Pasta with Spinach-Avocado Sauce

I am still thinking about this bowl of pasta.

It was that good.

Not only that but it seriously took less than 20 minutes to prepare.  Letting the water come to a boil took the most time.  So if you can boil water, you can make pasta with spinach-avocado sauce.  Oh, and it’s a gorgeous dinner that simply perfect for the start of Spring.

greenpasta

I seriously just had a moment of silence while looking at the picture of deliciousness.

I used {gluten-free} rigatoni instead of spaghetti because it’s what I had in the pantry.  But I really loved how the nooks and crannies in the pasta held on to the pasta sauce.  But I honestly think any noodle would work.

For the sauce, simple throw all the ingredients in a food processor and let it whirl.  See, I told you it was easy.  The sauce includes spinach, white beans, EVOO, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, garlic, an avocado plus a little pasta water.

Once the pasta is finished cooking, toss it with the sauce and then top with chopped tomato, nuts (I used pistachios) and a few more baby basil leaves.

Almost too pretty to eat.

Almost.

Because we had no problem digging in.  And we were more than impressed with each and every bite.

 

Moroccan-Spiced Lamb

Worthy of a 91-point (Wine Spectator) wine, this spiced up Spring dinner is the perfect excuse to splurge on a rack of lamb and pull out the cast iron skillet.

We had ham with my family for Easter dinner so we decided to have lamb on Sunday night for our little at-home Easter meal.  The lamb is seasoned with an exotic blend of spices including cayenne pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, salt and pepper.  The rack of lamb is seared whole in a little oil and then finished in the oven along with carrots (homegrown) and green onions.  Once the lamb is finished cooking and allowed to rest, it is served with a Harissa yogurt sauce.

easterlamb

Charred green onions are one of my favorite things!

We opened a 2013 Portalupi Old Vine Zinfandel and toasted to another lovely weekend.

easterdinner

The lamb was cooked to perfection and I adored the crust on the outside from the quick sear in the cast iron.  The flavors were perfect with a little bit of kick.  Harissa is something I’ve never cooked with in my own kitchen but it really jazzed up the Greek yogurt for a lovely sauce.

“Wine is meant to be enjoyed everyday.” – M. Portalupi

Baby Kale and Golden Beet Salad with Salmon

I’m not quite sure what took so long or why I was so intimidated by the idea, but yesterday was the first time I’ve cooked beets.

I know.  I can’t believe it either.  I mean, I adore beets (not the canned stuff, y’all) and order them when I’m in a restaurant but I’ve always just kept on flipping the page when I would see a recipe with beets.

And now I regret all the recipes I’ve overlooked.  Because prepping the beets was so easy.

Simply trim the beet and then stab a few times with a knife.  Wrap in parchment paper and microwave until tender.  (Mine took about 12 minutes in the microwave – I think they were a little bigger than “medium.”)  Once they’re cooked, using a paper towel simply remove the skin by gently rubbing.

That’s it!

While the beets were cooking, I made the quick pickled red onions with a simply pickling liquid of apple cider vinegar, water and honey.  I also prepped the dressing which was a mix of honey, olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard.  I tossed the baby kale (along with some random herbs that I didn’t want to go to waste) with the dressing before plating.

The kale is topped with some pickled onions, beet wedges, flaked salmon and sprinkle of walnuts.

kalebeetsalad

This salad is everything.  It’s bright and tangy, it’s nutty and herbaceous, it’s sweet and crunchy.

I’m obsessed.

Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl

You guys!  This weather is AMAZING.  After work yesterday I decided to take a stack of cookbooks outside and just browse while letting the sunshine warm my back.  I’ve missed the sun and 70+ degree days.

Last night’s dinner was pretty amazing, too.

Chicken + Rice + Broccolini is the base of this dinner in a bowl and the sauce is where all the flavor is at.

Start cooking your rice first – this is what takes the most time.  I decided to cook our rice in beef broth (I had some in the fridge and it adds SO much flavor).  I also added the juice from half a lemon right before plating the rice.

