laurenlikestocook

How About a Quickie…or Two

In Bread, CSA, Fruit, Italian, Nuts, Pasta, Quick Meal, Salad, Saving Money, Shopping, Vegetables on June 13, 2012 at 12:11 am

With the bounty of cleaned and prepped veggies from this week’s CSA share, I’ve had a lot of ideas for some new recipes.  Especially ones that are super quick.  Think half of a 30 Minute Meal.  Which reminds me , the inspiration for 2 recipes I’ve made thus far is the queen of quick meals, Rachael Ray.  Some people love her, others hate her.  I have to say I kind of hate that I kinda love her.  I must admit that her morning talk show is one of my guilty pleasures, and after I’ve managed to look past her kitschy jargon and painfully bright kitchenware items, I’ve learned a few things from the lady.  Although many of her recipes break my personal calorie/fat budget, and incorporate meat, meat-based stocks, and TONS of bacon, she does make whole and real foods accessible to the masses.  She also happens to love both Italian and Mexican foods, so that will always catch my attention.

A few weeks ago, I caught an episode of her morning show that featured a chef whose new book is all about cooking with super foods, or what he calls “Hero Foods”, as a means of healing his own personal health issues (RA in particular).  It was very interesting to see the correlation between diet and healing, but I’m sure this sentiment was lost on most of the audience.  Later on in the episode, Rachael used two super foods – kale and almonds – to create a caesar style kale pesto pasta.  I’m not a huge advocate of pestos in general, because they usually include a lot of oil, and more than the “in moderation” amount.  However, I liked the idea of pulsing leafy greens into a paste for pastas.  That way I can trick my hubby into eating more veggies, because all the volume is removed and each bite packs a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals.  And what better time than on a Sunday when he is busy doing housework and is starving for the first thing available for inhaling?

Whole Wheat Spaghetti; crushed red pepper; garlic scapes; parmesan cheese; broccoli rabe; raw almonds

Broccoli Rabe and Almond Pesto with Whole Wheat Spaghetti  Adapted from Rachael Ray

Serves 4

8 oz whole wheat spaghetti, or any pasta of your choice
1 bunch broccoli rabe, roughly chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup raw almonds
2 garlic scapes, roughly chopped (or 2 cloves garlic)
1-2 teaspoons red chili flakes, depending on desired heat level
Juice of one lemon
1 cup reserved pasta water

I brought the water to a boil in a covered pot.  While waiting, I added all the other ingredients, except pasta, lemon juice and pasta water, to my food processor and let it run until it was all ground up.  I didn’t add any oil, figuring the fats from the nuts and cheese would suffice.

By the way, you could use any greens you have on hand for this recipe.  I picked broccoli rabe because it is the least “gross” green from the share that Nick will kind of eat.

Once the water is boiled, I added salt and the pasta, cooking for 7 minutes.  During that time, I transferred the ground green mixture to a skillet sans oil, and cooked over medium high heat.

A minute or so before the pasta was done, I squeezed some lemon juice to start deglazing the pan.

Once the pasta was ready, I turned off the flame, and added the pasta liquid to the pan to create a more saucy consistency.

After 30 seconds of mixing, I incorporated the pasta.

And then it was time to mangia!  Only 15 minutes after starting!

I thought it was freaking delicious.  Nick said it was prepared excellently, he just still couldn’t get over the actual taste of broccoli rabe.  He actually left some of it in his bowl, like the way a lady leaves something on the plate.  Probably because he was going to see Prometheus  and wanted to save room for butter laden popcorn.

The next day, I wanted to throw something quick together for dinner.  I was thinking of some sort of salad that incorporated the radishes from the share, but then couldn’t really figure out what to pair with it.  While brainstorming with Nick on the phone, I almost gave into buying a couple slices of pizza from the pizza shop!  However, I was a good girl and said I’d just make some pizza instead – only using really thin whole wheat pitas instead of dough.  Pitza is my new go-to for the hubby, being quick and delish!  Since I was going Italian again, I decided to grab an orange and red onion while at the store to add to the salad.  I actually got that idea from Ms. Ray, too.  Once episode she had the cheesemonger from Fairway on to pair cheeses with foods, and one such Italian cheese was added to an orange/red onion concoction.  Seriously, it’s a freaking amazing combo, and if I wasn’t eating cheese on pitza I’d have added cheese to this salad.  It’s also really easy to make and super refreshing.

