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Getting Fresh: Baked Kale Pasta with Chickpeas and Feta July 8, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in good for a group, vegetarian.
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kale pasta

My most recent column on Ferndale Patch went up a few weeks ago, and I forgot to post about it here! That is a travesty, because it includes the recipe for one of our favorite dinners, baked kale pasta with chickpeas and feta. This one has evolved over the past year or so. It started out with broccoli and breadcrumbs, but eventually we decided that the kale was better than broccoli, feta was a delicious addition, and the breadcrumbs could be left out. The recipe on Patch is the “perfected” version. I also originally made it with a big tablespoon of this allspice blend I brought back from Jamaica, but since that is long gone, I now make do with a mix of Penzey’s southwestern seasoning, smokey salt, and whatever other random spices look good to me.

Click on the link or photo above to be taken to the column and recipe on Patch.  I promise it’s a good one!!

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Broccoli Chickpea Baked Pasta September 15, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, quick meal, vegetarian.
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I got home late last night and raided the fridge and cupboards to try to quickly pull together a relatively healthy meal.  I kept adding ingredients as I went along, but the resulting dinner ended up tasting (to me) so good that I want to share it, even though it was just a “pull everything out and throw it in a dish” meal.  I started with pasta and sauce, added some chopped broccoli when I thought of it, decided I needed protein and opened a can of chickpeas, decided the whole thing would be better with cheese, then realized the cheese would be best melted and broiled, and then thought “Spices!! I forgot spices!!” and dumped a bunch of those in.   It looks like a mess but was really, really good when all was said & done, and I know I’ll be making this again in the future.

Broccoli Chickpea Baked Pasta
(serves 3-4)

broccoli chickpea baked pasta

Ingredients:
8 oz dried pasta
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups pasta sauce
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Sprinkling of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Spices: I used a heaping tablespoon of my Jamaican allspice blend, but this could be substituted with a mix of garlic powder, dried red pepper, thyme, paprika, and S&P

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 400.  While the oven is pre-heating, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta, and when the pasta is almost done, add the chopped broccoli for the remaining minute or two.

Drain the pasta and broccoli, and put it back in the pot. Add the chickpeas, chopped tomato, pasta sauce, and spices to the pot and stir it all together.

broccoli chickpea baked pasta pre-stirring

Pour the mix into a medium sized casserole dish.  Sprinkle with mozzarella, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  You can finish it under the broiler for a minute or two if you like your cheese browned & bubbly.  Then eat.

Vegan “Sausage” Campanelle with Veggies June 3, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, good for a group, quick meal, vegan.
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This is another super quick meal that we eat on the nights that we are rushing from work to gym to shower to whatever else is going on after that.  If you prepare the veggies and sausage while you are boiling the water, everything comes together at the same time.  As this recipe is written, it makes a TON of food, easily enough for 6-8 meals.  Looks like I know what I’ll be eating for lunch the rest of the week!  I used a little of the Jamaican allspice we brought back from a recent trip—but Jamaican allspice isn’t at all like the allspice you’d typically put in a pumpkin pie.  It’s more a mixture of garlic, peppers, salt, thyme, and a few other ingredients.  You can add whatever spices you have on hand (or just salt & pepper) and I’m sure it’ll be just fine!  The key ingredient is the Gimme Lean vegan “sausage” which is sold in a tube, usually in the produce section.

It’s got a lot of protein and is pretty low in calories.  All in all, if you aren’t worried about carbs, this meal is pretty healthy.

Vegan “Sausage” Campanelle with Veggies

Ingredients:

1 small onion, diced
1 small red or green pepper, diced
A few cloves of minced garlic
1 tube of Gimme Lean sausage
1 jar of pasta sauce
16 oz campanelle pasta (or other smaller shape like penne,  orecciette, fusilli, etc)
2 cups chopped broccoli

Method:

Put a large pot of water on to boil.  While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat a little olive oil in a dutch oven or large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent.  Turn the heat down a little, add the garlic, and cook another minute or so.

