Protein Pasta

Protein Pasta

Protein Pasta

I grew up eating something we called “Spaghetti I-oy.” (Eye-Oy.) That’s how we pronounced it. I had no idea what that meant but I knew I loved it. It was a pasta dish my Italian step father and his family made every Sunday.

When I got older I realized the dish was really called Spaghetti Aioli (pronounced A-I-oli.) There are different versions of the aioli which they call an emulsion that include different variations of garlic, lemon, eggs, mayonnaise and sometimes mustard, but this recipe only uses garlic oil and egg and is not an emulsion but an oil. It’s made all in one pan after the noodles are drained and is super easy. Kids love it.

Today, after eating this for 30 + years and wondering what to do with some vegetables I had on hand (other than always roasting them), I came up with something quite tasty. Below is the combination of Spaghetti Aioli and some tasty concoctions I had in the house. Hope you like this as much as we did. This is now a new favorite and provides protein, unlike most pasta dishes that do not contain meat.

Ingredients: 

1/2 lb.- spaghetti noodles

1/4 cup- olive oil (my mom used vegetable oil before we knew anything about olive oil, do not use that- vegetables do not contain oil. LOL!)

3 cloves- garlic, peeled and crushed with a fork, it will turn golden brown. Also add it to the pasta and eat it.

1 large- egg

2 handfuls (or about 1 cup, pulsed) – cauliflower, washed and pulsed in the food processor until it resembles “rice.”

1 handful (or about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, pulsed) – broccoli, washed and pulsed in the food processor until it resembles green flecks of powder.

1/2- (3.5 ounce bag) – sun-dried tomatoes, also pulsed in the food processor

1- 2 ounce bag- walnuts, also pulsed

Directions:

Cut, clean and pulse each of the ingredients: cauliflower, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and walnuts and set aside.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions approximately 8 minutes

While spaghetti is cooking, place 1/4 cup olive oil in a small saute’ pan. Add your garlic (peeled and crushed with a fork to release flavor)- you are making garlic olive oil. Allow this to get hot and the garlic to get golden brown, (not dark or it can get bitter.)

Once pasta is done, drain and return it to the same large pan.

Place one egg in the center of the pasta and then pour the hot oil and garlic over the top slowly cooking the top part of the egg.

Turn the burner on under the pasta on medium heat and with two forks, continue to pick up and stir the pasta. You will see the egg cooking and turning white. Once the egg is solid, remove from heat and add your pulsed ingredients and stir well.

You are not cooking the pulsed ingredients, only the pasta. The pulsed ingredients warm right through because of their small rice-like state. Serve immediately.

This pasta is even pretty! It has flecks of red, green, white. Just top with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and enjoy! You’re welcome! ;)

Steps:

Add egg

#1) Cook Pasta and Add egg

Garlic Oil (eat the garlic too!) YUM!

#2) Garlic Oil (eat the garlic too!) YUM!

Cook egg with hot oil

#3) Pour hot oil over egg to cook slightly. Add heat under pot now and stir till egg is done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add pulsed ingredients and stir well

#4) Add pulsed ingredients and stir well

One pot pasta dish

#5) One pot pasta dish

Topped with Cheese

#6) Topped with Cheese

 

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Mexican Quinoa Bowl

We probably eat quinoa several times a week. It’s so versatile you can really do just about anything you can dream up with it. I’ve made it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time. It’s a complete protein and super healthy to eat when looking for protein options as a vegetarian.

I love anything Mexican, and even though I love rice, it really doesn’t offer anything nutritious to the diet. Quinoa is the perfect substitute for rice in this Mexican bowl. It’s super tasty, super easy and really filling. We loved it, hope you do too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups- quinoa, cooked (usually 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water, follow package directions.)

1- avocado, pitted, cut in half and diced or sliced

Salsa- any kind,(as much as you like)

1 packet- taco seasoning

Dollop- Sour cream for the top of each bowl

Green Onion (as much as you like), sprinkled on top

Cheddar Cheese (as much as you like), sprinkled on top

Black beans, drained and rinsed. (as much as you like)

Tomatoes, washed and diced.

Directions:

Make your quinoa. Once water is absorbed, add your taco seasoning and stir well.

Put the quinoa in the center of the bowl and place each ingredient in the list above, around the quinoa for presentation.

