Tag Archives: pasta

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta

22 Jan

Have you ever added up how much you spend on food? The daily coffees, lunches out with co-workers, dinner dates, picked-up meals and weekly groceries all add up to a LOT of money. Whether you’re working on a New Year’s goal related to spending habits, or just want to be able to cook more frugally, the Recipe Redux has you covered this month!

We’ve been tasked with creating a recipe that costs less than $3 per serving. Now, as a vegetarian, this is much easier for me than my meat-eating friends. I noticed the drop in spending immediately after I gave up meat – both at the grocery store and at restaurants. But the bill can still add up and sometimes in a less than healthy way.

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So I wanted to develop a meal that was not only low cost, but high in flavor, protein and fiber. Have you seen those legume-based pastas that are available? Black bean spaghetti, red lentil rotini, even chickpea penne! Yes, they sound a little crazy, and the first time you make black bean spaghetti, I guarantee you will be weirded out by the color of the cooking water. But these are such an incredible alternative to traditional pastas. (Which I totally have nothing against, especially since I began making my own!) Sometimes, you just need a high protein meal that comes together quickly and can be easily dressed up.

This Alfredo delivers on all of the above. Red lentil pasta, which clocks in at a hefty 21 grams of protein per serving, is tossed with a simple yet flavorful goat cheese sauce. Dress up the finished product with a bit of balsamic glaze and voila: a healthy, quick, delicious meal that only costs $2.22 per serving.

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta

Serves 2

  • 6 oz red lentil gluten free pasta (can substitute for black bean pasta, or another favorite) – ($1.50)
  • 2 tbsp butter ($0.15)
  • 1/2 C soy milk (or other preferred milk) ($0.12)
  • 4 oz garlic & herb goat cheese or chevre ($1.99)
  • 1 oz parmesan, freshly shredded ($0.36)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic glaze, to garnish ($0.32)

Grand total: $4.44. Per serving: $2.22!

Cook pasta according to package directions. These legume-based pastas have pretty specific directions, so it’s best to follow them!

While the pasta boils, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Once melted, stir in the milk and then the cheeses. Keep stirring to melt all the cheese into the milk. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Drain the cooked pasta and immediately transfer into the skillet with the hot Alfredo sauce. Toss to coat completely. Serve and drizzle with balsamic glaze (this is optional, but the sweet tang of the glaze makes the creamy sauce pop!)

recipe-redux-linky-logo

Pasta with Charred Pepper and Onion

22 Dec

Happy winter! I know, it’s been a while since I posted a new recipe. Work and life and more work have taken a priority, but all for great reasons! Since September, I have been teaching public speaking at the nearby university in addition to my day job. The class is fun and poses some interesting challenges for myself. This week will see the end of the semester, which simply means five weeks to prep for spring.

I was excited to see that this month’s Recipe Redux challenge was a cookbook-related one. In order to celebrate all the accomplishments of 2016, the Redux team has asked us flip to a 2016-esque page number in the nearest cookbook.

A year or two ago, my Oma and Opa gave me a vegetarian cookbook for Christmas. I know they sometimes question my vegetarianism, but the gift of that book said a lot in terms of acceptance of my dietary choices. I know they want the best for me overall, and proper food is a surefire way to be healthy!

So, I flipped to page 216 in the book “330 Vegetarian Recipes for Health,” and low and behold I found a simple yet satisfying recipe of pasta, roasted peppers and onion!

Pasta with Charred Pepper and Onion | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

After a long day and a nice run on the treadmill, this was to be the ideal dinner with some modifications. This meal really is the ideal dinner to make on a busy night. Bell pepper roasts quickly in the broiler or on the grill and pairs perfectly with whole grain pasta and sauteed onion. I added some beefless ground for a protein boost, and some spices for additional flavor, and that’s it! A quick and easily meal for two or four.

Pasta with Charred Pepper and Onion | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Fusilli with Peppers and Onions, modified from 330 Vegetarian Recipes for Health

Serves 2

  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-1/2 whole grain fusilli or rotini
  • 3/4 C beefless ground
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, to serve

Turn on your broiler or grill. Place the washed bell pepper in the flame and cook until charred. You’ll need to watch it and turn it around to ensure an even char. Once sufficiently blackened, remove and place in a paper bag. Close and let sit for five minutes.

Scrape off the charred skin from the bell pepper. Slice thinly; set aside.

