Tag Archives: home cooking

Rainy Day Artichoke Pasta

On a day like today, when the gray feels like it will never go away and the wetness of the earth makes you want to curl into a ball–the best thing to do is cook up a meal that is healthy and warm. This is one of my very favorite things to cook–it is so easy and has an amazing amount of flavor. I have cooked it for several people who have all been fans. It is easy to cook for one person, or for a party.

First, the ingredients of this pasta are ones that are simple–but I promise if you spend just a bit more $ on items that are organic or imported, you will taste a HUGE difference.

You want to start with some nice baby arugula. This bitter lettuce is delicious when cooked–it breaks down nicely and that bitterness dissolves a little bit and adds a great earthy flavor to any pasta.

Next you want to add my new favorite marinara sauce. It is all natural and I love this brand. Also, this artichoke marinara is my absolute favorite.

Next you want to start chopping the other ingredients for the sauce: marinated artichokes and pepperonchinis. You can find this Delallo brand of Italian ingredients in your imports section of the grocery store or in Italian markets. I tend to like the marinated artichokes when I am cooking a pasta sauce or in salads because they add a lot of flavor. If I am using artichokes in a breakfast dish or eating them with other things such as olives or hummus, the marinade can seem a little overwhelming. I leave this choice up to you!




Next you want to start adding all of this to your sauce and put over low heat.

I am rather obsessed with these vegetable noodles. I don’t think they are organic or anything like that–but they are really light and fun to cook with. AND, they taste awesome. Check them out next time you are at the grocery store.


Start boiling your noodles and also put your sauce over medium heat. You want to cook the sauce until the arugula is nice and wilted and turns a deep green color. You don’t need to add any other seasoning–the marinated artichokes and the marinara sauce are quite flavorful and if you add anything else (besides salt), you may overdo it.


Once your noodles are done (and be careful, these noodles tend to cook a bit faster than regular noodles), add them to your sauce.

Now for the most important part! Add ricotta cheese! Add it cold to the top of the pasta–and then stir it in while the pasta is still hot. This adds some awesome creaminess and lovely texture. Then, you have to add some nice sea salt!

And, of course, you have to complete the meal with a nice wine. This pasta is great with a hearty red, of course. Right now, I am really into the Bota Box brand boxed wine–especially the Shiraz. That is right, BOXED wine. It is organic and all natural and the box is made from recycled materials. It makes me feel a bit better about my wine consumption because glass is much more difficult to recycle.

And tada! A lovely meal for a rainy day. Enjoy!

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Chicken, Green Chile, and Cream Cheese Enchiladas!

If you are in search of a warm, cheesy, melty, homemade meal for a cold winter night, these enchiladas are pretty much perfect. Also, they are a bit more healthy than your everyday, run of the mill, enchiladas you may have made in the past! And even better than that–they pact quite a bit more flavor.

Most of the time, I will cook chicken in my crock-pot with a can of salsa to make the most delicious and tender shredded chicken ever. However, I didn’t have time to throw chicken into the crock-pot before I went to work in the morning. So, I improvised a bit.

First, you want to start by mixing the enchilada filling. This time around, I used organic canned chicken instead of the shredded chicken I have used in the past. It worked out pretty great actually. Then, with the chicken, I mixed in 2 small cans of mild green chiles (I really love the Hatch brand green chiles you can find in the Mexican food isle), one diced tomato, sea salt, and ground black pepper.

Once the filling was ready, it was time to stuff the tortillas. I used whole wheat organic tortillas, which taste even better than the regular white ones that you can find at any grocery store. Even if you don’t buy organic, try the whole wheat in this recipe. Before stuffing each tortilla, I spread some low fat cream cheese on the tortilla for some extra cheesy flavor. A friend thought goat cheese might also work here, and I think he is probably right. Just make sure it is a non-seasoned mild goat cheese.

Then, go ahead and start filling your tortillas, wrapping them, and placing them in your non-stick pan. I also sprayed the pan with some olive oil for some more non-stick action.

If you are like me, I can never choose between green tomatillo/green chile sauce or red enchilada sauce. So, to heck with it–USE BOTH! I really like combining both of those flavors. I like green sauce when I cook with green chiles, but the red sauce also make you feel like you are eating something more authentic. For these enchiladas I used Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce and Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce. Top with cheese and some black olives, and you are all set!

