Zucchini Pasta with Pesto

Zucchini pasta is a great alternative to pasta. I know some of you are thinking “how could zucchini possibly come close to pasta”. I, too, was in disbelief until I decided to try it for myself. When you make zucchini into noodles, it maintains a pasta-like texture while also absorbing whatever sauce you decide to pair it with. The key is to make sure you dry out the pasta ‘noodles’ before you coat them with sauce. Below, I explain how.

Total cook time: 15 minutes


  • 1-2 zucchini per serving (the plate you see above, is from 1.5 zucchinis)
  • 1 carton of cherry tomatoes
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pesto of choice – recipes here


  1. Wash and dry your zucchinis. Use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make your noodles. Spiralizers run you between $30-40. Although I will say, the create a much better noodle – similar to spaghetti. Above, I used the julienne peeler to create my noodles. It costs between $8-10 and you peel the zucchini in the same way you’d peel a carrot. It creates noodle like strips from the zucchini. Stop peeling once you get to the core of the zucchini, it’s hard and white with seeds
  2. Put your zucchini noodles into a strainer. Sprinkle some salt throughout the noodles and let the zucchini sit for 10-15 minutes. The salt extracts water from the zucchini and helps dry them out.
  3. While your zucchini dries, make your pesto.
  4. Pour the pesto over the noodles and toss to coat. Serve on a plate or bowl.


Brown Butter Lobster, Bacon + crispy Kale & Fontina with Homemade Pasta

As I was scrolling through Pinterest Sunday morning to find some inspiration for a Sunday night dinner, I kept coming across the same old chicken/meat/fish recipes. Breaded chicken, grilled meat, or steamed/seared fish accompanied by a series of similar side dishes.

I was in the mood for something different, easy, and utterly fantastic. I can always rely on Ree Dummond from the Food Network to help a sister out. Not only do I laugh out loud at her hysterical blogging, but her recipes are out. of. this world. I recently  saw Ree pin this recipe from the blog Half Baked Harvest and I knew I came across a winning Sunday night dish.

Next to the General Tso’s recipe, this amazingness takes the cake. It hits every single craving you could possibly have on a Sunday night –  homemade pasta from the farmers market, crispy kale with Parmesan cheese, ripe cherry tomatoes, and  sweet lobster drizzled with brown butter, cheese, and bacon. Like, WHAT?! Awesome.

Oh, also – it only takes about 30-35 minutes total to make! The prep takes the longest (grating cheese, halving tomatoes, washing/chopping/cooking kale) which you could all do ahead of time.

(I tweaked a couple ingredients from the original recipe)


  • 4-6 slices of maple bacon, cooked & chopped
  • 2-4 uncooked lobster tails (find these at your fish market)
  • 6 table spoons of butter, divided
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 – 1 bunch of kale (I used dinosaur kale, you can also use Curly Kale)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp parm cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1lb of a tagliarini pasta
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6-7 ounces of fontina cheese, cubed
  • few cubes/1 tbsp of asiago or parm cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil
  • 1 lemon – (1/2 lemon use on kale and other half lemon juice used on pasta)

Utensils: 1 large deep dish skillet, 1 pot for pasta, 1 small pan for melted butter, 1 large mixing bowl


  1. KALE PREP. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add kale, olive oil, 2 tbsp parm cheese, salt, pepper, and juice from half of a lemon. Toss to coat with your hands and the massage the kale. Spread kale out on a non stick baking sheet and bake for 16 minutes, tossing 1-2 times while cooking, until crispy (you will know when they are crispy but be careful not to burn them! They are fragile little buggers) Remove and set aside.
  2. PASTA PREP.  Bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to box directions
  3. BACON. While kale and pasta are cooking, cook the bacon in a large, deep dish skillet over medium heat until bacon has cooked through and crispy – about 7-10 minutes. I flip bacon ever 5 minutes. Once cooled, crumble the bacon and drain off everything but 1 tbsp of bacon fat.(don’t forget to remove the Kale from the oven!)
  4. LOBSTER. To prepare lobster tails, place the tail side up on a cutting board. Use a large chopping knife to cut and crack through the curve of the tail so you can see the lobster meat peaking through. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. LOBSTER cont.  Bring the skillet that was used to cook bacon, back to a medium high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp butter and swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan. Place lobster tails, curved side up/meat side down, onto the skilled and cover. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until shells are bright ride. Remove lobster tails and set aside.
  6. PASTA.  Bring the same skilled again back to medium high heat, and add garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds. Add pasta, crushed red pepper, cayenne, and salt/pepper to taste. Toss the pasta to coat it. Once the pasta is hot, add halved tomatoes, cubed fontina cheese, cubed parm cheese or asiago cheese. Juuust when the cheese starts to get a little melty, remove the pasta from heat. Add in krispy kale.
  7. BUTTER IT UP.  In the small pan, add remaining butter (4 tbsp) over medium heat until it starts to brown. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
  8. SERVE. Divide pasta goodness on 2-4 plates. Add lobster meat on top. Drizzle each pasta dish with brown butter. Crumble bacon on each dish and top it off with some fresh basil.

