• chicken parm
    Dinner

    Elevated Chicken Parm

    Chicken Parm is not a recipe that Rob and I are particular huge fans of. We knew some people in college who were very passionate about how they are made. On the flip side, Rob almost never ate it growing up. So, we decided to make an attempt at elevating chicken parm with a lot of homemade, custom elements. To start things off, we made a custom breadcrumb mix. Its a mix of ground parmesan, herbs, lemon, olive oil, and plain breadcrumbs. I have found that I like to add the olive oil to breadcrumb mixes. It makes it a little stickier which allows for a better crust. The other…

  • mac and cheese
    Dinner

    30th Birthday Mac & Cheese

    Mac and Cheese is definitely one of my favorite recipes and Rob knows that well. I have several versions including Instant Pot easy versions (link here) and my go-to baked version (links here and here). Between these, we probably make it about every other week. For my 30th birthday, Rob pulled out all the stops and made what he considers the ultimate baked version! This version is a combination of four cheeses in a creamy roux based sauce. Rob picked out the cheeses to provide a good mixture of flavors, aromas, and textures. The key is good melting cheeses that compliment each other (I would really use gouda or chevre,…

  • tri tip ragu
    Dinner,  Instant Pot

    InstantPot Tri-Tip Ragu

    It feels like work for both Rob and I has been keeping us pretty busy since we got back from vacation. As a result, I have been looking for simple recipes to make when we get home. We have made a lot of our go-tos and remade a few others that we haven’t made in a while. But the other night, we tried something new that was inspired by our trip to California: Instant Pot Tri-Tip Ragu. Tri-tip is effectively the official cut of meat for California that is rare on the east coast. Its a cut out of the bottom sirloin of the cow, which means its pretty lean…

  • summer bolognese
    Dinner

    Summer Bolognese 2.0

    One of the few downsides to summer is that cooking hearty meals isn’t usually something you want. When its hot and gross out, do you really want a heavy meat dish? So, I have been continuing to experiment with making bolognese a good summer meal. I really wanted to make something like the Rabbit Bolognese (yes, Rob made a pasta sauce with a rabbit sausage) we made back in April; however, just a little lighter. To really get that lighter flavor, I started with the veggies base. This time around I went with leek. If you aren’t familiar with leek, think really big green onion. It’s got a great light…

  • basil pesto pasta
    Lunch

    Classic Basil Pesto

    I have probably posted 2 or 3 different kinds of pesto on the blog now, but I have yet to post about simple classic Basil Pesto. Basil is pretty much the standard and produces a fresh, bright flavored pesto that is perfect for a summer day. Its light, pretty healthy and tasty, so what’s not to love? Our AeroGarden basil plants had started getting a little out of control; so Rob basically harvested every decent basil leaf from them to make the pesto. We ended up with a pretty big pile of leaves (which in reality isn’t all that much). The nice thing was we new the basil was fresh…

  • caesar pasta salad
    Lunch

    Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

    Caesar Salad is probably one of the most universal salads out there. The problem is there is really only so much to do with it. That’s where this idea for the pasta salad came from. I love a good pasta salad for lunch so this recipe was born. I made caesar salad dressing a little while back and was definitely looking to give it a try again. I went with the traditional method (basically making mayo from scratch). The proportions this time around worked out even better. I also kept it a little simpler leaving out extra vinegar and capers, but added a little grainy mustard. The great thing about…

  • picnic pasta salad
    Dinner,  Lunch

    Picnic Pasta Salad

    This recipe is probably at the top of the list of favorite recipes for me and Rob. Its got good flavor, is light, and best of all packs well! That last one is really important because, for years now, this has been our go to picnic food. I am not even sure how many times we have made this recipe, but it makes for a great weekend lunch, picnic main, or packable workday lunch! For Memorial Day weekend, we went to a place in the DC area called Wolf Trap. It’s a national park that focuses on performing arts and every year the Marine Corps Band does a free concert.…

  • cacio pepe milanese
    Dinner

    Brown Butter Cacio e Pepe

    Cacio e Pepe is a pretty classic, easy pasta recipe which is what I love about it. The problem I have with it is, for a dinner, it can almost be TOO simple. I wanted to find a way to make it a little more interesting and also incorporate a protein source with the recipe. The answer is this Brown Butter Cacio e Pepe with Parmesan-Milanese Chicken. This chicken breasts are pretty straight forward. I started with some thin pieces, gave them a quick egg coating, and then into a breadcrumb/parmesan mixture. Then its just a simple pan fry in an oil/butter mixture. See, pretty simple! Now is the fun…

  • chicken bolognese
    Dinner

    Summery Chicken Bolognese

    Now that it basically feels like summer here in DC, its seemed like the right time to look at lightening up some of my favorite recipes. A prime target is one of my favorite pasta sauces: bolognese. When you think of bolognese typically a heavy, hearty meat sauce comes to mind, so I wanted to go after that. So, I started with the meat selection. Normally, I go for pork, beef, or lamb which all tend to be a bit heavier. This time I went with chicken; chicken sausage to be specific. I like cooking with sausage since it helps give a good base flavor to the sauce since its…

  • zakarian greek yogurt pasta
    Dinner,  Lunch

    Zakarian’s Yogurt and Herb Pasta

    So, this may be the first time I got a real inspiration from watching the Kitchen on the Food Network. The best part of the show though is definitely Geoffrey Zakarian (just gonna call him GZ going forward). When he makes something on the show, its more often than involves proper technique and flavor pairings. This one actually caught my eye and made me go oooh! I would describe it as basically a Tzaziki Pasta, which just sounded awesome. What’s really great is that the only thing that you need to cook is the pasta. We did cook up some chicken pieces to provide protein but its not required. The…