Monday, October 17, 2016

Happy National Pasta Day – October 17th!

Can’t wait to share some of my favorite pasta recipes with Christine and the folks at Atlanta & Company today! Did you know that pasta is one of the world's most favorite foods?  Spaghetti, lasagna, rotini, tortellini - there are OVER 600 known pasta shapes. Why? It's delicious, it's nutritious, with only about 100 calories per serving (1/2 cup) especially when it eaten along with lots of yummy veggies.

Oh yeah – and it's versatile - t can be enjoyed as an appetizer main course, or side dish. 
Pasta is typically thought of as an Italian dish, but there is evidence that people living in Asia in 2000 BC made noodles with millet. Pasta can be made dry (pasta secca) or fresh (pasta fresca). There are over 350 varieties of dried pasta in Italy alone. The highest quality of dried pasta is made with pure durum semolina flour and water.

Do your part by cooking up some of these easy, yummy recipes - we need to catch up…the typical Italian eats over sixty pounds of pasta per year. In comparison, Americans only eat around twenty pounds of pasta per person per year!

Mediterranean Shrimp 
with Feta and Tomatoes

2 TB Olive Oil
1 Medium Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
1 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2 Tsp Dried Oregano
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 TB Chopped Parsley
2 TB Chopped Fresh Oregano
1 1/2 LB Large Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
8 Oz Crumbled Feta or Mozzarella or Combination
1 Box Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

Step One Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the onion over medium heat until transparent. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper, cook over medium heat for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Stir in the herbs.

Step Two. Place the shrimp in the bottom of an ovenproof casserole dish and top with the sauce. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the shrimp is just cooked through.

Step Three While the shrimp is cooking, prepare the whole wheat penne. When the shrimp is done, top the penne with the sauce, shrimp and feta.

****No time to make the sauce? Use your favorite purchased sauce and pick up the recipe on Step Two.

Caprese Tortellini Skewers

1 Pkg Prepared and Cooked Cheese Tortellini (al dente)
1 Pkg Grape Tomatoes
1 Recipe *Simple Vinaigrette

Skewer the tortellini, basil leaves and grape tomatoes on bamboo skewers. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.

*Simple Vinaigrette
1⁄4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2-3 TB Balsamic Vinegar
(or any vinegar or lemon juice)

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

1⁄2 Tsp Honey 
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Pasta Salad with a Asian Twist

16 oz Whole Wheat Linguine** Cooked, Rinsed, And Cooled
8 Cups Thinly Sliced Purple Cabbage or Napa Cabbage (or combination of the two)
1 Large Red, Yellow or Orange Pepper, Finely Chopped
½ Cup Chopped Cilantro
½ Cup Water Chestnuts
½ Cup Green Onions, Sliced
1 Cup Toasted Chopped Cashews
¼ Cup Sesame Seeds
*Sesame Ginger Dressing

Combine the noodles, cabbages, pepper, cilantro, water chestnuts, and scallions in a large salad bowl. Beginning with half of the dressing, toss the salad, adding more dressing as desired. Top the salad with the cashews and sesame seeds.

*Sesame Ginger Dressing

1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar - unseasoned
3 TB Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Canola or Grapeseed Oil
¼ Cup Light Soy Sauce, Tamari or Braggs Amino Acids
2 TB Toasted Sesame Oil
3 TB Fresh Ginger, Grated
2 Tsp Garlic, Grated
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Add the ingredients to a jar and shake to combine.

**If you’d like to make this salad in a more authentic Asian style, try using any kind of thin noodles from the international aisle. Udon or fresh Chinese noodles are a great substitution, or if you’re looking to make the salad gluten-free, you can use rice noodles.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

WOOHOO! In October, Squash, Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes are all in season. I’m working with the fun folks at Atlanta & Company this morning to create three fun and different recipes, where any of the three delicious veggies can be used interchangeably!

