My family LOVES this dish- Spicy Sausage & Arugula Pasta. It is my 'go-to' dinner on many nights. It also works great as a party food because it can be eaten warm or cold and the ingredients can be easily adjusted depending on how many people you will be having. In a lot of cases, I just add additional pasta. Don't worry if you make too much - it tastes GREAT in an omelet the next day for breakfast, too. Enjoy!
Spicy Sausage & Arugula Pasta
For the pasta:
1 box of fusilli pasta
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water from cooked pasta
For the sausage & arugula topping:
1 pound bulk hot sausage
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 large bunch fresh baby arugula
Cook fusilli according to box directions. While it is boiling, crumble sausage and brown it in a separate deep pan (I use a wok) on medium heat. Add the minced garlic to the browned sausage and let cook for one minute. Stir in tomatoes and let them cook down a bit (about 2 minutes). Fold in arugula, cover and turn off heat. The arugula will steam nicely with the heat that remains.
When pasta is done, drain it reserving a 1/3 cup of the water. Mix salt, pepper, parmesan and oil in a small bowl. Stir in water. Toss onto hot pasta coating it evenly.
For small parties, you can serve the pasta with the sausage mixture on top. For larger parties, I like to toss it altogether in a big bowl so people can serve themselves.
To make it Whole 30 approved, all you need to do is serve the sausage mixture atop some roasted spaghetti squash or raw zucchini noodles (zoodles) omitting the parmesan cheese. I like using raw zoodles because they keep their shape and will warm up under the mixture anyway.
I just finished breakfast and had to jump on the ol' laptop before I forget all the ingredients I just used. I definitely do NOT want to forget this one because it was so flipping good. Peaches...blueberries...crumbly stuff on top... I already want more.
Paleo Peach Blueberry Crumble
2 ripe peaches roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 tsp -1 tsp honey (depending on ripeness of peaches and your taste)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
sprinkling of nutmeg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup pecans chopped
1/4 cup almond flour
1 Tbsp clarified butter or ghee
1/2 tsp honey
Melt a little clarified butter or ghee in the bottom of a 1 quart casserole dish and spread it around. Stir filling ingredients in a bowl and pour into prepared casserole dish. Add pecans and shredded coconut to your food processor or blender and whirl for a few seconds to get a finer chop. Add the rest of the crumble ingredients and pulse until just blended, not too fine. Sprinkle crumble ingredients over the prepared filling and bake at 375° for about 20 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and the filling is bubbly.
Let it cool for about 5 minutes or you will be biting into molten lava. Scoop it into a bowl and enjoy!
I love my CSA. You know that by now. I really can't say enough wonderful things about it. If you have the ability to join one in your area, you really REALLY should. And if you're in MY area, you should check out the farm I've been going to for the season: The Sea Salt CSA at B & B Farms. The season is still going strong and I'm still amazed at the bounty I bring home every week.
I love being given specific ingredients and using them to come up with meals my family will eat. It makes it so much easier for me when I'm given fewer choices. (Just ask my husband what it's like dining with me in a restaurant that has an extensive menu.) Every week, I can plan my meals according to that week's crops which makes my brain happy.
The past few weeks, there has been a huge harvest of peppers of every size, shape, color, and level of spiciness. My favorites have been the long gorgeous red Italian peppers that look like they should be in the movies. They are delicious cooked into cacciatore or stuffed with meats and vegetables or even eaten raw.
This week, I roasted a bunch of those beautiful red peppers to store for the winter. **If you've never roasted a pepper, it's seriously so easy. Just put as many as you would like in a single layer on a broiler pan close to the flame in the broiler until the skin turns black and blistery. Be sure you turn the peppers to get all sides. It takes about 15 minutes total. Then take them out and drop them into a paper bag and close it for about 10 minutes. Using the back of a knife, scrape off the black skin and cut the peppers in half. Scrape out the ribs and seeds and you're all done. You can store them in the fridge packed in olive oil for a few weeks, but for longer storage just lay them between wax paper in a sealed container in the freezer.**
I saved one roasted pepper to use for dinner tonight. I had taken out chicken drumsticks and thought I'd try to marinate them with some sort of roasted pepper/garlic/herb marinade. This is what I came up with:
Roasted Italian Red Pepper and Garlic Marinated Chicken
1 roasted red pepper (or about 1/3 cup if you have chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried parsley
salt to taste
8 chicken drumsticks
Blend all the above ingredients (except the drumsticks, of course) in your food processor or blender until smooth. Pour over chicken drumsticks and let marinate for at least 4 hours in the fridge turning every couple hours to make sure everything is coated.
Grill chicken on medium grill (450° surface temp) turning frequently until internal temp is 185° (about 30 minutes). And let me know what you think!
If you are into buying produce that is in season or if you're part of a local CSA you probably notice that now is the time for eggplant in the northeastern states. I love eggplant so much and would eat it every day if I could. Luckily, right now I can. So I do. A lot.
