Friday, January 29, 2010

Salted Cod fritters (Bolinhos de bacalhau)

If your looking for a lite hor d'oeuvre or are on a diet, this recipe is not for you. =) This is another one of my favorite Portuguese hor d'oeuvre. This is a very common starter throughout all of Portugal and is by far the one that is mostly requested at restaurants.

When I was younger my mother would always make this and shrimp cakes around the Holidays. You can't have a holiday party without having so yummy starter to go with your favorite cocktail.

This takes awhile to make so I recommended making bigger batches. The recipe below is enough for 6 to 8 servings.

FYI! If you make a large batch you do not have to fry them all, you can place formed fitters on cookie sheet place in freezer allow to firm. Remove them from cookie sheet place in bags in freezer to use at a later date. It is important to allow frozen fritters to come to room temp before placing in fryer.


1/2 pound of dried salted cod (make sure to soak for 24 hours changing the water at least 2 times)
2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
1 small yellow onion minced
1 large garlic clove mined
4 teaspoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of minced parsley (I like to use more because I love the color and taste of parsley in the fritter)
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
Vegetable oil for deep frying.


In a stock pot bring cod and potatoes to a boil until both are fork tender.

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.

Drain cod and potatoes and set aside to allow everything to cool.

Once cod is cool, Use a fork to part fish a part. (Make sure to remove all bones.)

Take potatoes and put through a food mill (you can also use a potato masher).

Take cod and potatoes and combine together add egg, ground pepper, parsley, and cayenne. Mix together until it forms a paste like mixture.

Heat deep fryer to 325 and no higher or else your fritter are going to exploded.

Take mixture and shaped into "dumping shape using 2 spoons or if you like you may also shape into ball with your hands.

Once oil is hot add cod balls into oil.

Do not over crowd fryer. Fritters should flip on own in oil.

Fry until golden brown (about5 Minutes).

Serve hot or at room temp.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fish Stew Portuguese Style

Being the daughter of first generation Portuguese immigrants fish has always played a large part in our diets. Last March (2009) my husband, son, and I went to Portugal to visit family and during those 2 weeks, my husband was on a mission to eat as much fish as possible. My mother made everything from grilled Fish stew needless to say both my husband and I were in heaven.

I have always loved fish, but my husband hates cooking it because of the lingering smell it leaves behind. Over the passed year or so I have convinced him that we could increase our fish intake if we did most of our fish outside in foil packets on the grill. He was all for it and we now have fish once if not twice a week.

Which brings me to how I ended up making Fish Stew. The last time we had a snow storm we were unable to grill outside so I had to come up with something else for dinner. Then it came to me...."why not make a fish stew for dinner?"

My mom's recipe was a hit, tasted really good and doesn't require a lot of work. The best thing about this recipe is that we had no lingering fish smell in the house. Last night was the second time I made it and it better than what I remembered. I was worried I wouldn't have enough left over to take a picture for my blog. The picture isn't the best and doesn't really do the dish justice, but at least it gives you an idea of how it should look. I hope you enjoy!

Yields about 4 main-course if served with some crunchy bead to soak up the broth.

1.5 pounds firm white fish, such as snapper, or grouper( I usually use grouper because its thinker and doesn't fall apart easy)
1 to 1.5 pound of squid cleaned and cut into big chunks.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped onions (I put only one medium onion because my husband it's big on it)
1 medium chopped or thinning slice red bell pepper
2 mild green chilies , sliced lengthwise in half (leave seeds if you want it to be a little more spicy)
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 cups chopped peeled and seeded tomatoes (or you can use 2 cups chopped canned tomatoes)
1 cup water
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
red pepper flakes to taste (we like it to have a little spicy kick, but this can be omitted)
fresh chopped parsley (I actually don't chop it up just toss some in)


Cut the fish and your squid into 3-inch pieces. and set aside in the refrigerator.

Make a roux by combining the oil and flour in a large cast-iron or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Stir slowly with a wooden spoon for about 15 to 20 minutes,roux will become dark brown.

Add the celery, onions, bell peppers, and chilies. Cook, stirring often, for 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the bay leaves and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, water.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until a thin oil film appears on the surface.

Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking.

Increase the heat to medium, add the broth, salt,ground pepper, red pepper flakes, and cayenne and cook for about 15 minutes.

