Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Candlelight Kid's Dinner

With my battery operated candelight setting and heart
shaped pancakes per my little boy's requests it made for a
very memorable Valentine's dinner. They were so impressed over this
dinner set up =D  

Heart jello jigglers for dessert =D

Happy Valentine's Day Bento Lunch

Sharing with you the bento lunch I made my little Jayden today for his school lunch. I found these really cute heart shaped cookie cutters at Target and the largest one of the nested set worked perfectly for my heart sandwich =D I used the littlest cutter to make the red pepper hearts on top of the sandwich and then sliced some more red peppers under the heart shaped cheddar cheese (shown on the left) I added as a little treat some pink wafer cookies. Fruit choice was sliced kiwi with little heart food picks

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rigatoni with Spinach, Sausage and Mushrooms



  • 1 1/2 lb. mild Italian pork sausage, casings
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 lb. assorted mushrooms, such as
      cremini and shiitake, brushed clean and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 8 oz. chopped spinach
  • 9 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 9 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped assorted fresh herbs, such as
      basil, thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 lb. rigatoni, cooked until tender
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, brown 
the sausage,  stirring and crumbling with a fork, until cooked 
through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

In the same pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. 
Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and just beginning to
 brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook,
 stirring occasionally, until browned, about 15 minutes. 
Add the sherry and cook until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
 Add the  spinach and cook until wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. 
Add the flour and cook, whisking until light brown and fragrant,
 about 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. 
Reduce the heat to low and whisk until the sauce is smooth 
and slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
 Remove the béchamel sauce from the heat.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg, 
1 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the assorted fresh herbs,
 nutmeg, salt and pepper until well blended. 
Fold in the sausage and the mushroom mixture, then stir
 in the béchamel sauce and the cooked pasta. Season with
 salt and pepper.

Spoon the pasta into a 5-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the
 remaining 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pasta. 
Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to
 bake until the top is golden and the cheese is melted, 10 to 
15 minutes more. Sprinkle with the parsley. Let stand for 
5 minutes before serving.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chinese New Year- Chinese Noodle Soup

Happy Chinese New Year!
To celebrate the occasion and also to soothe our sore
throats I made this very tasty Chinese chicken soup. The garlic, chicken
and ginger are excellent in boosting your immune system to help
fight off colds =D 

I served this soup along with Chinese spring rolls with a ginger sauce
(I cheated on these as I purchased them already made at Costco =D)


1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon pure sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, but into 1/4 pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 1/2 cans low sodium chicken broth or homemade 
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs
3 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves plus 1/4 cup chopped 
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound spaghetti 
1 pound of baby bok choy cut into 1/4 inch slices
or fresh spinach
1/4 cup lime juice (from about two limes)


In a large pot, heat both oils over medium heat. Add
the onion, celery, garlic, ginger, chili powder, and red-pepper flakes.
Cook for about five minutes stirring occasionally

Add the broth, diced can tomatoes, chicken thighs, fish sauce,
cilantro leaves and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the 
heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is just done, about
15 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a large pot bring water to a boil to cook
the spaghetti according to package directions, about
9 minutes.

Remove the chicken; when cool enough to handle, cut
it into small bite size pieces. Keep chicken aside and continue cooking
soup add the bok choy or spinach on medium heat. Cook until just
done, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Adobo Filipino Chicken

I LOVE adobo!!! This is one was one of my favorites 
and its actually easy to make and tastes sooo


  • 4-5 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 1cup white vinegar
  • 1cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 cups water


In a skillet add a little oil and heat up the garlic...add the onions and
cook for about 4-5 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to boil, then lower heat. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve with steamed rice.

Almost Sushi Bento Lunch

Almost like sushi bento lunch...I cut the bread into rectangle slices with
the crusts removed and then spread cream cheese and strawberry jam ontop
then rolled them up to look like little sushi =D Grapes and little fish crackers

Herb Stuffed Bell Peppers


4 large sweet red peppers
1 pound Jimmy Dean Sausage
1/2 chopped onion
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan 
1/4 cup grated mild cheddar

Pick nice fat red bell peppers, wash and cut tops like a pumpkin
and remove seeds.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the peppers for
about 7-10 minutes

In a skillet cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat
is no longer pink; drain. Remove from the heat; stir in the rice,
parsley, salt, cayenne and allspice. In a small saucepan, bring
tomato sauce and broth to a boil. Stir in the vinegar, basil and
Parmesan cheese. Then mix all ingredients and spoon into peppers.
Place in a greased shallow 1-qt. baking dish.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with
 cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until
peppers are tender.