Pasta, Spinach and Pine Nuts- You can’t go wrong

Favorite Meal this week: Tortellini, Spinach and Toasted Pine Nuts

Monday

This is one of our go-to meals. I’m actually surprised we haven’t posted it yet because we make it a lot. It’s easy and delicious.

Tortellini, Spinach and Toasted Pine Nuts

1 package of fresh tortellini
1-2 packages of fresh spinach
olive oil or butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons about of Pine Nuts, toasted
Salt and Pepper to season
Grated Parmesan

Bowl the water for the pasta. Meanwhile, in a saute pan place the butter or olive oil. Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and toss until cooked down. Season with salt and pepper. Once the pasta water is ready, add the pasta and cook according to package. Serve pasta with the spinach and toasted pine nuts. Top with grated parmesan.

Tuesday

We went out for some yummy Mediterranean food! Can you say falafel?

Wednesday

We tried a new recipe. It was kind of sweet for dinner, but worth a try, especially with the lime sauce. This dish could be good for singles as you could make as much or little as you want!

Brie and Peach Quesadillas

Sauce:

    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind

Quesadillas:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced peeled firm ripe peaches (about 2 large)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • Chive strips (optional)

Preparation

  1. To prepare sauce, combine first 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk; set aside.
  2. To prepare quesadillas, combine peaches, 1 tablespoon chives, and sugar, tossing gently to coat. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange one-fourth of cheese and one-fourth of peach mixture over half of each tortilla; fold tortillas in half. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until tortillas are lightly browned and crisp. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 3 wedges; serve with sauce. Garnish with chive strips, if desired.

Note:Placing the fillings on one side of the tortilla and folding the other half over (like a taco) makes the quesadillas easier to handle. Whole wheat tortillas would also be great, offering a sweet, nutty taste. The lime-honey dipping sauce balances the richness of the buttery filling.

Cooking Light
JUNE 2005

Thursday

We made pizza! Seriously…pizza is just so easy and delicious. I swear we never make the same pizza twice!

Friday

Grilled Salmon! Yum! We’ve had our real grill for just about a year now (I say real grill because for YEARS we used an electric George Forman grill. Mainly because when we lived in our apartment that was the only “grill” we were allowed to own). Anyway, last year we upgraded to a “MANLY MAN” grill with real fire! Over the course of the year, I’m pretty sure “B” has gotten better and better at grilling! He uses ANY opportunity to grill. Plus, I don’t mind because that usually means less dishes for me! That’s what we call a Win-Win!

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Beautiful Stacks of Food On and In-Between Bread

This week we made a new batch of the sauce “B” made for his fish tacos last week and used it on almost every meal!

Favorite Recipe this week: Open-Faced Sandwiches with Mushrooms and Fried Eggs
This Week’s Grocery List

Sunday

We saw the most beautiful dish in the new Cooking Light we received so we had to try it – Tomato Stack Salad with Corn and Avocado! While sometimes we can swing a side dish as a main meal, this one didn’t have any protein or carbs in it so we grilled up some tofu to go with it. “B” slathered the tofu with the sauce he used for the fish tacos last week (See FRIDAY’s recipe from last week) and it was spicy and delicious!

Tomato Stack Salad with Corn and Avocado

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  • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (We use a splash of cider vinegar and the rest regular milk– let it sit for five minutes and ta-da – buttermilk!)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 ears shucked corn
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices total
  • 2 globe tomatoes, cut into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices total
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 ripe peeled avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation
1. Combine buttermilk and next 5 ingredients (through garlic), stirring with a whisk. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
2. Coat corn with cooking spray. Place corn on grill rack; grill 8 minutes or until well marked, turning occasionally. Remove from grill; cool slightly. Cut corn kernels from cobs. We also grilled the Tomato slices because, hey why not!
3. Sprinkle tomato slices evenly with salt. Alternate layers of tomato and avocado on each of 4 plates. Scatter corn evenly onto plates. Drizzle each tomato stack with about 1 1/2 tablespoons dressing and 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper over salads.

Adapted from Cooking Light AUGUST 2012

Monday

Newlyweds C&C came over for dinner! “B” really wanted to impress with his fish tacos, but I kind of remembered that one of the Mrs. C didn’t really like fish. Luckily we had some marinated chicken in the freezer. So we took that out and grilled it up for tacos as well. This was my first time actually tasting the entire “oh-my-gosh, you-have-to-try-this” fish taco and it was actually pretty good. It seemed that C&C enjoyed them as well.

Tuesday

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Pizzzzzzza! Love Pizza! This time we had an AH-HA moment. What if we used last week’s piadine recipe and just rolled it out larger to make pizza dough on the grill?! Brilliant! We made the piadine recipe and the split the dough in two. Half was rolled out to a make one pizza and the second half was placed in the freezer for another time. We had left over of the fish taco sauce so we used that as the “tomato” sauce. We also used kalamata olives, arugula, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella for the topping. It grilled up pretty quickly on the bottom, so we finished melting the cheese by placing the entire pizza in the oven for a little bit. Overall it was a nice thin crust crunch grilled pizza. What we LOVE about pizza is you really can’t go wrong…put anything you have in fridge on there! — well ALMOST anything!

Wednesday

We rarely have steak, but we saw this recipe in the recent issue of Cooking Light and decided to try it:

Steak Sandwiches with Pickled Onion and Herb Aioli

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  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or dried (just use less) thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound flank steak, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12-ounce) French bread baguette
  • 1 cup arugula leaves

Preparation

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until boiling. Stir in onion. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

3. Combine mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients (through garlic).

4. Rub steak evenly with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place steak on grill rack; grill 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into thin slices.

5. Cut baguette in half lengthwise. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick shell; reserve torn bread for another use. Place bread, cut sides down, on grill rack; grill 1 minute or until toasted.

6. Drain onion mixture; discard liquid. Arrange steak evenly over bottom half of baguette; top evenly with onion and arugula. Spread mayonnaise mixture over cut side of top baguette half; place on sandwich. Cut into 4 pieces.

Cooking Light AUGUST 2012

Thursday

This recipe is from the same issue of cooking light and yes, it’s another sandwich, but it was our favorite this week. (Though the first time we made it, “B” made the mushrooms way too salty for “F”‘s tastes) Try this recipe and feel free to change it up. On Saturday night we made a version of this but used grilled veggies instead of mushrooms–yum!

Open-Faced Sandwiches with Mushrooms and Fried Eggs

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  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) package presliced cremini mushrooms (or whatever kind you would like)
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 teaspoons refrigerated pesto
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) slices multigrain bread
  • 2 ounces grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices beefsteak tomato
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 2/3 cup shallots; cook 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and salt; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove mushroom mixture from pan; keep warm.

2. Return pan to medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add remaining 1/3 cup shallots; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove shallots from pan; keep warm.

3. Preheat broiler to high.

4. Spread 2 teaspoons pesto over one side of each bread slice. Top each slice with about 2 tablespoons cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts; keep warm.

5. Return pan to medium heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Crack eggs into pan, and cook 4 minutes or until whites are set.

6. Top each bread slice with 2 tomato slices. Divide mushroom mixture evenly among bread slices, and top each serving with 1 egg. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, shallots, and basil.

Cooking Light, AUGUST 2012

Friday

It was the opening ceremony of the Olympics so we went to J&Z’s house for tea sandwiches and tea! How British! One of our favorite tea sandwiches was when “B” found some date nut bread in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and spread whipped cream cheese and sliced strawberries on it…. yum!

Two Mondays, Two Fridays, A Cheesy Week.

Monday

Here we go! So this week was a little abnormal just because we had a holiday thrown in the middle and we utilized the grill for much of the week. We started the week with a new recipe “Be” (or “B” of “BeFresher”- get it?) had his eye on because it had squash in it. You will see shortly that anything squash…especially soup, makes “B” go in to some sort of food orgasm. Anyway, this was a healthier version of the classic Mac and Cheese since it used a Butternut Squash Bachamel…yeah I had no clue what that meant either…but I figured we could try it. I think it just means some sort of fancy puree/sauce? I don’t really feel like looking it up. Let’s just call it yum and stick to that.

