Friday, September 17, 2010

Pasta with Ricotta & Veggies

This dish is amazingly easy and the variations are so numerous you could put it on your menu every week and not get tired of it. The basics are pasta tossed in a little butter, ricotta & parmesan cheese. Then you top it with any cooked veggie, preferably cooked in a savory way, like a grilled zucchini (like I did last night) or a steamed spinach with a bit of butter (like I did last week). Some other ideas that I think would be marvelous - sauteed peppers, roasted broccoli, grilled onions, or sauteed peas.

Serves 4 (with leftovers)

  • 12 oz pasta of choice
  • 1 Tbls butter for the pasta
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 - 1 cup grated parmesan (I like more parmesan, but it's a little salty for some folks)
  • 12 oz - 1 lb of your vegetable of choice (we'll go spinach here)
  • 1/2 tbls butter for the spinach
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions
  2. Strain and place in a serving bowl, covering so you can retain a little moisture
  3. Rinse the spinach and steam it over low heat in the empty noodle pot using just the water sticking to the leaves (takes about 3-5 minutes)
  4. Mix together the ricotta and parmesan in a small bowl
  5. Toss the pasta with the cheese mixture
  6. Salt & pepper to taste
  7. When the spinach is done, mix a 1/2 Tbls butter
  8. Put a scoop of the veggies on top of a scoop of pasta
  9. Enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mushroom Zucchini Tacos

This recipe is so simple and so robust, I think I'm going to add it it the regular rotation (as long as zucchini is in season:). Right now I'm still using the canned Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes since we haven't had any West Coast tomatoes in the stores yet, but if you're making this during tomato season, you can make your own on the grill or under the broiler.

The beautiful thing about making tacos or burritos like this is that they're so flavorful you really don't have to worry about the side dish. Just some black beans and corn tortillas an you're all set!

Serves 4

  • 1 TBLS Organic Olive Oil
  • Organic White Onions - Sliced Thin
  • 1/2 lb Portabella Mushrooms - Sliced Thin
  • 2 Organic Zucchini Squash - Peeled and Diced
  • 1x14 oz can Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • Organic Corn Tortillas
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions until they begin to soften - about 5 minutes
  2. Throw in the mushrooms and stir it all up. Let them soften up for about 4 minutes
  3. While the mushrooms and onions are cooking away, get out your food processor or blender and blend up the tomatoes and the chipotle
  4. Pour the chipotle-tomato sauce into the pan and add the zucchini. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Simple Tomato Sauce

Brooke says that I have a hard time cooking the same thing twice, and that's mostly true. There are so many delicious flavors to taste out there, why would you limit yourself to a standard weekly or monthly menu? I do keep a chart of everything I cook that I'd like to cook again. When I'm stuck I open it up and see what sounds good (to date it has about 60 tried and true recipes in it). That being said, this basic tomato sauce is one of my stand-by's. I probably make this once every two weeks or so.

With this easy recipe, you'll never have to buy pasta sauce in a jar again! It's so easy, fast, and tasty you'll wonder how so few ingredients can make your tummy so happy. I like to serve this with conchiglie pasta (shell looking) since it catches nice little bowls of sauce. I use the basil from the plant I keep on the window sill, which makes this a super cheap dinner, but even if you have to buy basil at the store it's still a winner!

Serves 4

  • 1x14 oz can organic whole tomatoes
  • 2 cloves organic garlic - diced or pressed
  • a pinch of sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • a dozen fresh organic basil leaves - torn
  • 2 glugs of olive oil
  • 16 oz pasta of choice
  1. Pour the tomatoes with the juice from the pan into a 12 inch pan
  2. Add the garlic, sugar and salt. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes
  3. Put your water on to boil and cook your pasta according to the directions
  4. Smash up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher (basically just do what it takes to squish the tomato up!)
  5. Add in the olive and basil leaves and stir it all up
  6. Enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ham, Swiss & Asparagus Frittata

We got our first dozen eggs for the season from the wonderful folks at Terra Farma and they went into this great frittata here along with asparagus from Mark's (Brooke's dad) garden. This was great, and along with some breakfast potatoes (russets, sweet potatoes and roasted garlic cloves...but that's for another day) 6 of us ate for under $20! The key to a good frittata is to start on the stove and finish up in the oven (preferably under the broiler)

