Archives for posts with tag: snap peas

Penne with Shrimp, Feta, and Spring Vegetables

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This is the ultimate one-pot dish. It is so light and lemony and a wonderful way to feature asparagus and snap peas. Start to finish it takes no more than 15 minutes to prep and cook.


This week’s meal plan is a celebration of spring. It features many of the vegetables that I’ve been waiting all winter to eat: spinach, asparagus, snap peas, ramps and even rhubarb! Last Saturday, I visited the Boro Hall Greenmarket for the first time in awhile and was so happy to see piles of ramps and rhubarb. I snatched them both up even though I had no idea what I’d do with them. That’s what I love most about this time of year – meal planning shifts from recipe-driven to ingredient-driven. You have to embrace a little uncertainty but trust me, you’ll be rewarded!

Rhubarb Ramps_Web

Meal #1: Chicken Saltimbocca + Sautéed Spinach
Meal #2: Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Cherry Sauce + Roasted Asparagus
Meal #3: Splayed Roast Chicken With Caramelized Ramps, Garlic and Capers + Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Meal #4: Penne with Shrimp, Feta, and Spring Vegetables

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

spinach – 2 large bags or bunches
ramps  – 1 bunch
asparagus – 2 bunches
snow peas – 1/2 lb.
rhubarb – 8-10 ounces (about 5 to 6 stalks)
onion – 1
fingerling potatoes – 1 lb.
sage – 1 bunch
mint – 1 bunch
rosemary – 1 bunch (optional)
lemon – 2
chicken broth – 1 small can
penne pasta – 1 box
feta – 4 ounces
dried cherries – 1/2 cup
pine nuts – 1/4 cup (optional)
capers (If you don’t already have them)
chicken cutlets – 4 (6 to 8 ounces each)
thinly sliced prosciutto – 4 slices (3 ounces)
whole chicken – 1 (approx. 4 1/2 lb.)
pork chops – 4 (6 to 8 ounces each)
shrimp – 1 lb.
dry white wine – 3/4 cup

We all juggle commitments to family, friends, work, our home, and of course, ourselves. Unfortunately, most of us don’t do a great job balancing these important aspects of our lives and at least one often gets neglected. I think some people are better at being out of balance than others, but I am not one of those people. I like routine and habit – I always have. Having Eliza really shook up a lot of the balance that I had carefully crafted and maintained over the years. Two years into motherhood, I think I have a better handle on how unscripted and unplanned life can be, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

One way that I’ve dealt with the imbalance, or rather the stress of living with it, is to cook. I realize cooking isn’t everyone’s remedy, but it is mine. There is something about reading recipes, organizing ingredients, prepping vegetables and preparing a meal that I find very therapeutic. Within a few minutes I am out of my own head and into the creation process, which is often what I need. I love the concentration that chopping an onion requires and the creativity that sparks when I stray from a recipe. This week was another busy week, beginning with my business trip to Madison, Wi. and ending with Patrick working an  evening and having his usual Thursday night class. Fortunately, I got a few homemade dinners in to keep me on balance.

The tools of my "therapy"

Tools for my “therapy”

Meal #1: Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Tomatoes
Meal #2: Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemon
Meal #3: Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Olives
Meal #4: Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry + Rice

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

red, new potatoes – 2 lb.
ginger – 1 small piece
scallions – 1 bunch
red, yellow or orange peppers – 2
zucchini and/or summer squash – 2
snap peas – 1 cup
shallots – 12 to 15
leeks – 4
cherry or grape tomatoes – 2 pints
tarragon – a few sprigs
parsley – 1 bunch
lemon – 1
kalamata olives (if you don’t already have them)
soy sauce (if you don’t already have it)
oyster sauce (if you don’t already have it)
rice wine vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
sesame oil (if you don’t already have it)
dijon mustard (if you don’t already have it)
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
white wine
eggs – 2
penne or another short pasta – 1 box
chicken breast – 1 lb.
bone-in chicken thighs – 8
bacon – 6 slices
cod fillet – 6 to 8 oz. per person

Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry
Stir Fry Ingredients_web

There is nothing special about this recipe; it is a variation on what you have probably been making since college. Lately, I’ve been trying out some different sauces, rather than just my standard soy sauce. I came up with this sauce on the fly while the chicken and vegetables were cooking so I’m open to suggestions.

