Thursday, May 21, 2009

Asparagus Pesto with Pasta

Thank you Angela for telling me about this recipe.  I also can't take credit for the photo because somehow mine got erased off my camera.  I thought it needed a little extra sprinkle of salt and pepper at the end to finish it off.  The recipe makes plenty of pasta for an entire box of pasta.

1 bunch asparagus spears (about 1 lb), trimmed of tough ends and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
8 ounces of dried pasta or 12 ounces fresh -linguini, fettuccini, spaghetti 
Mix spinach pasta with regular wheat pasta for a medley of colors.

1 Bring 2 pots of water to a rolling boil, one large for the pasta and one medium sized for the asparagus.
2 While the water is heating, put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove pine nuts from pan and set aside. You will use 3/4 cup of the pine nuts for the pesto paste and 1/4 cup to mix in whole.
3 Salt the asparagus water and drop the spears into the pan. Cook for only 2 or 3 minutes, until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain under cool water to stop the cooking. Cut the tips off, and set aside, several of the asparagus (diagonal cut about an inch from the end) to use for garnish.
4 Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts to a food processor. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice and salt, taste and adjust seasoning.
*When emptying the food processor bowl of its contents, hold the bottom of the bowl with one hand with a finger in the center hole, holding the blade in place and keeping it from falling out.
5 Salt the pasta water well and cook the pasta until just tender. Check the directions on the pasta package. You'll need more time for dried pasta and less for fresh. Drain and toss immediately with 1 cup of the asparagus pesto.
Serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, a dusting of Parmesan, and a light drizzle of olive oil.
Serves 4 to 6.

Spinach and Orzo Salad

This recipe was so simple to throw together and it was delicious. The whole family devoured it!

1/2 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta
1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
1/2 pound (about 1 c. ) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts, basil and white pepper. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

So maybe this recipe is not the healthiest way to prepare a vegetable (butter and bacon) but both my boys devoured it so I can't compain!

1/2 pound sliced bacon
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup pine nuts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, cored and shredded
3 green onions, minced
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
pepper to taste

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons grease, crumble and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt butter in with reserved bacon grease over medium heat. Add pine nuts, and cook, stirring until browned. Add Brussels sprouts and green onions to the pan, and season with seasoning salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until sprouts are wilted and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in crumbled bacon just before serving.

Middle Eastern Rice with Black Beans

This recipe makes A LOT so if you are a family of 2 or 3, I would recommend halfing it.  The original recipe is below but I did not use tumeric (didn't have any) and I only used one can of garbanzo beans because Mark isn't the hugest fan of them.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 bunch chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, then pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
Place the turkey in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown.
Gently mix cooked turkey, garbanzo beans, black beans, cilantro, parsley, and pine nuts into the cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pine Nuts

Next week is pine nut week!  Every recipe will have pine nuts in them so buy your bag from Costco now!

All-in-One Spaghetti Frittata

I love one-pot recipes! I used cheddar instead of mozzarella cheese and I generously topped it with salt and pepper.

8 oz. spaghetti, uncooked
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat oil in large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms; cook and stir 5 min. or until onions are crisp-tender. Add zucchini and tomatoes with their liquid. Cook 10 min. or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

MIX pasta, eggs and 1/2 cup of the cheese in large bowl; mix well. Add to vegetables in skillet; stir until well blended. Cook on medium-low heat 5 min. or until bottom of frittata is set. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

BAKE 10 min. or until center is set. Cut into 8 wedges to serve.

Nacho Bread Pizza

This is so tasty and the topping options are endless! Instead of mashing up black beans, I just used a can of refried beans.

1 loaf baguette or french bread
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 cup prepared salsa, any variety
2 cups shredded Cheddar, Monterey Jack or pepper Jack
1 heart romaine or 1/2 iceberg head, shredded
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/4 red onion or 2 to 3 scallions, chopped
2 plum or vine tomatoes, seeded and diced

Split bread lengthwise. Hollow the bread out and cut each half in half across, making 4 boats.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil, garlic and jalapeno. Drain beans. Add half of the beans then mash the remainder of the beans in the can using a fork. Add mashed beans to the pan and combine with whole beans. Season beans with hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. When the spicy beans are hot through, spread them evenly across all of the bread. Top with salsa and liberally sprinkle with cheese, covering bread to all edges. The boats will only be half-full. Melt cheese in the oven until it bubbles and begins to brown.

Top Nacho Bread Pizzas with lettuce, olives, onions and tomatoes and serve.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Boneless Buffalo Bites

Mark knows the way to my heart.  For mother's day this year he made me boneless buffalo bites!  In Tucson we loved to go to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the AZ b-ball games and we fell in love with their boneless buffalo wings and onion rings.  Unfortunately, BWW does not grace our presense in Seattle.  (PS- if you start up a franchise in Seattle I will be your best friend)  So, Mark looked up this recipe that Becky and Ben had been raving about and used boneless/skinless chicken tenders instead of wings (I'm not a fan of biting through bones and veins).  They were awesome with a capital A.  Thanks honey!

oil for deep frying
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 dash ground black pepper
1 dash garlic powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 chicken wings

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). The oil should be just enough to cover wings entirely, an inch or so deep. Combine the butter, hot sauce, pepper and garlic powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir together and heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat and reserve for serving.
In a small bowl mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Place chicken wings in a large nonporous glass dish or bowl and sprinkle flour mixture over them until they are evenly coated. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.
Fry coated wings in hot oil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until parts of wings begin to turn brown. Remove from heat, place wings in serving bowl, add hot sauce mixture and stir together. Serve.

Lasagna Roll-ups

I like my lasagna rolled up.  Is that weird?  I love to pull one of these neat little bundles out of the pan, rather than cutting into a sheet of lasagna and ending up with a mushy mess.  I just follow the recipe on the lasagna noodle box (using a good sauce with basil really helps) and instead of layering, I spread the filling on each noodle, roll them up and place them seam side down in the casserole dish.  Then I spread the remaining mozz cheese and sauce on top and bake for about 2/3 the time called for on the box.

Shrimp Cilantro Fried Rice

This is a very quick recipe and great for using up leftover rice.  I don't have peanut oil , so I just subbed olive oil.  I also would only use 3 cups of cooked rice next time or double the carrots, shrimp and cilantro.

2  teaspoons peanut oil
1  teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/4  cup finely chopped carrot
1  teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4  teaspoon crushed red pepper
3  garlic cloves, minced
4  cups cooked long-grain rice
1  cup chopped cooked shrimp
2  tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2  cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oils in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot, ginger, red pepper, and garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Add rice; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in shrimp and soy sauce; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.

Breakfast Quiches to Go

This is a great recipe to switch up the morning routine of cereal or oatmeal.  I used normal crescent rolls and swiss cheese instead of mozzarella.

2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated garlic butter crescent dinner rolls (8 rolls each)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 box (9 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)

1.Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 16 (2 3/4x1 1/4-inch) muffin cups with No-Stick Cooking Spray.
2.Separate each can of crescent dough into 8 triangles. Press 1 triangle on bottom and up side of each muffin cup.
3.In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in onion, spinach, salt and pepper until well mixed. Fold in cheese. Fill each cup to the top with egg mixture (do not overfill).
4.Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and edges of rolls are golden brown. Remove from pan. Serve warm.


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