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Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Buttery Tomato Sauce

I love spaghetti.  It’s one of my favorite foods ever, and it doesn’t matter how it’s made, as long as I can eat it.  For one of my favorite foods, I don’t eat very often.  But when I do, I’m always amazed by how versatile spaghetti is.

Like spaghetti sauce.  For the longest time, I wasn’t a fan.  I had no problem eating my spaghetti plain with parmesan cheese.  But I’m warming up to spaghetti sauce, especially because you can do it so many ways.  And sometimes, I’m all about cleaning out the pantry, which can work out really well with something like spaghetti.

This spaghetti is so good!  Especially the sauce.  To me, it was more sherry than buttery, but then again, that is what I get for tasting it while it’s cooking.  It’s simple and doesn’t take forever to make which is always a plus.  Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Buttery Tomato Sauce

Adapted from the July/August issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 can (28 to 32 ounce) whole tomatoes (preferably san marzano, but any kind you can get is good)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped (optional)

Directions:

For the pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt and add the pasta.
  2. Cook pasta just shy of all dente.
  3. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, than drain the rest of the water.

For the tomato sauce:

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat until foaming.  Stir in garlic (and onions if using) for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the sherry.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Lightly crush the tomatoes with potato masher.
  3. Bring the sauce to a bubble.  Lower the heat and then simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the nutmeg, reserved water and pasta.
  5. Toss to combine, serve and topped with grated parmesan cheese.
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Cold Chicken Satay Noodles

I just love this recipe!  Rachael Ray is big on make your own take out, and I was intrigued enough to make this recipe myself.  I just love the peanut butter in the recipe, and the hot sauce was a great addition too.  I couldn’t really taste the lime or garlic.  As for the soy sauce, it did add a nice salty flavor, which was great, but other than that, I couldn’t really taste it in the recipe.  Maybe that’s because I used soy sauce and not the Tamari that the recipe called for.

And speaking of sticking to the recipe, I realized that I didn’t have any vegetables when I went to toss them with the recipe.  It was great without them, but I think they would have added something extra.

There aren’t pictures for today, but I will have some tomorrow!  Next up?  Get ready for some browned butter peanut butter rice krispy treats!  Enjoy!

Cold Chicken Satay Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (any kind)
  • 2 tablespooons honey
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (shredded, chopped, cubed, or however you want to cut it up)
  • 1 cup spinach, thinly sliced
  • a handful or two of shredded carrots

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain well and rinse under cold water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the peanut butter in the microwave in 10-second intervals until soft.
  3. Put peanut butter in a large bowl with the honey and water.  Whisk soy sauce, garlic, lime juice and hot sauce, then whisk in the oil.
  4. Add the noodles, spinach and carrots to the bowl and toss until well mixed.
  5. Serve topped with chicken.

Sausage With Garlic Lentils

I made Sausage With Garlic Lentils today, and they were good!  I am (slowly) becoming a big fan of lentils and barley.  I definitely want to branch out into other grains like quinoa.  Actually, I’m not completely sure if they’re considered grains.  I think they are.

Note To Self: Pay attention to the thing that tells you that you need to change the batteries in your camera. Otherwise, you end up with one picture.

But anyway, eventually I’ll start cooking with quinoa.  But for now, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with lentils and barley.  I definitely prefer barley (at the moment) but I am warming up with lentils.  This recipe seemed so good, and it didn’t disappoint.  Plus, you can’t go wrong with garlic or olive oil.  I love that this particular recipe is for 1 person!  I think I may need to spend some time flipping through that chapter, because it means no leftovers for a week.

Enjoy!

Sausage With Garlic Lentils

Slightly Adapted From Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound lentils
  • 1/4 cups olive oil, divided (3 tablespoons, 1 teaspoon, and 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 fresh sausages, any kind
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup arugula or spinach
  • 1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Place the lentils in a sauce pot with water to cover the lentil by 2 inches.  Add the bay leaf and onion and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the lentils are tender with a little bite left.  Discard the bay leaf (and onions if desired).
  3. Combine the garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a shallow bowl.  Let stand.
  4. Place the sausages in a small pan and add 1/4 inch water and 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-high heat.  Let the water simmer for 8 or so minutes.  Then cook for an extra 3 to 4 minutes to crisp the casing on the sausage.
  5. Toss the greens in the vinegar and remaining olive oil.
  6. Drain the lentils amd toss with garlic oil and parsley.
  7. Serve with sausages on top and arugla on the side.

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

There is nothing better than a cupcake.  I love cupcakes because they’re bite-sized pieces of cake, and they are so much easier to eat, serve and store than cake.

Cupcakes seem like the perfect summer treat.  I’m not sure why, but all of a sudden, they make me think of summer.  In my case, that is pretty much every single day of the year, so why this only occurred to me, I don’t know.

I love how simple this recipe is.  Otherwise, they wouldn’t be simple vanilla cupcakes, right?  It should be no surprise that I needed to change the recipe a little, but that’s only because I didn’t realize the recipe called for vanilla beans.   I used vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean, and while I’m not sure if I want to buy vanilla beans for future use, the cupcakes.  These are so good, and they’re the perfect shade of yellow, with the right amount of vanilla.

