Cheesy Chickpea Pasta with Spring Greens, Tomatoes, and Olives

What's better than making pasta with your own olive oil and home cured olives? Not much! Except maybe making pasta with garden grown spring greens and red pepper flakes. In another year or two, our caper plant might even produce fruit, which will make this recipe homemade times a million!

Last Christmas, my family and I went out olive picking near my sister's house in an abandoned orchard along Folsom, CA's Pioneer Express Trail. Between the six of us who foraged for these Mission olives, we picked at least 40 pounds, and didn't even make a dent in any of the lush trees! My husband Adrian and I took half of the bounty, determined to cure olives successfully for the first time and make our own oil.

After week of some intense labor where we pitted olives by hand for days, Adrian fashioned his own olive oil press, and we processed every last olive we picked! By the end of January, we had a few jars of the yummiest olives and olive oil, although a little less oil than we hoped. Next year we'll just buy a press!

The whole process was quite a labor of love, but we are so proud to be able to use our olives and oil in our home cooking. 

My pasta recipe below was the perfect medium for our homemade/homegrown ingredients. I used Banza's chickpea rotini pasta, which is gluten-free, and was actually very impressed how well their pasta mimics wheat pasta! The chickpeas add tons of additional protein and fiber and have less net carbohydrates than traditional pasta. [Full disclosure: Banza sent me free product to sample]. An addition of spring greens from my garden (kale rabe, kale greens, and watercress) made this pasta not only extremely yummy, but pretty darn healthy!

Whether or not you're making this recipe with your own home-cured olives, you will certainly enjoy it! The flavors are on point and the pasta is so very comforting.

Cheesy Chickpea Pasta with Spring Greens, Tomatoes, and Olives

Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz Banza Chickpea Rotini
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 oz canned anchovies in olive oil
½ cup mission olives, halved, or Kalamata olives
3 tbsp capers
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
8 oz mixed spring greens, such as kale, rapini, watercress
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated, divided

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add rotini and cook until al dente, about 6-7 minutes. Drain and return the rotini to the pot. 

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, anchovies with oil, olives, capers, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer the sauce for four minutes, crushing the tomatoes with a spoon. Slowly add spring greens to the sauce and stir until all of the greens have wilted. 

Transfer pasta to the skillet and gently toss with ¾ cup parmesan cheese. Reduce heat to low and stir until pasta and cheese are well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

Serve pasta in bowls and garnish with remaining parmesan cheese.



Everyday Dal Tamarind & Kidney Bean Pizza


You probably haven't considered beans on pizza or even Indian flavored pizza for that matter. Let me tell you, both work and they work together deliciously!

I was recently sent Maya Kaimal's Everyday Dal pouches to sample and to experiment with for my own recipe. The Kidney Bean + Carrots + Tamarind pouch caught my attention and making a pizza came to mind.

Having never tried beans on pizza, I realized it would be worth a try! On their own, Maya Kaimal's Everyday Dal pouches are super healthy, organic, vegan, and gluten-free. Each pouch is flavor-packed too, so it just made sense that fusing Everyday Dal with pizza would be a healthful and delicious choice.

To balance the authenticity of making a pizza with these fusion flavors, I still used a little marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. But mixing the tamarind sauce with the marinara and topping the pizza with rounds of paneer, dal, serrano peppers, and tomatoes made for the perfect fusion! Yum, yum.

Want to buy Everyday Dal? Check out Maya Kaimal's Store Locator. The pouches are super convenient and microwave-friendly. Feel free to enjoy them on their own and/or on the pizza below. Your choice!

Everyday Dal Tamarind & Kidney Bean Pizza

Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4

1 lb pizza dough
1 (10 oz) pouch Maya Kaimal Everyday Dal Kidney Beans + Carrots + Tamarind
¾ tsp red pepper flakes, divided
½ tsp garlic, minced, divided
1 tsp light brown sugar, divided
4 oz marinara sauce, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
All-purpose flour for dredging
1 cup low-moisture mozzarella cheese
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 serrano peppers, sliced into thin rounds
¼ lb paneer, cut into eight ¼-inch thick rounds
¼ tsp garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 sprigs fresh cilantro, to garnish
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

Set a pizza stone on a rack about 4-5 inches away from the broiler. Preheat broiler.

Open dal pouch and separate beans from the sauce by dividing them between two medium-sized bowls. 

