Cilantro Spinach Lime Pesto.

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Since I have received my Magimix by Robot-Coupe 3200 XL Food Processor, I knew I wanted to whip up some pesto in it.  It’s a favorite!  I chose the larger of the 3 bowls to prepare it because the cilantro is a bit of a wild herb.  Everything tucked in nicely and I have to admit, with only a few pulses it does the job.  See the pics below.  Drizzling the olive oil through the large spout also allows me to gauge the consistency of the pesto quite easily v. my old processor.  The machine is powerful yet very quiet.  Cleans up perfectly and I love that the larger bowl comes with a larger blade making my job much easier.

We adore pesto but it doesn’t always have to be the classic basil version.  I made a similar pesto for a pizza sauce and my kids went wild over it.  I mixed it up and thought I would serve this over grilled chicken and whole wheat pasta tonight for dinner.  Would be great over pasta or mixed with grilled fish or chicken.

Ingredients:

1 cup of fresh cilantro
1/2 cup of baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup of raw almonds (pistachios would work well too)
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Optional:  Jalapeño

Directions:

In my new Magimix Food Processor, I added the cilantro, spinach, almonds and garlic to and pulse until it looks like this:

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Then add some salt and pepper.   Parmesan cheese then place the lid back on and drizzle olive oil through the spout with the machine running until it resembles this:

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Give it a taste and adjust the salt and pepper as necessary.  Put in a tupperware container until needed.  If using over pasta, reserve a bit of the pasta water off to the side.  Add the cooked pasta back to the pan with a small bit of the reserved water along with a few tablespoons of the pesto.  Add additional pesto until you achieve the amount you wish to have in the dish.  Refrigerate or freeze the pesto until needed again.  A little goes a long way!

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Israeli Couscous Edamame Salad.

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I purchased some Israeli couscous about a month ago and today, finally, decided to finally do something with it.  Do you ever do that?  I was bound and determined to make something fun with it.  After all, it is pasta and how bad could it be?

Ingredients:

1 cup of Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup of water
1 handful of fresh parsley
1 cup of cooked edamame (shelled)
Salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon or more if you like of ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Drizzled good quality balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 tsp or a little less)
Olive oil (about 1/4 tsp or less)

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 cup of the couscous.  Stir to coat and let it toast.  Keeping a watchful eye over it and stirring frequently.  Once it has a nice toasted brown color, add one cup of water, bring to a boil.  Then turn to low and cover.  Cook this for about 8 minutes or so, the liquid will be absorbed (similar to rice).  Add more time if you need it.  Then remove and add to a bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat.  Adjust the seasonings as you wish.  Refrigerate or serve at room temperature.

 

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Gambino family sauce & meatball recipe.

 

I grew up in the most basic, tiny (I mean seriously tiny) kitchen with two amazing cooks that shaped my life by turning out mouth-watering, delectable foods.  I’ve taken those recipes and put my fingerprint on them and today, my family enjoys my grandmother & aunt’s food with a touch of me.  Now, I don’t stick with one specific hardcore recipe.  I morph recipes to suit my mood.  This recipe represents me today.

Sauce and meatballs to an Italian, are staples, much like a chicken soup is when you’re sick.  I strive to be healthy, working out and eating right but I will NEVER give up pasta.  I can’t even fathom how to do that.  With that, here is my recipe.

Meatballs:

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of bread crumbs or panko (seasoned or plain)
1 egg
2 teaspoons of salt
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 of a yellow onion, finely diced
Pepper
Hot pepper flakes
1/2 lb of each – ground sirloin, ground pork and ground veal

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, add the bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, garlic, onion and hot pepper flakes.  Once mixed, add the meat and blend well without over-mixing.

In a large skillet with about 1/2 cup of olive oil, heat over medium flame.  Once hot, use a melon baller and scoop out the meatballs and place into the skillet cautiously (the oil may spray up).  Cook until a nice crust is on each side (about 2-3 minutes).  Then remove and place on a paper towel lined plate tto soak up the excess oil.  Work in batches and avoid over-crowding.  Once all of the meatballs are browned, gently place them in the sauce to finish cooking.  Be cautious when stirring not to break them up.

