Category Archives: Entree

penne with peas and bacon

penne with peas and bacon via dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comBasically, I love pasta. Pretty much any kind of pasta. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner pasta.

Well, maybe not breakfast, but you know what I mean, right? And bacon… who doesn’t love bacon? Put it together with some crispy peas and parmesan (and butter). Golden.

I was trying to think of something witty to write on here. Some weird story that had a hint of humor. But then I realized that I pretty much don’t do anything all day. Well, besides go to class or lab, eat, sleep, and watch TV.

I come to the realization that my life really is not that interesting a lot. Generally it’s during those moments when I think I am really funny and that I could have a TV show based on my life… something Kardashian-esque (admit it… you’ve thought the same thing about yourself!). But, then I realize most people probably don’t want to watch me in class all day or doing homework or pipetting chemicals into beakers.

I will admit that there are definitely times when I am the first one to laugh at my jokes. And sometimes the only person to laugh at my jokes.

But, hey, as long as I’m bringing a smile to someone’s face, even it is my own, I don’t mind. And sometimes a little bit of lightness is all you need to get through the day.

penne with peas and bacon

Makes 2-3 Servings

Ingredients:
½ lb. penne
4 slices bacon, sliced
¾ cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Add pasta to salted boiling water and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly crisp around the edges. Increase heat to medium-high. Add in peas and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until peas are heated through and beginning to crisp a little, about 5 minutes. Add in butter.

Toss bacon and pea mixture with pasta and Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan, if desired.

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comI am pretty sure Lauren was fully convinced of my craziness upon serving this meal. Bread pudding? For dinner? Without ice cream? Pretty crazy ideas in this household.

This dish definitely deserves one of those “Best of…” stamps of approval they put in magazines. Not that I don’t love every dish on here… I wouldn’t post them without my utmost approval But, this dish is something special. It’s savory, crunchy, and creamy all at the same time. Yum.

I swear I am not crazy.

I promise I am not certifiable, but some people might think I am crazy. Well, more ditzy than crazy… and trust me, that’s not by my own definition. But, I promise I know what I am talking about. Most of the time.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself ditzy. Just smart… in a unique, not duct-taped glasses, frizzy hair, and nasal-y voice sort of way. And not smart in the way that I sound like I actually know the answer when I give you an answer. And let’s be honest, I never ever raise my hand in class.

I am just unique. And I am okay with that.

I am also okay with a second helping of this dinner…

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding | dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.com

sausage, mushroom, and parmesan bread pudding

Makes 10-12 Servings

Ingredients:
1 1-pound loaf of bread (I used challah, but use whatever you like), cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz. Italian seasoned pork sausage, casings removed
6 tablespoons butter
12 oz. assorted mushrooms (I used all cremini), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
8 large eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss bread with ¼ cup olive oil, thyme, and garlic and salt and pepper to taste on a sheet pan. Spread out in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally so that all sides are toasty.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook through, about 10 minutes, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Remove to a separate plate.

Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender and juices have evaporated, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together cream, milk, eggs, and salt and pepper.

Once vegetables are cooked, toss together toasted bread, sausage, and vegetables. Distribute in the prepared baking dish. Evenly pour cream mixture over the top. Bake in the preheated oven until custard is set and top is browned, about 60 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving. 

Source: Adapted from Epicurious

 

gnocchi with beans and spinach

gnocchi with beans and spinach dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comPart three of meatless meals: Gnocchi with beans and spinach. Lauren made this gnocchi a while back and I was very thankful for a homecooked meal that I didn’t have to cook. Not that my mom doesn’t cook me dinner when I’m home. I don’t want momma to read this and think I’m telling the world she deprives me of food. Although if I were to look in the pantry right now, I’d say my choices would probably be pretty grim…

But, seriously, with meals like this, I could go vegetarian.

Okay, maybe I will take that last part back and rephrase: I do not miss meat with meals like this, but I certainly want it in some meal at least once per week. Is that too much to ask?

As I posted here about a week ago, I was set to begin the “Eat your Heart out” Diet on Wednesday. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on fruits and veggies for the first few days. And then, two-thirds into my fruit day, the first day of the diet, I could not do it anymore.

