Posts Tagged 'pasta'

Chickpea and Pasta Salad

Life is about to get real.  I worked every day last week making copies, planning lessons, and prepping my room but now the school year and marathon training are starting and I’m going to have 240 students (and all their work) to keep track of.

It’s a good thing I like to be busy.

The key to the next couple months is going to be PREPARATION.  No more dawdling around all morning and then deciding to go on a leisurely stroller run at 11 AM.  No more abandoning meal planning because I can drop by the grocery store (it’s around the corner) any time I feel like it.  Time will be precious and there is a LOT to squeeze in now!  I need to get everything done and make sure I have time to hang out with my favorite people.

Right now my bike is set up on its trainer, my outfit for the work day is ready to go, and my lunch is packed. I’ve talked about my Sunday prep before, but I’m back at it again now (today I baked tofu and cooked up a ton of quinoa).  It took me awhile to realize it, but I’m able to get so much more done when my schedule is heavily booked, so I’m actually looking forward to having so much on my plate.

The beauty of this salad is that it’s quick to prepare, and it’s great to make ahead for lunches throughout the week.  It’s a little lacking in fresh vegetables, so I serve it over a big bed of greens (unpictured) for a healthy one-bowl meal.


Avocado and Dill Pasta Salad

I have found the dish I want to bring to every potluck from now on.

Except I don’t really go to potlucks. But if I did, I’d bring this always.  So full of vegetables, and the dressing is INSANE (in a good way).

It has been one heck of a week.  On Monday, I turned 28.  There was Chinese food, great friends and so much cake (funfetti with pink frosting, perfect for a 28 year old).

Alyssa and I decided the cake must be magic, because we both had AMAZING runs on Tuesday. She busted out some crazy fast mile repeats, and I did a 6 mile run with 4 tempo miles all under 7:00 min/mile!

We started a space unit at school, and this week the kids made Alka Seltzer rockets. I love my job.

Today I went for my second run of the week (I guess I’m going for quality, not quantity at the moment) and ended up doing 4.5 miles at 7:30 min/mile. It didn’t even feel that hard! I don’t know where this speed came from– or if it will stick around — but I like it.

I just made a few changes to this salad as it was originally written on Ashley’s beautiful blog. I served it over a bed of mixed sprouts, which was heavenly, and I left the sweetener out of the dressing. There are so many little tweaks you can make to personalize it!


Lemon and Roasted Asparagus Risotto-Style Orzo

Even though I started Saturday morning with a four hour math test, I grade this weekend A+++.  Perfect weather, good coffee, lots of time with Mike and Ellie, a run and brunch with good friends, and a lot of time in the kitchen; that’s pretty tough to beat.

We went to Hayes Valley on Saturday afternoon and got lattes at Ritual 

The people watching (and the DOG watching!) was fantastic and as always, the lattes were divine.  I’m not sure what Ellie was so focused on, but there was definitely a lot to look at.

Sunday morning started with a trip to the East Bay to meet up with a bunch of my favorite people for a run followed by brunch.

6 leisurely miles with Courtney felt a lot harder than it should have (and my right knee/hip were a little cranky) but it was soooo nice to run in the warm sun for a change.  I’m going to spend a lot of quality time with my foam roller this week, and within the next few weeks, I need to start a training plan for the San Francisco Marathon 2nd Half.  I’m hoping to smash my PR (1:39ish right now), but I haven’t picked a plan yet.  Anyone have suggestions?

I’m making the most of asparagus season, buying a bunch of it every week and roasting it to either eat plain or incorporate into our dinner.  I made this dish with whole-wheat orzo cooked like risotto (by adding a ladle of broth and stirring until it was absorbed), which is a little time-consuming but totally worth it.  A little lemon juice and zest, and a bunch of roasted asparagus make it perfect for Spring.

It’s great alongside my new favorite salad: lettuce, toasted almonds, red bell pepper, and goat cheese with a simple vinaigrette.


(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

Kale and White Bean Pasta

I don’t think I ever ate kale when I was growing up, but I ADORE it now.  Raw in salad or smoothies, cooked with pasta or in soup, it’s great.  Lets not kid ourselves, though.  If given a choice between a plate of kale or a brownie, I’ll probably take the brownie.  But when I’m going for healthy, kale is near the top of my list.

