" Cooking, the first Social Media"™

and © to Variations on Cooking

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Pinterest Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

© 2020 by Variations on Cooking

Site designed and created by AJMC LLC


Orecchiette, Navy Bean and Pesto Pasta

Orecchiette, Navy Bean and Pesto Pasta Ingredients 1 lb. of Orecchiette Pasta, cook as directed on Package, reserve 1 ½ cups of pasta water 1 can of Navy Beans, drained and rinsed 5 oz. of baby Arugula 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, chopped and smashed 3 shallots, minced 3 cloves of Garlic, minced 1 cup of freshly made Pesto 1 tablespoon tomato paste hand-full of fresh Basil, cut into ribbons hand-full of fresh Italian Parsley, minced Red pepper flakes to taste Salt and Pepper to taste Olive oil Directions Place a large skillet over medium high heat, drizzle with olive oil and sauté the shallots until soft, add tomatoes, and sauté until they start to dissolve. Now add garlic, tomato paste, navy

Garlic Knots, Pesto Chicken Sliders

Garlic Knots, Pesto Chicken Sliders Ingredients Garlic Knots Dough 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 envelope Fleischmann's® Pizza Crust Yeast 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup very warm water (120° to 130°F) 3 tablespoons Basil Olive Oil 3 Tablespoons of sugar 1 Tablespoon of finely minced garlic 1 Tablespoon of finely minced fresh Italian Parsley Wash 4 tablespoons of melted butter 2 tablespoons of smashed roasted garlic 2 tablespoons of dried Italian Parsley Toppings 1 lb. chicken breast, skinless 2 medium fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 slices ½ cup of freshly made pesto ¼ cup of roasted garlic, smashed hand-full of fresh basil Olive Oil Red pepper flakes to taste Salt and pepper to taste Direct

Roasted Garlic, Chicken, Spinach White Pizza

Roasted Garlic, Chicken, Spinach White Pizza Ingredients Pizza Dough 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 envelope Fleischmann's® Pizza Crust Yeast 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup very warm water (120° to 130°F) 3 tablespoons Basil Olive Oil 3 Tablespoons of sugar Optional – additions 1 Tablespoon of finely minced garlic or 1 Tablespoon of finely minced fresh Thyme 1 Tablespoon of finely minced fresh Italian Parsley Toppings 1 lb. chicken breast, skinless 3 cups of Spinach, blanched, and dried 1 ½ cups of Freshly Grated Mozzarella 1 cup of Ricotta Cheese ¼ cup of freshly made pesto ¼ cup of roasted garlic, smashed hand-full of fresh basil 5 sprigs of fresh Oregano Olive Oil Red pepper flakes to taste

General Tso’s Chicken

I have been playing with this recipe for years and I finally got a balance of spices and ingredients i love - Enjoy General Tso’s Chicken Ingredients 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, breasts, or a mix, patted dry, cut into 1" chunks 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce 1 large garlic clove, finely grated 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds 1 tablespoon Sriracha 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 6 (or more) dried whole red chilie


Well it’s not your traditional cheese cake. In the steno pad from by Grandmother is this recipe, well most of it, I had to add in a few missing ingredients to make it work. Like the goat cheese, all it said was 6oz goat and 1/2 of greek. So it took some research to figure out goat cheese and Greek yogurt. The interesting thing is that there is no crust and its not to sweet, and it gets this interesting color when baking that gives it a nutty flavor ( the notes said brown under broiler) – Enjoy Cheesecake Ingredients 2 cups heavy cream 1 ¼ cups cream cheese (10 oz.) ¾ cup of goat cheese (it’s about 6 oz.) ½ cup plain Greek yogurt 5 eggs ¾ cups powdered sugar plus more for dusting 2 lemons,

Arroz con Pollo

With time my hands at the moment, I have been going through stuff and picking a lot of things, it’s surprising how much “stuff” you collect. Well I was going through one of the many boxes of recipes, cook books, etc., to see if I have not touch it in a few years do I really need to keep it. Well in a box of photos I came cross this only steno pad and in the pad, was all of these recipes that my grandmother jotted down, but in usual fashion, they are just notes, no real clear recipes, so I needed to work out the details. It took a few tries but I think I got now, well at least those I served the dish thought it was good – Enjoy Oh, and there are about 50+ dishes in the steno book, so there

