Posts tagged ‘pasta’

Winter Veggie Pasta

Lately I’ve been looking for foods that are low in fat and calories, but high in protein, fiber and of course… flavor. This pasta dish was tasty, satisfying, and left me completely guilt free. (yes, please!)

8 oz uncooked whole grain spaghetti
3 cups broccoli florets
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp snipped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook pasta according to package directions (but omit the salt). Add broccoli to pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and return to pot.

Stir in tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper; heat through. Stir in parsley and sprinkle each serving with cheese.

This recipe is from the Eat Better America website, which is a great place to find “healthified” versions of yummy recipes. Check it out for more recipes like this one.

(original recipe here)


January 16 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Tortellini and Asparagus in a Red Wine Cream Sauce

This recipe is one I invented, inspired by a dish at a favorite Italian restaurant. I’m curious to know your thoughts. If you try it out, please let me know if there’s anything you’d change. Thanks!

7 oz package refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 slices bacon
1 cup diced Vidalia onion
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 1/2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
1 Tbsp flour

Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Separate bacon into bite-size pieces and cook in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the skillet. Add onion and mushrooms to skillet. Cook and stir for 4 minutes, or until onions are transparent and mushrooms are tender.

Add asparagus and stir. Add wine, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to half (about 7 minutes).

Add bacon and cream to skillet. Bring to a boil. Add flour, cook and stir for 30 seconds. Serve sauce over cooked tortellini.

This recipe is meant to be rich and creamy, so if you use a lean bacon, you might want to add a bit of butter to the skillet at the start. Also, I learned that if you add a touch of oil to the pot before you boil the tortellini, it’ll keep them from sticking together and tearing apart.

May 24 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Tomato Basil Chicken

We’ve made this recipe a couple of times now and love that it’s both easy to make and healthy, but also tastes fantastic. It came from one of our new favorite websites, Eat Better America, and there’s not a singe bad-for-you thing in it.

8 oz uncooked whole wheat fettuccine
2 tsp olive/vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped*
2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey breast
3 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp red pepper sauce

Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisp-tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except pasta; reduce heat to medium.

Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft. Serve over fettuccine.

*If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can substitute 2 14.5-oz cans of diced tomatoes. We did, and it definitely saved us on prep time.

March 24 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

Citrus Shrimp with Penne

The combination of shrimp and pasta with the fresh fruits and veggies makes this dish perfect for a summer evening. The spice might surprise you at first, but it pairs well with the citrus flavor.

The original recipe claims to serve four, but we ended up with enough for six decent-sized dinners. (How often does a recipe make more servings than it says it will?) And as you can obviously tell from the photo, we used bowtie pasta instead.

12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces (4 cups) dried penne pasta
1 tsp finely shredded orange peel
2 oranges
orange juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 red or green sweet pepper, cut into 3/4-inch squares
1 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups fresh pea pods, trimmed and halved diagonally

Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, peel the two oranges. Section them over a bowl, catching the juice; set oranges aside. Add enough orange juice to the bowl to total 1/2 cup. Add orange peel, 1/2 cup water, cornstarch, bouillon, sesame oil, salt, and ground red pepper; set aside.

In a large skillet, cook sweet pepper in hot oil over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove sweet pepper from skillet. Add shrimp to skillet; cook and stir about 2 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque. Remove shrimp from skillet.

Stir orange juice mixture; add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return shrimp and pepper to skillet; stir in pea pods. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Gently stir in orange sections. Gently toss shrimp mixture with pasta and serve.

My only recommendation for altering the recipe is to cut the oranges smaller. It makes it easier to eat and spreads the flavor around a bit more. (Careful, though, or they may fall apart as you stir them into the pasta.)


Recipe courtesy Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book

July 3 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Gnocchi al Pesto

An amazing dish I had at a local restaurant inspired me to try making gnocchi for the first time. I’d seen it in the store and heard it talked about on The Food Network, but this was my first shot at making it.

Turns out that potato gnocchi (pronounced nyō’kē) is not only SO GOOD, it’s also super quick and easy to make. This recipe* is a great way to get started making (or in our case, eating!) gnocchi.

1 18-ounce package potato gnocchi
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1 cup chopped tomatoes

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the zucchini and yellow pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Drain gnocchi; add gnocchi and pesto to skillet. Gently stir until well coated. Stir in tomatoes. Sprinkle with pine nuts if desired.


*posted by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen on

June 29 at 4:08 pm 3 comments

Lemon Cream-Sauced Pasta With Asparagus and Squash

So… can you figure out what’s in this recipe? Ha!

The Lemon Cream-Sauced pasta, et al. is from my beloved red-checkered cookbook (a.k.a Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book).  This dish is light and fresh enough to be eaten on a summer evening, yet still has the creamy buttery taste we all crave.

I’m posting the recipe as written in the cookbook, but I substituted a yellow summer squash (cut into about twelve pieces) for the baby squash.

8 ounces dry mafalda or rotini
2 cups asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 baby sunburst squash and/or patty pan squash, halved (4 oz)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook asparagus, sqash, and garlic in hot butter for 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove vegetables from skillet with a slotted spoon. Add to pasta.

Combine whipping cream and lemon peel in skillet; bring to boiling. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup. To serve, pour cream mixture over pasta mixture; stir gently to coat.


June 11 at 8:29 pm 1 comment

Festive Rotini

I was drawn to this recipe in Good Housekeeping because of its label, healthy in a hurry. I’m pretty sure it’s called “festive” because it has red and green in it and was in the December issue of the magazine.

Whatever its name, I call it wonderful!

12 oz rotini*
12 oz broccoli
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c Romano cheese

Heat oven to 450º. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli during last three minutes. Toss tomatoes, garlic, oil, and salt in bowl. Spread tomato mixure in 9 x 13 pan and roast 15 minutes or until tomatoes wrinkle and begin to burst, stirring halfway through cook time.

Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta. Add pasta water to pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Return all ingredients to pot and stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Make the smart choice. Use whole-grain pasta. 🙂

Festive Rotini

January 23 at 8:51 pm 1 comment

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