Tomato Cream Sauce for Pasta

My 10 year old loves gnocchi, and I am always looking for new ways to serve it. I found this sauce and I made it last night. It was so easy, and was really good! My son had three helpings of it! I will keep this recipe on hand when I need a quick sauce.

rating: 9.4

Tomato Cream Sauce for Pasta


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
3/4 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter


In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Add tomatoes, basil, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to boil and continue to boil 5 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in whipping cream and butter. Reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes.


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White Bean-and-Parmesan Soup

I used canned beans instead of dried beans in this recipe, and that’s where I ran into problems. I felt like there was WAY too much broth in this soup, so I ended up getting some out with a ladle. This soup ended up being kind of bland, but I also had some for lunch the next day, and it was better.

rating: 6

White Bean-and-Parmesan Soup

serves 12


package poultry herb mix (5 sprigs each sage, rosemary, and thyme)
4 cups dried white beans (1½ lb.), soaked 8 hours or overnight
8 cups water
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
6 ounces Parmesan cheese rinds
1 yellow onion, halved vertically
2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 cups baby spinach (about 6 oz.)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons lemon zest
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Tie together poultry herb mix with kitchen twine. Place soaked beans, herbs, water, stock, cheese rinds, and onion halves in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 1 hour. Stir in salt; cover and simmer until beans are very tender, 30 to 45 more minutes. Remove and discard rinds, or reserve for another use. Stir in spinach, tomatoes, zest, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, until greens are wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Spoon into shallow bowls. Top with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.


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Vegetarian Burrito Bowl

I have been on this veggie bowl kick lately. I can’t get enough of them! This one was okay, but it was kind of bland. The beans were bland and so was the rice. I prefer this bowl or this one instead.

rating: 7

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl

serves 4


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 15.5-oz. cans black beans, drained, rinsed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, diced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen, thawed if frozen
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
Sour cream, shredded Cheddar, cilantro leaves, sliced radishes, chopped pickled jalapeños, and tortilla chips, optional


1. Warm 1 Tbsp. oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

2. Warm remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a simmer and cook until most of liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring once or twice. Season lightly with salt.

3. Combine avocados and lime juice in a medium bowl. Divide rice among 4 bowls. Top with bean mixture, corn, tomatoes and avocados. Serve with garnishes and chips on the side, if desired.


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Meatless Chicken Caesar Salad

I have to say, I did not love this dressing. I prefer Hampton Creek’s Caesar dressing. Husband really liked this, but I thought it was just okay.

rating: 7

Meatless Chicken Caesar Salad
serves 4


vegetarian chicken (I used Beyond Chicken Strips)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 garlic clove
Juice of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
2 heads of Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 loaf Ciabatta or other crusty bread
2 tbsp olive oil


To make dressing, place the cheese, lemon juice, garlic clove, white wine vinegar and the egg together in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
With blender still in motion, slowly add the olive oil until a smooth consistency is formed.
Pre-heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry the vegetarian chicken over medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes flipping frequently until lightly browned and piping hot throughout.
Pre-heat an oven to 450, slice the ciabatta bread into quarter inch cubes, place on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake until golden brown.

To Assemble
Place the lettuce in a large bowl, toss with the dressing. Slice the vegetarian chicken and pile in the center of your plates. Garnish with the ciabatta croutons and additional shredded Parmesan cheese.


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Parmesan Garlic Spaghetti Squash

I really really liked this dish. My only gripe is that spaghetti squash are so hard to cut! Why is that?? Seriously, I was breaking a sweat cutting this thing in half. Microwaving the squash really does save some time. This is a great side dish, and was even better the next day.

rating: 9

Parmesan Garlic Spaghetti Squash

time needed: 15 min.


1 spaghetti squash, approx. 1lb
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock (I used vegetarian “chicken” stock)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sauce and as topping (optional)
1/3 cup sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped


1. Slice both ends of the spaghetti squash and slice in half lengthwise. Scrape off the seeds with a spoon or melon baller and place in a microwave-safe baking dish or tupperware, skin facing up. Add one inch of water and heat in the microwave for 12 to 15 minutes, until the spaghetti squash is tender. Fluff and separate the strings with a fork and transfer to a bowl for later.

2. While the spaghetti squash is cooking in the microwave, heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock and turn the heat up to high and let it come to a boil.

3. Add the spaghetti squash and cook for a couple of minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the parmesan cheese and stir until completely melted. Add the sour cream and cook for 2 minutes more, constantly stirring.

4. Garnish with additional parmesan, parsley and pepper. Serve immediately.


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Artichoke-Rosemary Frittata

I love eggs for dinner! My 6 year old didn’t love this, and my 10 year old said it was okay. Husband and I thought it was really good. I sure do love me some artichokes!

rating: 9

Artichoke-Rosemary Frittata

serves 4-6


2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
1/4 cup diced onion or thinly sliced green onion
1 tsp. butter
2 tsp. olive oil
1 can (13.5 oz. size) artichoke hearts, not marinated
8 eggs
2 T half and half or milk (optional)
1 1/2 cups grated low-fat Mozzarella (or use a mixture of Mozzarella and other white cheeses such as Swiss, sharp white cheddar, or Provolone)
salt, pepper to taste


Slice the green onion (or diced 1/4 cup regular onion.) Finely chop the fresh rosemary or crush the dried rosemary. (A Mortar and Pestle would be perfect to crush the dried rosemary.)

Heat the butter and olive oil in heavy 10 inch non-stick frying pan. (Spray the pan with non-stick spray if you don’t have a non-stick pan.) Saute the onion 2-3 minutes, then add rosemary and saute 1-2 minutes more (until you can start to smell the rosemary). While onions and rosemary are cooking, drain artichokes well, then dice into bite-sized pieces. Add diced artichokes to the pan and saute about 3 minutes more. Start preheating the broiler.

Meanwhile beat eggs (with half and half or milk if using.) Pour beaten eggs over artichoke mixture. Add cheese and stir just enough to be sure cheese and artichokes are evenly distributed through the mixture. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

Cover pan and lower heat; cook about 15 minutes or until the mixture appears set and slightly puffs up and separates from side of pan. Remove lid and put the pan under the preheated broiler until top is slightly browned, about 2 minutes more. (Watch it carefully when it’s under the broiler. Serve right away. This will keep in the fridge for a few days and can be reheated in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.



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Cauliflower Chowder

I thought this soup was pretty good. Husband and my 10 year old liked it as well (my 6 year old is currently a fruititarian). I used Morningstar Farms veggie bacon in place of real bacon, and it did really add a little something special to the soup.

rating: 9

Cauliflower Chowder


4 slices bacon, diced (I used Morningstar Farms bacon)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
1 cup 2% milk
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barely crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parsley, if desired.


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