Add 1 tbsp of the dal to the sauce bowl and mash the dal to the side of a bowl with a spoon to thicken. To each bowl, add ½ tsp red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp light brown sugar, and 2 oz marinara sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

On a lightly floured surface, lightly dredge one pound of dough in flour. Stretch the dough out a bit at a time, waiting 10-15 seconds between stretches. Then stretch a little more, being gentle, until you’ve stretched the dough into a very thin round. Build a small rim around the edges to form a crust. 

Place the dough on a lightly floured pizza peel and slide it around to make sure it’s not sticking. Spread the sauce over the dough with a spoon but add less to the center so the sauce doesn’t pool. 

Quickly add toppings for pizza by adding the shredded mozzarella followed by the beans, cherry tomatoes, and serrano rounds. Top with paneer rounds. Finish with chopped garlic and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. 

Transfer the pizza to a pizza peel lightly coated with flour. Quickly transfer the pizza to the stone and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.

Transfer pizza to a grill rack. Garnish with cilantro and drizzle lightly with extra-virgin olive oil.



Greek Salad with Seared Salmon

Greek salad is one of my all-time favorite main courses. Eaten vegetarian, it's inherently healthy between the diverse array of vegetables and extra-virgin olive oil. I also love adding a hefty block of feta cheese on top! 

When I know I need a few extra omega-3s in my diet, however, there's no better choice than a Greek salad with seared salmon.

For the pescatarian version, I typically use a little less feta and dressing than usual to keep the overall calorie count down - just because it's salad doesn't mean it's low calorie! The salmon adds an extra dimension of flavor that marries well with the salad greens and makes for quite the balanced meal.

Every time I eat Greek salad, I feel slightly euphoric, similar to the "runners high" after a challenging workout. I can almost feel the nutrients running through my veins. I guarantee you will feel healthier after making this recipe and hope that this one will become a staple in your kitchen!

Greek Salad with Seared Salmon

Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 4 

½ cup extra virgin olive, oil divided
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
2 heads butter lettuce leaves
½ English (seedless) cucumber, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
12 Kalamata olives
3 medium vine ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and oregano. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.

Coat the salmon fillets with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season evenly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Increase the heat to medium-high and add salmon in two batches, skin-side up. Sear salmon until the fillets are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, then turn over and cook on the opposite side until browned and the internal temperature reaches 140F. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Plate lettuce leaves and top with cucumbers, red onions, olives, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Top salad with warm salmon fillets. Sprinkle with feta on top and drizzle reserved dressing. Enjoy! 



Ffagadau – Welsh Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

You know what I love about cooking the most? It never gets old. No matter how many dishes I've cooked up, there's always going to be something I haven't yet made, i.e. something I've been missing out on my entire life.

Case in point: Ffagadau. They're Welsh Meatballs, a.k.a Welsh Faggots, and are like a typical meatball with breadcrumbs, onions, and spices, but they're better! Between adding the cooked bacon, liver, and sherry, the flavors are off the charts. Wrapped neatly in suet, also known as caul fat, these are the most solid meatballs you're ever going to eat.

According to my mom's family genealogy, I'm part Welsh, so this dish is basically in my blood. Unfortunately for me the recipe wasn't passed down through the 5 generations since my third great-grandparents lived in Wales.

Most fortunately, though, there are a ton of foodie series on television these days and Andrew Zimmern introduced me to this amazing dish for the first time on Bizarre Foods. I could just kiss that man! (Shh, don't tell Adrian).

Thanks to Zimmern, I picked up another trick in my recipe repertoire. Now I can dive into some delicious Welsh meatballs with gravy, mashed potatoes, and peas anytime I darn please!

Ffagadau – Welsh Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 6-8

¼ lb bacon, finely chopped
½ cup onion, minced
1 tbsp sage, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb pork, ground
4 oz pork, lamb, or beef liver, finely chopped
1 tsp mace
1 tsp allspice
1 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz suet or strips of streaky bacon
1/3 cup sherry

2 tbsp butter
½ cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup homemade beef stock
1 tbsp sherry
2 tsp heavy cream

Mashed Potatoes
3 russet potatoes, about 2 lbs, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 cup whipping cream
½ cup butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp butter
1 lb frozen peas
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450F. 

Heat bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until browned and crisp, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in onion, and sauté for 5-6 minutes, until soft. Stir in sage and thyme and cook until the herbs are fragrant, about 3 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

In a large bowl, add cooked bacon mixture, ground pork, liver, mace, allspice, bread crumbs, and heavy whipping cream. Season with salt and pepper and gently mix with your hands to combine. 