I’m a baby. What can I say? I never would have thought I would be saying that I got stuck on the fruit day. I love fruit! But… not so much for dinner. And not so much as the only thing to eat all day. The acidity and sweetness were killing me. Seriously. My teeth hurt.

So, I made a refried bean quesadilla for dinner and called the whole diet thing done.

I guess maybe I should just start trying to eat a little bit healthier instead…

gnocchi with beans and spinach

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 16-oz. packages dried gnocchi
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
6 cups chopped baby spinach
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
1 15-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (use part-skim to cut down on fat)
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook for about 7-9 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in garlic and stir often until it turns lightly brown, about 1 minute. Add in water and continue cooking until onion is fully cooked, about 4-6 minutes. Add in spinach and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until it begins to wilt. Add tomatoes and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Bring to a simmer. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top and cover for about 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

If you want, you can pop it under the broiler for of  to get nicely browned cheese on top.

Source: Eating Well

roasted vegetable moussaka

roasted vegetable moussaka | drag it through the gardenThis dish is part two of my meat-free meal attempts, not only for Lent but also because Lauren apparently decided she does not like meat that much any more ever since her trip to Spain. Especially not chicken.

So, after having my plans of making a normal meat-filled moussaka shot down, I decided to try to pack the moussaka with some mediterranean veggies. Not only did I feel pretty healthy eating it with all of those vegetables, it tasted really good. Like good enough where I would make it again even though it doesn’t boast any meat in the ingredients.

My thing for Lent this year is to eat less meat. I have heard of people going vegetarian altogether during these forty days, but to be quite honest, that is just way too drastic for my diet.

I think I am going to start the “Eat Your Heart out Diet” this week which will definitely cut down on my meat intake. Have you heard of it? It’s basically a crash diet (which obviously isn’t an ideal situation) where you eat (pretty much) as much as you want of specified foods for a given day during a week. Supposedly people have consistently lost ten pounds during the course of the week and have supposedly kept the weight off. We’ll see.

If you want updates on how it’s going, I’ll try to post news over on my Facebook page. Like I said, I think I am going to start it this week… hopefully Wednesday. But that all depends on how quickly I eat the leftovers sitting in my fridge.

roasted vegetable moussaka

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:
½ cup dried lentils
1 large eggplant, thinly sliced
2 large zucchini, thinly sliced
2 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, onion, and garlic with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on baking sheets, using as many as necessary to maintain a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until tender and lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add lentils and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer. Continue cooking uncovered for about 20-30 minutes until lentils are tender. Drain. Return lentils to the saucepan and add tomatoes and oregano. Warm over low heat for a couple of minutes.

Once vegetables are cooked, place a single layer of eggplant on the bottom of a 9×13” baking dish. Add a layer of zucchini, potatoes and onion, and half a cup of feta cheese. Add all the tomato and lentil mixture. Add remaining feta cheese. Layer with remaining potatoes and onion, zucchini, and eggplant. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Slowly whisk in milk, making sure to break up any clumps. Continue heating until bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and add nutmeg. Let cool for a couple of minutes then rapidly whisk in th egg.

After the initial 25 minutes of baking, pour sauce over vegetables and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 25-30 minutes until browned and bubbly on top.

Source: Slightly adapted for AllRecipes.com

cheesy broccoli and cauliflower stuffed spuds

cheesy broccoli and cauliflower stuffed potatoes | drag it through the gardenLooking for a meat-free meal for the upcoming Lent season? I know I am. Maybe these baked potatoes stuffed with a cheesy broccoli and cauliflower filling will do the trick. You could always try it with a caesar salad or maybe my mom’s seven layer salad (just take out the bacon on that one for a meatless option).

This is the first time I have updated this blog since the end of January. And while that is good news right now (free time!) that was horrible news for the past week and a half. But, alas, I am back. And hopefully this little bit of extra time I have this week will allow me to get all my ducks in a row and get ahead of the game. Maybe.