Miso Soup

About 2 weeks ago I was watching one of the endless food shows on TV, when I came across this show from Canada, which is actually filmed in France. And the host starting talk about her new favorite thing to do is explore social media outlets for food photos, then finds photos of dishes she has never made, she down loads them, prints the photo and tries to create the recipe based purely on the photo. Well I thought this was a great idea and so I been trying it as well. Like yesterday’s posts on Chicken meatballs, only I take it one step further, I ask my husband to print the photos and cross out any marks on them as to where the photo came from. Then after I have created the dish, I go back

Chicken Meatballs

I got the idea for this dish from the photo that is shown here. I saw it on Pinterest and though let’s see if I can back into the dish by just using the photo. The meatballs are Asian inspired, most likely using pork or another red meat. Well I started to play with some ingredients using chicken, since we are longer permitted to eat red meat, and came up with this recipe. It wasn’t until I sat down at the computer to type up my notes that I noticed the stamp on the photo. Well I googled the stamp and found the source of the photo. It is a cooking Blog Pups with Chopsticks, I found the dish that is shown and the photo and the recipe and I came really close to Joyce recipe. Check out her

Chicken Parmesan

Well this is my take on it. I had the original Chicken Parm at a local diner and I though there needs to be a new take on this standard Diner dish. I also always wondered it called Parm, for parmesan cheese but it always covered in mozzarella, hmm. So, I set out to come up with my own spin on it and including parmesan cheese. Now I use chicken thighs not the cutlets, the bone in gives it more flavor – Enjoy Chicken Parmesan Ingredients 3 to 4 lbs. bone in chicken thighs 1 cup dry white wine ½ cup half & half ½ of cup of homemade chicken stock 1 cup freshly grated Asiago Cheese 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese 1 pint of Cremini mushrooms, sliced 2 shallots, minced 4 cloves of roasted ga

Roasted Chicken Caprese Salad

When I was planning dinner the other night I placed the chicken in the oven to roasted and then I started prepping for the Caprese salad and then I thought why do I need to plate up everything separately, why not combine it all on one plate per person. This is what I came up with – enjoy Roasted Chicken Caprese Salad Ingredients 2 lbs. of chicken, skinned and boned 3 tablespoons of grapefruit vinegar 4 tablespoons of blood orange olive oil 2 cloves of roasted garlic, minced 2 teaspoons of fresh Italian parsley, minced salt and pepper 6 to 8 large tomatoes, sliced 1 lb. of fresh mozzarella, sliced 4 cups of Basil leaves ¼ cup of pine nuts 4 cloves of roasted garlic Dark cherry Balsamic vinega

Beet Pesto Pasta

This is a nice light dish for the summer and can be served at room temp. I know i have been on a pasta roll with my posts but there is so much to explore with this ingredient. Beet Pesto Pasta Ingredients 1 lb. of beet pasta, linguini 3 large beets, cleaned and quartered 1 cup of almonds 4 cloves of roasted garlic 2 tablespoons of lemon juice hand-full of Italian Parsley, minced salt and pepper to taste Olive oil ½ cup goat cheese – optional Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place beets in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and season to taste, toss. Pour onto baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, once the beets start to char

Mushroom Lasagna with Sage

I was going through one of my many yellow pads of recipes and came across this one from 2015. I was playing around with lasagnas back then to make a hearty lasagne without meat. - Enjoy Mushroom Lasagna with Sage Ingredients 1 lb. of Pappardelle pasta 4 cups of whole milk 2 cups of Ricotta cheese 1 cup Asiago Cheese 1 cup mozzarella Cheese 1 pint of Cremini Mushrooms 1 pint of Shitake Mushrooms 1 Pint of Oyster Mushrooms 1 Pint of Chanterelle Mushrooms 2 shallots, minced 4 roasted cloves of garlic, minced ½ cup dry sherry 1 stick of unsalted butter ¼ cup of unbleached flour 1 egg 1/4 cup of fresh minced sage 2 tablespoons of fresh minced Italian parsley salt and pepper to taste Direction Pre

Chicken Posole Pot Pie

Well this is more Empanada meets Chicken Pot Pie. I love Chicken Pot Pie reminds me of a cozy night in, I know its summer, but it’s been cool and wet in the Northeast, and I have been in the mood for fall/winter foods. So, on our way out to PA, we usually pick-up a roasted chicken from Costco and there are always left overs and I have been getting tired of making “Chicken Salad” or “Empanadas”, so I decided to mix it up. I went online to look at how Chicken Pot Pies are usually made, so I at least had a jumping off point. To many frozen this and that in the pies, and fry to many prepared ingredients. But I did like the recipe from Ginger and Baker, out of Fort Collins, Colorado. I used

