TEX-MEX QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS

ImageI just made my to-do list for work this week. There are five things on it. That’s right, five. For a whole week. And I already did one of them. So I guess that means there are really only four. I could probably come up with other things to do, but eh. What’s the point? Summers are slow around here. I feel like we bust our butts all year long, so once the fiscal year ends, I kind of just want to slow down and relax for a few weeks. I just wish I was slowing down and relaxing at the beach… not at my desk. 

Alas. Here I am. (sigh) I guess this means I have plenty of time to tell you about these quinoa stuffed peppers I made last night. Don’t let my sigh fool you– They were delish. I’m looking forward to leftovers tonight.

The only red bell peppers I could find in the store were GINORMOUS. Yet, I still had plenty of filling leftover, which tastes great on its own. So you could choose to stuff this in the peppers or… not. They were a little more time consuming than I thought they would be. It just took me a while to get all the ingredients together. Nevermind that I was distracted by the real housewives drama going on in the background… That Vicki is cray.

TEX-MEX STYLE QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 3-4 large red bell peppers
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 1/4 cup of green chiles
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of feta cheese crumbles
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of another shredded cheese of your choice (see note below)
  • 3/4 of a orange bell pepper, diced (optional, see note 2 below)
  • a big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine quinoa, black beans, corn, chiles, jalapeno, feta, tomatoes, cilantro, shredded cheese, and orange pepper (if using) in a large bowl. Then go to town adding your cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper until the mix has a good flavor. 

Cut the tops of the red peppers off and scoop out the seeds and seams from the insides. Spoon the quinoa mixture into the red peppers until they are stuffed to the brim. Add some more shredded cheese to the top.

Set stuffed red peppers in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil and olive oil. Set the tops of the peppers back on as best you can. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until your red peppers are pretty soft and somewhat prune-y. Let cool for a few minutes before digging in. 

Note: I have this block of cheese that I keep using. But I threw away the original packaging so I don’t know what kind of cheese it is. If you have pepper jack or something that shreds nicely (vs. grating, like parmesan does), use that. 

Note 2: I had a bit of an orange pepper that I just threw in here b/c I needed to use it. If you aren’t serving the quinoa in a pepper, I definitely recommend adding the pepper. But since I served this in peppers, the extra pepper wasn’t needed. That’s why I said it’s optional. 

SUMMER SOBA NOODLES

Summer Soba NoodlesThere’s this recipe blogger (who shall remain nameless) who my sister and I love to hate. Her recipes are delicious and her photographs are beautiful. But her writing drives me nuts. She’s always saying things like, “I had some mung beans on hand so I decided to just whip up some hummus.” Mung beans? What are those? And where the heck do you buy them? Or “I had some nettles from the market that I wanted to use up so I made this pasta and it was a total breeze.” Nettles? Seriously? No one just has nettles. And a pasta with nettles does not sound like a breeze.  I find it annoying that she makes whipping up recipes with obscure ingredients sound so easy, as if everyone lives this glamorous life of going to the “market” (vs. the “grocery store”) and has a fully stocked kitchen with healthy, wholesome ingredients and beautiful dishes and perfect lighting. Sorry, but that just isn’t my reality.

However, this dish I am about to share with you was actually born out of ingredients that I had on hand and needed to use up. And it was easy to make! Other than the sesame oil and the miso paste, nothing I’m listing here is obscure. And sesame oil and miso are pretty easy to find and can be used in a lot of recipes.

I was going to see a friend’s new house last week and offered to bring dinner. I was planning to make my spring pasta, but I realized the only pasta I had were soba noodles. So I decided to do an asian twist on what I was originally planning to make. And voila!

SUMMER SOBA NOODLES

Summer Soba Noodles 2

Summer Soba Noodles 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of soba noodles (9.5 oz)
  • 1 cup of multi colored heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin
  • 2 large handfuls of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbs of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • about 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce or shoyu
  • about 2 tbs of sesame oil
  • about 2 tbs of rice vinegar
  • about 2 tbs of water
  • 1 tsp of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp of yellow miso paste
  • Siracha to taste (optional)
  • Sesame seeds

Directions:

Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse.

Make the dressing or sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, water, garlic, mint, miso paste, lime juice and a few generous pinches of the cilantro and scallions. Whisk together, adding more water, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil as needed. Start with smaller amounts and add more as needed, to taste. You don’t want the soy sauce to overpower everything. If you want, you can add siracha to the dressing and whisk it in. I opted not to do this since one of my friends does not like spicy food.

