My mother-in-law loves lemons.
If I’m trying to get in good with her, all I have to do is whip up a dish that includes a burst of lemon and I’m in the running for Favorite Daughter-in-Law.
Fall is on its way, and I'm definitely already starting to see all things pumpkin popping up—from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin pancakes to pumpkin [fill-in-the-blank].
I am in full support of the pumpkin movement, but I find that all these things have a similar flavor.
Don't get me wrong: I love pumpkin, but I also know it can be paired with more than just cinnamon.
Because of this, I wanted to share this Pumpkin-Poblano Pasta from my book Meat On The Side. It combines pumpkin puree with peppers and shrimp for a creamy, sweet, and spicy sauce.
And the entire recipe only uses ten ingredients and is done in about the time it takes for the pasta to cook!
Buffalo Mac and Cheese—made in minutes and good for you?!
If you think you're dreaming, I would suggest pinching yourself! Then read on!
I wanted to bring all the usual Buffalo chicken suspects to the table: Franks RedHot Sauce, celery, and chicken, of course.
Then to make sure you feel good about piling your plate with seconds, we'll toss in some wilted spinach, which also livens things up a bit.
And because you already have butter in there from the mac and cheese, the hot sauce is all you need to finish off that classic Buffalo flavor.
This is sinfully delicious, but let’s not forget—you are eating chicken, celery, and spinach.
So it really is a complete meal, veggies included!
Dig in, already!
makes: 3 cups
This might be my favorite souped-up mac and cheese recipe.
And it’s also the simplest!
All you need to do is add some chili powder and scallions!
Then top it with some tangy salsa!
It’s so easy, but mac and cheese and salsa just really love each other.
And my belly can't help getting in on this Lovefest, too!
I love this recipe because it makes boxed mac and cheese into a complete meal.
A complete meal complete with the mouth-watering flavor combination of sausage, peppers, and cheese.
You sauté up the peppers and sausage while the pasta cooks up, so there's minimal extra time involved in hacking this mac!
Then it all gets mixed together into one cheesy, porky mess.
Vegetables, protein, cheese, and carbs—not bad for something that (mostly) came out of a box!
On The Wendy Williams Show I showed everyone how to make a dish that will be your go-to this spring and summer, BLT Pasta Salad with Romaine Lettuce Dressing.
Yes, the dressing is actually made with lettuce!
Combined with the classic flavors of a BLT sandwich (minus the bread), it's the perfect dish to ring in Spring!
servings: 4 to 6 servings, with about 2 cups Romaine Lettuce Dressing
Brussels sprouts didn’t make a regular appearance in my meals until quite recently.
At first, their bitterness was an unwanted one, but what I have found is that the key to balancing out these bitter little nuggets is to add something a tad sweet—like pears, for instance.
Combine that with a little bacon (or not) and a rich, eggy carbonara sauce, and you bring out the best in this shrunken cabbage. Its bitterness perfectly cuts through the richness of the pasta sauce, while the pear adds that wanted touch of sweetness.
You’ll be making your inner child shudder as you greedily go back for another perfect bite of pear, pasta—and of course Brussels sprouts!
makes: 4 entrée portions
There is nothing wrong with classic comfort food, and Hamburger Helper was something that I grew up with and still has a special place in my heart.
I'm not trying to make the original super healthy or low-cal, I'm just making it from scratch and making smart choices so that it's as nutritious as possible while still tasting exactly how you remember.
Taste is always first in my book, the bonus is a little extra nutrition.
Nobody even needs to know that there is squash in the sauce and that you used half the meat because you added in lentils.
You'll be gobbling up this melty, meaty pasta dish only to remember at the end that you had a balanced meal.
Sounds kind of awesome right?!
Christmas is by far my favorite time of year.
Around Christmastime I’ll never complain about the cold and the snow.
The snow is the perfect backdrop to sparkling lights!
Christmas is sneaking up on us quickly, so I'd say it's time for some Christmas-themed pasta to warm our bellies on these cold nights.
The red sauce is simple but deeply "tomato-y"--and only takes minutes to make.
It starts with slowly simmering tangy olive oil and garlic until their flavors fuse together...
...And ends with tomato paste and canned tomatoes for a rich, but bright flavor.
And because we all know that you can't have the red without the green at Christmastime, we'll also whip up a green sauce with a Basil Pesto base.
To the traditional pesto, we'll add avocado and lemon--creating a creamy and colorful sauce that's the perfect counterpart.
Each is good on its own, but together they're incredible!
servings: 6 Servings
I’ve been lucky enough to have spent 11 Valentine's Days with my husband.
Sometimes the older you get--or the longer you've been with someone--you start to think things like Valentine’s Day are silly.
