At first, I was frustrated to see another 35-40 minute step featured in a recipe from this new cookbook I've been trying.  You'll have to roast the tomatoes for this amount of time. I didn't read the recipe through when I bought the ingredients and I was thinking I'd whip this together in about 10 minutes.  However, I really understand now how crucial that step was and the result was really amazing.  This is probably now one of my favorite pasta recipes.  I skipped adding pasta water back at the end.  Instead, I roasted the tomatoes on foil and transferred them along with their oil and their juices to the pasta before adding the basil and cheese.  It made the thinnest, most flavorful sauce which paid perfectly with the tomatoes and fresh basil.
Source: The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

6 c cherry tomatoes (about 2 pounds), halved
1 shallot, halved and sliced thin
2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 t sugar
1/8 t red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
12 oz whole-wheat penne
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c shredded fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss the tomatoes with the shallot, oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl.
2. Spread the tomatoes out over a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until the tomato skins have shriveled slightly but the tomatoes still retain their shape 35-40 minutes.  
3.  Cook the pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water and drain.  Return to the pot.
4. Add the tomatoes to the pasta.  Add 1/4 cup of Parmesan and basil and toss gently to combine.  Before serving, add the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
I was thrilled with how quick the burrito recipe was - I'll definitely be making it often. The lettuce leaf gave it a nice crunch and the bbq sauce was delicious.  And these refried beans got a real makeover in this recipe; they are usually made with lard when you buy them in the cans.

  • 1 2-pound roasted chicken, skin discarded, meat removed from bones and shredded (4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed, or canned corn, drained
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 4 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 4 10-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 limes, cut in wedges

  1. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, barbecue sauce, beans, corn and sour cream; stir to combine. Cook until hot, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Assemble the wraps by placing a lettuce leaf in the center of each tortilla and topping with one-fourth of the chicken mixture; roll as you would a burrito. Slice in half diagonally and serve warm, with lime wedges.
Source: America's Test Kitchen

  • 3 cans of dark red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro

1. In a food processor, puree the beans with water until smooth. Set aside
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and jalapeno and cook for 5-8 minutes until tender and fragrant.
3. Add the garlic and cumin to the skillet for thirty seconds.
4. Add the beans to the skillet and stir.  Simmer over medium-low heat until the beans have thickened, about 8 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and add the cilantro.  Season with salt.
Salmon is, in my mind, one of the healthiest proteins you can eat.  It's lean, low in bad fats, and jacked with good fats - omega 3 - which is excellent for cardiovascular health.  And I really don't like it.  I think maybe I've just eaten too much, but I find the texture mealy, and the flavor bland.  Yawn.  So this is great way for me to get in some salmon.  I was afraid of the Wasabi at first (aka Japanese horseradish) but I LOVED it and I wonder what else I can include this little green paste in.  I served this with cucumbers (you could also add mayo) on whole wheat buns, and a side of roasted corn on the cob.

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder, (see Note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 pound salmon fillet, skinned (see Tip)
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

        1. Whisk soy sauce, wasabi powder and honey in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
        2. With a large chef's knife, chop salmon using quick, even, straight-up-and-down motions (do not rock the knife through the fish or it will turn mushy). Continue chopping, rotating the knife, until you have a mass of roughly 1/4-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl. Add scallions, egg, ginger and oil; stir to combine. Form the mixture into 4 patties. The mixture will be moist and loose, but holds together nicely once the first side is cooked.
        3. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the patties and cook for 4 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until firm and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Spoon the reserved wasabi glaze evenly over the burgers and cook for 15 seconds more. Serve immediately.
        TIPS & NOTES
        • Ingredient Note: Wasabi powder, when mixed with water, becomes the green paste most of us know from sushi restaurants. The powder is available in jars in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets or in almost all Asian markets. Store at room temperature for up to 1 year.
        • Tip: To skin a salmon fillet: Place it on a clean cutting board, skin side down. Starting at the tail end, slip the blade of a long, sharp knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding the skin down firmly with your other hand. Gently push the blade along at a 30 degree angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either. Or have your fishmonger do it for you.
        Designed as an app, but worthy of dinner with a heavy side.  You'll be surprised at how good this is despite being so simple!
        Source: Food Network

        • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the grill pan
        • 4 to 6 portobello mushrooms
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
        • 1 cup marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
        • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
        • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
        • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

        Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

        Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over both sides of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil on the grill to prevent the mushrooms from sticking. Grill until the mushrooms are heated through and tender, about 5 minutes per side.

        Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

        Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Place the grilled mushrooms on top of the marinara sauce and top with the remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle with the cheeses and top with the butter pieces. Bake until the cheese melts and the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve.
        Last night we treated ourselves to a "wine dinner" with our friends.  At Arcadia, a special room and menu were devoted to pairing a four course meal (plus dessert) with glasses of wine from Barboursville, a great local winery.  The makers of the wines were even in attendance.  Everything was excellent and it was such a great way to spend a random Wednesday....because sometimes you just need to drink four glasses on a work night :-) 
        And I didn't even have to do any picture taking; there was a photographer who handled everything - even taking our picture!  These pictures are from Arcadia's Facebook page.
        I liked using pork for this stir fry but this was way too salty.  If you try this, cut out as much sodium as you can!
        Source: The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook


        2 T toasted sesame oil
        1 T cornstarch
        1 T all purpose flour
        2 t low sodium soy sauce (I would omit!)
        2 t Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
        12 oz of pork tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and sliced into thin strips

        Stir - Fry:
        3 garlic cloves, minced
        1 T grated fresh ginger
        4 t canola oil 
        12 scallions, white and green parts separated, both parts sliced on the bias into 1 inch pieces
        2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
        3/4 c frozen shelled edamame beans
        1 recipe Classic Brown Stir Fry Sauce 

        1. Combine all Pork ingredients and stirring in the meat last.  Marinate for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.

        2. Combine garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon of canola oil in a bowl.

        3. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over high heat.  (I used a wok).  Add the pork and cook until lightly browned on all sides but not fully cooked.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

        4. Add remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to skillet.  (I omitted this).  Add the scallion whites and cook until they begin to soften, 1 minute.  Sir in the bell peppers and edamame and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes longer.

        5. Clear the center of the skillet, add the garlic mixture and cook, mashing the mixture into the pan, until fragrant, 15-30 seconds. Stir into the vegetables.

        6.  Return the pork, with any juices, to the skillet.  Stir in the scallion greens.  Whisk the sauce to recombine, then add to the skillet.  Simmer, tossing constantly, until the pork is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, 30 seconds to two minutes.  Serve.  

        Classic Brown Stir-Fry Sauce

        1/2 c low sodium chicken broth
        1/4 c Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
        3 T hoisin sauce or oyster flavored sauce
        1 T low sodium soy sauce
        2 t cornstarch
        1 t toasted sesame seed oil

        Whisk together in a bowl.

        I'm usually afraid of cooking scallops because I never know when they're done so I always over cook. them.  So this time I used a grill pan and and cooked them for about 3 minutes on each side and they turned out great.  I skipped the skewers to save some time.  I served this with grilled squash and Asian sesame noodles.
        Source: Summer Kitchen TV

        Bamboo Skewers
        1 lb. shrimp, cleaned, shelled and deveined
        1 lb. scallops, cleaned with muscle removed
        1 bunch green onions, cut into 2 in long pieces
        12 cherry tomatoes
        1 piece fresh ginger, grated
        3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
        3 tbsp soy sauce
        2 tbsp sesame oil
        2 tbsp brown sugar
        2 cloves garlic, minced
        black pepper, to taste
        1 lemon, cut into wedges
        1 lime, cut into wedges 

        1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

        2. Thread the shrimp, green onion, tomato and scallop, onto the skewers.

        3. In a large bowl, mix together the ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and garlic. Pour half of the mixture over the kabobs and marinate at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Reserve the other half of the mixture to baste the kabobs while grilling.

        4. Prepare a charcoal grill to medium heat.

        5. Place the skewers on the grill and season with fresh black pepper. Turn once and brush with the soy mixture.

        6. Cook until opaque throughout, about 6-8 minutes. Take off of the grill and serve with lemon or lime wedges.

        I'm really impressed with all of the fresh ingredients and the variety of flavors in this!  For a little extra spice, try adding in a dash of curry.  The sauce was delicious!

        Source: Rachael Ray Mag

        • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
        • About 1/2 cup chicken stock
        • About 4 to 5 tbsp. tamari (dark soy sauce)
        • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
        • 1 small fresno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
        • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
        • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
        • 1 piece  (1 inch) fresh ginger, grated
        • 1 tablespoon lime (or lemon) zest plus 1 tbsp. lime (or lemon) juice
        • 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
        • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or EVOO
        • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
        • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
        • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
        • Salt and pepper
        • 4 pieces  garlic naan bread
        • 2 tablespoons butter
        • Shredded iceberg lettuce and thinly sliced scallion and seedless cucumber, for topping
        1. Preheat an outdoor grill, grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. In a saucepan, melt the peanut butter over low heat. Stir in the chicken stock, tamari and brown sugar (or honey), then the chile, shallot, garlic, ginger and lime (or lemon) zest and juice. Gently simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
        2. Meanwhile, coat the chicken in the oil. Season with the turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Grill or broil, turning occasionally, for 12 minutes.
        3. Splash a little water on the grill or grill pan and add the naan to crisp slightly. Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave and brush it onto the naan.
        4. Slice the chicken and pile onto the naan. Top with the lettuce, scallion, cucumber and lots of sauce.
        I recently went to a tapas bar that served corn cakes with sausage and a spicy arugula salad.  This was my attempt to recreate this.  Like the dish I tried in the restaurant, I added some sweet corn to this by cutting the corn off one ear of raw corn and adding 3/4 of that to the batter and reserving the rest as a garnish; I definitely recommend adding that for a little extra sweetness and crunch.  I served this with asiago spinach chicken sausage.  Be careful to keep the heat under the griddle a little lower than you would use for pancakes because these will cook faster and you'll be stuck with uncooked dough in the middle.
        Source: Food Network (Robin Miller)
        • Cooking spray
        • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
        • 1/3 cup sugar
        • 3/4 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
        • 2 teaspoons baking powder
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 3/4 cup milk
        • 1 tablespoon honey
        • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
        • 1 large egg or 2 large egg whites
        Coat a large griddle with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.

        In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Mix well with a fork and make a well in the center.

        In small bowl, whisk together milk, honey, oil, and egg. Pour mixture into center of dry ingredients and mix until just blended.

        Pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each corn cake. Cook 2 minutes per side, until puffed up, golden brown and cooked through.

        Because sometimes you just need to eat mac n' cheese for dinner.  And drink chardonnay with it.
        Source: Food & Wine

        1/4 cup vegetable oil
        1/2 cup finely diced onion
        1 garlic clove, minced
        1/4 cup all-purpose flour
        1 quart milk
        1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
        1/8 teaspoon mace
        3 tablespoons Tabasco
        1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
        10 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (I used white) 
        4 ounces Muenster cheese, shredded
        2 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
        1/4 cup cream cheese
        salt and freshly ground black pepper
        butter, for the dish
        1 pound medium pasta shells

        1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil until simmering.  Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent, 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.  Stir in the flour to make a paste.  Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth.  Bring to a simmer, whisking, until the sauce thickens.  Reduce the heat  low and simmer. whisking often, until no floury taste remains, 7 minutes.  Add the celery seeds, mace, Tabasco and cayenne.  Stir in the cheeses just until they melt. Remove from the heat and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
        2. Butter a large, shallow baking dish.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta shells until almost al dente, about 4 minutes.  Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.  Stir in the cheese sauce until thoroughly combined.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and let stand for 20 minutes. 
        3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425.  Bake the pasta in the upper third of the oven for 25 minutes, until it's bubbling and starting to brown.  Turn the broiler on and broil the pasta for 1 minute, until it's browned and crisp on top.  Let the mac and cheese rest for 10 minutes before serving.