Roasted Butternut Squash and Udon Noodles

IMG_9391

 

Alphabakes has reached the end of the alphabet. This makes me sad. This has been a fun activity to participate in. *Hint Hint* People should suggest other round-ups like Alphabakes to me! I participate frequently in We Should Cocoa, Random Recipes, and some others as well. What other ones should I do?

I obviously have not been updating frequently. I’ve been cooking, but nothing exciting. Work has been overwhelming me. And on top of work (which really just means my volunteer attorney position that involves a $0 paycheck,) I’ve been applying for jobs and trying to find an office that will actually pay me. I’ve been feeling bitter and have been having a hard time emotionally with this, which is making my updating pretty abysmal. But I did decide to participate in the last Alphabakes – this month’s letter is U.

This was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. The squash, the garlic, the noodles – this was such a good dish. The longest part of the whole thing is waiting for the squash to roast. Once roasted though, it comes together easily.

AlphaBakes Logo

Roasted Butternut Squash and Udon Noodles
(inspiration)

Ingredients
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
9 oz udon noodles
3 cloves garlic
1-inch piece ginger, peeled
1/4 cup parsley
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame seeds

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the squash and olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, until tender.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook to the package specifications. Drain and set aside.

3. In a food process, add the garlic and ginger. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the parsley and pulse until the parsley is finely chopped. Add the soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and sesame seeds. Pulse some more.

4. Toss the squash, udon, and sauce together.

* serves 2
* besides Alphabakes, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking

Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

IMG_9368

 

This month’s Pasta Please theme is GARLIC hosted over at The Spicy Pear. I love garlic. When a recipe calls for garlic, I most always double the amount of it I actually use in my dish because I love it. It helps that Matt loves it too, because that would make me sad.

To make a garlic pasta dish? YES PLEASE! I feel like garlic gives any dish (or okay, most dishes) a nice element. Please don’t put it in my chocolate cake though.

Anyway – I’ve been busy lately and haven’t been cooking too much due to interviews and work. This dish was easy to make after a Friday at work and tasted delicious. The sun-dried tomatoes definitely helped with that too.

pasta please

Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
(source)

Ingredients
12 oz noodles in any shape you want
6 slices bacon
1 lb chicken breasts, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta. Once al dente, drain and set aside.

2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Once crispy remove to a plate covered in paper towels. Add the chicken to the bacon grease and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Saute artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes with the chicken for 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add garlic and then saute for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour on top and cook for 1 minute, whisking until smooth.  Slowly poor in the milk and chicken broth, whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir, cooking for 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to become bubbly and thick. Add the garlic powder and stir.

4. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Combine the pasta, bacon, chicken mixture, and sauce. Toss to combine.

* serves 6
* besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with  Weekend Cooking

Spaghetti Bolognese

IMG_9266

This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.

Toast-30614_2

For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday

 

Faux Tom Yum Soup

IMG_9261

This month at Cooking Around the World we’re heading to Thailand. My google-fu suggested I make Tom Yum Soup. I agreed.

Now . . . I live in a very Asian area. I very easily could have gotten all the ingredients I needed to make this authentic. But I just don’t have money to be spending on ingredients I don’t use frequently. So I subbed and I skipped and I made a soup with too many noodles (oops!) But you know, it doesn’t matter. It still tasted delicious.

If you want the authentic recipe go to the source. If you want mine . . . well, it’s below.

Bloggers Around the World Logo

 

Faux Tom Yum Soup
(source)

Ingredients
1 package soba noodles
2 1/2 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tomato, chopped
12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
3 tbsp lime juice

Directions

1. Cook the noodles to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a pot bring the water to a boil. Add the lemongrass, tomato, shrimp, mushrooms, and chili garlic sauce. Boil until the shrimp is cooked all the way through. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir together.

3. Pour the broth over the noodles. Toss the noodles into the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Cooking Around The World, this is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

 

Sriacha Mac and Cheese

IMG_9079

 

If you may or may not know, this month’s Pantry Party theme is cheese. The goal for this month is to open that pantry of yours, see what needs to be used in there, and make something cheesy! And I realize cheese doesn’t fit a vegan diet, so I’m also including dishes using vegan cheese.

