Creamy Salmon Pasta

Creamy pasta with salmon

This is one of those recipes that is so easy I feel like I’m cheating by posting it. But I figure if I didn’t know about this fast and easy method of making “cream sauce”, you may not, either. And believe me, if you like cream sauce, you want to know.

Tips and tricks: First, any kind of protein (or none!) would be great with this. I happened to use salmon because my dr. told me if I’m not going to take supplements (I’m not, because I feel like crap when I do), I need to eat salmon a few times a week. I think this recipe would also be really great with chicken.  Also, when I made this, I made it for myself to have for lunch, and I mixed everything together (except the tomatoes) as in the recipe below. Next time, I’m going to keep the salmon separate, as by the 3rd lunch, the salmon flavor had completely overwhelmed everything else.

Creamy Salmon Pasta
Print Recipe
Super easy creamy pasta with salmon
Servings
6 ish
Servings
6 ish
Creamy Salmon Pasta
Print Recipe
Super easy creamy pasta with salmon
Servings
6 ish
Servings
6 ish
Ingredients
Servings: ish
Instructions
  1. Boil pasta to al dente and drain
  2. Add cream cheese, Parmesan, and milk to hot pasta
  3. Stir until cheeses are completely melted
  4. Add lemon juice, garlic, and/or basil if desired
  5. Stir in desired salmon or chicken, coating well
  6. Top with grape tomatoes if desired
Recipe Notes

Modified from Chef Michael Smith's Penne with Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Sauce.

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Gluten Free-dom!

Note: this was originally intended to be posted last week, but there was a bit of an issue with images. All fixed now and everything should be getting back on schedule! Apologies for the low quality cell phone pics — I completely forgot to get photos until we were at the party.

flag tart

I had big party plans this weekend, then about mid-week started getting kicked in the head by social anxiety about said parties. So I cancelled out on one (I’ll get there someday, C!) but decided to just pop my head in at the other, largely because I’d offered to bring something and the hostess had requested a non-cake dessert: “You like to bake — bake something for dessert. But not cake. I’m baking a cake.” I like these kinds of parameters — guidelines are good. And also the cake was delicious. But ANYHOW, I decided I’d always wanted to make a flag tart thing, and this was the perfect opportunity. And I promised myself I could just drop off the tart and the kids and Kit and go home if I felt overwhelmed.

flag tart closeup

I perused Pinterest for a shortbread crust, grabbed some cream cheese for cream cheese topping, and picked up blueberries and strawberries to top it all off. I had intended to bake the crust Friday night, but then I ate too much Chinese food and laid on the couch like a lump instead. And then I didn’t get up early enough to bake it before the town parade. So I was down to crunch time when we got home and I discovered I was out of regular flour. Um. Oops.

I really didn’t have time to find a store open on the holiday, so I decided to wing it with the GF supplies I had on hand. And thus, the Gluten Freedom Tart was born. (Also, I ended up staying for the whole party because it was all awesome people I already knew, so that was nice.)

Gluten Freedom Tart
Print Recipe
A gluten free shortbread crust topped by cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit.
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Gluten Freedom Tart
Print Recipe
A gluten free shortbread crust topped by cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit.
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
20 squares 25 min
Cook Time Passive Time
15 min 1 hour
Ingredients
Shortbread Crust
Cream Cheese Topping
Fruit
Servings: squares
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper
  3. Combine butter, powdered sugar, and flours in mixer (will be slightly softer/doughier than shortbread typically is).
  4. Spread dough on lined jelly roll pan to a thickness of about 1/4". (Dough may not be enough to fill entire pan -- if not, shape into a rectangle in the center of the pan.)
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just brown.
  6. Let crust cool for at least 1 hour (should be room temperature before adding topping).
Topping
  1. Whip cream until it is just beginning to peak.
  2. Add granulated sugar and vanilla.
  3. Continue to whip until stiff, being careful not to overwhip.
  4. Add cream cheese and whip until fully combined.
  5. Spread cream cheese topping on crust.
  6. Arrange blueberries and strawberries in flag pattern.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
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Mmmmm….cake

Originally appeared on Tasteful Diversions 11/15/11. It has been FAR too long since I’ve made one of these. Must fix that soon.

