Arugula Walnut Pesto

Lets start the week out with something green.  Lets start the week out with vegetables and healthy fats.  Lets start the week with a pop of flavor.

They (whoever “they” are) say you eat with your eyes first.  Green as grass arugula pesto is not only appealing to eye, but easy to make and incredibly versatile.  Arugula’s natural peppery flavor and a salty bite from the parmigiano reggiano lends itself well to a multitude of dishes.  This pesto can be used up right away or frozen for the future.

I’ve collected a few recipes from around the web that utilize arugula pesto in tasty ways.  Try one of them out or make up your own combination.  Let me know what you do!

I love the colors of this mac and cheese.  It almost makes it feel healthy with all that green… almost

This would be a great salad to make for lunch.  Wheat berries have a slightly chewy texture with a nutty finish.  Perfect with a peppery pesto.

Pesto on your pizza?  Its a great way to switch up your pizza toppings and add new flavors in the mix.  I’ll take two slices right now.. thank you

If you’re looking for an easy week night dinner just grill up some chicken and top it with pesto.  Simple and delicious!

This is a great dish for when company comes over.  It looks impressive and you won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen.  Look at those colors!

Arugula Walnut Pesto

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces or 2/3 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1- 10 oz bag of arugula
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Place olive oil, parmigiano reggiano, walnuts, arugula, salt, and pepper in a food processor.  Process until all ingredients are ground into a thick, smooth paste.  Thats it.. you’re done!
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze to use later.

Italian Herb Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

The holidays may seem long gone but winter is still here for a while.  While the sun’s been making a special appearance today, clouds and rain have mostly been gracing the skies here in Portland.

Once the 3rd or 4th day of clouds rolls around I am really ready to snuggle up in a blanket, watch a movie, and sip on something warm.  Coffee will always be my warm beverage of choice, but for health sake I try to limit my consumption…  I guess too much caffeine isn’t good for you or something.  Daaang it.

Too many veggies is never bad for you though.  Ever. I don’t think.

Too much of this tomato soup is definitely not possible.  Not with roasted garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, sweet potatoes, and tomato.

Healthy?  Yes.  Tasty?  Definitely.  Warm and satisfying on a winter day?  You betcha!

The onion, celery, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes are sauteed in some olive oil then are combined with the tomatoes, vegetable stock, and an array of spices to simmer for a bit.  After simmering, the soup takes a trip to the blender to be pureed and then its back to the hot tub to let flavors meld a bit more.  Thats it!

Well, for the soup at least.

Now its time for cheese.  And bread.  Who doesn’t like that?

Actually, I have a confession.  I’m not a huge fan of most grilled cheese sandwiches (gasp!).  Its a texture thing.  Too much melted cheese and I just can’t handle it.  It gets all gummy and weird.  Gross.

I like a thin layer of cheese.  And I like when it melts out and gets crispy on the pan.  Thats my favorite part.  My other favorite part is the bread (the only other part).  Dave’s Killer Bread is amazing.  This loaf is whole wheat and loaded with seeds.  Great flavor and lots of texture.

I used a touch of olive oil on either side of the sandwich to get the bread nice and toasty.  You could use butter.  Whatever.  You choose!

Soup and sandwich combos are a perfect lunch or light dinner for those cold, rainy winter days.  Carve some time out for yourself this week.  Make a batch of soup (and a grilled cheese!).  Bury yourself under a blanket.   And enjoy the winter cold.

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Recipe from Jess White

Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, roasted
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, for sautéing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped (I used two small ribs)
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sized), peeled and cut into 1-in cubes
  • 2- 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper

Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Separate a head of garlic into individual cloves, but don’t peel the cloves.  Cut the tip of each garlic clove off at the stem.  Put cloves in the center of a piece of aluminum foil.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil and place in the oven for about 7 minutes or until garlic is very soft.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Peel skin from garlic and set aside.

Tomato Soup: In a large stock pot, saute onion, celery, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add roasted garlic and continue to saute for another 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, water, spices and salt and pepper to pot.  Stir together, bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer until sweet potatoes are tender.  Use an immersion blender if you have one,  or in batches use regular blender to puree the entire pot of soup.  Return pureed soup back to pot, taste and season as necessary. Continue to simmer for at least 15 minutes.  The longer the soup simmers, the better it will taste.  Serve hot or let cool completely, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 2-3 months.  Makes about 3.5 quarts…lots of leftovers!

Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1-2 slices of bread
  • Cheese, however many slices you like and whatever kind taste buds love
  • Olive Oil, just a little bit

Cut your desired slices of cheese.  Place on bread.  Heat saute pan on medium-low heat. Brush one side of sandwich with olive oil and place in heated pan.  While the first side is cooking, brush other side of sandwich with oil.  Continue to cook on first side until cheese starts melting and bread is toasty and brown.  Flip sandwich and cook until other side is toasted.  Remove, cut in half, dip in soup.  Love it.

Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce

Its a new year now.  We’re 5 days in.  How are those resolutions coming along?

I confess, I sort of failed mine on January 1st.  You see, I’m not good at staying in touch with people.  I don’t enjoy talking on the phone.  I get uncomfortable when the awkward silence sets in and I always seem to talk at the same time the other person starts to say something.  Then we both stop.  Then we both start talking again.  Its a weird cycle that I kind of loath.

Anyways, so my semi-resolution was to keep in better contact with people.  Mostly just my family and a couple friends from back in New Mexico.  Then, come January 1st my mom and one of my brothers both called me and I just didn’t answer.  Epic Fail.

