A Chat with Catherine Winn

Hello my faithful readers! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend! Today I wanted to share about my recent encounter interviewing the lovely Catherine Winn of Cooking Winn, in my home of Tuscaloosa, AL. Some of you may remember me mentioning my volunteer opportunities writing restaurant reviews for The Planet Weekly and Druid City Living. I recently had the chance to interview Catherine about her side business, Cooking Winn…{fun fact: Catherine is actually a PhD student in Renaissance Literature!} What I love about helping with publications and writing is meeting people just like Catherine and getting to know the story and person behind the name.

catherine winn articleAside from getting to talk with Catherine herself to prepare my article, I also received a flood of emails from her faithful customers. As a talented woman providing International flavors in a profile of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free varieties, she has become quite the popular woman in Tuscaloosa.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her customers:

“Every time I get something new, it becomes my new favorite. I really like her variety of dishes and the fact that she uses local ingredients. I don’t always have the time to cook and it’s great to know that I can get healthy food from her (and have some frozen in my freezer) in order to live a healthy life! ” – Mary Meares

“From the first bite of a korma handpie from Cooking Winn, I was sold. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tasted from this business, but those will always be my favorite. I am not a vegan or vegetarian; I am, however, someone who likes delicious food, and Cooking Winn delivers that every time.” – Terri Roberts

“Especially for a vegetarian with a busy work schedule like myself, Cooking Winn has been phenomenal.  It offers a global range of tasty dishes–all prepared with fresh ingredients from local farmers markets & the like, to the extent possible.  Even more, all of these wide-ranging meals are available on a flexible, per request basis.  In that way, Cooking Winn is able to offer a much wider selection of vegetarian meals than any single restaurant would be able to do.” – Stacy Morgan

“As a busy single person, I find it difficult to find the time to cook, plus I hate having too much leftover food.  Catherine’s dishes are great, both because of her variety and because the portions are just right- one or two servings at most.  For convenience, I especially love her tomato tarts, which I can just heat up in the toaster oven for a quick snack or light dinner.  And it’s so wonderful to have so many options, especially for cuisines- like Ethiopian- that are not readily available in Tuscaloosa, or even Birmingham.” – Grace Lee

After reading the flood of raves and praises of Catherine’s food, I knew I had to try some of her dishes myself. The hubs and I had the opportunity to try her vegan potato kale enchiladas and her vegetarian tomato tart. Getting to warm up her dishes and eat them in the the comfort of our home was the icing on the cake. I can’t even begin to describe the symphony of flavors and textures from the enchiladas while enjoying the savory goodness of the tomato tart. I would boldly have to say that Catherine has made me a believer in delicious vegan dishes.

potato enchiladas SgreggOur potato kale enchiladas right before we warmed them up!

tomato tart SGreggSay hello to my little friend, the delicious tomato tart!

If you’d like to see my write-up on Catherine in its entirety, feel free to visit the fabulous Planet Weekly website. Many thanks again to Catherine for allowing me to interview her, hear from her fabulous customers, and try her delicious food!

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Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad

photo 2Some of you may remember me mentioning on my Facebook page a few weeks ago that I would share the recipe of this little salad I made from my finds at farmers market. I’m finally getting to share today. With all the wonderful produce available this summer, it’s hard not to enjoy a nice summer salad. This would make a great addition to any July 4th get togethers or cookouts going on this summer. This is a modified version of a recipe from AllRecipes.com with the tiny addition of black olives and instead of roma tomatoes, I used some plump tomatoes I found at the market that day.

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Ingredients
6 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 small cucumber- quartered length wise and chopped (I used 2 small cucumbers for my recipe)
3 green onions, chopped
1 small can sliced black olives
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
3 Tb olive oil
2 Tb balsamic vinegar
3 Tb crumbled feta cheese (I may have used more than this 🙂 )
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
In a large bowl, combine and toss all ingredients.

Side note: I like to let this chill in the fridge for a bit, but that may just be personal preference on my part.

Please try this out and let me know what you think! Please let me know of any of your own variations to this recipe.

