Simple Lemon Pasta with Spinach + Green Olives

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Last night I went to bed with today all planned out in my head. I was making a toasted quinoa dish with indian spiced apples and veggies. As you can see that isn’t how things happened. Instead I bring you one of my go-to meals. Easy and satisfying.

Recently I started reading again.. for the first time in a long time. I have a tendency to collect books I want to read and the beautiful untouched pages couldn’t be ignored any longer. Unlike most 20-somethings out there I spend my extra cash on random kitchen gadgets, plates and bowls, french patterned spoons… and cookbooks. So almost a year after purchasing ‘My Berlin Kitchen’, by Luisa of the blog The Wednesday Chef, I cracked the book open and began to read. It ignited a passion in me, opened my eyes again to everything I want to do with myself. It is easy to forget the things you enjoy when dealing with the ups and downs of day to day life. I laughed, my heart sank and flew as I read through the chapters of Luisa’s journey, and I was swept away by the tasty recipes that I have now added to my own tremendous pile of scribbled recipes. Like Luisa and so many other wonderful f00d-loving people I want to make a real effort to finally cook all the recipes I have collected over the past 5-6 years. Everything that I took time to keep around because something about it seemed special and tantalizing.

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This pasta is light and has a summer edge from the lemon, perfect for when you need something that isn’t take-out. Fast to prepare, you can use any veggies you happen to have on hand. The olives are what brings the pasta to life.

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Simple Lemon Pasta with Spinach + Green Olives

Brown rice pasta

spinach + corn (I used frozen)

A good extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

olives (I used jalapeno stuffed green olives)

fresh lemon juice

freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta, any variety will do, according to package directions. Chop up your olives in the meantime. I tossed my frozen spinach + corn in the microwave for a second before mixing with the strained pasta. Add desired olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a decent amount of parmesan cheese to top it off.

Enjoy on a stoop or porch in the summer sun.

Green Curry Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese

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Macaroni & cheese is one of my all-time favs when it comes to comfort food. Is there anything better on a bad day then a nice big bowl of macaroni and cheese? When food supplies are low I tend to whip this up quite frequently as an easy weeknight dinner. Mixing in different spices and vegetables every time to keep it fun! Here The classic dish gets dressed up with spicy green curry paste, fresh lemon and parmesan cheese.

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Green Curry Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese

1 3/4 cup dried pasta

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

olive oil

3 medium carrots, sliced

about a tbsp of soft cheese, I used a laughing cow wedge

1 tsp green curry paste

1-2 tbsp plain yogurt or milk

frozen spinach + corn

grated parmesan cheese

squeeze of lemon

sriracha

salt

Boil pasta according to box directions, I used quinoa shell pasta. drain pasta and set aside. Add minced garlic and about a tbsp of olive oil to the same pot. cook for one minute then add the spinach, corn and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are warm. Then add pasta back to pot with the yogurt or milk, green curry paste and soft cheese. I used laughing cow, you can use any type of cheese you like. Stir till combined and add more yogurt/milk if necessary to get the right consistency. If you want your macaroni to have a little more zing then go ahead and throw in a bit more green curry paste! Once everything is well combined and hot season to taste with salt, fresh lemon juice, and sriracha (if you like it a bit spicy). Serve with a lemon wedge and grated parmesan cheese on top.

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Fairy Tale Eggplant Pasta with Wilted Arugula & Basil

Is there a better name for a vegetable? For me, no. For others, probably. But when I saw fairy tale eggplant for the first time last weekend at the farmers market I immediately felt enchantment in the air. I waited for a moment to see if a unicorn would poke its head around the corner of the tent…..just a moment… Apart from their adorable miniature size fairy tale eggplant do not differ too much from your average eggplant. Wanting a refreshing summer dish, I found pasta the best way to go. Sautéing the eggplants with garlic and lots of spring onions. A touch of lemon zest over thin pasta noodles with lots of fresh arugula and basil and finished with a drizzle of cool olive oil.

Fairy Tale Eggplant Pasta with Wilted Arugula & Basil:
10-15 fairy tale eggplant
2-4 servings of pasta (I used pasta made with corn flour, any variety will work)
coconut oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
chopped spring (green) onion, enough to equal 2 large handfuls
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
a pinch of chili flakes
fresh arugula
fresh basil
1 large tomato
olive oil
salt and pepper
 
Coat a medium-large skillet with coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the spring onions and chopped fairy tale eggplant and cook until the eggplants are soft and tender. Roughly 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally, they will loose their bright purple color. Stir in the lemon zest and pinch of chili flakes while the eggplants are cooking. While this is going on cook your pasta. When both are done turn off the heat. Toss the arugula in with the eggplant for a minute until wilted, add the pasta and toss everything together lightly. Transfer to a large bowl. Top with lots of fresh basil, chopped tomato, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and the lemon juice to taste. Serve with a light salad and a lemon wedge. 

Mother’s Orzo

From my mothers table

Everyone is always extra excited for dinner when we know my mother is making her orzo. A very simple and refreshing dish suitable for all varieties of taste-buds.

It is such a comfort to take my favorites from home and enjoy them up here…And to know nobody else will finish leftovers before I get to them myself doesn’t hurt either.

Combining the flavors of sharp salty feta, with crunchy seeds and tart lemon.

I enjoy my orzo topped with hot sauce and this dish is meant to be served warm to chilled.

Mothers Orzo

1lb Orzo cooked in vegetable stock

2 tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice)

 1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

3/4 cup toasted pine nuts (walnuts and sunflower seeds are also very good)

1 bunch green onion, diced

1 bunch chopped fresh spinach (adjust amount to your preference)

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (can add more if needed)

1/4 cup olive oil (or oil of choice)

salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions in vegetable broth with a little olive oil. Once orzo is ready, drain, then return to pot. Toss with basil, feta, nuts/seeds, green onion, and spinach. In a seperate bowl whisk together olive oil and lemon juice then toss with orzo mixture and season to taste. I end up using a little less oil at times.

Would be a great side dish with Salmon and is also perfect for warmer weather when you’re looking for a chilled dish ~

Pesto Pasta with Caramelized Onions & Veggies

Pasta. Plain. & Simple.

Pesto Pasta with Caramelized Onions & Veggies

Cooking for one on the go can be a bit of a challenge at times. I am not proud of my canned soup habit….but I will not deny the numerous nights a can of vegetable lentil with a bit of soft cheese stirred in makes its way onto my table. TONIGHT, however, it is all about the pasta. Pasta is delicious and extremely versitle. You can do almost anything with it.

This pasta dish is simple, quick, and great for a tasty/creative meal for one (or two).

My add-ins: onion, peas, broccoli, olives, and tomato.

Lets start with an onion ~

Chop half an onion, I used a yellow and love my onions chopped thin & lengthwise.

With a little garlic and olive oil I sauteed my chopped onion until it became caramel in color and a bit sticky (mmmmm)

While your onions are cooking boil a pot of water and cook your pasta accordingly. I used a whole wheat spaghetti that was perfect after ten minutes, I suggest checking so you don’t overcook. What makes this recipe great is using what you have on hand. Any veggies will do and I had a bag of frozen broccoli and peas at my disposal. After my pasta had been cooking for a few minutes I dumped my frozen vegetables into the pot as well.

When the PASTA is ready drain everything into a strainer then pour back into the pot. Add a chopped tomato, black olives, and a good spoonful or two of pesto. STIR. Serve along side an arugula salad. Some goat cheese and crusty bread would pair well. And you have yourself a tasty and quick meal for one(or two).

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