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Posts Tagged ‘quick’

Chickpea, Tomato & Feta Salad

Now that we work from home, I love lunch time. My lunches at the store used to consist of leftovers or veggie burgers, even though I still eat and love both of those, a lot of days I can have more fun creating healthy lunches. Especially with my vegetable garden in full-force, I can just hop into the back yard, grab some lettuce and/or cucumbers, fresh herbs, etc and toss together a quick salad.

I saw a delicious recipe, a while back, for a Chickpea, Spinach & Feta Salad, on my friend Margaux’s blog that she keeps with her aunt, Sweet & Savory Kitchens. I couldn’t wait to play around with my own version. Such a simple, quick and healthy salad, why haven’t I been making this every single week?

I decided to use what I had on hand, so I cut up some red onion, a whole tomato, a roasted red pepper, some fresh oregano, etc and it was that easy. An incredible lunch salad in minutes. I served mine over some romaine lettuce, you could also add chopped up lettuce, spinach or other leafy vegetables like kale or arugula directly to the salad when mixing. Cucumbers would also be delicious. In Margaux and Aunt Suzy’s original recipe they included cooked broccoli which sounds like a tasty, crunchy addition. I think like most salads, the possibilities are endless with this one. This is definitely going to be a staple in my house at lunchtime and as a side at dinner. This would make a delicious dish to share at a picnic or party and with all of the beautiful colors, it’ll definitely impress everyone.

Chickpea, Tomato & Feta Salad
adapted from Sweet and Savory Kitchens

The Dressing

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
Salt and black pepper to taste

The Salad

1 large or two small cans of chickpeas (about 3 cups cooked)
1 large tomato, diced
1 large roasted pepper, diced
1/2 large (or 1 small) red onion, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste

Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl, whisk thoroughly to combine. Set aside.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas if using canned. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a bowl, except the feta cheese. Add the dressing and gently stir to thoroughly blend. Add the cheese and stir again to blend.

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Pasta with Kale, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Bacon

Last weekend, we took the drive out to Olean to visit our farmer (I love the sound of that). We were picking up our pork share for the winter, as well as our Thanksgiving turkey. We are so lucky to have found Pierre and Sojourner Farms. The fact that every animal on the farm is pasture-raised and not pumped full of antibiotics and hormones means so much to us. I am so happy to support a wonderful place like that. It’s truly the only meat we buy.

After making the drive, it seemed wrong not to at least cook up a quick dinner with some of the delicious food we picked up. It was pretty late by the time we were ready to make dinner, so I decided to whip up a quick pasta dish for us (yeh, I know, more pasta!). The kale in my garden was still holding on and I had everything else on hand, so I thought this would be perfect. It was so perfect and delicious. Light but still hearty, it was a great quick dinner. The smokey bacon flavor was delicious and cooking the kale in the same pan as the bacon gave some of the edges that nice crisp as well. There are so many great flavors in this dish that you really don’t need much more than a pinch of Parmigiano-Reggiano on each serving, it’s that good. I am really going to miss my kale this winter, it is such a versatile green that really stands up to so many dishes. Here’s to next year’s gardening season!

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
serves 4

16 ounces organic gluten-free brown rice pasta
4 cups kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
3 slices pasture-raised farm fresh bacon (we get ours from Sojourner Farms)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup of freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain.

While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 4-5 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, set aside. Crumble when cooled. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add kale to the pan and cook 3-5 minutes until tender and a bit crisp around the edges.

In a large serving bowl, add the cooked pasta, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, kale, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. The little bit of grease from the bacon should be enough for the pasta, if it isn’t, add a drizzle or two of olive oil. Top the pasta with the shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve.

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Chickpea Red Curry with Coconut Milk

When trying to come up with this recipe, I came across many, many variations on chickpea curry dishes, some with yellow curry, some with potatoes or tomatoes, I saw a few that added in spinach or root vegetables. There really is a lot you can do. Because this was a weeknight dinner, I wanted to keep it simple and quick, so I went fairly basic. It really is a quick and easy meal (less than 30 minutes) and you only have to dirty one pot and your rice cooker. My Thai basil is still hanging on in the garden so I thought this would be the perfect dish to use it in. I also really love red curry, it is filled with so many fragrant aromatics like the lemongrass, ginger and red chilis. Red curry can pack a lot of heat, so taste as you go and add more or less depending on your love of spice. Play around with this recipe and the ingredients, I plan on making this often throughout the winter. It is hearty, spicy and perfect for the cooler weather. If you have never cooked with coconut milk, you need to, it is a highly underrated, tasty addition to so many dishes. Lastly, I cannot recommend enough serving this over jasmine rice, it is the perfect addition to this meal and the smell from the rice is one of my favorite smells in the whole world. Of course, brown rice or any other rice will do just perfectly.

