We’re baaaaack – boy what a week it’s been! I feel like I’ve been to China and back (or maybe just the west coast) but in the last week, Dave and I flew to San Fran, drove to Sacramento, then drove to Lake Tahoe, then drove back to San Fran and then flew home! It was a whirlwind trip, but there were several things that made all the travel well worth it.
1) The Riehls and Little Joey – great hosts – who knew you could sample beer and parent at the same time?
2) The Sierra Nevada Brewery – delicious food and even more delicious beer!
3) Lake Tahoe Wedding celebration for my step-sister Samantha and her husband Scott! Pictures could never do it justice – absolutely gorrrrrge!
4) Golden Gate bridge = most awesome bridge ever (terrible shot of us – instead of asking one of the 92484905840594 people there to take a pic of us, we took our own!)
So we’re back to life, back to reality, back to cooking!
This week, I thought it might be fun to do a series of recipes with one common ingredient, and this week’s ingredient ladies and gents isssss……(drum roll) GOAT CHEESE! I used to think “If it comes from a goat, I’m not eatin’ it” but now, goat cheese is one of my favorite cheeses – like a tangier cream cheese. And I’ve just come to realize how versatile an ingredient it really is.
We got home from CA, and after picking up Hairy and spending lots of time playing with him to make sure he didn’t forget us, there was little time to grocery shop. So last night’s dinner was a ‘cabinet creation’. After not watering our herbs for almost a week, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only were they alive and well, but growing like weeds! Especially the basil! I had found this recipe from Prevention RD for Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese pasta and thought “Yum” – and luckily, we had all the makings of it in our seemingly bare cabinets!
Modified a smidgen, here’s part 1 of goat cheese week: Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Basil Pasta, adapted from Prevention RD’s recipe.
Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Basil Pasta
*Adapted from Prevention RD
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 – 7oz bottle of Roasted Red Peppers, rinsed and drained and then chopped into small pieces
1 cup of crushed tomatoes
(I used the basil flavored kind)
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sautee until fragrant (about 2 minutes) stirring constantly to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn (burnt garlic = yuck)
2) Add the chopped roasted red pepper and tomatoes and simmer over low heat for about five minutes.
3) Add the goat cheese and stir until it’s completely melted into the sauce.
4) Take the sauce mixture and transfer to the food processor. Add the fresh basil, salt and pepper, and pulse until it becomes a sauce-like consistency.
5) Serve over cooked pasta!
Usually, cabinet creations aren’t my favorite, but this particular time, I think we have a winner! This sauce was so easy to make and a complete departure from your run of the mill tomato sauce. The goat cheese added a rich and creamy texture and the roasted red peppers a bit of sweetness. So good. And as I was stuffing my face, I started thinking of all the things you could do with it! You could serve it as a hot dip, with sliced baguette and veggies, or even use it as the base for a pizza (although Dave thinks it would be too watery on a pizza – one more challenge I’ll be happy to take him up on) But all in all, a definite keeper!
Stay tuned for more delicious goat cheese installments this week!
Week nights are tough – you work all day – sometimes go to the gym after work or work later than you’d like, not getting home til’ 7 or 7:30 on some nights! And you’re tired, you’re STARVING. You want something fast. And by you, I mean ME!
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a zillion times – during the week, dinner needs to be easy, fast, and delicous, because if it’s not, chances are we’ll be eating it for breakfast or calling for pizza at about 9pm.
So I kind of took a combination of 2 recipes I saw on Skinny Taste and Martha Stewart and attempted to make some Monday night magic. And the best magic of all? Whatever’s left over, Dave takes to work for lunch! YES! Everyone wins!
Here’s my concoction (and new word!) – hope you like!
1lb box of whole wheat ziti or rigatoni
1lb 98% fat free chicken tenders
Italian Seasoning to taste
1 bag of baby spinach, chopped
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup shreded parmesean cheese, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2) Season chicken tenders with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Cook in a pan over medium heat until cooked through and then slice into small pieces.
3) Cook pasta accoding to directions on box in salted water til’ al dente. Drain and return to pot.
4) Heat olive oil in a sauce pan and saute garlic and onions til cooked through.
5) Add chopped spinach and cook until tender – about 5 minutes.
6) Add garlic, onions, cooked chopped spinach, 1 cup of ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella cheeese, and 1/4 cup of parmesean cheese to the cooked pasta. Mix together til’ cheese begins to melt.
7) Place ziti in a greased 9×13″ baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesean cheese.
8) Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until cheese gets brown and bubbly on the top. Serve and Enjoy!
I will say, I did like this very much – the flavor was great, but Dave and I both agreed it needed a little something, so next time, I would more than likely add a can of crushed tomatoes to give it a little sauciness. But other than that, a keeper for sure! And easy on the hips 🙂