Tag Archives: cremini

Roasted (or Grilled) Veggies & Carb Goodness

First of all, happy father’s day to all the dads out there!

Second of all, here’s a fun recipe that can be made any time of year. Roast vegetables in balsamic vinegar in the oven or toss them on the grill! Summer or winter, this dish is equally delicious.

Third of all, notice a difference on my blog? What do you think of the new header I put together? Yay or nay?

Back to the recipe…

I used a combination of bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, and zucchini. Throwing in some fresh herbs and some chopped Kalamata olives and marinated artichokes gives the dish a tangy bite. Sprinkle with a bit of feta for saltiness and you’re all set to tickle your tastebuds!

Eaten hot or cold, this pasta salad is extremely versatile. A side dish, a lunch or a dinner if you throw in some chicken or beans 🙂 Or these veggies make a delicious side dish on their own, pasta excluded!

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Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
(Serves 4-6)

1 lb. whole wheat penne, fusilli, rigatoni, etc.
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper
1 large red onion
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash
8 oz. cremini mushrooms
12 Kalamata olives, halved
1 c. chopped marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 c. feta cheese
2 tbsp. chopped thyme, rosemary, & basil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

If you’re going to grill your vegetables, turn the grill to medium. Chop pepper into quarters, slice onions into 1/2″ thick rings (keeping the rings together), slice zucchini into quarters, and keep mushrooms whole. Basically, you’re keeping these veggies in large pieces so they’re easier to grill and they don’t fall through the grates. Toss with garlic, balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Marinate for about 20 minutes. Place pieces on the grill and grill for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. You want the veggies to have a nice brown coloring on them, but you don’t want the veggies to be falling apart on the grill.

If you’re going to roast the veggies, chop the veggies into 1/2″ pieces, toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the veggies for about 20-25 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until the veggies are nice and browned (turning halfway between cooking).

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to keep from sticking. Set aside, covered, to keep warm.

In a large mixing bowl, place pasta and cooked veggies. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and herbs. Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving. Serve hot, cold or room temperature.

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A Warm, Comforting Dinner

This recipe is quite possibly my favorite dinner dish I have ever made. Crazy, right? The recipe idea came from the Willams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh and Fast cookbook I bought a couple of weeks ago. I also bought their new Slow Cooker book…more on that later.

This cookbook is great because it highlights each season with in-season ingredients, which usually ends up making the ingredients cheaper and more fresh than out-of-season veggies.

This recipe is Chicken with Squash, Turnips and Shiitakes. YUM!

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I substituted a few ingredients based on what was available at my grocery store and the dish turned out great. Don’t be afraid to make changes to a recipe! For example, this recipe called for turnip greens from the turnips used in the dish. Guess what? The turnips at my store didn’t have greens on them, so I subbed for peppery arugula. I also subbed chicken breasts for chicken thighs to lighten up the dish. Feel free to also use shiitake mushrooms in place of creminis, that’s what the original recipe called for. I also added some apple cider vinegar to the dish to deglaze the pan of the delicious brown bits, along with a little cinnamon to kick up the warm, comforting flavors.

Also, take some help from the produce section when you can with precut squash. Trader Joe’s has amazingly provided its shoppers with peeled and cubed butternut squash. AMAZING. If you have ever peeled and cut butternut squash, you know it’s a pain in the butt. Thanks, TJ’s, for making my life easier one more time!

Serve this dish over rice, whole wheat egg noodles or your favorite pasta.

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Chicken with Squash, Turnips and Creminis
(Serves 6)

2 large chicken breasts, diced into 1″ cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8-10 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
3 medium turnips, cut into 1/2″ pieces
8 oz. cremini mushrooms (or shiitakes), chopped
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. flour
2 big handfuls of arugula
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle a large frying pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add your diced chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until no pink remains and the chicken begins to brown.

Add onions, sage, squash, mushrooms and turnips sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until just beginning to brown and veggies start to become tender.

Pour in your apple cider vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the browned bits. Sprinkle the flour over the top of all your ingredients, as evenly as possible. Stir to coat.

Add chicken broth and simmer until the sauce thickens and the veggies are fork tender. Add cinnamon. If you want more sauce, add in some more chicken broth and allow it to thicken up again.

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Remove from heat and dump in the arugula. Allow it to wilt down and carefully stir to incorporate (your pan is probably pretty full!).

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Pour each serving over rice or noodles.

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Pasta Bake In a Hurry: Improv in the Kitchen

Cooking in half of a kitchen – meaning one with no sink – is quite a challenge. But I didn’t stop me from making a version of this pasta recipe. Combine that with having to do it in about 45 minutes…with about 1.5″ thick FROZEN chicken. Kitchen challenge is on.

I was planning on making it in the late morning/early afternoon for both Tim and myself… It turned into me whipping it together in under an hour with frozen chicken that I took out this morning before we went shopping for a new refrigerator. This dish would be quicker if your chicken is thawed!

YIKES! Well, when I put my mind to something, I have to do it. I managed to put it together in time to have him take some to work (unbaked… but fully cooked).

I’ll be reheating it for dinner in the oven or under the broiler to get a crunchy top that I want.

I made it sans cheese, because I think sauces get creamy enough with a standard béchamel. Also, I nix heavy creams and full-fat milks and go for the skim option.

If I make this again, I’ll definitely take a little more time with it. So I’ll tell you how I would’ve done it, instead of what actually happened. It tastes great! I tried it when I was packing Tim’s dinner 🙂

Look how cute this attached pair is. PS- like the new countertop? 🙂

Baked Pasta with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
(Serves 6-8)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 pkg. of your favorite short pasta, I used chiocciole
1 bundle of rainbow chard
1 pkg. cremini mushrooms, chopped into chunks
6 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped into ½” pieces
3 large garlic cloves, minced
4-5 c. milk
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. nutmeg (or… pumpkin pie spice – use what you have!)
1 c. grated parm cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a pot, boil water for pasta. Cook pasta until it’s a little more firm than al dente. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts, put into the preheated pan. Cook until brown on both sides, and cooked through (about 5-7 minutes/side depending on the thickness of the chicken).
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Separate the chard leaves from the stems. Chop the stems into ½” pieces. Stack the leaves on top of each other. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice into ribbons.
  6. When the chicken is cooked, place to the side. Add about ¼ cup water to the pan to get up the browned bits. Add in your vegetables and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the chard stems are soft. Add in some salt and pepper.
  7. Meanwhile, slice the chicken into strips, then into chunks (however big you like them).
  8. When the vegetables are completely cooked, put aside with chicken.
  9. Add in the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan. Sprinkle with the ¼ c. flour and mix until combined.
  10. Slowly whisk milk into mixture. Allow the milk to heat up and thicken, stirring constantly. If it doesn’t get thick enough to your liking (think fruit smoothie), add some more flour. Too thick, add some more milk. Now, you can add the nutmeg.
  11. Add in the vegetables, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and pasta. Stir to combine. Top with parm cheese if you’d like.
  12. Place in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the top gets brown.
  13. Cool for about 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Those ridges really hang onto the sauce

Note: Feel free to freeze half of this dish in a baking dish like the recipe suggests. Just cook longer when you want to use it again!

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