Chickpea Red Curry with Coconut Milk
serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 25 ounce can organic chick peas, drained
2 tablespoons red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1 can light organic coconut milk
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce (omit if you’d like to make this vegan)
Large handful of fresh Thai basil, chopped (regular basil will do if you can’t find Thai basil)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and saute a few minutes before adding the garlic, then add the garlic and cook both until they just start to take on a bit of color, about 10 minutes. Add the red curry paste and coconut milk, whisk briskly to combine the paste with the milk. Bring the sauce to a simmer, taste and add more curry paste if it needs it. Add the chickpeas, a pinch of salt, fish sauce and half of your Thai basil, stir to combine. Allow the sauce to simmer for at least 15-20 minutes. If your sauce becomes a bit too thick for your liking, you can thin it a bit with vegetable broth.

Serve over jasmine rice and top with fresh Thai basil. Salt to taste, as needed.

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Toasted Spicy Almonds

Sorry for the lack of posts – we have been very busy over here. We were in Chicago this past weekend for the Pitchfork Music Festival and Flatstock 26 and before that we were busting our butts designing and printed, getting ready for the festival. I have still been cooking, but pulling out the camera, trying out new recipes, etc., gets put on hold when life gets this crazy. Before we left town I did get a chance to make this delicious snack to munch on in the car on the road trip to Chicago.  I know most of the reason I crave salty snacks in the car is due to boredom, but I have accepted that and I am happy to enjoy not having a mountain of work and a long to-do list, and to sit back watch the road and enjoy my hubby’s company. Rather than salty processed potato chips from a random gas station, I thought that these would be the perfect alternative. We also packed up some of the gluten-free blueberry muffins that I had previously made and froze and some chipotle hummus with sliced cucumbers from our garden. No reason to hit a drive-thru for lunch or to eat junk!

These almonds were so satisfying and easy to make. I started with roasted almonds since that is what I had on hand, but you could also start with raw almonds, and just toast them even longer. Mark and I both really love spicy food, so you can adjust the peppers accordingly. I used a premade salt-free Black and Red Spice mix from Penzeys, that was a mix of Tellicherry black pepper and hot cayenne red pepper.

We leave again in less than one week for San Francisco for the Renegade Craft Fair, then we are back home for a bit. Hoping to be able to cook a bunch and really use all the goodies we’re getting from the garden.

Toasted Spicy Almonds

1 tablespoon organic butter
8 ounces organic roasted almonds, unsalted
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Slowly melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the nuts, peppers and salt. Toss with a rubber spatula to coat the nuts and spread them out in the pan in a single layer. Allow the nuts to start to brown a bit, then toss or stir to flip, allow them to continue to toast. This process only takes a few minutes (3-5), remove the pan from the heat when the desired amount of doneness is achieved. Adjust spices and salt to taste. Allow to cool before serving.

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Penne with Pistachio Pesto, White Beans and Arugula
I am not super crazy about this photo, but it was late and I was hungry so I did my best.

OK, so it is fair to say my pasta addiction is probably very obvious by now. It has always been one of my favorites and it is definitely both my go-to quick dinner option and my favorite comfort food. When I learned of my gluten intolerance, the loss of pasta in my life is what scared me most, then I discovered Tinkyada’s rice pastas. They are so amazing!! They are light and tasty. I much prefer them to regular pasta, any day, though I really don’t have much choice. Mark actually really loves rice pasta and always mentions how much lighter it is in your ‘gut’.

We got home late from work last night and we were both very tired from a long day of printing and other projects, so while I was contemplating dinner, Mark pulled a Wegman’s pizza out of the freezer for himself. I had pulled this recipe from a recent issue of Cooking Light and had all of the ingredients for it on hand, since it seemed so easy and quick, I decided to make it. In the time it took the oven to preheat and for the frozen pizza to cook and cool, I had made this pasta dish, served it, photographed it and I was finishing up eating, just about the time Mark was sitting down to eat his pizza. Granted, I produced WAY more of a mess and tons more dishes, but I would say cooking from scratch and eating fresh foods wins again!!

The pesto had an amazing flavor to it from the pistachios and the arugula had that lovely peppery crisp that just added to the creaminess from the beans. I was a bit unsure on the beans, but I thought they were really nice and was glad I decided not to omit them. Admittedly, I don’t usually buy romano cheese, as I tend to go for parmigiano-reggiano every time, but the romano had a stronger taste that went perfectly with these flavors, a bit saltier and sharper. I will definitely be buying more of it for pasta dishes.

Penne with Pistachio Pesto, White Beans and Arugula
serves 4
adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, July 2010

8 ounces uncooked organic brown rice penne pasta (any pasta will do)
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup roasted shelled pistachios
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomato
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (15-ounce) can organic great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups arugula
1/4 cup shredded fresh pecorino Romano cheese

Cook pasta according to package direction. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain.

Combine basil, nuts and garlic in a food process; process until finely chopped.

Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add basil mixture, cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in pasta, tomato, and next 3 ingredients (through beans); cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, tossing to combine. Remove from heat. Add arugula to pan, and toss slightly to wilt.

Place about 1 1/4 cups pasta mixture in each of 4 bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of cheese.

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