Cake with glaze and berries
Cake shown with glaze and berries.

It occurs to me that my practice of linking to online recipes rather than including them here is likely to backfire on me at some point, when  a recipe gets moved or the blog I found it on is gone, or any number of other things. So, from now on, I’ll be adding those recipes to the blog as well as linking to the source. The first one of these is a scrumptious, versatile, and just stupidly easy yogurt cake, which I discovered via the magic of Pinterest. (I’ve also added my go-to bread, blackberry cobbler, and lime cupcakes to the Recipes page, so those are there now.) [Lola note: that was for the old blog. But I’ll get them all moved over here eventually!]

The recipe I found was modified from a recipe found on another site, but I went ahead and modified it even further. I’ve made this recipe twice now, and both times I used the 170ml size yogurt  that’s commonly available here in the US (I used Chobani both times, honey flavor the first time and strawberry the second). I also just used regular ol’ sugar, though the original recipe calls for caster sugar (which is much finer than regular granulated sugar). Finally, the biggest mod I made was, the first time, an accident.

Zacky and I were in the middle of throwing our ingredients into the bowl, and I popped open the fridge to grab the milk…which we were out of. We had already added both wet and dry ingredients, so stopping for a trip to the market wasn’t really an option. I asked myself: what do I have that’s liquid and non-alcoholic? The answer: apple juice. My biggest concern was for the texture of the cake, and I have to tell you, it came out incredibly moist. It was dense without being heavy, had a nice crumb while still being silky on the tongue. I so <3 this cake. That one got eaten without any glaze or anything.

This past weekend, we had another shindig to go to and I decided to bake another one of these cakes, only to take it a step further and go with OJ, which I also used for the liquid in the glaze. As noted above, I used strawberry yogurt this time and also put some lightly macerated berries between the layers and on top. So good. Oh — one more thing: the first time, I baked the cake in an angel food cake pan, and this time I baked two rounds. Both came out just fine.

I’m gonna make another one for the party we’re going to this weekend. I think I have finally found a go-to cake recipe, and I love that it’s so, so easy. Did I mention the best part? You use the yogurt cup for all your “cup” measurments, plus it’s a one bowl recipe. Love. It.

Cuppa Yogurt Cake
Print Recipe
Moist, dense yogurt cake made with a cuppa this and a cuppa that, using the yogurt cup as the measure. Originally discovered on The Boys Made Me Do It, via Pinterest.
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
40-50 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
40-50 minutes
Cuppa Yogurt Cake
Print Recipe
Moist, dense yogurt cake made with a cuppa this and a cuppa that, using the yogurt cup as the measure. Originally discovered on The Boys Made Me Do It, via Pinterest.
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
40-50 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
40-50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease a bundt, angel food cake, or two 9" round pans.
  3. Mix all ingredients until smooth. (I know, it's not super specific. Seriously, just dump everything together in a bowl and mix it all up.)
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes (a toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center should come out clean).
  6. Allow to cool in pans, then remove from pans and top as desired.
Recipe Notes

*If you don't have any self-rising flour on hand, you can make it yourself by combining 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

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Summer Salad

Holy cow, it’s already Thursday?!?! Obviously this was supposed to go up/out on Tuesday…I’m still trying to get back in the hang of blogging and sharing and stuff and time just got away from me this week. I promise this is just as tasty today as it would have been two days ago.
Summer Salad photo

When I was a kid, salad bars were rife with foods I wasn’t otherwise exposed to: olives, teeny little orange slices, stinky cheeses, cucumbers, and my favorite: garbanzo beans. “Garbanzo beans” was/is fun to say, especially if you stretch it out into garbaaaaaaaanzo, and they had a texture that was different from anything else I ate. If the salad bar had them, I always loaded up on them.

I didn’t realize until I was an adult and discovered that garbanzo beans are just another name for chickpea that I could actually buy some for my very own at home. So for years now I’ve bought the odd can here and there when I’m in a salad-making mood. And I’ve tried the other famous chickpea food, hummus. Weirdly, I hate hummus. Ick.

