Garden Shrimp Rotini


Way, way back, I got on a cabbage kick. And since then I really haven’t put the kibosh on cabbage.IMG_1193

Friends, especially Derek Smith, have noticed that I’m a sucker for veggie+protein+pasta combinations. Usually, there’s red sauce in the mix. But sometimes I shake things up, literally. Shake a little lemon, a little EVOO, red wine vinegar, and herbs for a fresh alternative.

Some more veggies and sauteed shrimp make this delightful. Plus, cabbage is a fab mix-in because it gives a bulk to the pasta that’s very, very good for you.

Veggie and seafood lovers, you will definitely want to give this one a go.


2 oz. dry whole-wheat rotini noodles

1 cup cabbage, sliced into “noodles”

1 Roma tomato

2 T sliced onion

2 oz small shrimp

dash of rosemary, sage, basil

1 T olive oil + 1 t red wine vinegar + a big squeeze of lemon (optional: grated parmesan) IMG_1185


Bring 5 cups water to boil in a pot and add in wheat and cabbage noodles. Boil until cabbage is tender and wheat noodles almost cooked all the way through–a little al dente is good for controlling the blood sugar levels, in case you’re wondering.

Meanwhile, slice tomato up and sauté with onion and herbs in a medium to large skillet. Then add in shrimp.

In a small container you can seal, add in liquids: olive oil, vinegar, and lemon. Add in grated parmesan if you like that, too. Shake well. Set aside.

In skillet, add in the noodles once they’ve boiled and have been strained fully. Turn up the heat for a minute or so (medium to medium-high) to extract out any remaining water. Let sauté for a few minutes, tossing occasionally.IMG_1188

Transfer to one large bowl. Serve warm as is; but I of course had to have a little red sauce under my pasta. I still can’t resist a good marinara.

And honestly, this recipe is probably big enough to serve two people, but it’s so good and healthful there’s no shame in eating it all yourself, I think.


Spring Pan Noodles


Last week at my friend Sareena’s Paint’n’Pour Ladies’ Wine Night–where decorative pots were painted and wine was poured, FYI–my other friend Snezana was telling me about eating for your blood type. She’s a B+, and apparently her type likes Asian cuisine, especially rice.SAM_5327

I do not know my blood type, but if it had a food preference, it would most definitely be Mediterranean. You all know I’m a pasta+protein+veggie addict. Honestly, sometimes I have to encourage my creature-of-habit ways to try something new.

That’s exactly why this recipe (adapted from Lillian’s Spring Noodles) was sought out and tried. Yes, it is still a pasta, but it breaks my routine preference for a thick and hearty red sauce.

And you know what else I find interesting? I loved it. I’m always reminded of how much fun it is to try something new when I leave my “food comfort zone.” It’s a small challenge, but I think those are the ones that make big differences in terms of day-to-day happiness. Making myself try new things, especially fun recipes, is just about as satisfying as eating them.SAM_5325

And this dish is really good!  A nice, light veggie noodle with a little salt, and just enough ginger sweetness. You can’t beat that.


2 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti or rice noodles

dash of minced garlic

a few sliced onions

handful of diced cabbage

1/3 cup broccoliSAM_5309

1 T low-sodium soy sauce

1 t freshly ground ginger

1 t honey

2 T sliced carrots

2 T sliced celery

1/4 cup cucumber, sliced into sticks

optional: shrimp


-Boil noodles as directed on package. Drain water. If broccoli and shrimp are frozen, defrost in microwave now and drain in collander over noodles to remove excess water–but over noodles ensures that nutrients in broccoli water aren’t lost entirely (!).

-In a small- to medium-sized pan, simmer garlic and onions in cooking spray. Then slowly add in noodles, broccoli, and shrimp. Stir a bit. Add in half of the soy and ginger. Stir a bit more. Add in the rest of the soy sauce and ginger.

-Once noodles seem coated in soy sauce and ginger, drizzle honey over the top. Then toss in carrots.

If you’ll be serving this warm, remove from heat, plate, and sprinkle cucumber and celery on top.

If you prefer a cold noodle dish, then remove from heat and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or overnight. Top with cucumber sticks and celery prior to serving.

Enchi-lotta! Pasta with Turkey Taco Meat


For The Register’s Datebook last week, I wrote an article on 5 ways to celebrate the fifth. The most memorable part of that interview/ gathering process, talking to the owner of La Tapatia Grocery in Des Moines, who laughed at me for being like so many other silly Americans celebrating what Mexican-Americans consider “a normal day.” It was a pleasant jab–oxymoron intended. I hung up smiling.SAM_5395

But how did I spend my Cinco de Mayo? Did I partake in any of the very exciting festivities I wrote about?

No, but I still had un gigante amount of fun.

Saturday I went to El Azteca in Ames. A little skeptical, I went for the festive feel and friends. I was pleasantly surprised. My shrimp tacos were fairly good. The rest was standard Tex-Mex fare, the kind and quality that you may be picturing right now. Average. But my friends are far from average, so it was a great time.





On the actual holiday I was in for dinner. A long day of editing and researching for a bus-comm textbook left me cooped up in my apartment most of the day, but hankering for an exciting dinner. No friends were free, but my overabundance of whole-wheat pasta from this semester’s nutrition study gave me some ideasSAM_5403

So my favorite dinner fare (pasta+veggies+protein) headed south of the border, and for 10 minutes or so, my taste buds did, too.

So easy. So spicy.

And a nice break from my usual Italian taste.


2 oz. dry pasta (elbow, rotini, or even spaghetti noodles would work)SAM_5389

1/4 cup enchilada sauce

2-3 oz. ground turkey

dash of minced garlic

1.5 T taco seasoning

1 cup veggies of choice (I sauteed tomatoes, onions, kale, and olives)

optional: cheese

Directions SAM_5408

-Prepare pasta as directed. Meanwhile prepare veggies in pan, simmering in cooking oil and garlic.

-In another small pan, grease with cooking spray and brown turkey meat. Add in taco seasoning slowly ’til covered. If it starts to dry out, add a little water. Or if you like it spicy like I do, Tabasco.

-Now put it all together. Get a large bowl. Layer one is pasta. Drizzle with half of enchilada sauce. Layer two is meat. Layer three is veggies, the rest of the enchilada sauce, and cheese if you’re adding it on. Serve hot.

Easy Creamy Macaroni

So a fellow foodie blogger, a Miss Macaroni and Cheesecake, called this recipe “revolutionary.” It’s been rumored that it might be Panera‘s secret to delicious mac-and-cheese.

I don’t know if all that’s true, but it was good!

I made a single-serving just for you, but with a ricotta twist for extra creaminess.


1/2 cups dried elbow or shell pasta

1/2 cup + 2 T milk

3 T shredded white cheddar

1 T skim ricotta

pinch of salt, pepper, dijon (or even nutmeg or cayenne pepper for a little spice, but probably not together)


-In a small saucepan, add pasta and milk.  Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until pasta is soft, stirring frequently and ensuring milk does not boil.

-Turn heat off, add cheese and stir ’til cream forms.

-Stir in the mustard or nutmeg & cayenne a little at a time, to taste.

-Cover and let stand for a couple of minutes, then stir again and serve. If not creamy enough, add milk a little at a time, and gently stir.

You could also bake this in a dish with some breadcrumbs on top (try 375 degrees for about 4-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly).

I opted instead for a healthy mix-in: fresh kale. I paired the creamy mac with baked tilapia, and needless to say, I dined well on a poor girl’s dime.