Greek Pasta with Feta and Shrimp

greek pasta with shrimp-3

Lipman Produce recently asked eleven bloggers to create a recipe for their new consumer web site, Lipman Kitchen. Lipman is a family-owned company that’s been around since the 1930′s but, until now, their tomatoes never had a “brand” associated with them. They’re actually North America’s largest growers of field tomatoes, so there’s a good chance that you’ve eaten their tomatoes without knowing it!

It’s funny, but other than looking to see if produce at the grocery store is local or not, I’ve never really considered where it comes from or who grew it. It never occurred to me that all of the tomatoes on the shelf might not have come from the same place (unlike say, in the meat section where I know the pork all comes from the same major producer unless the label indicates otherwise). Now, with their consumer launch, Lipman tomatoes in the Northeast and in South Florida will be identified with signs, stickers, and packaging. While I’m not sure how I feel about branding produce, I like that it made me think about where it comes from.

Oven Toasted Ravioli

toasted ravioli screen

Have you ever had toasted/fried ravioli before? I don’t see it on menus very often, but it’s sometimes offered as an appetizer at Italian restaurants or pizzerias. And it’s amazing. (Then again, it’s deep fried pasta filled with cheese. Of course it’s awesome!) When I came home to find a shipment of Monterey Gourmet Foods™ ravioli and pesto to play with, it took me about 2 seconds to decide what I wanted to do with it. This oven-toasted ravioli does away with the guilt that goes along with fried food, and it swaps out the lighter flavors of roast chicken and pesto for the more traditional garlic and marinara.

Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Stewed Tomato

stovetop mac and cheese

Last month, The Laughing Cow asked me if I would be interested in trying a lower-calorie version of a comfort food, featuring their cheese. I’ve kept Laughing Cow in my refrigerator ever since being introduced to it by my high school French teacher (back when it was called “la vache qui rit”) but I’ve never tried cooking with it so, intrigued, I agreed. They sent me the recipe and ingredients to make their creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for macaroni and cheese, especially when it has a gourmet twist.

Fusilli with Butternut, Vanilla & Sage

pasta with butternut

The more I get into recipe development, the more I realize what a funny little artform it is. Sometimes I think I have a great idea – something so obvious that of course it will be great – and it ends up bland and tasteless (or so bad that we have to dump it and order a pizza.) Other times I’ll have an idea that I’m no so convinced will work, but I ultimately end up standing over the stove shoveling forks full of it into my mouth because it’s so good.

Soba Noodles with Sautéed Chicken, Mushrooms, and Spinach in Cream Sauce

low fat alfredo-5

This recipe didn’t come out at all how I had planned for it to. I was expecting a delicate, milky sauce. Something almost chowder-like.

Instead, I took a bite and thought to myself… “I’ve had this before. But what on earth is it?” The taste was so familiar, but I couldn’t place it. I just kept thinking of college. Then it dawned on me – it tasted almost exactly like I remember Knorr/Lipton Alfredo Noodles tasting. You know the kind that come dehydrated in the little paper packet? I practically lived on them in college since they were cheap, easy, and could be made in a microwave. Of course this dish is way less processed and much more nutritious.  It’s kind of funny how things like that work out.

Fettuccini with Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Peas

cauliflower pasta

Can we talk about cauliflower for a second? It’s a great vegetable with a really unique flavor. I love it and, if you haven’t tried it lately, you really should give it a second chance. But there’s a right way to do cauliflower and a wrong way. The cauliflower “steaks” that food editors seem to have decided should be all the rage this winter? NOT the right way. In fact, it’s a pretty decent way to confirm any suspicion that you may have had that cauliflower is gross.

This pasta, on the other hand, with the some of the cauliflower caramelized in the oven and the rest pureed into a creamy sauce? Even if you think you hate cauliflower, you’ll love this.