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10 mistakes you’re probably making when cooking pasta

Pasta is so simple, even a broke college kid can make it, right? Well, yes, if simply scarfing down calories is your goal. It doesn’t take much know-how to boil water, open a jar of sauce, and hope for the best. But if you want a delicious, authentic Italian-American plate of al dente pasta, there are many nuances to master. From leaving the noodles in the colander to not salting the water, here are 8 common mistakes we’ve all made when cooking pasta. Also see, Avocado whole wheat pasta salad. 1. Your pot is too small Size does matter. Pasta should be swimming because it will soak up water and expand. Once it expands, if there isn’t enough water left, it will get mushy and sticky. For 1 pound of pasta, fill a 4 or 5 quart pot about 3/4 of the way with water and boil. For 2 pounds of…

Easy Tomato Basil and Gnocchi soup

Need to thaw out from the winter weather? This recipe combines two of the most delicious cold weather comfort foods on the planet — pasta and soup. A big bowl of this filling soup and you’ll be toasty for hours. What’s even better? It’s ready in less that a half hour. Seriously. A food this delicious that’s also ready in about 25 minutes — you’re going to fall in love with this recipe. If you’re not familiar with gnocchi, you can usually find them in the pasta section at any well-stocked grocery store. They’re often vacuumed-packaged and sold next to the boxed pastas. They might also be in the frozen foods aisle near the ravioli and stuffed shells. So what are they? Confession, this description might be a bit biased because I LOVE gnocchi. They’re these pillowy puffs of pasta with a slightly chewy texture, never tough, always just the…

Crispy Cheese Tortellini Appetizer with a kick

If I had to think of the one* recipe that I’ve been making my entire life, it would probably be these parmesan crusted tortellini bites. I’ve been making these since before I knew anything about food, and definitely before I cared even the slightest bit about cooking. So let me share this most delicious of all appetizers. These cheese tortellini are breaded and fried to crispy, golden perfection. Sprinkle them with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and dip them in warm marinara sauce. I call it an appetizer, but really, I never want to eat anything else when these are around. You can use a deep fryer, but I just stick with a deep pot. It can be a little tedious moving the little tortellini through all of the steps of breading and frying, but it’s worth it. I typically just settle in for the long haul, pop on some…

Easy Chicken Enchiladas are ready to party

You’ll look forward to making this easy enchilada recipe almost as much as you’ll look forward to eating it. It’s so simple yet full of that delicious Mexican flavor you crave. And you don’t have to go to a restaurant for Cinco de Mayo. Whip these up for authentic flavor on May 5 or any night of the year. Easy Chicken Enchiladas Ingredients 3-4 cups cooked chicken, shredded (I use cooked rotisserie chicken as a time saver) 1 medium onion, chopped 2 teaspoons olive oil 3/4 – 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup parsley, chopped 1 large can enchilada sauce (Dos Amantes has great flavor) 3 cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend preferred) 8-12 flour tortillas Directions Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large pan over medium heat, heat 2 tsps of olive oil. Simmer the onions and cook until soft. Stir often. Combine the chicken and the onions in the pan. Stir until combined. Pour about 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce…

Copycat Bonefish Grill bang bang shrimp sandwich

I was only introduced to Bonefish Grill Bang Bang shrimp last summer in South Carolina. Sure, the casual restaurant chain can be found at locations all over the country, but there was something about the crispy, fried shrimp and the creamy, spicy sauce that felt perfectly suited for the Deep South. During the winters, I definitely long for the flavors associated with summer, so as the snow continues to fall in the Northeast, my craving for this crunchy shrimp snack popped up, and I had to have it. With no location nearby, I went to work recreating this favorite Bonefish dish. But no matter where or when you eat it, Bang Bang Shrimp is an incredible treat. Serve it as a movie snack, as an appetizer, or all by itself. I threw mine on a delicious, fresh sandwich roll with crispy lettuce and carrot sticks. If you’re wondering how it compares — this Bang Bang…

Creamy avocado pesto sauce with veggie noodles

Pasta never gets old. Just change the sauce and the veggies and you have an entirely different meal. This pasta and sauce combo puts a California twist on an old favorite — pesto. Avocado is so versatile. If you’ve only been using it as a breakfast food or burrito topping, you’ve been missing out. Its unbelievably creamy texture adds tons of flavor and it coats almost any type of noodle really well — Angel hair, farfalle, whole wheat rigatoni. Add in a few handfuls of basil and some nuts for texture, and you’ll have a seriously satisfying sauce and spread. I chose veggie noodles (sometimes called zoodles because of the zucchini) as my base to give this dish a truly West Coast kind of feel. You can make them with lots of different vegetables by using a spiralizer or by carefully and thinly slicing each vegetable with a knife. As a time saver, or if…

Celebrity chefs give tips for making the perfect gravy

Thanksgiving dinner is nothing without a boat of steaming gravy to smother it in, but somehow the sauce is the hardest thing to make. It can be too lumpy or runny or flavorless — but not this year. Look no further than your favorite celebrity chefs for foolproof tips and recipes on how to master their techniques and make a perfect gravy every time. And if there is one thing they all agree on, it’s that you have to make plenty of gravy — it’s the best part! Alton Brown Alton Brown’s adds a little something special to his Best Gravy Ever — wine. And not even white, but rather, a red wine that adds a rich flavor to his hearty gravy recipe. In a large roasting pan he deglazes the bottom with 24 oz. of low sodium chicken broth and 8 oz. of red wine. As it boils and reduces, scrape the bottom to…

Restaurant quality at home with roasted red pepper sauce pizza, pasta

It’s good for our tastebuds if we mix things up every so often. Try this roasted red pepper sauce on anything you would typically top with a tomato sauce for an instant, restaurant-worthy upgrade. It’s a unique flavor all on its own, and it will give new life to those dishes you’ve made dozens or even hundreds of times before. It looks like tomato sauce, but the creamy, fiery flavor will surely make you a fan. Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients 16 oz. jar of roasted red peppers 2 tbsp water 2.5 tbsp butter 3-4 cloves of garlic 1 tbsp dried basil 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) healthy dose of fresh cracked pepper 1/3 cup heavy cream (if using on pizza, use 1/4 or less) Directions Add peppers to blender along with 1-2 tbsp of extra liquid from the jar they came in. It’s a bit acidic, but can…

Baked Crab Rangoons with spicy apricot dipping sauce

If you’ve never had a crab rangoon, or if you’ve only had them fried, prepare for your next great obsession. Rangoon’s, or crab puffs, are typically made up of crab meat, cream cheese, and onions with any number of additions such as carrots, garlic or Worcestershire sauce. They are common appetizers nowadays, appearing on most Thai and Chinese food menus in the U.S. While their history is unclear, cream cheese is essentially nonexistent throughout Southeast Asia, so they are likely neither Thai nor Chinese in origin, and yet just another delicious deep-fried, cheesy American invention. When crab rangoons are on a menu, I’m blindsided. I no longer feel the pangs of culinary adventure. I couldn’t care less about the special entrees or appetizers on the menu that evening. My focus is set on those warm, cheesy, crab bites and what surprise sauce the restaurant might be serving with them. I decided if…

Cadbury Creme Eggs Top Pizzas for an Easter Themed Twist

Forget the pepperoni. Put aside the pizza sauce. Easter 2017 is upon us and that means the world is about to be introduced to the Cadbury Creme Egg pizza. One London-based pizza maker teamed up with a British food delivery company, Deliveroo, to create the “Fior-egg-tina” — a twist on the Italian classic egg-topped Fiorentina. But before you get grossed out thinking about that creme center melting into your mozzarella, know that this is a completely different type of pie. A strawberry sauce base is topped with marscapone, mint leaves and Cadbury Creme Eggs halves, then sprinkled with crunchy mini eggs. It’s an unbelievable ode to one of the world’s most beloved Easter candies. The credit for this completely sweet pie goes to Crust Bros — but they’re only available via Deliveroo in London from April 7 through 14. As an American, if you’re upset this masterpiece isn’t available to you then…