Eat Me

Winter Salad

(November 2016)

4 handfuls spinach
5 oz crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans or toasted walnuts
1 apple, chopped
Vinegar
Olive Oil

Makes four hearty servings.

This is the backbone for a freeform salad. I prefer spinach but I've also used mixed baby greens. Measurements are estimated since I've never actually measured. (Except for the blue cheese - 5 oz is the size of the container I buy and I toss the whole thing in.) The idea is to make it hearty. Toss in a handful. If it looks good, perfect. If not, toss in a little more.

I have a spray bottle of diluted vinegar that I use as a vegetable wash. Even though I rinse the apple, and usually rinse the spinach or lettuce (when I'm not being lazy), I don't rinse the nuts or raisins. So, after I combine all the ingredients in a bowl, I give the salad a spray with my vinegar spray and give it a toss. I will do this a couple times to make sure everything gets a light coating.

Then I drizzle a little olive oil on top and give the salad another toss. All I'm really trying to do is give the lettuce a light coating. After tossing, I'll drizzle a little more if it looks like it needs it and toss it to distribute. I don't think I use more than a tablespoon, if that. The oil conspires with the vinegar to make a light dressing.

It makes a really nice, fall lunch for four or will serve more as a side.


There'sBreakfast Cocktail

(July 2016)

A take on iced coffee, shaken not stirred.


I came upon the discovery that shaking whisky with ice will change its flavor. It not only chills the whisky but also aerates it.

Aerating releases aromatic compounds and alcohol vapors resulting in a smoother flavor and experience. Nothing needs to be added to the whisky. Just ice, shake, and pour. (Be very careful when ordering this at a bar because the bartender will invariably try to add something to it like bitters or a cherry.)

But coffee? 

I happened to taste one of Starbucks newest concoctions yesterday: Nitro Cold Brew. Adding nitrogen to coffee seems like a perfectly unnecessary idea but as I am a fan of stout as well as coffee, I had to give it a try. 

It was fantastic. Served from a keg-style tap into a plastic cup - no ice, it was cool and smooth, the coffee rich and without bitterness - qualities similar to stout but without the alcohol.

Since I don't have nitrogen at home, I aerated this morning's coffee with my ice shaker and served it in a well-chilled martini glass. Shaken, the coffee poured out with a nice crema and tasted smooth and rich in flavor despite the fact it was this morning's leftover coffee and half decaffeinated. (I plead innocent: it wasn't mine. You should know that I never have leftover coffee and never drink decaf.) I can imagine how wonderful it will be with fresh, full strength brew.

The experiment worked. Served in a chilled glass, cold-shaken coffee is my new summer coffee treat.


Pasta with Prosciutto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Asiago

(June 2016)

There's not much to say about this recipe except that you should make it. It was easy, didn't take long to make, is not expensive, and doesn't require any exotic ingredients. We used Jovial brown rice pasta because that's what we had on hand. Plus, we like the way it cooks up, al dente every time.

We doubled the crushed red pepper which gave it a nice spice. It might have been a little too bland without it.

I don't know where to get three cups of multi-colored cherry tomatoes so I bought a package of red cherry tomatoes and another of yellow ones - the kind that comes in domed plastic containers. The red ones were super ripe and delicious so I halved all of them. The yellow ones were not as sweet so I cut up roughly half of that container's worth or maybe a little more. It seemed like we had plenty of tomatoes so I didn't feel like I had to cut them all up anyway.

We happened to have a lot of parmesan cheese on hand (Hubby sometimes can't resist a Costco deal) so we used that instead of Asiago.

The result was a colorful and delicious meal. We didn't get the prosciutto distributed evenly when we served it so we didn't eat much of it until our last few bites. It added a nice salty flavor to the tomatoes but was hardly necessary. The dish can be entirely vegetarian and still be full of delicious summer flavor. If meat is desired, you could use bacon instead of prosciutto, or shrimp. You could also use basil instead of or in addition to the parsley.

We're not sure how the cooked tomatoes will do in the freezer so we plan to eat the leftovers right away. It made four generous servings and could easily be stretched to six servings by making a little more pasta.


Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza

(June 2016)

This recipe comes from The Columbian, April 26, 2016, so is not reproduced here. I can tell you this, however. It was delicious.

I've made a different version of this pizza from Real Simple Easy, Delicious Home Cooking which I didn't like as well. Both recipes call for prepared pizza dough but when I tried it with the Real Simple recipe, it came out soggy and unappetizing. When I made The Columbian version (I've made it twice already), I used a thin crust from Boboli which came out crisper.

The Columbian version calls for 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest mixed in with about half the ricotta called for in the Real Simple version. The lemon added an unexpected fresh flavor to the pizza's base which was perfect for summer.

I roasted the asparagus, sprinkled with oil, salt, and pepper, for 5-10 minutes before adding it to the pizza. (I used the same temperature that is called for on the Boboli package.) To that I added black olives, halved, a generous amount of parmesan cheese, and some fresh ground pepper before popping it in the oven. The second time I made it, I also added prosciutto and roasted pine nuts.

Sure, you could add other things like arugula or mushrooms, but it was good the way it was - a simple recipe that was simply delicious.


Risotto Primavera

(April 2016)

Easy and delicious, this meal is also low in calories, and high in protein, fiber, and calcium. It's also inexpensive, especially if you have some of the ingredients already on hand. I didn't read the upgrade option provided in this recipe which suggests you can use dried porcini mushroom in addition to the button mushrooms called for. This would have added a rich flavor punch although it had plenty of flavor as it was.

I didn't have sherry vinegar so I used what I had on hand which was Marsala wine. Instead of mascarpone or cream cheese, I used an American-style Neufchatel cheese made by Challenge, which I found at my local grocery store right next to the cream cheese. I could have used regular cream cheese but I feel so much more sophisticated just knowing the difference.

The servings are on the small side but hearty enough if you don't have a big appetite. The leftovers were almost better the next day. If you have other vegetables in refrigerator, such as asparagus, you might think about adding that in or serving it on the side.


Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese

(February 2016)

We made this for Super Bowl Sunday for five picky eaters. By "picky" I mean they have different tastes than I do. Cooking for other people can be tricky, especially if you're not sure what other people like. This meal is basic, yet flavorful enough, to please a varied crowd. Plus, it wasn't complicated and provided for lots of leftovers. (Serves eight.)