Pop those babies into the oven on 375 and cook for about 25 – 30 minutes–or until all that yummy cheese gets melty and beautiful.

While the enchiladas are cooking, you are of course, going to want to make some homemade guacamole, right? Get some beautiful avocados (a little more difficult to find in the winter…I know) and slice them up. Instead of cutting up a bunch of tomatoes, onions, and peppers, find a really good fresh local pico de gallo (usually in the cold section by the butter, etc) and use that instead. Add in a LOT of sea salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion powered, onion salt, and a pinch of sugar, and make sure you have some tortilla chips on hand to taste as you flavor it up. I like really salty guacamole, but you may not. I never put specific measurements with my seasonings because everyone likes things a bit different.

When your enchiladas are done, garnish with some shredded lettuce, your homemade guac, and some sour cream, and then go ahead and be in heaven for a few minutes.

This is a great and easy dish when you are cooking for several people or need to take dinner somewhere. Also, these enchiladas have MUCH more flavor than your standard enchiladas ever will!

Enjoy!

Autumn Veggie Soup

I haven’t made soup in a long time–mostly because there is no need to make hot soup in the middle of summer. However, now it is most definitely autumn and therefore–soup shall be made!

One of my favorite and easiest recipes for soup is my autumn veggie soup. It is super easy and you don’t need to cook it too long to get a lot of flavor. Also there are a lot of ways that you can change it up.

First, you want to start off with organic stewed tomatoes. I like using just the plain ones because sometimes the flavored stewed tomatoes have way too much…well, flavor. I usually use two cans to start off my soup base.

Bring the tomatoes to medium heat and then you can start adding your fresh veggies. Of course, you can use your favorite veggies, but I tend to use the same ones for this soup. Yellow squash, zucchini, and eggplant.

You will also want to start adding your beans. I use all sorts of beans in this delicious soup: black beans, chick peas, white beans, red beans, etc. You will want to put all of your beans into a strainer and run them through some water before you put them in the soup. Otherwise, all of the juices that the beans are in can also overtake the flavor of the soup.

Once you get all of your veggies and beans into the stewed tomatoes, you want to start bringing your heat up to a boil. When you add your seasonings, you want the temp to be hot so that everything starts soaking up the flavors.

Sea salt, fresh ground pepper and 3 or 4 bay leaves are a must. I also like a lot of garlic salt and onion powder. I am not a huge fan of onions in soup…but I love onion flavor. Also, I added quite a bit of fresh cilantro and fresh lime. You could add all sorts of fresh herbs such as basil or tarragon as well. For this batch of soup, however, I wanted to keep it simple.

Let the soup simmer with the seasonings for about 20 minutes or so. I wanted this soup to be completely vegatarian, so I didn’t have to cook any meat on the side. Otherwise, adding the cooked meat (juices and all) helps add a lot of flavor. So, for this soup, I decided to use wheat meat crumbles, which I love. The wheat meat doesn’t need to cook long, however, and it is pretty salty on its own. So, I didn’t want to add the wheat meat too soon. Once the veggies started getting soft, I went ahead and added the wheat meat into the soup.

Put the lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. You don’t want your veggies to get too soft, so this ins’t a soup you want to cook for a long time. Make sure that your veggies still have some firmness to them, but also that the flavor has soaked up enough that things are tasty!!

Then comes the fun part of garnishing. I am a huge sour cream fan and like it in most of my soups. For this soup, a dab of sour cream and some chopped green onions really add to the flavor. Also, adding some cheese and tortilla strips make for a great taco soup. I even tend to put some lovely Cholula in the mix. It is all about what you like. This soup is also amazing in a bread bowl–but I am currently trying to kick some of those bad carbs out, so no bread bowl this time! 🙂

Add to this soup any other ingredients you love and you will see how versatile it can be. It is a great base for any fall soup you are in the mood for. Enjoy!

Citrus Sangria–Perfect for Fall

Looking for a great bevvy for a party or get together? I made citrus sangria this weekend for a Tapas dinner party at my house. The recipe was easy, creative, and went over smashingly. It also lasted through the majority of the evening and complimented our small plates very well!

