Pasta with Smoked Salmon in a Light Cream Sauce

Does one have to like lox to be Jewish? I like sable. Isn’t that enough? When I was a kid, I was a picky eater as far as my family goes. My parents cooked for a pretty varied palate. My palate has thankfully expanded, but I still don’t like lox. The smell, the texture, and the taste all bother me. When J wants a agel with lox – he knows enough to eat it at the bagel store or while I am at the gym. Both of my kids like it enough. J loves it. When I head back to the midwest for a family visit – I have to bring back smelly packages to my parents. You can’t get the good east coast stuff in Minnesota. It’s a rough life, you know?

J went and picked up a small package of smoked salmon at TJ’s one Sunday morning. It was most definitely intended to be a special breakfast treat for him. Instead, I decided to play with it. Turn it in to some semblance of dinner. Can’t remember the restaurant, but J used to love this one place that served the pasta with a cream sauce and smoked salmon. I decided to surprise him with a nice dinner treat.

Pasta with Smoked Salmon in a Light Cream Sauce

1/2 a box of thin spaghetti
olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
handful of cremini mushrooms, chopped
zest from half of a lemon
pepper, freshly ground
juice from half of a lemon

1/4 cup half and half

4 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
parmesean cheese
frozen peas  – a handful or two
2 tbsp. dill, chopped

Cook the pasta until al dente. Do not overcook.  Set it aside.

In a large pan, heat up some olive oil and butter.  Toss in the onions and garlic. Cook it a bit. 

Add the mushrooms. Saute a few minutes.  Now add the cream and the lemon zest and juice. Add some salt and pepper. I would also recommend some red pepper flakes at this points.

Throw in the dill and the peas.  When you are almost ready to serve, toss in the chopped smoked salmon. You don’t want to over cook that. Now toss in the pasta.  Mix it up a bit. Shred in some parmesean cheese.  Dinner is ready! Enjoy!

Homemade Spaghettios

My daughter loves to get me to reminisce about the past. When I try to get her to eat certain things, she brings up my past food transgressions. As in, “Savta said you loved Kraft Dinner when you were my age..” or lovely tidbits like, “Savta said that you always refused to eat meat.” Well….

I can’t complain about my past.  We were raised well and fed even better.  Those Kraft Dinners were at our pleading and probably only served between the ages of 5 and 6. One of those forbidden foods that I remember well were Spaghettios. That ring shaped pasta from a can. It probably would taste awful to me now, but I do remember being a little twerp and enjoying it. Sprinkled with “parmesean” from a can – we gobbled that stuff up.

While wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s a while back, I spotted some anelletti (ring-shaped) pasta. I knew I had to try making a copycat recipe of the spaghettios…well at least make it better. I vaguely remember Spaghettios being gloopy and had a somewhat sweet & tinny tomato taste. I didn’t want to recreate that part, but wanted to just recreate that warm comfort food aspect I remember. I wish I had my parent’s white vintage Denby bowls with the green leafs. That would really bring the dish home.

Here is what I came up with….nothing gourmet…just an attempt.

Homemade Spaghettios

Anelletti Pasta – about 1/2 lb.
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2.5 cups of tomato sauce (I used a roasted garlic marinara sauce)
3 tbsp. half & half
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar and mozarella)
2 tsp. italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water according to the directions on the package. Cook the pasta until it’s al dente.

In a pot, heat the olive oil and the butter together.

Saute the onion and garlic in the pot. Once soft, add in the tomato sauce. Slowly stir in the rest of the ingredients. Taste test the sauce.  Stir in the pasta.  Serve the pasta with a sprinkling of parmesean.  Enjoy!


Meatless Monday: Vegetable & Pasta Frittata

What do you do with your leftovers? Do you ever turn them in to a new fresh meal? I have to admit – I am not good with leftovers. I hate dealing with them. I will try and pawn them off on anyone else in the household to send for lunch. Otherwise, they just sit and fester in the back of the fridge and then I toss them all come Friday morning. I hate wasting. I really do, but it gets to a point that I can’t stand to look at the same meal twice, or at least multiple days in a row.

One thing that does get used up is pasta. There is always something that can be done with pasta. When I have leftover spaghetti or angel hair pasta lying around, I like to take whatever else is sitting in my fridge and turn it into a frittata. So good, so healthy, and so easy.
I learned this frittata trick from my mom on one of her visits. You see, when my mom comes to town, she takes over my house…and my kitchen. I love her dearly and I love all that she brings to my household. It makes things easier for me. Anyhow, several years back, she introduced me to the frittata. She looked at the lonely mound of pasta staring at her from the fridge and asked us why we let it sit unused. Shame on us, right? I had never had a frittata before. Never thought it could be applied to pasta. Lo and behold, after she worked her dinner magic – this frittata was damn good! Served with a salad, we were filled up! Awesome!

