This quick and easy chicken and mushroom pasta bake is a great casserole to make for parties, potlucks or for dinner during busy weeknights.  Made with chicken, mushrooms and store bought Arrabbiata sauce, it is tasty and ready for the dinner table in less than an hour.

I love baked dishes. They are good to make ahead, and are excellent to take for potlucks. This easy chicken and mushroom pasta bake is a new favorite of mine. I think chicken and mushrooms make an excellent pairing. And when you have melted cheese on top, all my taste buds are satisfied!

Would you believe it if I told you that growing up I hated mushrooms? My liking towards this particular fungus started in College, when my friend made me a simple mushroom on toast. It was so good and since then I love mushrooms. In everything!

Using store bought arrabbiata sauce makes this chicken pasta bake a breeze to make, but if you want to make your own, I have you covered with this easy homemade pasta sauce recipe.

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This pasta salad is full of flavor from fresh tomatoes, roasted bell pepper and black olives. Tossed with an easy to make dressing, and fresh parsley and making use of whole wheat penne makes a quick and healthy lunch or is perfect to make ahead for a picnic or lunchbox.

Roasted bell pepper and black olive pasta salad

I don’t know if you have tried the TSRI’s pasta salad from the blog, but it’s one of my favorite pasta salads. This roasted bell pepper and black olive pasta salad recipe is adapted from that recipe and if you love pasta salads you will love this one.

Roasting bell pepper is one of my favorite things to do, so much so that I love to use it in my indian tomato based curries too. My homemade pasta sauce also uses roasted red bell pepper. The added flavor that roasted bell pepper imparts to a sauce, or salad is absolutely amazing.

Roasted bell pepper and black olive pasta salad

Roasted bell pepper and black olive pasta salad

Its really hot here in India. Hot and humid. We have got no rains so far, with the clouds teasing us almost every other day. Entering the kitchen to cook is something I dread, because I know I will come out feeling like taking a shower immediately. Recipes like this easy pasta salad where the only cooking involved is cooking the pasta, and the oven takes care of the roasting bit, are a welcome respite.

I have been thinking of starting a small herb garden. We do grow mint and for a brief period had successfully grown thyme and oregano too. In US, I had a flourishing basil plant and there was always more basil than I could use. Every time I make pasta or pizza, I tell myself I should grow basil, parsely, thyme at home instead of traveling 30 minutes for a small bunch of these herbs.

Using fresh herbs always makes a difference to your salads, or the sauces used in pastas and pizzas. I would recommend using fresh whenever you can.

If you try this recipe, do please tag me on any of the following platforms- instagram, facebook, twitter or leave a comment here.

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The tropical flavors of pineapple and coconut in this pineapple coconut birthday cake are sure to please family and friends and make any occasion special.  

Pineapple Coconut Birthday Cake

I have been facing writers’ block for a while. There is so much going on that I don’t know where to begin. This space has always been snippets of my life and a recipe. While I have recipes to share, its difficult to put down in words what all has been going on. I have been sitting with this post for a couple of days, and since nothing is coming to me, I will start this post by talking about this pineapple coconut birthday cake and leave it at that.

4th July was my dad’s birthday and since I was home for his birthday, I wanted to make a cake for him. I decided on a soft, fluffy coconut cake I had made for one of his previous birthdays, this time with a crushed pineapple filling and a whipped cream cheese frosting.

I worked on the cake recipe when I was working on my home based baking business, The Pink CakeBox. The recipe is adapted from here. The coconut cake is soft and fluffy because it uses a mix of oil and butter, and mildly flavored with coconut extract which gives the cake a lovely coconut flavor. The pairing with pineapple makes it a pina colada sort of cake, which is what I love about this pineapple coconut birthday cake.

A lot of people are not particularly fond of buttercream frosting. While I love buttercream frosting with a rich chocolate cake, for more tropical flavors or fruit based cakes I prefer either a simple whipped cream frosting, or my current favorite this whipped cream cheese frosting which is made from cream cheese and whipping cream. Its light, with a slight richness from the cream cheese. Its not sweet at all, and is great for piping too.

To decorate the cake, I used a small star tip and made 9’s all across the cake. Its a simple technique with beautiful results.

Pineapple Coconut Birthday CakePineapple Coconut Birthday Cake Read More →