Sunday, March 11, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Asparagus

This is another yummy treat! I love new ways to flavor my veggies that don't mess wtih their original taste too much and don't add too many calories or other icky stuff :)

1 bunch of aspargus, ends trimmed
balsamic vinegar
lemon juice
olive oil
chopped garlic

Alright, if you didn't already know this, the best way to trim your aspargus ends are to snap off the bottom inch or two. DON'T cut it, this can mean you're not getting all of the tough part off. If it doesn't snap easily as you bend it, try bending a little further up.

Okay... so trim and rinse your asparagus and put it in a 9x13 glass dish. Preheat the oven to 450. In a small bowl, mix your other ingredients. I didn't measure... I just eye-balled it. Here's what I can tell you, you want equal parts oil and vinegar but less lemon juice then vinegar. You only want enough to lightly coat your aspargus. Add as much garlic as your heart desires... or your tastebuds! Whichever works really. So, mix this as well as you can and drizzle over asparagus in pan. Use a spatula to toss well and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing it again half way through.

I am thinking this would work really well with green beans too. Also, if you desired, after stirring half way through you could sprinkle some bread crumbs on top, finish baking then broil for a minute or so til they're brown and crisp on top!

Balsamic Chicken in the Crock Pot

This is by far one of my new favorite recipes! It has a tremendous amount of flavor and texture as well as a great color that makes it wonderful for dishing up for guests! On a side note, don't let the balsamic vinegar scare you off. It does have a slightly ominous name and the term "vinegar" doesn't sound appetizing to most but this is another "trust me" moment! The vinegar taste cooks off and leaves the hearty, sweet flavor that balsamic vinegar has over other varieties of vinegar! Did I mention it's also a light dish... ya buddy!

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
olive oil
2 cans of italian style diced tomatos undrained
1 onion sliced very thinly (not chopped!)
5-6 garlic cloves (If they're extra large, be sure to cut them in half)
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
a sprinkle of italian seasonings

Alright, drizzle your crock pot with olive oil. Place trimmed chicken inside. Top with onion and garlic. Sprinkle seasonings. Cover with vinegar and then pour your cans of tomatos on top! Cook on low for 5-6 hours but NO LONGER! THis has a very thin sauce so your chicken will dry up quickly if left to cook much longer!

*side note* I have started to lightly sauté the onions before putting them in the crock pot.  It adds more flavor and ensures they are soft at serving time

This meal is great served with some of the tomato and onion on top of the chicken as well as a heaping scoop of the sauce and veggies served over some angel hair pasta with a sprinkle of fresh grated parm! Any green veggies pairs well but I really recommend you try the roasted balsamic asparagus I have on here!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cauliflower Pasta

I made this dish last night and I am amazed by the simplicity of it! I am also now obsessed with roasted veggies and pasta, they come together for sucha wonderful, light pasta dish. I wish initially a little worried about not having a "sauce" but the flavor from the roasted veggies is delicious! You can always swap out the veggies in this recipe with some of your own. Also, I made some changes to the original Marth Stewart recipe and I'm posting this recdipe as I made it. However, after I making it, I found some mkore adjustments that should be made, I'll add those at the end :)

1 large head of cauliflower (cut into florets with very little stem attached)

1 small red onion cut into wedges

5-7 whole garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half

2 TBSP olive oil (plus 1 more additional TBSP)

salt and pepper to taste

lemon juice

1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped fresh grated parm 1/4-1/2 cup

bread crumbs

12 oz pasta

Preheat oven to 475, be sure you have a rack on the bottom or 2nd to bottom position. Toss your fresh veggies with 2 TBSP of olive oil and salt and pepper. I also just bought some greek seasoning and used some of that as well (yummy). Add some lemon juice too. Put these on a baking sheet and bake at 475 for 20 minutes, stirring once.

Boil some water and cook your pasta. I chose to try out some gluten free brown rice macaroni noodles and I was amazed by them! They are a healthier option then regular ol' noodles and personlly, I'm not a fan of whole wheat. I also think 12 oz was too much, I'd try more like 8 oz or double the veggies. Be sure to reserve 1/2 cup of water when you drain the noodles.

Okay, so now, toss your pasta with veggies, fresh parm, (I also added some more greek seasoning), 1 TBSP of olive oil, a little lemon juice and reserved water (you might not need all of the water, just enough to coat everything). Sprinkle each serving with some breadcrumbs and additonal parm.

I paired this with some Nearly Naked Chicken breasts but it could be served as a main course as well. Enjoy! (Sorry for the stolen picture, I just had to share this recipe and didn't have one of my own)