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Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

Hello hello!

School is going well, but busy. I just had my first exam of the new semester this week – whew! But I am so happy to finally be delving into the “meat” of the nutrition courses! This semester I am taking Methods in Nutrition Education, Energy Nutrients, Nutrition of the Life Cycle and Management in Dietetics; all of which are interesting in their own ways. Energy Nutrients is going to be toughest one because it is nutrition, chemistry and biology all coming together to talk about metabolism. Nutrition of the Life Cycle is the most interesting as we cover so much and get to do some case studies and “pretend” to be dietitians. I also started a new job at the local VA hospital as a diet aide. (I did the same thing previously, just at a different hospital, and for less money.) Three weeks in and all is well there too. Keeps me out of trouble, right?

And I am *trying* to be a good chairperson for our local support group. I have so many things I want to do with and for the group, but they all take time. Which is in short supply these days. And so I am working to improve my time management skills.

So, to honor that, I’ve been cooking, just nothing fancy. This is one of those easy and quick, no-recipe meals. An old friend of mine made this for me many years ago when I came to visit her (Hi, Jessi!). I’ve probably changed her recipe unknowingly over the years, but in spirit it is still her recipe.

Oh, and if you have some extra zucchini lying around from your overflowing garden, here’s another recipe to use up a couple of them!

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Italian Chickpea and Pasta Skillet

Adapted from Jessica’s recipe, as remembered by me

8 oz pasta, cooked

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, sliced thinly into rounds

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 small zucchini, halved and sliced

1 Tbsp oregano

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

1 can diced tomatoes, or 2 cups of fresh, chopped tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste, (or nutritional yeast for vegan)

Cook the pasta according to the directions. (Tonight, for the first time, I tried Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa fusilli pasta. It was pretty good but be careful, it overcooks quick. I set the time for 6 minutes and it was already past al dente.)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium.Add onions and carrots and cook until the carrots begin to soften. (It will depend on how thinly they were sliced.) Add garlic and zucchini and cook until zucchini begins to soften. Stir in oregano. Then add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Add 1/4 cup water and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir in salt to taste.

Serve over the pasta with grated Parmesan cheese.

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Over the past month, I’ve been making a lot of dishes using the produce coming out of our garden and what I’ve found at the farmer’s markets. One of my favorite summer meals is pasta with a bunch of fresh vegetables. Below I present you with two variations on a theme, both of which are deliciously simple.

I intended on getting this post up for Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free since the theme was “Dishes so Simple, No Recipe Required” but alas, I procrastinated and didn’t get it up. Regardless, go over to GF Easily and check out the other un-recipes.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Quick Summer Pasta

Original by Renee

No measurements here, just go with what feels and tastes(!) right.

Gluten Free Pasta, my favorite brand is Tinkyada (which is also sold cheaper as Trader Joe’s house brand of brown rice pasta).

Chopped heirloom tomatoes (Yay for Green Zebras – the birds don’t try to eat them since they’re green, and leave half-eaten, beautiful red toms hanging on the vine)

Chickpeas, cooked/canned, drained and rinsed

Feta cheese, crumbled – I had picked up some lovely marinated goat feta from Sweetwoods Dairy at the farmer’s market

A drizzle of olive oil

Fresh basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta and drain. Toss with remaining ingredients.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Original by Renee

Again, no measurements but I wanted more vegetables than pasta in this one.

Gluten Free Pasta – see above

Onion, halved and thinly sliced, either red or white will work

Balsamic vinegar

Chickpeas, canned/cooked, rinsed and drained

Heirloom tomatoes, chopped – lots of them!

Feta or goat cheese, crumbled

Olive oil

Basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta (gluten free pasta needs a lot of water to move around in!). Drain and rinse.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil. Add in the sliced onion and cook over medium heat. Turn down and let the onions start to carmelize a bit and then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over them. Add in the chickpeas and let them heat through, stirring occasionally, and adding a bit more balsamic if you want.

Toss onions and chickpeas into a  large bowl. Add in the tomatoes, basil and feta, toss gently. Add in pasta (I wanted more veggies, less pasta in this version). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper (and/or more vinegar) to taste.

Notes:

* Sometimes I also saute a red sweet bell pepper with the onions.

