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Masters of Disguise

Vegetables are good for you.

Duh

Obviously, one of the best ways to get a nice big helping of veggies is to nice, big salad.  But not everyone loves salad- we get that.  So what are all the non-salad lovers to do?

Disguise their salad in the form of something else…

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Something like pasta!

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Zucchini-noodle pasta, to be precise.  With diced tomatoes and pesto sauce.  And delicious turkey meatballs, of course!

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This is basically summer on a plate, people!  Because if you’re like us, you have a garden bursting with zucchini and tomatoes.  If not, you probably have a neighbour who would be happy to give you some.  At the very least, you most likely have a farmer’s market or grocery store near by that would be practically paying you to take them if they sold them for any cheaper!

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It really is amazing how noodle-like zucchini becomes when you slice it extra-thinly.  Whoever came up with the idea originally (because we are definitely not reinventing the wheel, here!) is a genius, and our hat goes off to him (or her!).

This is also a great dish for people who are trying to cut back on their carb consumption.  Of course, it also tastes really great with a crusty, multigrain loaf of bread on the side, too- which is obviously what we did.  (What can we say?  We are girls who love our carbs!)

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It is also a snap to prepare.  You can make the pesto up to a day or two beforehand if you wish, and you can cook the meatballs while you slice the zucchini.  Once each element is ready, its just a matter of throwing everything together!  Simple as that.

So is it pasta, or is it salad?  You could call it whatever you want- we’re going to call it delicious 😉

Zucchini Pesto Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

For the Pesto:

1 c. basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tbsp parmesan or nutritional yeast (optional)

For the Meatballs:

2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp onion flakes
black pepper

For the Pasta:

3 large zucchini
3 tomatoes

Directions:

For the Pesto:

Lightly toast the walnuts and set aside to cool.  Mince the garlic and add it to a blender or food processor along with the basil, lemon juice, salt and cheese (if using).  Add the walnuts and begin blending.  When the walnuts have been ground up, start slowly adding the oil, with the motor running, until you have a smooth consistency that is neither too thick nor overly runny.  You may have to stop the motor to scrape down the sides once or twice.  Store in an air-tight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

For the Meatballs:

Using your hands, mash up the turkey so that you can form it into clumps that stick together.  Roughly chop the basil leaves and add them to the turkey mixture along with the other ingredients.  Taking about 1.5-2 tbsp of the mixture at a time, form the turkey into small balls.  Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  Add the meatballs and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning them so that they brown on all sides.  Place a lid over the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through.

For the Pasta:

Using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler, slice or peel the zucchini length-wise into wide, very thin strips, stopping when you get to the center where all the seeds are.  Dice the tomatoes into small pieces.  Pour the pesto into the zucchini noodles and toss to coat all the strips evenly.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

When everything is ready, divide the zucchini evenly among 6 plates.  Top with diced tomatoes and meatballs, and serve.

(You can have the meatballs heated up or served cold, it is up to your own personal preference)

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried zucchini noodles?  What creative ways do you like to make sure you’re eating enough vegetables?

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Simple Sunday: Noodle Dilemma

Is it just us, but are we the only ones who no matter what we do, we can never seem to cook the right amount of pasta? It’s not the short noodles (go ahead, have your laugh) that are the problem- you know, the penne, rigatoni, farfalle- they’re easy because all you have to do is measure the amount you want.  But stuff like spaghetti, fettuccine, vermicelli- they don’t make measuring cups for those!

Inevitably we always end up cooking more than we need, and are left with an awkward amount left over that’s not quite enough for a serving- so what are we to do?  Save it, cook more and have pasta again the next night?  While that seems logical, what would most likely end up happening is we’d end up cooking too much again, and then we’d just have to eat pasta every night for the rest of our lives! Ok, that may be a little melodramatic, but you get the idea.

But necessity is the mother invention, and we have come up with a solution to our pasta dilemma!

