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Artichoke and Tomato Spaghetti

This recipe was one I made quite awhile back (a year ago). I pulled it out of my files as my main computer’s hard drive took a dump yesterday morning, right after we had a power outage (it wasn’t related). Kirk is rebuilding it (thank you off-site backups!!) but for now I can’t upload new photos – and I get to use my teen’s computer or my iPad. First world problems and all, boy do I miss my computer though!

PS:Thank you all for SO many visits and comments yesterday during the Vegan Potluck. It was fun, I will do it agin if it is held! We have a great community out here, all of us crazy bloggers!

A quick and easy dinner, add more red pepper flakes if you like it spicier. Originally this recipe had cheese added. Now? I’d use finely ground almond meal mixed with Italian herb seasoning or Dry bread crumbs flavored with Italian herb seasoning. Both make great cheese substitutes for pasta!

Artichoke and Tomato Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 cup drained marinated artichokes, diced (reserve the liquid)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup reserved marinade
  • Parmesan cheese, if desired or ground almond meal + italian herb seasoning or Italian flavored dry bread crumbs
  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti or 13.25 ounce multi-grain spaghetti

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, add the spaghetti and cook for time on package. Before draining reserve a cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile in a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat, add in the onion and cook covered for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add in the garlic, artichokes and spices, cover and let cook for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and marinade, turn to medium-low and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add in the drained pasta and toss to coat. Add in reserved pasta water as needed for a smooth sauce. Top liberally as desired with cheese, ground almonds or bread crumbs.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

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Sweet Potato and White Bean Rigatoni

Note: This was a recipe I wrote up last winter and came across it recently in my drafts. You can also use pumpkin as well. I was out and about today so I figured I’d slip in this recipe!

To make my life simple and to ensure a smooth sauce I used canned sweet potato purée but you can also bake or steam up some and mash them, you will need about 1¾ cups.

Sweet Potato and White Bean Rigatoni

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp garlic,minced (4 cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 15 ounce can Farmer’s Market Organic Sweet Potato Puree
  • 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta, whole wheat preferably

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, cook the rigatoni as directed, drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium, add the oil and onion, sauté until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Sprinkle the flour on and whisk for a minute or two, add the milk and sweet potato, whisking smooth. Let heat through till thick, whisking often. Turn to medium-low and add the beans, cheese, parsley and pepper. let heat through and melt. Toss with the cooked pasta and serve.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

Pumpkin Spinach Pasta

Over the weekend I was shopping at a local co-op, PCC, and saw a salad spinner in the clearance section. Kirk was questioning if we really needed it, as it was $10. A unitasker indeed, but with how many green we are eating now, I decided a small one would be happy. It is exhausting to soak, then air dry all the greens. When I got home I did research and I did get quite a deal – it is around $20 retail! (What did I get? A Zyliss Easy Spin Salad Spinner, 2-3 Servings, Green.)

The pumpkin sauce is rich and creamy, it will fool taste buds into thinking it has cream in it. If you leave the cheese out and switch to olive oil or Earth Balance Buttery stick, it is vegan friendly as well.

Pumpkin Spinach Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 13.25 ounce multi-grain penne pasta
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup Organic Canned Pumpkin
  • 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
  • ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese + more for topping

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly slated water to boil, add pasta and cook for time on package. Rinse, spin dry and chop the spinach, place in a colander. Pour the hot pasta water over it slowly, to let wilt.

Meanwhile, heat over medium a heavy medium saucepan. Melt the butter, whisk in the flour, letting cook for a minute or two. Whisk in the garlic and milk till smooth, then the pumpkin through salt. Let cook until bubbling and thick, whisking often. Add in the cheese, whisking till melted. Take off the heat, toss with the pasta and spinach. Add in more cheese as desired.

Serves 4.

That purple on the plate? It was an amazing tasting head of organic purple cauliflower….the steaming water was an incredible hue of blue/green when done. It made me wonder if it would have dyed fabric well!

~Sarah

Pumpkin and Sage Pasta

Note from me – I wrote this recipe last fall, in late October. It was saved as a draft and I forgot about it. Fall is nearly here again, seems like a perfect time to post this recipe!

I made this awhile back before my sage plants started turning yellow for fall (they tend to that as the nights get colder!). It was good but it needed something more, still not sure but I can work on it. Kirk’s reply was “sausage”. Gee, thanks!

