Pasta Presto

Busy weeknights call for imaginative meals.  We found ourselves without a plan for dinner one night, and with a fridge/ pantry full of random ingredients begging to be used asap.  So, we made a pasta with yummy remains of fresh herbs and extra salad fixings ( goat cheese, yellow peppers, cherry and sun dried tomatoes), plus some leftover broth and wine.  It happened to be a very fresh, deeply flavorful, and very nutritious pasta entree that we just had to share with you!
½ pound whole wheat bow tie pasta, cooked and drained, reserve ½ cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup diced yellow pepper
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup basil, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
14.5 ounce can Cannellini Beans ( white beans), low sodium and rinsed
¼ cup white wine
1 cup water
½ cup vegetable broth, reduced sodium
8 oz reduced sodium tomato sauce
2 ounces goat cheese
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large pan with high sides, over medium high heat. Add in onion, cook for 3 minutes. Add in yellow peppers and garlic, cook one minute more. Stir in white wine and cook till completely reduced, about 3 minutes. Then toss in the parsley, basil, tomatoes, beans, water, broth and tomato sauce. Stir to combine well and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in goat cheese and taste test. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in pasta stir to combine, if the sauce is too thick- add in some reserved pasta water until your desired consistency.  To serve, plate a portion and top with grated Parmesan.

Mahi Mahi Tacos

In this icky February weather, with the mix of snow and sleet and freezing temperatures, fish tacos are just the meal to bring you right to those vendors on the vast beaches in Hawaii… this recipe adds lots of flavor, a spicy kick, topped with crunchy corn, peppers and cabbage, plus they are fast and easy to make!  Try it out and let us know if you are transported to beautiful beaches as well 🙂
Makes 10 tacos
Place the fish in a shallow oven proof pie plate lined with foil, Marinate the fish in the following for 20 minutes, turn on your broiler (or grill), Cook fish about 4 minutes per side or until opaque and cooked through.  Flake fish with forks to serve:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 clove minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 pound mahi mahi fillets
While the fish marinates, make the Chipotle Cream Sauce, combine the following ingredients, mix well and set aside:
6 ounces Fage Total 0%, Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce ( about 2 peppers), diced
To serve, set out the following:
10 corn tortillas, heated over the stove top flame
1 cup shredded green cabbage or lettuce
1 cup corn kernels with 1/4 cup habanero peppers, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, choped
10 Lime wedges
Chipotle Cream Sauce
Flaked Fish
Build your fish tacos and enjoy!

Beet and Basil salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Happy Valentine’s Day!
In case you didn’t know, beets are SO so good, fabulously cheap, and they are FULL of fiber and nutrients to keep you full and healthy.  They also are a vibrant hue of red that is perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner salad!  Goat cheese is so smooth and creamy…. in this dish it creates a perfect balance between the crunchy walnuts and sweet fresh basil and sumptuous beets.  Topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper, and you will see what we mean!
Serves 2-4 depending on serving size desired
2 medium beets
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup basil, sliced in strips
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste
You’ll need a pot with a steamer basket insert and lid, fill the pot with 2 inches of water ( we use a metal colander that happens to fit perfectly within our stock pot)  Place the beets in the basket and cover with the lid, bring to a boil, then simmer with lid on for 35-40 minutes until beets are poke tender.  Allow them to cool a bit, then using a paper towel rub the skin off the beets, it should easily peel off.  Trim the top and bottom stem parts away.  Slice the beets in to 1/4″ thick round and place in an ice bath to cool completely. 
Pat the beet rounds dry, then plate desired amount.  Top the beets with some goat cheese crumbles, then some basil, sprinkle with walnuts, and drizzle olive oil on top.  Fresh cracked pepper and salt if desired! 

Tortellini, Tomato and Spinach Soup

Most weekends, you’ll find us on a Sunday morning perusing recipes and creating a grocery list over coffee and breakfast…. ooo glorious weekends!  We had made a trip Saturday to our favorite Italian grocer on Taylor Street- Conti Di Savoia, for a quick Italian sub for lunch ( aka, the best sandwich EVER no joke).  While were there, we decided to pick up some fresh cheese and porcini tortellinis to have on hand to make a quick dinner.  Well, Sunday we added the ingredients to the following recipe to our grocery list and were happily surprised at how wonderful and satisfying tortellini can be in a soup- who knew?  Normally you’d be prone to tossing a jar of red sauce on them and calling it a night, but this recipe is oh so much better.  You can actually taste the fresh tortelli flavor and a nice bite of fresh veggies plus a kick from teh crushed red pepper flakes, all balanced with a bit of fresh parmesan cheese… this is what you need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 clove garlic, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 (14-ounce) can low sodium diced tomatoes, with juices
1lb fresh tortellini, cheese or spinach or mushroom
4 ounces fresh baby spinach, sliced in ribbons
Coarse grained salt and cracked black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, very loosely packed
  In a 3-quart soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring often until onions are translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes, stir well for a couple minutes.  Add broth and tomatoes, turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes.  Next, add the tortellini and spinach, cook 6 minutes more. Taste, adjusting seasonings with salt and pepper.  Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Soba Noodle Salad

This noodle salad is fast, delicious, and can be served to 4 for a dinner portion, or 6-8 smaller salad portions.  This stores really well and can be brought as lunch for up to 3 days!
8 ounces whole-wheat soba noodles
4 ounces Firm Tofu, diced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot, 2 carrots
1 red pepper, julienne
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup shredded fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon lime zest
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon fish sauce
   1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
Boil noodles according to package directions. Strain and rinse with cold water.
In a large bowl, combine noodles, tofu, shallot, carrot, pepper, basil, mint, and cilantro.
Combine all dressing ingredients, season with salt to taste, add to noodle mixture, and toss lightly.