Category Archives: Pasta

Chicken in Pesto Cream Sauce over Broccolini

I wanted a simple cream based pasta dish; however, I didn’t want it to be too creamy (the wife doesn’t care for a thick cream sauce) so there is the one I came up with.


1/2 lb of sliced chicken breast

3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 tsp salt, cracked pepper, basil

2 minced cloves of garlic

8 oz cooked farfalle

A bunch of Broccolini

Let us get started

1 – In a large pan, over a medium heat, add your chicken stock and minced garlic. Bring to a slow simmer.

2 – Add chicken, salt, pepper and cook for roughly 6 to 8 minutes. Stir frequently.

3 – While the chicken in cooking, in a separate pan, add a half cup of water and your broccolini and cover. Steam until the broccolini is bright green. Remove from heat and drain.

4 – After the chicken reached the 6 yo 8 minute mark, add your heavy whipping cream and basil.  Raise heat to medium high, stir.  At this point we want the sauce to thicken slightly. When it is at your desired thickness you are done.

There you go.  Plate over your broccolini, add a bit of Parmesan cheese and you are good to go.

Fettuccine with Shrimp, Zucchini, and Summer Squash

Well, it is spring time in Chicago and thought it would be a good day for a spring-esque dish. What better than some Fettuccine and some fresh veggies. For this dish you’ll need:

1. 1/2 lb of Fettuccine

2. 3 tbsp of butter

3. 1 cup of chicken stock

4. 1/4 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup fresh oregano, 1/4 cup fresh arugula

5. One diced shallot

6. A pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper

7. 1 lb of cooked shrimp

8. 1 small Zucchini, sliced

9. 1 small Summer Squash, sliced

10. 1 tbsp minced garlic

11. 1 small head of Broccoli, chopped


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook pasta.

2. While the pasta is cooking, place the chicken stock, garlic and soft butter into a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Let simmer for 3 minutes.

3. Add basil, oregano, arugula and shallot. Simmer for 3 minutes.

4. Add Broccoli, Zucchini, Summer Squash and shrimp. Simmer for 10 minutes – make sure to stir!

5. By now your pasta should be done.  Remove for the flame, drain the pasta, then place it back into the original pot.  Pour in your shrimp/veggie sauce and serve!

Now, I understand that I haven’t done much cooking as of late… so my taste buds may be a bit off… but this was, by far, the best dish I have EVER made.

No, I’m not kidding. Hands down, the best dish I’ve ever made.

The sauce was very light. The Zucchini, Broccoli, and Summer Squash were perfectly tender and the shrimp absorbed just enough of the sauce to retain a perfect balance of the sauce and the shrimp itself.

I’d cook this up and serve it to anyone who stops by, and I strongly suggest you give it a try!

Oh… and up tomorrow… the Calamari dish that was an appetizer for this meal.

Lasagna Rolls

There’s always room for pasta.  We all love it. Even low-carbers hate the fact they dream about it.  So here’s another way to satiate that desire.  This was a nice change of pace from the traditional layered dish but was just as filling.


8 uncooked lasagna noodles

4 tsp olive oil

1/2 c finely chopped onion

1-8 0z pkge sliced mushrooms

1-6 oz pkge baby spinach

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 c part skim ricotta cheese

1/4 c minced fresh basil, divided

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper


1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (7 oz) bottle roasted red bell peppers, undrained

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

1. For lasagna, cook noodles according to package direction, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Heat oil in skillet over med-high heat.  Add onion, mushroom, spinach and garlic – saute for 5 mins or until veggies are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, 2 tbsp basil, salt and red pepper.

3. For sauce, place your sauce ingredients into a blender and  process until smooth.

4. Place cooked noodles on flat surface; spread 1/3 c cheese mixture over each noodle.  Roll up noodles, jelly-roll fashion, starting with short side.  Place rolls, seam-side down, in a shallow 2 qt microwave safe dish.  Pour 1/4 c sauce over each roll and cover with heavy duty plastic wrap.  Microwave at HIGH 5 mins and sprinkle with remaining basil.  Makes 4 servings of 2 rolls each.

As you can see the sauce, at first, was more watery than I anticipated but I had to let it sit for a bit.  The sauce was fine after a few more minutes.  The rolls were also a bit ‘flatter’ than I expected.  Other than that the taste was great!  I’m sure you can substitute some of the veggies for a meat if you wanted more substance to them.  I served this was a side of sauteed asparagus – yum!   If only I had gelato. . . .

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 393

Fat: 11.7 g

Protein: 19.3 g

Carbohydrate: 58.3 g

Fiber: 5.9 g

Cholesterol: 20 mg

Sodium: 924 mg

Pork with Lemon Caper Sauce

Here is one delicious quick and easy recipe that is a sure-fire crowd pleaser – especially if you love pork chops.  This has a light but flavorful breading – crisp on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.  You cannot go wrong with this :)

1/3 c flour

1/8 tsp salt

3 tbsp Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

3 tbsp preshredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

4 – 4 oz boneless center cut pork chops (about 1/2 thick)

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 c fat free less sodium chicken broth

1 tbsp dry white wine

1/4 tsp grated lemon rind

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp capers, rinsed and drained

1. Combine flour and salt in a shallow dish.  Place breadcrumbs, cheese, and pepper in a shallow dish; place egg white in another shallow dish.  Dredge pork in flour mixture, dip in egg white, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Coat pork with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove from pan; keep warm.  Add broth and remaining ingredients to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Cook 2 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 2 mins).  Serve with pork.  Yields 4 servings.

I know the pork appears a little burnt but it certainly didn’t taste that way.  The recipe didn’t have a picture so I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to look but the taste was amazing!  I served it with orzo (splashed with some fresh lemon juice, salt, and parsley) and garlic-red pepper broccoli.  I had my son help me make this dinner so I *think* that’s why he enjoyed every bite of it – even the broccoli :)

Nutritional Information (pork only):

Calories: 256

Fat: 10.1 g

Protein: 28.2 g

Carbohydrate: 11.5 g

Fiber: 0.7 g

Cholesterol: 68 mg

Sodium: 419 mg

Chicken and Noodles

(Oh I have so many things to post. . .) I know everyone has their own version of this dish as it is comfort food at its finest.  I loved the fact that with this recipe you made the noodles yourself, which was surprisingly, not difficult!  Feel free to vary the recipe and let me know how it goes.

You’ll need:

1/2 c all purpose flour, plus more as needed

1/2 large beaten egg

2 tbsp fat free milk

3 c fat free low sodium chicken broth

1 c diced cooked chicken (about 6-8 oz)

1.5 c no salt added frozen mixed veggies (or choose your own fresh)

1/4 tsp dried thyme, crumbled

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/3 c water

3 tbsp flour

1. For the noodles, mix first 3 ingredients  until you form a ball.  Lightly flour a cutting board and kneed the dough for about 1-2 mins.  Cover with a dry dish towel and let rest for 15 mins.

2. Roll the dough out to a 9 x6 in rectangle.  Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into strips about 3 in long and 1/2 wide.  Cover with dish towel and set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, stir together the broth, chicken, veggies, and seasonings (not water and flour).  Cover and bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-high.  Add the noodles; cook for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally.

4.  In a small bowl, whisk the water and flour together and stir into the mixture.  Cook for a few more minutes until it has thickened a bit.  Serves 3 (1.5 c servings)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 235

Total Fat: 2. 5 g

Cholesterol: 40 mg

Sodium: 328 mg

Carbohydrate: 29 mg

Fiber: 3 g

Protein: 22 g

Salmon Cakes with Lemon and Capers/Fettuccine in Tomato Broth

Implementing healthy, low-cal recipes has taken on much more significance for me recently so I am very happy to share those with you that actually taste good and are easy to put together.  These two were a suggested pair and so with the success of the tuna cakes I decided to try these yesterday afternoon.  Big smiles all around for these!

