Category Archives: pasta

"Oh. My. Yum. Vegan Meatballs"

There is a new adjective in Michelle’s Thesaurus of a brain … yup, that’s right… the wheels were totally a-turnin’ on this one: “Oh. My. Yum.”

Seriously though, who literally says that out loud when they eat something so savory, so delicious, so so good?

I don’t see any hands.  Well, I guess I’m crazy  {Did I hear you say you already thought that?!}.  Because I couldn’t stop saying that phrase when I ate these (vegan) meatballs and soon enough you’ll find yourself saying the same phrase.  They are that good.

By now my household is about 90% vegan.  No cheese.  No dairy.  No meat.  We only eat seafood once in a blue moon and organic eggs.  Honestly I feel great.  And am learning that it is SO true that your physique is 80% diet.  But that should be a post for another day.

Instead let’s focus on how completely satisfying and mouth-wateringly scrumptious these meatballs are. And healthy.  Pair these with spaghetti squash and spinach tomato sauce and you will be in heaven.  

Dear “Real” Italian comfort food… move on over because you have some major competition here. 

“Oh. My. Yum. Vegan Meatballs”  adapted from the veggie nook


1 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

3/4 cup nutritional yeast

3/4 cup sundried tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp oregano (I didn’t measure, just shook a whole bunch in)

1 tsp fennel seeds (same, didn’t measure)

red pepper flakes

dash sea salt

1-2 Tbsp water


1.  Blend sunflower seeds in Blendtec or food processor until it resembles coarse flour

2.  Add all ingredients except for water.  Blend together.

3.  Add water to help ingredients stick together if needed.

4.  Roll into little balls and eat.  Or refrigerate for later snacking!

Linking up at these Fabulous Parties: Made It By Monday @ Baked in the South, Made from Scratch Monday @ Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease , Mangia Mondays @ Delightfully Dowling, Tuesday Talent Show @ Chef in Training, Crazy Sweet Tuesday @ Crazy for Crust, Gluten Free Wednesdays @ The Gluten-Free Homemaker, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Sweet Treats & Swanky Stuff @ Something Swanky, Anything Goes Linky @ Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo, Sweets for A Saturday @ Sweet As Sugar Cookies

Oven Baked Salmon with Penne Primavera

  Mmm, this meal is deeelicious!  I made this the night we came back from our short but sweet trip to Connecticut.  Yep, after being awake for 22 long hours straight I whipped up this dish.  (Cuz I’m that awesome 😉

Oven Baked Salmon

fresh salmon filet(s)
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs capers
olive oil
garlic pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350F
2.  Place salmon on aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, capers, and garlic pepper seasoning.
3.  Tent the foil so minimal steam escapes and place on baking pan (with sides to catch liquid)
4.  Bake until fish is flaky (mine was large and took about 35 minutes to bake) then uncover and broil for about 5 minutes 

Penne Primavera

box of penne pasta (I used Hodgson’s Mill)
olive oil (I have never measured how much oil I use; I always eyeball it.  But in this recipe I probably used about 4-5 Tbs total throughout)
1/2 large onion sliced
5 garlic cloves minced (more or less depending on your taste)
6 baby bella mushrooms sliced
1/2 sweet pepper sliced
2-3 large handfuls kale
3 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 Tbs butter
sea salt
crushed black pepper
cayenne pepper

1.  Boil pasta according to directions

*tip* add a splash of olive oil in boiling water before adding pasta; this helps keep the pasta from sticking to itself
2.  In large saucepan, saute onion, garlic, and olive oil until onion gets soft and starts to caramelize slightly
3.  Add mushroom, pepper, a few large pinches of oregano, cracked pepper, and a dash of cayenne and sea salt 
4.  After mushrooms have started to soften, add kale, sun-dried tomatoes, and butter.  Also add extra olive oil if needed
5.  Cook until kale is slightly limp then add drained pasta
6.  Mix together and enjoy!

  Growing up I used to watch my Mom whip up the most delicious meals.  She never measured.  Just a pinch of this and a handful of that… I’m lucky that I am able to do the same thing!  With my cooking recipes, feel free to play around with measurements and spices.  (I have yet to follow a recipe exactly; it’s fun to have that freedom whereas baking has to be precise).  