The original recipe can be found at My Recipes dot com but I made it with a few modifications.

First, I got the mild, rather than the hot, turkey Italian sausage links because I knew at least one person didn't like spicy food. (The cheese and basil carried the dish.) The recipe calls for a tablespoon of tomato paste but I used more - two good spoonfuls, close to half of a four ounce can. Since it's difficult to find a 1-cup package of shredded mozzarella, I used 2 cups of mozzarella in addition to a generous amount of grated Parmesan (about three ounces.)

After I got the pasta going, I cooked the sausage. Only when it was nearly cooked through did I add the aromatics - the onion and garlic, plus the tomato paste - to give them time to bloom and become fragrant before adding the salt, pepper, and tomatoes. The onion needs more time - 5-6 minutes - so that can go in first. The garlic only needs a few minutes (2-3), followed by the tomato paste (1).

We prepared the dish ahead of time and popped it in the oven during the second quarter and it was ready just in time for half time. Easy to make and easy to eat!


Cheesy Skillet Gnocchi

(December 2015)

We managed to get four servings out of this recipe but if you have big eaters or a hungry bunch, consider doubling the recipe. I used regular gnocchi because I couldn't find whole-wheat gnocchi in the grocery store. I also doubled the meat - a quarter pound wouldn't have been enough imo. The store was also out of basil so I used a couple of dollops of pesto instead, added just before broiling.

The gnocchi is prepared in a lightly oiled skillet rather than boiled. I've never done it this way before but it came out beautifully. They had slightly nutty, toasted exteriors and creamy interiors. (You might say the same thing about me but I'm more creamy on the outside and toasted on the inside. Slightly nutty, definitely.)

The second time around, I toasted a scant quarter cup of pine nuts in a small skillet while microwaving the leftovers. When the nuts were a light brown I sprinkled most of them over the re-heated dish. To the hot skillet, I added a leaf of curly kale that had been just rinsed and torn into bite-sized pieces. The water left on the kale from washing it was enough to steam it in the skillet, covered, on the burner with the heat off.

I topped the dish with the kale and the remaining nuts and served it with a fresh crack of black pepper.

If you want your kale to be really tender, try massaging it first. Wait, what? It's a thing. While the kale is still in the colander, just scrunch it up in your hands a bit. You'll feel it soften up in your hands as the color darkens slightly.

Even though I used a spicy chicken Italian sausage, the finished dish could have used a little more heat. Just a small amount of crushed pepper flakes would have been enough. (Toast the pepper flakes in the skillet until aromatic just before adding the gnocchi.)

Tasty and easy to make, a cozy meal on a December night.


Salmon, Asparagus, and Orzo Salad

(August 2015)

This recipe passed on all fronts: easy, delicious, good leftovers, few ingredients.

I didn't weigh the asparagus - I just used the bunch I bought from the store. They didn't have a piece of fish that big - 1.25 lb. - so I used the biggest piece they had. (I don't know if it was even a full pound but it was plenty of fish so I'm pretty sure 1.25 lb. would have been way too much.) I used more than 1/4 cup onion. I probably sliced up 1/8 of a small to medium onion and tossed whatever that was in. I was also generous with the feta to use up a package that was already open. The dill was delicious but I also tossed in about 1/4 cup chopped flat-leafed parsley that I already had.

I probably used less than 3 tablespoons of lemon but I didn't want to buy two lemons.

It all turned out great. This could replace my other orzo recipe for a while. Everyone likes the spicy one but it contains dairy so it's not something you want sitting out all day. I made it for our last boat trip and while everyone liked it the first day, we were pretty much done with it after the second day. It wasn't as well received at the Cornhole Tournament this year either. I think everyone is just ready for something new.

We ate the Salmon Orzo Salad twice and still had leftovers. This one could be another good one for the boat, particularly if you make it in advance. (Even if you just made the salmon in advance.) No dairy, so it might keep a little better, too. I might try making it with tuna, too.


National Burger Day is May 28

(May 2015)

Celebrate with these recipes from the Oregonian. (h/t 76003.1414)

We tried the Spicy Black Bean Burgers and we will definitely try them again.

We didn't have a food processor when we made them. We crushed the chips (Did you say chips?) in a Ziploc bag so they weren't as fine as they might have been otherwise.

We made four "burgers" but they were too big serving-wise so next time we'll make six out of the recipe.

And, we didn't serve them on buns. We served them on top of salads. The salads were southwestern-style with corn, red peppers, avocado, and salsa on mixed greens with a little more avocado and salsa on top of the burgers.

Delicious when fresh and when reheated in a skillet. I just wanted to make sure I didn't forget to make them again next year on Burger Day.

Is there a "day" for everything?

Farro Salad with Asparagus, Snap Peas, and Tomatoes

(May 2015)

I've become a fan of America's Test Kitchen Radio podcast. This podcast was suggested to me by a boating friend who has the same kind of boat as we do and also commutes between two homes in the Seattle and Portland areas. Over the years, I've met several road warriors who make the same regular trek. We frequently compare methods of relieving boredom on the two and one-half hour drive.

Since then, I've discovered the ATK TV show and website. To access the recipes, you need an account but it's not free. (I don't remember how much it is. I'd log out and check but then I'd have to remember my password.) We paid the subscription fee because we like the information they provide there (although I have, on occasion, been able to find bootleg copies of their recipes elsewhere on the internet).

Signing up also gives you access to the Cook's Illustrated website which is where this farro recipe was found. (You can also find it in the May/June 2015 print edition of Cook's Illustrated.)

When we made it, I didn't have any asparagus so I just doubled the amount of snap peas. I measured the 6 ounces tomatoes as prescribed by the recipe but there would not have been a problem using the remaining 4 ounces in the package I purchased.

I also used fresh feta. I don't remember how much it weighed (it was maybe 3 ounces) but I tossed the whole thing in. If you have more (a typical package is 4 ounces), toss it in!

I could't find fresh dill the day I went to the store so I used an equivalent amount of rosemary which provided great flavor with the dressing.

We got six dinner servings out of this recipe which we ate over the course of a week. Leftovers held up well in the refrigerator and were eaten cold.