So here it is, a dinner a I turn to once in a while that seems to make everyone happy. The best part of this recipe, is that it is very flexible.Enjoy!

Vegetable and Pasta Frittata


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion or 2 shallots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 leek, chopped
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 red pepper, diced
1 tomato, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
2 cups (approx.) of cooked spaghetti/linguini/capellini – anything really
6 eggs – beaten
red pepper flakes (to taste – I like things a bit spicy)
a few basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend of mozzarella and cheddar)
parmesan cheese – grated

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic. Cook until soft.

Add the other veggies. You really can use any veggies with this dish. I just use what I have on hand. Cook a few minutes – maybe 5.

Stir in the pasta. Make sure that the pasta is mixed in well with the veggies. Cook for a minute.

Add in your beaten eggs, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and the basil. Let it set for 30 seconds or so. Add in the cheese.

Now transfer the pan to the oven and bake for around 10 minutes or until the eggs are completely set and the cheese is melted to your preference.

Serve a slice with a salad or soup and maybe a nice hunk of crusty bread. This dish is perfect for any meal of the day and so easy! Enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Pasta with Sauteed Veggies and White Bean Sauce

So two years ago, in the infancy of this blog, I did a white bean hummus that when thinned out – doubled as a pasta sauce. I blanked it out of my mind. I don’t think I have made it since. So maybe it was some sort of deja vu that propelled me to make this similar but different dinner tonight. Who knows? Whatever inspired me – this dinner was awesome. It didn’t take long either.

Pasta with Sautee Veggies and White Bean Sauce

1 box of pasta

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
8 oz. of sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup of red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup of green pepper, chopped
1 can of white beans
3/4 to 1 cup of veggie broth
red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/4 cup of basil, chopped
1/8 cup chopped parsley

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

In a sauce pan, sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. I added about a quarter of a tablespoon. I like things spicy. Remove half of the onions and garlic to a plate once soft. Add in the other chopped veggies and about half of the white beans. Add in the basil. Once cooked, move this veggie mixture to a bowl.

In that same pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil and and toss in those onions and garlic that you put aside. Add in the rest of the white beans, and a smidge more of that basil. Cook for a minute or two. Add in the broth. With an immersion blender, puree the white bean mixture. Mix the veggies that you already sauteed in to the puree.

Serve this over pasta with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and parmesean. Enjoy!


I promised I would a post something on the blog using the seitan. I am sticking to that promise.

My daughter saw me pull the seitan log out of the fridge and got nervous. She asked me if it was food. She politely whispered in my ear that the log o’ fake meat “looks like poop.” She’s right. It doesn’t look pretty. What’s a mom to do? If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, then I don’t know what is!

Tonight’s dinner was easy and tasty. I fooled everyone with the seitan! Even my super picky 8-year-old who complained about the look of the seitan, boldly said that this fake meat stuff was “really yummy!” She picked out all the seitan pieces from the vegetables and ate it. My 3-year-old also gobbled the seitan up.

I had some fresh basil that I had to use. So I quickly threw some basil, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts into the Cuisinart and chopped away until it became a yummy pesto. I tossed some whole grain pasta into some boiling water and got to work.

In a pot, I sauteed up some garlic, tossed in the cubed seitan (about half a log), threw in some sliced mushrooms, zucchini, peas, and a can of chopped tomatoes. Added in about half a cup of the pesto. Tossed in some shredded Parmesan. Steamed up some broccoli – dinner was done! Under 30 minutes, and I had dinner on the table! Woohoo! None of it came from a freezer! Go me! I highly recommend a dinner like tonight.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I finally figured out a “recipe” that is a more than adequate stand-in for a boxed macaroni and cheese.

My dear elder daughter, who I love so much, is not my biggest fan. She likes foods that are not so “oomphed” up. She would be more than happy with a simple pasta with butter and “sprinkle” cheese. My mom tells me that I was just as picky at her age. We did love some Kraft Dinner back in those days. I do wish she would start liking sushi and Vietnamese food though. Soon, please. I want to be able to take her to a restaurant that doesn’t offer a kids’ menu.

Anyhow, yesterday we had a special day together. I had off from work and she had off from school in honor of MLK day. I promised her a day that went her way. We went to a movie. “Hotel for Dogs” is perfect for the age 5-8 set. After the movie, it was time for lunch. We don’t have any kosher mac and cheese options in my neighborhood. We had eaten pizza the night before. So we decided to pick up some Carvel Sundaes to take home for dessert and make Mac and Cheese at home.

Much to our horror, especially hers, we found that there were no boxes of Wacky Mac around. So I improvised. I am proud to say that she loved it. She said that the homemade mac and cheese was much better than the boxed kind. She was a bit disturbed that her new macaroni was not that scary neon orange color. So we had a bit of a chat and she came around.

Macaroni and Cheese

1 Box of Macaroni Pasta
3/4 cup of milk (I used whole)
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 stick of butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. paprika
3/4 cup parmesean – plus more for dusting
3/4 cup of cheddar – try the orange kind.

