Saturday, February 27, 2010

Healthy Eating: Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White Beans

Matt and I have crazy work hours and often eat dinner late, so I'm always looking for healthy, light recipes to make.  One of my favorite finds is a cookbook by Ellie Krieger called The Food You Crave. It has tons of easy, healthy recipes, that still have a lot of depth.  A lot of times we think of eating healthy as boring or not as satisfying, but it doesn't have to be! 

There are a lot of things you can do with vegetables or fresh herbs to make a dish both tasty and healthy.  For example, roasting.  This particular dish calls for roasted tomatoes and garlic, which is something I'd never tried. The flavors change so much through roasting and it could not be easier.  The sweet, tart flavor of the tomatoes, with the texture of the beans and strong, but somehow still subtle taste of garlic was an amazing combination. 

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White Beans: Courtesy of Ellie Krieger

3 large ripe tomatoes 
6 large garlic cloves, papery outermost skin removed, but left unpeeled
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste 
Freshly ground black pepper
Once 15.5 ounce can cannellini or other white beans, preferably low-sodium (C: I used navy beans)
1/2 box (8 oz.) penne pasta (C: I use whole wheat)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 c. fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (C: I used Kraft blend from my last post)

Preheat oven to 450F.
Slice each tomato into 8 wedges and discard the seeds.  Put the tomato wedges and garlic in a 9x13-inch roasting pan, toss with 2 tbsp of the oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and a few turns of the pepper.  

Roast, uncovered, until the tomatoes lose their shape and become slightly charred. 35 to 40 minutes. C: Start checking them at about 30 minutes

Drain the beans in a large colander in the sink. C: helps reduce the sodium
Cook the pasta according to the package direction.  Drain the pasta in the colander containing the beans, so that the hot pata water warms the beans.  Return the drained pasta and beans to the pasta pot.  
When the tomatoes are done, carefully pick out the garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic out of the skin into a small bowl, and mash with a fork.  add the lemon juice, the remaining 1 tbsp pil and 1/4 tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper, and stir to combine.  Transfer the roasted tomatoes to the pasta pot, add the garlic lemon mixture and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to combine. Serve with the Parmesan. 


Serves 4
Serving Size: 1.5 cups

Per Serving
476 calories
14.5g fat

A couple of notes:
  • Although this is pasta dish, a lot of the calories usually come from the sauce, so since this doesn't have any, its still pretty healthy. However, the above nutrition facts may vary based on what kind of pasta you use. 
  • Watch the tomatoes and garlic closely while roasting.  Mine were a little overdone, but I only roasted them for 35 minutes. 
  • Go easy on the salt. There are a lot of strong flavors in this dish, and it's not really needed.

Quick Dinner Fav: Italian Turkey Sausage & Sun-dried Tomato Rigatoni

I've made this for dinner a couple of times now, and I have to say that its become one of our favorites.  Sometimes the best recipes come from the days you're rummaging through your pantry just trying to throw something together. This is definitely one of those recipes.

Turkey Sausage & Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

Half a box of Whole Wheat Rigatoni Pasta
3 Italian Turkey Sausage Links
12 oz. Pasta Sauce 
1/2 c. Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped
4 oz. Black Olives, sliced
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Basil, chopped
1/4 c. Shredded Cheese 

1. Bring 4 cups of lightly-salted water to a boil in a medium sized sauce pan. Add a 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and pasta to water and cook for 10-12 minutes. 

2. Remove sausage from casing and cook until lightly browned, breaking up into small pieces.

3. Warm pasta sauce, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes in a small saucepan until heated throughout. 

4. Drain cooked pasta, toss in medium sized bowl with remaining olive oil.

5. Add sauce to pasta, top with ground turkey sausage, and toss until combined. 

Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and enjoy!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sooo Worth It - Simple Chicken Curry

Hello friends! It's been too long! Things have been crazy lately, but trust me, our kitchen has NOT been lonely. I've got pictures upon pictures and many a recipe to share, so here goes...

So in an attempt to venture outside of my kitchen comfort zone, I hesitantly asked my friend Sheena if she had any simple Indian food recipes she could share.  Now I say hesitantly because the thought of cooking something I'd really only eaten maybe 2 times in my life, was a little intimidating!  But Sheena assured me that I could do it.  So I gave it a shot, and not only was it a huge success, but I got to use my rice cooker for the first time ever!

Sheena's Chicken Curry
2 Boneless Chicken Breasts C: I also added a half a pound of shrimp.
2 tsp Cumin Seeds C: I used about 1 tsp, but might cut it out next time. Cumin can be very strong, so it's just a personal preference.
2 tsp Coriander Seeds C: Fun fact - Did you know that coriander is the seed to the cilantro plant?
2 tsp Black Peppercorns (or however much you'd like)
1 Whole dry red chili (this can be substituted with chili powder) CN: I used 2 and would consider using a 3rd. I like it spicy!
1 peeled, 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
5 Garlic cloves
3-4 tbsp. of Olive Oil
1/2 c water
1 Onion, chopped
4 Large Tomatoes C: When you're cutting the tomatoes, it seems like A LOT, but add all 4! I only added 3, but they reduce quite a bit, so I wish I would've added the 4th.

1. Heat pan and dry roast the coriander, cumin and peppercorns. After a few minutes, grind to a coarse powder. C: I didn't have peppercorns or cumin seeds so I roasted the powder which seemed to work.

2. Grind/grate red chilies, ginger and garlic to a fine paste. C: I didn't have a food processor or a coffee grinder for the seeds, so I tried putting it all in a blender (be sure to cut ginger into small pieces). It didn't work out so well at first, everything was flying to the side and nothing was being ground.  I added a little olive oil and water to bring everything together, and that seemed to do the trick.

3. Heat oil in a shallow pot, add onion and saute until lightly browned.  Add the dry powders and the paste and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes. 


4. Add chopped tomatoes and salt and continue to saute until the tomatoes become soft.

5. Add chicken/shrimp, water and stir. 

6. Cover and cook on medium heat until the meat is cooked throughout. Add cilantro leaves and serve with rice or naan. 


Absolutely delicious!!