Lay the ONLY the fish in the mixture and let cook for about 5-8 minutes. Do NOT stir until squid is added to avoid fish from breaking.

After that add squid (the squid will cook much faster than the white fish) and allow to cook another 3-5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and squid as taken on a dark pink to purple color.

During the last 2 minutes of cooking time, and parsley.

Remove the bay leaves. Serve hot with your favorite bread.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spicy Teriyaki Steak with Veggies over White Rice

After making Mongolian Beef 2 weeks ago(which was amazing!) I deiced that I would try making some more food that was Asian inspired. So being that I had a London broil steak in the freezer (which I usually is used to make jerky for my husband) I thought it might work well if I sliced it thin to make teriyaki steak with veggies. While it did come out good, It wasn't amazing and I blame that on the cut of meat that I used last night. The veggies and marinade were packed with flavor so I really think that next time I will use sliced New York Strip and not London broil.

The Teriyaki marinade is Tyler Florence the rest of the recipe is my own.

Tyler's recipe yields about 1 cup of marinade.

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 oranges, juiced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

At this time take your NEW YOUR STRIP and slice into thin strips (I used a London broil and wish I had used a new york strip, because they are a lot more tender and flavorful)

Take you sliced steak and place in a single layer season with salt and black pepper pour marinade over meat and place in refrigerator for a few hours. (The longer you let marinade the more flavor your meat will have.)

Remove meat from refrigerator and shake meat around. Let meat sit on counter for 30 minutes before cooking.

In stock pot put water to cook your rice. While the water begins to come to a boil, take all your veggies that you plan on using and chopping them up.

I like to use 1 medium Onion, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper and about 1.5 cups of broccoli.

Heat up wok with a little of olive oil and drop in onions and all your peppers. Let veggies cook about 4 minutes. Take you steak and add to wok ago with the marinade. let cook and turn slices of steak. Add in broccoli when steak is half way done.

Plate white rice and top with beef and veggies. Don't forget to pour some sauce over it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lemon Parsley Rissoto

I have never, ever made a risotto, nor have I ever had a "true" risotto for that matter. I have always wanted to make it, and this passed week I finally found the rice in my local grocery store and picked up a box to make at a later date.

Last night my plan was to make a roasted chicken and roasted potatoes, when my husband called stating that he had just bought red snappers for Monday night's dinner (which I always make roasted potatoes as a side.) So I had to find another side dish to go with my chicken. I was not about to make roasted potatoes 2 night in a row.

Luckily enough I remembered that I had just bought the rice and I could make a risotto and I turned to the wonderful ladies on What's Cooking, MaryEllen was wonderful enough to share her risotto tag with me. She has so many different risottos in her blog that I had a hard time picking one to make. I finally decided to go with her lemon and parsley risotto because it sounded easy enough for a first timer, I also thought it would be a nice earthy flavor to go with my roasted chicken.

Needless to say it was a hit with my husband he must have told me at least 2 to 3 times that the risotto excellent. My son who is 20 months old, had leftovers for lunch today and liked it so much that he kept asking for "more".

Adapted for MaryEllen's food blog. Thanks MaryEllen for saving my dinner. Link to MaryEllen's blog is below.

The whole process should take about 20-25 minutes.


3 tbsp unsalted butter (divided into 1 tbsp each, you will have 3 pieces)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Cups of Arborio rice
3 Cups chicken broth (I make my own broth but you can also use any canned broth)
1.5 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
Handful chopped fresh parsley
about 3 tbsp lemon juice
Lemon zest from half a lemon


Heat chicken broth in sauce pan

In another pot add about 4 cups of water (I kinda just eye balled it). Let come to a boil. Once the water is boiling add salt and your Arborio rice.

In a small bowl zest half a lemon and then juice the lemon to get about 3tbsp of lemon juice, add garlic, add your fresh ground pepper and set aside.

Let Rice cook, you will notice that the rice is soaking up the water, at this time use ladle and add one ladle of broth.

Continue to stir rice, as rice soaks up fluid add another ladle of broth. (It should take 3-3.5 ladles of broth.)

Add 1 piece of butter at a time and continue to stir your rice.