If you know what’s good for you, immediately indulge in this epicness.

General Tso’s Chicken

Disclaimer: This recipe will leave you satisfied and speechless from pure epic-ness. Although it does not have the same take-out taste as General Tso from a Chinese restaurant, it is EXPONENTIALLY BETTER.

Those of you who know me, it’s a rare occasion when I am at a loss for words. This recipe did just that. I could not get over the complexity of flavors and textures in all one bite. I gotta tell you, once you make this, it will be very difficult to look at General Tso take out the same…

I was inspired by Cooking Classy’s blog and this is their recipe.  The only substitution I sort of made was using black pepper instead of white pepper. Everything else, I closely followed.

Tip: Since there are a number of steps to this recipe,  get all of your ingredients and pots/pans out in front of your first so you can easily pull from it all when mixing things.

Homemade General Tso is SO worth the cooking process. Here we go….


  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced, greens and whites divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

Pre-Fried Chicken Coating:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Salt and white or black pepper, as desired
  • 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying


  • 1 large skillet for sauce making
  • 1 dutch oven for frying
  • 3 Medium bowls for mixing
  • 4 plates for chicken transferring


  1. MARINATE CHICKEN. In a mixing bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, 2 Tbsp cornstarch and the chicken broth. Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour 6 Tbsp of the hoisin mixture over chicken, seal bag and allow to marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.
  2. TSO TSAUCE. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat. Once hot, add chopped whites of green onions, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and saute 1 minute. Add 2 cups of hoisin sauce mixture (reserve remaining little bit) to skillet, season with salt and white pepper to taste (you may not even need salt) and cook, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, cover with lid.
  3. CHICKEN COATING. In a shallow dish, vigorously whisk egg whites until foamy, set aside. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together cornstarch, flour and baking soda, then add remaining hoisin sauce mixture and stir until mixture resembles small chunks of flour. Warning: this looks really weird at first. Try to break up the flour clumps so they are as small as possible. This step helps with the texture of the fry on the chicken that is native to the General Tso dish.
  4. Heat 4 cups oil in a dutch oven over medium heat to 350 degrees.
  5. Meanwhile, remove chicken from refrigerator and remove chicken from marinade, shaking of excess marinade, and transfer to a large plate lined with several paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and pat dry.
  6. Place half of the chicken into the egg whites and toss to coat, then lift and allow excess to run off and immediately transfer to cornstarch mixture. Toss in cornstarch mixture (separating pieces as they stick together or working with just a few at a time) to evenly coat then transfer to a plate and repeat coating process with remaining chicken.
  7. FRY. coated chicken in batches in hot oil. I did this in 4 batches to make sure the chicken in the dutch oven wasn’t over crowded. Fry until golden brown and has cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and repeat frying process with remaining chicken.
  8. COAT. Warm sauce from skillet over medium-low heat until heated through. Place chicken in a large bowl and toss with warm sauce to evenly coat. Serve warm topped with sliced green onions and optional sesame seeds if desired.

*Served over a bed of white or brown rice goes well with this dish. Pair with a Chardonnay 🙂


Potato and Bacon Frittata

Traveling this past month has put a real stint in my blog posting. However, I’m back and ready to post some epic recipes I’ve made for family and friends along my trips. As a farewell to April, I’ve decided to share my Potato, Bacon, and Egg Frittata which I made for Easter Sunday to share with family. It was quite a hit and it struck a balance between a heavy and light breakfast. Oh and it was of course a success with my nephew.

Instead of a breakfast sausage, I grilled up some polish sausages with a side of spicy mustard to go along with this dish.

**The key to this dish is to cook the potatoes before hand on a stove top to crisp them up a little before putting them into the main dish. Then again, I prefer my breakfast potatoes crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Mm MM mmm….


  • 9-10 eggs
  • 6-8 stripes of bacon
  • 1 cup of shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 5 small red potatoes, sliced and then halved (salt and peppered)
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green spring onions
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream (if you want to keep it on the lighter side, use just a cup of milk. Though, eggs are fluffier with heavy cream)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 deep baking dish (like a lasagna pan)
  • 1 large sauce pan or skillet
  • 1 large mixing bowl

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  1. Cook 6-8 strips of bacon. Once cooled, dice up the bacon.
  2. Heat olive oil & butter in a clean skillet / sauce pan on the stove- on low to medium heat (NOT HIGH). Once melted and bubbly, add potatoes and salt & pepper to taste. Consistently stir potatoes for 5 minutes and then add peppers & green onions. Cook potatoes until fork tender. Transfer potatoes, peppers, and onions into the baking pan – make an even layer of potatoes to coat the entire bottom of the baking pan. Sprinkle the cooked, diced up bacon, on top of the potatoes. Egg 1
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk up eggs, cream, milk, parsley, cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes/bacon. Egg 2(pre cooked)
  4. Cook for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling and you can see a nice egg&potato crust on the edges of the pan.

Egg 3(bubbley cheesey goodness)

Hope everyone had a lovely April and CHEERS to May! Enjoy 🙂  

How to pick out the best Spring produce

Spring is FINALLY here, although the “nice” weather is more of a tease then a beacon of hope. But at this point, I’ll take any good weather where I can get it. That being said, my favvvorite time of year is coming up – farmers market season 🙂

Baltimore hosts a weekly farmers market under JFX, on Sundays, that if you haven’t been to, you are seriously missing out. It’s like a mini city under a bridge with local vendors for fresh produce, meats, cheeses, milk, pies, beef jerky, hummus, coffee, falafel wraps, homemade mini donuts, bread & baked goodies, homemade pasta, fresh flowers, crafts, and I could go onn and onn and onn. It is phenomenal and incredibly cost friendly (ex. 3 peppers for a dollah).

Here’s a picture of Sunday morning’s entertainment at the market:


I wanted to share this link I came across that helps identify the best produce at markets. It goes through each item and tells you what its peak season is for buying at the market. This way, you know when your really getting a deal.

Popsugar’s Blog on Spring Produce here!

What to learn more about Baltimore’s farmers market? Click the link above or here for more information.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

One of my favorite things to do is cook with friends. To me, it’s as therapeutic as yoga after work on a Tuesday night. Lots of talking, wine, and cooking. This past week, I cooked up a homemade soup with one of my dearest friends Becky. If there are 2 things I could eat on a daily basis, it would be either pizza or homemade soup.

Becky and I lived together in college and I always always always envied her flawless way to craft homemade soups. They are effortlessly whipped up to such perfection, that you can tell they are cooked with some serious l-o-v-e. Becky passed along this recipe from Little Spice Jar and we decided to alter it a little with some healthier substitutions. That’s what’s great about making soups- once you have all the main ingredients, it’s easy to substitute or add in/leave out certain extra ingredients. ALSO – leftovers are great to freeze for future cold, rainy day.

Anddd here we go…

Makes about 5-6 servings & takes 2 hours.


  • 2LBs of Roma Tomatoes  (about 8-10 tomatoes), sliced in thirds
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 Cups or 1 Quart Veggie Broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp died oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (you can use less than this)
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 heavy cream – we used plain greek yogurt (fage or chobani will do)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil


  • ROAST TOMATOES. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice tomatoes into 3/4 depending on the size. Toss tomatoes in a medium bowl with 2 TBSP olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place tomatoes on a baking tray, uncovered, and cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool for 10 min.


  • STOCK. In a 5 quart pot, saute onions and re pepper flakes in 2 TBSP of olive oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic and sautee for another 5 minutes. Add veggie broth, thyme, oregano, sugar, red wine vinegar. Add roasted tomatoes, along with any juice that’s on the baking pan, to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 min.


  • SOUP. Turn off stock and let it cool for about 10 minutes. If you have a hand blender- by all means, use this to blend ingredients until smooth. If not, you’ll have to blend batches by hand and puree until smooth. Serve warm with crusty sliced bread&butter.


Happy Eating 🙂 xo

Chicken and Mushrooms in Parmesan Cheese sauce over Egg Noodles

This minimal ingredient dish packs a ton of flavor. Also, I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms (unless they are grilled Portobellos on a burger)  but I have to say these are the bomb.com. In total, it takes about 25 minutes to make. Make sure to follow timing instructions – very important in this dish with maximizing flavor. Great for leftovers to bring to work!

This recipe makes 3-4 servings


  • 1lb of skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 large sliced onion
  • 1 cup of wine
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch OR flour if you don’t have it on hand
  • 1 tabelspoon of butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream or half & half
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 bag of cooked egg noodles or 1 cup of cooked rice (follow instructions on packaging)
  • 1 medium, deep, sauce pan


  1. Dredge chicken in cornstarch (or flour). Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan on high heat. Lay chicken in the pan and cook 5 minutes per side
  3. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the heated pan. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms begin to shrink and turn light brown (they will also be fork tender at this point).
  5. Once the mushrooms have browned, add 1 cup of white wine to the pan. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Remove chicken again from the pan. Add heavy cream and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is heated through. Put chicken back into the pan, toss to coat chicken in sauce, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on top.
  7. Serve over a bed of egg noodles or rice

Happy Eating 🙂 xo

Homemade Pasta

Homemade pasta!

