Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Healthy Eating: Pasta w/Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon & Tuna

I'd like to start by expressing my love for a (somewhat) new found favorite of mine, Fine Cooking magazine and daily email recipes.  Although the magazine itself is not cheap, the free daily emails give you the recipes from the latest issue, win-win! Not to mention, everything I've made from their collection has been delicious, easy and pretty healthy, just the combination I'm looking for. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, our lives are full of house 'stuff' lately, and it's just been difficult to find time to do much else.  But when I got an email today with this inticing recipe, I decided I was going to make time for it.  I've occasionally seen pasta recipes that call for tuna, and have always wondered how they turn out.  This one was for sure a winner. It was so full of flavor, and such a perfect balance of lemon, tuna, pepperoncinis, parsley and tomatoes.  Whoever thought of this combination seriously deserves a day off.

  • I used about 2.5 cups of tomatoes as opposed to 4, (they're not cheap and it seemed like enough!). I'd use more next time, they turned out so good, that I was definitely wishing I had a few more in my bowl!
  • Cut the tomatoes in half.  It helps them to break down quicker, and ensures the perfect amount of tomato with each bite.
  • Add extra oil to the tomatoes, if needed.  I'm not sure why this happened, as the recipe calls for high heat, but the bottom of the pan dried up about halfway through cooking the tomatoes, I had to add a little bit of olive oil. (I wonder how a splash of white wine would have turned out?)
  • Use more tuna...  One small can just didn't seem like enough to spread across 4 servings, so I used two small cans instead and although it was a bit much, I'd rather have more than skimp on it.
  • ... And buy good stuff, you will taste it! Look for all natural, imported, packed in oil, and low sodium is definitely a plus.
  • Don't be discouraged by appearance! I'll be honest, I didn't take pictures along the way because it looked so unappetizing that I thought for sure there was no way for this one to be blog-worthy - I was SO wrong.  
  • Top with a sprinkle of Asiago cheese.  Mmm!
  • Make fresh green beans*  to go along with your pasta, it's the perfect side, and provides the much needed crunch. 

*Prepare my favorite way by chopping off ends, saute with onions, garlic and tomatoes (splurge with a piece of bacon or two!) in olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, or follow this recipe.


DIY: Thai-Style Stir-Fried Chicken & Basil

Remember my week of intimidating Asian recipes? I know, it might be difficult, it been a whole two months - eek! I can't believe how time flies.  In the past two months, we've searched for a house, found a house, bought the house, renovated, painted and gotten really close to moving into the house, and man has it been busy! I was reminded this week how important it is to do things you love, so here we are.

If you have cravings for Thai food, but are hesitant to consume the calories (because Lord knows you won't eat just half), then you should definitely give this one a try.  It was tasty, satisfying, and felt healthy all at the same time!  I will say that it was not the same as your favorite Thai takeout, but it was a great, simple weeknight dinner nonetheless.

  • I only used 2 shallots and it seemed like plenty, so my advice is to use sparingly.
  • Add peanuts.  It just seemed like the right thing to do, and I just can't imagine this dish without them!
  • Be generous on the seasoning. This could be because I used slightly more than 1 lb of chicken, and I did regular white rice as opposed to Jasmine, but I had to add a little extra fish sauce to give it that umph. And speaking of fish sauce, don't be afraid!  This ingredient was one of the very reasons I started this challenge. I was unfamiliar with it, I had no idea where to buy, and 'fish sauce'?... Well folks, just follow the recipe (for the most part), buy it at your local grocery store, and it's really not so 'fishy' after all, so there.
  • Who uses just 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes? Pile those babies on! Maybe it's just me, but I don't even notice the 1/4 tsp. I need that noticeable kick, so I just sprinkled in until it seemed like enough. :)