Tag Archives: garlic

Exceeding Expectations

Tonight the plan was for an Italian inspired meal!

After two nights of Mexican meals, we were feeling a need for a lil’ location change 😉

Plus, I’d had these in the cabinet for way too long…

I bought them a few weeks ago, but have been scared to use them ever since. 

Yea, I said it, scared.

Canned clams don’t get the best rap in case you’re wondering. 

And with a preconceived notion that these were going to be slimy, tough and fishy — I’m not even sure why I bought them?

But tonight I got brave…

And let’s just say that bravery paid off!!! 😀

Lemon Butter Pasta w/ Clams

A canned clam’s best friends:  onion, garlic, fresh parsley and lemon.

A bit of butter and olive oil.

A quick pan sauce comes together.

Would you believe me if I told you that all this dish needed was 1 tblsp of each?!   Well it’s true.  Proof that you don’t need alot of fat to make a tasty meal 🙂

The smell of butter and onion and garlic will never cease to amaze me.

It’s just that good.

A touch of clam juice and white wine also pulled this sauce together, what doesn’t wine make better? 😉

Ever have some smaller portions of leftover pasta on hand?


Yea, I used them both.  Made for some fun & different textures!

I’m in love with these cheese bits that you can pick up for dirt cheap at Whole Foods…

Anyone else?

This Parmesan was so flavorful, I think it’s time to splurge for the full block 😉 

Marketing genius…

Freshly shaved atop the lemony buttery sweet clam pasta.

This dish exceeded every expectation (or lack thereof) that I had.

The butter & olive oil was cut perfectly by the fresh lemon and parsley and the clams were perfectly tender and not fishy in the least!

This recipe is most definitely going into the rotation for easy, flavorful go-to meals.

We demolished the entire pan. 

Yummmmm!  😛

Lemon Butter Pasta w/ Clams

  • 1 tblsp butter
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can clams, drained & clam juice reserved (will need 1/4 cup)
  • 1/8 cup white wine
  • fresh parsley, chopped (about 2 tblsp)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • black pepper
  • pasta – about 1/2 package
  • freshly grated Parmesan

Melt the butter & olive oil in a saucepan.  Add the onion and cook over medium heat until translucent.  Add the garlic towards the end and cook for another minute or two. 

Add in the reserved clam juice, white wine, lemon juice, parsley, clams and black pepper.  Cover and let heat through for about 5 minutes (told you it was fast!)

Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to directions.  Using a pasta spoon, remove from boiling water and add to saucepan w/ claim sauce.  The extra pasta water will help to create more liquid for the sauce.

Top with grated Parm and prepare your tastebuds for excitement!

Enjoy 😀


Spicy Garlic Spinach w/ White Beans & Rice

After a wonderful weekend spent up north eating all that NYC and New Jersey had to offer, last night called for what I like to deem a “detox” meal.

In other words, a light (and in this case, meatless) meal with some much needed veggies was in order! 😉

Spicy Garlic Spinach w/ White Beans & Rice


This meal came together in a matter of minutes, another huge bonus after being out of town all weekend and craving some major relaxation time on le couch!

All you need is this (plus a few unpictured pantry staples):

And then it’s as easy as…




How’s that for speedy? 😛

I really enjoyed this simple flavorful dish, the red pepper flakes gave the perfect kick of spicy to the tangy garlic & onions.  What a great staple “go-to” meal this would be!

Here’s the recipe:

Spicy Garlic Spinach w/ White Beans & Rice

  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 can Northern beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1/2 tblsp olive oil
  • cooked brown rice to serve
  • grated Pecorino Romano to top (optional)

    Begin by cooking the onions in olive oil over medium for about 5 minutes, or until softened (but not browned).  Add in the canned beans, garlic, salt and pepper, give a stir for about another minute or two.

    Then layer the spinach on top with the red pepper flakes plus a spoonful or two of water.  Allow to cook until the spinach is slightly wilted and tender – this doesn’t take very long.

