I love Italian food but can't always put in the effort... yes, we always make our own sauce. Chopping veggies, simmering on the stove for hours and puree it up! And sometimes, yes, we even make the pasta. Lately we've been looking to alternative grains and gluten free options, which we have not had much success with making from scratch.
On a trip to Whole Foods we skeptically decided to try some ready made options. Taste Republic pasta in the refrigerated section caught our eye. Being from Wisconsin we tried the cheese tortellini. It's gluten free, made with a blend of brown rice flour and tapioca. Most of those gluten free pastas we've tried we've struggled to make successfully. This tortillini we followed the instructions and it cooked up perfectly. It had a great texture and taste, not gummy or soggy like many other GF pastas. This was very close in taste to a handmade conventional pasta. Next time, we will try the other varieties - they have fettuccini, linguini, vegetable based doughs, and even chickpea/lentil doughs! In looking to learn more about this company that makes this good stuff I was excited to see it's made by RP Pasta who we used to buy from at the Farmer's Market in Madison, Wisconsin. It's great to see a small company grow nationwide. Now that I'm in North Carolina I can enjoy a treat from back home. Website currently has $1 coupon towards the pasta - check it out here!
For sauce we went with Cucina Antica, tomato basil. When we make our own sauce we always use San Marzano tomatoes. We were drawn to this as they do as well. All of the ingredients I recognize, no strange fillers - all legit vegetables and spices in there, just like we'd make at home. The taste was of fresh tomato flavor. I like seeing the garlic and basil pulsed together with tomatoes. I just put it in a saucepan and heated it up. In a few minutes I had something like I'd be simmering away all day to make. So easy and delicious! I looked into getting more on the regular and am happy to see it's on amazon!!
To complete the meal, I roasted some ready cut butternut squash and grabbed some kale and spinach from the garden to toss in a raw handful. We added some protein and topped with basil from the garden. Such an easy fancy dinner that we look forward to repeating again!
I feel in love with these peppers when spotted on a small plates menu at one of our favorite places... "really? peppers?" I asked the waiter skeptically. He explained "yes, they are amazing... not too spicy but once in a while you will get one with a kick." Alright I said and the rest is history. Immediately I was addicted and had so many small plates of these little peppers!
Fast forward a few years and another state later when filling up my new garden space my favorite heirloom plant grower was selling interesting pepper varieties, including Shishitos! I was so excited to have my own plant full of it and just as I forgot about it for a minute I was browsing one of my favorite garden summer time cookbooks and spotted this gem.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package refrigerated pizza dough (about 1 pound)
flour for the work surface
1 16-ounce can refried beans
1-pint container fresh salsa
8-ounce package shredded Cheddar
sour cream (optional)
If I haven't said this enough times, here I go again... zucchini is one of my favorite things to eat! Especially fresh from my generous friend's garden! So I'm always on the lookout for new things to do with my bounty. This one was from an unexpected source. I happened to pick up a copy of Consumer Report's SHOPSMART for I don't know what I was researching buying at the time but they happened to be doing an article on microwave cooking, which I generally am not a fan of. But with zucchini coming out of my ears and getting a little burnt out on elaborate zucchini recipes I decided to give this a try. And I was happy to finally be using some of those Tupperware containers built especially for microwaving that are in the back of our cabinets!... and I am glad I did. This is so easy and good!... I love that you can throw in any types of squash and adding the toasted bread crumbs at the end is a great touch.
Summer Squash Baked with Parmesan & Breadcrumbs
Consumer Reports SHOPSMART,
"The Well-Filled Microwave Cookbook" by Victoria Wise & Susanna Hoffman, 1996
1 pound summer squash, zucchini, pattypan, crookneck or a mixture
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (1 1/2 ounces), grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup homemade bread crumbs, toasted
1. Wash squash, trim stem ends, and cut into 1/4" thick rounds or half rounds.
2. Place the squash, cheese, and salt in a large microwave safe dish or bowl and stir to mix. Cover the dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until the squash is barely soft. Add the bread crumbs to the squash, toss, and serve right away.
I love cauliflower, especially roasted cauliflower. As paging through a little copy of Martha's Everyday Food magazine, I spotted this simple idea. It is so easy and awesome! Sometimes after spending lots of time on a new cauliflower recipe and it doesn't turn out I think why didn't I just roast it with the paprika!!??
Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika
1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into small florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread cauliflower on foil. Sprinkle with oil and paprika; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Roast until tender and lightly browned 20-25 minutes, tossing once.
is the smallest kitchen ever. We used to watch those decorating shows that said they were doing small kitchens and then could see that 4 of my kitchens would fit in their "small kitchens".
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