Almost Mac + Cheese (GF, DF, Vegan)

I've been dying for mac n cheese but just couldn't bring myself to cheat. After coming across a forgotten jar of nutritional yeast and box of Banza pasta in the way back of the cupboard, I decided I could make my own vegan, gluten free version. 

Banza is one of my new favorite things. It's a gluten free, grain free pasta made from chickpea flour and tapioca starch. As a former lover of all things pasta, I love it. So far, it's my favorite alternative pasta. (This post is not sponsored  - I just like to share good things when I find them.)

Makes 2 large servings. 

Almost Mac + Cheese

1 stalk broccoli, peeled, chopped

6oz banza pasta 

1 cup cashew milk

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

pinch nutmeg

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

s + p 

dash of Worcestershire, optional (not vegan or vegetarian)

Boil a pot of water. Add broccoli. Blanche for 2 minutes. Drain. Set aside. 

Boil a pot of water and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

In a  pot, whisk cashew milk, yeast flakes, arrowroot, mustard powder and nutmeg over medium high heat. Add pasta and broccoli, stirring until thickened and hot. Add vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Worcestershire if using. 

 

 

Pork Zoodle Stir Fry (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Noodle time!  Oh, sorry - I mean "noodle" time.  As someone who does not own a spiralizer, I've been slow to jump on this cutting vegetables into strands and pretending they're noodles but oh, how AIP changes your views on certain foods. Like when you're dying for pasta and trawling Pinterest for grain free alternatives and only what often referred to as 'zoodles'.  

I actually really like these zoodles.  I still don't own a spiralizer but have carefully used my mandoline slicer with coarse toothed attachment to slice zucchini and carrots.  So far we've tried them with beet sauce and meatballs, and in this stir fry. So convincing as noodles!  I was impressed by how I was not missing real wheat noodles or pasta while eating these.  Yay!

Use a spiralizer or mandoline to slice carrots and zucchinis.  If using a spiralizer, cut into more manageable lengths with scissors.  For the pork, we used leftover pork shoulder that was done in the slow cooker the day before. 

No cooked meat on hand?  That's ok.  I've made this with boneless, skinless chicken breast, too.  Just cook it first: thinly slice the meat, season with salt and pepper, heat wok with a splash of oil, saute slices until done.  Set aside.  Wipe out pan, if needed.  Continue with recipe.  

Serves 2.

Pork Zoodle Stir Fry

2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari soy sauce if you're ok with that)

1/4 teaspoon arrow root powder

several grinds szechuan peppercorns

1 inch ginger, peeled, grated

2-3 cloves garlic, grated

cooking oil, as needed - I used 1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 zucchini, cut into thin strips (see above)

2 carrots, cut into thin strips (see above)

2 cups cooked, shredded pork

salt, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, coconut aminos, arrowroot powder and szechuan pepper.  Set aside.

Heat ginger, garlic and oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Start stirring when garlic starts to sizzle., cook 1 minute.  Add zucchini and carrots.  Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are al dente, about 3 minutes.  Add pork and prepared sauce.  Stir to coat.  Once thickened and hot, season with salt and serve. 

 

Roasted Pepper + Sausage Pasta

A nice alternative to a tomato sauce pasta night.  Roasted bell peppers, red onion and pork sausage make this perfect on a chillier night.  And isn't roasting peppers fun?  I love rubbing off the charred skin and seeing how their texture has totally changed.  Here's a tip:  yellow and orange peppers are almost impossible to tell the difference between once they have been roasted.  

Use any type of sausage that sounds good to you.  I recommend italian or herbed styles.

Serves 6.

Roasted Pepper + Sausage Pasta

8 oz pasta (your choice, I like spaghetti)

3 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced

10 oz pork sausage, casing discarded

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

s + p

grated parmesan cheese

Boil pasta until al dente.  Drain, set aside.  Turn gas range onto high.  Place whole bell peppers directly onto range. Blacken completely on all sides.  Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.  Rub off skins, discard stem and seeds.  Slice into strips.  Set aside. 

In a large skillet, over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add onions, cook until soft.  Add sausage, cook completely.  Add garlic, oregano and chile flakes, cook, stirring, about 1 minute.  Add cooked pasta and roasted pepper slices.  Cook until all is hot. Transfer to bowl and toss with cheese.  Season with salt and pepper. 

 

Quick Dinner: Pasta + Kale

On Friday nights, Cam and I like to stay in and catch up.  We drink wine, order takeaway dinner,  relax and chat about our week.  It's a really nice way to unwind after a crazy work week and enjoy being together.  (Chibi likes it, too.)  We've made one small change to our evenings recently, which is that now we make dinner.

Nothing elaborate.  Just something quick and easy that can be put together in under 30 minutes. It's fun and provides leftover bites for any weekend hunger attacks.  I'll be sharing these here and there. 

Serves 2-3. 

Pasta with Kale + Mushrooms

3 cups wide egg noodles

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1/2 tablespoon butter

2 cups chopped kale

s + p

juice of 1/2 lemon

grated parmesan cheese

Boil egg noodles for 6 minutes.  Drain and set aside. 

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add chile flakes, garlic and sliced mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are soft.  Add butter and kale, cook about 2 minutes.  Add pasta.  Cook, stirring frequently until hot.  Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Serve with grating of parmesan cheese.  

 

Saffron Pasta

The first time I made pasta I was about 10 years old.  I over cooked it and it was a mushy mess but my parents ate it anyway like it was great because that is what family does.  Homemade pasta is like love in food form.  People have been making it for their families and loved ones for hundreds of years.

It's easy to make, not as easy as opening a box of dried spaghetti but simple in technique.  It's just time consuming and messy.  I use a hand crank pasta machine(read the directions!)  but you can also roll it out with a rolling pin.  Just make sure to roll it out so thin you can see through it.

Saffron Pasta

2 cups flour

2 extra large eggs

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

salt and pepper

On a clean flat work surface make a little pile of all your flour.  Make a well and crack eggs into this well.  Sprinkle saffron threads, salt and black pepper.  Gently whisk eggs and then work the flour together.  Dough will become sticky and tacky.  Knead dough until smooth.  Cut into 4 pieces.

It's REALLY helpful if you have someone to help you with this part.  Run each of your 4 dough portions through the pasta machine on the widest setting.  Fold in half and do it again until smooth.  Flour machine and dough if it sticks.  Run dough through each setting, decreasing one at a time.  You will now have 4 sheets of pasta.  Run it through the fettucine cutter.

You now have two options: cook it now, boiling it for about 1 minute or hang it up and dry it.

I hung up a string under my kitchen shelf and hung the pasta up to dry.  It will still take about  three minutes to cook.

I prepared this with butter, lemon and garlic with a little parmesan grated on top.

Vegetable Lasagna and Tomato Sauce

Lasagna needs a homemade sauce. This is a very easy tomato sauce that takes no time to make. While it simmers you can get started on cooking the pasta and prepping the veggies. These recipes make enough for a 9"x13" Lasagna. I like to double the sauce recipe and freeze it in muffin pan molds, its always nice to have some on hand.

Quick Tomato Sauce Olive oil 4 garlic cloves, finely diced 1 shallot, finely diced Red pepper flakes Dried oregano 1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes Fresh Basil Fresh Parsley Salt and Pepper

Add a bit of olive oil to a pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic and shallot for about 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes in your hand or puree in blender and add to pot. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Vegetable Lasagna About 9 cooked normal lasagna sheets Tomato Sauce 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 egg yolk 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated Mozzarella cheese, grated Splash olive oil 1 brocoli floret, chopped 1 zucchini, chopped 1 yellow squash, chopped About 5 cremini mushrooms, chopped 1 carrot, peeled and chopped Salt and pepper

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute vegetables for a couple minutes until vegetables reach crisp/tender texture. In a large bowl combine vegetables and all except 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Set aside for now.

In another bowl combine egg yolk, ricotta and parmesan. Set aside.

Ladle half remaining tomato sauce into lasagna pan. Smear around. Lay single layer of noodles. Spread half ricotta mixture over noodles. Sprinkle layer of mozzarella cheese and spoon on half the vegetables. (I added a couple shakes of red pepper flakes for spice and threw in some salt, pepper and torn basil leaves for extra flavor. There can never be too much basil.) Repeat noodles, remaining ricotta, mozzarella and remaining vegetables. Layer rest of noodles, remaining sauce and mozzarella. Bake for 45 minutes.

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