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Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

January 2, 2014

Easy Pesto Pasta

Hi friends! I am taking the day to spend some time with my mom so I am just here to share a quick recipe with you.

Last week I highlighted a meal Scott prepared for us and a few friends the day before Christmas Eve. It was delicious, and when I heated up the leftovers the next day I knew I needed to get you all on the pesto train… or at least try to!

Pesto has a light taste that is somehow still packed with flavor, and is a lot easier to make than you might think. When I asked Scott how to make this pesto sauce “our own,” he said you can’t. Pesto is pesto. We added a few spices here and there, but for the most part it is going to look similar for most sauce recipes.

We used this one from the Food Network as our inspiration, almost to the tee.

Our favorite kind of pasta is angel hair, however, we had been waiting to use our box of Pozza’s Pasta handmade Italian spaghetti for something special. These noodles were a gift from Scott’s parents when they were here visiting and are from his hometown area in Tontitown, Arkansas. While this exact brand can only be found at select grocers, any type of angel hair, spaghetti, penne, or linguine would be great.

Also, you can mix it up and get creative with spinach, vegetable (tomato), or whole wheat pasta noodles if you are so inclined.

Really, anything can go green!

Pesto Pasta

parmesean pesto pasta

Ingredients

fresh basil leaves (about 2 bunches)

2 Tbsp. pine nuts (untoasted)

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesean

1 dash Italian seasoning

1 pound pasta of choice

***

cook time: 15 minutes

servings: 4 (as an entree) – 6 (as a side)

***

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the noodles. Add salt to the water, if desired.

2. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a blender to make a puree.

3. Add the cheese, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, then blend again.

4. Cook the pasta according to directions on box. Drain and transfer into a large serving bowl. Combine pesto with pasta and toss.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesean.

parmesean pesto patsa 2

The recipe comments also suggested adding lemon juice to the sauce, which we plan to try next time. I’m so glad Scott reminded me how great this sauce is!

Enjoy!

Questions of the Day

• Are you a pesto fan? Have you ever used it on pizza?

That’s my next experiment. I have always appreciated pesto sauce, but never think to make it at home. I love how flavorful, but light it is at the same time. I plan to cook with it a lot more in the future!

January 16, 2013

Chicken and Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

I have really been digging casseroles lately.  Pick your meat, pick your veggies, pick your starch, add some cheese or dressing and you are ready to rock!

Inspired by a recipe I found online, a recent casserole dinner of mine was filled fresh vegetables and deliciousness.  Even after adding a little bit more cheese that it called for, it still tasted light and healthy.

I love when I can make a filling casserole dish without the processed cans of soups or dressings!  Ready to try?

Chicken and Cheesy Vegetabl

Ingredients

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and diced

2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted

10 oz. skim milk

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

7 oz. penne pasta

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

2 (small) heads broccoli, chopped

1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

 

prep time: 15-20 minutes

cook time: 30 minutes

servings: 6

Directions

1. Cook and dice chicken and set aside.  Prep vegetables and set aside.

2. Prepare the white sauce by placing the butter in a preheated small sauce pot over medium heat. Once the butter foams, add flour and stir for 1 minute. (Try not to let the mixture turn brown.) Add milk and continue to stir until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese to the sauce. Stir well.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Drain the pasta and prepare a 9×13″ casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

6. In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the chicken and chopped vegetables.  Add sauce and mix well.

7. Transfer into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the Monterey Jack cheese and cover with foil.

8. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is melted, about 5 more minutes.

Breakdown

Cook and dice chicken, just long enough for it to turn light brown. Set aside.

cooking chicken

Prep vegetables and set aside.

prep vegetables for casserole

Prepare the white sauce…

Place the butter in a preheated small sauce pot over medium heat.

Once the butter foams, add flour and stir for 1 minute.

(Try not to let the mixture turn brown.)

Add milk to the mixture and continue to stir until it starts to bubble.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

(Photo was taken after all of this.)

light cheese sauce

Add Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese to the sauce.

(I used packaged grated Parmesan.)

packaged shredded parmesean cheese

I also used a homemade Italian herb mix that we got as a gift.

You can find regular Italian seasoning in the spices aisle.

Italian seasoning for sauce

Stir sauce well.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, chicken and chopped vegetables.

Add sauce and mix well.

vegetable chicken pasta

Transfer into the baking dish.

Sprinkle with the Monterey jack cheese and cover with foil.

(I shredded my own.)

freshly shredded monterey jac

I used 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.

Feel free to add more, if desired.

casserole ready for oven

Bake for 20 minutes.

cheesy veggie casserole close up

Remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is melted.

(Approx. 5 more minutes.)

chicken and vegetable cheese casserole

Serve and enjoy!

chicken veggie noodle casserole closeup

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I am not a registered dietician, nutritionist, or certified fitness professional. The workouts I post are what work best for me, but might not be the right type of exercises for you.



I do NOT post everything I eat. All content I post on this blog stems from my personal experience and knowledge, and I recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet or fitness routine.



Also, please understand that affiliate links may pop up on the blog from time to time. I acknowledge when they appear and always genuinely appreciate your support! ♥



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