If you've been wondering where I've been for the past 2 weeks, the answer is - vacation! I will be writing about that for sure, but before I get to it I want to talk about this pasta that I made before we left. My friend Melissa (you know her by now) was also going out of town, a little before we were, and gifted me several of her home-grown bell peppers and tomatoes. I wanted to use them to do a take on sausage and peppers in pasta form because I'm, well, me.
So I browned some sliced sausage, and then threw in an onion, the peppers, and the tomatoes to saute. Then I tossed in cooked whole wheat penne along with pasta water, a splash of cream, and some Parmesan to make a sauce. And finally, I topped it with some fresh basil and parsley. Fast, easy, and hearty. Thanks Melissa!
I have been really busy and traveling a lot lately, I haven't really been cooking much. When I do, it is usually a quick throw together of some type of pasta, vegetable, and protein. This particular version consisted of tri-color cheese tortellini, heirloom tomato, yellow zucchini, spinach, turkey meatballs, goat cheese, and fresh herbs.
While the water for the pasta was boiling, I sliced the zucchini and chopped the tomato and an onion. I sauteed the onion and zucchini in some goat butter, then added the spinach and let it wilt. I added the cooked tortellini on top with a little pit of pasta water (which helped with the wilting), then threw in the fresh tomatoes and took it off the heat.
Lastly I added some frozen turkey meatballs that I had heated in the microwave (I know, I know - I was in a hurry okay?), some crumbled goat cheese, and some fresh basil and parsley. This was super easy and came together in less than 30 minutes. Plus there was enough other stuff going on to distract my husband from the vegetables - score!
Fast, easy, simple, and perfect for summer - this pizza is creamy and fresh and super yummy.
All pizza starts with dough, and I highly recommend the Jim Lahey no-knead recipe. It comes out tender and crisp and full of air pockets. You can see some bubbles in the dough in the photo above - that's the good stuff! I do need to try and remember not to stretch it out too much, though. I think I made the pizza a little too large this time.
Top the dough with minced garlic, bits of anchovy, and a drizzle of olive oil. The anchovy adds little pops of salty and umami flavors. Along with the garlic, this richness is what elevates this pizza from being boring, do not skip! Melissa (who I made this with), said that she might make it with capers instead of anchovies next time. I think that is a really good suggestion for vegetarians who don't eat fish, but still want to get that briney flavor.
You know that cheesy broccoli and rice casserole that makes it's way to every potluck ever? That is so bad for you, but so yummy, that you eat heaps of it and you tell yourself that it's got broccoli so it's okay? Well here's your chance to pig out, because this version (made with quinoa instead of rice) is a lot better for you.
Of course, to convince my husband to eat it (and because I wanted more protein without having to make a separate dish), I threw some shredded rotisserie chicken in there. You can see in the photo that I just threw big florets of steamed broccoli in there. I ended up wishing that the broccoli was more evenly spread throughout, so I will recommend chopping it first.
This is hearty, and creamy, and just plain awesome. Kids (and big kids) will gobble it up.
Here's a quick little semi-homemade cold weather meal, perfect for weeknights. I took some store-bought fresh spinach fettuccine and thick sliced roasted turkey from the deli counter, and tossed them with a homemade pumpkin goat cheese alfredo. It's interesting enough to not be boring, but it's easy enough to not cause a headache.
The homemade part is the decadent sauce, which involves butter, garlic, cream, pumpkin, goat cheese, sage, and pumpkin pie spice. I wanted to do something a little different, which is why I went with turkey, but chicken would work just as well. And I like how the spinach pasta brought a little color to the table.
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Alfredo
adapted from Closet Kitchen
8 oz pasta of choice (I used fresh spinach fettuccine from the refrigerated section), cooked
8 oz cooked turkey or chicken, diced or shredded
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp sage, sliced thinly (or dried)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cream, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, Parmesan, sage, and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
Add in the poultry and allow to warm through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Toss with pasta and serve immediately.