Grilled Baby Artichokes Pasta

I know it’s been pasta, pasta, pasta for over a week, but I was in Trader Joes this morning and saw these beautiful baby artichokes and they said “Buy Me”, and I did. On the walk, home I was thinking what was I going to do with them. Then I remembered on one of the cruises we took many years ago, the chef in the upscale restaurant served a roasted artichoke pasta and I said, “I am going to recreate it”. Now it was over ten years ago, but, when we travel I have no issue asking how a dish is made and I found my notes in my travel diary about the dish. Here is my verse on the dish – Enjoy Note: The photo of the final dish was blurry, when I make the dish again I will change the picture. Gri

Roasted Cauliflower, Fennel Pasta

Okay I know this has been a long stretch of pasta dishes, but with all the fresh veggies in the market I have been doing the salads and sides, but the Veggies need to be the main event. This recipe I came by when the fish I bought the day before was not very fresh and when I opened the package, well, I was not happy. So, faced what to make with a few friends coming over for dinner, I looked at my counter and saw the cauliflower and the fennel and thought hmm, let’s give this a try. I also had ricotta cheese left over from a cake I had made for dessert, (that recipe is on its way, I need to make it once more before posting) I thought, “I got this”. Hope you enjoy this recipe. Roasted Caulif

Roasted Chicken, Veggie with Orzo and Feta

Roasted Chicken, Veggies with Orzo and Feta Ingredients 2 lbs of boneless chicken breasts, skins removed 3 lemons, juiced and zested 4 cloves of roasted garlic, smashed ¼ cup of olive oil salt and pepper to taste 1 small eggplant, peeled and diced 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 large red onion, diced 1 zucchini, halved and sliced 1 small fennel, tops removed, halved and sliced (save the tops) 4 cloves of roasted garlic, smashed 1/3 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon of salt ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper ½ lb. of Orzo 1 lb. of feta cheese, diced 1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice along with the zest from the lemons 1/3 cup olive oil ¼ cup of roast

Savory Chicken Meatballs

I have been on a pasta roll the last few days and with the new challenges I have been faced with regarding our diet and that we had to cut all red meat out of it. Trying to find new ones to achieve the flavor profile of red meat without using it has been my mission. I have been working on this one for the last few weeks, changing up the ingredients but I think I have found the perfect balance, I hope you enjoy them – Savory Chicken Meatballs in a Spicy Tomato sauce Ingredients 2 lbs of ground chicken 1 cup chickpea flour 2 eggs, whipped 1 7oz can of Sardines, drained ¼ cup dry red wine 2 shallots, minced 4 cloves of roasted garlic, minced 1 medium red bell pepper, minced 1 chili of choice,

Creamy Linguine with Peas

Creamy Linguine with Peas Ingredients 1 lb. fresh Linguine, cook as per direction on package, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water 1 cup of fresh baby Peas ½ cup olive oil ½ cup of ricotta 1/3 cup of Asiago cheese 4 cloves of garlic, minced Hand-full of Fresh Basil leaves, cut into ribbon Salt and pepper to taste Direction In a large skillet place olive oil and garlic over medium heat and sauté until just about golden. Remove from heat and set aside. Blanch peas for about 2 to 3 minutes, strain and add to skillet with garlic, followed by the hot drained pasta and pasta water, toss. Now add the ricotta cheese and basil and toss to coat, season, move to serving bowl and garnish with Asiago chees

Lemon Chicken Pasta with Asparagus

Lemon Chicken Pasta with Asparagus Ingredients 8 oz. of penne pasta 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch piece 2 shallots, halved and sliced 1 cup heavy cream ½ cup grated Asiago cheese ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted 2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, minced 1½ tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh Thyme, minced 1½ tablespoons minced garlic, divided 2 lemons – 1 zested and juiced and the sliced into slices as a garnish Salt and black pepper, to taste Directions Cook Pasta as per directions on package, drain, reserve ½ cup of pasta water and set aside. Place heavy cr

Shrimp Pasta Salad

Shrimp Pasta Salad, cold Ingredients 1 lb. small shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked (see note below) 8 ounces pasta shells, cooked as directed on package ¼ cup chopped green onion 1 red bell pepper, diced 1 cup diced celery 1 cup of diced cucumber 1 cup Olive Oil mayonnaise ¼ cup of capers, with liquid 2 tablespoons fresh minced dill 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoon Agave Salt and Pepper to taste Directions This is really simple, in a large bowl toss together the shrimp, pasta, red pepper, celery, cucumber and green onion. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, pour on salad and toss. Let chill for at least an hour. Note: to cook the shrimp, in a large sauce pan filled with wat