Summer Vegetable Tortellini

Ah, summer nights- how do you like to spend yours? When the sun goes down and, hopefully, the temperatures get cooler, heading out for dinner for with a loved one is a great way to spend a summer weekend. Yet, at the same time, with tasty summer produce in full swing, sometimes cooking a meal at home in the air conditioning and with your own half-priced bottle of wine is the way to go!

This past Saturday night Danny and I had date-night-in and made a seasonal vegetable pasta dish that I just had to share with you! Although we were cooking at home, that certainly did not mean that we made this the most elaborate meal. We still kept it simple with the prep time and it all came together in about 20 minutes. Pour your favorite white wine, light some candles, and enjoy a summer meal at home!

Summer Vegetable Tortellini- Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pre-made tortellini- we used a prosciutto and cheese variety, but feel free to use only cheese, or even a spinach and cheese one
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup skim ricotta
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook tortellini according to package instructions. You know they are al dente when they begin to look soft and pillowy and float to the top of the boiling water. Just before fully cooked, add the frozen peas to the boiling water. Once finished, drain and set aside in a mixing bowl. Mix in ricotta cheese and reserve.
  2. Make the zucchini into ribbons by cutting off both ends of the squash, then using a vegetable peeler carefully slice the zucchini lengthways into long strips. When you reach the seeds on one side, turn it over and repeat making ribbons on the other side. Set aside while you prepare the remaining pieces.
  3. Slice garlic into thin discs and set aside. On a low heat, toast pine nuts until just turning golden brown- careful not to burn! Remove from heat and save for garnishing. In a small bowl, combine the zest of half of one lemon, the juice of the lemon, and 2 tbsp olive oil.
  4. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, then add a small amount of olive oil and the garlic slices. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the zucchini ribbons and cook until starting to soften, stirring constantly. Add the zucchini to the pasta and peas mixture. Drizzle lemon and oil mixture over mixture and gently fold everything together with tongs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Grilled Apricot and Cherry Grain Salad

If someone asked you to bring a drupe salad to a summer picnic, would you know what that is? How about if they asked for a stone fruit salad? Throughout the months of July and August, peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, and apricots, otherwise known as drupes or stone fruits, burst onto the scene at farmers markets and beyond. These are hands-down my FAVORITE fruits, so when The Recipe Redux challenged us to make a healthy recipe celebrating stone fruits, I was feeling peachy keen.

New York City has over one hundred farmers markets to pick up in-season goodies, however at the time of the redux I found myself at my family’s house in Eastern Pennsylvania, where luckily local farm stands aren’t few or far between. I love shopping at and supporting local farms and businesses whenever possible. Another fun adventure would be go to pick your own stone fruits if you find a farm nearby!

Peaches would have to be my most favorite of these fruits- the fuzz, the flesh, the juice, I could go on- but I figured most of the recipes entered for this month’s challenge would use this ripe beauty. I wanted to showcase two stones that maybe don’t get as much love- apricots and cherries- and I challenged myself to come up with a savory salad, rather than a sweet breakfast or dessert. What resulted was oh so delicious and is a dish I know I’ll be making for summers to come.

Apricots are fairly straightforward to prepare- simply slice down the “seam” that runs around the circumference of the fruit in order to get two halves, then remove the pit. Cherries, on the other hand, are a bit more tedious and staining, but I find them to be well worth the effort. To remove cherry pits, you can buy yourself a fancy pitter tool, I’ve seen others use a chopstick to poke out the stone, or do as I do and slice them in half, then dig your fingers in and rip out the pit, resulting in very red fingers and nails. Both of these fruits pair well with herbs and spices, but I played up another member of the drupe family- pistachios.

Before I run away singing about the other ingredients, here is the full recipe for you to make yourself! I hope you enjoy!

Grilled Apricot and Cherry Grain Salad- serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooks quinoa
  • 2 ears of corn- shucked and raw kernels cut from the cob
  • 6 apricots, halved and pitted
  • 10 cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Lime
  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Start by cooking 1 cup quinoa according to package instructions. This will make 2 cups cooked. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Cut the kernels from two corn cobs and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Prepare the fruit by first cutting both apricots and cherries in half and removing pits. Add cherries to bowl with corn. Drizzle apricot halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then take to the grill and set face down. Cook on the grill for about 3-4 minutes until inner flesh starts to caramelize and show grill marks. Remove apricot halves from the grill and let cool before slicing into quarter pieces. Then add to corn and cherries.
  4. To the corn and fruit, add the cooked quinoa, chopped pistachios, feta, and a squeeze of juice from half a lime. Serve as a side salad at your next gathering.

For more super stone fruit recipes, check out my fellow Recipe Reduxers below!


recipe-redux-linky-logo

 

 

Lentil Fajitas with Charred Peppers

Are there certain foods your other half prefers not to eat, or even downright dislikes? For my husband, that would be most beans and legumes. Recently he had “accidentally, on purpose” eaten black beans in a dish out at a restaurant, which gave me hope that more beans would come into our rotation. Yet, I know it’s not something to push with him- all in good time! So, when I have a night making dinner for myself, I usually go for some kind of plant based protein.

With no cans of beans in the house, and no patience for soaking and boiling my dried pinto beans, I pulled out some red lentils from the cupboard and set to coming up with a quick, tasty dinner for one. Based on the other ingredients I already had at home, a Mexican dish with a plant focused twist came to mind- grab the shopping list and recipe steps below!