Cook your macaroni in a pot of salted water. Cook it to al dente. You do not want it completely cooked or overcooked because it will cook in the cheese sauce. Drain your pasta and rinse with cold water.

Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add in the milk. Stir. Do not let the milk boil.
Slowly stir in the flour. This is the beginning of a yummy white sauce. Keep stirring.
Slowly pour in the parmesean, while still stirring. Add in your seasonings.
Add the cheddar. Keep stirring.
Slowly incorporate the pasta.

Serve onto a plate. Lunch was served with some steamed broccoli, which she approved of.

Next time I make this, I will try adding some toasted bread crumbs and bake a bit…maybe even add some spice to it, like jalapenos. I can play with this.


Kosher Carbonara – Yes it’s possible…

Pasta Carbonara is said to be pure Italian comfort food. The basics of the classic dish are bacon, eggs, pasta, and parmesean. The bacon is obviously problematic in my world as far as kashrut goes. The raw eggs, which are cooked in the pasta, while not a problem, it still made me nervous.

Some people choose to use some of the fakin’ bacon. I choose not to, only because the texture doesn’t work quite right ever. Have no fear though, Bacon Salt is here. Bacon Salt is a spice mixture that gives your food that yummy eerie flavor of bacon. I just bought it and thought that a cabonara would be the perfect dish to test this spice out.

Below is the recipe I came up with…

Kosher Carbonara


1 lb. spaghetti
3 eggs
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
8 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup of peas
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of starchy pasta water
2 tbsp. bacon salt
1 cup parmesean
olive oil

Cook the pasta to al dente in a pot of salted water.
In pan, saute the garlic. Add in the mushrooms and peas. Continue to saute. Add in one tablepoon of the bacon salt. Now add the wine and the cooking water.

In a separate bowl, mix up the eggs with the parmesean cheese.

Drain the hot pasta into a large bowl. Quickly add in the egg and cheese mixture and stir, stir, stir. Now mix in the mushroom/pea mixture. Keep stirring. The pasta will cook the egg, but you don’t want the egg to scramble. Add in the butter. Stir some more. You should have some yummy creamy pasta.

Serve on a plate. Spinkle on additional bacon salt and parmesean.

It was very tasty. I have never tasted real carbonara, so I have nothing to compare it to, but this was very good.

Yummy Soy Sausage

A staple in our house is fake meat…soy and otherwise. I like the versatility of the fake meat products…and in the words of my 7-year-old, “I don’t want to be fleishig.”

On any given Monday night, dinner can be a rush. The buzz of the beginning of the week and crazy schedules make meal planning tough. The presence of the soy meat options are very helpful. Making dinner can be easy.

Dinner was Veggie Italian Sausage with a Mushroom and Tomato Saute over Pasta. I used gemelli, but any pasta can be used. I just like to use fun shapes. I used Trader Joes brand veggie sausage. I have seen other brand out there. Lightlife and Field Roast brands both offer similar tasty treats.

Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Tomato over PastaIngredients

1 box of pasta – any shape will do
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Italian Soy Sausages, more if feeding a larger crowd
1 can of diced flavored tomatoes
salt and pepper

Basil – fresh if you have it
Parmesean Cheese

Start by sauteing one chopped onion with 5 chopped cloves of garlic in some olive oil. Slice up two sausages thinly. Add it to the pan. Add in some sliced baby bella mushrooms, salt, pepper, and some basil. Use fresh basil if you have it. Next, add in a can of crushed tomatoes. I like the italian balsamic tomato flavor.

Spoon the mixture over some cooked pasta. Grate some parmesean cheese over it. This dish was wonderful and filling. Goes great with some steamed veggies or a green salad.

Pasta with Pesto

The kid must have read my mind when I asked her what she wanted for dinner on the ride home from school. I was overjoyed when her response was “green noodles.” This is 6-year-old speak for pasta with pesto. Next to pasta aglio e olio, pesto is my favorite pasta pair-up. As luck would have it, I had just bought a nice bunch of basil during my lunchtime trek through Chelsea Market.It was extra special to have two miniature assistants to help with the dinner cook-up. Pesto is super easy to make with your food processor. A plate of pasta and a nice salad on the side and you are good for the night.

  • 1 cup basil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup of parmesean (I leave mine out usually to make a pareve pesto, then add parmesean as necessary on a per meal basis) Do not use the powdered processed stuff in a can
  • 1/2 cup of good quality olive oil
  • a sprinkle of salt to taste


Wash and sort your basil. Basil is often dirty and sandy.

Combine the dry ingredients in the food processor, then slowly add the olive oil. Dip finger in and taste. Add salt if necessary.

Pesto freezes well. I like to freeze in 1/2 cup increments.


Spoon pesto over and mix into pasta. I add a sprinkle of pine nuts and shredded parmesean. Enjoy with a side salad. Bon Appetit!


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