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You know those crispy noodles that you always get when you get a salad at Wendy’s?  Well these are kind of like them, only healthier!

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And, if you don’t count salt and pepper (because they don’t really count, do they?) than these only have two ingredients!  Gotta love that, right?

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So what do you do with this bowl of crispy, crunchy noodles? Well, as we mentioned already, they make fantastic salad-toppers!

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But that’s not all they’re good for!  In fact, you might just find yourself reaching for these when you’ve got the munchies- they’re surprisingly addictive!  And they keep well, too- we’ve had ours in the pantry for about a week and-a-half now and they’re just as crispy as if they were fresh out of the oven!

Hey, you never know- you might end up liking these so much that you cook extra pasta on purpose! 😉

Noodle Crisps

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Prep: 5 min
Cook: 10-20 min

Ingredients:

Leftover [whole wheat] pasta noodles (however much you have)
Olive Oil- 1 tsp for every 1/2 cup of noodles
Salt- 1/8 tsp for every 1/2 cup of noodles
pepper- to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

Toss the cooked and chilled pasta noodles in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy (some of them may be quite dark).  If they are not crispy enough, continue baking them for 5 minutes at a time or until they are done.

Eat as a snack, use as a crunchy salad-topper, or come up with your own fun uses for them!

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when you have leftover pasta noodles?

Pad Thai?

These days, Brit and I are specializing in quick, easy meals. When you don’t get home from practice until 6:30 or later each night and you’ve got midterms and assignments (all due at the same time) up to your necks, meals have to be something that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

We’ve posted a few different recipes that are super fast to whip up:

Crispy Fish Cakes
Lemon Dijon Chicken over Carrot-Broccoli Grain Salad
Protein Power Bowl
Pulled Chicken Tacos
Split-Pea Lentil and Date Patties
Szechuan Chickpea Burgers
Spicy Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadilla

However, probably one of our fastest, favourite things to do for dinner is make pasta. A nice big bowl of pasta filled with sauteed veggies and sprinkled with cheese. Way back in September, we posted a recipe for pasta sauce and in that post we talked about making one of these said pasta bowls. Well, we did that again, accept this time, we took a different spin on it!

This time, instead of marinara sauce, we took a Thailand approach and made a dish reminiscent of Pad-thai. Sounds amazing, right?

Right.

And the best part about this meal, is the amount of time it takes you to sautee the veggies and make up the sauce is the same amount of time it takes you to cook the noodles. So it’s really, really fast!

In our bowl went crispy tofu, red, orange and yellow peppers, onion, mushrooms, and frozen veggies, but you can put anything you want in it, really! Brit and I both agreed that chicken or salmon would be delicious, and I’m sure if you are a shrimp lover (neither of us are!) than that would be delightful, too. 🙂

Thai-Peanut Pasta Sauce! Yum. 🙂

Also, don’t forget to enter our coconut oil giveaway! We will be finding the winner tomorrow evening so hurry up and get those entries in!

Thai-Peanut Pasta Sauce

Total time: 5min
Makes: Enough sauce for two pasta bowls

Ingredients:

1/4 c. all natural Peanut Butter*
1/4 c. water
1 tbsp Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
1/2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Cayenne pepper flakes, to taste.

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

*You can use regular peanut butter as well

– Julie

Do you like thai food? Have you ever had authentic pad-thai before?

And so it begins…

WARNING:

This blog is about to experience a not-so-hostile takeover.  If you know what is good for you, you will run out to the grocery store and stock up on three items: pumpkin, pumpkin, and more pumpkin!

That’s right, folks, it’s that time of year again!  We have now embraced the arrival of Fall, and therefore the consumption of all things pumpkin.

We bought a can of pumpkin puree on Tuesday afternoon, and finished it off yesterday evening.  Yes, we may have a slight obsession.

But hey, we’ve got to keep our summer glow somehow, so why not just eat enough orange food pumpkin until our skin turns orange?

