Loooove me some carbonara. I love making this dish because it can be easily customized. Want it creamier? Add heavy whipping cream. Want to add in some fall flavors? Add some butternut squash or pumpkin puree. Want it to taste like cacio e pepe? Toast some peppercorns and toss em' in. Looking to add some greens? Arugula or spinach both work great mixed in. Want to give it an Asian flare? Miso paste is so amazing in it too! The options are endlessssss.
A few carbonara tips I've learned over the years:
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I baked with applesauce for the first time!! The texture it brings to this cinnamon apple bread is insaneeeee. Don't expect some giant apple flavor to take over your tastebuds, it's pretty subtle but still so sosossoso good. I really love this one because even though one of the main components is apple, there aren't any apple chunks involved in the recipe. I hate apple chunks in any baked good, the texture of this bread is the same as like banana bread/pound cake! Aka, amazingly moist.
If you don't know by now, I have a weird obsession with baking healthy treats. It's usually at the start of a new season when I bake the most. Sooooo, this recipe is actually *vegan* because the applesauce replaces the eggs and I use oat milk instead of cow's milk. It's also gluten free because I used oat flour/gf all purpose flour and then it's nut free too, obviously, no almond flour used in any of my recipes due to my nut allergy! Oh and I used maple syrup instead of sugar so it's naturally sweetened. AHH, SO FUN TO BAKE HEALTHY THINGS THAT STILL TASTE THIS GOOD!
**Everyone's oven works differently and reaches different temperatures at different times so be patient with it and keep checking it throughout the suggested cooking time! It's a little harder for gluten free flour to rise, so if you have options, use a more narrow than wide bread pan.
Also, one more thing. It looks sort of ombre colored and I believe that is because I overdid it with the olive oil I used to brush the sides of the loaf pan. I am always scared that the loaf is gonna stick to the pan so I tend to over do it and that can sometimes lead to the edges of the loaf browning due to the heat and amount of oil seeping into the bread. Just an FYI.
I am having such a hard time writing this blog post because I'm actually eating this right now as I type and I don't want to stop taking bites but I also need to remember the amount of the ingredients I used before they disappear from my brain so here we goooo!
The pasta is gone so now I can actually think. A few notes:
Last week, I made Monique from @AmbitiousKitchen's Lemon Blueberry Zucchini Cake recipe and it was soooo good - like I freaked out when I ate it. Almond flour is one of the key ingredients but I found a way around that since I can't eat nuts. I was actually super skeptical about using an almond flour alternative since it distinctly says in her recipe a few times that she doesn't recommend a sub. I ended up used Pamela's Products GF/V Flour instead of the almond flour! Upon completing the batter, I realized it was super dry, almost like cookie dough instead of cake batter - so I added in a few splashes of oat milk and prayed that would do the trick. It did!
What I'm sharing below is a recipe totally adapted from Monique - I don't claim it as my own. I just changed a few things around and adjusted it to accommodate my nut allergy. Sooo many of you were excited about it that I decided to share for my fellow nut allergy fam.
So basically, this is the best healthy-ish cake I've ever eaten. There's 1/2 cup honey instead of sugar, no dairy and no gluten. Say whhaaaatttt. The frosting is optional but I think the sweetness from it is what makes it taste more like a cake than a sweet bread.
Pad Thai, but make it allergy friendly. It's actually vegan and gluten free if you don't use eggs or meat as the protein because I took the fish sauce out of it!!
While pad see ew is my favorite Thai dish, Pad Thai is more common I feel like and a close second. I mean, of course I love it- it's noodles!! It's always been harder for me to eat at restaurants though since there's usually fish sauce and peanuts all up in it and I have so many unfortunate food allergies!! I started making my own version of the dish at home a while ago and it's def not authentic but it's as close as I can get - still v good in my opinion. :)
It was my friend's birthday last month and she LOVES ice cream so I wanted to make her an ice cream cake without actually having to bake cakes. That's where I came up with the idea to use Pancakes! So this recipe is shamelessly inspired by a lazy feeling but I'm not mad about it at all because it's a game changer.
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This might be the most versatile recipe that I make in my kitchen. It's honestly not even a recipe it's just a cooking method of combining equal parts white wine and butter and then adding whatever you're in the mood for. It's def a chameleon pasta, blends into whatever and there's so many things that it pairs perfectly with!! I love how well the butter and white wine end up coming together to make the most silky buttery sauce. Sometimes I brown the butter a bit too before I add in the wine if I'm wanting an even deeper butter flavor.