I ended up using a peanut butter cream cheese frosting (found in the cookbook), because I didn’t have all of the ingredients for the best chocolate buttercream frosting.  I think I’ll go with that next time I make these.  I really do recommend the Joy the Baker cookbook.  The more I bake from it, the more I love it.  I think I shall be making Sausage with Garlic and Lentils this week too, and that will be posted either tomorrow or on Saturday!  Enjoy the cupcakes!

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

Slightly Adapted from The Joy The Baker Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees.  Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, or 3 to 5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after adding each egg.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract (and vanilla beans, if using) until incorporated well.
  5. Add half of the flour and beat (on low speed) until almost incorporated.
  6. Add the milk and blend.
  7. Add the rest of the flour and beat until almost incorporated.
  8. Finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula.  Divide the batter amongst the liners and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  9. Cool and frost with your favorite frosting!

Risotto-Style Barley

I’m slowly becoming a big fan of barley.  There is something very hearty and comforting about barley.  What I don’t really get is why barley needs to be made like risotto.  I mean, if I want something risotto-like, I should probably just make risotto.  But it is probably a slightly better for you version of risotto, and while it seems like I’m giving the recipe a hard time, I’m really not.

Because this recipe is so good!  It’s from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking, and it came out really well.  I didn’t add any parmesan cheese, because I thought I had some, and then realized I didn’t have any, but it was still really good!  The lemon and orange makes it feel like a summer dish, but there is something wintery about it too.  It’s definitely a keeper!

Risotto-Style Barley

Slightly Adapted from Super Natural Cooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 cups lightly pearled barley
  • 1 cup dry white wine (or water)
  • 6 cups water
  • Zest and juice from 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 big handfuls of arugula or spinach, coarsely chopped

Recipe:

  1. Heat butter over medium heat in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, and salt and saute for a bout 4 minutes, or until onion begins to soften.
  2. Add the barley and stir until coated with a nice sheen.  Add the white wine and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the barley has absorbed some of the liquid.  Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer as necessary.
  3. Add the water, 1 cup at a time, letting the barley absorb most of the liquid between each addition.  This takes around 40 minutes.  The barley is cooked when it doesn’t offer much resistance when cooking.
  4. Add the juice of the orange, as well as the orange and lemon zest, the Parmesan cheese and the sour cream.  Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.  Stir in the arugula, serve and enjoy!

Cheesy Beefy Mac

I finally did some cooking over the weekend, mostly because I needed lunch.  But also because I just really need to post a recipe of some sort, since it’s been a while.  I definitely have some plans for cooking over the next week or two, because I have some fresh veggies I need to use up!

I’m not the biggest fan of mac and cheese, but I loved this recipe!  It’s full of cheesy goodness.  And vegetables!  It seems like you can throw in whatever vegetables you have on hand, and after I made it, I wish I added some brocoli.  Maybe next time, because this one is a keeper.  I would never think to add carrots, but they add a nice crunch and I can totally see carrots in a mac and cheese recipe.  Enjoy!

Cheesy Beefy Mac

Adapted from Never Enough Thyme

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of elbow macaroni (the recipe says an 8 ounce package, but half of a 1 pound box works just as well)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 pound ground beef (or a suitable vegetarian alternative, like Morningstar beef crumbles)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 9 x 13 inch dish with cooking spray.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray.  Heat it over medium heat, and add onion, carrots, and garlic.
  4. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Add ground beef and brown.  Drain fat if neccessary and return to skillet, along with the vegetables.
  6. Add the tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.  Stir well to combine.
  7. Add macaroni to beef and vegetable mixture, stir, and pour into the 9 by 13 inch pan.
  8. Place flour, remaining salt, and milk into small saucepan.  Whisk until well combined.
  9. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until thickened, whisking constantly.  Add 1 cup of cheese and stir until smooth.
  10. Pour the cheese mixture over the macaroni, and stir to combine.
  11. Top evenly with remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until it is lightly browned.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Almond Toffee Blondies

I was in the mood for blondies and a recipe for Toffee Blondies caught my eye.  I think I love blondies even more than brownies, because blondies are brownies without the chocolate.

And sometimes I want a n0-chocolate brownie.  Blondies are certainly interesting.  I just love the texture and taste of them.  This one caught my eye because of the toffee.  I’m surprised the bag of toffee pieces last long enough for me to use it for the blondies, because I love toffee!  I need more toffee in my life, because I really don’t eat enough of it.

I would definitely make these again, because they are sweet, chewy and delicious.

Brown Butter Toffee Blondies

Adapted From Best Baking Recipes Magazine; makes about 16 squares

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and browned
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup toffee bits

Directions: 

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat butter, vanilla and almond extract, egg and brown sugar on low speed until combined.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture.
  5. Stir in half (1/3 cup) of the toffee.
  6. Spread batter into pan and sprinkle with remaining toffee.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and serve.