Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pesto Pasta

Alex and I are getting hitched next summer!  We need to cut back a bit in order to afford it, and to make myself feel better about not spending money over the next year, I decided to spend one last decent chunk of money.  That makes sense, right?  Anyway, I bought some pasta attachments for my Kitchenaid mixer.  I am in love!  I can pretty much make and boil a delicious serving of pasta in the time that it takes for dried pasta to cook (ok- add in a few minutes because I am usually watching TV at the same time and not being all that efficient).

Anyway, I've been on a huge pasta kick lately.  That combined with leftover basil caused me start craving this meal.  So, I invited a girlfriend over and I whipped this up for us.  She was subjected to a pasta making demonstration in exchange for her dinner, such a lucky girl!  Rating 8/10.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 tsp sea salt (optional)
~2 tbsp water

Combine the flour, eggs, and salt in a stand mixer mix briefly until the egg has been mixed into the flour.  Add the water slowly until a crumbly, yet formable dough has been created.
Roll out with pasta roller (this takes care of the kneading if you do it enough), and then cut into desired shape.
Cook in boiling water until al dente (around 4-6 minutes).

2 cup basil leaves
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
1-2 clove of garlic
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
6-7 tsp pasta water

Place basil, olive oil. walnuts, garlic, and lemon juice in food processor and pulse/wipe down the sides until everything is combined.
Add in the Parmesan, and continue to pulse/wipe down the sides until the cheese has been blended into the mixture.
Slowly add in pasta water until the desired consistency has been reached.

Toss the pasta with the pesto and some vegetables (tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms...)

Makes at least 4 servings.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red Lentil, Chickpea, and Tomato Soup

I am so glad that I finally have a night to myself so I can make a relatively meat-free meal (easily made vegetarian by using veggie broth). Just so you know, this is a good one!  I pretty much love any red lentil soup, but I know a soup is really great when I find myself licking up the "oops" splatters on my bowls before taking pictures of the food instead of wiping them off with a towel.  I almost whipped up a batch of naan to go with this, but I didn't want to waste any time waiting for the dough to rise when I could be inhaling this. Rating 9/10.

Recipe adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen
  • 1 yellow onion- diced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper if you want it spicy (more to taste) OR 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 2 cans of chickpeas- drained and rinsed
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 28 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes- preferably diced
Heat up the olive oil in a pan and saute the onion until softened- around 5 minutes.
Add the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, minced garlic, thyme, sea salt, and pepper to the pan and continue to cook until the spices become fragrant- about 2 minutes.
Combine the onion and spice mixture with the red lentils, chickpeas, and chicken broth in a dutch oven.
Bring the soup to a boil, and then lower the heat to low.
Cover and simmer for up to 45 minutes (it doesn't take this long for the lentils to soften, but I managed to let it simmer for this long).
Stir in the fire-roasted tomatoes and continue to cook until the tomatoes are heated through.
Optional- puree half of the soup and then recombine with the remaining soup to create a creamier texture.
Season with additional salt or pepper.
Serve with an optional dollop of Greek yogurt.

Check out Kalyn's Kitchen for crockpot instructions!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thin Crust Pizza

I haven't posted anything in a super long time.  I promise that I have a good excuse... I went home for spring break!  I just realized that every single spring break of my college career has been spent out at my mom's hobby farm shoveling freshly-thawed horse poo like there is no tomorrow.  This trip was no exception, no sunny beaches for me.  However, the trip was worth every wheelbarrow full of poo because I managed to get a great deal on a wedding dress!

Now I just need to maintain my weight over the next 15 months.  This might be a problem... Why?  I love me some pizza.  A little too much.  I eat it probably once a week.  I have no self control when it comes to pizza. I often find myself craving a thin crust pizza that is sturdy enough to eat without a knife and fork (unlike Neapolitan pizza, which I also crave all of the time).  Even though it is more substantial than my Neapolitan dough, I still find myself chucking margherita toppings on the crust like my life depends on it.  I am so boring, or maybe just easily pleased.   I am officially doomed to become a chubster and not fit into my gorgeous dress.  Dough rating 9/10.

Recipe adapted from How to Cook a Wolf
  • One 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup warm water

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the yeast, honey, and water in a small bowl.
Combine the flour, salt, and olive oil in a stand mixer bowl with the paddle attachment.
Mix the yeast mixture into mixer bowl once it has developed a considerable layer of froth.
Combine thoroughly, and then switch the paddle attachment out for a dough hook.
With the dough hook attached, knead the dough for 5 minutes.

Once the dough has formed into an elasticy ball, divide it into 4 even balls.
Place the dough balls in a large bowl and cover for 30 minutes.
If you are going to be cooking the pizza right away, preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone placed inside of it.
Roll out the dough to desired thickness once it has doubled in size.  Dust flour on the dough to prevent it from sticking to your roller.  I used my new pasta roller to roll the dough out superbly thin (hence the rectangle shape)!
Cover a pizza peel with cornmeal and prepare the pizza with desired toppings on it. If you are using finely shredded cheese you might want to wait to put your cheese on the pizza until it has been cooking for about two minutes to prevent it from turning into a burnt mess.
Slide the pizza off onto the pizza stone and bake for around 4-7 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and the cheese is golden.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Healthy Burger Substitutes

I always assumed that swiss chard had an offensive taste.  Do you know what is rich in beta-carotene and potassium, is a killer source of fiber, vitamins C, E, K, and is apparently essential for bone formation?  The same culprit.  Anyway, this week when I was grocery shopping I decided that Swiss Chard looked like a hardy contender to replace my hamburger buns.  Know what?  It wasn't that terrible.  I am now saving up my pennies (I think that I have about 52 by now) to buy a hardcore blender so that I can make green smoothies with swiss chard and other green leafies.

Since my first burger substitute is probably not going to make you run to the store to satisfy your need for green, here is a tasty AND HEALTHY burger substitute.  Ground buffalo!  Nom nom!

Anyway, this isn't a legit recipe.  I meant for it to serve as a eating PSA, since practically every omnivore loves hamburgers, and buns= not paleo-friendly.  If you are interested, here is how I assembled my super healthy burger

Swiss Chard (or kale, romaine lettuce, etc.)
Sliced red onion
A slice of Montery jack cheese (or other cheese)
A sprinkle of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional, use any other kind of cheese)
Ground buffalo patties

Season the patties with salt and pepper.
Grill or grill-pan fry the burgers and onion slices.
After you flip the burger slap a slab of cheese on your burger and continue cooking.  Place a lid over the burger to coax the cheese into melting faster.
Serve each patty on a leaf of Swiss Chard.
Top with MORE shredded cheddar cheese, spinach, and any other toppings that you love.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Haitian Chicken

I'm back!  Going home for my mom's wedding combined with Alex being in poor health has led to me not cooking.  I finally made a meal tonight, and the void that has been consuming me for the past week has been partially patched.  I need to make some more homemade Larabars before I'll be fully repaired.

Does anyone else think of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless when they read/hear the word Haitian?  Anyway, this recipe was really really good.  And easy!  I didn't have to buy ANYTHING for this meal besides the chicken, so if you have a well-stocked pantry/spice rack you probably won't need to buy anything anything either.  I actually bought a whole chicken for this meal.  How intimidating!  Quartering the chicken turned out to be a messy operation, and I'm pretty sure that my whole kitchen is now extremely contaminated since all that I had to clean it on hand was Windex.  Note for future self- buy a boning knife.

Aside from the gore and excessive fluids, working with a whole chicken was kind of fun.  I've  never actually had a chicken leg before, so tonight I finally got to find out what all the fuss is about (num num!!). 

I served this meal over a bed of spinach and "caulirice" (see note at bottom).  Alex and my amiga liked the broth so much that they thought that this made a better soup than served as a salad, and mixed the spinach and raw caulirice in with the chicken broth.  The flavor of this dish was novel to all of us and the chicken came out extremely tender, and was a hit with Al, my amiga Kelly, and me.  Rating 8/10.

Adapted from New York Cookbook

1 whole chicken- quartered
4 cups of chicken broth
1 tsp of white wine vinegar (substitute with lemon juice to keep it paleo)
1 onion- sliced
4 cloves of garlic- minced
1/2 tsp minced fresh chile OR 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 whole cloves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup of broccoli florets
1 cup of cauliflower florets
1 cup diced carrots (I forgot add these because I always manage to leave something out, but it was still great!)

Combine everything except for the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots into a large ovenproof casserole/Dutch oven.
Heat on the stove top over medium heat until boiling.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cover the casserole, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
Stir in the vegetables, recover the casserole, and continue to bake for 20 minutes.
Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over rice or caulirice, OR serve in a bowl with plenty of the chicken broth.

Alex told me about using cauliflower as a substitute for rice.  Not only is this healthier for you, but it is paleo-friendly!  Also- you don't need to time the rice so it comes out at the same time as your meal.  Double score.

1 head of cauliflower

Break the cauliflower into florets.
Fit a food processor with the grating blade.
Drop the cauliflower into the feed tube and press down with the feed tube presser-downer.
1 head of lettuce should provide enough "caulirice" for 4-6 people.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Black Bean Tacos

I don't like buying tortillas because I can never ever use them up before all 10000 of them go bad.  I can usually use up half of the tortillas before they go bad, but I've vowed to now use them all up!  Enter this nummy meal.  It's the third meal that I've managed to make within the past week using the same bag of tortillas, and I'm ALMOST OUT- HOORAY!  It's also a great way to use up a bit of veggies, and some feta cheese (another thing that always goes bad here).  This is quick, satisfying, and completely vegetarian (I didn't need to feed the meat eater tonight).  Rating 8/10.

Note- I made them with canned black beans and they weren't as good as the version with home baked black beans.

15 oz of black beans- canned or home prepared
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 red onion- diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
6 inch corn tortillas (substitute with romaine lettuce leaves/other greens to keep it paleo)
Red cabbage- thinly sliced
Feta cheese

Combine the beans, cumin, garlic, and red onion in a pot and heat until cooked through.
Season the beans with salt and pepper.
Heat up 1 tsp of olive oil a pan over medium heat.
Place a corn tortilla in the pan and cook until browned on one side- about one minute.
Flip the tortilla and place the bean mixture along the middle and continue cooking until the other side is golden.
Top with red cabbage, spinach, and feta cheese