I usually eat it plain with just pasta, but if I'm adding veggies to it I'll go with garlicky broccoli or charred corn in the summer. When I brown the butter, I like to use mushrooms and onion. For protein, sooo good with little neck clams or scallops! The pasta also pairs really well with with lemon chicken and capers too.
This dish can also be turned spicy or cajun with a teaspoon of either red pepper flakes or cajun flavors like Old Bay Seasoning or Tony's Creole Seasoning! (So good this way if you're pairing the pasta with seafood and/or corn.)
ALSO, you could add a few splashes (around 1/2 cup) of heavy whipping cream to this sauce to turn it into a more rich and creamy sauce, kind of like alfredo but with a slightly heavier booze factor.
This is the summer of corn. I've been eating so much of it lately and putting it into everything!
I couldn't decide if I wanted this to be a creamy pasta salad or not so I used burrata cheese so that some bites would be creamy and some wouldn't! You could totally add mayo though and make it a creamy pasta salad if you want!
If you don't have access to a Trader Joes, you could make your own elote seasoning at home! I would use 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tbsp cotija cheese and then 1/4 tsp cumin powder. The lime juice and cilantro that are added to the pasta salad will add a more "street corn" flavor to the overall dish as well.
I've discovered the most perfect pepperoni in the world. Introducing, Hormel Cup n' Crisps. Out of all the different kind of pepperoni meats I've tried with making pizza, this one is by far my favorite. They curl up so nicely into the perfect little cup to hold one of my other favorite pizza toppings of all time - spicy hot honey.
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Here's the deal. The cookie dough recipe below is heavily influenced by what's on the back of the Toll House Chocolate Chip bag - that's what I grew up eating!! You could definitely use your fave cookie dough recipe or a healthier/gluten free blah blah cookie dough recipe - just make sure you replace the raw eggs with a liquid like an oil or milk and then bake the flour for 5-7 minutes at 350 F so that there's no raw ingredients that could contain bacteria. You also won't need any baking agents like baking soda because the dough won't be baked in an oven at all.
This recipe makes about 8 bars, or 16 small square bite-sized pieces.
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I don't always put veggies into my pasta, but when I do...it's usually fresh summer veggies like corn! I used to make this recipe with rigatoni noodles but I think the sauce pairs better with a semi-wide longer shape like fettuccini, tagliatelle or mafaldine so I adjusted things according to that lil fun fact.
Also, this is optional but I really like when the corn is charred. (I didn't have enough time to char it the day I shot these photos!)
This is hands down my favorite of all time way to grill chicken. You're probably thinking someone who makes pasta as often as I do doesn't know sh*t about how to cook meat on a grill. This is true, except for chicken. I can freaking make some damn good chicken on the grill.
I start off with a salt water brine (at least two hours or overnight) and then I use garlic powder and cayenne pepper and I brush layers of BBQ sauce onto the wings as they cook. If you don't have BBQ sauce they are just as good with the cayenne and garlic powder. You can use any part of the chicken for this recipe. I've done it with breasts, drums, thighs and wings. (Wings and drums are my fave!!)
As far as amount goes: make sure to have enough chicken for the number of people you plan to feed, which is obvious but there's always one person that will ask if I am not SUPER clear, lol. The salt water brine ratio is 1 cup water : 1 tsp salt, so however many cups of water it takes to cover the chicken in an airtight container or ziplock bag + the appropriate amount of salt.
I always hesitate to put the word healthy in my recipe captions because I feel like there will be at least one health nut that will try to call me out saying "that's actually not healthy" but for me, this is a lot cleaner version of any dessert I would normally eat...and it's really freaking good!! Also, I've always been in love with the color of fresh raspberries! It's so perfect.
Let me know if you have questions in the comment section - it makes different amounts depending on if you slice it into squares or rectangles but this recipe is definitely enough to feed a crowd of around 8-10 people.
Why is alcohol so good? I mean of course having a glass is amazing but I'm also talking about in food...because , some of my most favorite pasta sauces have either wine or vodka in them.
