Tag Archives: veggies

Quinoa linguine with butternut squash, spinach, shallots and artichoke hearts

I have been thinking about a lot of things as usual. One of which is going veg again.

Also, Lent is coming up and traditionally Christians fast from animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, fish, etc.) during this time (this Sunday is meat fare Sunday, the last time traditional practicing Christians can have meat and I think next Sunday is cheese fare Sunday, the last Sunday for dairy products before Easter). We still aren’t sure if we are participating in this, this particular year, but we are thinking about it.

Doing more research on the food industry just really has me bummed out about meat especially. I have been watching YouTube video interviews with Jonathan Saffron Foer, author of Eating Animals, and I really like some of the stuff he says like, how it doesn’t have to be all or nothing and how vegetarians need not be on some extreme end of the spectrum. How reducing the amount of meat we eat, even if just one meal a week, can make a big impact on the industry.

Plus, eating meat, touching it, and all that has been really hard for me much of this pregnancy. Often the texture just really turns me off. In the case of red meat, I feel like I can often taste the blood (that is the only way I know to describe it, hope it makes sense). Meat just leaves me feeling so gross most of the time.

But consequently there is the whole importance of protein during pregnancy and how it is really, really hard to get up to Dr. Bradley’s recommended 80g or more per day even when you are eating meat. I know I feel better when I get close and really focus on it, but focusing on it can be a little maddening.

Then there is the frustration in week after week seeing a lot of our CSA produce going to waste or building to seemingly insurmountable levels in our fridge. I was thankful that our mini-vacation meant not getting more produce this week.

I still don’t know all the answers to these questions and thoughts, but here is a recipe that is vegetarian, gluten-free, yummy, uses produce currently in season and is filling.

Quinoa linguine with butternut squash, spinach, shallots and artichoke hearts

-2 small butternut squash peeled and chopped
-a bunch of spinach, stems removed
-2 large shallots, chopped
-2 baby artichokes, trimmed and chopped (I also think marinated artichoke hearts might work well in this recipe, but you’d obviously skip the step of boiling them)
-1/2 box of Ancient Harvest Quinoa linguine
-handful of fresh parsley, chopped
-salt and black pepper to taste
-dash of red pepper flakes
-a dribble of apple cider vinegar
-olive oil
-cheddar or Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. Chop and peel your butternut squash. Place in a bowl and toss to coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast in oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile start a small pot of water boiling. Trim and chop your artichokes then place in boiling water. Boil until tender.

While that is going remove the stems from the spinach and rinse it. Once the artichoke hearts are done pour the boiling water and artichokes over the spinach to wilt it. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Start a large pot of salted water to boil for your pasta. When it comes to a boil add pasta and cook according to package directions.

The squash should finish soon. Add that in with the spinach and artichoke hearts.

After draining pasta, return the empty pot to the burner, reduce it slightly. Add a couple gluts of olive oil to the pot along with the shallots, more salt and pepper, the red pepper and the apple cider vinegar. Stir occasionally and sauté the shallots until tender.

While the shallots are cooking, cut up the parsley. Toss it in right at the end along with the other vegetables and the pasta. Add more olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

Serve and grate cheese over the top if desired.

This made enough for all four of us with leftovers for one tomorrow. An easy way to have it make more would be to use the whole box of pasta, add in more artichokes, etc.


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Don’t turn your back…

…while the veg monster is on the loose. If you leave your CSA veg out, they may disappear into the depths of her belly.

When we came into the house yesterday after picking up our CSA veg, I needed to check my messages on the computer really quick because I was waiting for one from somebody. So I set the bag of veg down by the fridge and let the kids play for a few minutes before I was going to make dinner. Next thing I know Bean is trying to shove a carrot in Sprout’s mouth while chopping on one herself. Because these things were straight from the farm she basically had a mud pie on her face and dress. She didn’t want to give up that carrot though so I cleaned it, peeled it and let her munch on it the rest of the night until we got to Bible study and the host family’s dog decided it wanted the remnants.

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Best of Both Worlds Lasagne

If you want to be a vegetarian, you kind of have to like vegetables. Like a lot. Obviously.

As many of you know, I have been one off and on over the years. So I definitely like my veggies. When it comes to many dishes, I usually like the version with extra veggies over the meat version.

My husband on the other hand is an, “eater of meat,” as he puts it. Definitely a carnivore. Tends to complain when I make a meal that doesn’t include meat. If he doesn’t complain, he doesn’t go back for seconds or chow down on the leftovers the next day, for sure.

Since I do like meat in addition to my veggies, I sometimes am torn between which version of stuff I should partake in. You know the situation… you’re at an event with lots of people and lots of food and there is a veggie pizza and a meat pizza, veggie/cheese enchiladas and chicken enchiladas, etc. Often I don’t want to choose so I end up eating way too much because I have to have a little of both.

Well, that is where this lasagne recipe comes in. It combines the two so you don’t have to choose! It definitely isn’t really gourmet either because I used preshredded cheese and store-bought sauce as a base. You could fancy it up and make everything from complete scratch if you wanted to though.

Best of Both Worlds Lasagne

-1 jar Pomodoro Rustico sauce from TJs
-2 sweet Italian sausage links
-1 cup bell peppers, chopped
-1 cup frozen artichoke hearts, chopped
-1 cup carrots, chopped
-2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
-1 box lasagne noodles
-1 bag shredded mozarella
-some shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook sausage links over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and chop into small pieces.

Add carrots to pan and cook until softened. Return sausage to the pan and add sauce, artichoke hearts, and bell pepper. Cook until warmed through.

Any Italian will tell you that you have to taste the sauce during the cooking process. It really is just a must. Bean was hanging out with me in the kitchen while I was cooking and in an effort to make her feel involved, I let her taste test the sauce. Doing this with her brought back so many memories as a kid getting to taste test the sauce with my dad.

She’s saying “hot”.


Next you’ll want to layer your ingredients in a big casserole dish.

Sauce on the bottom so that the pasta doesn’t stick…

…uncooked pasta next…

…another layer of sauce and then some of your spinach leaves…

…the cheeses…

…and on and on until you get a full pan like this.

Bake covered for 40 minutes and then uncovered for another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and enjoy.

If I ever want to become a serious food/recipe blogger, I’m going to have to get better at plating my food.


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Helping Mommy in the kitchen or how to get your kid to eat Brussels Sprouts

I’ve read time and time again that the best way to get your kids interested in food is to have them help you in the kitchen. Stephen and I have constantly worried about kitchen safety and mostly keep Bean out of there. I just don’t want her to get hurt because she got into something or accidentally got underfoot.

However, I’ll admit it can be a bit hectic and frustrating when I am cooking each night to have Bean going into a meltdown because she’s bored and left out of what’s going on in the kitchen.

So tonight I decided that I could come up with a way for her to help and still keep her safe. I created a little work station for her and had her place cut up items on a cookie sheet. It was so much fun and she was so cute to watch getting excited over food and helping me.

Ack! The coloration is so off on this photo, but it’s my only proof. I forgot to reset my white balance when I first started shooting and I was already done with the Brussels Sprouts by the time I realized it. She was totally munching on the raw Brussels Sprouts!

So this was our little system… I’d cut stuff up and hand it to her…

Then she would take it over… (usually snacking along the way)

…and place them on the cookie sheet.

Assessing her work and feeling very accomplished.

“Hi Mama. You don’t mind…

…if I snack a little while I help, do you?”

The taste of victory…

Brussels Sprouts!

OK, as you can see from the photos she mainly played with the finished product, but she did eat a couple leaves off one. 🙂

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Fish and Vegetable Packets

This is super easy and healthy and yummy. My daughter even ate her veggies when I made this.

-Fillets of white fish. I used wild caught Alaskan Cod that I picked up in the freezer section at TJs.
-2 tbsp orange juice
-1 bag fresh cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots (also from TJs)
-olive oil

Preheat oven to 450.

