Italian Pasta Salad


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It is not too often that I make pasta salad at our house because my husband is not a fan and I don’t eat lots of pasta, or gluten. But since I was asked to make one for an event this week-end, I chose to make this recipe. It is fresh, light, tastes like summer and it is really easy to make.

I really was not anticipating my children to eat it because they are so picky with their food and they hate tomatoes, but both Lisa and Theo took large helpings of it for lunch, and even took second.

I was surprised because it had tomatoes in it and none of them eat tomatoes. So I asked why Lisa liked it so much and she said: “mom!!! there is pasta, cheese and Salami… why not?!?!” Now that is too too funny!!!

This recipe is very simple. It was adapted and totally changed from  a recipe I had seen on Allrecipes. com called AntiPasto Pasta Salad.

Ingredients for 6-8:

  • 1 box of macaroni pasta
  • 12 oz of baby tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 cucumber sliced very very thinly and cut in 4 ( each slice will be cut again in quarter).
  • 1 cup of feta cheese
  • 1 lb of hard salami cut thinly as well
  • 1 cup of italian dressing
  1. Cook the pasta according the package directions, (or if you are lazy place the content of pasta in the round mold, cover the pasta with 2 cup of water, 1/4 tsp of salt, place the octogonal silpat on top of the round mold and microwave for 13 minutes. Stop at half time to see if you need to add more water. ) Cook the pasta al dente.
  2. Rinse the pasta under running cold water to stop the cooking process and wash up some of the gluten.
  3. Place the pasta into a very large bowl. Add the sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, feta cheese, salami and dressing.
  4. Mix well and let the pasta rest for a minimum of 2 hours before eating. photo 1
  5. Et voila!!!Easy and Yummy;-)photo 2

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Gnocchi with a Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato Sauce


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France just like many countries in the world attract people from all places and nations. Some come to France because they love the French culture and language, some come for education. Some came for the work and business opportunities. If France was attractive for its work opportunities in the past, France is now suffering from a very high unemployment. But in the past many people came. For example people from Eastern Europe migrated in the North of France to work in mines, people from Spain came for manual labour, people from French colonies came to France for education and civil rights, and people from Italy came to France for banking

Over the years, those people assimilated themselves more or less into the French culture, but all of them brought with them a bit of their heritage and cuisine;-)

If in the past restaurants in France only served French cuisine, over the years and decades, the Culinary scenery became much diverse. There are restaurants of all cuisine: Japanese, Moroccan, Greek, Chinese,  Italian.

My parents love good cuisine, but they also liked to try new things so they took us once in a while to various ethnic restaurants to taste different food. I am thankful for that. It had allowed me to learn about other flavors and appreciated other cuisine.

Unfortunately it has also made me more demanding of my meals because I know what is authentic. Because I learned to make fresh pastas and fresh ravioli or gnocchi, it is difficult for me to appreciate anything that is packaged. In fact, until today I had never bought packaged gnocchi because I never liked their consistency – How would I know??? because most restaurants here in the States never serve fresh home-made pasta;-(

But the other day, while shopping at Costo I saw a package of Gnocchi and decided to fix it for my family. They are easy to fix and cook in no time ( easy dinner 😉

Well, I will say that they are pretty good. Of course not as good as home-made ones, but one of the best i have eaten in the past.

This evening I served them with a garlic, sun-dried tomato sauce. It was well appreciated by all.

Ingredients for 4-6:

  • 1 package of gnocchi ( it has 3 pouches in them)
  • 2 cloves of garlic pressed
  • 1/3 cup of sun-dried tomato  ( soft ones. I prefer those marinated in olive oil).
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 bag of about 3 oz of fresh arugula
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar ( optional)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • fresh shredded parmesan
  • salt
  • pepper

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  1. Fill a large pot with water and add 1 tbsp of salt. Bring this water to boil.
  2. While the water is cooking, prepare the sauce.
  3. In a large frying pan, warm up 1 tsp of olive oil.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute it.
  5. Add the sun dried tomatoes and saute them as well.
  6. Add the arugula and saute them.
  7. Pour the wine, bring the mixture to boil while stirring continuously.
  8. Add 1 tsp of brown sugar.
  9. Add the cream and bring to boil as well.  Scrape the bottom of the pan.
  10. Lower the temperature, but continue cooking the mixture at a medium-high temperature until the sauce is thickening up. It should coat the back of a spoon.
  11. When the sauce is to your liking. Remove it from the stove and keep it warm.
  12. When the water is boiling, add the gnocchi. Cook them for about 5 minutes.
  13. When the gnocchi are cooked, drain them. Add 1 tbsp of butter and stir.
  14. Add the sauce to the gnocchi and mix well.
  15. Spoon the mixture in individual pasta bowl and sprinkle some fresh parmesan. C’est tout 😉