Pumpkins are a traditional, delicious food of the fall. Whether incorporated in soups, stews or breads, it adds a creamy and tasty goodness to all kinds of foods. The word pumpkin comes from the word “pepon”, the Greek word meaning “large melon”. Pumpkins and melons are big - The largest pumpkin ever grown is 1,502 pounds.

AND WONDERFUL Sweet Potatoes are:
  • ·      high in Beta Carotene and vitamins E and C, manganese, calcium, potassium, iron.
  • ·      No need to put sweet potatoes in your refrigerator!
  • ·      Sweet potatoes even made it to the “Clean 15” list – no need to buy organic.
  • ·      Sweet potatoes can be Baked, Steamed, Boiled, Microwaved, Fried, Juiced, Pureed, and even made into smoothies!
  • ·      Sweet potatoes are the official vegetable for North Carolina – and Sweet Potatoes are the official state vegetable, (Georgia’s is the Vidalia Onion)

And did you know that Butternut Squash:
  • ·      Is called “butternut” from the nut called the butternut. The butternut is type of walnut Butternuts were used sometimes to home-dye fabric in the 1800s – what color? The color of a butternut squash!
  • ·      It has a sweet, nutty taste and is almost indistinguishable from pumpkin - the Australians call it  “butternut pumpkin”
  • ·      It didn’t make its debut on the American market until the 1940s when it received its name.

 Creamy Pumpkin Pepper Soup

1 TB Olive Oil

2 Large Red, Yellow or Orange Bell Peppers, chopped

2 Cups Shredded Carrots or Parsnips

1 Cup Chopped Red Onion

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1⁄2 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Sea Salt

1⁄2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 Grated Garlic Cloves

4 Cups Veggie Stock

1 Can (15 OZ) Pumpkin Puree
2 TB Lemon Juice

1⁄4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds, Toasted
1 TB Chopped Sage, Thyme or Rosemary

Step One Warm the olive oil in a stockpot and sauté the peppers, carrots, and red onion with the paprika, cumin sea salt and black pepper over medium heat until soft. (about 6 -7 minutes.) Add in the garlic and cook and stir until fragrant. Add in the Veg Stock and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step Two Using the immersion blender, puree the ingredients in the pot. Whisk in the pumpkin and warm for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and sprin- kle with pumpkin seeds and herbs.

Maple Sweet Potato Brownies

1 Cup Pecan Meal (or Almond Meal)
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
1 Cup Cooked Sweet Potato
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (Grade B if you can find it)
2 TB Canola or Grapeseed Oil
1 TB Almond Butter
1 Tsp Vanilla
5 Large Eggs

Step One Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the almond meal, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Step Two In a food processor, combine sweet potato, maple syrup, oil, almond butter, vanilla and egg yolk. Purée until combined and smooth.

Step Three Gradually mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, until JUST combined.

Step Four In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into batter. Place in a parchment lined, non-stick sprayed 9 x 9 x2” square pan and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the brownies to rest until cool before cutting them.

7-Layer Squash and Apple Salad

1 ½ Cups Quinoa, Prepared as Package directs, divided
Apple Cider Dressing*
1 Cup Chopped Green Apple
1 Cup Chopped Red Apple
2 Cups Chopped Roasted Butternut Squash
1 Cup Chopped Dried Apricots or Cranberries
½ Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
½ Cup Chopped Toasted Almonds
3 Thinly Sliced Green Onions for Garnish                                                         

Step One Toss the Quinoa with ½ of the dressing. Toss the chopped green apples in a bowl 1 TB of the dressing. In another bowl, toss the chopped red apples with 1 TB of the Dressing.

Step Two Layer the ingredients in a trifle bowl, starting with ½ of the prepared quinoa and then add the squash, green apple and apricots or cranberries. Layer the remaining quinoa and then the red apple, blue cheese and almonds. Garnish with the sliced green onions.

*Apple Cider Dressing:
1/3 Cup Apple Cider
3 TB Apple Cider Vinegar
3 TB Olive Oil
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp Honey
1/4 Tsp each Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Shake the ingredients together in a jar