I would say the best part about this recipe is that it's good for you but in light of Seattle's Opening Day for drinking boating season, I will tell you this is a great make-ahead meal for the boat. It will store well if you're going to be on the hook for a while and if you don't want to eat it as a main course it will be a perfect side dish to bring to any dockside get-together.

30-Minute Chicken Tagine

(April 2015)

I don't have much time to spend on this page today but I wanted to bookmark this recipe which was good the first and second times around. It's from Cook's Illustrated and says it will serve four but I think we still have leftovers in the freezer. I think we'll get a total of 6 or 8 servings out of this one.

Anyway, it was good.

Tortilla Soup

(Christmas Eve 2014)

Heather: Here's the recipe for the soup I made last night. Just bookmark this page and you'll always be able to find it. It won't always appear at the top of the page but if you scroll down or search for it, you should be able to find it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Chipotle and Fire Roasted Tomato

I doubled the recipe for last night's gathering with the exception of:

  • Chicken stock - I used four cups of stock because that's all that would fit in my crock pot
  • Onion - I only used one because not everyone likes onion. I can sneak one in but maybe not two.
  • Chipotles in adobo - The soup has enough heat without doubling the chipotles. So, remember, if you're not going to double the recipe you might want to consider cutting the onion and chipotles in half and using only two cups of stock for a thicker soup.
  • Toppings - I used cotija cheese and skipped the lime and red onion.

Also, I didn't poach the chicken in the stock per the recipe. I poached them separately:

  • Brown the tenders, seasoned with salt and pepper, on one side in a skillet with a little oil on medium-high heat.
  • Turn and add 1/2 cup water, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low for another five minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and let cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces.

I've also used a whole roasted chicken from the grocery store and skipped the poaching step altogether. Then, you might as well skip cooking the onion and garlic and just throw all the ingredients into a crock pot and let it simmer on low all day. It just depends on how much time you have. It turns out great either way.

H/T to my brother who bought me Rachael Ray 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds where I first found this recipe.

(Jan 2015)

Eating leftovers without the benefit of all the toppings, I thought I would note that you could add frozen corn, black beans, and/or avocado to the soup.

Just for Reverence

(November 2014)

It's routinely requested that I bring Chocolate Fudge Pie to any family gathering. I mention that here as a way to bookmark the recipe so I won't have to look it up again when Christmas rolls around.

Too bad they didn't ask for the Hazelnut Ganache Tart With Sea Salt because that's what I'm making for the day after Thanksgiving. (Now I don't have to share.)


Wine List

(October 2014)

While we're on the subject of wine (see following post), I ran across this list:
Best wines on offer this summer | The Telegraph
Included in the list is a Cono Sur Bicicleta viognier 2013 (Chile) with the following description:
"It’s obvious why Cono Sur decided to sponsor the Tour de France, and this is a good wine to drink on a sunny day while other people exercise." 
Also, Dourthe La Grande Cuvée sauvignon blanc 2013 (Bordeaux, France):
"I taste in fear of the sweaty reek of cheap sauvignon blanc. Happily, there is none of that in either of the two on this list. I like both but they are a big style contrast. This one’s a brain-rinser . . . ."
I ask you, how do those two descriptions not inspire you to drink more wine?

The list also includes the Picpoul de Pinet which I also mention in my next post as one of our recent finds. All of the wines on the Telegraph's list appear to be relatively inexpensive (I am unsure of the exchange rate) and merit further investigation.




Fall Vegetable Curry

(October 2014)

This recipe is from Cooking Light's Sunday Strategist for the week of October 6-10. (I would point out that isn't a week but I like having a couple of nights off so why stir the pot, so to speak?)

Oxmoor Hous
I followed the recipe pretty much as written except I used fire-roasted tomatoes and I skipped the cilantro and yogurt. (I would have used cilantro had I already had some in the refrigerator but there was plenty of flavor in the dish without it.)

It was almost as easy as the recipe promised - the two of us whipped it up in about 30 minutes - and it made four hearty servings. (We ate two one night and the leftovers a couple of days later.) The vegetables reheated well and the leftovers were as good as the original dish.

We paired the meal with Picpoul de Pinet, the most reasonably priced French white wine you can get. (Less than $10!) It's a simple, easy-to-drink, uncomplicated wine that you can get at Total Wine.

Also at Total Wine is the Rose of Sangiovese from Lauren Ashton Cellars in Woodinville. It's more expensive than the aforementioned but it's still less than $20 and very good. Again, simple and easy to drink, it doesn't necessarily need to be paired with food. Just something that's nice to have in the fridge and to share the next time people drop in.

Or, you could just keep it for yourself.




Strawberry Cocktail

(August 2014)

What do you do when you've been on a boat for two weeks and the strawberries are starting to go bad? Infuse vodka, that's what!


Mash them with a fork . . .


. . . into a pulp. (The longer you were on the boat, the easier this will be.)


Put the strawberry pulp into a receptacle. At the time, the best available happened to be my french press coffee maker.


Add vodka.


Let it stew a good long while. Our leftover berries were served for breakfast and were still left over after breakfast. (That was when we knew we had to take action!) We stewed our berries until cocktail hour. (I'm not going to tell you how many hours that was. For you, it may be different.)


Take the plunge!


Pretty!


We served it over ice but found that just a splash of tonic - just a splash - brought out the strawberry flavor a little more and made the vodka a little less harsh. (Alternatively, you could use a higher quality vodka.)

Next boat trip make sure you have some vodka on board, and plenty of fruit.



Baked Pasta with Sausage and Cauliflower

(September 2014)

It suddenly feels like fall and the urge to nest is coupled with an urge for comfort foods. This week, I made a baked pasta dish that is perfect for the transition from summer to fall - warm and hearty but still full of fresh and crispy vegetables. This meal will easily serve four teenage boys (from what I can recall of them) or six adults when paired with a salad. We haven't had the leftovers yet so I can't be 100% certain of how many senior citizens it will serve but I would venture 4.5 - 6. (You can just figure that math out yourself.)

