I.LOVE.PASTA. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would definitely be pasta (or maybe pizza… close tie). I am especially loving pasta these days since I’m not forcing myself to restrict it anymore! (I’m planning a summation post on my Intuitive Eating challenge later this week with many more details) I used to think pasta was “bad” so when I did “let myself have it” I always completely gorged myself on it. My mind was in that deprivation place of not knowing when I would ever be allowed to have it again. So when I was confronted with pasta… I ate ALL the pasta. Now that I know I can have pasta absolutely any time I want to have pasta, I eat a single serving in a bowl and walk away from the table completely satisfied (ok, ok, maybe one or two more bites as I pack away the leftovers).
Recently, I’ve been finding myself really favoring simple meals. We’re busy during the week so I have less time to cook elaborate dinners. This recipe requires 5 simple ingredients and hits 3 macro nutrients all in one dish (protein, carbs, and vegetables). Here’s what you’ll need (recipe / instructions at the bottom): You could substitute any kind of pasta (I chose brown rice fuscilli – but please remember I am NOT gluten free. I just like this kind a lot), meat (I used ground turkey but beef or chicken would be fine), vegetables (I ❤ brussels sprouts. End of story) and tomato sauce (Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic is delicious and $1.95 – CHA CHING). The secret here is the ricotta (which in my world is pronounced with a G). Mixing it with tomato sauce gives you a slightly “creamy” sauce without a super heavy alfredo. mmmmm…mmm…. good.
The other best part of this meal is that you can make the entire thing in the time it takes to boil the water / cook the pasta. I also was able to prep chicken noodle soup in the crock pot during this time.
Mike is an excellent kitchen helper. I cut these brussels into quarters because they were really big.
Fig kept a watchful eye on the whole process, but he doesn’t like vegetables (BLEH green stuff!)
After the meat was cooked, I moved it to a bowl and drained MOST of the fat. I left some (about 1 tbsp) in the pan to sautee the brussels.
For the sauce simply add your sauce and a dollop of ricotta cheese for a smooth and creamy finish.
Serve with a little extra ricotta if you like (I love cheese… so yes please) and any garnish you like! I used oregano and crushed red pepper.
For being so quick and simple, this meal was a HUGE hit. Mike loved it.
And so did Little Mac…
Today’s post is an oldie and long overdue. Mike took all the pictures on his phone and of course this became a huge obstacle to me because I’m computer illiterate. I know it’s weird, I blog and people at my job seem to think I’m really good with computers but trust me… I am not. ANYWAYS. As I mentioned in my Fall 2012 To Do List, I wanted to master a new cooking skill this fall. I decided I would finally try my hand at making homemade pasta. Pasta is really not hard to make… but you need a lot of space to dry it. Space was something I did not have in my old apartment. So with my brand new big girl kitchen, I set out to make homemade pasta a few Sundays back. I coordinated with my brother so plan a dinner at his apartment with my homemade pasta and his sauce and meatballs. A perfect Sunday indeed. Mike was kind of enough to take 1,000,000 pictures of me during this process. Here’s how it went.
There are a startling number of eggs in pasta. I had no idea. I used this step by step guide I found online, because I never do anything without instructions. I decided to make a double batch since the batch they made looked kinda small, and I was making a meal for three boys and one pasta eating phenomenon (me). Look at me… totally following the directions. Making my little flour mountain into a flour volcano so I can pour my eggs in just like the lady in the demonstration.
Aaaannnndddd then my flour volcano erupted. Literally, we were at def con 5 up in here. Egg was spilling out EVERYWHERE and I couldn’t get it together fast enough. Mike was legitimately just laughing at me and catching this all on camera because he is a terrific boyfriend (but he seriously is). I was pretty convinced I was never going to get a cohesive ball of dough out of this mess. Unless you counted all the crap that was stuck to my hands (WARNING: take off all jewelry before trying this at home… I wish I had taken my own advice. I found a dried piece of dough in one of my rings like a week and a half later). But finally after some serious sweating and cursing… I muscled my ball of dough into submission.
And it rested. And I rested! Then it was time to roll. Thank you Mike for purchasing this rolling pin at Target. Without it we would’ve had a giant ball of dough and no pasta.
After I got it as thin as I could (it was still thicker than normal pasta from the box, but I think that is normal) I rolled it around the rolling pin and was left with my little pasta stromboli (minus the gooey cheese and marinara). After this, I made Mike put the camera down and start helping because this was a lot of work. I cut the roll into the thinnest pieces possible, and then we started unrolling / laying the pieces out to dry.
I was not kidding when I said you needed a lot of space for this. It took up the entire counter and our electric stove top. I wish I had a drying rack but when it comes down kitchen supplies and my budget, you have to separate need from want (Example – I would love to have a pizza stone to cook pizzas at home. However, when it comes down to buying a pizza stone or milk, pizza stone doesn’t compete well)
After letting the pasta dry for 3 hours, we packed it all in a container and went over to my brother’s place. One big pot of water and olive oil later, dinner was served! And oh… my… God… IT WAS GOOD.
I just got a craving for pasta writing this post… thanks guys. Anyways, final summation… making pasta at home is fun! It’s messy work though. Was definitely still scraping stuff off the counter like 2 days later. Will I do it again? Probably! Now it’s time to start thinking about my next skill…