After a bit of a hiatus, Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) and I are getting back to our weekly vegetarian lunches. Last week we tried this amazing soup recipe packed with veggies. It is warm and comforting, with lots of flavor and texture - plus it's really easy to make. It's also both vegan and vegetarian friendly. And gosh, isn't it pretty?
The soup starts out with sliced squash (we used acorn) and tiny cubes of turnip simmered in water until tender. At first I thought that one small squash and one turnip wouldn't be enough, but they turned out to be plenty! So don't go overboard and think that you need to get more/bigger. The cooking water then becomes the base for the broth and miso, tahini, and lemon zest are added to round it out.
You can garnish the soup however you like, but we stuck with the original recipe and used avocado, chives, toasted nori, and toasted sesame seeds.
The soup can be served over a grain, and we choose to try out buckwheat. We are both avoiding white rice for health reasons and thought this grain-like seed would be fun to try. Unfortunately it cooks to a porridge like consistency instead of individual grains. So I would recommend barley or brown rice instead.
Here's an idea for you for a quick meal or party food - smoked salmon, creme fraiche, capers, and chives on naan bread. Fast, easy, delicious, fun, but still elegant.
I actually made this two ways as sort of an experiment - one by heating the naan (on a pizza stone), then adding the toppings.
The second one I made by putting the ingredients (except for the chives) on first, then toasting it on the pizza stone. I was surprised to find that I liked this version better! I had never heated smoked salmon before, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out. But the flavor became rich and buttery and all the ingredients melded together.
I like the idea of naan as a topping conveyor. Small enough to be individually sized and already cooked, all you need to do is add toppings and heat. I bet it would be super fun to set up a make-your-own-pizza night this way, and kids would love it!
This is one of those transitional dishes that takes you from one season into another - the last of the summer corn, combined with dark leafy greens in a warm tart. The original recipe didn't have any protein, but it did use feta and dill, so I thought shrimp would be perfect.
If you don't eat shrimp, then no problem - leave them off. The veggies and cheese are hearty enough on their own.
I am trying to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, my carb intake. But, man, I just really love pasta. If anybody else is struggling with this, and I'm sure there are many, this is a really great recipe. I know what you're thinking - it's not the same - and you're right, it's not. But I don't think you will miss the pasta when you discover how much flavor and texture these have!
Mmmm - veggies. I got my mandoline out, thinking it would make this a breeze, but it turns out that my particular one really sucks at using the whole length of the vegetable. So I switched to this bad boy and it worked brilliantly.
The colors! Now I really like using spaghetti squash if I have a great sauce, but this recipe has more color and flavor, making it great on its own.
Bonus - I followed the recipe and used red onion and garlic, but I think that you could use shallot in place of both and make it even simpler! Super bonus - it cooks in less than 5 minutes!
Sauteed Vegetable Julienne
adapted from Skinny Taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz zucchini, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
8 oz yellow squash, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
4 oz (1 medium) carrot, cut into julienne strips (with a mandolin or peeler)
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and onions and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
Increase heat to medium-high and add the remaining vegetables, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Adjust salt as needed and serve hot.
Here's another quick, end of Summer post for you - melon pops! Half cantaloupe, half honeydew, all yummy.
They are made with just melon pureed with a little agave (optional). The layering looks really cute, and is easy to do, but you could do whole pops of one or the other melon. Quick, easy, healthy treats - yay!
Makes 10 pops
1/4 cantaloupe, cubed
1/4 honeydew, cubed
agave, to taste (optional)
Place the honeydew cubes in a blender and puree. Add agave, if using, keeping in mind that the pops will be less sweet when frozen.
Pour the honeydew mixture into an ice pop mold, being careful not to fill more than halfway. Freeze until slushy, about an hour. (Don't be like me and let it freeze solid, preventing the layers from sticking together - doh!)
Repeat the process with the cantaloupe, being careful when adding it to the mold not to mix the layers. Insert wooden sticks and freeze until solid.