Just kidding. 😉

But in all seriousness, we really love pumpkin, and we actually have a list of pumpkin recipes that we’re planning on making.  So if you’re not a big fan of pumpkin, we apologize in advance.

To kick off our pumpkin craze, we bring you pumpkin linguini!

This was quit possibly some of the creamiest, most rich-tasting pasta dishes we have ever had!  Normally creamy and rich are not the first two words that come to mind when you think of a healthy pasta dish, but we assure you that this recipe is just as healthy as it is delicious!

Because we’re going to be bombarding you with pumpkin recipes over the next little while, we think it makes sense to provide you with some nutrition facts, so you have even more of an excuse to go through an entire can in 1 day…

In one cup of pumpkin, you get 80 calories and 1 gram of fat.  20 g of carbohydrate and 7 g of fiber. It also provides 760 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, 17 percent of vitamin C, 6 percent of calcium and 19 percent of iron
(source)

Pumpkin also contains both carbohydrates and fibre, which helps keep your blood sugar stable. (source)

Aannd its creamy and delicious and so versatile that you can literally put it in anything and it’ll taste good!  Well, in our opinions, anyways!

So really, there isn’t any reason you shouldn’t try this pasta dish. What better way to take charge of your health than with a delightfully creamy pasta dish? And while you’re at it, why not make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, drink pumpkin spice teas and lates, and have some pumpkin cheesecake for dessert? That’s right, we’ve done all of these things. Recipes to come! 🙂

Pumpkin Linguini

Total time: 20min
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

1/2 of a 375g package of whole wheat linguini (we use Healthy Harvest)
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. milk
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste

Optional add-ins:

Mixed veggies
Hot sauce
Feta cheese

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In the meantime, add pumpkin, milk, nutritional yeast and spices to pot and heat it over medium-high heat, stirring frequently so the milk does not scald. Once heated through, stir into pasta and add any desired mix-ins.

-twosaucysisters

What is your favourite fall food? Do you like pumpkin?

For Students (and anyone else who is busy on a budget!)

What is the quintessential university students’ meal?

If you said Kraft Dinner or grilled cheese, you’re right. But there’s another one that you are missing: Pasta!

Most people just buy the sauce, buy the noodles, boil the water and badda-bing-badda-boom – pasta! Today, however, we are going to kick it up a notch. We’re adding veggies, chicken and home-made sauce!

Occasionally, we make our own pasta, too, but that would take away the convenience of the dish, so we went with store-bought whole wheat penne instead. 🙂 But back to the sauce…

It always makes us laugh at how people seem to shy away from making their own tomato sauce, it’s honestly the easiest thing! Not too many ingredients, not too many steps, and way less additives, preservatives and salt than store-bought.

Not to mention it’s bright tomato-y flavour and super-packed with vegetable goodness! 🙂 What’s better than that?

We added carrots to this one for an extra beta-carotene boost, but really, you can add almost any vegetable to tomato sauce and it will turn out delicious! We’ve been known to blend entire stir-frys right in!

This is a nice big recipe, too, so you’ll have lots in the fridge, which makes whipping together a yummy bowl of pasta that much faster! This edition contains carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, red peppers and frozen mixed veggies stir-fried in some olive oil and then tossed with the noodles and sauce (recipe below!). It’s healthy, it’s delicious, and it takes all of 20min to make, with minimal clean-up. The ultimate busy-person-on-a-budget type meal!

So here you go, folks! Easy, healthy, delicious home-made tomato sauce!

Basic Tomato Sauce

Total time: 40min

Makes: ~1L

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 medium white onion, diced
1/2 large carrot, diced
1 28oz can of tomatoes
1/2 c. tomato paste
1/2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until onions have become tranxlucent.

Add carrots, tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20min.

Transfer to a blender and blend until somewhat smooth.  Return to the pot. Add remaining ingredients, bring back to a boil and simmer for 10 min.

-twosaucysisters

Do you like tomato sauce? What’s your favourite quick and easy meal?

