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Tag Archives: Pasta

Mushroom Marinara with Gardein “Tuscan Breasts”

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My opinion on tonight’s dinner was split. I love mushroom marinara, made with thick slices of baby bella mushrooms, but I’m not so sure about this Gardein Tuscan Breasts product I picked up.

I actually went to this store this afternoon in search of organic chicken breasts, which I have seen at this store before, but I guess they no longer carry organic meat. 😦 I saw the new Gardein products, and having seen them on a few other blogs, I decided to try them. The Tuscan breasts are made with soy protein and vital wheat gluten. I like the texture of seitan, which is also made from gluten, so I was hoping I would enjoy these as well. Each “breast” has 21 grams of protein.

I sauteed up the mushrooms, then pan fried the breasts (per the package directions) for two minutes on each side and then simmered in some tomato-basil pasta sauce. I threw that mess on some whole wheat spaghetti and was excited to dig in.

At first I told Brent that I really liked the texture of the breasts, but that they tasted “really earthy.” As I continued eating… the flavor continued to not grow on me. I’m not usually one to be negative, but by the end of my bowl I was feeling very unfavorably about the Tuscan Breasts. 😦

Brent agreed. He compared the smell of the breasts to “wet dog.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I don’t think I’ll be buying these again. I was hoping I would love them because they have a ton of products. I’m not sure if it’s worth trying some of the other meatless options from Gardein. Perhaps if they went on sale or I had a coupon I might try the “ribs” or something else.


Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Tapenade

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Brent picked tonight’s dinner from Vegan with a Vengeance. Dude loves anything with a brine so he was all about a sauce made entirely from olives and capers. I, being the ever-loving wife that I am, was happy to oblige. The recipe is easy. Makes some tapenade, saute some tomatoes and onions, cook pasta and mix it all together.

I like this pasta, and the orecchiette was a new shape of pasta for me to use at home (always fun), but I kind of hated the tomatoes in it. Everything was tasting all briny and delicious and then suddenly there’s a large hot, bursting tomato in my mouth spoiling the party. That could just be me. I’m not so much into just a cooked tomato. Tomato sauce is all well and good but the tomatoes in this situation really did nothing for me. I would make this again, but maybe (probably) do something different with the tomatoes.

In other exciting news, I’m going to the Healthy Living Summit in Chicago! I”m very excited and totally nervous about it at the same time! If you’re going and have a blog leave a comment in the comment section so I can read up on everyone I’m going to meet!

Spinach Makes My Teeth Dry

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Spring break is in full force. It was 65 out today and it’s been nice all week, so we’ve been taking hour long walks with the dogs every day. I’m also keeping my mind sharp for next week’s return to school by watching marathons of 16 and Pregnant on Super classy. I also made some of this bread, which I first made a few years ago and highly recommend. It makes excellent sandwich bread. No photo though.

Tonight’s dinner was some baked macaroni & cheese that I made over winter break and froze. This recipe freezes well, and we’ve had it a few times these past few months. I steamed some fresh spinach (more greens!) and put a scoop of mac & cheese on it. A complete dinner.

While we eating this, I kept running my tongue over my teeth because they felt so weird, and Brent commented, “Doesn’t spinach make your teeth feel weird?” and I said, “Yeah, like dry, right?” Anyone else get this feeling? It’s totally strange.

Tomorrow morning is my doctor’s appointment, so I’ll be fasting tonight for 12 hours. 😦

Butternut Squash Lasagna

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Tuesday nights are going to be ROUGH! I have a 12 hour clinical that leaves me pretty beat, so I tried to plan ahead and made a variety of frozen meals to bake when I get home. Last night we had Butternut Squash Lasagna from Cooking Light. I made the entire recipe (2 lasagnas) and froze both, so I never ate it before freezing it. Given that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, I was really happy with it! Brent really enjoyed it as well.

This was definitely time-consuming to make (especially if you make their smoky marinara like I did), but each lasagna provided Brent and I with dinner and two lunches each and since I made two, that’s 6 meals for us so it was definitely worth the effort. I will say that it took longer to thaw than I anticipated. I took it out of the freezer on Monday around noon and Tuesday at 5:30pm, it was still fairly frozen. It wasn’t a big deal, but it did take me more like an hour and half to cook.

Maybe not super photogenic, but very delicious. I did actually make one change — mozzarella in place of the provolone. It was just what I had on hand. I thought it was a very nice spin on traditional lasagna. I’m so glad I have another one in the freezer! Pasta and cheese make me so happy! 🙂

Lobster Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

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My 2010 is off to a pretty good start, and I hope yours is too! We went to a friend’s party last night, but left before midnight. A few friends from the party came with us back to our place where we hung out, talked and toasted the new year. We were up pretty late and I woke up at noonish expecting to feel pretty awful, but I was pleasantly surprised. (Brent on the other hand has not been his usual bright-eyed self.)

