natural chef journey and week in review

Marin Mama Bauman College, Marin mama is going to cooking school 9 Comments

natural chef journey

This week I felt like a true with a capital “T” chef!  I cleaned and filleted squid and fish (was not excited about that) and broke down a “whole” chicken.  We were basically giving a chicken with its head and feet still attached and we had to essentially butcher it. I detest using that word, but that’s what we did. Before we did any of this, we all said a prayer and gave our blessings to these sea creatures and birds. To be honest, I was not looking forward to either of these days. I went into sea creature day, all green and cringing at the fact that I was going to have to touch raw squid and fillet a fish, …

pasta with pesto and broccolini

Marin Mama dinner, meatless meals, Pastas, pesto, weeknight dinner 101, weeknight dinners Leave a Comment

kale and spinach pesto pasta with chicken sausage

Ok, we’re always looking (well, at least I am) for a tasty, easy weeknight, 30-minute, one-pot, one-bowl meatless pasta, right (wow, that was mouthful)?  Well, good news because I’ve got one for you! I wasn’t sure if this pasta even qualified as a post since I do have some similar pesto-type pasta’s on the blog, but they have meat in them, and that might throw some of you off from even looking at the recipe, so I’m posting this meatless pesto pasta recipe for you! I make this pasta up all of the time! I love it because it’s simple and easy, kid approved and even makes enough leftovers for the kid’s lunches the next day! Yippee! Some nights we …

kale, spinach and basil pesto

Marin Mama dinner, Pastas, pesto, sauces 4 Comments

kale, spinach and basil pesto

Oh my gosh, this pesto is SO tasty, fresh and chunky that it’s seriously bowl licking and spoon licking good (yep, Zoe and I licked our bowls clean)! I’ve made this pesto up twice already and Zoe and I couldn’t keep our spoons out of the jar. We kept opening the jar taking a spoonful, closing the jar and then sneaking back for another spoonful, you get the picture…  We were totally digging this pesto. This pesto is chunky in texture from the roasted almonds and SO vibrant in color and flavor. It’s kid approved and can be paired with virtually anything, or even just eaten by the spoonful, because it’s that good.  After whipping this up, I may seriously never …

cold pesto pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes

Marin Mama chicken, dinner, Pastas, weeknight dinners 8 Comments

cold pesto pasta with chicken and sundried tomatoes_

So I have this friend who is as obsessed with sun-dried tomatoes as I am with kale, and we all know how obsessed I am with kale, so you can only imagine. He puts sun-dried tomatoes in anything and everything, scrambled eggs, pasta, chicken dishes, cookies and brownies, you name it (just kidding on the last two, but I wouldn’t be surprised)!  Sun-dried tomatoes haven’t been in my pantry for the past couple of years, not because I’m not a fan, but I guess I sort of forgot about them.  Since I’ve been reintroduced to them, I’ve fallen in love with them once again.  They really add that extra punch of flavor to any dish, and I love their chewy …

Barefoot’s weeknight bolognese

Marin Mama dinner, family favorites, Pastas, sauces, weeknight dinners 17 Comments

Barefoot's weeknight bolognese

Ok, so maybe this isn’t the best recipe to post the week after Thanksgiving since we’re all pretty much fooded out, but I’m posting it now because I know there are a lot of you who love and need easy family approved weeknight dinners. December is all about indulgence to me, so let’s go ahead and indulge, celebrate and eat to our hearts content!  Doesn’t that sound fun?  This is the perfect bolognese for those busy weeknights, as it only takes 45 minutes to pull together, and the sauce tastes like a sauce that’s been cooking on your stove top all day, not for just 30 minutes. This is a great winter pasta because you don’t need any fresh vegetables, …

pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnuts

Marin Mama dinner, family favorites, kale, meatless meals, most popular recipes, Pastas, vegetarian, weeknight dinners 36 Comments

pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnuts

Today I’m giving you all a tasty, healthy, easy, family approved and under 30 minute weeknight pasta (whew, that was a mouthful)! I mean who doesn’t love that! This pasta is a basically a cross between my broccoli lemon pasta and lacinato kale salad.  It incorporates the best of both recipes. The pasta literally take no time to put together, (under 30 minutes) thus making it perfect for those busy Meatless Mondays, or any busy weeknight. If you have your kale de-stemmed and ready to go, then this will take even less time.  All you’re basically doing is zesting and juicing a lemon, mincing some garlic, and then sautéing all of the ingredients together while the pasta cooks.  You then toss them all …

Israeli couscous salad

Marin Mama breads and grains, dinner, lunch, meatless meals, Pastas, salads, side dishes, vegetarian 22 Comments

israeli couscous salad (1 of 1)

