Spaghetti Squash Two Ways

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Spaghetti Squash, what’s not to love about it?  It’s wonderful as a main course for a satisfying dinner that will make you feel like a sinner but you’re really a saint.  I’ve shown it here two ways.  The squash in both dishes is prepared the same; by roasting it on a sheet pan.  One is served with a simple tomato sauce and the other with roasted Brussels sprouts and a drizzle of spicy harissa oil.

Once you know how to cook the spaghetti squash the possibilities are truly endless.  I like it with chick peas and roasted red peppers, mushroom gravy and served aglio olio style to name a few.  It’s a great vegetarian meal for a Meatless Monday Main course.  You could of course, add your favorite meatball or meat sauce or serve it along side a chicken breast or piece of baked fish.

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It’s a low calorie and satisfying meal.  What’s not to love?

Spaghetti Squash
 
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Author:
Recipe type: What's for dinner, main course, side dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian cuisine
Serves: 2-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash - cut in half lengthwise
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil over the flesh sides of the spaghetti squash halves.
  3. Rub the olive oil over the squash so that it is all evenly coated.
  4. Sprinkle the squash with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Lie the squash halves, skin side up so the flesh is on the pan.
  6. Roast for approximately 40 minutes until tender, so a fork is able to completely pierce through the skin and flesh of the squash.
  7. Cool the squash enough so that you can handle it.
  8. Using a fork, shred the squash forming noodle-like strands.
  9. Serve with your favorite sauce and enjoy.

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Spinach Tortellini Skewers

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How cute are these?  I saw the Pioneer Woman make these and just loved the idea.  They could not be simpler and they are so festive, especially for a holiday party which is what I made them for.  The hardest part was assembling them.  They were very tasty and fresh and remained good at room temperature throughout the entire night.

The dreaded has finally happened, my homemade basil pesto is gone!  I freeze several batches of homemade basil pesto in the summer so that I can have it in the winter.  But, sadly, I’ve used it all.  I used basil pesto from a jar (Trader Joes brand) for this recipe and it was delicious.

I’m all about party food that is easy to prepare, can be prepared ahead of time and that lasts throughout the life of your party so you, as the hostess, can stay out of the kitchen and enjoy your guests.  These delicious skewers fit the bill.  Plus, they fall into my favorite party food category….”finger foods,” no utensils needed here!

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Spinach Tortellini Skewers
 
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These are delicious and so festive with their red, white and green colors. A great dish to serve at your holiday gatherings. Plus, no utensils are needed!
Recipe type: Appetizer, casual main course
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Italian
Serves: 25 skewers
Ingredients
  • 1-2 packages of spinach and cheese filled tortellinis (I used 1 package but they were relatively small and there were a lot in the package).
  • 1 block of fresh mozzarella cheese - cubed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons basil pesto - from a jar or homemade
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh basil - chopped - optional, used as garnish
  • Skewers - I used bamboo
Instructions
  1. Cook the spinach tortellini according to package directions. Drain the tortellini, rinse and set aside.
  2. Assemble the skewers the way you like.
  3. Note- I put two tortellinis on each skewer with the mozzarella and grape tomato in between. I made 25 skewers total and still had tortellinis left.
  4. For the dressing:
  5. Whisk the olive oil, basil pesto and red wine vinegar together in a small bowl.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over the skewers before serving.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil as garnish if desired.

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Roasted grape tomatoes

roasted.tomato.pasta.3Fall is officially upon us and this week brought chilly temperatures along with having to turn on the furnace for the first time!  Ok, and my space heater I’ll be honest.  Cold weather is my nemesis, my arch enemy to be certain.  I’m truly just cold most of the time, even in the summer!  I mean, it’s a real problem.  And it’s not just cold, it’s a chilled down to my very core type feeling.  So I wear sweaters, keep coats and blankets in the car for those just in case moments and cook!  Because, being in a hot kitchen is definitely good when you’re chilly.

In the spirit of Fall I was in the mood for a comfort food meal.  And surely, when I think comfort food, I think pasta!!!  I’m still growing those grape tomatoes and I wanted a way to use a large number of them in one recipe.  Enter my preferred cooking method….roasting!  Roasting tomatoes and garlic brings out a natural sweetness in them and provides such a depth of flavor to the dishes you use them in.

grape.tomato.garlic.raw.2Start by slicing the grape tomatoes lengthwise and mincing the garlic.  Mix them with olive oil, Kosher salt and black pepper and place them on a sheet pan.  I actually used a spicy harissa flavored olive oil.