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta (I used a small tubular pasta from the bulk food section. Smaller than penne, I think.) 
  • 6 ounces (or whatever sized package is available) hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • Half a cauliflower, cut into flowerets (I realize you have to buy the whole thing but you'll only need half.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (If I could save thyme in a bottle . . . )
  • Thinly sliced onion (We used one quarter of a large white one. Use what you like but the flavor and crunch are nice.)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted whole tomatoes
  • 1 package fresh mozzarella (you know, two big balls of the stuff floating around in brine)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (However much you have handy. Buy some if you don't already have some.)
Mix It Up
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Cook pasta. Drain; set aside.
  3. Sauté sausage until browned, stirring to crumble. 
  4. If you need to, drain the sausage. With the heat off, add the tomatoes (including juices) and use a blunt object (such as a spatula or wooden spoon) to break up the tomatoes.
  5. Toss pasta with sausage/tomato mixture and remaining ingredients in a baking dish. (We used two 9x9 glass dishes - one for immediate consumption and one for leftovers.) 
  6. Slice up the mozzarella and distribute as evenly as possible over the top. Better yet, layer it: put in half the pasta, then half the cheese. (Layer, rinse, repeat.)
  7. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbly.
  8. Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano over pasta before serving or put in on the table and let your favorite senior citizen do it himself.
  9. Eat, grin, enjoy.
  10. (Hubby likes to add a crack of fresh pepper, too. Good idea.)
Inspired from this recipe.


Creamy Blueberry Chicken Salad

(July 2014)

The problem with eating salads every day is is that you use up all your bowls and then have none left over for ice cream. Just in case the reason you eat salads is to justify ice cream, here's another one from Cooking Light. Don't let "creamy" fool you - there's no cream involved here. The dressing is made from yogurt. And, the blueberries have been so good this year that you can hardly pass this one up.

As in the following recipe, we used romaine because that's what we happened to have in the refrigerator but it turned out just fine. (Although, arugula might have provided a nice contrast to the sweet blueberries. Or, we might also consider adding sliced anise bulb next time.)

In any case, this one passes all four tests (below).


Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad With Avocado

Photo: Con Poulos
(July 2014)

Generally, recipes that appear on this page must pass the following four tests:
  1. Be delicious,
  2. Relatively easy to make with few ingredients (is this one or two?)
  3. In a kitchen with limited tools, and
  4. Good for leftovers.
It doesn't just have to make leftovers - you have to want to eat them. For example, I recently made Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Pulled Pork Sliders (from Cooking Light, July 2014) which satisfied the first two tests. It required a slow cooker, which I have in my Seattle kitchen but not in my Vancouver apartment, so it didn't really meet the third test, strictly speaking. And, while it made a ton of inexpensive leftovers I didn't really want to eat them. Though tasty, I didn't look forward to making more than one meal out of this recipe.

Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad With Avocado, on the other hand, fared better, passing three of four tests. The recipe is from Real Simple Easy, Delicious Home Cooking: 250 Recipes for Every Season and Occasion but you can also find it on the Real Simple website here. The recipe is heavy on the garlic and rosemary which is good as long as you like those ingredients. We used romaine lettuce instead of spinach, and grated cheese (was it Romano?) instead of shaved Parmesan, because that's what we had in the refrigerator. Otherwise, we stuck to the script.

We don't have a grill in Vancouver (yet) so this didn't pass test #3 but we ate this two nights in a row so it passed test #4. While we could have made the chicken on the stove, it was well worth grilling the corn. (Grilled corn is sweeter and more flavorful than it's frozen counterpart.)

For dessert, we made

Roasted Strawberries

from Cooking Light's Simmer & Boil. You're not going to want to make this unless it's cool enough to turn the oven on.

The two of us ate this up - no leftovers! I recommend you double the recipe if you plan on sharing (or in order to pass test #4). The strawberries continue to let off juice after roasting so you could roast them before dinner and make the glaze after you're through with dinner. You might even consider skipping the glaze and, instead, serve the strawberries in their own juices (or on ice cream) and simply drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top. It's an unusual but berry tasty treat!


Shrimp Cobb Salad

(July 2014)
Photo: Francesco Tonelli; Styling: Angharad Bailey

This really doesn't need much explanation except, perhaps, yum. It's a hearty, flavorful salad with lots of delicious ingredients. We ate it over two days and it held up well. (We kept the dressing separate.)

This might also work well on the boat - or other mobile vessel - especially, if you can prepare the shrimp, bacon, and dressing before travel. You can toss everything together except the dressing and the avocado or assemble on the go.

The recipe is from Cooking Light which you can find here.


Talenti Gelanto

(June 2014)

This website's name is temporarily changed to Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato. As soon as I'm finished with the pint in my freezer (probably tonight), I'll change it back to Chocolate Chip Mint. In the meantime, I thought you should know about this and would encourage you to rush to your local grocery store and pick some up.

It's really that good.


Lemon and Olive Chicken With Arugula and White Bean Salad

(June 2014)

Photo: Sang An
Recipe from Real Simple.
We've moved into the Summer chapter of Real Simple Easy, Delicious Home Cooking: 250 Recipes for Every Season and Occasion for which we are quite relieved. Not only is summer highly anticipated as a season, we didn't like the Spring chapter of this cookbook as well as we liked the one for Winter. The first two summer recipes we tried have restored our faith in this cookbook. (Link to the recipe is beneath the photo.)

This one is as delicious as it is beautiful. We made it as written so I will make only a few comments. First, I am no expert when it comes to chicken. I always under-cook it and find that my actual cooking time is twice whatever the recipe called for. For this reason, I generally avoid chicken. Whatever your relationship with chicken, I suggest this recipe is worth the effort. Second, and finally, I didn't actually measure the pesto. I just scooped in whatever looked like a tasty amount.

Tasty it was. We made it on a night when it was not too hot to have the oven on but warm enough that chicken with lemons, olives, and pesto salad was appetizing dinner fare.

Finally (last comment for real this time), the recipe calls for 2.5-3 pounds of chicken for four servings. That seemed like a lot so I only got six drumsticks which was more than plenty (for us) for four servings.


Chorizo-Potato Tacos With Black Bean Salsa

(June 2014)

Photo: Christopher Baker
Recipe from Real Simple
This was the second sumer recipe we made from the aforementioned cookbook (see post for Lemon and Olive Chicken). Again, we stuck to the script on this one, for the most part. The only change we made was to substitute Soyrizo for the meat.