Also, I’ve been pondering lately.  Which is worse, a blogger who posts too many pictures of herself, or too many pictures of her baby?  Because I feel I’m dangerously close to too-many-pictures-of-the-baby territory.  But I guess that’s better than a million pictures of me, right?  Or I could always go back to just pictures of the food like I did in the early days, but that wasn’t very much fun, so hey, here’s another picture of Ellie!

She’s wearing the hat I made for her this weekend from this pattern. Cables are fun.

The giant wall of pasta at my favorite grocery store has SO much good stuff. This week we picked up some really cool-shaped farro pasta.

I browned some onions, added garlic, white beans, kale, raisins, and pine nuts, then tossed it all with the pasta and a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan.

And in case two days of kale in a row is too healthy for you, I have some awesome cookies ready to share next!


Broccoli White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

I ran TWO DAYS in a row! Without screaming in pain, without making my hip worse, and without going crazy and pushing myself way too hard.

I was signed up for a trail race in Pacifica on Saturday morning, and all week I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to happen. BUT after the success of Friday’s treadmill run, I decided to go for it. It was only 9 KM, but it was a ton of fun.

The VERY tiny, very informal start (my race had 38 people in it). Right from the beginning I was the second woman, but the third place woman caught me on the first downhill. Once we started climbing again, I passed her and was feeling really strong.  I was tempted to stop and take pictures because the views over the park and out toward the ocean were beautiful, but the competitor in me would not let that happen.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve been doing a million squats with Jillian Michaels or going to spin more, but my legs felt so strong and I never felt tempted to walk. At the top of the second hill, I knew it was entirely downhill to the finish so I tried to just let go and fly down without falling and breaking my face. I definitely need to practice downhills because I’m pretty timid.

I finished in 54:58, second female and tenth overall. The finish line was just as casual as the start.

The trails were in amazingly good shape considering the nonstop rain we had all week. It was also pretty nice to only have a 20 minute drive home. I had a nice pancake breakfast with Mike while Ellie sat in the high chair and talked nonstop.

We spent the afternoon browsing at a thrift store in the East Bay. There’s nothing more fun than scoping out four dollar jackets with a baby strapped to you. I actually found a fun vintage jacket that I’ll debut once it’s back from the dry cleaners.

As the day wound down, it was pretty clear that comfort food was needed.  I put a lot of broccoli into this, and used brown rice pasta (but any small pasta will work).  I don’t normally buy white cheddar, but it caught my eye the other day and it worked perfectly here.


Vegetable-filled Mac and Cheese

Last week was awesome in so many ways. I worked out every morning but one (LOVE getting in and out of the gym by 7 AM!), I went to work in my classroom and things are pretty much all set to go, I saw a bunch of my favorite students from last year, and I FINALLY ordered a decal for the nursery! It should be here in about 5 days (it’s coming from Canada), and I will most certainly post a picture the second it’s up.

I also made this mac and cheese, absolutely full of vegetables, and we both loved it. I think the secret to this recipe’s success is that it doesn’t try to get too healthy. There’s still lots of cheese and carbs, but the vegetables really add great flavor and texture. It feels like comfort food, but with the added bonus of spinach, kale, and broccoli.

I served it with what I’m pretty sure is the best salad I’ve made all summer. Red leaf lettuce, halved red grapes, toasted slivered almonds, and goat cheese with honey-balsamic dressing. I want to eat this dinner again right now!

(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook)

3 cups elbow-shaped pasta (I used brown rice pasta)
1 tbsp butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 tsp salt
black pepper
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
1 cup roughly chopped fresh kale
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup yogurt
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium. Add the onions and saute until soft, 4-5 minutes.

Add the garlic, mushrooms, and broccoli and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and kale and continue cooking until they are tender. Stir in the salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

While you’re sauteeing the vegetables, boil the pasta according to package directions, then drain and put in a large bowl.

