Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nutella Cookies and other Holiday Favorites

This recipe caught my eye because of two ingredients...Nutella and hazelnuts. Growing up in Germany, Nutella was a staple. We had it for breakfast, for lunch and sometimes even for dinner. That's how good it was.

How to Blanch, Roast and Peel Hazelnuts

One of my favorite types of nuts are hazelnuts, but a lot of recipes call for peeled hazelnuts. Such hard work! I found a way that is very simple and the skins are literally falling off after you are done. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

We have had a windy couple of days here in the Sacramento area. So beautiful to look at from the comfort of your own home with a bowl full of delicious baked oatmeal to keep you warm, but once you step outside you just want to try and cover up every inch of your body because it is SO cold.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Whole-grain Waffles with Berry Syrup

Saturday mornings is a time our family looks forward to every week, because we wake up and make breakfast together. The kids help mix, stir, pour, and beat some kind of concoction (pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, omelets, etc.). My husband brews the coffee (that's about all he is good for since he's not quite awake yet!), and I help with the cooking and clean-up. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Roasted Garlic-Sweet Potato Soup with Parmesan-Kale Chips

One of my favorite meals during the Autumn season is a thick, robust Sweet Potato Soup. It's gotta be super thick though, so thick that you almost want to chew it. :)  I wanted to try something new this season, and got the idea to pair it with a crunchy kale topping. I usually stick with the cinnamon spiced version that has a lot of sweetness to it but knew the parmesan-kale chips would not go well with it. 

How to Roast Garlic

Are you a garlic lover? I can't get enough of it. I cook with it on a regular basis, and go through about a bulb a week. Yes, my hands smell like garlic most of the time, but I don't mind. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

Besides being a "foodie" another passion of mine is running. I love getting up in the whee hours of the morning and get a good 3-6 miles in, before my day of chaos starts. It is so peaceful and there is something extraordinary about watching the sun come up and see the world awake. Plus, I feel like I've accomplished at least ONE thing that day. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

 Flu Season has already started in our house and one of the best remedies for that is good old-fashioned, Chicken Noodle Soup. It warms the insides and tastes so good, especially if you are feeling under the weather. 

Dutch Oven Chicken--Revisited

I don't know about you, but when I find a recipe the whole family enjoys, I'm still never quite satisfied with it. I always want to tweak it, change it up, try a little this and that until I have created many different versions.  Kind of like writing an essay, when I cook a new recipe, it's only the first draft. I'm constantly thinking of ways to improve on it and make it better.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Change in all things is sweet." --Aristotle

I am excited to announce that "Meal Planning Made Simple" has a new look...of course by now you probably already figured that out. :) I've been wanting to make changes for a while, but have been reluctant. Why? Dunno.  Fear of failure maybe and that it would look worse than it already was, fear that I would mess something up and wouldn't be able to undo it, and a little laziness I'm sure was part of it. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Roasted Fruit and Nut Bars

Having meals together as a family is really important to us, and one of the things we like to do is go around the table and each person comes up with a question they want to ask everybody...kind of round robin style. One of the questions my daughter asked the other night was "What is everybody's favorite snack?"  I had to really think about this one, because there are SO many options; rice cakes with sunflower seed butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, dark chocolate trail mix, oatmeal and apple muffins, yogurt with granola, sliced veggies with hummus...just to name a few. :-) 

How to roast nuts

Roasting...that one word brings to mind wonderful memories of sitting under the Eifel Tower eating Roasted Chestnuts with my husband, watching people gaze at the magnificent structure in front of us, and just being in perfect bliss and contentment. It also reminds me of the Autumn season and that I can turn my oven on after a long summer hiatus. Whoohoo! 

