Category Archives: Food

Skillet Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, White Beans, and Olives

penne with cherry tomatoes

Next up in our meatless Lenten meals series is this one dish skillet penne. The beauty of this dish is that the whole thing cooks in ONE POT keeping the mess to a minimum and cleanup to minutes. It will seem a little strange to cook pasta in a nonstick skillet, but a pot is a pot, and this definitely works!

Once the pasta cooks, instead of draining it, you’ll simply add the other ingredients, and the leftover thickened cooking liquid will form the basis for the sauce. Easy peasy.

Skillet Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, White Beans, and Olives

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
2 cups water
8 ounces penne pasta (2 1/2 cups)
1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Directions

1. In a 12″ nonstick skillet, combine broth, water, penne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until penne is tender and liquid has thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.

2.While the pasta cooks, cut the tomatoes and chop the olives.

3. Stir in tomatoes, beans, and olives, and cook until they are heated through, about 2 minutes.

4. Off the heat, stir in basil, Parmesan, and olive oil. Squeeze a lemon over the whole dish, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

* adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Vegetarian ShepherdsPie

With Lent upon us, many of us are looking for meatless meal ideas that are warm and satisfying, and that keep us from resorting to ordering pizza or opening a box of macaroni and cheese.

To that end, here’s a fantastic option that doesn’t come up every day – shepherd’s pie! Normally chock full of meat and vegetables, this version is meatless. And I have to say, the whole idea of covering a big pile of cooked vegetables with mashed potatoes and sticking it in the oven just delights me. Give this one a whirl on Friday – I think you’ll love it!

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the mashed potato crust:

3 large Russet potatoes, peeled, cut up
Milk, as needed (can use vegetable broth to be vegan)
Butter (or olive oil), to taste
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh chives, to taste

For the pie:

2 cups lentils
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin or curry spice
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets (about half a smallish head), cut to bite size
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices
1 zucchini squash, sliced and cut into quarters
1 yellow summer squash, sliced, cut into quarters
8 oz. button mushrooms
1 heaping cup shredded cabbage or slaw mix
1 14-oz. can Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes, with juice
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sage
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions

1.  Place the cut potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted cold water; bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about twenty minutes.

2. In a separate pot, combine 1 cup uncooked lentils and 3 cups water. Bring  the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. You should only see a few small bubbles and some slight movement in the lentils. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet and add the cumin or curry, and garlic. Stir one minute and add the fresh chopped vegetables. Stir and cook about five minutes. Add the canned diced tomatoes, wine, vegetable broth, Worchestshire sauce or balsamic vinegar, sage, sea salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

4. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce begins to reduce. You want the vegetables to be tender-crisp, not too done (as they are still going in the oven), and the sauce to be thickened a bit. Remove from heat, and gently add in the lentils. Set aside.

5.  Drain and mash the cooked potatoes with a little milk and butter (or broth and olive oil). Season with sea salt and pepper. Taste test and add more liquid or salt as needed.

6.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

7. Assemble the pie: Spoon the vegetables into a casserole dish. Top with mounds of mashed potatoes. (I like to leave a few peaks so it looks pretty after it bakes.) Sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the pie is bubbling and heated through.

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce Wraps

One of my favorite ways to play in the kitchen is to think about foods I’d love to order at a restaurant, and then make them over into healthier versions of themselves. These lettuce wraps are just that kind of thing.

This is a lower carb dish with all the flavors you love from Asian takeout, but with less fat, sodium, and sugar! Clocking in at under 400 calories per serving, you can have a hearty helping with no side of guilt.

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbs. soy sauce
½ tsp. grated ginger
1 cup cooked quinoa (red or golden)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 head of iceberg lettuce or butter lettuce

Directions:

1. Be sure quinoa is cooked before you begin!
2. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Drain excess fat and set aside.
3.  Add garlic, red bell pepper, and onion to the sauce pan and cook until tender.
4. Stir in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and ground turkey until well combined. Add in quinoa and green onions and combine.
5. To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the ground turkey mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf.