Archive for January, 2010

Creamy Pesto Pasta

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Friends, I present you with not such a great picture of a very delicious dish. I was inspired by a friend who cooked a similar dinner for us in the summer, and I thought that I could make my version a little bit lighter (and use up my cream cheese!) by subbing in cream cheese for heavy cream. It worked perfectly, resulting in a thick, creamy, but not-too-heavy sauce. The fresh taste of the vegetables balances this dish nicely, and it is heavenly when served with some garlic bread, a simple green salad, a nice white wine. You can make your own pesto, of course, but premade pesto makes this so easy to throw together. It’s your call. Either way, you’re in for a scrumptious meal.

Creamy Pesto Pasta
Makes 4 to 6 Servings

3 cups dry whole wheat pasta, a short shape like penne or fusilli
6 cups of water
¾ cup pesto, store-bought or homemade
½ cup Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
2 cups mixed vegetables, finely chopped
(I used ½ cup each of carrots, broccoli, peas, and bell peppers)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the meantime, cut up your veggies into small bite-sized pieces. (The vegetables I used worked really well, but I can also imagine green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, or zucchini being especially good in this dish.)
  3. In a large pan, combine the cheese and pesto and heat on low until the cheese is melted. Stir constantly during this process to mix the pesto and cheese.
  4. Add the veggies to the sauce and cook about 5 minutes, or until the veggies are tender but still bright and slightly crisp.
  5. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
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January 23, 2010 at 11:57 pm 1 comment

Wintertime BBQ Tacos

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Back to school! That means simple, hearty recipes that will keep us going all day long, and tacos are among our favourites. This recipe may look a bit complicated, but don’t be fooled! It’s actually really simple to put together and it makes lots, so you can enjoy it for a few days after the initial work. Each of the elements in these tacos are also delicious on their own. The coleslaw makes an excellent side dish that travels well to picnics and potlucks, and the bbq peppers and tofu are great as a main dish served over rice or couscous. They are extra delicious in these tacos, though, where the tang of the coleslaw stands out against the subtle sweetness of the BBQ sauce, and the yogurt provides a creaminess that makes it all come together.

Wintertime BBQ Tacos
10 small corn or flour tortillas
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup prepared salsa
1 recipe bbq peppers and tofu (below)
1 recipe cilantro-lime coleslaw (below)

  1. Prepare the BBQ Peppers and Tofu. While they are cooking, prepare the coleslaw.
  2. Fill each tortilla with some of the peppers, tofu, coleslaw, yogurt, and salsa. Fold and enjoy!

BBQ Peppers and Tofu
1 lb. tofu, cubed (about 2 cups)
2 bell peppers, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup BBQ sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Slice the peppers and onion and cube the tofu.
  3. In the baking dish, toss the veggies and tofu with the BBQ sauce.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Cilantro-Lime Coleslaw
4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced (or 1 bag of shredded cabbage)
1½ cups cooked or canned black beans
1½ cups cooked or canned corn
½ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
¼ cup olive oil
1½ cups cilantro leaves (1 bunch of cilantro)
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
¼ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a blender (or using a hand blender), combine the lime juice, oil, cilantro, honey, cumin, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, corn, and beans together with the dressing.

BBQ Peppers and Tofu recipe borrowed from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas.

January 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm 1 comment


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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.