Form meatballs into 3-inch balls, cutting up pieces of suet and wrapping each meatball tightly once formed. Place meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake meatballs for 10-15 minutes, basting with pan juices and sherry every 5 minutes. Bake until meatballs are golden and the internal temperature reaches 160F. Keep warm.

In a medium saucepan, prepare the gravy by melting the butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook until browned, 12-15 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in beef stock and sherry and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir in whipping cream and set aside. Keep warm.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and garlic and boil until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. Return potatoes to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and stir in whipping cream slowly while mashing the potatoes. Keep warm.

In another medium sauce pan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring until soft, 5-6 minutes. Stir in peas with 3 tbsp water and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve meatballs on plates over mashed potatoes. Top meatballs with gravy and serve with peas on the side.



Beef Stir-Fry with Shiitake Mushrooms and Snow Peas

One of the things I love most about living in the modern era is that online grocery delivery makes my life SO much easier. I've been using various grocery delivery services for a couple years now, but finally one of my favorite grocery stores delivers to my house! 

No longer do I have to drive from Alameda to Oakland to get my Sprouts Farmer's Market fix! Powered by Instacart, my delivery arrived swiftly with ingredients that were beyond fresh. It's like magic, really.

To celebrate my first Sprouts delivery, I decided to make a beef stir-fry with shiitakes and snow peas. This recipe is a quick one (just like my delivery) but the depth of flavor is incredible! You can thank the mushrooms and the juiciness of ribeye for that. 

If you live in the Alameda or Oakland area, how are you going to celebrate your Sprouts delivery? Delivery is FREE for first-time Instacart users, so there's no reason to wait! 

Beef Stir-Fry with Shiitake Mushrooms and Snow Peas

Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4

1/3 cup light soy sauce
¼ cup refined sesame oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1-2 tsp sriracha (optional)
5-10 dried birdseye chilies (optional)
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 lb ribeye steak, thinly sliced
12 oz large shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, thickly sliced
8 oz snow peas
1 cup green onions, chopped, divided
½ tsp five-spice powder
Steamed rice, to serve

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, honey, mirin, oyster sauce, sriracha, dried chilies, and ginger. Add ribeye to the sauce and set aside.

Heat a large wok over medium-high heat and lightly coat the wok with sesame oil. Add mushrooms in 3 batches, stirring until the mushrooms are soft and golden brown. Set mushrooms aside on a plate between batches.

Heat an additional layer of sesame oil in the wok over medium-high heat and add ribeye and its sauce. Stir-fry for 1 minute, until the ribeye has browned. Return the mushrooms to the wok with the snow peas, ½ cup of green onions, and five spice powder. Stir for another minute until the snow peas are soft. 

Serve stir-fry with steamed rice on the side. 

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Pizza Two Ways: Anchovies for Adrian + Pepperoni for Anne!

In my opinion, the only problem with pizza is that when you're eating it with others, it's hard to decide on just one! Ordering separate pizzas can get expensive when ordering out, even it does usually mean there's a delicious melange of pizza leftover.

Fortunately, making your own pizza is a creative process that's a lot more affordable and almost as easy as making a single pizza with a few toppings. You can also make your pizza as feel as guilt-free or guilt-y as you want! 

Case in point: Adrian loves anchovies on his pizza. I prefer anchovies in pasta and cooked in other various dishes, but why on pizza when pepperoni is SO much better?

Most other ingredients we like to add tend to be similar, which makes the process even easier. Although we do like to change up the greens on our pizzas to better utilize the diversity of our garden.

Once we've prepped our ingredients, the actual pizza making process is very simple: add a little tomato sauce, top that pie with cheese, and quickly top with the remaining ingredients to get that pizza pie cooking as fast as possible!

Whether or not you prefer anchovies or pepperoni on your pizza, I have two lovely recipes for you below that are consolidated into one recipe for convenience. The pizzas were so good that by the time I took the picture, there wasn't much left. But I think that's a good thing, don't you?

Pizza Two Ways: Anchovies for Adrian, Pepperoni for Anne!

Active Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Servings: 4-6


Shared Pizza Ingredients
2 pounds pizza dough
6 oz fontina cheese, grated, divided
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
2 (32 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes with basil, divided
½ cup flour, for dredging
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
20 Kalamata olives, halved, divided
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, divided

Pepperoni Pizza Toppings
3 oz uncured pepperoni slices
1 large jalapeno, thinly sliced
¼ cup red onion, sliced
1 cup kale, stemmed, chopped

Anchovy Pizza Toppings
12 anchovies in oil, drained, chopped
1 cup baby arugula

To Garnish
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste, divided
½ tsp dried oregano, divided
Extra virgin olive oil

Remove dough from refrigerator 60-80 minutes before stretching to proof.

