Category: pasta

Clean out the Fridge Pasta

Although I know a few days ahead of time what will be in my CSA share on a given week, it’s still so exciting to pick it up and go through all the fun stuff.  This week was chock full of zucchini (5 of them!), an ENORMOUS yellow squash, some Swiss chard, 2 pints of tart cherries (I’m thinking Chocolate Cherry Bread), green onions, a garlic scape, and two peaches.

We still had some leftover CSA veggies last night so I threw a bunch of stuff together in a skillet and called it “dinner.”  It was a great way to get rid of all the odds and ends sitting in the fridge, though.  And super delicious today for lunch, once all the flavors got to sink in.

Clean out the Fridge Pasta


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lightly packed kale, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic scape
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 can white beans 
  • 1/4 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow squash
  • scant 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup salsa 
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta
Directions:
  1. Saute the garlic scapes in olive oil for 2 minutes.  Add kale, cover, and let wilt for a few minutes.  Add red bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes, or until pepper begins to soften.  Add zucchini and yellow squash and continue cooking for another few minutes, until they begin to soften.
  2. Once the veggies are slightly softened, add the salsa and stir until combined.  Then add the beans and pasta and cook until heated through.

There are so many variations you can make with this.  Use pasta sauce instead of salsa.  Use the remains of a bag of frozen veggies.  The possibilities are endless.

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Chicken Alfredo

This weekend I featured a recipe from A Season for all Things on the Weekend Spotlight and said I was going to make it that night.  Well, I did make it and it turned out great!  The cream cheese gave it a nice tang, and the garlic powder was a perfect background flavor.  I was really happy with this recipe.

I don’t eat alfredo dishes when we go to restaurants because they usually do a number on my stomach.  But this one is a lot lighter without the tons of cream and butter these recipes typically call for.  No issues at all after having it twice already!

Here’s how I made it:

Chicken Alfredo
From A Season for all Things

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package linguine, uncooked
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/3 cup chicken broth (canned or homemade, your choice)
  • 5 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese (no green can, please!)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray on medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.  Pour the broth and flour in the same skillet you used for the chicken.  Stir in the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic powder and pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture boils and thickens.  Reduce heat.
  4. Stir in chicken.
  5. Drain pasta and put in a large bowl.  Pour the chicken mixture over the pasta and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with parsley.
Prep ahead tips:  Cut the chicken the night before.

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Chicken Pesto Pasta

We have a 10’ x 20’ plot in our community garden, which is about a mile or so from our house.  It’s sort of a pain to have to drive there, and there’s no running water so we have to bring our own when the rain barrel runs low, but it’s always so fun when we can actually harvest something from there.

This year we got a late start on planting.  It rained every weekend in May so nothing got in the ground until the first week of June.  Our tomatoes are just now starting to flower, but our basil’s doing AWESOME.  I can’t trim it back fast enough.

So what do you do with a ton of basil?  Make pesto, of course.  I’ve made pesto a few times between last year and this year, and it always turns out really well.  The problem is, I don’t use a recipe, so it’s hard to figure out how best to share that with you.  Last time I made it, I took some notes, but the measurements are approximate.  Pesto is the sort of thing that you can just play with and taste and adjust as needed.

pesto

Pesto Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 6 Tbsp (about 1/4 cup?) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  You may need to add more olive oil if it’s not the consistency you want.

To make the Chicken Pesto Pasta, I just boiled up some noodles that I had laying around, cubed and cooked some chicken, and then tossed it with the pesto.  Really no recipe.

What do you like to do with your basil?

This post is linked to Melt in Your Mouth Monday.

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Healthy Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells is one of those dishes I rarely make, especially since I started Weight Watchers at the end of December.  It’s just too cheesy and good, and way high in points.  But then I found this recipe I had pulled from the October 2009 Food Network magazine and had to give it a try.  Loaded with veggies, stuffed with tofu and cottage cheese, it was right up my alley!

The stuffing was a little bit bland, but I take full responsibility for that. The recipe calls for kosher salt, and I just used a dash or two of regular salt, thinking that the parmesan would make it salty enough. Nope, not the case. So next time I’ll definitely season the filling more.  Also, I cooked the shells for the whole amount of time the box said to but the recipe says to only boil them for 8 minutes.  Oops.  I was left with soggy noodles, and a wet sauce since the noodles weren’t able to soak up the excess water.  Lesson learned.

Regardless of my mistakes, this was a great recipe and I’d definitely make it again. I felt good watching my son eat it, knowing he was eating such healthful things like tofu, veggies, and very little fat.  He picked out all the spinach and set it aside on his plate, but I’ll pick my battles.  He ate the rest of it, even piling it on a piece of toast to eat it like a spread.

You’ll notice in the recipe that it’s a little time-consuming, what with making your own sauce, and the baking time. Seeing as I don’t get home until 6:00 most nights, I planned ahead and made the sauce and filling the night before.  That way, all I had to do that night was boil the shells, assemble, and bake.

shells

Ingredients

For the Sauce:
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper
For the Shells:
  • 1 12-ounce box jumbo pasta shells
  • 8 ounces silken tofu, mashed
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Cooking spray

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, zucchini, onion and celery and saute until soft but not brown, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the basil, oregano, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare the shells: Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 8 minutes; drain. Mix the tofu, spinach, cottage cheese, parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, the egg and garlic in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about 1 cup of the sauce in the dish. Stuff the cheese mixture into the shells and place in the baking dish, open-side up. Pour the remaining sauce over the shells. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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