Tag Archives: easy

Easy Spring Pasta Recipe: Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme

Written by Liz –

Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks and Thyme recipe

Spring has sprung in California – as well as most of the country. To me that means spring vegetable season; asparagus, leeks, peas, artichoke, fennel and fresh herbs are bountiful in farmers markets. Much of this produce is available year-round, but spring is the best time to get the freshest spring vegetables, whether at your local market, grocery store or from your own garden!


And those fresh spring flavors really come through in this easy spring pasta recipe, Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme. It’s a cinch to make and it’s packed with flavor and nutrients, plus spring is a great time to get hooked on the Mediterranean way of eating. Adding a bit of the pasta water instead of using sauce is a traditional way to make pasta dishes in Italy. This recipe is a sure way to eat more vegetables and wow your friends with your culinary savvy!

Wine Pairing

  • Italian wines can be hard to find, other than the super popular Pinot Grigio. If you can find a Soave wine, it’s a soft, fruity, clean wine with crisp lemon flavors and really complements this dish.
  • Grenache Blanc with its acidity and rounded flavors, or Sauvignon Blanc with its herbaceousness, would also be great wines with this pasta.

Fettuccine with Peas, Leeks & Thyme


Ingredients for 3 servings:


PREPARE pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup cooking water. While pasta is cooking, prepare leek mixture.


HEAT oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden. Stir in peas; cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, as shown above.


ADD reserved pasta cooking water, thyme leaves and cheese; stir in gently. Toss pasta with leek mixture. Season with salt and pepper.


More spring pasta recipes:

Vegetable Tortellini Soup Recipe Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Fresh Herb Pesto recipe
Vegetable Tortellini Soup Butternut Squash Agnolotti
with Fresh Herb Pesto

Easter Sweets: Butterfinger Panna Cotta with Easter Egg Nests

Written by Liz –

Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests recipe

Panna Cotta, or Italian “cooked cream,” is an eggless custard that is silky-smooth and so easy to make. In fact, David Lebovitz writes that if it takes you more than 5 minutes to put it together, you’re doing something wrong. If you haven’t yet tried to make custard, crème brulée or flan, panna cotta is the recipe to try first.

Our easy version for Easter, Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests, uses items you already have in your pantry, since it replaces the cream with evaporated milk. That also lowers the fat and increases the nutrients! This dish has to be made in advance so it can set in the refrigerator, leaving you free on the day of the meal to entertain or cook other dishes. Putting the ingredients together and warming them in a pan are a snap, and the shredded coconut egg nests on top are perfect for a pretty Easter table.

Panna cotta is also an extremely versatile recipe. You can experiment and make your own version by adding lemon or orange zest, almond extract or even spices like saffron, pepper or rosemary. Here are some panna cotta recipes we love using chocolate and amaretto, as well as pumpkin spice and chocolate pistachio.

Happy Easter!

Butterfinger Panna Cotta Nests

Ingredients for 4 servings:




GREASE four 6-ounce or six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups.

PLACE water in a small bowl; add gelatin and let stand to soften.

PLACE evaporated milk, sugar and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat. Add gelatin mixture; stir gently to dissolve gelatin.

POUR into prepared ramekins; sprinkle with crushed Butterfinger.

REFRIGERATE for 2 hours or until panna cottas are firm.

PLACE coconut in a resealable bag. Add green and yellow food coloring; seal bag and shake to thoroughly mix. If necessary, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water to help color mix.

TOP panna cottas with coconut “grass”; top with 1 to 2 unwrapped Nestlé NestEggs.


More panna cotta recipes:

Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Pistachio Sauce recipe
Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Pistachio Sauce
pumpkin-spice-panna-cotta recipe
Pumpkin Spice Panna Cotta

How to Roast a Rack of Lamb: Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto

Written by Chris

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto Recipe

Easter is right around the corner, so I thought I’d share my favorite spring lamb recipe! If you are having a few people over, this recipe is for you!

When it comes to recipes, I don’t “do” complicated. I just don’t. Perhaps when my kids are grown, I will change my tune. But, for now, I like keeping it simple, delicious and nutritious.

Take this recipe, for example. I am using a rack of lamb – not a crown roast or leg of lamb. All taste delicious, but a rack of lamb is hands down the easiest to prepare.

In the spirit of keeping it simple, I took a couple shortcuts with this recipe. I purchased the rack of lamb already frenched (more on that term later). I also used premade Buitoni pesto. Buitoni All Natural Pesto is really good, friends! There’s no need to make pesto from scratch – let Buitoni do the work for you. I did add a little fresh mint and lemon juice to the pesto – mint pairs so well with lamb and lemon adds a nice zing!

