Thursday, June 9, 2022

Steak Quesadillas at Home

My steak quesadillas have become a fave of my son's. They are a nice change from taco night.

These are so simple to make. The filling can be used throughout the week if you do not eat all 6 at once. 

You may use chicken in place of steak if desired. 

Steak Quesadillas 

Makes 6 

6 large flour tortillas

1 Tbsp. olive oil

 1/2 lb. beef round stir fry strips

1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced

1 small onion, sliced

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp coriander

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup water

Shredded cheddar cheese

To serve: Shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, lime quarters

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Add beef strips and brown. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a dish.

In the same skillet, add green and red bell peppers and onion slices. Season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium high heat until soft. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and coriander. Return steak to the pan and add 1/4 cup water. Stir until well combined and heated through. Add more water if desired. Set aside until ready to assemble quesadillas.

To make quesadillas: Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add tortilla to dry pan. Warm for a minute, flip. On one half of the tortilla, add a handful of shredded cheese spreading evenly. Top with 1/6 of the meat and pepper mixture. Top with little more cheese. Fold empty side of tortilla over the side with the fillings. Press down with tongs to seal the edges. Once browned, flip to brown the other side. Remove to plate. Cool for a minute, and cut in half.

Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. 

Serve with shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream and lime quarters.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Pasta with Turkey Sausage, Peas and Mushrooms

I so love this recipe: Pasta with Turkey Sausage, Peas and Mushrooms is packed with flavor and requires minimal effort. This is perfect for those of you who don't groove on a saucy pasta. Of course, The Jersey Girl grooves on all pasta, but to each his own!

The recipe calls for farfalle aka bow ties, but orecchiette is what I had on hand, so that's what went in this dish. Any short pasta will due. I can see this going well with mezze rigatoni, too.

Please note I totally do not use as much salt as Giada calls for. 

I used baby bella mushrooms that were already sliced to save myself some time. Shortcuts are sometimes God's plan.

Here you go:

Farfalle with Turkey Sausage, Peas and Mushrooms

Makes 4 main-course servings

From "Everyday Italian" 

By Giada DeLaurentiis


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 lb. turkey sausages, casings removed

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

3/4 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste

3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted slightly

1 lb. dried farfalle pasta (bow-tie pasta)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over a high flame. Add the turkey sausage and saute until golden brown, breaking up any large clumps, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside. Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the same pan. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add the peas and saute for 2 minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and cook until the sausage is heated through and the flavors have blended, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the meat mixture. Toss over medium heat to combine and heat through, adding enough of the reserved cooking water to moisten, about 5 minutes. Drizzle in the remaining oil. Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to a large bowl and serve.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Roasted Mexican Zucchini

This is a great recipe to have for when the zucchini crop is bumpin: Roasted Mexican Zucchini. It's simple and full of great, earthy flavors. The lime juice and fresh cilantro add a pop of brightness.

I always have garlic powder, onion powder and cumin in my pantry. If you can't get fresh cilantro, just use fresh parsley. I omit the cheese, but I'm sure it's fab.

This is perfect for Mexican night at home! My son absolutely loves zucchini prepared this way.

Roasted Mexican Zucchini

From Isabel Eats

Makes 4 servings


4 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch half moon

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. black powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4tsp.ground cumin

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

2 Tbsp. crumbled cojita cheese (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, add the diced zucchini, olive oil, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder and ground cumin. Toss until evenly coated.

3. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread evenly in a single layer.

4. Roast for 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until zucchini is fork tender.

5. Top with lime juice and fresh cilantro and cojito cheese (if using). Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken and Lemon Orzo

Presenting a cookbook mashup is such fun!

First up is Grilled Bruschetta Chicken from "Magnolia Table Vol. 2" by Joanna Gaines. This dish was so easy and full of flavor. I paired it with Lemon Orzo with Feta from "Modern Comfort Food" by Ina Garten. I received both books for Christmas from The Husband. I've really enjoyed checking them out.

These recipes were a perfect match together. They were united with a shared ingredient: feta. One of my faves, for sure. I did omit the dill from the orzo and replaced it with basil so that the herb situation between the two dishes didn't clash. Plus, like whoever has dill on hand? 

I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as we did!

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

From "Magnolia Table Vol. 2"
By Joanna Gaines

Serves 4

6 roma or 1 pint grape tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat (about 350 degrees F)

2. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, feta, basil, Greek seasoning and 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Stir gently to mix. Set the bruschetta mixture aside to let the flavors meld.

3. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place it on a sheet pan.

4. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over the chicken. Drizzle the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive over the top. Use your hands to rub the mixture into the chicken breasts, coating well. Be sure to do both sides.

5. Grill the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees F, 8-12 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. Set aside to rest for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Serve the grilled chicken hot, with the bruschetta mixture spooned on top right before serving.

7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Please note: The Jersey Girl used a grill pan on her stove. She used thin cut chicken cutlets, so they cooked just 2-3 minutes per side. She kept the feta cheese separate and sprinkled on top when serving just in case it wasn't desired by the diner. 

