Thursday, September 18, 2014

Plane Food

I have never been a big fan of plane food so when I had picked up a tuna nicoise sandwich in Paris for the plane ride on the way back from our honeymoon years ago, I was pleasantly surprised at how something so simple can still taste good hours into the flight.  So I had a light bulb moment of how this is the perfect plane food as the ingredients on its own does not spoil and is satisfying enough to last you until you reach most domestic destinations. 
Olive Oil
Sliced Olives
Hard Boiled Egg sliced
Canned Tuna
French Bread Sandwich Rolls or Baguette
  1. Spread a little olive oil on the inside of the sandwich roll
  2. Put in canned tuna, sliced hard boiled egg, sliced olives, close and put into sandwich bag or wrap in saran wrap
Sorry, no picture as it is way too early and had a flight to catch. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Egg Balls

If you have some bread crumbs that are about to expire like I do, I thought this would be a great way to use some up especially since I had bought an extra pack of Italian Parsley that I ended up not using for my dinner party.  Since I did not want to consume half dozen eggs per person in a week, I went for the half recipe with the 6 eggs for both of us and was able to get a dozen meatballs out of the mixture. 

Egg Balls – Buddy Valastro Recipe from Rachael Ray Show  -


  1. This is a great recipe for meatless meatballs that would work for vegetarians but not for vegans however since it has eggs
  2. Make sure to spray your hand with olive oil in between rolling the meatballs but I ended up discovering that wetting your hands with water was even better than olive oil as I would have to wash my hands between each olive oil spray anyways and I seem to get a few more meatballs with wet hands vs. olive oiled hands
  3. I was too lazy to make marinara sauce so I just used a jar of Classico and poached the egg balls in that 6 at a time.  If the sauce starts to burn during the second batch, add some water to the sauce.   
Price:  $4 for 12 golf sized egg balls

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup

I had a bunch of veggies left over from the minestrone recipe and since I happen to record an episode of Jacque Pepin’s Fast Food My Way that was using those same ingredients, the allure of the French accent lured me in telling me I had to make this soup.  So I picked up some leeks from the Farmer’s Market, a baguette from Farmer Joe’s since Chef Jacque said bread and butter is all you need to be happy. 

1.  Sweat out the leeks in olive oil before adding the rest of the vegetables and water

Price:  $4 for 4 servings = $1 per serving

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Corn and Zucchini Orzo Salad

As the corn and zucchini season is coming to a close, I am trying to cook with as much of these summer veggies as possible before the autumn squashes overtake the produce department.  This is another from that 3 year old September issue that I never got around to trying because who are we kidding I never got around to reading it. 

Corn and Zucchini Orzo Salad from Martha Stewart Everyday Magazine -


1.  Since I am only making enough for 4 servings vs. having extra to repurpose in different recipes, I halved the recipe.

Price:  $4 for 4 servings = $1 per serving


Friday, September 12, 2014

Stovetop Chili Mac

I definitely needed a break from cooking after this past weekend so after eating the rest of the leftovers from the dinner party on Monday, we went out to dinner at a locally family owned Lebanese restaurant Shami’s on Tuesday and my cousin must have felt sorry for me as well as she bought us take out for dinner on Wednesday when I was originally planning on making this dish. 

Stovetop Chili Mac Recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday Magazine -

Since the seasonality of vegetables tend to be pretty consistent each year, recipes from the September issue 3 years ago are perfect for September cooking now and having all the ingredients on hand with the exception of the shredded cheddar since I discovered mine had expired already, meant I only had to pick up that 1 ingredient. 


  1. For presentation purpose, it may look nice to top the pasta with the meat sauce and the sprinkle of cheese but for taste purposes, throw all the rigatoni into the sauce and mix it together so all the pasta is flavored with the absorbed sauce. 
  2. I also threw in a ladle of starchy cooking water to the sauce so it will stick to the pasta better. 
Price:  $8 for 4 servings = $2 per serving

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pesto Minestrone & Dinner Party Aftermath

I thought I was super organized and prepared to tackle the dinner party by having all my ingredients out and organized on my counter by each dish so I have everything ready vs. having to find each ingredient while cooking.  I also had pre-chopped, pre-trimmed, all the veggies and relevant ingredients in the afternoon and even pre-made 3 of the dishes during the morning and early afternoon including the cake. 