Black and Tan Clusters

I just LOVE the combination of chocolate and dried cherries and truly believe they are the perfect match. Just a little warning, if you are on a diet or have a chocolate addiction...don't make too many of these! It is SO hard to just eat one!!! :-)

Seared Polenta with a Zesty-Tomato and Shrimp Sauce

Ever tried polenta before? If you haven't, you are missing out. It's a great alternative to rice or pasta and it's very simple to make. You can pan fry it, bake it, or BBQ it. Make sure you spray your BBQ or pan really well with cooking spray, because each polenta circle is super-duper sticky. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

These pumpkin muffins are the perfect way to start out your Autumn season (don't you think they would pair well with a pumpkin spiced latte? Check out a homemade version here ).  Be sure to try and find whole-wheat pastry flour since that will keep them moist and it won't feel like you are eating a bran muffin. :) You can either have them for a snack, or they would make a great breakfast meal on the go.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuna Melt with Avocado

Add some chopped avocado and tomatoes and you will have transformed your plain old tuna melt recipe. The lemon juice also gives it a nice fresh flavor that goes well with the tuna. 
This is a very easy lunch or dinner dish that is perfect if you don't have much time, don't want to break the bank but still want to provide something healthy for your family.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grilled Pizza

 It is super hot right now (90's) in the Sacramento area, and the last thing I want to do is turn my oven on. "But Mom, how are we going to have Pizza? We LOVE Pizza." If anybody asks my kids what their favorite meal is, Pizza and ice cream will be their answer. So when I heard of Grilled Pizza, I was very excited to try it out. My first thought when I heard of putting pizza on the grill was "Isn't it going to stick to the grill and be a super gooey mess?" If anyone else is having those same fears, try out the recipe below. You will have great results! I was pleasantly surprised how very simple the process was, and I didn't have to turn my oven on. Big bonus.

Spinach and Walnut Pesto

This is by far my favorite go-to sauce of the summer. So easy to make, just throw everything into a food processor and Voila...dinner is served in less than 15 minutes. There are SO many ways to use Pesto. Pour the sauce over some whole-wheat spaghetti, brush it on your pizza, use it as a dip for veggies, lather it on BBQ chicken, use it as a sandwich spread on a grilled sandwich with artichokes and fresh mozzarella, and I could go on and on.  There are also many variations of pesto, but I stuck to a no-fuss recipe that incorporates raw spinach and walnuts (pine nuts are just too expensive!). Have fun with the recipe, and check out the Change it Up section below for new ideas.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Eggplant-Almond Enchiladas

    My daughter is starting Kindergarten in 2 1/2 weeks!! Aaahhh, where has the time gone? To keep this summer fun and far from boring, we started doing an activity called Alphabet Adventure. Four days a week, we learn a new letter of the alphabet. Although my 5 year old already knows her alphabet (actually she's reading!), I made it age appropriate for her (she writes in her journal about something that starts with the letter, etc.) and my two kids have really been enjoying it! We made this Eggplant Enchilada dish on "E" day, and everybody helped make it.

Potato and Cauliflower Burritos

   Anybody else LOVE cauliflower? It's one of my favorite vegetables. You can eat them raw with a yummy dip (like hummus), cook and mash them to make "mock" mashed potatoes, or just put them in a burrito like I did here. Scrumptious! The sauce is a little on the "spicy" side because of the chipotle chile, but our family doesn't tolerate a lot of heat and we gobbled these guys up.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grilled Shrimp with Garlic

  We started a new couples study for the month of July, and it involved doing meaningful, on-purpose relationship-building projects . One of them last week was to cook with your spouse. So let me just lay the facts on the table right now...I usually do the cooking in our family and am used to having full-control over the meal making process. It was REALLY hard for me to let some of that control go to another person, even (or especially) my husband! 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Whole-grain Blueberry Muffins

 Last week, I started a summer activity that is fun but educational, called Alphabet Adventure with my 5 and 3 year old.  To be honest, I thought the kids would get bored with it after the first couple of letters, but they really got into this game and are excited about starting it up again this week. It's not just entertaining for the kids, but I am really getting into it as well (especially when it involves Donuts on letter D day!). We started with letter A last Monday and do four letters a week (M-Thu). I usually try to plan a fun activity, at least one food, and a coloring page for whatever letter we are doing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Black Bean Veggie-Sushi Wraps

  Short on time? This meal takes 15 minutes from start to finish with NO cooking whatsoever. I don't know about you, but my summer got really busy all of a sudden and I have no clue how it happened. At the beginning of the summer, I thought I would have all this free time, but that hasn't happened yet! :)   

If you are experiencing really HOT weather (100*F and above) like we are right now, you will really appreciate this quick recipe. Plus you don't have to turn on your oven or stove, and heat up your house even more. YEY! 