Back to the term “frenched”… this just means that the rib bones are exposed (see picture below). Most racks are packaged frenched. If they aren’t, you can ask your butcher to french them for you.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto Recipe

I usually buy Australian or New Zealand lamb from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Costco – it’s a bit leaner and less expensive. One rack typically has 7 to 8 ribs, and this will feed 2 to 3 people. I’ve finally graduated to two racks for my family of five. (I was really taken back by how much my boys like lamb – very nice surprise!)

The cooking time depends on how big your rack of lamb is (most are packaged at 1 ½ pounds), and how rare you want it cooked. Rack of lamb should be cooked rare, or at most medium rare. The instructions I’ve provided are for two 1 1/2 pound racks (roast time is the same for one rack). Be sure to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. I prefer it to register between 125-130° F which is on the rare side. Once it’s pulled out of the oven, as it rests, the temperature will continue to climb a few degrees.

If you have a large oven-proof skillet, it will work great with this recipe! If you don’t own one or are unsure if it’s oven-proof, simply sear the racks in the skillet you have, and then transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet that’s been lined with foil. The foil isn’t required, but it sure makes for easy clean up!

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto

Ingredients for 6 servings (2-3 chops per serving):

  • 2 (1 ½ pounds each) frenched racks of lamb (about 8 ribs each)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 container (9 ounces) BUITONI Refrigerated All Natural Refrigerated Pesto with Basil, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto Recipe

TRIM excess fat from the lamb.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto Recipe

ALLOW lamb to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting. When it’s at room temperature, it will cook evenly. Season the lamb on all sides with salt and pepper.

PREHEAT oven to 400° F.

HEAT the oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Place lamb racks, fat-side-down, in skillet; sear until browned (this should only take a few minutes – you just want them browned). Turn racks over and sear other side. At this point, I like to drain the oil from the skillet so it doesn’t spatter in the oven. Turn racks meat-side up; place skillet in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until thermometer placed in thickest portion registers 125-130° F (medium-rare). It’s best to check it at 15 minutes, especially if your oven runs hot.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto Recipe

TRANSFER lamb racks to a work surface and cover loosely with foil; let them rest for 10 minutes. Don’t skip this step – this is what makes the lamb so tender and juicy! Now is a good time to prepare the pesto sauce since it takes only a few minutes to put together.

COMBINE pesto, mint and water in medium bowl; stir well to combine. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add 1 more tablespoon if you prefer more tang. You might question why I added water to the mixture. I wanted it to be a little thinner in consistency – it’s just a matter of preference. I love the tang the lemon juice provides, but didn’t want to add too much. I could have also added more oil, but I didn’t want to add the calories. So water it was!

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto Recipe

Cut the lamb between the bones into single chops. The chops above are too done for my taste, but they are cooked to perfection for my kids. They like their lamb medium, and this was their rack. The lamb in the image below was cooked rare to medium-rare. Just the way I like it!

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Mint-Basil Pesto Recipe

Arrange chops on plates; drizzle with pesto. That’s it! This is truly one of the easiest recipes to prepare. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Related recipes:

Marinated Leg of Lamb Recipe Baked Cola-Brined Fresh Ham Recipe
Marinated Leg of Lamb Baked Cola-Brined Fresh Ham

Faux Fried Fish on Fridays: Two Fish Recipes

Written by Jenny

Crispy Oat Crusted Fish Fillets with Carnation Tartar Sauce recipe

About a month ago our local newspaper published all the locations in our area for a weekly Friday Night Fish Fry. I could not believe the number of them — literally hundreds — and some have been going on for more than 3 decades! Other publications I found help search them out by providing the type of fish and side dishes served, whether alcohol is available, credit cards taken, etc. Until a few years ago, I had not gone to many despite growing up very close to the Atlantic Ocean and now near one of the Great Lakes. How could this be?! Thank goodness one of my girlfriends straightened me out. She has made the Friday Night Fish Fry a get-together time that we look forward to every year.

Instead of going to a tavern, club, hall or church this week, perhaps we will switch things up by having our dinner at one of our homes. I have two recipe choices: Crispy Oat Crusted Fish Fillets with Carnation Tartar Sauce and the Panko Crusted Tilapia with Spicy Tartar Sauce. Both recipes  have a crunchy coating made without a fryer and are mighty tasty. Whatever recipe we choose will be served with sides of laughter for sure. Who knows…this may be our favorite location yet!

Crispy Oat Crusted Fish Fillets with Carnation Tartar Sauce (Pictured Above)

Ingredients for 6 servings:


  • 1 package (8 oz.) light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 2 large egg whites, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh or frozen (thawed) white fish fillets (such as tilapia)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to 3
  • lemon wedges



BEAT cream cheese and 2/3 cup evaporated milk in small mixer bowl until creamy. (Save remaining evaporated milk for the fish). Stir in relish, vinegar, salt and pepper. Store refrigerated in covered container for up to 4 days. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.


