Tag Archives: pasta

Basque Pork Pasta

Summer officially ends tomorrow. It’s still pretty warm at my house, and my garden is still going crazy. Tomatoes out my ears. In a good way.

However, I was looking for a dinner that had tomatoes, but didn’t scream “trying to get rid of a counter full of tomatoes”. Enter this pasta dish. It was perfect for a warm late summer/early fall evening with lots of bright flavors. Enjoy!

Basque Pork Pasta (Serves 4-6)

Basque Pork Pasta

2 pork loin chops, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ cup parmesan
1 head broccoli, chopped into florets
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
8 ounces vegetable spaghetti
1 lemon, zested
juice of 1 lemon
2 tomatoes, diced

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions, without oil or salt. Add broccoli for last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork, garlic, italian seasoning, and lemon zest. Cook 7-10 minutes, or until pork is cooked through. Deglaze pan with lemon juice.

3. Add pork mixture to pasta and broccoli. Toss with parmesan and tomatoes.

Nutrient Analysis (Amount per serving):

Calories: 748
Protein: 44 gm
Fat: 23 gm
Saturated Fat: 8 gm
Cholesterol: 88 mg
Carbohydrates: 67 gm
Fiber: 10 gm
Sodium: 227 mg

Recipe notes: If you can’t find a vegetable spaghetti, you could use all whole wheat. My mom made a similar dish to this growing up and always used spinach linguine.

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Hummus Pasta

Today is a quick post about a quick, delicious lunch I discovered last week. I was looking at a fridge full of random leftovers and needed something new to eat. I gave this random idea a try, after some googling to make sure I wasn’t insane, and it was crazy good. And it got tons of veggies in me, which always makes me happy at lunch.

Hummus may sound like an odd “sauce” for pasta, but it works really well. It gives flavor and creaminess with no added work. This is more of an idea recipe than exact instructions. And as the idea was for lunch, I’m giving a single serving. Feel free to scale up each portion for more people.

Please pardon the slightly blurry picture. Apparently I was in a hurry to eat!

Hummus Pasta

Hummus Pasta

1 ½ cups chopped vegetables (broccoli, sugar snap peas, cauliflower, grated carrots, zucchini, etc)
1 cup tortellini pasta
2 tablespoons hummus (I used roasted red pepper, but use whatever flavor you like)
2-3 ounces shredded meat, optional
handful of cherry/grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons feta cheese

1. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add vegetables and cook for 3-5 minutes or until basically as tender as you want them.

2. Add in pasta and meat. Cook according to pasta package directions.

3. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water. Mix hummus into pasta and vegetables. Add cooking water a teaspoon at a time as needed to thin the hummus to coat everything. Top with tomatoes and cheese. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes: Use whatever vegetables you have on hand. A frozen blend would work well here as well. Just make sure it isn’t something that will cook for a long time, like big hunks of carrots. You could also use regular pasta, rather than tortellini. I’d just put the noodles in at the same time as the vegetables then. You want everything to finish cooking at about the same time.

Source: original recipe

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Caprese Pasta

I’m back! Sorry for the two month hiatus. Between computer troubles and life being life, I haven’t been on here in awhile. I’ve got a bunch of great recipes and ideas I’m excited to share with you. And please be patient if things are different. Some recipes may not have nutrition information, since they aren’t exact formulations.

Today, I’m sharing an incredibly easy and delicious pasta dish that is great as a side or vegetarian main. It tastes like the end of summer, which is perfect. I created it when I looked at my garden and saw a bunch of tomatoes and basil that needed using. Whether you have your own produce or are getting it from the store, this is completely seasonal and delicious. Enjoy!

Caprese Pasta (Serves 6 as a side, 3 as a main)

Caprese Pasta<

1 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 pound whole wheat pasta
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
2-4 tablespoons pesto (recipe here or from a jar is fine)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

1. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar and honey to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until reduced to ⅓ cup. Set aside to cool.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, leaving out oil or salt. Drain.

3. Into hot pasta, toss mozzarella, tomatoes, pesto, and fresh basil.

4. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of the balsamic sauce over the top. Toss to coat. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Recipe Notes: Sorry for no nutrition information today. The balsamic sauce and pesto are kind of oddball ingredients that will vary based on cooking time of the vinegar, how much you use, what kind of pesto you make/buy. I highly recommend fresh mozzarella for this. If you have to use the regular kind, I’d still cube it up, but very small, so you have more of a chance of it melting.

Source: Balsamic reduction from allrecipes.com; rest is original recipe

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Easy Meatballs

Sometimes, certain food really speaks to you. Maybe you had a craving and when you eat that food, it hits that spot just right. Or maybe you just make a meal that tastes extra delicious that day. It doesn’t have to be something special or fancy.

These meatballs were that meal for me. I felt like a complete master chef. For some reason, my last several attempts at meatballs have failed. These were easy and delicious, which is a huge win. Make these soon and have a great dinner soon.

Easy Meatballs (Serves 6-8)

Easy Meatballs

1 pound ground lean turkey (93/7)
½ cup panko bread crumbs
⅓ cup water
½ cup packed shredded spinach leaves or 1 cup loose
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 ounces finely chopped provolone cheese
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced

Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 (14 ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Place meat, breadcrumbs, water, spinach, parsley, provolone, pepper, eggs, and garlic in a large bowl. Mix together with a fork, spoon, or your fingers.

2. Using a scoop or spoons, form into 1 ½ – 2 tablespoon meatballs. Set in the fridge or freezer while you make the sauce to help set the shape.

3. In a large pot or pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; saute 3-5 minutes until onion is tender and golden. Stir frequently so garlic doesn’t burn. Add red pepper; saute 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low (or as low as you can to maintain a simmer) and cook for 15-20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally while cooking.

