Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce — no cook sauce

This is a most delicious delightful easy way to make fresh tomato sauce. Very light served over angel hair pasta and summertime easy. No fuss no muss. I like to make tomato sauce and let it sit for about 4 hours so that’s all the planning you really have to do. Very little prep with very few ingredients and you have a delicious dinner. Summer in a bowl. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 pints small cherry or grape tomatoes — you can use different colors or all the same color–halved

1/2 cup Good Olive Oil

6 cloves garlic minced — app. 2 Tablespoons

Fresh Basil — I used a small package from grocery store but probably 15 Basil leaves — this is approximate — I use a kitchen scissor and snip it up into small pieces– you can roughly chop as well

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes — more or less depending on your own individual relationship with crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt — and more to taste if necessary

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound angel hair pasta

Grated Parmesan cheese — for serving

Directions:

 

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, 1/2 cup Olive Oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit out at room temperature for about 4 hours. After 4 hours taste for Salt and Pepper.

When you’re ready to serve, cook up pasta according to box directions for al dente and be careful because angel hair cooks up very fast. Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. If you’d like you can add more basil and if you’d like you can add cheese to the bowl . I like to add cheese at the table individually. Use tongs to mix and get oil all over the pasta you’ll need a rather large bowl.

Enjoy! and this recipe can easily be cut in 1/2 but we like cold pasta for lunch so it makes for great leftovers.

 

Crunchy Noodle Salad–with Ramen Noodles

This is an oldie but goodie and always welcome on the table. It is perfect with a bbq and always seems to be a hit.  It’s the time of year when cold salads are abundant but this beauty is really 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– buy the ones with the flavor packets   (It doesn’t matter which flavor you buy b/c you will be throwing away those flavor packs  –you won’t be needing them for this salad–just the noodles 

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

Shrimp and Orzo in One Pan

This recipe is from the NYT Cooking blog courtesy of Ali Slagle and a big thanks out to her . I always read the NYT Cooking it’s really got the most amazing recipes and some of the best chefs out there participate. This recipe caught my eye because of our love of Shrimp. 

I also made  changes which just worked out best for me. That’s the beauty of cooking you can make changes which better suit you. However the recipe is perfect as is. I used a very large shrimp but you can use whatever size suits you and your budget. I used an under 10 Mexican White Shrimp. If you’re buying ask them to clean and de-vein them — Joel did mine.

It’s a spin on a scampi and I love cooking in one pan.

It’s rather yummy! Thanks to Ali Slagle for a great recipe. Original recipe is on the NYT Cooking website. I made changes to suit me.

This recipe is for 4 but if I was making for 4 I would add 1/2 lb. more shrimp and I would make extra orzo on  the side. I served with a green salad but a vegetable would be perfect on the side as well. 

Ingredients:

1 – 1 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and de-veined

4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon Zest plus 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice–1 average to large size lemon

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes– obviously optional if you don’t like the pepper

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

4 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup orzo

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 cups boiling water, seafood stock, or chicken stock–I used Chicken

3 Tablespoons Finely chopped Parsley

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir together the shrimp, 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, the lemon zest, red-pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and half the minced garlic.

In a medium skillet sprayed with cooking spray, add the butter, the remaining oil and garlic and heat over low to medium heat. Don’t burn the garlic. When the butter starts to bubble, add the orzo and another 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and cook by stirring around the pan as often as possible, toast the orzo in pan for about 2 minutes, adjusting the heat so as not to burn the orzo or the garlic. Carefully add the wine to the pan and stir in until it is absorbed for another minute or so. Stir in the chicken stock , reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the orzo is al dente, probably another 12- 15 minutes. This would be a good time to taste for salt and pepper .

Add the shrimp ( see photo) put them in a snug even layer on top of the orzo, cover and cook until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. This will all depend on the size of your shrimp. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for another few minutes till you’re ready to serve.

I poured the lemon juice over the finished shrimp — placed on a platter and sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Serve and Enoy!

