Tag Archives: pasta

Leftover Turkey-Palooza!

A Thanksgiving dinner is pretty spectacular.  Aromas that fill the house, laughter and smiles of loved ones that warm our hearts, and the spirit of gratitude that starts the season.  And then there’s the next day.  And the day after that, and the day after.  I like to look at those last few days of November as days to celebrate!  Turkey leftovers!  Woot!  I like them as much as the holiday meal.  Maybe even more, since they come together in an hour or so; not the all-day cooking affair of Thanksgiving.  I’ve put together a few of my favorite recipes for leftover turkey here.

Let’s start with Grampa Tom’s Turkey Tetrazzini.  A family fav, especially for the home-from-college guy.  Warm and cheesy and peppery and comforting.  Oh yeah.


Then, how ’bout a Turkey Pot Pie that’s not your average pot pie.  Spiced with green chiles, its individual portions are perfect for company.

pot pie

Turkey Sammiches are super popular.  I present to you the Lexi Sammich, one that would be perfect with turkey!  I might also suggest substituting cranberry sauce for the apricot preserves.  Yum!


Or how about a TURKEY Cordon Blue Panini?  All melty and flavored up with ham and mustard?  I had almost forgotten about this one.  Just substitute turkey for the chicken.

cordon blue

If Asian food is what you’re craving, sub turkey for the chicken in this easy Lo Mein recipe.

lo mein

Enchiladas are another favorite around here.  First, here’s the college guy’s Granny’s recipe with a rich creamy white sauce and flour tortillas.  Again, sub turkey for the chicken.

ninas enchiladas

Finally, our house special enchiladas, with traditional red sauce and corn tortillas; use turkey for the chicken.  Better than a Mexican restaurant, right in your own house!

house special enchiladas

Almost makes me wish I’d bought a bigger turkey!  Turkey is wonderful in nearly any chicken recipe–have fun experimenting!  Happy Holidays!!!

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, Holiday foods, lunch, Potluck, recipe

Thai Peanut Veggies with Pasta

Pressed for time and tired of take-out?  Want somethin’ yummy using stuff you already have on hand?  Love the hot nutty wonderfulness of a Thai peanut sauce?  Look no further, my vegan friends; dinner will be chopstick-ready in no time.  (And for you non-vegans, stir in some rotisserie chicken if you like, but I’m thinking you ought to try it as written here–you won’t miss the meat!)


This is another fabulous recipe from The Fat Free Vegan.  If you’re vegan and not following her blog or Facebook yet, go do that now!  (I’ll wait here until you get back.)  I’ve altered the recipe slightly, dropping the oil, adjusting to veggies I had on hand, and adding peanuts and cilantro for toppings/garnish.


  • 8 oz pasta, prepared according to the package (I used udon noodles)
  • 4-5 cups mixed, chopped veggies (I have red onion, broccoli, two kinds of cauliflower, zucchini, and carrots here)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder or 1 tsp fresh grated
  • 2-3 TBSP natural peanut butter, smooth or chunky  (I used chunky)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8- 1/4 tsp cayenne  (I used 1/4 tsp–we love spicy!)
  • 2-4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Start heating water for your pasta and chop veggies into similar sizes.  Drop the pasta into the boiling water and saute veggies in a large pan, using veggie broth to keep them from sticking.

saute veggies

As the veggies and pasta cook, saute garlic and ginger in a bit of veggie broth for a minute or two–until aromatic.

saute garlic and ginger

Stir in peanut butter and cook until heated through and combined.  This will start sticking quickly; not to worry–the next step will release it from the bottom of the pan.

add peanut butter

Stir in water, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne.  Mix until smooth–as smooth as you can get with chunky peanut butter, that is!  Add more water or more peanut butter to adjust the thickness to your liking.

add liquid and cayenne

Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.

toss with pasta

Stir/toss in the veggies.

toss with veggies

Serve with sliced green onions, peanuts and cilantro.  How easy was that?!


Perfect for a busy weeknight, fabulous for company, special enough for date night.  Delicious and more spicy for lunch the next day!  Yummy!  We love to use chopsticks for Asian foods…do you?