Go ahead and put on a pot of water so that it can come to a boil so you can cook your broccolini.  The broccolini only needs about 3 minutes to cook but dangggg, it takes water a long time to boil.

The sauce is a mix of soy sauce (or tamari) with a cornstarch to thicken everything up.  To that mixture, brown sugar, mirin, and lemon juice.  Allow this to come to a boil and then cook for a minute or two until it thickens.

Now for the chicken – simply season with S&P and sear on the stovetop for about 4-6 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken).  Flip, top with a little bit of the sauce and then place in the oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes.  Let rest and then slice.

In the bowl – rice on the bottom, a little broccolini, sliced chicken, and the full-of-flavor sauce.  I also topped it all with some sliced green onions.  Why let them go to waste?

lemonteriyaki

So many flavors – so many textures.  And so much light!

 

Spinach, Feta and Artichoke Bake

We tend to eat very light on Monday evenings.  After an indulgent weekend of wine, pasta, cheese, guacamole and palomas (more on those later), I was more than happy to fill my belly with veggies last night.

I had some artichokes leftover from Friday night’s dinner that I didn’t want to go to waste and I had a fridge full of farm fresh eggs.  After a quick search, I decided on a spinach, feta and artichoke bake.  Don’t mind that it’s a “breakfast” casserole – it was the perfect meatless Monday entree.

Once the spinach is defrosted, the rest of the bake some together rather quickly and painlessly.  I adored the feta + dill combo.  On the side, sliced avocado that was simply seasoned with salt and dill.

spinachartichokebake

The best part – leftovers that will be perfect for breakfast or lunch.

Cabernet Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta

Want to impress your husband?

Make short ribs.

Like tomorrow night.  Or the next.  Or Sunday.

It’s not super fussy but it’s super impressive in taste.

And your house will smell amazing.

So pour a glass of red, red wine and have a date night at home.

shortribs

And to be honest, you’ll love this dinner as much as your husband.

It’s rich and decadent and totally over the top.  But the gremolata on top adds a pop of freshness thanks to some raw garlic, chopped parsley and the zest of a lemon.

The grits are rich and creamy and I made them using a mix of milk and beef broth (instead of milk and water).  The small amount of parmesan stirred in at the end adds so much flavor.

They say a way to man’s heart is his stomach – and I totally agree.

Basil, Feta, and Quinoa Stuffed Chicken with Carrot “Tabbouleh”

This has to be one of the most flavorful weeknight dinners that I’ve had in a while.  In fact, I’m still thinking about how all the ingredients played a crucial part in the flavor profile of both the chicken and the “tabbouleh.”

The chicken is stuffed with a mixture of feta cheese (feta makes it betta’), a little bit of cream cheese, basil, sweet piquanté red peppers and cooked quinoa.  The peppers are an ingredient I just recently starting cooking with and they add the perfect tang and sweetness.  You can find the peppers jarred with pickles or near the cheese with olives.  I was able to find some fresh ones and I simply adore them.  Don’t leave them out – they are not spicy.

The chicken is seared in a little EVOO in a hot skillet and then finished in the oven.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare your no-cook gluten-free “tabbouleh” salad.  And I dare say this is one of my favorite preparations of carrots.  Ever.

Thanks to Big Guy’s green thumb, I was able to use our homegrown carrots in this salad.  Simply peel the carrots, chop and add to the food processor.  Pulse until they are coarsely chopped.  I went ahead and added in the red onion at this point – hey, one less thing to chop!  Walnuts are added into the food processor and then the carrot mixture is added to a bowl.  The rest of the ingredients include parsley and mint (traditional tabbouleh ingredients) along with sweet golden raisins, cumin, and a dressing of EVOO, white wine vinegar and salt.

chickendinner

Yes, yes, yes.

I am obsessed with the carrot “tabbouleh” and might have even contemplated having it for breakfast.  It’s THAT good.

Weeknight dinners rarely make me this happy – but seriously, this one deserved a glass of wine!