Pasta with Scallops, Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach

I have officially made scallops for the first time!  Scallops are usually a pricey item on menus, so I was surprised to learn how easy they were to make.  Scallops not only taste delicious, but they also contain many beneficial nutrients…

  • Vitamin B12: helps for cardiovascular health
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: prevents blood clots, and helpful for brain memory and functions
  • Magnesium: relaxes blood vessels, and therefore lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow

My friends were having a St. Patrick’s Day party, so I thought it would the perfect time to make a big pasta dish.  I failed to get a picture of my friend’s Pesto Pasta Nests but they were delicious.  In addition to those, we filled our stomachs with the scallop pasta and plenty of Irish car bombs!

my first scallop experience!

Pasta with Scallops, Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 dozen scallops
6 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
5 cups spinach
2 cups pasta of your choice
1 tsp dried basil

1.  Cook the pasta according to directions

I thought this pasta was so cute, I had to buy it.  It had such a great texture too!

Roasted Tomatoes
1.  Mix the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl
2.  Pour a little of the mixture over the tomatoes until coated in a separate bowl
3.  Spread the tomatoes on a roasted pan and broil on high for 10-15 minutes, until shriveled

coated with olive oil and garlic

Tomatoes post-broil

1. Pour the rest of the olive oil mixture over the scallops until coated
2.  Sprinkle basil on one side of the scallops
3.  In a pan, place the scallops, basil side down, for about 3-4 minutes, until slightly browned.  Turn the scallops and cook for a few minutes until they are browned.

coat with mixture

place basil side down

fully cooked!

4.  In a large pan, heat up a little olive oil and sautee the spinach

5.  Add the cooked pasta and tomatoes

almost ready…

6.  Toss pasta and vegetables until well mixed.  Add olive oil, salt and pepper as needed

7.  In a dish, place the pasta and top with scallops

ready to serve!

Espresso Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently fell in love with coffee flavored cookies so I wanted to try to recreate them  myself.  The recipe I used calls for espresso powder, but since I didn’t have any on-hand, I used instant coffee.  The coffee flavor wasn’t as strong as I would like, so I’ll have to retry it with espresso powder.
I absolutely love oatmeal in my cookies.  I’ll add them, no matter what, to any cookie recipe because it makes them so much chewier!  This recipe already had a good amount of oats and they turned out very oat-y, just how I like them!
Espresso Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 24 Cookies
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
• 3/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon espresso powder
• 1 cup all purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups oats
• 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add melted butter and brown sugar until combined. Add egg, until incorporated, then add vanilla and espresso powder, continue to mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and oats. Add into wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop into balls and place 2 inches apart onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
the brown sugar and oats make such a difference!

They turned out amazing.  I couldn’t stop eating them, especially when they came right out of the oven.  They were perfectly crispy on the outside, and melty, chewy and soft on the inside.   I will definitely make these again soon!

Mediterranean Couscous

Couscous is another grain that I love to cook with.  It is similar to rice and pasta but couscous stands out because it contains many more vitamins and nutrients.  It has about the same ratio of protein as pasta does, but a little more than rice does.  Couscous has a 1% fat-calorie ratio, whereas white rice has a 3% ratio and pasta 5% ratio.

As you may have seen, there are various types of couscous.  Three of the most common are:

  • Morrocan couscous: tiny grains of semolina
  • Israeli couscous: semolina pellets that are a little bigger than Morrocan
  • Lebanese couscous: this is the largest kind, about the size of small peas
Recently, I made a Mediterranean Couscous… it is a great dish to make ahead of time and pack for lunches/snacks for the week.
1 cup whole wheat couscous (from Trader Joe’s)
2 cups water
2 zucchinis
1 tomato
1 cup spinach
Feta cheese
All I did was cook the couscous according to the package, chop up the ingredients, and add it to the couscous.  Such an easy and quick dish!
Add zucchinis and tomatoes
add as much cheese as you like

Quinoa-stuffed Bell peppers

Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers |
Work has been busy, so it has been hard to keep up to date here, but thankfully, I got the chance to go home last weekend and recharge.  Since I have been on such a quinoa kick, I decided to make some for my family.  Along with my mom’s phenomenal ribs, I made a side of stuffed bell peppers!

They turned out very pretty, making for great appetizers for parties.  Due to the baking of the peppers, the quinoa was a little toasty on top and we loved it.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Quinoa is very healthy for you and is considered a whole grain.  I chose to try the peppers with tomato and basil quinoa.

Tomato Basil Quinoa
makes 3 bell peppers (6 halves)
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 c quinoa
  • 2 c water or vegetable broth
  • Handful of basil (we added a lot due to my dad’s love for basil)
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 bell peppers
  • Goat cheese (we didn’t have any, but it would have been delicious!)

1.  Chop up the onions and green onions and sautee until cooked
 2.  In the same pan as the onions, cook the quinoa with water or vegetable broth, according to instructions.  (If I use water, I add a cube of chicken bouillon)
3.  While the quinoa is cooking, clean and shell out the seeds of the bell peppers.  

4.  Cook the peppers in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes.  This lessens the time that you have to bake them after.  After 5 minutes, set aside to cool.

5.  Chop up the tomatoes and basil.  Add to the cooked quinoa
Fresh Basil from Trader Joe’s
Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers |
yummmm 🙂
6.  Once the quinoa is prepared, spoon and fill the peppers with the quinoa
Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers |
filled with quinoa

7.  Cover with foil and bake for about 25-30 minutes
Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers |
the quinoa gets a little toasted!

I had to show off my mom’s mouth-watering ribs!


Zucchini Walnut and Pineapple Muffins

 I was so excited for one of my friends to come over and bake with me.  She makes the most amazing cookies… you think you have had the most perfect cookie, until you have eaten a crazy Aunt Jamie cookie (and you will probably eat five more).  You will know what I’m talking about when she opens her own bakery one day 🙂 
Anyways, I was excited for her to impart her knowledge on me while we bake!  We took my mom’s incredible zucchini bread recipe and went to work.  I wanted to make them a little healthier and she helped me adjust the recipe in order to keep the moisture, texture and flavors.   After they came out they were delicious and you couldn’t really tell the difference!
Zucchini Bread/Muffins
Makes about 24 muffins, and many, many mini muffins!
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 1c. Sugar
  • 2 Tb. Brown sugar
  • 1/4c. Maple syrup
  • 1/4c. Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c Applesauce
  • 1c. Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 c. Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1- 8 1/4 oz crushed pineapple drained (we used a little more)
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 c. Shredded zucchini
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts
  1. Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl (Eggs, egg whites, oil, syrup, applesauce, vanilla, pineapple)
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients (sugars, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon)
  3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until no more powdery spots appear.
  4. Add zucchini and walnuts
  5. Pour into muffin tins or bread tins and bake at 350.  (One hour for breads and 20-25 min for muffins)

I add nuts to everything!