Thursday, June 28, 2012

This dish is scrumdilliYUM! I had to control myself not to eat the whole pan (I admit I have issues). I wasn't planning on BLOGGING on it, but it was so YummO I just had to! It was easy to whip up and delicious!

Ingredients (serves 4)

1lb of bow tie pasta

1 10oz bag of frozen peas

1/4 cup onion chopped

1 Portobello mushroom sliced/chopped

2 cups of cream (OR I used skim milk)

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 lb. of cooked and diced chicken breast

2 Tablespoons of Garlic Herb Goat Cheese (OR 1 cup of Asiago or any cheese you desire)

1 Chicken bouillon cube crushed

1/4 Tsp. of Garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil and salt water, cook pasta (10-12 minutes) keep 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain, set aside

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan cook up diced chicken (tip: dice it up first, cooks faster!). In another sauté pan on med-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and cook up onion, peas and mushroom, add garlic powder and cook until onion is transparent. Remove into separate dish, set aside. In same sauté pan add the other tablespoon of butter. Pour in 2 cups of cream (or milk), bring heat up to a simmer and whisk together. Add crushed chicken bouillon cube while whisking. Slowly add cheese as well to create creamy sauce. (To thicken up add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1/2 tablespoon of water). Once all whisked together, dump vegetables, pasta and chicken into sauce and let them party together for a few minutes so pasta absorbs some of that white sauce. Add some pasta liquid if needed.

There you go! Enjoy! This dish was so tasty for lunch the next day cold! :)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Grilled Shrimp & Mango Salad

Boy oh boy!  I got a healthy and tasty meal for you! I have come to the realization that cooking healthy food means adding a lot of flavor so your taste buds become satisfied.  Healthy food doesn't have to be bland as long as you have the right ingredients to please your pallet. Here is a quick meal  that is perfect to whip up after a long day at work.  What's the best part about this meal, besides the delicious flavors? Start to finish it will be cooked up and in your mouth in 20 minutes or less.  Cheers!

Ingredients (serves approx 4)

1 lb Shrimp (cleaned)
1/2 Teaspoon of EVOO (to lightly coat shrimp)
1 Teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning (to cover shrimp)
1/2 lime (juice)
1 ripe Mango cut up
1- 1 1/2 cup of Green leaf Lettuce
1/2 cup of Arugula
1/4 cup Cilantro
1/4 diced red onion

Fire up the grill to Medium-High heat. In plastic zip lock, drizzle EVOO over shrimp to lightly coat then pour in Old Bay Seasoning. Zip bag and shake to cover shrimp in seasoning.

Place shrimp on grill and cook for only 1-2 minutes on each side (depending on size of shrimp) so they turn light pink. Be careful to not overcook. (Tip..put shrimp on a skewer for easy grilling!) Take off grill to rest and hit them up with juice from 1/2 of a lime.

Meanwhile,  plate up your greens and top with mango, red onion and to finish it off use your favorite citrus or balsamic dressing (yes, I was too lazy to make my own...don't judge).  I recommend a dressing my sister introduced me to, Old Cape Cod Sweet and Sour Poppy Seed Light dressing it is sweet and gives a nice balance to the peppery taste of Arugula.

 Tip: Mango's can be tricky to slice and dice. I score it and then cut. Make sure you use a sharp knife!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summertime Orzo

It's hot here in Boston. It's so hot that you walk outside and you feel as if your are suffocating. It's so hot you step out of the shower and start sweating again. It's so hot that everyone around you has a special "I've been outside" smell. You get the picture? We have every AC on possible (up here in New England not every house is blessed with central AC) and my dog just sprawls out on the floor in front of the fan looking at me as if this is my fault! It's just gross and the last thing you want on this type of day is a heavy meal. So normally I would grill  some corn on the cob and chicken, but we currently have no deck or grill as our decks are being reconstructed. Great timing. So inspired by another dish I saw, I opted for a light lemony dish that is perfect as a side dish for a BBQ or as a meal in itself just by adding some protein. I used my new obsession,sun dried tomato chicken sausage, but my guess is that it would be great with shredded chicken as well.


