We have a plethora of fresh dill from our CSA box (not to mention more that neighbors have given to us). I have previously frozen oregano and thyme with wonderful results, and I am so excited to have a freezer bag of dill to use when the cold months arrive.
Dill is one of my favorite herbs (maybe my absolute favorite herb) and can be used in so many dishes. I am a big fan of using dill on my roasted salmon and chicken dishes year round. Check out this salmon recipe and this roasted chicken recipe for some great ideas.
Wondering how to easily freeze your leftover dill? Simply rinse the bunch well, shake it out, and place on a cookie sheet. Flash freeze it, then transfer to a gallon ziplock baggie or other freezer safe container. When you want to use it later this year, simply snip off a piece and throw it in your dish. Easy!
The weather took a sharp turn here this week, with temps dropping into the 30’s overnight and 50’s in the day. It’s gorgeous, this crisp fall weather. It’s also that perfect time of the season where the last of the delicious garden tomatoes are at their peak and you just want to use them in everything before the frost comes and it’s too late.
Late summer/early fall tomatoes are perfect on pasta, I think. We love pasta in our house. We eat it about once a week, always with different variations of sauces. Over the years I’ve migrated from making white flour pasta to whole wheat to quinoa/brown rice blend. Recently I’ve started experimenting with legume pasta. I love that it is made with *only one ingredient*. In addition, legume pasta is high in protein and fiber. It’s also gluten-free, vegan, and in the case of Pasta Lensi, also Non-GMO Project Verified.
Pasta Lensi, an authentic Italian pasta company, has been around since 1920. And just this September they launched their line of legume pastas. They sent me three flavors to try, which is fun because I really enjoy trying new things (ask any of my friends, they are constantly hearing me talk about something new I’ve discovered).
This week I made the Chickpea Casarecce.It’s made with flour ground solely from chickpeas. I was told it pairs nicely with chunky sauces so I decided to make Pasta Caprese. Chunky tomatoes, shallots, lemon juice and fresh buffalo mozzarella –what could be better? (Of note: the chickpea pasta is a good source of potassium and iron. Iron is important when you eat mostly vegetarian, and so when you get it from non-meat sources it’s important to pair it with vitamin C. The tomatoes would be perfect for that.)
Sadly, while preparing dinner I realized my mozzarella had gone bad in the fridge. What I didn’t know is that the Chickpea Casarecce would impart a creaminess to the dish, which compensated for the lack of cheese quite nicely. I love that it has 22 grams of protein per 3.5 oz serving. The high protein content easily made up for the lack of cheese or meat in the dish. It also has 12 grams of fiber, which is just about 1/2 of an adult’s fiber needs for the day.
Dinner was favorably received by my family, and for that I am always grateful. My 11 year old gladly ate her whole bowlful. Here’s the recipe so you can try it at home.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste (I love flake sea salt)
1.5-2 lbs chopped in-season tomatoes
1 pound Pasta Lensi Chickpea Casarecce (or any pasta of your choice)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup torn fresh basil
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot and garlic in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the tomatoes. Let sit for at least 15 minutes so that the flavors combine. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. (This pasta, like all the legume pastas I’ve tried, creates a foamy layer on the top of the water. Make sure to use a pot bigger than you need and watch so it doesn’t boil over.) Pour the pasta into a large bowl and spoon the tomatoes mixture on top, then stir to combine. Add the mozzarella and basil, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with whole sprigs of basil. Serve hot or room temperature.
Please let me know what you think of this recipe! Don’t hesitate to share with with your friends!
*I was provided product and compensated for my post by Pasta Lensi. All opinions are authentically mine.
Today is day 10 of my daughter’s modified elimination diet. Tomorrow is the first day that we start adding foods back in. She gets to eat 5-6 servings of one of the food groups that we’ve been avoiding, followed by two days of “watch and wait”. She has chosen nightshades because she really misses tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.
I’ll be honest: neither one of us has seen or noticed any changes since starting the elimination protocol. Maybe when we introduce things back into her diet she’ll notice something. Hopefully there won’t be a big reaction which would indicate a sensitivity and a need to avoid.
The last 10 days have been trying for her. I get it. When you’re told you can’t have something it only makes you want it more, right? But she is still being a trooper and I commend her for it. There has been no whining, no tantrums, no pushback. She’s stoic (like her dad) and while she really has disliked this experience intensely, she’s persevered.
