Lunch

Lemon and Ricotta Pasta with Roasted Veggies 

  

This recipe started off as a roasted veggie Lasagna and then I realized I used my tomatoes for the chili I made last week. So I had roasted veggies and ricotta and then I had some lemon and veggie pasta. Threw it all together and it was deliciouso. 

I’ve always been a fan of the lemon and ricotta flavors. It’s light, creamy, and refreshing. This is definitely a great summer dish. 

I have been obsessing over this Italian market by my Job because they have the best local produce, fresh meats, homemade cheeses and bread. It’s the best hidden gem I have ever found. Nothing like an authentic Italian market and local produce.

Ingredients 

    • 2 zucchinis
    • 3 plum tomatoes 
    • 1 can of artichoke hearts 
    • 3 cloves of garlic 
    • 1 box of your choice pasta
    • 1 container of ricotta (I used fresh ricotta from the market) 
    • Juice of 2 lemons 
    • Zest of 1 lemon 
    • 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese 
    • Salt and pepper to taste 
    • 1 cup of reserved pasta water 
    • Italian seasoning 
    • Fresh basil ( I didn’t have any but I would recommend it) 
    • 1/2 cup of olive oil 
    1. Cut your veggies and mince the garlic 
    2. Place them in a bowl and coat them evenly with olive oil, sprinkle of Parmesan, pepper, and Italian seasoning (I always salt my veggies after roasting them because if you salt it before it brings out the moisture) with tomatoes and zucchini if you salt them before it tends to get mushy. 
    3. Roast your veggies on a baking tray evenly spread out for about 25 minutes 
    4. Meanwhile, cook your pasta in salted water
    5. Reserve 1 cup before draining completely 
    6. Add your ricotta, lemon juice, seasoning, lemon zest, parmesean, and the rest of your olive oil
    7. Toss in your veggies and enjoy! 
    8. I made some baked chicken with mine. I marinated my chicken over night in Italian dressing and baked it in the oven for 20 minutes along with the veggies     

    Tuscan white bean and orzo soup 

     We all know how crazy this winter has been, from short sleeves on Christmas to a blizzard on its way. To prepare for the blizzard I whipped up some healthy and hearty Tuscan white bean soup. There are a ton of variations to this so I created my own. Feel free to get creative with yours and use whatcha got in your fridge or pantry!

    This combines Tuscan flavors and savory Italian spices with some white beans, veggies, and orzo in a vegetable broth. It’s so yummy and there’s nothing better than cozying up to a hot bowl of soup on a cold day.

    You can make a big pot of this and freeze it for later. I cook for myself so I always have a ton of leftovers and I love freezing them for the future!

      
    Ingredients 

    • 1 can of white cannelloni beans 
    • 4 carrots
    • 4 celery stalks 
    • 2 cloves of minced garlic 
    • Medium white onion (I used red because I ran out of white) 
    • 1 32oz box of organic vegetable broth (feel free to chicken broth if you have that) 
    • 1 bag of spinach 
    • 1/4 cup of orzo 
    • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
    • Salt and pepper to taste 
    • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme 
    • Teaspoon of Italian seasoning (I used a mixed fresh Italian herb seasoning from a local Italian market) 
    • 1 can of tomato paste 
    • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
    1. Dice up your carrots, celery, and onion 
    2. Heat your oil in the pot 
    3. Cook your garlic until it has a light brown color to it
    4. Add your celery and carrots until they are tender and start to sweat, about 10-15 minutes 
    5. Add your vegetable broth
    6. Then add your tomato paste
    7. Dice up your spinach and add to the pot to cook down 
    8. Drain your canolenni beans and add to the pot 
    9. Add your orzo, it isn’t going to look like enough but trust me it soaks up that liquid pretty fast
    10. Add your spices 
    11. Let the orzo cook until tender 
    12. Pour into a bowl, top with parenesean cheese and serve with a good crusty garlic bread
    13. Sit on your couch in a blanket and warm up to a cozy bowl of soup

    Ahi Tuna Stack

    FullSizeRender (2)Ahi tuna has to be one of my favorite meals/appetizers. I LOVE sushi and any kind with tuna is my go to. I always order tuna tartake and seared tuna out, and that gets so expensive. So I took it upon myself to attempt to make my own seared tuna. I was terrified to make it myself because I like it rare, but I did it anyway.

