Pasta with Shrimp, Artichokes and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This may not be the prettiest pasta but it is tasty! It relies entirely on jarred, boxed or frozen ingredients plus one lemon, onion and garlic. It gets a lot of flavor from the marinated artichokes (and the oily brine they are packed in) and the sun-dried tomatoes so don’t skimp on those ingredients!


1 onion, sliced into half-moons

3 cloves garlic, sliced 

3 oz julienne sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not oil-packed)

12 oz jar fired roasted red pepper, drained and sliced

12 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts 

2 tablespoons capers

juice of 1 lemon

12 frozen shrimp

12 oz trottole pasta (or other small/medium pasta)


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the shrimp. Cook until just pink. Remove from water using a slotted spoon or spider. Set aside. Add pasta to the same water, cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, add the sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper, artichoke hearts (with liquid!), capers and lemon juice. Saute until warmed through. Add the shrimp, continue to cook until the shrimp is fully cooked. Add the pasta, toss to combine.

daily recap · what we ate

Day 7(!) Recap: Mochiko Chicken, Chocolate Cake & Mediterranean-ish Wraps (3/19/20)

Happy Spring! If I have to be stuck at home it’s nice to see flowers and hear the birds chirping.

Last Thursday was the last day either of us went out. I did an early morning shop for some last minute items (it turned out to be good timing because things really ramped up after that) and Matt went into work but was sent home because someone in the building felt sick so I counted that as our first day since we were both home before lunch time. We found out today that someone in his building at work tested positive so we are extra happy we are taking this seriously.

I’m glad we decided to stay home, we are still in the incubation time and could be spreading it without knowing. My hope is to stay home at least until they mandate protections in grocery stores like Italy did—taking the temperatures of people before they are allowed in and limiting the number of customers at a time.

Today I made our main meal at lunch today again. It seems silly to wait all day to make “dinner” when I could get all of that work out of the way early. Mochiko Chicken is a favorite of ours and if you aren’t going to fry chicken now, then when? It didn’t yield too much in the way of leftovers but I’m going to trying think of a way to turn it into another meal for the two of us. I served it with sticky rice sprinkled with furikake, and steamed broccoli. I peeled the broccoli stumps and cooked them too–it’s not the time to waste food!

In the afternoon I made a quick snack cake with some pantry staples. It’s based on a old fashioned “wacky” or “crazy” cake which were popular during wartime and the Depression due to budgets and rationing. It doesn’t use any fresh ingredients (so it’s actually vegan) but it’s really tasty and only dirties up one bowl. I posted the recipe here.

For dinner I made wraps. I mixed one (5 oz) can tuna (drained) with half a (15 oz) can of chickpeas (drained), mayo, Goddess Dressing (sub tahini or leave it out), crumbled feta, chopped celery, red onion and lemon pepper. I lined the spinach wrap (from Aldi–they are like $1.49 for a pack of six and tasty) with leftover arugula from last week. It’s the never ending bag of arugula. I think this is the fourth meal I’ve used it in!

Non-food related activities:

Watched a little All-American on Netflix at lunch. It’s like a 2020 version of The OC. Why can’t I resist the teen drama? I read Lost Restaurants of Baltimore by Suzanne Loudermilk and Kit Waskom Pollard. It was neat seeing the pictures of old Baltimore but the entries were mostly summarized old Baltimore Sun reviews and a few interviews. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t that.

We also watched the last available episode of Little Fires Everywhere and Stumptown on Hulu. Stumptown is always enjoyable! I liked seeing more of Dex’s backstory.

recipe · repurposing leftovers

DIY Fried Rice

I’m not terribly sure if you need a recipe for this but here’s what we do when we make fried rice. The amounts of each ingredient is very flexible–scale up if cooking for a crowd.


1 onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 cups cubed cooked leftover chicken or other cooked protein (we used leftovers from this meal)

2-3 cups cold, cooked rice (leftovers or make it a day ahead and refrigerate it)

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1-2 cups leftover vegetables–we used chopped up zucchini from the chicken dish and 3/4 cup of “coleslaw mix” (shredded cabbage and carrot) from sandwiches from last week

1/4-1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)

1-2 teaspoons sesame oil

2-3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 eggs, beaten


In a large skillet, saute the onions and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the vegetables, meat and rice and saute about five minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir fry, scrambling the eggs and heating through the whole mixture. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.


