Pasta Salad with Roasted Veggies

The longer it sits, the better this pasta salad tastes. I promise. The roasted vegetables add such great flavor to this salad, and surprisingly the whole-wheat pasta works very well in this dish—the nutty flavor complements the other ingredients nicely.

I even discovered a trick that can be used for any pasta salad. After cooking the pasta, toss it with vinegar and lemon juice and refrigerate it for an hour or two—this will prevent the pasta from absorbing the dressing and drying out as it sits.

Pasta Salad with Roasted Veggies

Pasta Salad with Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • olive oil, to coat
  • 1 lb. whole grain rotini pasta, cooked according to pkg. directions**
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

Directions

  1. Chop all vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces. Place vegetables in roasting pan and toss with olive oil. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes at 400 F, or until tender.
  2. Toss the vegetables with the pasta in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

*The trick and recipe that I adapted were discovered here at Better Homes & Gardens: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/grilled-veggie-pasta-salad/

**See background for tip.

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UFO Peaches

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Have you ever heard of such a peach? Also referred to as Donut, Saucer, Saturn, Belly-up, or Hat Peaches, or most formally, Paraguayo Peaches, when I first saw these at the store, I was curious and knew I had to try one. They have a white flesh and aren’t as fuzzy as your typical peach. Also, they originated in East Asia, but are now mainly grown in Spain. Please eat one for an out of this world experience for your taste buds!

Cheesy Penne Pasta Bake

Since we are moving, lately I have been trying to use up what we have in our pantry. In this case it happened to be some penne pasta and herb seasoned stuffing, among other random ingredients. Luckily, my creative juices were flowing pretty good yesterday and I ended up coming up what I would call a Mac’n Cheese Masterpiece. If you’re not aware, I really like Mac’n Cheese. If you don’t believe me, check out my Pinterest board entitled “Mac’n Cheese Excitement”–here’s the link: http://www.pinterest.com/cd_bean/macn-cheese-excitement/. Anywho, I hope you give this recipe a try. It was really flavorful and delicious, I promise.

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Cheesy Penne Pasta Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup broth (you could use chicken, vegetable, beef…)
  • 1 cup milk
  • pepper and nutmeg, to taste (trust me, the nutmeg worked)
  • 1 container plain greek yogurt (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used German gouda and a Mexican cheese blend, like I said, random ingredients)
  • 1/2 cup herb seasoned stuffing

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions, undercooking it a tiny bit.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pot. Saute the garlic for about 1 minute, then slowly whisk in the flour. Next, slowly whisk in the milk and the chicken broth. Add the pepper and nutmeg. Then add the cheese, and stir until smooth. Finally, stir in the pasta and transfer to a greased, large casserole dish.
  4. Top with the stuffing and bake 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Mexican Lasagna with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

How do you feel about meat? When I told my brother there was not going to be any meat for dinner, he was rather upset.. he prefers to eat meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I like meat too. However, I have a couple friends who are vegetarians, and I think it’s great. The future dietitian in me wants to make sure, however, that anyone who doesn’t eat meat is not only getting enough protein, but also iron and vitamin B12… Anyhow, reducing meat consumption can be better for the environment, the animals, and can even save money… At one point even I decided to go on a vegetarian kick for about 2 months, but I ended up resorting back to my old meat-eating ways rather easily. However, I think making at least one day out of the week “meatless” is reasonable, even if you’re a meat-lover. To my surprise, my brother even told me after dinner, “For something cheesy and vegetable-y and without any meat, it wasn’t too bad I guess.” If you knew my brother, you would understand why I took that as a compliment. Especially since he doesn’t like cheese (why I’ll never know–I don’t think I’ve ever met a person besides my brother with such a strong aversion to cheese).

Anyways, I hope you give this a shot. I was most impressed by how the enchilada sauce turned out–it was quick, easy, and flavorful–well worth the small extra effort.

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Mexican Lasagna with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 large red pepper, chopped, seeds removed
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups corn
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 small corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Enchilada sauce (see recipe below)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place red pepper, zucchini, corn, and onion in a roasting pan. Coat the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 30-40 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F when the vegetables are removed from the oven.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine roasted vegetables, black beans, cumin, chili powder, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of the greased baking pan (I used a deep, 8×8 inch pan). Then layer like so…
  • 3 tortillas
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Half of the vegetable mixture
  • Enchilada sauce
  • 2/3 cup cheese
  • 3 tortillas
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Half of the vegetable mixture
  • Enchilada sauce
  • 2/3 cup cheese
  • 3 tortillas
  • Enchilada sauce
  • 2/3 cup cheese

For each tortilla layer, I split two tortillas in half and placed the flat edge of each half along the sides of the pan, and then placed one tortilla in the middle. Also, you can use as much enchilada sauce as you see fit, but I used about 1/4 cup for each layer. You will most likely have quite a bit leftover.

  1. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the lasagna is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

*This recipe was adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod “Roasted Vegetable Stacked Enchiladas”—the link found here: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/stacked-roasted-vegetable-enchiladas/ 

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium high heat, then whisk in flour until well combined.
  2. Whisk in the remaining ingredients, then bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has slightly thickened. This should take about 10 minutes.
  4. The recipe yields about 4 cups and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

*This recipe was adapted from Damn Delicious, the link found here: http://damndelicious.net/2014/03/17/homemade-enchilada-sauce/