Tag Archives: pasta

Parsley-Kale Pesto (or, “I can’t believe it’s kale!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c (cooked) whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 2 c parsley
  • 1 c marinated kale
  • 4 L cloves garlic
  • 1 c walnuts
  • 2/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste, y’know?)

Kale-Parsley PestoWell we had spaghetti sauce and salad stuff, but neither one of us necessarily felt like being transported tonight via flavor to the isle of Sicily. Maybe something a wee bit lighter (-seeming, at the very least) like olive oil and garlic? Then a bulb came on above both our heads at the same moment — pesto!

Since kinda-recently learning of coconut oil’s health benefits I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my cooking — the trick there is not to make coconut pasta, so tread lightly. It, the whole wheat pasta and walnuts are the main proteins here (unless you wanna count the Parmesan too, but ’tis a mere pittance), nevertheless feel free to add chicken or shrimp if you don’t believe in things like that.

Parsley-Kale PestoAlso, ha! Made ya like kale, right?

Put all that stuff in the food processor and let it whirl until — magically — pesto appears! Adjust the oil if you want it more/less soupy. With the minimal amount of coconut in a dish that roars of garlic, there was a faint hint of Thai in this dish… just enough to make it delicious and foreign, but not enough to make it taste counterintuitively unfamiliar.

I had enough left over from our [2 person] meal that I used 2 tbsp of it to make a pesto vinaigrette (this stuff, red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil) and still had 1/3 c of it to put in the freezer. 5 spoons.

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Creamy Kale-fredo

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c mezze penne pasta
  • 1 c minced, marinated* kale
  • 1/2 c cashew butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 c chicken broth (for equitable option, use veggie broth)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • dash turmeric

kalefredoAll the creaminess of an Alfredo with none of the cream! This is not to say I was gunning for an Alfredo sauce when I started, but the richness and flavor reaped by cashew butter is a worthy replacement for actual cream. Start this whole shebang by mincing your garlic and letting it simmer in a pot on M for a few minutes (I washed dishes).

Upon your return to the stove, smack the cashew butter up in that pot. Add broth slowly; stir to meld the two. Heck, go on and stir in all the seasonings while you’re at it. Once everything has made friends with one another, introduce the lemon juice and kale; cover and simmer on L for a few minutes while you cook the pasta. Drain it and add to the sauce pot. Toss everything together and let it sit on L for at least 5m (let the pasta saturate itself in flavortown) before digging in. 5 spoons!

kale*The equation I use for making marinated kale is: KALE (- STEMS + A FEW DROPS OIL) + FOOD PROCESSOR x 15 MINUTE WAIT = “MARINATED” KALE

Papardelle-icious to Vegetarians and Carnivores

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package Trader Joes® lemon-pepper papardelle
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Parmesan to top

P1110468Yum. And an easy “yum” at that. So easy that though I didn’t have time yesterday to write down the ingredients today they are still simple to keep emblazoned in the senses. If you haven’t cooked papardelle before, try it out and learn how it got its name from the Italian verb “pappare” (to gobble up).

P1110447Fry your garlic on ML until just the edges begin to turn golden, then remove the pan from heat and sprinkle on the seasonings. Let that sit while boiling papardelle to the perfect al dente and chopping spinach. When the pasta gets drained, turn off the burner. Mix spinach into the oil/garlic/ and move that pan back to the burner you just turned off (don’t turn it back on). Cover the pan for 1m, then uncover and stir until the spinach is wilted to your taste. Mix in the papardelle and ensure everything is properly coated. Sprinkle with Parmasean. Between the papardelle, spinach (and Parmesan), this vegetarian dish will have more protein – and visual interest – than eating a chicken breast. Of course that doesn’t mean you couldn’t add meat if you want, or skip the cheese for an easy vegan dish. 5 well-deserving spoons!

Fet-accompli!

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1/3 c feta cheese in blocks
  • 1.5 c dry tagliatelle (bowtie pasta)
  • 1/3c olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1-? tbsp unsweetened almond milk

P1100313Simplicity is part of the song for this dish. Start garlic in oil on ML, reduce to L and let simmer until garlic pieces turn the lightest of browns; remove from heat. Take a small part of that and toss with broccoli, add a tsp plain olive oil and garlic/salt. Toss. Put on baking sheet in 400° oven for about 10m. Cook/drain pasta, put back in pot and add garlic olive oil and cubed feta. Toss. Add 1 tbsp almond milk and cover on L. Remove broccoli from oven, sprinkle with Parmesan and broil for 30-60 seconds. Take out and pour into pot with pasta. Toss and serve warm. 5 easy spoons!