Add the diced peppers and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Add the Gimme Lean sausage, breaking it up from the tube into smaller chunks or bite-sized pieces.  Cook it thoroughly, stirring every so often to make sure it gets evenly browned while you are cooking it.  Once it is cooked through and browned, add the pasta sauce and reduce heat to low.  Add any spices you might want to add at this time.  Let the sauce mixture sit on low heat while you finish cooking the pasta.

About 2 minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli to the pasta pot.  Drain, and toss everything together, topping with a little parmesan if you like.

Macaroni and Cheese (and more cheese, and more, and more, and more…) May 19, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, good for a group.
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We’ve come to the end of Lost Night with Friends.  For our final meal, I decided to go out with a creamy-cheesy-completely-unhealthy-save-for-the-Barilla-plus-noodles bang—baked quadruple cheese macaroni & cheese.  I might have had 5 cheeses in this (or 6!!  Now that I am thinking about it…cheddar, swiss, gouda, blue cheese, and parmesan) … I just add whatever we have around the house, and this time I had a cheese surplus from a recent trip to R. Hirt Jr. Co. in Eastern Market. But usually it’s a 4-cheese deal. I also made the breadcrumbs this time around, too.  The only bread we had wasn’t stale yet, so I toasted a few slices, ripped up the toast, and put it in the food processor until the toast became bread crumbs.  I heated a tablespoon or so of butter in a pan, and when it was melted, whisked in a tablespoon of dijon mustard, some minced parsley and thyme, and salt and pepper.  I added the fresh breadcrumbs to the pan, mixed it thoroughly in the melted butter mixture, and cooked it over medium-low heat for a few minutes, stirring every so often, until the crumbs were golden brown.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

macaroni and cheese

Ingredients:

3 cups milk
1/2 onion
1 bay leaf
1/8 cup butter, divided
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped thyme, fresh (dried is okay too, just use a little less)
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounces macaroni
1 1/2 cups gruyere or swiss cheese, grated
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup blue cheese (if desired)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Note: The cheeses listed are just suggestions.  I often through in some grated smoked gouda if I have it, and I love to add a few tablespoons of blue cheese to the mix. Use whatever you have on hand!


Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cook the macaroni until it is a couple minutes away from being tender.
  3. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  4. Drain.
  5. Pour milk into small saucepan.
  6. Attach the bay leaf to the onion half by using the cloves as”tacks”.
  7. Drop the onion/bay leaf/cloves into the milk.
  8. Simmer milk over med-low heat.
  9. Melt 1 tbs of the butter in a separate saucepan over med heat.
  10. Saute the shallots until tender.
  11. Add the flour, dry mustard, and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  12. Slowly add the hot milk to the butter mixture, 1/4 c at a time, whisking constantly.
  13. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and add the onion.
  14. Simmer for 20 min.
  15. Stir often.
  16. Sauce should be thick and creamy.
  17. Remove sauce from heat.
  18. Take out the onion.
  19. Stir in most of the cheese; saving some to sprinkle on top.
  20. Add the cayenne, salt, and fresh thyme.
  21. Transfer the macaroni to a greased casserole dish.
  22. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and mix well.
  23. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bread crumbs.
  24. Dot with the remaining butter.
  25. Bake for 30 minutes– Should be browned on top and bubbly when done.

Tortellini Salad May 7, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, quick meal, salad.
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This salad is the perfect thing to eat the day after a burrito-eating, beer-drinking evening.  I make this salad all of the time—it’s one of those easy staple meals that come together in minutes (boiling the water is the longest part).  The fresh vegetables, tangy banana peppers, and warm tortellini are the perfect combination and make a meal that is filling but not over-the-top heavy.  I think I got this recipe from Cooking Light originally, but what follows is how I usually make it.  Did I mention how easy this is??

Tortellini Salad
adapted from Cooking Light

tort salad 2

Ingredients:
1 (9 ounce) package fresh cheese tortellini
2 chopped tomatoes or halved grape tomatoes
2 cups fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped banana peppers
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking combine tomatoes, spinach, banana peppers, parmesan cheese, and  basil in a large bowl. Drain pasta and add pasta, lemon juice and oil to tomato mixture; toss gently.