    Here’s what happened. I ate this tuna stack at a restaurant and I honestly can’t remember where I had it, but I never forgot the presentation I fell in love with it. I’ve seen the shrimp stack before and I just think it looks so fancy  and colorful. So I wanted to make it. I thought this was going to be so difficult but in all honestly it was SOOOOO Simple.

    You can’t make a good seared tuna without putting it in a screaming hot cast iron pan. I just moved into my apartment not too long ago and we have an electric stove that I despise. I hate the coils because everything cooks so unevenly and then the oil or whatever you’re cooking with goes to one side of the pan and it drives me absolutely nuts.

    Yeah with that being said I went out to this new cooking gadget store and bought myself a cast iron pan. They are the most amazing pans and I am thrilled to make more meals with it, so stay tuned friends.

    Ingredients

    • 1 tuna steak, make sure it is fresh and has a nice bright color to it
    • 1/2 cucumber
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 2 tblsp of olive oil
    • 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice (or any kind you like)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • ginger powder
    • garlic

    For the sauce 

    • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
    • tablespoon of Siracha
    • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic
    • dash of ginger
    • sesame seeds for garnish
    • green onion for garnish
    1. heat olive oil in a cast iron pan and get it screaming hot until you can see the steam.
    2. season your tuna steak with salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger on each side ( do it to your taste)
    3. sear your tuna for about 30-45 seconds on each side
    4. dice your half of cucumber and avocado
    5. cook and measure your rice
    6. for the stack I used a rocks glass, but if you have a can you can cut it to make it work.
    7. fill your rocks glass with some sesame seeds and then your tuna
    8. the layer the cucumber and avocado
    9. the pack the rice on top firmly
    10. place on a plate and remove it slowly
    11. mix all the ingredients for your sauce in a bowl and spoon it over your stack
    12. sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions and dig in!

    IMG_4613FullSizeRender (3)

    Sweet potato chorizo corn chowder 

      
    A picture just wouldn’t do justice for this absolutely beautiful rich creamy chorizo corn and sweet potato chowder. I wish you could smell this in the video because it is just heavenly. On cold days like today(27 degrees) in my opinion there’s absolutely nothing better than warming up to a hearty soup or chowder. The combination of the sweet potatoes and the chorizo and the corn have such an awesome balance, a little bit sweet and that spicy chorizo compliment each other so well. This looks totally rich and creamy (and it is) there’s a secret though, ITS HEALTHY and DAIRY FREE!!!! Yes you can make a chowder this gorgeous without heavy cream or milk 🙅🏼. I used chicken broth and a can of coconut milk and some almond milk as well. The flavors are just the perfect marriage.

    There’s just something about the combination of sweet with a little bit of heat. Tingles the tastebuds ya know. 

    I still can’t get over the fact that this soup is so rich and decadent yet has no butter, heavy cream, milk or cheese. Sweet potatoes have got to be one of my favorite things, you can do SO many things with them. 

    I’m going to be completely honest I had no clue what I was doing here, I just mixed stuff together and prayed it would taste good. But if you put ingredients you like all together it can’t be bad right? 

    Ingredients 

    • 4 sweet potatoes 
    • 1 package of chorizo 
    • 1 large white onion
    • 2 cloves of garlic 
    • 1 can of coconut milk 
    • 1 box of chicken broth (can use vegetable broth)
    • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil 
    • 2 tablespoons of siracha 
    • Dash of thyme 
    • Dash of chipotle pepper
    • Salt and pepper to taste 
    • 1 can of organic corn 
    • 1 cup of almond milk
    1. Peel your sweet potatoes
    2. Dice em up 
    3. Dice your onion 
    4. I took the chorizo out of the casing 
    5. Heat your coconut oil in a pan 
    6. In a seperate pot put your chicken broth in while the chorizo cooks, when the broth begins to boil, add your sweet potatoes 
    7. Cook until tender 
    8. Add your coconut milk 
    9. Add your almond milk 
    10. Then use either an imulsfier blender or food processor to create your creamy broth 
    11. Put back into the pot, add your cooked chorizo 
    12. Add your can of corn, you don’t have to drain it if you want your soup not too thick 
    13. Add your diced onion and garlic to the chorizo pan until soft 
    14. Then add to the soup 
    15. Add your spices 
    16. Let simmer 
    17. Enjoy!

       
      

      

        
       

    Jambalaya 


    Usually jambalaya is filled with sodium and unhealthy things, so I took it upon myself to try and lighten this up. For those of you doing that whole 30 thing, my friend said this is approved. I was meal prepping yesterday and I know typically people eat this with shrimp, but in my person opinion shrimp reheated just doesn’t taste good to me. So I did chicken sausage and chicken instead.
    I used brown rice, you can use whatever you please. Make it your own that’s what cooking is all about right?

    Ingredients 

    • 2 chicken breasts (you can use shrimp in place of this)
    • Note: You can use all 3; chicken, sausage, and shrimp
    • 1 package of chicken sausage (feel free to use regular sausage)
    • 3 stalks of celery
    • 1 bag of brown rice (use whatever rice you like)
    • 1 tomato diced
    • 1 medium white onion diced
    • 1 bell pepper diced
    • 1 tablespoon of garlic
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon of oregano
    • 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon of thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon of paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Note: you can use a package of creole or jambalaya spices but I like to make my own to avoid MSG and too much sodium.
    1. Cook your rice
    2. Place chicken and chicken sausage on a baking sheet with cooking spray and bake at 350 for 25 minutes
    3. While the rice and meat are cooking dice your veggies
    4. Heat the olive oil in the pan
    5. Sauté your garlic until golden brown, then add the rest of the veggies until they are tender and start to sweat
    6. Add your cooked rice to the pan of veggies
    7. Dice up your chicken and chicken sausage
    8. Add your seasonings mix up and enjoy 😛

    I love mine spicy so I used hot chicken sausage and I added additional hot sauce to mine.


      
      

    Ratatouille (not the movie) 

      
    Funny story behind this recipe, I needed a challenge so I posted a status and said any recipes people want to know how to make post it here and I will make it on Sunday during my meal prep. So my friend Dan says ratatouille (as in the movie, not the actual dish) now me being me, think oh ratatouille that’s a good French dish I can make that no problem. So I make it. Send him the picture and recipe and he said I’ve never had it before only heard of it from the movie, so I’m like wow I’m an idiot he was totally kidding and I didn’t even think of the movie. But hey it was a damn good comment because this was absolutely delicious. 

    Ratatouille is a common French and Mediterranean dish. It can be made as a stew or how I have it. It’s vegetables that are in a tomato stew and seasoned to perfection. Sounds fancy but it’s super simple to make.   

         
     Ingredients 

    • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
    • 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (can use red wine or balsamic) 
    • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning 
    • Salt and pepper to taste (I always add salt after I roast my veggies) 
    • 1 eggplant 
    • 1 yellow squash 
    • 1-2 tomatoes 
    • 1 medium red onion 
    • 1 zucchini 
    • 1 can of tomato paste 
    • 1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes (can substitute tomato sauce in place of the paste and diced tomatoes) 
    • 5 fresh basil leaves 
    • Parmesan cheese to top with 
    1. Mix the tomato paste, diced tomato, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, Italian seasoning, apple cider vinegar, and garlic in a bowl 
    2. Spray the bottom of a baking dish with cooking spray 
    3. Spread the tomato mixture on the bottom, leave a little to stick in between the veggies 
    4. Slice your veggies, to get an even cut use a mandala to get the uniform slices. 
    5. Then put them in the sauce and layer them
    6. Brush the tips of your veggies with olive oil to give them a nice coat and drop the rest of the tomato mixture down in between 
    7. Bake them in the oven at 350 for about 30-45 minutes or until the veggies are roasted and golden brown on the edges
    8. Sprinkle with parenesean cheese and enjoy! 

