Mini Rotini with Zucchini Cream Sauce

Like many of my dinners recently, this recipe is the result of what I had left in my fridge. But despite being thrown together, it was pretty yummy.

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Mini Rotini with Zucchini Cream Sauce
Ingredients
3 small zucchinis
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup half n half
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp cream cheese
Thyme
Salt & pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions
1. Make pasta per package directions.
2. Begin making the zucchini sauce while water for the pasta is boiling.
3. Grate zucchini using the large holes of a cheese grater. Scoop into a sauce pan and cook with olive oil until the zucchini’s water is released. Stir occasionally.

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4. Using the small holes of your cheese grater, grate your garlic cloves and add to the zucchini. Continue cooking for another 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth, half n half, cream cheese and seasoning. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble.

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6. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender. Return to heat and boil for another few minutes.

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7. Pour over pasta and enjoy.

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Bonus: Add a tbsp of butter and a little more red pepper flakes.

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What did you make for Meatless Monday?

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Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Alfredo

Happy Meatless Monday! I spent some time preparing a meal plan this weekend, so I have a quite the handful of recipes to share with you. If tonight’s meal is any indication, it’s going to be a delicious week.

This recipe was inspired by Lauren’s Latest.

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Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Alfredo

Ingredients

2 red peppers
1 zucchini (optional)
1/4 large yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup half n half
4 oz seasoned goat cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

Directions

1. Cut peppers in half, rinse and remove stems/seeds. Brush with olive oil and broil at 525 degrees F.
2. While the peppers roast, saute finely chopped onions and garlic in a sauce pan until translucent. Cut the ends off the zucchini and shred using the fine side of a cheese grater. Add zucchini to the onions and garlic and continue to cook on low heat for about 3 more minutes.
3. Pour in the half n half, goat cheese, and shredded Parmesan cheese. Mix and continue to cook at medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
4. Once the red peppers are charred, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Gently peel off the skin and chop into strips. Add to sauce pan and blend using an immersion blender.
5. Add salt and pepper. Serve over a bed of your favorite pasta ( I chose Mezze Penne).

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So good! Especially along with some Prison Break on Hulu!

Got a Meatless Monday idea? I’d love to read about it.

Cheesy Zucchini

I wanted to dress up my rice, so I created a tasty topper of ooey gooey goodness.

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I just cut the ends off of one zucchini and then grated it with the smaller holes of my cheese grater. Then I put the grated zucchini in a small sauce pan and melted 1/2 Tbsp of butter over it. Then I mixed in a large handful of medium cheddar cheese and a splash of milk. Once the cheese was completely melted, I poured it ontop of my rice.

Easy. Yummy. A new way to enjoy zucchini. Gotta love cheese. It makes everything better. Almost. 🙂

I also had the pleasure of finally trying a grilled cheese from the famous Grilled Cheese Truck this weekend.

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Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. I know I did!

Main Course – Chickpeas with a side of Zucchini Squash

Yes, chickpeas — or garbanzo beans– can be made into the main course of a meal. That is, with the help of the Turkish olive oil/onion/tomato paste mixture and seasoned ground beef. This is such an easy and cheap dish to make! That’s why it’s my go to on busy nights like tonight. You can also skip the beef if you don’t feel like going to store or prefer a vegetarian dish. Just mix the seasoning in with the onions.

I rarely buy canned goods or frozen foods. But I make an exception for chickpeas and tomato paste (along with a few other items). I’ve soaked dry chickpeas over night, but the cooking process takes way too long with too little payoff. I say go for the canned stuff, but buy organic!

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To start, brown a 1/2 lb. of ground beef then drain the excess fat. I actually cooked the entire pound I bought, since I plan to make a meat sauce for pasta tomorrow night. 🙂 We’ll likely have leftovers from tonight’s meal as well so I already have my lunch lined up as well. Amazing how far you can stretch $6! I’ve also been curious to try ground turkey since it’s a healthier option.

Once your ground beef is drained, continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so while you season.

Ground beef seasoning

Cumin

Salt

Black pepper

Cayenne pepper

Garlic powder

Red pepper flakes (optional)

If it’s your first time using cumin, I suggest you go easy. Cumin is the perfect seasoning for meat, but it’s very distinctive and can easily be overused. If you know what you’re in for, season to your heart’s content. You can also use a taco mix, which basically has the same ingredients already mixed for you. Once your meat is nice and seasoned, turn off the heat.

2 cans of chickpeas will feed 2-4 people, depending on how hungry everyone is and what else you serve along with it. I drain the cans by opening them most of the way with a can opener, putting my finger over the lid and pouring over the sink. Then I put the chickpeas in a medium saucepan, covering them with filtered water just covering them. Whenever the water isn’t going to drained, I use drinking water, never tap. I notice a difference in the taste and just find it to be a rule of thumb for healthy cooking.

Keep the chickpeas on medium heat while you saute chopped onions in olive oil in a separate pan. Once the onions are translucent, add a large spoonful of tomato paste and mix. Now you can add the ground beed and olive oil mixture into the saucepan filled with chickpeas. Allow some time (at least 5 minutes) for the flavors to absorb. I try to get it to a tomato soup sort of consistency. That way I can dip bread into the tomato sauce. 🙂 You want the water to evaporate somewhat, but not completely.

For my side dish, I made divine summer zucchini. My dad is the inventor of this dish and it’s one that I make time and time again. Summer may be over, but as long as the grocery store carries, I will buy zucchini.

Summer Zucchini

2 small, thin zucchinis (served 2 perfectly)

1 garlic clove, thinned chopped or peeled

Lawry’s Garlic Salt (or use fresh parsley and sea salt)

Butter

Parmesan cheese (I didn’t have any, but this is usually included)

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Bake at 350 degrees F until the butter melts and the edges of the zucchini get light brown.

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And there you have it! Top with Greek yogurt and dip with your favorite bread. I toasted seven grain bread but I bet this would be divine with some garlic French bread.

How do you prepare chickpeas?

Kerry