Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Snow Pea Sesame Noodle Salad

*My recipe was featured on See it here

This noodle salad is an excellent dish to bring to a party.

Snow Pea Sesame Noodle Salad

  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 pound snow pea pods
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add snow pea pods and cook 1-2 minutes, until crisp tender. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath to stop from cooking any further and to maintain a bright green color. Bring water to boil again and add spaghetti. Cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the spaghetti, snow peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Bit by bit, toss in the dressing over to the spaghetti mixture until you are satisfied with the result. You probably will not need to add all of the dressing.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Meatless Monday - Vegetable Lasagna

Trying to come up with something other than eggplant for this week's Meatless Monday, I decided to try a vegetable lasagna.

Keep vegetables on hand at all times by buying a bunch when you see them on sale, cutting them up, and freezing them. Or, buy frozen vegetables. For this recipe, I not only used a bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, but I used frozen spinach and onions and some of the frozen bell peppers that I had bought when they were at a great price, cut them up, and froze them.

Switch the recipe up and use your favorite vegetables! This recipe would be great with zucchini or squash, or just broccoli alone.

Vegetable Lasagna

  • 4 lasagna noodle sheets (if you cannot find these, simply use 8 noodles that you have boiled first)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 bag of frozen cauliflower, broccoli, carrot mix, thawed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers (use your favorite color, or a mixture of 2 or 3) cut in a large dice
  • 3 T butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
  • 24 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 2 & 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, onions and bell peppers. Season with salt & pepper and saute for 7-8 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and add flour to create a roux. Stir until flour and butter are blended and whisk in milk. Whisk over medium-high heat until milk becomes very thick. Add spinach & 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Remove from heat and stir in nutmeg.

Season ricotta cheese with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper.

In bottom of prepared dish, spread 1/3 of spinach mixture. Top with 1 layer of lasagna noodles, all of the ricotta, all of the vegetables, another 1/3 of spinach mixture, and 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.

Add another layer of lasagna noodles, top with remaining spinach mixture, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and top with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

Bake until golden brown on top, about 30-35 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Impress your Friends - Make them Brunch!

This past weekend, friends of ours came to visit from Washington, D.C. Since we went out to dinner on Saturday, I decided to treat them on Sunday and make them brunch. They came bearing fresh blackberries from their yard, so I used them to make a blackberry sauce for crêpes and served them with home made chicken-apple sausages.

Crêpes with Fresh Blackberry Sauce (makes 8)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T melted butter, plus 4 T more for cooking
To make the sauce, combine 1 lb. of fresh blackberries with 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. You will not need any liquid, the juices from the backberries will create a syrup on its own. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and berries are heated through, about 4-5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the milk and water and whisk until blended and no lumps remain. Beat in egg and the 1 T of melted butter.

Heat a 7- or 8-inch frying pan, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Allow your pans to get hot, and add 1/2 tsp of butter and tilt pan around until melted butter coats the entire surface. The butter will allow the crêpe to be flipped and slide out of the pan easily.

Ladle about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan, quickly tilting and swirling the pan so that the batter evenly coats the bottom. Let the pancake cook until the edges brown and begin to curl away from the pan, about 1-2 minutes. Using tongs, carefully pull the crêpe over and let cook on other side 20-30 seconds more, until just lightly golden but not brown.

Slide crêpe onto serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. I kept mine in my toaster oven on the "warm" setting while I finished the rest of the batter.

Repeat with rest of batter, making sure to add 1/2 T of butter before each crêpe. You may need to turn your heat down once the pan gets very hot.

Serve crêpes with blackberry sauce and sour cream for a rich, delicious brunch feature.

Chicken-Apple Sausages (makes 12-14 patties)
  • 1 & 1/2 lbs. ground chicken
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced into a very fine dice
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
Add chicken to large mixing bowl and mix in apples with a large wooden spoon.

In a clean spice mill (or do like me and use your Magic Bullet!), grind coriander seeds and fennel seeds and grind until a medium-fine grind. Add the spices, along with white pepper, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne peppers to chicken mixture and mix until well blended.

Using your hands, form the patties, each about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Working in batched to avoid overcrowding, add the patties and cook until golden-brown on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the patties to the other side and cook 3-4 minutes longer.

Transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil and serve immediately.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good for You Grilling - Chicken Sausage

Grilling doesn't always equal healthy, but I am always looking for a take on conventional food with a healthy twist. That is why I absolutely love Trader Joe's (please, please bring a store to Lafayette Hill, PA!). They provide such a superabundance of healthy, scrumptious, and easy-to-make food - I cannot think of a better grocer!

I love, love, love their chicken sausages. They taste wonderful - better than regular pork sausages in my opinion - and they are a much healthier option than conventional sausage. For last night's dinner, I made a delicious, quick but substantial meal with chicken sausage headlining the meal. I served them up along side of a salad and quinoa.

If you are unfamiliar with quinoa, it is a super grain. Super because it contains all eight essential amino acids so it is a complete protein, having the highest amount of protein in any grain. It also delivers fiber, iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins A and E. It is actually a seed, and it can be used in place of rice, pasta, couscous, bulgar, etc. in just about any recipe.

Quinoa’s flavor is slightly nutty with a pleasing crunchy texture. In addition to tasting great, it’s also very simple to cook. And it’s gluten free - excellent news for anyone with a gluten allergy or sensitivity.

Chicken Sausage Sandwiches
  • Chicken sausages (I use TJ's Sundried Tomato)
  • Whole wheat hot dog buns
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
Heat grill to medium-high. Cook sausages for about 8 minutes, turning a few times to cook each side.

In the meantime: in a cast iron pan on grill, heat olive oil and butter. Saute onions for 6-8 minutes. I sauteed extra onion and set aside for my quinoa.

Serve sausage in buns and top with diced onion.

Quinoa Pilaf
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper
Put the broth and quinoa in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and grain is tender.
Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove nuts from pan and set aside.
When the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl. Stir in the pine nuts, the reserved onions from the chicken sausage, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Guest Spotlight - Vegetarian delight!

My friend Amanda is in town visiting from New Hampshire and we spent a beautiful day hiking and catching up. After our hike, we hit the grocery store to grab something to make for dinner. Since Amanda was a vegetarian, we decided on making a pasta dish. Since asparagus is in season, we decided to go from there...

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, and Goat Cheese

  • 1 lb gemelli pasta
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • One bunch asparagus, cut into 1" to 2" pieces
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.

In the meantime, saute asparagus in oil over medium high heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Rinse peas in a colander under warm water until defrosted.

When pasta is cooked, reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain. Add to serving bowl along with asparagus and peas. Crumble in goat cheese and let the heat of the pasta melt it into a smooth sauce. Add reserved pasta water bit by bit until sauce is creamy. It dries out fast, so use a bit more than you think is necessary. Stir to combine.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Thursday, August 6, 2009

Meatless Monday - Eggplant, Peppers, & Pasta!

This recipe was featured on! See it here

My neighbors are away for a few weeks and while they're away, they told me I could pick up their CSA share since they won't be around. I am so excited to have this opportunity!

CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares are a good way to support local agriculture. You invest in shares of a local farm, and then every week for the harvesting season you get a box full of fresh produce. You never know what you are going to get, which makes quite a fun adventure. Last week, I got carrots, lettuce, yellow cherry tomatoes, eggplant, peaches, and more!

I thought that this might be the perfect opportunity to enact my Meatless Monday Movement that I have been trying to begin. Going meatless just for one day largely reduces your carbon footprint and saves precious resources like water and fossil fuel. It can also reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. To find out more about the benefits of going meatless for a day, visit

This recipe was a great use of many of the vegetables that I had gotten. It was so good, it even satisfied my uber-carnivorous boyfriend, Ryan!

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 bell peppers cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 pound cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the broth and tortellini. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tortellini are cooked through and most of the broth is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.

Fold in the parsley and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Easy Breezy Summer Dinner

Looking for something easy, yet delicious to make for a weeknight meal? Try this!

Not-quite-Nicoise Tuna Sandwiches (makes 2)

  • 1 large ciabatta loaf
  • 2 cans tuna packed in olive oil
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • A few leaves of romaine lettuce
Cut ciabatta in half (like hamburger), so there is a large, flat top piece and large, flat bottom piece. Slice into desired sandwich sizes.

On the bottom half, top with lettuce, onion, and avocado.

Mix tuna, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt & pepper in a medium bowl. Spread over lettuce, onion, and avocado and top with top of bread.

This sandwich was featured on:

Tuna Nicoise Sandwich on Foodista

Related Posts with Thumbnails