Mini lasagnas are on my mind and in my hands…

Mini Wonton Lasagnas

Like many of my friends, my friend Oliver is really into food. I wouldn’t say he’s as obsessed as I am, but I do know we share a tendency to pour over online menus, planning our meals before we even set foot in the restaurant. We also cook dinner together once a week before settling in to watch a few hours of (usually pretty trashy) TV. It’s one of those random routines that has worked fairly effortlessly for us for years.

The only hard part is deciding what to make each week. While our food preferences can vary a bit (I probably couldn’t pay him to try foie gras), the main issue is actually our timeline — we meet at 7pm and try to be done cooking within thirty minutes so we have ample TV time.

Even working with this limitation, we have put out some damn good food, including this crispy orange chicken and a roasted rack of pork with vegetables. But one of my favorite things we cooked recently were this little mini lasagnas, made by using wonton wrappers.

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Nothing says spring like lemons & asparagus

Creamy spring pasta with lemon, parsley and asparagus

Creamy spring pasta with lemon, parsley and asparagus

I love lemon pasta — in fact, it’s even made it onto this blog before in the way of a baked lemon pasta. And while it was delicious, it hasn’t stopped me from exploring other renditions of lemony carb-filled goodness.

Which is why I felt the overwhelming need to try out a recipe for Spaghettini with Creamy Lemon Sauce from Liz of My Favourite Pastime. Liz makes all sorts of fabulous looking food but I just couldn’t get this particular pasta dish out of my mind. Maybe it was because she mentioned making it once with coconut milk instead of cream, which really piqued my interest.

Ad while I am still very curious about using coconut milk in this, I thought for my initial attempt I should go straight for the cream. After all, cream plus cheese plus butter must equal delicious. That combination has never steered me wrong before!

I did, however, stray just enough to add in some blanched asparagus. I splurged on a gorgeous organic bunch from the market and their flavor, pumped up by the lemon in the pasta, was divine. This meal, eaten on a surprisingly sunny spring day, was the perfect dinner to make my Monday less painful.

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Farro & Edamame: A new adventure with an ancient grain

Farro Pasta with Edamame, Almond and Mint Pesto

Farro Pasta with Edamame, Almond and Mint Pesto

I am an out-and-proud farro devotee. For the past few years I’ve been borderline obsessed with the ancient grain — utilizing it in as many applications as possible and encouraging other people to give it a try. So I was pretty excited when my husband recently brought me home a pound of farro pasta (which was especially sweet as he is not as enamoured with farro as I am).

Farro Pasta

Farro pasta — love its pretty color!

The pasta had been sitting in my cupboard, patiently waiting, while I investigated online looking for a perfect debut recipe. Finally I decided on a winner, this recipe for Farro Pasta with Edamame Pesto from The Kitchn. Given how well-known this web magazine is, I felt comfortable trusting their opinion and excited to try something new.

And I’m happy I did because this a recipe I’ll be utilizing again and again. I love different forms of pesto — broccoli pesto in particular, yum! — but hadn’t tried this combination before.

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Turkey Tetrazzini: My favorite thing about Thanksgiving!

Turkey Tetrazzini

I know Thanksgiving has long since gone, but since I just finished eating the last of the re-purposed leftovers, I don’t feel like I’m too out of the loop posting a turkey recipe. After all, even though chicken tetrazzini doesn’t have the same ring, it will taste just as good so really this recipe shouldn’t be stuck as a once-a-year indulgence.

If you’re unfamiliar with tetrazzini, it’s a glorious combination of noodles, diced turkey meat and rich cheesy sauce. It would be wrong to simply call it a casserole, though it’s baked to golden perfection in much the same way. I think it’s the ingredients that elevate it — tetrazzini uses a good amount of Parmesan, half-and-half (or heavy cream) and Sherry, making the sauce undeniably delicious.

Since there are tons of recipes for tetrazzini, I always have a hard time remembering each year how I made it the year before. This year I decided to go right to the best source — my mom. Growing up I was fairly obsessed with tetrazzini. I would beg her to to make it and then hoard the leftovers for my school lunches. (And being a good mom I think she let me get away with it.)

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Flavors of Fall: Squash and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Acorn squash and ricotta stuffed shells

Every September I can tell when autumn is on its way because my friend Jenna is on Pinterest constantly. After months of being pin-free she’ll suddenly show up in my feed, pinning anything and everything that has to do with Halloween crafts, autumn foods and yes, even Christmas cookies.

I’d give her a harder time about it, but I am a year-round Pinterest user. There is not a month that goes by that I am not pinning pumpkin-spice treats, summer BBQ ideas or yet another macaroni and cheese recipe. One such pin, from early this spring, was a dish that I have been determined to make the second the weather turned cold:  jumbo pasta shells, stuffed with ricotta cheese, spinach and roasted squash, topped with sage and brown butter.

From the cheesy baked pasta to the brown butter sauce, it’s practically impossible to come up with a more “autumn” dish. (Unless you’re the guy who wrote this — I’m sure he could come up with something.)

And let me tell you, with every bite I found myself missing the sunshine a little less and looking forward to Halloween, roasted chicken and cuddling on my couch with my kitties. The squash adds the right hint of the season without being too sweet, the lemon zest brings some brightness and the copious amounts of cheese are there just to make you feel loved.

So if you’re still having a hard time adjusting to the fact that it’s almost October, you should make this very soon. I promise it will help!

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Challenge Accepted! Cooking for #covertocover13

Strozzapreti w/ Preserved Lemon and Spinach

Strozzapreti w/ Preserved Lemon and Spinach

The Bitten Word is a blog I love for many reasons, though two stand out the most. First the name — it’s so perfect that every time I read it, I get jealous that it isn’t the name of my blog. (I’m trying to get over that but it’s hard!) And next, because they clearly love food magazines just as much as I do.

I love comparing their opinions on recipes after I’ve made them and I also read their reviews if I’m hesitant about trying something. In fact, their hilarious and clever review of Food & Wine’s General Tso’s chicken was what encouraged me to make it in the first place.

So when I saw that the writers do a cover-to-cover challenge for Bon Appetit’s Restaurant Issue, I signed up immediately. Here’s the low down: submit the form and get an email with your assignment a few days later.

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