Pasta con Ceci

This is a recipe that I’ll definitely be adding to my arsenal of quick dinners recipes AND meal prep recipes. Why?

– This took me 20 minutes, start to finish.

– This will satisfy your pasta cravings while sneaking some bean proteins in.

– It’s wicked cheap!

– Goya beans flow like wine in NYC, so it’ll be easy to find a can of chickpeas. Ha!

There isn’t much else to say; I feel that I could pad this post if I wanted to. I just whipped it up, photographed it, ate it, packed a bunch in Gladware to bring to work for the week, and DONE.

Backtracking: After I photographed it, I sat on my kitchen counter and ate a small bowl of it while my neighbors watched me from their kitchen window.

I can only imagine what they think of me when I’m standing on my wicker stool, towering 4 feet above my butcher block, head down, massive DSLR in hand. I’d like to think that they’re jealous they don’t get to eat the awesome food I’m creating!

Yeah…yeah…that’s it…

Pasta con Ceci
(Based on the Food 52 recipe for Pasta con Ceci)
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

-3 cups boiling water
-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
-3 tablespoons tomato paste (I use Muir Glen organic tomato paste)
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-1 & 1/2 cups uncooked wagon wheel pasta

Before We Get Started…

– If you don’t have wagon wheel pasta, ditalini or another small shape works well! If you live near a Whole Foods location that has the bulk bins with dinosaur-shaped pasta, DO IT. Life’s too short not to!

– The consistency of the tomato paste adds to this dish, so please do not substitute tomato sauce in its place.

Directions:

1.) In a large saucepan, heat water and bring to a slow boil.

2.) While the water is coming to a boil, heat olive oil on low heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add garlic and cook and stir until soft; you can allow the garlic to slightly brown, but do not let it burn!

3.) Add tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add salt, chickpeas, dried pasta, and boiling water. Stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Keep heat at medium-low and simmer until the pasta is cooked and the liquid has reduced, roughly 15 minutes.

4.) To serve, ladle into bowls and drizzle with extra olive oil, if desired. If meal-prepping or if there are leftovers, this will last in the fridge up to four days.

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Green Pepper & Garlic Quesadillas

Sometimes, the most simple recipe is the best one.

I headed up to Connecticut one weekend to visit my parents. I was beat because MetroNorth was doing some MTA-esque track work. I had to take the train from Grand Central to a bus at Golden’s Bridge, then I had to take said bus to Southeast where I had to transfer back to a train to go to Wassaic. That’s tantamount to when the 1 Train has a middle stretch of it shut down during the weekend and I have to take the 1 from Dyckman to 168th, then take a shuttle bus to 137th where I can catch the 1 again.

Yes, I realize the preceding paragraph likely went over the head of a non-New Yorker, and may have empathetically enraged a fellow New Yorker. HA!

But let’s get back to food, shall we?

Arriving at my parents’ house, the cupboards where a bit bare, but the fridge yielded a few goods I knew I could throw together. Tortillas? Cabot Monterey Jack cheese? Green pepper? Garlic? Butter?

A small comforting meal at its finest.

My parents are really easy to please, food-wise, as well. They have expansive palettes but also love the simple things. If anything, they just want me to cook for them. Right, Mom?

Green Pepper & Garlic Quesadillas
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
– 1 cloves garlic, minced
– 4 tortillas, flour or corn (for this recipe, I do prefer flour!)
– 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I use Cabot!)
– 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Before We Get Started…

– As much as I LOVE frying up a quesadillas in butter, when making quesadillas en masse, the butter is going to brown and burn too quickly. I suggest using coconut oil to fry them up, as its smoke point is very high. But if you do not have coconut oil, another cooking oil of your choice (or butter!) is fine! Just keep an eye on your heat!

Directions:

1.) In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Once it begins to shimmer, add green pepper and cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until slightly softened; it’s good to leave them a little bit crunchy! Add garlic to green pepper and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove green pepper mix from heat.

2.) Toss together green pepper mix and shredded cheese in a small bowl. Lay out tortillas on a clean flat surface. Divide pepper & cheese mix into four even portions and place onto half of each tortilla; fold tortillas over.

3.) In a large frying pan or a flat griddle, add coconut oil over medium-low heat; allow oil to melt. If using a frying pan, cook quesadillas one at a time; if using a griddle, cook quesadillas two at a time so you can keep a good eye on their cooking. Cook for approximately two minutes on each side or until each side is a golden brown color and the pepper & cheese mixture has melted.

4.) Serve immediately!

Sautéed Broccoli and Zucchini with Fried Egg

Sautéed Broccoli & Zucchini with Fried Egg

You guys…June is totally kicking my butt!

Is it REALLY the 18th already?!?!

I can’t even.

*yawn*

I’ve been so busy with so many things – at work and in my personal life – and there haven’t been enough hours in the day for me to write up and photograph a proper recipe in quite some time. I’m hoping to pop out at least one good one next Saturday, but…the way my month has been going…haha…busy busy busy! 

WELL, in the interim, I want to post this. Starting today, I started a new series on my Instagram feed – click here for your viewing pleasure, but of course! – which I am called “Screenshot Recipe Sunday”. After talking with both my followers and my fellow food bloggers / food Instagrammers, I’ve heard pretty loud and clear that a lot of y’all, while you love visiting food blogs, also love recipes that are simple to just take a screenshot of on their phones. I’m attempting to embrace that – goodness knows I love the same thing – and this was my first entry, a simple mix of sautéed veggies with a fried egg.