In the recipe I use some not as common measurements. If you haven’t seen these Pinch Dash Smidgen Measuring Spoons before you need to! When Kirk got them for me as a present I wasn’t sure how often I would use them, I use them at least a couple of times a week now. It makes for much more accurate measuring over using ones fingers.

Pumpkin and Sage Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb small pasta shapes (used bow ties)
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, trimmed of stem and dry, cut into slivers
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and diced (or 1 onion)
  • 4 tsp granulated garlic (or 4 fresh cloves, diced)
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin purée
  • 2 cups lower sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup milk – dairy or unsweetened almond
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (used Tabasco)
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon (1/8 tsp)
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg (1/16 tsp)
  • Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, cook pasta for time on package and drain.

Meanwhile in a large non-stick skillet heat half the oil over medium heat. Add in sage leaves and cook until crispy (the pan will quit sizzling). Take out the leaves and let drain on clean paper towels.

Add in the remaining oil and the shallots and let cook until tender. Sprinkle the garlic on and let cook a minute, then add the broth, pumpkin and milk and the remaining seasoning.

Turn to medium-low and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Toss with the hot pasta and add cheese as desired.

Top with the crispy sage leaves on each serving.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce & Quinoa-Balls

I adapted a recipe out of a certain cooking magazine I’d rather not name (they are rather litigious, I am sure my readers can figure out who it is)…but my Mother-In Law had sent me a pile of older issues and I went through them anyways looking for ideas. The marinara sauce caught my eye, it was very easy to make, although cost wise it can be expensive compared to opening a jar o’ sauce – but you won’t regret the time and cost, it is amazing tasting. Even better I am sure with fresh basil as called for, but I was out and subbed in dry, which was just fine. Their recipe called for 28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes, I went for diced since I had them on hand. Use what you like/have.

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes, preferably organic
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, diced
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup red wine, use what you like – I used a Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil or 3 Tbsp fresh, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste (I used ½ tsp each)
  • 1 tsp organic granulated sugar or raw honey
  • Spaghetti to serve with (it will sauce up to a pound)

Directions:

Strain the tomatoes over a large bowl through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down to squeeze out the juice gently. Measure out 2½ cups of the juice and set aside. Measure ¾ of the tomatoes and also set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add in the oil and onion, saute until tender and turning golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the oregano and garlic, saute for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes from the strainer, turn up to medium-high. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated.  Add the wine and cook for a minute. Stir in the reserved tomato juice, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Take off the heat and carefully transfer to a blender or food processer, add the reserved tomatoes. Process just till a smooth chunky texture. Return to the skillet, add basil, oil, salt and pepper and sugar. Let simmer for a minute, then taste and add more seasoning as desired.

Toss with hot spaghetti (we used a multi-grain thin spaghetti that is whole wheat and oat flour) and a nice sprinkling of Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Makes about 4 cups sauce.

Serves 4.

Quinoa-balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups homemade vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby portabella or crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ounces spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg (used a turkey egg), preferably local
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts, diced

Directions:

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, add it and the broth to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down to medium-low and cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn off and let sit for 5 minutes, fluff up and set aside to cool down a bit.

Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium, add the oil, mushrooms, onion and peppers. Saute until tender and turning golden. Add the spinach, turn off the heat and let wilt.

Add the vegetables, along with herbs and walnuts to a food processer, pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, mix with the quinoa. Beat the egg, mix in.

Preheat the oven to 400°, line a baking sheet with foil, liberally brush with olive oil.

Use a 3-Tablespoon Disher to scoop, press with your hands to make balls, place on the sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, until turning golden, you may wish to bake longer, if desired. Let sit for 5 minutes, use a metal spatula to pop off the foil.

Makes about 24 balls.

~Sarah

Summer Pasta – Light and Lemony

We had a pretty evening yesterday with a cool day overall. Perfect for working in the garden with my boys. Walker and I harvested the first ripe blueberries, little ones off my subalpine bushes, the berries are very small in comparison to regular berries. But quite tasty, as little berries are often found to be. Our regular blueberries are 2 to 4 weeks away from being ripe so this kept Walker happy!

We checked our Red Huckleberry plants and 3 of the berries were ripe, Walker was impatiently waiting for me to hand them over!

Last year I had found a Stevia plant but it didn’t fare well over the winter and died. I found a new plant in the spring and so far it is healthier and doing better than the previous one. Its flowers are tiny and quite pretty:

When we bought our house the backyard was intense, the previous owner was a bulb and shrub lover. I have pulled out quite a few of the plants in the past near 8 years but a few hang on – such as the very pretty lilies that bloom in June.

Walker having a great time “sawing” at the retaining wall:

For dinner a light meal sounded perfect. This dish takes only the time to boil water to bring together and tastes much richer than it really is. Make sure the yogurt you use is real and isn’t thickened with questionable stabilizers. In this case full fat yogurt is preferable.

A secret of mine in saving money on quality cheese: buy the rind ends! Usually I buy wedges of Pecorino Romano from Costco. Being a sheep milk cheese it cost a lot less than Parmigiano Reggiano. A lot less. Like nearly half per pound! But sometimes I want the flavor that only a good Parmigiano Reggiano gives. So I wander by the fancy cheese counter – which one of our local grocery stores has, with a cheese monger to boot. They take the ends and sell them in tubs at 50% off the pound price, selling them for use in soups. Well…if you have a tool like a Microplane 42102 Artisan Fine Grater, you can grate them up. Yes, you have to earn the cheese but you could be having top quality pillows of grated cheese for $6 to 8 a lb! And no added preservatives or fillers (remember my lecture about cellulose being added to American made Parmesan cheese? Yuck!) Even better….the store was running a deal on the cheese counter, a $3 coupon off any $3 or more purchase. I found a tub for $3.15. Heehee! Now that is saving money!

Spaghetti with Sautéed Zucchini and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 13.25 ounce package multi-grain spaghetti
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ lbs zucchini, trimmed, halved and cut into thin slices
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces small grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced, about 3 Tbsp
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, add spaghetti and cook for time on package. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high, add the oil and zucchini, sauté until tender and turning golden. Add garlic, sauté for a minute, add the tomatoes and let cook for 2 minutes, until they soften.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add the hot vegetables and toss to coat. Add the spaghetti, toss gently. Add reserved pasta water as needed for a creamy sauce.

Serve with more cheese if desired.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

Spinach Dip Pasta

I stand corrected…there is a reason for frozen spinach. Spinach Dip being that reason, although that isn’t something I eat very often because it isn’t exactly low in calories or fat. I made an inspired version of it for dinner – all the flavors of the dip tossed with pasta. It still is far from being health food, although I adapted what I could – yogurt for sour cream, lower fat cream cheese for full fat (even organic cream cheese has gums/stabilizers added, so you might as well use the lower fat, there isn’t anything else added to it) and a lower fat milk (I used unsweetened almond milk).

Spinach Dip Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 13.25 ounce box whole-grain or whole wheat pasta, small shapes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 8 ounce package lower fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream (used goat yogurt)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 16 ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, semi-thawed
  • ½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese + more for topping

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, add pasta and cook for time on package, drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium, sauté the onion in the oil, when tender add the garlic, sauté for a minute. Add the cream cheese and stir until it softens and melts, whisk in the milk and yogurt, lemon juice and seasoning. As it starts to simmer add in the spinach, stirring in. Turn down to medium-low, let gently simmer, stirring often till the spinach is cooked through. Add the Pecorino Romano, stirring till melted. Toss with the hot pasta, add salt if desired and serve, passing more cheese.

Serves 4.

~Sarah

Butternut and White Bean Pasta Sauce

If you have ever wanted to hide nutrition this is the recipe for you 😉 It is velvety smooth, full of roasted butternut and hearty white beans. If you like more cheese add in a ¼ cup more. I kept it lower to keep the cholesterol count down.

Butternut and White Bean Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta
  • 1 lb butternut squash, cubed (if using a whole squash buy a 1½ lb size and peel/seed)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • 1½ to 2 cups lower sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • 1¾ cups cooked white beans or 1 15 ounce can beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup Italian cheese blend
  • 1 tsp dried sage or 1 Tbsp fresh
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°, line a small baking sheet with foil. Toss the butternut cubes with 1 Tablespoon oil, spread on sheet. Roast until fork tender, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool.

Heat a large skillet over medium, add the remaining oi;l and onion, sauté until golden. Turn off the heat and stir the garlic in, let cool.

Add the cooked squash, onions and remaining ingredients (except for pasta) to a high-speed blender container, secure the lid. For a Vitamix, select Variable 1, turn machine on and turn up to Variable 10, then to high, process for a minute, until smooth. For other blenders process on high for a minute, although if your container is under 64 ounces you may need to do two batches.

Return to the skillet, heat over medium till bubbling gently. Taste for seasoning.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with the sauce. The sauce will thicken up as it cools a bit (it may look like too much sauce at first).

Serves 4.

~Sarah

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