Tag Archives: basil

Feta & Butternut Pasta

Butternut squash. Mmm. This creamy, orange squash is well-documented as one of my favorite bits of produce. I eat it all fall and winter long. Elsewhere on this blog, you can find Butternut Squash Dip, Butternut Mushroom & Ricotta TartButternut Spinach Quiche, Butternut Apple Soup, and Whole Wheat Butternut Ravioli. Look at that diversity! You can do anything with this squash. In an effort to try out even another flavor profile, I tossed up this easy pasta dish with tangy Keepsake Farm feta and sweet butternut.

Feta & Butternut Pasta

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 T. olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven.
  2. Chop onion and add to oil, cooking until softened.
  3. Chop basil and add to onion. Cook until fragrant.
  4. Add creamy garlic dressing and stir.
  5. Cube roasted butternut squash and toss with onions and basil.
  6. Add pasta to pan and toss. Cook over low heat until pasta is hot.
  7. Drizzle remaining olive oil over pasta and toss with crumbled feta.
Feta & Butternut Pasta

Feta & Butternut Pasta


Is That Spaghetti?

Last week, I purchased a spaghetti squash from Jett’s Natural Produce. I was hesitant to try it after an awful microwave-cooking attempt a couple of years ago, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give this fake-out food another try. I’ve got to say that spaghetti squash intrigues me, but disturbs me a bit at the same time. It’s ability to transform from what looks like any other winter squash into a pile of noodle-like substance is beyond my comprehension. It tastes great and is a fantastic healthy option when you are in the mood for Italian, but there’s something of a mind trip for me to get over.

On this attempt, I stuck with the oven as my cooking method, and the results were much better than from the microwave. Paired with a fresh tomato sauce concocted with some of my last tomato harvest and some basil I had chopped and frozen with just a touch of water in ice cube trays, this was a great inexpensive and nutrition packed meal to have after an energetic Zumba workout. Plus, aside from the sprinkling of cheese my husband added on at the last moment, this meal is vegan!

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Fresh flavors create this healthy meal

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • a few scallions (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 2 c. cherry tomatoes (my garden)
  • 4 T. fresh basil (I harvested from my garden, coarsely chopped it, then packed it into ice cube trays with just enough water to hold the leaves together when it froze. I thawed these for the recipe.)
  • sprinkling of cheese, optional (garlic herb from Keepsake Farm)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and place halves cut side down in baking dish. Add 1/2″ water to pan.
  3. Bake squash halves for 45 minutes or until skin is easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Chop garlic and white ends of scallion (reserving green tops) and add to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Halve tomatoes and add to skillet with basil.
  7. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until tomatoes have softened and formed a saucy base.
  8. When squash is finished, remove from oven and carefully flip halves over. Use a spoon to scrape seeds from center.
  9. Using a fork, separate the squash flesh into strands and add to skillet, tossing with sauce. Slice green tops of scallions and add to skillet. Sprinkle with cheese if desired and slurp the “noodles” down!
Spaghetti Squash

A light yet satisfying meal.


Midweek Menu: Asian Basil & Noodle Stirfry

In the keeping with the unintentional theme for this week’s recipes, today’s is for a homemade twist on a takeout classic. I had a hankering for Thai basil fried rice last week, and I had a ton of basil from the garden, but no fish or oyster sauce to give the dish that umami sense that defines Thai cuisine. So, I figured I would improvise on the spot, maybe with some Worcestershire sauce. I pondered ideas all day. However, when I got home, I found my husband in the kitchen making homemade pasta. He said he really wanted pasta for dinner, so the gears began turning for how to make a noodle dish inspired by Thai basil fried rice. The result was pretty delicious!

Asian Basil & Noodle Stirfry

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Scrape out seeds from chile and finely chop, place in bowl.
  2. Chop onion and garlic and shred carrots into bowl.
  3. Heat sesame oil in large pan or wok over medium-high heat.
  4. Add chopped veggies and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, or until onions are just translucent.
  5. Add noodles and soy sauce to pan. Stir fry 2 minutes.
  6. Tear swiss chard leaves (removing thick stems) and basil into pan and stir fry until leaves are wilted and pasta is hot.
  7. Drizzle with a bit more sesame oil and serve hot.

Snack of Simplicity

It is pepper season, and last week we received a beautiful bunch of banana peppers from our CSA. Since my husband is a relatively new discoverer of the joys of peppers, we hadn’t had these colorful veggies in the house before. I had very limited experience with them, only knowing them pickled on sandwiches, pizza and salads. Since I am not a big fan of any pickled food (except ginger—I love ginger in any form), I had never particularly enjoyed banana peppers. But, I knew there had to be other uses for them that don’t involve soaking them in vinegar. After a quick bit of research, I saw that they are just as versatile as many other peppers! I hunted through the fridge to see what components we could use to turn them into a tasty snack to eat while catching up on some Next Food Network Star and stumbled across a container of creamy farmer’s cheese. I grabbed some basil leaves from the garden and, tahdah! Shortly, we were chowing down (and thoroughly enjoying) some stuffed banana peppers.

Creamy Stuffed Banana Peppers

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Just 3 ingredients!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut a long, narrow triangle out of the length of each pepper to form an opening and set triangles aside.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and ribs from each pepper and place into baking dish.

    Peppers

    Waiting to be filled!

  4. Finely chop the triangles you cut from the top of the peppers and the basil.
  5. Mix chopped pepper and basil with the farmer’s cheese.
  6. Spoon cheese mixture into peppers.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender.

    Oozy Goodness

    Oozy goodness. (I almost dropped the baking dish, so some of the cheese ran out, but they were delicious nonetheless!)


Midweek Menu

My husband and I try to eat locally produced, unprocessed food as often as possible. In the middle of a hectic week, it can be really tempting to swing into a drive-thru (blech!) or order takeout, but we try to avoid the expense and nutritional void of each of these options. So, in addition to freezing portions of home cooked meals for later use, I have a collection of meal options that are fast, easy and flexible with whatever local ingredients I might have on hand.

Obviously, pizza is one of the easiest and most flexible dinner creations to make. Every so often, I make a big batch of pizza dough so I can bake and freeze the crusts. If I don’t have a crust on hand, I look around for what I can use. I have used everything from leftover mashed potatoes to risotto to tortillas to focaccia bread as a pizza crust. Tonight, I went a fairly standard route—bagel pizzas—and it was perfect for a simple Wednesday meal. Someone at work had sent some 2-day-old spinach herb bagels from Johnny’s Bagels home with me (I know! I have a propensity for acquiring old baked goods! It’s fantastic.). I rummaged through the fridge looking for toppings. The only sauce we had was in the freezer, but our CSA share included a mega tomato this week. The basil plant in our garden went into overdrive this year, and we had some fresh mozzarella from Klein Farms. Slice the bagels & tomatoes, layer with basil, top with cheese, toss in the oven for 10 minutes and dinner is served!

Bagel Pizza

Bagel Pizza

Bagel (or english muffin) pizzas were a staple for many people growing up, but the simplest meals can be forgotten sometimes. When we first started on our “locavore” diet, I thought the nostalgic meals of our childhood would have to be skipped over for more sophisticated food with local ingredients, but I’ve found that there is really a local alternative for everything (except for the canned meat products my husband used to enjoy :X ). So, next time you need dinner in a rush, just pilfer the refrigerator and cupboards—There’s got to be ingredients for some sort of pizza in there!


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