They come out sweet and delicious.  You can use them over pasta, as a topping for bruschetta and stirred into rice or cous cous.  You could also just eat them right off the sheet pan, they’re that yummy!

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Roasted grape tomatoes
 
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Roasting the tomatoes and garlic brings out a natural sweetness in them. Try using a spicy flavored olive oil for added flavor.
Author:
Recipe type: roasted tomatoes and garlic
Cuisine: Vegetables, Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 pints of grape tomatoes (I used red and yellow) - cut in ½ lengthwise
  • 4 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil - I used 1 Tbsp of a spicy harissa flavored olive oil and 1 Tbsp plain olive oil.
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the tomatoes and garlic on a sheet pan.
  3. Drizzle them with the olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Mix the tomatoes with your hands until evenly coated with the oil.
  5. Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until soft and juice forms on the pan.

I used the roasted tomatoes over a whole grain thin spaghetti that I coated with basil pesto.  I sautéed some peppers, onions and mushrooms that I added to the pasta as well.  An easy vegetarian meal that’s the perfect comfort food for a chilly night!roasted.tomato.pasta.2

 

 

 

 

 

5 Delicious recipes to help you love kale

Kale Collage I’ve more than made peace with kale; I’m actually enjoying it and not just because its a nutritional powerhouse but because it’s delicious.  It’s delicious in these recipes anyway! I still live by the belief that people who eat kale are beautiful.  The “kale glow” if you will. Click on the photos below for the recipes.  I hope you enjoy them and here’s to you developing a new love……for kale. kale_farro_salad swiss.chard.pasta.3 kale.pesto.crostini1 kale.pesto3 kale 1

Kale Pesto Crostini

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How adorable are these?

We went to an annual picnic at our friends’ cottage this past weekend and these crostinis were a major hit.  I made 40 pieces and they barely made it out to the appetizer table.  Adults and kids just gobbled them up!  I was asked many times “what’s the green stuff?”  You tell them “kale pesto” and you’ll look like a total rockstar for using such a unique ingredient!

They are simple especially if you make the kale pesto ahead of time.  You can prebake the baguette rounds and store them in an airtight container until ready to use them.

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Kale Pesto Crostini
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 French baguette, sliced diagonally into ½ inch thick rounds. (I get 35-40 slices per baguette)
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • kale pesto - see the link to this recipe in the post
  • 20 grape tomatoes - sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 wedge of Romano cheese for grating (garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the baguette rounds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.
  4. Bake them for approximately 7 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
  5. Allow the baguette rounds to cool enough for you to handle them.
  6. Spread a layer of kale pesto onto each round.
  7. Top with one grape tomato, seed side up.
  8. Grate the romano cheese over the tops of the rounds (I grate my cheese using the microplane, it works perfectly).
  9. Serve the crostinis on a large platter and watch them disappear!

 

 

 

Kale Pesto

kale.pesto1Pesto can be a whole topic on its own.  It is so versatile in the ingredients you can put in it and the dishes you can put it in.  My favorite uses for pesto are mixing it into pasta as a sauce, a sandwich spread, stirred into soups for added flavor, served on crostini as an appetizer and as a pizza sauce.

This pesto uses kale and it’s flavor is surprisingly bright and fresh with the lemon juice.  It has been very well received by the people I’ve served it to.

I welcome your comments once you’ve tried it.  And please feel free to share your uses for pesto, there’s always room for more!

Kale Pesto
 
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Recipe type: pesto, sauce
Ingredients
  • 4 cups tightly packed chopped kale (I used already cut bagged kale)
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • juice of ½ of a lemon (approximately 2-3 Tablespoons)
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Romano cheese
Instructions
  1. Toast the pine nuts in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until they begin to lightly brown (they'll begin to smell like popcorn).
  2. Place kale, pine nuts and garlic and lemon juice in the food processor. Pulse until blended.
  3. Add the salt and pepper.
  4. Turn on the food processor and stream in the olive oil. Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a bowl. Stir in the cheese. Serve.
  5. Note – if you’re not going to be serving it immediately, wait to put the cheese in until you're ready to serve it.

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