Before you gag on the idea of eating something that might be good for you with the added insult of fake meat, consider, for a moment, that it might actually be delicious.

I know, sausage made from soy? That's just gross. Well, it is, really, but so is sausage made from sausage if you really want to think about it.

Just get over yourself and click on the recipe link below the photo - and, no, this is not a sponsored website. (I wish!) I just like to eat food with lots of tasty flavors. There's a little chopping and prep involved but if you are serving wine, you might find someone to help you around the kitchen.

Go on, what do you have to lose?


Sautéed Chicken with Roasted Pepper Pasta

(June 2014)

It seems I'm developing a theme this year: pasta and veg and sometimes chicken. This recipe falls right in that category and turned out great. Click on the link below the photo for the recipe. My notes are below:

Ingredients
  • If you can't find mozzarella pearls, or don't want to buy fresh mozzarella, shaved or grated Parmesan would work great. 
  • Substitute plain vinegar for white wine vinegar if you don't already have some of the fancy stuff.

Preparation

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Ginny Branch

Recipe from Cooking Light on My Recipes dot com

Get your ingredients ready first since there's a bit of chopping to be done. The recipe calls for 12 baby bell peppers1 which are to be halved lengthwise, divested of membranes and seeds, then roasted and peeled before cutting into strips. This sounds ludicrously laborious when you could just cut up two fully-grown peppers or buy bottled roasted peppers and save yourself a bunch of time. 

I have to say, however, that the effort was worth it. The delicious little peppers had a more intense flavor than their grown counterparts. Don't forget the foil in step three - that will definitely save on clean up time.

I saved the mozzarella for the end rather than mixing it in with the hot noodles. I was afraid they would melt and clump together. I wasn't overly happy with the result - maybe it would have been better if it was a little gooey-er. But my instinct is that it would have been better with Parmesan cheese. (Hubby thought the dish could have used more moisture so you might reserve some of the pasta's cooking water to add as needed.)

This recipe has you make the chicken last. We started it first to give it plenty of time to cook thoroughly over lower heat. If it's done too early, it's easier to keep warm than cooked noodles, in our opinion.

We happened to have some arugula for another recipewhich we used as a little bed atop which we served the pasta dish. I thought it was an outstanding addition. You might also add nuts or olives to the dish if you happen to have some handy but it was pretty tasty the way it was.

1I came across another ludicrously laborious recipe for these little lovelies. Mix together cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and chopped cooked bacon. (I don't know the ratios so you'll just have to make that up.) Spoon the mixture into the peppers (which have been halved lengthwise and divested of seeds and membranes). Pop them onto a grill for a bit, then serve and eat. (I think if I make the cheese mixture in advance, this would be an easy appetizer to make on the boat sometime.) Yummy!

2I made this salad on a different night and I didn't make it as written. I had some leftover salad dressing that I used instead of what the recipe calls for. (My dressing was one part balsamic vinegar to two parts olive oil with some minced garlic and ground black pepper. There might have been a tiny bit of honey or Dijon mustard but I don't remember.) Anyway, someone at the office brought in kale and butter lettuce fresh from her garden so I added some of both to the arugula along with some flat leaf parsley. But that was it - no veggies, just green stuff and Parmesan cheese. It was extremely flavorful but you can't go wrong with fresh right-out-of-the-garden greens.


Garden Pasta Salad

(May 2014)

Inspired by Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Penne Salad with Goat Cheese

Part of the reason I post here is so I can remember recipes that I like. The fact is, I rarely make the same thing twice. It's a source of frustration for Hubby who would prefer that I have some regular comfort foods in my repertoire - like spaghetti and meatballs, or meatloaf - that I could bore him with on occasion. Even when I make those dishes, though, I rarely make them the same as I did the time before.

I've added a time stamp to these entries, therefore, so I can also remember approximately when I made these dishes. I wouldn't want to make meatloaf in August and salad in January, now would I?

In the interest of time, I won't post the whole recipe for Garden Pasta Salad. Rather, I'll just record my notes here for now.
  1. Use whatever pasta shape you have handy. Spaghetti or spaghetti-like pastas probably won't as well, though.
  2. I actually counted out the asparagus spears and tomatoes. I don't always do this but the balance was nice in the final product with these amounts. And, if you think you might use the asparagus and tomatoes later in the week, why not?
  3. I could't find arugula when I went to the store - they were out - so I bought a spinach/arugula mix which worked nicely.
  4. I used regular goat cheese (half a 4 oz log) which was tasty and creamy. Crumbled goat cheese might have been easier to work with and distributed better. 
  5. Get someone to help you. It goes much faster that way! We did it in about 30 minutes. Our division of labor is: one of us cleans and chops the fresh food and handles clean up while the other deals mainly with assembling the ingredients and managing the actually cooking process.
  6. Six minutes was plenty of time to roast the veg. We didn't roast the tomatoes an additional four minutes and I don't think we needed to.
  7. The tomatoes burst when you slice them after cooking so I would recommend putting them into the bowl first. You might not have to slice them at all but their warm juices mixed nicely with the goat cheese in the final mix so I thought it was worth it.
  8. The salad dressing was good. Make it.
  9. We ate it warm for dinner and cold for lunch the following day. I liked it warm better but it was a light meal and I think it would have been better with a handful of walnuts in it (warm or cold). The walnuts (or some chicken) would have made it heartier. Or, I might think about making it in advance and using as a side salad and/or as a meal/side on the boat. (You could throw in any other vegetables you have on hand - peppers (roasted or not) or thawed frozen peas.) Of course, if a light meal is what you're after, this is the ticket!



Skinny Chicken with Peppers 'n' Stuff


Inspired by Chicken Scaloppine with Peperonata

Some olive oil
A generous handful* vertically sliced yellow onion
Red and yellow bell peppers, cut into strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
A handful grape tomatoes, halved
2 oz roughly chopped basil (about half of a small package at the grocery store)
Just a little balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 (8-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Some all-purpose flour
Some butter

1. Turn on Pandora and tune in Pink Martini.

2. Get someone to help you in the kitchen by offering to pour a glass of wine.

3. Chop the onion and peppers; mince garlic. (Wash all the produce beforehand, obviously.)

3.5 Cut each chicken breast half in half horizontally to form 4 cutlets. Put two cutlets each into two large Ziploc bags. Smash them - a small heavy skillet works well - and try to get a even thickness of about 1/3 inch. (Your friend will like this job.) Add to each bag enough flour to coat the cutlets lightly plus a little salt and a little pepper. Shake the bags to coat. (Don't forget to zip the bags first.)