* Kalamata olives and/or toasted pine nuts are a nice addition.

* Parmesan cheese instead of feta or goat cheese works too. So many variations!

* Mix it up to fit your taste buds!

What’s your favorite quick summer pasta combination?

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Is there such a  thing as healthy pasta with Alfredo sauce? Perhaps not, but you can’t blame me for trying!

You see, Alfredo sauce is a craving of mine. And I got the craving the other week. Unfortunately I had no Alfredo sauce in the house and I am not one to make it from scratch either. In fact, out of the jar is what makes it so comforting to me, I don’t have to do too much!!

So last week I bought a jar of Classico Roasted Garlic Alfredo sauce. (It says Gluten Free on the label!) And then I got to feeling under the weather and so I *really* wanted carbs and cheese, and lots of it! And this is what I ended up with…

Alfredo Vegetable Pasta

Alfredo Vegetable Pasta

an original from Beyond Rice and Tofu

1 pound of pasta, gluten free *

1 – 15 oz jar Classico Alfredo sauce, check the label

1 – 15 oz can artichoke hearts in water, chopped

8 oz frozen spinach

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, not in oil, chopped

1/4 – 1/2 cup vegetable broth, as needed to thin

1 – 15 oz can white beans, drained (or garbanzos, cooked chicken or shrimp*)

a few Kalamata olives, sliced

fresh basil, torn

Cook pasta. For gluten free pasta, use lots of water in a large pot. And stir frequently to prevent it from sticking together.

Empty contents of sauce into a medium saucepan. Add artichoke hearts, spinach and tomatoes and stir to combine. (You can add the spinach still frozen like I did.) Add broth as needed to thin slightly.  Add beans and just cook till beans are heated through.

Drain pasta. Place in serving bowls and stir in some sauce. * Top with olives and basil. Enjoy!

Notes:

* My favorite pasta is Trader Joe’s brand, which is the same as Tinkyada pasta.

* I have been eating a bit of meat or fish here or there to bump up my perennially low B-12 levels. I added some cooked (frozen) shrimp to mine.

* Keep leftover cooked pasta and sauce separate. Reheat pasta in a covered bowl with a teaspoon or two of water in the microwave. Reheat sauce separately and then combine as desired.

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Hey, have you ever stopped by The Whole Kitchen? No? Well, get on over there and take a look! I’ll wait…

So didn’t you just love what you saw? Imagine if you gave some of her recipes a shot… Well, I did this past month for the monthly Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger event started, and hosted this month, by Sea over at Book of Yum. This is my very first adoption and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The only problem was choosing which of Jenn’s delicious recipes to try! So I tried a few….more like four. Oops. Oh well, we needed to eat, right?

But first, more about Jenn and The Whole Kitchen. Jenn is a dynamite, creative and intuitive cook as well as a wonderful photographer. She is married, lives in Chicago and works for the American Cancer Society. She is also a runner, like serious running, marathons and stuff. Stuff I don’t do.

Jenn cooks gluten free, of course, but not vegetarian, although she still has some great ideas that can be easily adapted. Jenn was not formally diagnosed with celiac disease but she still knows that gluten is her enemy. Be sure to read about her amazing journey and successes over the past eight years here.

We have enjoyed getting to know one another and have connected over a couple of things; first, she lives in Chicago, from where I moved; second, she grew up in Ohio and with a family that foraged for wild foods like mushrooms and nuts, also like me; third, she loves ice cream (like me) and encouraged me to buy my ice cream maker(!), and lastly she loves great food!

And so without further ado…

First off, we had a good crop of butternut squashes from our garden this year. This was the first year I have grown them but they grew well here in our heat and although they were a tad bit smaller than the ones you find at the grocery, they are great.

The pie pumpkins, butternut squash and last of the Anasazi beans from our garden.

Since I had a couple of these buggers lying around, I figured I should make soup. I chose Jenn’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. It was lovely, although I think I used too many carrots since I was using up the baby carrots in the frig and it was a bit carroty. But still wonderful. And just as good was the squash, freshly roasted with rosemary, cooling on the stove. Yum. I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it.

I also made some Bisquick biscuits (first time) to go along with it and they were pretty good too, although a bit crumbly.

Next up, I had been eyeing the Pumpkin Spice Bars she had made recently.