Lentil Fajitas with Charred Peppers- Serves 1

Ingredients

  • Lentil- 1 cup cooked
  • Red bell pepper- cut 1/2 of pepper into thin strips
  • Shaved brussels sprouts- 1 cup total, buy pre-shredded or cut your own
  • Tortillas- 2 small corn or Siete Foods cassava coconut
  • Small tomato- 1/2 chopped
  • Leftover tomato sauce or tomato paste- 1 tbsp or 1 tsp respectively, use only one depending on what you have on hand
  • Avocado- a quarter cubed
  • Limes- 1/2 juice
  • Oil- olive or avocado
  • Spices: cumin, chipotle, garlic powder- 1 tsp of each

Directions

  1. Cook lentils until soft. Strain excess water and return lentils back to small pot on stovetop. To lentils, add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce or paste, and spices. Cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes until ingredients are well mixed and tomato has broken down and softened. Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. In a saute pan, heat a small amount of oil and add sliced peppers. Cook peppers on high to medium heat until starting to char. The trick to getting them caramelized and browned is to not move them too much, so stir infrequently.
  3. While peppers cook, in a small bowl mix shaved brussels sprouts and juice of a half of one lime. I like to use my hands to massage the brussels and help soften them up. Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired.
  4. To assemble the fajitas, lay two warmed tortillas on a plate, add a base layer of the brussels, top with charred peppers and cooked lentils evenly, and finish with chunks of avocado.

 

 

Rotisserie Chicken 3 Ways

When the temperatures are running over 90 degrees, nobody should have to tun on their stove or oven to get a nutritious meal on the table. That’s where a store bought rotisserie chicken can come in to save the day! I’m sharing with you three different ways to use up a bird for two people and each of these “recipes’ are fast, simple, packed with nutrition and most importantly delicious!

Here’s your shopping list:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken- purchase one that is unseasoned or, at most, a lemon herb rub
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • spinach
  • pine nuts
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil

No Cook Summer Salad

Directions

  1. Wash butter lettuce and tear apart using hands or roughly chop with a knife. In a large bowl, place 4 cups of prepped greens.
  2. Shred 6-8 ounces of chicken, or about 2 palm-sized portions worth, and add to greens bowl.
  3. Cut root ends off radishes, then cut in half starting from the green stem. Slice each half into half-moon pieces- the thickness is up to you. Use about 5 radishes total. Add radishes to salad.
  4. Cut half an avocado into cubes and add. Sprinkle 1/4 cup pine nuts over greens. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the salad. Mix with hands or salad tongs and serve.

 

Rotisserie Wraps Two Ways

 

Directions

  1. Shred 6-8 ounces of chicken, or enough to make about 2-2.5 cups of shredded chicken, place in mixing bowl. To chicken, add half an avocado and mix two ingredients well. The avocado should be creamy enough to create a “sauce” a la mayonnaise used in a traditional chicken salad. Add a small squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt once mixed well. Set aside.
  2. Finely dice 1/4 cup red onion- use more or less in wrap depending on tastes and reseve any extra (great to add into a guacamole!).  With the other onion half, cut into thin slices and place in glass jar. To quick pickle, bring 1.5 cups of white vinegar and a pinch of sugar to boil on the stove, then pour liquid over onion slices (the onions should be fully covered). Let sit as onions will start to turn pink and pickle. This quick pickle can be stored in the fridge for about 1 week.
  3. From the above salad recipe, separate and clean 3 butter lettuce leaves, and be sure to pat them dry well. Slice 1-2 radishes into half moon shapes.
  4. To assemble wheat wrap: start with 1 whole wheat tortilla, create base layer of a handful of pre-washed spinach, spoon 1 1/4 cup of chicken salad mixture on top, add diced red onions, then wrap and serve.
  5. To assemble lettuce wraps: lay out 3 lettuce leaves, divide 1 1/4 cup chicken salad into each leaf, top with pickled onion and radishes, and serve.

It Takes Two to Tofu

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally come around to tofu. Now, I know it’s not a requirement to incorporate tofu into a plant-based diet, but sometimes you just need to get creative, push your taste buds a bit, and try a few new ways to prepare an unfamiliar food.

I wanted to share two tofu recipes I’ve made recently and were shared on social media. Some of you expressed interest in the recipe so, ask and you shall receive!

Do you eat tofu? What are your tricks for preparing it?

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Picnic Chickpea Poppers

Quick! Your friends have invited you to a picnic in the park that starts in ONE hour- what on earth could one possibly whip up to contribute to the food festivities? This month’s Recipe Redux asked us to shake up our picnic game and create a dish to serve al fresco- so here we go!

When time is short and warm weather is calling allow Picnic Chickpea Poppers to come through to save the picnic day. I would bet that most everyone has a can of chickpeas in their cupboard and a selection of spices in their cabinet, so that even with last minute notice anyone can bring together a tasty snack for a day in the park or at the beach.
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Anti-Inflammatory Chickpea Burgers

Here it is ladies and gents, another Meatless Monday recipe for the win! While I enjoy all varieties of beans tossed into salads and scooped into grain bowls I sometimes need to put a twist on them to keep things interesting.- enter chickpea burgers. These patties are inspired and slightly tweaked from the Middle Eastern Chickpea Burgers found in the book The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, a cookbook I’d highly recommend for any RD working in oncology and for anyone with or caring for someone with cancer. 

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