1 lb of Orzo
15oz box of frozen spinach (hawed and drained)
1 large lemon (zest and juice)
3 Garlic cloves chopped
1 cup of Parmesan Cheese
2 Green onions chopped
1 lb of sun dried tomato chicken sausage (casings removed)

Boil salted water and cook Orzo. Drain, but reserve some pasta water in small dish.

In skillet heat EVOO and saute garlic, add ground sausage, cook through. Add pasta into skillet, green onion, spinach, Parmesan cheese, Lemon zest and juice. Use some of the remaining pasta water to help mix ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chicken Pad Thai ...well sort of...???

Mmm...there is nothing better than Chicken Pad Thai...especially next day left overs. I don't know what it is...but the taste of the cool rice noodles on your lips and the slightly sweet sauce on your tongue...YUM! Drooling yet? Well I was when I saw a post about a Chicken Pad Thai dish that was family friendly (check it out at I LOVE this blog and the recipes so I thought I would recreate this dish at home.  I quickly realized I was NOT prepared for this meal. First, the recipe called for rice noodles...RICE NOODLES? Who has RICE NOODLES in their pantry??? Well I don' I used whole wheat spaghetti instead (clearly they are the same...HA)! Next item that was NOT in my pantry, hoisin sauce...nope didn't have that either! At this point I was thinking to myself "I need to diversify my shopping list a little to keep up with these fancy bloggers", but this meal said FAMILY FRIENDLY!! What Mom is going to have these items randomly in their pantry?!?!? Last was bean sprouts...OK that was my final fail, no bean sprouts. Determined, not discouraged, I was going to make this here we go!  I hope you enjoy it, it's not Pad Thai,but it satisfied my craving by incorporating some of the same flavors and ingredients AND I didn't have to make a trip to the grocery store.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any leftovers, my husband and I devoured the whole dish! Oops!


4 Tablespoons of soy sauce (go healthy and use low sodium)
2 Tablespoons of Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil (OK to be fair not to many people will have this either hanging out in their pantry, I get it.)
4 Tablespoons of Sugar
4 Cloves of minced Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Red wine Vinegar
pinch of Red pepper flakes
1/2 box of spaghetti
3 tablespoons of canola oil
1lb of boneless skinless chicken breast or tenderloins, cut into bite sized pieces
2 Large eggs
1 cup of sliced yellow onion
3/4 cup julienned carrot
3/4 cup julienned yellow pepper (whatever you have)
cilantro (oops didn't have this either, so I used 1/8 tsp of grated ginger root!), peanuts, lime wedges and green onion for garnish

Get your water boiling for the spaghetti and cook those noodles up and drain!

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, garlic, sugar, red wine vinegar and red pepper flakes.  Microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, set aside.

In a large wok or skillet heat oil over medium heat. Cook chicken and onions together until browned. Move to one side of the pan. Crack eggs into small bowl and beat with a fork. Pour into the empty side of the pan and scramble like crazy! Toss in carrots, pepper, cooked noodles and sauce until coated. You may need to add 1/4-1/2 cup of water to thin the sauce. Once warmed and mixed together serve with cilantro, lime wedges, peanuts and chopped green onion! DELISH!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This morning I woke up sore, really sore. Brett and I managed to finish the Boston Ruckus, a four mile military style obstacle course, unscathed.  It was quite the experience and I was happy we could participate in it  with our pals, the Scanlons.  After all that hard work and after seconds of careful calculation I estimated we burned approximately 5 million calories during the festivities.  So in my mind that equates to us being able to eat whatever we want for the rest of the weekend without feeling guilty. HA! With that enjoy this chocolate chip banana muffin recipe, I know we did!!  


2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

whisk together and add 1/3 cup of chocolate chips

3 mashed bananas (i keep my older bananas in the freezer for recipes like these)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, fold so mixed together (be careful to not stir too much as it will make muffins stiff).

Use ice cream scoop for even muffins and scoop into muffin pan. Bake for 14-16 minutes at 375 degrees.


Whisk dry and wet to get out any lumps and whisk the wet to cream together.

Fold the wet into the dry
Use an ice cream scoop for even muffins!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Fancy Nancy

This past weekend I went on a road trip to Kennebunkport, ME with my friend Nancy for a much needed girls weekend. The rainy cool days finally let up and the weather was perfect for laying on the  beach and fine wine and dining. I knew we had a long day of lounging and drinking ahead of us so to prepare us for this stressful day I whipped up what I like to call the "Fancy Nancy" wrap.  I knew the wrap was a hit when after her first bite she looked at me eyes wide open and exclaimed  "Wow! This is so good! I am loving the crunch and the punch in this wrap!" There was much laughter and memories on this trip and most importantly a delicious sandwich was born.

Makes 2 sandwiches

2 whole wheat wraps
1/2 of a Granny Smith apple thinly sliced
Approximately 4-6oz of Brie cheese
4 oz of Spinach leaves (eye ball it)
1/4 lb of deli sliced oven  roasted turkey
1/4 of thinly sliced red onion
Optional 1 ripe avocado thinly sliced.

Cover the wrap in Brie cheese and layer the remaining ingredients, roll up and enjoy! I served fruit skewers for dessert a great way to serve your kids fruit (or two grown adults) on a hot summer day! Just watch out for the pointy end!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pizza Night!

Growing up it was known in the Ventura household that Friday night was Pizza Night!!! My parents moved us from Long Island, NY to Orono, Maine finding good pizza that stood up to New York's' was difficult to find. Therefore, my mom used to make her own crust (Gasp! This was before store bought dough was readily available)  and made two pizzas in cookie sheet pans. I still remember hearing the hum of the electric mixer, seeing the orange mixing bowl on the counter she would use to let the dough rise and fighting over the corner pieces with my sisters. Fast forward 20 plus years (ahem!)  to 2012 and pre-made pizza dough is readily available and easily found in any super market. You can even find healthy versions such as my personal favorite, whole wheat. I wanted to keep the tradition alive of having pizza night one night a week, but being the 9-5 working woman that I am I can't/ won't find the time to make my own dough. So if we are not ordering from one of the fabulous pizza joints here in Boston, I enjoy whipping one up myself with store bought  whole wheat pizza dough (sorry mom!). I have done the math and in pretty much the same amount of time it takes to order a pizza and have it delivered to your doorstep you can make one yourself with probably half the fat and grease. Tonight I used Hannaford's  whole wheat pizza dough and marinara sauce,  feta cheese, mozzarella,  red pepper, onion, sliced tomato and of course pepperoni (god forbid we have a meatless dish one night).  I topped it off with freshly cut basil I have been growing and served it with a pecan, craisins, feta and spinach salad.  A sinful meal, but with half the sin. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mama's Crunchy Chicken Bake Casserole

I am back in action people! Our kitchen is about 90% finished and I can finally cook again! Let me tell you I have been tearing it up in the kitchen ever since I got my stove back!!! Woop! Woop! Not only does cooking excite me, but the fact that I have something to BLOG about and share with you all  makes me super duper happy!

SO to kick off this post kitchen renovation blog spot I am going to tell you about my most recent dish which got a 4 our of 5 star rating from my guests. This dynamite meal is a chicken casserole that my mom used to make when I was a kid. I woke up craving it the other day and I called her for the recipe. It's super easy to make and delicious. I forgot to take a picture before I served it... however this proves how tasty it was considering I was only feeding three people...oops! :)  Enjoy

                Chicken Bake Casserole

4 cups cooked chicken meat, cubed
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups herb stuffing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounce package sliced Swiss cheese
31/2 ounce pkg. sliced almonds

In a 9x13 inch baking pan combine all ingredients except cheese and almonds. Use half of chicken mixture and pat down in pan. Cover with Swiss cheese slices and top with remaining chicken mixture.  

Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove cover and bake 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with almonds and bake 20 minutes more until bubbly.

Cranberry sauce and dinner rolls go well with it. ( I had add this comment from my mom...Isn't this SUCH a Mom comment?! HA!  xoxo Love you MOM!)