    That’s it, you’re done!  Now just serve over some brown rice* and voila! – dinner is served 😀

    *When cooking brown rice during the week (which can take up to 45 minutes) I always make sure to prepare some extra servings, then place them into freezer-safe ziploc bags in the freezer for easy use later on.  This trick saves me tons of time during the busy work week schedule!*

    Edited to add:  I totally forgot that I sprinkled some grated Pecorino Romano to the top of the dish before serving – if cheese is your thing than try that too!

    Simplicity, Overrated?


    Something sometimes overrated don’t ya think?

    Well, good thing this weekend has been full of it 🙂

    From delicious simple drinks…

    To simple fresh pasta dinners…

    It’s been a fabulous weekend and I can’t complain 😀

    Okay let’s get a little more into this pasta dish, shall we?

    Today Bombolini Pasta was back in action at the farmer’s market, and I didn’t even hesitate to pick up a few bundles of their delicious fare!

    This would be fresh black pepper pasta.  Doesn’t need much more than a simple “sauce” to serve…

    For the lady – garlic, tomato and fresh basil

    Plus some black pepper, sea salt and freshly grated Pecorino Romano to serve

    Parmesan ain’t got nothin’ on this Pecorino Romano.  Try it for yourself, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

    For him – garlic, butter and freshly grated Pecorino Romano.

    Plus some black pepper and sea salt too.

    Let’s just say I think I won some points tonight with this meal… winner! 😉

    To go with our pasta I used some new-to-me lettuce from today’s farmer’s market…

    If I could only remember the name of this stuff, because it is fabulous?!?!

    Soft and buttery is the best way to describe it, I think it’s my favorite lettuce of all time.  Seriously. 😛

    A simple salad of tomato, Italian sweet green pepper, onion, black pepper, salt & oregano…

    Which I “fancied up” with some freshly steamed farmer’s market green beans (chilled in an ice bath after boiling 2-3 minutes), more shredded Pecorino plus some balsamic vinegar/olive oil.

    Oh happy day 😛

    And then this happened…

    And life was good 😀

    P.S.  These Bailey’s chocolate are quite possibly one of the best things ever.  Woah.

    Happy Saturday to ya’ll!

    Eggs. Gone Tomato?

    After seeing this recipe idea around the tv & internet “foodie” world for some time now, I was really excited to finally give it a try!

    Healthy, economical and delicious… don’t mind if I do! 🙂

    Eggs in Tomato Sauce

    First up, the sauce.  Tomatoes, garlic and onion.  The trifecta  (?) of perfection in my eyes 😉

    I’ve been using boxed tomatoes whenever possible these days after continuing to read articles on the increased relationship between canned tomatoes & BPA due to their acidity… but with all that’s out there who even knows what to believe these days sometimes?!

    Anywho, this boxed version is much better than any type I’ve had in a can before – so now I think I’m mostly won over by taste.  Either way, win win situation me thinks 🙂

    And plus, look at the ingredients.  Doesn’t get much simpler than that 😉

    I gave the onion a fine chop and added to a hot pan with 1 tblsp olive oil. 

    Let this saute until golden then add in the finely minced garlic for another minute or two.  At this point dump in your tomatoes and bring up to a boil.

    Add in some herbs and spices of your choice too – I went with the classic dried oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (bam!)

    Once it’s come to a boil, turn down the heat to a low simmer and cover.  Ya’ll all know that I’m a firm believer that dishes such as this really get better when left to “mingle” for a little while.

    Plus once you cover it you can forget about it for a little while and get on with your life, chores, workouts, relaxation — whatever floats your boat!

    After about an hour was up it was time to get crackin’ <—- pun intended 😉

    Into the tomato sauce went four eggs, which I cracked ahead of time into a small bowl (one at a time) and laid into little indentations I made in the sauce pan.

    Cover until cooked to your liking, these went about 5 minutes over medium heat.

    To serve, toast up some delicious crusty sliced Italian bread in the oven…

    Then layer the egg mixture on top, scooping out each egg individually for each slice of bread!

    We topped with some shredded cheese & basil as well 🙂


    This was everything I hoped this dish would be!  So simple.  So flavorful.  So gooooooood.

    Plus not to bad on the eyes either, what a gorgeous presentation this dish makes 🙂

    So there you have it, for mere pennies dollars and a small commitment of time, this fancy egg dish is a great way to put a spin on your normal dinner routine!

