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!
After my second fall in the South I realized I don't see as many cranberries as I'm used to in my past life as a Northerner. I'm not talking about the sweetened dried variety, I'm talking a good plump tart cranberry in a salad or dessert. I know I see the sauce, but I want the berries! Since I don't live near any bogs I found the next best thing at my local Lowe's Foods freezer section, Cape Cod Select Cranberries! They are the beautiful plump berries I've been missing. They are great straight from the bag to keep a punch bowl festive and cold. Thawed, they are a perfect replacement for the fresh natural berry I'm used to in salads or desserts. Lately I was looking for something different so I put them in this favorite recipe of mine for gluten free breakfast bars. Inspired by a blueberry version at a co-op up north the cranberries are a natural here with a hint of orange to brighten them up. I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free flour here, Oats and Baking Soda here to share with my gluten intolerant friends.
5. Spread cranberry mixture evenly over cooked crust and press remaining oat mixture onto the cranberries, being careful as the cranberries are hot.
6. Bake bars 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. To cut bars, lift the parchment sling out of the pan and cut into desired sized bars. The bars will keep a few days in the fridge.
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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