4. Gently add meatballs one by one to the sauce. Cover with a lid. Cook for another 20-25 minutes at a simmer. Do not stir. After about 20 minute, you can flip the meatballs if you want. Serve.

Optional: (requires additional provolone cheese)

Place meatballs and sauce in oven safe dish (if not already in one). Turn on broiler. Place slices of provolone cheese over the top. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 248
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 124 mg
Carbohydrates: 12 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 333 mg

Recipe notes: You could use any ground meat, just go for lean. I mostly changed up the sauce recipe. I can’t leave a sauce alone. I like lots of seasoning. I also usually put in diced or shredded carrot in the sauce, because I like to sneak vegetables into my daughter’s diet whenever possible. These are great with spaghetti, though I prefer slightly smaller meatballs with spaghetti. With the optional step, I like to serve this with crusty garlic bread. So yummy. For scooping, I use my cookie scoop to keep the meatballs all the same size.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Kale and Butternut Pasta Bake

Christmas is coming. I hope you don’t feel like you are getting as fat as the proverbial goose. Treats and snacks and parties abound this time of year, which often leads to weight gain. While I don’t think you should go on a “diet” right now or work hard to lose eight, avoiding weight gain is a great goal. Trying to stay balanced is important. I posted last year about some great tips for eating at parties.

The holidays are full of family and friends being together. Food is usually an important part of these get togethers. I remember my mom always trying to avoid meals that required her to spend excessive time in the kitchen for cooking and for clean-up. This dish does require a bit of prep, but it can all be done well ahead of time. It isn’t difficult and will fill up any cold, hungry crowd. Enjoy!

Kale and Butternut Pasta Bake (Serves 6-8)

Kale and Butternut Pasta Bake

5 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (about 1 small squash)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces uncooked whole wheat short pasta (penne or ziti work well)
4 cups chopped kale
2 bacon slices
2 cups thinly sliced onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces fat free cream cheese
½ cup shredded smoked Gruyere cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine squash, oil, and black pepper in a large bowl; toss well. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes or until squash is tender.

3. Cook pasta one minute short of al dente directions on package. Add kale during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture.

4. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble.

5. Add onion to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

6. Bring 1¾ cups broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine remaining ¼ cup broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture and red pepper to broth. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cream cheese and ¼ cup Gruyere until melted and sauce is well combined.

7. Combine squash, pasta mixture, bacon, onion mixture, and sauce in a large bowl; toss gently. Place pasta mixture in a 13×9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with remaining Gruyere cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 311
Protein: 14 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 14 mg
Carbohydrates: 49 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 222 mg

Recipe Notes: You can use any pasta shape or dark leafy green you want. Regular Gruyere works, but I like how the smoky Gruyere accents the flavor of the bacon. If you can’t find Gruyere, you could substitute another type of Swiss cheese.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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Shells and Veggie Soup

Have you heard the phrase “Indian Summer” as much as I have lately? I was curious what it actually means. According to Wikipedia, Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm weather in autumn. Sunny, clear skies and above normal temperatures after a killing frost are the characteristics. You and I both learned something new today.

Our “Indian summer” ends today. It is cloudy and windy, bringing snow overnight. Thankfully, a friend of mine just had a soup recipe swap just in time. I dug the dust off this recipe and couldn’t believe I haven’t made it in ages. Almost as good as my minestrone, but this soups is ready so much faster. And it doesn’t make a ton, if you aren’t into leftovers.

Shells and Veggie Soup (Serves 6-8)

Shells and Veggie Soup

½ tablespoon canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups low sodium beef broth
2 cans no salt added diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
8 ounces pasta (preferably whole wheat)
1 zucchini, sliced or chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped (or 1 cup frozen spinach thawed and drained well)

1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until onion begins to soften. Add garlic, cooking 1 minute more.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, and seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 5-7 minutes.

3. Add pasta and zucchini. Simmer for shortest time on pasta package (about 9 minutes usually). Add spinach 2 minutes before pasta is done. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 192
Protein: 9 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sodium: 49 mg

Recipe Notes: I clearly did not use shells in this photo. I’ve been trying “fun” pasta shapes to get my daughter to eat pasta again, since she recently boycotted my favorite food. Any pasta shape will do, although I would recommend smaller shapes. Feel free to add any other veggies you like as well. As a note, the longer this sits, the pasta will keep absorbing the liquid. Hence there isn’t a lot of broth in my photo. I also really like the boost of flavor beef broth adds here. But chicken or vegetable broth works as well.

Source: Adapted from a cooking class I took in college

Low Iodine: Use salt free broth.

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Lo Mein

Panda Express’s lo mein is one of my favorite fast foods. A few weeks ago, I needed a quick dinner for my family on a night where I hadn’t planned ahead well. I realized quickly that I had most of the ingredients for lo mein already on hand. It was a great night, and much cheaper than running to my local restaurant. Enjoy!

Lo Mein (Serves 4)

Lo Mein

½ package whole wheat thin spaghetti
1 chicken breast, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated or minced small
½ large onion, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
¾ cup julienne carrot
½ cabbage, shredded
1 zucchini, sliced
⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
dash sriracha

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, minus salt or oil. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add chicken. Cook until done about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a plate.

3. Add garlic, ginger, onion, celery, and carrot to pan. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are mostly softened. Stir frequently to prevent any burning. Add cabbage and zucchini. Cook 3-5 minutes more.

4. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, and sriracha.

5. Add chicken and noodles to vegetables in skillet. Add soy sauce mixture. Stir and cook over heat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 318
Protein: 27 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 50 mg
Carbohydrates: 50 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sodium: 853 mg

Source: adapted from several sources online

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