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Roasted Cauliflower and Purple Potato Curry

Mr18 is home from college on spring break.  However, he hasn’t had a part in Michael and my decision to eat vegan.  When he’s home I usually cook his favorite meals for him–most of which involve meat, cheese and eggs.  I did buy him eggs for the omelets he loves in the morning, and treated him to his favorite meat-layered pizza.  The rest of the time he’s been eating vegan with us.  He’s always been a kid who ate his veggies and has always been game to try a bite of something new.  I’ve stayed away from anything with beans (Mr18’s kryptonite), and I’ve tried to stay with flavors he likes; curry is one of his favs.  He did miss the chicken that was included in the curry I used to make, but decided this curry was ok.  Since I’ve been having a bit of a love-fest with cauliflower lately, I replaced the chicken with cauliflower.  I thought the combo of the sweet roasted cauliflower was perfect with the savory spiciness of the curry.  Yummy!


Once you’ve roasted the veggies, this curry comes together quickly.


  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 purple potatoes, peeled and cubed  (I picked purple because of the color, but red or yellow potatoes would be yummy, too)
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 3-4 TBSP veggie broth
  • 1-2 TBSP curry powder
  • a pinch or two red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1/2-1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (coconut milk would be yummy)
  • pasta of your choice, prepared according to package directions (optional)
  • toppings of your choice–I have coconut, cilantro, cashews, and edamame

Preheat oven to 425F.  Prepare a baking sheet with a silicon mat, parchment paper or spray oil.

Chop the cauliflower, potatoes, apple and onion.  Spread them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Season with salt and pepper and mix with your hands.  Spray lightly once more and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir, then place back into the oven for an additional 15 minutes.

chop potatos cauliflower onion

While the veggies roast, prepare your pasta and the curry sauce.

Place 3 TBSP veggie both in a large pan over medium heat.  Whisk in 2 TBSP flour to create a paste.  Add more broth if your paste is too thick.

make paste w flour and broth

Add the curry and red pepper flake, stir to combine.

add curry and red pepper

Whisk in 2 cups of veggie broth until smooth.  Heat to a simmer to thicken.

add broth

Add 1/2-1 1/2 cups non dairy milk, depending on how you like the flavor and thickness.  I ended up using 1 1/2 cups, to tone down the heat from adding a bit too much red pepper.  🙂

add milk

Remove veggies from the oven, and add the roasted veggies, stirring to coat.


add veg1

Add the cooked pasta and toss.

add pasta

Serve with toppings!  Other topping to consider: golden raisins, peas, peanuts, more red pepper flake, chile oil…..  I was thinking I’d use peas, but when I looked in my freezer, the bag I thought was peas was actually edamame.  Not as sweet, but a nice punch of protein.  I love recipes that let me adjust them according to what I have on hand.


Curry is also a lovely flavor with shrimp or chicken.  It can be served over a starch such as the pasta I chose, or rice or another cooked grain.  It can also be served without the added starch or thinned out with more broth as a soup.  Make it according to your personal tastes and whatever’s in your pantry.  Enjoy!




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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian

Greens and Garbanzos Pasta Salad

There I was.  On the treadmill watching Food Network.  Kind of ironic, exercising while watching people prepare and eat lots of yummy foods.  Especially so with the abundance of butter, cheese, eggs and meat being served up whilst I have become vegan.  Giada to the rescue!  I caught a “Meat-free Monday” episode!  Yay!  Giada was making this pasta salad to serve cold or room temperature at a block party.  Her version uses oil to saute and is served with cheese, but I’m here to tell ya, totally yummy without either!  Michael thinks it’s as good as the house favorite goulash; high praise indeed!


Head out to your garden or local produce section for a big ol’ bunch of greens and a few other things:


  • 1 pound of small pasta  (I used whole wheat “gnocchi”)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup veggie broth
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz Swiss chard, about 2 bunches  (I used rainbow chard, because it’s pretty!)
  • 12 oz spinach, either baby spinach in a package or leaf spinach  (Remove stems if spinach is large)
  • 1 (15oz) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as directed, reserving pasta water.

The pretty stems of chard are tough, so remove them after you wash each leaf.  To do this, fold the leaf in half and tear the stem off.

remove chard stem

Add some veggie broth to a large, deep skillet and place over medium heat.  Rough chop chard leaves and spinach.  Add to the pan along with the garlic.  Saute to wilt, adding more veggie broth as needed.

saute greens and garlic

Add tomatoes and garbanzos.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add tomatoes and garbanzos

Reduce heat to low.  Add pasta, lemon zest and juice.

add pasta and zest

Stir to combine, adding pasta water to thin as needed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

mix with pasta water and lemon juice

Dish yourself up a bowl and enjoy!


