One Pot Pasta!

I have had many requests for easy dinner recipes and I thought I also could use some really quick dinner ideas myself.

Right on cue, the queen herself, Martha Stewart, posted a photo on Instragram with the hash tag “JustOnePot”.

My life has been forever changed.

I mean, a complete main course in just one pot? Not only that, there is just one step: throw everything in said pot and cook.

Some of you may not be a fan of the queen; she is a convicted felon. But did she really do something THAT bad?

Anyways, so I decided to adapt Ms. Stewart’s recipe and make it my own.

I made a traditional Italian style pasta and an Asian style pasta (recipe in subsequent post).



Here is my recipe:


Serves 4

8 oz spaghetti (half box)

1/2 cup basil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried Italian season

Cheese of your choice



1. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Cook on medium high heat for 10-12 minutes. Until pasta is al dente and liquid has thickened and mostly evaporated.

One Pot Pasta

2.Remove from heat. Plate. Sprinkle with your choice of cheese.

Just one pot pasta Photo in the middle of the cooking process

3. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚


One pot pasta



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Curry Roasted Cauliflower

As some of you already know, I am currently visiting my family in my home state of Michigan. Yes, I am from the mitten state. The south east side to be exact. If you have ever met someone from Michigan, I bet they have raised their right hand and shown you exactly where on the map they live(d). If not, they can not be trusted as a true Michiganader.

Since I have been home, I have been to many family gatherings, outings, parties, ect. So there has not been much time to cook. But alas, a quite afternoon and the perfect opportunity to prepare a vegetarian meal for my mother; whom I can never repay.

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable, whose versatility I did not appreciate until recently. I have made cauliflower ‘mashed potatoes’ and pizza crust. It is also very healthy and has almost a full days recommended amount of Vitamin C, in just one serving.

Since the florets of the cauliflower absorb flavors so well, I decided to make a curry spice blend. I served it with a side of wild grain rice and a spring mix salad. This would also be great with chicken breast, tofu, potatoes, or a white fish.


Here is my recipe:

Serves 4-6



12 cups cauliflower florets (approximately 2 large heads)

3 cups red onion, chopped in large pieces

4 large cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup raisins (I used golden)

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon curry

1/2 tablespoon turmeric

1/2 tablespoon Hungarian paprika

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons table saltcurry cauliflower spice blend




1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut up cauliflower into small florets. Chop red onion into 1/2 inch sections. Slice garlic cloves.


2. Toss cauliflower in a bowl with onion, garlic, curry, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, salt, olive oil and vinegar. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.


3. Pour mixture onto pan. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Add in raisins. Cook for another 20 minutes.


4. Toast almond slivers in pan on stove until golden brown.

cauliflower cauliflower8

5. Remove roasted cauliflower from oven and mix in almonds. Top with flat leaf parsley.


6. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚


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Crispy Quinoa Cakes and Arugula Fig Salad

Quinoa is not only a fad food. I believe it is here to stay in the Western markets. It is so versatile and delicious. Oh, it is also healthy :D. It is packed with protein and is gluten free. It is a very filling grain that mainly comes from Peru and Ecuador. It absorbs flavors well and is not only great accompaniment to a meal, but also can be the main attraction!

These quinoa cakes are crunchy, flavorful and pair beautifully with this salad. The peppery notes of arugula balance out the sweetness of the fruits and the saltiness of the feta cheese creates a perfect harmony of flavors. A must try! ๐Ÿ™‚



Here is my recipe:

Makes 8 cakes

3 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped

2 eggs

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking

ย quinoa ingredients

For the salad:

2 1/2 cups arugula

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

5 ripe figs

1/4 cup blueberries

1/2 cup feta cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice of 1 lemon



1. Combine cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, bell pepper and shallots in a bowl. Add in eggs. Using the best tool in your kitchen, combine the ingredients. Allow to set.



2. Form mixture into 8 even patties. Use approximately half cup of mixture per patty. Allow to rest.


3. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Cook quinoa cakes on medium heat until browned and a crispy outer crust is formed. About 7 minutes on each side.ย  Allow to rest on paper towels (which will absorb the excess oil).


4. To make the salad, mix together 1 tablespoon olive oil and juice of one lemon. Toss arugula in dressing. Arrange on plate and top with tomatoes, figs, blueberries and feta cheese.

5. Slice quinoa cakes and arrange on top of salad. Or serve along side the salad.

quinoa cakes

6. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Quinoa Cakes and Arugula Salad

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Summer Pizza

If you follow me on Instragram, you know I have a cherry tomato plant, a love for farmers markets and tomatoes. I love fresh tomatoes. When I came home one evening and found that my tomato plant out grew the planter it was in, I knew I had to pick the tomatoes that remained on the plant and make something delicious. As per usual, Hussein suggested a pasta or pizza dish, so that is where I went. You can’t go wrong with pizza, can you?

