This easy caprese pasta salad recipe steeps cherry tomatoes in a garlic-infused oil that becomes the dressing over any type of pasta with sliced mozzarella, capers, lemon, and basil making it a healthy potluck recipe that’s perfectly ripe for brunch, lunch, or a dinner everyone will love.
This is a re-do of one of my favorite tomato pasta salad recipes I published my first year of blogging. I’ve been making this caprese pasta salad on repeat ever since the clock struck summer, but it’s very likely that many of you haven’t ever even seen it, and that’s a darn shame because it’s just too good to miss.
So after looking at it so many times already this summer, I thought it could use a refresh. And so here it is once again, with a spit shine, some new photos, and a video to show you easy it will be for you to make it too.
I’m a huge fan of summer’s fresh tomatoes, especially when my garden starts producing my beloved cherry tomatoes I pop straight into my mouth like candy. So back in August of 2011 when I spied this recipe on the Martha Stewart Living cover peeking over the others on the grocery store rack, there wasn’t a question whether the issue would be coming home with me.
Ramen noodles aren’t just for soup anymore. Here’s how to hack every college student’s favorite noodle recipe and give it an instant upgrade by turning it into an easy and healthy weeknight meal ready in just 30 minutes or less.
If you’re looking for a soupy ramen recipe with that rich, tonkotsu or miso broth with slow-roasted pork belly and jammy eggs, this isn’t it.
But if you’re looking for an incredibly easy, time-saving, totally-flavorful, make-most-of-it-ahead-of-time meal? THIS IS YOUR DINNER, BABY!
I’ve had a version of this recipe written down in my old-fashioned recipe binder for years. Literally, years, and yes! Handwritten recipe files do still exist! Take THAT Pinterest! I don’t remember where the original recipe came from, maybe an old issue of Cooking Light?
Regardless, I’ve doctored it up and made it into a make-ahead weeknight meal that is in and out of the skillet and ready to devour in under 30 minutes.
And if you’re lucky? Yep. Leftovers for lunch the next day.
So what’s my secret? A little planning ahead, some light meal prep vegetable chop chop, and a super easy master marinade that does double-time as the sauce, too.
Easy peasy because that just the way I do!
How to Give Ramen Noodles an Instant Upgrade
This noodle recipe calls for good, old fashioned, cheap-o grocery store ramen noodles. But you won’t be needing that seasoning packet they come with because this dish gets its flavor from a recipe I posted earlier this week, my master Asian marinade master sauce.
Whether it’s a holiday celebration or a simple family gathering, an easy to make pasta salad is always my favorite for feeding a crowd. This recipe combines the Tuscan flavors of three different salamis, provolone cheese and classic Italian white beans, with black olives, tomatoes, spinach, onion and egg noodles all tossed up with a creamy-style dressing.
This post is brought to you by Applegate
My mom and I have our favorite place to go for lunch. At this point, there really isn’t much point in even looking at the menu, because our orders are always the same: French onion soup and pasta salad of the day. It doesn’t matter what pasta salad they’re serving as the special that day, we know it’s always going to be good and that my mom is always going to ask for extra dressing. It’s just what she does.
So when I was thinking about creating a recipe using Applegate Naturals® Genoa Salami Trio, I didn’t have to go very far out of my mom’s and my favorite food comfort zone and fork-twirl my pasta noodle in a simple Italian-style Tuscan pasta salad with a creamy dressing. And a little extra for my mom, of course.
It also has the festive colors of the season sporting red, green and white. Well actually, of any season given it transitions smoothly no matter which month it makes an appearance in.
Busy weeknights call for simple recipes that can be pulled together in a flash, and nothing’s simpler than a basic, homemade basil pesto pasta recipe that even a kid can make and clean up after too.
There are definite skills one should pass along to the younger generation, the secrets to succeed in life. At our house, one of those skills is keeping up with the daily family chores (I LOVE what the former Dean of Freshman at Stanford has to say about why!!!) and whether Smudge likes it or not, she’s getting a good education in this area. She used to think “getting” to do the dishes was fun — she got to wear an apron and play with bubbles as she twirled about to whichever song is on replay over and over in her head — but these days, that shine has certainly worn off.
With summer’s laziness giving way to back-to-school’s busier nights of homework, two soccer teams to practice with, basketball practice and her other basic daily chores, Smudge’s dish washing time has gotten the squeeze right along with the time I have in my schedule to create time-intensive dinners, if I remember to get anything ready for dinner at all!
That’s why keeping super simple, basic recipes like this one in my back pocket are always weeknight saviors, for days when the basics are really all that’s needed. And craved. Like my basic pesto pasta just yearning for a twirl around the silver twines.
This classic and oh so easy American-Italian penne pasta recipe got a nip and a tuck with a lightened up ingredient that cuts the calorie count but keeps it creamy, making it a dish you’ll have no regrets from asking for seconds as a main meal or a tasty side dish.
This post is brought to you by Almond Breeze
If you’re a first-timer to the world of this popular, creamy tomato sauced dish, just know you will not get drunk on it. You won’t even find a little buzz.
It seems like this is always the first question people wonder about this dish once they hear it’s name. But no, so if you’re looking for a boozy buzz, you’ll want to consume a killer dirty martini or three on the side because the alcohol is all cooked out, but the flavor it creates remains.
There is rarely a comfort food I will turn my back on. And this classic Turkey Tetrazzini noodle casserole with a creamy sauce, mushrooms, and a modicum of leftover turkey meat—because when you cook a turkey, there will most likely always be leftovers—makes me want to make mealtime memories every time.
At our house, Turkey Tetrazzini is a holiday and potluck favorite, and next to my Curry Turkey Pot Pie, is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover turkey. But in my opinion why wait for leftovers? I’ll readily fix my favorite turkey breast recipe any day of the week regardless of whether there’s a special occasion to celebrate or not.
In fact, a semblance of this recipe is one of the first meals I made as an adult, when my husband and I served it at the dining table of our first home for my grandma and grandpa for a special dinner just for the four of us.
My grandpa loved it. My grandma gushed over my cooking skills. And I was simply relieved that it came out edible and on time. It’s one of my favorite reasons I love making food for others, for the special memories I recall whenever I think of a special dish.continue to the recipe… about Turkey Avocado Tetrazzini Recipe
Slow cooker Sriracha meatballs top healthy buckwheat soba noodles and fresh vegetables and herbs to make a simple Asian inspired salad that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.
Long noodle, long life. I’d say that’s a pretty great way to start the year’s resolutions off right.
I shared the recipe for these Slow Cooker Sriracha Meatballs a few weeks ago as a favorite meatball idea for sharing at the party. Which party? It doesn’t really matter WHICH party, because whenever these Asian-flavored babies show up it’s bound to be a party.
While I love these meatballs as an appetizer to share with friends, it is 100% acceptable, and in this case essential, that you be selfish and save the batch for yourself to top this fresh soba noodle salad. Or even better, make the meatballs JUST for this recipe to be sure nobody snacks up your leftovers before they make it to the main dish.
Leftover or canned salmon made into these crispy cakes creates a whole new meal with tons of flavor made extra delicious thanks to a super simple, creamy roasted red pepper sauce.
I have very vivid food memories of my childhood and I’ve shared so many of them with all of you here on the blog, with more to come. But one of the challenges I’ve struggled with over the past year or so is the fact that I’m not creating those same types of memories for my daughter.
Think about it. Most cooks rotate 10-20 favorite meals for dinner time. Some drop in and some drop out of the menu line-up, but mostly, our favorite recipes go on repeat.
Healthy spiralized zucchini, whole wheat linguine garlicky shrimp and parmesan cheese make a perfect and easy weeknight dinner to twirl your fork to.
This post is in partnership with DeLallo Foods
Noodles vs. zoodles. For me it isn’t an issue of either/or, but rather, and/with.
For the past few years, zucchini noodles have been the darling of the food world and for many have become the introduction to spiralizing vegetables. In fact, it’s become so popular my blogging friend Ali just published her second book on spiralizing everything from apples to kohlrabi to rutebegas (check it out here) and even has her own branded product to do so, the Inspiralizer.
I’m betting I use my Inspiralizer at least once a week, and while I’m fascinated with the variety of stuff I can spiralize, I’ve stuck mainly to zucchini. It’s just so simple.
Once again this year I’ve partnered with DeLallo Foods in creating easy, family-friendly recipes I hope everyone will love. Creating recipes using DeLallo’s products is honestly one of the most fun challenges of this job because they have such a variety of products, all of which I value for their quality and the fact that they’re totally delicious. It makes it tough to narrow down my recipe ideas to just fit into just one year.
Crunchy ramen noodles and cabbage make this easy Asian-inspired salad with an addictive dressing an instant picnic and pot luck favorite.
