Pasta Dishes

Chris raved about this dish from his very first bite. I was stoked about that because I really liked it also.

A few hours after his first dinner, Chris headed back to the refrigerator for seconds. As he sat in the floor (we are big time floor sitters, in fact we have a whole room geared up for optimal floor sitting) eating cold Pad Thai, he commented that it got better and better with every bite. I totally took this the wrong way.

“What do you mean by that? Do you mean that you didn’t like it the first time around, but you just said that you did to appease me?”

“No, I meant just what I said, it tastes better and better to me as I keep eating.”

“Is that some kind of backhanded compliment?”

“Relax, it’s just that usually when I make things they taste good at first and then kind of ‘meh’ by the end.”

“But you always make yourself the same foods…”

“Uh huh. This is really good though.”

The moral of this story: You should make Pad Thai because it tastes good. Even cold Pad Thai, while sitting on the floor tastes better and better with each bite.

From Cooking Light.


  • Sauce:
    • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 to 2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Sriracha.)
    • 1 tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
    • 1 tbspn maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 oz extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed (see my favorite pressing technique here), and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup sliced green onion tops
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • 8 oz (uncooked weight) wide rice stick noodles (Banh Pho), cooked and drained
  • 5 lime wedges


  • To prepare sauce, whisk together first 5 ingredients.
  • Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add mushrooms, carrot, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes.
  • Add sauce and tofu; cook 1 minute.
  • Stir in coconut milk; cook 2 minutes.
  • Stir in lettuce, sprouts, green onions, cilantro, peanut, and noodles; cook 1 minute.
  • Serve with lime wedges.

Servings ~ 5
Calories ~ 385, Fat ~ 14 g, Carbohydrates ~ 54 g, Protein ~ 14 g

After last winter’s love affair with Mac and Cheese with Squash and Peas and my obsession last fall with Pumpkin Ravioli, I knew that I had to try this recipe as soon as possible. It is essentially a hybrid of my two favorite pasta dishes and it did not disappoint.

Sunday afternoon I spent a few hours attempting to cook enough meals to last us for the whole week. It worked out pretty well. As of Thursday morning we still have two portions of food remaining for Thursday night dinner. For a long time, I did a weekly Sunday cooking marathon. I can’t quite remember why I stopped.

It may have come to and end during a phase of grocery list apathy. Cooking everything on Sunday means writing all of the necessary ingredients on the same grocery list in time for weekend grocery shopping. 

Another theory is that I stopped doing it when we joined our CSA. The CSA seemed like a nice idea, but the Wednesday produce pickup did not fit in all that well with our Saturday grocery shopping scheme. It had me going to the grocery store on Wednesdays and Saturdays which was far too often for my taste.

Whatever the case, I may need to revive that ritual so we can have another week mashed potato free.

Adapted from Meet Me on the Corner of Peachtree and Peachtree.


  • 1 13.25 oz box whole grain pasta
  • 2 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1.75 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 5 big handfuls of baby spinach
  • heavy-handed sprinkles of salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil
  • dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, dried marjoram


  • Cook pasta, drain, then return to pot.
  • Set burner to a low heat, then mix in the remaining ingredients.
  • Cover and let it sit on low heat until the spinach is completely wilted.
  • Add additional milk as needed.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 264, Fat ~ 5.4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 42.3 g, Protein ~ 12.2 g

Last week we were on vacation. I sure wish that we still were!

Remember the refrigerator clean-out posts from a few weeks back? Well, it has remained cleaned out.

Although we have been home for a few days, we have not been grocery shopping in 19 days.

19 days! That is a long time.

Surprisingly, we still have a few decent meals left in our refrigerator! This was good the first night and the leftovers were even better!

Adapted from: Kate in the Kitchen


  • 112 g whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 cups frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup canned mushrooms
  • 2 chicken sausage links
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook pasta according to instructions on the package.
  • After the pasta has been added to the boiling water, combine olive oil, wine, lemon juice, and garlic in a large skillet.
  • If your broccoli and sausage are frozen like mine were (the sausage was pre-cooked), add them both first and cook for several minutes until they start to become tender. You are going to have to use some common sense here about which ingredients need to go into the pan first!
  • Add mushrooms and continue cooking.
  • Drain pasta and toss in the skillet with the remaining ingredients.
  • Enjoy!

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 488, Fat ~ 12 g, Carbohydrates ~ 70 g, Protein 47 g

Who says an awesome dinner can’t be based on cabbage?

First we had Okonomiyaki now, this!

This cabbage really will melt in your mouth. And I think it may even be acceptable to non-cabbage eaters. 

Its only downfall is that Meltaway Cabbage may have to be reserved for the weekends due to the long cook time. Spending just over an hour cooking a weeknight meal does not happen often at Duke’s House.

Fortunately, Chris got home late tonight, so this meal stood a chance of being eaten, but on a typical night Chris would be two frozen dinners deep before the cabbage had been cooked to meltaway goodness.

I served the cabbage with tofu that was dredged in a mixture of flour, corn starch, and paprika, then lightly browned in a skillet. The tofu complimented the cabbage well. 

When I make this again, I may try to incorporate Sweet Thai Chili Sauce. I don’t know that it needs it, but Chris and I both really like Sweet Thai Chili Sauce and I can imagine that it would be pretty good.