Sauce:

Ingredients:

1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped into small pieces
2 cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes (28 ounces each)
1 can of tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of a better quality red wine
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
3 tablespoons of dried parsley or 1/4 cup of fresh
2 tablespoons of Italian Seasonings
Olive oil
Optional:  grated parmesan (for garnishing)
Fresh basil (for garnishing)

Directions:

In a large Dutch oven (I used Le Creuset) over medium heat,  pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of your pan.  Add your onion, garlic, carrots and green peppers.  Cook this down for about 6-8 minutes.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer and then turn down to the lowest setting.  Cover and simmer for at least 3+ hours.  I normally let this simmer for about 6 hours.

Cook your favorite pasta according to package instructions.  Top with your sauce and enjoy!  Grate parmesan atop if you prefer or add fresh basil.

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Kale & Basil Pesto.

 

I found this recipe in my Vitamix cookbook.  I was a bit suspect because I was worried that my girls would not like the flavor combination but I was totally wrong.  Vitamin-packed and rich in beta carotene, vitamin K and C, lutein and rich in calcium.  Still paired up with the traditional basil and I used walnuts instead of pine nuts.  The taste is unbelievably good and low in fat thanks to the broth.  Pair this up with whole wheat pasta or top chicken or fish and you are all set!

I prepared this in my Vitamix but a food processor works just as well.  I adapted this recipe from the original Vitamix recipe.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of chicken broth
1/2 cup of light and fluffy grated parmesan (not packed)
5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups of basil leaves
2 cups of kale, spine removed
3 tablespoons of walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
Lemon juice

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients in the order as listed into your blender, Vitamix or food processor.  Blend until creamy and smooth.   Toss with fresh pasta or store in a tupperware container in the fridge.

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Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. {healthy}

Let me preface this blog entry, I am NOT a fan of mac and cheese.  Never have been.  Plus my kids aren’t in love with it either.  So we harvested 3 butternut squashes today and I had to come up with something to do with them.  My girls aren’t in love with butternut squash soup so I wanted to do something different.  I began by roasting them.

First step:

Slice the squash in half and place on a cookie sheet (lined or unlined).  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh Rosemary.  Place in a preheated 425 degree oven for 60-70 minutes or until fork tender.  Remove and let cool completely.

Second step… well what to do with these lovely roasted squashes now?  I thought I would puree them into a sauce.  For what?  I still had no idea.  So I removed the skin and tossed the flesh into my blender.  I added 1/2 cup of non fat, plain Chobani.  Too thick for my blender!  Ha!  I needed liquid.  I added 1/2 cup of chicken broth (veggie broth would work as well).  Still, too thick!  I added 1 cup of white wine.  Yes… I did!  Then I added some additional Rosemary.  4 garlic cloves.  Shaved some asiago cheese (1/2 cup).  Salt and pepper.  It still seemed really thick.  I poured it into a stock pot and heated it up.  I added additional broth and kept stirring.  It was so creamy and delicious.

Okay so now what???  Ha ha.  Sorry but this is my thought process.
Step three!  Pasta!  I cooked up some tri-colored pasta.  Took a ladle full of the pasta water and added it to the sauce.  Drained the pasta and then combined the two.  Seemed to be reminiscent of a mac n cheese but so much better for you and totally fabulous!  I spooned the mixture into a pretty new baking dish and decided it needed a topping!

Step 4:  To a mixing bowl I added 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Give it a good toss to coat and sprinkle on to of the pasta mixture.  Broil, on low, for about 1 minute.  Keep an eye on this because it will burn fast!  Then serve!

This dish was very well-received.  Everyone gobbled it down, having NO idea what it was :)  Ha ha.

Sorry for the babbling and the non-typical writing style for a recipe but that’s how I rolled through this one.  You can certainly add, delete by preference.  Enjoy!

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Tropical Shrimp Salad.

Sonali from The Foodie Physician is my featured guest blogger today.  She brought you guys a fabulous, tropical dinner that will transport your senses & tastebuds to a warm, beachfront location surrounded by palm trees – even if it’s only in your imagination.    Sonali is such an incredible friend of mine who constantly inspires me.  Thank you dear friend for guest blogging.

You can find Sonali on Facebook here:   https://www.facebook.com/TheFoodiePhysician

Or through her website:  http://www.thefoodiephysician.com/Tropical Shrimp Salad with Honey Chipotle Dressing

Hi everyone!  My name is Sonali aka The Foodie Physician.  I’m an ER doctor, chef, recipe developer and board-certified foodie.  On my blog, I enjoy discussing the health benefits of foods and I love to create delicious, nutritious meals often with a gourmet twist.  I want to thank Robin for giving me the opportunity to share a recipe on her wonderful blog.  Since I know she doesn’t cook much seafood, I thought I would take the opportunity to share a healthy seafood dish with all of you.  I hope you enjoy it.

