Thursday, June 20, 2013

Whole Wheat Veggie Pasta

We don't eat a ton of pasta at our house, but when we do I like to make things that are packed full of veggies and flavor.  This was absolutely delicious and didn't take long at all to make.  It just requires a lot of different ingredients.

Ingredients and cooking:

1/2 bag whole wheat pasta (any variety is fine.  I used fusilli because I like the way it catches the veggies and cheese) - Cook in a little salted water

1 yellow onion diced
1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
1/2 jar of sun dried tomatoes (I use Trader Joe's Julienne Sliced Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil) I use the oil from the sun dried tomatoes to sauté the onions and garlic.  I sauté all those three ingredients together until the onions are clear.

Once the above are cooked then I start throwing in all the additional items:

Yellow and Red Fire Roasted Peppers (also from Trader Joe's) - I slice up the peppers before adding
Red and Yellow peppadew peppers sliced (got these from my local grocery store olive station)
Big White Beans (got these from the olive station as well)
Artichoke Hearts (I used one can of whole artichoke hearts and then quartered them)

Once these are all mixed up together in a pan, then I add as much baby spinach or super green mix as possible.  You can pretty much fit an entire 10 oz container if you wanted, just add a little at a time.  Cook down the greens.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, then add to your pan with all the veggies.  Toss everything together and add feta cheese.

I am telling you this is delicious.  It was great for lunch today too.  You can eat it cold or warmed up.  Yummy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Easy Tamale Pie

I picked up this recipe at Whole Foods one day.  I tried it out and it to so delicious and it is something the kids love as well, which is such a bonus.  Not only do the kids like it, but it is super healthy.  It calls for no oil, very little salt and full of flavor.  I do however add some shredded cheese because there is no reason not to add cheese.  Everything is better with cheese.  Thank you Whole Foods!  This is delicious.  

Easy Tamale Pie

2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup onion, diced
1 tsp chopped garlic
8 oz lean ground chicken (or shredded chicken)
1 cup crushed tomatoes 
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, thinly shredded
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 4oz can diced mild green chilies
1 15 oz can black beans no salt added, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup instant polenta
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


Preheat oven to 350

Heat 1/2 cup of the vegetable (or chicken) broth in a nonstick saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and steam saute for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent.  Add the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes until cooked through.

Add the crushed tomatoes, spinach, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, diced green chilies, beans and lime juice.  Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, bring the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth with the salt to a boil, stir in polenta and cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.  

Spray a 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray, place the bean mixture in the pan.  Spread the polenta evenly over the bean mixture.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  

I usually put a layer of shredded cheese on top of the bean mixture and then add the polenta.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bacon, Butternut Squash and Kale Pasta Bake

I found this absolutely delicious recipe in my Cooking Light magazine.  However, this is not exactly a "light" recipe.  It is also time intensive.  It was well worth it.  I have posted the link to the actual recipe, but I did make some changes when I made it, so I am going to post what I used.  I tried to make it slightly healthier in some ways, but then I added a little more bacon, which definitely didn't help with the fat and calorie content.  But, who cares when something tastes this good.  

Here is the Cooking Light recipe link:

Below is my adaptation of the recipe:

Biggest Butternut Squash EVER!

Finished product

5 cups (1/2 inch) cubed peeled butternut squash - Must use organic.  It tastes so much better.
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooking Spray
16 oz of wheat ziti pasta
4 cups chopped kale
4 slices bacon
2 cups vertically sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt, divided (I used even less then that)
5 garlic cloves, minced (I used probably 6 cloves or more.  I love garlic)
2 1/2 cups fat-free, lower sodium organic chicken broth
2 heaping tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cup creme fraiche
1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (I used a combination of shredded Swiss and Gruyere that I got at Trader Joe's)

Getting it ready:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Combine squash and oil in a large bowl; toss well.  Arrange squash in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until squash is tender.  (Took about 22 minutes for me.)

3.  Cook pasta in a LARGE pot for 8 minutes or until almost al dente.  Add Kale during the last 2 minutes of cooking.  (Watch the pot because once it starts boiling again it can really easily overflow).  Drain the pasta mixture.

4.  Cook bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pain; chop up.  Pour out some of the drippings, so that only a thin layer is on the bottom of your pan.  Add the onions to the drippings.  Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

5. Bring about 1 and 3/4 cups of the broth to a boil in a small saucepan.  Combine the remaining broth with the flour in a small bowl and whisk.  Add the flour mixture, a little salt and pepper to the broth.  Cook for about 2 minutes until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat; stir in the creme fraiche.