4. Get your friend to sauté the onions in olive oil in a pretty good sized skillet over medium heat until they begin to soften while you get to work on the garlic, tomatoes, and basil. (If you have some parsley in the fridge, chop up about a half a cup - or about the same amount as the basil.) Add the peppers; continue to sauté until peppers are warmed through but still fairly crisp. Add garlic; sauté until fragrant.

5. Add tomatoes to the pan; cook a minute or so until tomatoes just start to wilt. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Drizzle balsamic over the vegetable mixture - 2 teaspoons is about right - and add salt to your preference. (I keep a small dish of Morton's kosher salt near the stove and like to sprinkle it with my fingers. That's my preference.)

6. Melt some butter in the skillet over medium-high heat - you're not deep frying the chicken so you don't need a lot of butter. 1-2 tablespoons should do it. Add chicken; cook 2-3 minutes per side. The chicken should golden and firm but still have some give when pressed. Serve chicken atop the veggie mixture.

7. Kiss your friend and enjoy your meal.

8. If you haven't invited two more friends. Kiss your friend again the next day when you have the leftovers for lunch.

I had capers in the fridge when I made this but forgot to add them. A tablespoon or so might have been a good add. If you need a little cheese, some feta would be good if it's already handy. Kalamata olives would work too. This was a simple and easy recipe that's worthy of company. Invite two friends but don't feel like you need to kiss them (unless they help in the kitchen).

*Remember "You're in good hands with Allstate?" That's what I mean by "handful" - about the amount you could put in your hands if you cupped them together with your fingers overlapping - like this.


Hazelnut Ganache Tart with Sea Salt - Bonus Material!


I made this recipe from the same cook book as referenced in the next post (for Ravioli with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon) but you can find the recipe here. There's nothing else you need to know except this:
Ganache (/ɡəˈnɑːʃ/; from the French word for "jowl")[1] is a glazeicing, sauce, or filling for pastries made from * * *  >>>>CHOCOLATE<<< * * * and cream. 
Wikipedia [emphasis mine]
It's reasonably easy to make if you have all the required equipment. You could probably substitute a large zippered plastic bag for the food processor to make the crust although you might need a coffee grinder, mortal and pestle, or small hammer to get finely ground hazelnuts without one. You also need a nine-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan although you could probably get away with a regular pie pan.

This one is worth sharing. But I wouldn't if I were you. It's worth keeping all to yourself.


Ravioli with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon


I made this recipe from Real Simple easy, delicious home cooking. (I also found the recipe here.) I am really enjoying this cook book and have found several recipes that are worth repeating but I liked this one especially well.

I might have called this recipe Ravioli with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts, from a marketing standpoint, because no one will read anything that comes after "bacon" and who likes Brussels sprouts? Even better, you could call it Bacon with Ravioli and Brussels Sprouts. Better still, Bacon and Who Cares?

The recipe calls for fresh or frozen ravioli. We happen to have a nice little Italian restaurant nearby that also retails various products, including fresh pasta. If you're in the area, it's worth a stop for a meal, especially on a Tuesday night when wine is 50% off.

While the restuarant had fresh, frozen cheese ravioli available, we opted for the wild mushroom stuffed spinach ravioli instead. I got fresh Brussels sprouts from the produce department which was a novelty for me. I didn't especially like Brussels sprouts as a kid. Lima beans either. The fact is I didn't like a lot of things as a kid. Fortunately, my tastes have changed. Brussels sprouts can be tasty if done right and most of the time that means by someone else. I've tried making them once or twice but without any particular success.

In this recipe, they're sliced thin and become somewhat of a slaw. They're tossed with a little vinegar at the end, for what reason I have no idea. I hesitated using the vinegar but I went along with it thinking that maybe the vinegar does something to enhance the flavor of the little cabbages or change the pH. What's more, there's no sauce to enhance this pasta dish - just Brussels sprout slaw, nuts, and Parmesan cheese. The vinegar was this dish's only sauce.

Sounds like an odd combination - which is why I definitely wouldn't call this Vinegar Brussels Slaw with Blech! - but it worked. The Brussels slaw looked like a disproportionately large mound compared to the pasta which was meant to support it. However, the slaw cooked down nicely and let off enough moisture to compliment the pasta much better than expected.

I know I didn't sell this one well but I will definitely make this one again. And, I think you should try it. I only used half the bacon called for because that's what I had already previously prepared, kept frozen for such a use.

It serves four senior citizens quite well.

(Jan 2015 made this again. Yep, still good.)


Chicken, Quinoa, and Green-Olive Stew


MyRecipes.com might want to think of a more clever name for this recipe. Like, Mediterranean Stew. Or maybe, OMG Really Freaking Good Chicken Stew! Ingredients include a tasty combination of flavors including cumin, chili powder, cayenne, olives, and orange zest. (Don't skimp on the zest. It's a nice compliment to all those other flavors.)

We opted to use a 14 ounce can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes (including their juices) instead of plum tomatoes and we also added a little more than a tablespoon of capers. I only used a little more than a pound and a half of the chicken thighs (since that was the size of the package I bought). I used a whole can of garbanzo beans rather than the cup it called for because what else was I going to do with the leftover beans? Might as well throw them all in there.

I happened to have the quinoa in my pantry so I used it as directed but you could probably substitute a white rice and be okay. (You might need to add extra moisture if you just toss the rice in there uncooked.) I also threw in a carrot, in hearty bite sizes, because I thought the stew could use another vegetable.

The recipe says it will serve 4-6 which is true if you are hosting big eaters. We'll get four meals out this one so I would suggest "4-6" translates to eight senior citizens.

We made it Monday night and it took longer than the hour the recipe predicts for preparation. If you read ahead and figure out when your down time is, you can do some of the chopping and measuring during those times rather than getting all your ingredients ready in advance. Maybe then you can do it an hour. It took us closer to 90 minutes.

