Monthly Archives: November 2010
|November 23, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Italian, One Pan, Quick Weeknight Meals, Soups and Stews|
This spin on classic pasta fagioli was nothing more than an excuse eat tortellini.
Seriously. I’ve been craving it ever since I made Tortelloni Di Ricotta Di Noci Tostate but, since I find tortellini so easy to overeat, I try not to make it too often. Then I had a brilliant idea: stretch out a serving of tortellini by adding it to a soup full of nutritious ingredients. As it turns out, the soup that I created ended up being crave worthy in its own right — and is much healthier than just eating a giant bowl of carbs and cheese for dinner (which is what I would have done otherwise).
I always say that I like to make soup because it’s so simple, and this is one of the easiest yet — other than chopping an onion, all you have to do is open jars and dump them in your pot. Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe and I wanted to be sure that the final dish was full of flavor, I turned to my old favorite: fire roasted tomatoes. I really love the slightly smokey, charred flavor of these tomatoes and they really added a nice dimension to the soup.
Instead of regular cheese tortellini, I grabbed a package of chicken and proscuitto tortelloni from Buitoni. I LOVED the way these tasted in the soup! They were very delicate but they added a ton of flavor (they reminded me a little bit of wontons). I definitely recommend using them, but if you can’t find them — or if you’re a vegetarian — you can easily substitute regular cheese tortellini.
Kitchen Tip: When using store-bought stock, I always look for unsalted versions. Especially in recipe like this one that use a lot of canned ingredients, sodium levels can add up pretty quickly. Using unsalted stock puts you in control — just add as much (or as little!) salt as you need to make it taste the way you like.
Tortelloni Fagioli with Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Approx. 400 calories, 9 grams fat, 12 grams fiber, 22 grams protein
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbs dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 can (14 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes
- 6 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 package (9 ounces) Buitoni Chicken and Proscuitto Tortelloni (or filled pasta of your choice)
- 1 can (14 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 8 ounces baby spinach
1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat (I used a 5.5 quart dutch oven). Add the olive oil and heat through. Add the onions and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown. Stir in the oregano and marjoram and cook and additional 5 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the tortelloni and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the cannellini beans and spinach. Cook 2-4 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted and the beans are heated through.
|November 18, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Reviews, Risotto|
If you’ve hung out around this blog for a while, you know that risotto is a staple in our house. You might even says it’s my thing. In fact, when I was asked to bring a gift that represented my blog to the Foodbuzz Festival I brought a risotto kit.
So when Marx Foods was looking for people to test and review four different kinds of risotto rice, I jumped on the opportunity. I almost always use arborio rice, both because its easy to find and affordable and because its what I know, but I was super excited to try out the rice that Marx Foods sent me: Vialone Nano, Organic Arborio, Organic Integrale (a brown rice), and Organic Carnaroli. Shawn and I did a blind tasting and ended up ranking the rice the exact same way as each other — and the results surprised us!
First, the ground rules: In order to keep the results as unbiased as possible, I identified each rice only by the pan that I cooked it in; I didn’t know which was which until the end. I prepared them all at the same time (quite the task!) using a simple recipe that would let the flavor of the rice itself shine through — just the rice, some onion, white wine, and chicken stock. I kept detailed notes as I cooked and tasted and rated each rice on appearance, creaminess, smell, and taste. When Shawn came home from work, he tasted each and ranked his favorites (again, he didn’t know which was which. He also didn’t know that I used the same recipe for each version of the risotto.)
|November 17, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Breads, Indian, Sides, Vegetarian or Vegan|
Tandoori Rotis (Indian Flat Bread)
Approx. 244 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 1.7 grams fiber, 6.5 grams protein
|November 15, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Indian, Lent, One Pan, Quick Weeknight Meals, Vegetarian or Vegan, Winter|
Following a month of eating mostly take-out and a trip to the Foodbuzz Festival (where I ate pretty much everything in sight) I’m excited to be back in the kitchen, cooking up healthy recipes.