Salmon cakes:

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

2 tsp capers, rinsed and drained

1 tsp black or green peppercorns

1 med garlic cloe, coarsely chopped or 1/2 tsp bottled, chopped or minced

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

whites of 2 lg eggs

1/4 cup fat free, cholesterol-free or light, reduced-calorie mayonnaise dressing

1/4 cup cornmeal

12 oz salmon fillet, skin removed

1. With a mortar and pestle crush and grind together first 5 ingredients.  Transfer to medium bowl.  Add lemon juice and using your mortar make a paste.

2. Stir in egg whites, mayonnaise, and cornmeal.

3. Rinse your fish, pat dry and cut into 1/4 in thick pieces.  They don’t have to be uniform so  don’t feel you have to be really precise.  Stir this into your mixture.

4. Preheat large skillet over medium heat and spray with vegetable oil spray.  Form 4 patties about 3/4 in thick.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, turning only once.  Enjoy!

For Fettuccine:

14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 c fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

2 pepperoncini (Tuscan peppers), stemmed, seeded, and minced

2 med garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp bottled minced

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

8-9 oz fresh fettuccine

6-8 oz sliced or coarsed chopped fresh mushrooms

2 large zucchini, grated

3 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried, crumbled

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp shredded/grated Parmesan or Romano

1. Heat large, deep skillet over high heat.  Put in first 7 ingredients and stir.  Bring to a simmer.  Gently stir in pasta, mushrooms and zucchini.  Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-high.  Cook for 2 minutes or until tender.  Stir in basil.  When read to serve sprinkle with cheese if desired.

You may be wondering. . . zucchini?  I was very, very surprised at how creamy the fettuccine came out because of this vegetable.  No heavy creams, butter, or loads of cheese (which we all love) but this had an alfredo consistency with a different flavor.  It was excellent :)

Nutritional Information:


Calories: 160

Total Fat: 3 g

Cholesterol: 44 mg

Sodium: 245 mg

Carbohydrate: 11 g

Fiber: 1 g

Protein: 20 g


Calories: 217

Total Fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 1 mg

Sodium: 430 mg

Carbohydrate: 43 g

Fiber: 4 g

Protein: 10 g

Pasta Bolognese over Egg Noodles

Having had an impressive Bolognese sauce at Bravo! I wanted to give this one a go in my kitchen. I finally settled on the base recipe found here.

All the goods!

All the goods!

Needed for the sauce:

1 cups grated carrots

1/2 large red onion, diced

1/2 white onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon oregano flakes

1 tablespoon dried basil flakes

1/2 6-ounce can tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup red wine

1 tbsp, 1 tsp Worcestershire

salt, pepper to taste

1 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes

1/2 cup half-n-half

Fresh Parmesan cheese

Let us get right to it!

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add grated carrots, onions and shallot and cook for three minutes.

    Onions, Shallots, Carrots.. oh my!

    Onions, Shallots, Carrots.. oh my!

  3. Add ground beef and cook for a few minutes until brown.
  4. Mix in oregano and basil.
  5. When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients add tomato paste and heat.
  6. Add garlic and stir to combine.
  7. Add red wine and stir together.
  8. Add Worcestershire and stir.
  9. Add canned tomatoes.
  10. Finally add in half-n-half, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

And there you have it, you are done! Bolognese sauce over Egg Pasta

Bolognese Sauce Over Egg Pasta

Bolognese Sauce Over Egg Pasta

Enjoyable dish, one that seems to get better after the sauce has sat for a few days. Make some of the kick-ass garlic bread and you are ready to go.

Seared Tilapia with Lemon-Tarragon Sauce and Spinach Orzo

Although I much prefer “meatier” fish like salmon or mahi-mahi, this was very, very good.  The tilapia is seasoned very well here and so it doesn’t have that “fish” smell and taste to it.  And I love it when I find recipes that have an accompaniment included!