It was worth the effort. We had some of the leftovers Tuesday night and it was even better the second time. The rest is in the freezer to be doled out sparingly during Tax Season. ("Cook once, eat twice" is the motto this time of year.)

This one is a definite keeper. Outstanding.

We served it with a Saintsbury Chardonnay which is an easy, go-to, screw top, unfiltered wine that runs about $22/bottle, depending on where you buy it. Although, we will be buying a quantity of the 2012 Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc. Though young, the 2012 is easy to drink, with lots of grapefruit and light on the palate. Good as an apéritif or as a summer wine. (It will be stocked on the Double Jack.)


Spaghetti Bolognese


In need of some carbs over the weekend, we decided on vegetarian bolognese. We used this recipe and made it according to the directions with one exception: We used whole wheat spaghetti instead of rigatoni. That was only because we had whole wheat spaghetti and we didn't have rigatoni. The recipe calls for five ounces of assorted mushrooms in addition to one ounce of dried porcini. We used crimini and shiitake for "assorted."

It's not the same as a traditional bolognese, but it turned out great. Next time (and I'll definitely make it again), I'll put in the whole can of tomato paste. The recipe calls for a mere two tablespoons but the whole can isn't much more than that so why not toss in the whole thing?  You could add protein in the form of shrimp, white fish, or even *gasp* meat but it was hearty enough the way it was and (did you know?) mushrooms are a source of protein. Indeed, like every other food out there (including potato chips, it seems), mushrooms are an underestimated super food.
Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates, calories, and sodium and are cholesterol and fat free. High in fiber and protein, mushrooms are also rich in B vitamins to help maintain a healthy metabolism.
(Read more here.)
There was plenty of good flavor here (I loved the carrots) but you could add a little dried pepper flakes if you wanted a little more punch. I might add cauliflower next time, not that it would add much in the way of flavor. It just sounds good.

Recipe serves six and it certainly would have if we had served a group. As it is, we ate heartily and will have more than enough leftovers for two more meals.


Resources


Someone recently asked me where I get my recipes. I used to get a lot of recipes from magazine subscriptions: Epicurious, Real Simple, Sunset Magazine, and Cooking Light. Now, I get my recipes from the websites of these magazines (for free). I have several cookbooks but the one I refer to the most is Joy of Cooking which also has a beautiful website.

The Red Quinoa Bowl with Swiss Chard and Poached Egg recipe came from Sunset's Best of 2013. Since then I've found their Best of All Time recipes. The first one that pops up on that one is White Wine Coq au Vin. I made that one exactly as written and I thought it was wonderful. Hubby was not as enthusiastic but we have lots of leftovers so I'm hoping he'll change his mind. (It came out a little soupy so I might add some starch when reheating. That, or serve it over mashed potatoes which is a starch which would be under not in. Just saying.)

The veggie tacos (mentioned next) turned out okay. That time, however, I was more "meh" while Hubby wanted it on the "make it again" list. We'll see.

Bonus material: If you live anywhere near me, we discovered a new Indian Restaurant. It's located in an innocuous strip mall next to a chiropractor's clinic, called Bombay House. It is the freshest, most flavorful Indian food I've ever tasted. Also, you can get an emissions test for your car right next door to the mall, so if you need to renew your license plates, I suggest a stop for lunch.


Plain Old Quinoa with Green Leafy Stuff Served in a Bowl with Fried Eggs


The recipe was Red Quinoa Bowl with Swiss Chard and Poached Egg. I don't know what a red quinoa bowl is. I don't have red quinoa or red bowls so I just used what I had which was plain old quinoa. They had it at Costco so I bought a two pound bag a while ago for about  $7. It might take me the rest of my life to eat it but that'll be easier than eating a whole ham. (See next several posts.) The rest of the ingredient list was:
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • About 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped 
  • 1 large carrot, cut into thick coins 
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems chopped and leaves torn, divided
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 portabella mushroom, dark gills removed, then halved and cut into 1/2-in.-wide slices
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs 
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
I already had the vinegar, oil, onion, garlic, salt, eggs, and pepper so my grocery bill came to just over $4 before tax. I omitted the chives. I wasn't about to buy garnish that I would invariably forget to sprinkle atop the completed dish. Although, if I were to buy garnish, I would get parsley or cilantro and then would diligently sprinkle it on every dish I made hereafter until it was gone. (You can use it up in a few days and it adds a nice finishing flavor on almost anything.) But, the dish was delicious without the chives so if you don't have another use for them, there's no shame in not including them here.

I have designs on making some vegetarian tacos later in the week which is why I opted for a curly-leafed kale. It holds up to heat better than spinach and I figured it would work well in both recipes. 

Since Hubby doesn't like poached eggs, I didn't heat up the water as in step one of the original recipe. That also reduced the total number of pans required for preparation from three to two. Even though I was using kale rather than chard, I chopped and sautéed the stems as directed. I've never done that before but they lent a nice flavor and crunch to the dish. I forgot to add the salt when I added the kale but the dish didn't really need it. I also forgot to drizzle oil on the top before serving but that might have only been so the chives would stick and I didn't have any chives. (It might be nice to add a nice truffle oil if you happen to have some.)

When the vegetables were done, and the cooked quinoa was mixed in, I divided the mixture into two bowls - mine were white with a blue rim but calling this White With a Blue Rim Quinoa Bowl with Green Leafy Stuff and Fried Eggs seems an extreme title - and reused the pan to fry the eggs. I made mine runny but popped the yolk on Hubby's. I put the cooked eggs on top of the bowls of vegetables and we paired it with Saintsbury Chardonnay (my current favorite, easy to drink, reasonably priced, screw top wine).

This dish is not as boring as the title might imply. It was very flavorful - more than you might imagine - and was more than enough food for the two of us. In fact, we have enough leftovers to reheat, add a couple more eggs, and eat again for breakfast or dinner. It could easily serve four as a side dish, omitting the eggs. It would be a perfect accompaniment to a filet mignon or salmon.

Best $4 I ever spent. This recipe is a keeper.


Fail


The Porcini Fondue with Ham and Ciabatta was a bust. I admit, I cheated though. I bought a pre-packed cheese fondue instead of making my own. I don't know if it would have turned out any better if I had grated and melted the cheese myself but the packaged stuff was very sharp. I don't remember the brand but it was a blend of gruyere and Swiss but the flavor was predominantly and overwhelmingly Swiss.