Bring water to boil in a pot and cook pasta according to package directions. I prefer the whole grain pasta for added chew, fiber and protein. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in frying pan. Saute onion 8-10 minutes. Add in the sliced bell pepper and sprinkle in some sea salt and black pepper. Then, stir in the beefless ground, paprika and coriander. Cook another 5 minutes to heat through.

Stir the vegetables into the pot of pasta. Mix well and serve into two bowls. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and extra salt and pepper.
recipe-redux-linky-logo

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake and Dolittle Half Marathon Recap

29 Sep

This past weekend required a lot of prep work. Months of sacrifice, sore legs, tired feet, and lots of laundry. Yep, I ran my third half marathon! The inaugural Dolittle full and half was held in Waukesha, WI on Sept. 25. Chris dropped me off for the 8am start.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pre-race pose!

We headed out on the Glacial Drumlin trail, where the entire out-and-back route was run. It was SO GORGEOUS. The weather was perfect: slightly cloudy with a high of 65 degrees. The trail was clean and flat and wide enough that I never felt crowded.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Couldn’t ask for a better day or path!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Mid-stride. Of course I know how to pose while running!

My thighs started feeling sore halfway in. Hitting the turn-around point was revitalizing, but the pain persisted. And then I started to feel a twinge in my knee. At this point, I was walking more than I was running, or at least that’s how it seemed. At about mile 10, I decided that it was alright to feel the pain now, because THIS is what I had trained so long for! So, I consciously let the pain wash over me for five seconds, after which I told myself that it’s all in my head and that I could get through to the end. This worked, but only for a little while. I knew my time was no where near what I wanted. I kept going, with the mile markers motivating me further.

Finally, at mile 12, I put away my earbuds, as it’s best to experience the final mile and finish line with all the senses. I pushed through, passed people on the sidelines cheering, and gave it all I had to finish strong and with a smile on my face.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Rocking out as I crossed the finish line!

Chris and my mom were at the finish line, waiting with cameras at the ready. Some gatorade and a handful of fruit tasted so darn good!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The medal is really pretty!

We headed off to brunch where I shamelessly gobbled up a veggie omelet, sweet potato hash browns, toast and a beer. The rest of the day was spent mostly on the couch.

Except for dinner. I was sooo hungry by dinner time, that I wanted something substantial. A beautiful butternut squash had been sitting on our counter for a week, waiting to be crafted into a delicious meal. I combined that with pasta and two (!) cheeses for an amazing, comforting, and easy dinner.

I call this a “bake” rather than mac & cheese, because it doesn’t use béchamel sauce as a base. Simply boil the squash, puree it with the other sauce ingredients, mix in pasta, and bake to create a slight crust. Whether you’re refueling from a long run or just looking for a tasty, filling meal, this is where it’s at!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake

Serves 4

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 8 oz whole wheat or gf pasta – a small shape like macaroni, penne or rotini work best
  • ¼ C milk
  • ½ C reserved pasta water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 3 oz aged cheddar, shredded
  • 2 oz gouda, chopped small
  • Additional paprika to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8×8” baking dish; set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add all of the cubed butternut squash, cover, and boil 12 minutes. Remove the cover if it threatens to boil over. Drain in a colander.

Refill that same pot with water; add salt this time and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

While the pasta cooks, transfer the drained squash to a large bowl. Add the milk, butter, spices and pasta water. Use an immersion blender to puree until completely smooth. Alternatively, use a stand blender to puree.

Stir in the cheeses, and then the cooked pasta. Transfer to your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika for some added color. Bake at 400 for 15 min, uncovered.

Serve and enjoy!

Cheesy Butternut Squash Pasta Bake & Dolittle Half Marathon Recap | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Vegan Spaghetti Dinner with Black Bean Pasta Sauce

22 Sep

With an oversized apron tied ‘round my waist and a wooden spoon in hand, I was always an eager young cook. This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is “first cooking memories,” and I have quite a few of those! I remember rolling, cutting and decorating sugar cookies for Christmas with Oma (and trying to sneak some of the raw dough while she wasn’t looking). I remember stirring the contents of various pots of food on the stove at Grandma’s house during holiday & birthday dinners. I remember rolling out the dough and prepping the fillings with dad for apple and pumpkin pies leading up to Thanksgiving. And I remember how much I loved spaghetti for dinner, and helping mom prepare it.

