Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tuna, Buccatini & Lemon

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Wandering through the grocery store today....trying to figure out what I could whip up for lunch for me and the girls.  We decided we wanted pasta of some sort, but I wanted something other than the normal red sauce.  Then I remembered a yummy dish my friend mentioned she has made many times before.  Using simple ingredients, this dish is ready in no time.
I was a bit skeptical...I'm not a big canned tuna fan.  I was worried that this dish would just fall a little flat for me in the flavor department.  I was wrong.  (shhhh, don't tell me husband I know how to say that sentence!)
Full of flavor, good punch of protein from the fish and cheese, and my girls loved it. (so did I...I had to helpings)
Make use of those pantry items and through together this tasty dish for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner.  I used Buccatini because that was all I had.  Regular spaghetti works perfect too.  
1lb spaghetti
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tin of tuna fish in oil, drained (you want the oil packed version so you don't end up with dry fish)
1 lemon, juiced
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil (add salt if you like) and cook pasta according to want al'dente.
When the pasta is done, drain and place in a bowl that you have pre-warmed in the microwave.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over low heat.  Add the garlic and parsley and stir continually while gradually adding the tuna fish.  Keep the heat low so that none of the ingredients change color.  You just want to heat everything through.

Add the "sauce" to the pasta and stir to combine.  Then add the lemon juice, cheese and butter. Mix.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  (add some red chili flakes for a nice kick!)
Stir well and serve at once.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winter Veggie Stew with Chickpeas

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Still plowing forward on the veggie front.  Before living here in Saudi, I was never a big fan of butternut squash.  Thought it just tasted...well...funny.  But, in the spirit of wanting to try all things veggie, I gave it another shot when I made a ratatouille.  I loved it.  Maybe it's the squash here...its very sweet.  (and cheap!)  Whatever it may be, I really enjoy it now...along with a bunch of other lovely winter veggies.
This stew comes together quick.  The flavors hint at Moroccan and even though I couldn't find Harissa (tried two stores) it was still wonderful.  Very filling (obviously with the chick peas and couscous) and very good for you too! (only 2.3g of fat per serving and 264 calories!!) Kids gave it a thumbs up and even had seconds.  If you're not a turnip fan or if you're just afraid of their creepy looks...give them another try.  In this stew, you can barely tell the potato from the turnip.  They are soft and take on the flavors of the stew.  
A great comfort, vegetarian dish that you can easily make on a weeknight.  :)  Happy Veggie Cooking!  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fruity Crescent Rolls

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Today we had another ladies coffee and the feature color was red.  Wear all red, a little red, a splash of red...etc.  I had my outfit all ready to go and for the girls too.  Just needed a treat to bring.
I had these crescent rolls in the fridge and the expiration date was getting close.  I had saved a recipe to try and pulled it up this morning.
Lucky for me I was able to find a box of Fruit Roll Up's at the store...the last box mind you!  I was excited and ready to bake!
This was so simple and even more horrible baking skills couldn't mess these up.  Popped out 16 rolls in just under 45min.  They weren't too sweet, nice and flaky and just perfect.
The funny thing...I didn't even think about the fact that they were red until I got to the coffee and someone mentioned it to me!  Bonus!

1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
4 rolls Betty Crocker® Fruit Roll­Ups® Strawberry Fruit Snack
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 teaspoons milk

Heat oven to 350°F. 
Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles.

Unroll fruit snack rolls; cut each diagonally into 2 triangles. Place each fruit roll triangle on 1 dough triangle (fold or tuck each fruit roll so all is on dough). Roll up each dough triangle, starting with shortest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point; place point side down on sprayed cookie sheet. Curve into crescent shape.

Bake at 350°F. for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk until smooth and desired drizzling consistency.