We just took a three day girls’ trip and I packed much of our food. Eating out was a challenge but we found some places willing to work with us. Two of the restaurants specialized in vegan and gluten-free which usually means that they are more open to special requests. And both happened to be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so that was cool. Shout outs go to At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe and Duluth Grill!
Now on to the new recipe I promised. These Easy Peanut Butter Balls are full of protein, healthy fats, and healthy whole grains. They really couldn’t be easier to make and they are guaranteed to please just about anyone. Make a double batch and keep them in your fridge for an easy grab-and-go breakfast for busy mornings and after school snacks.
EASY PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
1 cup natural peanut butter (I really like the no-stir Whole Foods creamy)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup vanilla protein powder (I couldn’t get by without Orgain, which happens to be vegan)
1/2 cup honey (use local if you have seasonal allergies, as it’s thought to help with symptoms)
Optional: chocolate chips
Stir all the ingredients together, then form into balls the size of a golf ball. If they are too sticky, add a bit more protein powder or oats. Likewise, if they are too dry, add a bit of honey or peanut butter. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Will you try these? Do you have a variation you like? Tell me in the comments!
I continued on my quest of cooking every recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook It’s All Good this week. I had some salmon in the freezer and the ingredients for the salsa already in my fridge. My 11 year old, Reese, helped me assemble the ingredients and acted as my sous chef, which means she peeled the clementines. Sometimes she’s more enthusiastic about being helpful in the kitchen than others. While reading the recipe out loud to me she said “This is the first recipe I’ve seen in this book that doesn’t have some totally crazy ingredient”. I laughed because it’s true. Gwyneth loves a good totally obscure ingredient (gochugaru anyone?).
The recipe for this dish was ultra-easy which is perfect for a weeknight dinner. It called for cilantro and mint, both of which I didn’t have on hand. I firmly believe in adjusting recipes on the fly and not adhering too strictly. I love both mint and cilantro but knew the salsa would still taste good without it. I ended up eating the leftover salsa as a salad the next day for lunch. I got two favorable reviews from my kiddo and husband and I also thought it was really tasty. I will definitely make it again and again.
Here it is, adapted from Gwyneth’s original:
4 fillets of your fish of choice (I used salmon but any would be good)
1/2 cucumber, chopped
4 clementines, peeled and chopped
A few dashes of crushed red pepper, to taste
3 shallots, sliced thinly
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste (I love course sea salt)
Combine the cucumbers, clementine, chili, shallot, lemon juice in a bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, and stir to combine.
Meanwhile, heat a grill or a grill pan over high heat. Coat the fish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill until firm to the touch, about 4 minutes each side depending on thickness of fish fillets.
I love pasta. Everyone loves pasta. It’s easy to make and there’s countless variations to keep it interesting and fresh. I make a pasta dish about once a week for my family. Many times it’s on Monday when we have a busy after-school schedule and I need something easy but still yummy.
The other day I had some chicken apple sausage in the fridge and some freshly picked sage a friend gave me. I had garlic and shallots and pasta and frozen peas. I had freshly shaved parmesan. I knew I could come up with something with all those delicious ingredients.
As the years have passed and I’ve become more comfortable in the kitchen (a lot more comfortable, in fact), I’ve started creating my own recipes. I might look up another similar recipe to fine-tune cooking temps and times, but I really have started to enjoy putting together my own ingredients and flavors. For the most part, it has worked.
So, here I am with all these fabulous, simple ingredients. The following is the recipe I created that was a pretty big hit for the family. My 11 year old daughter said she prefers the sausage a bit more crispy on the outside (like when I bake it with veggies). I might let it sit in the pan a bit longer to caramelize next time. But everyone enjoyed it and went back for more.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
12 oz chicken apple sausage (or your sausage of choosing)
2 Tablespoons ribboned fresh sage (keep it in the freezer to use all year)
It’s been a busy day so far! I just finished my next module for my Nutrition Consultant program which focused on digestion and the digestive organs. I created two handouts focusing on liver health (eat your fiber, fruits and veggies, and be careful of the medications you take!). I ate a quick lunch of leftovers from the recipe I’m about to give you, as well as a Dr. Praegers Kale Veggie Burger. I’d say my morning has been pretty productive. Just don’t pay attention to my poor yellow lab Sammy, who has been literally giving me puppy dog eyes as she sits at the door waiting for a walk. I’ll get to it, I promise.
