cooking, Dinners, food, Recipes

Macaroni Grill Copycat Pasta Pomodoro Yummmm

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Here is how I made this awesome, beautiful copycat version of Macaroni Grill’s Pasta Pomodoro. This dish only has 5 ingredients! It would be amazing and very impressive for a date night. Pair this with a simple salad like a Cesar and some crusty french bread and you just can’t top it. A nice Chianti or red wine would pair nicely with this rich, red sauce.  It’s my go to pasta dish when I want something quick and semi healthy! 😉

So here we go:

Pasta Pomodoro
Ingredients:
4-6 fresh tomatoes, chopped (I used 4 small campari tomatoes and 1 heirloom)
2 Tablespoons of fresh garlic, chopped (or less if you’re not a fan)
1 small bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup of your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
1/2 – 1 pound Angel Hair Pasta
Other pantry ingredients: good olive oil, kosher salt or any sea salt

Start a pot of boiling water for the pasta and while that’s going, start on your sauce.

Start with your pan on medium heat and add about 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil. Also add the garlic at this time and WATCH it. Stir often and watch it soften for just about a minute or less. You do NOT want to brown it. Browned garlic is bitter and not good.

The garlic will infuse the oil and it will make this dish YUM! After about 30 seconds to 1 minute swirling the garlic around, add the tomatoes. You can stir occasionally. We are just trying to infuse the tomatoes with the garlic oil and break them down a little so they are soft and flavorful.

After about 5 -8 minutes you can add the marinara/tomato sauce. This helps the sauce to have a richer flavor.  If the tomatoes look like they are drying quickly, turn your heat down and add the sauce sooner. I personally LOVE the Victoria Trading Company Marinara Sauce Old World Style. This is an AMAZING sauce! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! Here’s a picture:

Victoria Marinara Sauce Old World Style

After adding the sauce, you can add 1/2 of the basil so those flavors can meld together. Add the pasta to your boiling water and after about 7 minutes it should be al dente. Use tongs to add the pasta to your sauce and toss. Also at this point you can taste your sauce to see if it needs any salt.  Top and mix with the rest of the fresh basil. (Optional: add some fresh grated Parmesan or pass it at the table) – I don’t think it needs it, but hey, if you like it that way, go for it!

Serve with your side of salad and a warm french bread! This is also a terrific side dish for Chicken Marsala or Chicken Piccata.

This takes me back to when my sister and I would go to the Macaroni Grill for lunches and get the 1/2 and 1/2. I think my recipe is pretty darn close to the real thing!

I hope you enjoy it and please give me a shoutout or comment if you try it!

Happy Cooking & Mangia!

Charlene

 

 

 

 

Breakfast/Brunch, cooking, food, Recipes

Fig, Arugula & Carmelized Onion Flatbread Recipe

Hi my Lovlies!

I got these beauties at the Farmer’s Market, as you can see from my below post. If you are lucky enough to find figs, I would suggest a Fig, Caramelized Onion, Arugula & Feta Flatbread!  With homemade flatbread of course! Here are the recipes that I used…and if you don’t like arugula, use spinach! If you don’t like feta, use brie! You can customize it however you like!

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I stumbled upon this lovely flatbread recipe that worked great in the oven!  – If you don’t have Pinterest, here is a link to her recipe on her blog.

Once I rested the dough, I floured a surface and rolled it out. I cut it into wedges as shown here and put it on my lightly oiled Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan. You can rise it again since it is a yeast dough, but I wanted it pretty flat and I knew it would puff a little in the oven. I flipped it halfway through baking. I believe I used 350 degrees for about 10 minutes a side. Times and ovens vary, so I would just experiment with it.

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While my dough was cooking in the oven, I was sauteing my sliced onions in a little butter until they were very soft, then I added a pinch of salt and continued until they were nice and caramelized! At the same time I also roasted the figs. To prepare those, I sliced them at about 1/4″, lightly oiled a baking sheet, then topped with a little more olive oil, honey and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

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After that I assembled the ingredients back on the flatbread and popped them back into the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Just until the cheese was melted and the ingredients melded together.

Here’s how I topped them: I brushed them with a good Lebanese olive oil, sprinkled with feta cheese, layered on the onions, then the sliced figs, fresh arugula and then more feta. I left a couple pieces of flatbread plain for the kiddos. (they LOVED it)

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Here are slices of my amazing, delicious finished flatbread! I loved the savory of the onions and arugula with the sweetness of the figs. The cheese was mild and brought it all together! I shared this as kind of an appetizer with my mom friends while our kids played at our apartment complex park. They raved about this! A couple of them are borderline vegans, so it was divine for them. You could even drizzle a little truffle oil on top to be extra decadent! ❤

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Hope you give this a try and love it as much as we did!!

Happy cooking!

food, Food Review, kids

Roseville Farmers Market

Hi y’all!

Today I went to the farmer’s market with the kids. It’s a cute little farmers market in Roseville and they do it in the Whole Foods parking lot. I haven’t been to this particular one in probably 8 years but not much has changed.

The vendor that sells the stuffed Paratha and Chutney is still there! And it’s as good as I remember. A large piece of spinach paratha was $6 and an 8 oz container of cilantro chutney was also $6. I find this very reasonable as it is very delicious! They sell different kinds of paratha, samosas, naan and different chutneys.