Warm, comfort food-esque, healthy, fat-free, vegan and yummy!  Meaty garbanzos, savory greens and brightly acidic tomatoes, brightened further with lemon.  I made a “parmesan” from 1/3 cup cashews and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast whirred up in a food processor to sprinkle over the top.  Just the thing.  Yum-yum-yummy hot, especially with it being so cold outside.  I’ve sampled a few bites of cold pasta, while waiting for a portion to reheat for lunch the next day.  Yum!  This pasta salad will be super yummy served cold when summer gets here.


I confess to being a bit overwhelmed and at the same time underwhelmed with the prospect of going vegan.  Not any more!  I’m finding lots and lots of yummy recipes like this that can be easily adapted.  I feel happier, healthier, have more energy and (!) I’m losing weight.  I hope you’ll follow along on my yummy vegan journey.

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, Potluck, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Chicken Parmesan

The other night was one of those too-lazy-to-go-to-the-store-gotta-make-dinner-with-what’s-in-the-house kinda nights.  If you have chicken, milk, eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, pasta sauce and pasta, You could make a yummy and yummy-looking meal like this:

Ingredient amounts will vary depending on how much many servings you’re making.  You can make chicken parm for two or a whole crowd.  I didn’t measure, so all measurements are approximate.

  • 1 pound chicken tenders (I like the portion size of a tender.)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I like panko for the extra crunch!)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package pasta of your choice, prepared according to package directions.
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce (This is my Zesty Pasta Sauce!)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9×13 pan with oil a spread a bit of the pasta sauce over the bottom.

Place tenders a few at a time in a sealed ziploc and pound to a uniform thickness, around 1/4-inch thick, using a wooden mallet or something similar.

Stack them up on a plate until all are pounded thin.

Create a breading station of shallow bowls in this order: milk, flour, egg, and then bread crumbs.

Dip each tender in milk, then flour; shake off excess.  Then dip into egg and then breadcrumbs, coating evenly.  Place into a hot pan with 3 TBSP oil.  Fry until each side is golden brown and chicken is cooked through.  Work in batches, overcrowding will steam the chicken and you’ll loose the nice crunch.  Add extra oil as needed.

Drain on paper towels. Don’t they look yummy already?!  All crispity-crunchity?!  Mmmmmm….

When all tenders are cooked, place in prepared pan and schmear with some pasta sauce.

Then top with shredded cheese.

Bake 30 minutes, until cheese is melty and bubbly.

Serve with prepared pasta and garlic bread.  Top with shredded parmesan if you like.

Such an easy and yummy meal.  Great for the fam on a weeknight, impressive for company, fancy-schmancy enough for date night!  Have a bite!

Super yummy left over as well.  One pound of tenders, a jar of pasta sauce and a package of spaghetti was enough for the three of us and then left overs for two the next day.

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Grampa Tom’s Turkey Tetrazzini

Mr17’s Grampa Tom is one amazing cook.  This is most evident around the outdoor griddle at the cabin and at Thanksgiving.  Tom is the master of Thankgiving leftovers; most famous for his “Pilgrim Stew” and this fast, easy and delish Turkey Tetrazzini.

When I’m buying groceries for Thanksgiving, I always toss in an extra tub of sour cream (light), mushrooms and sliced mushrooms.  I know I’m gonna want to make “the tetrazzini,” it’s Mr17’s favorite.

  • 1 1/2-2 cups shredded turkey (I use a mix of light and dark.)
  • 1-2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 package sliced almonds
  • 1-1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 package pasta of your choice, prepared (Or use leftover pasta if you have it!)
  • reserved pasta water

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.

Saute mushrooms in 3-4 TBSP butter.

Return cooked pasta to pot and add sauteed mushrooms, celery, almonds, turkey, and sour cream.  Stir to combine, add a bit of pasta water to help make it easier to mix if needed.

Add cheese, stir to combine.

Serve with a garnish of grated parmesan and a sprinkling of black pepper.  Mmmm!

How’s that for easy comfort food?!  It’s also delish garnished with a some chopped green onions.  Take some for lunch the next day–even more yummy!