Adapted from The Local Cook.


  • 2 tbsp yogurt butter
  • 1/2 head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 oz. pasta
  • pepper to taste
  • sour cream (for garnish, I used fat free)


  • Melt the butter in a large pot with a heavy bottom.
  • Add the onion and sauté until tender.
  • Add the paprika and sauté further.
  • Stir in the cabbage and salt and cook on very low heat for one hour stirring occasionally until the cabbage is soft. (The longer the cabbage cooks, the sweeter it will be.)
  • Mix the pasta in. Add pepper to taste.
  • Serve with sour cream.

Servings ~ 3

Calories (not including sour cream or the tofu pictured) ~ 278, Fat ~ 6 g, Carbohydrates ~ 56 g, Protein ~ 11 g

Last week, while on a mission to buy fenugreek seeds, I found myself at my local Asian grocery store with a carton of shelf stable silken tofu in my basket. I’m not really sure what inspired me to buy it, other than the fact that I had not ever noticed shelf stable tofu before and I was feeling adventurous. Some of my other loot included coriander seed (very difficult to find where I live), marjoram, prawn crackers, and soba noodles.

I was so excited about the prawn crackers that I opened up the package before I even left the parking lot. To my dismay, the prawn crackers were nothing but a disappointment. I am fairly open-minded when it comes to food and I had fond memories of prawn crackers from my trip to China, but these did not measure up to my expectations. In fact, the prawn cracker that I ate was the only thing that I have eaten in recent memory that tasted so bad that I had trouble chewing and swallowing it. After I got home with them and tried to feed Duke one, I decided not to feel so bad about them. Even Duke turned his nose up at these crackers.

Anyway, back to the tofu. In reality it should have seemed like an even worse idea than the prawn crackers. Consider Parmalat vs. regular milk, yes, downright unappealing. Fortunately, that logic did not win out and I ended up with a creamy pasta dish that reasonably approximates an alfredo but without the fat and calories. I anticipate stocking up on shelf stable tofu and making this dish quite often!


  • 1 package firm, silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup plain light soymilk
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 8 oz (dry) whole wheat pasta
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  • Cook the pasta as directed on the package and drain.
  • Break the tofu into chunks and place in a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, salt, and soymilk.
  • Blend everything until very smooth and creamy.
  • Pour the sauce into a medium size saucepan and keep over low heat.
  • Stir in herbs and parmesan while constantly stirring until the cheese is melts (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Stir in the peas.
  • After peas have thawed, stir in the pasta.
  • Spread the mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with grated mozzarella cheese, parsley and basil as desired.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 350, Fat ~ 8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 52 g, Protein ~ 22 g

Yet another dish “borrowed” from Branny Boils Over, my most reliable source for tasty, healthy recipes. This dish is as tasty as it is healthy. Chris took one bite and said “This is like some kind of trick Alfredo.” That sums it up pretty well. It does have a fair amount of cabbage and spinach in it, which I am a really big fan of, but may not be for everyone.

When I asked if  this stuff was good enough that I should abandon our previous mac ‘n’ cheese staple, ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Squash and Peas’, Chris said no, these dishes should be made with equal frequency. That is quite a rave review, as we like Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Squash and Peas so well that I have stockpiled butternut squash puree in our freezer in case of emergency.


  • 2 cups whole wheat rotini or elbows (8 oz)
  • 1 tbsp Brummel & Brown Original Spread (or butter substitute)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 3 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided


  • Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease a baking dish.
  • Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet and add onions. Saute 5 minutes and add garlic, cabbage, salt, and caraway. Cook until cabbage is tender, about 7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in chopped spinach.
  • Stir in cottage cheese, sour cream, dill, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
  • Spread into baking pan.
  • Top with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, 20-30 minutes.
  • Let rest 5-10 minutes before digging in.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 340, Fat ~ 6.5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 56 g, Protein ~ 22 g

What is queso fresco, you ask? And why is the Mexican sounding cheese being served with Asian noodles? Queso fresco is the cheese of choice in Duke’s House. We are on a mission to pinch pennies in any way possible to save for a great mountain climbing expedition later this year. Queso fresco is the most economical, versatile cheese that Chris and I have happened on so far. At $2.86 for 12 ounces, it can’t be beat. Queso fresco is the only cheese on our grocery list, so I expect that it will make frequent showings here. 

After buying Soba noodles on a whim last week, it became my mission to find something good to do with them. I scoured all of my go-to cooking blogs and recipe websites and finally found something that struck my fancy. Perhaps it is due to her great photography or possibly due to my nearly flawless track record with her cooking I selected this recipe from The Way the Cookie Crumbles to base my cooking endeavor on. 


  • 12 ounces soba noodles
  • 10 ounces frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 4 scallions, chopped


  • Cook noodles and peas together until noodles are tender.
  • While noodles and peas are cooking, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, salt, and black pepper in a sealable container (you will toss the noodles and peas in it later).
  • Crumble queso fresco and chop scallions, these will be used as a garnish.
  • When the noodles and peas are finished cooking, drain and then add to the sauce mixture.
  • Toss noodles and sauce.
  • Garnish each serving with queso fresco and scallions.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 278, Carbohydrates ~ 39 g, Fat ~ 10 g, Protein ~ 11 g