Pasta e Fagioli

{i <3 soups}

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Fall has officially started, on the calendar and weather-wise.  I love hot hot days (preferably by a pool or beach), but I also love the beginning of fall.  To me, it seems like a cozy time of the year.  Jeans & a sweatershirt, soups, candles, and colorful leaves.  Clearly I already embraced the fall flavors when I made my Apple Cinnamon Bread and I plan to continue experimenting with them more and more.

Last weekend, we took our annual trip to the apple orchard which has become one of my favorite annual traditions.  We got to pick all types of apples, it was a great weekend to go!  My thinking cap for apple recipes is still on and I hope to post some new recipes on them soon.

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Since I started my blog, soups have appeared several times.  I believe in one post I talked about how I disliked them growing up.  There are endless recipes for all different kinds of soups, I can’t imagine how one can dislike them.  Typically, my soups are brothy or creamy so I decided to try a different base with a tomato sauce.  In addition, I never have tried to make an Italian soup before.  I wanted to create something meatless for Monday and this can be made meatless, but I really liked the heartiness and spiciness of the sausage.  Feel free to leave it out, but double your beans if you do (2-15oz cans).

I think my food hiatus has come to end and my food love is back again… for now… if you read my last post, you are aware that my food and cooking enthusiasm comes and goes.  So stay tuned for more recipes and not so doughie tidbits.  Oh and hey!  Great news!  My blog’s 1st birthday is next TUESDAY – you will really want to read then because I have a little giveaway going on!

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pasta e fagioli
Recipe by: Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme: 15 minutes   |||   Servings: 4  |||   Difficulty: Low

Ingredients
4 oz (3 links) hot turkey sausage
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 cups organic, low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup organic tomato sauce
1 cup uncooked whole wheat pasta shells
1/2 cup Romano cheese, shredded + more for garnish
1 can (15oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Directions
1.  Cooked pasta according to directions on box, cooking al dente.  Set aside.
2.  In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Cut the casing off of the sausage and add to the pain.  Use a wooden spoon to break apart the sausage.
3.  Add the garlic and oregano once the sausage is nearly cooked and saute about 2 minutes.
4.  Add the chicken broth, water, and tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil.
5.  Stir in the beans, cheese, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, pasta, salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes.
6.  Serve with additional cheese and fresh parsley.

Enjoy!

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Grilled Corn & Kale Salad

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Hey everyone!  Happy Tuesday!  I am excited to announce that I will be a recipe contributor to A Dose of Paige.  What does that mean?  Well, you may remember when Paige & I swapped blogs a while back.  She shared a DIY for spices jar labels & I shared a DIY homemade taco seasoning on her blog.  We loved doing the swap and both had a ton of great feedback from our readers.  That being said, she asked if I would contribute a monthly recipe to her blog.

Be sure to check out her blog every 3rd week of the month for a delicious dose of Paige.  June’s pilot recipe features a lot of fresh ingredients while using the grill.  Grilled Sweet Corn & Kale Salad!  Yum.  Sweet & smokey corn, crunchy kale, juicy tomatoes.  Have I got you intrigued yet?  Head over to her blog to get all the details:

A dose of Paige:  Grilled sweet corn & kale salad

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Spaghetti with Kale Pesto

Hi everyone!  Happy Tuesday :)  My blogger friend, Becca at Two Places at Once contacted me to do a guest post on her blog while she is off getting married.  If you’ve been a frequent reader, you will remember that we did a swap back in February.  Blueberry Scones on this blog & Steamed Mussels on hers.  Of course, I didn’t pass up the opportunity to appear on her blog.

I love pesto, but my basil plant is not yet producing enough leaves so I put a spin on it & tried kale!  It was super delicious so head over to Two Places at Once to see my post & the recipe!

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Open Faced Greek Burger

{summertime burger}

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This is my second Sunday in a row that I made a Greek-inspired dish.  I don’t know what it is, but Not So Doughie can’t get enough of all the fresh flavors.  Today, I made a Greek Quinoa Salad that I will be sharing in a few posts!

Last weekend we (not me) went camping at a nearby campground.  The boys stayed the night, but I headed home for a comfortable sleep in my own bed.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind camping and can do the whole sleeping on the ground thing, but the tent was small & it wasn’t in my cards for the night.  Anyways, we bought some ground beef to make some burgers over the campfire for Chase (I opted for grilled shrimp, Bryan, hot dogs).

We had some beef leftover so Sunday night Bryan and I had a make-your-own-burger night.  He concocted some Asian inspired spicy burger while I created this delicious and fresh Greek burger.  This is a great burger for summer.  It is light (go bunless or use just the bottom portion), refreshing, and quick to prepare.  Reduce the calories a bit more by using ground chicken or turkey.

Burgers and hot dogs are staples in my family’s summertime dinner rotation, but sometimes we have to switch up the flavors so we don’t get burned out.  Throughout the summer, I plan to create some healthier, globally-inspired burgers.  First up on the list, my Open Faced Greek Burgers.

Open Faced Greek Burgers

Recipe By:  Sara
Prep Time:  15 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  7-10 minutes   |||   Servings: 4 |||   Difficult Level:  Low/Medium

Ingredients:
For the burgers:
1lb ground beef (or chicken/turkey)
4 tsp fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
4-5 basil leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp Marrakesh Za’atar
salt & pepper
4 tomato slices
red onion, thinly sliced
feta cheese
4 burger buns, bottoms only

For the cucumbers:
1 cucumber, small diced
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 Tbsp white or rice vinegar
1 Tbsp dill, chopped
1 Tbsp red onion, minced
salt and pepper

Directions
1.  In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the burger.
2.  Use hands to thoroughly mix together.  Do not over handle.
3.  Heat grill to medium and once warmed place burger over direct heat.
4.  Cook for 3 minutes and then flip burger.
5.  Cook an additional 4 minutes for a medium rare.
6.  Top with feta cheese and cook an additional minute or two.
7.  In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cucumber salad.  Keep in fridge until ready to serve.
8.  Place a small but of cucumber on the bun.  Top with burger –> tomato –> cucumber –> red onion.

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Strawberry Tomato Basil Salad

{deconstructed tomato mozzarella}

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It baffles me knowing that when I was younger I hated cheese.  I really don’t understand people who don’t like it.  It is one of the items I would take with me on a deserted island (given the island is thriving with assorted fruits and veggies).  I blame a portion of a little excess weight gain solely on cheese.  The devil, I swear.  It tastes just so damn good.  The whole lot:  cheddar, blue, mozzarella, brie, parmesan – I love them all.

I always thought fresh mozzarella was one of the more gross looking cheeses.  Soft, white, jiggly pieces.  They often made an appearance throughout my life and I always avoided the creepy things.  Until one day, I decided at a family Christmas party I would give it a try (this was in the midst of my growing cheese obsession).  Needless to say, I think I ate the entire platter with sliced tomatoes – something I have always loved.

Remember when I did the love your lunch series?  I shared a quick lunch idea for a Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread.  I’m pretty sure I spilled my love for this amazing combination in that post.  It has only since grown as the weather warms and sometimes just a light little lunch or dinner is needed.  After eating a late lunch the other day, I wanted to come home and prepare something very simple, quick and light.  I was craving a Tomato Mozzarella salad, but didn’t have any mozzarella on hand.  I scrounged the fridge for what I had and set to work reconstructing a unique version of my beloved salad.

Enter the characters:  Sweet, plump strawberries.  Tart tomatoes.  Refreshing basil.  Creamy feta.

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I started by halving the strawberries and dicing the tomatoes.  I cut the basil into julienned ribbons and mixed the three together.  A simple balsamic honey dressing was drizzled over and topped with the feta cheese.  The sweet, salty, and tart flavors create a great combination.  This salad can be made to serve at a BBQ or as a simple lunch or side dish.

strawberry tomato basil Salad

Recipe By: Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  0 minutes   |||   Servings: 2 |||   Difficult Level:  Low

Ingredients:
1 cup strawberries, halved
1 cup tomatoes, diced
6-7 large basil leaves, julienned *see photos*
1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper
dash of cayenne pepper

Directions:
1.  In a bowl, combine the strawberries, tomato and basil.  Stir to combine.
2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil and honey.  Season with salt and peppers.
3.  Pour over strawberries and tomatoes, stir to combine.
4.  Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.