You can double this recipe as much as you would like:

1 Bottle Red Wine (I used a Pinot Noir, but a heartier red would also work well)
Juice of 2 Oranges
Juice of 3 Limes
Juice of 2 Lemons
1 Cup Tripple Sec
1 Cup Brandy
1/4 Cup Splenda
1 1/2 Cups Soda Water

Add wine, citrus juice and slices of orange, lemon and lime into a pitcher. Let sit for a few hours so that the wine can soak up the citrus. When you are ready to serve, add the soda water and sugar.

AND, a pretty pitcher always helps.

Enjoy!

A Dinner Party–Garden Fresh Veggie Pasta w Lemon

One of my favorite things to do is host a dinner party at my house. Last week, I had 4 of my very favorite girlfriends over so I could cook up some tasty grub and spend some time drinking wine and chatting. I like having people over because it gives me an opportunity to cook dishes that are larger that I normally wouldn’t cook just for myself. On this occasion, I decided to cook what I like to call “Garden Veggie Pasta with Lemon”.

A few things to note when hosting a dinner gathering.

1) Don’t invite too many people. If you are doing the cooking, it can get overwhelming quickly to cook for more than about five people or so.
2) Also have some kind of appetizer for your guests when they arrive so that they can enjoy something while you are cooking.
3) Don’t hesitate to have guests bring items that you need to cook with.
4) If you are providing the cooking, then ask everyone else to bring the wine!
5) Matching dishes are key.
6) Too many cooks in the kitchen is never a good thing. Prepare in advance, allow your guests to relax, and make sure you don’t have so much prep work that you can’t enjoy the company yourself.

For some noshing before dinner, we had some organic cheeses; sharp cheddar and a hard goat cheese. We also had some awesome artichoke dip from Whole Foods, plump green grapes, and my favorite cracker ever–Nut Thins with Sea Salt.

While everyone was munching, I got started on dinner. One of my friends brought some amazing veggies from her garden; zucchini, squash, eggplant, and tomatoes! All of that got chopped up and thrown into a sauce pan with some olive oil. As the veggies were starting to cook, I added some fresh organic spinach, marinated artichokes, and some pine-nuts. This is the base of the pasta sauce. After the veggies start becoming soft, you will want to add a hefty portion of lemon juice. Don’t use concentrate; use real lemons! For this dish, I used 1 1/2 lemons, and also some Lemon Peel Seasoning. Then you can season to taste. Sea salt, garlic, cracked black pepper, dill, and onion salt are some good options–but really, there is so much flavor in the fresh veggies and lemon, that you don’t need too much seasoning.

This sauce is great on its own, but I also wanted this dish to have some chicken. I had some organic free-range chicken marinating for about an hour and then cooked that separately on my awesome indoor/outdoor George Foreman grill! I decided to marinate my chicken with key limes, as I knew that would be a great citrus accent to the lemon veggie sauce. Let the chicken marinate with the juice of 3 or 4 key limes, olive oil, garlic salt, sea salt, and cracked black pepper in the fridge for an hour or so. If you don’t have that much time, even a half hour will be ok.

When you put the chicken on the grill, also include the key lime rinds. They will add a lot of flavor when you cover the chicken while it cooks.

As everything is cooking, you will of course, want to boil your pasta. Please don’t ruin such an awesome flavorful dish with boring white pasta!! Ha! Use some awesome, wonderful, healthy whole wheat pasta. For this occasion, I used some lovely wheat spirals.

Once everything is all ready, it is time to build the presentation. Hopefully, you have a big beautiful pasta bowl! Add the pasta, then the veggie sauce, then the chicken. Top with some grated Assigaio or Parmesan cheese, and then squeeze half a lemon on top. The lemon is great for the presentation also. And, whhaaalaaa!

Nosh Maven’s Garden Veggie Pasta with Lemon!

We all dug in and ate up and it was a great night! Thanks to my lady friends who helped make the night even better! Good food is great and all, but sharing it with people you love makes everything taste even more delicious.

Happy eating!

