Pass the Pasta Please

17 Nov

So, typically, we don’t eat a lot of pasta. In fact, before this past week, I can’t even recall the last time I ate pasta. Oh, wait, I can – lasagna at Jaco’s. But, anyhow – I definitely can’t recall the last time I made pasta. But, for some reason, I’ve been cooking up pasta like it’s my job. So, here’s a little recap of what dinner looked like for us the past couple of days. (Side note:  I also made a dinner of quinoa/mushroom burgers, with mashed potatoes, peas, and a red wine mushroom gravy. It was sooooo good. So good, in fact, that I spent all of my time focused on eating it, rather than taking photos for you. I’ll do it again. And I’ll take picture!)

First off, we had brown rice penne pasta with a spinach-walnut pesto. This pesto is something Mr. Military Man and I came up with back in MD that we love throwing together. It’s super quick, easy, and fresh. Is there much better? Simple throw a couple handfuls of fresh spinach into a food processor with a handful of walnuts, and about 2 tbsp of parmesean cheese. Process that together. Then, add water to thin it out. When it’s almost to the perfect consistency, add a bit of olive oil. Making it at homes saves a ton of calories because you can greatly reduce the amount of oil and cheese added. Plus, the taste it really fresh and vibrant. And, don’t sweat the measuring too much on this. If you add more spinach, your pesto will be a deeper green (more nutrient dense) and have more of a spinach flavor. Ours below was a bit heavier on the walnuts, so it had a great nutty flavor. You can also play around with spices. Salt, pepper, chipotle. This is one thing I’ve found that is nearly impossible to screw up completely! 🙂

To go with our delicious homemade pesto, we cooked up some organic chicken and apple sausage and cherry tomatoes in a pan with some veggie broth. Once that was warm and our pasta was cooked, we tossed everything together in the pasta pot and went to work devouring every last bite.

Then, yesterday – there was…..wait for it….this is good….worth the wait. Ok, go! There was garlic spaghetti. Yum, yum, and a little more yum. I don’t know that I’ve every enjoyed a pasta sauce so much in my life. I came across the idea/recipe while watching $10 Dinners on Food Network yesterday. The host, Melissa d’Arabian, made it look so easy and really convinced me that this was one of the most delicious sauces you’ll ever have. So, I found the recipe online and set out to make a new, mind-blowing, pasta sauce. TRY THIS! Immediately. It’s incredibly rich and delicious. I can’t even do it justice with words and pictures. You just have to try it. Trust me on this one. One recipe alteration – I halved the butter and oil because the recipe just seemed like a LOT of fat! We still thought there was enough richness in there to make this awesome. So, you may also decide to start out using half of the olive oil and butter called for in the Food Network recipe. And, one more tidbit – this was really easy and quick to throw together. The garlic takes about 30 minutes to sweeten up and infuse into the oil, then everything else comes together with the sauce in a matter of minutes. So, no need to slave in the kitchen all day for this deliciousness!

And, while we were waiting for my sauce to come together into a crazy good garlicky concoction, I made up a white bean saute to top on rounds of fresh bread. Another super easy and delicious something to whip together. I would love to pull this recipe out again next time we have friends over. It’s a healthy, rich-tasting appetizer that would likely appeal to the whole crowd. Recipe note:  I omitted the garlic and white wine completely from my dish. To add a little moisture for the beans to “steam” for a bit, i added about 1/4 cup of veggie broth. Also, I added diced red and yellow pepper because we had two baby sweet peppers that needed a purpose.

This is another instance of what happens when I get excited about food and forget to take a picture. Luckily, I remembered to photograph this before it was all gone. We just scooped the mixture onto toasted bread rounds. Ta-da!

That’s the food recap. In other news:  Our coffee table is complete. Wahoo!!! I finally have my back porch back. And, it’s nice to have this piece in our living room now. Next, I’d like to find some fun square floor pillows and blankets to fill up the space below the table top itself. Overall, we are really happy with the finished product. Not too bad for our first ever attempt at building something from scratch. 🙂

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