Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Red Peppers

I’m working on getting back to blogging regularly now that the spring sports season is coming to an end. There were only a few days in all of April and May that we didn’t have something going on which led me to make quick and easy dinners to get us to practices or games. I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen and unwinding with a little baking and cooking.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Red Pepper | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

I threw together this quick pasta dish on Monday night – we’re back to Meatless Mondays – and it was so simple and delicious! I think sometimes the most simple meals are what is needed every now and then. I used a new type of pasta – Casarecce. It’s a short, wide strip of pasta that is loosely rolled like a scroll and twisted. It as perfect for holding all space and pieces of garlic. I can’t wait to use it again with fresh pesto this summer!

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Instant Pot Lo Mein

I love a good lo mein …. my kids on the other hand, do not. I thought this would be one of the those recipes my kids would love, but they complained all through dinner about how gross it was, it was chewy and disgusting. My daughter even forbid me to never make this recipe again. My husband and I thought it was really good and was packed full of flavor. I might try it again and switch out the sesame oil and see if my kids like it then…..thought I’m not sure I want to hear the complaining again if they don’t. Ha!

This recipe can easily be switched out to include whatever veggies you have on hand. I made it a meatless dish, but a piece of grilled chicken, steak or shrimp would be a great addition.

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Mushroom Ricotta Open-Faced Sandwiches

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working to incorporate more meatless meals into our life and this recipe was perfect for that! I love mushrooms and this open-faced sandwich did not disappoint. Sautéed mushrooms and onions top a piece of crusty bread with ricotta and then topped with mozzarella cheese and baked in the oven until crispy. YUM!!

I paired our sandwiches with a salad and a glass of red wine, but this would make for a great appetizer too!

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Stuffed Portobellos

We’re all big fan of mushrooms here and this was another quick and easy recipe to make. All four of us gobbled it up without no complaints from the kids! I can wait to make it again when I can pick tomatoes and basil fresh from our garden.

Speaking of gardens, I finally got mine in on over the weekend. The weather here in PA has been miserable. Too many rainy cold days and now it looks like summer is here…I guess we skipped spring this year. I planted some new varieties of tomatoes and peppers this year and our lettuce and beets are finally starting to peek through the soil. I’m so looking forward to being able to walk out into our backyard and get homegrown veggies. What are you planting in your gardens this summer?

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Kung Pao Chickpeas

Kung Pao chicken is probably the one dish I order most often from our local Chinese restaurant. I kept seeing this recipe on Pinterest and finally had to try it and I’m so glad I did! It was really good and super spicy. I used a bottled Kung Pao sauce,  but next time I want to make my own sauce.

What’s the one dish that’s your go-to for take out Chinese? My husband always orders the boneless spare ribs!

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Chickpeas marinade :
2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp cornstarch

14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup Kung Pao sauce (bottled or homemade)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob ginger, grated
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Steamed brown rice

In a medium bowl, combine the marinade for the chickpeas. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas in the marinade, cover and let allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes up to 1 hour.

In a large saute pan, melt the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the marinade chickpeas, Kung Pao sauce, garlic, ginger, and crushed red peppers flakes. Cook for 6-8 minutes until the chickpeas become slightly brown and starts to caramelize. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, the sauce will thicken up during this time.

In a bowl, place the steamed rice, top with the chickpeas and garnish with chopped cashews and sliced green onions.

Source: She Knows 

Quinoa-Mushroom Burgers

I’ve been seeing quinoa burgers all over Pinterest and some of my friends have mentioned they made them so when I came across this recipe in a new cookbook, I thought I’d give it a shot. I usually have extra quinoa just waiting to be used for something, but this time I made a batch just for this recipe. They were different, but in a good way. The addition of mushroom definitely helped make them taste meatier and I liked the combination of avocado and tomato. Ross wasn’t sold on them and Madeline tried it but ended up eating peanut butter bread instead.

I want to try another recipe, so if you have a great one, let me know!

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup finely chopped cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp olive oil
tomato slices

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil, tomato and avocado. Form the mixture into patties. I ended up with 8 medium-sized patties. Place on a plate and chill in the refrigerate for 20 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the patties on each side for 4 to 5 minutes or until crispy brown. Take caution when flipping them over, 2 of my broke apart.

Serve with tomato slices and avocado.

Source: Pretty Delicious Cookbook by Candice Kumai

Caramelized Onion, Bacon and Fig Pizza

I spotted this pizza originally on Pinterest and it sounded so different and unique. I had half a jar of fig jam left over from the orange-fig glazed ham I made and knew it would be a great way to use it up and not waste it. It was seriously AMAZING! Both my husband and I enjoyed it and it was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. This will become a regular pizza in our house!

Now I can’t wait to experiment more with fig jam and real figs once they’re in season.

1 ball of pizza dough
3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, sliced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup fig jam
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with the bottom rack in the lowest position. Place pizza stone on the rack to warm.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, thyme and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the onions until they are deep brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently so they don’t stick.

Roll the pizza dough out into a 12 inch round. Spread the fig jam over the dough, leaving a small crust around the edge. Top with the caramelized onions, bacon and cheese. Transfer to the warm pizza stone and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and let cook slightly before slicing. Enjoy!

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls

In an effort to be healthier this year, I’m back on Meatless Mondays. I’m trying to venture out and try new recipes. I also want to eat meatless for at least two days a week. I’ve been eating better and working out since the beginning of the year and it’s been going well. I’m losing weight and my clothes are fitting better. I’m hoping this year will be the year that I’m in the best shape of my life!

This recipe will be one that I’ll be making over and over again. Ross and I both loved it, Madeline was just so-so on it. I think the cilantro was too strong for her but I can take some quinoa out of the pot next time before I add the cilantro and see how she likes it then. It was a filling dish and worked great for leftovers too.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2  15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded lettuce

Topping ideas: grated cheese, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, corn, salsa

In a small pot, add the 2 cups of water and the quinoa. If this is the first time you’re cooking with quinoa, make sure you rinse it with water through a mesh strainer. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa becomes tender and the liquid is absorbed.

In another saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Cook for another minute or two. Add 1/2 cup of water, the black beans, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and chili pepper. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer the bean mixture for 15 minutes until the majority of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the lime juice and season with salt to taste.

Once the quinoa is completely cooked, remove from heat and fluff it with a ford. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of cilantro and lime juice. Stir to combine and season with salt to taste.

To make your bowls, divide the quinoa between four bowls and then top with lettuce. Next add a quarter of the bean mixture to each of the bowls and then top with your desired toppings.

Source: The Shiksa in the Kitchen

The Secret Recipe Club: Peanut Sesame Noodles

It’s time for November’s Secret Recipe Club! This will be the last post of the year for SRC, but we’ll be back in January. It’s nice to have a break around the holidays since we’ll all be so busy!

This month my assignment was Mostly Food and Crafts.  There’s a lot of see over at Danielle’s blog! I loved looking through her crafts and have a projects I’m looking at doing myself  – Holiday Coasters and Yarn Wreaths! I’m trying to get better about being crafty and I think the coasters would make great Christmas gifts and my holiday wreath is way overdue to be updated!

Now onto the food, I had a hard time narrowing down my choices since there are so many recipes I wanted to try. I finally settled on Peanut Sesame Noodles. They’re perfect for a meatless meal – I served them with a salad and it was quite filling. My husband and I loved them but my daughter didn’t. She’s becoming a little picky these last few months….not sure what’s that about? I’ll definitely be making them again, they’re perfect for lunch too!

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced (a microplane works great)
1 garlic cloved, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp honey
dash of hot sauce

1 box thin spaghetti
sesame seeds

In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Transfer the dressing to a large bowl.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When cooked to your liking, drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.

Add the pasta to the dressing to combine. You can also add blanched vegetables, but I chose to serve it with a salad and stir-fried asparagus. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

Want to be part of the Secret Recipe Club? Join here!

Roasted Veggie Enchilada Stack

Whew, last week blew by! I had planned to post this recipe last week but somehow between getting ready to go back to work, getting back to work and still trying to exercise, there was very little time to blog. I have some free time today so I’m trying to catch up, plus Cooper fell asleep while in the Beco, so I can’t do much else right now.

Getting back to work has been ok. I had a really good day on Wednesday and it felt great that my coworkers were so happy/relived to see me and I was glad for some adult conversation. Thursday was an entirely different story…it was like I never left and the same issues I left, were still there. BOO. Not how I was hoping my first couple days back would be.

We’re still enjoying all the summer vegetables but summer is slowing coming to and end. Madeline starts kindergarten in 2 weeks! This recipe was able to utilize a ton of the veggies I received from our CSA as well as a great option for a meatless meal. I served it with a green salad on the side for dinner and had the leftovers for lunch. I love the roasted vegetables and it was so filling with the addition of the black beans.

1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 can (10.5 oz) red enchilada sauce
9-10 small corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, toss the pepper, zucchini, squash and onion with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally. Once roasted, let the vegetables cool to room temperature.

Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the roasted vegetables, black beans, seasonings and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper.

In the bottom of the pan, spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce. Make a layer with the tortillas to  cover the pan bottom. Top with 1/3 of the vegetable mixture and then 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer with of tortillas, enchilada sauce, vegetable mixture and cheese. Top with a third layer of tortillas, sauce, vegetables and cheese. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the pan.

Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let the enchiladas cool for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Source: Two Peas & Their Pod