Place pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 550F or to your oven’s maximum temperature. 

In a medium bowl, combine fontina and mozzarella. Pour canned tomatoes in another medium bowl. Pick tomatoes out one by one and cut off the green stemmed ends with a paring knife. Discard ends. Squeeze out excess liquid and seeds from the tomatoes into the bowl and place the tomato flesh into a separate bowl. Discard tomato juice or save another recipe. Crush tomato flesh in a bowl with an immersion mixer.

On a lightly floured surface, lightly dredge one pound of dough in flour. Stretch the dough out a bit at a time, waiting 10-15 seconds between stretches. Then stretch a little more, being gentle, until you’ve stretched the dough into a very thin round. Build a small rim around the edges to form a crust. 

Place the dough on a lightly floured pizza peel and slide it around to make sure it’s not sticking. Spread half the crushed tomatoes over the dough with a spoon but add less to the center so the sauce doesn’t pool. 

Quickly add toppings for pepperoni pizza by adding half the fontina and mozzarella. Add peppe¬roni, jalapeno, red onion, and kale. Finish with half the garlic, olives, and parmesan cheese from the shared ingredients list. Season with kosher salt to taste.

Place the pizza onto the pizza stone with your peel and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 6-8 minutes (a bit longer if your oven temperature is lower than 550°F). 

Transfer pizza to a grill rack. Garnish pizza with half the oregano, red pepper flakes, and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. 

Prepare anchovy pizza by dredging it in flour, stretching it, and coating topping with crushed tomatoes per the instructions above. Then quickly add your anchovies and arugula. Fwith the remaining garlic, olives, and parmesan cheese from the shared ingredients list. Season with kosher salt. Cook per the pepperoni pizza instructions above. 

Allow anchovy pizza to slightly cool on a grill rack and garnish with remaining oregano and red pepper flakes. Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. 

Cut both pizzas and serve!

If you liked this recipe, you will LOVE my recipes for Garden Vegetable Pizza PartyFettuccine with Guanciale, and Kale and Green Bell Pepper Pasta!



Grilled Red Snapper and Clams in a Lovestuff Tomatillo Broth

I have a confession to make: I'm absolutely enamored with a hot sauce called Lovestuff. 

I first realized I was over the moon about the sauce when I developed a fierce determination to make recipes that incorporated its flavors to take my dishes to another level of goodness.

My borderline obsession with Lovestuff can be solely attributed to Ground Up Flavor's founder, Maurice Tyms, who sent me a couple bottles to try out last year for free to see if I liked it, and to encourage me to get creative with its flavors.

I knew before tasting Lovestuff that I would enjoy the spicy green nectar from its sexy name and label alone. Not surprisingly, I used up almost the entire bottle on my typical breakfast of eggs with English muffins in less than a week upon opening. With one bottle left for serious food business, I knew I needed to get busy in the kitchen with a recipe so I could continue my new breakfast hot sauce ritual.

Unfortunately, my schedule didn't permit a lot of time for recipe development. Knowing that this tempting, unopened bottle of hot sauce was sitting behind my kitchen cupboard for several months was difficult to say the least. But my natural patient attitude allowed me to survive this feat until I had time to develop a high quality recipe that may even get featured in one of Maurice's cookbook projects. Nice!

Now that it's Spring and I have a little more time in my schedule, I wanted to make something that is healthy, bright, and that would pair well with the flavors of Lovestuff. What could be healthier and brighter than snapper with clams in a tomatillo broth? Not much, in my opinion.

To take this Mexican-influenced seafood recipe to an even higher level, I added a frisee salad on top with a little bit of Lovestuff incorporated. It's so all so wonderfully edible and perfect for a fancy weekend dinner. The grilled red snapper is such a treat, and the clams in a mildly spicy broth of Lovestuff? Mmm, mmm, it's so complete!

Grilled Red Snapper and Clams in a Lovestuff Tomatillo Broth

Active Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 2 Hours 

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
6 whole garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
1 large jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
1 lb tomatillos (about 8 medium) husked, rinsed and halved
1 ½ cups dry white wine, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
½ cup heavy ream
2 tsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp Lovestuff Five Pepper Sauce
Juice of 1 lime
4 rainbow carrots, peeled, cut into ¼”-thick rounds
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 red jalapeno, seeded, sliced thin
1 tbsp butter
2 lbs clams, rinsed and scrubbed

Frisee Salad
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lime
Zest of 1 lime
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp Lovestuff Five Pepper Sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups frisee, trimmed
½ cup jicama, peeled, julienned
4 tomatillos, halved, thinly sliced
1 medium vine ripe tomato, cut into thin strips
¼ bunch cilantro leaves
1 red jalapeno, seeded, julienned

Red Snapper
4 (6 oz) red snapper fillets, pin bones removed, patted dry
1 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Finish
Cilantro leaves

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, jalapeno, and tomatillos over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring for 6-8 minutes, until softened.

Add 1 cup white wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook until the wine is nearly evaporated, about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Add chicken stock, heavy cream, sugar, Lovestuff, lime juice, half the carrots, chipotle pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cook until reduced by 1/3, about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and add the sauce to a blender with cilantro. Puree until smooth. Let sit for one hour to allow the flavors to meld. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and set aside.

Meanwhile, add olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, Lovestuff, and sugar to a large bowl. Whisk to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add frisee, jicama, tomatillos, tomato, cilantro, and jalapeno. Toss vegetables and dressing to combine. 

Lightly coat snapper fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook snapper skin-side down in a hot grill pan or in large heavy bottomed skillet for 2 minutes. Then cook on the other side for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Return tomatillo sauce with ½ cup white wine to the same skillet with remaining carrots, red jalapeno, and butter and heat over medium heat. Add clams and cover until the clams open. Discard any clams that do not open.  

Serve sauce on plates and top with clams. Plate snapper over clams and sauce, and garnish with the salad and cilantro leaves. Enjoy!



Fish Tacos and Chili, Oh My! A Review of Homemade's Meal Kits by Ayesha Curry

Happy Taco Tuesday, everyone!

Isn’t it great that we get to celebrate this holiday every week? I sure think so! Last week, Homemade by Ayesha Curry sent me a meal kit to try out, and not only did I receive an amaaaazing recipe for Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema, but I also got to try Hearty Beef Chili with Cornbread!

Both meals totally blew my socks off. They taste homemade in the best of ways, but you can tell that Ayesha and her chefs at Homemade are seriously talented at whipping up recipes that are easy to make while featuring high quality ingredients and that they can teach even the most novice cook how to improve their own game in the kitchen.

Ayesha’s meal kit is by far my favorite I’ve tried, and I’ve certainly tried a handful. What makes her kits even better is that they’re super eco-friendly – just about every item that the ingredients are packaged in can be recycled, reused, and/or composted. It’s like they thought about everything I ever wanted in a meal kit and made the perfect kit, just for me!

If you want to try Homemade, check out their website. The meals are affordable and taste way too good!

The recipes are below.


Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Cilantro Lime Rice

Adapted from Homemade's Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema and Cilantro Lime Rice

Serves 2
Time: 45 Minutes

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced, divided (seeds removed if desired)
Juice of 1 lime, divided
12 sprigs cilantro, leaves and tender stems, chopped, divided
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp kosher salt
Kosher salt and
Olive oil
2 (6 oz) cod fillets
8 small flour tortillas
1/4 cup Mexican crema
1 cup cabbage slaw
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1/2 cup long-grain rice

Preheat oven to 375F and arrange the oven racks to the upper third and lower third positions. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 

In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, 2 tsp chipotle, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp cilantro, honey, cumin, 2 tsp kosher salt, and 3 tbsp olive oil until combined. Pour the mixture into a large resealable plastic bag. Reserve the remaining lime juice and cilantro for the cilantro-lime rice. Cut the cod into 8 evenly sized pieces and place in the bag with the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

While the fish marinades, cook the rice: Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer the rice to a small saucepan and add 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp slat. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, an stirring once, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered.

Remove the fish from the marinade and arrange on the prepared baking sheet: discard the marinade. Stack the tortillas on a large piece of foil and wrap tightly. Place the tortillas and fish in the oven and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the crema and reserved adobo sauce. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in 2 tbsp of the remaining lime juice and the remaining cilantro.

To assemble the tacos, place 1 piece of fish in each tortilla, drizzle with spicy crema, and top wit cotija and cabbage. Serve with cilantro lime rice alongside.


Hearty Beef Chili with Cornbread

Adapted from Homemade's Hearty Beef Chili with Cornbread

Serves 2
Time: 55 Minutes


1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cups cornbread mix

1 small red onion, diced, divided
1 red bell pepper, diced, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz kidney beans
8 oz pinto beans
8 oz lean ground beef
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
8 oz crushed tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare the cornbread and chili ingredients. 

Stir cornbread mix, 2/3 cups water, green onions, and 1/4 tsp black pepper until well blended. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cook on a wire rack until ready to serve.

While the cornbread bakes, make the chili. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes, using a spatula to break up any large pieces. Transfer the beef to a bowl, leaving the fat and juices in the pan. Add 1/2 cup red onion, 1/2 cup bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 6 minutes.

Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the beef, beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chili has thickened (add more water if you like your chili a little more liquid), about 20 minutes.

Cut the cornbread into squares and serve with the chili. Garnish chili with remaining bell peppers and red onions.



Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup


It all started with a sneeze and I knew I was sick! And boy did this sickness come on fast and strong.

Unfortunately for me, it’s not one of those weeks where I can sit back and relax under the covers bingeing on my favorite TV shows. Nope! I have multiple projects to complete, recipes to design, and family gatherings to attend.

So what’s my go-to for powering through weeks like this? It’s always a remedy of DayQuil Severe to get me through the busy days and NyQuil Severe to rest as much as possible at night. I’m never more relieved to know that I have DayQuil and NyQuil tools at my disposal.

Feeling so much better, I was able to whip up this Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup, which couldn’t have been be more comforting. There’s truly no better combo than a little soup + DayQuil and NyQuil to prove that having no sick days is possible to achieve!

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup


Adapted from Thai-Infused Chicken Noodle Soup
Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 6

3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
1 15 oz can whole sweet corn, drained, liquid reserved
8 nests Mandarin Noodle Nests (about 200 grams)
1 lb ground chicken
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
1 large serrano, finely sliced
8-10 dried birdseye chilies (optional)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp sambal oelek chili paste
Zest and juice of 2 kaffir limes
1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (reserve 2 tbsp for garnish)

To Garnish
Fish Sauce
Chili garlic sauce
1 lime, cut into wedges
Chopped cilantro

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat chicken broth and reserved corn liquid over high heat and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions until al dente (about 4 minutes). Carefully ladle noodles out of broth with a pasta spoon and set aside.

Add the chicken, corn kernels, ginger, garlic, green onions, serrano chilies, birdseye chilies, fish sauce, light brown sugar, and sambal oelek to the broth. Bring to a simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes, breaking up chicken with a spoon.

Return noodles to the broth and stir in lime juice, lime zest, and cilantro. Serve immediately in bowls and season to taste with additional fish sauce and chili garlic sauce. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.

If you liked this recipe, you will love my recipes for Korean Beef and Daikon Radish Soup, Easy Beef Pho, and Ramen with Rainbow Chard!



Hearts of Palm Pasta with Sausage Ragu

I've often thought that a convincing low-carb pasta was almost impossible. In theory, I thought that maybe a food scientist would someday concoct something made from wonky processed food ingredients that could be believable. But pasta made out of real food that is low-carb? No way.

Palmini pasta was kind enough to send me a couple cans of their hearts of palm pasta. At only 90 calories, 18g of carbs, and 12g of fiber per can, I was skeptical. How could it be so healthy, but taste so similar to pasta?

I figured I could at least give one can of Palmini a whirl with a basic sausage ragu. To say I was impressed with the result would be an understatement.

When I opened my first can, I started snacking on the pasta right away. Luckily I didn't eat too much, so I didn't have to open up a second can to complete the recipe! I can't wait to cook up my next can soon!

Whether or not you're cooking with Palmini, this ragu is amazing and will be great with regular pasta too. Or if one person at your dinner table is living a low-carb or keto lifestyle, but you need your wheat noodles, why not make pasta two ways? Yep, now everyone's palates can be pleased!

Hearts of Palm Pasta with Sausage Ragu

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves: 4

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 bratwurst sausages (about 1 lb), casings removed
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 medium carrot, grated
2 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if desired)
1/4 cup Ruby port wine
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 can Palmini pasta, rinsed and drained
2/3 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add bratwurst and fennel seeds and cook until the sausage starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add grated carrot and cook until sausage is completely cooked through, about 5 more minutes. 

Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the skillet and stir in garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in port and bring to a boil and cook until the wine almost evaporates, about 1-2 minutes. Add the whole peeled tomatoes and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, until the flavors combine. Discard bay leaves.

Add Palmini pasta to the ragu and stir in parmesan and parsley until combined, about 3 minutes. Serve on plates and garnish with additional parsley and parmesan if desired.