Combine noodles, tomatoes, avocado, remaining cilantro and scallions in a large bowl. Slowly add dressing until it’s the consistency and taste that you want. Top with sesame seeds and lime wedges for garnish. Add siracha as desired.

Note: When dicing the tomatoes, I made sure to separate the seeds and juicy guts as much as possible. Small heirloom tomatoes can be pretty juicy when you dice them and I was worried this would “water down” my dish. I also think this recipe would be good with some cilantro lime shrimp. Yum! 

Pizza Dip

pizza dip 2You know those dishes that while you’re eating, you know you’re gonna regret it later, but it’s so good that you can’t stop and just keep eating anyway? Yeah, that’s how this pizza dip is. And yeah, I had major regret in the form of a stomach ache last night. But sometimes you just have to live in the moment.

My sister, her husband and I like to have lazy Sundays sometimes. Where we eat bad food and watch bad TV/movies. It’s usually sparked by a hangover, which my sister may have had yesterday. But I was just bored. Which really is not a good excuse to stuff yourself with cheese and carbs. But like I said, sometimes you just have to live in the moment. So after we made loaded cheese fries, and nibbled on baked Cheetos (a family favorite), I whipped up this dip. Just in time to watch Pitch Perfect (another family favorite).

This pizza dip would be good to take to a party, where there are more than 3 people. And since the 4th of July is this week and people are probably looking for party recipes, I thought I would share it now. (Look at me, being all ahead of the game.) Everyone loves cheese, so this should definitely be a crowd pleaser. Especially if there are boys. And especially if you add pepperoni.

PIZZA DIP

pizza dip

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened (1 box of a block of cream cheese)
  • 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4-6 ounces of provolone cheese (I used about 4 slices, torn into small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh oregano, chopped
  • a dash of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cut into small triangles
  • a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper
  • bread, crackers or chips for dipping

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay out on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake/roast for about 20 minutes, until tomatoes are bursting.

Meanwhile, mix softened cream cheese with provolone, and most of the mozzarella and parmesan. Add in the herbs and garlic. Once tomatoes are ready, mix them in too. Transfer to an oven safe dish. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is brown and cheese is bubbling. Serve with bread, chips or crackers.

Note 1: I used a 4th kind of cheese but I don’t know what it’s called. It was a block of some fancy cheese that I had leftover from another recipe. If you have another kind of cheese that you want to add, go for it. You can make the dip ahead of time, and either bake it half way or not at all and then pop it in the oven to get it bubbling when you get to the party.

Note 2: The 3 of us did not eat the entire bowl of dip. We only made it through about half. 

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is blog.

Spring Pasta with Tomatoes

ImageWell helloooo internet friends! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on here. I wish I could say that I’ve been cooking and that I have lots of new recipes to share, but that would be a lie. Not only have I not had time to blog, I haven’t had time to cook. I can’t remember the last time I made anything other than grilled cheese or cereal. It’s been a busy spring. Good busy though! I’ve been over indulging in french fries, beers, chips and salsa, and peanut butter and jellies.

However, it’s time to get back in the kitchen and start eating clean again! I finally have a week with no plans so I went to Wegman’s yesterday, spent half my paycheck on produce and seafood and welp, now here I am. 

Tonight I made a delicious spring pasta dish that’s light and super easy to make. I was originally planning to make a salad with tilapia, but then I was like you know what. Maybe I shouldn’t rush into this whole healthy eating thing too quickly. Maybe I should ease myself back into it and meet in the middle with a nice comforting pasta. Just kidding. Really, I couldn’t handle the thought of my apartment smelling like fish for the rest of the night. 

Anyway, here’s the recipe. I’m trying to make this quick… I only have about 13 minutes until the Real Housewives of Orange County starts. Priorities, people! 

SPRING PASTA WITH TOMATOES

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Ingredients:

  • About 6 ounces of thin spaghetti, angel hair or capellini pasta (about half a box)
  • 2-3 plum tomatoes, diced 
  • 1/4 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup of chopped basil
  • 1-2 tbps of olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced (I used two but I think it was too much)
  • Salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and crushed red pepper (optional) to taste
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese to taste (optional)

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package instructions. (I like to add a lot of salt and a little bit of olive oil to my water when I make pasta.) Drain well.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add more or less oil, cheese, salt and peppers as needed. Can be eaten warm or cold.