    Eggs in Tomato Sauce

    Serves 2

    • 4 organic, cage free eggs
    • 1 box tomatoes
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tblsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • 4 slices crusty sliced bread

    Saute chopped onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium to med-high heat until golden.  Add chopped garlic for another minute or two before dumping in tomatoes.  Stir in seasonings and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a low simmer and cover, cooking as long as you like/have time for.

    Crack each egg one at a time into a small bowl, adding to the tomato sauce mixture (make small indentations in the pan for this).  Cover and cook until eggs are done to your liking.

    Toast up bread and serve egg/tomato mixture on top.  Serve w/ fresh basil and grated cheese if you like!

    What’s Your ‘Perfect Summer Day’?

    Today started off with an early trip to the farmer’s market, where the fresh vegetables and fruit have started to overflow the stands.

    I am in heaven…

    But more on these later.

    It was followed with a fit into the ol’ Speedo and a 750 meter swim outside.  Glorious.

    A quick change into the 2 piece and a few hours spent poolside.  Intermittent rain shower included.  Nothing a quick run for cover couldn’t remedy 😉

    Then shopping with Mom, did I mention that she’s my favorite shopping buddy ever?

    Well, she is.

    A few stops included the purchase of some new summer dresses, some road-side Hanover tomatoes and a trip to our new favorite wine & beer store ever.

    Once Upon A Vine, a wine & beer lover’s dream.


    It’s in what looks like an old 7-11.  Don’t judge.

    They’ve been nationally recognized for their selection.  If you live in Richmond, go there, now.  It may change your life.

    Speaking of things that may change your life, tonight’s dinner was outta control.

    Did I mention how much I love summer eats? 😛

    Oh yes, that would be zucchini ‘pasta’ with fresh garlic/tomato/basil ‘sauce’.

    This exceeded every expectation I had for this dish when thinking it up in my head.

    Farmer’s market finds at their finest.

    We have:

    • 1 zucchini, sliced thin w/ mandolin
    • 1 Hanover tomato, chopped
    • 1 yellow tomato, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped
    • fresh basil
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • salt & pepper

    The zucchini had a meet up with the mandolin, and thus, the ‘pasta’ was born.

    The tomatoes were chopped, I threw in some of the yellow cherry tomatoes too.

    These are a close second to my beloved Hanover tomato.  If you’re from the greater Richmond area, you know what I’m talkin’ about.

    Hanover county produces some of the best tomatoes known to man, seriously.  They say it’s in the soil…

    “They” are right.

    A simple quick saute of the garlic in olive oil for a minute or two, followed by the tomatoes for another minute two, finished with the basil… don’t forget the S&P.

    Fresh, rip tomatoes without S&P is a crime in my book, but that’s just my personal opinion 😉

    I gave the zucchini pasta a 2 minute visit to the microwave to soften it up and then served.

    Like I said before, life changing.

    Fresh summer meals just speak to me.  I can’t get enough of them.

    I could eat this everyday, the garlic tang paired with the sweetest of the tomatoes and the fresh basil was far beyond what I had imagined.

    I think the quick cook of each of these items really brought their flavors together, or something like that 😉

    Oh but of course there was more.

    Fresh corn from the farmer’s market.  Nothing like it.

    The Man had never had super-fresh corn before (another crime in my book!)

    He couldn’t believe the way this tasted.  He ate the whole cob in one bite.  You think I’m kidding.

    Then reached over and tried to eat mine.  Homie don’t play that.  Step off.

    A veggie burger topped w/ ketchup & mustard finished off the meal.


    Now we are lounging around, enjoying the sunny skies even though it’s well after 8pm.  Ahhhh summer, why can’t you last forever?

    What’s your ‘perfect summer day’?

    Wingin’ it!

    TGIAF!!! 🙂

    So after trekking home in a disaster of a rain storm from work I was so excited to get to Whole Foods!  I was on the hunt for a few particular items, if I don’t have a list in that paradise  store I get myself in some major trouble 😉

    Here’s the loot!

