Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

Okay, remember that pesto pasta salad?

This one?

The only problem with it is that it only uses half a container of pesto. So you have a few options. You can:

A.) Double the recipe and have pesto pasta salad sitting in your fridge for weeks in that bowl you always want to use but can never find because it’s sitting in the fridge with pesto pasta salad in it

B.) Leave the half-used container of pesto in your fridge to “do something with,” forget about it, and find it two months later in an unusable state

C.) Make this pesto chicken

This was really good, really easy, and tasted awesome. JW commented several times how good it was. A huge thank you to Pinterest for this find (which if you are any sort of creative or foodie or fashion type and you are not on Pinterest, you are missing out on a whole world of new and exciting things), and of course, many thanks to Kalyn’s Kitchen for the recipe.

Baked Pesto Chicken (This is how I made it, when I didn’t have the recipe in front of me. Here is the original if you want to compare.)

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 3)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
  • Half of a 7-8oz container of basil pesto
  • Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut chicken breasts into strips, or pieces. Whatever you prefer.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, then spread pesto over the chicken. Stir it around a bit so the chicken is covered with the pesto.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (or use a baking dish with a tight-fitting lid) and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, just until chicken is barely firm and cooked through. Don’t cook too much at this point, or the chicken will be overcooked by the time the cheese is melted and browned.

When chicken is barely cooked through, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with mozzarella cheese. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted. (If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it when you take the chicken out.) Kalyn’s note: After I melted the cheese for 5 minutes I switched my oven to broil and broiled for 5 minutes more, just long enough to get the cheese lightly browned.

We had this over the same tri-colored curly pasta I had used for the pasta salad, and the juice from the chicken dish was delicious over the pasta. You could also use angel hair, or even rice.


Read Full Post »

I’ve tried several “light” alfredo sauce recipes in the past (including one that was primarily cottage cheese – THAT was gross), and this is the only one JW has given a thumbs-up. I attribute the difference to the cream cheese – which is never a bad addition to any recipe 🙂 This one came from Our Best Bites – such a fun blog, I highly recommend visiting it if you haven’t before!

The original recipe uses a blender to mix the first ingredients together, but since I don’t have one I have sometimes used a food processor (only do this if it is water-tight unless you want milk everywhere – not that I would know from personal experience or anything), or an immersion blender. This last time, I just kind of whisked it all together. It was lumpy, but it all breaks down once it’s heated anyway. So do whatever floats your boat.

I added chicken this time, and chopped up some parsley for a little color. It was SO good.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (Recipe found here)

  • 2 C low-fat milk
  • 1/3 C (3 oz) low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 C grated Parmesan cheese

Combine milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender (or food processor, or bowl… see note above). Process until smooth and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don’t want to burn it. It should be nice and bubbly.

Add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be thicker now. When it’s nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Serve with pasta, pizza, breadsticks, anything you like!

If you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

Read Full Post »

I made this to go with our panko baked chicken, and I was pretty pleased with it. It’s kind of a take on that typical oriental salad you see with the Ramen noodles (which this one has too), but it is a little different. I thought it had some interesting flavors, but probably next time I will not add quite as much cabbage – just a personal preference. It’s a texture thing.

The original recipe includes mandarin oranges, but since those are almost (but not quite) up there with broccoli on my Foods-I-Don’t-Like list, I left them out.

For what it’s worth, JW thought it tasted better the second day.

Asian Pasta Salad (Recipe found here)

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta mix
  • 1 pkg (3oz) Oriental flavored Ramen Soup Mix
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw
  • 1 cup frozen peas (original calls for snow peas or sugar snap peas)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup slivered (or sliced) almonds

Empty the pasta mix into a pot of boiling water. Gently boil for 10 – 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and shake to drain again.

In a large bowl stir together the seasoning mixes from the pasta and the soup mix, sugar, oil, vinegar, water and soy sauce. Add the pasta and the remaining ingredients. Toss to combine.

Just before serving, coarsely crush the dry noodles from the soup mix and stir into the pasta mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Read Full Post »

This was good. Like really, really good. It came together pretty easily and tasted like something I’d order in a restaurant. JW doesn’t like sun-dried tomatoes (anyone surprised? me neither) but he really liked this.

The sauce is pureed together so the sun-dried tomatoes just give it a very deep tomato flavor without screwing with the texture. With fresh basil, heavy cream, white wine, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes, it has a wonderful balance of complex flavors that work together really well.

The original recipe calls for chicken, which we used and enjoyed, but in the future I will probably just double the sauce and use it over pasta on its own. It’s so stellar that it really doesn’t need the chicken.

Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce (Original recipe here)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 lbs total)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil – drain, pat dry, and coarsely chop (I used a 10-12 oz jar)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and black pepper.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, turning once, about 6 minutes total (chicken will not be cooked through). Transfer chicken with tongs to a plate.

Add garlic and tomatoes to the skillet and sauté, stirring, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute.

Add wine and boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half, about 1 minute.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, covered.

Add chicken to skillet with any juices accumulated on plate and simmer, covered, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Stir cream and 2 tablespoons basil into sauce in skillet and bring just to a simmer.