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#LoveYourLunch – Caprese Flatbread

{the ultimate trio}

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Welcome back to yet another week of Love Your Lunch!  Marisa & I are excited to have Becca on board now for the series.  Now there are three different ideas for some great, yet simple lunches.  Think how easy it is going to be to start loving your lunch!  We post our 3 ideas.  You read it.  You go to the store the following Sunday, gathering all ingredients listed.  You have 3 days of amazing lunches!

Head over to their blogs to check out what is on their lunch menus:
Two Places at Once
Cooking Like Lou

Not going to lie, last week I was hating my lunch.  My Sweet Peach & Arugula Salad was great, but that’s as far as I got last week.  The other days consisted of random items from the fridge.  I was determined to focus on more lunch items while grocery shopping yesterday instead of intense dinners.  I seriously find myself having a much better day when I know my delicious lunch awaits me around 1:00.

I tend to avoid a lot of carbs for lunch because I end up feeling bloated and too full the rest of the day.  This is not a feeling I want to have while scrambling around & being busy.  That being said, I really enjoy the flatbread created by “Flat Out”.  They are low in calories, not so cardboard-y, and quite flavorful.  The Italian is probably my favorite, but the Multigrain one [see below] keeps me full & not snacking post-lunch.  It contains flax which is an added bonus.  Another plus, I always see them on sale for 2 for $5.00.

IMG_3773I usually use them as wraps liked pictured on their bag, but today I decided to keep it flat & make myself a Caprese Flatbread.  Only a few simple ingredients are needed and I made it in about 3 minutes flat, pun intended.

IMG_3774Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil.  My favorite trio.  I most likely have mentioned it around this blog once or twice before.  My craving and love grows even more as the weather warms.  A pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and sweet olive oil bring the whole thing together.

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Feel free to warm the flatbread in the microwave – however, I have a feeling the tomatoes could make the bread soggy.  The flatbread is easily cut into fourths and stored in a Tupperware for a portable on-the-go lunch.

CAPRESE FLATBREAD

Servings:  1 flatbread   ///   Prep Time:  3 minutes

Ingredients
4-5 tomato slices
4-5 slices of fresh mozzarella [try it smoked!]
2 Tbsp fresh basil, Julienned
1 Multigrain Flat Out bread
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parmesan cheese [optional]
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  Use a brush or spoon to spread the olive oil over the bread.
2.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.
3.  Top with tomato, basil, & mozzarella.
4.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
5.  Slice & enjoy.

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Tomato & Goat Cheese Endive Cups

{healthy & vibrant snack}

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As you know, I am a big snack & appetizer fan.  Sometimes I get really sad when out to dinner if I accidentally max out on the appetizers.  No room for dinner!  However, it is really hard to pass up appetizers so I try to opt for healthy, less filling ones.

When we go out Bryan and I are always suckers for mussels or seared Ahi tuna bites.  If I am not having seafood for dinner, these are my go-to appetizers.  I am never left full and ready for dessert.  Veggie appetizers are few and far between so I have been experimenting with some ideas.

I have been compiling a list of some apps that I would like to serve when I host a Sip Happens party.  I am all about balance… a protein app, a sweet app, sweet & savory combo app, veggie app etc.  Since I am on a healthy and clean eating kick, using the endive leaves as scoops instead of crackers makes for a low carb, practically calorie free alternative.

This appetizer is a beautiful one to present with its vibrant colors.  The mixture can easily be adapted to your likes as well.  I love tomatoes anytime of the year so that was the main veg here.  I paired it with creamy goat cheese and thyme.  As summertime approaches, I will definitely be making this again as a caprese version!

tomato & goat cheese endive cups

Recipe by: Doughie
Hands on time:  15 minutes   ///  Servings:  about 18

Ingredients
3 endive bunches
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup of goat cheese crumbles
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp Agave nectar (or honey)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  In a bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, thyme and spices.
2.  Drizzle over the tomatoes.  Refrigerate until serving.
3.  Gently, remove each endive leave for the core.
4.  Add the goat cheese to the tomato mixture.
5.  Spoon a bit into each endive cup.
6.  Serve immediately.

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