Mix all of it at once and eat- or mix as you go making different tasting bites each time. Either way, it’s delicious.

Note: You can add any ingredient you like not listed here. Other suggestions might be: corn, lettuce, black olives, fried green peppers and onions… you get the idea.)

Stirred, not shaken

Stirred, not shaken

Eggs Benedict Florentine

Eggs Benedict Florentine

Eggs Bendict Florentine

This is my version of the Eggs Florentine that First Watch makes. I get it every time we go, so I started making it at home. I leave off the English muffin for low carb, gluten free, but you can add it if you want.

A go-to- meal in our house when we want something quick, easy and healthy. And I don’t know about you, but one of our favorite things is breakfast for dinner.

Ingredients:

2 eggs- per person

1 handful – organic spinach

tomatoes (any kind), diced

Hollandaise sauce ( you can make it from a packet or make your own, recipe below.)

Directions:

Make your Hollandaise sauce, stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick or scorch (See recipe below or use a packet if in a hurry.) Set aside finished sauce until ready for it.

Put a little oil (olive, coconut, etc.) in a skillet and fry your eggs over medium.Then, take a big handful of organic spinach and lay it on a plate.

When the eggs are cooked place those on top of the spinach.

Pour Hollandaise sauce on top.

Sprinkle on tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes, cut in half)

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a side of fruit.

The hot eggs wilt some of the spinach and  when the gooey yolks break open and mix with the spinach and tomatoes, it’s heaven on a plate! Identical to the restaurant version. YUMMY!

Hollandaise Sauce Recipe:

4 egg yolks

1 Tbsp.- lemon juice

1 stick- unsalted butter, melted

Pinch- cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk eggs and lemon juice together in a metal bowl. This will get thick.

Put bowl over a steaming pot of water and whisk continuously without the water touching the bottom of the bowl. This will get thicker and double in volume.

Slowly add your butter and continue to whisk until well incorporated. Season and remove from heat.

 

 

 

 

Black Beans and Polenta

Black Beans and Polenta

Black Beans and Polenta

Polenta is corn meal grits and is something I’ve been experimenting with as of late. You can find it in a roll or buy the bulk cornmeal in a bag. For this recipe, I made my own with the bagged kind and water. It was a bit harder to get it to stay in a round shape to fry afterward and didn’t really get brown, so I really prefer the roll.

We still have not eaten any meat for four plus weeks now and we don’t miss it a bit. It is a bit harder to find things to make, especially when you’re trying to incorporate protein into every meal that’s for sure, but I think we will continue on to see if we can do this.

This is a recipe I found on a can of black beans. It was tasty, full of protein and very filling. If you buy the roll of polenta, it’s super easy and quick.  You can pair it with a small side salad to round out your meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. – olive oil

1 medium onion- diced small. (I used onion flakes.)

4 cloves- garlic, minced

1/8 tsp.- cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. – black pepper

1 tsp.- cumin

3/4 tsp. – coriander

1 tsp.- basil

1/4 tsp. – oregano

1- 14 ounce can- organic black beans

1- 14 ounce can- stewed tomatoes

Polenta (roll or bagged kind made according to package directions)

Directions:

If using an onion, add oil to skillet and saute onion for about 5 minutes, then add your tomatoes, beans and all the spices.

If using onion powder, add beans, tomatoes and all spices to a small pan and heat through.

If using bagged polenta, make according to package directions, allow to set, make round patties, then fry in oil.

If using the polenta in a roll, cut into thick slices, then fry in oil till heated through.

Plate the polenta slices and top with the bean and tomato mixture.

Vegetarian Taco Soup

Vegetarian Taco Soup

Vegetarian Taco Soup

Do you believe how cool it’s been this summer? I can’t. I’m STILL stuck in Ohio waiting for my house to sell and can’t wait to get to Florida to warm my bones! So, on a recent 64 degree day, I made this taco soup. It was beyond delicious so the day was not a total disappointment.

I’ve made a similar version that used a rotisserie chicken and it was also great, but since we are limiting meat (we’ve been vegetarian for a bit over 2 weeks now…) I opted to make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken and adding more beans.

I put a few Gluten-free rice chips on the side of my bowl, grabbed a blankey and watched Ghost Stories on TV! My idea of the perfect day. So cozy and comfy. Hope you like this as much as we did.