Since I’m normally coming up with new and hopefully inventive recipes, there are definitely times in my kitchen where things don’t turn out quite as I expected.
And then there are the times that you put a pea on uncooked pasta, throw it in boiling water and instead of it falling apart, the pea and pasta fuse together for one insanely cute dish.
When I create a recipe, I’m always thinking about what different versions of a dish I can suggest to different groups of people.
For instance, sometimes I think about how to make my vegetarian recipes “meaty.”
Or I might toss out some ideas about how to make a dish more family-friendly (something adults can enjoy that kids will also eat!).
I love when—with just a few tweaks—you can make a couple of versions of a meal at the same time, so everyone is satisfied.
And it’s always a bonus if we get our kids to eat their veggies!
This Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce is one of the most melt-in-your-mouth pasta sauces I’ve ever made.
And I honestly can’t tell the difference between this version and the full-on-million-calorie version.
Actually, I can tell the difference, oh-so-slightly. And I’m not lying when I say I like this one better.
It’s garlicky, cheesy, and creamy—as you would expect.
But the cauliflower adds a whole new element that deepens the flavor and literally makes you want to eat the sauce with a spoon (nooooo, I’ve never done that 😉).
And by dividing the sauce in two and adding parsley and pepper to one half and peas to the other, you’ve got a dish that makes both parents and kids happy.
Why make your mac and cheese into a cup?
It’s cute, your kids will be more likely to eat it no matter what is inside, and you can serve it at parties!
And did I mention how cute it is?!
For this hacked version of mac and cheese, I'm adding sundried tomatoes and pesto.
Two easy-to-find, jarred ingredients that suddenly make mac and cheese feel elegant!
All you need to do is make the mac, add the sundried tomatoes, top it with pesto and parm, bake and serve!
The tomatoes deepen the flavor, while the zingy pesto adds a fresh note!
It’s mac and cheese that you can suddenly serve to guests!
Or just devour standing in the kitchen on a Tuesday night.
Either way, you win.
makes: 10 cups
With summer finally here, I feel like I’m always looking for things I can bring to a BBQ or out to the beach—foods that can be served at room temperature, and also won't have reduced themselves to some crazy-looking concoctions by the time I get wherever we're going.
Pasta salads are always a good bet, and when you add a homemade lemon aioli (I stole the recipe from my cookbook, Meat On The Side!) and the perfect balance of textures and flavors, you are guaranteed to be the hit of the party!
For the aioli (a fancy word for mayo), you just add garlic, mustard, lemon juice, and egg yolk to a blender, then drizzle in some oil.
And the combination of those ingredients, although kind of basic, creates a taste that is out of this world—creamy, tangy, and light!
Once you add your all-star aioli to chunks of cheddar, richly-flavored sundried tomatoes, juicy grape tomatoes, and crunchy lettuce, you end up with a simple pasta salad that doesn’t taste so simple.
This incredible dish is about using familiar flavors, but making them the best they can be.
And this is the best pasta salad EVER!
servings: 4 to 6
For this hack on your mac, I really wanted to bring some veggies to the party—while also giving some new flavors and textures to the mac and cheese.
This is an exciting version to say the least, and it still involves almost no extra cooking!
Throw the sweet potato in the microwave, then puree it or just mash it with a fork.
Add in the the sage, nutmeg, cheese, and sweet potato, then mix it all up and top with pecans and cranberries.
You get a whole new flavor—and seriously the only extra thing you did was put a sweet potato in the microwave!
makes: 3 cups
I love it when I get to be on The Wendy Williams Show!
Today I showed everyone how to make one of my favorites—Eggplant Parm Meatballs!
They're an amazing add to your favorite pasta dish, but also pretty delicious all on their own!
servings: Thirty 1½-inch meatballs
Asparagus season is finally here!
It's also that perfect time in New York City when you’re no longer bundled up head to toe, but you're not so hot that it feels like the city is actually radiating heat.
You know the commercial where Payton Manning sings “Chicken Parm you taste so good” in the Nation Wide advertisement?
Well that’s my husband, well the loving chicken parm part, not the being a professional athlete part.
Summer is my season; I am perpetually cold unless it’s 90 degrees outside and I’m pretty sure that I am a better swimmer than I am a walker sometimes. One of my greatest joys in life is my terrace garden with all my plants and my bird friend Harold.
Although I don’t like to admit it either, we have to face it, summer is coming to an end (can’t type… crying too much).
One of my all time favorite things is a Caesar salad, and considering my obsession with pasta, I thought…
Why not combine the two?? This dish takes all the components of a Caesar salad, from the dressing to the lettuce, and transforms them into a creamy sauce.