Farfalle with Tomatoes, Basil and Hot Italian Sausage

That’s right, I said sausage.  And not those greasy pork sausages either.  Nice, lean chicken sausages.  Still packed with flavor, but literally half of the fat (8 g versus 16).  Imagine the spicy and salty flavor of the sausage with the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, and the zestiness of the lemon, balanced with the mild basil and you’ve got a very tasty dish to fancy!

Ingredients:

3/4 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3  hot Italian chicken sausages

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 bunch basil, torn

1 pound cherry , halved

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente
  • Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet. Brown the sausages, then slice into coins
  • Add garlic and cook until sausage is cooked through, just another minute or so

  • Toss cooked sausage with pasta, a bit of olive oil, torn basil, tomatoes, cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Serve warm

I believe that this would also make for a fantastic cold pasta salad.

Inspired by this post by Whole Foods Market.

Spicy Thai Peanut Shrimp with Green Beans

Not everything in my kitchen is made from scratch.  If it was, I could probably have a new post for every day of the week.  But it’s not, so I don’t.  In fact, Neil and I can be found munching a take-out pizza about once a month.  We’ve had our share of turkey sandwiches, burgers, dogs, boxed mac-and-cheese, etc.  With that in mind, this is a meal that I threw together in less than 10 minutes- yes you heard me right.  And it was great!  Spicy, vinegary peanut shrimp over smooth rice noodles with sweet, steamed fresh green beans.

shrimp in spicy peanut sauce over rice noodles, with steamed green beans

What I did:

  • Boiled some water and tossed in the packaged noodles to cook for 6 minutes
  • While that was going I heated a bit of oil in a fry pan with some red pepper flakes and added the frozen shrimp, then covered so that the shrimp would heat up quickly
  • The green beans went into a steam pan for about 7 minutes to get their cook on
  • When the shrimp were fully heated, I removed their tails then threw them back into the pan and poured in a bottle of peanut sauce just to get warm
  • Drained the noodles
  • Chopped a bit of fresh cilantro
  • Plated dinner, shrimp and sauce over noodles, sided by beans, topped with cilantro

J

Linguine with Artichokes and Red Lentil Sauce

This is a great recipe for a main course.  It can be made as-is for a vegetarian dish or you could add some grilled chicken or shrimp.  For this round I chose to serve it with lima beans for protein.  They have such fantastic flavor and texture (and Neil and I both love them).  The lentils are a wonderful pairing with the fresh lemon juice, and the artichoke hearts add an element of buttery sweetness.  This is a perfect fit for a healthy meal with tons of flavor.

Ingredients

1 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

3/4 cup dried red lentils

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 pound whole wheat linguine

¼ pound fresh green beans, cut to one-inch lengths

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

4 artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered

Handful of frozen peas

Directions

  • In a medium pot add broth, 1 cup water, onion, lentils, garlic, mushrooms and green beans and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lentils are very tender and falling apart, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add lemon juice and stir until lentils break apart to make a sauce.   Add peas.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add linguine and cook until al dente, drain and return to pot.
  • Immediately add artichoke hearts and lentil sauce to hot pasta, toss well and serve.

The left-overs from this dish are spectacular too!

J

Eggplant Bolognese

I can honestly say that I love a good bolognese.  So when I saw this recipe for one without any meat I was certainly skeptical.  How does one take a recipe that is by nature fatty with meat drippings and cream and make it both vegetarian and healthy?  In a side-by-side, there is no comparison.  They are simply two different beasts.  But to take this dish for what it is, it’s great in its own right.

I would suggest making it ahead a day or two and allow it to sit around in the fridge and meld flavors.

Ingredients

1 cup dry red wine
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and chopped
12 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable (or chicken) broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup non-fat milk (or soy or almond milk)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
1 pound pasta

Directions

  • Bring red wine to a simmer in a large pot over medium heat.  You should probably be prepared to serve the rest of that bottle with dinner 😉

  • Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook , stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and very tender and most of the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  • Add eggplant, mushrooms and rosemary and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add tomatoes, broth and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

  • Remove from the heat and stir in milk and 2 tablespoons chopped basil.
  • Cook up some pasta…
  • …and steam up something green…
  • …and enjoy a very tasty dinner.

This recipe yielded two dinner plates, two good lunches, and a full quart to store in the freezer.  It was fantastic with some grated fresh Parm too.

J

Butternut squash triangoli

Last night’s dinner was inspired by a package of butternut squash triangoli that we had picked up at Trader Joe’s.  We needed a quick meal and this would fit the bill.

I took one chicken breast, cut it in half, pounded it out nice and thin, and then floured & bread-crumbed it.  That went into the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes per side, and was finished off with a bit of fresh parmesan.  Meanwhile I sauteed some onion, mushroom, garlic, asparagus, green pepper and fresh spinach with pine nuts.  The triangoli cooked up in about 4 minutes, and the sauteed veggies went right over the top- again with a bit of parm.

Twenty minute, healthy, well-balanced dinner.

J