But then I came across a recipe on Pinterest, as one does, for a salad actually made from chickpeas. Oh. Myyyyy. The original recipe was tasty, but I tweaked it quite a bit to make it exactly what I wanted (lost the garlic so I can eat it at work, added tomatoes for a little extra flavor and vitamin C). This salad both fills and refreshes, and is perfect to throw together for a quick summer lunch or dinner, especially on a super hot day (no cooking! Yay!). I typically eat this as a full meal, but it would make a great side, too.

Sidenote: I just found out that chickpeas are super high in iron! Bonus!

Also, lime juice really is the best citrus flavor for this. Orange is too sweet, and lemon and grapefruit are too sour. That said, if you don’t have lime on hand, use lemon or grapefruit and cut the amount by half(ish).

Summer Salad
Print Recipe
A quick, refreshing salad that perfect for a summer lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Summer Salad
Print Recipe
A quick, refreshing salad that perfect for a summer lunch or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 -ish, I guess? 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: -ish, I guess?
Instructions
  1. Combine tomatoes, garbanzo beans, feta, and basil in a large bowl (make sure there's plenty of room for gentle tossing!). You don't need to mix everything just yet -- just dump it in the bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil and lime juice evenly over other ingredients.
  3. Gently toss to coat, being careful not to smash the feta too much.
Recipe Notes

Do make sure you're using a good feta -- I bought a brand I don't usually get this time and it's so salty I almost can't taste anything else.

Also, lime juice really is the best citrus flavor for this. Orange is too sweet, and lemon and grapefruit are too sour. That said, if you don't have lime on hand, use lemon or grapefruit and cut the amount by half(ish).

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Better-than-boxed Brownies

Yep, another re-publish from Tasteful Diversions. Next week it’ll be a new one, I promise. 

To follow up last week’s lemonade recipe, I give you brownies. Specifically, I’m publishing these two recipes close together because one of my very favorite summertime combos is brownies and lemonade.

I avoided making brownies from scratch for years because not only were they WAAAAY too much effort (double boiler? No thank you very much!) but they also never came out fudgy like I like them. Then I stumbled across this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated which is only slightly more work than making from a box (no double boiler!) AND makes the fudgiest brownies I’ve ever had.

Better-than-boxed Brownies
Print Recipe
These brownies are perfect every time...dense and fudgy on the inside with a lovely crisp top. (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010)
Servings Prep Time
12 ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Better-than-boxed Brownies
Print Recipe
These brownies are perfect every time...dense and fudgy on the inside with a lovely crisp top. (Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010)
Servings Prep Time
12 ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies 15 minutes
Cook Time
30-35 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: ? I dunno -- depends on how big you like your brownies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line 13×9 pan with foil; spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk cocoa and boiling water together until smooth.
  4. Add in unsweetened chocolate and continue to whisk until chocolate is melted.
  5. Whisk in melted butter and oil. [CI notes at this point that the mixture may look curdled; I have not had this issue.]
  6. Whisk in eggs, yolks, and vanilla.
  7. Whisk in sugar.
  8. Stir in flour and salt [CI indicates a rubber spatula for this part; I use a wooden spoon and it seems to work fine] until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  9. Fold in chips.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350° 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan on a rack for 1 1/2hrs.
  12. Using foil, remove brownies from pan and place on rack to cool another hour before serving.*
Recipe Notes

*Okay, look, this is 2 1/2 hours of cooling time. I don’t know about you, but there is no chance in hell that fresh brownies are going to get that much alone time at my house. I usually make it about 45 minutes before I start cutting.

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Tasty Tuesday: Aw, Lemon!

Originally published on Tasteful Diversions June 14, 2011.

Lemonade pitcher and glassAs a child of the 80s, I’ve always been about convenience and speed. Powdered drink mixes always seemed like the easiest way to get a nice refreshing pitcher of lemonade, and it tasted okay. When my kids got old enough to start eating and drinking real food, I started looking at the ingredients in foods and resolved to make from scratch as much as possible. Sometimes this is an utter failure. For instance, one of the few things The Girl will eat are chicken fingers. She will not eat any other form of chicken, even if I’ve made it look just like the prepackaged chicken fingers. I heartily wish that she had never been introduced to the pre-made crap, but it happened and I’m sure eventually we’ll get her to start eating something else. Maybe when she goes to college.

