Turkey Tetrazzini

Over the last two months there has been a lot of excitement in our house, which largely contributed to the radio silence on the blog. We completed a full kitchen renovation, which included taking down walls and ripping out flooring. The process got long and tiring, but it was so worth it! We’re now enjoying the brand new kitchen that fulfilled my wildest dreams. Simultaneously during the renovation, I was suffering through first trimester sickness from the pregnancy of our second child. As you can imagine both things did not make cooking possible. Now that I’ve emerged on the other side of the renovation and the sickness, I’m hoping to break in our new kitchen with lots of new recipes!

All this comes at the perfect time, right before the holidays. I’m feeling extra thankful this Thanksgiving, and can’t wait to spend time with my family while eating lots of turkey, stuffing and gravy! I recently made this Cooking Light recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini, and I’m hoping there is leftover turkey to make another batch of this pasta. The lightened up version of this old-school pasta dish is still so creamy and delicious, making it a perfect cold-weather meal. If all the turkey gets gobbled up on Thanksgiving Day, never fear, the dish can be made any time with turkey breast. I couldn’t get enough of the mushroom/peas/turkey/pasta combo!

I hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, and of course, delicious food.

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Turkey Tetrazzini

Yield: 4-6 servings

What You Need

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound turkey cutlets or leftover turkey
  • 1 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 12-ounce package presliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated and divided (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 ounce fontina cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Cooking spray/olive oil spray
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

What To Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place pasta in a large bowl.
  3. If using leftover turkey, skip this step. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add turkey; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove turkey from pan; cut into bite-sized pieces. Add turkey to pasta.
  4. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoons oil; swirl to coat. Add onion and celery; sauté 10 minutes. Add thyme and mushrooms; cook 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add wine (or chicken broth) to pan; cook 4 minutes or until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add mushroom mixture to pasta mixture.
  5. Place pan over medium heat (do not wipe out pan). Combine milk and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in cream cheese, 1 ounce Parmesan, and fontina; cook 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir milk mixture, peas, and parsley, into pasta mixture. Pour pasta mixture into (8-inch) square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray or olive oil spray.
  6. Combine remaining 1 teaspoons oil, remaining 1/2 ounce Parmesan, and panko in a bowl; sprinkle evenly over tops of dishes. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Carrot and Zucchini Muffins

I was browsing social media earlier today, and several people’s posts informed me that today is the last day of summer. In my mind, summer ended when the pools closed after Labor Day. But since today is the official last day of the best season of the year, I thought I would squeeze in one final summer recipe. I call these Carrot and Zucchini Muffins seasonal for summer because zucchini peaks during the summer months. Of course, zucchini can be found year-round, so go ahead and bake your heart out with these muffins in the middle of winter too. Truth be told, I made these muffins earlier in the summer and never got around to posting them. I am so last minute and behind these days, so nothing like having the last day of the season to light a fire under my arse.

Anywho, the reason these muffins are so awesome and should be eaten all year is because, hello, vegetables in your baked goods! I make these for my son all the time and love knowing I’m pulling a fast one on him and sneaking in some extra veggies in his diet. Plus, these muffins are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar free so you can feel really good about enjoying one of these for breakfast with your morning coffee.

Here’s to the last day of summer and the beginning of fall!

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Carrot and Zucchini Muffins

Yield: About 8 muffins

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, with a few changes

What You Need

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots (from 1 medium peeled carrot)
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini, squeezed dry or semi-dry (from 1 medium unpeeled zucchini)

What To Do

  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin cups with 8 muffin paper liners
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the oil, syrup, and egg. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the grated carrot and grated zucchini.
  3. Fill the prepared muffin cups 3/4 full with the batter and bake until light golden, about 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.


Make sure these are not under cooked; I think the gluten-free flours tend to get a little "wet" after a day or two. I have found that baking them until they are fully golden helps with this.




Seattle Travel Diary

Summer feels like it’s quickly slipping away, and I’m just not ready to say goodbye. It has been several weeks since I’ve blogged because July and August got super busy! I spent most of my down time working on our kitchen renovation. Almost everything has been selected and ordered, and construction should begin toward the end of September. I’m in shock that its actually happening! Beside working on the kitchen, my son started school and turned two, and my husband and I took a 5 year wedding anniversary trip to Seattle. I had always wanted to visit Seattle, but I had no idea that our experiences were going to exceed all expectations. Everything was so great, so I must share our trip details with you!