This salad is pretty enough to take a picture of. And pretty enough to share that pic. That’s why today I’ve partnered with Adobe to share a new app they’ve developed for your smart phone that makes it incredibly easy to resize and add text to your smart phone photos, even for the tech challenged.
Because isn’t good food meant to be shared? I’d say so.
That’s why I love sharing recipes that have stood the test of time. The recipes that when you’re stumped as to what to make, you just go to the proven standards that you’ve made over and over and over again..
That is this Asian Ramen Noodle Salad. It’s probably on the all-time top 10 list of the most-favorite, often-requested, go-to-because-it’s-incredibly-easy pot luck and picnic salads. Ever.
Funnily, it’s not a salad I normally make for an average Wednesday night dinner. And I have no idea why not. It’s always just seemed to have that retro, convivial sharing quality. It’s a salad meant to be eaten with a crowded table of friends and family gathered round a bunch of burgers and beers at the BBQ.
Curried chicken and rice noodles dressed with a lime and rice vinegar dressing, loads of fresh veggies and leafy green herbs make create a clean and healthy salad perfect for lunch or dinner.
At our house, our food cravings tend to lean in the regions of ethnic. Don’t get me wrong, we love a classic American Sunday dinner of pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, but when it comes to those dishes that make our mouth water with just a whisper of a mention, you’ll more often find us in other hemispheres of eating.
This Vietnamese noodle salad is one of those recipes that has been hanging around as a favorite staple in our kitchen for years. Literally years. I can’t even tell you how many times we’ve made it. Correction: How many times my husband has made it.
That’s probably why it took me 4 trips (FOUR TRIPS!) to the store in one afternoon — and back, and back, and back — to get just the right noodles.
My man. He’s particular about his noodles. And his curry chicken. Yet one more reason of the many that make me love him.
Loaded with fresh, crunchy veggies, this healthy Asian-flavored pasta salad is one of my most popular all-in-one meals, and it’s also a great side dish for potlucks and picnics.
One can’t have too many pasta salads in their arsenal of recipes. This year I’m partnering with DeLallo Foods to share recipes using their pastas, pestos and sauces and while I’m always a fan of classic pasta salads with an Italian bent, this beauty is heading to the Asian side of the globe.
Fresh and crunchy with loads of slivered fresh veggies, this pasta salad is perfect for serving as a main meal and that is exactly what I did.
Well, actually it’s what my mom served, that I cooked, for her turn in hosting her ladies who lunch book club. I don’t know if that’s what they really call themselves, but it seems an apt description when there’s elegant women, good conversation, chilled wine and tasty eats to share.
Lazy, dazy comfort food days. That’s what weekends are made of. And that’s when my man takes charge in the kitchen.
I’ve told you before about how my guy (I call him G-Dawg, because we’re gangstas like that) makes appearances here on the blog as a pretty good hand model, a stellar dish washer and super cute sous chef who can dice an onion so precisely it puts Bobby Flay to shame.
But his real talent is in front of the stove creating crazy mash-ups of our favorite foods. And this Buffalo Chicken Fettuccine is sure to be one that will go down as one of his masterpieces.
The recipe is inspired by three of our favorite food groups: pasta, chicken and hot sauce. Yes, you heard it right, hot sauce IS a food group. I’m claiming it now.
If you’re on Pinterest there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen the meaty version of this Slow Cooker Vegetarian Soup floating around. And there’s a perfectly good reason for that.
Because it’s so dang good!
I’m kind of into this whole food with a twist thing, and it seems like the masses are too. Where you take a traditional recipe and put it in an unexpectedly unique delivery system that makes people scratch their heads and say, “Hurmph. I never thought of that.”
So when I once again stumbled across my friend Brenda’s meaty version of Lasagna Soup (recipe here) and who I’m pretty sure introduced the blogosphere to this Italian-style phenomenon—and FINALLY, gave us another reason to love lasagna noodles—I got all inspired to give Lasagna Soup a whirl.
We’re not yet two weeks into 2014, so I think that technically I can squeeze in one more ode to 2013, right?
2013 was a great year, a fabulous year in fact. It was filled with amazing opportunities and new relationships that came my way thanks to this sweet lil’ blog o’ mine. Sing that 3 times fast to the Axl’s Sweet Child O’ Mine and you’ll feel my vibe.
While I’ve already declared my word for 2014, with 365 days to cover there’s certainly room for one more. And most likely a few others too. That’s why I’m adding this one to the hat: Simplify.