Roasted Salmon with Corn and Tomatoes

Sometimes you just need to lighten up the meal and I find Salmon always does the trick . It is filling without being full. Do you know what I mean? This Salmon dish is light but satisfying in every way. This is what I did and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

*this recipe should serve 4 nicely–easy to cut in 1/2 for 2

Ingredients:

I asked for 6 oz. fillets– just make sure they are the same size and I like from the middle of the salmon not the end–you will need 4 for 4 people. One fillet for each person

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

1 small container of cherry or grapes in any coloration you’d like-halved

2 cups frozen or fresh whole kernel corn

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. lime zest

1 Tbsp. Lime juice

1 tsp. honey

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion — I used a shallot this time because I didn’t have a red onion in the house

*if you love it snip some fresh cilantro in there at the end –while I love cilantro I don’t always have it to add and have to say equally as delicious

*also makes for delicious leftovers

Directions:

Pick up Salmon from your local fish store or Whole foods type of market

I rinse the salmon off and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 15×10 baking dish with aluminum foil or spray with your favorite cooking spray and I prefer to just spray and it’s fine but if no cooking spray then use aluminum foil.  Place fish in prepared pan. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt over salmon and about 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper–you will have to eyeball it but the salmon needs salt and pepper it’s a question of how much. Lightly sprinkle.

In a medium sized bowl combine tomatoes, onion/shallot,  corn, oil , chili powder, cumin and a little more salt and pepper ( app. 1/4 -1/2 tsp. more salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper) Toss to coat. Spread tomato mixture around the fish in the baking pan. Roast uncovered, app. 15-18 minutes or until fish flakes easily and is cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish so you should check on it after 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small bowl , stir together lime zest, lime juice, and honey

When fish is done to your liking remove fish to a platter. Brush fish with honey mixture. Add  cilantro to tomatoes in pan, stirring gently to combine all ingredients. Top fish with tomato mixture and if you’d like a little more cilantro this would be a good time to add it.

 

 

 

 

Basic Corn Salad

It’s Summer and the living is easy –and the corn is delicious.  There are times I buy fresh corn but don’t feel like serving it on the cob even though it is perfectly delicious this way. This corn salad is a suggestion for you as a side dish with very little ingredients and pretty much all corn. I like to serve as a side dish in the summer because it can be made ahead and served at room temperature. It’s a most perfect side dish. It doesn’t get more basic or easier than this recipe.  My absolute go-to summer side dish. Super Easy.

 

Enjoy the rest of the summer and keep on Cooking with Candi.

Ingredients:

5-6 ears of corn , shucked

1/2 cup small diced red onion

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

3 Tablespoons good olive oil

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt – you can always add more salt after you finish and taste for salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper the same applies for the pepper as for the salt

app. 1/2 cup cut up fresh basil leaves–use as much or as little as you like –it adds wonderful flavor

*add a few small cut up grape tomatoes for another variety on this

Directions:

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for app. 3 minutes (just to let go of the starchiness) Drain and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. When the corn cools down , cut the kernels off the cob , cutting close to the cob to get the whole kernel. I use a bundt pan to catch all the kernels.

Toss the corn kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

How simple and easy is this?IMG_5739

Chicken Rigatoni a la Vodka

This was one delicious pasta meal made with ground chicken this time around. Pretty easy to make and the only special tool I used was an immersion stick blender but a blender will work as well. Easy ingredients and easy prep and came out just perfectly.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil plus 2 teaspoons of Oil for cooking the meat

2 Tablespoons Un-Salted Butter

1 Medium yellow onion — small dice

5 Medium Garlic Cloves minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes– use to your own liking — we like a little kick

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Vodka

12 oz. box Rigatoni or Penne

Kosher Salt and Coarse Black Pepper

Fresh Basil for garnish

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese for garnish

Directions:

Cook the ground chicken in a large saucepan with 2 teaspoons olive oil and italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with a bit of Salt and Pepper. Cook till crumbly and fully cooked. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

Heat the 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil and butter in the same saucepan over medium high heat . Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook the onions down stirring frequently, until softened and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes ( 1 Teaspoon ) cook stirring for another minute or so. Add the crushed tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low so the mixture is barely bubbling — a simmer and cook for another 1/2 hour or so. Sauce will thicken and reduce somewhat. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.

After sauce has cooked for 1/2 hour or so I turn off the heat and add the vodka and cream and then I use my immersion stick blender to blend the sauce till I like the consistency. I blended till completely smooth . You can use the blender just let sauce cool down first and work in batches. I then let sauce simmer for about 10 minutes to cook off the vodka. Taste for Salt and Pepper. 

