Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

squash mac & cheese

In culinary experiments, easy weeknight meals, leftovers, lunch, side dishes on 01.29.12 at 3:32 pm

it’s mac & cheese sans mac. that’s right, folks. no-pasta mac & cheese. true story.

ever have one of those days when you’re really craving comfort food like mac & cheese, but that little voice in your head tells you that you should know better? well, you should know better… there are healthy options for mac & cheese. this is what i fondly refer to as ‘faux pasta’ — spaghetti squash! and it works great as a pasta substitute in this squash-infused ‘mac & cheese’…

the spaghetti squash:
– gently wash spaghetti squash since you’ll be cooking it with the rind
– cut spaghetti squash in half, along the vertical. gently scrape pulp and seeds using a fork.
– gently brush the squash w/ extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle w/ ground black peppercorns
– place squash halves in a microwave-safe dish (squash side down) with 1/2 cup of water and microwave squash for approx 12-15min
– allow to cool before handling. using a fork, the squash should ‘string’ out nicely just like spaghetti noodles. true story. :)

(tip: cooking time varies depending on your microwave. if the spaghetti squash is still firm to the rind and doesn’t easily ‘string’ out like spaghetti noodles, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. if you’d rather roast your spaghetti squash in the oven instead, check out this recipe modification for roasted squash.)

prep ingredients:
– 1 link of landjäger smoked sausage (diced. this sausage was already cooked.)
– 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
– 1/4 cup queso fresco (grated, or use another variety of cheese that melts well, such as gouda, cheddar or gruyere)

make the mac:
combine the following ingredients in a microwave-safe dish:
– 1 cup leftover cooked spaghetti squash (divided)
– sprinkle panko breadcrumbs, landjäger smoked sausage and grated cheese (between layers of cooked spaghetti squash)
– season w/ ground black peppercorns
– sprinkle remaining grated cheese for a melted topping
– warm up the squash mac & cheese for approx 2min in a microwave-safe dish, until cheese is melted.

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cauliflower mushroom risotto w/ prawn rainbow chard

In culinary experiments, dinner, easy weeknight meals, leftovers, lunch, vegetarian on 01.16.12 at 9:50 pm

leftovers are underrated… especially when you have fabulous leftovers to start.

here’s a simple way to repurpose and reinvent creamy cauliflower & mushroom risotto from a previous yumyumyummers recipe. just add some prawns and some rainbow chard and you’ve got a brand new dish. gotta love leftover redux.

the prawns:
– heat up 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil in large pan on medium heat
– brown 1 large shallot (peeled, rough chop) w/ 1 tsp fennel seed in pan
– add 1.5 cups raw prawns (deveined, deshelled) to pan
– season w/ ground black peppercorns
– add a dash of sea salt
– sauté prawns & stir ingredients for 1-2 min until partially cooked

the chard:
– wash & drain 1 bunch of organic rainbow chard in colander w/ cold water
– remove stems from chard
– add chard to pan w/ prawns
– season w/ ground black peppercorns
– sauté for 2-3min until leaves are wilted and a darker shade of green, and until prawns are cooked through

the risotto:
– add leftover creamy cauliflower & mushroom risotto to prawns & chard in pan
– fold ingredients together until well combined and risotto is warm

food styling:
– for a more rustic look (and for portion control!), i like to dish up creamy risotto into small individual ramekins.
– for for a sharing feast, place the creamy risotto in a large, shallow serving bowl.
– season w/ ground black peppercorns
– season w/ freshly ground nutmeg

creamy cauliflower & mushroom risotto

In culinary experiments, dinner, easy weeknight meals, lunch, side dishes, vegetarian on 01.09.12 at 11:21 pm

i’m a big fan of kitchen improv. but sometimes it works best to have a starting point. this time around, it was this fab recipe from canadian living that provided a little culinary inspiration.

i’ll admit that i was too lazy (and hungry!) that evening to bother with roasting the cauliflower. and i didn’t have any chicken broth or parmesan cheese on-hand either. so kitchen improv it was… with blanched cauliflower, sauteed mushrooms and some freshly ground nutmeg to boot! yummers.

adapted from canadian living

– heat large saucepan on high heat
– add 3 tsp unsalted butter to pan

the rice:
combine the following ingredients in large saucepan and bring to a boil:
– 1.5 cups organic arborio rice
– 2.25 cups water

– once boiling, reduce heat to medium & simmer for 10-12min.
– stir ingredients until water is absorbed and rice turns into a creamy consistency

the veggies:
– heat up 1/4 cup water in a large wok
– add 3 cups of cauliflower florets
– blanch cauliflower florets until slightly tender
– remove from heat & set aside

– in a large saucepan, melt 1 tbsp unsalted butter on medium heat
– brown 1 large shallot (peeled, rough chop) in pan
– add 1.5 cup crimini mushrooms (gently washed, diced)
– brown the mushrooms w/ shallots
– remove from heat & set aside

the risotto:
– add cooked arborio rice to the blanched cauliflower in wok
– add sauteed mushrooms
– gently stir & fold veggies into risotto
– continue to stir & gradually add small amounts of water, until the water is absorbed
– season w/ freshly ground nutmeg

(tip: use a rasp to grate fresh nutmeg for best flavour, instead of the pre-ground spice.)

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