Once you have added all your butter, add your lemon pepper mixture and stir. Once well incorporated add parsley stir and serve right away.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Skinny Mini Cherry-Topped Cheescakes

My husband loves cheesecake. I made this for Christmas for my next door neighbors and my husband decided that he wanted them and asked me to bake them something else. Needless to say once he has eaten them all he looked at me and asked if that was all we had. HELLO! You just eat dozen cheesecakes in a matter of two days! LOL!

What I like about this recipe is that you get that wonderful cheesecake flavor and each cheesecake is only 90 calories. How can you go wrong with that! Do you know how many calories are in a piece of cheesecake at the cheesecake factory?

All I am going to say is even if you had all 12 mini cheesecakes you would still have consumed less calories then you would in one slice from the cheesecake factory! You don't have to give up certain foods to maintain weight, you just have to use the right ingredients and of course everything in moderation.

Source "The most decadent diet cookbook"


Butter flavored cooking spray
10-12 reduced fat vanilla wafers
12oz of fat free cream cheese at room temp
1/3 cup of sugar (I use a little less because I find that that cherry topping makes them sweeter)
2 tablespoons fat free vanilla yogurt
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract (use the good stuff it makes them tastier)
1 teaspoon unbleached all purpose flour
2 large egg whites
10 tablespoons cherry pie filling (I like to get kind that says it has less sugar)



Preheat oven to 300

line 10 cups of a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Lightly mist them with cooking spray (This is what the cookbook recommends I have never done it, because I have never found it to stick.)

Place one vanilla wafer in the bottom center of each cup, flat side down.

Use mixer and beat cream cheese and sugar on medium until well combined. Add yogurt, vanilla, and flour and mix on low until just combined.

In another bowl whisk together egg whites until soft peeks form.

Use spatula and gently fold the eggs into the cream cheese until mixture is just combined. (You don't want to over mix)

Divide the mixture among the muffin tins.

(they will puff up and the tops will crack, but not worry because you will hide the cracks will the cherry pie filling)

Transfer cheesecakes to cooling rack and cool at room temp. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Before serving top each cheesecake with 1 tablespoon cherry pie filling. (I usally top each with 2-3 cherries a little filling sauce.

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does.

1 Cheesecake has 90 calories, 6g protein, 17g carbohydrates, 1g fat, trace fiber, 215mg sodium...which means that you save 51 calories, 7g fat, 5g saturated fat, and 100mg sodium if you had had a regular piece of cheesecake.

Yummy Bread!

So baking bread has never been something that I have been good at. The only time I have ever baked bread was with my mother, and being that she lives in Europe I have to make bread on my own. I tried one time since my mother moved and it was a complete mess. So I finally decided that I would try it again...BUT I wanted an easy recipe and of the ladies from the nest were more than happy to share their recipes with me. Thanks While my bread didn't come out as beautiful looking as her's It did come out looking nice!

This recipe is from food. This is one of the few recipes that I have not made any changes to. Link to her blog is below.

1 1/2C. Warm water (between 105 and 110 degrees)
3C. All-purpose flour, plus more for dusting.
1 1/2t. Salt
Cornmeal for dusting

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended.

The dough will be VERY sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rest for least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, (I let it sit for 18 hours and baked it the next day)

Let rest at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.

Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.

Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball.

Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour,and cornmeal.

Put the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, and cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours.

When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees.

Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. (I DON'T HAVE A DUTCH OVEN SO i USED A PYREX DISH)

When the dough is ready, slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up.

The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned.

Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

I can't wait to make this again! It looks amazing!

New Pictures of Jonathan

Ok, I know this isn't food related But I couldn't help but uploading a few pictures of Jonathan being silly after his nap! LOL!

Galric Salt Pita chips!

I never thought about making pita chips until I had some at a friends house. They were so good and from what she said was so easy to make. She gave me her recipe and I looked at it and said "That's it?"

Needless to say I have been wanting to make this for awhile but I just haven't had a chance until today. And they are just as good as I remembered them.

Adapted from my friend Joanna and seasoning suggestions from Joelen. Thanks ladies!


8 Pita bread rounds (I like to use whole wheat)
Cooking spray
4 teaspoons of garlic salt (or any combination of spices you might want)


Preheat oven to 400

Cut pitas into 8 wedges. What I did was cut down the center, then cut each half in half again and then once more down the center. You will get 8 pieces out of each pita.