6.  Combine the squash, pasta mixture, bacon, onions and sauce in a large bowl; toss gently.  Place pasta mixture in a 13x9 inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the Gruyere cheese and bake at 400 for about 25 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Enjoy.  This was absolutely delicious.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Black Eyed Peas

Growing up we always had black eyed peas on New Years Day for good luck.  I have forgotten to make them the past few years.  This year I wanted to do a little spicy twist.  I knew that my kids wouldn't be a huge fan of eating black eyed peas right now, so I didn't worry about making them too hot.  

I took a bag of frozen organic black eyed peas and cooked them on the stove, just as the bag suggested.  

In a separate frying pan, I melted about a tablespoon of butter.  Added a few tablespoons of fresh minced garlic, half an onion chopped, a little salt and pepper and sauteed it for a few minutes.  Then I added chopped jalapeno peppers (about a tablespoon and a half, but you could add more or less depending on how hot and spicy you want it to be) and about a teaspoon of dried cilantro.  I sauteed that until the onions were clear and all the flavors had been cooking together, which was probably another three-five minutes.

I drained the black eyed peas, put them back in the pan and added the garlic, onion and jalapeno mixture.  I mixed it all up and then served it.  

This was a delicious side dish.  Throughout the week, I made spinach salads and added the black eyed peas to the salad.  It gave the salad an additional kick.

Sausage, Mushroom and Potato Gratin

I get Cooking Light magazine each month and I try to use at least one recipe from the magazine each month.  This recipe came out in the November issue.  

Here is the link:  Cooking Light, Turkey Sausage Mushroom and Potato Gratin

It was pretty good, but there just wasn't much to it.  If you want this to be a full meal then you need to add additional items.  

The recipe is pretty simple.  I decided to go to my local grocery store and they didn't have turkey sausage, so I just got regular sausage.

Instead of looking at the link here are the ingredients:

2 (4oz) hot turkey Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups chopped onions
4 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup shredded Swiss Cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Heat oven to 400.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and saute for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove form pan, drain.  Wipe pan with paper towels.  Melts butter in pan.  Add onions and saute, add mushrooms and saute.  Add potatoes and salt and saute for 5 minutes or until potatoes are browned.  
Stir in sausage and broth.  Remove from heat, spoon into baking dish, top with cheese, cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden.  

Finished product:

It tasted good, but I would liked to have added a lot more mushrooms, possibly cauliflower or additional other vegetables.  The meal was just lacking.  Next time I make this, I will either serve it as a side dish or add a lot more veggies to make it a more fulfilling meal.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Acorn Squash

My grandmother used to always make baked acorn squash in the fall, so making this dish always makes me think of my childhood.

This combines fall flavors and smells and is super easy to make.  I make mine in the microwave, so it is quick and easy, but you can bake it in the oven.  It will just take longer.  I know some people don't like cooking things in the microwave so it will just increase the cooking time.


1 acorn squash
2 tablespoons butter
Brown sugar
Chopped walnuts

One whole acorn squash pricked with a fork.  Cook in microwave on high for 3-5 minutes until it is soft enough to cut in half.  Once soft, cut in half and scoop out all the seeds.  Prick the inside and edges of each half with a fork.  Put half of a tablespoon of butter in the bottom of each half.  Fill each side of the squash in a layer with the raisins first, then walnuts, then brown sugar.  Put the additional half tablespoon of butter on top of all the ingreidents and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Put in the microwave and cook until the brown sugar is melted and bubbly and the inside of the squash is soft and tender.  Then mixed everything up inside and eat.  It is delicious!

Brown Rice, Lentil and Vegetable Soup

I love this time of year when I can make tons of different soups.  I get inspiration from different receipes and then I usually just make up my own.  I found a recipe that included brown rice and brown lentils, but it seems very bland and plain because there were no additional vegetables.

This is a great fall soup that is also very healthy.  Here is what I made:

Use a big pot (like a dutch oven or something that can hold a lot of soup).

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

Heat the oil in the pan, add onions and sugar and cook for about 20 minutes until the onions are carmelized.

I love garlic so I tend to use a lot when I am cooking.

2 heaping Tablespoons of minced garlic.

Add to the onions and cook for about 3 more minutes.

1 cup white wine (if you have it)
Vegetable broth

Add to the onions and garlic.  I did not put an amount for the vegetable broth because I pour a lot in the pan.  Then when the other ingrediants are added, I add as much broth as I feel like having.  Sometimes I like a thicker soup and sometimes I like a lot more broth.  It is up to you.

1 cup brown lentils
1 cup brown rice

Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 50 minutes until the rice and lentils are cooked.

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, lima beans, mushrooms etc.)

Stir in the above.  Add as much parsley, basil, salt and pepper as you desire.  I added about half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, but you could add as much as you want.  I let this soup sit on low heat for about an hour or so, it helps to enhance the flavor.

Also, when I am eating it I add a little jalapeno tabassco sauce for an additonal kick.  It is delicious.