Wow! These were wonderful. And we loved the added bits of ginger. I had to take half the pan to a friend because I knew how dangerous they would be sitting on my counter. And I agree with Jenn too that I only like a smear of frosting. Even though she halved the recipe on her page, it was still a lot of frosting, although delicious, and so my husband is telling me that I will have to make some more bars to go with the frosting! And also because he ate the last one today and I was thinking of it on my drive home from work only to find the pan washed up and the last one missing… The bars would also be delightful without any frosting at all.

Recently, I had asked if anyone had any good recipes for Anasazi beans. We grew some this year as you can see in the picture with the squash, and I picked up a bag at the Farmer’s Market this fall. Beautiful beans. Unfortunately their beautiful colors don’t stick around during cooking. But as I was browsing through The Whole Kitchen’s recipe index, I spotted a recipe that sounded good and used a similar bean, Good Mother Stallard beans. A Potful of Beans. Indeed. The Anasazi beans were a great substitute.

We omitted the bacon and I added a bit more olive oil since there wasn’t any bacon fat to saute the onions in. I also didn’t have Mexican oregano, so I just used regular old oregano. I also added a couple drops of Liquid Smoke to impart some of the bacon-y flavor and smell. It worked. And the smoked paprika added depth as well. These were a tasty treat this week, now that it is starting to get a bit chilly in the evenings. We ate the beans as a meal with some pumpkin corn muffins. We will be making this again.

And although it is getting chilly, we still like our ice cream. And since Jenn convinced me that I ‘needed’ an ice cream maker, I knew I had to make one of her ice creams. Although strawberries aren’t in season, frozen strawberries work almost as well, so we made Jenn’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

Dy-na-mite!  The flavor was wonderful; just enough goat cheese tang with the sweet strawberries. I actually ended up using only three ounces of goat cheese and one ounce of light cream cheese because I apparently gobbled too much of the goat cheese some other day. I probably could have left out the ounce of cream cheese and the goat cheese still would have shone through. As well, I like how she used coconut milk and half-and-half for the recipe instead of all coconut milk. I haven’t found myself loving the overpowering taste of coconut milk in some dairy-free ice creams. And since I don’t have to be dairy free, I liked this compromise. As I sit here eating a bowl of it…

I have also made some of Jenn’s other recipes, although not as part of this event. Mushroom and Leek Pasta and Thai Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup. Of course, these were also delicious.

Mushroom and Leek Pasta made earlier this year.

 

So I hope you’ll go on over and check out The Whole Kitchen and try some of her delicious creations. Enjoy!

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I love pesto. But my husband does not. So it is one of those things I make for myself, and I only make him eat it occasionally. This summer I have been keeping a small bowl of traditional basil pesto in the frig and I have been enjoying it smeared on toasted Udi’s or Canyon Bakehouse bread with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a slice or two of tomato. So delicious.

I had made some basil pesto earlier this week because my basil plants needed trimming and when I was digging around for something for lunch today, I found some leftover brown rice penne.  So I lightly heated up the pasta (add a bit of water and put a lid loosely on it – I’ve found that it helps to reheat leftover gluten free pasta slightly, even if eating it cold or room temperature) and stirred in a big spoonful of pesto. Then I sliced up some cherry tomatoes and added a few little chunks of fresh mozzarella, salt and fresh ground pepper. What a delicious lunch!

But I have also been known to make other types of pesto. A while back I made sun-dried tomato and spinach pesto. And when I saw Linda’s Pesto Challenge over at The Gluten Free Homemaker, I knew I needed to post this recipe since it has been languishing in my “future posts” folder for about six weeks now. I initially made this back when I was still harvesting a lot of spinach. No spinach growing right now, but it is almost time to plant spinach for a fall harvest.

Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Pesto and Pasta

Inspired by all, but an original recipe by Renee

1 pound bag of brown rice penne *

3 cups fresh spinach, divided

4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

3 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

olive oil

1-15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz. can artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped *

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta according to directions. If you are making gluten free pasta, be sure to use a lot of water, more than you would for regular pasta. And be sure to stir the pasta frequently when you begin cooking it as it can clump together easily. Drain pasta. (Drain pasta into a colander with the remaining spinach in it if you prefer your spinach to be wilted.)

