Meatless Monday: Spaghetti and Semi-Homemade Broccoli Pesto and Broccoli

Sometimes pasta is just the way to go, right? It is easy and quick, and has literally infinite variations. Here’s one. With a little twist, a jar of store bought pesto is lightened up and brightened up and a simple, lovely meal is ready to serve. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* whole wheat spaghetti
* 1 small jar prepared basil pesto
* 3 heads of broccoli
* olive oil
* 1/4C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1t honey

WHAT TO DO
Take one head of broccoli and cut it down into florets, then cut it into tiny pieces. Cut the other two heads of broccoli down into florets and set aside.

Add the pesto and chopped up broccoli pieces to a blender. Pulse to break the broccoli down further. Add the Parmesan and honey and blend on a low speed. With the blender on, drizzle in the olive oil until everything is well blended and a texture you like. Taste and add more Parmesan or oil or honey if necessary.

Boil water to cook the pasta. Add the pasta and cook to al dente according to package instructions. With 3 or 4 minutes to go, add the broccoli florets to the pasta so that it can cook to just tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli and return to the pot.

Add the pesto and mix to combine. Serve with some warm bread or a fresh salad and enjoy.

Meatless Monday: Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli with Garlic Sauce

Sometimes a shortcut, semi-homemade solution is a perfect way to build something original and delicious on a weeknight without breaking your back or eating at 9:00. That’s exactly how this came about. While I’d love to be the person who can whip up fresh pasta on a Monday night, that’s just not usually the case. And with so many options in prepared raviolis, I don’t need to feel badly about it either. And you shouldn’t either. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 14 cloves garlic
* 1 1/2t kosher salt
* 1 1/2C vegetable oil
* juice if 1 large lemon
* 1-2T fresh parsley, chopped
* olive oil
* 1 package butternut squash ravioli
* crushed red pepper, for serving

WHAT TO DO
Add the garlic and salt to your food processor and pulse for 20-30 seconds or so at a time to purée, stopping in between to scrape the sides to make sure all the garlic is broken down. Stop when the texture is more of a paste.

With the food processor running, alternate pouring in the oil and the lemon juice slowly. Pour in a bit of oil, until fully blended, the squeeze in a bit of the lemon, allowing it, too, to be fully blended. Then repeat until all the oil and lemon juice have been added. Add the parsley and mix through to combine. 

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the raviolis in a single layer and fry lightly for a few minutes, flip, and fry on the other side for a few minutes more.

Reduce the heat to medium low and then add in a few scoops of the garlic sauce. Stir it in cared, letting it melt in and break down a bit, just 2 minutes or so. Serve immediately, sprinkled with a pinch of crushed red pepper.

Put the rest of the sauce in an airtight container and refrigerate. It’ll keep well if you don’t devour it! Spread on bread, mix in with salads instead of dressing, dip veggies in it, or fry up some more ravioli sauce to sauce with it! You’re welcome!

Made by Kid: 15-Minute Flatbreads

We’re heading out of town for the weekend, and My Tiny Sous Chef is going to hold down the fort at home with my parents. So I wanted to have an easy dinner we could make together quickly so we could also maximize our evening time together. These did all of that – fast, simple, and using infinitely interchangeable ingredients. Plus, as a bonus, My Tiny Sous Chef literally did everything but the oven parts on this, and was totally proud of herself. Which was just the perfect bonus. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDflatbreads3
* pre-made naan bread
* olive oil
* pre-cooked chicken sausage, cut into thin slices
* yellow pepper, diced
* red onion, diced
* leftovers of these potatoes, sliced
* shredded cheddar cheese (white and orange)
* goat cheese (optional)

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 300F.

Place the individual naans on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with a little olive oil. Then top with any combination of your topping ingredients, to your own liking. As an optional base, spread a thin layer of goat cheese on the naan instead of the olive oil, then top with the sausage and veggies.

flatbreads1

Bake for just enough time to warm the naan and melt the cheese. Remove from the oven and cut into portions.

flatbreads2

Total time is probably 15 minutes. While the flatbreads are in the oven, throw together a fresh salad, and voila! Dinner is served!

Meatless Monday: Roasted Veggie White Pizza

Maybe it doesn’t actually matter, but I couldn’t decide if I’d made a white pizza or a flatbread, and I rewrote the title of this post 6 times to that effect. Anyone? Read on and let me know in the end if I came to the right or wrong conclusion, would you? But I digress.

I’ve been making a lot of soups lately, as you know, but I was ready for something else on a Monday this week. If you Google or search on social media for the hashtag “MeatlessMonday” you get a lot of the same thing: soups, veggie bowls, quesadillas, hashes. I’ve done all those. I was trying to think of something I could pull together quickly that would also satisfy every customer at my table, and this little platter of veggie deliciousness is the end result. It really is easy and fast – no more than 30 minutes total, including prep. It’s also completely versatile. Use whatever veggies you love or that your diners will eat! Maybe calling it a pizza instead of a flatbread is actually perfect – because who can argue with pizza? It’ll sell itself! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* premade pizza dough (or you can make your own, but then it will take longer than 30 minutes, so it’s up to you!) – Pillsbury Pizza Dough or a bagged dough (like Trader Joe’s) are perfectwhitepizza6
* portobello mushrooms, sliced (you can sometimes find these already sliced at the grocery store – time savers FTW!)
* 1 small zucchini, sliced
* 1 small yellow pepper, sliced
* grape tomatoes, halved
* 1/2 a small red onion, sliced
* salt
* pepper
* olive oil
* 1/3-1/2C part-skim ricotta cheese
* a few teaspoons minced garlic
* grated Parmesan cheese
* shredded mozzarella cheese
* a few large fresh basil leaves, chopped

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 425F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and roll the pizza dough out onto it. Bake 8 minutes (or according to dough packaging instructions for prebaking).

While that is in the oven, prepare your veggies and add them to a roasting pan or on a second baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil – just a tablespoon or two at the most – and sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste over all of the veggies. When the dough is done pre-baking, swap out the trays and roast the vegetables about 6 minutes.

whitepizza1

While the veggies are roasting, spread the ricotta cheese over the dough, and then dot the cheese with minced garlic (as much or as little as you prefer). As soon as the veggies are done, spread them out across the dough. You will have extras, but who couldn’t use some already roasted vegetables? Add them to a salad or just warm them up for a side dish another night during the week!

Top the vegetables with some Parmesan (about 1/8 of a cup or so should do), and then some mozzarella (same amount, 1/8 of a cup), then sprinkle the chopped basil on top.

whitepizza2

Cook for 8 minutes, cut into squares, and serve. And there you go.

(So… what say you? Pizza or Flatbread?)