I was making my vodka sauce the other day with white wine (since I was out of vodka) and I was tempted to skip the last step of adding heavy cream to it and eat it how it was in the skillet because it just looked so pretty and smelled so good. So the next day, I did just that and here we are! SO this is basically my vodka sauce minus the cream and butter with wine + fresh garlic and shallots living in the sauce. You could leave the diced garlic and shallot as is in the sauce for texture or puree them like I did for a smoother sauce.
Korean glass noodles were my first Asian-noodle obsession aside from the more common stuff like lo mein or rice noodles. There used to be a restaurant in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland called BAC and I would go at least once a month to order their spicy kimchi dish. I remember it being so spicy that I could only take a few bites at a time and would have to wait a little before having more lol. So the good thing about making it at home is that you can control the level of heat you put into it.
Anyways, I found glass noodles at a nearby Asian supermarket and they ended up becoming the main ingredient of my Spicy Noodle Soup recipe that won Zoup Soup's National Recipe Contest in 2015! #funfacts
The noodles are made from sweet potato starch so they are naturally gluten free and vegan!! You could add protein to the dish but my favorite way to eat the dish is with veggies, kimchi and spicy sambal oelek. If you've never had sambal oelek, it's a chili paste that gives a pretty hard kick to any dish - I have it listed on my favorite products page on Amazon so tap here if you want to order some! The glass noodle brand I use is also available on Amazon and on my favorite products page, click here to order them!
So here's what you can do with all of that quarantine banana bread you've been busy baking. You're welcome. They're also completely gluten-free and nearly vegan besides the egg I used in the banana bread which you could easily sub out for a flax egg. Feel free to change it around to whatever way you prefer to eat!
Layer one: Gluten free graham cracker crust with honey and butter.
Layer two: Mashed gf banana bread + raw banana + coconut butter, maple syrup and collagen power.
Layer three: Melted dark chocolate and flakey sea salt.
If you're looking for a stronger banana flavor to be present amongst all the other flavors and also want the banana bread portion of the bar to more like batter than bread, you can add one mashed banana to the banana bread crumbles.
I used a ton of different products that are my favorite so I'll list them here incase you want to use the same thangs! Pamela's gluten free honey grahams, Melt Organic vegan butter, Vital Proteins unflavored collagen powder, Bob's Red Mill old fashioned rolled oats and then Eating Evolved's coconut butter. (Since I can't eat nuts I love using coconut butter or @avokween's granola butter in place of almond or cashew butter.)
If you told my former self that I would one day be eating a pasta sauce made out of beans I would probably run away. Lol. Jk. BUT, I grew up absolutely hating any and every sort of bean!
Turns out, I love them now. Also turns out, they can add a super creamy texture to sauces once they are pureed. The end result for this dish sort of tastes like alfredo but it's waaaay better for you because even though there's still a decent amount of parmesan cheese in there, there's no heavy cream or dairy besides that. Cannellini beans are full of fiber, folate, iron and magnesium so it's a great way to sneak some good stuff into your diet.
As far as subs, you could replace the parmesan cheese wit nutritional yeast to make it vegan or sub out the wheat pasta for brown rice pasta to make it gluten free!
This is hands down my favorite dish to order from any Thai restaurant I visit. Everyone else seems to go straight for the pad thai but not me! It's traditionally made with fresh, flat wide rice noodles but if you're in a pinch and don't feel like heading to a Thai supermarket to find them you can use dried rice noodles too. (That's what I did, click here to see the brand I use on my Amazon shopping page!)
If you're not an Asian food freak like me you probably don't have oyster sauce or dark soy sauce at home. Those can be ordered on Amazon as well, I have the brands I prefer on my Amazon shopping page too!
Okay so I now have two vegan mac and cheese recipes on my website. This one is more nutritious because of the pureed veggie ingredient + the nutritional yeast factor but it still remains nut free just like the other one! A creamy vegan mac and cheese recipe without cashews?? YEP. It might not be as beautiful as my other recipe but it's really good, better for you and WAY easier to make. If you're looking for my other recipe with actual vegan cheese in it, tap this link! Both are super good despite the fact that there's no dairy in either of them!
I also love how flex this recipe is. You could sub out the potato puree that I used for a number of things like butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots or cauliflower puree. As long as you turn whatever veggie you use soft enough via steaming or boiling to make sure that they completely blend into the sauce! I honestly considered adding some baby food to my next grocery list so I don't have to puree whatever veggies I plan to add in, LOL.