Add the vegetables, cottage cheese, yogurt, and about 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Mix well, then spread in a 13 x 9″ pan, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until heated through.

White Bean Pesto Pasta

Yesterday I pretty much had cooking block AND writer’s block all day long. Not good. It turned around with some Dry Soda, though.

I hardly ever drink soda anymore, but when I saw RHUBARB (one of my favorite things) flavored soda at the store this weekend I immediately bought a bottle. It’s lightly sweetened with cane sugar (not corn syrup, yay), and has a subtle rhubarb flavor. I can’t wait to try some of their other flavors. (I bought it with my own money and the company has no idea I’m writing this)

Also making me happy right now? Baby clothes!

Everything in her wardrobe has now been washed and hung up in the closet. Hurry up, kid, there are some really cute outfits waiting for you!

And finally, I started a new book and I’m already completely obsessed.

I’m only about 30 pages in (I started right before bed last night but am planning on doing a LOT more reading today) but the story is fascinating and I can’t wait to read more.

The HUGE bunch of basil I bought at the farmers market last week still had plenty of leaves on it even after my numerous caprese salads, so I decided it was time to make pesto. But not just any pesto…

A lot of the time, Mike and I are on the same page when I make dinner: either we both like it, or we both don’t. This dinner, however, appealed much more to me than it did to Mike. It definitely isn’t as creamy as if it had been a pesto cream sauce, but white beans (to me, at least) are a great stand in, plus I love that they provide some extra fiber and protein. When I make it again, I might add some pine nuts (I completely forgot to) to up the richness just a little bit, but I thought the basil, lemon, and garlic provided plenty of flavor.

1 pound pasta (I used brown rice pasta)
2 cups white (navy) beans (drain but reserve the liquid)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
3 cups broccoli florets, steamed (optional)

To make the pesto, combine the white beans, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add reserved bean liquid as needed to get a creamy sauce, then add olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain.

Toss the pasta with some of the pesto sauce (you probably won’t need all of it) and broccoli, and heat over low heat, stirring often, to warm through.

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I have no shame. It’s my birthday and I’m celebrating it to the max, telling the world that damn it, I’m 27 and HAPPY about it!

26 was an AWESOME year. I know I overuse that word, and my mother the editor will probably send me a list of more interesting adjectives as soon as she reads this. Anyway… the highlights:

– I ran a huge PR and qualified for Boston at the San Francisco marathon

– I applied for a million and a half teaching jobs and got one in Daly City. I didn’t even know where Daly City was until I looked up the HR page for the district, but I LOVE where I work and am thrilled to be there!

– I visited my 30th country (New Zealand)

– We moved to the Bay Area

– I found out I was pregnant!

– I ran the Boston marathon with my dad (and have managed to work that info into pretty much every post since then)

I think 27 will top 26 though. From what I hear, having a kid is life changing in a way nothing else can really match. Less than 4 months to go, and I can’t wait!

Anyway, there’s no real way to tie this pasta into all this nonsense, so I’m just going to tell you that both Mike and I adored it, it took maybe 20 minutes start to finish (including boiling the pasta!), and it’s incredibly delicious. I only had dried basil and I’m sure fresh would be better, but it’s like the creamiest, smoothest pesto imaginable.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a celebratory run to do and a cake to frost!

(adapted from Oh She Glows)

6-8 ounces brown rice or whole wheat spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
1 large ripe avocado
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp dried basil
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil

Put a large pot of salted water over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, pulse the garlic, half the lemon juice and olive oil until smooth. Add the avocado, basil, and salt to taste, and continue to pulse until you have a creamy sauce. Add more salt, lemon juice, or basil as needed.

Drain the pasta and toss with the avocado sauce. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of black pepper.

Cheesy Tomato Penne Bake

I have been eating a lot of pasta lately. And a lot of crackers and cereal and toast. Honestly, I think I’ve eaten more carbs in the past three months than in all of 2010. But there’s a pretty good reason…I’m 13 and a half weeks pregnant! Mike and I are completely thrilled. In fact, we’re so excited we’ve already bought 3 books for the baby (our only baby-related purchase so far).