 


Tips for Using Spices and Herbs for Low Sodium Cooking

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Hello lovelies!

In honor of the last day of National Nutrition Month, I thought we’d send off this year’s theme of “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” with some tips for using spices and herbs. Early in my career, I worked in a hospital setting and frequently provided diet counseling for those with congestive heart failure (CHF). With CHF and other heart-related conditions such as hypertension, reducing sodium intake is a must. Thankfully, we’ve been blessed with taste buds that can adapt to a tapering of salt/sodium. Check out my tips below!

 

  • Conversion: 1 tbsp fresh herb =  ½ tsp dry = ¼ tsp powdered.
  • Use sparingly – ¼ teaspoon per pound of meat or pint of sauce. You can always add more.
  • When doubling a recipe, add only 50 percent more seasoning.
  • “Freshen” herbs by crushing or rubbing between your fingers before adding to recipe.
  • In dishes requiring long cooking times such as stews, add herbs toward the end of cooking.
  • In chilled foods such as dips, salads and dressings, add herbs several hours ahead.
  • For maximum freshness, purchase in small quantities, keep in airtight containers.

Seasoning suggestions for Meat 

Beef                 Bay leaf, dry mustard, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme

Chicken           Dill, mushrooms, paprika, parsley, sage, thyme

Fish                 Bay leaf, curry, dry mustard, lemon juice, paprika

Lamb               Mint, mint jelly, garlic, rosemary

Pork                Garlic, onion, sage

 

Vegetables

Asparagus       Lemon juice, toasted sesame seeds

Broccoli           Lemon juice, oregano

Cabbage          Dill, caraway seeds, savory

Carrots            Mint, nutmeg, parsley

Cauliflower     Nutmeg, tarragon

Corn                Chives, green pepper, tomatoes

Green Beans   Dill, lemon juice, marjoram, nutmeg, unsalted French dressing

Potatoes          Chopped green pepper, mace, onion, parsley

Squash             Ginger, mace, nutmeg

Tomatoes         Basil, green pepper, onion, oregano, sage

 

Ethnic dishes

Indian              Cardamom, cayenne, coriander, cumin, curry, garlic, ginger,mustard seeds, turmeric

Italian              Basil, bay leaf, cayenne, garlic, onions, oregano, thyme

Mexican           Cayenne, chili powder, chorizo, coriander, cumin, fresh chilies – green and red, garlic, oregano

Oriental           Cayenne, cumin, garlic, ginger, green pepper, sesame, sherry

 

Soups

Creamed         Bay leaf, dill, marjoram, paprika, peppercorns, tarragon

Vegetable        Basil, bay leaf, curry, dill, garlic, onion, oregano, thyme, wine

 NOTE: Tomatoes and mushrooms used for seasonings should be fresh or unsalted canned. Also always make sure to use something listed as a powder versus a salt such as garlic powder instead of garlic salt.

What are your favorite herb/food combinations? Let’s chat!


The Best Roasted Vegetables EVER | Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right During National Nutrition Month

Hello folks! And a happy Wednesday to all of you! Since the theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” I thought I’d share a delicious roasted vegetable recipe. If you Google “roasted vegetable recipes” and one of the first things that pops up is a link to a recipe called “The Best Roasted Vegetables Ever” then curiosity makes you want to find out if these are truly the best roasted vegetables ever 🙂 Today’s recipe is from The Wednesday Chef. I invite you to check out her blog; it has some pretty delicious looking goodies!

Happy veggies

Now I’m going to be honest. I love my vegetables, and I sure do love roasting them. But, I’ve got to come clear about why I hopped on the vegetable train last night. I get in the habit of calling my husband on the dot at 4 p.m. every day to get a game plan for dinner. Typically we decide if we’re doing leftovers, takeout, or one of us is cooking. After my husband told me we had the leftover pork and some deer meat he cooked last night, I knew that wouldn’t suffice for a well-rounded meal.
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There’s something about veggies that just makes me giddy. I really think it’s the variety of colors. I veered away from the original recipe just a bit with the addition of a small sweet potato. I love my beta-carotene, but I REALLY love a little bit of starch.IMG_1964I decided to use the beautiful dish my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas this year from Sur La Table. This picture doesn’t give this piece justice but let me just say, IN.LOVE.