I prefer to use potato because of the starch content in it - when using less starchy vegetables like BNS I add in a teaspoon of arrowroot starch to help it thicken better. (Also, be careful if you use frozen veggies because they have a bit more water content then fresh veggies do.)
This recipe makes enough for two but it can easily be cut in half for a personal version! I like making it for myself and saving half of it for another day.
I've never actually been to NOLA but I do love most Cajun-inspired dishes and I always order a po boy sandwich when I see it on a menu. I usually see shrimp or chicken options, but this would honestly be really good with my crispy cauliflower recipe as well if you're a vegetarian!
Seeing that we are going on over a month of Covid-19 quarantine, I had to get creative with what I had on hand at home so don't judge if this isn't exactly the po boy you once ate in Nola. I used some chicken I had in the freezer from Butcher Box and then some fresh steak rolls from my local grocery store's bakery. Traditionally, po boys are served on New Orleans French bread - which is a similar shape but softer than an actual French baguette and very light and airy. I feel like that would probably make a big difference in the overall sandwich quality but the steak roll wasn't too bad.
If you don't want to make the aioli completely from scratch you could just add some Cajun seasoning to some mayo. (Also if you don't have Cajun seasoning it is really easy to make from scratch...just google it.) For aioli shortcuts, I've also done half mayo and half greek yogurt with cajun seasoning to make a healthier option and it's just as good!!
I LOVE the color of this sauce just as much as I love the taste! The best part is is that it's relatively healthy since it's made out of pureed roasted red peppers with just a touch of either heavy cream or coconut milk depending on your dairy preference.
Since the sauce is mostly roasted red peppers, you'll want to use a good brand for higher quality. My favorite is DeLallo Foods! You can purchase either their Whole Roasted Red Peppers or Roasted Red Pepper Strips. I paired the red peppers with DeLallo's shellbow pasta shape which is the most perfect vehicle for transporting more of this delicious sauce into your mouth.
If you know me, you know that my all time favorite cocktail is a dirty martini. You should also know that my favorite food of all time is pasta. That said, I present you with my latest recipe creation: dirty martini pasta.
I recently partnered with DeLallo Foods in order to showcase some of their amazing specialty items and I've been snacking on these Italian Pitted Castelvetrano Olives non-stop. They're super plump and have the best briney-buttery taste to them. The flavor of DeLallo's Italian olives and their brine really shines through and is the perfect compliment to the subtle boozy hint of white wine.
My husband Bryant and I are absolutely obsessed with Jet's Pizza - we love the fluffiness and how crispy and buttery the crust is. This is the closest I've ever come to making something that tastes similar at home!!
Full disclosure I used this recipe from Serious Eats to learn how to do this. I made a few adjustments based off what worked for me!
I'm truly at a loss for words. Banana bread meets oatmeal cookie meets chocolate chips?? These are the best cookies I have ever made and believe it or not, I actually guessed the amounts of each ingredient as opposed to using another cookie recipe as a base and it freaking worked. That almost never happens when I try and bake!! Ah! My very own and first ever original FOJ cookie recipe!
FYI, this recipe made 16 cookies. You'll want to pay close attention to the consistency of your finished dough since it's super hard to measure flour properly for baking without weighing it. Since baking measurements are way more sensitive than cooking measurements, I bet even the size of the banana you use compared to the one I used could make a difference in the texture! The finished cookie dough should be firm enough to hold a somewhat of scoop shape and def shouldn't start spreading out onto the cookie sheet before baking. If your dough is too wet and looks like pancake batter, I would add in flour, 1 teaspoon at a time and then mix it in until it seems thick enough to scoop. Also, throwing the dough into the fridge for twenty minutes helps to make things more solid for scooping as well.
If you're one of those people (guilty!) that skip through the beginning text of a recipe here's what you need to know before making these: have 1/4 cup of extra flour handy to add to the dough if you need to. Sometimes, the size of the banana you use can throw things off and the dough will need more flour to prevent flat and completely melted cookies from coming out of the oven.
I've been making my husband Bryant this garlicky, soy sauce flavored chicken and broccoli for a long time now and it's one of his all time faves. It's come along way since the first time I made it back in college and it's gotten to the point where it's so damn good that I wanted everyone to be able to try it!!
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