Quick and Healthy – Kale and Arugula Pasta with Egg

I first heard about this combination on a cooking show.  I thought it soundedinteresting.  Turns out, sautéed kale on pasta with egg is very popular.  And I can see why.  It is healthy, incredibly delicious and simple – the perfect kind of meal for a busy work week.  It is also a great way to get your leafy greens. 🙂

This recipe is perfect for my quick and healthy series because it literally look 10 minutes!  Plus, if you aren’t a fan of kale, you could easily substitute spinach, or mustard greens.  You can also add some red pepper flakes if you like a kick.  The gently poached egg makes a sauce for the pasta all its own.  Break open the yolk and watch all the runny deliciousness coat your noodles.  

I made this recipe for my husband and I and it fed both of us with leftovers.  It would likely serve 3 people easily.

2 cups of rinsed, dried and chopped kale, loosely packed

2 cups of rinsed and dried arugula, loosely packed

1 1/2 Tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons of chopped garlic

salt and pepper to taste

6-8 oz of whole wheat pasta

1 egg per dish

Old Taylor Street cheese sprinkle (I got mine at The Spice House, but you can just as easily use some grated parmesan)

Prepare pasta as directed on box.  Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant (approximately 1 minute).  Add kale and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until it begins to wilt, tossing a few times during cooking.  Add arugula and cook until it begins to wilt.  Toss again.

Add drained and cooked pasta to pan with greens and turn off heat.  Prepare poached egg by placing it in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Smitten Kitchen has great tips on how to make the perfect poached egg.

Assemble meal by placing greens and pasta mixture in bowl.  Sprinkle some cheese mixture on the pasta.  Place perfectly poached egg on top and break open.  Eat and experience the magic.

Roasted Mushrooms on Creamy Pasta

I do not have many dietary restrictions.  I am not against eating animals.  I like to try weird, or crazy sounding things.  And I love vegetarian food.  I regularly eat vegetarian meals.  I am no stranger to tofu (in fact, I make it regularly) and paneer is one of my favorite foods.  So, I’m not quite sure why I don’t post more of my vegetarian recipes.  One of my new year’s resolutions will be to get better at that, especially for all my vegetarian friends out there.

If you are not a fan of vegetarian food, you just haven’t had any good vegetarian food yet.  For all of you out there sneering at the idea of eating tofu or jeering at the thought of an entree that doesn’t bleed, lower those noses! Good vegetarian food is hearty and savory.  In fact, I challenge you to think of how many things you eat regularly that are already vegetarian.  I bet you would be surprised.  I like to tout eating vegetarian at least one day a week, mainly because Americans eat WAY more meat than we need or should.  Not only does this have implications for our own culture and way of life, but also for the rest of the world.  If you don’t believe me, just read some Michael Pollan.  But if you don’t care about that, eating vegetarian once or twice a week can also help your health.

At least, in theory.  But if that’s what you’re doing . . . Don’t start with this dish.  🙂

I had bought a box of baby bella mushrooms a little while ago and they were sitting in the refrigerator just waiting to go bad.  Rather than having that happen, I decided to create something delicious with them.

I have always wanted to roast mushrooms.  I never used to like them, but I’ve become more accustomed to them now (and quite fond of wild mushrooms).  I think properly roasting anything makes it taste amazing, so I thought for sure that roasting these lovely little mushrooms would bring out the earthy goodness of them.  It did.  However, there is one simple rule to preparing good roasted mushrooms.  Make sure your mushrooms are clean.  Whatever you do, do NOT submerge your mushrooms in water.  That can damage their delicate form and make them mushy when cooked.  Simply wipe them off with a damp cloth or paper towel.

Roasted Mushrooms on Creamy Pasta

For the mushrooms, adapted from the awesome Smitten Kitchen,

1 pound of your favorite mushrooms
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt shallow baking dish. Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden and bubbly garlic sauce forms below, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley.

For the pasta sauce, this is a classic cream sauce with cheese that you can find right here on Delectable Endeavors!  You can add any kind of cheese you would like.  I used parmesan for this and it was lovely.

Vegetable and Tortellini Soup

After the chilly late fall weather, and stuffing myself on Thanksgiving, soup sounded lovely.  I like soup.  Especially in cold weather.  It’s the nice kind of warmth I need to feel like I can brave the outdoors again tomorrow.  Since I love cooking, I can’t just BUY soup.  No, no.  I need to MAKE soup.  Luckily for me, soup is incredibly easy to make.  There are some things I have learned over the process of writing this blog and that is there are some things you should rarely buy, because they are just too easy to make.

Exhibit 1: Cranberry sauce.  I had NO idea how simple cranberry sauce was until I made it for Thanksgiving this year.  Literally, you just boil cranberries in some liquid and add some sugar.  Just like that, you’re done.  Cranberry sauce.  Why would you ever buy it?  Plus, by making it, you can add some nice touches.  For instance, I boiled mine in orange juice and brandy.  I used some spices to liven it up.  I would post the recipe, but my fiance told me it tasted like a holiday candle (in other words, awful).  I didn’t think it was so bad  . . .

Exhibit 2: Creme Brulee.  I know, it sounds fancy and French, but its really just a custard with crystallized sugar on top.  Essentially, creme brulee is only 5 ingredients and a blow torch (or a broiler, if you know MY recipe).  Remember this the next time you order a $6 vanilla bean creme brulee for dessert.

Exhibit  3: Soup.  Now, creamy, blended soups are a little more difficult and require a little bit more work and some special equipment.  However, broth-based soups are pretty simple and can often be made from leftovers!  This soup is made from veggies most people have around the house and pre-made tortellini, but you could just as easily throw together soup from some leftover turkey or chicken, canned veggies, and broth.  Pasta and rice are great for another hearty layer.

This soup is really simple and delicous for a frosty winter night.

2 Tbl butter

1/2 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large tomato, diced

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups of water

2 Tbl of marinara sauce (or 1 Tbl pest0)

1 package of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini

1 1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed and torn, loosely

Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add onion.  Cook until just barely translucent.  Add garlic.  Cook until fragrant; this should only take about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes, water, and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add marinara sauce or pesto to season.  Add tortellini.  Boil for 5 minutes, then add spinach.  Cook for 2 more minutes and serve!

Skillet Baked Ziti

More skillet recipes!  I love one-dish recipes.  Mainly because I hate cleaning pans.  Admittedly, this is not my recipe.  This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated.  But this recipe brings ziti to a new level.  The folks at America’s Test kitchen have outdone themselves this time.  In other words, this dish is easy and irresistable.

America’s Test Kitchen has put many of their own tricks in this recipe, so I just follow it.  The best part is actually cooking the pasta in the tomato sauce.  The pasta soaks up the delicious flavor of tomato and really adds something to it.  However, resist the urge to cook the pasta all the way in the sauce.  Otherwise, when you finish the dish in the oven, you will get gummy, soggy pasta.  If you follow that simple suggestion, you can’t go wrong with this recipe!

1 tablespoon olive oil
6  garlic cloves minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
12 ounces ziti (3 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 475 degrees.  Combine oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 12-inch, ovensafe nonstick skillet.  Sauté over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add crushed tomatoes, water, and ziti.  Generously season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until ziti is almost tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat.  Stir in cream, Parmesan, and basil.  Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top of ziti. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cheese has melted and browned, about 10 minutes.