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Posts Tagged ‘easy’

Happy Fourth of July Y’all!!!

I feel so very thankful to live in this amazing country, particularly for the endless BOUNTY that it supplies to a growing nation of people and the world!

Why do I mention bounty in particular? well, I purposefully left out one VERY exciting part of my wonderful Charleston weekend….

As we were lounging around the house on Saturday afternoon, I heard little Winnie burst through the door, shouting something along the lines of “anyone want to come pick figs with me!?”

Despite my confusion and post-sun haze, I knew I wanted to be a part of whatever was going on. I ran back out the door with Winn and sho’ nuff, she pointed out a FIG tree in our backyard  just dripping with beautiful, ripe figs!

I’m tellin’ you, Charleston is Eden on Earth! I ADORE figs—fresh, dried and cooked into just about anything, and I’m so glad Winn discovered this treasure!

Do I dare?

We got to work filling a large Tupperware container with the purple gems, ignoring a few scratches here and there for our much greater cause.

A few were devoured fresh off the vine, and we couldn’t stop ohhhing and ahhhing at how perfectly sweet, tender and juicy they were.

We tried to enlist a few of the others to try one of our spoils, but they didn’t seem quite as excited :).

Nature’s Candy!

Which only meant more for us!

When we packed up on Sunday, I put a handful in a plastic baggie and prayed they’d made it back to NYC without going bad—I’d conjured up a recipe for them based on my pantry, and couldn’t wait to bring it to life:

WHOLE WHEAT PASTA WITH FIG, GOAT CHEESE AND ROSEMARY “SAUCE”

  • 4.5-5  oz log of goat cheese
  • 4 large fresh figs, stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp finely diced rosemary
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste
  • whole wheat spaghetti

Easy as they come: While your pasta cooks (remember to salt the water generously!), toss first 4 ingredients into your blender or food processor and whir away until creamy. Taste and add S&P accordingly.

When pasta is ready, drain but reserve a bit of the cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot and add as much of your TDF goat cheese sauce as you like. If it’s too thick, drizzle in a bit of the reserved pasta water.

Enjoy!

Farm Beach House to Table!

MANNA FROM HEAVEN!!!

This trio of flavors is right up there with pb&j as one of the best, most natural combinations in the culinary world. It was phenomenal creamy and melted into hot pasta, but you could easily use it as a dip for just about anything…including simply a spoon. Despite the sweetness of the figs, the addition of rosemary and salt easily transitions this to a savory dish.

Feel free to experiment with your favorite fruits and spices—just blend with some goat cheese and I’m not sure how you can go wrong?!

I’m off to honor our country by being a productive, contributing citizen and gettin’ some work/errands done! Tomorrow morning I leave for Nashville and then will drive on to Birmingham with my parents for my BIG BROTHER’S WEDDING!!!

Cannot wait to be there, but first I want to have some things wiped off the to-do list. Have a wonderful Independence day!

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I…

well, I…

Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it…

I LOVE QUICHE!

It’s warm and cheesy and has a flaky crust (more crust always try to sneak more crust!) and I just LOVE LOVE it!

Yet for some reason, It seems that quiche has fallen into the black hole of  gummable, bland, unsophisticated ‘old people’ grub, along with porridge and canned fruit. It’s not even cool enough these days to make its way onto most comfort food restaurant menus, and I fear that the beauty of a great quiche has been lost forever. Maybe it’s the name? (Sort of It’s an awkward name).

Regardless, I submit that quiches are truly a marvelous culinary invention. One quiche can not only provide multiple meals for the busy or budgeting, but it can be a complete meal in itself—protein from eggs, fat from cheese, crusty carbs and veggies from whatever you like! They’re absurdly easy to throw together, offer endless variations, and they taste darn delicious!

What.is.not.to.love.you.tell.me.this!

I’ve been wanting to make a quiche for a while, and I finally mustered the courage to manifest my quiche love two nights ago. I used this recipe by Ellie Krieger for inspiration, but made a fair amount of modifications based on my pantry and taste (they’re versatile so versatile!).

Hot pie in the city.

My quiche turned out marvelously! I have not been able to stop going back for forkfuls!

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Cheddar Quiche:

Ingredients:

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly into half moons
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sharp mustard (Dijon, Grey Poupon etc.)
  • 2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated fat-free milk (not condensed milk)
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (about 1-ounce)
  • Store-bought pie crust (can’t help it, I love these!)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and 2 tsp of Balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Ideally I would let my onions caramelize for at least 40 minutes, but in the interest of time and my belly, a touch of balsamic adds that ideal sweetness.