IMG_1971Veggies are chopped up and ready for a mixing with herbs and olive oil.

IMG_1984Gorgeous, beautiful color!

IMG_2006And here’s a close up of the veggies post roast. DE.LISH,US!

And here’s the recipe!

Roasted Vegetables
The Wednesday Chef
Serves 6 as a side dish

1 medium onion
1 medium or 2 small carrots
1 zucchini
1 eggplant
2 small potatoes
5 small tomatoes
1 red or yellow pepper
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, wild fennel are all good choices – either individually or combined in some form)
4 to 5 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C). Quarter and slice the onion thinly. Dice all the vegetables into pieces that are approximately the same size (no larger than 1/2 inch). Pile the vegetables into a baking dish so that the vegetables lie a few inches thick. Season with salt, pepper and herbs to taste and then pour the olive oil over the vegetables. Mix thoroughly but gently – you don’t want to destroy the tomatoes before the dish goes into the oven. Now check the vegetables to make sure they are well-coated and glistening with oil. If need be, add more oil.

2. Put the dish in the oven and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Halfway through the cooking process, remove the dish from the oven and very gently stir the vegetables so that the ones at the bottom come to the top. Towards the end of the cooking process, stir a second time. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Check for seasoning and serve.

Now, if you’re a newbie at roasting vegetables and want to try other roasted veggie combinations, some of the best tips and tricks can be found from 100 Days of Real Food so please check it out!

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I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month


Potatoes and a little Happy St. Patty’s Day!

a little saltyHello friends! I hope you all had a lovely St. Patty’s Day! Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with my church small group. Our small group centers around food (of course) while we enjoy our book this semester, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Alabama resident, Sophie Hudson. Since our gathering fell on St. Patty’s Day, we thought we’d go with a potato bar theme….no toppings left behind, especially pulled pork barbecue (we’re in the South for goodness sakes). Here’s a little schooling on our Irish Potato connection.

Our group is all about some appetizers, main course, and dessert :D

Our group is all about some appetizers, main course, and dessert 😀

Now I will say that potatoes do tend to get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, weight management, etc. The truth is, potatoes are a wonderful bundle of nutrition but are often the medium of added fat and salt from how they are prepared.

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If you keep the skin on your delicious potato, you’ll be consuming a good 2 grams of fiber. The skin is also packed with B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium. Eating an entire potato with skin gives you about 620 milligrams of potassium depending on the size.  Usually we like to add copious amounts of butter, salt, sour cream and cheese to our potatoes or just toss them in a deep fryer.  If you’re looking for potatoes on the lighter side, I invite you to try one of my favorite potato recipes from Cooking Light Magazine. Check it out and let me know what you think. I’ve included a delicious photo from MyRecipes.com.

Roasted Potato Salad with Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Stylist: Cindy Barr

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Stylist: Cindy Barr

Ingredients
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into wedges
3 Tb extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tb sliced garlic
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 Tb white wine vinegar
2 Tb minced shallots
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

Preparation

1. Place a large heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat the oven to 400° (keep the baking sheet in oven as it preheats).

2. Combine potatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, garlic, and thyme in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Arrange the potato mixture on preheated baking sheet, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until browned and tender, turning after 20 minutes.

3. Combine remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, vinegar, shallots, Dijon mustard, and tarragon in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle dressing over potatoes.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 145
  • Fat: 5.1g
  • Saturated fat: 0.7g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.7g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g
  • Protein: 2.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 21.6g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
  • Iron: 1.1mg
  • Sodium: 218mg
  • Calcium: 7mg

Shube Sauce and Mr. P’s BBQ Sauce

Okay folks, I’m definitely in “foodie mode” today. Over the weekend I had the pleasure of trying out two delicious sauces that were part of my speaker “swag bag” given to me after presenting at ALDA last week. The hubs and I decided to put a Boston butt in the slow cooker as the perfect medium for enjoying these Alabama local sauces.