This recipe makes enough dough for 2, 12inch pizzas. I prepared one with the recipe below and the other with a traditional pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. This cream cheese spread is SO good. It would be great as a dip served with a sliced up baguette and veggies.

If you are like my sister Mona and do not like tomatoes, feel free to choose a different topping! Use any toppings you like and leave out the ones you don’t. Cooking should be fun! Make something you and your peeps will enjoy ๐Ÿ˜€


Here is my recipe:



3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup warm water

1 egg, beaten

ย pizza2 pizza prep

For the tomato topping:

1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, finely sliced

1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest and juice of one lemon

pizza7 pizza5


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine yeast and water in bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

3. Sift flour, sugar and salt together. Using the bread hook attachment on your mixer, combine yeast and water with flour mixture. Add in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Allow to mix until a dough is formed.

pizza dough

4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Pour 1 teaspoon olive oil in large bowl. Place dough in bowl and cover with damp cloth. Place in warm, dark place (I use the inside of my oven) and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

ย pizza22

5. Cut dough into two equal pieces. Roll on piece into a round on a floured surface. Place on pre-warmed pizza stone or pan.


6. Brush edge of pizza crust with beaten egg. Poke holes into the dough using a fork. This will prevent air bubbles. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.


7. While pizza crust is baking, make the topping. Mix together cream cheese, lemon zest and juice, dill, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.


Cream cheese topping

8. Remove pizza from oven. Evenly spread cream cheese mixture onto pizza crust. The warmth of the pizza will help melt the cream cheese and make it easier to spread.

9. Top pizza with tomatoes and red onions.

10. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Summer Pizza by Amanda's Plate



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Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

The weather,the shorter days and the calender is telling me that summer is almost at an end. Summer always seems to fly by. Did you do anything fun this summer?

We had many fun adventures around the Pacific North West, including berry picking, hiking up Mt. Si and swimming in Lake Quinault. Hussein completed graduate school after an intense 18 months of full time work and a demanding MBA program. And I of course started my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Before the end of this warm, sunny, Bar-B-Q season, I thought I would share a simple steak recipe with an earthy, fresh chimichurri sauce.ย It is so quick, easy and satisfying that it makes the perfect week nightย dinner.


Here is my recipe:


A good cut of steak, I used strip steak

Generous pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper


For the sauce:


1 large clove garlic

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons oregano

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup vinegar



1. Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Heat grill or grill pan. Place steak on pan. cook for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. (I cook mine to medium rare, cook longer for medium to medium well)


2. In food processor pulse together parsley, cilantro, garlic and oregano. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and vinegar.


3. Allow meat to rest for five minutes before cutting. (I know it is tempting to just cut right in, but the juices will all be lost if you are impatient). Cut against the grain and serve with chimichurri sauce.


4. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

steak steakI served with oven roasted potatoes and green beans!

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Fiesta Chopped Salad

I am very much enjoying all of summers succulent fruit and vegetables. I have been fortunate enough to be able to go to many local farmers markets and buy the freshest of this seasons harvest.

As I looked at my fridge and pantry looking for inspiration for dinner, I decided I need to use as many vegetables as possible. As you already know from my guacamole post, I love Mexican cuisine. I came up with this easy, filling, flavor packed chopped salad with a cool avocado lime dressing. My husband, who typically does not consider a salad “dinner”, was full and satisfied with this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

Feel free to add or omit any of the ingredients. Cooking should be fun and you should create something you will enjoy!


Fiesta Chopped Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup chopped bell pepper
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup tomatoes
  • ½ cup black beans
  • 1 cup tortilla chips or strips
  • ¼ pound strip steak, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, paprika and salt
  • ¼ cup Mexican blend cheese
Avocado Lime Dressing
  • 1 large avocado
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Combine steak with garlic powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper and salt. Cook in olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over top. Set aside.
  2. In food processor, blend together avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and salt until smooth.
  3. Chop vegetables. Drain beans.
  4. Arrange veggies and meat on plate. Toss with dressing before serving.
  5. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Chicken Lemon Rice

We have had a break in the heat wave this past week. After a very strange few days filled with thunderstorms, complete with lightening, it has definitely cooled off. The gloomy gray clouds called for a warm cup of soup.

I have received a request to make chicken lemon rice, so here it is! Do you have a recipe you would like to see me make? Leave me a comment or send me an email at!

This recipe gets its creaminess from eggs. I have attempted to make this recipe using cream, but there was a lot of separation, so I despite the difficulty of tempering eggs, it gives better payoff. It is really important that your eggs are at room temperature to begin with and then use your patience to temper them.ย  There is nothing worse than ruining a dish by being impatient.


I paired this soup with a crusty baguette!


Here is my recipe:

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup long grain rice (I used brown rice and the hubby did not notice ;))

2 cups shredded chicken (good way to use leftover chicken, I used chicken breast)

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

6 cups vegetable or chicken stock (use low sodium!! or omit the salt)

Chicken Lemon Rice


1. In large stock pot, saute` carrots, celery and onions in tablespoon of olive oil.

The combination of these three vegetables is referred to as a Mirepoix.

2. Add in stock and bring to a boil.

Chicken Lemon Rice

3. Once it is boiling, add in uncooked rice.

Chicken Lemon Rice 4. Allow mixture to come to a boil once again. Then lower heat to medium and allow to simmer until rice is cooked; about 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Add in shredded chicken, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Turn off heat.

6. Whisk together eggs and lemon juice. Add in ladle full of liquid part of the soup. Whisk well. Add another ladle full. Whisk well.

soup soup8

ย 7. Add egg and lemon juice into the soup. Turn on the heat to the lowest setting. Do not bring to a boil or the egg will scramble.

8. Add in the chopped parsley. Stir.

9. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Chicken Lemon Rice

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Mac and Cheese

Is there anything more comforting on a chilly, gloomy day than a nice warm plate of Mac and Cheese? I certainly don’t think so. There are many variations to Mac and Cheese and so many ways to play it up. Like it spicy? Add some sriraccha. Like a more earthy flavor? Add some truffle oil or finely grated truffles. I like a classic, smooth Mac and Cheese. I have been working on this recipe for some time, so let me know what you think!

Here is my recipe:

2 cups pasta

1 egg, at room temperature

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2 1/2 cups freshly grated cheese, I used sharp cheddar and Beecher’s Flagship

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

Amanda's Plate Mac and Cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt butter in large pan and whisk in butter to make a roux. This will create the base of the cheese sauce. Stir for a few minutes, until mixture is smooth and flour flavor has cooked off.

mac and cheese

ย 3. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.

4. Add milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the roux. Temper in the egg. It is very important that your egg is at room temperature and that you whisk quickly. You do not want scrambled eggs in here! At this point, this sauce resembles a bechamel; the classic French white sauce.

5. Mix in the grated cheese until smooth.

6. Drain pasta and add into cheese sauce. Pour into ramekin.

mac cheese 4

mac cheese 5

ย 7. Toss panko bread crumbs in melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of your delicious cheesy noodles.

8. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Then place until broiler for 1-2 minutes until panko is golden browned.

9. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚


Mac and Cheese

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Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

Italian food is a favorite in our home. Italian cuisine focuses on fresh, quality ingredients. The primary ingredients vary by region. Many classic Italian dishes only call for 4-8 ingredients making it a favorite for those who need to make dinner quickly.

It is a given that when I am making pasta, it will be served with a side of bruschetta. In an attempt to make dinner quickly after a long day at work, I decided to cut out the bread and combine the flavors of the bruschetta with the pasta. The result was a delicious, quick and easy dinner.


Here is my recipe

Serves 4


3/4 cup finely chopped white onion

1 tablespoonย  finely chopped garlic

2 tablespoons chopped basil

4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 cup heavy cream

5 oz or 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

8 oz or 1 cup mozzarella pearls

2 large chicken breasts cut into 8 smaller pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper

bruchetta pasta Procedure:

1. Season chicken breasts with salt and paper. Cook until brown in olive oil. Set Aside.

2. In same pan, saute onions and garlic, until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and chicken.Bruchetta chicken pasta3. Add in basil. Stir in heavy cream. Add mozzarella pearls.

4. Toss with your favorite pasta. See my previous post for easy, homemade linguine.

5. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Bruchetta chicken pasta

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Homemade Pasta!

To most, making pasta at home probably sounds scary. I wasย  also skeptical that I could do this. But then, I tried and succeeded. Yes, we did take a class at Sur La Table, but it was more for the experience and a fun date night than anything else. After making fresh, delicious pasta ourselves, we find it hard to eat that stuff from the box (but do, especially after a busy work day).

Here is our recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

Makes 4 servings


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 large eggs

1 cup or so rice flour for dusting work surface and pasta machine


1. Place flour and salt in bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and add in eggs and olive oil.

2. Using your fingers, blend the eggs into the flour, stirring the flour in from side to side. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, turn over to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it is smooth and flexible. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.

3. To roll the dough, secure your pasta maker on the edge of a counter top. Cut pasta into three equal size pieces, using a bench scraper. Flatten one piece of dough into a rough square shape. Cover the two remaining with plastic wrap to prevent dry out.

4. Place the rollers on the widest setting, and roll the dough through the machine, catching it with one hand as you roll with the other. *It is helpful to have two sets of hands during this process.

5. Fold the dough over itself and roll through the machine again. Now roll the dough at a the next smallest setting. (I started on 8 and was on 7 at this step). Be sure to lightly dust the dough with rice flour to prevent it from sticking to the machine.

6. Continue rolling the dough through the next smallest setting until you get to setting number 1.

7. Run pasta thru desired attachment. Place cut noodles onto floured surface.

8. To cook pasta, heat large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add a large pinch of kosher salt. Add pasta and stir, so the noodles do not stick to one another. Boil until pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes.

9.Top with your favorite sauce. See my next post for bruschetta chicken pasta recipe!

10. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚



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