Avocado Pasta AKA My Favorite Simple Comfort Food

If avocado toast is my favorite brunch food, avocado pasta is my favorite dinner recipe! I first started making this dish back in my final years of college when I moved out of the dorms and started making simple foods for myself. I didn’t have a blender and oftentimes went the easy route when cooking, so the ingredients and methods in this dish have stayed pretty simple. I’m such a sucker for plain, starchy foods that the recipe has stuck with me since then as one of my go-tos!

This dish is vegetarian but I oftentimes add chicken to it as well and it works great. You can also use any type of pasta; farfalle was always my favorite because the avocado coated it the best, but I also love love the taste of spinach fettuccine noodles.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package pasta of choice
  • 2-3 ripe avocados, mashed
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1/3 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Boil pasta according to package directions. In the mean time, mash your avocados, then combine all ingredients together and whisk together until you reach a smooth, spreadable consistency. If you want a fancier version of this dish, use a blender instead and fresh basil leaves and garlic cloves instead of garlic powder and dried basil from the tin (don’t blend the red onions into the sauce; add after). The concept of the avocado sauce is for it to be almost like a poor man’s, healthy avocado version of a pesto, so think about that when combining the flavors.

Gently mix together the sauce with the cooked pasta and voila!! My mouth is watering..XOXO

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Ginger Pork Stir Fry

Stir frys are probably one of the easiest healthy, filling meals you can make on a budget. I used to cook these meals up with a side of rice alllll the time when my ex and I were poor and living in Chicago; they were always under 10 dollars, really nutritious, and filling enough for everyone! As long as you have a few basics on hand–teriyaki sauce (I like it better than soy cause it’s got sweetness!), garlic, and rice to eat your dish with–you can make so many different dishes by varying the protein and vegetable combos!

I grew up on stir frys and hated them– all I wanted as a little kid was pizza, spaghetti, mac n cheese, and other yummy American food that my mom would rarely make. Asian kid life man!! When I got older pretty much everything I disliked as a kid I became obsessed with as an adult; refreshing Vietnamese food and light Chinese cooking. So luckily now that I cook for myself I have a solid reference of flavors and sauces to make my up my own dishes!

I used to make fun of my mom also when she’d always guestimate how much of an ingredient to put into her food, but with stir frys it really is easier to just estimate.This stir fry here is my favorite combo so far; ground pork with chopped ginger, snap peas, tofu, and eggplant! Start by cooking your ingredients separately.

  • Ground pork is really easy, just cook and crumble on pan into pieces until no longer pink over medium heat.
  • Cook snap peas over 1tbl of olive oil until lightly browned, medium-medium high heat
  • Tofu is optional to cook first, just make sure to cut into substantial 1in cubes
  • Eggplant. I wish I was a better cook and could help with this, but I get really impatient when it comes to eggplant and don’t try to draw the moisture out before cooking as most will advise. The thing about eggplants is that they are very porous, so you cannot just put them on a pan and pour oil over them, because one eggplant is going to be all oil and the next is going to be nothing at all. My best advice is to brush all the slices with olive oil first to get an even coating, then cook over low heat with the lid closed, turning them over every 2 mins or so until the eggplant slices are browned on both sides and lightly translucent. If they are not cooked through when you combine the rest of your ingredients together, you will have some super sauced up eggplants that absorbed all of your stir fry liquid because they were not cooked through enough prior!

Once all your separate ingredients are cooked you can now combine them together!! Every stir fry I make I’ll start out with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic (fresh chopped not from the jar!!!) Stir over medium heat until garlic is lightly golden, then add all your ingredients in. Pour about 3 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce over the mixture, or to taste before removing from heat. I also like to add about a tablespoon of sambal– to those who don’t know, sambal is kind of like a garlicky, chunkier version of sriracha!

Serve with rice and add extra sambal to taste.

XOXO

Jalapeño Popper Football Cheese Ball

I can’t believe it’s already football season again, time comes and goes so quickly when you count it in sports seasons! I am not exactly the biggest football fan, but I do love a good get together striving to be the hostess with the mostest, and what better excuse is there?

This football cheese ball is perfect for any Sunday get together, and how cute is it also??!

From Peas & Crayons

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz softened cream cheese
  • 8 oz grated sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup diced pickled jalapenos
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2-3 fresh jalapenos, unseeded and diced
  • 1 slice white cheese
  • Pretzels or crackers to dip!