This year, I got a few of those skinny Chinese eggplants in my share, and didn't know what to do with them. I looked up some recipes but none of them were exactly what I wanted. But then my husband said, "Why don't you fry them up like you would regular eggplant and use them as dippers?" That sounded absolutely perfect. But of course, I had to take it a step further and make them even prettier. So I came up with these little Eggplant Rollatini bites that I think would be absolutely perfect for your next get together with friends!
Eggplant Rollatini Bites
6 skinny Chinese eggplants cut into thin rounds (about 1/4 inch)
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs- beaten
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs places in a large sealable plastic bag
1 quart frying oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2- 1 cup your favorite marinara sauce
10 basil leaves
Prepare your eggplant by salting the rounds generously and letting them sit for about 1/2 hour until the moisture is pulled to the top. Rinse off the salt and pat the eggplant dry between paper towels giving them a good squeeze to get as much liquid out as possible. Heat your oil in a deep pan to about 375°.
Toss the rounds in the flour shaking off any excess. Dip into beaten eggs shaking off excess. Then add the coated rounds to the bag of bread crumbs and shake them until coated.
Fry the rounds in batches in the oil until golden about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle. Layer one round with a dollop of ricotta, another round, a drizzle of marinara, and a small basil leaf. If your basil leaves are large, just cut them into slivers to use on each bite.
I actually served these as a meal last night with some pasta and the leftover marinara sauce. In fact, I think I might go have the leftovers for lunch right now...
I love naturally colorful food. I try to incorporate as many different colors into each meal as possible. I feel like every color is a different nutrient. I don't know if that's accurate, but as far as I'm concerned it's enough to make me feel good. The other night I made some super stuffed peppers using all the colorful veg I got from my CSA share. In fact, they were so stuffed they overflowed. So I'm calling them:
Super Overstuffed Peppers
1 large pot of boiling water
4 green bell peppers- keep 3 whole and mince half of the 4th)
1 lb 85% lean ground beef
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 clove garlic- minced
1 small carrot- minced
1 zucchini - minced
1 small yellow squash- minced
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup prepared salsa
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the 3 whole green peppers into the pot of boiling water to blanch them for about 4 minutes. Remove them and let them cool slightly then cut them in half lengthwise removing the seeds and stems. Place the halves cut side up in a deep baking dish. In a large pan, Brown the meat along with the minced garlic. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the salsa) to the pan and mix together. Spoon the mixture into the pepper halves and top each with a bit of the salsa. Bake for about 30 minutes and enjoy.
Sorry the picture isn't all that great, but we were hungry. I wasn't waiting around to get any better shots! Hope you like it.
The last few days I have seen a picture floating around the interwebs of a gorgeous layer cake containing blueberries, zucchini, and butter cream frosting. I found the recipe on iambaker.net. I wanted to try it, but when I went into the fridge I noticed that I had to move all the yellow squash and carrots out of the way to get to the zucchini and blueberries. Instead of putting those extra veggies back in the fridge, I decided that incorporating them into my own version of a similar cake might not be a bad idea. I loved the idea of all those natural colors mingling around together.
I had the thought that all those veggies might make the cake a bit dense, so I figured instead of a layer cake, I'd make a bundt cake.
And guess what? I didn't have any butter to make buttercream frosting. I know, I know. You're SHOCKED to find out that I was out of an ingredient. But I thought the frosting might be a little heavy anyway, so I opted to make a glaze instead.
Well, ever since yesterday when I made my cake, I haven't eaten anything BUT that cake. It's so soft and delicious I really don't want to share. But I will share the recipe. Here ya go.
Blueberry, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, and Carrot Confetti Cake
with Lemon Glaze
1 cup vegetable oil
seeds from one vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 small zucchinis, 2 small yellow squashes, 1 carrot- grated or finely processed in your food processor. Drain as much liquid out as possible.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a bundt pan. Lightly beat the eggs. Add the oil, vanilla, and sugar. Once mixed, stir in the drained zucchini, squash, and carrots. In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder). Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Once fully incorporated, fold in the blueberries. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and let it bake in the 350° oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then carefully flip it onto a plate. Let it cool for about 1/2 hour. Make your glaze by mixing the confectioner's sugar with the lemon juice and drizzle it over the top of the cake. Voila! Delicious.
Now, I don't like "sneaking" vegetables in anything. I normally like to be straightforward about the ingredients I'm using in anything I make. But I know that it might be easier to get a picky eater to eat cake laced with vegetables if they don't know they are there. If you want to try this cake with your kids, I suggest maybe peeling a bit of the squash skin off and grinding the veg up as small as possible and to lessen the veggie taste a bit. Because while it is a very slight taste, you can taste the vegetables a bit. I personally love that flavor, and hope you will give it a try!
