Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cherry Tomato and Pesto Pasta

For Easter all of my children came home, even though it didn't look like that was going to happen. We had our big meal on Saturday evening and the kids left when they wanted to. With no set times for coming and going, I had to come up with a dinner that I could easily make for 8 or cut down for just 2 if they all left. I wanted something on the light side since Saturday was a eat 'til it hurts day. I looked in the fridge for ideas and saw several pints of cherry tomatoes, buy one get one free at the grocery store plus we already had some. I decided since the temperature was in the 80's a no cook sauce was going to be just the thing. Last week I bought some pesto sauce, not enough basil growing yet to make my own. So here is what I made.

Pesto and Cherry Tomato Pasta
2 tbs Pesto, homemade or store bought
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
8 oz pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Cook pasta until el dente. While pasta is cooking chop tomatoes and mix with pesto. Set aside in a bowl. Drain pasta when its done and place in bowl with tomatoes. Toss until thoroughly mixed. Top with cheese and serve. You could add fresh basil leaves as a garnish if you like.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Asian Tuna with Thai Noodles

Last week I remade my mom's Tuna Noodle Casserole and I caught some flak because I didn't use tuna. So this week I remade it again and used tuna, but this time I made it Asian inspired. I used spaghetti for the noodles, because that is what I had on hand. You could use actual Asian noodles for this, such as soba.

Asian Tuna with Thai Noodles

1 Tuna Steak, about 8 oz (there is enough marinade for at least 1 pound of tuna)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons sesame oil
1 scallion, chopped white and green parts

Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce
3 tbs Peanut Butter, reduce fat or natural
4 tsp Rice Vinegar
3 tbs Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tsp Honey
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
1/8 tsp Cayenne (more or less depending on your taste preference)
4 oz spaghetti
Noodle Garnish
1 tbs Peanuts, roughly chopped
1 scallion, chopped white and green parts

Tuna Instructions
Put all of the ingredients in a plastic bag. Let the tuna marinate for at least 1 hour. Then grill it to the desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for 1 inch thick steaks grilled to medium.

Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce
Mix all of the Peanut Sauce ingredients together. Put the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds, this will make it much easier to mix. Pour the mixture over the spaghetti and stir together. Top with garnish.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Salmon Pasta

When I was growing up, my mom made tuna noodle casserole when my dad wasn't around. It consisted of 1 can of tuna, 1 can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 soup can of milk and egg noodles. The noodles were cooked and then everything else was mixed in with it and heated through. This is my version of Tuna Noodle Casserole. Only there is no tuna, noodles and its not a casserole.

Salmon Pasta
8 oz Salmon
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz Pasta, I used penne
1 cup peas
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
2 tbs Pine Nuts
Pesto to taste

Preheat grill. Drizzle olive oil on the salmon and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness. I like to cook this until golden brown and cooked through for this dish. Set aside to cool. After it is cool flake it apart with a fork.

Cook the pasta in salted water. Cook until done, I leave it a little bit on the firm side for this dish. Add the salmon, peas, tomatoes and pesto. I added about 2 tbs of pesto for this.

If you are not serving right away refrigerate the pasta and just before you serve it drizzle with a little olive oil, then toss the pasta.

You could add additional things to this pasta like capers, broccoli flowerettes or green onions.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Running and Wedgies

Well this weekend I ran my first 10K race, in fact this was my first attempt at any organized sport. I never participated in sports when I was in school. The 10K was the Ukrop's Monument Ave. 10K run in Richmond VA. My oldest daughter, Lynn, originally decided to run the race and invited me to join her. I accepted and my youngest daughter, Ashlyn, decided she wanted to run as well. Ashlyn and Lynn finished in the times they expected, but I beat my personal best time by eight minutes. Lynn was the backbone of our team. She made hotel arrangements for us, made T-shirts for us, made sure we got the race packages and feed us after the race. Richmond is the home of VCU, who was in the NCAA Final Four, so after the race she went home and cooked for not just our family but several friends as well as we cheered VCU on. Unfortunately VCU didn't fair as well as we did in the race. Thanks Lynn for making this weekend such a fun time and for making me challenge myself by running farther and faster than I have before. I appreciate all of your efforts.

The wedgies have nothing to do with the running, but pertain to potatoes cut into 8 wedges. This recipe was inspired from a Spanish Tapas recipe. There is also a dipping sauce for them.

Potato Wedgies with Dip
3 pounds Potatoes, cut into 8 wedges (the long way, if you have larger potatoes you can cut into more than 8 pieces)
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
pinch of salt
1/4 cup mayo, I used low fat
1/4 cup sour cream, I used low fat
Smoked paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven is preheating cut potatoes into wedges and place in a bowl. Add olive oil and salt and pepper and stir to evenly coat the potatoes. Spread the potatoes out evenly on a cookie sheet and cook for about 25 minutes. They should be soft and brown spots will begin to appear. Remove when done and let cool.

While the potatoes are cooking you can make the dip. Mince the garlic and add salt to it. Mash the salt into the garlic until it forms a paste. Place mayo and sour cream in a bowl, then add the garlic paste to it. Mix in the smoked paprika, until you get the desired taste. Since smoked paprika seems to come in different strengths I suggest adding a teaspoon at a time and tasting until you get a flavor you like.

I sprinkled a little parsley on the potatoes so they looked good on the platter.