Getting Back on Track

Did anyone eat and drink as much as I did this weekend? No? Guess it was just in our household! It was my birthday this past Friday and I had visitors from Long Island – one of my best friends from college and her boyfriend. Whenever visitors come around do you find yourself eating a drinking more? Drinking including the BEST margaritas in the world? I will share the recipe eventually ๐Ÿ™‚

First I’d like to let everyone know a few of the awesome home/kitchen/cooking related gifts I got because I’m excited about them. From my boyfriend a gift certificate to Home Depot (along with a part-shade plant) to start my shady garden on our balcony and a BB&B gift certificate to bulk up my kitchen supplies. Oh, and a Cooking for Friends cookbook from Williams-Sonoma I mentioned I wanted about 4 months ago! From my mom I got an herb garden she planted for me herself filled with my favorite herbs: basil, rosemary, cilantro and thyme ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, I received an amazing little notebook from my friend from nursing school which includes some of her own favorite recipes, along with family member recipes (awesome, right?) A cookbook from my aunt which is one she bought when she first got married that has amazing classic desserts and things of the like. And I can’t forget about this sweeeet spoon holder from friends I met through Tim. Cooking + Owls = Love. (Did I ever mention I also have an owl apron?). People know me so well ๐Ÿ™‚

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Enough about me rambling. The recipe I’d like to share with you today is a very nutritious and healthy pesto to go over your favorite whole grain pasta, along with some veggies. It’s delicious hot or cold. It’s good to eat when you’re trying to get back on track! Make a big batch to have to eat during the week. Feel free to add beans or chicken slices for some extra protein. Throw in whatever veggies you have on hand!

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Kale-Edamame Pesta Pasta with Green Veggies
(Serves 4-6)

1 lb. short pasta of your choosing
1 small zucchini, diced
10 asparagus stalks, chopped
2 c. washed, chopped kale (stems removed)
10-12 leaves basil
6 mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 c. shelled edamame, thawed
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions in a large pot and cook to your desired doneness – I like al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a medium frying pan, splash a little olive oil in the pan. Throw in your zucchini and asparagus and any other veggies you like. Cook until just tender until starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Set aside.

When the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the salty, starchy water when you strain it. Place back into the pot (or a serving bowl if you want to be fancy) and add veggies. Keep off the heat.

In a blender or a food processor, add all the rest of the ingredients (kale, edamame, basil, mint, cheese, olive oil, walnuts, garlic). Puree until smooth, adding as much pasta water as you need to thin out the pesto to make a sauce. Use salt and pepper to taste. I’d say start out with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and go from there.

Add the pesto to the pasta and the veggies, stir to coat and serve hot or cold!

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