Archive for ‘Pasta’

June 2, 2011

Grilled Vegetables Summer Pasta

Sometimes, it’s what’s left in the fridge that dictates the direction that supper is going to take. This has pretty much been the case all week. Looks like I got a bit carried away when I bought vegetables last week and ended up having to use quite a large amount this week… well, for a single person, that is.

You see, I think I am a bit of a sale maniac. I tend to buy things sometimes just because they are on sale. Can’t miss out on a great bargain! So when I see gorgeous, fresh, plump and colourful bell peppers going for $1.99 a pound, I simply can’t resist buying way more than what I know I will be able to eat in a week. It’s like I HAVE to get at least 2 of each colour. No matter how much I try, I just CAN’T resist. I mean come on! Bell peppers usually go for 2 or 3 times that amount, you know! 😉

And of course, well, same goes for mushrooms, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes… you get the idea!

Sometimes though, being forced to use certain ingredients is a beautiful thing, as it gives life to delightful creations, as was the case with this pasta dish. I don’t think I would’ve ever come up with this exact combination had it not been for the fact that I had to use those particular veggies. I had also planned on throwing some grilled tofu in there, but ended up forgetting. D’oh!

Mind you, it wasn’t all that necessary, the dish was extremely good and tasty as it was, but I find I am not eating enough protein lately, and adding tofu certainly would’ve helped in that department.

Oh well… now I will HAVE to use that tofu in the next dish that I make, else, I will end up having to chuck it. And, as I’ve said before, I hate wasting food. I sometimes wish they sold tofu in smaller packages… Now I will have to get creative, once again! 😉

 

INGREDIENTS
(serves 2-3)

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, oregano and za’atar, to taste
  • 175g – 200g whole wheat rotini
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 20g – 30g goat cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook pasta per instructions on the package. When cooked, drain and return to pot.
  2. Fire up your BBQ
  3. Slice aubergine and zucchini in thick slices, about 1″.
  4. Cut bell pepper in half, seed it and smash it to make it as flat as possible.
  5. Brush vegetables on both sides with a little bit of olive oil then sprinkle generously with salt, black pepper, oregano and za’atar.
  6. Grill vegetables on BBQ on medium-high heat until they get nice grill marks on them, about 4-5 minutes per side
  7. Cut grilled vegetables in bite size pieces and add to cooked pasta.
  8. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.
  9. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle with basil and goat cheese.

May 31, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

I haven’t had much luck with lasagna in the past, so I decided to take a bit of a different approach this time. Instead of layering my pasta like I usually would, I made them into cute little rolls.

Not only did this technique work much better for me, I find the dish looks so much nicer that way, so elegant and classy! Of course, it makes using different layers / components a tad more difficult, but I am guessing, not entirely impossible. One could probably spread the sauce over the pasta and top that with a little bit of cottage or ricotta mixture before to start rolling the lasagna. I’ll have to give that a try next time.

I made 2 different versions of this, one using whole wheat pasta and one using regular “white” pasta (for my son, who still refuses to eat whole grain pasta of any shape, kind or form) and I find whole wheat worked a lot better. Their firmer texture and the fact that they are a little thicker helps the rolls hold their shape a lot nicer.

As for the sauce, I used 2 different kind of lentils, red and green. I figured the red would go a lot more unnoticed and would make the sauce more accessible to those who don’t really care for lentils, while the green would add a little bit of a crunch and texture. I also added a wide variety of vegetables, namely aubergines, zucchinis, red bell peppers and spinach.

This sauce might look like it would take forever to make, but the truth is, as soon as the lentils are cooked, which takes about 25-30 minutes, it’s pretty much ready to go. So from start to finish, you’re looking at probably an hour and a half to get this elegant dish on your table. It may not be something you’d want to whip up on a busy weeknight, unless you were to make the sauce one night and assemble the next, but really, whichever way you choose to go about it, this is one dish that is very well worth taking the time to make.

INGREDIENTS
(for 8 rolls)

  • 8 lasagnas, preferably whole wheat
  • 125g low fat mozzarella cheese

SAUCE

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ eggplant, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup red lentils
  • ¼ cup green Du Puy lentils
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 100g spinach, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In large saucepan, cook onions, celery, garlic and bell peppers over medium heat until fragrant and the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini, eggplant, seasonings and lentils and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, then add tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 25 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in spinach and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before you start rolling your lasagna.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F
  5. While sauce is cooling, cook lasagna per package instructions. When cooked, lay them flat on a towel and pat them dry.
  6. Spread a little bit of sauce at the bottom of a baking dish. Set aside.
  7. Place lasagnas in a plate, one at a time, and spread about ¼ cup of sauce on the entire length of the pasta. Carefully roll and place in the reserved baking dish. Repeat with the remaining lasagnas.
  8. Top each lasagna roll with a little bit of sauce, then sprinkle mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and starts to color slightly.


May 26, 2011

It’s called P90X, baby! (oh! and leftover spaghetti meatballs…)

It’s absolutely insane, and I love it!

Problem is, now I don’t want to run anymore… I just want to “Bring it”!

You see, I’d been wanting this training program for a long time now, but seeing that it costs $150, I sort of put it off for a while. And, since I am supposed to be training for a half-marathon this summer, I figured I wouldn’t need to buy it until fall.

BUT, the wheather has been so crappy so far, it’s just raining all the time, I decided to go ahead and get it now! I just don’t feel like running in the rain. I can’t say that I love running, really. I do it only because when it’s nice out, I’d rather be exercising outdoors than in my basement, and since running doesn’t cost much at all, it became the obvious choice.

Plus, I have to admit that I really like the idea of eventually running a full marathon. And looking at this picture from last year’s half totally makes me want to go for it.

So now I don’t know, I’m all confused. If I don’t start running soon, I can kiss my half-marathon good bye for this year. I feel like I want to do it, but I lack the motivation to train for it. Maybe it’s the thought of running alone again.

Whatever I do, I need to decide and quick, for I need new shoes. What’s it gonna be? Shock absorbing or stability control?

Oh, right, I almost forgot… FOOD! Yes, I did eat today!

Tonight, I had leftovers. I had some Chicken Meatball Spaghetti Sauce left in the freezer.

Well, believe it or not, I took pictures of my leftovers! I’m a freak, I know!

Here goes! Not bad, for leftovers, isn’t it?