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Posts Tagged ‘kale’

I am always on a lookout for pesto. I love how you can use any type of a nut or seed along with any type of greens to whirl together amazing sauces. Check out a previous post about the different pesto that I have made… Pesto Galore.

While browsing the smitten kitchen site, I came across the pasta with roasted carrots and sunflower seed dressing. It sounded delicious and easy. I asked Julia if she wanted to help me make it and she enthusiastically said yes.

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The dish is easy to make… you add the roasted seeds, a handful of greens, some lemon zest, some garlic, salt, pepper, and some Parmesan cheese in a food processor and whirl it until it comes together. You then place the concoction into a bowl and then you add some olive oil and lemon juice and mix until it becomes a pesto/dressing.

For the carrots, you just trim, peel, and coat them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast them until they are soft and somewhat charred. Once roasted, you cut the carrots any way that you wish (she mentions the size of the pasta that you are using).

Finally, you mix everything together into the boiled pasta.

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I have no idea why, but I did not pay close attention to the title and the actual ingredient list (hmm… distracted much!), but I thought that it required roasted pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds… same thing! I have made the dish 3 times already and not once did I use sunflower seeds. Ha! Nevertheless, I love the dish even with the pumpkin seeds. I will have to use sunflower seeds next time to see how it compares. But this is the beauty of a pesto… any seed/nut works!

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The dressing/pesto was a bit dry so I did add some pasta water to thin it, which made it easier to mix in with the pasta. I tend not use a lot of oil, so I always reserve some pasta water whenever I make pesto.

For the greens, I have used kale, lettuce (Boston, mixed greens, romaine), spinach… whatever I had on hand. All of them worked! Of course each probably added their own flavor, but not enough to not work in the dish.

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The end result after adding the olive oil and lemon juice.

The recipe requires some garlic, but I am not a big fan of raw garlic. On a recent trip to the market, I found some garlic scapes. I love garlic scapes, especially roasted or grilled. Adding the roasted scapes to the pesto was great!

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I have no idea (again!) why I have never roasted whole carrots. Aside from setting off my fire alarm each time I roasted them (my oven must be telling me that it needs a bath), they are so easy to make and no chopping required. They taste like candy! I am never chopping them ever again! I have not tried grilling whole carrots before… I am going to try that next time, in an effort to not set off my fire alarm.

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For the pasta, I have used ravioli (Julia’s favorite!), penne, and farfalle and all worked great! Deb mentions a few other possibilities in the recipe list, but I feel like any pasta that allows the pesto to coat works.

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If you are looking for a quick, easy, and delicious pasta, give this one a try! It even tastes good cold.

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I am always on a lookout for easy dinners. Recently, I have discovered a new dish… One Pan Creamy Tuna Pasta.

I have been subscribed to the Martha Stewart Living magazine for a super long time. Over the years, the magazine has evolved; however, recipes have always been spotlighted throughout. In recent editions, towards the back of the magazine you can find four recipes that are printed on a perforated page, which can be torn into four small recipe cards. I have discovered a bunch of good finds over the years. The pasta dish is one of them and is definitely a keeper!

The recipe is simple… shallots, pasta, broth, water, a couple of veggies, tuna, lemon zest and juice, and cheese. What I really like about it is that you make the entire dish in one pot! Super easy cleanup! You simply add the shallots, broth, water, pasta, and salt and pepper and boil until the pasta is tender. Next you add your veggie. Once the veggie is tender, you remove the pot from the stove and add the tuna, cheese, and the lemon zest and juice. That’s it!

The first time that I made the dish, it came out very dry and I had to keep adding water to it while cooking the pasta. I later realized that the recipe required 8 oz of pasta and I used 16 oz. It made perfect sense why my version was so dry. Since I like to make enough to have leftovers, I adjusted the amount of water. I usually add enough to cover the pasta, which I think that it is somewhere between 4.5 or 5 cups of water, depending on the pasta.

Speaking of the pasta, I used gemelli and penne and both worked. One thing that I would like to mention is that my version has never had a sauce. If you look at the recipe photo, it includes the clear sauce on the plate. Not sure how that is realized. I just made the dish using penne and this is the first time that I have actually had some sauce, but definitely not enough to add it to the plate. Not sure if the gemelli absorbs more liquid during cooking or not, but when I used it, I never had a sauce.

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The recipe requires asparagus and arugula. The first time that I made the dish, I did not have either, so I used peas and spinach since I did have both. I have also used peas and kale. All worked! I am sure that you can also use green beans or any other veggie such as corn and broccoli. As far as the greens go, I am sure that swiss chard or any other greens would work as well.

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Another adjustment that I have made is the required cup of shallots. I tend not to like a lot of onion in my dishes, so I have cut it to 2 small shallots and it was plenty. Same goes for the cheese… the recipe requires a 1/2 a cup of Paremsan. I used about 2 tablespoons of Romano cheese and that also seemed plenty. But if you are a big onion fan, use the full amount. Same goes for the cheese.

One last thing that I would like to mention is the salt. I use the Better Than Bouillon (which really is better than any bouillon) for the broth and it is a bit salty, so I never add salt to my dishes until the very end. Most of the time it is plenty salty.

I hope that you will enjoy the dish as much as we do! It is one of Julia’s favorites!

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I recently started feeding Julia cheese, yogurt, and regular table food. At her 9 month appointment, her pediatrician advised us that we can start doing that. I was taken back a little since for the past 3 months I have only given her simple purées. “She has never had garlic, or onions, or any spices at all. Is it ok to feed her all those things now?”, I commented. “Go for it!”, she said. So I went for it.

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Dinner on the deck!

Her first real food was couscous. I love making it since it is so simple and can be served as a side dish or a main dish. I do not follow a particular recipe… I just make it up depending on the ingredients that I crave. This time I added some olive oil, lime juice, olives, spinach, roasted tomatoes, salt, black pepper, goat feta cheese, and alleppo pepper (I love this pepper! If you have a Penzeys near you, grab some and sprinkle it on anything that you desire. It’s delicious!). I was not sure what Julia was going to make of the dish. She just loved it!!

The next dish that I made was a potato salad. This is another simple side dish that I love to make and it is a little more interesting than your typical potato salad. I found the recipe in the Lucid Food cookbook. It includes potatoes, pesto, olives, and hard boiled eggs. I did not make my own pesto this time. Also, since Julia cannot have eggs, I did not include them in the entire dish. I also added some avocado on top for all of us. Julia loved it since I gave her pieces of potatoes and avocados to feed herself (she loves feeding herself!). Another success!

Next up was a pasta with a chicken broth and shallot based sauce, kale, peas, and goat cheese. Since the pasta was not too soft, I did not think that Julia would be able to eat it, so I chopped it a bit with the rest of the ingredients. She loved this too! I was so excited that she liked the kale! Good thing, since she will be eating plenty of that in her lifetime! :)

The next dish was a little different. I was not sure if I wanted to feed Julia meat just yet. Since I do not eat meat or hardly ever cook it, I could not bare the thought of boiling chicken for her. And there was no way that I was going to get her the chicken dishes in the jar. That sounded even more appalling. Also, I cannot roast a chicken for the life of me. So what to do? Then a few weeks ago I found a recipe that sounded somewhat promising. I decided to give it a try. (I know!! Can you believe it!?!?) The dish includes chicken thighs, a few shallots, a pint of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a cup or so of olives, fresh thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh mint, and feta. You roast the chicken with all the ingredients, minus the mint and feta. Once the chicken is done roasting, you add the mint and feta. The dish was delicious!! Since we loved it so much and it was easy to make, I decided to make it again and give some to Julia. She loved it too!

I must say that since I started feeding Julia regular food, my thoughts about dinner have changed a bit. I feel like I now have to think even harder about what dishes to make, since she cannot eat everything that we eat. For example, I tend to use nuts a lot in my cooking… specifically for pesto. But at the same time, I am super excited that she can now eat more of the things that we eat. It will definitely make it easier to not have to make multiple dinners for us. I also feel super lucky that she is such a good eater. Still to this day, she has only disliked bananas, pears, and cauliflower. If that is the extent of it, I have nothing to complain about, no?

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I have not been cooking anything too elaborate lately. I have been sticking to my trusted simple dishes. One of my favorite dishes in the world (yes… I said in the world!) is the Matchstick Pasta. I found the dish a long time ago on the 101 Cookbooks site, and have been making it fairly regularly. It is super simple and amazingly delicious. I am not kidding! I have made it for a fair amount of people and all of them have fallen in love with it.

Matchstick Pasta

The recipe includes a pistachio pesto, kale, pomegranate seeds, and pasta. That’s it!

Pistachios for pesto

The pistachio pesto is very simple to make. Simply add a cup or so of pistachios, some olive oil, and a garlic clove in a food processor, whirl it around until it resembles pesto, and voilà… you have pistachio pesto!

Pistachio pesto

I know what you are saying… kale, really?!?! I promise that if you eat this dish, you will fall in love with it. I have never been a big fan of kale either. I have only seen it used as a plate-decorating piece. But then I cooked it in this dish, and ever since then, I cannot get enough of it. I use it fairly regularly now. It is supposed to be super good for you too, so that is always a plus. :)

I feel very lucky to be able to purchase pomegranate seeds. I am not a big fan of separating the seeds from a whole pomegranate. It is very messy, and the utensils as well as your hands turn red.

Whole-wheat fettucine

My favorite pasta for this dish is the fresh whole-wheat fettuccine. The pasta gives the dish a nutty flavor, which I love. Regular pasta, however, works just as well.

As I mentioned before, I truly love this dish. If I were stuck on a deserted island and this was the only dish available, I would be in heaven. :)

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