I’ll keep trying though.

There are a lot of things that I could resolve to do in 2012.

Clean my house more.  Do the dishes more often.  Spend less time wasting my life on facebook.  Make new friends.  Push beyond my comfort zone.  Don’t let fear take over.  Use pretty dishes for everyday eating.  Take more walks.  Love people better.  Love Jesus more.  Try to figure out what I’m going to do with my life.

Oh the list could be endless.  And so are the lengths of the resolutions.  Because all of the above mentioned are things that I could do better next year and the one after that.

  So really what I’m going to in 2012 is take it one day at a time.  I’m going to do my best to love well.  I’m going to eat my oatmeal out of a pretty bowl just because I enjoy it more when I do.  I’m going to both push myself and give myself grace.  I’m going to (try) to take life a little less serious all the time.

I’m also going to eat a lot of spaghetti squash topped with healthy Bolognese sauce.  

Seriously, I’ll probably be eating it all week long.  I made way too much for one person.

Good thing its tasty and healthy and I didn’t screw it up which I’m usually afraid of doing when I don’t have a set recipe!

I really enjoy spaghetti squash.  The first time I made anything with it was when I made this.  And I fell in love.

Its a perfect substitute if you’re gluten free or trying to cut back on those starchy carbs.  The sauce is filled with tomatoes, onion, red pepper, and lean beef.  Sprinkle in some salt, pepper, and oregano and you’ve got yourself a dinner that your body will love you for.


Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce

Serves 4-6

Ingredient

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved and roasted
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 package of lean beef (I used 90% lean beef from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1-28 oz can of Plum tomatoes
  • 1-14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped for garnish
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. To roast squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees and cut squash in halve lengthwise.  Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil on squash and season with salt and pepper.  Roast cut side up for 20 minutes.  Turn squash over and roast for another 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan on medium heat saute onion, pepper, and garlic until onion appears translucent, about 4-5 minutes.  Add beef, breaking up with a spatula. Stir occasionally until it is cooked through.  Add about 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the oregano.  Add in both cans of tomatoes and stir together, breaking up plum tomatoes with the spatula.  Cover sauce with lid and let simmer for 20-30 minutes on medium low heat.  Remove pan from heat.
  3. Use a fork to scrape the meat of the squash away from its skin.  Season squash with salt and pepper.  Place the spaghetti squash on a pretty plate and top with bolognese sauce.  Top the sauce with basil and parmigiano cheese.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti Squash with mushrooms

With every love, there is squalor.  With every joy, there is pain.

Thats just how it is.  Thats the nature of the world we live in.

One of my recent favorite books called The Awakened Heart, by Gerald May, says it well, “In both joy and pain, love is boundless.”

How true is that?  The more love we are exposed to, the greater the possibility of pain that comes with it.  We open ourselves up to love.  Make our hearts vulnerable to another person.  We entrust ourselves in someone else, trusting that they will hold our hearts in their hands like a delicate feather while hurricane winds are blowing through life.

And yet, it is inevitable that our hearts will be let go of at some point.  Or that we will let go of someone else’s heart.  We will endure the pain of love just as much as we inflict it on someone else.

Are we all just crazy?  Why would we want this?  Why would we risk so much for the sake of this thing called love?

“To love is to care, to care is to give ourselves, and giving ourselves means being willing to be hurt.  More than the surprises of love, I think it is our vulnerability to love, the impossibility of controlling it or securing ourselves within it, that causes us to speak of “falling” in love.  In love we fall from pride, from our sense of mastery and separateness, from whatever towers of false safety we have constructed for ourselves.  We fall into wonder and wakefulness, joy and agony.”

In love I feel out of control a lot of times.  And honestly, that scares me.  I like to be in control.  I like to have those towers of safety, no matter how false they are.  But they cannot last in love.  Not if love is going to last.

Because when I keep those towers up I push love out.  I push out the very best thing that could come into my life.  In the process of protecting myself from the pain I prohibit myself from the joy.  They aren’t mutually exclusive.  In so many ways they are bound together.

As the holiday season approaches (literally just around the corner) we’ll be reunited with family and friends.  We’ll be showered with lots of love, and no doubt have to deal with some old pains in one way or another.  I encourage you to embrace this, as I will too.  Opening ourselves up to love.  Embracing the lessons it has to offer and enjoying the warm fuzzies it gives us inside.

Also, this spaghetti squash with mushrooms is really tasty.

Roasted spaghetti squash.  Shiitake and chanterelle mushrooms.  Onions and garlic.  Basil and parmigiano reggiano.  All mixed together in one bowl of goodness.

Ready. Set. Go!

It’ll be done in like an hour.  Plus!  Its really good for you, which I looooove.

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms

Slightly adapted from Shutterbean

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 container shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 package dehydrated chanterelle mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil (about 8-10 leaves)
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated
  • red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil on spaghetti squash, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast squash for 20 minutes, cut side up.
  3. Fill small bowl with warm water and add dehydrated chanterelles.  Let sit for 20 minutes.
  4. Turn squash over and continue roasting for 20 more minutes.
  5. Drain chanterelle mushrooms and set aside.
  6. Heat saute pan on medium with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add onion and saute for about 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add mushrooms and saute for about 5-6 minutes.
  8. Add a pinch of pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low.
  9. Remove squash from over and let cool for about 5 minutes.  Shred meat of squash with a fork and put into pan with mushrooms.
  10. Add parmigiano and basil and stir together until combined.
  11. Add salt and pepper as desired.