Transfer the onions to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan and heat over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their water and begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the onions back to the pan, stir in the salt, pepper and mustard.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk and nutmeg.

Sprinkle the cheese into the pie crust. Top with the mushroom-onion mixture and pour the egg mixture on top.

It aches that I cannot pop those bubbles.

Bake for 35 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

U F Oh my god it’s good!

Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges and serving.

This is a super easy recipe, and I recognize that quiches are tough to screw up, but this particular flavor combination is outrageously yummy!! Props to Ellie for the addition of mustard (although she calls for dry), and maybe a little prop to Bean for the balsamic and nutmeg—they really do add a layer of flavor! 🙂

Truthfully though, if any of these ingredients doesn’t suit your fancy, you can take the basic recipe and add whatever you like. I might try sausage, spinach and Swiss next mmmm.

I adore recipes like this, where I so look forward to the next opportunity to enjoy it. Served hot or cold, as breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack, this recipe proves that QUICHE deserves a place in the culinary spotlight!

BON SOIR!

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HAPPY THURSDAY!

We’re almost there!!!

The meat of today’s post is a review for the May Peanut Butter Fingers Book club book, hosted by the blog’s mastermind Julie!

I absolutely adore Peanut Butter Fingers—Julie has a positive, balanced outlook on life that is rare to come by these days, and her site is truly a wealth of food/fitness/mental health knowledge!

Fair warning: This is a wordy review. If that’s not your thang, go ahead and scroll on down to the gem at bottom :).

Synopsis: on the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old Realtor, had three goals: sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in a remote mountain cabin — which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist — is a second narrative recounting the nightmare that follows her escape: her struggle to piece her shattered life back together, the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor, and the disturbing sense that things are far from over. The truth doesn’t always set you free. Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal, and beautifully crafted debut novel about surviving the unsurvivable — and living to bear witness. (Source)

 I hate to be a Negative Nancy two reviews back to back, but the above description, though technically accurate, makes this book out to be way more glamorous than it actually is.  Like Sarah’s Key, there are two stories running in Still Missing, and I felt differently towards but equally disappointed by both.

The primary narrative takes place through a hokey construction of conversations with her anonymous therapist. I assume that the author intended this as a way to follow Annie’s recovery from a uniquely personal point of view. Unfortunately, it did nothing for me, except to add another character with an ill-defined role into the mix.

Annie’s pre-abduction boyfriend Luke and best friend Christina begin as promising antidotes to her relentless negativity. But the undercurrent of competitiveness between Annie and Christina isn’t convincingly absolved by their cheap declarations of friendship in the last chapter. Luke is promoted as her “rock” throughout the novel, and then she ditches him at the end to pursue a sickly Freudian relationship with the silver-haired officer that solves her case?!

And her mother—oh, her mother—is such a painful caricature from the very beginning, that I could barely muster an eye-roll when she is eventually pegged as the mastermind behind her daughter’s abduction.

Stevens tries to make Annie’s struggle to regain her life poignant, with moments such as the following:

 “There are all these books that say we create our own destiny and what we believe is what we manifest. You’re supposed to walk around with this perpetual bubble over your head thinking happy thoughts and then everything is going to be sunshine and roses. Nope, sorry, don’t think so. You can be as happy as you’ve ever been in your life, and shit is still going to happen.”

Suspending my personal opinions on the matter, I might have found this credible, if Annie were presented to us as ever having been a positive person. You get the sense that she’s, well, always been a sourpuss! Even before the death of her father and sister, Annie admits that she was the shadow behind her happy-go-lucky sister.

Perhaps I’m being unfair, but the bottom line is, I wasn’t on Annie’s side from page one. And I happen to believe very strongly that positivity begets positivity, which isn’t to say that terrible things don’t happen to good people—they sure do. However, I am convinced that maintaining a hopeful mindset through the tough times does, in fact, make them easier and help to breed happiness out of them.

Now, regarding the other narrative that takes place in this book—the grotesquely exhaustive account of Annie’s abduction…

Honestly, as a curious human being, I was riveted by the dirty details in a car-crash-can’t-close-my-eyes sort of way. But, other than to quicken my commute for several days, the dark, meticulous narrative did not help me to understand Annie’s “deeper” struggles.  In fact, I think the extensive detail takes away from the (intended) seriousness of her recovery, as the reader can only focus on what act is next in the “Freak’s” carnival show.