The black bean spread that goes on these wraps is outstanding! I like to double the recipe and have the rest as a dip the next day. These would also be good for lunch, especially since they are not very messy and you don't need any utensils. Happy Summer!
The recipe is adapted from a cookbook called The New Vegan Cookbook by Lorna Sass . If you are interested in purchasing the book, check out the amazon link here.
Wrap Recipe 
Serves: 4 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 0 minutes

1 15oz can (2 cups) of black beans
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1 TB soy sauce
1-2 TB grated fresh ginger
1-2 tsp chili-garlic sauce (optional)

4 sheets of Nori
4 whole-wheat tortillas (8-9 " diameter)

1 cup red cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1-2 carrots, cut into sticks

1/2 cucumber, cut into 8 sticks

1. Add black beans through chili-garlic sauce into a food processor, and combine till smooth.
2. To assemble your wraps, stack 1 sheet of nori on a tortilla and with a pair of kitchen scissors trim the sheets into circles about 1/2" smaller than the tortilla.
3. Spread 2 TB black bean mixture on to tortilla.
 4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cabbage over bean spread.
 5. Carefully press a nori circle on top.
 6. Spread another 2 TB of black bean mixture on top of nori.
7. Add veggie strips (2 red bell pepper, 2 carrot, and 2 cucumber) on top of black bean mixture.

 8. Wrap the tortilla over the vegetables tightly to make a roll. With the seam side down, carefully cut the roll in half, or cut into 5-6 pieces on the diagonal.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~make black bean spread ahead of time and keep in fridge until ready to use.
~Cut up veggies and have on hand in the fridge until ready to use.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Try a black soybean or white bean instead of black beans.
~Chop up some pickled ginger instead of fresh.
~Use chopped spinach, cilantro, parsley, chopped kale or sprouts instead of cabbage.
~Substitute sliced tomato, crisp green beans, sliced avocado or sliced red onion for the vegetables listed.
~Skip the nori all together if you don't care for the taste.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buttermilk-Black-eyed Peas Salad

  I gotta say, it's been a hard switch for me going from cooking heart-warming stews, casseroles and dutch oven chicken to "no turning on the oven NO MATTER WHAT" dishes like salads, wraps and grilled foods. Why is that? I'm really not an expert on the grill yet. I usually leave that for the weekend when my hubby is home and it's kind of his domain. Gotta get in some practice! 
This is the perfect side salad for a hot day with summery vegetables like chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, and they add a nice splash of color and flavor to the dish. The buttermilk dressing is outstanding, and can easily be used for a green salad, noodle or quinoa salad. Have fun with this recipe!

The recipe is adapted from Ellie Krieger. You can check out the original recipe here.
Salad Recipe 
Serves: 6 Prep: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 0 minutes

3/4 cups buttermilk
3 TB mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp honey-mustard or spicy brown mustard
1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas (or 2 15.5oz cans rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
4 cups spinach leaves, lightly packed and cut into wide ribbons
2 TB chives, chopped (optional)  

1. Whisk together the buttermilk through pepper in a small bowl.
 2. In a large bowl, combine black eyed peas through chives.
 3. Pour dressing in 1/2 cup increments. There might be some dressing left over; you don't want the salad to be too soggy. Incorporate dressing gently, so the beans not get too mushed. Add spinach and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and more hot sauce if needed. Serve immediately. This salad will last about 2-3 days in your fridge, but tastes the best the first day. 


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~make buttermilk dressing ahead of time and keep in fridge until ready to use. 
~Incorporate beans with cut-up vegetables, and keep in fridge until ready to use. 
~Cut up vegetables ahead of time, and keep in fridge until ready to use.

Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~You can use a different bean like white beans or kidney instead of black-eyed peas.
~Add some cranberries for a different flavor.
~Try 1/2 tsp dill in the buttermilk dressing.
~Use different vegetables like celery, bell pepper or green onions.
~Instead of spinach use a mixed green salad.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chocolate-Cranberry Power Bars

  These bars are so ooey-gooey delicious, that it is hard to just have one. Yes, they are a little on the messy side, but if you wrap them up individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper, it's not too bad. There is one ingredient in them that I don't use too often...brown rice syrup. Check out what it is towards the bottom of this post and where you can find it. If you absolutely can not find brown syrup in your area, you can swap it out with honey, but then omit the agave syrup so the bars are not overly sweet. 

The recipe is adapted from the 101Cookbooks Blog. You can check out Heidi's original recipe here.
Bars Recipe 
Serves: 24 Bars Prep: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 7 minutes

 1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup (unsweetened) shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups Rice Crispies
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup agave syrup 

1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup cranberries
Cooking Spray  

1.Lay out walnuts, almonds, coconut, and oats on baking sheet. Bake at 350*F for 7 minutes.
  2. Meantime, add Rice Crispies to a large bowl.
 3. Once oat mixture has toasted in the oven, add to Rice Crispies.
  4. Add cranberries to oat mixture.

 5. Add brown rice syrup through vanilla extract to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, constantly stirring for 4 minutes.
  6. Add chocolate sauce to oat mixture and stir well together.
    7. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Add mixture to pan, and flatten with the back of a measuring cup.
  8. Let cool to room temperature for about 1 hour or stick it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to harden. Flip pan over on top of a cutting board or use a metal spatula to cut into squares while still  in pan. Cut into 24 squares. Refrigerate indivudal squares wrapped in plastic wrap or parchment paper.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~make oat mixture ahead of time


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Try adding flaxseed powder instead of coconut. 
~Add raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots instead of dried cranberries. 
~Replace espresso powder instead of cocoa powder for a different twist. 
~Use pecans, pistachios, or chopped hazlenuts instead of walnuts. 
~Substitute cane sugar with agave syrup. 
What is brown rice syrup?
Brown rice syrup is "derived by culturing cooked rice with enzymes (usually from dried barley sprouts) to break down the startches, then straining off the liquid and reducing it by cooking until the desired consistency is reached." ~Wikipedia You can find brown rice syrup at any natural food store or in some grocery stores in their natural food section. It's definitely not overly sweet like honey and has a much milder flavor. It does have a sticky texture that is similar to honey though, so you can swap it out easily in recipes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How to: Make your own beans

When I first made stove-top beans, I was so surprised how easy it was and I haven't turned back to canned since. You will save a ton of $ making your own and you won't have any extra sodium or preservatives that you find in canned goods. With these super duper easy steps, you will find the benefit of making your own.  

1 pound of beans equals about 5-6 cups of cooked beans, which is the equivalent of about 3 cans of beans. 1 pound of beans usually costs me around 80 cents. Pretty good deal, eh? 

Now you are thinking to yourself, there is NO way we are going to eat a pound of beans in one sitting. You're right, that would be intense! There's a simple solution. Freeze your beans in quart size freezer bags. Measure 2 cups of beans per bag (that's how much is in a can) and freeze them. Then when you are ready to use them in a recipe,  just defrost them the night before in the fridge or nuke them in the microwave and Voila! Simple isn't it?  

There are 2 methods of soaking your beans. 

1. The longer method (I prefer this one), is by soaking your beans overnight. It slows down the cooking time and removes indigestible complex sugars from the outer coating of the beans. In other words, you won't be having as much "gas" after eating them. 

2. The shorter method does a "rapid" soak, and I usually do this if I forgot to soak the beans overnight. 

Long Method
Serves:5-6 cups Prep: overnight Cooking Time: depends on bean

1 lb of beans
1. Rinse and pick through beans. Throw away any shriveled ones.
2. Add 8 cups of water to a soup pan, and let beans sit overnight (8-12 hours) in the water.
3. The next morning, rinse out the beans. Add 12-16 cups of water to soup pan and bring beans to a boil then a simmer. Time will vary on the type of bean. I usually check and taste them after the first 30 minutes and then every 10 minutes after that. You don't want the beans to get mushy. You can add salt 5 minutes before the beans are done, but I usually don't to reduce on the sodium.

Note: If you are making Split Peas, Lentils or Butter beans, you do NOT need to soak them.

Short Method
Serves:5-6 cups Prep: 1 hour Cooking Time: depends on bean
1 lb of beans
   1. Rinse and pick through beans. Throw away any shriveled ones.
2. Add 12-16 cups of water to a soup pan, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and remove pan from heat. Let sit covered for 1 hour.
3. Rinse beans. Add 12-16 cups of water to soup pan and bring beans to a boil then a simmer. Time will vary on the type of bean. I usually check and taste them after the first 30 minutes and then every 10 minutes after that. You don't want the beans to get mushy. You can add salt 5 minutes before the beans are done, but I usually don't to reduce on the sodium.

Types of Beans and Cooking Times

Black and White Beans - 30 minutes
Kidney and Pinto Beans - 30-45 minutes
Garbonzo Beans - 30-45 minutes
Lentils and Split Peas - 20-30 minutes

Note: If you have any questions just comment on this page and I will try to answer your question to the best of my ability. Hope this information is helpful to you!

Bow-Ties with Hazelnut-Broccoli Pesto

  This recipe caught my eye, because of one word in the title. Pesto! I LOOOVE pesto dishes. They are so simple to make, just throw a bunch of ingredients in the food processor, boil some pasta and you have a very satisfying meal. This meal was enough for 2 adults, 2 kids and my husband got to take the leftovers for lunch the next day.  
This is definitely not your usual basil pesto recipe, and has some fun ingredients like hazelnuts, lemons, mint and broccoli instead. Check the Change it Up section at the end for some fun ways to alter the recipe. Enjoy!

The recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Times. You can check out the original recipe here.
Pesto Recipe 
Serves: 5-6 Prep: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes

6 TB hazelnuts, toasted
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups parsley leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup plus 2 TB olive oil
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
12 oz (.75 lbs) bow-tie pasta
Parmesan Cheese, grated (optional)

1.Toast hazelnuts 3-5 minutes. Set aside
 2. Boil broccoli 2-3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon.
3. Add bow-tie pasta to the same water and boil for 6-7 minutes until tender. Reserve cooking water for pesto.
4. Add hazelnuts, broccoli, parsley, olive oil, mint leaves, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic cloves to a food processor. Blend till smooth. Slowly add reserved cooking water 1/4 cup at a time, till the pesto becomes smooth and sauce like. Add to cooked bow-tie pasta and mix well together. Add parmesan cheese to individual servings.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Toast hazelnuts ahead of time.
~Cook broccoli ahead of time and leave in fridge until ready to make pesto. Heat up in microwave to warm up. 


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 
 ~Add chopped/shredded chicken to the dish to add a little protein.
~Top with crumbled bacon for a yummy finishing touch.
~Instead of broccoli try cauliflower. 
~Use walnuts or pecans instead of hazelnuts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Black Bean Stew

 Towards the end of May, we had rain in our weather forecast. Really, rain in May?? 
My first thoughts? A nice hearty stew would be perfect to keep us warm on that rainy, blustery day. It would probably be our last opportunity before the blazing summer weather hits here in California, so I wanted to make sure to find the thickest, heartiest stew out there . This black bean soup/stew recipe hit my radar as I was browsing the internet. Served with tortilla chips and smokey bacon, it's the perfect cold weather comfort food. 
With the leftovers, you can make sloppy joe's like my kids are enjoying. Bon Appetit! 

The recipe was adapted from Dave Lieberman's recipe on the food network. You can check out it out here.
Soup Recipe 
Serves: 8-10 Prep: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes

10 slices of bacon, finely chopped (we used turkey bacon)
2 medium onions, chopped (2 1/2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, diced
1 (14.5oz) can chicken broth
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped (about 2-3)
2 TB ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
4 (15.5oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (Click here for making your own beans) 
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely
1/2-1 lime, juiced
2-3 scallions, chopped (optional) 
Sour cream (optional)
Cheddar Cheese, grated (optional)
Tortilla chips (optional)

1. Heat a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook for about 4 minutes. Add onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
 2. Add broth through beans. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes on simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add chopped cilantro and lime juice. Lade into soup bowls and sprinkle with favorite toppings. Tastes great with tortilla chips.

Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Chop vegetables ahead of time. This will save you a TON of time in prep. 
~You can even make the whole soup ahead of time, store in fridge then reheat! Voila! 


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Use parsley instead of cilantro.
~Try shallots instead of onion.
~Add 1/4-1/2 tsp of chipotle chili powder to add a little kick.
~Instead topping it with sour cream try yogurt or greek yogurt. 
~Try pinto beans instead of black. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Farfalle with Tomato-Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

  I absolutely LOVE goat cheese! It has such a mild, tangy flavor and pairs well with the tomato base in this pasta dish. Plus for some reason, eating goat cheese makes me feel like I'm eating a super fancy meal at a restaurant. 
If you are not a big fan of goat cheese or think it might be a little pricey, you can easily swap it out with low-fat cream cheese and get a similar result. The toasted pine nuts add a little crunch on top and complement well with this dish. I love how fast this meal comes together, so if you are short on time, this is a recipe to try. Enjoy!

*This recipe is adapted from a Vegeterian Times Magazine. You can find the original recipe here.

Pasta Recipe 
Serves: 6 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

12 oz farfalle pasta (bow-ties)
1 cup frozen peas
2 TB pine nuts
1/2 TBS olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/4 c prepared creamy tomato soup
1/4 cup milk or half and half
1 TB dry white wine (optional)
3 oz (6TB) goat cheese
Parmesan cheese (optional)

 1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente, adding peas during last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain in colander, and set aside. Quickly return empty pot to same burner (with heat off). Wait a few seconds until pot looks dry, then add pine nuts. Cook over medium heat 1 minute, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer nuts to plate.
2. Add oil to pot, and sauté garlic over medium heat 15 seconds, or until just beginning to brown. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in soup, half-and-half, and wine, if using; bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently 3 minutes, or until mixture is slightly reduced and begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. Add cheese, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until cheese is completely melted into sauce, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Stir pasta, peas, and nuts into sauce in pot; toss well, and serve. Top with Parmesan Cheese

Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Chop tomatoes and garlic up ahead of time.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

 ~Switch out a penne or any small shaped pasta instead of farfalle.
~Instead of pine nuts, toast up some pecans or walnuts. 
~Try edemame or lime beans instead of peas. 
~Use boursin or low-fat cream cheese instead of goat cheese.

Monday, March 28, 2011

One-Pot Spaghetti

  Ever thought about making a spaghetti recipe where there is minimal clean up and it's all cooked in ONE POT? Well, you don't have to look any further, because this recipe is for you! . Our whole family loved it, so if you are ever short on time try this recipe out. 

Raw Apple Sauce

  One of my favorite snacks as a kid was applesauce. We had a couple apple trees in our backyard and my mom would make a boat load of applesauce every fall from that yummy fruit. Then she would can it which would take 2-3 days, but we would have fresh, organic applesauce all year around! 
With this technique, all you have to do is put all the ingredients in the blender. You don't have to go to all the trouble of caning and you can still have fresh applesauce without having to buy it at the store.  This recipe is very versatile as well. Check out the berry apple sauce you can make in the Change it Up section. Yummy!

*I adapted this recipe from Spark People Recipes . You can check out the original recipe from their recipe.

 Apple Sauce Recipe

Serves: 4 Prep: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 0 hour

1/4 cup raisins
5 apples, cored and quartered (I use a couple Fuji and a couple granny smith) 
1 lemon, juiced
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 TB agave syrup (optional)

 1 Soak raisins in enough water to cover them for about 15-20 minutes.
2. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. If your apple sauce seems too thick or your apples are having a hard time blending, add 2-4 TB of the raisin liquid. Add optional sweetener if the apple sauce seems too tart.
**Makes four 1 cup servings***

Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Cut apples ahead of time and brush some lemon juice on them to prevent the browning.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 
 ~Add some fresh berries to the apples like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries to make it a "berry-apple sauce".
~Juice half an orange instead of lemon juice.
~Try dried cranberries or dried cherries instead of raisins.


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