When I started thinking cheese this month my brain automatically went to mac and cheese. Rather than trying to be horribly creative, I went the mac and cheese route. I decided to use something more than just pasta from my pantry and found a bottle of sriacha. After googling around I found the perfect recipe: Sriacha Mac and Cheese.

This is probably the easiest mac and cheese I’ve ever made. It doesn’t use a roux, like many do. Rather, you kind of just mix everything in there and let it bake. The flavor of the sriacha and the cheese was a great combination. Loved it.

This pantry party really used my pantry. I used:

Noodles
Sriacha
Breadcrumbs
Red chili flakes

I may make another recipe this month for the party . . . We’ll see! I do love my cheese.

smaller

Sriacha Mac and Cheese

Ingredients
1/2 lb dry pasta
2 cup breadcrumbs
3 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
2 tbsp sriacha, divided
4 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

1. Boil a large pot of water. Cook the pasta to package directions until al dente. Set aside and let drain.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Melt 3 tbsp of the butter.

3. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, 1/2 the cheese, 1/2 the sriacha, and the melted butter. Add half of this mixture to the bottom of a baking dish.

4. With your cooked pasta, stir in the remaining cheese, sriacha, butter, and red chili flakes. The cheese will strt to melt around the pasta, stir until everything is well coated. Next pour in the beaten egg and the cream. Stir to combine. Pour into the baking dish over the breadcrumbs. Top the pasta with the remaining breadcrumbs. Spray the top with a cooking spray.

5. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

* serves 4
* Besides Pantry Party, this dish is shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Mediterranean Mac and Cheese

IMG_8962

This was a yummy and easy dish – besides that there isn’t much to say! This is my study break from finals studying tonight. :)

Mediterranean Mac and Cheese
(source)

Ingredients
3/4 cup dry elbow noodle
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2/3 cup feta cheese
1 cup milk
2 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
2 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp black olives
1/2 cup canned fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook to package directions. Drain and set aside.

3. In a heavy pan over medium-high heat, melt  the butter and mix in the flour. Whisk together and cook for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and whisk until smooth. Add 1/2 cup milk and whisk together. Cook for several minutes, whisking continuously, allowing the mixture to thicken.

4. Add the cheddar cheese and 1/2 of the feta.  Stir well, allowing the cheese to melt. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, the remaining milk, fire roasted tomatoes, and olives. Stir together well.

5. Once the sauce is smooth, pour of the noodles and mix together well. Pour into a casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes.

* serves 3
* Shared with Full Plate Thursday, Catch A Glimpse Thursday, The Busy’s Bee’s Blog Hop, & Showcase Your Talent Thursday

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

IMG_8925

 

This month’s Pasta Please theme was chilies and was hosted by Shaheen.

I’m looking at the picture of this dish, and I’m realizing there is way too many breadcrumbs on the dish. Once scooped out of the dish, they obviously got lost in the noodles – but oh my goodness – this picture looks like a breadcrumb dish.

Anyway, after poking around different corners of the internet and looking for something that would work for this challenge, I found a delicious looking mac and cheese. I didn’t venture out as much as I could have with this challenge. I should have bought a red chili to substitute the crushed red chili flakes – but alas, I did not. I like spicy food. I just really hate cutting chilies. Without a doubt, for as careful as I try to be, I touch my eyes or rub my nose or get the chili juices somewhere that just doesn’t feel great – and oh my goodness, it’s hard to get rid of it once you do it. Even when I wear gloves, I somehow manage to just create so much pain for myself. I love the taste, I just hate the process.

Because of this, I rely on red chili flakes to add the heat from a fresh chili (though.. obviously not the same, I know.)

Anyway, this was a yummy mac and cheese. It created a lot of dirty dishes, but was delicious!

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese
(source)

Ingredients
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into pieces
1 yellow squash, diced
1 orange bellow pepper, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups elbow pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried chili flakes
2 tbsp bread crumbs

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Set a medium pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles per package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil covering it. Toss the broccoli, squash, bell pepper, and carrots on a baking sheet. Coat with half the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar, allowing to melt. Add the red chili flakes and cayenne. Add the macaroni and vegetables.