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar, pickled jalapeno, garlic powder, and just a few tablespoons of the green onion (you will use the rest later!). Mix together well, then scoop and shape into a football shape. Once desired shape is reached, place on serving tray and leave in the fridge to re-cool.

Meanwhile, cook chopped bacon in pan, and reserve a little of the bacon grease. Lightly toast the panko breadcrumbs in the bacon grease for about two minutes until golden.

In a separate bowl, combine cooked bacon, breadcrumbs, chopped parsely, fresh jalapeno, and remaining green onion and mix lightly. Use this mixture to cover the football, and press firmly into the cheese to coat!

Add the lacing on the football using the slice of white cheese.

Super easy and so cute for any football party! What can’t Pinterest help us with?

XOXO

Easy Breakfast Quiche Cups

This recipe is great for an easy breakfast full of nutrients to start your day; look no further for your next lazy-brunch-in recipe!I feel less guilty when I ignore my sweet tooth and go for breakfast options that include more than just the carb/sweets food group, but lemme assure you this breakfast is anything but a compromise! The soft, earthy spinach mixed with the ooey cheddar cheese and flavorful bacon and green onions make for a delicious breakfast.  Enjoy them on weekends in, or make them ahead of time for an easy breakfast during the week!

The muffin size also makes these breakfast quiches much easier to eat on the go compared to their pie-sized counterpart.

Adapted from Julia’s Album

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 8 oz spinach, cooked and chopped
  • 6 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 bundle of green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until smooth, then add in milk, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.  Stir egg mixture, then add cooked spinach, cooked bacon, and chopped green onions. Ladle mixture into a greased 12-cup muffin pan until the cups are 3/4 full.

Bake for 25 minutes, then let the cups cool before removing them from the pan.

XOXO

Light Jalapeno Tuna Wonton Tacos

This recipe is perfect for if you are looking for a light, easy weekday dinner recipe! You could also serve them up as an appetizer for a dinner party. They’re super simple to make and are a fun addition to any healthy-meal routine.

Adapted from Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps

Ingredients:

  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • 2 cans (5oz) tuna, drained
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayo
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • about 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • OPTIONAL:
    • cotija cheese
    • sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the wonton wrappers along the edge of a pan (I used 9in cake pans, I think a casserole dish might work better so you don’t have to work with the curve) so that they form triangular taco shells. (NOTE: Wonton wrappers usually come frozen, I didn’t have time so I just defrosted them in the microwave for about 30 sec-1min!) You may also want to leave a gap where you can grip the pan with an oven mitt. Bake for about 10 minutes or until crisp. You are looking for a light golden color, not a full on golden brown; if they turn too brown they will taste a bit burnt, AND they will be a little more difficult to remove from the pan if they happened to curve and bake onto it.

In the meantime, mix together your tuna, jalapeno, and mayo. To assemble, put a little bit of tuna on the bottom, avocado cubes, then top with cotija cheese, sesame seeds and cilantro. I used my fingers to fill the taco shells as some of them were too skinny to fit a spoon in!XOXO

#DogMomAF/#DoinTheMost AKA Dog Friendly Cake Recipe

Yesterday was my lil nugget’s first birthday! I couldn’t let it pass without doing something special for him and decided to bake him a little DOGGY FRIENDLY cake!

Peanut butter is one of his favorite treats alongside fish sticks, and lord knows I wasn’t about to bake a fish cake in the oven! The little vanilla Oreos are also dog friendly; they are made my Three Dog Bakery and you can buy them at Petsmart! TOO CUTE AM I RIGHT!?I let him have a small slice so he wouldn’t get sick from housing it all at once, and he loved it! (Let’s be real though, what food doesn’t he love hmm)

Adapted from Moms & Munchkins

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tblspoon honey
  • 1 egg

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1-2 ripe bananas, well mashed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together flour and baking soda, then add the rest of the cake ingredients. Mix well and pour into a bread loaf pan (approx 9in x 5in), and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the frosting. I find it worked best after putting it in the freezer right after mixing so that it held together better when frosting the cake!

Let the cake cool for about 10-15 minutes, then cut into whatever shape you desire! I cut the rectangle into two circles and layered them to make a small circle cake.