It’s insanely easy and customizable, and…well…pretty damn easy. While I will be posting the recipes on Instagram, I will also be posting them here each week.

I hope you enjoy this!

Sautéed Broccoli and Zucchini with Fried Egg

Sautéed Broccoli & Zucchini with Fried Egg
(Serves 1)

Ingredients:

– 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I use Nutiva Refined Coconut Oil)
– 1 medium zucchini, diced
– 1 cup broccoli florets, roughly chopped
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon butter or ghee or neutral-flavored oil
– 1 egg

Directions:

1.) Heat sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil; once oil is shimmering, add vegetables. Season with garlic powder and salt. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. Scrape up any brown bits, but don’t allow vegetables to get burned. Remove from heat, place vegetables on a plate, and set aside.

2.) In a small saute or frying pan, heat butter (or alternative) over medium heat. Gently crack egg into pan and cook as desired; as photographed, a sunnyside up fried egg will take roughly 5 minutes to cook, as all of the whites should be set before serving. Remove from pan and place on top of vegetables. EAT.

vegan avocado cilantro sauce

Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce

As of late, I have turned to the magical Florida Avocado over its Haas counterpart. What’s my main reasoning? Well, honestly, my local C-Town supermarket has dozens upon dozens of Haas avocados in stock, all of them constantly hard as rocks. When I go grocery shopping after work, I want a ripe avocado, not an avocado that, if thrown at someone’s head, is hard enough to give them a nice concussion.

When it comes to being always perfectly ripe, a Florida avocado has never let me down. They are easily three to four times the size of your average Haas, and they are great when making an avocado-based recipe en masse.

Behold, my Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce!

vegan avocado cilantro sauce

One Florida Avocado is enough to help yield about two cups of this wonderful sauce. It’s so creamy, you’ll think there is yogurt or dairy in it. Nope! It’s absolutely plant-based!

What is great about this sauce is its versatility, no matter what your diet prefrences are. I have tossed zoodles in it. I have topped Triscuits with it.  I’ve put it on pan-fried chicken breasts. I have drizzled it on my soft-boiled eggs. It’s always a nice condiment to keep in your fridge, and I find its shelf life can be up to three days! Just think of all of the ways you can use it between now and then…

Honestly, the next few photos are just an excuse for me to inject some #yolkporn into your day. Ha! Though, I must admit, this sauce is great with soft-boiled eggs and cilantro. If that’s up your alley, I suggest you give it a try.

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Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce
(Yields roughly 2 cups)

Ingredients:

– 1 Florida Avocado, peeled, pit removed, and roughly chopped
– 1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
– Small handful of cilantro, washed and de-stemmed
– 1/4 cold water
– Juice of 1/2 lemon

Before We Get Started…

– Honestly, I have never made this recipe with anything other than a Florida avocado. I would guess that, in lieu, two ripe Haas avocados would be an appropriate substitute if you can not find a Florida avocado.

– Add more water if necessary if sauce is too thick, one tablespoon at a time.

– Though this is a recipe about avocados, I feel that I’ve used the word “avocado” too much in this post. For that, I apologize. Ha!

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender. Combine until smooth. The sauce should hold some thickness, but be easily pourable. If not using immediately, refrigerate. This will keep up to three days in the fridge.

Ravioli with Peas & Garlic

Is it odd that, because I cook so much for myself, that I feel an odd pang of guilt whenever I take a shortcut? I have bypassed store-bought gnocchi so many times; though homemade is supreme, the time it takes to create it is longer than what it takes one to cut open a package of Bertolli and plop into boiling water for three minutes. That being said…I’ve made my own gnocchi more time than I’ve bought it. It’s always a fun project, but not applicable to when you want a heartier and quick pasta dish at the end of a long work day.

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Okay, I’m learning to get over it. Haaa.

I used to hate tortellini and ravioli as a kid; it had more to do with the preparation of it than the pasta itself. I still shudder at the thought of overcooked tortellini swimming in a pond of watery Ragù topped with clumpy Kraft Parmesan cheese. I’ve always been turned off by odd textures, and that combination ranked high on my list of most hated. Well, I find that I enjoy ravioli best when dressed simply with a light coating of butter or oil, and the more vegetables (and cheese!), the better. Any vegetable you want will do. That being said: all hail frozen peas! They’ve bulked up many meals of mine, and here, the tradition continues. I love keeping them in my fridge when I just need a little extra something.

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If you’re vegan, substitute oil for butter, ditch the Parmesan, and use vegan-friendly ravioli. Amp up the garlic to keep that good flavor burst!

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Ravioli with Peas & Garlic
(Serves 3)

Ingredients:

– 12 ounce package ravioli, fresh or frozen
– 8 ounces frozen peas, dethawed
– 4 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted or 2 tablespoons olive oil (I prefer using butter in this recipe)
– Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) In a small pan, heat butter or olive oil over medium-low to medium heat. Add garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute or until soft and fragrant; do not let garlic brown. Remove pan from heat and set aside; do not discard butter or oil! This will be used when tossing the pasta.

2.) In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add ravioli and boil for two minutes or according to package’s directions. Drain and return to large pot. Immediately toss with garlic butter mixture, peas, and Parmesan. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, topping with more Parmesan, if desired.

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