Here’s the recipe with our changes because we just can’t resist making changes even if we’ve never made the dish before:

Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese (OUR FAVORITE RECIPE OF THE WEEK)

Adapted from Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2011

Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

Hands-on:1 Hour

Total:1 Hour, 25 Minutes

3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1[1-pound] squash)

1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium veggie broth (we use Better Than Boullion – it’s amazing and less wasteful)

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

3-4 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

A large pinch of salt-free Cajun Spice (our personal addition)

About 2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt (I think I added a little extra)

1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese (We used Fontina as we had some on-hand)

1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

1 pound uncooked cavatappi or whatever pasta you have on hand

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley

Ingredients

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, Cajun spice and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère (or Fontina), pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined.

Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

5. Combine panko and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.

6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.
Tip: do dishes while waiting for each step to finish. (Clean as you go!)

This dish will be on our go to dishes, especially for company, mainly because of the number of dishes it required.

Tuesday and Wednesday

We went out for dinner Tuesday and on Wednesday we had burgers. “B” loves to grill pineapple and make his homemade guac to put on the burgers….yum! You NEED to try that combo.

Thursday

Normally we have salmon or some sort of fish once a week. We usually put a little olive oil on it and then salt and one of our two favorite salt-free seasonings (cajun or lamb seasoning –it has rosemary and other spices in it). This time we tried to grill it and we served it with left over mac and cheese (we placed the mac in a foil packet and grilled it) and a salad.

Friday

Another new recipe from Cooking Light. “B” says this must be served hot and don’t forget the green onions and seasame seeds (toasted). “F” thought this dish was just ok. It’s a good summer dish and allowed for great teamwork. One person made the sauce while the other cut up the eggplant and tofu. Oh teamwork in the kitchen is like a perfectly orchestrated symphony!

Grilled Eggplant and Tofu Steaks with Sticky Hoisin Glaze

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
1/3 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
1 serrano chile, finely chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 (1-pound) eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Preparation

1. Place tofu on paper towels; cover with paper towels. Top with a heavy skillet; let stand 20 minutes. Cut tofu crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices.

2. Combine ketchup and next 6 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until reduced to 1 cup (12 minutes), stirring occasionally. Set aside 1/2 cup.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

4. Brush oil over tofu and eggplant; sprinkle with salt. Place eggplant on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 2 minutes. Turn eggplant over, and brush with 2 tablespoons sauce; grill 2 minutes. Turn eggplant over; brush with 2 tablespoon sauce. Cook 2 minutes on each side.

5. Add tofu to grill; grill 3 minutes. Turn tofu over, and brush with 2 tablespoons sauce; grill 3 minutes. Turn tofu over and brush with 2 tablespoons sauce; grill for 1 minute on each side. Sprinkle with onions and seeds. Serve with eggplant and 1/2 cup reserved sauce.

Mark Bittman, Cooking Light
JULY 2012

Saturday

My brother and his gf as well as two of our local friends came over for brunch so we decided to make one of our classics and absolute favorite recipes! Veggie quiche with a potato crust!!

Spinach and Tomato Quiche with Potato Crust

2 medium Russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into very thin disks (less than 1/8 inch)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained of all liquid (or we saute fresh spinach with garlic —tastes much better!)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small head of broccoli
 5 or 6 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1/2 cup cheese (any cheese you have on hand- cheddar is always great)
7 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Layer the sliced potatoes in an even layer in the bottom of a pie plate or quiche pan, overlapping the edges a bit. Brush with the olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and slightly crisp. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the red pepper, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli and cheese. Spread mixture in an even layer into the potato crust, then place the tomatoes cut side down on top of the vegetables.

In another large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and salt and pepper. Whisk until totally combined. Pour over the the vegetables. Top with additional black pepper, if desired. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted  in the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Two Mondays, Two Friday’s Grocery Shopping List

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Mac and Cheese!