Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quick week-night pasta

After spring break last week, I am back to cooking again this week. We went to see V's aunt and cousin in PA for the end of spring break and I was so relaxed. I did not cook for 4 days (although I planned to bake, did not do that either) and was not too inspired at the start of the week. But, dinner needed to be made! I always learn something new when we visit V's family and am inspired by something his aunt/cousin uses. His aunt had roasted some walnuts with maple syrup and some flax seeds and ground them together (coarsely). She adds this mix to her oatmeal every morning. I loved it and brought some back. Flax seeds are supposed to be really good for health. V, though, does not like nuts or seeds in any of his foods. I have tried adding roasted flax seeds (from Trader Joe's) in many meals and he complains about the pieces of seeds in his food. Her innovative idea got me thinking - I could gring flax seeds and add it into many dishes that he would not notice. Flax seeds are also a good substitute for eggs in recipes (mixed with water) and is a good binding agent. This chocolate chip recipe could use some powdered flax seeds in it too for increased heart health. And there will be more - keep your eyes open!!

Based on earlier recipes, like this spinach alfredo and tomato florentine soup, I made a quick week-night pasta dinner. Looking back at these recipes, I think what I made was *very* inspired by the Spinach Alfredo - I did not realize it till now!!

Also please notice the roasted asparagus - my personal sign that spring is here!! We stopped at Trader Joe's on our way home and stocked up on supplies, including the bunch of asparagus. Let's take a little detour and stay with asparagus for a few minutes - I love them!! Yes, they make our pee smelly, but they taste amazing. My favorite ways of eating them are roasting them in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 with some olive oil, salt and pepper or blanching them in a little water (with salt and pepper or red pepper flakes).

The recipe for the pasta is -

Boil about 6 oz of pasta (your choice - I used whole wheat penne and rotini mixed).

While the pasta is boiling, blanch the asparagus.

Separately, saute 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 packet of frozen spinach in some oil.

Blend together 1/2 a package of silken tofu with 2 T of Toffutti cream cheese, 4 T of prepared Pesto, red pepper flakes (based on taste) and a pinch of nutmeg

Once the pasta is close to Al Dente (not complete soft), add the blended tofu and the cooked spinach and let it all cook together for 5-10 more minutes. I also added frozen meatballs at this time and cooked the mix till it thawed.

It was a GREAT weeknight supper. I served the pasta with almonds and the asparagus!

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