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Curry in a Hurry

Last week before we left on vacation, I wanted to make somethin’ yummy that would be quick, wouldn’t require a trip to the grocery store, and could be adjusted to make just enough for the two of us.  After snooping around through my freezer, pantry and cellar, I realized I had ingredients for a basic curry!

A curry is technically a spice blend, often handed down from cook to cook, and used to flavor a sauce.  I have curry powder in my spice cabinet, so I’ll be using the spice recipe handed down from the good folks at the spice company!  🙂

The usual spice blend is golden in color; a combination of cumin, coriander and turmeric.  Many curried sauces have a combination of both sweet and savory ingredients–I love sweet mixed with savory–yum!  Some have meat, others don’t.  Some are thick, some soup-like.  Most are served with a starch of some sort and a variety of toppings or stir-ins. 

Here we go for a quick (in about 30 minutes), easy, basic and yummy curry to get your creativity started:

To serve 4-6:

  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small apples, peeled and chopped
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-4 TBSP curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flake (or more if you prefer!)
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half (coconut milk could be added instead…mmmm!)
  • 1 pound cooked, shredded meat–I’m using chicken, but I think pork would be awesome!
  • cooked starch–pasta, noodles, rice….
  • shredded coconut for a topper

Cook your starch according to package directions.  Tonight I chose spaghetti, because it was quick.

Saute chopped apples and onions in butter.

Add salt, pepper and flour.  Cook for a minute or two, stirring.  This will create a roux, or thickening agent for the sauce.

Add curry and red pepper flake, stir to combine.

Add chicken broth (I was out, but had those little cubes and dissoved them in water.)  Stir to combine, add half and half, and bring to a boil to thicken.

Add cooked, shredded meat.

Add starch and toss to combine.  Or, if you want, serve the sauce over your starch.

Top with a bit of coconut and enjoy!

I realized too late that I had macadamia nuts from our trip.  I’m thinking chopped, salted mac nuts would be another great topper.  I was also thinking adding frozen peas, chopped scallions and or cilantro to the sauce would add a  nice fresh, green flavor.  Some people like golden raisins in their curry….and chopped peanuts….what do you like?

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Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Mushroom Pasta

I admit it.  I’m a Food Network junkie.  The engaging chefs/hosts make me feel like I, too can create beautiful culinary creations that will wow my family and make me the rock star of the potluck.  So it was just another day, and I was listening to Anne Burrell describing the best gnocchi recipe ever(!) with the perfect sauce.  The sauce made me say, “mmmmmm!”  I couldn’t help myself!  I decided I could adapt her recipe to what I had in my garden and could find at the store without compromising the essential idea or the yummy factor.  I was right.  I was too lazy the other day to make the gnocchi and served it over linguini instead–I already had it in the pantry–but I’d like to try the gnocchi one of these days. 

  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • olive oil–enough to cover the bottom of a large skillet
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • pinch of red pepper flake
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 cups cleaned and sliced mushrooms  (Go for some fancy-schmancy ones–my grocery had shitakes–yummy!  A little note–shitake stems are tough and need to be discarded or saved to flavor a broth, but should not go into a recipe.)
  • salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • parmesan, finely shredded, and chopped chives to garnish
  • 1 package pasta, cooked according to package directions

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Blanch asparagus in salted, boiling water until cooked, but still crispy and green.  Immediately remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Add mushrooms, lightly salt them and cook until tender, an additional 3-4 minutes.

Add asparagus and chicken broth.  Cook until broth is reduced by half.

Add butter and swirl through the sauce until melted and combined.

Add cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat with sauce and distribute asparagus, prosciutto and mushrooms.

Serve on plates, garnish with parmesan and chives.  Enjoy!

Yummy!  This sauce comes together in about the same time it takes to cook the pasta–starting after the asparagus is blanched.  We had enough for 5 generous servings. 

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Veggie Lasagne Pasta

I love vegetables and cook with them a lot, especially as the garden starts producing.  This pasta is a family favorite, adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe.  It’s lasagne, but not–all the flavors of lasagne without the layering and long cooking time.    

