Tortellini Primavera

This dinner was actually inspired by my absentmindedness to thaw the chicken breasts I had planned on grilling for dinner. Whoops! Oh well, this turned out just as tasty so no complaints here.

Once I realized that I needed to raid the fridge and “throw” something together, I started pulling out the fresh vegetables. We are big on meatless meals in the Frey household. Don’t get me wrong we love beef, chicken, pork, yada yada yada, but we like to incorporate a meatless meal at least once a week.

This tortellini primavera is not only easy and delicious but literally took me less than 20 minutes to prepare! Who’s in for that? It makes for the perfect weeknight meal, so skip those frozen dinners and salty takeout and get to chopping.

First I prepare the veggies I want to add. I pulled what I had in the fridge and that consisted of asparagus, tomatoes, zucchini and fresh basil. Chop vegetables as desired and put into a mixing bowl. Coat the vegetables with olive oil, garlic, S&P, and any other spices or seasonings you like.

While the water boils, saute the veggie mix in olive oil and turn in pan until desired firmness. I like my veggies with a little crunch…

Once the tortellini are finished (they only take a few minutes to cook and will float to the top when done) drain and then add the tortellini into the saute pan with veggies. Gently stir everything together so that the sauce begins to coat the pasta. Sprinkle some basil and grate some fresh cheese over the top and voila- dinner is done!

Here’s what you need:

-package of cheese tortellini
-2 medium zucchini
-2-3 garlic cloves, minced
-cherry tomatoes
-asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
-fresh basil
-extra virgin olive oil
-s&p to taste
-freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese

From Our Kitchen to Yours, 

~Melissa 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Off The Vine

It’s almost that time of year again…tomato season is just around the corner, pretty soon you will see an abundance of these beauties stocked up at your local store or farmers market.

Call me weird, but I love the smell of freshly picked tomatoes off the vine. It reminds me of summer ahhhh. We normally plant tomatoes in our garden, but unfortunately this year we didn’t get around to prepping the garden boxes in our new home in time for the season 😦 Oh well, there’s always next year. Last season we planted over 32 tomato plants…they were literally coming out of our ears! But we enjoyed using them in different recipes, we even made and canned our own tomato sauce. Yum yum, that will have to be another post. Our friends and family definitely were not complaining about our plethora of red beauties.

Did you know there are over 10,000 known varieties of tomatoes? Wowza! It can be overwhelming when trying to decide what kind you want to plant. Here are some of our favorites:

San Marzano – great for sauces
Sungold Cherries – explosive sweet flavor that is amazing in a salad or just snacking on
Radiator Charlies Mortgage Lifter – think tomato and burrata salad! Or piled on a juicy hamburger or sandwich!

Here is a quick and flavorful way to prepare tomatoes to add to pasta (check out my Chicken Caprese Casarecce Pasta recipe), fish or chicken dishes. You can even serve this as a healthy, vegetable side dish.

Sauteed Garlic Tomatoes:

Heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil in a saute pan
Add in 3-4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
Dice your cherry tomatoes into halves
Saute the tomatoes in the garlic and olive oil over medium heat until tomatoes soften and absorb the flavors of the garlic
S&P to taste and that’s it!

img_7966

Who said cooking was a lot of work?! Enjoy.

From our kitchen to yours,

Melissa

Let’s Avocuddle

Let’s be honest, nothing beats lounging at home all nice and cozy on a weekend morning while cooking up something delish! Being married to a chef definitely has it’s perks and let me tell you, he can whip up a pretty tasty brekkie. Anything from a fluffy omelet, a savory hash, a healthy parfait or to a traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon and potatoes.

But this time, the cooking was left to me! I wanted to make something simple and filling while using the ingredients we had (haven’t done the weekly shopping just yet). One thing you can always find in our kitchen are avocados, we love them! Next, I found the loaf of rye bread and I knew just what to do…avocado toast.

Avocado toast has been all the rage lately. It’s popping up everywhere! But did you know this simple, yet filling breakfast originated in Australia? That’s right mate, this concoction is the go-to dish for many Aussies and can be found on pretty much any breakfast menu just like pancakes are found here on the menus of America.

I simply toasted the rye bread. Smashed an avocado with a fork and added some salt and pepper to taste. Then I added a small amount of lime juice to boost the flavor of the avocado. Once the toast is done, I spread the avocado over the toast, finish with a little crack of pepper, sprinkle of sea salt and crushed red pepper and voila….brekkie is served!

There are many ways to spice up this traditional dish, here are some ideas of things you can add:

  • tomato
  • poached or fried egg
  • feta or goat cheese
  • cilantro
  • sprouts
  • pico de gallo
  • bacon
  • hot sauce
  • basil

Enjoy, from our kitchen to yours.

~Melissa

Summer Spaces

With summer well on the way, I’ve been dreaming of how to spruce up my outdoor living spaces. It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, we will be celebrating a year in our first home. We really haven’t splurged much and it definitely takes time and money to make everything come together just the way you want it to be.

I’ve found if I focus on one project or one space at a time, things can really come together. So here is a little summer space inspiration from our home to yours. I can’t wait to get decorating!

summer patio collage
Interested in this look? Here is what I found: swing, anchor wall decor, succulents, outdoor rug, side table, blue and white throw pillows, light blue coral pillow

Happy shopping!

~Melissa

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Chicken Caprese Casarecce Pasta

Alright true confessions…I am addicted to cookbooks, new recipes, and food photography! Anyone else out there with me on this? I’m always seeking a new recipe to test out and I find cooking to be very therapeutic…good thing I married a chef!

