnight. I took it out about 1/2 hour before serving.

Now this is easy.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

Yum! and beautiful.

 

Coconut Rice

One of the best recipes I took out of Jessica Seinfeld’s new cookbook “Food Swings” and also one of the easiest.

I love Jasmine Rice and I love Coconut so it’s a win win in my book.

I served along with my Sheet Pan Shrimp which is truly an easy elegant delicious meal. This rice is just delicious served with almost any meal. Especially a savory dish such as this one.

Just follow theses easy instructions and I have no dog in the fight to promote Jessica’s book but I think it’s a very worthwhile purchase.

Ingredients:

1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk ( app. 1 3/4 cup)

1 1/2 cups Jasmine Rice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, the rice and the salt over medium-high heat. Let it come to a boil and stir a few times. Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly and cook for 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered , for at least 5 minutes.

  • a little tip– I sprayed saucepan with Pam Spray –makes for easier stirring and quicker clean up and no rice sticking to bottom of pan

Michele’s Ramon Noodle Salad – Perfect Summer Salad

photoI have already posted my version of a Napa Noodle Salad, which we all love and totally enjoy all summer long. Here is a new spin on it which my friend Michele passed to me.  So whether you love the other one or never even tried it this one is definitely worth trying and will be a part of my Summer Salad Repertoire.  Thanks again Michele! And by the way Joel loved it, and it contains Broccoli Slaw!!!! this was a major shock for sure. Maybe the tide is turning? This is not vegetarian but my Napa Noodle Salad is so just substitute that dressing. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 cup of olive oil ( you can use a little less)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 – 3 packages slaw of any style or mix. Michele used 2 12 oz. bags broccoli slaw and one bag regular cole slaw (these bags of slaw are available in almost every supermarket now in the lettuce section) 3 bags will serve 12 nicely and there is enough dressing for 3 .

2 packages beef flavored Ramon noodle soup mix ( I know this is a bummer for the vegetarians out there)

1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 tbsp. soy sauce

Directions:

Prepare dressing by combining oil, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and two flavor packets from soup mix. Whisk well and chill. Make the dressing early in the day and whisk it a few times throughout the day.

Before you’re ready to serve , crush the ramen noodles. Then combine slaws, seeds, almonds, and noodles.

Dress salad 10 minutes before serving. Put together the salad right before serving so everything stays crunchy.   Enjoy!