Le Polpette Più Straordinaria (Or, “Meatballs!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c crock pot marinara from freezer
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 Italian sausages
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

It’s a new year and the freezer is full of meat. Well, not full but still housing a little more than I’d like to have on hand and I would really like to free up space in both my freezer and capillaries so tonight’s dinner was meatballs. Using the freezer marinara also helped — plus, who wants to make homemade meatballs and use anyone else’s sauce in which to bathe them? I mean, that would just be wrong… right? So start this journey by ensuring everything is thawed and at the ready: your sausages have been removed from their casings, your garlic is minced and your oven is preheated to 350°.

meatballs1Heat the marinara over ML heat until it is hot but don’t let it get to boil; it can just sit patiently. All of the other ingredients can go into a mixing bowl and have your hands either lovingly or angrily (how was your day?) mash everything into a thick paste. Roll into balls 1-1.5″ in diameter and space them on a baking pan with raised sides to catch any runoff. What I had in the freezer was 93% fat free ground chuck so there was little in the way of grease, so I can sate my guilty conscience there. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then pick each hot little ball off the pan and plop it into your sauce. Cook on L until dinnertime. I love little nuggets of garlic in my meatballs, knowing they are shrouded in Parmesan and coated with meat then again smothered with homemade marinara… 5 spoons.

 

 

Lasagna, ft. Sausage, Kale and Cheese Trifecta

In my pantry today:

  • The butt-ends of two boxes of lasagna noodles
  • 1 freezer bag crock pot marinara (approx 3 c)
  • 1 freezer bag cooked ground Italian sausage (approx 3/4 c)
  • 3 medium leaves kale
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 dash salt

lasagnaThaw then marry your marinara and sausage in a medium-sized pot on the stove. Also start a large, oiled pot of water with an accompanying dash of salt. When your water begins to show signs of a boil, hold each leaf of kale by its stem and dip into the water for a count of 12. Wrap them in a clean towel and gently squeeze out all the water. Move them to the cutting board, remove stems and mince; set aside. Your pasta can go in now and cook until it’s a little too al dente to be al dente, then drain it and rinse with cold water until everything is chilled to room temperature.

Shred asiago cheese, set aside with mozzarella. Mix egg with ricotta cheese and dash salt. Rub a little olive oil inside a 6×6″ baking pan and begin layering by laying the most whole of your noodles along the bottom of the pan. Pour on 1/4 your sauce, scatter in half your kale bits, sprinkle 1/3 the asiago on, drop in dollops of ricotta and spread gently across the breadth of the pan, then add as complete a layer as you can with the noodle amputations and do this all again. Add a final layer of noodles, then add the rest of your sauce and top with the rest of your asiago and all of your mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake foil-covered pan in 350° oven for 45m, then take foil off and cook another 10-20m until optimum browning has occurred. Though next time I’d use more kale and sausage, this was still pretty good and worth all 4 spoons!

 

Broccoli Casserole-ish (or, “Well, There’s Only Everything Good in It”)

  • 3 c broccoli florets
  • 1/3 c yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 10 oz  can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c panko bread crumbs
  • dash of salt

I’m going to have to tell you all something.

I’m not proud, and hope to use this public forum to ensure I bear the full responsibility for having held such a simple secret for so long.

…I’ve never made a broccoli casserole.

There. You got it out of me. Proud?

broccasseroleishAnyway, please suffer through this, my first time, as an experiment in both flavor and safety. Mince the garlic and onion and saute on ML in butter until onions become translucent. While that’s going on, cut florets to a medium-small proportion, set aside. Beat the egg into the can of cream of mushroom soup. Melt the cream cheese into the butter/onions/garlic, remove from heat and fold everything together. In large bowl, combine the contents of that pan and the egg-soup mixture. Shake in a smidge of salt and mix well. Toss your florets with this goop, put in a baking pan then top with cheddar cheese and panko. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-30m. What comes out will work well either as a stand-alone side or as a slightly saucy accessory to penne pasta; I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and I will strive in the future to perfect this concoction’s consistency. As it stands, though, this was really, really tasty and earns 4 spoons.

Cabbage Come a-Knockin (Or, “Pastabilities from Vegetable Grief”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 medium head red cabbage
  • 1 turkey kielbasa
  • 2 c cooked bowtie pasta
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 c broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • Parmesan cheese (topping)

I just began absentmindedly cooking the cabbage in a figurative wail of disappointment over the head of broccoli I had planned on using showing unexpected rot this morning. Isn’t that the normal reaction to vegetable grief? When reality brought itself back, I was left standing before a half-sauteed head of cabbage with onion in a small pool of butter. I looked at it like a sudden, unwelcome visitor then broke away to scan the freezer. I had in all earnesty planned on another vegetarian dinner tonight, but in the back of the ice box — covered in ice itself, but not burnt — was half a turkey kielbasa. I fell back into an old recipe for safety, but modified it just enough to prove to myself that I still had it.

So there’s there’s the head of cabbage, there. Toss in 1/4 c broth and cover it so it can steam on M where it’s been. Oh, and throw in all those seasonings (especially the asafoetida — this much cabbage definitely calls for “fart powder”). Next, brown medium-thin slices of kielbasa in the pot you’re about to boil pasta in. When the bottom of the pot (on M) starts to brown before those slices of turkeybits, scrape it up and toss the slices in those not-quite-burnt bits. Keep it together on M for another minute or two then add it to the cabbage. Bring 1/2 c of stock to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to L. Let it all simmer while you rinse out that sausage pot and ready the pasta. Cook according to instructions but make sure it’s al dente when you take it off the heat because it’s going in with the cabbage/kielbasa mix and will continue cooking. If you prefer mushier pasta (I know who some of you are, stop shielding your faces) go ahead and cook it to your preferred point. Mix everything together and top with Parmesan cheese. 4 spoons!