This dish was inspired by a wonderful trip to Mexico that I took with my husband.  The weather was perfect and we spent the sun-drenched days relaxing on the beach, drinking frozen cocktails and enjoying the delicious Caribbean cuisine comprised mostly of fresh seafood and vibrant salads.

My Tropical Shrimp Salad with Honey Chipotle Dressing is a light and refreshing dish with a tasty combination of sweet and spicy flavors.  Cumin, garlic and chipotles in adobo add just the right amount of heat to the shrimp, which are grilled to perfection.  The fiery shrimp are served over a fresh salad packed with tropical ingredients including mango, avocado and jicama, which provide several important vitamins and minerals as well as a good amount of fiber.  Jicama is a crispy, sweet root vegetable that is common in Mexican cuisine.  It can be eaten cooked or raw and adds nice texture when tossed into salads. If you can’t find it, you can substitute a firm pear or apple.  To complete the dish, the salad is coated with a lime and cilantro dressing which has a hint of sweetness from honey and touch of smokiness from the adobo sauce.

This is a good dish if you’re counting your carbs.  It’s also a great way to incorporate more seafood into your diet.   It’s light and refreshing but hearty enough to be a main course.  So treat yourself to this tasty salad and in no time at all you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to your own tropical paradise!

 

Tropical Shrimp Salad

Makes 6 servings

Marinade:

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1-2 teaspoons minced chipotles in adobo (depending on how spicy you like it)

2 teaspoons lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and black pepper

 

Dressing:

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the chipotle can

1 tablespoon honey

4 teaspoons lime juice

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Kosher salt and black pepper

 

Salad:

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 mango, peeled and diced into cubes

1 medium jicama, peeled and julienned

1 avocado, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

 

 

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Fresh tomato sauce.

This is one of the easiest, freshest dishes you can whip up courtesy of your garden or farmer’s market.  Two pots for dinner.  One fabulous dinner!

Ingredients:

3 lbs of fresh tomatoes (I used yellow and red), washed and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
Optional:  Grated parmesan (1/4 cup of loosely packed)

Directions:

In your sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil, cut tomatoes, garlic and seasonings.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Then puree with a immersion blender.  If adding cheese, add that now along with basil.  Stir and taste.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.

In a separate pot, boil your water and add salt.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Top pasta with the sauce and enjoy!

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Vodka cream sauce.

Spent the entire afternoon at the pool catching up with an old friend.  The kids hung out with friends.  It was the perfect summer day.  Then I had to snap back to reality when I got home & make dinner.  Following the meatless Monday protocol, we had whole wheat pasta with a vodka cream sauce.  It was heavenly.

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Italian Seasonings
Salt and pepper
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (I used Cento)
1/2 cup of vodka
1/4 cup of heavy cream
Basil

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and your onions.  Cook until translucent.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasonings and salt/pepper.  Cook for 30 seconds.  Then add the crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Then add the vodka and let that cook for 5 minutes.  Finally, add the heavy cream and stir.  Cook that for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add some fresh basil.  Serve over your favorite pasta.

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Fresh tomato & pepper pasta salad with lime jalapeño vinaigrette.

I’m starting to think vegetarianism in the summer is really my thing.  I have no stomach for heavier meals and with the thermostat creeping close to 100 degrees ~ this dinner was perfection!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tsp of ground cumin
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves
1 half jalapeño, chopped
1-2 cups of chopped cherry tomatoes
2 large green, yellow, orange or red peppers – chopped
3 corn on the cob corn kernels, cut from the cob
10 ounces or so of pasta, cooked

Directions:

Combine the first six ingredients and combine in a blender or with your hand immersion blender.   Adjust the flavors according to your taste.  Season and set aside.

Add your cooked, cooled pasta to a large bowl and add your tomatoes, chopped peppers and corn kernels.  Add the dressing and toss.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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Chobani Cho-ventive winner announced!!!

Okay the winner of the Chobani giveaway is….

Skylar Loy

Chobani will be sending you the following right to your door!

1 – 32 oz container of 0% fat Plain
1- 32 oz container of 2% plain
1 -32 oz container of 0% Vanilla

That’s a whole lotta cooking & baking creativity that can happen!  Now all you have to do is email me at [email protected] with your mailing address within 48 hours so that I can forward it to Chobani.  Thanks and congrats!!!!!!!!!!  If I don’t hear from Skylar, another winner will be chosen on Saturday, 24th of March.

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