Category Archives: Pasta

Vegetarian Bolognese on Brown Rice Pasta

Tonight’s Menu: Protein packed vegetarian bolognese on brown rice penne pasta (spiked with turkey sausage for us meat eaters)

I love a good meat sauce but let’s be honest, Nona’s classic can be loaded with fat and calories. Although I have a few favorite lower fat recipes made with extra-lean beef, this one made with lentils is a great alternative and contains less guilt. Plus, vegetarian friendly for all our meat-free friends.
Good-to-know: Lentils are packed full of cholesterol-lowering fiber making them a great choice for those with blood-sugar disorders as they prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Also great for those watching their waistlines as they are high in protein and low in calories, only 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils.

Serves 4
Prep time: 15 mins. | Cook time: 30 mins.

1/2 c. red lentils (rinsed)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion (diced)
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 green pepper (sliced)
10 mushrooms (sliced)
2 celery stalks (sliced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
6 oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 x 14 oz can diced tomatoes
5  basil leaves (chiffonade)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
S&P
1 c. vegetable stock
3 turkey sausage (cooked and thinly sliced) OPTIONAL

Cover lentils with water and boil for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet, add onions, peppers and mushrooms and cook until slightly softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes or so. Add tomato paste, mixing in well with the garlic and onions. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan frequently, so the tomato paste is cooked but not burning.

Add the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, deglazing the bottom of the pan a bit. Add diced tomatoes, herbs, paprika and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add lentils (and sausage if desired)  and reduce to a low simmer for about 25 minutes, until liquids are reduced and mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally. Add the cinnamon and season to taste with S&P.

Serve over cooked brown rice pasta or your pasta of choice.

Buon appetito! xO

Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Tonight’s Menu: Chicken and roasted vegetable lasagna with brown rice pasta

Lasagna is a favorite for many but when made traditionally it contains a tremendous amount of fat. Having lasagna every once in a while is fine but to enjoy it more frequently try alternating fatty ingredients with healthier options. I chose to add roasted vegetables to my version to add extra flavor and nutrients, you may choose a different selection like eggplant, fennel etc. This is also a great way to use up the veggies in your fridge.
As I have mentioned in the past; I have replaced all pasta in my house with a brown rice version but this was my first time working with BR lasagna. I was pleasantly surprised as even my old italian boss wouldn’t have known the difference.

Serves 6 -7
Prep time: 50 mins. | Cook time: 1 hr.

2 zucchini
1 lg. carrot (peeled)
1 lg. red pepper
1 pkg. mushrooms (approx. 20 sliced)
1 lb. asparagus
1 tbsp. olive oil
S&P

1 lb. ground lean chicken
1 small onion (chopped)
1 lg. clove of garlic (minced)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 jar plain tomato sauce
1 tsp. cinnamon
S&P

1 pkg. brown rice lasagna noodles (oven-ready)
1 carton of light ricotta
1 egg
5 large basil leaves (chiffonade)
2 c. skim-milk mozzarella cheese
1, 2 x 2″ piece of parmesan cheese
S&P

Set oven to 350º. Chop all vegetables and toss with oil and S&P in a large bowl. Spread onto a large baking pan covered with parchment and place in oven. Set timer for 50 mins.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil, ground chicken, onions, garlic and S&P. Let saute till cooked throughly (approx. 10 mins) stirring occasionally. When finished mix with tomato sauce and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together ricotta, basil, egg and 1/2 c. of mozzarella. Season with S&P. Set aside.

When vegetables are roasted remove from oven and leave temperature set to 350º. Spray or brush a 9 x 13″ baking dish with olive oil. Start by spreading 1/3 of meat mixture in the bottom of the pan. Follow it with a layer on lasagna noodles (do not overlap). Next spread 1/2 of ricotta mixture over noodles and top with 1/2 of vegetables. Repeat layering again starting and ending with meat mixture. Top with remaining 1 1/2 c. mozzarella then sprinkle with grated parmesan. Rip off a piece of tin foil slightly longer than the pan and fold in half lengthwise and then slightly flatten once again. Position over the pan creating somewhat of a tent so the foil is not touching the cheese. Crimp at the sides to tighten. Place in oven and cook for 45 mins. Remove foil and cook for another 15 mins. to brown cheese.

Buon Appetito! xO

Thai Beef Noodle Soup

Today’s Menu: Thai inspired beef and vegetable soup with rice noodles.

After a very gluttonous and yummy Easter weekend at my sister’s house the last thing I wanted was a heavy dinner. Over the past few days I have indulged in everything from glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, home-made hamburgers, lindt chocolate bunnies and the list goes on. It is now time to get back on track!
I am a huge fan of the fresh flavors found in most Thai cooking not to mention the limited amount of fat that is used to prepare it.
This soup eats like a meal, is nutritious, low in fat and won’t weigh you down.

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 20 mins

1 tbsp. fresh ginger (peeled & chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
3 stalks of lemon grass (chopped)
1 L. beef stock
1 pkg. rice noodles
S&P

12 oz. beef strips
1 tsp. olive oil
1 red pepper (sliced)
2 large carrots (julienned)
4 tbsp. cilantro (chopped)
2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
juice of one lime
S&P

Place a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add stock, lemon grass, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 min.

While stock is simmering heat a large skillet to medium-high and add oil and beef. Brown beef and remove from pan, add the peppers and carrots. Saute for approx. 5 mins. Return beef to the pan and deglaze with soy and lime juice. Season with S&P, remove from heat and set aside.

When stock is finished simmering, season with S&P to taste and add rice noodles, stir and remove from heat. When noodles are soft, portion beef mixture into bowls, top with noodles and spoon over stock. Top each portion with cilantro and serve.

Souper-lious! xO

Brown Rice Pasta Puttanesca with Chicken

Tonight’s Menu: Brown Rice Pasta Puttanesca with Chicken

After a very long workout, busy weekend and late night catching up with Adam from It All Starts With Butter over wine, I was exhausted tonight. I thought pasta would be a quick and healthy option, plus with a bit of a hangover I was craving carbs and bold flavours. This recipe turned out before than expected and I ate way more than I should have; highly recommended if I do say so myself.

For the past 2 years I have replaced all the pasta in my house with a brown rice version. Previously only available at speciality health stores BRP is now readily available at your local grocery. BRP does not contain gluten and as most of you know brown rice is considered a super food packed full of nutrients namely fibre, selenium, protein, etc. aiding in weight loss, cancer prevention and the list goes on (more info on brown rice).

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 10 mins

Pasta Puttanesca
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion (sliced thin)
10 white mushrooms (sliced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
8 pitted black olives (quartered)
1 large ripe tomato (cubed)
1 1/2 tbsp. capers
1 c. pulled chicken (or 2 thinly sliced chicken breasts)
1/4 c. red wine
1 jar plain tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried chili flakes
S&P
1 pack of brown rice fettucine or spaghetti

Set a large pot of salted water on high to boil.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil, onions and mushrooms. When slightly golden add garlic, olives, capers, tomato and chicken. Sauté for 3 mins stirring occasionally. Deglaze pan with red wine. Add the tomato sauce, chilis and season with S&P. Leave on very low heat to simmer.
Add brown rice pasta to the boiling water and stir immediately. When the pasta is al dente, drain and divide into serving bowls. Top each bowl with a large ladle of sauce. Garnish with fresh grated parmesan and chilis.

Happy eating! xO