But I digress. I started looking for a lemonade recipe last year — I figured it would be a pain, but worth it to keep the chemicals going into the kids down to a minimum. I was surprised — and a little annoyed at myself for not figuring it out earlier — to find out how incredibly easy it is…almost as easy as fixing one of the powdered mixes. It’s so easy, in fact, that I almost feel silly writing up the recipe.

Lemonade
Print Recipe
Quick and easy lemonade from scratch.
Servings Prep Time
2 quarts (about) 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 quarts (about) 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Lemonade
Print Recipe
Quick and easy lemonade from scratch.
Servings Prep Time
2 quarts (about) 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 quarts (about) 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: quarts (about)
Instructions
  1. Combine boiling water and sugar.
  2. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved (the water will become clear again — yay! You’ve just made simple syrup!).
  3. Stir in lemon juice.
  4. Put ice in pitcher.
  5. Add half the cold water.
  6. Pour in lemon juice mixture.
  7. Top off with remaining cold water.
  8. Stir.
  9. Serve over ice.
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Freeky Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bitten CookieEver since Kit discovered he’s wildly gluten intolerant, I’ve been trying to recreate his favorite foods. The thing he always requested the most before he went all freeky* were my chocolate chip cookies.

The first thing I tried was just throwing in some gluten free all purpose flour mix. It turns out one of the flours used in most GF AP flour blends is tapioca…which makes my throat start to close up. So that’s no good. Also, the texture wasn’t great. Then I played around with a bunch of other combinations and found a mix of rice flours and oat flour that made a decent tasting but very crumbly cookie.

For Father’s Day last year, we got him a bunch of gluten free cookbooks, including one that had amaranth flour in just about every recipe for doughy things. It was also the only GF source I’d seen that didn’t recommend xanthan gum for everything chewy. (If you don’t know what xanthan gum actually is, go have a look. I’ll wait. Gross, right? Oh and bonus, if you’re sensitive to xanthan gum, which isn’t uncommon, it gives you the same symptoms as being glutened.) The only drawback to amaranth flour is that it tastes like dirt. Literal dirt from the ground. If you’ve ever had to clean something very, very dusty and gotten that taste in your mouth, that’s the taste of amaranth.

So I played a little more. Coconut flour was promising, but does have a strong coconut flavor. I happen to like coconut, but it’s not the flavor profile I was going for. I went back to the oat, which was nice, but you could still taste the amaranth under it. I added a little coconut back in, and bingo! Good taste, good chew, good cookie.

I was, frankly, shocked the first time I bit into one of these. It’s not a good gluten free cookie. It’s a good cookie, that happens to be gluten free. I am super proud of these. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

gfcc_plate

 

*Being gluten free sucks pretty hard. In an effort to lighten it up, we started calling it being a gluten freek. It turns out we are not the only clever ones — there are several blogs who use the term, and even a couple of gluten free beers.

Freeky Good Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten Free version
Servings Prep Time
48 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
11 minutes per sheet 2 minutes per sheet
Servings Prep Time
48 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
11 minutes per sheet 2 minutes per sheet
Freeky Good Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten Free version
Servings Prep Time
48 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
11 minutes per sheet 2 minutes per sheet
Servings Prep Time
48 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
11 minutes per sheet 2 minutes per sheet
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  3. In mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugars.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
  5. Add half of each flour, the baking soda, and the salt, mixing until fully incorporated. (If you prefer to do this more traditionally, you can mix together all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add that mix half at a time. I just prefer not to dirty another bowl, because I am lazy and I haven't noticed it makes any difference at all in the final product.)
  6. Add the rest of the flours and mix thoroughly.
  7. Fold chocolate chips into dough, distributing as evenly as possible. (I like to use a wooden spoon for this, but whatever works is fine.)
  8. Scoop dough onto lined cookie sheet in teaspoonfuls. (You can use one of those fancy cookie scooper things if that's your bag, but I just use a regular kitchen spoon.)
  9. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until slightly brown and no longer wet looking on top.
  10. Let cool on sheet for 2 minutes.
  11. Transfer to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

* Some people who have celiac cannot tolerate oats, even those labeled gluten free. If that is the case for you or your freek, I recommend using 1/2 cup of brown rice flour and a 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour in place of the oat flour.

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