Vegan Spaghetti Dinner with Black Bean Pasta Sauce | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Those daily memories are often the most basic, yet enjoyable to think back on. Oma had made kid-sized aprons for my sister and I to don while helping our parents cook. Which is good – I can only imagine we created somewhat of a mess in the process! My love of cooking and food began with all of that. My family respected my help in the kitchen, and the older I got, the more responsibility was given to me. Where I first was allowed to stir the sauce, I progressed to browning the meat for the sauce (yes, I used to eat meat). Instead of just putting the pot of water on the stove to boil, I actually cooked the noodles all the way through. We switched from store-bought garlic bread, to garlicking (is that a word? It is now) a fresh loaf of bread.

When my sis and I were finally old enough, and knowledgeable enough, to cook on our own, our parents tasked us with making dinner once a week for a whole summer! We had to plan the meal, add the ingredients to the grocery list (after first checking the pantry & freezer for anything we already had), go shopping with them (an activity I still love to this day), prep the ingredients, and cook the entire meal. Sure, we frequently asked questions regarding technique, timing, and what something in the recipe might mean, but we did it all on our own, at a relatively young age. This was fantastic prep for meals when we were alone, and certainly for college survival.

Thanks to my parents and grandparents for those early cooking experiences! Because of that, I now find great joy in the entire cooking process, from recipe creation to meal devouring. And with that, here’s a healthy, vegan take on that spaghetti dinner I used to help prepare. Mashed and seasoned black beans replace ground beef, and a homemade sauce elevates the flavor of jarred varieties. It’s a great weeknight dinner that you can even get your kids to help with 🙂

Vegan Spaghetti Dinner with Black Bean Pasta Sauce | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Vegan Spaghetti Dinner

Serves 4

  • 8 oz whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 C water

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Cook the onion 5-7 minutes, until translucent and fragrant. Add the black beans and cook another 3-4 minutes to heat through. Use a flat wooden spoon or fork to mash the black beans and onions together. You’re looking for consistency similar to cooked ground beef. Stir in the seasonings, cooking through another 2-3 minutes.

Now stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, garlic and water. Mom always taught me to add a spoonful of sugar to tomato-based sauces, to cut the acidic properties of tomatoes and bring out their taste.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes. Cook through another 5 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add it into the skillet with your sauce, and toss to coat. Taste and add more salt or pepper as desired.

Serve and enjoy hot! This pairs well with a leafy green salad and bottle of red wine (or juice for the kids).

Quick Tempeh Bolognese with Pasta {vegan, gluten free}

19 Jul

Ok, I know that “tempeh Bolognese” is an oxymoron. The traditionally meat-based Italian sauce is meant to be used in a variety of pasta dishes. In fact, it’s the most common sauce I grew up with. Craving a comfort dish, I knew there must be a relatively easy alternative. Enter: tempeh! The block of pressed soy and rice make a perfect faux meat crumble. And when paired with the right flavors, this dish brings back all those memories of the beefy sauce my mother would make for our pasta.

Quick Tempeh Bolognese with Pasta | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

This version is quick, too. In the time it takes to bring your water to boil and cook the pasta, your Bolognese will be cooked through and ready to toss. It’s a great weeknight meal that will be on your dinner table in 20 minutes. Not vegan? Add a dusting of freshly shaved parmesan, or stick with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast to achieve a similar flavor and texture.

Quick Tempeh Bolognese with Pasta | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The fastest pasta sauce ever! Add whichever spices suit your fancy.

Looking for something spicier? Check out this soy chorizo Bolognese, which is sure to turn up the heat!

Tempeh Bolognese

Serves 4

  • 8 oz penne or rotini GF pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 8-oz package tempeh, crumbled
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 1 28-oz can whole Italian peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar (to cut through the acid)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Optional: Nutritional yeast or freshly grated parmesan or gouda, to garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta to according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot; set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high. Saute the onion and garlic 5-7 minutes, being careful not to burn them – turn down the heat to avoid this if necessary.

Add the crumbled tempeh, salt, and pepper and cook another minute to heat through.

In a blender, combine the can of tomatoes, another tablespoon of olive oil, sugar and seasoning. Puree until smooth. Pour into the tempeh mixture and stir to coat.

Add the bolognese to the pasta in its pot and toss to coat. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, allowing everything to come together and the flavors to meld. Serve hot and garnish with nutritional yeast or freshly grated cheese if not vegan.

%d bloggers like this: