Hey, what if you could make a pasta dish that was rich and satisfying and perfect for any day? Okay, that’s sort of my mantra (or is it my chakra?) but, in any event, this is an earthy and creamy dish that is pretty low in fat and makes a perfect weeknight dinner in 30 minutes or less. Sold? Sold.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, that old so-and-so. Serve with truffle oil and/or pinot noir.

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Pasta with Mushroom

Pasta with Mushroom and Ricotta Cream Sauce
Ingredients
  • 2/3 pound rigatoni, or other pasta
  • 1 Tbsp butter, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 pound white or crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp. thyme, picked from sprigs
  • Juice from ½ of a lemon
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste
Directions
  1. Boil pasta in heavily salted water until al dente or just short of al dente.
  2. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about five minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, blend the garlic and the thyme in the Magic Bullet. Add the garlic and thyme to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add mushrooms; season with salt and pepper and cook until browned, about eight minutes. Meanwhile, stir up the ricotta and the chicken broth in your Magic Bullet.
  5. Remove skillet from heat and stir together pasta, ricotta sauce, lemon juice, chicken broth, mushrooms, and any extra butter or pasta cooking water, as desired. Stir until everything is warmed and the pasta is well-coated with the sauce and mushrooms.
  6. Serve, passing parmesan.

Enjoy!

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This much is clear: if you can make stovetop macaroni and cheese that is much more delicious than what comes from the box in less than half an hour with minimal ingredients, you must do it.

This recipe is from The Food Lab, Kenji Lopez-Alt’s newish tome of a book about all things food science, or rather recipes involving food science. The real, secret strength of this recipe is the way that it gets gooey and delicious, while maintaining that great cheese flavor that mac and cheese is all about. This miracle is accomplished with a few special ingredients: cornstarch and evaporated milk, rather than a béchamel, provide creaminess without any off-tasting or gritty flour, and just a touch of American cheese allows for the cheese to melt through and through. An egg also adds amazing pasta-grabbing ability.

The best part? Virtually no technique is required. Just boil up some pasta and throw all the ingredients together. Grate your cheese in the Magic Bullet and mix – and that’s it!

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Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Adapted from The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt

Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 5-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar
  • 1/4 pound American cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into hunks
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce, or to taste
  • frozen peas, optional, to taste
Directions
  1. Cook pasta in heavily salted water until barely al dente. Optional: add frozen peas about a minute before the pasta is done.
  2. Blend the cheeses in the Magic Bullet, then move them to a bowl with the cornstarch and stir. Add the other ingredients (except the pasta!) to the Magic Bullet and blend or shake until well-mixed.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the saucepan. Over low heat, add the butter and then everything else. Season to taste with salt and serve while hot.

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If you love peanut butter like I do, you probably spend all your time trying to figure out how to work it into more recipes. For whatever reason, that’s not something that’s done very often, at least not here in the ol’ U. S. of A. But, as it turns out, in West Africa they use peanut butter to create a delicious and nutritious soup, loaded with lots of vegetables and sweet potatoes for a healthy, savory, creamy, peanut buttery delight. Even better, it all comes together in under an hour using tasty, fresh ingredients, making this a great weeknight dinner that’ll knock your family’s socks off.

I’ve adapted this recipe from a giant of Senegalese cooking, Mark Bittman. I’ve also added some extra-savory things to make it even tastier.

P.S. This reheats great the next day.

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Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes, Chicken, and Kale
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup peanuts
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 very large sweet potato (about two pounds), peeled and sliced
  • 8 tomatoes from a can, roughly chopped or sliced
  • ½ pound kale, cut into ribbons (I used half of a big bag)
  • 1/3 cup natural, organic peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • Salt, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
Directions
  1. Blend peanuts in your Magic Bullet until chopped (don’t make peanut butter) and remove to a bowl.
  2. Pour oil into a Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about five minutes.
  3. Blend the garlic and ginger in your Magic Bullet. Add to the pot and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add chicken and continue cooking for another few minutes, until just coloring.
  5. Add the peanuts, chicken broth, water, and sweet potatoes.
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat down to medium-low.
  7. Stir in tomatoes and kale, then cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, and fish sauce, and stir until peanut butter is combined. Taste for salt and adjust thickness by adding more peanut butter or water. Serve, passing hot sauce.

