Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Typically pasta dishes are on my “Do Not Make” list. I grew up in an Italian family so pasta is a true comfort food for me, but I don’t want to resort to it all the time. So if I can, I try to find something healthier to make. William Sonoma’s Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage recipe is an exception, though. It’s incredibly easy to make while still giving the impression of a well-prepared dinner. 

I was not accustomed to using broccoli rabe until I started making this recipe. The strong taste took a little getting used to. It’s like spinach, but stronger and tougher. This makes trimming and chopping after boiling important steps as well as adding the right amount of seasoning. You get used to it the more you make it. Be sure not to skip the step of cooking the pasta in the leftover water from the broccoli rabe. It really brings out the flavor.

What’s your go to fast, but polished meal? 

Blackened Tilapia Baja Salad

After getting back from vacation, I decided it was time to start eating healthy again. Eating buttery shrimp and saying yes to dessert every night is no way to start an effective fitness plan. One of my favorite meals to make during the summer is this Blackened Tilapia Baja Taco recipe from Cooking Light. To keep it light, I put the fish and avocado over a bed of salad. I love the mix of spice finished off with a cool cilantro lime sauce.

Vacation was a blast. We go to Isle of Palms every year, which is beautiful and close to the charming city of Charleston. I managed to pack just the right amount and didn’t come home with a sun burn. At 30 years old, I am finally starting to become an adult. I sat on the beach, read a few good books and tried to think as little about work, blogging and school as possible.

I Didn’t Burn It #2: Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

I often have a love-hate relationship with my Giada De Laurentiis Everyday Italian cookbook. Some of the recipes are very straight forward and simple like this one and some have a laundry list of ingredients that include pricey fresh herbs. I of course substitute with my trusty dry ingredients but, Giada, not all of us live in California where the weather is constantly warm for growing fresh ingredients. Not all of us have perfect hair and make up and low-cut shirts when we are posing for a photo while bending over a boiling, steaming pot of pasta. 

That being said, the Orecchiette with Turkey Sausage and Broccoli Rabe recipe has a simple ingredient list and it only takes about 30 minutes. Perfect for a week night meal and there are plenty of leftovers.

Mandarin Chicken Salad

 

Most colleges have a cafe that also doubles as a study place and a hang out. A meeting place, if you will. At my college it was called the In Between. Although it was mere feet away from the actual cafeteria, the food was significantly better. One of my favorite things to order was the Mandarin Chicken Salad. I had a craving for it today, and since I had book club tonight and needed something fast, it was the perfect storm. This really was a cinch to make. I had some leftover balsamic marinated chicken from the night before, which I just cut into slices. You should probably use Asian-style noodles for this, but I just boiled some spaghetti noodles and rinsed them in cold water. Then I tossed the noodles, lettuce, chicken, mandarin oranges, and dressing. I used my Trader Joe’s Gyoza dipping sauce for dressing, and I have to say I came pretty close to replicating the original. It made me slightly nostalgic for the days of getting a Mandarin Chicken Salad in a plastic take out box because I didn’t have time to go to the cafeteria the night before a big test or paper was due. Not that nostalgic. Just slightly.