Roasted Salmon Pasta with Tzatziki

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I pulled out this recipe from an online whole food kitchen class I took a few years ago. I knew it would be a bit of a stretch for my family, and sure enough, each of the kids said “ew” to the description. I did almost lose my nerve partway through, but I am so glad I persevered (not that it was a particularly hard recipe, just that I almost convinced myself I’d be eating it on my own for the next fourteen meals). I needn’t have worried. We ate every single bite, and I think Ian and Clara would have eaten even more had it been available.

Notes for next time: Jason said I could have doubled the salmon (and I agree). I was too lazy to make a gluten-free pasta option for myself, so I just gluten-ed it up with the rest of the family. Also, I didn’t get a picture of the tzatziki, but it was really good as well. The recipe notes say that traditional tzatziki uses mint as the fresh herb but that the dill pairs nicely with the salmon. I agree, but I might experiment with mint or even cilantro.

Also, the original recipe calls this “pasta salad.” I left out the “salad” because it was not at all salad-like in my opinion. The salmon and asparagus had cooled, and the tomatoes were room temperature, but I made the pasta last and tossed it while the pasta was hot, so overall the dish was warmer than room temp but not steaming by a long shot. The tzatziki was cool, and all those temperatures worked well together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (6-ounce) cooked filet salmon, cooled and chopped into bite-sized pieces (I prepared it just like the salmon in this recipe); next time I would double this
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, sautéed and cooled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (remove the woody tips and add to a medium-hot skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper; sauté just a few minutes until bright green)
  • 1 package tricolor veggie pasta, cooked according to package directions

Directions:

  1. Toss salmon, tomatoes, asparagus, and pasta in a large bowl (or, um, large skillet if you don’t have a large enough bowl)

For the tzatziki

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded (and roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup plain greek-style yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (or 3 teaspoons dried dill)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon salt)

Combine all the tzatziki ingredients in a food processor or blender and process on low until well blended.

Serve on the side to be spooned over pasta.

Spicy Pasta with Sausage

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Food photography is not my field. Despite the semi-boring photo above, this pasta had amazing flavor. Follow info below for a less-spicy version, as I will next time I make the dish for my pale-skinned Midwestern family.

1lb chorizo sausage**, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 C chicken broth
1-10oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes**
1/2 C heavy cream
12 oz penne pasta
salt and pepper
2 C shredded pepper jack cheese

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat broiler. On stovetop cook sausage and onion in a large oven-safe skillet (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven) until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper and bring to boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring frequently, until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Off heat, uncover pan and stir in 1/2 C cheese. Top with remaining cheese and broil until cheese is melted and spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Serve.

**If you want a less-spicy dish or can’t find Ro-Tel tomatoes, substitute 1 1/4 cups canned diced tomatoes. Andouille, linguine or kielbasa sausage can be substituted for the chorizo.

One Pot Pasta Bolognese

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This recipe is a keeper (thanks, Morgan at Host the Toast!) and is particularly well-suited to hosting a larger gathering of friends or family. Or, if you’re like my family of three, it will serve leftovers for a few days afterwards. If you’re replacing the tagliatelle noodles with fettucine—heads up—you might add a few minutes to your cooking time. The al dente was a step or two shy of al dente-ness, though that meant the reheating process the next day yielded a perfect noodle.

PREP TIME: 10 mins, COOK TIME: 40 mins, TOTAL TIME: 50 mins

Serves: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1.5 lb ground chuck
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken stock (or 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup wine)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pound tagliatelle or spaghetti
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until lightly crisped. Mix in the onion, celery, and garlic, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Mix in ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes, adding slightly more if you prefer more heat in your sauce. Cook together until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the ground chuck. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Once browned, stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and thyme.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Then, uncover, remove the thyme sprigs, stir the pasta in, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the milk, parmesan cheese, and shredded basil, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with additional basil, to garnish.

Spinach & Spaghetti

(Originally published February 2008) Marlene Lehl (from Zion Church) brought me this as a mercy meal (I think it was when Liv came home) and it was delicious. I passed it on as a mercy meal last night and wanted to share this meatless main dish with the rest of you.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced dried onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, drain well.
  2. Combine egg, sour cream, milk, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, onion, salt and pepper; add monterey jack cheese and mix well.
  3. Add spaghetti and spinach and mix well.
  4. Turn into a 8 x 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Bake covered at 350 for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15-20 minutes more or until warmed through.

Spinach Pesto

We are big fans of pesto around here. Sadly, we ran out of last summer’s homemade pesto long ago, and I forgot to pick up a jar from the grocery store this week. I remembered spinach, though, and I vaguely remembered seeing a recipe (or three) for spinach pesto, so I Googled it and came up with a bunch of recipes. This is a combination of three or four of them because, yeah, I didn’t have all that stuff. It was tasty and super easy — had it not been crazytime at our house, it probably could have come together in about 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (I used cilantro because I had it on hand, but the “real” recipe called for Italian flat leaf parsley)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts, toasted (I used walnuts because, again, I had them; I just toasted them in a skillet. I don’t know if I did it right, but they tasted just fine)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and grind to a fine paste.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings.

We like to toss our pesto with pasta (and sometimes we add chicken too).

Lazy Day Lasagne

This recipe is from the (old) Zion Cookbook. I think Brook has a similar recipe from her mom. It’s on the menu at our house this week.

1 12-ounce carton cottage cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 eggs

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 pound ground beef or sausage, browned

9 lasagna noodles, uncooked

1/4 cup water

Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large bowl, mix cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, parsley, onion powder, basil, and pepper; set aside. In medium bowl, mix spaghetti sauce and ground beef; set aside. In a 9 x 13 pan, spread 3/4 cup meat mixture in bottom. Layer with 3 uncooked noodles. Spread half of cottage cheese mixture and 1 1/2 cup meat sauce. Layer with 3 more uncooked noodles. Spread remaining cottage cheese mixture over noodles. Top with remaining noodles and meat sauce. Pour water around edges. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 additional minutes or until golden brown. Just before serving, sprinkle top of lasagna with Parmesan cheese.

Chicken Pomodoro

This is a quick, easy, inexpensive, delicious sauce with a fancy name. The recipe comes from Cooking during Stolen Moments (via Pinterest).

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I used less)
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pesto or 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or cut chiffonade style
  • 1/2 pound chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (I used more)

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are nearly translucent, about 3 minutes.
  2. While the onion and garlic cook, pour the tomatoes (with liquid) into a food processor or blender. Process until coarsely chopped to desired consistency. (Process less time for a thicker, heartier sauce or longer for a creamier sauce.)
  3. Add the tomatoes and sugar to the skillet. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until very fragrant and somewhat thickened.
  4. Stir in the pesto and simmer an additional 5-10 minutes. (If using fresh basil, let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes and then stir in the basil after removing from the heat.)
  5. Stir the chicken into the sauce just until warmed through. Serve over pasta.