Homemade Cold Brew Concentrate


2/3 cup fresh, ground coffee

2 cups cold water


Add the coffee to a large large measuring cup or jar. Pour in the water. Stir until all the grounds are moistened.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. The longer it sits, the stronger it will taste.

Remove from the fridge and stir.

Place a filter in a pour over cone (I use a pour over cone I bought from a local potter (here is her etsy shop) and line it with unbleached #2 sized paper cones–they are compostable!)

Place the cone over a quart jar.

Pour the coffee/water mixture into the pour-over cone.

Wait for all of the liquid to pass through and repeat as needed. This normally takes under 10 minutes start to finish.

Cover the jar (I use the black Ball Jar brand leak proof lids) and refrigerate for up to a week.

Discard (compost!) the coffee and liner.

When ready to serve, pour into a cup and dilute with cold water or dairy/non dairy beverage of your choice. Personally, I like stirring in a bit of sweetened condensed milk, Vietnamese iced coffee style.

Yield: about 5 cups of cold brew coffee, with ice.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 3 Recap: Chicken and Corned Beef, Cabbage & Potato Cakes (3/15/20)

I’ve decided to make our “big” meals at lunchtime vs dinner time since we are home. I’m much fresher during the day and I’d rather just chill and make something easy for dinner than start cooking some main dish at 6 pm. I don’t often eat breakfast so having a larger meal earlier in the day really works for me. Maybe I won’t do this every day but for days when I’m starting from scratch or it’s more involved I think I will.

Today I made bone in chicken thighs (expiration date 3/16/20) over a bed of sliced zucchini I bought 2 weeks ago (!) that was on the verge of spoiling. I love cooking thighs this way because the vegetables keep the chicken super moist and the onions flavor it a bit. The trick is to brown the skin first so it gets crispy. I used berbere seasoning but any spice mix really works. I served it with a white rice and wild rice pilaf Matt made from a box. I can never successfully make boxed foods (even Jell-0!) so I left that up to him. Here is the recipe for the chicken.

We are only two people so we had a lot leftover (as planned). Matt picked the leftover chicken off the bones and cut up the remaining zucchini. He also made rice so we can make fried rice with the leftovers and the end of the coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrot) from the cloak and dagger sandwiches and corned beef/cabbage/potato mix we made for the pierogi and tonight’s potato cakes.

For dinner we took the leftover corned beef/cabbage/potato mix from yesterday’s pierogi added an egg, salt, pepper, paprika and a bit of baking powder and made potato cakes. We served them with steamed asparagus (leftover from a meal last week) and fried eggs.

Non-food related activities:

I finished reading The Tenant by Katrine Engberg. It was only okay. I read Robin Ha’s graphic memoir, Almost American Girl which was excellent. Matt practiced “Mad World”, “Satellite of Love” and “Teenage Dirtbag” the ukulele. I started listening to the Family Ghosts podcast while making the chicken. We are watching The Mandalorian after signing up for a Hulu/Disney + deal. I’m not sure if we will keep it but for $6 it seemed worth it while we are home with not much to do. Finally saw baby Yoda in action. Matt set up our “craft room” to become his home office since my computer is downstairs near the kitchen. We upgraded our internet service (we still had DSL, faster service is a fairly recent development in my neighborhood–yes, I live in a major city) last week. I’m excited because in the past when he’s worked from home I basically just sat and read because because the internet was too slow for both of us to use it at the same time and we were two feet from each other. It was fine for a day here or there but not sustainable for weeks on end. Now he can be upstairs working and I can work on the computer or stream my Rachel-only shows on the first floor.


Recipe: Berbere Chicken over Zucchini and Red Onions


6 chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb)
1 1/2 tablespoon berbere spice mix (can sub in any spice mix)
1 large red onion, sliced
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil or spray with cooking spray a 9×13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet (no need to add oil).

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with spices. Place it fat side down on the hot skillet.

Cook about 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp, lightly browned and much of the fat has rendered into the pan. DO NOT FLIP THE CHICKEN!

Meanwhile, arrange the zucchini and onions in single layer in the baking pan. Sprinkle with pepper and salt.

Top with the chicken, skin-side up.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.