Dinner Recipes

Potato and Portobello Casserole

And I’m back! I wish I could say I’d gone somewhere, but I really have just been lazy and unmotivated to cook anything exceptionally blog-worthy. But this scrumptious casserole got me out of my boring rut!

So you know how usually casseroles are a smorgasbord of ingredients and yet with just one ooey-gooey flavor throughout? Don’t get me wrong, those are absolute delights, but sometimes you just want a nice hearty casserole-ish dish with every ingredient speaking for itself. This is that kinda casserole ladies and gentlemen!

Here’s what you need:

Potato and Portobello Casserole

2-3 medium sized potatoes, washed
1/2 diced onion
1 cap portobello mushroom
dash of soy sauce
1 tomato
1 cup of whatever cheese you have on hand (I used 2/3 cheddar and 1/3 swiss)
Optional: breadcrumbs

1. Start a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Slice the potatoes into 1/4″ slices and drop them into the boiling water. They need to boil for about 15-20 minutes or until they feel tender at the prick of a fork. At that point, drain the water out and cover with ice cold water, just to cool it down a bit for easier handling.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dice the tomatoes and line the bottom of your pan with them along with a drizzle of olive oil. I used a 9″ pie dish for this recipe but any dish of equal volume would be just fine. At about the same time, dice your half onion and slice your mushroom into 1/4″ slices. Add a dash of soy sauce on top of the mushrooms, it will seep in while you’re assembling your casserole.

3. Peel the skin off the potato slices and neatly place side-by-side on top of the tomatoes. Well, I didn’t do this so neatly, that was a lie. But wouldn’t it be nice if you did?!?

4. Arrange the portobello slices on top of the potato slices. Add the diced onions right on top.

5. Cover the whole thing with your cheeses and sprinkle some breadcrumbs if you so desire.

6. Bake, uncovered for 20-25 minutes. Remember, you want all your ingredients to keep their textures and flavors but harmonize with only the yummy cheeses! Remove and eat quickly!

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Fried Ravioli

This is a public service announcement from your love handles, hips and thighs:
These are not low-fat. At all.

Well now that we have that out of the way, I will tell you that this was a super delicious version of the already-delicious pasta creation known as ravioli.


The first time I encountered fried ravioli was at my university’s “hip” eating spot (one out of two places that served food there) fondly known as The Pub. It was no pub fyi. The Pub had the most delicious cheese and spinach ravioli with a side of a house salad and a thick slice of garlic bread. When I stuck my fork into that first piece of ravioli, I was amazed at how incredibly crunchy it was. But man oh man, that was nothing compared to the taste. It was pasta cheesiness meets the miracle of a deep fryer.

Sadly, for some terrible reason, they took the ravioli off the menu. So I have had to resort to making my own versions and I must say, I’m not too shabby at it.

Fried Ravioli
*in loving memory of the spinach and cheese ravioli at The Pub

12 pieces of your favorite type of ravioli, prepared and cooled enough for comfortable handling
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Enough oil to cover about 1/4″ of your fabulous saucepan


1. Prepare your ravioli beforehand. Turn on the stove to the medium-high setting and pour in the oil. While it’s heating, start preparing your ravioli.

The ingredients

2. Pour the milk into one small container, and the breadcrumbs into another. Hey! Remember these little Pyrex dishes?? I use them a lot. Start dunking the ravioli into the milk and then immediately coating it with the breadcrumbs.


3. Set aside in a dish. This way you can put them all into the saucepan at once.


4. Annnnd fry em! About 3 minutes on the first side should be plenty. Then, flip and fry for another 1.5 to 2 minutes.

Hangin' out

5. Set on a paper towel-lined plate and then serve! You can dunk ’em in ranch or marinara sauce, or enjoy it with a salad √† la Pub. The sky is the limit.

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Pasta with Honey Glazed Vegetables

I was beyond thrilled to see the recipe for “Honey Glazed Carrots” in the most recent issue of Food & Wine magazine. Why, you might ask? Because I had gone sale-crazy and had way too many carrots sitting in the fridge than I knew what to do with.

mmm mm good

Though I don’t care too much for cooked broccoli (weird enough, I love raw broccoli, especially with ranch), the honey glaze on it made it appealing to my picky palate.

One point I learned while making this dish is that it is more than alright to add the drained pasta to the saucepan with the vegetables. Since the vegetables are in a yummy glaze, the pasta soaks the extras right up and the whole dish resides in harmony.

Carrot Fingers

I’m odd, I know. But I couldn’t resist! Carrot Fingersssss.

Pasta with Honey-Glazed Vegetables

3 regular carrots
1/2 head broccoli
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsps honey
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
And as much pasta as you want!