I love it when I find new salads or summer side dishes that can be made ahead to marinate all day or made on the fly to eat up right then and there. This salad is one of those salads that tastes great either way. This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck, picnic or to serve up in your own backyard. It’s full of summer flavor from the fresh mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes. We love pairing this salad with chicken drumsticks and one of my kale salads for a family backyard dinner. You can really make this a year round salad by adding seasonal ingredients to the mixture, like asparagus in the spring, cauliflower or broccoli in the …

one-pan pasta

Marin Mama dinner, meatless meals, most popular recipes, Pastas, weeknight dinners 127 Comments

one-pan pasta

Isn’t this above picture just beautiful and doesn’t it make you want to try a batch of this pasta tonight?  I mean look at all of those fresh ingredients and all that color. I saw a photo similar to this in the most recent edition of Martha Stewart living and it looked so cool and challenging to me. I mean a one-pan pasta, who had ever heard of that (not me)? I seriously wondered how it was all going to work, and I have to say that I was a bit skeptical. I will also admit that the first time I made this pasta up, it didn’t turn out so great, as the pasta was overcooked. I was under the assumption …

turkey meatballs

Marin Mama dinner, family favorites, meatballs, meats, Pastas 25 Comments

turkey meatballs

Meatballs, meatballs, meatballs! I know, not the most exciting or creative recipe out there, but it’s a classic! These are not your typical heavy, sit in your stomach meatballs. They’re a lighter and simpler meatball, as they are just made with ground turkey.  Yep, no pork sausage is needed for these puppies. Turkey is rich in vitamin B and zinc, and is a full flavored and lower-fat alternative to ground beef. My brother Brandt, who doesn’t like meatballs, LOVED these. I served these up for dinner and he was actually just going to eat the spaghetti, but he wanted to be nice so he said I could throw a couple of meatballs in his dish. He politely tried one and then …

how to cook spaghetti squash

Marin Mama dinner, how to, meatless meals, Pastas, Veggies 16 Comments

spaghetti squash with tomato sauce

Today’s post is sort of a recipe, but really more of a “how to” post. I’m going to show you all how to cook spaghetti squash.  I figured if I didn’t have a clue the first time I cooked one up, then there are those of you that are in the same boat. Spaghetti squash is a delicious and nutritious alternative to pasta.  It’s loaded with fiber, nutrients, vitamins and is high in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, plus its fun to eat. When cooked, the inside of the squash shreds into long, thin noodle-like strands resembling spaghetti pasta.  I didn’t believe it until I actually made it and saw the transformation. The squash is pretty mild in flavor …

basic tomato sauce

Marin Mama dinner, Pastas, sauces, vegetarian 26 Comments


Here’s an easy, family friendly, homemade and vegeterian tomato sauce that will feed a crowd, or at least feed your family for a number of meals. This sauce is really simple, but tastes hearty like a tomato sauce should.  It’s the perfect sauce to top a pizza, use in a lasagna, pair with meatballs, (turkey meatball recipe coming soon) top over gnocchi, spaghetti squash or your favorite pasta. I mean it’s so simple that you can really use it as a base for just about anything. This sauce is basically a pantry sauce, you may have to run out and grab a carrot or onion, but if you have a well stocked pantry, then you should have everything you need. Another great …

pasta bake with pancetta, tomato sauce and mozzarella

Marin Mama dinner, family favorites, Pastas, weeknight dinners 16 Comments

pasta bake with pancetta, tomato sauce and mozzarella

Come on, take a good look at that pasta, the cheese is all melted and browned on top, the sauce is clinging to each pasta shell.  I just want to take a bite right now, though I don’t think it would taste to good at 6:00 in the morning.  I’m sure there are many of you that aren’t cheese fans or think a dish like this might not be too good for the old waistline, I get it, but I also believe life is about moderation and if you have balance, then you can eat just about anything (real food that is).  For the rest of you that are licking your choppers, this dish is pure comfort bliss, especially on …

orecchiette pasta with pesto, sausage and green beans

Marin Mama dinner, family favorites, Pastas, weeknight dinners 19 Comments

orecchiette pasta with pesto, sausage and green beans

Don’t judge this pasta by the above photo.  This pasta tastes much better than it looks. Trust me!  I have made it 3 times so far, and it’s been a hit each time.  Eli’s words the other night, “mmmmm, this is just so good.”  That’s all I needed to hear. This pasta is one of those super easy, weeknight throw together pastas. I prepared it and had it on the table in under 30 minutes. It’s also a one-bowl meal, which makes it even better. Another thing I love about this pasta is that the green beans cook with the pasta.  You just throw them in for the last 3 minutes with the pasta and drain them both together.  LOVE …

spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil

Marin Mama dinner, family favorites, meatless meals, Pastas, vegetarian, weeknight dinners 13 Comments

spaghetti with cheesy broiled tomatoes and basil

Here’s an easy weeknight meal that the whole family will enjoy, and the best part is that you can have it on the table in less than 30 minutes.  Yes, you heard me right, dinner in under 30 minutes. What mom or dad doesn’t like that?  Another great thing about this pasta is that it’s made with fresh and whole ingredients, so you can feel good about feeding your family a quick and easy dinner. The heirloom tomatoes topped with parmesan and mozzarella taste like mini pizzas, but without the crust.  My kids even begged for thirds on the tomatoes.  I used heirloom tomatoes, but you can also use beefsteak, roma or vine-ripe tomatoes, whatever tomato strikes your fancy. These …

easy tomato sauce

Marin Mama dinner, Pastas, sauces 9 Comments


These past few weeks have not felt like summer at all.  I know the rest of the country is going through a heat wave, but here in Northern CA we are having some fall-like weather.  It’s foggy, cool and windy.  When the weather turns cool, I start looking for warm comforting meals.  I asked the kids what they wanted for dinner the other night, as they were huddled under the blanket, (we’re wimps here in Cali) and they both said pasta.  Pasta is our comfort food and we eat a lot of it in the fall and winter. I decided to check out my friend, Denise’s site for a recipe.  Denise is the one who taught my photography workshop.  Her site …