Pasta with Romesco Sauce

I had this pasta with romesco at a restaurant near my house so I was determined to learn how to make it! I found a recipe for romesco sauce and put my skills to the test and low and behold, it was just as amazing! I feel like romesco sauce is a healthier, much quicker, version of old fashioned tomato sauce.

Pasta with Romesco Sauce

pasta with romesco sauce

Ingredients

1 lb pasta of your choice
2 large, thick slices country bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup whole almonds
1 pound ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fruity olive oil

Directions

Boil water, and once it is boiled add a good amount of salt to the water. Add the pasta and cook according to the package.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, soak the bread cubes in the vinegar for 20 minutes.

Grind the almonds in a mortar and pestle or food processor until they are finely ground but not oily.

Add the vinegar soaked bread, tomatoes, paprika, salt and pepper to the processor and grind together briefly until evenly pureed. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream.

romesco sauce

Once the pasta is cooked, strain and then add the romesco sauce to the pasta and stir. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/romesco-sauce-recipe.html

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

I love brussels sprouts. I will eat them all year round! I also love balsamic vinegar, I put it in a lot of things (including chili). I saw this recipe and knew I had to try it. I added shallots because I wanted to add a depth of flavor and love the sweetness of the shallots and knew it would balance out the vinegar.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

sauteed brussels sprouts

Ingredients

1 (10 ounce) package shredded Brussels sprouts (you can buy them at Trader Joes)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan and heat it over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots until soft and tender. Add the butter and the remaining olive oil. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and saute them, stirring frequently, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still bright green. It might look like a lot of Brussels sprouts when you add them in the pan, but just like spinach, they will cook down. Once tender, turn off the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar, season to taste, and serve hot.

Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/sauteed-shredded-brussels-sprouts.html

Roasted Veggies with Chipotle Cream

For a light and healthy dish, try this vegetarian concoction. Adding a spicy cream takes this dish to the next level!

Roasted Veggies with Chipotle Cream

roasted veggies with chipotle cream

Ingredients

Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
One 1-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Chipotle Cream:
1 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tbsp Chipotle “mayo” (vegan mayonnaise, I used Just Mayo)
1 teaspoon of Sambal (chili paste)
1 teaspoon agave
1 teaspoon paprika

Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

For the vegetables: Toss the zucchini, bell pepper, squash, oil, cumin, oregano and salt in a medium bowl. Spread the mixture in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until the vegetables are golden and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

For the cream: Mix the greek yogurt, lime juice, agave, paprika, sambal, and “mayo” until smooth in a small bowl.

Spoon the vegetables onto a plate and serve with a dollop of the chipotle cream. I served on top of tortilla chips but feel free to serve in a crunchy tortilla, or simply on their own.

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/roasted-vegetable-tostadas-with-chipotle-cream-recipe.html

Linguine with Avocado-Arugula Pesto

My love for avocado continues with this avocado pesto combination! Adding avocado to pasta is my all-time favorite thing. Adding pesto to that mix just makes this dish heavenly!

Linguine with Avocado-Arugula Pesto

linguine with avocado arugula pesto

Ingredients

1 pound linguine pasta
2 medium avocados, halved, peeled, and seeded
3 cups baby arugula leaves (3 ounces)
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan (4 ounces)
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (see Cook’s Note)

Directions

Cook’s Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place in a serving bowl.

Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the avocados and place in a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss together. Add the cheese and almonds and toss together until coated, adding the pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce.

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/linguine-with-avocado-and-arugula-pesto-recipe.html

Mushroom Stroganoff

Stroganoff is the epitome of what we view as Russian food. I took a Russian staple and decided to make it healthy. I found this recipe for mushroom stroganoff and decided it would be a great alternative to the typical beef stroganoff. This recipe is also dairy-free!

Mushroom Stroganoff

mushroom stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 pound assorted mushrooms
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups mushroom broth or low-sodium vegetable broth (I used chicken broth because that is what I had on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or dill, for garnish

Directions

Place cashews in a small bowl and cover by about 1 inch with boiling water. Let soak 30 minutes. Drain, discarding soaking liquid. In a blender, combine cashews, 1/4 cup water, vinegar and salt, and blend until smooth; add more water a tablespoon at a time as needed to make a cashew cream.

Halve or quarter smaller mushrooms and thickly slice larger ones. Place mushrooms and shallots in a heavy pot and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to brown; add broth a few tablespoons at a time to keep mushrooms from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook, adding more broth as needed, until mushrooms are browned and softened, 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir in remaining broth, mustard, paprika and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until mushrooms are very tender and sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of cashew cream. Sprinkle with parsley and serve over pasta or rice with the remaining cashew cream on the top.

Recipe source: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/mushroom-stroganoff

Cheesy Greek-Style Baked Quinoa

This healthy quinoa bake is so good you won’t even realize how healthy it is! Plus it is so easy to make with simple ingredients that wont break the bank. It’s the perfect healthy comfort food!