sauceThe Rob Berglin’s Shube Sauce is a creation straight out of Fairhope, AL and is known as a Gulf Coast “universal condiment.” I noticed the Shube Sauce had a sweet, vinegar base that can definitely hold its own.

shube sauceMr. P’s (Pilleteri’s) Sauce is a well-known commodity in Birmingham. In fact, it has even been voted as “Best Sauce in Town” by Birmingham Magazine. My hubby was particularly excited about the Mr. P’s being a Birmingham native who’s grown up on many Mr. P’s products. It is also a sweet sauce and very reminiscent of an Arby’s sauce with a little bit more awesome.

mr p sauceWith the pork butt that my husband got, we decided to fashion the rub from this recipe at chow.com give or take a few ingredients.

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When all was said and done, I really enjoyed tonight’s dish. We ended up mixing a little bit of both the Shube Sauce and Mr. P’s. The recipe from chow.com was different from the rub my husband usually does…especially with the call for cumin. This definitely did not taste like the traditional type of roast we usually have at our house and was more so reminiscent of the flavors of a Cuban pork, black bean, and rice dish that I had in Los Angeles almost 10 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, this meat was delicious on the onion roll, but I think our game plan for dinner tomorrow night is to make some delicious black beans and rice to go along with the pork. I will keep you all posted! 🙂

Bottom line: definitely give Shube Sauce and Mr. P’s Sauce and products a go the next time you’re in the Alabama Gulf Coast or Birmingham area. And for my Alabama native readers, please share your favorite dishes to use Shube Sauce and Mr. P’s products! 🙂

Until next time!


Oven Roasted Corn and Okra Salad

oven roasted corn and okra salad

Okay clearly I have been on an okra kick lately! I’m not sure what’s gotten into me, but ever since buying some okra a few weeks ago at the farmer’s market, I haven’t been able to stop myself from purchasing this amazing vegetable another time.  I am happy to say that this recipe was inspired by this recipe from Cook Up a Story Blog that I am so happy was shared in the comments to my Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon dish from a few weeks ago. I love both corn and okra so when it was suggested to me to try them together, I could not resist. The delicious flavor of the roasted okra was well paired with the contrasting sweetness of the corn that I roasted in the oven, off the cob. If I had to make this recipe again I’d likely use a little less okra (I bought 2 lbs and used all of it) so that I could roast the corn and the okra on the same cookie sheet.

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Ah take a look at this beautiful okra from the farmers market!!

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After I washed up the okra, I chopped it up, only omitting the heads and placed them on a cookie sheet.

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After coating the okra, I seasoned with freshly ground black pepper, ground sea salt, and a little sprinkle of some garlic powder. After seasoning, I put the okra in the oven pre-heated to 425 degrees then started to work on prepping my corn. I knew that I’d have to use a separate cookie sheet for the corn and from the recipes I saw on the internet, it looked like the corn wouldn’t need as much time to roast but would need an oven temperature adjustment (~475 degrees).

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Picked up this package of corn from Publix grocery in my city.

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I feel like I made a mess during this process but was still able to avoid not losing too many kernels. Next time I am going to plan to use this technique with a bundt pan.  🙂

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All 4 ears of corn with the kernels removed raw off the cob. I did the same light drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder as I did with the okra. About 8 minutes into the okra cooking I raised the oven temperature to about 475 degrees. At the 10 minute mark I added the corn in the bottom rack of the oven and roasted both the okra and corn for an additional 15 minutes with an additional 5 minutes at the end rotating the corn and okra to the top rack to broil on low for a little teeny extra browning 🙂

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Okra out of the oven!!

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After the veggies finished roasting, I added an additional drizzle of olive oil, some extra salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder (although I think that minced garlic would be really nice with this too) and a few shakes of red pepper flakes to give it some kick.