Choosing the first meal to cook was a difficult task: I was sick of carbs, tired of cheese (yes, it’s possible!), and had my fill of meat. Soup seemed like the perfect solution, but Shawn was sick of that. I knew I was on to something when I spotted a can of chickpeas in the back of the cabinet — starchy, but not heavy like pasta, potatoes, or rice. It didn’t take long to figure out what I wanted to do with them. This chana saag was exactly the kind of meal that I was aching for: warm, creamy chickpeas coated in a fragrant spinach sauce provided enough protein and fiber to keep me satisfied without leaving me stuffed.
I hadn’t made chana saag in years, and I had forgotten how easy it is! Start to finish, it will take you about a half hour and most of the ingredients involved are pantry staples, meaning this can be easily whipped up on a weeknight. A food processor makes pureeing the spinach sauce a breeze, but if you don’t have one it can also be made successfully in a blender.
Looking for a vegan meal? Substitute silken tofu for the yogurt! You can also leave it out entirely, but it does add a nice touch of creaminess to the sauce.
Looking for a meat-filled meal? I encourage you to give the chickpeas a try. But if you insist, you can substitute two chicken breasts for the chickpeas. Just adjust the final cooking time to ensure that they’re cooked through.
Chana Saag (Chickpeas with Spinach)
375 calories, 9 grams fat, 13.5 grams fiber, 18 grams protein
16 ounces spinach
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 cup water
1 Tbs olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbs garam Masala or curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 dash salt
3 Tbs plain yogurt (fat free)
2 cans (32 ounces) chickpeas, drained
1. Set a large pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the spinach has softened. Add the spinach, ginger, garlic, jalapeno, and water to a food processor or blender and process to a puree.
2. Heat the oil in your pan. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Cook for one minute, then add the onions and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and breaking the tomatoes up with your spoon to help them form a sauce. Stir in the garam masala, chili powder, and salt.
3. Add the spinach puree and bring to a simmer. Stir in the yogurt.
4. Add the chickpeas and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serving suggestion: Drizzle with additional yogurt mixed with a pinch of chili powder. Serve with flat bread or rice.
Do you have a great sausage recipe? Johnsonville is hosting an awesome recipe contest with $1,500 in prizes. The only catch is that your entry needs to be submitted by midnight TONIGHT. (Sorry for the short notice!) If you have a great sausage recipe, enter by clicking HERE. Good luck!
|November 11, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under travel|
Words can’t begin to describe the weekend I just spend at the Second Annual Foodbuzz Festival, so I’ll let the photos do the talking. After a month of eating takeout while traveling, this weekend was precisely what the doctor ordered to get me back to my normal foodie-self. I’ve been home for two days now and have been cooking up a storm – I’ll be back to my normal posting schedule with tons of new recipes this week!
From the Foodbuzz Gala Dinner: Roasted Golden Beet Tart with Feta, Currants, Wild Arugula, and Basil Puree, Seared Scallops with Bonny Doon Vinyard Verjus Beurre Blanc served with Braised Fennel, Rosemary and Garlic Infused Rack of Lamb with Wild Mushrooms, Pinot Noir Sauce, and Butternut Squash Puree, Almond Cake with Oranges and Spanish Sherry Sabayon.
2009 Bonny Doon Vinyard Ca’ del Solo Albarino, my favorite of the many wines that were poured.
The best part of the festival: seeing old friends and making new ones. With Andrea from High/Low Food Drink, Yvo from Feisty Foodie, Siobhan from Blondie and Brownie and the fabulous Sophia from Burp and Slurp who I was SO HAPPY to finally get to meet!
Transamerica Pyramid. Apparently people think its ugly. I think its awesome!
Cool fountain in a little park full of redwoods. This was part of a “food” walking tour that I took with Urban Adventures. The food part was pretty much nonexistent, but it was a pretty nice tour anyway. It could have been shorter though – 4 hours walking up and down San Francisco’s hills will leave you pretty sore!
Allie and I drove to Napa, where we stopped at Domaine Chandon. I had the Etoile Brut, which I enjoyed a lot – nice and dry with lots of tiny bubbles. I would have brought home a bottle if it would have fit in my suitcase! Allie had a sparkling red, which was beautiful, but too sweet for me.
People picking vegetables in French Laundry’s garden. Talk about Farm to Table!
Scenery just doesn’t get much more beautiful than this. Napa took my breath away!
|November 1, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Lent, Risotto, Shawn's Favorites, Sides, Special Occasions|