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Pasta With Half The Carbs

Half the carbs pasta

Half the carbs pasta

Part of my resolution this year is to lose some weight and  try to eat more healthful foods. I respond really well to low carb diets and do lose weight pretty quickly but I am a carb addict, I love bread and pasta and rice. Once I get used to eliminating or lowering my carb intake it becomes easy but the first week or so is a bit difficult. I created this dish to ease myself into a reduced carb lifestyle. It’s fresh and very simple to prepare. I use less than half the amount of pasta that I normally would and replaced it with julienned zucchini. The hot pasta is tossed with the zucchini (raw), oven roasted (caramelized) cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic and a nice handful of chopped flat leaf parsley. Finish with the grated or shaved cheese of your choice, I used peccorino romano.

Serves 2-3

10 cherry tomatoes halved

2 cloves garlic

1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 medium zucchini julienned

1/4 lb pasta (dry or fresh)

2 tbs olive oil plus more to drizzle on tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

grated cheese of your choice

Heat oven to 350 degree’s place cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves on parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes, garlic will be soft and tomatoes soft and caramelized, remove from oven and place in serving bowl mashing the garlic, be sure to include the juice from the tomatoes and any caramelized bits of tomato.

Put a large pot of water to boil, julienne the zucchini and add to the tomato and garlic, add the chopped parsley, olive oil and season. When water has come to a full boil add enough salt so that water tastes salty (about 1 – 2 tbs) depending on how much water you have in the pot, add the pasta and cook until done (al dente), remove from pot and add directly to the zucchini and tomatoes, toss to combine, sprinkle with cheese and serve. If it seems too dry add a little pasta water and/or olive oil to moisten.

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup hearty and delicious!

Lentil Soup hearty and delicious!

Its cold outside and in the winter I really love to have a hot bowl of soup. I love lentils, they are nutritious, loaded with protein, fiber and vitamins, one of natures perfect foods. They are also so easy to make. I usually make the whole package, 2 cups dry lentils and this yields a big pot of soup, for me this is multiple meals and it freezes nicely. I divide into portions, stick them in the freezer. I like to add lots of vegetables, onion, celery, carrot, garlic and parsley.  It is a healthful delicious meal as is, but I really love adding kielbasa to my lentil soup there is something about the smoky sausage that adds so much flavor. You don’t have to, this is optional of course. I’m sure all of you have your go to lentil soup recipe, this is mine. I sometimes add kale or spinach to the pot at the end of cooking time.

Ingredients:

2 cups lentils washed and sorted

1 small onion chopped

1 large stalk celery

1 medium size carrot cleaned peeled and chopped

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley chopped

2 cloves garlic chopped

6-8 cups chicken, beef, vegetable stock or water

1/2 lb smoked kielbasa sausage (Optional)

salt and pepper to taste

handfull of Spinach or Kale

Coat the bottom of your pot or dutch oven with olive oil (not too much), heat on medium high and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot, saute stirring frequently until the vegetables start of soften, add the  parsley.  Heat the stock if you are using stock. Now add the cleaned lentils, give it a stir and add hot stock or hot water. Cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Let cook stirring occasionally for approximately 1 hour or until lentils are softened and cooked through. Watch it carefully, if you think it’s too thick add more water or stock to thin. I threw in some spinach after it was cooked the heat of the soup wilts the spinach. NOTE: If adding Kale you will need to continue cooking for 5 minutes or a little longer. Spinach wilts instantly but Kale is a bit tougher and requires a small amount of cooking time.