• 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…

  • lemon ricotta basil pasta
    Dinner

    Lemon-Basil-Ricotta Pasta

    I have been looking for ways to come up with some new warm weather pastas. I wanted to get away from cream sauces; however, I really like the flavors I often use in them. This recipe was my first attempt of this year on this. While I made this one with chicken, it was actually a bit of a test bed for what will eventually become a shrimp-based recipe. I really wanted a light flavor but with a little bit of some richness. I loosely based this recipe on one of my favorite cream sauce pastas using similar flavors. For the base flavors, lemon and basil were the natural choices…

  • creamy tomato pasta
    Dinner

    Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

    This is another recipe that is loosely inspired by an Ina Garten one. I love a good pasta; unfortunately, tomato sauces are a little harder to innovate. This one started out as her sausage and fennel pasta, but we modified it along the way with some different flavors. Rob and I really liked the idea of a creamy tomato sauce like Ina’s recipe. To mix it up we added a little shallot with the fennel. The bigger add for us was some sun-dried tomato. I really love them as an ingredient; they have a bit of saltiness and are better than regular tomatoes in my opinion. This is one of…

  • Rabbit sausage bolognese
    Dinner

    Rabbit Sausage Bolognese

    The idea to make something with rabbit was all Rob, as was the cooking. His love of a gamey meat sauce over pasta definitely highlights the Italian in him. As strange as it sounds, this kind of recipe is almost comfort food to him. So I let him cook for me, for our Sunday night date-night-in dinner. This started with an idea Rob had to make a Wild Boar (yes BOAR) pasta sauce after watching an episode of Phil Rosenthal’s food travel show on Netflix. PSA: If you haven’t watched “Somebody Feed Phil” or its PBS predecessor on Netflix, DO IT NOW!!! Our local butcher didn’t have boar at the…

  • spaghetti and meatballs
    Appetizer,  Dinner

    Chicken-Pork Meatballs

    Meatballs are such a versatile ingredient. You can eat them as a snack or over pasta. Plus they can be eaten right away or frozen to save for later. At any given time I probably have at least two dinners worth of meatballs in my freezer just waiting to be heated. I make meatballs in many different ways, more often than not based on the types of ground meat available at the grocery store. This trip, I was glad that they had chicken-based Italian sausage and ground pork. I didn’t want to double down on pork Italian sausage since I wanted to be able to build a little more of…

  • spinach mint pesto
    Dinner,  Lunch

    Spinach-Mint Pesto

    Who doesn’t like pesto? Its super flavorful and easy, but the real benefit: you can make so many different variations to give different flavors. This version was made for a weekend lunch and the goal was a light clean flavor. We went with a slight variation to our normal green mix to get that flavor. Traditionally, pesto is basil-based; basil is a very bold flavor and it has a tendency to change color quickly. Sometimes I like the basil flavor, but I wanted something a little more neutral. One of my other common greens is arugula. It provides a natural spiciness that gives pesto a great flavor. For a light…