Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’
January 2, 2014
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!
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)
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.
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!
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
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?
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
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.
Cook and dice chicken, just long enough for it to turn light brown. Set aside.
Prep vegetables and set aside.
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.)
Add Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese to the sauce.
(I used packaged grated Parmesan.)
I also used a homemade Italian herb mix that we got as a gift.
You can find regular Italian seasoning in the spices aisle.
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.
Transfer into the baking dish.
Sprinkle with the Monterey jack cheese and cover with foil.
(I shredded my own.)
I used 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.
Feel free to add more, if desired.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is melted.
(Approx. 5 more minutes.)
Serve and enjoy!
January 3, 2013
I am so glad my mother came up from sunny Florida to visit us in snowy Michigan. I enjoyed her company at the gym, I enjoyed taking her around our new city, and I loved another creative mind in the kitchen!
I have said it before, but this dish came about one hundred percent off-the-cuff. Between the two of us, my mother and I carefully combined whatever we could find in the refrigerator and pantry to resemble a Mediterranean flare.
The olives we chose were to use were Green Ripe California Naturals, and had a very mild taste compared to most. I am not the biggest green olive fan, but gave these a try anyway. I am so glad I did. You could easily substitute the traditional black kalamata olive for a different flavor, but I think that if you try the ones I suggest, you will be hooked too.
Another unique ingredient that added a little extra flavor was a flavored feta by Athenos. I have yet to try others, but the tomato + basil flavor had me swooning! Below gives directions to cook by crock pot or stove top, so feel free to use either method. Please note, the extra long cook/simmer time is simply to bring out the flavors.
Let the Mediterranean infusion begin!
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
approx. 1 Tbsp. flour
angel hair pasta (I used 3/4 box of whole wheat)
1 red pepper, sliced
3/4 15 oz. can green olives
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup feta cheese (I used basil + tomato flavored)
1. Slice chicken, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with flour to coat.
2. Add enough olive oil to coat a large skillet. Brown chicken.
3. Transfer chicken to crock pot, then add olives and feta cheese.
4. Saute peppers in olive oil to partially soften. Add to crock pot.
5. Add white wine to crock pot. Stir well.
6. Cook on Low for 5-6 hours.
*To decrease cooking time, cook in a covered skillet by stove top on Med-High. Change heat to Low and simmer for 1 hour.
Slice chicken, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with flour to coat.
(Don’t worry if chicken isn’t completely done, since it can finish cooking in the crock pot.)
Slice peppers and drain olives.
Add olives and chicken to crock pot.
Add white wine.
Cook peppers in skillet to soften. It is okay to leave a little firm.
Add feta, if you haven’t already.
Cook in crock pot for 5-6 hours or by stove top for about 1 hour.
Check in every so often to test thickness of the sauce. If it looks thick, add a little bit of water, olive oil, or both if desired.
While pasta sauce is cooking, I used a few leftover ingredients to add to a green salad. The feta cheese, tomatoes, carrots, and leafy greens complimented the dish very well.
Serve as is, or add a little more olive oil and a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese to each plate.
December 17, 2012
This week’s recipe happened very spontaneously. I was not planning on it being something to share on the blog, but instead just a quick dinner fix.
There are many similar meals that go undocumented, simply because I think they might look weird to an outside eye. After digging in, both Scott and I agreed that it tasted great and deserves a spotlight! So here goes…
I had a last minute request of pasta for dinner. With no sauce in sight and no desire to hit the grocery store, I had to get creative. We had a pound of lean ground beef I needed to use up in the refrigerator, so I made a healthy version of one of my favorite meals I grew up on: chili over noodles.
Since Scott and I both like our chili on the meatier side, I knew he would not mind the double dose of beef and turkey. You can choose to use whatever kind you fancy, but I just happened to have a can of turkey chili on hand.
Scraping around the pantry, I found a can of corn ‘n peppers, and black olives to add. If I had more ingredients, I would have added diced onion, green peppers, shredded cheese.
If you have a bigger can of chili, I might recommend using it, but it just depends on the ratio of chili to noodles you prefer. I like more noodles.
In a pinch or not, I will definitely be making this again!
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 14.5 oz box whole wheat rotini noodles
1 15 oz. can chili of choice (I used Hormel Turkey Chili)
1 15 oz. can corn (I used Southwestern corn ‘n peppers)
1/2 15 oz. can block olives, sliced
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
cook time: 20 minutes
1. Brown beef. Cook noodles according to box instructions. Drain both.
2. In a large sauce pan, heat up chili by stove top on Medium heat. Add meat.
3. Add desired ingredients: corn, olives, cheese (optional).
4. Mix well and continue to cook on stove top for a few minutes, or until hot.
5. Serve on top of or mixed in with rotini noodles.
Brown beef. Drain.
Cook noodles according to box instructions. Drain and set aside.
Choose what ingredients you want to add to your chili.
In a large sauce pan, heat up chili by stove top on Medium heat.
Add desired ingredients: corn, olives, cheese (optional).
Mix well and continue to cook on stove top for a few minutes, or until hot.
Serve on top of or mixed in with rotini noodles.
I usually serve on top, but end up mixing it together as soon as I sit down.
Don’t ask why!
Like I said earlier, I prefer more noodles to chili, but Scott likes the opposite.
He liked it on its own, but added a drizzle of ranch dressing to the last few bites to see how it would taste. As you can imagine, that was crazy delicious.
However you prefer chili over noodles, get creative!
Feel free to share your favorite additives and combinations below in the comments section.