Farfelle With Sausage, Peas, Tomatoes and Cream


As a child, I grew up spending my Saturdays and Sundays playing soccer. And, believe me, after spending so many years becoming acquainted with mud, dirt, sweat and camaraderie, I have really come to enjoy and love the sport.

Euro 2012 started this past weekend and, as a result, I found a perfect opportunity to watch a few games. Although soccer is popular in the States, it is much more popular in Europe. It is nice to see a change of pace and see how utterly ecstatic and passionate the European fans are and how much they truly love their teams. At the weekend’s end, I am lucky to say that I had watched two games, Germany vs. Portugal and Spain vs. Italy, both of which were great games!

However, after watching Italy play, I became quite hungry and thought of Italian food (naturally). Plus, I had just purchased a basil plant so I wanted to welcome the first opportunity to use some fresh basil in an Italian dish. So, after a little bout of searching, I found a perfect recipe: Farfelle With Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream.

Step 1: Chop Onion and Garlic;
Saute Italian Sausage;
Add Onions and Garlic 

Step 2: Add Pureed Tomatoes
and Touch of Cream; Add Peas 

Step 3: Boil Pasta, Drain; Add Sauce
to Pasta; Toss Extra Basil on Top; Eat! 

After a jam-packed weekend, I was not too utterly inspired to make something uber complex or intricate. As a result, I was very pleased with this recipe because it was simple, yet flavorful and did not feel “heavy” despite the use of a little cream. Plus, the addition of some peas (to add some color and sneak a vegetable serving in) and a sprinkle of Parmesan made this into a delicious meal!

Cheers!

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Spaghetti & Sicilian Meatballs

For most last minute or large gatherings, spaghetti is often the menu item of choice. Naturally, it depends on which way you decide to make it — but, it is extremely easy (especially if not making the sauce from scratch!). Personally, I love spaghetti. It’s extremely simple, requires few ingredients, and serves as a perfect comfort food. But, lately, I’ve been becoming bored of my usual rotation of spaghetti for evening dinners. I’ve tried adding chicken or other types of vegetables to help alleviate my taste bud boredom. Unfortunately, those additions did not result in any success.

It wasn’t until I was surfing through Netflix that I saw the movie Lady and the Tramp pop up. Whenever I think of that movie, I always revert to the scene where the two dogs eat eat spaghetti and meatballs together. Instantly, this movie provided the perfect inspiration in order to spice up my boring pasta dinners. So, it was decided: Spaghetti and Sicilian Meatballs it is!

Step 1: Chop Garlic, Onions, Basil
Currants, and Toasted Pine Nuts

Step 2: Let Bread Crumbs and
Milk Sit for Five Minutes

[I accidentally threw the onions on top for this step… oops!]

Step 3: Mix Dry Ingredients With
Wet Ingredients; Add Meat Mixture

Step 4: Form Meat Balls
(Key: Make Sure Hands are Wet); Bake

Step 5: Add Meatballs to Sauce
and Spaghetti and Enjoy! 

Prior to this meal, I had never made meatballs from scratch. It was surprisingly simple and easy. Let’s just say I’m glad that I happened to stumble upon Lady and the Tramp or else I would have made another simple pasta dish.

Cheers!

Homemade Lasagna

I just spoke via Skype with a friend who I haven’t been able to speak to in months. Currently, she is living in Seoul, South Korea and teaching English to kindergartners. Although it’s been a vast adjustment, she has enjoyed all of the challenges, scenery, and culture. She is a very brave young woman and I’m proud of her for pursuing that opportunity!

I especially enjoyed hearing about her travels and new experiences. Since I love food and trying new things, I undoubtedly felt compelled to inquire about South Korean cuisine. Basically, mixtures of rice, noodles, vegetables, and various meats comprise most meals in combination with plenty of spicy flavors and seasonings.

However, although she is having a blast sampling Korean cuisine and other fare from her travels, my friend does miss traditional meals from home as well as classic Southern dishes. That being said, I decided to make one of her favorite dishes and dedicate this post to her (this may seem cruel – but, we talked about it on Skype and she though it would serve as a great reminder of home!). Since I don’t have a deep fryer, I thought that some type of pasta dish would be best. Instantly, the thought of lasagna came to mind. So, after replenishing ingredients at the store, I made a delicious Mushroom and Sausage Lasagna.

Step 1: Saute Onions, Chopped
Mushrooms; Add Sausage and Garlic

Step 2: Layer Noodles, Tomato Sauce,
Cheese, and Sausage Mixture (Alternating)


[Use Flat No-Bake Noodles — They are
easier to use and taste better!]

Step 3: Bake, Slice, and Enjoy!

[The flat no-bake noodles don’t look as aesthetically pleasing.
Despite the appearance, the flavors mixed together wonderfully.]

Lasagna can be a great meal when done right. Often times, an overabundance or shortage exists of one of the items and in turn creates a taste bud rollercoaster. For example, I have had lasagnas in the past where the amount of ricotta cheese was too prevalent or lasagnas which contained a sparse serving of meat/vegetables and seasonings.

The key to a great lasagna is setting up the best ratio of noodle to sauce to cheese to meat/vegetables. This can be found by happening to stumble upon a great recipe or through trial and error. In my case, I was lucky and happened to find a great recipe on the first try!

Cheers!

P.S. To my friend in South Korea — I miss you dearly and I hope this reminds you of home. In fact, I’ll make it upon your return!

5 Things Thanksgiving Style

Within the past few months, I have truly learned to appreciate the small things in life and to be thankful for normal, everyday things most people take for granted. That being said, I am thankful (again) for Thanksgiving because it serves as a perfect reminder to remember what you are thankful for and count your blessings!

Don’t forget to tell your family and friends this Thanksgiving season that you are thankful for them — just a few words can make such a significant difference!

All right, it is time to move onto other Thanksgiving festivities a.k.a FOOD. It is definitely a good thing that Thanksgiving comes only once a year for according to the NYDailyNews.com, the average Thanksgiving meal rakes in a whopping 3,500 calories! Despite learning that terrifying fact, I still wanted to cook the usual Thanksgiving foods; however, I tried to make some of these foods a tad bit healthier (key words being “tried” and “some”)!

Now, it’s no myth that the reason why Thanksgiving foods are so unhealthy lies in the ingredients with butter, cream, sugar, and nuts as the prime culprits. And, vegetables dishes are usually sparse at Thanksgiving, but even when they are present, they are often laden with plenty of cream, cheese, and fried goodness. Nevertheless, the following pictures highlight a few of the side dishes I made for Thanksgiving as well as my Mom’s Turkey (side dish recipes taken from Epicurious.com and all contain a link to the original recipe):

1. Potato Gratin with White Cheddar Cheese

2. Italian Sausage and Bread Stuffing

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product… oops!

3. Roasted Sweet Potato Rounds with Garlic Oil and Fried Sage

4. Turkey

5. Lemon Pear Croustade

All of these side dishes actually turned out pretty well considering these were first-time recipes! Although only one of these recipes is a little bit healthier (Roasted Sweet Potatoes), I would totally recommend to make any of these dishes again. The Pear Croustade was a bit hit with the family and I will continue to use its pasty recipe for other future baked goods!

Cheers!