For Tilapia:

1.5 lbs fresh/frozen tilapia or other lean whitefish

1 tsp seasoned salt ( I used more though)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 c dry white wine

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp snipped fresh tarragon or 1/4 tsp dried tarragon, crushed

1. Rinse fish, pat dry and sprinkle with seasoned salt.  Prep your skillet with oil and cook fish until it flakes easily (approx 4-5 mins total).  Set aside in dish and keep warm.

2.  For sauce, add wine and lemon juice to skillet making sure to scrape up any crusty bits from the fish.  Whisk in mustard and tarragon and heat through. Serve over fillets.  I yielded 6 servings.  Enjoy!

For Spinach Orzo:

Prep 8 oz dried whole wheat orzo, drain.  Immediately toss orzo with 5-6 oz package of baby spinach, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel and 1/4 tsp salt.  Season to taste with fresh ground pepper.

Mmmm. . .good!

Nutritional Information (for both together):

Calories: 294

Total Fat: 7  g

Cholesterol: 57 mg

Protein: 28 g

Carbohydrate: 28 g

Fiber: 7 g

Sodium: 448 mg

Spinach and Tofu Stuffed Shells

Unless you tell, no one will ever be able to tell that the tofu provides the creaminess in this dish!

You will need:

18 dried jumbo shells

8 0z frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dried

2 tbsp green onion (green and white parts)

1 tsp bottled minced garlic

14 oz soft silken reduced fat tofu, drained

1 c loosely packed fresh basil, stems removed and chopped

whites of 2 large eggs or egg substitute equal to one egg or 1 large egg

2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

pepper to taste

1.5 c tomato based meatless pasta sauce

12 oz no salt added tomato sauce

2 more tbsp parmesan cheese

1. Cook shells according to package directions and carefully rinse in cool water.  Heat a large skillet over med heat, remove from heat and then spray down.  Cook spinach, green onion and garlic until all liquid has evaporated and spinach is heated through.  Put in a large bowl.  Crumble tofu into spinach and mash/combine well.  Stir in basil.

2. In a small bowl which egg whites and add parmesan cheese, nutmeg, pepper and stir this into spinach mixture.

3. Mix tomato sauces together and place half this mixture in a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish.  Fill pasta shells with spinach mixture and top with remaining sauce and parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 mins at 350.  Makes approx 6 servings.  Enjoy!

Assembling the shells. . .

Your end product!

***I would have put in a tad bit more garlic and if you wanted something “heavier” you can use a meat based sauce as well.  Regardless, this was perfect paired with salad and don’t forget garlic bread if you want the whole “complete” Italian deal (refer to Van’s Truly Kick-Ass garlic bread!).

Nutritional Information (per serving – 3 shells):

Calories: 195 (Yup, that’s right!)

Total Fat: 2 g

Cholesterol: 2 mg

Sodium: 374 mg

Carbohydrate: 31 g

Fiber: 4 g

Protein: 12 g

Good Ole Spaghetti and Meatballs

I was asked to make Spaghetti and Meatballs so I thought, hey, why not.  Never did that before now seems like a good time to expand the old recipe book.  To start, I used the sauce recipe that I used in the Kitchen Scrap Lasagna (I mean, why re-intent the wheel on that one) and focused on the meatballs.

Here is what I used:

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs

1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

1 Green Onion, chopped

1 tsp freshly ground oregano, basil and dill (respectively)

1 tbsp minced garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste


1) Preheat oven to 325

2) Take your ingredients and mix until all items are throughly blended

3) Shape meatballs and place on cookie sheet (like so)

Meatballs, lined up.

Meatballs, lined up.

4) Bake for 25 minutes

5) Serve over Spaghetti and top with your sauce of choice

Meatballs, Ready to go!

Meatballs, ready to go!

Meatballs are not all that hard to make – it all comes down to having the base recipe and tweaking as you see fit.  That said, what are your favorite metaball recipes?

What suggestions do you have that can really make an impressive dish out of something so simple?

Have fun.