The Young Chef: Cooking Into Life Cooking Into Life


Lasagna Roll Up!!!

Oh man, oh man!!!

This was a pretty delicious meal, in fact it's going to be my roomie's and my lunch for the next week or so. (I do enjoy cooking, but I also enjoy saving large quantities of money by cooking enormous proportions). He had someone suggest making lasgna roll ups. It was relatively simple with some slightly tedious prep. I don't have the recipe, but I'll walk you through a simplified version. would be a great place to look (via Google)

  • Cook down a hella lot of spinach and mushrooms (finely chopped). Add enough sauce to coat nicely.
  • Make a mixture of ricotta, mozzerella, parmesan (this part can vary .. as can the previous).
  • Cook lasagna noodles until slightly underdone, strain and rinse, and lay out on wax paper.
  • Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture across each one, and then add the saucy mushroom and spinach mixture.
  • Roll them up, this should be done quickly, as the pasta will begin to get sticky and difficult if you want too long.
  • Spoon a decent amount of sauce into the bottom of a glass casserole pan, and place the rolled up noodles next to each other.
  • Cover with more sauce (you'll want more than you think), and cheese
  • Place in broiler on high for 10-20 ? minutes, or until cheese is brown. Turn off boiler/oven and let sit in oven for another 5-10 minutes.


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The Joys of Spaghetti Squash


This isn't the first time I've made it, but I wanted to turn everyone on to spaghetti squash. My Wisconsin friend told me about it, and it's super easy and is intriguing enough I wanted to give it a try. The process is simple, and I'll just walk you through how I made this dish.

  1. Oven 350, Cut the squash in half and butter a cookie sheet and place it inside down (as seen below). Cook in oven for 30-40 minutes. The first time I cooked one, it was a little al dente (Punny! no?)
  2. While that was cooking, I threw my veggies, peppers, onion, garlic, jalapenos and whatever else you want in a skillet. Fry them up all nice like and add your sauce. Add seasoning (oregano, salt, pepper, basil .. whatever) and cook it on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring. Then let it simmer until your spaghetti squash is done.
  3. Take the squash out of the oven and use a fork to pull it from the rind. It comes off almost like spaghetti. The last bit will stick to the rind so I just used a spoon or knife to scrape it out. Add the sauce to it and eat!! YUM!!

Now this was a simple recipe, but it honestly somewhat similar to spaghetti, and it's a great healthy alternative to the starchy bugger! But you can do anything with it really, go ahead GOOGLE IT!

On a more serious note: what should I cook my girlfriend for Valentines Day?? After the 5 hour drive to my house I better have something good waiting for her!!! Comment with suggestions (or comments).


A little somethin’ somethin’ ..

This next recipe was just me freestyling with some of the food I picked up from the local spanish mart. This place is AWESOME! The produce is uber cheap. The meat is normally priced but with the money I save on produce, I can afford to go to the Galapagos Islands (some day). Anyway, I used:

  • Onion
  • Chicken
  • Chipotle peppers (3)
  • Jalapeno, large (1)
  • Yellow and Orange Pepper

I threw all of these into a big wok and fried them up with some oil. Halfway through I added .. well just a bunch of stuff, basically whatever I could get my hands on! Which ended up being:

  • Thai Peanut Sauce (few globs)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Pepper

I then threw some spaghetti and angel hair (whatever I had) into some boiling water and let the wok (with all the above ingredients) simmer on 3/10 until the noodles were done. Once they finished I drained them and threw them into the wok. Now .. guys .. believe me I would have rather used some rice, but I forgot to buy some at the store. It probably also would have been cool to throw and egg or two in there but that's up to you. Honestly.. I didn't put any amounts because I just added things based on how much I wanted and tasted it as I went along. Anyway the finished product is great, and spicy!


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Happy Thanksgiving!!! (Better late than..)

Oh man, oh man oh man! Where do I start professing my apologies?? Don't misunderstand, I've been cooking plenty, but I just haven't been posting it.  Anyway, this post is going to summarize everything since thanksgiving. And because it has been so long I have most likely lost the recipes, but I'm terribly sorry and most of this you can figure out easily.
For Turkey day each of the kids (myself and two younger sisters) cooked some side dishes for the turkey and some other dishes my mom made. I made a butternut squash and apple .. well casserole sort of thing. It wasn't supposed to turn out the way it did, but in my eyes it was so much better. If I recall, I just cut up a bunch of bnut squash and granny smith apples, and threw cinnamon and sugar (..and butter?) and put it in the oven for 35 minutes on 350.

I think it was only supposed to be in there for 20 minutes or so, but the extra 15 minutes just melted the apples and squash. If there had been pie crust in my house I would have made it into a pie. It was great! Thanksgiving in general was awesome.

I also made cookies with my girlfriend's mother, it was some recipe she had. We didn't realize until we were mixing everything together but it made hundreds of cookies.

I have recently been using a cooking website via my buddy Paul and it's so great, definitely check it out: Cook's Illustrated! They have thousands of recipes, and tips relevant to each recipe. Some even have videos of certain steps. I think the membership is something like 30$ for a year. It's a steal and I am going to be using a lot now! I also received The Joy of Cooking from my sister, so you can expect some things from within that.

The next dish was almond crusted chicken, and I searched and searched on cook's illustrated for the recipe I used, but for the life of me can not find it. I am so so sorrry!! I want to share this recipe so badly and if I find it again I'll definitely update this post with it. It was really great, though the recipe itself was probably the most complicated recipe I've posted to date. Made it for my lady's birthday. Anyway here are some sweet pics!

So that's all I have for you guys right now. I have already written up my next post (tonight's dinner), and I'll throw it up soon. Overall this post was just to appease some of my critics!! Recipes to come. ;-)


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PAD to THAI for! (Pad thai)

Hey!!! Happy early thanksgiving!
I made some Pad Thai with my friends Steve and April and my lady, Missy! Let me tell you, this dish was AMAZING! I can't stress it enough, oh lord. I don't think I've ever cooked anything with peanut oil either, so it was a fun little experiment. So for ingredients...

  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup thai fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, minces
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tbsp green onions, thinly slice
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cut roasted salted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • brown rice
  • and meat of choice, (we went chicken)

Wow, quite the list .. but don't worry. We'll be finishe dbefore you can say 'peanut oil'. So to prepare:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl whisk sesame oil and cornstarch. Add the meat and toss well.
  2. In a small bowl, mix fish sauce, lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.
  3. Preheat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Pour in half of the peanut oil and let heat. Add the meat from step 1 and cook through. (slight browning on the chicken), set aside.
  4. Reheat wok and pour in remaining peanut oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and green onions
  5. Cook until soft and fragrant ... mmmmmm!
  6. Slowly add eggs, stirring constantly.
  7. Add protein and fish sauce mixture. When ready to serve add rice and mix thoroughly.
  8. Add bean sprouts, peanuts, and more crushed pepper, cilantro, and lime wedges to each serving as necessary!!!

Not bad eh?! Honestly, it was phenomenal meal. Missy and I both sat on the couch and rubbed each others belly until we fell asleep! Oh.. and also, she made me the cake of my dreams. Honestly.. does it get any better than this?? (Delayed post from my birthday 20 days ago!)