Enjoy!

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This chicken finger recipe brings out the inner kid in me. I used to love chicken fingers as a kid, and still do! Every now and then, I like to mix it up a little. Sometimes, I’ll make cornflakes chicken fingers, cracker chicken fingers, this time, I mixed it up a little and made them with crushed pretzel twists. The pretzels are salty and crunchy, which make them the perfect coating for chicken!

The Magic Bullet does a great job chopping up those mini pretzel twists, which you can use to coat the chicken fingers before baking them in the oven. Now, tell me: do you eat them with your fingers? You can knife-and-fork these guys, but where’s the fun in that??

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Pretzel Chicken Fingers
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced in 3 parts each
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup mini pretzel twists
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the mini pretzels to a Magic Bullet cup and pulse a few times until crushed enough for coating. Transfer to a plastic ziplock bag.
  3. Add the egg, mustard, and garlic powder to a bowl and beat together with a fork.
  4. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the chicken breast pieces, then dip each piece in the egg and then place in the bag and shake to coat with pretzel.
  5. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Makes 6 chicken fingers.

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Hey, if you haven’t been to Mexico City yet, what’s stopping you? The New York Times says it’s the number 1 place to visit this year. I’ve actually been twice in the past year. What’s so great about Mexico City? In a word, FOOD. Street food is everywhere in Mexico City and people are always eating and the flavors are good. Like, really good. Tacos, soups, enchiladas, raw tuna with avocado on fried tortillas, grasshoppers – you name it, if it’s delicious, people in Mexico City are eating it.

Okay, so if you can’t get to Mexico City, or at least can’t get there in the next week, try this delicious Mexican corn salad. I even used feta cheese in place of cotija or queso fresco cheese, just to make it totally gringo – erm, Americanized – for you. It can be a little hard to find authentic Mexican spices and cheese if you don’t happen to live near an ethnic supermarket, although most major grocery stores are starting to up their variety of flavorful global ingredients.

Known as esquites, this is really elote in a bowl, and if neither of those things mean anything to you, just think grilled (or griddled) corn with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili pepper. Yeah, yum. Plus, this way you can eat it without worrying about getting sick from fresh vegetables while still, well, eating your vegetables.

Adapted from Serious Eats.

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Mexican Corn Salad (Esquites)
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 ears corn, shucked with kernels sliced from cob
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 oz feta cheese (or cotija cheese)
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • 12 cilantro sprigs, stems roughly removed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • Juice from a lime
  • Chili powder, to taste
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add corn, season with salt, toss once or twice, and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about ten minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, blend cheese in your Magic Bullet cup. Remove to a bowl and add the garlic to your cup. Blend the garlic and add to your bowl. Add the cilantro to your cup, blend, and remove to the bowl.
  3. Once the corn is ready, add along with the other ingredients to your bowl, stir it all up, and taste for salt.

Enjoy!

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Colorful Beef Skewers

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Happy 4th of July!

The grill’s heating up, friends are making their way over, and you’ve got pounds of meat to cook. No biggie. For the BBQ novice, it can all be pretty intimidating — but never fear! I’m here with a quick and easy recipe that’ll satisfy all your holiday guests, and make you look pretty nifty at the grill.

Skewers! Skewers don’t require a lot of work to look and taste great. These beef skewers are brilliantly colorful when made with a variety of different fresh vegetables. The chopped beef is marinated for a few hours with a special blend made in the Magic Bullet before cooking, so it becomes really flavorful. Serve alone as an appetizer before the big meal, or alongside cooked rice as a main course.

Enjoy!

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Colorful Beef Skewers
Ingredients
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups pineapple, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Add the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and salt to a Magic Bullet cup and blend for 15 seconds.
  2. Pour over the chopped beef in a marinade dish, cover and chill for at least 2 hours prior to cooking.
  3. Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill.
  4. Slide the beef and vegetables onto skewers and cook for about 6 minutes until beef is cooked to your preference.

Makes 8 skewers.

What is it with grain salads? For decades, we didn’t know they existed, and now they’re everywhere. Here’s a hint: they’re delicious.