Place pitas on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray (The recipe actually says to brush wedges with Olive oil,but is easier and less calories and come out just as good.)

Sprinkle each wedge with garlic salt. Bake for 10 minutes, or until wedges are light golden brown and crispy.

Let cool completely on cooling rack and then store in airtight container.

You may ago tried different flavors such as chili powder, cumin, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, and so on.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Turkey meat sauce

I will admit that jarred sauce is so convenient. After a long day at work the last thing you want to do is make sauce, but if you make this sauce ahead of time not only will you have great tasting sauce, but you will also know what has gone into it.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I love to read the labels on jarred foods. I am always impressed by how many ingredients are in jarred and canned foods that I would never use. I guess that's the price that you pay for convenience. I wish I could express to you all how wonderful this recipe is, the only way that you will have a real appreciation for it, is if you try it.


1.5lbs of ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
a few steams of fresh parsley
2 (28-ounce) cans whole Italian plum tomatoes, with their juices

In a large saucepan saute the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat until soft and lightly golden, about 4 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add ground turkey let cook until brown.

Drain fat and then add the tomato paste, salt, hot sauce, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and basil, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, crushing with your spoon in the pan.

Stir to combine well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over any pasta of choice and enjoy! This can also be made in the crock-pot.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mongolian Beef with Veggies over White Rice

OMG! Last night I made the most amazing Mongolian Beef Thanks to Joelen. For some reason I was craving some Asian food, and being that my husband is Chinese he is always ready. But let's face it... the only time my husband gets "real" Chinese food is when we go to my in-laws for the weekend. However this recipe was so good that you would have thought my mother-in-law had been in town. I did make a few minor changes to Joelen's recipe below you will find the link to her blog so you can see the original recipe. I hope that you try this recipe. Either this one or the original recipe I promise you wouldn't be disappointed with either recipe! It was so good that we only had a little bit left over =(

This recipe is so easy and so fast to make it should only take 30 minutes from start to finish.

Adapted from

FYI The picture does not have broccoli in it because it was so tasty that we finished it all before I was able to take the picture.


1.5 Lbs of beef sliced thin (I like to use New York strip steaks but you can use any cut. Also put beef in freezer for about 30 minutes, that way the meat will be firmer and easier to cut into thin slices)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
2 tablespoons of cornstarch (I actually omitted this because I forgot)
1 med onion chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 a pepper pepper chopped
1.5 cup of broccoli
1/4 cup oyster sauce plus an extra tablespoon for later
1/4 cup soy sauce plus an extra tablespoon for later
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (we like spicy)
1/2 teaspoon of sriracha hot chili sauce (again we like spicy, this can be found in the Asian section at your local store or in any Asian market.)

Season beef with a little salt and pepper. Add garlic powder, onion powder, the extra tablespoon of oyster sauce, and extra tablespoon soy sauce. Set aside and let marinate for 15 minutes.

At this point you might want to start your pot of rice while the beef is marinating because believe it or not the rice will take longer time to cook than the beef.

Sprinkle corn starch over and set aside (I forgot to do this step)

In a hot pan saute garlic, onion, and red pepper in oil until softened

Add meat and add broccoli florets until beef brown.

Mix oyster sauce and soy sauce together and add to pan to coat everything.

Remove from heat, and but over a bed of white rice.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mashed Red Potatoes

So last night I made a turkey breast for dinner and you can't have turkey without having mashed potatoes to go with it. What I love about this side is that it is easy and everyone in my home loves it. I wish that everything that I made was this simple and this easy to put together. Take my word for it, this recipe is sure to please anyone.

I hope that if you do try this recipe that you come back and let me know how it came out good or bad I would love to hear from you. Enjoy!

1-1 1/2lb of red potatoes cut into quarters (leave the skin on for extra fiber)
stockpot with water
salt to season the water
1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk (I use 2%)(You might need to add extra milk.)

Put potatoes into water with salt and let cook until they are fork tender. Once the potatoes are fully cooked strain water from pot. Transfer potatoes back into the pot add, ground pepper, garlic powder, butter, and milk.

Using a potato masher, and mash everything together until everything is combined together. Taste and add any additional seasonings to your own liking.

Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter

For Thanksgiving I used this recipe to make my turkey and it was amazing. I have never had a bird that was so tasty and yet so moist. My husband loved it so much that we had been begging that I make it again. This week whole turkey breasts were on sale at the grocery store so I decided that I would pick one up and fulfill his request. Needless to say he was a very happy camper when he got home and smelled the turkey baking in the oven.

Once again Tyler Florence's recipe was a huge hit in our home. Link to the recipe on food network is below.


WHAT YOU WILL NEED: This recipe is meant for a 10-12lb turkey

1 stick OF unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 bunch fresh sage, finely chopped
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh turkey
8 strips bacon
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons hot water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Put the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash until the sage is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and slip the remaining seasoned butter under, massaging the breast meat as you go.

Shingle the bacon strips over the breast so it's totally covered. Put the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, cover the turkey with aluminium foil, and place in the oven. (I do not cover the turkey until the last 1hour of baking, so that they turkey can get that nice golden crispy skin.)

FYI: You will notice that the bacon will begin to become very dark almost to the point where it looks very, very, over done...don't worry about it, because it will be disregarded later.

In a small bowl, stir the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of hot water to thin. Depending on the size of your turkey roasting times will vary the key is to roast your turkey 15 minutes for every lb.

As your turkey is baking you should be basting the turkey with the maple glaze every 30 minutes. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F.

The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a knife. When done take the turkey out of the oven and put the roasting pan on the stove top. Transfer the turkey to a serving tray to rest at least 20 minutes before carving.

All that is let to do is enjoy your yummy meal.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Macaroons

My husband is a macaroon lover and always wants to buy the ones in the store because he states that I don't make them enough. Little does he know that my original macaroon recipe takes so freaking long, thus the reason that I only make them around the holidays. Yesterday I found a recipe in Portuguese cooking magazine and in reading the recipe I noticed that it was less steps and a lot less time in the kitchen,so I decided that I would try out the recipe and I am glad I did.

The Macaroons came out amazing and I can't wait to make them again. This recipe is great when you are craving some sweet coconut and do not have a lot of time to bake.

FYI Unsweetened shredded coconut is available in health food stores, like wholefoods and trader joes. You can use sweetened shredded coconut just reduce the sugar in the recipe from 3/4 cup to one full tablespoon.

Recipe was taken from Martha Stewart's cookbook

Recipe yields about one and a half dozen Macaroons

3/4 cup of sugar (I use a little less than that)
2 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate.
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (use the good stuff, it makes a difference)
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla, salt and chocolate. Using your hands mix well until everything is combined together.

Take 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture to form loose haystacks. Place on prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart from each other.

Bake until golden brown about 15-20 minutes make sure to rotate the sheet halfway through the baking process

Let cool on wire rack.

Cookies can be store in an airtight container at room temp. for 3 days. They also freeze well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stuffed Shells with Turkey and Veggies

I wanted to do something different for dinner, something that was tasty but also something where I also incorporate as many veggies as possible. So you might wonder how the how it came out and all I can say is that out of 18 stuffed shells I only had 4 left over. I will for sure continue to make this for the family. This recipe freezes well.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


1 box jumbo pasta shells (I like to use whole wheat pasta)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 finely chopped carrot
1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 (8 to 10-ounce) package frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still very firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add veggies and the garlic and cook until they are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl combine the cooled turkey mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of sauce. Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the shells, top with the grated mozzarella.

To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 60 minutes (20 minutes if shells are unfrozen.)

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry over White Rice

We eat a lot of chicken in this house, not only because it is healthier than red meat, but also because we like the fact that chicken can be made in many different ways. On average we have chicken at least 2-3 a week. So I am always trying to change things up a little. It has been a while since we had some stir fry so last night I decided that it would be perfect for dinner.

Not only is it an easy meal but it's also fast to make on nights that you get home late.

What you will need

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced against the grain
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced (I ran out last night but it was still good)
3 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch (to thicken up sauce)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (if you want it to be spicy...this can be omitted)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
About 1/3 cup chicken broth or water (I use water)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups broccoli,
1 medium onion slices thin
1 red bell pepper
1 cup of snow peas
1 large carrot sliced


Toss the chicken with about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the sesame oil in a bowl. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with the 1/3 cup broth or water.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add all the veggies and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, to taste. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Get the skillet good and hot again, and then heat 2 more tablespoons oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the veggies to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if need to thin the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve over a bed of white rice.