Tuesday, July 30, 2013

One Pot Pasta

I kept seeing all the pins on Pintrest for One Pot Pasta. Pretty much throw everything into one pot, let it cook for awhile, and you have prefect pasta in a light tomato sauce. Sounded too good not to try! There are a ton of variations of the recipe, but it appears that the "original recipe" (the one that made it popular) is from Martha Stewart. I kept it simple and pretty true to the originally. But I wanted it creamier, so I added some arrow root powder (or starch) to thicken it up without adding a lot of calories.

Arrow root powder is a natural thickener that comes from South America. It's is similar to corn starch and can substitute for it. I like it better because it is finer and blends better (plus you know, the whole Monsanto King of the Corn thing...) You may notice in the photos that I used spaghetti and fettuccine. I had a half box of each and wanted to use them up. I am big believer is using what you have on hand in order to save money.  I also used organic cherry tomatoes from the veggie box delivery (they are so good, I could eat them by themselves!).

This recipe makes 4 servings.

One Pot Pasta
1/2 small white onion, sliced fine
1 small carton of cherry tomatoes, rinsed and greens removed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 sprigs of basil, leafs removed and roughly chopped
12 oz  (just shy of one box) of pasta
1 tps red chili flakes
5 cups of water
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbs Arrow Root Powder or Corn Starch

In a large, shallow pot, add all the ingredients except the olive oil, arrow root powder, salt, and pepper.

Cook for 5 minutes, just until the tomatoes bring to break. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Cook for another 5 minutes or so (it will vary based on the directions for the pasta), until  the pasta is cooked.
Remove from the heat. About about 1/4 cup of liquid will remain.

Add the arrow root powder and toss together well. The sauce will get slightly thicker and creamier.

Taste for seasoning, mine need a little more salt.

Now serve it up with some extra basil and enjoy!

A light sauce that is just a tad creamy without all the fat! Filling without being over the top. I am so going to make this again.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Roasted Fennel Carrots

I decided to make a healthier side dish for burgers instead of fries. I randomly threw some spices on some carrots and roasted them. They came out so good I could not believe it. Michael instantly told me to put them on my blog! I used the organic carrots from my veggie box delivery.

This recipe calls for mango powder. The powder it made from dried green mangoes. It's a common spice in Indian cooking.  It's kind of tart and zesty. I bought it awhile since most of the Indian foods Michael ask for call for it (I am trying to not make "white people Indian food" as he calls it) and I am learning to love it. It can be found in Indian Grocery stores and most health food stores. It's worth adding to your spice rack. 

This recipes make 2 servings, but can be easily multiplied.

Roasted Fennel Carrots
1 medium bunch of carrots, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 tbs coconut oil (warmed if necessary so it is liquid) 
1 tsp mango powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
1/2  tbs whole fennel seeds
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

If using fresh organic carrots, cut the top greens off. Wash well.

Chop the carrots into larger bit-sized pieces, about 1 inch or so. 

In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and toss to coat well. 

Roast in the oven until soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes. 

A healthy side dish loaded with flavor! 


Friday, July 12, 2013

Coconut Brownies

I felt patriotic and nice last week, so I made brownies for Independence Day. Michael requested brownies, so I decided to make a big batch and take half to work. To make them patriotic, I decided on red and blue sprinkles, mainly because I already had some at home. For the white, I decided against doing plain frosting. It was just too traditional and boring. I decided on shredded coconut instead, since I was already using coconut oil in the batter. Might as well just keep the same flavors going. 

I used box mix for this, mainly because it was just easier. Vegan box mixes are not that hard to find, just read the ingredients. I do not eat processed and packaged foods that often, but a treat once in awhile is always nice. 

I made double batch, but you can always just half the recipe and make one.

Coconut Brownies
2 boxes of chewy brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp cornstarch 
1.5 cups vanilla soy milk
1 can of chocolate frosting (I used Duncan Hines)
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
Red sprinkles
Blue Sprinkles

Pre-heat the oven according to the temperature on the box. 

Spray a baking pan (I used a 9x11) with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, coconut oil, applesauce, cornstarch, and soy milk. Stir until smooth. 

Pour the batter into the baking sheet and cook according to the directions on the package. 

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Once cool, spread on the frosting in a light layer. No need to make it fancy, it's just there to make the coconut shreds stay. 

Cover the frosting with the shredded coconut, covering up as much of the brown as possible.

Next sprinkle on some red and blue sprinkles. 

Now you have a patriotic treat!

Michael and my coworkers liked them, yeah! And, if you change the sprinkle colors, they could be for any holiday. Red and green for Christmas. Yellow, pink, and purple for Easter. Purple, gold, and green for Mardi Gras. Black and Orange for Halloween. In your favorite teams colors for the Superbowl or the World Series too. Of what chromatic fun!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Corn Chowder

One of the best things at the restaurant I used to work at was the Corn Chowder. Creamy, sweet, a little spicy and tons of flavor. So I decided to make my own version at home since I had lovely fresh organic corn from my vegetable box delivery.

This recipe makes 4 servings. 
Corn Chowder
4 ears of fresh corn (frozen will not work for this)
Olive oil
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped 
2 cups soy milk
2 to 4 cups water
Salt and Pepper
Chili Powder
Cilantro, chopped
Avocado, optional
Salsa, optional 

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the husks and clean off all the silk.

Remove the kernels from cob. I did this by holding the cobs vertical and cutting straight down with a knife over a plate. You can leave the kernels for roasting and cut them off later, but I think this is easier. 

Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and spread the kernels down in an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Some might go a little blacks, that is totally fine. 

Set aside and let the kernels cool completely. 

Meanwhile, remove the stem from the poblano and chop into small pieces.

Peal the onion and chop as well. 

Remove the stem (and sees if you want less heat) from the jalapeno and chop too.

In pot over medium heat, add a little olive oil and saute the chopped veggies until softened. Turn off the heat and set aside. 

Next, get out your blender or food processor. Add the corn, soy milk, and two cups of water. It should be smooth, but with a little texture. Add additional water as needed. 

Once you get the desired texture, add the puree to the pot with the veggies. Turn on the heat to low. 

Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. Once it is heated through, remove from the heat and add some cilantro.

I topped mine with some sliced avocado and salsa. Serve it with a warm tortilla or chips on the side too. So good and pretty light on calories too. In fact, you can probably skip the olive oil all together and it would still be great.