On to the white beans! I chose this recipe because it had simple ingredients that I love (garlic, beans, shallots, red wine, thyme) and I figured not only could I serve it to my family as a dinner side dish, but I could also have it for lunch. Usually my dinner side dishes consist of roasted veggies, brown rice, stuff like that. I prefer to use my energy on the main dish (i.e.: I’m lazy). But this recipe looked so easy I decided to try it. As much as I want to despise Gwyneth Paltrow, with her smugness and natural makeup-free beauty and her ability to wear the most ridiculous hats and still look cool, I just can’t hate her recipes. Not yet, anyway. The beans were yummy and filling. Full of protein and fiber. And I decided I should use shallots a lot more. I love the way they take the place of onion while being a little more subtle. NOTE: I doubled the recipe to have leftovers.
WHITE BEANS, FRENCH STYLE
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (add more if you love garlic)
Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme (I used about 1 tsp dried instead)
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
A 14 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
Slice the garlic and shallots thinly.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and let cook for a few minutes or until a light golden brown. Stir occasionally. Add the thyme and shallot, and cook for a minute or two.
Add the beans and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to taste, along with the vinegar, and cook for another 5 minutes.
If you reheat the beans, expect them to dry out a bit. You can add some chicken stock or water to rehydrate. My husband was a huge fan of these and gave me an actual thumbs up. The kiddo, who will try anything once but has some texture aversions, didn’t finish hers.
I continued to test the recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook It’s All Good this week, landing on the Chicken & White Bean Chili recipe because it seemed simple, approachable, and really tasty. I make a lot of soups and chilis once the weather starts to cool down. I usually double the recipe and put some in the freezer (lay flat in a freezer baggie) for a night when I’m too busy or lazy to cook.
Whenever I make a soup or chili recipe, I tend to double the vegetables called for. It’s such an easy way to get more vitamins, antioxidants and fiber into yours and your family’s tummies.
The alterations I made to this recipe were:
Add a can of kidney beans to the can of white beans called for.
Use chicken thighs instead of breasts (I find them less dry and more flavorful).
Use a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon (the vegetable flavor). The recipe calls for the normal chili spices plus salt and pepper. I found when I tasted the chili it was a bit bland. Better Than Bouillon is a favorite of mine. I usually by the organic version and love that I don’t have to keep cans of chicken stock around in my pantry. It stays good forever and, unlike a half-used container of chicken stock, won’t make you feel guilty every time you see it in the fridge.
Add some of the chicken juice from cooking into the pot with the simmering beans and vegetables. It adds nutrients from the chicken, some depth to the mouth feel (I really hate that term, can we come up with something else collectively? Comment below with any suggestions!) and adds some yummy chicken flavor.
1.5 lbs of whatever chicken parts you want (I used thighs, and doubled the amount so I would have leftover roasted chicken to use later in the week)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt (I prefer sea salt but any will do)
2 small yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeds and stem discarded, diced (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced (add more if you love garlic)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika (the recipe calls for smoked paprika, but either variety is fine)
1 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1 14 oz can cannellini or navy beans, rinsed and drained (I added a second can of kidney beans)
Whatever toppings sound good to you (sour cream, cheese, cilantro, diced onion, etc)
Rub chicken with about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes at 425 degrees, until just cooked through.
When meat is cooked and cooled a bit, shred the meet with two forks
Measure the spices and combine in a small bowl to add during the next step.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a stock pot on medium and sauté the onions, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika and a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are softened, about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and another pinch of salt and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. Break up tomatoes with a spoon.
Add beans and chicken to the pot (use bouillon now if you wish). Add about 1/3 cup water or more depending on how thick you want your soup.
Simmer another 15 or 20 minutes before tasting to determine the spices or salt and pepper you want to add.
Serve with toppings
My husband said the chili was “good, but not like oh my God I absolutely love this chili!”. He thought it needed a bit more chili powder and cumin to make it a true chili flavor and tasted more like a stew than a chili. My 10 year old daughter told me she likes my ground beef chili more. That being said, I really thought it was a solid recipe that I would go back to again if I wanted a variation from my ground beef chili that I usually make.