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Pesto Pasta w/ Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Baked Asparagus

12 Apr

I couldn’t get too far into the Seasonal Eats: Spring Edition without some asparagus.  It’s one of my favorite springtime staples!  Sun-dried tomatoes don’t last too long either and I refuse to waste food, so finding a recipe that called for both became essential (we used sun-dried tomatoes with our meatballs the other day, remember?).  I’m loving this new series and I hope you are, too!  It’s been really fun hunting around, looking for yummy new recipes.  I’ve added a bunch of new ones to my permanent rotation.


 

Pesto Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Baked Asparagus (from Damn Delicious)

  • 8 oz. medium shells
  • 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1/3 c. julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1/2 c. basil pesto
  • 1/3 c. diced mozzarella cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 2. T. olive oil
  • 1 egg

Preheat the oven to 425*F and bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.  Place the asparagus in a single row on a baking sheet, drizzle in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then toss them around to coat.  Bake the asparagus for around 8-10 minutes, or until it’s tender but still crispy.  Cook the shells according to the instructions.

While the asparagus are baking, prepare the sun-dried tomato and basil in a large mixing bowl.

PestoSunDriedTomato

When the asparagus have finished baking, let them cool down. Then, cut them into 1″ pieces.

Asparagus

I added shells into the pesto mix as soon as they were finished cooking, along with the 1/3 c. of diced cheese.  This way the cheese would get all melty and delicious.

Mozzarella Cheese

 

Then, mix everything together into a glorious medley.

PastaMixture

I ate mine with a fried egg on top because that’s what Chungah suggested in her post.  Always listen to Chungah because her food really is damn, delicious.

Pasta Sundried Tomato Asparagus Pesto Fried Egg

No, really.  It is.


Arugula + Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato w/ Poached Egg

28 Jul

This recipe is so simple it feels wrong to toot my own horn, but that’s my very first poached egg you guys.  Ever.  I feel like I should get a foodie gold star right now!  Poached egg dance!  Poached egg dance!  Poached egg dance!  (PS – IDGAF if you think eggs are meat.  I consider this a meatless recipe, so put it in your Meatless Monday rolodex, yo.)

Stuffed-Sweet-Potato-Black-Beans-Arugula-Poached-Egg


Arugula & Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato w/ Poached Egg (from How Sweet It Is)

  • sweet potato
  • arugula
  • black beans, drained and rinsed
  • shredded cheese
  • 1 lg egg
  • olive oil, salt, pepper

First, cook the sweet potato using your method of choice (microwave, slow-cooker, oven, etc.).  Since I don’t care for the skin, I usually bake mine in a 400*F oven for about an hour, remove the skin and put the potato in a small dish.  You do you, though.  While the potato is cooking, I suggest tossing some arugula in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper:

arugula-olive-oil-salt-pepper

Then, a great idea is to start fretting about cooking a poached egg.  This includes, scouring Pinterest, rapid-firing search terms into Google, calling your mom and cursing her for not answering, and then finally realizing you have 13 eggs in the house so just friggin’ throw one in some water all ready.  But not really throw!  Because you have to be careful with eggs, you know.  Anyway, I did what I was told and followed Smitten Kitchen’s tutorial for the perfect poached eggs. As I waited for my water to boil, I topped my sweet potato with some cheddar cheese, about 1/2 c. of black beans which had been rinsed but were unseasoned, and my arugula.

Stuffed-Sweet-Potato-Arugula

This was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done right here!

1st-ever-poached-egg

Having absolutely no frame of reference for if something is done or not really creates anxiety when you could ruin your whole dinner with one little poke.  But then….

Stuffed-Sweet-Potato-2

With great risk, comes great reward.

Roasted Beet Salad

22 Jul

I’ve been a fan of the beets for as long as I can remember…

thebeets

COME ON, Killer Tofu was one of the greatest hits of my childhood.

But seriously, beets.

Beets

My favorite way to prepare beets is to roast them (here is my go-to recipe).  This time, though, when the beets came out of the oven I tossed them in balsamic vinegar instead of of apple cider vinegar and knew they belonged on a bed of arugula and spinach.

Roasted-Beet-Salad-Goat-Cheese-Pecans-Arugula-Spinach

I added in a bit of crumbled goat cheese, toasted pecans, and my favorite balsamic dressing.  Seriously easy, meatless, and delicious!

My Favorite Balsamic Dressing:

  • 3 T. balsamic
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • scant 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste

Whisk together the balsamic, garlic, and Dijon mustard together.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Quinoa + Pecans

23 Jun

I’m having so much fun trying meatless dishes once a week!!  This week, I made something that tastes a little out of place for the hot months of summer.  Butternut squash was calling my name at the store and I had to answer the calling. 🙂  File this one away for fall – it would make an awesome holiday side dish or a tasty option for meat-free guests.