Bone appetite! 😉

XOXO

Creamy Garlic & Basil Pasta with (tons of) Mussels

The times when I try and make dinner using what I have at home are the times that my own dishes come about! After cooking so many recipes over time I’ve eventually figured out a few basics that got me to this delicious, cream pasta that’s SO basic and easy to make but also completely from scratch!The basis of this is a simple white sauce, with the addition of a LOT of garlic for flavor and some chopped basil.These mussels come from Whole Foods; I had literally picked up a 5 dollar pack from the frozen section while I was randomly browsing (it’s hard not to venture around aimlessly at Whole Foods!) figuring I would use it at some point in time. For the price you get a ton of mussels!

I almost always have garlic at home, and there always seems to be leftover uncooked pasta around, so alas this dish was born!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Spaghetti or linguine noodles
  • 1 package of mussels, amt as preferred
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Heat the mussels up if they are frozen.

Meanwhile, start preparing the sauce! Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium in a large pan until melted. Add in the 2 tablespoons of flour and mix until combined. Pour the cup of milk in while stirring constantly, until there are no more lumps. At this point, I would continue to add more milk until it reaches your desired consistency; for me, when the sauce is still thick and creamy but thin enough to coat the pasta evenly. I would say I end up adding 3/4 cup extra.

Add the chopped garlic and basil leaves, and let the sauce simmer together on low for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When pasta is cooked, swirl it into the pan with the sauce. Top off with cooked mussels, and mix together before taking off heat. Garnish with basil leaves if preferred.

The end result is so delicious and creamy, it really hits the pasta craving with so few ingredients!

XOXO

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

When I think of making cinnamon rolls, I imagine that they’re really hard to make, but this recipe was amazingly easy! It also takes less than an hour to make from start to finish, so you can whip them up while you sip on a pot of coffee some lazy weekend mornings. The cream cheese frosting is also on point, especially when it’s all warm and melty!

Adapted from therecipecritic.com

INGREDIENTS:

For the dough:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup (half stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

For the cream cheese glaze:

  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

To make the dough: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and yeast) together until even. In a separate microwavable bowl, heat the water, milk, and butter until butter is melted (about 30-45 seconds in the microwave). Slowly add mixture into dry ingredients, then add egg and knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. I’ve never made any sort of dough that’s used yeast before, so I got majorly confused at this part because the dough will look extra lumpy, separate, and wet, almost like a shaggy carpet at this point. But don’t worry, this is normal! After some patience and kneading, it will slowly come together.

Once the dough is ready (it should be cohesive and no longer sticky), let it rest in an uncovered bowl for about 5 minutes.To make the filling: Roll dough out in a 15×9 inch rectangle. If you are concerned that the dough has not risen, don’t worry because it’s not supposed to (I had gotten a little confused myself!). Spread softened butter on top, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over it (2 tablespoons ground cinnamon + 1/4 cup brown sugar). Roll the dough up tightly and cut it into 12 pieces. Place evenly along 9x13in pan and cover lightly with aluminum foil.TURN OFF the oven, then place buns in the oven to rise for 20 minutes.

To make the glaze: Beat all ingredients together (cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt) until well mixed and lightly fluffy. This is seriously the best part!When the rolls are finished rising, keep them in the oven, remove the foil, and turn the oven to 375. (I didn’t take them out while the oven heated to 375 and they turned out great but I’m a little unsure about variations in different ovens) Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. This is what mine looked like, I wouldn’t cook them until they are full yellow-golden because they were already crisp enough here…the bake time was probably closer to 15 minutes than 20 for my rolls.

Remove and spread glaze over the top while still hot!I wouldn’t say these are the most buttery, softest, richest cinnamon rolls I’ve had, but they were certainly easy to make and are perfect for an easy brunch in!

XOXO

Don’t We All Love Chrissy Teigen

If you’re on Instagram and social media as much as I am, chances are you’ve come across Chrissy Teigen and her new recipe book, Cravings. I likewise discovered this Cheesy Jalapeno Chip Tuna Casserole and HAD TO HAVE IT.It’s also super easy so really we should all just worship Chrissy Teigen at this point.

TO MAKE: Mix together one 10 3/4oz can of Cream of Mushroom, one 5oz can of albacore tuna (drained), 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of frozen peas (thawed), 1 stick of celery (chopped), 1 medium carrot (chopped), 1/2 yellow onion (chopped), 1 cup of shredded cheddar, and some salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare 2/3lb of wide egg noodles just shy of al dente and add to mixture.

Pour the combined ingredients into a glass casserole dish and top with jalapeno flavored chips and 1/3 cup of cheddar. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

This recipe is so warm and perfect for the cooling weather! I would also suggest adding some chopped jalapeno into the tuna mixture to give it a little more of a kick.

XOXO