I didn't have a fondue pot but I was able to find a small crock pot that held about two cups, the same amount as the cheese squeezed out from the fondue kit. It cost less than $5 at Walmart. You can't really cook anything in it but it works well for keeping warm dips.

The bread went over well and, in fact, I thought the cheese tasted reasonably good with it. But the big news is I got rid of all that ham.


Get Smoked


We made the Creamy White Bean Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks for dinner last night for which we purchased smoked pork shanks (aka ham hocks). Go figure, we bought even more ham! It was entirely worth the $5 investment which was comparatively expensive considering the 10 pound ham was $10. The shanks (there were two) were a combined 1.5 pounds.

That still leaves us with 9 pounds of ham so my plan is to put it all in the fondue.

 


Eternity is a Ham and Two People


It's not that I've not been eating, it's that I'm eating mostly the same thing over and over. I bought a 10 pound ham because it was on sale and so there's been very little of interest - foodwise - to talk about lately. 

I used the bone and some of the ham to make split pea soup. (I used the recipe from the Joy of Cooking.) It's economical, easy, and delicious.

Last night we made scrambled eggs and ham for dinner. Had it again for breakfast this morning. Still have 9 pounds to go.

The theme at my sister-in-law's house for Christmas this year is fondue. I found a recipe that uses ham: Porcini Fondue with Ham and Ciabatta. I also found a recipe for Creamy White Bean Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks which I'll have to modify because I don't have smoked ham hocks. I'll make that in January.

Then, I'll should only have 7 pounds left to consume.

Can that be a New Years Resolution? Eat a pound of ham per month? (And don't forget to pass by the ham in the grocery aisle the next time it goes on sale.)


Leftover Scramble


Sunday is clean-out-the-refrigerator day. Eat it or toss it.

I met some guys once who were on their way back from their annual no-wives weekend. Their boat was tied up next to ours as we were going through the locks and they were eating a crazy pile of food as we waited for the locks to do their thing. It was a combination of all their leftovers from their trip, all stirred together, heated in one big pan.

I thought it looked great so a couple weeks ago, I saved all the leftovers, freezing them if necessary. These were the leftovers that wouldn't have been enough to reheat and serve on their own but combined with other leftovers could make a meal.

Last Sunday, I pulled all the leftovers out of the freezer and put the frozen chunks on my counter and looked at them. Hubby was dreading the meal all week. (The fact that I kept referring to it as Sunday Slop probably didn't help.) I still think it was a good idea although it would have been better if at least one of the leftovers was a substantial amount of soup. As it was, I couldn't bring myself to do it and ended up tossing all the leftovers out. Maybe I'll have the guts to try it again another time.

This Sunday, we had Leftover Scramble which was a lot easier to sell than Sunday Slop. This is what I had in my fridge:
  • butter
  • four eggs
  • half an onion
  • 3-4 slices bacon
  • tomatoes and basil leftover from the Pasta Primavera (below)
  • grated Pecorino Romano
  • shaved Parmesan
  • one ciabatta roll
  • a few bites of leftover Pasta Primavera
I preheated the oven to broil because for some reason, I always use my oven to toast bread even though I own something like four toasters in two cities. If you have a toaster, use that to toast whatever bread you've got around. It's probably more energy efficient than using the oven.

I melted some butter in a fry pan at medium-plus heat and added half of the half onion (which is a quarter onion, if you're keeping score). As soon as I could smell the onion, I added the bacon which was already cooked and chopped. (Whenever I cook bacon, I cook the whole package and freeze whatever I don't use.) About the time I smelled the bacon, I added the tomatoes (cut the little guys in half) and basil (chopped into large pieces)

I whisked the eggs in a bowl with about a tablespoon of the Pecorino Romano and a few cracks of pepper. Hubby is good with eggs so he finished things off by adding the egg/cheese mixture to the items already in the pan. He cooked them gently at low heat while I monitored the ciabatta toasting in the oven and cleaned up the kitchen.

We served the eggs with a little shaved Parmesan on top and another fresh crack of pepper, along with the toasted ciabatta, buttered.

Oh, the leftover Pasta Primavera? I'll have to either make it a midday snack or toss it out. I didn't have the guts to throw it in the slop.

Pasta Primavera

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta or another shape that will grip a sauce like fusilli
  • 2 cups asparagus cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • grape tomatoes, halved, about half of one of those little pint containers
  • basil leaves chopped in large pieces, about half of that little package from the produce section
  • 4 ounces pesto, homemade is nice but prepared is easier
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 ounce Parmigiana cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
1. I don't have to tell you how to roast nuts, do I? Maybe I do because I over-roasted mine and ended up tossing them out. Keep an eye on them. You want yours to be golden brown, not the color of roasted coffee. (By the way, over-roasted pine nuts taste a little like popcorn only nuttier.) If you don't have roasted pine nuts, don't worry - it'll taste great even without them.

2. Prepare pasta. Again, I'll assume you know how to do this. I had no problem with this step once I extinguished all the smoke detectors. (See step one.)

3. Rinse and chop vegetables while pasta boils.

4. Toss the asparagus pieces in with the pasta in the last three minutes of boiling. 

5. Toss the peppers in the water with the pasta and the asparagus in the last minute, turn off heat, and finish that last minute on a cool burner, stirring everything together. Drain.

6. Toss aforementioned boiled and drained items in a large bowl with tomatoes, pesto (to taste), and basil. I purchased a 4 ounce container of pesto and used almost all of it. 

Serve and top with shaved Parmigiana and a crack of fresh pepper. Oh, and if you have toasted pine nuts, sprinkle a few of those on top as well and let me know if it was worth all the smoke.

Serves four. Or two, twice.

Note: I recommend buying bulk whenever possible so you don't end up with half empty packages of ingredients. Just buy what you need. This works especially when you can get to a store easily and don't have a pantry.

Recipe inspired by Spinach-Artichoke Pasta with Vegetables (with photo).

1 comment:

Kellie said...

All of these sound great! Although I think I would end up leaving out the brussel sprouts abs replace with more bacon ;)