The first thing that the kids saw was the kettle corn so of course we had to buy a small bag of that. It’s a decent sized bag probably about 20 oz. It’s a perfect balance of sweet and salty and was $6.

Next up we saw olives that looks pretty good, and were in a salt water brine but a little too pricey for me, one jar of Kalamata olives was $12.

The kids were thirsty at this point but they left their bottled waters in the car. If you do go to a farmers market I highly recommend you bring your own drink not many of them served water or have drinks for kids. Although next up we did see a boba tea vendor who was also selling pork buns potstickers and other Asian food items. I purchased a boba milk tea for me, the kids tried a sip but did not care for it. I thought it was very well made and was only $4, very reasonable.

The pork bun was not a BBQ pork bun which is more of a traditional dim sum, and what I was expecting. The steamed white bun was tasty however inside was a pork filling that was very similar to a potsticker filling. Not what I was expecting although it was tasty. I probably would not buy it again because my idea of a pork bun would be the traditional Chinese cha siu bao. It was also overpriced! It was $3! Normally for Chinese dim sum, it’s about $3 or $4 for 3 buns.

Next up were the cookies. I was very surprised to see that the package said they were made in a home kitchen. When I researched farmers markets before they had told me everything food- consumable had to be prepared in a commercial kitchen. I guess they made some changes in 8 years.

The cookies were from Foresthill Cookie Company, and they were $2.50 each or there was some deal if you bought about six cookies. Considering they were so big, a very large cookie I only wanted to buy two for my kids. My kids sampled them and my son decided on the birthday cake cookie. My daughter wanted the Oreo, chocolate cookie which was called the Oreo dirt clod cookie LOL. It also looked similar to that. These cookies tasted like pure sugar. Not much flavor, in fact it just tasted like a big sugar cookie to me. If I close my eyes and take a bite of each they taste pretty much the same. The owner was friendly and my kids were happy to get a cookie.

Next up where the fruits and vegetables. I usually like to buy something different or unusual at a farmers market. And the next and that I went to had figs and immediately I thought the recent Instagram Picture by Jennifer Garner where she was roasting figs with a balsamic glaze and goat cheese. It looked amazing however I’m not a big fan of anything goat related. However I am a fan of flatbreads so I am seeing a fig, caramelized onion and feta cheese flatbread in my future for dinner tonight. I saw a recipe on Pinterest so if I do make that I will come back to this and Link it for you. I have some naan in my freezer but I’m going to probably make just a simple traditional flatbread.

The ladies that were selling the figs also had some yummy looking cherries. They told me if I purchased two containers I could get the third for $2. Seemed like a good deal. My son picked out the red traditional cherries oh, and I got the figs and cucumbers. About eight mini cucumbers, half of which were a little too bendy for me and did not seem crisp. However I think if I use them right away in the next couple of days, maybe do a cucumber salad, I think they will be okay.

I would have purchased more but at this point I was at almost $50 and surprised that I spent so much money.

Lastly I picked up two small artichokes for $1.50 each. A little high-priced but I think a very nice size for me and the kids. I think I will cut them in half, use a little olive oil, salt and pepper and grill them.

I will post some pictures of my creations and links to the recipes when I’m done. I hope you return to check out what I make with our farmers market finds!

Have a great day!

food, Food Review, Writing

Doggiestyle Hot Dogs Personal Review

Disclaimer: *This is my personal review and in no way paid for or sponsored by anyone, just a self proclaimed foodie/blogger wanting to share her experience*

How do you eat your hot dog? Pick it up and open wide? Take 2 bites, 1 of the dog on bottom, then 1 of the toppings? Or it’s so huge you’ll just use a fork and knife? Well, for me, I used all 3 methods of hot dog eating to chow down on this beautiful dog right here!

For lunch, I had the convenience of the Doggiestyle Hot Dog “wagon” at my work in Rocklin, CA. This was my second time trying it so I knew it would be good.  They have a very simple menu. They have a Nathan’s Hot Dog, Chili Cheese Dog, Puerto Rico Style Dog, German brat, Vegan dog,  and a Chicken Asiago dog. I went for the German brat with sauerkraut, some slices of ham and swiss cheese. It was topped with a little spicy brown mustard as well which was the perfect compliment to the smoky brat. This is a hearty meal people. This dog is not a snack food. It is filling and comforting with all of the traditional “hot dog feels” you can get. It was messy, yes. However, they do give you 3 or 4 heavy duty napkins which prepares you for this. The only thing is, I wish the temperature would have been hotter. The cheese was only slightly melted and I am particular about having hot food! Other than that, I would say that Doggiestyle Hot Dogs is a superb choice for getting your hot dog fix!

I would definitely recommend to find out their next stop by stalking their Facebook page HERE.

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy your Summer!

Charlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinners, food, Meal Planning, Recipes

Meal Plan Week #1

TOASTED ORZO SKILLET WITH SHRIMP

ROASTED CHICKEN & ASPARAGUS WITH PAN SAUCE

CHEESY SHELLS & ITALIAN SAUSAGE

MOROCCAN WHITE BEAN TURKEY CHILI

ONE POT SAUSAGE & KALE PASTA

BROCCOLI-CHEDDAR CHICKEN NUGGETS

TACO RING

 

Click HERE for entire grocery list! Hopefully this will save you some time. I am hoping you will enjoy these healthy, quick meals. Stick around to see Week #2’s meal plan too!

Happy cooking,

Charlene