Pregnancy has put a slight damper on my running, but I’ve still been averaging at least 25 miles a week (although a couple weeks during the complete exhaustion of the first trimester it was closer to 20). I was hoping I’d still be able to run Boston, and fortunately my doctor gave me the green light, so I’ll be run/walking it at 20 weeks! I had already planned on running with my dad, and now that there’s a third generation involved I’m even more excited.

Speaking of running, this weekend’s 16-miler was GORGEOUS. I’m not sure why the city of San Francisco has closed the Great Highway to cars the last two Sundays, but I’m not complaining!

If you’ve ever run the Nike Women’s marathon, that picture was taken about where the 25 mile marker is. It’s so cruel to have the last 2 miles of the race be on a long straight stretch with the finish line in view, but at least the scenery is nice.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of running along the ocean.

After any long run, comfort food is always on my mind, and this recipe fits the bill perfectly. I adapted a recipe for baked ziti, but left out the meat (obviously), subbed in whole wheat penne, and replaced the cream and cornstarch with a little light cream cheese. Mike and I both loved this as dinner and as leftovers for a few days.

(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via Annie’s Eats)

1 lb. 1% or fat free cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
salt and pepper
1 lb. whole wheat penne
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp. sugar
4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
8 oz. low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Stir the cottage cheese, eggs, and 1/2 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes, or until soft but not cooked through. Drain in a colander.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is very soft. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano and basil, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put the pot you used to cook the pasta over low heat. Add the drained pasta and cream cheese, and stir until the pasta is coated well. Stir in the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and about half the mozzarella. Mix well, making sure the pasta is coated with sauce.

Put the pasta into a 9×13″ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the tomato sauce. Bake for about 30 minutes

Remove from the oven and let stand for about 15 minutes before serving.

Vegan Broccoli, Pasta and “Cheese” Casserole

Today when I left work I had pretty much talked myself out of working out. I’d spent about 3 hours grading papers (no, I never catch up!) and was But something (maybe that 50K that’s in FOUR DAYS) reminded me that working out would be a good choice.

So I decided to hit the treadmill with one simple goal: not want to kill myself after 10 minutes. That’s a pretty lofty goal if you hate the treadmill as much as I do…but I succeeded!

I was inspired by Janetha’s workout but added a little to make it longer and more intense. Oh man this was a good one. Obviously you can adjust the intensity to meet your needs, but for me this was totally perfect!

I set the incline to 1.0% and cranked through the following:
Minutes 1-5: 6.0 mph
Minute 6: 6.5 mph
Minute 7: 7.0 mph
Minute 8: 7.5 mph
Minute 9: 8.0 mph
Minute 10: 8.5 mph
Minutes 11, 12, 13: 9.0 mph
Minute 14-22: repeat minutes 5-13
Minute 23-31: repeat minutes 5-13
Minute 32: 8.0 mph
Minute 33: 7.0 mph
Minute 34-38: 6.0 mph

Oooh fun!

When I came home I wanted comfort food, but not of the artery-clogging variety, and I knew I wanted vegetables too.

This was my second time using Angela’s Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe but I made a few changes (increasing vegetables and nutritional yeast, and adding steamed broccoli). Mike LOVED it (and he can be a little wary of my vegan culinary endeavors).

Who needs Pasta-Roni now?!

I kind of un-veganized dinner by putting feta on my salad… but that’s just because I’m trying to make more inspiring salads these days and feta makes that easier.

(adapted from Oh She Glows)

1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
2 small carrots
1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped
1.5 cups raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp mustard
about 3 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
12-16 oz uncooked whole wheat pasta (I used 12 oz whole wheat spahetti broken into short pieces)

Preheat the oven to 350 and get a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish ready.

Dice the potato, carrots, and 1/2 an onion and place in a steamer basket over boiling water. Steam until very tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, process the cashews in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add the garlic, lemon juice, almond milk, salt, and nutritional yeast and process until smooth. When the vegetables are done steaming, add them to the food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Put a little more water under the steamer basket if necessary, and add the broccoli florets. Steam just until crisp tender, about 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions, then drain and toss with the broccoli and sauce.

Bake for about 25 minutes.


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