Perhaps I need not say it, but I would not recommend this book. Even for the thriller aspects of it. This is simply because I cannot promote  a book that calls to and indulges our basest instincts without some sort of redeeming quality.

Now, to quickly lighten things before you vow never to return to my blog—may I share with you the INCREDIBLE recipe that I whipped up last night?!

I had a ton of basil leftover from my Basil-Peach Chicken Breasts, and pesto immediately sprung to mind as a way to use it. However, I reaaally didn’t want to have to buy anything else! Using the magic that is Tastespotting.com, I found the perfect solution:

Almond-Basil Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • plain unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • juice of 1/4 – 1/2 a lemon

Instructions: Skin and squash the garlic. Add everything except the oil into a food processor and process until a green mush forms. Scrape down once and add your olive oil. Blitz again until oil is fully incorporated. I like my pesto chunky and not super-oily, but feel free to continue to add oil and run machine until you reach your desired consistency.

Voila!

I had a feeling that this stuff would be good, but nothing could have prepared me for just how absurdly delicious it is! The almonds/almond butter provide a creaminess that I worried might be missing without Parmesan cheese. I am a pesto-fanatic in general, but I think this combination might be my favorite yet.

I couldn’t resist adding a blob to my basil-peach chicken last night, but it would also be fabulous on fish, vegetables, crackers, or mixed with a bit of extra olive oil and tossed into couscous or salad greens. Frankly—it’s tasty enough to have been be eaten by the spoonful!

I hope this recipe has redeemed me every so slightly from my scathing review above. Trust me though, just as you KNOW when I like a food, you will hear equally lavish praise when I adore a book.

Have a lovely night, all!

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How was everyone’s Memorial Day Weekend?!

My leisurely weekend in the city was lovely, and I look forward to the few more that I have ahead of me this summer! I will certainly relish each and every one.

Before diving into this post, I want to take a moment to reflect on what this holiday truly means, and thank all of the men and women who have served and are serving this country. It is because of your continued sacrifice that I have the freedom to express myself on this forum.

And it is certainly something to celebrate! Which is why I’d guess that healthy food and fitness are just about the LAST two things on your mind right now…

Try to remember us?

Well, great news! The recipe I have for you today is healthy, but it tastes anything but! And isn’t that the best of both worlds?

We’ll get there soon, but I first want to share just a few snippets that encapsulate my wonderful weekend:

Breakfasts always—I decided this weekend that I demand a bit of chew with my Green Monsters. Smoothie: 1 container Raspberry Chobani, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 3 ice cubes, 2 large handfuls spinach; piece of Great Harvest 9-grain toast with butter.

Smoothie: 1 tbs pb, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup almond milk, cinnamon, 1/8 tsp vanilla extract, 2 large handfuls spinach; piece of Publix Breakfast bread toasted with butter.

Even more of these! I’ve perfected my order—medium iced coffee with 3 pumps whole milk, 1 Splenda packet, 1 dash cinnamon, 2 dashes cocoa powder (give or take :)). HITS.THE.SPOT

Views from up close. Nutellin’ what kind of trouble I got into over here 🙂

Views from afar. Taken on the roof of my 37-floor building, overlooking the East River

Eats healthy for my bod! SEASONAL SALAD at Telepan Restaurant:
greens, vegetables & lemon vinaigrette

Eats healthy for my soul :). My favorite ice cream in the city! Grasshopper Pie from Emack and Bolio’s: Creme de Menthe with Chocolate Chips and Oreos (not my picture but same flavor; I had my scoop in a cup)

Greatest of all—many quiet moments in my nest. I adore my room, and cannot stress the value of having a place all your own that you find comfy and aesthetically pleasing!

Looking back through these pictures, this was truly a special weekend, and I love that I feel energized going into the work week  rather than drained!

Thank you for indulging my rerun, and now I shall reward you with an indulgence of your own!

I’m back with an 808 cuz I’m gloss-ay!

CHOCOLATE 1-2-3 CAKE BALLS!!!

You’ve probably heard of cake pops, and you’ve certainly heard of truffles. Well, these bad boys are a happy hybrid of the two!

I made a Chocolate 1-2-3 Cake several weeks ago and decided to freeze half, since I had so many other goodies lying around my pantry. I spied the leftover half this Saturday morning while grabbing some frozen naners and decided I couldn’t let it go to waste!