COMBINE remaining evaporated milk and egg whites in shallow dish. Combine oats, garlic powder and paprika in medium bowl. Dip fish fillets into evaporated milk mixture, coating both sides and then into oat mixture. Press oats gently onto both sides of fish to form crust. Place coated fillets on baking sheet. Discard evaporated milk and oat mixtures after dipping.

HEAT oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fillets; cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. (Thicker fillets may take longer to cook.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Creamy Carnation Tartar Sauce and lemon wedges.


  • For Tartar Sauce with a kick, add hot pepper sauce to taste.
  • If your quick-cooking oats are large in size, they can be processed to a smaller size in a blender or food processor.

Panko Crusted Tilapia with Spicy Tartar Sauce recipe

Panko Crusted Tilapia with Spicy Tartar Sauce

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs or regular unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 (about 12 ounces total) tilapia filets
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco, Tapatio or Cholula)


PREHEAT oven to 450° F.


PLACE flour and 1 tablespoon bouillon in shallow dish; mix well. Beat egg in second shallow dish. Place panko and remaining tablespoon bouillon in third shallow dish; mix well.

DIP fish in flour mixture, coating both sides. Dip in beaten egg, lightly coating both sides. Dip in panko mixture, coating both sides. Place fish on baking sheet.

BAKE for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish is cooked through and breading is slightly golden. Serve with Spicy Tartar Sauce.


COMBINE mayonnaise, relish and hot sauce in a small bowl. For a spicier sauce, add more hot sauce to taste.


More recent fish recipes:

Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Salsa recipe Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter Recipe
Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Salsa Grilled Swordfish Kabobs with Avocado Butter

Eating Fish on Fridays? Two Easy Fish Recipes

Written by Liz –

Fish Baked In Creamy Milk Sauce with Onions & Herbs recipe

Fish Baked In Creamy Milk Sauce with Onions & Herbs

Tender fish fillets seasoned with herbs are topped with sautéed onions and baked in a light, velvety creamy milk sauce in this classic dish from Colombia’s Pacific coast. Thyme, basil and anise give the sauce excellent flavor and will be a recipe you’ll want to try again and again.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thick rings
  • 1 lb. white fish of choice, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 cup water


PREHEAT oven to 325° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

HEAT 1 tablespoon olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden brown. Remove from skillet; set aside.

SEASON fish with salt and pepper. Add remaining oil to same skillet and cook fish until browned on both sides. Remove from heat. Place fish in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with thyme, basil and anise. Top with reserved onion rings. Combine milk and water in small glass measure; pour over fish. If desired, season with additional salt and pepper.

BAKE for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe

Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole

Convenient comfort food at its very best. This Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole is a comforting option for any weeknight or weekend meals.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 6 cups (about 8 oz.) dry medium egg noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans (9 oz. each) tuna, drained and flaked
  • 2 cans (10 oz. each) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 2/3 cup crushed potato chips


PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

MELT butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in noodles, tuna, soup and evaporated milk; mix well. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with potato chips.

BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until chips are golden brown.

More oven-steamed fish recipes:

 make it a meal Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto Recipe
Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto

Frozen Fruit Pop-a-looza: Lime Pops, Fruit Pops & Mocha Pops

Written by Liz –

Java Mocha Frozen Cream Bars recipe

I love national food holidays. What better excuse to have a dinner party and celebration something you haven’t eaten in a long time? August has an abundance of frozen treat holidays: Ice Cream Sandwich Day, Ice Cream Soda Day, Root Beer Float Day, Frozen Custard Day, Ice Cream Pie Day and on and on.

Root Beer Float Day was actually yesterday, which really sounded good, and then I read about some interesting not-root-beer frozen treats. I love frozen anything pops, so I decided to give you some frozen fruit pops — an August Frozen Treat-a-Palooza!

1. Java Mocha Frozen Cream Bars, shown above

Perfect for summer treats! These Java Mocha Frozen Cream Bars take just 20 minutes prep time, then are frozen overnight.

Frozen Lime Pops recipe

2. Frozen Lime Pops

Kids and adults alike will give this tangy, creamy treat an A+. These treats are a healthier choice for an after school snack, weekend sweet, or dessert. And, they are so easy to make, kids will have fun helping prepare them.

Juicy Juice Pops recipe

3. Juicy Juice Pops

Juicy Juice Pops feature luscious fruits and NESTLÉ JUICY JUICE All Natural 100% Juice. These refreshing frozen pops make a cool after-school treat and are great for poolside parties, too.


More frozen treat recipes:

Patriotic Fruit Pops recipe
Patriotic Fruit Pops
Watermelon Ice Cream Bombe recipe
Watermelon Ice Cream Bombe

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