The ingredients are what I use to make a regular vegetarian lasagne with tomato sauce, with the exception of the type of pasta:

Use any combination of veggies you like.  Here’s what I have:

For the veggie sauce topping:

  • 2 small yellow squash, cut into half-moon slices
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into half-moon slices
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into a large dice  (These peppers looked better at the store than the green ones this time.  They also add pretty and healthy color!)
  • a quarter of a large red onion, chopped
  • a package of pre-sliced mushrooms  (Already cleaned and sliced is a real time-saver!)  
  • 1 TBSP of olive oil for saute
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

For the pasta with cheese sauce:

  • 1 package of pasta, cooked according to package directions.  (I chose rotini because it reminds me of the curly edges of lasagne noodles!)
  • 6 oz package ricotta
  • about 1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup grated mixed Italian cheeses
  • 3 or 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup pasta water–collect it from the pot just before draining the pasta.

Cook pasta according to package directions, retain 1 cup of cooking water and drain.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add oil.  Prepare all the veggies.

(Aren’t these pretty?!  Lots of healthy colors!)

Add all the veggies except mushrooms to the skillet; season with salt and pepper.  Saute until they start getting soft, but are still crisp and vibrant.

Add mushrooms.  Continue sauteing until mushrooms start cooking–you’ll be able to smell them.

Stir in tomato sauce.  Simmer 10 minutes.

This will be smelling super good right about now….

Leave the pasta in the strainer for a sec while you assemble the cheese sauce in the same pot you used to cook the pasta.

Reduce heat to medium low.  Add yogurt, ricotta, grated Italian cheese, chopped green onions and 1/2 cup pasta water.  Stir to combine, season with salt and pepper.  Add more pasta water if needed for desired consistancy.

Stir the pasta into the sauce and heat through.

Spoon pasta into a bowl, top with veggie sauce and more grated cheese.  Close your eyes and take a bite…..tastes just like lasagne!

Oh yeah…it’s lasagne all right, for those times when you don’t have time to layer and bake.  Imagine all the different lasagnes you’ve had……now imagine them made using this method!  This pasta travels well–I’ve put it together in a large covered aluminum pan, making it perfect for potlucks.  Yummy!

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Pasta with Butternut Squash, Brown Butter and Rosemary

I’m back!  DH and I had a fabulous weekend in Denver, eating, drinking and making merry.  Great pub food, jazz, amazing noodles at Bones, wine tasting, and uber-delish (and future blog subjects!) home-grilled cedar plank salmon and pear tatin!  I hope you all had a great weekend and had somethin’ yummy at least once each day.

Last summer I planted butternut squash for the first time.  Their leafy vines wandered all over my garden, leaving pretty tawny-gold fruit when everything frosted off in the fall.  Tonight, the very last of that squash came up from the cellar and provided a lovely, savory dinner.

I ripped this recipe out of a magazine…maybe Food and Wine?  Maybe Rachel Ray?  Don’t remember the magazine, do remember the yummy!  The combination of butternut, rosemary and parmesan cheese gives this dish a decidedly fall-ish flavor, but there were no complaints that it was out-of-season around here!  Gather just a few things and end up with tons of yumminess:

  • One 3-pound butternut squash–peeled, seeded, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces  (The equivalent of 6-8 cups.)
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 1/2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 pound lasagne noodles, broken into pieces and cooked according to package directions  (This is 14 standard-size, regular-cook noodles.)
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 TBSP pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Toss squash, onion, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Place the squash mixture in a roasting pan and roast until squash is tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, break up the pasta, cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.

While pasta water comes to a boil, toast the pine nuts in a small dry pan over medium heat.  Watch them carefully and stir occasionally.  You’ll be able to smell them when the toasting begins.  Set aside.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until golden in color–about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.  The juice will bubble up in the hot butter and may splatter.

When squash is cooked, combine with brown butter, 1/3 of the parmesan, and pasta.  Toss and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Plate, topping with remaining parmesan and pine nuts.

Yum-yum-yummy!  I love the texture the lasagne noodle pieces in this recipe, but I’m sure any large-ish pasta would hold up to the fall flavor of the roasted squash.  If you’re thinking wine pairing, I’d pick an oaked Chardonnay, like Whitewater Hill’s Barrel Select Chardonnay.  Yummy!

As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of a pumpkin pasta roll I’ve had and thinking the roasted squash part of this recipe would translate well to a squash lasagne with a white cheese sauce….mmmm….next year’s squash!

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