A coworker of mine made cake pops a while ago, and I remembered her saying that the filling was a mixture of cake and icing…

Well, hey, I thought blithely—I have a healthy chocolate sauce recipe in my repertoire that could easily sub as frosting! And what about the candy coating on the outside?

They don’t add in the PLUS for nothin’!

TJ’s Pound Plus for the win!

Sound a little too easy? A little too convenient? Maybe, but I knew I had a winner before I even rolled up my sleeves.

Chocolate 1-2-3 Cake Balls:

For the Cake: Follow my 1-2-3 Cake recipe HERE, using chocolate cake mix and chocolate sugar-free instant Jell-O pudding. Allow cake to cool completely before using.

For the Balls:

  • 1/2 Chocolate 1-2-3 Cake, approx 2 cups packed with cake
  • 2 tbs coconut oil or canola oil
  • 2 tbs brown rice syrup or honey
  • 8 squares Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% Chocolate Bar, approx. 4.5 oz
  • Optional—topping of choice. I used crushed peanut butter-filled pretzels, but coconut flakes, chopped nuts, crushed peppermints etc. would all be fun—whatever tickles your fancy!

Instructions:

Line a baking tray (small enough to fit in the fridge) with parchment paper. Crumble cake into a large bowl with your fingers. Add oil and sweetener to the cake (melt coconut oil if using) and get to mixin’! Squish and knead all the goodness together until it forms one large sticky ball. Then, form truffle-sized balls from the mama ball, rolling dough between your palms to help create a circular shape. Set balls onto baking tray.

In a microwave-safe dish, nuke chocolate on 30-second intervals until almost completely melted. Stir with a spatula until remaining chunks melt. Add dough balls one by one into the melted chocolate. Roll ball gently around chocolate, nudging with a spoon, until coated. Use spoon to carefully lift balls out of chocolate and back onto the baking tray.

When all of your balls are dipped and lined onto the tray, sprinkle on your toppings (if using), cover tray very loosely with saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour before handling. Keep balls refrigerated.

Now dig in! Remember to Chew.

Because this will probably be your only opportunity to see the inside of one if you make them.

The picture above doesn’t begin to do these suckers justice. I’ve shared them with two people thus far, and being the creep that I am, noticed that they BOTH closed their eyes and mmmm’d their way through! Compliment paid, no words needed.

I don’t know their nutritional stats, but I do know that they’re significantly lower in sugar than your average cake pop or truffle, and the bit of fat they have from the coconut (or canola) oil and dark chocolate is the good, heart-healthy kind! Not to mention that they’re super easy to throw together.

So do yourselves and favor and nurse your hangover with something that tastes fabulously sinful, has built-in portion control, and won’t make you feel worse (but easily could improve the situation)!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone!

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Yay for Humpday AND another WIAW!

Peas and Crayons

If you’re new to WIAW, click on the image above to head to Jen’s blog Peas and Crayons and learn more :).

Let’s go ahead and get down to brass tax, so I can share the uhhh-maaazinng recipe I concocted last night with you!

Breakfast Office Overnight Oats: Day before: 1 packet Quaker plain instant oatmeal, 1/2 container Chobani plain yogurt, enough Vanilla soy milk to soak mixture thoroughly. Morning of: added Kashi Go Lean cereal, sliced banana, 1.5 ish tbs peanut butter, cinnamon, pinch of salt. Was quite sad to say goodbye to this bowl!

Lunch: Penny Egg Sandwich! For some reason a good ole’ breakfast sandwich just sounded spot-on to me today. Only bummer is they left out my 2nd requested egg! Fried egg, Swiss, hummus and pesto mayo on an amazingly doughy Portuguese muffin

Veg and balsamic for some nutrients and fiber!

Last chunkies of my Vosges Banana Victoria Bar

Tropical Trio–super ripe cantaloupe, pineapple and raspberries

Honey Cinnamon Flax Almond Butter with Happy Herberts Oatbran Pretzels

Breakstone 2% cottage cheese with Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

After this snack/work, I met my awesome friend Elissia for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on Greenwich Avenue for a quick catch-up before heading back to the city! Loves her :).

Last Coconut Cherry Pie Larabar nugget eaten on the train. The blur is from my tears.

Dinner: Giant falafel ballz with hummus over tabbouleh dressed in a delectable sesame-tahina sauce

Crumbled, mixed, devoured.

Chocolate avocado mousse with cashew pieces and another extra-special topping…see below for the big reveal!

Milk mug shot–took this about half-way through consumption

I also just had a handful of unsulphured dried apricots and cuppa TJ’s Ginger Tea!

WIA-wheeeeew! Great day of eats, all-in-all!

Ok then. So this “recipe”…or, I should really say, this sheer ALCHEMY that took place in my kitchen last night…

I ADORED my Coconut Cherry Pie Larabars, and as the first batch began to dwindle, I started brainstorming new flavor combinations to quell the rising panic!

In the last week (I’d be lying if I said I remembered when exactly), something reminded me of a trail mix that my sweet Mama makes almost every year around Christmas time as a gift for friends and family.

It is so simple but SO fabulous–dried cherries, cashews, dark chocolate chips. The taste of all three ingredients together is truly magical!

They say mother knows best. I don’t know who they are, but they’re onto something.

Merry Christmas…to me.

Chocolate Cherry Cashew LARALEABARS:

  • 2/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries (Kirkland has the best!)
  • generous 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (you could probably also use 1-2 tbs cocoa powder but I can’t vouch)

Quick shout-out to one of the best deals in town!

Think chocolate keyboard.

$4.99 for 17.6 ounces of, in my opinion, some of the best-tasting dark chocolate out there. Great for baking, better for eating straight up. Run, don’t walk.

For this recipe, I used 4 squares of the Pound Plus bar, which I estimate around 1/3 cup chopped or in chip form.

Instructions:

Blend dates and cherries in food processor until they form a sticky paste but still maintain some small pieces of fruit (not pure paste).  Remove and place in a mixing bowl. Next, process the cashews and chocolate until chocolate bits are incorporated throughout and small cashew chunks remain.

Add cashew/chocolate mixture to the bowl of dried fruit, roll up your sleeves and start working it all together. You’ll feel like you’re imitating the way bread-kneading looks (with me?). It might seem dry at first, but keep on keepin’ on and eventually it will form a sticky ball of deliciousness.

line a 5×8 in pan with parchment paper. Turn ‘dough’ into the pan and press until you reach preferred thickness for the bars. Cover pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut into whatever shapes you like (this takes some elbow grease as well)!

NOTES: 1) These bars are very dense and rich, and I just happen to like the look of rectangular-shaped bars, so I made mine about 1/4 inch thick. 2) Because of the chocolate, it is best to keep them refrigerated, but not crucial–they’ll just be a lil’ melty.

Now style them like you’d actually consider giving them away, chuckle to yourself, and go to town.

Make a you wish

These bars are absolutely absurd

Honestly–I’d take one over the ‘real’ Larabar flavors I’ve tried any day! I don’t know why the combination works so well, but I think I’ll be hard-pressed to top it.

Thank you for the inspiration, Mom! You always seem to know me better than I know myself, and I love you much :).

Night night!

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I am so flippin’ excited to share this recipe with you today!

Last night, my darling friend Audrey came over after work, and that girl must have fairy dust in her fingertips because WE MADE SOME MAGIC!

It aaaalll boiled down to this:

For the avoidance of doubt.

COULD.AND.DID.EAT.IT.WITH.A.SPOON.

Before we go there, however, let’s quickly run through a second episode of What I Ate Wednesday!

If you don’t recall what this is, check out last Wednesday’s post!

Oatmeal made with vanilla soy milk; peanut butter, cinnamon and Kashi Go Lean mixed in. Vanilla Activia on the side-wanted Greek yogurt but there wasn’t any left 😦 1 hr later–unpictured green apple!

Two eggs over-medium, swiss cheese and pesto on a toasted whole wheat English muffin; bowl of veg and balsamic

Bake-sale brownie. Oh-ma-gah. I am SUPER picky when it comes to brownies, but this one was dense and fudgy–just the way I like it!

So fresh and so clean clean! (Forgot to take a pic till the last slice)

Happy Herberts Oat Bran Pretzels dipped in my Maple Vanilla Almond Butter

Homemade Coconut Cherry Pie “Larabar”. Swear these get better every day.

For the rest of my WIAW, you’ll have to wait (again, sorry!) for tomorrow. I got a special meal on my agenda tonight that deserves s’more attention!

Ok guys, if you’re not already sitting down–don’t. Doing so will take you longer to get to the grocery store and buy ingredients for this recipe.

To come up with the pièce de résistance below, I started with a recipe from Sonia’s incredible blog, The Healthy Foodie, and made some tweaks to suit my taste.