Drizzle glaze evenly over warm rolls. Serve warm.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fresh, Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce

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We've been blessed with a great abundance of tomatoes from our garden.  I was hoping we would end up with cherry tomatoes (my fave for their sweet flavor) but instead we have Roma tomatoes.  Not a bad thing of course, just not the ones I'd eat for a snack all by themselves. 
The other day I was chatting with my friend, who lived in Rome for 13 years, and she mentioned making a nice homemade sauce with all my tomatoes.  Hmmmm...haven't done that yet!  And, as a bonus, we got lucky and the local grocery store had some fresh pasta in stock.  Fresh sauce, fresh (well semi fresh) ravioli.  Perfect!
I Googled a bunch of recipe ideas for the sauce.  There are more ways to make tomato sauce than I would have guessed!  But, I wanted simple...pure.  I wanted the tomatoes to shine.  So, with a few ingredients and a bit of time...I ended up with a lovely sauce.  
Since then, I've made fresh sauce one other time...with the same wonderful results.  Keep the tomatoes coming! (side note:  if you ever pop into the store and find tomatoes on sale, but maybe they look like they're on their last them!  yep you read right.  Those overripe beauties will make you a beautiful sauce!  And save keep some money in your pocketbook!)

*important tip:  take the time to peel and seed the tomatoes.  Otherwise your sauce won't be nearly as good.  It's not hard and just takes a few extra minutes of your prep's worth it.  Trust me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

One Pot Chicken Stew

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We have really altered our diet recently and have cut way back on red meat.  (you'd be totally shocked if you knew my husband...every dish had to have meat in it when we were in the States.)
The meat here, well, it's different.  Not sure why...smells funny sometimes.  It doesn't taste bad, but well, I'm not overly excited to buy it.  We did find an awesome butcher shop (in Jeddah of course) so we plan to bring a cooler on the next trip and stock up on some nice pieces of meat.  (now to find a deep freezer)  
With all that said, it means that we have been eating a lot of vegetarian dishes, fish, and chicken.  I love vegetarian, but I know we have to find ways to make sure we are all getting our protein.  I'd love any suggestions for some great vegetarian main dishes!  (just keep in mind that we don't have all the fancy ingredients you can find in the States)
This little stew had it all.  Protein, veggies, and great taste.  A very simple dish to make, doesn't take long, and well, we had not a drop left.  Keep in mind that it's a stew...not soup.  Therefore, not much broth.  Fantastic meal...hats off to Giada again for another wonderful recipe!
Ingredients  (recipe from Giada De Laurentiis)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 carrot, peeled, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 chicken breast with ribs (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, drained (rinsed if not organic)
  • Serving suggestion: crusty bread


Heat the oil in a heavy 5 1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion. Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, basil, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the chicken breasts; press to submerge.
Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring the mixture occasionally, about 25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a work surface and cool for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Add the kidney beans to the pot and simmer until the liquid has reduced into a stew consistency, about 10 minutes.
Discard the skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite- size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew just to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the stew into serving bowls and serve with the bread.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Smokey Rainbow Chili

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Anything with the word "rainbow" will catch my girls' when I said we were making Rainbow Chili, they both got excited. 
"But, what makes it rainbow mommy?"
"Why all the yummy, colorful veggies and beans we're going to add!"
This is such a filling dish and so totally good for you.  I've included a couple of variations you could try to switch it up and feel free to toss in some ground turkey or beef.  I served the girls' portion over some white rice with a bit of cheese sprinkled on top.  (according to my kids, everything is better with rice....and cheese.)
While you could cook this in your slow cooker, I think that the shorter cooking time allows you to have veggies that still have a bit of crunch...instead of mush.  Also, I went a bit mild with the heat (for the kids sake), but you could always amp it up by leaving in the jalapeno seeds and adding more cayenne pepper.
A great, healthy dish that will leave you full and happy!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, halved and cut into small chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (keep the pieces a bit big...helps to keep them crisp)
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes, with liquid  
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
(if using meat...brown the meat really well, remove and set aside.  Add the meat after sauteing the veggies)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in zucchini, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and onion. Cook 5 minutes, just until tender.
Add tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste, black beans, corn, and kidney beans into the pot. Season with smoked paprika, chili powder, oregano, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
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