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of pasta water to thin out the sauce — I did because it thickened up a lot. Add the chicken to the sauce. Stir to combine and add water if too thick, stirring frequently. Let it cook for a little bit and then I plated up pasta added sauce and topped with fresh basil and grated cheese .

I froze leftover sauce.

This would probably serve 4 nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

Summertime Salad made with Corn and Avocado — and a few other tasty items

This recipe would be amazing with grilled corn but unfortunately my grill is out of commission due to construction on the deck of my house. I know it’s a terrible time to be doing construction on your outside deck in June but suffice to say there was no real choice in the matter.

In any event I would make this with grilled corn and use about 5 ears . I used 2 small cans of corn which worked out or you can use frozen.

I had a ripe avocado and all the other ingredients in the house and I used the red wine vinaigrette from the orzo salad that I made the other night.

It’s perfect for a barbecue and an easy weeknight dinner and you can add any protein you’d like.

Enjoy this delicious salad I served alongside steak and parmesan potatoes and it was perfection.

Ingredients:

3-5 ears fresh corn or the equivalent in canned corn or use frozen and I would use 1 lb.frozen –here’s what the experts say for measuring–fresh to frozen– they say 1 ear is equal to 1 cup–I don’t believe I ever got a full cup out of one ear but one 15 oz. can equals 1 1/2 cups and I used 1 can or 1 lb. frozen is equal to 3 cups. Hope this is helpful and I cut the recipe for the two of us so used a little less. If you’d like you can increase to 5 ears of fresh corn — it gets confusing and don’t be use as much or as little corn as you’d like depending on how many people you’re feeding

1 pint cherry tomatoes–halved app. 2 cups

2 cups packed arugula

1 medium avocado– peeled, pitted and diced

1 small red pepper –cored and finely chopped — use whatever color pepper you have in the house or like ( red, orange or yellow )

4 green onions–finely chopped

*1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro– totally optional

Dressing: Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

You will have left over dressing and it will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Directions:

If using fresh corn — rub the corn with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on them. Grill the corn for app. 7 minutes, turning every few minutes until ears are lightly browned. Remove from the grill and allow to cool. This can be done ahead of time.

Cut the kernels from the cob and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, arugula, avocado, bell pepper, green onions and if you’re using it cilantro.

In a small bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients and whisk well . Pour about 1/2 cup over the salad and toss to combine. Take a look at salad and if it looks like you covered most of it with dressing it’s probably good. You don’t want to add all the dressing it will be wilt too much. You may like more or less dressing so add at your own taste.

It’s delicious and fresh tasting which is so perfect for this time of year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orzo Salad – and a delicious red wine vinaigrette

Fresh Basil from the garden

This is a wonderful recipe I am passing on, the original was from Giada de Laurentis and I’ve since doctored it up to suit my tastes.  Upon going to prepare recipe I realized that I didn’t have any garbanzo beans so I substituted red kidney beans.  Feel free to add and subtract ingredients and  do whatever you like with this delightful recipe.  Sometimes you feel like pasta but not really and this is it.   It is perfect at room temperature. What I mostly like about this recipe is that you can use what you have in the pantry and in the house. I have to say the mint and the basil gave it a wonderful fresh flavor and I wouldn’t omit them.  Super Fresh! The vinaigrette is delicious and fresh tasting as well, so give it a try. It also cooks up very quickly which is always a plus for me.

Ingredients: 

4 cups chicken broth ( to keep it vegetarian just use vegetable broth) I like the broth rather than plain water . It adds extra flavor to the orzo.

1 1/2 cups orzo

1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed , I used 1 can of Red Kidney Beans because I wanted to make recipe and didn’t have Garbanzo Beans, it was just fine. Any type of bean is fine.

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, if you can get those great little yellow ones do so. Halve the tomatoes. Use red and yellow. So pretty!

*app. 3/4 cup chopped red onion — If you don’t like onion you can omit it or add a little less

1/2 – 3/4 lb. feta cheese ( sometimes I use crumbled and sometimes I cube it) makes no difference ( I love the cheese but you can omit)

*1/2 bag frozen green peas ( also optional) didn’t use this time–optional

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

3/4  to 1 cup of the Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing ( listed below) but you’ll use as much or as little as you like

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Directions for the Orzo:

Bring broth to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until orzo is tender but still firm, stirring frequently, about 7 – 10 minutes. Drain the orzo as you would pasta in a colander. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss and let the orzo cool down. Set aside to cool completely.