Serves 4-6

  • 1 good glug of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 1/2 lb asparagus cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/4 lb deli ham - cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 lb swiss cheese - shredded
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or cream (whatever's handy)
  1. Preheat broiler to high
  2. Heat olive oil in a 12 inch oven safe pan over medium-high heat
  3. Toss in the onion and cook until soft; 6-8 minutes
  4. Throw in the asparagus pieces and saute them about 4 minutes until they soften up a bit
  5. Beat the eggs and milk together, then add a dash of salt and pepper and mix in the cheese
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let it set a few seconds then stir it scraping the bottom & sides of pan. Do this until the pans full nice gooey, kind of solid/kind of liquid eggyness
  7. Put the pan under the broiler and cook another 5-10 minutes, until it's lightly brown around the edges and almost done in the middle
  8. Remove from oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking
  9. Enjoy!

CSA Special - Kale & Potato Soup

So, last week was our first week of our new CSA (community supported agriculture). A big shout out to Shari at Dancing Roots Farm for our wonderful veggies! We had a great haul this week - Salad Greens, radishes, spinach, pea greens, kale and a tomato plant. We made up a great salad with all the greens and radishes and shared that with our friends. I made kale and potato soup and it was excellent, so I thought I'd share that one here.

Serves 4

  • A couple of glugs of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - diced or pressed
  • 5 cups liquid (I did 3 cups stock + 2 cups water, but you can do any combination you like)
  • 1.5 lbs organic potatoes - peeled & quartered
  • 1 bunch of kale sliced into strips
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat
  2. Toss in the onion and cook until soft - about 6 minutes
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute
  4. Pour in your liquid and bring to a boil
  5. Put your potatoes in and bring it back to a good simmer, but not a full boil
  6. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender (that means you can stick a fork in it pretty easily)
  7. Use a potato masher or other flattish kitchen utensil and smash all the potatoes up
  8. Add the Kale and simmer for another 5 minutes
  9. Salt & Pepper to taste
  10. Enjoy!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Easy Chickpea Curry

I made this Friday night and we put it into some pita bread for a nice picnic at the park. I served it with spinach and plain yogurt wrapped up inside. You could also put it over rice for a weeknight sit down. The spice is around a medium here. Feel free to tone it up with a little more ginger, garlic and jalepeno, or tone it down with a little less curry powder. To make the curry paste, I use my little kitchen-aid chopper, but you can also just chop it all up as small as possible if you don't have one

Serves 4


1 Tbls olive oil
1/2 small organic onion - diced
3 organic garlic cloves - minced
1 tsp minced organic ginger
1/2 organic jalapeno - minced
1 Tbls curry powder
1 x 14.5 oz can diced organic tomatoes
1 x 25 oz can organic chickpeas
Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Put the olive oil over medium heat in a pan on the stove
  2. If you're using the food processor, put in the onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno and pulse it until it's a nice paste (about 15-20 seconds). If you're doing it by hand, chop away!
  3. Add the paste to the pan and sear it for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure none of it burns.
  4. Add the curry powder and mix it in with the paste
  5. Pour in the tomatoes and chickpeas and stir it all up
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it cook for 30 minutes until the sauce as reduced down and the flavors are amazing. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hungarian Chicken Paprikas

I first had this dish in Albany, Oregon the great mom and pop restaurant Novak's (literally mom and pop - Mama Novak and Papa Novak are there pretty much every day). It's got such a comforting complex flavor but is so easy to make! The nice short list of ingredients makes it fit the budget! I like to cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces before browning, but you can cook them whole as well. This is great over rice, egg noodles (or egg dumplings if you can find them)

Serves 6 - $17

  • 1 large organic onion - chopped
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 3 Tbls Hungarian Paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 lbs Chicken Thighs
  • 1 cup Organic Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 chopped organic tomatoes (or 1x14.5 oz can)
  • 1 cup organic sour cream
  • Rice, noodles or egg dumplings for 6

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium to large sized pot over medium-high heat
  2. Throw in the chopped onion and cook until soft - about 10 minutes
  3. Add the chicken, paprika, salt and pepper and stir it until the chicken and onions are coated in seasony goodness
  4. Cook the chicken about 6 minutes stirring occassionally until lightly browned
  5. Put in your chicken stock, water and tomatoes and bring to a boil
  6. Begin cooking your rice or noodles (Put this here so you don't forget you need something to put this goodness on:)
  7. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, juicy and tender
  8. Remove from heat and stir in your sour cream
  9. Enjoy!