    The Pure2Raw girls got me very interested in trying coconut oil so I knew that it just had to be done!  You can use this stuff both in the kitchen and in your beauty routine, from what I have read it really is some pretty amazing stuff 🙂

    I also scored some supertastic deals using the coupons in their flyer whoop whoop!

    • Organic Honey Nut Rice Cakes total $1.44
    • Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk total $1.19
    • Simply Asia Stir Fry sauce total $0.94

    Sweet success!  Guess it made up for that coconut oil expense 😛  It’s all about balance right, in all parts of life!

    So we were talkin’ a lil’ earlier about how tonight was going to be an impromptu dinner night – and you friends gave me some great meal ideas that sparked the final product!

    And ya’ll know my style, sometimes I really just get anti-recipe to the extreme and tonight was one of those nights.  I decided to work with some things we had on hand:  pasta, chicken and butternut squash!  This was a “pantry dinner” for sure, nothing extra had to be purchased (happy wallet 🙂 )

    I present:  Chicken & Butternut Squash Pasta flavored w/ garlic, onion & nutmeg!

    • 2 chicken breasts, chopped
    • 1 butternut squash, peeled & chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • pasta
    • S&P
    • nutmeg
    • Parm cheese – now I know this is the crappy can kind, but The Man likes this kind ever so often so you know what, since I ❤ him we compromise 😉
    • chicken broth (unpictured)
    • 1 tsp coconut oil

    I started by peeling up the butternut squash.  I think the trick with these puppies is to pop them in the microwave for a minute to soften somewhat and then proceed peeling & chopping.  Well, at least that’s what worked for me!

    Then I gave the onion a rough chop (I like the sizes of all items in a dish to be somewhat uniform, call me weird) and cooked it over medium in 1 tsp of the coconut oil (which was plenty, love this stuff already!) – p.s. apparently coconut oil works best when used over medium heat, so I stuck with that. 

    I added the minced garlic a few minutes in along with some S&P.

    Next I dumped in the butternut squash, nutmeg plus some chicken broth for moisture.  Covered it up and let it simmer away – for how long I’m not sure (remember, I suck at timing things haha, drives my mom crazy when she asks me and I just say I’m not sure, I was just wingin’ it! 😉 ).

    At this point the squash was close to soft and it was time to add the chicken + more black pepper (<3).  Covered it and let it cook through (this was fast!)

    Then I turned down the heat and let the flavors get to know each other while I got the rest of the meal prepared.  

    In the words of Emeril, I wish you friends at smell-o-vision!!!!  The smell of this cooking was absolutely amazing, the coconut oil infused it with a flavor like I had never tasted smelled (okay, I snuck a taste too haha) and paired with the nutmeg it was soooooooooo outta this world fantastic!! 🙂

    Next I boiled up the pasta and “short cut microwaved” some fresh broccoli

    I have never done broc like this before, but just chopped up fresh broccoli and layered in a micro safe dish with a few bits of the minced garlic + some water and gave it a microwave steam bath!

    Hello green!  Whole Foods veggies seriously are far superior… 

    Okay okay so back to the pasta dish!  Once the noodles were al dente I drained them and added them into the veggie/chicken mix and sprinkled with Parm 🙂  Oh. Em. Gee. the smells just got even better… seriously.

    All served up this dinner was easily my favorite dinner this week!  And probably one of my fave pasta dinners ever 😛


    First of all, I am now obsessed with coconut oil. Plain & simple.  This stuff is amazing & I am convinced that it made this dish even more over the top 🙂

    Second, butternut squash, onions & garlic are a match made in heaven!  Paired with pasta and some cheese my taste buds were having “a moment” 😉  I could def see this being made meat-free & with veggie broth and being fabulous too.

    Thirdly, nothing beats fresh veggies prepared healthfully with some great flavor.  Love this method for a quick cook!

    Okay, I guess I’ve rambled enough about this dinner huh?  But seriously, if you’re looking for a delicious go-to pasta meal then really consider giving this (or some version of this) a try.  Oh yea… guess what too?  It’s pretty darn low-fat since the only fat around was the 1 tsp of coconut oil and lean chicken – booyah!

    Now it you’ll excuse me, time for some doctor drama followed by more fist pumpin!  Gotta get my GTL on 😉

    See you for Friday friends!