Entries in Asparagus (3)
Back in the day when we used to eat without a second thought, spaghetti and meat sauce was a big hit at my house. My mom would make her famous tomato meat sauce with ground beef and we would cook up some white pasta and sit down to a family dinner. I still love my mom's old recipe as a treat -minus the white pasta. But one day it dawned on us, "hey, why can't we just clean it up and make it more nutritious?" Of course!
Well that's exactly what we did. Served with some good wine of course:
Ever since I picked up Tosca Reno's first eat clean diet cook book, I've been inspired to take recipes and turn them into healthy every day meals. It's become something of a hobby that I get to enjoy with my family when we come together to make dinner. We really like cooking together. And after all, real food should taste good and have the best of both worlds (nutrition & flavour).
This is now a recipe that we like to make over and over again. It's comforting, it's healthy, it's whole grain and most importantly it tastes really good! If you're looking for something to go with a good bottle of red wine, then this is a recipe for you. We made this last weekend and enjoyed it with a glass of Ravine's VQA Red Coat from St. Davids Ontario. 2010 was a great year for wine in Niagara.
I like to call this a rustic tomato sauce because the tomatoes are roasted down in the oven along with other veggies and herbs, making it less of a traditional pasta sauce. It uses plump fresh Ontario grown tomatoes, asparagus, and roasted sweet red bell peppers all roughly chopped. Instead of the ground beef we picked up some organic locally prepared low sodium extra lean turkey sausage from Nicholyn farm in Horseshoe Valley. Another great place that I like to frequent. And ancient grain kamut spaghetti to replace the white pasta. I would strongly suggest topping it with a little bit of soft goat cheese like I served it here, no measurements needed:
The fresh basil came from my herb garden.
Rustic Kamut Spaghetti with Turkey Sausage (serves 4)
- 1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups of mixed tomatoes, chopped (plum, yellow, cherry)
- 1 tbsp each of olive oil and red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 large red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms
- 3-4 turkey sausages, grilled and sliced
- 2-3 tbsp fresh basil, torn
- 4 large knobs of goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 425* F. In a large baking dish, combine chopped tomatoes, asparagus, olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, sea salt and garlic. Place in oven to roast for 10 minutes.
- Saute the mushrooms in a medium sauce pan then add them, roasted red pepper, and grilled turkey sausage to the tomato mix. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes in the oven.
- Meanwhile, start cooking the pasta for 8-10 minutes.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain and toss with the tomato mixture and half of the basil.
- Serve among 4 plates and top with fresh torn basil and goat cheese.
Cheers to another home cooked meal!
If you like flavourful food you do not want to miss this one.
Orange Ginger Sesame Chicken!
Baked chicken just tastes so good. It's almost foolproof. Every time it comes out perfectly moist and tender. And when you cut into it, it's like cutting butter. Who says that healthy food shouldn't taste good? Lean chicken breast is one of the leanest, most protein packed foods you can eat. But it can also be boring. So why not keep it tasty and try something other than a bottle of sugary bbq sauce?
Enter the marinade. It adds moisture, increases tenderness and adds LOT'S of flavour. The molasses in this marinade gives the dish a slight sweetness, while the ginger is fragrant and zingy.
This pairs perfectly with wild rice and simple roasted asparagus. It's also a great pairing for any asian style meal. I think the next time I make this I will cut the chicken into bite size pieces first and add it too some soba noodles and stir-fried veggies.
Orange Ginger Sesame Chicken with Sweet Glaze (serves 8)
- 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (trimmed of excess fat)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsulfured molasses
- 1 tbsp succanat
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- zest of 1 cara cara orange (save the orange for slicing)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- For the marinade, whisk together cider vinegar, evoo, molasses, succanat, minced garlic, thyme, and pepper in a large bowl. Place your chicken in the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but you can leave it in overnight. The longer it marinates the more flavour it'll absorb.
- After marinating, remove chicken from fridge and place in a baking dish reserving the marinade for later. Preheat your oven to 400*. Grate ginger and zest of one orange over chicken using a microplane grater for best results. Sprinkle chopped green onion and shallots over top. Then place orange segments on top. Bake for 30 minutes and test for doneness with a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven and let the rest for 10 minutes to let the juices reabsorb.
- Toast the sesame seeds in a small non-stick frying pan over medium-heat. Give them a shake every few seconds or so and watch so they don't burn.
- While the chicken rests, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat on stove. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for a few minutes until it starts to thicken, swirling the pan. Serve with cooked marinade and toasted sesame seeds sprinkled over top.
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus
- 1 tbsp good quality olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400*.
- Break the tough ends off the asparagus. Place them on a baking sheet covered in parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat them evenly and spread them in a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast until the skin is slightly brown, about 8 - 12 minutes. The asparagus will be nice and tender when pierced with a fork.
Such a great way to cook chicken! Have you ever baked with it before?
Well I think I'm going to go spend some time today with Helene Dujardin's Plate to Pixel with a good cup of coffee, while I hide from the rain. It's such a good book for anyone looking to learn more about food photography.
Do you ever get stumped trying to answer that recurring question "what's for dinner?" Me too. And that's when I like to let my inspiration take over. It's easy, all you have to do is ask yourself what kinds of flavours + things you like. Enter spring time veggies and outdoor farmers markets.
Colourful, fresh, bright, crispy asparagus.
Just like Spring! You can't go to any market without seeing it all over the place right now.
I love this time of year when it's half way through the season and we get those lovely warm summer like temperatures without the humidity.
Now about that dinner, it's quick, it's delicious and its an easy clean up. What could be better? Now I have to note that this was one delicious chicken dish. I basically took four of my favourite ingredients and turned it into a dish.
Shallots (lovin' these roasted right now), big purple garlic, lemon zest, and fresh rosemary. mmm...this just screams spring fresh.
Lemon Baked Chicken (serves 4)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
zest of one lemon
1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
2 shallots chopped
sea salt & black pepper to taste
Combine lemon zest, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl.
Trim chicken of any excess fat and place in a baking dish. Season with a small pinch of sea salt and pepper if you wish. Top with mushrooms, shallots and combined lemon mixture.
Cover with foil and place in a 400* oven for 25 - 30 minutes until chicken is cooked. Serve immediately with roasted asparagus.