 

See, I told you it was easy! And I still have 5 minutes until RHOOC! #teamGretchen

 

Pea Pancakes

pea pancakes

So, I know what you’re thinking. Peas in pancakes? Gross. Or maybe you’re not thinking that. But that is what my co-worker said when I told her about this recipe. Whatever you’re thinking, please know that these pancakes are are good. Like, really good. I mean, you pour melted butter over them instead of syrup. How can anything doused in melted butter be bad? (I once had a sushi roll that involved dipping shrimp tempura in butter instead of soy sauce. So wrong. Yet so so right.)

Bon Appetit did a feature on peas in their spring issue, which included this recipe for pea pancakes. (Don’t be surprised if you see more recipes on here involving peas. In case you haven’t noticed, I get on a kick with one food/recipe/ingredient and then [b]eat it to death until I just can’t take it anymore. Or at least until I’ve moved on to my next food obsession.) Annnnyway, I had really been wanting to host a champagne brunch but no one in my family ever has time to get together on the weekends. So we had brunch for dinner last week to celebrate my mom’s birthday, and it was the perfect opportunity for me to try this recipe from Bon Appetit.

My uncle told me I was brave for trying a new recipe for guests, but I told him, “Eh, I like to throw caution to the wind, take risks. You know.” I am such a liar. I am a huge scaredy cat and overly cautious type-A person. Of course, as he said this, I was struggling to flip these pancakes without them falling apart, peas were flying everywhere, and I was having a mini anxiety that the recipe I brought to the brunch dinner that I insisted suggested we have, was not going to work. They were not looking quite as pretty as the ones in the magazine. But you know what, we can’t all have a food stylist. And despite my brief state of panic and a few unevenly cooked pancakes, I got it down and these came out really well. People even asked me to make a second batch!

So next time you’re hosting a champagne brunch, give these a try. You can keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve. I think they would go well with salmon. And of course, an extra spicy bloody mary as well.

PEA PANCAKES

brunch for dinner

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of frozen peas, thawed (I used about a bag and a half of frozen peas)
  • 2 tsps of kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups of fat free cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2-4 tbsps of vegetable oil
  • a bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted

Combine cottage cheese, eggs, flour, and salt in a blender. Blend until well blended. Ha. Seriously though, turn the blender on until the eggs are beaten and everything is well mixed. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add peas and most of the scallions and mix together. The batter should be thick but pourable.

Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add a little oil or butter to the pan. Ladle or pour pancakes in 1/4 cupfuls, spreading out to 3-4 inch rounds with a spoon. Cook until bubbles begin to form. Flip and cook until the pancakes are browned on the bottom and cooked through.

If you need to keep them warm until serving, put the pancakes in a casserole dish or baking dish and store in the oven on 250 degrees until ready.

Drizzle with melted butter and remaining scallions and serve!

Notes: I doubled the recipe from Bon Appetit, since theirs was only for four people. Their single serving recipe says 2 tbs of vegetable oil. I didn’t have vegetable oil, so I used canola. And I honestly did not think I put in 4 whole tablespoons. But maybe I did. Math is not my strong suit. 

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.

Veggie Pot Stickers Over Shaved Brussel Sprouts and Chickpeas

veg potsickers with brussel sprouts and chickpeasConfession #1: I did not make the pot stickers pictured above. I bought them frozen from the grocery store. Is that cheating? Maybe. But maybe not. I did come up with the idea to serve them over shaved brussel sprouts (which I am clearly obsessed with) and chickpeas that were sauteed with coconut oil and nutmeg. And I did come up with the idea to dip them in soy sauce spiked with Siracha. So it’s not really cheating. I could have made them myself and then blogged about how to do it. But wouldn’t you rather just hear about how to spice up a quick week night meal with half the work already done? I think so.

Confession #2: I often lie about my love for Siracha. I feel like Siracha has a cult following. People’s eyes light up when they talk ab it and they tend to bond with other Siracha die hards. I mean, I like Siracha and all. But it’s not my fav, even though I totally pretend like it is when I’m around a Siracha cult member just so I can fit in and sound cool. Well. Last night I felt like I finally understood. See, I’ve always eaten Siracha on it’s own. Well, not, like, spoonfuls of Siracha solo. But, like drizzled on something as the only condiment. However, when I added a whopping squirt of it to my soy sauce last night, I asked myself (out loud), “How have I lived 30 years of my life and never done this before?” It was amazeballs.