Growing up in Wharton, NJ, we had the best little locally known shop called Rocky's where you could get these awesome little meat and potato filled pies called pasties (pronounced "pass-tees", not "paste-ees"). Rocky's is still there, but I'm not. Even though my mom sometimes still brings me a pasty or two when she visits, I find myself craving them more often. I love their flaky exterior and slightly peppery taste once you get to the insides. So I came up with my own south Jersey version using turnips I got from my CSA last week. They are pretty easy to make and so tasty. I love them with some ketchup and a side salad. My version is a bit "rustic" and isn't very neat, but I sort of love that about them.
1 prepared recipe of pie crust large enough for 2-crust pie
1 pound 85% lean ground beef
1 large onion chopped
1 large potato chopped
2 small turnips chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp butter divided into six pieces
Preheat oven to 400°. Separate prepared pie crust into 6 equal pieces and roll into circles about 1/4 inch thick. Stir together ground beef, onion, potatoes, turnips, salt and pepper in a bowl. I use my hands to make sure everything is equally distributed. Divide the mixture between each circle of pie crust and fold each over to form a small half circle pocket. Seal the edges of each little pasty and place them on a cookie sheet. Make a small slit on top of each and place a small piece of butter in each slit. Bake at 400° for 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them sit for a few minutes to cool and then remove from the pan.
They freeze very well, too! Just wrap up the cooled pasties in foil and place in a bag in the freezer. Reheat by placing the foil wrapped pasties in a 350° oven for about 20 minutes.
Seriously. This is so easy and sooooo good. I don't know what else to say. Just try it.
Roasted Root Vegetables
3 small beets
1 large potato
5 small carrots
5 small turnips
2 cloves unpeeled garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage- leaves separated
2 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut all vegetables except the garlic into pieces that are about the same size. Place into a roasting pan along with the unpeeled garlic, rosemary, and sage. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. Toss to coat. Roast for 45 minutes stirring the veg occasionally.
Have you ever woken up with a certain taste craving in the morning and then thought about it all day hoping that you have the ability to pull it off in a dinner recipe that night? Me too. And I am happy to say I think I pulled it off with this one.
When I picked up my last CSA share, it consisted of more garlic scapes (not snakes, as my kids like to call them), radishes, turnips, lettuce, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, arugula, Chinese cabbage, herbs, flowers, and more peas. I brought my mother-in-law with me this time to pick blueberries, too, which she promptly turned into the best blueberry pie in the world.
But that craving I had was for something garlicky, something vegetable-y, and it included pasta. So I looked up how to make garlic scape pesto and found the perfect recipe from the Creekside Cook (although I used walnuts instead of pine nuts simply because that's what I had on hand) which I used to make this primavera pasta dish.
It turned out absolutely PERFECT, in my opinion. Hope you like it.
Garlic Scape Pesto Primavera
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound thin spaghetti uncooked
1/4 cup onion sliced thin
1 each small zucchini, small yellow squash, large carrot all julienned
1/2 cup fresh shucked peas (save the husks for a stir fry or other recipe)
Place butter and oil in a large deep pan and turn on medium. Break spaghetti noodles in half and add them to the pan tossing to coat with butter and oil. Let them get slightly toasted and then add all the vegetables. Saute over medium high heat until the vegetables are softened. Add ladles full of chicken broth, sitrring constantly like you would with risotto, allowing the noodles to absorb the liquid between each addition. Stop adding liquid when the noodles are al dente. Remove from heat and stir in the pesto and a splash of milk and add salt & pepper to taste.
I served this to my kids with some crusty bread and they both said it was their favorite meal yet! Score!
So I joined a CSA this year through our local B&B Farms in Egg Harbor, NJ. Last Wednesday was my first pick up ever and let me tell you something. I am in LOVE. I can remember not even knowing what CSA stood for a couple years ago - it stands for Community Supported Agriculture- and now it is my favorite thing in the world. If you have the opportunity to become a part of a CSA and pick up fresh produce every week, I have two words for you: DO IT.
I picked up the most beautiful veg I have ever seen. 3 heads of lettuce, a bunch of beets, 2 heads of kohlrabi, a bunch of garlic scapes, a pint of arugula, 2 bunches of kale, and we picked 2 pints of snap peas ourselves. I immediately started thinking of how to use these beauties. The next night, we came up with some lettuce cups. They were so good, I wanted to share the recipe in case you were looking for something to do with YOUR share this week.
*Make it Whole 30 compliant by using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and eliminating the honey
For the salad:
Toss the kohlrabi and carrot matchsticks (save diced carrot) in a bowl with the sugar and rice vinegar. Set aside.
Add the ground beef, garlic, onion, snap peas, garlic scape, diced carrot, and peppers to a medium high pan and cook until meat is brown. If you're using a leaner beef, you might want to add a small bit of oil to the pan. In a small bowl, mix together the soy, sriracha, honey and ginger. Pour over meat mixture and heat until warm.
To assemble the lettuce cups, place two leaves on a plate. Add about 1/2 cup meat mixture and about 1/4 cup kohlrabi salad to the top. Garnish with sesame seeds and YUM! Just pick them up like you would a taco.