We arrived in Seattle early in the morning, checked into our hotel, and walked straight to the iconic Pike’s Place Market. The market was already crowded with people trying to get a look at the famous fishmongers throwing fish and packaging orders.IMG_0832 IMG_0836

My husband spotted Elleno’s Real Greek Yogurt at the market, and I was so excited because it had been on my list. This discovery became an every day stop on our trip. Elleno’s takes the creamiest Greek yogurt and adds some of those most delicious toppings. It was unlike any yogurt we’d ever tasted, and we just couldn’t get enough. Our favorites were the Marion Berry Pie and the Museli.IMG_0834 IMG_0835IMG_1284

After walking around the market for a while, we took a nice walk to explore the Pioneer Square neighborhood. We had lunch at The London Plane, which was a cool space with a flower market and cases to take food to go. We shared a beautiful curry avocado toast and a salad sampler.IMG_0838 IMG_0839

Our first night’s dinner was at The Walrus and the Carpenter, an oyster restaurant in Ballard that was on many a Seattle restaurant lists. The wait time and the food lived up the hype. Even after an hour wait, we only scored seats at the bar. Our perch proved to be the perfect spot to experience the restaurant, as we had front row seats to watch oyster and small plate food prep. The highlights were the oysters, the halibut carpaccio with dried lime and hazelnut oil, and Billy’s tomato’s (not pictured).IMG_0841 IMG_0842 IMG_0843

On day two, we hopped the commuter ferry to Bainbridge Island, which was a quick 35 minute boat ride. When we arrived in Bainbridge, we first stopped at Blackbird Bakery for lattes and a blackberry lemon scone. We spent the morning walking through the little shops in the town of Winslow. It was such a cute area and I’m so glad we went out there!IMG_0844

When we got back to Seattle, we stopped for a quick lunch at Homegrown, a local chain of sandwich shops. The egg, cheese, avocado, and hot sauce sandwich on soft but toasted multigrain bread was so simple, yet so good!IMG_1264IMG_1265

After lunch, we headed to the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden & Glass exhibit. I felt it was imperative that we experience the most “Seattle” tourist attraction there is! The ride to the top of the Space Needle was quick and the views were incredible. Even more impressive was the Chihuly Glass exhibit, which showcases the most beautiful glasswork I’ve ever seen!IMG_0847IMG_0845

As if we hadn’t already done enough this day, I dragged my husband to the Fremont neighborhood to tour the Theo Chocolate Factory! I only learned about Theo Chocolate a few months ago from my cousin, but once I tasted it, I was hooked. Naturally, when I found out we could tour their factory in Seattle, I insisted we had to go. I love that Theo Chocolate was the first organic fair trade chocolate in the US! The tour was interesting and tasty, with many different chocolate samples along the way.IMG_0850IMG_0849 IMG_0848

A new, delicious discovery:IMG_1275

For dinner, we went to the University Village neighborhood to dine at Din Tai Fung. Din Tai Fung is a restaurant that originated in Taiwan and specializes in soup dumplings, and other types of dumplings. It was so crazy how we could watch the team of people cranking out basket after basket of these dumplings. After another hour long wait, we consumed so many dumplings, green beans, and noodles!IMG_1274 IMG_1273 IMG_1271

On our final day in Seattle, we shopped, got massages at our hotel, and laid by the pool. I have no photos from these activities, but I assure you everything was amazing 🙂 On our final night, we really went out with a bang! We headed over to the Capital Hill neighborhood for some major eating. The night started at Lark, a beautiful restaurant with royal blue velvet booths, 150 twinkling lights overhead, and a wine wall spanning the length of the restaurant. I loved the seasonal menu featuring locally sourced cheese, vegetables, and meats. The highlights were the burger with sunchoke chips, and the tri-colored carrots with truffle honey sauce.IMG_1299IMG_1295

After Lark, we walked to Trove to get dessert. Trove was just named one of the “50 Best New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appetit magazine. Within the restaurant, there are four different concepts: a bar, a noodle bar, a Korean BBQ restaurant, and a walk-up “food truck” window called Parfait, that offers layered frozen custard parfaits. When we arrived, we checked out the place. The Noodle bar looked so amazing, we truly could not resist. Throwing all caution to the wind, we sat down for a second, lets just call it “mini”, dinner! We shared the Garlic Chive noodles, which consisted of shrimp, cherry tomatoes, shaved asparagus, crispy spinach, and the most amazing coconut red curry sauce. I am not kidding you when I say this was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted! I was feeling a little sad that we had just eaten before this, because I wanted more! Thankfully my pants were stretchy, because we ended the night by sharing a Pike Street Mud Pie parfait, which was coffee custard, chocolate cookie crumb, chocolate fudge, and peanut butter crunch. Oh boy!IMG_1302IMG_1307IMG_1301IMG_1310

Although we needed to be rolled home from Seattle, we had such an amazing trip! I loved the city even more than I thought I would. We had perfect weather and did not see the rainy, dreary city that Seattle is known to be. In fact, I could pack my bags and move there if it was always like it was for the few days we were there! There were so many great things to do, see and eat; I highly recommend Seattle for a summer getaway.