Feeling like a virtuous start to the decade, I aimed to use as much fresh produce as possible for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast consisted of a smoothie with banana, frozen cherries, skim milk and flax seed with a sliced red pear. Lunch was a big salad — spring mix, carrot, cuke, grape tomatoes and avocado with homemade red wine vinaigrette. I dragged myself upstairs to the elliptical and though the workout kind of sucked due to my laziness the past few weeks, I felt better after it was done. We’ve spent the afternoon planning some of our Seattle vacation (we leave on Wednesday!), trying to figure out what to see, where to go, what to eat. I’m getting really excited! 🙂

For dinner I decided to use the lobster ravioli we bought at Trader Joe’s two weeks ago. We didn’t have much in the way of sauce ingredients and I didn’t want to dump marinara on it, so I just made a brown butter sauce with butter, salt and pepper.

Brent and I both enjoyed it, and the ravioli made a nice meal for only $4 or so. It’s things like this that make me miss living in the vicinity of a Trader Joe’s. The rest of our evening is going to stay relatively low-key — talk more about our trip and maybe watch a movie. I’m hoping I get to bed fairly early tonight so I can resume my normal schedule. The past 3 night’s I’ve been up past 3am!

Blogging is a Wonderful Tool for Procrastination

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Nope. Things haven’t gotten less busy around here. In fact time is flying quicker than ever. I can’t believe I’m hosting Thanksgiving in a month! We’ve eaten pretty well the past week, mostly due to Brent’s help on a few occasions.

Sometime in the midst of last week, I threw together this pasta dish using Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper Pappardelle (LOVE this pasta), a can of artichoke hearts, olive oil, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Tasty, and more importantly, super quick. In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I think Brent came up with the idea for this dish, but since it turned out well, I’m willing to take the credit. 🙂

IMG_0423Another dish from last week, that I can take absolutely no credit for is this soba-tofu noodle dish. Brent makes very good Asian dishes and as mentioned previously, he makes good tofu. This had carrots, red bell pepper, scallions, tofu, soba noodles and some sauce created using the Asian condiment shelf in our refrigerator.

IMG_0425I should wrap this up because I only gave myself 15 study-free minutes to blog, but I wanted to mention Brent ran his first race today! We ran the River City Rat Race 10K this afternoon, and Brent very nicely ran with me for the first 5 miles with me at my usual slow pace until I told him to go fast the last 1.2 miles. He finished about 3 minutes ahead of me.

IMG_0431Tall, isn’t he? He enjoyed it, so I think we’ll probably do some more races together in the future. 🙂

Halloween is next weekend and my friends are coming to the Fort!!! I have to get studying now so I’ll be worry-free when they get here!

Eggplant Meatballs

I’m so happy to be finally posting. Not only am I posting, but I actually have something new and interesting to post about. When I started the blog, I just wanted a way to share all the fun and interesting recipes I tried as I was finally getting comfortable in my kitchen. Life of course as gotten in the way and lately I’ve been making the same old stuff over and over again, just thrilled to make anything at all.

However, I had a chance last Sunday to make something new. In fact, I was determined to make something new. And something with eggplant. My father in law has a huge garden, and every time we see him I end up getting a 5 gallon bucket full of produce. 2 weeks ago it was full of zucchini, butternut squash and eggplant. I think I’ve mentioned before that Brent is not the biggest fan of eggplant, but I wasn’t willing to let it go to waste. I considered some eggplant Parm, but I wanted something new, so I turned to Recipezaar.

After looking at the eggplant recipes, I decided to make Eggplant Meatballs, mostly because they just sounded so… out there, you know? I love weird sounding food. Brent of course, seemed dubious, but I had faith. They were somewhat time consuming to make, and I was a bit wary, but they actually turned out really well!

IMG_0343So maybe they’re not so gorgeous to look at, but they were pretty tasty. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think anyone would actually think these were made of meat, but they were savory and went really well with marinara sauce. It was nice to bulk up my spaghetti, and best of all, Brent liked them! The man who does not care for eggplant said he would definitely eat it again in this form.

IMG_0347Because of the time involved, I think I would make a double batch next time and try freezing some of these “meatballs” for later use.

I also took some dog photos. Everytime we have a showing on our house, we have to leave with the dogs for like an hour, so I like to take them to this small dog park in our old apartment complex. They seem to enjoy it.