Lemon Orzo with Feta

From "Modern Comfort Food"
By Ina Garten

Serves 4

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup orzo
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. good olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill (The Jersey Girl used fresh basil)
1 cup small-diced feta, preferably Greek (4 ounces)

1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tsp. salt and orzo. Return the water to a boil and simmer uncovered for 9 to 11 minutes, until the orzo is al dente. Drain.

2. Transfer the orzo to a bowl and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, dill or basil, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Fold in the feta and serve hot.

Please note: The Jersey Girl uses fresh basil instead of dill, and she adds 1/4. tsp of salt rather than 2 tsp. as listed in the second step. The lemon zest, juice, olive oil, fresh herb, salt and pepper may be whisked together and added all together after the orzo is cooked if you would like to prep ahead. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Pomodoro Sauce, Baby


Oh, ok. Butter is a bit magical in a tomato sauce. 

Here is Pomodoro Sauce from Rachael Ray's "Everyone is Italian on Sunday." When I read the recipe, it seemed really interesting to me as it includes ingredients I never ever use in my marinara: butter and a cheese rind. Oh yes, and chicken broth?!

This sauce doesn't need a ton of time to come together, so it was a cinch to make after a day of teaching. I did add red pepper flakes and black pepper, because I do like a bit of spice. I also used 1 can of whole tomatoes and 1 can of crushed.

The sauce is very luxurious and is perfect with ravioli. Be sure to stir frequently and cook super low so that it doesn't stick to the pot and burn. For shame.

If you are curious as to what is the difference between marinara and a pomodoro it is as follows: Marinara is smooth; pomodoro is not. 

Here you go:

Pomodoro Sauce

Makes about 6 cups

From "Everyone is Italian on Sunday"

By Rachael Ray


1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped


1 cup chicken stock

2 (28-to-32-ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes

A few basil leaves, torn

Rind from a small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese


In a pot, heat the oil (1 turn of the pan) over medium heat. Melt in the butter, and the onion and garlic, season with salt, and cook, partially covered, until very soft. 

Add the stock. Hand crush the tomatoes as you add them to the pot, then add the juice from the cans. Stir in the basil and add the cheese rind. Reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes. Adjust the salt. Remove the rind before serving.

Please note: The Jersey Girl used 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes and 1 can of crushed tomatoes. She added 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes and 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper to the sauce, as well.


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Mushroom Ragu

This Mushroom Ragu is fabulous for a meat free main night. I served it over fettucine, but I think it would work well over a short-cut pasta like rigatoni or over creamy polenta.

The recipe calls for mixed mushrooms, but I just used a package of baby bella mushrooms. Easy peasy.

I used red wine instead of Marsala, because that's what I had. I also used beef broth instead of chicken broth, because I feel like beef broth compliments mushrooms better.

I also added 1/3 cup half and half to the sauce before tossing over the pasta for a little creaminess.

Mushroom Ragu
From Everyday Italian
By Giada DeLaurentiis
Makes about 3 cups, serves 4 over a pound of pasta or as a first course

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. mixed wild mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, stemmed shitake), chopped
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup Marsala
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Optional: 1/3 cup half-and-half

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion until tender, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute. 

2. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Increase the heat to high and saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes. 

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Marsala. Return the pan to the heat and simmer until the Marsala evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half, about 30 minutes. 

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in cheese, basil, parsley. Season the ragu with more salt and pepper to taste. (The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before using).

Please note: The Jersey Girl used the sauce immediately. She used red wine in place of Marsala and beef broth instead of chicken broth. She added 1/3 cup of 1/2 and 1/2 to the ragu before tossing over cooked fettucine. To make the sauce thinner, add a ladle or two of pasta water. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Beans and Greens Chicken Chili

I love a one-pot situation that is full of flavor and health, so I came up with this awesome chicken chili recipe recently. I call it Beans and Greens Chicken Chili. I used black beans, cannellini beans and baby kale to up the healthy factor. Frozen corn adds a pop of color.

You could easily swap out the chicken for ground turkey. Spinach could replace the kale if you aren't a fan. 

This is easy to freeze as well, so double the batch if you would like!

Please note the recipe does not call for any salt. This is due to the Goya Adobo seasoning, which already contains salt. If you wish to swap out the Adobo seasoning for salt and black pepper, feel free! You may also add more salt during your cooking process. I tend to use a lot less salt than most recipes call for. Just a personal taste.

Beans and Greens Chicken Chili

Makes 4 big servings


 1 onion

1 jalapeno

4 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. ground chicken

1 tsp. Adobo seasoning

1 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 tsp. coriander


2 cups chicken broth

1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

5 ounces baby kale

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/2 cup- 1 1/2 cups of water, if desired

Lime juice, chopped scallions, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips to serve


In a dutch oven, add olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno, saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, saute for a minute. Add ground chicken. Stir until well browned. 

Add Adobo, cumin, chili powder, coriander. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add flour. Stir until well blended.

Add broth, 1/2 cup water, cannellini beans, black beans, corn and kale. Simmer over low heat partially covered for 15 minutes. Stir. Add another 1/2 cup of water if desired, simmer for another 15 minutes. For the third and final time, stir and add another 1/2 cup of water if desired. 

Let chili rest. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice, scallions, shredded cheese and/or sour cream, if desired.