In this one, I tried out a new grain: pearled barley. It’s sort of like farro, but a little less nutty and a little more… barley-ey? It’s great for a weeknight, since it boils up to al dente in fifteen minutes.

This fish sauce vinaigrette, adapted from The Kitchn, pulls everything together nicely with tart, umami, and salty notes. Although fish sauce is famously not fishy, here, I play up the seafood element by pairing the sauce with griddled scallops (scallops a la plancha). To get a beautiful crust on the scallops (or any protein), I recommend salting them a day before and leaving uncovered in the fridge. And roasted brussels sprouts, too, for vegetal, crispy, chewy deliciousness. Obviously.

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Fish Sauce Vinaigrette with Pearled Barley Salad
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • ¾ cup pearled barley
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Half a bundle of scallions, sliced
  • Protein of choice, cooked to taste – I used scallops
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Blend the vinegar, fish sauce, honey, and olive oil in your Magic Bullet.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the pearled barley in heavily salted water for fifteen minutes or until al dente. Rinse with cold water to cool.
  4. Toss the brussels sprouts with a dash of olive oil and a hefty dash of salt and roast in the oven until crispy and brown, about twenty minutes.
  5. Toss brussels, scallions, barley, and protein with the vinaigrette.
  6. Enjoy!

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Sometimes the best pancakes are the ones that come completely out of left field. That’s the case with this recipe, which uses granola, apple sauce, and yogurt to create a light and fluffy pancake that isn’t heavy and tastes absolutely great. It’s a sweet break from a traditional pancake blend, and one that you’ll find yourself making over and over.

I topped with berries, but you can top with fresh, sliced apple, cinnamon, or a drizzle of honey. Your choice!

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Apple Yogurt Pancakes
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Blend all ingredients in Magic Bullet.
  2. Cook on non-stick frying pan. Be extra careful with them, though, and keep heat relatively low to keep from falling apart.

Make sure you make extra – you’re going to want seconds!

The summer can be brutal, and the majority of the time, I just want to enjoy a nice, refreshing piece of fruit. Almost daily, my kids and I venture to the pool with packed lunches and sunscreen. The last thing I want to eat is a sandwich, so I created this salad as my g0-to. 😉 It’s light, refreshing, but still totally filling. And, you won’t feel full or bloated in your bathing suit!

We all know how important that it!

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Strawberry Mint Watermelon Salad
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped, seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/3 cup feta
  • ½ lime, juiced, or 1 whole lime if it’s not super juicy
  • 6-7 mint leaves
  • zest of ½ lime
Directions
  1. In a bowl, add chopped watermelon, strawberries, and feta. Using the smallest Magic Bullet cup, add in your lime juice and mint leaves.
  2. Blend until the mint leaves are chopped up and the lime is well incorporated.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad and mix. Top with lime zest, and enjoy!

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This dish is such a classic for me that I couldn’t believe I’d never blogged about it for Magic Bullet. It’s an easy weeknight dish: an incredibly delicious pasta with somewhat off-beat ingredients and reasonably healthy to boot.

If you think you don’t like cauliflower, this will turn you into a convert: the high heat gets it crispy and sweet and delicious. And if you think you don’t like anchovies, well, first of all, you’re nuts, but second of all, this will also turn you into a convert: the combination of raw garlic and anchovies (which combine to create the lovely Italian flavors of “bagna cauda”) gives a lip-smacking, slap-your-grandma flavor burst in lieu of a sauce. When I started making this dish, I wasn’t too acquainted with using fennel seed, either, but it gives a nice subtle anisey flavor that really contrasts nicely with the rest.

With a big thank you to Adam Roberts (aka the Amateur Gourmet), from whom I’ve adapted this amazing dish.

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Pasta with Cauliflower and Garlic Bagna Cauda
Ingredients
  • 1 pound short pasta (like rigatoni)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets, stem removed
  • 1 tin anchovies, reserving oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Big dash of red pepper flakes
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roast cauliflower florets until crispy, about twenty minutes. Meanwhile, boil pasta in heavily salted water until al dente.
  2. Blend garlic in Magic Bullet, then add the anchovies with their oil and the red pepper flakes and blend.
  3. Mix together the pasta, the blended ingredients, and the cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil for added richness. Serve, passing parmesan.

Enjoy!