I cooked! Lemon Zucchini Pasta

When I cook, it’s an event. It’s planned. The recipe is chosen a week in advance, the ingredients ready to be chopped days before it’s time. I ask the boyfriend to block of an evening, dedicated to my future masterpiece.

Last week I finally dug into a cookbook I received for my birthday, Food; Vegetarian Home Cooking by Mary McCartney. So far, I love this cookbook. Although I’m not a vegetarian, there are still some great, tasty ideas. Plus, there are pictures for each recipe which I’m a HUGE fan of.

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I decided to go with the lemon zucchini pasta recipe, but also had the boyfriend pick up some lemon-y chicken from Whole Foods (pre-marinated because that’s how us lazy kids roll).

Here is what you need:

  • Pasta
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinkly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese (plus extra for more deliciousness)
  • 4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

I wish I had some special instructions for you or things that I did differently that improved the recipe. But, alas. I’m not there yet in my cooking. I follow instructions to the T. One thing I couldn’t figure out though was how to finely chop garlic? Instead we ended up with pieces of garlic in the final product.

  1. Open wine bottle
  2. Pour wine glass
  3. Cook the spaghetti according to your pasta box’s instructions (obviously)
  4. Once the pasta is done, set it aside and drizzle some olive oil in there so it doesn’t get all sticky
  5. Using the same pan, combine the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and zucchini and sauté for 4-5 minutes
  6. Pour second glass of wine
  7. Add in the garlic and herbs, mix well and sauté for a couple more minutes
  8. Add in the cooked pasta and yea through, mix in the cheese and lemon zest.
  9. Season with some salt and black pepper
  10. Add more cheese. I love cheese.
  11. Share wine bottle and food with friends

Below are some pics of my cooking process, in case it helps! I forgot to get a picture of the final product though, shame. My boyfriend and I loved this dish! It wasn’t creamy or heavy, so you leave the meal nice and full but with room for dessert. Enjoy 🙂

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Autumn quinoa bowl

I bought some quinoa seeeeveral weeks ago (maybe more than a month?) in the vain hope that I would find a recipe to cook with it, without even being fully confident on its pronunciation. Anyone who frequents a Whole Foods can likely relate to this feeling. I was fascinated by it. It looked like carbs.. but it was protein. How could his beautiful thing exist?

And then I actually tried it for the first time two weeks ago in a salad at Whole Foods..LOVE at first taste. It was delicious and I absolutely could not get enough! But… I still hadn’t found a recipe that intrigued me enough to try (and was easy enough for me to try).

It’s really no secret that I’m ain’t a cook. But it turns out to eat clean you have to be able to cook clean. So, here we are. Me with two cups of dried quinoa and no idea what to do with it.

Then last week I stumbled across this recipe from Andrea Hood on Instagram, and honestly I can’t remember which account it was (more problems of the Instagram rabbit hole). But I mean it has dried cranberries in it so I was pretty much sold from the start. It’s taken me a week to gather the ingredients and NOW it’s time to actually prepare the meal, and ya’ll… I DID IT! And it was damn tasty.

Autumn-Quinoa (1)

Here are the ingredients/directions from Andrea’s blog post:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic Quinoa
  • 2 cups organic butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 bunch organic kale
  • 1/4 cup organic raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Direction:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Peel and cube the butternut squash into small bite sized pieces.
  • Place butternut squash on lined or greased cookie sheet and cook for 35 minutes, or until you can stick a fork into it with ease.
  • Cook quinoa on the stovetop according to package directions, and set aside.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, take a small skillet over medium heat and lightly toast the pepitas to really bring out their flavor. Make sure to move them around often so they don’t catch and burn. Toast them for about 5 minutes until they are just starting to brown and you can smell the “nuttiness” – again, don’t let them burn because that will ruin the flavor.
  • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and cranberries. When the quinoa and pepitas are finished, add them to the bowl and stir to evenly coat the quinoa.
  • While the quinoa is still warm, you want to take the kale and remove the leaves from the stems by tearing off bite sized pieces. Add the bite sized pieces to the bowl and toss to combine.
  • Lastly, once the butternut squash is cooked, add it to the giant quinoa bowl and lightly toss it to combine.
  • You can enjoy this dish warm or at room temperature – it’s delicious either way and it makes kick-ass leftovers.

To make the Quinoa, I used my girl Gwenyth Paltrow’s recipe found online at Goop.com. My only issue is how in the hell do people wash quinoa before you cook it? I’m gross and didn’t wash mine first out of pure confusion. It’s so tiny, what magical contraption exists that it won’t fall through (that I can find at Kroger)? And since I don’t know how to do anything, I also had to watch a video on how to peel a Butternut Squash (I also had to Google “Butternut Squash” at the grocery store to get the right stuff…so that’s where we are on that..)

I love this recipe. It’s just so simple. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the pepitas. I’m prone to starting small fires in the kitchen, so I was so nervous cooking these that I don’t think I cooked them enough. No harm done though, you hardly notice.

The dish also smells kinda funky. Not sure why. But who cares, it tastes delicious especially considering how healthy it is! I had a small bowl post 5 mile jog and filled up supa fast. This recipe also makes A LOT. So when she she says it makes for “kick-ass leftovers”, it makes a ton of kick-ass leftovers.

My only other complaint is that I had to use like SO MANY dishes and pans. Is that normal for cooking something? Perhaps it is. Either way clean up was not that much fun, and I’m glad it made so much so I won’t have to clean it up again anytime in the near future.

All in all, I’m one happy full clean eating camper. Excuse me why I go dive into my leftovers…