Confession #3: Yesterday morning I got up to go to a 6 am Pilates class at my gym. I woke up a few minutes late, so as per usual, I was rushing out the door to get to class on time. Side note: I HATE being late for classes at the gym. I will skip an entire hour long class even if I’m only five minutes late just so I don’t have to be the girl who walks in late, interrupts the warm up, and sets up while everyone else is already working out. I am late for everything else in my life, but when it comes to gym classes, I just can’t do it. Anyway, I got out to my car to a layer of ice SO thick that even my ice scraper couldn’t break through. I sat there and tried to let the car warm up for a few minutes. At this point, there were about 8 minutes until the class started. It takes me 10 minutes to get to my gym. And the ice was just not melting fast enough. So I turned the car off, went back inside, took off my gym clothes, put my pjs back on and went back to sleep for an hour and a half! This story has nothing to do with pot stickers or Siracha. But it’s just so ridiculous that I had to share it. And I felt like I needed a 3rd confession… for balance sake. But seriously. Who wakes up at the butt crack of dawn, gets all the way to the car, and then goes back inside when they realize they might have to walk into class 4 minutes late? That is social anxiety at it’s finest, ladies and gents.

And… these are my confessions. (I hope Usher is in your head now.)

Anyway, go to the Giant and buy some frozen pot stickers. And go to a random grocery store or specialty store and buy some Siracha. You won’t regret it.

VEGGIE POT STICKERS OVER BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND CHICKPEAS

veg potsickers with brussel sprouts and chickpeas2 veg potsickers with brussel sprouts and chickpeas3

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 frozen vegetable pot stickers (I used Giant brand)
  • 5-6 brussel sprouts, shaved thin on a mandolin
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of chickpeas
  • Roughly 1 tbsp of nutmeg
  • 1-2 tbsps of coconut oil (or whatever oil you like to cook with)
  • Salt to taste
  • Soy sauce
  • Siracha

Directions:

Bring a small to medium pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the frozen pot stickers to the boiling water and stir a bit. The pot stickers should be able to float freely in the pot. Return water to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, heat up the coconut oil. Add the brussel sprouts and saute for a few minutes, until they start to become a bit wilted. Add nutmeg and salt to taste. Add the chickpeas. Stir all together in the pan and cook for a few more minutes. I like for some of my brussel sprout shavings to be browned and for the rest to be all soft and wilted.

In a small dish, combine soy sauce and Siracha to taste.

Place the brussel sprout and chickpea mixture in a dish. Put the pot stickers on top. And serve with the soy sauce/Siracha on the side for dipping.

Brussel Sprout and Artichoke Mac ‘N Cheese

brussel sprout mac n cheese 2Maybe it’s because it rained yesterday. Or maybe it’s because I over indulged this weekend and am still feeling guilty ab it. Or perhaps it’s the fact that my apartment isn’t as pristine as I like to keep it and I haven’t had time to do anything about it. Or could it be that the weather keeps teasing us? Whatever it is,  I’ve got a serious case of the winter blues.

I’m craving farmer’s markets, bright greens, light and refreshing dishes, open windows, a good run outside, longer days and plenty of sunshine. Oh and a tan. Thank heavens it’s almost March, when spray tanning starts to become socially acceptable again.

In the meantime, here’s some comfort food to push you through these last days of winter.

I made a healthier version of mac and cheese the other night by using whole wheat pasta, Greek yogurt, skim milk, fresh mozzarella, brussel sprouts, artichokes and Smart Balance butter. It was pretty time consuming and at points along the way I wondered if I had really messed things up (see note below) but it came out tasting delicious. I’m having a small portion of it for lunch today, accompanied by a colorful salad.