What I could not prepare for was trying to pull off the remaining 5 dishes with a lack of counter space as my dirty dishes and pans started piling up like the midst of a war zone and the need to reuse the food processor and one of the pans but no one to wash them for me as I am simultaneously trying to make multiple dishes.  Times like these, I wish I was an octopus as 2 arms was definitely not enough and to be honest, not sure if 8 would have been enough either.  Let’s just say I got in 18000 steps that day without even going out for a walk. 

But somehow I managed to pull it off with the subsequent pictures to prove it -

As you can tell, I wanted to go with a menu with dishes that I have made quite a few times with this minestrone being the only one I have not made since I started this blog 6 months ago but do try to make once a year.

I can now check off getting another person to eat something they normally do not.  I got my non-bovine or bovine byproduct (butter, cream, cheese) consuming guest to not only eat but enjoy this soup. 


3 tbsp olive oil

½ yellow onion, diced

2 celery stalks cut on the bias

2 carrots peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves minced

3 oz chopped pancetta

2 bunch of swiss chard leaves

1 14.5 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes with liquid

1 sprig fresh rosemary – leaves minced

1 15 oz can canellini beans rinsed and drained

2 containers of beef stock (32 oz each)

1 tsp dried oregano

8 oz medium pasta shells

2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley chopped

Basil pesto

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in pot over medium heat and add onions, celery, carrots, garlic and Pancetta
  2. Saute for about 5-10 minutes until onion is cooked through
  3. As veggies are sautéing puree ½ of the beans with 1 cup beef broth in food processor until smooth
  4. Add to the cooked veggies plus the remaining beef broth, oregano, pasta shells, and chard
  5. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes
  6. Add remaining canellini beans and chopped parsley
  7. Ladle into soup bowl stir in a spoonful of pesto
  8. Serve with bread

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bewitching Dinner Party

This weekend we will be hosting hubby’s ex-coworkers who had all bonded over having the up to 1 ½ hour commute each way and living in the same city.  Back in May we had an authentic Thai dinner at one couple’s place, a delicious Chinese dinner at the second couple’s two months later, and now it is time for us to host them.  As mentioned before, I can never seem to be able to cook with the flavors that my dad does and I had been designated over the years in doing everything else either for hubby’s family’s potluck parties which are usually non Chinese or for my dad’s request like St. Paddy’s Day dinner, lamb shanks, etc.. So I will buck the trend and will be doing a more California/Italian inspired menu and take advantage of the rosemary, basil, and chard that I just harvested from our backyard. 

It has been a long time since we hosted a formal dinner party.  When we first got married, we had hosted a small Mother’s Day dinner before Mother’s Day at our place for our parents and my husband’s grandmothers since I wanted to spend the actual day with my mom but didn’t want to deprive hubby from spending it with his mom and grandmothers.  Since we were spending it separately, the pre-Mother’s Day dinner was a way for us to spend it with our in-laws.  We had done it for about 3 years before we combined and now we all just all gather over at his grandmother’s for Mother’s Day potluck dinner with 25+ other family members. 

Although I won’t be breaking out the Waterford china for this dinner party, I do feel a bit rusty at hosting one but here’s the menu that I am hoping to do that would be up to Bewitched standards which my husband keeps saying this reminds him of.  Now if only I can just twitch my nose and have this all appear. 

Pre-dinner snacks


Pita Chips with Garlicky White Bean and Artichoke Dip



Marinated Portabella Mushrooms

Dinner Dishes

Green Beans Genovese

Roasted Potatoes

Grilled Chicken Breast with Zucchini and Corn Topping

Roasted True Cod with Salsa Verde

Chocolate Orange Cake