4. Place the mixture in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place under the broiler for 4 minutes.

* serves 6
* Besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spaghetti with Ragu

IMG_8864

After skimming through December 2010′s Food Network Magazine for the one millionth time, I decided to make ragu. What a quick and easy recipe. I especially like that ragu uses vegetables to add bulk without relying entirely on meat. The celery and carrots in this sauce added some flavor of their own, but for the most part they supplemented the meat.

Served with garlic bread, this made a great dinner.

Spaghetti with Ragu
(from Food Network Magazine December 2010 edition)

Ingredients
1/4 onion
1 stalk celery, cut into pieces
1 carrot, cut into pieces
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground turkey
15-oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup skim milk
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Place the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and rosemary into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring until softened and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the turkey and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, milk, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until slightly thickened.

3. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti noodles to package directions. Drain.

4. Once the sauce and noodles are cooked, toss the noodles and sauce together until well combined.

* serves 2
* Shared with Tasteful Tuesday Party & Tempt My Tummy

Yakisoba

IMG_8836

 

This month Chris asked us bloggers to join him on a trip to Japan. I sometimes wish Chris’s travels with us were real. My brother’s been to Japan three times. I’m sure if he ate my dinner he would have turned his nose up and claimed it not to be Japanese enough. I’m not claiming it’s super authentic either. I had to make several substitutions that probably minimized it’s Japanese value because I couldn’t justify buying sake (rice wine) or mirin (a sweeter rice wine) for cooking this dish. I had some sake and had to toss it because it was way too old. I just can’t justify buying ingredients I don’t use frequently. So I used white wine instead.

I probably should have just taken a picture of the Japanese curry and the tonksatsu that we had for lunch at the Japanese restaurant. ;)

Bloggers Around the World Logo

Yakisoba
(the more authentic recipe)

Ingredients
6 oz dried chow mein noodles
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz pork chop, cut into small chunks
2 oz cabbage, shredded
2 oz carrot, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sesame oil

Directions

1. Cook the noodles per package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet or wok and add the oil. Add the garlic and stir, cooking until brown. Add the pork and stir a few times.  Next add the cabbage, carrots, and onions. Stir a few more times. Add the noodles and the remaining ingredients. Stir fry until the vegetables are cooked and the noodles are warmed through.

* serves 2
* Besides Bloggers Around The World, I’m sharing this dish with Foodie Friends Friday, Foodie FridayWeekend Potluck, & Foodie Friday

Sausage and Roasted Pepper Pasta

IMG_8794

 

I have quite a collection of Cooking Light magazines from years ago. During my meal planning this week the Cooking Light from March 2009 made its way into my hands and after some looking I found this recipe which reminds me a lot of a dinner my old roommate Stephanie and I used to make. The Cooking Light version was better than what we used to do, because we used to saute the bell peppers instead of roasting them. I like the roasted pepper so much more.

But this dish did bring me back and make me feel nostalgic for the days before law school, the days of minimum wage jobs, time to hang out with friends, and to really do whatever I wanted. While I’m glad to be where I am now, it’s hard not to miss those days.

I served this pasta with garlic roasted asparagus. It was a nice dinner and a nice blast to the past.

Sausage and Roasted Pepper Sausage

Ingredients
2 green bell peppers
4 oz rotini noodles (or other noodle of choice)
2 sweet Italian sausages
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise. Clean out the seeds and the membrane. Place each half on a broiler dish, skin side up. Flatten them with your hand. Broil for 10 minutes. Place the bell pepper in a ziplock bag for 15 minutes, sealed  Once the 15 minutes have passed, peel the skin off the peppers. Chop the peppers and set aside.

3. While the peppers are broiling, cook the noodles per the package directions.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from its casing. Add to the pan and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add the bell peppers to the pan. Move the sausage mixture to the sides of the pan. Add the tomato paste to the middle of the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir the tomato paste into the sausage. Stir in the pasta and 1/2 cup of water and cook for 3 minutes. Season with pepper, salt, and cheese.

* serves 2
* shared with Wednesday Whatsits, Cast Party Wednesday, & Catch A Glimpse Party