BRUSSEL SPROUT AND ARTICHOKE MAC ‘N CHEESEbrussel sprout mac n cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 of a box of whole wheat rigatoni (or whatever short pasta you fancy)
  • 2 cups of brussel sprouts, stems removed, cut in half length wise
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, quartered, drained
  • 1/4 of a white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup of low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • 4 oz of fresh mozzarella, drained and cut into small chunks
  • 3-4 cups of a variety of shredded cheeses (I used some store-shredded mozzarella, some parmesan reggiano, and fontina)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I used Smart Balance)
  • 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss the brussel sprouts and olive oil in a bowl with a bit of salt and pepper. Lay the brussel sprouts in a single layer on a sil-pat lined baking dish. Roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are soft and starting to brown on the edges. Keep oven on after removing.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In the same pot that you used to cook the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the milk, Greek yogurt, pasta, brussels sprouts, artichokes, fresh mozzarella, and most of your other cheeses. (Reserve some of your shredded cheese for the next step.) Stir to combine. (See note below)

Transfer all to a greased, 9×13 baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheeses (I used mostly parmesan reggiano for this step) and panko bread crumbs.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 375, or until all cheeses are melted and bubbling, most liquid is absorbed, and the top is browning a bit.

Note: When I added all of my ingredients to the pot, they did not mix well. It seemed very liquidy and my cheese was super gooey… and not in a good way. I thought the dish was ruined and that I had just wasted a ton of food. But I kept going anyway. And once it was all baked, it was fine. It really came out quite delicious! So don’t be fooled by rubbery, gooey cheese and ingredients that aren’t combining well in the pot. If making this again, I would replace the store-shredded mozzarella with cheddar. And I might not even use the fresh mozzarella. I just find that mozzarella never melts quite the way I want it to in dishes like this. So experiment with your cheeses. And to save time, you could roast your brussel sprouts and cook your pasta the day before. 

Mixed vegetable hash with fried eggs

ImageYou guys, this recipe was so good that I wanted to blog about it right away. But I was too lazy to get off the couch last night to go get my lap top, which doesn’t even have wifi… because I’m too lazy to go buy a router. I debated typing it from my phone. But I was too lazy for that too. I can send text messages equivalent to the length of a novella, but if I have to type a long email or a blog post from my phone… forget it.

First thing this morning is good enough, right? Even though it’s not really first thing…

So, now that I’m at a desktop computer with full internet access and an ergonomic keyboard, I can share the details of this delicious meal I made last night! I had seen a similar recipe on pinterest, which is where I got the inspiration. However, I never clicked on the actual link to look up the recipe. Only the picture. So really, I made this up. I love when I get to say that I made up a recipe all on my own! It makes me feel super Top Chef.

As most random recipes start for me, I had some veggies in the fridge that were on their last leg. And since Baltimore is posting these crazy weird billboards about eating your food before it goes bad (has anyone seen those? I just unsuccessfully tried googling one just now to include a link but I can’t remember exactly what they said or what the ad was actually for), I figured I should use them up. You could probably use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, but I’d say the keys were the brussel sprouts and the potatoes. So start there and then add on. But don’t forget the spices and the fried eggs! So yum!

MIXED VEGETABLE HASH WITH FRIED EGGS

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Ingredients:

  • 1 half of a large russet potato, thinly sliced into round discs
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups of shaved brussel sprouts
  • 1/4 of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 of a zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 of a large shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup of little zima tomatoes, sliced in half (these are small, like cherry tomatoes, but are orange and pretty sweet)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • about a tsp of cumin, maybe a little more
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of Mexican oregano leaves (you can use regular if you don’t have these, or omit them)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

Directions,

Mix the potatoes and a tsp of olive oil in a large mixing bowl with a bit of salt and pepper. Stir well to coat.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the potato slices in a single layer in the pan. Let them cook for a few minutes until they start to brown.

In the meantime, put the brussel sprouts, peppers, zucchini, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, nutmeg, oregano, salt and pepper in the mixing bowl. Add a bit more olive oil. Stir well to coat.

Flip the potatoes again and let them brown a bit on the other side. Add the veggie mixture to the pan and saute for several minutes, mixing everything together, including the potatoes. Feel free to add more spices as you are cooking.

Once your vegetables seem pretty well cooked (they are soft and browning a bit on the edges), make two little openings in the pan for where you will drop your eggs. Add a bit of butter to each opening. Crack the eggs and pour each into one of the openings. Let them fry for a few minutes, until the whites are white and pretty solid. I like my eggs kind of runny, so I like to leave the yolk runny. You can flip the eggs if you want to cook them through a little bit more. While the eggs are cooking, you may need to move the vegetables around a bit on the edges so they don’t burn to the pan.