Chop up Carrots

1. Wash and chop your carrots into approximately 1 1/2″ pieces. I halved some pieces since they were so fat. Since we’ll be boiling the carrots until soft, it’s unnecessary to peel them beforehand.

2. Bring some water to a boil and drop in the chopped carrots. Boil until soft, about 8 minutes.

3. At this point, you will want to start cooking your pasta as well. I used regular ol’ spaghetti, but you can use any starch of your choosing.

Chop up a head of broccoli

4. Chop up the half head of broccoli.

Mix Soy Sauce and Honey

5. Dissolve the honey in the soy sauce.

Heat soy sauce mixture

6. Melt the butter or heat the olive oil for about a minute on medium-high heat. Add in the soy sauce/honey mixture and heat for another minute or until slightly simmering.

Glaze vegetables

7. Drop in your vegetables! Note, the carrots had been boiling for 8 minutes and drained before adding to the saucepan, but the broccoli was dropped in there raw. Let the glaze work its way into the vegetables for about 3 minutes, flip the vegetables and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add in pasta

8. Drop your cooked and drained pasta right on top of your prepared vegetables.

Mix to incorporate juices

9. Using a pair of tongs, incorporate the vegetables and their yummy soy sauce and honey juices, into the pasta.


10. Dish out and enjoy!

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Microwave Chili

Here is meal #2 in the microwave series! This chili came out very well. It was super easy, delicious, and left a tiny little mess behind! On this night, we enjoyed it with some microwave cornbread, recipe to come tomorrow!

Chili and Cornbread

Here’s how you do it:

Microwave Chili

1/2 medium onion (about 1/4 cup), diced
about 1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chili powder
2 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (I used the “chili-ready” version, but any kind is fine, 2-3 fresh ones would be even better!)
1 can black beans

Onions, garlic and oil

1. Dice your onions and mince your garlic and add to the bottom of a microwave safe dish. For this, I wanted a shallow pan so I used my trusty 9″ pie dish. Don’t judge me. Pie dishes are no longer just for pies! Drizzle some olive oil on top and microwave it for 2 minutes.


I didn’t have any fresh garlic, so I used this cheat. Oh the shame.

Lots of Chili Powder

2. Add 1 tablespoon chili powder to the onions and garlic after you’ve taken them out of the microwave. Also, add 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika, all the cumin and cayenne pepper.


Your dish will look like a red dirt terrain. It’s awesome!


3. Add your tomatoes on top of the red terrain. Yes, I cheated by using the “chili-ready” diced tomatoes. But these recipes are all about simplicity, remember?? We’re college students with only microwaves who don’t care about recipe cheats!

Into the microwave again

4. Place the dish in the microwave for another 2 minutes. I’m constantly rotating my dish halfway through all these cooktimes.

5. Remove and add the beans. You could also add corn and scallions. I just didn’t that day! Add another tablespoon of paprika and pop it into the microwave for 4 minutes to finish cooking.

6. Remove and set on a flat surface for 5 minutes.

No mess!

The good thing about this recipe is that it had such a small mess! This was it! I absolutely detest washing dishes so this was nice. Very very nice.


Top with a little (or if you’re me, a lot) of cheddar cheese and eat eat eat!

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My very own tofu stir-fry

With cheese!

I make many variations of this dish simply because it is a quick and easy (and very filling!) dinner. There’s no right or wrong way to do it and you can use whatever you have on hand at the time.

I did it this way on this particular day:

Zahra’s Tofu stir fry

1 tbsp salted butter
1 tsp minced garlic
3 scallions
1 diced carrot
1/2 package extra firm tofu (I like to dice mine)
Soy sauce
1 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste


1. In a saucepan, put your butter and garlic, you don’t need to melt the butter yet. I jumped the gun a little and did it anyways.

Chopped scallions

2. Chop up some scallions

Other veggies

4. Turn on the stove to a medium-high heat setting. Add the scallions and any other vegetables you have¬† at that time. Yummy veggies I’ve added in the past have included zucchini and squash and broccoli. Spinach is also extra delicious here. It was almost grocery day so I didn’t have anything other than carrots that day.

Tofu slices

5. Slice the tofu into 1/4″ slices. You can then leave them like this or dice ’em up. I almost always do.

Soy Sauce

6. Let all these ingredients hang out for a while. Salt and pepper them while they’re hangin’. Then, add in a splash of soy sauce! Try not to splash outside the saucepan as I do.

Brown sugar

7. Do you know how delicious a soy sauce and brown sugar combination is? Well, it’s super delicious. You should try it.

8. And serve with a starch of your choice! I had pasta so I used pasta. And then I doused everything in grated pepper jack cheese because I love cheese. Oh so much.

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