  My only advice: load on the garlic, herbs, and spices… the more flavor the better!  😉

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Fabulous Lasagna and Summer Berry Pie

Most people cringe when I tell them I don’t eat foods like pasta and bread.  I tell them, I use rice pasta instead and they act all disgusted!  I don’t quite get it… rice pasta has been one of the best things to happen to me!

I prefer Tinkyada pasta brand… it cooks so well.  It keeps its shape, is great hot or cold, and is easy to make al dente or soft depending on your mood.

I developed a super easy and Yummy! lasagna recipe that anyone can make!  I like to make it for company because it’s a sure crowd pleaser and nobody has to know its not glutinous!


          olive oil
          1/2 – whole onion diced
          1/2 bell pepper
          6-12 cloves garlic (we love garlic so I use 12 lol)
          1 package ground lean turkey meat (or beef)
          3 chicken sausage links (pork, beef, spicy)
          garlic pepper seasoning
          veggies of your choice, I like zucchini, spinach
          spicy spaghetti seasoning/mix of Italian herbs

          32oz jar tomato sauce
          1 package Tinkyada lasagna noodles
          14oz jar no-fat cottage cheese
          fresh or dried parsley
          8oz package shredded mozzarella cheese &



1)  Heat olive oil a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, cook until begins to caramelize.  Add the garlic and pepper and sauté until veggies start getting soft and flavourful.

2)  Add the sausage and ground turkey (chop it with your spoon) and cook it until it starts to brown.  Once meat is thoroughly cooked, pour jar of tomato sauce, spicy spaghetti seasoning (mmm this should be a staple in your kitchen… you can find huge jars of it in BJ’s or Sam’s).  Let sauce mixture simmer on low for about 15 minutes.  You can either store the sauce in the fridge or use it right away!

3)   Preheat oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our friends Ashley and Tom flew down from Boston!  And
they loved the g-free lasagna!  🙂

4)  In a 9×13 inch baking dish layer lasagna noodles, cottage cheese mixed with parsley, and sauce.  I do this layering pattern twice and then sprinkle shredded cheese.

5)   Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 15 minutes.

6)   Let stand for 20 minutes… if you can’t wait to eat the deliciousness then the lasagna doesn’t keep its shape… but no worries, its just as YummY!

Now let’s talk dessert…!

Beau and I picked 12 pounds of blueberries and 4 pounds blackberries the other day so I thought a fresh berry pie would be a great ending to my dinner party.

I’ve never even made glutinous pie crust by myself so I was a little nervous to make a gluten free one, but it wasn’t bad at all!  Usually when I have to roll out any kind of dough, I end up in tears (just ask Beau haha).  I don’t know what it is, but usually my dough is SO sticky and sticks to the rolling pin horribly!  BUT don’t be afraid, this recipe did NOT stick for me!  SUCCESS!!!!

I used the piecrust recipe from Elizabeth Barbone’s “Easy Gluten Free Baking.”  She says her recipe can be made with either cold butter or shortening, which makes is convenient.  I used butter flavored shortening so my pie crust tasted just like a butter/ shortbread cookie.  It went so well with the berries inside!

photo courtesy of Miss Emma Tang,
berry pie lover!


1 c rice flour
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 c potato starch
1 Tb granulated sugar
1/2 ts salt
1/2 c vegetable shortening (or 1 stick cold butter)
1 egg
3-4 Tb cold water


1)   Mix dry ingredients together.

2)   Use pastry cutter to combine shortening and flour (I used a fork, works just as well!)

3)  Add egg and water.  Add water by the teaspoon if dough is still dry.

4)  Split dough in half and wrap separately in plastic wrap.  Chill in fridge for an hour.  Let stand at room temp for 15 minutes before rolling.  Please note this recipe makes 2 pie-crusts… if you just need one, then halve the recipe!

I would suggest using a bit more water than noted in the crust recipe… mine was a bit dry (even after adding 3 extra teaspoons water) and kept on cracking when I rolled it out after chilling.  But it pieces back together nicely if you wet your fingers and press it back together!