Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 31-Marinara Vegetables

Happy New Year! 

Tonight I was feeling a little weighed down from a week of Christmas cookies, peanut butter bars, assorted cheeses, candied nuts, chocolates, cheesecakes, and more cookies. It's been a tasty month, but has left me feeling a little sluggish. 

In honor of fresh beginnings and the start of a new year, I came up with this light and healthy pasta alternative. Enjoy!

Marinara Vegetables
Assorted vegetables (I used snap peas, broccoli, baby carrots, spinach, and an onion)
Your favorite pasta sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese crumbles and crushed red pepper 

1. Boil vegetables until cooked through. If using spinach, wait to add spinach to the pot until the vegetables are just about done. Drain water.
2. Add pasta sauce and stir to coat vegetables.
3. Add chopped mozzarella cheese. Stir to melt.
4. Serve topped with parmesan and crushed red pepper, if desired. 

December 25-Our Christmas Celebration (and pork posole!)

I love Christmas traditions! Decorating Christmas cookies, searching the neighborhood for the best light displays, watching corny television specials, attending the candlelight service at church, and gathering as a family for Christmas dinner. 

A few years ago I spent Christmas with my husband and his family for the first time. I loved catching a glimpse of his childhood memories and experiencing his family traditions. I also enjoyed tasting posole for the first time. Yum!

After we were married, Hubby and I started to discuss what our traditions would be as a new family. We've established a few of our own, including the adoption of pork posole at Christmas dinner. This year we hosted a Christmas gathering at our home, and introduced my family to this delicious tradition. 

 Pork Posole
2 pork butts
6lb can Hominy 
1 pkg New Mexico Red Powder Chili (do not need the entire pkg)
2 pkg menudo mix
Diced onion
Chopped cilantro
Lemon wedges

1. Boil pork for 45 minutes. Remove from pot, remove fat, and cut in half for faster cooking. Return to pot. Boil for an additional 45 minutes or until cooked through. Remove pork and shred.
2. Drain half the broth. Replace with half water. Bring to a boil.
3. Add shredded pork and hominy (rinsed) into the pot. 
4. Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry 1 large spoon of chili until browned, but not burnt. 
5. Pour chili into the pot a little at a time. Add menudo mix, leaving some left to use later as a topping. 
6. Serve with corn tortillas, onion, cilantro, and lemon.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11- Chicken and Spinach Macaroni and "Cheese"

As the winter months arrive, so do my cravings for comfort food. 
Nothing warms you up on a cold winter's night like a warm bowl of pasta. As a lactose-intolerant, health-conscious gal I typically avoid most comfort foods with the exception of an occasional indulgence. However, not all comfort foods deserve to be avoided! Tonight I whipped up this delicious macaroni dish that was high-protein, high-fiber, and even used dairy-free cheese!

My taste buds were in heaven. I will definitely be making this again.

*Please note, this recipe is not 100% dairy-free. It does contain 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. If you can stomach dairy in small doses, it is a good compromise!

Chicken and Spinach Macaroni and "Cheese"
2 cups uncooked whole-wheat elbow pasta
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper
1 cup diced chicken, cooked (Optional)

1. Cook pasta as directed. 
2. Save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Next, place the spinach into a colander and drain the pasta. This will wilt the spinach. Return the pasta and spinach to the pot.
3. Add pasta water and cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. 
5. Add yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper (to taste), and chicken and stir through.
6. Enjoy!