Ingredients:

1 can- corn, drained
1 can- kidney beans, drained
1 can- black beans, drained
1 can- pinto beans, drained
1 can- (14 oz.) stewed tomatoes, Mexican style if you can find them. Or fire roasted ones are good too.
1 and 1/2- packages taco seasoning
1/4 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt (omit this if you get regular taco seasoning… I added it because I bought low-sodium taco seasoning)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. chili powder 
Water- to thin it if you like, otherwise this is a thicker stew. (* I used approximately 1+ cups for a more soupy texture.)
Directions:
Throw it all in a pot on the stove on low heat for a few hours or just warm it through fully and eat. The taste gets better the longer it cooks. (You can also put it all in a crock pot and cook all day, 6 hours on low.)
Garnish with:
Cheddar cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado slices, chopped green onions and rice chips (gluten-free) in place of tortilla chips.

*Note: You can cut up a rotisserie chicken too and put than in it and you can add green chilies if you like it hot.

Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowl

I wasn’t going to post this because it’s more of a concoction than a recipe, but my husband convinced me that lots of people need something simple and healthy to throw together in a pinch and this is one of our “go to” meals.

This is the perfect meal to make when you have a crisper full of vegetables and no idea what to do with them. You can use any variation of vegetables you like and any spices you like. You can’t mess this up!

Once you wash, cut up and roast your vegetables and chickpeas, it comes together easily. Below is what I make again and again. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Small head- Cauliflower

Small head- broccoli

1- Bell Red pepper

1 can- Chickpeas, drained, roasted

Quinoa (2 cups cooked)

Avocado

Pesto sauce (any kind, store bought or homemade)

Parmesan cheese (light sprinkling on top of veggies roasting)

Various spices (What I used is listed below) Remember, you can really use anything you like.

Directions: 

Make your quinoa according to package directions and set aside.

Toss all vegetables in a large mixing bowl with a good amount of olive oil, salt pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Toss well with your hands.

Put those veggies in a roasting pan or casserole dish in a single layer and cook in the oven on 400 degrees for 50 minutes.

Drain chickpeas and toss with spices: cumin, curry, smoked paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper.

Toss these in the oven too for about 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to prevent burning. Roll em around to get them crunchy. YUM!

When everything is done, scoop out some quinoa in individual bowls, top with your vegetables and chickpeas and mix.

Top with half an avocado sliced and drizzle with pesto sauce. Woot! I mean… Ommmmmm! ;)

“Skinny” Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo

My husband loves Fettuccine Alfredo and although I wanted to make it for him, I wanted to make a healthier version. We both work way too hard working out almost daily to mess it up with one meal.

If you remember correctly, regular Fettuccine Alfredo can take a full stick of butter, a full cup or so of heavy cream and usually a few cups of cheese. Yikes!

My husband; the connoisseur of all Alfredo sauces everywhere, was amazed at the taste of this healthier version saying it was a keeper. So, here it is. All the indulgence without all the guilt afterwards. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 lb.- fettuccine noodles (or any shaped noodles you have on hand)

2 cups- cooked broccoli crowns (microwave for about 7 minutes with a bit of water or you can steam for about 10 on stovetop.)

2 cups of fat-free milk

1/3 cup- flour

1- bay leaf

2 cloves- garlic, minced

Pinch- nutmeg

2 tsp.- butter

1/2 cup- Romano/Parmesan Cheese blend

fresh parsley- about a palm full, cut up, (or you can use dried)

Salt and pepper- to taste

Directions: 

In a large pot, cook your pasta according to the package directions. For fettuccine, it’s about 9 minutes

In a smaller sauce pan, add your milk and flour and whisk together over medium heat

Add your bay leaf, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic, stir with whisk. You’ll feel this thickening

Once thickened, add your 1/2 cup Romano/Parmesan blend until melted. Add your parsley and stir

Drain pasta, add it back to large pan, add butter and stir

Add your Alfredo sauce and stir well, adding your already cooked broccoli on top and some extra cheese and enjoy!

*Note: this is a drier version of Fettuccine Alfredo, but still very good. If you want more of a saucy version, you can double the sauce recipe. Can be eaten as the main entree or served as a side dish to meat.