Pasta ‘Carbonara’

Hello my dear readers.

We are going “Italian” for today’s Meatless Monday recipe.

Why the quotations? I know, I know… quotations in posts can be as annoying and pretentious as air quotes, but I’m trying to stave off a barrage of angry emails pointing out that this recipe isn’t truly a carbonara.

Hahaha, just kidding, I don’t ever get angry emails from my readers. Err, or any emails really.

But I digress. Carbonara, is a pasta dish made with eggs, cheese and pancetta.

My take on the dish is just as creamy, rich and flavorful as the traditional recipe, but has the added benefit of being speedy, simple and oh-so-satisfying.

Sub out the pancetta (I am so sorry pork, you know I love you) for fresh broccoli…

Tossed with fresh ground pepper and grated Parmesan cheese

and add a fried egg on top….

Mmm, the creaminess of the yolk acts like a warm sauce for the pasta

and you’ve got the perfect Meatless Monday dinner!

Finish the dish with crunchy breadcrumbs


Pasta ‘Carbonara’ 

  • About 4 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 small broccoli crown, sliced
  • 1 egg (or 2 if you are sharing)*
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, reserved
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 pinches of Panko breadcrumbs

Slice off the tops of the broccoli into bite size pieces, boil or steam until tender-crisp, then set aside in a medium bowl.  Meanwhile, prepare the angel hair pasta according to package instructions; reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid before draining.

Drain pasta well, then add to bowl with broccoli. Toss in the grated cheese, salt and pepper and the reserved cooking liquid. Toss to coat.

Now fry your egg. Do not  overcook the yolk, you want it to be runny to act as a sauce for the pasta. When finished, about 3 minutes, set on top of plated pasta. Break yolk, top with a couple pinches of breadcrumbs.


*Note: This dish probably serves two, however I was super hungry and ate the whole thing myself. So if you plan on sharing, you need a second egg.
Daily Question: Is there a meatless recipe you would like to see me cook for next time?

Leave me a comment below with your ideas!

– Erin 🙂

Chocolate-Toffee Cake Batter Cookies

Sometimes, you just want need a cookie or two.  A big, chewy and chocolaty cookie.

Warm chocolate + Crunchy toffee= Heaven

I understand, I’m here for you. I have a cookie recipe for you…come follow me, read on:

Recently a fellow coworker [and reader of my blog 🙂 Hi] was chatting with me about making cookies out of boxed cake mix.  Making a cake from a box mix was somewhat of an aberration in my house growing up, so I wasn’t very familiar with this idea but I was intrigued. Could this satisfy my cookie craving?

It could, and it was awesome.

Aside from tasting like a chocolate cookie party in your mouth, this recipe is really easy and it makes a baker’s dozen. That means you can eat one cookie warm, straight out of the oven, and still have a dozen cookies left!  No one will be the wiser!  But try and eat just one, it’ll be hard 😉

Cake Batter Cookies (approx 13 cookies)

  • 1 1/2 cup dark chocolate cake mix*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits (I used Heath Bits ‘0’-Brickle)

Heat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking soda. Then add the egg, vegetable oil and toffee bits. Stir until combined, the dough will be pretty thick. You can alternate stirring and smushing the dough with the spatula to incorporate the toffee bits if needed.

Scoop up the dough one tablespoon at a time and roll into balls just over 1 inch wide.

Place on lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Slightly cool the cookies on the sheet before moving them to a cooling rack.

To bad we don’t have smell-o-vision, because this just baked cookie scent is amazing


*Note: This is half of a 16.5 ounce box of cake mix. You can save the other half in an airtight container to use at a later date (I have another recipe coming!). You could try doubling this recipe, but I haven’t tried that and cannot vouch for it.

Daily Question: Do you have any novel uses for boxed cookie or cake mix?

– Erin 🙂

Semi- Homemade Ravioli Dinner

Tell me if this sounds familiar.  You walk in the front door and hear:

“Hey (insert name of choice, wife/mom/you) what’s for dinner?”

Gosh, let me at least set down my bag.


Enter, the semi-homemade dinner: Ravioli with Parmesan  Cauliflower

Roast some cauliflower dressed with olive oil, parmesan cheese and ground pepper. Mmmm, fresh veggies!

Then toss with fresh ravioli and a healthy spoonful of basil-liscious pesto for the sauce.

Done. In less than 15 minutes.

Maybe right now you’re wondering why that picutre is so small. Well, pesto doesn’t look awesome when photographed (by me) up close. Let’s leave it at that.

Ravioli with Parmesan  Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, about 2 1/2 cups
  • 1  9 ounce package of fresh ravioli (I buy one that cooks in 4 minutes)
  • ground pepper
  • parmesan cheese (from the green can of course)
  • 2 tbl pesto
  • olive oil

Heat oven to 400. Cut up the cauliflower into manageable pieces and then spread onto a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with enough olive oil to decently coat the cauliflower and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and ground pepper. Toss it well so the cauliflower is coated, roast in oven for about 15 min. Stir halfway through.  The cauliflower will get some nice crispy spots if you do this, yum. 

Meanwhile, cook the ravioli according to package directions and return to pot when finished.  Stir in the pesto. When the cauliflower is done, gently fold it in with the ravioli. Enjoy!

– Erin

P.S. I’d like to send some love out to Sandra Lee, the semi-homemade pioneer,  right now.  Check her out at

Hello friends!

I’m so excited! This is my first blog post, EVER!  Thankfully, I have a super yummy recipe to kick-off with.

May I present, easy peasy and super cheesy (pun intended) chicken, mushroom and quinoa bake.

It has gooey cheese and plump mushrooms combined with crispy brown edges – imagine the crusty edge of your fav mac ‘n’ cheese dish 🙂


Cheesy Chicken and Mushroom Quinoa Bake

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded chicken (I used leftover from a rotisserie)
  • 1 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack, and shredded some extra to sprinkle on top)
  • 4 ounces milk
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream (you could use mayo or plain yogurt)
  • 2 tsp ground sage
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole or minced
  • dash of onion powder, salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cook quinoa according to package. Meanwhile, sautee mushrooms and garlic in a pan with a little oil for about 7 min. When the quinoa and mushrooms are finished, combine them and the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Grease an 8×8 baking pan and pour the mixture in, top with some extra cheese as desired. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges. I like to crank up the broiler for the last few minutes to get the cheese nice and melty and the corners nice and crispy.