After spending countless hours on Pinterest “pinning” away, I found that I was intrigued by several of Skinnytaste’s recipes, it was then that I decided I would test-drive her cookbook. So to Amazon I went and purchased this baby for less than $20! What a steal of a deal!

As I routinely do when getting a new cookbook, I scoured through the pages and chose my go-to tester recipes. There was something comforting and cozy about the Chicken Pasta Caprese dish and knew I would have to test it for myself….well and for Greg too  🙂

I adapted this recipe with my own touches, as I do with most recipes in order to make them my own. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! This tasty pasta dish has been added to our repeat dinner list for sure!

Season the diced chicken with dried basil, oregano, salt and black pepper to taste. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil over med-high heat, add the chicken and saute until cooked through. Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a plate.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water based on cooking instructions listed on package. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 c. of the pasta water.

In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over med-high heat. Add the garlic, stirring frequently to make sure it does not burn. Once fragrant and golden, add the halved tomatoes, salt & pepper to taste, balsamic vinegar and crushed red pepper, reduce heat to med-low and cook frequently stirring until the tomatoes become tender, about 6-10 min.

Add the chicken back into the sauteed tomatoes, stirring until well coated. Add the cooked pasta into the saute pan. Add the reserved pasta water as needed to keep the consistency you prefer. Toss all ingredients until well coated.

Side note: for all you dog lovers out there, I have my own personal sous chef, Maizie, our beautiful yellow lab. She loves to keep me company in the kitchen and sure doesn’t miss a beat when anything drops on the floor.

Ok back to the food…

Add in fresh mozzarella cheese and stir until the cheese starts to melt and blend throughout. Remove from heat and add in freshly sliced basil leaves.

That’s pretty much it…super simple and tasty as can be. Now it’s time to eat! Enjoy.

From our table to yours,

~Melissa & Maizie

Ingredients:

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 cubes
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt (we prefer Kosher)
freshly ground pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp. balsalmic vinegar
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. thinly sliced basil leaves
4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
12 oz. Barilla casarecce pasta
1/2 c. pasta water

 

 

 

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Mediterranean Couscous

This delicious mediterranean couscous side dish is wonderful served with fish or chicken or even enjoyed as leftovers the next day, simply add to a bed of mixed greens and drizzle with a vinaigrette dressing.

Ingredients:

12-15 cherry tomatoes, sliced in quarters
2 tbsp. olive oil
3-5 garlic cloves
s&p to taste
1 c pearl (Israeli) couscous
12-15 kalamata olives, sliced in half
1 tbsp fresh mint
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 1/4 c chicken broth
fresh lemon juice

Cook the couscous according to the directions on the package. Use chicken broth in lieu of the water. This will add additional flavor to the couscous without adding additional salt.

While the couscous cooks, heat the olive oil over med-high heat in a saute pan. Add halved cherry tomatoes and heat until the tomatoes start to soften, add in chopped garlic cloves and saute until the garlic becomes fragrant but keep an eye so you don’t burn.

Add the cooked couscous into the saute pan with the tomato and garlic mixture. Add in sliced olives and fresh herbs. Mix all until well combined and heated through. S&P to taste and then squeeze some fresh lemon juice to taste.

That’s it, pretty simple and super fast. Enjoy!

From our kitchen to yours,

~Melissa

Roasted Golden Beets

Not only are golden beets a sweet treat but they also provide multiple health benefits and make a great addition to your well-balanced diet. Did you know that beets lower blood pressure, aid weight loss and work as an energy and brain booster? So why not fill your plate with these sweet little health boosters.

We’re sharing our roasting recipe as this is our favorite way to prepare.


When you are shopping for your beets at your local farmers market or produce store, look for beets that still have their leafy greens. The greens are a great indicator of freshness. Vibrant and crisp stems without any rot is a sign of a fresh beet. Avoid wilted stems with any signs of rot. When the greens are cut from the beet root prior to your purchase, the beets will actually bleed moisture resulting in loss of flavor and poor texture. So avoid buying beets without stems.

It’s best to take advantage of beets during the seasons which cool weather prevails, such as spring and fall.

  Preparing the beets:

Twist off or cut the greens from the beet near the base. If the greens are young and fresh reserve for another recipe such as wilting or sautéing. We gave ours to our tortoise, who enjoys this tasty treat!

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse beets to you remove any dirt. Peel and rough chop the onion or shallots. Smash and discard the skin of the garlic. Thin slice the orange. Toss all ingredients except water into a large bowl with beets. Toss to coat and then lay into baking dish.  Add water.  

Make sure there aren’t any stems or roots sticking out over the edge of the pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure you get a tight seal. Then cover with aluminum foil. What actually cooks the beets is the steam caught within the pan. This is why you want to get a good tight seal so that the steam doesn’t escape.

For beets 1-2 inches bake 30-45 minutes and for beets 2-3 inches bake for an hour.

After the beets have baked, be very careful opening the corner as the steam escapes. Let cool for about 20 minutes. It’s easiest to peel when warm. Use a paper towel to rub the skin and remove.  Set beets aside to cool and enjoy!

Add to a salad, serve sliced, add to pasta or side dish…the options are limitless.


Ingredients:

  • 2lbs beets (tops removed,washed)
  • 2 shallots or 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 small orange or tangerine
  • 1/4 c vinegar if your choice i.e. White, red, Apple, honey (avoid dark vinegar)
  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • Liberal amounts of S & P to taste
  • 1/2 c water

 

Cheers!

~Melissa & Greg