Colorful Harvest–Sweet Corn Like Candy

I was very excited a few weeks back when Steven from Colorful Harvest contacted me about doing a review of some of their products. I was more than happy to do so and only a few days later a cooler of their amazing Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn arrived. When I peeled back the husks on the corn, I was so excited. It was some of the prettiest food I had seen.

This came with a few questions for me. How did the corn get to be such an amazing shade of red? Was it some kind of chemical? Was I actually eating corn…or was this the “idea” of corn after it had been tampered with? So, when Steven also sent me a few facts on this beautiful crop, I was even more impressed.

Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn gets its amazing color due to good old fashioned seed development for deep red color, sweet taste, tender skin, and high nutrition. There is nothing chemically altered about it. In fact, in the ruby color of this harvest there is a nutritional element that you don’t get with regular sweet corn. The red color comes from an antioxidant called Anthocyonin which 350% higher levels of antioxidants than ordinary white or yellow corn. Getting a cold? Not feeling so hot? Eat up some of this gorgeous corn and get some of those antioxidants!!

Colorful Harvest recommends that you not boil this great product because some of the color will bleed out and with that color goes the awesome nutrients with it. However, I had boiled a few cobs before receiving this information, and I can at least say, that it tasted amazing–even if some of that color bled away in the boiling process. I added just a little bit of organic butter, but didn’t need any salt. The corn was so sweet that it didn’t really need any. I was in a corn cob heaven. So, if you boil it, it isn’t the end of the world. However, try grilling with the husks on–adding a bit of butter–and you will keep that bright red color when you serve.

After tasting the corn and getting some more information on it, I knew that I wanted to come up with a recipe for it in which the corn was used raw. After a quick trip to whole foods for some ingredients, I came up with a pretty tasty recipe: Nosh Maven’s Ruby Jewel Sweet Corn and Bean Succotash. It was a big hit with a lot of people!

For this tangy recipe, you will need the following: (3) Cobs of Ruby Jewel Corn from Sweet Harvest, Great Northern Beans, White Beans, Black Beans, (1) Anaheim Pepper, Tomatoes (Colorful Heirloom Tomatoes look best), Fresh Cilantro, Green Onions, Juice of (1) Lime, Sea Salt, Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic (fresh or dry), Onion Powder, and Fresh Cracked Pepper.

First, you will want to drain all of your beans in a strainer and rinse them off with cold water. Then, shave the kernels off the 3 cobs of the Ruby Jewel Corn into the bowl you will use to mix the succotash. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the corn and mix. Add 3/4 of the stalk of green onions. Mix all of these items together well and add in the beans. After adding the beans, chop 1/4 cup of cilantro and add to the mixture. Then, chop your tomatoes (farily fine) and throw them in! Personally, I don’t love bell peppers. I understand this is a weird concept for some, but really, I think that their flavor overtakes everything they are added to. I wanted some kick of this dish, but I didn’t want bell peppers anywhere near it. Instead, I used 1 large Anaheim pepper, which worked perfectly. Cut the pepper down the center, get rid of the seeds, and finely chop.

To season, I think that everyone can pretty much season to taste, however these are the items I think that you really don’t want to skip on: First and foremost, red wine vinegar. I like the zing of it and it really brings out the flavor in these fresh veggies. I would say about 1/4 – 1/2 cup works well. Salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powerd to taste, and you are ready to roll. Kettle Brand Tortilla Chips with Chili Lime (organic) were a great addition.

I took this succotash on an outing with friends, and they raved. It was the prefect summer snack and I found people putting in on sandwiches, eating it with different items for dipping, and generally enjoying the flavor. The Ruby Jewel corn adds a sweetness (not to mention beautiful color), while the peppers and red wine vinegar add some heat and zest. It is a flavor explosion, to be exact. You could use this while cooking chicken or even for a pasta sauce.

I gave a lot of the Ruby Jewel corn to family and friends for them to try it as well. My mom cooked it a wonderful steak dinner (she even took a picture for me!) while some other friends BBQ’ed or boiled it. Not one person didn’t rave about the great flavor, quality of the product, or the beautiful presentation.

This corn is grown in California, but some local grocers carry the product. See Colorful Harvest’s website for details and also to check out some of their other chromatic produce!

Also, make sure to follow Colorful Harvest on Twitter and find them on Facebook!