Whole Wheat Pitza

Serves ones (just multiply for additional loaves – I eat one, and my hubby eats 2-3)

1 thin whole wheat pita (80-100 calorie size)
2 tbsp good marinara sauce
1 oz shredded fresh mozzarella
1.5 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese
veggies and/or meats of your choice (optional)

This is so simple, even a 10 year old could do it!  It’s kind of like english muffin pizzas, only better.  Turn the toaster oven on to 350° (or regular oven, but the toaster oven is way faster).

Spread sauce on pita.  I made 2 at a time.  Then sprinkle the cheeses on each one.

Bake 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven, until crispy brown on top.

Very simple and easy.  I made the salad while it was baking.

Radish, Red Onion, and Orange Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing

Serves 2

Salad:

4 large or 8 small radishes, sliced thin
1/4 red onion, sliced in crescents
1 navel orange, peeled and sliced thin
1 garlic scape, thinly sliced (or 1 clove garlic, minced)
1 small bunch arugula
3-4 leaves red leafy lettuce

Dressing:

1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp agave nectar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp EVOO
Salt and Pepper to taste

I sliced up all the salad ingredients.

Radishes.

Red Onion.

Orange.

Garlic Scapes.

Then I had to chop the greens.  My method of storing arugula wasn’t the best, as I forgot to actually store it in a bag or container, so I had to chop it up finely like an herb, and fill the rest of the bowl with some leafy lettuce.

Red Leafy Lettuce.

Spicy Arugula. Mmmmm.

In a separate bowl, I combined the dressing ingredients with a whisk, and then poured over the salad ingredients to be mixed.

Here’s everything plated up!

Doesn’t that look yummy?  A well balanced meal that only took 10 minutes!  I usually don’t have the pitza for dinner, but I splurged and had one.  They really aren’t so bad for you, only about 200 calories each, which is like half of a real slice of pizza.  As for the salad, super yummy and healthy!  Full of colors, textures, and with a light dressing that is only 35 calories a tbsp.  I swear, that is my last calorie calculation for this post!

There you have it!  Two recipes that take 15 minutes or less, both incorporating real foods like fresh veggies and whole grains.

Here’s a bonus recipe.  This one takes 2 minutes and 1 minute to cleanup.  I had this smoothie today as a pre-yoga snack to hold me over until dinner.

Protein-Packed Green Smoothie

6 oz nonfat Greek Yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 large handfuls (about 3 cups) chopped kale

Add everything to a good blender (I have a Vitamix).  Blend it.  Pour it in a glass.  Drink it while you clean up.  Or shower. Or walk the dog.

Using white/yellow ingredients allows the greens to really show!

Now, I know that looks like split pea soup, but it’s freaking delicious.  You can’t even taste the kale, but it’s definitely in there.  I use any combo of fruit: blueberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, etc.  However, the more colorful the fruit, the less green/more brown it ends up looking.

Okay, I am finally done for this post!  It took me twice as long to write as it did to prepare everything AND clean up.  I guess that’s because I like to take my time to make everything looks so pretty.  So much for a quickie in the blogging department.

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  1. What wonderful ways to use your fresh produce! Every dish looks delicious 🙂

    I host a weekly CSA link party and would love for you to be a part of it. Come and check it out and add your link…http://inherchucks.com/2012/06/06/whats-in-the-box-29/. Hope to see you there!

    • Thanks for the feedback! I had a chance yesterday to look through your site and your link parties, and I even discovered one of those blogger’s CSAs comes from the same farm as mine :). It’s really interesting to see what others are doing with their produce, as well as what farms grow in other parts of the country. I’d love to link up, but not sure which URL to use. Let me know and I’ll link my next post.

      • How cool! Small world, huh?

        It’s best to link up the URL that relates to your CSA post or recipe.

        Let me know if you have any more questions.

  2. All good things. I love the simplicity of pesto and the way you’ve built your salad. I also laughed out loud about your spot-on Rachel Ray comments.

  3. […] usually gets reserved for my lunches and breakfasts.  Everything else can either be mixed into a pesto, soup or stirfry as a means of concealment.  Of course, come July and August he will see the value […]

  4. Great Post! In a couple of months, my wife will be carting back Chard from our community greenhouse. Last year I felt inundated trying to decide how to cook it all… Pesto is a terrific idea!

  5. […] lettuce – Radish, Red Onion, and Orange Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing and Gingered Snow Peas and Chinese 5 Spice Seitan Lettuce […]

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