In a food processor, combine 1 cup of spinach leaves, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse it while slowly adding enough olive oil until it is of a pesto consistency. Taste and adjust according to your preference.

Stir pesto into warm pasta and remaining 2 cups of spinach leaves. Add chickpeas and artichoke hearts and top with crumbled goat cheese. Easy, delicious and nutritious!

Notes:

* My preferred gluten free pasta is Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta. For this dish I used the penne but you could use any shape. My other favorite pasta is Tinkyada, which may be the same as Trader Joe’s pasta, just under a different label.

* I prefer the artichoke hearts that are canned in water, not oil. I typically find them at Trader Joe’s. And depending on what I am making with them, I will buy the water or oil.

**This post is linked to The Gluten Free Homemaker’s Pesto Challenge on Gluten Free Wednesdays and Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.** And be sure to check out past Gluten Free Wednesday pesto posts here.

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Every time I make this meal, my husband comments that it “smells like Thanksgiving”, essentially because of the liberal use of sage. This is a family favorite that I have been making for years. I wasn’t sure where I found the original recipe but when I did a Google search I found a very similar recipe at Epicurious. The meat-eaters out there may enjoy that version although my meatless version is quite hearty and delicious too. We serve ours over Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Penne. I think this would also go well over polenta.

White Beans in Tomato Sauce with Sage

Adapted from Epicurious

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cups chopped carrot

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 tsp sage

2 – 15 oz cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

Cooked pasta, 3/4 – 1 pound

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the carrots, onions and celery and saute for about 10 minutes, until they are beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and sage. Cook for about 30 seconds. Add the beans, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta.

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If you haven’t checked out Tasty Kitchen, I would highly recommend it. It is a project of Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman. Lots of goodies and plenty of inspiration over there. And you can also post your own recipes too, if you’re so inclined. I saw the following recipe and although I have another recipe similar to this one (Creamy Chickpea Curry), I thought I would try this version, substituting the chicken of course. I liked the inclusion of the additional vegetables with the broccoli slaw.

It was very tasty, although, right off the bat, I began changing it up to fit our tastes and needs.

Red Curry Coconut Noodles

Adapted from nika at Tasty Kitchen

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, julienned

2 red bell peppers, julienned

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated

1-1/2 tsp red curry paste

2 – 15 oz cans light coconut milk

2 -  15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup packaged broccoli slaw

1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce

1 package of rice noodles, such as these

2-4 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in your largest skillet. Saute onions and peppers in oil until they are beginning to soften. Add ginger and saute another minute. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in coconut milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add chickpeas, broccoli slaw and chili sauce. Add rice noodles and enough broth to cover the noodles. Cook until noodles are tender. Stir in salt to taste. Serve in large bowls topped with cilantro.

Notes:

* The original version called for full fat coconut milk (2 cans!), I used the lower fat version and added a bit of olive oil for sauteing.

* I think you could omit the Thai chili sauce. The curry paste dominates the flavor and the chili sauce is lost.

* This was great as leftovers except that the broccoli slaw pieces got really hard and were not good the next day. Omit these if you plan on eating as leftovers.

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Another great, light summer salad. When I made this recently I asked my husband if this pasta salad reminded him of anything. Nope. For me it has memories of an old apartment back in Chicago where we would sit on our back deck in the summer evenings to eat dinner and to try to catch a breeze as the apartment did not have air conditioning. We had a couple of window air conditioning units but we preferred to be outside. The deck faced north and stayed pretty cool, plus there was a nice little garden below us and squirrels across the way to entertain us. We spent many evenings on this deck. And for some reason I have vivid memories of eating this salad on that deck. Perhaps we ate it a lot in those two years that we lived there? I don’t know, but it’s a great dish to add to your repertoire.

Spicy Ginger Noodles

Adapted from Vegetarian Times magazine

1 pound of pasta *

1 large cucumber, partially peeled, seeded and sliced

carrots, sliced, in an equal amount as cucumber

2-4 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup cilantro

Dressing:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce *

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp chili oil*

2 cloves garlic

1″ chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain and cool. Chop vegetables and place in bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and stir into cooled pasta and vegetables.

Notes:

* We prefer Tinkyada brown rice pasta or Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta (I think they are the same product actually, just repackaged for TJ’s). I use either the spirals or penne and, in a pinch, the spaghetti. Just be sure to use lots of water to cook the gluten free pasta and don’t overcook or it will turn to mush!