Twice-Baked-Butternut-Squash-Quinoa-Pecans-Meatless-Monday



Twice Baked Butternut Squash w/ Quinoa & Pecans (original recipe by Inquiring Chef)

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1/3 c. uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 t. chicken stock (or veg stock if meat-free)
  • 1/3 c. pecan halves, chopped roughly
  • 2 t. olive oil
  •  1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 c. panko
  •  3 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. + 2 T. Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

The first step is go roast the squash.  To do this, you cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (just like seeding a pumpkin!).  Place the squash skin-side down on a baking sheet, then sprinkle the squash’s flesh with salt and pepper.  Add about 1/4 inch of water to the pan.  Cover it tightly with tin foil and bake it for 50 minutes at 450*F. butternut-squash

Meanwhile, bring your stock of choice to a boil and then add the quinoa.  Cover, then reduce heat to a simmer and allow quinoa to cook about 15 minutes.  Then, remove it from the heat until the remaining liquid is absorbed. Also,  heat 1 t. of olive oil in a small pan and saute the shallot until browned.  Set aside.  Finally, toast the pecan pieces in a dry pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Mine didn’t take quite that long – when they are nice and fragrant, they are ready!  Set those aside as well. toasted-pecans

Once the squash is finished (Stab it with a fork.  If it’s tender, it’s done.  If not, put it back in until it’s done.), spoon out the butternut squash and reduce the oven to 400*F.  It will be a pureed texture.  Mix it with the quinoa, pecans, shallots, 2 T. of Parmesan cheese, some salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

Quinoa-Pecan-Mixture

mixture before squash!

Spoon the mixture back into the squash skin – which is now just a boat for your delicious filling!

Combine the panko, 2 T. Parmesan, and melted butter, then sprinkle on top of the quinoa mixture.  Put the squash back into the oven at 400*F for about 30 minutes or until the bread crumbs are nicely browned.  Simple as that!

Stuffed Portabello Sandwiches w/ Caramelized Onions + Arugula

17 Jun

Meatless-Monday-1-Stuffed-Portabello-Sandwiches-Caramelized-Onion-Arugula



I am really excited to get on the Meatless Monday bandwagon!  I initially picked this recipe because I thought it would be an easy, weeknight dinner for me.  I underestimated the fact that I don’t have a grill.  You don’t need a grill – at all actually – but the original recipe is a bit more streamlined than the process that I went through so I was under prepared when I started.  Everything is sort of prepared separately and then assembled at the end – just focus on getting the elements right and not about timing.


A Quick Roasted Pepper Tutorial!

Before we get started, let’s talk about roasted red peppers!  For years, when a recipe called for roasted red peppers I assumed I had to go to the store and buy the ones that come in a glass jar and are covered in marinade/oil/whatever.  It’s so friggin’ easy to roast your own peppers that it makes me wonder why I don’t do it more often!  Here is a step-by-step tutorial I made to show you how to make your own roasted peppers using a gas broiler.

Ta da!

Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Broiler

Really.  Wash your pepper and then shove it  near the broiler flame.  I rotated mine every 6 minutes – the pepper will first start to sweat and then the skin will turn black and get crispy.  That’s what we want!  We are going to take the skin off, so we really need to make sure the pepper is roasted half to Hades.  (You could do this on your gas range as well, just wrap the pepper in tin foil first and set the flame on med-low.  The pepper sweats excessively so…be prepared for a big sloppy mess if you go this route!  That’s why I went with the broiler.) Mine looked like this when it was done: Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Steamed

Then, we need to steam the pepper so that we can take the skin off and get the seeds/stem out.  So, just cover the pepper with a bowl and let it sit for 15minutes.

Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Steaming

See it’s not that intimidating!  When it’s done, it will look deflated like this:

Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-After-Steaming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 15 minutes, cut down one side of the pepper.  The stem should basically fall right out and the pepper will open up.  Remove the seeds and then flip it over and remove the skin.  You can just use your fingers if you want to!

Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Skin-Before Roasted-Pepper-Tutorial-Skin-After

Easy peasy.  Then just slice them up to suit your needs.  If you are going to save them and use them for another day, put them in a glass or stainless steel container and pour a bit of olive oil over them.  If you are going to be making a large batch of these, you can also roast peppers in the oven on a sheet pan.

You can pin this tutorial by clicking here:


Like I said before, you can complete all of the ingredients at the same time.  So while the pepper was in the broiler, carmelize half an onion (this takes about 25 minutes) with a splash of balsamic and about a T. of brown sugar.

Carmelized-Onions

Also, drizzle 2 portabellos with olive oil, salt, and pepper put them in the oven at 425*F for 20 minutes. Roasted-Portabellos

If things are coming up at different times – that is fine.  If things start to cool, don’t freak out.  Once we assemble everything, it gets reheated again. 🙂  When the bellas are done, lower the temp of the oven to about 300*F, and rub the bread with the slightest bit of olive oil.  I put it in immediately before the oven had properly cooled because I used ciabatta which is a bit thicker than normal bread.  You could even skip the oil/oven and use the toaster depending on your bread preference. While the bread is toasting, it’s time for the rest of the sammie to come together!  You’re basically creating a stuffed portabello, so start with a mushroom gill side up.  Add as many of your roasted peppers as you’d like, a slice of Mozzarella cheese, and then top it with the 2nd portabello gill side down.  Since my bread was in the oven, I popped this under the broiler until the cheese melts. Stuffed-Portabello-Meatless-Monday

When the bread is toasted to your liking, add the mushroom to the bread and top with the caramelized onions.  I added a TON more arugula after I took this picture – I can’t get enough!

 Meatless-Monday-1-Stuffed-Portabello-Sandwiches-Caramelized-Onion-Arugula

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