Top with a bit of crushed red pepper and serve!

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PASTA WITH SPINACH, CHICKPEAS, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND FETA

pasta with spinach chickpeas feta and sun dried tomatoesGood morning, friends! As promised, here is the rest of my post from yesterday. I think the key to making this pasta delicious was cooking it in vegetable broth instead of water. It just gave it more flavor and kept it moist (I hate that word. I’m cringing.) until it was time to serve it. I made the pasta a little bit in advance of my guests’s arrival, put a lid on the pot, and kept giving it a good stir every now and then so it didn’t get dry or stick together in places.  Like I mentioned yesterday, when I ate the leftovers, I preferred them cold. I tried them both ways, but cold was definitely better for some reason. So you could serve this warm, at room temp, or a bit colder. The fresh basil was my favorite ingredient here. Yummmmm!

PASTA WITH SPINACH, CHICKPEAS, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND FETA

pasta with spinach chickpeas feta and sun dried tomatoes 2

Ingredients:

For the pasta:

  • 1 box of whole wheat angel hair or thin spaghetti
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • A bit of crushed red pepper
  • A bit of salt and pepper

For the vegetables:

  • a bit of olive oil
  • 7-8 ounces of fresh baby spinach, washed
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, plus some of the oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

In a large saucepan or heavy pot, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once your broth is boiling, add the pasta. Cook for roughly 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionaly. I noticed that the broth was disappearing after a while, but my pasta wasn’t finished cooking. So I added 2 cups of water and continued to cook. When it was done, the pasta was al dente and most of the liquid was gone. To keep warm until ready to serve, cover with a lid and stir occasionally.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil and the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and saute for a few minutes, until the spinach begins to wilt. You don’t want it to become too wilted though. Add the chick peas, a dash of salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes until the chickpeas and tomatoes are warm and the spinach is cooked down and wilted.

Combine spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes and pasta in a large bowl. Right before serving, add the basil, parsley, and feta. (and more salt and pepper if you want. I added a lot of fresh cracked black pepper.) Mix well and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from MY BRAIN!

BRUSSEL SPROUT CROSTINI

brussel sprout crostini filter 1
I have a case of the Mondays. Which probably is not the best time to write a blog post. So, please forgive me if this post is rather boring. I promise you that the recipes I am about to share are anything but.

Last week I had my friends Jen and Jenn over for dinner. We were supposed to be a group of 7 girls, but as dinner parties and get togethers often go, you end up with less people and more food than you originally planned for. But don’t worry; the three of us pigged out as if there were 7 people there.

I made brussel sprout crostini and a whole wheat pasta with spinach, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, fresh basil and parsley. If you are going to make the brussel sprout crostini, I recommend waiting to make it until right before your guests are arriving. I made mine too early and it was kind of cold. Still good, but cold. And I completely forgot to add the garlic, which I had roasted the night before. Again, still good. But the garlic probs would have been better. I had a ton of leftover pasta which I ate cold (and preferred it cold) for lunch for the next few days. It was quite yummy! I am going to post about that separately though because I am out of time and I completely made up that recipe so I need a few to remember what I did. In the meantime…

BRUSSEL SPROUT CROSTINI

brussel sprout crostini 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 or 1/2 of a whole wheat baguette
  • a bit of olive oil
  • 3 heads of garlic, roasted and mashed (see instructions below)
  • 1 1/2 cups of brussel sprouts, shaved thin on a mandolin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a generous sprinkle of nutmeg
  • Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 375. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Lightly rub back and forth to remove paper and peel any excess paper off. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top of the garlic cloves and let soak for 10 minutes. Cover with foil and roast in a baking dish for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, then squeeze from the bottom of the garlic head to remove carmelized cloves. Mash with a fork.

Pre-heat oven to 325. Slice your baguette into thin pieces. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.

Heat some olive oil in a medium size skillet over medium high heat. I used coconut oil here because it’s my new cooking oil of choice, but olive oil will work fine. Add the brussel sprouts, salt, pepper and nutmeg and saute for about 10 minutes, until your sprouts are wilted and a little golden. Add shaved parmesan cheese.

When the bread is done toasting, spread with a bit of mashed, roasted garlic (which I forgot to do). Top with brussel sprouts, another slice of parm cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from: howsweeteats.com