Pasta Salad (for the week)

12 04 2011

I have a show coming up at the end of the week (I’m a piano accompanist) at the end of the week, so apologies for the lack of posts recently.  Since I’m booked with rehearsals and a bunch of other obligations (class, tutoring, teaching SAT class, meetings, etc etc) all week, here’s what I’m living on for the week:


  • Sun-dried tomato basil wraps with sun-dried tomato hummus, bacon, turkey
  • Bologna sandwiches on wheat bread (with mayo or hummus)
  • Chips Ahoy, Cheez Its, and Chocolate-covered cranberries


  • Orzo with roasted butternut squash, cranberries, and spinach (blog to follow later on, once I have more time)
  • Pasta salad

My mom used to make this pasta salad each year when I did Relay for Life in high school.  It’s pretty simple and I used a lot of pre-made ingredients, so total time of preparing everything was done within the time it took me to boil water and then cook the pasta.

It’s simple and cost-effective, since it made 5 servings that I can grab and eat on the go all week.  It’s got many layers of flavor, too – tri-color rotini pasta, diced ham (I bought pre-made ham steak), diced chicken (pre-made diced chicken, Perdue short cuts), one can of cannelini beans, and mushrooms that I sauteed in butter and balsamic vinaigrette.  I used the same dressing to sautee the mushrooms that I used for the dressing on the pasta salad and the flavors all worked really well together. Here it is:

Happy eating!


Vietnamese Roasted Chicken (Ga Ro Ti)

3 04 2011

Finally!  Another Vietnamese dish.  I’m slowly adding these to my recipe book, although I am still the most proud of my ability to make pho.  =)

I found this recipe (link here) while perusing some food blogs and of course, sent it off to my Mom for her to look at it.  She approved, recommending that I allow the minced garlic to sit in the marinade for at least half an hour so the flavor would be in the marinade even more, so I did that.

It was pretty simple – the hardest part, really, was deciding on what thighs to get at the grocery store!  I typically only buy chicken breasts so I had to decide between bone-in, boneless, skins, skinless, all this stuff I normally never worry about when buying chicken breasts.

After that it was all pretty easy – I just had to marinate the chicken overnight, and then the next day I cooked each side in the pan and then broiled it to finish cooking.  The flavor that was infused in the chicken was great and reminded me of my mom’s cooking.  I served it with white rice and broccoli, of course.

Here it is

Chicken thighs in the pan.

Happy eating!

Chicken stewed in wine, garlic, and cinnamon

25 03 2011

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Crepes of Wrath.  It was a recipe pulled from A Good Appetite.  Cinnamon is an interesting ingredient – I thought that it might make this dish too sweet, but it was just right and gave the sauce and chicken a great aromatic and flavor.

I made this dish twice – the first time I made it, everything went directly into containers and I had it for lunch throughout the week.  The second time around, I made it for my parents when I was home for spring break.  I think they liked it, although they commented that they wanted a little bit more sauce in the dish.  I thought the amount of sauce was great, but everyone has their own preference.

I liked this dish because the spinach was cooked (so I could eat it!) and there was a good ratio of spinach to chicken to onions and noodles.  I don’t normally cook with egg noodles either, but a few of my dishes have been using egg noodles lately and I’m really starting to like them.  The dish reheated really well too, and I liked the chicken being in bite sized pieces.  Both times I made it the sauce adhered to the chicken really and the tomato paste gave it a great taste without adding tomatoes.

Here it is!  The second time around the sauce wasn’t as red as it was the first time; I didn’t get a chance to measure out the tomato paste since I was just using whatever was left in the can.  Whoops!  Still tasted great though!

Happy eating!

Basil Chicken over Angel Hair

7 03 2011

I got the recipe for this dish from one of the apps on my iPod.  I made it with my friend Jonathan when he came to visit for a night back in December.  It’s pretty simple – some angel hair, basil, and chicken.  I used diced tomatoes in the dish because it’s what I had on hand, and added some toasted bread on the side for a double dose of carbs.

Here it is!  Fairly simple and probably didn’t even need a recipe .. but then again, I’m still getting used to this whole cooking thing!

Happy eating!

Chicken teriyaki

22 02 2011

I found this recipe while perusing Simply Recipes, and I put it right into the ‘asian category’ of the recipes that I keep.  A lot of the asian recipes that I find call for fresh ginger, and since I only cook two-three entrees per week, it’s hard to buy enough ginger before it goes bad.  However, I had a few people over for dinner during one of the snow days, and decided to make it with ground ginger instead, which I had readily available in my pantry.

Prior to this recipe I’ve never poached chicken before, and once I read the recipe, I was unsure how it would turn out.  Would the chicken be cooked enough? Would it be okay to eat?  What would the sauce taste like?  So instead of putting the chicken into the pan as the whole chicken breast, I diced the chicken so it would cook quicker and so I didn’t have to take any chances.  (The site actually edited the recipe I used, now saying to cook the chicken over extremely low heat for twenty minutes or so, to make sure the chicken is cooked through.)

The first time around (when I cooked for a few people) I didn’t let the sauce thicken enough so it was more saucy than I would have liked.  I made the dish again about a week later and let the sauce cook longer and it made a great thick syrup.  While the chicken was poaching in the sauce, I cooked rice and steamed broccoli at the same time, and everything came together right in time.  It got great reviews and I can’t wait to make it again!

Happy eating!


Chicken with Bacon, Rosemary, & Lemon

18 02 2011

Two of my favorite ingredients!  Chicken and bacon are always a good combination.  I made this a while back, and then in December when I was home visiting my parents I made it for them for dinner as well.  I always like to cook for them when I go home since I never did when I lived there, and it’s a nice change to be able to give back to them when I can.

I found this recipe from Crepes of Wrath and the ingredients were all pretty simple.  I really like recipes where I use remaining fat from cooking bacon to cook something else, and this recipe did just that.

While I made the chicken, bacon, and sauce, I boiled some sliced potatoes in chicken stock to serve on the side.  It’s one of my favorite ways to make potatoes and boiling the potatoes in chicken stock gives it a little extra flavor, which I really like.

When I made the dish a while back, I also served some corn on the side for vegetables.  For my parents, I stuck with just the chicken and potatoes.

Happy eating!

Saffron & Herb Couscous with Zucchini & Chicken

6 02 2011

I found this recipe on the Food Network site, and it seemed pretty easy enough with some simple ingredients.  I used a box of plain, unflavored couscous.. but I’m sure if I used some of the other flavored varieties that I bought, the couscous would be even more flavorful.  Since the recipe calls for chicken stock instead of water, I think this also gives the couscous a unique flavor.

I didn’t chop the basil and parsley as small as I would have, so the second time I made the couscous (about a week or two later) I made sure all the herbs were to size I was happier with.  I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and a little bit of cumin since that was also used with the couscous.  Overall, a really simple dish, and I’m enjoying my discovery of couscous and looking forward to using it in many more dishes. Here it is!

Happy eating!