creamy tomato basil pasta

sometimes, all i want for dinner is a bowl of pasta, dressed ever so simply with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and basil. it's one of my all time favorite dinners, both because it's packed with flavor and takes a mere 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish. and with summer approaching and the promise of fresh, homegrown tomatoes and basil, i can't wait to dig into this all summer long.


honey nut popcorn

while i have professed my new found love of coconut many, many, many times in the last few months, i have yet to profess my love of popcorn. see, before i discovered coconut, i was making popcorn four or five nights a week. i air popped a few cups, tossed it in butter and salt, and that became my evening snack. and as much as i love classic popcorn - when i was a kid, we ate popcorn for dinner a lot on sundays, after our roast earlier in the afternoon - after a couple weeks i was getting ever so slightly bored with it. i love caramel corn, but after many failed attempts and only a few true successes, i wasn't in the mood to mess around with it. besides, i didn't want anything that took more concentration than tossing some popcorn with butter and salt.

until i stumbled upon this honey nut popcorn. it's slightly sweet from the corn syrup and perfectly peanut buttery. and while it does require dirtying one pan on the stove, there are no thermometers involved, so i was able to watch an old grey's anatomy while mixing this up. and since i made such a large batch, i was able to snack on it all week!


slow cooker honey lemon chicken

even though it's may, and summer is starting to rear it's head with highs in the mid-eighties, my slow cooker is still going strong. and since it's may, my rosemary and thyme are also growing full speed ahead. so this time, i decided to couple two of my - and jason's - favorite things: lemon and fresh herbs with chicken.

it's the perfect way to usher in spring, especially if it happens to be raining on any eighty degree days or there's a break in the temperature and you're staring at a week's worth of highs in the upper sixties.

and sandwiches with the leftovers are amazing.


quinoa cakes

i had gotten pretty used to eating meatless meals about twice a week and looked forward to finding new foods and recipes we could have for dinner that would leave us feeling full without the meat. except for the last seven and a half months, when i've been busy growing a person - a person who needs a lot of protein. luckily quinoa is both meatless and a complete protein, making these cakes a perfect meatless meal.


coconut banana bread

it's no surprise that i've been eating a heck of a lot of coconut for the last few months. and that my preferred form of coconut is found in baked sweets - dredged donuts, nanaimo bars, coconut lime scones, homemade samoa cookies i devoured last week and haven't gotten to post yet - and this banana bread, made even sweeter and a bit more tropical with the addition of shredded sweetened coconut.


mexican corn cake with egg & beans

we demolished the pork with our mexican corn cakes, leaving two lonely cakes left. the morning after we had them for dinner, i took a few other leftovers - spicy black beans, half an avocado, and queso fresco - piled them high on top of a corn cake and topped it with a runny over easy egg. it was one of the best breakfasts i've had in a long time. the only think that could have made it better? bacon.


mexican corn cakes with shredded pork

this dinner is saved for a saturday or sunday when you're more than willing to spend an hour in the kitchen. the components are simple to put together - boiled & broiled pork and cornmeal cakes topped with cheese, avocado, and homemade pico de gallo - which means this is a meal you can make while catching up on grey's anatomy, parks and recreation, or whatever else you have saved on the dvr, and not miss a beat.

and the flavors are exactly what i expected them to be: a nicely mexican flavored pork, a little crispy, a lot tender, topping a cornmeal cake studded with corn kernels and salty cheese. it's perfect for those times when you want mexican, but another taco or burrito won't cut it.


slow cooker bolognese

in the early 2000s, when i was still in college and for a few years after i graduated, i visited my good friend melina for a weekend each summer. i would make the drive from upstate new york down to new jersey and we would take the train into new york city for a day. each trip we would find something different to do during the day - visit the statue of liberty, walk through central park, see a concert at jones beach - but we always ended up in little italy for dinner and dessert. and each and every time, while i was scanning the menu for prosciutto, melina had her eyes on bolognese. i can't eat it without thinking about those trips and warm summer evenings eating outside along mulberry street.


secret recipe club: raspberry cream filled eclairs [12in2012]

cream puffs, profiteroles, eclairs - whatever you want to call them, they have been on my to make list for a while now. but as long as i've had them on the list, i've passed over them, thinking they're too hard to make. cooking a dough on the stove top and baking it? sounds like a recipe for disaster.

i couldn't have been more wrong! i got up one saturday morning, determined not to do anything else until i was biting into a cream filled eclair. one hour later, i was doing it. i couldn't believe how simple the dough was to put together, how easy it was to cook it on the stove top, and how delicious they came out! a big thank you to susie at sweetie petitti for giving me the confidence to tackle these little pastries for the secret recipe club.


pasta stuffed portobello

remember last year when i stuffed portobellos with leftover risotto? it's such a simple and delicious way to transform leftover risotto into something different. especially because leftover risotto doesn't always reheat so well. it only took me a year - and a few more mushrooms stuffed with other flavors of leftover risotto - to realize it would be just as good with leftover pasta.


coconut lime scones

i love scones. so much so that i made two kinds - orange creamsicle and these - in two weeks. there are a lot of reasons why i like them so much - 
  1. they're made in one bowl with a wooden spoon. no need to bust out the kitchen aid mixer or dirty a lot of dishes. 
  2. and they take 10 minutes max to mix together and get in the oven.
  3. they don't have to look perfect since they're homemade. we all strive for perfect looking cakes, cookies, and cupcakes, but scones are meant to be rustic and imperfect.
  4. they're light, moist, and fluffy. there are few things worse than a hockey puck scone (dried out, dense and thick) that some coffee houses and bakeries offer. 
  5. the flavor combinations are endless. with a good basic recipe, it's easy to mix in whatever you like.

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