    TOP SECRET: Italian Stuffed Bread

    FullSizeRenderOkay okay, I am revealing my secret recipe to my family’s favorite stuffed Italian bread that I make for every occasion. As soon as it’s out of the oven people are at the stove like vultures digging into it. It’s rare that the bread even makes it to the table, let alone a plate. Funny thing is, it is actually really simple to make. I always make sure to make a few loaves for everyone to eat and also take home because if I don’t you have an Italian family arguing and anyone who is Italian knows that never ends well.

    I have adopted this recipe from my mom, who has adopted it from my grandfather. Anytime my mom would make it, the whole neighborhood would get a loaf, and no I’m not making it up. It’s that good. We have a few nick names for it like “poor mans b

    read” and “Italian garbage bread” because excuse my language but in the words of my grandfather “Its a bunch of sh*t thrown into dough and it taste good” (heavy Italian accent here). So I’ve just called it an Italian stuffed bread to make it sound appealing. and hey everyone’s gotta make it their own right?

    Now you’re probably thinking like okay what is in this bread that makes it so good. Honestly, I ask myself that EVERY TIME I make it.  Go to your local grocery store and head over to the deli counter.

    Here comes the secret, ask for 6 packages of meat and cheese ends. YEAH I SAID IT. Meat and cheese ends from your local deli, that’s it. There’s the secret. Bet you didn’t expect that right? Yeah, me either. They are so much cheaper than buying cold cuts sliced. It costs anywhere from $1-$3 per pack(this is where the poor man’s bread nick name comes from) I usually try and ask for Italian meat ends, but occasionally you’ll get some turkey in there or something. THIS IS OKAY I promise.

    Okay so you got your meat and cheese ends, now you need dough, and garlic, lots of garlic and Italian seasoning. Get a ball of dough or 2 or if you’re me 4-5 because that’s how many I usually make. I usually go to a local pizzeria and ask for balls of dough (yes, they will look at you funny when you ask for their pizza dough). You could also get it at the grocery store, but for some reason the one by my apartment never has it and I couldn’t tell you why.

    dough

    • Okay you’re home, you have your ingredients right? Now what? Well preheat that oven of yours to 400 degrees.
    • Its about to get messy my friends so you may wanna throw on an apron or if you’re like me an old t shirt will do just fine.
    • Chop up your meat and cheeses on a cutting board and toss it into a bowl a really big bowl I might add. Make sure you just mix it around so the meat and cheese ends are mixed evenly to get a little bit of cheese and meat in every bite.
    • Take out some flour, sprinkle it all over the surface you’re going to roll your dough on, and the dough, and the rolling pin. Roll it out, doesn’t have to be perfect, just flat with no bubbles I repeat, NO BUBBLES.
    • Grease a baking sheet, and lay out your dough, fill er’ up with all that meat and cheese goodness. Fold it over the filling and close it, then take your knife and cut three holes in the bread, don’t ask me why I do this, just do it( Shia LaBeouf voice).
    • Okay so the final touch is about to happen, take some butter, I would say about a tablespoon or two, and mix your Italian seasoning mix and garlic into the butter (I use fresh garlic) and melt it in the microwave. Now time to paint! brush the buttery garlic mixture over the bread and bake for about 30-40 mins. I know it’s done when the bread is golden brown and the cheese is oozing through the top. Cut it up and enjoy it before it’s gone! Mangia Mangia!