Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dinner for Dos

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to cook more during the work week. Like other busy couples, Nick and I fell into the trap of getting to-go food several times a week. Although we usually picked healthy options, eating out adds up quickly. So, we started this year off right and have been cooking almost every night of the week this past month.
One of the most important things I've realized is to be prepared (like a boy scout)! I used to go to Trader Joe's and do a weekly shopping with some vague idea of what I could make for the week, and end up buying things we didn't get around to using.
This month, I've been planning out a menu for the entire week and only buying specifically what we need for the week. Our bank account thanks me for this forward thinking.
In a never-ending effort to keep things interesting around, I've been trying lots of new recipes. I thought I'd share one with you that we enjoyed last night.
 Pesto tossed with Arugula and Lemon Zest over Whole Wheat Spaghetti
This vegetarian meal is easy to make and is a twist on an old family favorite of mine and was adapted from a Real Simple article. Plus it looks a little fancy-pants when you serve it up!
  • To make the pesto: Mix  1 cup basil leaves, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 2 garlic cloves, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor. Use more or less of each ingredient depending on how many servings you are making.  Special thank you to my sister for helping me remember the family recipe!
  • Sauté 3 cups of arugula in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until it begins to soften.
  • Grate the peel of one lemon, using a fine grater.
  • Mix the pesto with your (cooked) whole wheat spaghetti noodles and add the arugula and lemon zest. 
  • Garnish with parmesan cheese. 

Naturally we had ours with milk (our drink of choice for any and all pasta dishes) but I'm sure some wine and a nice baguette would classy-up this meal.
So, what about you? Any healthy new recipes you're dying to share? I could definitely use some more ideas...

4 comments:

  1. I have been doing the same thing! We always cook but I was going to the store like three times a week to get stuff to cook for one meal, not only was this time consuming it was SUPER expensive! So now I plan the week on Sunday and go shopping on Monday and try to use recipes that include similar ingredients to save money. Last week we had spiced fish with lemon rice and zuchinni, chicken sandwiches with white onions and peppers, sweet and sour chicken with lots of veggies and rice, and mushroom and black bean tortilla casserole. A couple of this weeks are Brazilian beef stew with rice and greens, and potato stuff peppers with black bean saute. Anyway, Martha Stewarts Everyday Food magazine is a great resource. It has tons of recipes and usually they can easily be made healthy. Good luck!

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  2. I decided to actually share one of the recipes since that is what you asked, haha. This was my favorite from last week...
    Sweet and Sour Chicken with veggies
    you will need:
    1 cup long grain rice
    1 T. cornstarch
    1/4 c sugar
    1/4 c white vinegar
    1 T. vegetable oil (I used olive)
    1 1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
    2 bell peppers, seeded and diced (i used red and green)
    1/2 Lb. green beans
    5 scallions thinly sliced
    2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
    3 garlic cloves minced
    2 T. chopped peanuts

    Cook rice according to package directions'
    Meanwhile, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar and set aside
    In a large skillet or wok, heat oil and add chicken bell peppers and green beans and cook stirring frequently until vegetables begin to soften. Add scallions, ginger, and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through.
    Whisk soy sauce mixture, add to skillet and cook stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from heat
    Fluff rice with a fork and serve!
    Serves 4, total time 25 minutes.

    I added some extra vegetables, and you could use brown rice to make it even healthier!
    Enjoy!

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  3. Tomatillo Sauce for Enchiladas
    10-15 tomatillos
    4 serrano peppers
    2 cloves of garlic
    1/2 onion (diced)
    pinch of cumin
    pinch of salt
    little bit of cilantro
    Boil together for 10-15 min then drain and mix together in a food processor

    Mexican Rice
    1 cup of white rice
    2 tbsp oil
    1/2 chopped onion (diced)
    1 tomato (diced)
    1 jalapeño (diced)
    2 cloves of garlic (diced)
    2 cups of water with chicken bullion cube dissolved
    1/4 cup of tomato sauce
    In a skillet, brown the rice in the oil then add in veggies. Add tomato sauce and water/chicken bullion mix (or chicken con pollo seasoning). Let it boil for a little bit then reduce heat to simmer and place a top over it for 30-40 min. I like to sprinkle some cheese over it when finished.

    Green Enchiladas
    2 chicken breasts
    1 onion
    1 tomato
    1 jalapeño
    2 cloves of garlic
    some olives
    3 tsp chicken con pollo seasoning (or chicken bullion)
    Put chicken, seasoning and chopped up veggies in skillet together and let cook. When chicken is about ready, shred with two forks and keep on low heat.
    Put a little oil in a pan and make sure it gets hot hot! Then quickly put small corn tortilla in pan and fry both sides lightly (about 2-3 sec on each side). Repeat 9 more times. Then stuff your tortillas with the chicken mixture, cheese, and a little of your green sauce. Roll up and once you have nice little rows, pour sauce over top and sprinkle cheese. Bake for 10-15 min on 350.
    This is what I had last night! delicious!!

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  4. Thanks Ladies for the great recipes! I think I will be adding both of these to my shopping list for next week! You're awesome!!

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