Transfer sauce to a deep heatproof bowl or 1-quart glass measure (I used a tall plastic pitcher to minimize tomato flying all over my kitchen) and purée with an immersion blender until almost smooth. Alternatively, you can use a standard blender or food processor.

If necessary, add water to thin to desired consistency, then season with salt and pepper.

Serve sauce over chicken, and/or pasta if desired.

Read Full Post »

If you’re a fan of goat cheese, you will LOVE this pasta. Goat cheese is milder and softer than feta, but is still “crumble-able.” It just melts in your mouth and has this tangy flavor that is just fantastic.

While I was standing at the deli counter yesterday looking at the packaged cheeses and eyeing the store brand of goat cheese, which was considerably cheaper than the others, an elderly woman with a German accent came up beside me.

“No, you don’t want that cheese,” she said, “I bought some a few weeks ago and it just had a terrible flavor. Try this kind instead.”

The log of cheese she handed me was more than I needed, but had a brand name I couldn’t pronounce – which meant it must be good, right? And after looking at my options for a while, I decided that since I wasn’t buying meat for this meal, I could splurge on the cheese. And it was well worth it! I highly recommend purchasing a good goat cheese, since it really is the star of this dish and there are so few other ingredients (and no meat, remember? Just think of how much you’re saving…)

I also realize (now, after looking everywhere for it last night) that asparagus might be difficult to come by at this time of year. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you prefer. Or you can leave them out altogether – JW said he actually would have preferred the asparagus separate from the pasta. But that’s JW, and he can be a bit anal different in his food preferences. I actually used about half the amount of asparagus called for in the recipe, and it was plenty for me.

I do recommend you let whoever is eating this know that it is not fettuccine alfredo. It tastes a bit similar because it’s creamy and cheesy, but it has a distinct goat cheese flavor that makes a bit more sense when you know what it is 🙂 This would be a great dish if you’re having “foodies” (especially vegetarians) over for dinner, or make the pasta sans vegetables as a gourmet side to a delicious steak, prime rib, whatever. Mmmm…

Many thanks to my friend Elizabeth at Freezer Gourmet for this dish! Be sure to pay a visit to her blog and check out her other recipes when you have some time. She has quite a variety of easy-to-prepare, and delicious, meals. I have several bookmarked, so I’m sure you’ll see her influence again!

Goat Cheese Pasta with Roasted Asparagus (Recipe found here, original recipe here)

  • 1-2 bunches asparagus (1-2 pounds total), tough ends removed
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
  • 12 ounces cavatappi or other short pasta
  • 1 small log soft goat cheese (5 ounces), crumbled
  • 2-3 Tbsp snipped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add goat-cheese mixture and asparagus to pasta; toss to combine, adding more pasta water if necessary for sauce to coat pasta. Serve pasta garnished with chives, if desired.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta. Place asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet; dot with 1 tablespoon butter, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, tossing occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes; cut into 2-inch lengths.

While asparagus is roasting, generously salt boiling water. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Set aside 1 1/2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

Read Full Post »

This recipe came out of the most recent issue of Health magazine (June 2010). It looked so light and fresh, and looked easy too, which immediately drew me to it. And I love pasta salad, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

If you like the taste of both red bell pepper and lemon, you’ll like this. It includes the juice and zest of one lemon, which gives it a lovely summer flavor. I did add more oil later to refresh it because I didn’t serve it immediately. JW likes our usual pasta salad better, but he ate this and enjoyed it. He said it tasted “earthy” (in a good way).

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • 8 oz farfalle
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • One can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil in a large bowl and whisk together.

Add artichoke hearts, cheese, and red pepper to lemon/oil mixture, and stir to combine.

Place peas in colander, and when pasta finishes cooking, drain pasta over peas. Add pasta and peas to artichoke mixture and toss.

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Chill until ready to serve. May need additional olive oil for refreshing prior to serving.

Read Full Post »

This isn’t a low-cal meal, but if you want to make yourself feel better about eating it, it does contain quite a bit of olive oil, which is high in the “good” fats (monounsaturated). As per some of the reviews of this recipe, I decreased the amount of olive oil by half, as well as the salt content, and was happy I did.

The marinade is originally intended for grilling the shrimp, but I used the broiler instead and used the leftover marinade to toss with the cooked shrimp and pasta. It was delicious.

My intention was to serve this with a really good salad, but it ended up being a mediocre salad because the cucumbers I thought I had in the fridge turned out to be zucchini, which unfortunately doesn’t works quite as well in a salad.

Marinated Shrimp Pasta (Original recipe here)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb (8 oz) linguine pasta

In a mixing bowl, mix together olive oil, parsley, hot sauce, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Pour marinade into a large resealable plastic bag with shrimp. Seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During last 15 minutes, add lemon juice.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Remove shrimp from marinade, place on greased baking sheet, and broil 3-4 minutes each side, until done (shrimp can be grilled instead if desired). Pour leftover marinade into a small saucepan or skillet and boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine shrimp, pasta, and boiled marinade and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »