Happy Pasta

Good day! Hope this week is treating you well so far!

So yesterday was my usual meal planing and grocery shopping day. We try to stick to a budget so I really love and appreciate a good healthy meal for not a whole lot of money 🙂 This pasta fits those criteria (well, besides the butter)  and is so yummy that I call it my happy pasta.  Just thought I’d share it with you!

Ingredients:

Rotini Pasta (Gluten free variations are available too)

Roma Tomatoes

Red Bell Peppers

Fresh Spinach

Fresh Basil

Mozzarella Fresca balls

Dried Rosemary and Sage (powdery or flaky consistency)

Red Pepper Flakes

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Butter

Begin boiling a pot of lightly slated water on the stove. Clean out and cut two red bell peppers to 1/4 inch slices. Begin to saute peppers in the red wine vinaigrette and sprinkle a bit of red pepper flakes if you like a little kick to your meal. The water should be boiling now so go ahead an add about 3/4 of the box of Rotini to the water. Clean 2 cups of fresh spinach and set aside. Slice 3 or 4 Roma tomatoes and a few large leaves of fresh basil. Set those aside also. Begin to melt about half a stick of butter on the stove. Add the sage and rosemary to taste to the butter when it is completely melted.  When your red bells are nicely softened turn off the burner and add the spinach. Toss it all around together until the spinach has just wilted. After you drain the pasta and put it in a big bowl dump in the rosemary sage butter, the red bell spinach mixture, the basil and the tomatoes and toss it all together. Wait until it cools down then cut the mozzarella balls into smaller chunks, sprinkle over the pasta and serve!

This serves two with leftovers.

Hope you enjoy! Have a lovely day 🙂

Happy Breakfast

Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend 🙂

So lately I’ve found myself in a happy little fog in the mornings. The light is soft and the air feels somehow cleaner. As Anne Shirley said once, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…yet.” Today is yesterday’s tomorrow and it feels fresh and full of moments to be lived and things to discover. Sitting down on my futon sofa with a cup of french press coffee of the day and a little plate of breakfast flipping through my beloved cookbooks has quickly become one of my favorite ways to start the day.

This morning I made a simple little breakfast of bread and fresh blueberries but let me tell you about this bread! I took a few slices of Tuscan bread, buttered both sides generously, tore them into chunks, drizzled them with honey and broiled them until they were deliciously browned. So yummy! Eating this makes me feel like I’ve somehow transported myself to somewhere in Italy with the morning sun waking up my bright red flowers on the terrace outside beckoning me to come and play in its warmth. And my happy fog continues 🙂

Have a beautiful day today filled with happy discoveries and sweet daydreams.

 

 

 

Basalmic Parm Eggplant Bites

Eggplant. If you said that word to me two years ago I would have made a face and said no thank you. Slimy and cold are two adjectives I associated with the purple vegetable. Enter my mother-in-law.  She is so funny and endearing. When you meet her you realize that giving is very much her love language and it is her mission to make sure when you are in her presence that you are well fed. My husband teased one of his friends when they came home to visit from college one time that she would not leave his mother’s house without eating something regardless of if she was hungry or not. True to form my M.I.L offered pretty much the menu contained in Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I tease but I love this woman dearly and feel so blessed to know her and to be a part of her family.

So two years ago she gave us two little baby eggplant plants. We planted them in our garden and I watched their silver fuzzy leaves grow. Soon beautiful translucent purple flowers began to emerge and my heart began to soften. Then they gave us the fruit of their labor, deep purple veg streaked with lime green and hints of rich browns. My artist eyes loved them but my taste buds needed further prompting. The only recipe I knew of for eggplant was Eggplant Parmesan. We made it and it was okay. We found another recipe for Eggplant Feta dip and that was amazing! (I’ll share that one later). But the other night after harvesting a few stragglers I came up with this little appetizer. I’m…in…love! Its not slimy and is perfect for when your starving but dinner just isn’t ready yet. It takes a little prep but I think its worth the effort. Hope you enjoy it too!

 

 

Ingredients:

One large eggplant or several small ones

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Olive Oil

Shredded Parmesan

 

Preheat your oven to around 410. Take one large eggplant or several smaller eggplants and cut them to about 1/2 inch slices. Lay out slices on a piece of paper towel and lightly salt the tops. Then flip them over and repeat. Lay another paper towel over the slices and let them sit for about ten minutes. This combination will dry out the veg so they won’t be slimy when they are cooked.

 

 

After 10 minutes baste both sides of the slices with balsamic vinaigrette and a touch of olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes then flip and bake for another 5 minutes. Pile some shredded Parmesan cheese over the tops of the eggplant, bake for another two minutes or so then set oven to broil. Leave in the oven just long enough to lightly brown the cheese, about a minute.

 

 

Serve warm and enjoy!

 

Sauteed pear and blue cheese pita

This has been a week of new recipes in my household. Last night we had black bean burros with corn, avocados, cilantro and a splash of lime topped with an ale queso. Tonight we went a little sweeter, sauteed pear and blue cheese pitas. I usually don’t like pears because of their gritty texture and they have a kind of sweet that’s just too sweet. I need a bit of tang in my fruit. But I saw a beautiful picture of the fruit browned to a caramel color and it looked delicious so I tried it tonight. So glad I did! Here is my little recipe.

Sauteed pear and blue cheese pita:

2 pitas

2 cups of fresh spinach

2 pears peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 cup of blue cheese

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 tbsp. brown sugar

 

Reserve enough olive oil to drizzle on pitas, set aside and heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Add pears and brown sugar. Saute on medium high until pears are caramel brown. Broil pitas until they reach your desired crispness. Remove from the oven and top with spinach, blue cheese and pears. Drizzle the pitas with the remaining olive oil and serve.

Serves 2

 

Avocado love

On Monday mornings I can usually be found on Pinterest searching for new recipes to make for the week’s meals. In my searching I discovered a delightful blog called Morsels and Musings. What a fun site! Nestled among intriguing recipes for Sahlep (a Turkish drink), Earl Grey jam and toasted marshmallow fudge was a little snack, grilled avocado with melted cheese and hot sauce. If the picture wasn’t enough to lure me in the ingredients sure did the trick. Avocados, hot sauce, cheese and lime juice are just a few of my favorite things. I made this for dinner last night with some buttered Tuscan bread and orange slices on the side and it was, well, summer happiness on a plate! Here is the recipe and please be sure to check out this great blog for more yummy things to make!

http://morselsandmusings.blogspot.com/

Grilled Avocado w Melted Cheese & Hot Sauce

Ingredients:
1 avocado
1 tablespoon chipotle sauce (Tabasco or Louisiana)
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Slice the avocado in half and remove the stone. Prick all over with a fork, or cut criss-cross patterns with a knife. This allows the sauce to penetrate the flesh.

2. Pour the sauce over each half, then top with lime juice and salt and pepper.

3. In the cavity where the stone has been, put ¼ of the cheese on each avocado half. Place under the hot grill for 2 minutes.

4. Top with remaining cheese and grill (broil for Americans!) for another 2 minutes until completely melted and avocado warmed through.

Eat hot with a wedge of lime and chipotle sauce on the side!

Photo and recipe credit: Morsels and Musings: grilled avocado w melted cheese & hot sauce.