thai noodles with spicy peanut basil sauce

Who needs takeout? Your family will think you stopped at an Asian restaurant on your way home when you serve these tasty Thai noodles, and you can make them as spicy as you like.

1 cup fresh snow pea pods
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. ground coriander
Crushed red pepper to taste
12-oz. package Udon noodles (substitute spaghetti or fettuccine if you can’t find Udon noodles)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Trim snow pea pods and blanch for 45 seconds. Set aside.

2. In a large stewpot over medium heat, whisk together coconut milk, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and peanut butter. Add lime juice, garlic, sugar, coriander, and red pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Reduce heat to low.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and add pasta to sauce, along with snow pea pods, basil, and bean sprouts. Mix gently and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with peanuts.

winter minestrone

winter minestrone
If you’re experiencing post-holiday blues and you’re still facing weeks of winter weather, try focusing on one really good thing about winter: big pots of hot soup. This one incorporates the best of winter’s produce offerings.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 carrots, diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp. thyme
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 can cannellini beans, undrained
1 cup small pasta shapes (we used spirals)
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups kale leaves, washed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a stewpot over medium heat. Sautè the onion 5 minutes or until transparent. Add celery and garlic; stir to combine. Stir in the carrots, turnip, and potatoes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Add spices, vegetable broth, and barley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.

3. Add beans, pasta, and tomato paste. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook over medium heat until the pasta is tender.

4. Stir in the chopped kale and cook for about 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

mediterranean pasta salad

2 cups tricolor fusilli or rotini pasta
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 Tbs. Italian flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped

Cook pasta; drain and cool. Combine with chopped vegetables and herbs. Toss with your favorite oil and vinegar dressing (we like Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette).

linguine with walnuts & swiss chard

Although the combination of pasta, nuts, and greens may seem unlikely, the flavors are wonderful. Serve with a green salad and some rustic bread.

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 large bunch Swiss chard
3 Tbs. walnut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup shallots, diced fine
16 oz. linguine
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toast walnuts in a skillet over medium heat. When the walnuts are fragrant, they’re done. Be careful—they can burn quickly.

2. While the pasta water heats, trim and rinse Swiss chard leaves. Slice leaves into ribbons.

2. Heat walnut oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and shallots and cook until shallots are tender (about 10 minutes). Add the chard and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

3. Cook linguine in boiling water; drain. Add chard mixture and walnuts to pasta; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

better-than-chicken cacciatore

Tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms in a savory oven-baked sauce are perfect on a chilly night. Serve with a green salad, some crusty peasant bread, and perhaps your favorite wine.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
8-oz. package fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 16-oz. package of your favorite chicken substitute (defrosted if frozen)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbs. tomato paste

rice or pasta

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Sauté onions for about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers; continue to sauté until onions and peppers are softened.

2. Add remaining ingredients to skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

3. While cacciatore is simmering, preheat oven to 350°. Transfer cacciatore to an oven-safe baking dish and cover with a lid or foil. Bake until heated through and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Serve over rice or pasta.

tuscan pasta salad with eggplant

The pine nuts in this quick, simple recipe really stand out amid the simple blend of vegetables. Use Italian flat-leaf parsley if you can (it has a better flavor than other varieties and is not bitter). The results are delizioso! This dish is especially good with a loaf of crusty Italian bread and a Tuscan red wine, such as Chianti.

1 lb. penne pasta
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, sautè the celery in olive oil for about 3 minutes.

3. Add eggplant, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook on medium heat until eggplant is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary to prevent sticking.

4. In a separate bowl, combine tomato paste, vinegar, 1/4 cup water, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add to eggplant mixture. When eggplant is tender, remove from heat and stir in pine nuts, parsley, and pasta. Chill before serving, but keep in mind that gently heated leftovers taste great as well.

southwestern skillet supper

This fast, hearty supper is a real crowd-pleaser. If you enjoy cooking with meat substitutes, try adding “beef” crumbles. (We added a few chopped Nate’s Meatless Meatballs. Fantastic!)

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. cumin
2 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 16-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 10-oz. package frozen corn
2 cups pasta shapes (such as macaroni or gemelli), cooked and drained

1. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sautè the onion, bell pepper, and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine.

2. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, and frozen corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta and “beef” crumbles, if using. Serve immediately.

one-pot pasta pronto

Did you know that “pronto” is Italian for “quick”? After a hard day of work (or maybe a weekend shopping spree), this one-pot pasta dish makes a satisfying supper.

2 15-oz cans crushed Italian-flavored tomatoes
1 15-oz can vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 cups rotini pasta
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a large stewpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Serve with a green salad and fresh Italian bread, and maybe a glass of Chianti.

tomato florentine soup

“Florentine” can be roughly translated as “in the style of Florence,” and dishes with this name in the title often contain spinach. Bring the style of Florence to your table with this tasty soup.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
5 cups vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2/3 cup uncooked small pasta shapes or orzo
1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Heat oil in a large stewpot over medium heat. Sautè onion and celery until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add pasta shapes. Cook about 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook until pasta is done. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and basil, and stir to combine. Ladle into serving bowls.

indonesian noodle salad

7-oz. package wide-cut noodles
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
8 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced
1-2 jalapenos, veins and seeds removed, minced
Dry roasted peanuts

1. Place noodles in pot of boiling water; cover. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Blend with a whisk and pour sauce over noodles.

3. Mix cilantro with green onions and jalapenos. Combine with noodles and top with a handful of peanuts.

pasta salad with tofu

Baked tofu is a good way to incorporate isoflavones into our daily diet. It’s pre-cooked, pre-seasoned, and therefore instant (fast and easy), healthy food.

2 1/2 cups rotini pasta, cooked al dente and drained
15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained
2 1/2-oz can sliced black olives, drained
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 oz. baked tofu, tomato-basil flavor, cubed
1/3 cup vinegar and oil salad dressing (or balsamic vinegar and olive oil combined)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix cooled pasta with remaining ingredients. Chill.