A Chard Day’s Night

In my pantry today:

  • 6 leaves rainbow chard, stems removed
  • adversity-busting cheese filling*
  • essentially from scratch tomato sauce*
  • 2 c cooked gluten-free pasta shells

I am still trying to reconstitute my internal routine/schedule after a day in the ER last week; apparently on the comprehensive wine list of mismatched symptoms held by MS, nerves at the bottom of your brain stem can misfire and make you think your innards have been set ablaze by Pol Pot himself. You’ll only be able to suspect Pot, however, because your eyeballs will be spasming too hard to see his face. Oh, the delights of an invisible illness! But I digress. It felt wonderful to get back into the kitchen today even if what came out was a nonsensical mess.

The rest of the CSA stock from this past week needs clearing out and I had some open boxes of lasagna noodles in the cupboard… so I gleefully set about making a version inspired by Om Nomalicious’s Spinach Lasagna Rolls. It was going to be so much fun! Oh, except I didn’t check the lasagna boxes until after making the filling and sauce. Those noodles were so very broken; my heart too became as such upon their viewing.

But I had all these big leaves of chard uncut in the drainer behind me. They were big. And in need of justification through consumption. Just like this delicious cheese filling and that from-(mostly)-scratch tomato sauce.

Adversity-Busting  Cheese Filling*:

  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 c mozzerella cheese
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp ground golden flax
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil

This was made with all the joy of one who believes they are making lasagna. Mince your garlic and cook on ML in 1 tsp of olive oil for 10-15m. Add thyme and oregano shortly before removing it from heat and adding it to a bowl with all of your other ingredients. Set aside via refrigeration.

Essentially from scratch tomato sauce*:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, diced chunky
  • 1/4 c red wine
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder

Cook your onions and garlic on L-ML for 20-30m before adding thyme and oregano. Mix everything, then fold in your now-diced tomatoes. Let that come to a boil then splash in your red wine and let it return on M to a slow bubbling place. Add the can of tomatoes, turmeric and hot red chili powder; mix and let return to a gentle boil until as much of the soupiness mists off as you’d like. I gave mine about 20 minutes before being too impatient to let it thicken further.

And about right here is where I turn this from a delicious, first-class meal into a terrible abomination of textures. Everything up until now is stellar… but when layered using raw chard leaves in place of lasagna noodles, this dish crashes and burns. I imagine it was fun enough to play scientist about all this… and it did still have a delicious flavor. Not gon’ lie, I ate two servings. But because I could not look it in the eye while eating it this only gets 2 spoons. Shame! [EDIT: I hear it deserves more than 2 spoons]

Tofu Parmesan (or, “No, Really. Tofu Parmesan.”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1/3 package Nasoya® firm tofu
  • 3-4  c cooked spaghetti
  • 1 24 oz jar Prego® (roasted garlic and herb)
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 c tofu marinade*
  • 1.25 c breading*
  • 1/4 c safflower oil
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzerella
  • 1/2 c Parmesan cheese

First thing’s first: prepare your tofu properly for cooking for the first damn time, Katherine. Stop thinking that it will magically find deliciousness through little preparatory effort. Drain your cube o’fu and gently squeeze a clean towel or paper towels around it for a little casual pre-press. Then wrap it in [clean towel/paper towels] and set a light-medium weight pot or pan on top and walk away for 30m or so. When you return, slice into 1/2″ thick steaks and place into sweet overnight dreams of flavor…

*tofu marinade:

  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix everything together and lay steaks flat (I used a rectangular tupperware dealie). Let sit in the fridge overnight, flipping once halfway through said marination.

And okay, pretend it’s now dinner time the following afternoon. Boil spaghetti until at your preferred consistency then season your Prego® with 1 tsp hot red chili powder and call that part of the meal a day. Get back to your tofu, and mix the following for its breading:

  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c ground golden flax
  • 1/2 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red hot chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

While your oil is warming, remove tofu steaks gingerly and let sit on paper towels. Pat them on the back and let them know you appreciate their patience, then roll them in the breading and let them fry. Once one side turns golden, flip and continue cooking until the desired color. Mine came out a little browner than I’d have ideally liked, but they were still really, really tasty. When I was little, my dad used to make little bread crumb fritters when he’d fry something and there were breadcrumb left over… they were delicious, but even I knew they were bad for me. In the 80s. This, though? Well, nothing fried is really healthy — let me say that to the universe so it knows that this time I am not taunting it — but at least… well, nothing fried is really healthy. And nothing fried then covered with cheese could certainly count… but damn but it weren’t tasty.

Once fried, let the tofu sit on paper towels until crispy and dry of their shame. I layered in a bowl: spaghetti, sauce, tofu then cheeses and put each stainless steel bowl under the broiler for 5m to get the melty goodness going. 4 spoons!