* Be sure the soy sauce is gluten free if you are cooking gluten free.

* You can probably omit the chili oil if you can’t find it. I can usually find it in the Asian food section of the large grocery stores. One bottle lasts a long time as you only need a little bit each time.

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We really enjoy this dish. I am a big fan of napa cabbage, also known as savoy or Chinese cabbage; it is not as hard as regular green cabbage and it wilts easily in cooked dishes. The edamame provides the protein. I bumped up the quantities of vegetables in this one, mainly because I had them but also because this recipe seems pasta-heavy. I also lightened it by reducing the amount of oil. You could serve it with a salad but we choose to eat it by itself.

Napa Noodles

Adapted from Rachel Ray Everyday

1 pound pasta

1 tbsp canola oil *see notes

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil *

1 head napa cabbage, thinly shredded *

1.5 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed and cooked *

1 bunch scallions, sliced into 1/4″ pieces

4 cloves garlic, minced

One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated

1/4 cup hoisin sauce, gluten free *

3 tablespoons soy sauce, gluten free *

Grated peel and juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1/2 cup mint leaves, shredded

20 basil leaves

Cook pasta. Chop and prepare vegetables and herbs while the pasta is cooking. Drain pasta.

Once pasta is ready, heat your large wok or skillet. Add oil and heat until hot. Add cabbage and edamame. Stir until cabbage just begins to wilt. Add the green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for a minute or two. Add in sauces, lime and pepper. Stir until combined and cabbage is wilted. Add cooked pasta and herbs.

Notes:

* I used Trader Joe’s brown rice spaghetti. Be sure to cook it in a large pot with plenty of water.

* The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of oil which seemed excessive to me, so I reduced it by half and it was plenty. I also tried to bump up the flavor a bit too by using part sesame oil and part canola. We liked the change.

* I used probably 3.5 – 4 pounds of cabbage as it was what I had in the fridge. Don’t worry about how big your cabbage is, the bigger the better in this one, as it cooks down to nothing.

* I cooked my edamame in the microwave first as it was frozen and uncooked.

* Hoisin sauce is not always gluten free. There are a couple of brands that are but check for yourself. I use Dynasty brand. Or you can make it yourself with this recipe from the queen of slow cooking, Stephanie O’Dea.

* Again, not all soy sauces are gluten free. LaChoy and San-J’s Wheat Free Tamari are gluten free.

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DOUBLE BEAN PASTA WITH TOMATOES
Adapted from Gluten Free Bay

16 oz pasta *
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 Tbsp dried basil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup water
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces *
2 Tbsp brewer’s yeast flakes *
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp fresh basil, minced

Cook pasta. Drain and set aside. Cook green beans to tender crisp and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallot, pepper flakes, parsley and basil. Saute until shallot has become translucent. Add garlic and bell pepper and saute until pepper starts to soften.  Stir in tomatoes, garbanzo beans and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and then simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the pasta and green beans. Add yeast and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh basil.

Notes:
* Our preferred gluten free pasta is Trader Joe’s Brown Rice pasta – we prefer penne or spirals for this recipe.
* I used frozen green beans and just cooked them a bit in the microwave.
* I used Lewis Labs Brewer’s Yeast Flakes; they say gluten free on the package and are made from sugar beets, not beer. If you don’t have any, you could use grated Parmesan in it’s place.

The brewer’s yeast flakes are a good dairy free substitute, full of good stuff. They have a slightly cheesy taste and texture, especially when mixed into a warm dish such as this.

When cooking gluten free pasta, you should use a pot larger than you would for the same amount of regular pasta. The more water and room for the pasta, the better. I never add salt or oil to my pasta water. After you place the pasta in the boiling water, be sure to stir it up good to break apart the clumps of pasta. And stir it frequently while cooking, more often than you would regular pasta. Watch it closely and taste pieces frequently to see how close to done it is. You really want to catch gluten free pasta at al dente; otherwise it starts to turn to mush. Drain and rinse.

As I mentioned in my Meal Plan post earlier in the week, this is a recipe we had made previously and enjoyed. I hope you’ll try it. Let me know if you do!

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