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Chicken Tenders with Roasted Bell Pepper Sauce


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Mondays are so hard for me.. I have morning duty and by the time 3 o’clock comes, I am not quite in the mood to hit the gym or do anything. I just want to go home and take nap. But do I??? no, I dragged my feet to the gym because i know it will invigorate me for what awaits me at home… homework, dinner, life…

Well last night all I wanted to do is get dinner on the table in a flash so that i could get on to the rest of my to-do list.. and so I just took things out of our fridge to fix our dinner.

Ingredients for 4:

  • 2-3 chicken breast cut in thin slices, or 4 tenders per person
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 1/16 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of the zesty mediterranean Demarle Herb Blend
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil. 
  • 1 jar of roasted pepper of about 1 lb 5 oz.
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk or 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp of garlic Herb Blend from Mrs Dash.
  1. Turn the oven to 400.
  2. Place the chicken tenders in a bowl and add the olive oil, pepper, salt and zesty Mediterranean herb mix. and mix well.
  3. Place the tenders on a large silpat that you would have previously laid on a large perforated sheet.
  4. Place the perforated sheet in the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:
  6. Drain the roasted pepper from their juice and place them into a chopper.
  7. Add 1 tsp of salt -free Mrs Dash Garlic Herb Seasoning.
  8. Puree the roasted pepper mixture.
  9. Add the almond milk or the cream and continue to puree the mixture.
  10. Add salt and pepper if you wish.
  11. Place the mixture into a small saucepan and bring the mixture to boil.

I serve the chicken over steamed brocoli that I cooked in my large round mold for 5 minutes.

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My husband, not fond of vegetables, got some pasta instead.

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To serve, place pasta or steamed brocoli on individual plates, place the chicken tenders on top of it. Spoon the sauce over the tenders and sprinkle a bit of fresh parmesan. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Lasagna Cupcakes


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When you are hosting a cooking party for children, you have to be really prepared because they work quickly,  and they do not well with dead time. In light of this, I was looking for fun recipes that would be easy to make, good to eat and that would also occupy them for more than 1 minute. 😉

As I  searched the net for recipes,  I found a recipe of Lasagna Cupcakes. I will tell you that the recipe title took me a bit by surprise. How can one make cupcakes with Lasagna? But after reading the recipe, i realized that the only cupcake part was the use of a cupcake mold.  Because the recipe sounded yummy, and easy to make, i decided to make those at the cooking class, and the kids love them! They not only loved the idea of making Lasagna Cupcakes, but they love, love to eat them well as well. Yeah!!!!

Ingredients for about 40 cupcakes:

  • 1 lb of lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 can of pasta sauce of 24 oz.  ( I used ragu traditional)
  • 2 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of basil, rosemary mix from Demarle
  • 1 pack of wonton wraps of 12 oz.
  • 1 can of ricotta
  • 1 pack of cheddar cheese or any other cheese of your choice
  • 1/8 tsp of pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of salt

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In a frying pan, warm up the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the meat and cook until it is no longer pink. Add salt, pepper, sugar, tomato paste and tomato sauce and mix well. Bring the mixture to boil, turn the heat down and cook for another 15 minutes.

Set 2 mini cupcake trays on a perforated sheet and set all the ingredients in bowls around you to allow easy access.

First place one wonton wraper in each cupcake opening. Then add 1 tsp of the meat sauce in each wonton. Add 1/2 tsp of ricotta on top of the meat. Sprinkle cheese over the ricotta. Then with a dough cutter of about 1 inch, cut circles. Place one circle on top of the cheese in each cupcake. Add meat, ricotta and cheese again. C’est tout.

Cook in a warm oven at 375 for 15- 18  minutes or until the edges are brown. Enjoy!!!

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Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Spinach Pasta with Fresh Sage Sauce


If I were listening to my husband, we would be eating the same thing every other day. Is it like this at your house??? Since I served my family a dinner with potato last night I did not want to do that again today, so I had decided to make pasta. They would have loved the usual: pasta carbonara or pasta bolognese, but I really did not feel like doing that tonite. For a second, i thought to make gnocchi but they take so long, that i dismissed the idea quickly and looked for something for them to eat in the pasta corner of the grocery store. That’s when i saw the spinach pasta. I had sage at home.. so here it is. ( This recipe is not ” light”, but it is yummy)

Ingredients for 4-6:

  • a box of Linguine with Spinach of 12 oz. ( I bought De Cecco)
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp of fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup of fresh Emmenthal grated over pasta

Cook the pasta according to directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan. When the butter is melted, add 1 tbsp of sage chopped very thinly. Cook for a minute or two. Then add the cream, stir and bring to boil. Add 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/16 tsp of pepper and stir. Lower the temperature, add the egg and cook at medium-low temperature while stirring until the “sauce” is thickening. Be careful not to boil the sauce,  or it will curdle.

Drain the pasta with a colander. Add 1/4 cup of the sauce into the pasta so they will not stick together. Serve on individual plates. Drizzle some sauce over the pasta, grate some fresh Emmenthal, add a few sage leaves on top of the cheese et voila!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Green Onions and Roasted Pepper Flavored Shrimps Over Spaghetti


Yesterday I was looking for a quick dinner that would not involve much preparation as I needed to work in the evening some more. My family was getting one of their favorite meal: Pasta Carbonora and since I was cooking two dinners ( mine and theirs), I thought, why not utilize some of the same ingredients for my dinner.

Ingredients for 4:

To thaw the shrimps, remove the bag of shrimps from the freezer and place it in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have that time, place the bag in warm water and shake the bags every so often. The shrimps will thaw within 15 minutes.

Remove the shrimps from the bag, place them in a colander and rinse them. With a few paper towel, dry out the shrimps and place them into a bowl. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1-2 tbsp of the green onion and pepper herb blend from Demarle, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/18 of pepper and mix well. Cover the bowl with the octogonal silpat or a plastic wrap and let the shrimps marinade 30 minutes to 2 hours.

While the shrimps are marinating, prepare the pasta.

Turn the oven to 400.

Fill up a large pot with water, add 2 tbsp of salt and bring to boil. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes or until al dente.

Remove the shrimps from the oven and lay them out on a large silpat that you would have placed on a large perforated sheet. Cook for 7 minutes.

When the pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, drain the water from the pasta. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of green onion herb blend from Demarle and stir.

To serve, spoon the pasta on plates and place a few shrimps atop the pasta. Add fresh grated parmesan or romano, Et voila!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Pasta Primavera


This week I feel like I am playing catch up with all the things that need attention. It is cleaning up the yard of all the dead flowers, planting new ones, trimming bushes. It is getting back to customers for cooking classes… Anyway, though I am still on vacation, my days are filled with things to do. This evening as I was still on the phone at 8pm, I needed to find something quick to fix for dinner and since the kids love their pasta carbonara, I decided to fix pasta primavera… a little healthier than carbonara;-)

Ingredients: 2 tbsp of butter, 1 cup of grated parmesan, 2 cup of heavy cream, 1 egg, 1/8 tsp of pepper, various vegetables ( I used 1 red pepper, 1/2 asparagus bundle, 2 corn husks), 1 pack of pasta of your choice ( spaghetti, fettuccini, ..)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. When the butter is melting, add the heavy cream and the parmesan. Stir as the mixture is warming up. When the mixture is hot, add 1 egg and mix well. Keep stirring, but reduce the heat to medium so as not to curdle the sauce. Keep stirring until the mixture is becoming thicker. When the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add the pepper, stir and lower the temperature to low just to keep the mixture warm. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Place the corn into the large round mold. Place the octogonal silpat on top and microwave for 4 minutes. Remove the mold from the microwave and with a knife remove the kernels off the cobb. Set aside. Trim the ends of the asparagus and cut the asparagus in 3 inches segments. Place them into the round mold, add the sliced red pepper, the corn and microwave for 3 minutes. Set aside.

Drain the pasta, and empty them back into the pot. Add the sauce and the vegetables and stir. Divide this mixture among the numbers of guests in your house, and sprinkle some fresh parmesan atop this mixture. Et voila!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!