One thing I heard over and over from friends and family in 2013 was this: “I was going to call you, but you’re SO BUSY,” or “I was going to ask you to go/stay/play but you’re SO BUSY.”
Was I really THAT busy? TOO busy for my family and friends?
This recipe for roasted red pepper pasta has been rattling around in my head for a while. It just needed an occasion to be born to the world. So why not deliver it in celebration of a virtual baby shower for one of my favorite food bloggers, the insanely funny and talented Bev of Bev Cooks.
If you’re a food blogger, you know Bev. She’s a regular voyeur on most blogs, commenting on bloggers’ recipes with announcements like, “GET IN MY FACE!” or “Where’s my diving board? I’m going in.” And with her blogging raves about Wilson Phillips and Phillip Phillips and probably other Phillips we don’t even know about, we all know she has her obsessions. Which is pretty much how we all feel about her recipes. Obsessed.
Whenever I think of Bev, I think of…well…sarcasm accompanied by juuuuuuust a litttttttle drama. Her burgeoning belly, thanks to being just one month away from delivering TWINS! Whoa, she’s a better woman than I. And some seriously delish comfort food. Pasta. Pizza. Crazy inspirations like Chicken Taco Twists and Buffalo Shrimp Tostadas.
I can only imagine what she dreams about at night. Okay, maybe I don’t want to do that.
But I do know one thing she’s been dreaming of. Make that two. Those little babes cooking in her belly. Will and Natalie. Soon to join the world. 20 baby toes to nuzzle. I’m a tad jealous of all of the baby love that will be going on.
The sunny skies of California made me want to do it.
Before I moved to the big lights and bigger stars land of L.A., I was a Utah girl, born and bred. So when the opportunity to leave my home state appeared, sure, I had a couple of romantic thoughts about what it would be like to live in the golden state, where dreams are big and sometimes come true.
Lately I’ve been a whirling dervish in my choices of what I’m craving to eat. Cravings all over the place, and most of them leaning toward the ethnic side of food. Thai one night, Korean the next, Middle Eastern and as always one of my faves: rich sausag-ey Italian pasta. Lasagna, that’s what I need.
I’ll chalk it up to the fact that ever since I came home from Mexico I can’t quite get the flavors of other countries out of my system. I think its a sign that I just want to travel. It’s true! The night we got home I was on the internet stalking new travel adventures for me, my Smudge and my man, new places to create new memories.
Just like last spring, I nearly fell off the curb when I saw them poking their pointy little heads out of the yet to be toiled soil.
Given they had the fortitude to break through the thatch of leftover fall leaves with such superhero force was a sure sign these slender lovelies were destined for greatness. Greatness like in a great pasta.
Asparagus. In MY garden.
I discovered these perennial pretties the first spring we lived in our new home—a complete surprise. I learned later that asparagus are perennials which meant while I had been digging about my beds adding soil for my nine hundred and forty seven plus twenty two tomato plants, I had actually been unearthing their little crowns and tossing any chance of future heirs to join our pasta party.continue to the recipe… about Spring Greens Asparagus and Ricotta Pasta
Wow, what a week its been. And before I can even think of digging into one of my favorite recipes, I have to say thanks. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
This week Maria and I launched Cookie Cravings, Two Peas and Their Pod’s first foray into the cookbook arena and another publishing adventure for me. We both agree its been such a rewarding project to create and finally share with our readers.
So again, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of you for your amazing feedback and support; I can finally uncross my fingers and toes thanks to the digital delivery process going off without a hitch. If you haven’t already, visit my cookbook page for all of the cookie details.
Congratulations to…Lynx! You’re the winner of the Peko Peko cookbook thanks to your comment, ” my favorite Japanese dish is ramen with ‘soft’ boiled egg. Nothing beats perfectly cooked noodles topped with a glossy soft boiled egg.” Oh be still my ramen loving heart.
And now for the story of why you’re the chosen one. See for me, it started like this…
Mitsuwa Marketplace on Centinela and Venice Blvd was my first. It’s where I fell in love. Hard. With ramen.
Our torrid affair began in the grocery store’s food court. I was a bit shy, unsure of which food court stand would become my favorite suitor. I stood to the side, watching patron after patron quietly take their place at the head of the line and place their order.With a nod of the head, and a quick slight of hand, they were bestowed a golden ticket then deftly made their way to a sea of food court tables.
I gained courage. I made my move and I placed my order. And I waited.
And just when I thought the moment would never come, the man behind the counter sternly and succinctly called my number on the muffled loudspeaker. Heads turned, others glanced at their own tickets in hopes they were the chosen one. I rose to accept his gift with open chopsticks.
And there it was. Miso ramen. Adorned with tofu, fresh veggies, a slice of fish cake, half an egg and a tender slices of chasu. I twirled the noodles, I slurped the soft tofu, I dribbled the broth–that heavenly broth that I ate with abandon, not caring who saw us tangle our freshly made, perfectly cooked noodles.
And then, in a blink of an eye, it was gone.
Our affair lasted for several years, but oh too soon we were torn apart. We’re now separated by hundreds of miles of mountain ranges and mini malls but our memories will always remain.
And with each and every search for a new ramen to take his place, I always remember Santouka and Mitsuwa Marketplace—my first true noodle love.
For delicious ramen noodles to try at home, check out this Miso Ramen recipe from Peko Peko contributor Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.
Or if you just need a quick fix, here’s my version.
During high school, my sister Holly chose to ditch the trappings of senior year—prom, football games, college-prep drama—and instead crossed half way across the globe on a school exchange program to a very different place than the white-bread town we grew up in. A place where the locals would unabashedly touch the light, blonde hairs on her suntanned arms and where she towered over the tallest of the adult men.
When her year of schooling was up and it was time for her to come home, my mom, dad and I were lucky enough to take a month long trip to visit her temporary home and host family.
And that is where my love for Thai food and its culture was born.
While living in Los Angeles, there were a few note-worthy Thai restaurants like my favorite —right next door to my offices on Larchmont Blvd. that served the BEST spicy garlic tofu EVER—but there were also tons of delicious Thai restaurants on nearly every corner. It was way too easy to order delivery at least once a week thanks to the Thai menus we’d find strapped to the front door or slyly slipped under the weathered welcome mat. And it was cheap, cheap, cheap. And good, good, good.
But where we live now we have a far more limited supply of Thai joints, and they’re more fancy than funky.
So when my husband found a link on his Facebook page from his friend Tom for Vegan Metal Chef’s Pad Thai recipe, we were inspired. And we laughed. And we were totally impressed by his original take on food blogging and using his sincere—yes, sincere—approach to promote veganism. And of course the awesomeness of his swarthy knife.
If you’re looking for a few options that aren’t vegan, check out the list of spicy coolio noodle recipes below.
So we were in the mood for Pad Thai thanks to above-said Vegan Metal Chef, but most recipes call for tamarind, which we had none of. After doing some searching on the www., we found Koko Cooks’ recipe for Pad Thai and thanks to Suzanne, we didn’t miss the tamarind at all. We did add some fried tofu and sliced chili peppers, just cause we could.
Averting the amateurish and probably American-inspired move of using ketchup in pad thai recipes, Alice’s recipe for Savory Sweet Life ‘s Pad Thai shares the secret of adding just a couple of tablespoons of sauce at a time to avoid a gloppy mess of rice noodles.
Jen’s version of Pim’s Pad Thai makes for super easy assembly thanks to her step by step photos on Use Real Butter, making the stir-fry part of the recipe (in a frying pan instead of a wok) super simple to put together.
While the rest of the U.S. is checking out cherry blossoms or putting their spring seedlings in the ground, in my neck of the woods the groundhog lost his GPS and failed to alert the weatherman that spring is supposed to be sprung.
Hello 8 inches of snow.
And so back to cocooning I go, and that to me means one thing. Chicken soup. And to my husband that means another thing. Spicy chicken soup, or more specifically, Pho Ga.
We’ve both been a fan of Pho for a long time, since haunting spots in L.A. with names like Pho 69 or Pho 87 (so what’s with the numbers anyway?) But when we moved away it took a while to discover a new fav Pho spot.
In the interim, G tried his hand at mastering Beef Pho or Bo Pho, a complicated broth that’s all about patience as you roast bones and veggies and then put the broth to simmer for hours upon end while practicing infinite restraint from tasting the piping hot broth. The broth that one evening nearly set our house on fire. But that’s a story for another day.
But since moving from an area where ethnic foodie obsessions are easily remedied, we often rely on Jaden‘s recipes at Steamy Kitchen and are big fans of her Pho Ga or Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup, especially whenever we get the hankering for a simple but totally tasty broth that has just the right balance of chicken and spice thanks to the coriander, clove and star anise combo.
Get the Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup recipe here.
A big plus for Pho Ga versus Pho Bo is that the hours-long simmering process is shortened and now we get to slurp our soup in under 2 hours.