Eating My Way Through

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad September 18, 2010

Filed under: Lunch,Salad,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 5:40 pm
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I actually brought this pasta salad to a barbecue over labor day…so yeah, been awhile since I posted/really cooked…but with work crazy right now, I am lucky if I make cereal for dinner! And instead of cooking today and building up a few reserve posts, I have spent it on the couch, watching  football and per usual yelling at the television . Maybe tomorrow…

Anyways, sometimes you just need something quick and easy to throw together for a party or get together. This pasta salad is super easy and requires minimal time and ingredients. So it’s perfect for a last minute dish to bring along to a friend’s house.

First things first, make the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, prep the dressing by combining vinegar, oil, garlic and oregano in a container.

Dressing

Dressing

Shake well!

Then combine with the tomatoes and a large bowl and let marinate while the pasta cooks.

Marinating Tomatoes

Marinating Tomatoes

Once the pasta has been drained and cooled, combine with the tomatoes. Add in the mozzarella as well and stir to make sure everything is nice and combined. Salt to taste.

Let the pasta salad chill until ready to serve. Before serving add in the basil.

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad

That’s it. Simple, easy and delicious!

If you are going to a large get together, simply double the recipe and you are good to go. The salad will also keep for a day or two in the fridge, but after that it will probably go bad due to the dressing.

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Pasta Salad (own recipe)

8 oz spiral pasta of some kind

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp oregano, dried

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup basil, chopped

2 oz mozzarella, fresh, cubed (1/2 cup)

Salt to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions

Drain pasta, set aside

In a container with a secure lid, combine vinegar, oil, salt, garlic and oregano; shake well to combine

Put tomatoes in a large bowl, dress with above mixture and toss to coat

Add in pasta and mozzarella, mix well

Salt to taste

Chill pasta salad

Add in basil right before serving

Yields 4, 1 cup servings

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Pesto Pasta Salad June 24, 2010

Filed under: Lunch,Salad — Nikki Wegner @ 11:11 am
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For the past year I have been meaning to make pesto. I even bought a very expensive, huge bag of pine nuts from Whole Foods last summer. Yet, they have sat in my cupboard, waiting to be turned into something. My roommate makes pesto all the time and she inspired me to experiment with it. Combining a bunch of different recipes, I think I came up with a pretty healthy, very yummy pesto.

I decided to toss the pesto with some pasta and veggies to make a salad I could take throughout the week for lunch. This would be a great addition to any bbq, as it’s super light and has great flavor.

To start, make some whole-wheat pasta according to the package directions.

While it’s cooking, start the pesto by toasting some pine nuts and walnuts for about 5 minutes, watching them so they don’t burn!

Toasting Walnuts and Pine Nuts

Toasting Walnuts and Pine Nuts

As the nuts are toasting, put the basil, garlic cloves, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, chicken broth and salt in a food processor. Add the nuts when they are done toasting.

Pesto Ingredients

Pesto Ingredients

Now, start the chopper and process the ingredients until smooth.

Pesto

Pesto

That’s it! Now you have a great pesto you can not only use for this salad, but for tons of other recipes!

Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and let cool a bit. Toss in a large bowl with the pesto, and veggies. I used  cherry tomatoes, black olives and sun-dried tomatoes, but feel free to substitute others. Kalamata olives would be great, or maybe spinach and some red onions.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

Top the pasta salad with a bit of cheese, I used goat cheese (Parmesan would also work) and serve. I have been eating this all week for lunch and it keeps really well and is super filling, helping me stave off the 4pm snack craving!

Pesto Pasta Salad (own recipe)

2 cups whole-wheat pasta

1 tbsp walnuts

1 tbsp pine nuts

1/2 cup fresh basil, packed

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 cup Parmesan, fresh and grated

1 tbsp olive oil

1-2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 tbsp chicken broth, low-sodium

1 tsp salt

4 oz black olives, sliced

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled or 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated (to top off the salad)

Directions:

Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and let cool

Toast walnuts and pine nuts over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes

Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, chicken broth, salt and toasted nuts in a food processor or chopper to make the pesto

Process until smooth

Transfer pesto to a large bowl, toss with pasta and mix until well-combined

Add in olives, cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and mix everything together

Divide into bowls and top with goat cheese

Yields 4 servings

 

A lighter Alfredo! April 29, 2010

Filed under: Dinner — Nikki Wegner @ 5:56 pm
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I love Fettuccine Alfredo. Hands down it has to be one of my favorite things! Like if I was stranded on an island,and I had to choose one thing to eat the rest of my life,  I would pick that my mom’s fettuccine. It is that good.

The only problem with fettuccine is that it isn’t exactly healthy for you. The heavy cream, the Parmesan, sort of a caloric disaster. Though a delicious one!

I came across a recipe recently on Real Simple that sounded like a healthier version of Alfredo, with my one of my favorite types of cheese, goat cheese. So of course I had to try it!

This is my new favorite pasta dish. It was so easy and delicious. It also reheats surprisingly well for a cream-based sauce if you have leftovers and want to take it for lunch the next day, though I doubt you will have any left!

One other thing…this recipe calls for zucchini as the veggie of choice. But I am sure others would taste great too. Maybe some broccoli, squash or eggplant.

Once again, make sure you prep all the ingredients in advance. It’s always key. So zest the lemon peel, chop the zucchini and garlic while the pasta is cooking.

Lemon zest, garlic, zucchini

Ingredients prepped

Saute the zucchini and once cooked, add in the garlic. Keep stirring, you don’t want the zucchini to burn!

When the pasta is done cooking, make sure to reserve a 1 cup of the water, you will use it for the sauce.

Add the goat cheese to the pasta with the reserved water and some salt. Then add the zucchini and lemon zest.

Pasta and Veggies

Mixing in the goat cheese and zucchini

Mix everything together and serve sprinkled with remaining cheese for garnish.

Pasta with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Pasta with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

Pasta with Zucchini and Goat Cheese (adapted from Real Simple)

12 oz linguine, 3/4 of a box

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb zucchini, sliced into half moons

salt

2 cloves garlic, chopped

5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1 tbsp lemon zest

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Before draining pasta, reserve 1 cup of cooking water.

Drain pasta, and return to pot.

While the pasta is cooking heat the oil in a skillet, add zucchini and 1/2 tsp salt, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove zucchini from heat.

Add all but 2 tbsp of the goat cheese to the pasta and add the reserved pasta water and 3/4 tsp salt.

Stir until creamy.

Add the zucchini and lemon zest and stir until all mixed.

Serve the pasta topped with the remaining cheese.

Yields 4 servings.