Easy Rigatoni Bolognese

rigatoni bolognese
Nothings says comfort food better than a big bowl of pasta bolognese topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Sure, you can go to your local Italian restaurant and order this dish, but who knows what quality of ingredients are used? Or how much oil or calories are in the dish? We all want a delicious, homemade meal where we can control the quality of ingredients and fat content, but not everyone has hours before dinnertime to simmer a pot of this meat sauce. That’s why I came up with this quick and healthy recipe that takes no time to prepare. You’ll have all the delicious flavors of a bolognese sauce in 45 minutes!

This is my take on the classic – I hope you enjoy! :) Continue reading

Penne with Steak and Spinach

penne with steak and spinach
This is my new favorite pasta dish! Not only is it quick and easy to make, but the flavors of the steak and dressing are so good! It’s also a great dish to make for dinner parties or larger groups because it can be served hot, warm or at room temperature. You also get your protein, carbs and veggies all in one convenient dish. It doesn’t get better than that!

I stumbled upon this recipe one day while watching Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network. Giada used arugula in her recipe, but I used spinach because the store was out of arugula the day I went shopping. I think either one works very well with the dish. Arugula adds a nice spicy flavor while spinach is much milder. You can choose either one based on your own preference.   Continue reading

Bolognese “Cupcakes”

Sometimes, there is nothing more homey and satisfying to me than good meatloaf. I used to love it when my family went to Old Country Buffet or Golden Corral when I was growing up. (I still love buffets – don’t judge.) My favorite items to get at the buffet were meatloaf and spaghetti. Although I loved eating the two together, I always thought it was such an odd combination, until now. When you think about it, meatloaf is essentially a giant meatball. The same basic ingredients go into both dishes – ground beef, onions, breadcrumbs, and eggs. THAT’S why it went so well with my spaghetti :).

Nowadays, however, I have to watch my daily calorie and cholesterol intake, which is why I was so excited to find this recipe in a Prevention magazine. It’s a “healthy” take on traditional meatloaf because it includes lean ground beef, quinoa instead of breadcrumbs, and grated carrots for extra flavor and nutrients. Cooking the meat in a muffin pan instead of an entire loaf is genius because it cuts your cooking time down to just 25 minutes. The individual “cupcake” portions are also ideal for two people.

Michael was a little skeptical about the recipe when I first showed him. With a raised eyebrow, he said, “Meatloaf made with quinoa? Hmmm, I don’t know…” Boy did I prove him wrong! It turned out SO incredibly yummy! There were just so many nice flavors in every bite. Since I used lean ground beef, the carrots and onions added the much needed moisture and sweetness to the dish. The quinoa was also great because it added a nice fluffy softness to the meatloaf. Eating these little “cupcakes” made me feel like a kid again :). Give these bolognese “cupcakes” a try the next time you’re craving something homey! It’s also a great recipe for kids because they don’t know these “cupcakes” are packed with healthy ingredients! Continue reading

Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup

Sometimes, a girl just wants a succulent piece of steak! I’m not a big steak lover, but every now and then I do get a craving for it. Going to a fancy steakhouse is nice and all, but I think it’s even better to enjoy your steak and a bottle of wine at home :). Not to mention, it’s so much more affordable to make your own steak. I bought two filet mignon steaks at Trader Joe’s for only $16! You can’t even get a piece of chicken breast at a NYC restaurant for that price. Can I get an Amen?!

I love serving my steak with this balsamic syrup. A hint of savory and sweetness added to every bite. And if you want to be extra fancy, melt a little Gorgonzola or goat cheese on top of your steak before drizzling with the balsamic syrup. Delicious!

A few important tips when cooking steak:
1) Bring your steak to room temperature, about 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. This allows your steak to cook more evenly. (Some restaurants skip this step, but they have special equipment that’s designed for quick even cooking.)
2) Make sure the pan is hot! This creates a nice sear and ensures that your steak is tender.
3) Let the steak rest for about 5 minutes before serving. This allows the meat to relax, making a juicer, more tender steak. Continue reading

Shish Kabobs

Barbecues are synonymous with summer. Living in the city, however, makes having a barbecue very difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in New York, but it comes with both pros and cons. One of the cons is not enough outdoor space to have a proper grill. So, Michael and I improvised. We decided to have a mini barbecue tonight by taking our little electric grill onto the balcony! :)

The excitement quickly faded away, though, when I realized we can’t cook much on our grill. It’s too small and doesn’t produce enough heat. Basically, we ain’t makin’ baby back ribs or anything fancy tonight! I got a little sad at the thought of this, but came up with a perfect solution. Something fun, yummy, and quick to grill?  Shish kabobs! Continue reading