When people say there is nothing like homemade pasta, they really mean it. After making this pasta, I think it would be sacrilegious to go back to any boxed pasta. I highly highly highly recommend making homemade pasta at least once in your life – AND it is so easy to make. Oh, did I mention it has TWO ingredients? Which I’m willing to bet you already have in your kitchen.

All you need is a little bit of elbow grease to get this party started.

*Tip: figure one egg per person and two eggs per cup of flour. I made pasta for four (to ensure leftovers) so I included 2 cups of flour and 4 eggs.

*Tip #2: The two most important parts of this recipe is to ensure the dough is NOT sticky or tacky and to let it rest for the full 20 minutes.


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large pot of boiling water


  1. Scoop flour into a medium-large size mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour, and crack the eggs inside the well – like this:
  2. With one hand, slowly start to fold the flour into the eggs.
  3. Once its all combined, remove from the bowl onto a floured surface. (Here’s where the elbow grease comes in). Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until it’s smooth and not tacky
    ****The dough should NOT be sticky, nor tacky. It took me atleast 10 minutes of kneading, pulling, punching and massaging to get it to it’s smooth texture. Don’t give up! It will eventually get to its desired texture.
  4. Let rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator or let it sit out on the counter  for 2 minutes if you’re ready to use now.
    ****This step is CRITICAL to great pasta
  5. Once 20 minutes has gone by, roll out the dough until its paper thin. The thinner the better! The pasta will almost double in width and depth once it enters boiling water.
  6. Use a really sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut into strips
  7. Add to boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes or until al dente.
  8. Remove, drain, serve with anything or by itself- it’s THAT amazing

Happy Eating 🙂

Freezable Flautas

I absolutely love frozen taquitos, also known as flautas. However, this homemade version will blow those frozen ones out of the water. This Sunday, I made them for the Super Bowl and they are really great appetizers because they are perfect finger food and don’t fall apart in your hands. **Also, if you make too many of them, they are easy to freeze and warm up in the oven at a later date.

Serve with a side of salsa to dip them in 🙂

Prep 20min | Cook 20min


  • 1 lb of skinless boneless chicken breast, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of canola, vegetable, or sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of finely shredded Mexican cheese blend or sharp cheddar
  • 12-15 corn (NOT FLOUR) tortillas
  • 1 large non stock baking tray, 1 medium sauce pan, 1 small sauce pan
  • handful of toothpicks
  • *optional: salsa for dipping


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

  1. CHICKEN MIXTURE: Add chopped chicken to a pan with 1 Tbsp  heated oil. As soon as the chicken starts to turn white on each side, add spices (chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper). Once chicken is cooked through, remove chicken from heat to a cutting board and chop the chicken even finer. Add the chicken into a mixing bowl and toss with cheese
  2. TORTILLA PREP: In a small sauce pan, heat remaining oil on medium until you see ripples in the oil. Fry corn tortillas, one at a time, making sure they remain soft and hot and set them on baking tray. **Do not fry too long where they start to harden and turn brown, then you are essentially making tortilla chips!
  3. FLAUTA PREP: Roll about 1/4 cup or less into each fried tortilla and secure with a toothpick
  4. BAKE: Bake flautas for 10 minutes, turn the flautas. Bake for another 10 minutes – serve hot. You can freeze them once they’ve cooled down
  5. **Alternatively, you can freeze the unbaked flautas in a zip lock bag. Do not thaw before baking. Place flautas on a tray and bake as directed.

Happy Eating 🙂

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken

This dish is just as good as it looks in the picture. It’s a perfect balance of sweet citrus and creamy cheese with an acidic balance of balsamic vinegar. Very few ingredients. Total time to cook is about 30 minutes because 20 of that is the chicken in the oven.


  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil (must be fresh, not dried)
  • 4oz fresh mozzarella ball, roughly chopped (1/2 cup of shredded mozz is okay too)
  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, preferably ripened, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 baking pan, 1 small sauce pan


  • In a plastic bag, marinate chicken in 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar from 5 minutes to up to a few hours (I marinated mine for 5 minutes while prepping and heating the oven)
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Combine chopped basil, chopped strawberries, and chopped mozzarella in a bowl, set aside.

chicken 2

  • Lay chicken on a baking pan and generously season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. **Tip, for the last 5 minutes, scoop strawberry mixture on the chicken so the cheese melts and strawberries are warmed.
  • In a small sauce pan, heat the remaining balsamic vinegar, simmer on high until balsamic is reduced and becomes almost syrupy (about 5 minutes of simmering)
  • Top chicken with strawberry mixture and drizzle balsamic reduction on top.

chicken 1

Happy Eating 🙂 xo