Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tomato Basil Fettuccine

As with most people who are trying to save money, we buy our food in bulk when it's on sale.  So, our cabinets and food pantry are usually pretty stock full of vegetarian staples: vegetarian broth, crushed tomatoes, pasta, beans, lentils, bread crumbs, you name it.  Well, the time has come where Jon and I are moving.  We're moving permanently.  We have a new challenge on our hand.  Trying to get rid of all of these staples in our cabinets.  

I invited a friend to dinner who is more traditional in her eating and so Italian food was the way to go.  I found this great recipes to get rid of the pack of fettuccine we've had in our cabinet for a long while now.  The recipe ended up really amazing and I'd love to share it with you now!

  • 1 lb. fettuccine noodles
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Cook fettuccine according to directions on package
  2. Meanwhile, saute the onions and red pepper flakes in butter until onion is tender.  Add tomato and salt, cook and stir over medium heat until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  3. Remove from heat and let stand for one minute.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk
  5. Drain fettuccine and place in a large bowl.  
  6. Add the basil and parmesan cheese and the tomato mixture
  7. Toss to coat
Kudos to the original recipe here

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Mom's Sauce"

There is nothing better than anything homemade.  This recipe comes from my friend Marisa who gave it to me at my wedding shower.  We met over the weekend for some girl's fun and we had it together.  I forgot how good it is!  It's Marisa's Italian family's homemade pasta sauce.  As a vegetarian, I often get very sick of pasta dishes, but this sauce leaves me wanting to eat pasta every day.  It was even double good because I have so many canned crushed tomatoes sitting around from a sale.


  • One large can of crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  1. In a large sauce pan, saute garlic and olive oil
  2. Add tomatoes to can plus one can of water
  3. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for a few hours on low, covered
  4. Taste, add more salt if necessary 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stuffed Shells

My friend Shelli is always so kind and thoughtful when I go to her house for dinner.  She always considers my vegetarianism and what I might enjoy.  This dish is an old classic that I would not have remembered except she made it for me.  It can easily be made low-fat since she uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese.  She gave me the recipe and it's super easy and yummy!

  • Large shell pasta (approximately 18 shells)
  • 1 24 oz. vat of cottage cheese (can use low-fat)
  • 1 16 oz. bag of mozzarella cheese (can use low-fat)
  • One jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 egg
  • Parsley to sprinkle

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Boil water and add the large shell pasta, cook until soft. 

2.  In the meantime, combine the cottage cheese, almost all of the mozzarella cheese, egg, and parsley into a bowl.  Mix thoroughly.

3.  After pasta is soft, drain and run under cold water to cool down shells. 

4.  While waiting for shells to cool down, cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with the pasta sauce.

5.  Once cool enough to touch, stuff the shells with the cheese combination and begin placing into the pan.

6.  You should be able to fill and fit about 18 shells with a 9x13 pan and with this much cheese mixture.

7.  Once the pan is full, place the remaining pasta over the shells.

8.  Bake the shells in the oven for 40-45 minutes.  About 5 minutes before removing from the oven, place remaining mozzarella cheese over the shells.

9.  When finished baking, allow to cool for about 15 minutes so the cheese cool back together.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Palak Paneer

I looooveee mutter paneer.  I pretty much order this everytime I go to an Indian restaurant.  We bought a lot of paneer (cheese) in Ottawa.  It's a special Indian cheese and can't be found in small towns around the USA.  If you live in a larger area, you will definitely be able to find it, especially in Indian specialty food shops.  Well, I bought it to make mutter paneer, but all the recipes I found on the internet never made a really good mutter paneer.  I was trying to find another recipe to use all this paneer with.  I found this awesome website and found the best recipe called palak paneer.  It uses spinach.   I also learned the secret to cooking with paneer.  They taught me that you should soak the cheese in cold water AFTER cooking it.  It worked like a charm . I was shocked.  So, without further ado, please check out the recipe AND the site below:

Spinach - 1, 16oz pkt chopped, frozen
Paneer - 7 oz or 200 g
Oil – 3 tbsp
Onions – 2 med, minced
Ginger – 1″ pc, minced
Garlic – 4 cloves, minced
Water – 1/2 cup
14oz can pureed tomatoes
Garam Masala - 2 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
Red Chili Powder – to taste
Salt - to taste
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Heavy Whipping Cream – 8 tbsp or to taste

1. Cook frozen Spinach with 1/2 cup Water in a microwave safe dish for 7-8 minutes stirring in between.
2. Blend cooked Spinach to desired texture (avoid over-blending).
3. Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a medium non-stick pan on high heat.
4. Once Oil is hot, add in the minced Onions, stir, cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Add in the Ginger and Garlic and mix. Cook for another 4-5 minutes.
6. Add in the Tomates, cover and cook till the oil seperates from the mixture.
7. Keep stirring frequently as the Masala (Onion, Tomato, Ginger & Garlic mixture) tends to burn very fast.
8. While the Masala is cooking, cube the paneer to desired size…1/2″ cubes work well.
9. In a non-stick frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp Oil.
10. Once Oil is hot, add in the paneer cubes and let them cook till they are golden brown on all sides.
11. Remove from the pan into a plate with paper towel to soak the excess oil.
12. In a couple of minutes, pour the Paneer into a bowl of cold water. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
13. Meanwhile, once the Masala is prepared, add in the mashed Spinach.
14. Mix and add the Garam Masala, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Salt, Chili Powder & Turmeric Powder.
15. Mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes.
16. Add in the desired amount of Cream and /or Milk. Mix and cook for another few minutes.
17. Gently squeeze the water out of the paneer and add to mixture.
18.  When thoroughly heated through, serve over rice!

The most awesome website that helped make this delicious dish!