1 TB. vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ inch of ginger, minced
1 bunch of scallions, whites and a little bit of the green stem chopped*
2 red, yellow or orange peppers, chopped *
2 zucchini and/or summer squash, chopped *
1 cup, or a handful of snap peas
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips *

* ingredients that can be prepped several days ahead.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large saute pan until almost, but not quite, smoking. Add garlic and ginger and stir constantly until you can smell their loveliness. Add scallions, pepper, and squash and saute for about 3 minutes. When the pepper starts to soften a bit add the chicken and quickly stir together. After 3-5 minutes the chicken should be cooked through; add the snap peas and give it a quick stir. Then, add the sauce (see below for ingredients) and stir for about a minute to thicken it up and coat all of the vegetables and chicken. Top with the greens of the scallions.


¼ cup soy sauce
½ ts. oyster sauce
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 ts. sesame oil

Mix all ingredients together and set aside.




Last weekend we escaped the dirty snow of New York and spent several days at my parent’s new house in Vermont. It is the perfect vacation house because it has plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a huge living room with two giant couches. It begs for groups. Funny enough, since I am an only child, there have only been a few nights where more than five of us have stayed there. But this weekend we packed the house – there were the five of us, two of my best friends, one of their boyfriends, and one of their daughters. Besides a lot of sledding, downhill skiing, and snowshoeing, we drank a bit too much wine and bourbon, and ate a ton of Vermont cheese.

Patrick in the snow fort he built out of 3 feet of snow.

Patrick in the snow fort he built out of 3 feet of snow.

Leading up to the weekend, my Mom and I planned the weekend’s menus. Knowing we had a lot of people to feed we tried to design meals that would be easy to prepare for a big group, be universally loved, and accommodate a variety of tastes and dietary needs. A couple of our weekend’s feasts made it to this week’s meal plan, along with two others that would also work for a large group. All of these meals can also be adjusted for as few as two people.

(Meals should feed four adults and take about 30-40 minutes to prepare, or the time it takes Patrick to give Eliza a bottle and put her to bed.)

Meal # 1: Cauliflower and Sausage Casserole + Green Salad
Meal # 2: Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes + Green Beans
Meal # 3: Shrimp “Scampi” with Linguine + Green Salad
Meal # 4: Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry + Rice

Your Grocery List, excluding the usual pantry items:

cauliflower – 1 medium (about 2 lb.)
onion – 2
scallions – 1 bunch
snap peas – 1 cup, or handful
lettuce – 1 head or bag
lemon – 1
red or yukon gold potatoes – 1 lb.
red, yellow or orange pepper – 2
zucchini and/or summer squash – 2
green beans – 1 ½ lb.
ginger – 1 small piece
whole peeled tomatoes – 1, 28-ounce can
fresh or dried thyme (if you don’t already have it)
dried basil (if you don’t already have it)
dried oregano (if you don’t already have it)
garlic powder (if you don’t already have it)
Worcestershire sauce (if you don’t already have it) – optional
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
ketchup (if you don’t already have it)
soy sauce  (if you don’t already have it)
oyster sauce (if you don’t already have it)
rice wine vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
sesame oil  (if you don’t already have it)
eggs – 2
linguine – 2-3 oz. per person
sausage – ½ lb.
ground beef – 2 lb.
chicken breast – 1 lb.
bacon – 3 strips
cheddar cheese – ¼ lb.
shrimp – 1 ½ lb.
dry white wine