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We ended up pairing this concoction with some steaks off the grill. I apologize for the blurry picture; I honestly didn’t want my husband to catch me “again” taking pictures of my food before eating it….and I was pretty anxious to get to try all these yummy flavors in my mouth 🙂

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And without further ado, here is my recipe:

Oven Roasted Corn and Okra Salad

Ingredients
1-2 lbs okra, washed and chopped
4 medium ears corn
sea salt or kosher salt grinder
freshly ground black pepper
garlic powder (or minced garlic if available)
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions
Begin by preheating oven to 425 degrees. Wash okra, chop into 1 inch or so sections, removing the “head” but leaving the tails. Place chopped okra on a cookie sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil and using a brush or hands, make sure okra is lightly coated. Next add 1 tsp or so of sea salt or kosher salt followed by black pepper and garlic powder as desired. Place in oven and set timer for 10 minutes. While okra is cooking, wash raw corn and remove kernels from cob; place raw corn on a separate cookie sheet and oil and season in the same way the okra was prepared. At the 8 minute mark on the oven timer, increase your oven temperature to 475 degrees. When the timer goes off at ten minutes, add corn to your bottom rack of the oven and roast both okra and corn for an additional 15 minutes. If you’d like to get some additional browning on your okra or corn, alternate the vegetables to the top rack and broil on low for about 5 minutes total or as desired. After roasting and broiling is complete, add cooked vegetables to a mixing bowl and mix together, adding an additional drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder (or 1 tsp minced garlic) along with a few shakes of dried red pepper if you want it spicy. Serve warm.

There really is no specific way to make this dish and you may find yourself wanting to experiment with the oven temperatures a bit. The next time I try this recipe I will likely heat the oven to 475 from the get go and also use a tiny bit less olive oil on my okra to yield a slightly crispier texture. If you try out this recipe, please let me know how you like it and if you had some additions so that I know some things to try next time!! 🙂


A trip to the Farmer’s Market and Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes, and….BACON!

sauteed okra with tomatoes and bacon

Gah! Yes I know, it has been quite too long since my last post and I’m sad that I went an entire month of August without any posts! But today I am back at it with some current happenings going on. I’m hoping to catch up from summer activities to be able to share on here. But in the meantime, I wanted to share my recent trip to the farmer’s market as well as a yummy little Pinterest recipe to use with the okra I picked up.

Below is a picture of me and my interns that are currently doing their community rotation with me. We decided it would be fun to have a table set up at our campus farmer’s market to share recipes featuring the seasonal produce available at the market. My interns also created a nifty Pinterest account for folks to follow in they didn’t feel like being bogged down with paper recipes. Don’t they look cheery? 🙂

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The great thing about the campus farmer’s market is that we have folks that drive in, ride their bike in, or walk in from after class.

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Many of the vendors are featured at our local restaurants in Tuscaloosa, including Epiphany Cafe (I will have a post on them coming up soon!) which boasts a Farm to Fork concept. Market goers can purchase meats, veggies, handmade soaps, cheeses, baked goods, and a variety of other goodies 🙂

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At my most recent trip to the Farmer’s market, I picked up okra (yum), tomatoes (red and green), basil, sweet potatoes, and a watermelon. I absolutely love okra but always forget to buy it in season and make something yummy out of it.  I did a pinterest search (I LOVE the search feature on pinterest BTW) for okra and tomato recipes and found a Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon (YES BACON) recipe from the Martha Stewart website. Apparently the original recipe came from Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis in their cookbook, “The Gift of Southern Cooking” which already screams delicious from its title. The original recipe from Martha’s website can be found here.

Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon

Ingredients
5 slices bacon
1 pound (next time I’d go with 1.5 to 2lbs) okra, washed, trimmed, and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 large sweet onion cut into 1/3 inch wedges
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch wedges

Directions
In a large, skilley, cook bacon over low heat until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside. Next add okra to skillet (yes in the remaining bacon grease— everything in moderation, right?) and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion wedges, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, partially covered, until tomatoes are just heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble bacon slices over tomatoes; serve warm.

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Oh okra, I truly believe you are one of my favorites.

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Chopping up those delicious tomatoes!

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Can see why I’d like to double the recipe on the okra next time? Just not enough 🙂

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Delicious sweet onion

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Adding those wonderful tomatoes

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And finishing it off with some crumbled bacon. YUM.

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And ta-da! It was very yummy. If you are weird about the texture of your onions, you may want to cook them a little longer prior to adding your tomatoes. I did add just a teeny tiny dash of garlic powder while sauteing the okra that I did not mention in the previous recipe instruction. I would love for you to share YOUR favorite okra recipes— when I pick up okra again this week I think I’ll be making some bhindi masala— WEE!


Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

sundried tomato pesto pasta

Hi folks! I do believe it’s been awhile since my last post- my husband and I did some traveling to a wedding in Virginia and also visited DC for a quick trip which I will be sharing soon. However today I wanted to highlight a delicious recipe I made for me and the hubs this past weekend. I currently follow the Food Network’s facebook page and saw that they had shared Giada’s recipe for pasta with homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. I decided to make it while also adding some meat to be more appealing to my husband 🙂

As you can see, I went with the Barilla plus penne pasta (as I used before with my balsamic basil summer pasta recipe)… it was on sale again this week at my grocery store and since I enjoy the texture and added protein and fiber, why not? 🙂 You may also note that I didn’t have any freshly grated Parmesan but instead using some leftovers in our fridge by Sargento.

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As far as protein goes, I went with chicken breast cutlets, though I think that chicken sausage or similar would be just as delicious.  I added sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder to each side of the chicken and then brushed the tops with olive oil to seal in the moisture while roasting. I had 1 lb of chicken breast cutlets roasting at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.

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While my chicken was roasting and my pasta was cooking according to package directions, I started to create the pesto. I added the whole jar of sundried tomatoes, including the olive oil it was packed in.

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Next I thoroughly washed the 2 packs of basil I bought- at first I only washed enough for the “1 cup packed” that the original recipe called for but then went with using both packages.

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Add your basil, garlic, and salt & pepper to food processor and give it a go!

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It doesn’t look like it yields very much to go over the pasta but I had to remind myself that I would also be using the 1 cup reserved pasta water to moisten the mix (in the end, I ended up using about 1/2-3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water for this dish)

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Mix in your pasta as well as some of the reserved pasta water to your liking.

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Along with the Parmesan cheese, I added some additional sea salt and black pepper to taste…I also chopped up the cooked chicken (I used kitchen shears) and mixed it in as well.

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I forgot to take a picture after this, but I decided to sprinkle about 1/4 cup of additional Parmesan cheese on top and baked this in the oven (at 375 degrees since my oven was still set there from the chicken) for about 20 minutes prior to eating with my hubs 🙂

I really hope you like this recipe— looking back in hindsight, I wish I had added more garlic but overall I really liked this dish. I think I ended up using a good bit of the pasta water since I knew in the back of my head that I would be sticking this in the oven and did not want the pasta to dry out. I like the fact that this isn’t an abundantly sauced pasta and it provides a lot of great flavor. My husband said it was so filling and flavorful without feeling overly rich or heavy— I will consider that a win! 🙂

RECIPE

Giada De Laurentiis’ Penne with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Recipe (with a few additions from Sheena :))

Ingredients
12 ounces penne pasta
1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
Garlic powder
2 garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb chicken breast cutlets (or any other meat that you would like to add)

Directions
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. While pasta is cooking, prepare chicken breast cutlets by adding to lightly greased cookie sheet— sprinkle chicken on each side with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Brush tops of chicken with olive oil prior to roasting in oven at 375 for about 15 minutes or until reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and add to pasta mixture. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt, black pepper, and red pepper. If desired, sprinkle about 1/4 cup shredded/grated Parmesan on top and bake in oven f0r 20 minutes at 375 degrees.


My Recipes Nutrition Search

myrecipes search

Do you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or any other chronic health condition that makes you more conscious of the calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, sodium, etc. in the foods that you eat? If you do, I invite you to check out the awesome nutrition search at www.myrecipes.com. Just click on the nutrition search as seen below and this will take you to this nifty page. You can search for recipes based on your health needs and set parameters for calories, fat, fiber, cholesterol, etc. How cool is that? ANNNDDD….many of these recipes are pulled from Cooking Light and tested by their very own registered dietitians.  Have any of you ever used this before?