One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta

Yesterday when I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner, I typed in “garlic parmesan pasta” because those were the ingredients I definitely had on hand. I wanted something very simple but still tasty. Everyone likes pasta. Plus it’s wonderful comfort food for a cool fall Monday.

The recipe that I found is a “one pot” pasta recipe which means literally everything goes in the pot, including not just the liquid and the pasta but all the seasonings. You wouldn’t think this would work but I swear on my life it works — and beautifully at that. But you must trust the process.

The one thing I added to this One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta recipe is frozen meatballs into the bubbling mixture because I felt like the meal needed some protein, and my 12 year old and my husband love meatballs. So do I, but since I try to stick to a lower animal protein diet, I added some vegan meatballs to mine.

Speaking of changes, I also opted to put the parmesan at the table instead of into the recipe — my daughter doesn’t love a cheesy mess (unless it’s pizza? Sometimes she’s weird) and letting people determine the amount of cheese means less cheese usually gets used. So it’s a win for the pocketbook as well as the overall calorie count of the meal.

So, try this recipe next time you need something super quick, simple and easy to clean up  after.

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New Year’s in September?

back-to-school-1622789_1920

School starts tomorrow! The beginning of a new school year always feels a little like January 1st to me. It’s a time for me to set new goals, decide how I want the year to go, change old habits that don’t serve me, and think of new ways to approach the daily grind. It’s very exciting.

I started to get really excited about this just yesterday, when I was cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot for chicken noodle soup while simultaneously making my family’s favorite Pasta Caprese for dinner. This summer was a perfect storm of a very busy activities calendar for my 12 year old, a giant volunteer project for me that required hundreds of hours of work, and some weird virus I fought from May through August that left me feeling totally depleted. Cooking for me is a joy when I feel like doing it. Otherwise it just feels like another obligation. So, cooking (truly cooking, not just assembling quesadillas and sandwiches) was one of the first things I ditched when I felt overwhelmed. I have to be honest, it was fantastic for a while. But, now I am feeling better and so I got the itch to cook again yesterday, and it felt good to be back.

As I do every year at this time, I’ve been considering what is important to me this year, and what I can ditch. Cooking is definitely at the top of my “important” list. Getting back to the gym is up there as well. I put my nutrition school on hold because I found I couldn’t balance my volunteer gig and my lethargy with studying. I can’t wait to get back to that. And I have decided this year I am committed to doing small projects around the house that will keep it in better order. Closet clean outs, painting touch ups, and decluttering on the regular are all on the list. Bonus: getting to listen to my favorite podcasts while doing projects will hopefully motivate me! (Pod Save America, Song Exploder, West Wing Weekly, S-Town, and Radio Lab are all on my fave list).

What to ditch? Procrastinating. Saying “yes” to requests when I really want to say “no” (hello PTA). Guilt trips.

Have I missed anything? What’s on your list this fall? Please leave a comment below so I can steal your ideas!

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Maybe It’s Monday (Again) And We Need An Easy Dinner Idea: Fettuccine With Asparagus

This crazy family of mine. They want dinner. Every. Single. Day. Like I mentioned last week, we usually do #MeatlessMonday as a way to eat a little healthier and do something nice for the Earth.

Maybe today I’ll just post this super easy but elegant looking Fettucine With Asparagus recipe I found this weekend. This is what I plan on making tonight for my hungry family.

Maybe you’ll make it too, and come back to tell me how it was?

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Fall = Pasta (Caprese Style)


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.)

Look at these gorgeous tomatoes

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.

INGREDIENTS:
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

METHOD:

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.

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Chicken Apple Sausage and Sage Pasta!

chicken apple sausage pasta
Chicken apple and sage pasta

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.

INGREDIENTS:

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)

4 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 shallots, sliced

1 lb pasta (we had some fall themed pasta from Cost Plus World Market)

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and pepper to taste

chicken apple sausage
Sizzling chicken apple sausage.

METHOD:

Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet till shimmering

Add sage and fry  until crispy.  Remove from pan for later.

Add shallots and sausage and sauté until shallots are soft, add garlic.

Meanwhile, boil pasta according to package instructions, adding the peas in the last minute of cook time.

Drain pasta/peas and return to the pan with sausage and shallots.  Add crispy sage.

Top with freshly shaved parmesan.