Archive for September, 2010

Treat Yourself (For Less!)

It’s okay to indulge everyone else in awhile, especially on Wednesdays when you’re feeling like the week may never end. Plus I’m going to justify this one with the fact that it can be made with under 5 main ingredients. Give and take, folks.

This recipe is from Giada de Laurentiis of the Food Network, and it. is. delicious. Cheesy with a hint of tomato, it’s comforting in the best way. It’s super easy too, so although you may have to go grab a few ingredients, the short cook time makes up for it.

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb Fusilli pasta (For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, this type works best, but feel free to use penne if you’re not a fan)
  • 1 bag fresh spinach leaves
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes (the small circular ones)
  • 1 cup grated asiago cheese (when I made this in China and couldn’t find asiago at the grocery store I opted for the Parmesan-Romano mix instead which worked fine)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or about a teaspoon of garlic power if that’s easier)
  • Salt and pepper (about half a teaspoon of each)

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta, which should take about 8-10 minutes, in which time you can start chopping:
  2. Roughly chop the fresh spinach and slice the cherry tomatoes in halves
  3. While the pasta is still cooking, heat a large pan (all the pasta and everything has to fit in it) with drizzled olive oil over medium heat
  4. Add the minced/chopped garlic and cook for about two minutes
  5. Add the spinach and tomatoes, and cook for another two minutes, or until the spinach wilts
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss with the existing ingredients
  7. Add the cheeses and salt and pepper and stir it all together so it combines into a gooey sauce
  8. Serve while it’s still warm

Here’s a visual guide:

Begin cooking the pasta and while the water boils, chop the tomatoes

Heat a large pan/skillet over medium heat and while it's warming, chop the spinach

Add minced and chopped garlic to the pan and cook for two minutes

Add the tomatoes and spinach and cook for two more minutes

Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss with the other ingredients

Add the cheeses and salt and pepper and stir everything together thoroughly. Serve while warm.

The cheese definitely makes the dish heavier (but also tastier!), so if you want to cut back on the calories, skip the cheese and toss the pasta in olive oil. Don’t skip the garlic or tomatoes and spinach- they make the dish!

Here’s the Food Network’s pasta collection

Check out a couple of my pasta recipes

Try some quick and healthy pasta recipes from Eatingwell.com

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UCONNLIFE features the blog!

Hey guys, check out the new website, UCONNLIFE, to see an article featuring Conquer the College Kitchen!

Also check out an article at the same website featuring a friend’s blog here.

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Meet My Favorite Quick Fix

Wraps are healthy. Wraps are cheap. Wraps are versatile.

So how it is that a post on wraps has yet to be done? In particular, a post about wheat wraps lined with basil pesto and topped with sliced turkey and roma tomatoes?

This is one of the easiest meals, made in record time (4:30 thank you very much), and there’s few ingredients involved. Chances are you already have them in your fridge. If not, grab em’ next time your’re at the store, since this is one of those no-planning processes. ┬áIt’ll work for lunch or dinner.

You’ll need:

  • Tortilla Wraps. Wheat is healthier than regular plain ones, but feel free to go either route, or mix it up with a different flavor like tomato basil or honey wheat. Medium or small sizes work best.
  • Basil pesto. I usually keep a small container in the fridge and use it on multiple occasions (with pasta or sandwiches). You’ll need about two spoonfuls for this recipe. Feeling daring? Make your own pesto using my recipe.
  • Fresh sliced turkey breast from you local deli. Smoked or honey works best for this particular wrap. You’ll need about five or six slices, unless you want your wrap on the thick side, in which case throw in a few more slices.
  • One roma tomato (the oval-shaped ones), since they’re a touch healthier. A regular ones (only use half) will do just fine as well.
  • Black pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Cover about three-quarters of the wrap, laid out flat, with the pesto (about two spoonfuls), spreading it evenly. Be generous here, that pesto flavor completes the wrap.
  2. Dice up the tomato into small cubes. Then layer the tomatoes on top of the pesto.
  3. Pile the turkey on top, making sure you cover most of the surface
  4. Sprinkle some back pepper over it all then get ready for the tricky part, wrapping it up. If you’re like me, and not too concerned with the wrap staying together since you;re about to devour it anyway, then you can just fold it up as you would a fajita or soft taco, making sure one end overlaps the other.
  5. If you’re on the fancier side and maybe serving this to guests or want to save it for later, you should fold two opposing sides inward, then wrap it up, making sure all the stuffing stays in the middle. If you have some handy, stick a toothpick on two sides of the wrap and cut it in half.

Here’s a visual step-by-step:

Spread the pesto evenly

Dice the tomato into small cubes

Toss the tomatoes over the pesto

Layer the turkey on top and sprinkle with black pepper

Wrap it all up, connecting two opposing sides

The ultimate pesto-lover in me prefers this wrap, but there are a ton of different options you could try. Grilled chicken would work great here, or instead of pesto, use spicy brown mustard, your favorite salad dressing or hummus. Almost anything will substitute, so get creative! Throw in some lettuce for an extra crunch, or add some mozzarella cheese for a delicious (yet a bit unhealthier) touch.

Featured Links

Check out the Food Network’s Food Network’s wrap collection for more great ideas.

cdkitchen.com‘s large variety of wrap recipes

Healthy Sandwich and wrap ideas from Fitness Magazine

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