Chickpea Ravioli

What did you ask for for Christmas last year? A new phone? Money for shopping? Concert tickets?

So did we.  But we also asked for this:

A pasta maker! 🙂

Our first experience with fresh pasta was several years ago when we tried to make spaghetti by hand. It was delicious, but also so thick that you ate three noodles and were full! Our pasta making endeavors ended there, until this past year in our food science lab at school, where we got the wonderful task of making 3-cheese ravioli.

Let us just say this: Dried pasta doesn’t hold a candle to the fresh stuff!

The difference between our food lab pasta and our home pasta was, in the lab, we got to use a pasta maker. This simple appliance allowed us to roll out the pasta nice and thin, so that when it cooked it was just the right thickness. On that day we decided we had to have one of our own!

Within the last few months since getting the pasta maker, we have made pasta 3 or 4 times.  The first time we didn’t get the dough recipe quite right, and it was very crumbly and breaky.  Gradually, we started getting the hang of it, and our pasta has turned out better and better each time!

Remember when we said hummus is good in anything? We were right. It’s even delicious stuffed inside ravioli.

 It’s not our hummus recipe, but it’s chickpeas. It’s creamy. It’s awesome.

It’s chickpea stuffed ravioli.

Make that: Cheesy-tomato-basil-roasted red pepper-chickpea stuffed pasta.

Say that ten times fast! 🙂

First, we’ll start off with the pasta dough recipe itself.  Pasta dough is easy to make, but can be a bit temperamental. The important thing to remember is to have enough moisture that it will stick together but not too much so that it will stick to the pasta maker. Another key item to remember when making pasta, is it MUST be at room temperature when you roll it out. If it’s cold, not only is it super hard to work with, but also crumbles and breaks apart when trying to roll it out.

Basic Pasta Dough Recipe

1 c. Durum Wheat Semolina Flour

1/2 c. Whole wheat flour

1/2 c. All purpose Flour

1 egg

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

7-8 Tbsp Water

Directions:

Mix together flours in a large bowl.  Add egg and oil to the center, and using your hands, mix thoroughly.  Add water one tablespoon at a time until dough stays together and can be kneaded without significant breaking.  Knead for 2-3 min.

Take dough in small sections and roll with a rolling pin so that you have a long strip. Starting on the lowest setting, roll the dough through the pasta maker. Once it is rolled through once it will be much thinner and may become quite long. For ease of handling and less chance of breakage, cut the piece in half.  Each piece should be rolled through each setting twice before increasing to the next level.  We rolled ours up to the 5th setting.

Once you have two strips rolled out, you are ready for the filling! (see below for recipe)

Spread the filling so that there is about a half-centimeter space around the edge. You could also drop the filling by teaspoon-fulls along the dough, leaving a centimeter space around each blob.

Place the second strip of dough on top of the first and pinch the edges to close.

We have a ravioli attachment for our pasta maker, but if you don’t you should use the teaspoon drop method. If so, you can then cut them into squares with a knife.

But us? We let ‘er roll!

Look at those cute little squares!

Now that you’ve done the hard part, just drop them in a pot of boiling water and stir them for about two minutes, e presto! Pasta Ravioli!

Because we wanted the flavour of the filling to come through, we didn’t want to douse it in too much sauce, so we tossed ours in a light pesto coating.

And now for the filling!

Chickpea Ravioli

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

2 c. chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 clove garlic

1/4 of a red onion

1 roasted red pepper (we used one from a jar!)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 heaping tbsp tomato paste

1/4 c. fresh basil leaves

1/4 tsp chipotle puree*

1 tbsp olive oil

pepper

1/3 c. old cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:

Add all ingredients except for cheese and blend until smooth.

Stir in the grated cheddar.

Spoon onto pasta and cover with another sheet of pasta (as described above).

Cook in boiling water for 2-3min.

* chipotle puree is simply a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (can be found at any grocery store) that has been blended into a paste.

~Twosaucysisters

Have you ever made or eaten fresh pasta?