Posts tagged ‘pasta’

July 6, 2012

Mexican Orzo Salad

Pasta Salad: good on the side or perfect for a light meal.

There are so many different types of pasta salad, how do you choose just one!?

This Mexican Pasta Salad is delicious enough to count as a light summertime meal while still being healthy (and vegetarian). Often you see pasta salad made with big chunky pastas but this version switches it up a little allowing the other fresh summer flavors a chance to shine!

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November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Mac n Cheese

When I suggested making Pumpkin Maccaroni and Cheese to bring to friends, Rich was pretty skeptical. Then, as I was putting the mac & cheese into the casserole dish to bake he was practically licking the pot with the extra pasta clean! Through mouthfuls he was telling me how much this totally worked even though he didn’t think it would. I’ll take it!

This recipe would work wonders on your Thanksgiving Table (it maybe a bit late for this suggestion, sorry). Everything in this recipe works and is perfect for any of your fall mac & cheese cravings. The pumpkin does not come out and smack you in the face like it would in a pumpkin pie but the flavor balance is spot-on and delicious.

Get out your pots and your stretchy pants, and enjoy some of this amazing savory Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese!

Pumpkin Mac n Cheese

  • 16 oz small shell pasta
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 16 oz grated cheese blend
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree (about half 15-oz can)
  • 1.5 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a heavy pot over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk together and cook for thirty seconds. Add 2 cups milk and minced rosemary and whisk until smooth. Add another cup of the milk (reserving one cup) and continue to whisk. Cook for four minutes while whisking. The mixture will get very thick! Add 12 ounces of the grated mixed cheese (reserving about a handful of grated cheese) and stir well so that the cheese melts. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne followed by the additional cup of milk and the pumpkin puree. Once everything is smooth, add the cooked macaroni and toss well. Pour into a 9″13″ casserole pan and top with the remaining grated cheese and the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling

Yield: 8 servings

*Note – I had a 12 oz container of pasta so I just took out about 3/4 cup of cheese sauce before mixing the pasta in. Then that can get used in a soup (think cheddar soup, pumpkin soup, beer n cheese soup) or to make more pasta another day or on top of potatoes or whatever you like!


And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… What food combinations are you not sure will work but then turns out tastefully delicious?

August 29, 2011

Oven Roasted Garlic Tomatoes

I’m not sure how your house currently looks – but mine looks like it is covered in tomatoes. No – and not just because my kitchen is painted red but because I have almost no counter space due to tomatoes (literally, 40+ pounds of tomatoes – we are in the process of ‘dealing’ with them)! I am freezing ‘fresh’ tomatoes to use later. I also am making salsa (and freezing some). I will also have some tomato sauce that will be making its way to the freezer.

But I enjoy eating fresh tomatoes!! For lunch the other day I had just a container of tomatoes that I cut & salted as I ate them – yum. Tomato Salads & Bruschetta have been on the [snack] menu multiple times the past few days as well. Stuffed Tomatoes of various sorts are another popular appetizer around here. We wanted a yummy fresh tomato dish the other day though. After making Zucchini Baba Ganoush, Tomatillo Salsa (a few times) & Tomato Soup – I decided that the house needed to smell yummy from some roasted veggies again.

This is SO simple and easy – roast up some fresh tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, & salt and you have your sauce. The only “work” to this is planning an hour ahead to roast up your tomatoes. So what are you waiting for – enjoy the flavors of summer and enjoy!!

Roasted Tomato Sauce

(amounts approximate)

  • 2 pounds cherry/plum/small tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 + garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 container pasta (linguine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish, combine tomatoes, garlic, oil, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes until tender, juicy, and skins have popped, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Cook linguine according to package directions in salted water until cooked to desired texture. Serve into bowl then top with some more olive oil, the tomato mixture & some fresh basil, and a few shavings of fresh parmesan. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 – 4 servings (depending on appetites, I’m sure you know how far a box of pasta goes in your family).

*Note – I have also made this with making a quick tomato sauce (onion, garlic, peeled/diced fresh tomatoes, red wine) and mixing my pasta with that & serving the roasted tomatoes on top – that gave us two dimensions of tomato flavor!

One Year Ago: Apple Cinnamon Muffins

And I leave you with this, today’s Question of the Day… What is your favorite way to use garden ripened tomatoes?

July 6, 2011

Tuna Pasta Salad

This classic and awesome Tuna Pasta Salad from Kids Can Cook – the cookbook I grew up with & did lots of my early on my own cooking from. I almost did not get this cookbook when I moved out! My parents would not let me take this cookbook until they copied a few recipes from it: this was a go-to book for its simplicity and reliability, one I still enjoy as a “grown-up” chef 🙂

Feel free to add whatever fresh veggies you have laying around to this (peppers, more tomatoes, asparagus – whatever): the beauty is the perfect simple base that you can add to. The recipe I give you here is what my family adapted this pasta salad to after years of making this. And to be honest – we usually just make it as is without adding more, but more veggies would make it healthier!

Tuna Pasta Salad

from Kids Can Cook

  • 6 oz macaroni (elbow or whatever you have 1/2 used in the house already)
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise
  • < 3 T red wine vinigar
  • 1 T dried basil (or 2T fresh)
  • 1/4 t granulated garlic
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 2 cans tuna (drained)
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup thinly chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives

Cook maccoroni according to package directions to al dente. Drain, set aside to cool.

In your covered container combine mayonnaise, vinegar, basil, garlic, salt, & pepper. Whisk together & taste. Then add your tuna into the bowl and break up any chunks of tuna. Add your cooked pasta, onion, olives (and whatever else you want). Mix well. Store in the fridge and enjoy!

And I leave you with a question: What childhood favorite dish do you have as a go-to that is so simple but you will never give up!?

June 20, 2011

Garlic Scape Pesto

I love me some pesto!


I love me some garlic!

When we did our 1st CSA pick-up we had some garlic scapes (basically a white, more mild garlic – and the scapes are the top, kinds curly). Heidi (our farmer) told us to make a garlic pesto with it. So I found Skinny Taste’s version and got to it. The next week we got more scapes (which I didn’t use) and then this week we got even more – so I knew what to do… get out the food processor and make LOTS of pesto to freeze and enjoy whenever we want that fresh garlic taste!!

garlic scapes

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto

  • 1/2 cup (about 6) garlic scapes, flowers and tough ends removed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt, fresh pepper to taste

Cut the garlic scapes into small pieces. In a food processor or mini blender pulsescapes, basil, parmigiano, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing. Store in an air-tight jar for up to two weeks OR freeze in snack baggies for the perfect serving for 2 whenever you want.

Remember – this is a pesto, so feel free to play however you want to get the flavors you want! I actually used a little less basil (I didn’t measure), but basically because our basil is still small and I didn’t want to pick it clean!

And I leave you with this… a quote by  Louis Diat (French chef who was the first chef at the Ritz in NYC) –  “Without garlic I simply would not care to live.”

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