Apparently, I have excellent taste.

Bean’s Green Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo

  • Whole wheat fettuccine (couldn’t find so I used WW linguine)
  • ¾ cup 1% plain cottage cheese
  • ½ cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ ripe avocado (my addition for some extra healthy fats, fiber, creaminess, and color!)
  • Generous ½ cup grated/shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, plus extra for topping (increased from 1/4 cup–I mean, we’re making’ Alfredo here)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bag of spinach (my 2nd addition to the original recipe)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Do you spot the highly incongruous element?

Like, say, a TROPICAL FRUIT on me cottage cheese cup!?

Thankfully, Audrey pointed this out in the nick of time AND pretended confessed that she made the exact same mistake with this ill-labeled cottage cheese earlier in the week. RUDE. She was a rock star and ran out to grab the right stuff while I got started with dinner.  Bonus: Auds says the the pineapple is awesome!

Immediately upon beginning any pasta recipe, I like to go ahead and start boiling my pasta water. Don’t forget to add a generous pinch of salt!

Now drizzle some olive oil in a large skillet and turn it to medium heat. Roughly chop two garlic cloves so that the pieces are large enough to remove later with fingers (you can mince the garlic and leave it if you’re really a garlic fanatic, but I think it’d be overkill).

Add garlic to pan; stir and heat for about a minute before adding your bag of spinach. DO NOT BE ALARMED. The enormous pile of spinach will diminish by leaps and bounds as you stir.

Opening Magic Act

When your spinach has wilted, turn off heat and move skillet to another burner. Pick out garlic chunks and do with them what you will.

Here’s where it starts…and continues to be outrageously easy:  Go ahead and add your pasta to the (hopefully) boiling water. Cook according to package directions.  Measure out the rest of the ingredients, excluding spinach and including remaining 1-2 garlic cloves (per your preference), and add to the food processor.

Blend until everything is smooth and incorporated, about 1 minute.

Hold my hair back I’m goin’ in.

Time to bring it all together! Take your spinachy skillet and put it back on a medium-heat burner. Drain your pasta and add it to the skillet. Now pour your heavenly “alfredo” sauce on top (you may not need it all), and mix everything gently together, allowing the sauce to heat through.

Sharply observed by Audrey–at this point, you will begin to hear those glorious squelching sounds that let you know you’re doin’ somethin’ right.

Serve piping hot with an extra sprinkle of cheese and freshly-grated black pepper. I chopped up the last of my Parmesan Baked Chicken Tenders and threw them in for some extra protein.

SWOON.

Full disclosure: This pistachio-hued fauxtuccine alfredo is downright addicting. The sauce tastes fabulous in pasta, but it could easily be used in a variety of ways! Crudite dip, sandwich spread, PIZZA SAUCE, salad dressing?! At this juncture, I cannot imagine my life going forward without always having a batch of this stowed in the fridge for emergencies.

Enjoy at your own risk and have a great Wednesday night!

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HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!

At least, I’m trying to get into the festive spirit! I was so looking forward to a sunny Saturday in NYC today, but the weather has been rather gloomy.

Tell us how you really feel

Fortunately, I have dinner tonight with a great group of people at the fabulous Stanton Social restaurant to look forward to, so I’ll be puttin’ my party pants on soon :).

Before I do, I wanted to share a quick recipe that I whipped up last night in honor of today!

Chili Lime Garlic Pita Chips

So flavorful, so satisfying, SO easy:

  • Large whole wheat pitas–I had 1.5 so following measurements should be adjusted accordingly
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove or 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350. Stack your pitas and slice them into halves then quarters then eighths etc. until desired size.

At this point, the pita pieces will still be double-layered, and you can either leave them as is, or pull the layers apart to make more and thinner chips. I like them crispier and more tortilla chip-like, so I pulled the layers apart.

Place the pieces on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and the juice from 1/2 lime. Sprinkle the chili powder, garlic salt (if not using cloves), and salt/pepper over the pitas. Toss to combine and evenly distribute the ingredients.

If you’re using a garlic clove, peel the clove and cut it in half horizontally, so its chubby middle is exposed. Rub the chubby middle to make it giggle for a few seconds onto each pita piece, like so:

Now just pop ’em in the oven, turn the pieces every 3-4 minutes, and watch like a HAWK! Take them out when they’re golden brown and crispy.

Aside from the sampling casualties, I enjoyed some warm from the oven as a base for nachos. Fiesta in my MOUTH!

Ole!

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