Lay out some foil large enough to make a packet around all your ingredients.

Place veggies on foil. Drizzle with olive oil and orange juice, season with salt.

Place fish on top. Season with salt, pepper and dill.

Close up foil around your pile of ingredients.

Place in oven for 20 minutes.


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Herby Chicken and Veggies

About a month ago I heard about an organic produce co-op through the homeschool group I started to get involved with in Bakersfield. I checked it out and the prices were very reasonable. I was also excited because they not only had drop locations in Bakersfield, they also had one in Simi Valley which is really close to where we were going to be moving.

Of course I couldn’t keep my excitement to myself and so I told Ruth and Cara about it too. We decided to work it out so that we would take turns picking up the produce each weekend.

This weekend was my first weekend picking up the produce. However, Cara was getting ready to go on a vacation so she actually gave me some of her extras from the week before as well. Saturday morning I steamed a few of the carrots and put them in the food processor for Bean. It was quite the task restraining myself from eating the whole lot of it myself. I seriously have never tasted better carrots in my life.

Among the veggies that Cara gave me was one of the biggest leeks I have ever seen! So tonight I combined a bit of it with some of the carrots, some potatoes I already had and a couple chicken breasts I got at Whole Foods.

Stephen is SUCH a meat eater normally, but we actually wound up splitting a chicken breast and mostly eating veggies. He said, “I have never really liked veggies, but those were some of the best tasting veggies I’ve ever had.” Freshness seriously makes all the difference.

Anyway, here’s the recipe for what we had tonight. Hope you enjoy them!

Herby Chicken and Veggies
-2 chicken breasts
-3 red potatoes
-2 large carrots
-about half of a giant leek
-4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
-1-2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
-olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Chop your veggies and herbs. Layer chopped veggies in the bottom of a roasting pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle herbs, salt and pepper over them. Salt and pepper chicken breasts. Place on bed of veggies. Drizzle olive oil over the entire dish.

Place in oven and bake 1 hr 15 min or until chicken is no longer pink and potatoes are tender.


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Pasta Primavera

It’s kind of weird referring to myself as “Gourmet Lisa”. While I have been able to pull off a complicated dish or two, I’m far from being a gourmet chef. My best friend gave me that nickname I think because I actually cook.

I find that cooking is a lot less complex than people make it out to be. It’s fun and creative.

Last night I made a super easy spring dish that anyone could make and the total cook/prep time was something like 20 minutes. It made enough to serve four, but you could easily add more veggies and pasta to serve more people. You could also add cubed chicken, turkey or ham for some protein. Feel free to change out the veggies based on your likes/dislikes or what you happen to have on hand. Hope this helps some of you trying to figure out an easy, tasty meal for dinner.

Pasta Primavera
● 1 snack pack baby carrots
● 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends broken off
● 1/3 cup frozen peas
● about a handful or two of fresh broccoli florets
● 1 1/2 to 2 cups dried pasta of your choice
● 1/4 cup alfredo sauce (I used store bought, but you could certainly make your own)
● 1/4 cup milk
● 1 tsp olive oil
● 1 clove garlic, pressed

Cook pasta according to package directions. I happen to have a big pot with a steamer insert that goes on top so I steamed the broccoli and carrots on top of the cooking pasta. If you don’t have one of these, steam the broccoli and carrots separately. You could even microwave them if you want. The veggies should be just tender and not mushy. My pasta directions said 9 minutes and this was the perfect amount of time for the veggies too.

While pasta and veggies are cooking, brown garlic in olive oil in medium pan. Add peas and asparagus. Cook until asparagus is just tender. Remove from heat

Drain pasta and mix with all of the vegetables. Stir milk and alfredo sauce into the steaming dish. This will create a light alfredo flavor without overwhelming the vegetables. I did it this way because Stephen’s slight lactose intolerance can’t always handle alfredo sauce (and I LOVE alfredo sauce). If you prefer more sauce or a thicker sauce feel free to add more and/or leave out the milk.


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