Cheesy Greek-Style Baked Quinoa

 cheesy greek style baked quinoa

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup Fat Free Feta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 cup Chopped Spinach
  • 1 cup Diced Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Skim Milk
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • Salt & Black Pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the quinoa as directed.  While quinoa cooks, dice cherry tomatoes and chop spinach leaves, then set aside.  Next, in food processor combine feta, skim milk, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley, blending until smooth.
  2. When ready, cherry tomatoes and spinach into quinoa, plus 1 tbsp oil, stirring well.  Pour over with feta sauce, then season with onion powder and salt & pepper, combining thoroughly.
  3. Transfer mixture to oven safe casserole dish, spreading evenly.  Top with mozzarella, then bake at 400F for 15 minutes until top has melted.  Immediately plate and serve.

Recipe source: http://cookingwithcakes.com/cheesy-greek-style-baked-quinoa/

Pesto Pasta Bake

I have been really into bakes lately and this one is one of my favorites. The original recipe has you making your own pesto, but with my busy schedule I just used pre-made pesto. The best thing about bakes is that you can add whatever you have on hand to make this dish suitable to your tastebuds. You can add artichokes, different cheeses, a different tubular pasta, really whatever you have on hand.
Pesto Pasta Bake
pesto pasta bake
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. whole wheat rigatoni
  • 2-3 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups of chopped spinach
  • ½ cup pasta water
  • ½ cup shredded cheese of choice (I used mozzarella)
  • pesto (as much or as little as you like)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, chop up the tomatoes and spinach and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cooked noodles with the chopped tomatoes, pesto, and a little pasta water if it needs to be more saucy. I usually had enough pesto to coat all the pasta. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Recipe source: http://pinchofyum.com/healthy-baked-pesto-rigatoni

Winter Minestrone Soup

There is nothing like soup on a cold winter’s night. You can really make this dish your own by adding other veggies, or taking out the veggies you don’t like. This hearty veggie packed (with pancetta) soup will make your heart warm with how yummy it is!

Winter Minestrone Soup

winter mintestrone soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped or diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth, divided
  • 1 (1-ounce) Parmesan rind
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  • In a large, heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and rosemary sprigs. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine 3/4 of the beans with 1/2 cup of broth. Blend until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan rind to the vegetable mixture.
  • Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potato pieces are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining beans and the parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Discard the rosemary stems (the leaves will have fallen off) and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
  • You can leave the Parmesan rind in the soup, just make sure not to eat it!

Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/winter-minestrone-recipe2.html

Spicy Red Wine Spaghetti

Talk about an “adult” spaghetti. This takes a simple pasta dish and elevates to a level that is so elegant and yet so easy to make! This dish is bound to make a great impression on anyone you make it for!

Spicy Red Wine Spaghetti

spicy red wine spaghetti

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 pound spaghetti (I recommend not using whole wheat to get that great purple color)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large shallot, halved, thinly sliced into strips
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (add more for more of a kick)
One 750ml bottle zinfandel (I recommend using a red wine that you really enjoy to drink)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
4 ounces coarsely crumbled goat cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 6 minutes, stirring pasta occasionally, until par-cooked. Drain and reserve the pasta water.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, shallots, crushed red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the wine and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently for 3 minutes.

Add the pasta to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until almost all of the wine is absorbed and the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 5 minutes (if the pasta mixture is too dry, add pasta cooking water 1/4 cup at a time).

Stir in the butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Increase the heat, and toss until the wine sauce thickens enough to coat the pasta, about 1 minute. Toss to blend.

Add the parsley and goat cheese and serve.

Recipe source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spicy-red-wine-spaghetti-recipe.html

Quinoa and Spinach Un-Mac n’ Cheese

This recipe takes my favorite mac and cheese to a whole new level. Instead of pasta, it uses quinoa which adds protein and cuts back on the carbs. Adding the spinach adds a little vegetable to the dish making it that much more healthy! This recipe has been added to my list of favorite comfort foods!

Quinoa and Spinach Un-Mac n’ Cheese

quinoa and spinach unmac n cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Shallot (minced)
  • 8 ounces Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (divided)
  • 1 bag Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 4 tablespoons Butter (melted)
  • 3/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and the shallot. Cook until the shallot is slightly soft then whisk in flour. Continue to whisk until a paste forms and becomes light golden in color.

Whisk in the milk and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil while whisking. Stir in nutmeg and salt along with the cheddar cheese. When the cheese sauce is smooth, remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix cooked quinoa, cheese sauce, spinach and half of the parmesan cheese. Transfer mixture to the casserole dish. Top with the remaining parmesan.

In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe source: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/quinoa-spinach-un-mac-n-cheese-dana-urbinati