When orzo is cooled down, toss the orzo with the bean, tomatoes, onion, basil , mint and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste with additional salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

Red Wine Vinaigrette Ingredients:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in the blender. While machine is running , slowly add in the olive oil. Season to taste, with more salt and pepper if desired.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is one of my favorite Chinese food staples in the restaurant and takeout. I decided to make it myself and this is what I did.

It really came together rather quickly even though there are so very many ingredients.

Really delicious and served over brown rice or white rice or any rice or no rice.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the Marinade:

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Dry Sherry

2 Teaspoons Corn Starch

1- 1 1/2 Chicken Tenders or Breasts cut into app. 1 -2 ” chunks– boneless and skinless chicken breasts

For the Sauce:

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce

1 Tablespoon Asian Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes — use less if you like it very mild–this did not make it spicy hot but use at your own discretion

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup water

For The Stir-Fry Chicken

3 – 3 1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

3 cloves garlic –minced

1 large red bell pepper , diced

2 stalks celery — I diced but you can slice thinly into small pieces do whatever you prefer with it

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

5 scallions, white and green parts — I diced but you can slice thinly here too

1/3 cup whole roasted unsalted cashews

 

Directions:

Marinate the chicken . In a medium size bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, dry sherry and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the cut up chicken and toss to coat. Let it stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. I did this step and then proceeded with the rest of the recipe.

Prepare the sauce: In another medium bowl whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until the cornstarch is dissolved.

Heat a large non-stick skillet or a regular skillet ( spray first with cooking spray) Heat till very hot then add 1 Tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the bell pepper, celery and salt . Cook and stir frequently until slightly softened and starting to brown, app. 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and set aside.

Add an additional 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil to the pan and set over high heat again. Add half of the chicken ( don’t crowd it) and brown on one side about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces and continue cooking for another 2 minutes — just till chicken is cooked through. Transfer this chicken to bowl with vegetables. Add another tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and add the remaining chicken and cook the same way as first batch. Add app. 1/2 Tablespoon more oil to the pan along with the garlic and scallions and cook stirring the chicken for another minute. ( if pan still has enough oil you can omit this 1/2 Tablespoon of Oil)

Add the rest of the chicken and vegetables to the pan along with the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook until chicken and vegetables are cooked through and the sauce is nice and thick about a minute or two depending on the size of your chicken chunks. Stir in the nuts — I keep them whole or you can chop up. Taste and adjust seasonings but I thought it was just perfect. The sauce will thicken as it sits so if necessary put a few tablespoons of water if too thick.

I served over rice and we ate it right away so sauce was just perfect. If you prepare early the sauce may thicken.

Loved this recipe and will definitely add to my rotation . It seems like a lot of work but honestly it came together rather quickly.

 

Potatoes , Peppers and Onions

What a perfect side dish — goes with any meats , fish etc. I served it alongside humble turkey burgers and it was really delicious! I used whatever color peppers I had in the house and I used Yukon gold potatoes because that’s what I had on  hand. Perfect with some sausage as well. Did I mention super easy???? and all on one pan?

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

app. 2 lbs Potatoes — I happen to have on hand Yukon Gold Potatoes but Russet Potatoes work well as well– any potatoes will work out — cut potatoes into app. 1″ chunks

1 medium yellow onion– cut into 1″ chunks

2 peppers — any color you like — I had orange and yellow on hand– cut into 1 ” chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher Salt — app. 2 teaspoons

Freshly Ground Black Pepper– app. 1 teaspoon

Garlic Powder — 1 teaspoon — if you prefer fresh garlic — use 2 garlic cloves minced

Directions:

*important to cut chunks of vegetables fairly uniformly so they cook the same

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a large bowl toss potatoes, onion and peppers with oil, salt , pepper and garlic

 Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet — I spray my baking sheet with cooking spray for an easy cleanup

Roast for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, I stirred halfway through cooking.

That’s it — super easy and super delicious.

* Rosemary would also be good — use fresh or dry — if using dry app. 1 tsp if using fresh app. 2 teaspoons minced

*Oregano — I would use dry oregano as well app. 1 tsp.