Detox Monday: Sweet Corn Soup with Crab

The last few weeks have been busy; with traveling two weekends in a row, and then my parents visiting us, I haven’t been able to pull it together to make anything more elaborate than tried-and-true dishes that I can make with my eyes closed (like this one)! Now that things have calm down a bit, I am hoping to get back in the kitchen and try some new summer dishes.

I’ve had this Sweet Corn Soup with Crab on my list to make for almost a month, and it just so happens that I finally got to make it…on the hottest day of the year. Yay! Not so much. While I can eat soup all year round, I don’t blame my husband for protesting this meal while our weather app says “98 degrees, feels like 104”. Once we got past the whole hot soup in the summer problem, it was all about enjoying the beautiful sweet corn that makes up this majority of the soup. I used a nice large onion that, when cooked with the corn, helped off set the sweetness. The Sweet Corn Soup is fabulous on its own, but when garnished with peas, crab and basil, the soup reaches a whole new level. Hopefully the heat won’t deter you from trying this recipe while sweet corn is still at its peak!

I loved this tip from Cooking Light: use a bundt pan when cutting corn kernels from the cob. Prop up the corn in the middle of the pan and cut downward, using the pan to catch the corn. This worked so well and was far less messy than when I’ve just used a plate to catch the corn.

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I used good quality canned crab meat, but feel free to use fresh for even better taste.

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Sweet Corn Soup with Crab

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe source: Cooking Light Magazine

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 5 cups fresh corn kernels (about 7 ears of corn)
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk (can also use half and half or whole milk)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed (I used canned crabmeat with no shell pieces. I also didn't use a pound of crabmeat but doing so will make a more filling meal)

What To Do

  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add corn, salt, and pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 6 minutes.
  2. Place corn mixture and milk in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.
  3. Place peas in a small bowl; mash slightly with a fork. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, basil, and crab; serve over soup.


This recipe takes 30 minutes start to finish


Mexican-style Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

The idea of a veggie sandwich to most carnivores is as appealing as nails on a chalkboard. However, with the right ingredients and proper seasoning, a vegetable sandwich has the potential to be just as good, if not better than one containing meat. The look on my husband’s face as I presented him with his dinner, this Mexican-style Grilled Vegetable Sandwich, was a look of doubt and disappointment. Although the sandwich looked appealing, he was not excited about what was between the bread. But once he sunk his teeth into the grilled zucchini, roasted red pepper, onion, avocado and bean spread on crispy ciabatta bread, his face changed to a look of surprise and delight. We were both happy with how tasty the Cooking Light recipe turned out. I want to mention that there are a few different steps involved with making this sandwich, but to have a vegetarian meal that is both healthy and delicious, means it is worth the effort!

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Mexican-style Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Recipe source: Cooking Light Magazine, with a slight change

What You Need

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 1 small red onion, cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 1 (12-ounce) ciabatta bread loaf, halved horizontally, or 4 4-ounce individual ciabatta rolls
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 avocado, sliced

What To Do

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 11 minutes or until blackened. Wrap pepper halves in foil. Let stand 5 minutes; peel. Cut into strips.
  3. Place juice, oregano, oil, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground red pepper, and beans in the bowl of a food processor; pulse 5 times or until coarsely chopped.
  4. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange zucchini and onion slices on pan; grill 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 1-inch-thick shell. Spread black bean mixture over bottom half of bread; top with zucchini, onion, bell pepper and avocado. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and salt. Top with top half of bread. Coat both sides of sandwich with cooking spray. Place sandwich on grill pan; top with a heavy skillet. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until crispy. Remove sandwich from pan; cut into quarters. If using individual rolls, divide ingredients evenly among the four rolls and grill individually. No need to cut into quarters.


I used a panini press instead of the grill pan to grill the sandwich. The original recipe used pepper jack cheese instead of avocado. You could make the substitution back if you prefer.




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