cooking minette’s lasagna dinner!

why is it so hard to decide what to cook for dinner? even though i actually enjoy cooking, i often find it so hard to choose our menu-and my family is not much help! when i ask them for ideas they rarely come up with any good suggestions or agree with one another, for that matter. one will feel like a light simple dinner while the other is super hungry, or one will ask for a dish the other vehemently dislikes-or better yet, they ask for the impossible-complicated dinners that need hours to prepare or ingredients we don’t have available.sound familiar? thought so. i was completely out of ideas yesterday when i hesitantly asked my “consumers” for suggestions. to my surprise, there was consensus: lasagna! i realized it had been ages since i’d made an actual lasagna. even though i try hard to avoid it (for obvious reasons), it’s one of my favorite dishes, and even the thought of it makes my mouth water. much to my relief (and with a good dose of excitement), dinner was decided-not the brown rice noodle vegetarian kind (which is quite good too), but the real thing-with a good home made bolognese sauce smothered in creamy béchamel! this is by no means a light dinner-i kept my portion on the smaller side (maybe) and enjoyed (understatement) it with a large bowl of salad. such a comforting dinner. Continue reading

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spring fava beans with pesto & brown rice spirals

every time i think about what to cook in the spring time (yipee! loooonger days, warmer days, brighter days, and…more fresh local produce days) i seem to think greeeen food! right now there’s nothing that makes my mouth water more than minimally processed fresh green produce in our meals. that’s why when i came across the beautifully glistening fava (broad) beans at the market yesterday i couldn’t wait to add them to our dinner menu. these beans were particularly tender, so i decided to boil the larger ones in their skins as an appetizer served with lime and angelica seeds, and use the smaller ones in a quick and easy brown rice pasta dressed with home made lemony pesto (the basil is looking/tasting amazing at the moment). the trick to double peeling these beans (relatively) easily is to remove them from the outer skin (or pod) and quickly boil them in water for just a few quick minutes (5-7) before popping them out of their inner skins by pressing lightly on one end. i’m not sure about you, but i find these types of tasks oddly relaxing and get through them rather quickly (alternately you can purchase double peeled frozen fava beans at most middle eastern markets). having tasted (and consumed way more than intended) the dish last night, i urge you to make some before the season is over-it will be sure to please your taste buds! Continue reading
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spaghetti al limone

once in a while when you’ve had an unusually long or hard day you need one of those meals that come together quickly and easily, and provide pure and simple comfort while smoothing out all the rough edges. i have to admit, i may have a slight addiction to spaghetti (who doesn’t) and try to limit my consumption as much as i can-so, when i have one of those days that make you feel like you’re allowed to reward yourself, this dish is my reward (over, say, chocolate cake or ice cream). it combines spaghetti with lemons, a fruit (yes, fruit!) i can’t live without. nothing like fresh citrus to brighten up your dish, or your day for that matter. the hardest thing about restricting yourself from eating this treat is that you will likely have the ingredients available most of the time-and it will take you all of 20 minutes (or so) from start to deliciously satisfying finish to prepare. for me this recipe is quite fluid and changes with my moods-sometimes i add a lot of red pepper flakes, and other times i choose to add parsley over basil. either way, the constants are extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice and zest. a touch of freshly grated parmesan cheese goes a long way to round out all the flavors.  go ahead, try to resist the urge. or maybe, live a little, and treat yourself! it really is worth the calories. hungry yet?? Continue reading

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twenty minute meal: penne rigate with fresh tomatoes and pesto

it’s been one of those busy days where you have no time to even think about (or pick up) dinner- then you get home, and everyone’s hungry…

 

  • 2 ripe large tomatoes, quickly chopped
  • 2 tbs or so homemade pesto sauce (from a few nights ago)-see recipe
  • or, 2 tbs arugula-hazelnut pesto-see recipe
  • about 2 cups dry penne rigate (or whole wheat / brown rice penne)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a touch of sea salt & cracked pepper
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 20 minutes (as long as you have ready made pesto in your refrigerator- which you really should)

you’ve got dinner!

cook pasta al dente per package instructions in salted boiling water. mix pesto in a bowl with tomatoes and olive oil and add a teaspoon or two of the water from the cooking pasta. add cooked pasta to sauce, enjoy….simple as that!

 

 

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