Or else I will just spend that time catching up on TV shows I missed…

To be honest, I do not have that much of a life update if you are looking for one. I have decided to erase all of last week out of my memory. Because it was awful. Besides dinner with some friends Wednesday night. Shrimp and crab risotto and fro yo afterwards? Yes, please!

Okay, okay. Between these two paragraphs I just decided to check and see if an exam grade was up. I took this exam on Friday and I swore it absolutely murdered me. If I am going to be completely honest, I just wanted to go home and cry afterwards. But, I did not get that opportunity because I had to go to another class to take another exam.

Long story short, I ended up receiving a solid A on that first one. Maybe last week wasn’t so bad after all…

cheesy broccoli and potato stuffed baked potatoes

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 russet potatoes
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
6 cups mixed broccoli and cauliflower
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
2 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet, rub potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and coarse salt. Bake in preheated oven for about 1.5-2 hours, until cooked through with crispy skin.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli and cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart pot over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and mustard powder. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue whisking until no lumps are present. Stir in cheddar and Gruyere cheese. Heat until melted. Carefully fold in cooked broccoli and cauliflower. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and spoon cheesy broccoli and cauliflower mixture inside. Serve.

Source: Adapted from Whole Foods

(healthy) seared tuna with lemon garlic sauce

healthy seared tuna with lemon garlic sauce | drag it through the garden

It has officially been a week since the start of the New Year. To aid in all the weight loss and healthy eating resolutions, here is a quick and simple entrée that will look as good on your plate as it does on your waistline. One serving of this tuna (about a 4 oz. tuna steak) will run you around 250 calories. According to me, that’s practically nothing.

I hope you all are still sticking strong with your resolutions. I tend to think that week two of pretty much anything is always the hardest. Besides maybe sunbathing on a beach in the Caribbean.

My resolutions? Stop feeling guilty for absolutely everything—that has become a brand new talent of mine in the last couple of years—and stop picking at my split ends. Because that’s gross. And probably really bad for my hair.

I have felt a bit of unnecessary guilt and spied a split end or two in my hair during the past week, but I think I’ve done pretty good evading these bad habits, all things considered.

But, honestly, whether you have a healthy-eating resolution or not, you should try this tuna. I mean, 250 calories? Ten minutes in the kitchen? What do you have to lose?

seared yellowfin tuna with lemon garlic sauce


Makes 4 servings
Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
For the tuna:
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 medium yellowfin tuna steaks

Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup white wine

juice of 1 lemon

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season tuna with salt and pepper. Place tuna in heated skillet and let cook for about 8 minutes, until tuna is light pink in the center, turning once (cooking time will depend on the size of your steak).

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add olive oil. Add garlic and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until garlic is golden. Stir in white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes, until sauce is just slightly reduced. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat. Serve over tuna.

campanelle with green beans and bacon

campanelle with green beans and bacon | drag it through the garden

Seeing as though it’s officially the New Year, I have one very important question.

How long is it going to take me to remember to write “2013” on the date line for papers and homework instead of “2012”?

Oh, yeah… and how much do I have to beg you to try this pasta?

Not like “eat your Brussels sprouts” begging. More like I have about 1,000 pins of recipes on Pinterest and have only tried a handful begging.

But seriously, try this pasta. It’s super easy and it’s super yummy. Pasta with green beans? It may sound a bit strange (it did to me at first, too). But they’re all sweet and the bacon is doing its savory thing and the pasta is, well… carb-y (and if you know me, you know I have a mild obsession with carbohydrates).

And the leftovers? Yeah, they’re even better.

campanelle with green beans and bacon

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
1 lb. campanelle (or any other pasta you prefer)
6 slices bacon, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut up into pieces
3/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving

Drop pasta into boiling, salted water. Cook to al dente according to package directions, about 11 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, add bacon to a cold skillet. Turn heat to medium. Once bacon begins to sizzle, add in garlic cloves. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until bacon is slightly chewy and browned around the edges. Add in green beans. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 4-6 more minutes. Remove garlic cloves. Reduce heat to low. Stir in butter and parmesan. Toss with drained pasta and sprinkle additional grated parmesan, if desired. If needed, add in some of the water the pasta cooked in to loosen up the sauce a bit.

Source: Fine Cooking