Roasted Red Peppers & Sweet Onion Orzo Pasta

DSCN0203Have you ever looked in your fridge and then looked at your cupboard? Nothing.  Looked back in your fridge and then back at your cupboard?Nothing.  As I sit there fighting with myself, because I know very well there is plenty of food there, but lack the motivation, inspiration or creativity to make things work.  Also, I’m fighting with my laziness to go to the store.  Sometimes, you just want things there, already made.  Like a magic icebox that can read your mind and creates what you crave as you open it, and viola!  Or that magic cupboard from the “Indian and the Cupboard” except  for bringing little toys to life, it brings your dry goods together into a delicious, magnificent dish.

Okay, yes this is all wishful thinking and definitely takes the fun out of cooking.  However, sometimes, just sometimes…

There are many wonderful websites out there can produce recipes for based on what you already have on hand in the kitchen.  Again, I was fighting laziness and time was ticking.  Okay, okay it was more like my tummy was grumbling.  This recipe is simple and surprisingly flavorful all on its own.  I needed a side dish and saw a leftover box of orzo pasta.  I also had left over chopped sweet onions from breakfast and half a bottle of roasted red peppers.  This came together well and can be eaten as a side or by itself!  Happy Spring everyone!

Prep Time: Cook Time: Level: Serves:
15 min. 10 min Easy 8


  • 1 small sweet onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • Garlic salt
  • parsley
  • half a bottle of roasted red peppers (16 oz. jar)


  1. Heat olive oil in small pan on medium heat.  Chop onions and mince garlic, then add them to the pan.
  2. Sautee until onion is translucent.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, cook pasta according to directions on box.  Approximately 9 minutes for an al dente texture.
  4. Drain the roasted red pepper and chop into pieces.
  5. Drain pasta when it is done cooking; add in roasted red peppers, onions and garlic.  Sprinkle in garlic salt and parsley to season and toss until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  6. Serve as desired.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange CupcakesNothing cures a bad mood or the case of nerves like chocolate.  I’m not a huge fan of chocolate but this cupcake recipe had me coming back for more.  This recipe was created using the cake base from a German Chocolate Cake recipe.  I’m allergic to coconut, but I had to try the recipe that uses coffee in its recipe!!  One of my weaknesses is coffee.

When I do enjoy chocolate, it is usually chocolate covered oranges.  There is something sweet and refreshing about oranges dipped in chocolate.  A friend of mine and I had a bake date (with wine of course!) and decided to make these devilish cupcakes!

These bad boys did not last long!

Prep Time: Cook Time: Level: Serves:
20 min 15-30 minutes Intermediate 3 dozen


  • 4 oz. Semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 ¼  C Cake flour
  • ¾  C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½  tsp baking powder
  • ½  tsp baking soda
  • ½  tsp salt
  • 1 C lukewarm coffee
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1 ¼  C  unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ¼  C sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½  tsp pure vanilla extract

Ganache Filling

  • 8 oz.  dark chocolate (chips or chopped)
  • ¾ C  heavy whipping cream
  • 2 TBS  unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 TBS  Grand Marnier or any orange liquor

Orange Dream Frosting

  • 2 TBS  butter, at room temperature
  • 4-5 C  confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 TBS  orange juice
  • 2 TBS  Grand Mariner or other orange liqueur
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 TBS grated orange zest or a drop of orange oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double-boiler (*or you can use a metal mixing bowl over boiling water in a pot).  Set melted chocolate aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl,  sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a measuring cup, mix buttermilk and coffee together.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar, until it is fluffy.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and be sure to mix them well before adding the next egg.
  7. Add melted chocolate and vanilla extract until mixture is well incorporated.
  8. Alternate mixing the flour mixture and coffee/buttermilk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  9. Fill cupcake liners until 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes.


  1. Place chocolate in a medium (heat-proof) bowl.
  2. On stove heat butter and heavy cream, until it comes to a boil.
  3. Immediately pour the boiling mix over chocolate and whisk gently until completely incorporated.
  4. Stir in liquor and let it cool and set.
  5. Pour ganache into a condiment bottle and squeeze contents into the cupcakes (once the cupcakes have cooled.)

Frosting Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, cream butter, orange juice and Grand Marnier together
  2. Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar until the frosting peaks to a consistency to your liking.  (I’ve found that four cups usually does it.)
  3. Add in the pinch of salt and orange zest until well blended.
  4. Add to a piping bag with your desired decorating tip.

Peach Melba

Photo Taken by Nicole Ramos

If you love food as much as I do, then you follow several food blogs and you check sites such as Food Gawker and Tastespotting as often you do with Facebook.  The first time I heard about this dish, was on Foodimentary blog.  If you haven’t heard of it, I definitely recommend checking it out.  The author, John-Bryan Hopkins, writes daily about food holidays, food facts, cultural facts and fun quotes.  I’ve learned more about the foods I eat and new foods, than watching the Food Network.  Although, they both have the same effect, I get hungry and I want to try the recipe instantly!

Peach Melba was created by a chef that named it after the famous opera singer, Nellie Melba in the late 1800’s.  I tried to find the simplest recipe and I came across Nigella Lawson‘s recipe on  I changed it slightly by adding liquors to the mix.  I love cooking with alcohol and I believe it adds depth to the original flavors.  Before you think I’m a huge alcoholic and have this large store of a variety of liquors in my house, I actually love to buy the mini shot bottles at my local Total Wine store.  I highly recommend it for anyone who doesn’t drink or cook on a regular basis with alcohol.

Prep Time: Cook Time: Level: Serves:
20 min. 10-15 min. Easy-Inter. 8



  • 3 C Water
  • 3 ½ C Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS Jack Daniels Honey©
  • 8 peaches

Raspberry Sauce:

  • 3 C raspberries
  • ¼ C confectioner’s syrup
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS Chambord© Raspberry Liquor

Ice Cream Recommendation:  Blue Bell© Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream


  1. Cut the peaches in half; remove the stone seeds if you can.  If you can’t, don’t worry, it’ll be easy remove later.
  2. Combine water, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice into a wide saucepan and heat gently until sugar is dissolved.  Once sugar is dissolved, bring to a boil and let it bubble for approximately 5 minutes.  Then turn the heat down to a fast simmer and add the whiskey.
  3. Poach the peach halves on each side for about 2-3 minutes (longer if peaches aren’t as ripe).  You can test the softness with a knife on the side of the seed.  Once ready, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate to cool.
  4. Once all peaches are done being poached, gently remove the skins and any stone seeds that weren’t removed before.
  5. While the peaches are cooling, combine all the ingredients for the raspberry sauce into a blender or food processor and liquefy.  I personally like the fruity pieces, but if you don’t like pulp, pour sauce through a fine mesh sieve.
  6. To serve, place peach halves into a bowl or a fun dish, scoop ice cream on top and drizzle the raspberry sauce over it.