Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Creamy Taco Mac

When I think of things that are "trendy," I used to think of skinny jeans, Uggs, and the "Rachel" haircut. I never would have thought of food as trendy.

Yet there are certain recipes that are floating around my cooking forum and blog community, and they are popular enough to be considered trendy. I am certainly not minimizing their presence, and I have absolutely cooked my share of popular recipes (Avocado and Black Bean Brownies, Better-Than-Sex Cake, Penne alla Betsy...).

The latest culinary bandwagon that I've hopped aboard is Delish's Creamy Taco Mac. I've seen multiple blog posts with this recipe; some keep things the same and others put their own spin on it. I fall into the latter category, though her original sounds fantastic too.

The thing with most trends, however, is that they peak really quickly and then fizzle out, never to be heard from again. This pasta dish was so freaking fantastic, however, that I am pretty sure it won't be disappearing from my kitchen anytime soon.

I was wary about only using 1/2 pound of pasta but it was plenty; I even got two lunches out of the leftovers. I'm already planning on making it again soon.

  • 1.25 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 8 oz dry pasta + 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 16oz jar of salsa
  • 4 Tbsp mild taco seasoning
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese, plus more for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta per directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water.

Over medium heat, brown ground turkey until no longer pink. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add taco seasoning and salsa. Allow to simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta, reserved water, cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded cheese. Give it a good stir until cheeses are melty and incorporated. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, as desired. Top off with cheddar cheese for extra cheesy goodness.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Spring Green Risotto

I love risotto, but aside from the attention it needs, I don't like eating it too often since it's not exactly the healthiest meal. But with all the veggies, I figure Ina Garten's Spring Green Risotto comes with much less guilt.

I absolutely loved this dinner. The addition of marscarpone is something I never would have thought of, so I'm glad Ina did! It added a level of creaminess that just made this dish really pop, and I finished off the leftovers for lunch.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Choco-PB-Banana Panini

I love my panini press. You can take a pretty decent sandwich, pop it on the panini grill, and BAM - you have something absolutely fabulous.

Last night I planned on making a tomato-basil-mozzarella panini, but at the last minute, I wanted something a little more indulgent. I grabbed a banana, some chocolate chips, and peanut butter and made myself a delicious little treat.

  • 2 slices bread
  • 2-3 tablespoons peanut butter (I used this delicious dark chocolate variation)
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

I don't really need to write out directions for a sandwich, right? ;)

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