Tag Archives: entree

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

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

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

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

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

capellini with chicken and artichokes

School is officially out and that means Christmas is almost here. Every year I get so excited about the coming Christmas. I just love the holiday cheer everyone has. I love the upbeat music everyone plays. And I love not having class or homework or exams. Oh… and the presents are a major bonus too.

So, now that I have absolutely nothing to do all day, I sit here anxiously checking every hour on the hour to see if my grades have been posted. I did actually start studying for my LSAT today (surprisingly), but we’ll have to see how long that lasts. Like that no-pasta diet of mine that lasted all of (maybe) two weeks.

Pasta is kind of my go-to if you haven’t noticed. My favorite part of this one? Besides the carbs… the briny flavor that comes from the artichoke hearts and capers to break things up a bit.

capellini with chicken, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes

Serves 4

8 thin chicken cutlets (about 1.5 lb.)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. chicken broth
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and quartered
2 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
5 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. butter
8 oz. capellini
4 tbsp. chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add flour to a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken with flour. Shake off excess. Add chicken to skillet and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a separate dish.

Add broth to skillet and boil until reduced by half. Add artichokes, capers, tomatoes, and chicken. Stir. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Add in butter and swirl around to combine. Cover until pasta is ready.

Add capellini to boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain. Serve chicken and sauce over capellini. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart, using reviews

chili mac

I made this chili mac a few weeks ago with my dad when my mom was out of town. It had been a really long time since I had any chili, but it’s something that I definitely crave the first few weeks of cold weather. So, now I sit here in at our new lake house looking out the window at the bare trees and the chill blowing across the water and want nothing else than this chili.

No turkey, no ham, no whatever, just chili. Well, I’d eat that canned jellied cranberry sauce… and this chili.

So, happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your turkey or whatever you’re munching on tomorrow, and make this chili when all your leftovers run out, whenever that may be.

Chili Mac

Makes about 10 servings

1 lb. beef sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1.5 lb. coarsely ground beef
2 links Mexican chorizo
1 Medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. garlic salt
¼ c. chili powder
1 Cinnamon stick
3 Bay leaves
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Jalapeño, de-seeded and minced, or 2 tbsp. freeze-dried jalapeños
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 28-oz. can tomato puree
2 Tbsp. cornmeal
2 Tbsp. flour
3 14-oz. cans beef stock
2 14-oz. cans kidney beans, drained
1 lb. elbow macaroni
Any desired toppings, such as oyster crackers, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, cilantro, ketchup, etc.

Set a large pot over medium high heat. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Season sirloin with salt and pepper and add to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all sides are browned. Remove to a separate bowl and drain excess liquid.

Add ground beef and chorizo. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add onion and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cooked through. Add garlic salt, chili powder, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cumin, jalapeño, and cilantro. Mix thoroughly. Continue stirring over the heat for a couple minutes so the spices can get all toasty.

Add the cans of whole tomatoes and tomato puree. Stir together. Slowly stir in cornmeal and flour so as not to get any lumps. Stir in cans of beef stock. If needed, add an extra can of water depending on how thick your chili looks (remember you can always add water later, if needed). Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Add kidney beans. Simmer on low heat uncovered for another 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

When you’re reading to serve, cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. Add a little bit to the bottom of a bowl and add the chili on top. Garnish with any desired toppings.

crescent dogs

I don’t even know if this is allowed to be considered a recipe… but, I don’t think there is any authority out there to decide recipe validity, so I’ll go out on a limb here.

Anyhow, I was watching Grey’s Anatomy the other day (I’ve finally caught up and finished the 7th season… it only took four months, thanks to Netflix) and someone was eating pigs in a blanket. You all know how crazy the mind is (especially mine), how you can think of one thing that makes you think of another thing that makes you  think of something else. So… that happened, and I thought of crescent dogs (even though they’re pretty much the same thing). Needless to say, I had to have them.

Next day, I went to the store and bought all the ingredients. I used 98% fat free turkey hot dogs, reduced fat crescent rolls, and low fat (or fat free, I can’t remember) American cheese slices. Feel free to use full fat items. They’ll be delicious either way.

Crescent Dogs

Makes 4 servings, 2 crescent dogs per person

1 can (8 total) crescent roll dough
4 slices American cheese
8 hot dogs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unroll crescent dough and separate into individual triangles on an ungreased baking sheet.

Cut each slice of cheese in half. Starting about ½-inch from the end and ending 1/2-inch from the opposite end, slice each hot dog. Only cut about halfway through. Do not cut completely in half.

Fold each half of a cheese slice in half lengthwise. Stuff inside the hot dog slice. It’s okay if it sticks out. Take the long end of one crescent triangle and place over cheese. Wrap around the hot dog and place back on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining hot dogs.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, until crescent dough is golden brown.

ground turkey with carrots and potatoes

I may have fallen in love with one pot dinners. I can’t remember the last time I made one; a lot of them sound unappetizing to me, but occasionally I find one that sounds great. That was the case when I was perusing Gina’s Skinny Recipes the other day and found this recipe for Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Spring Peas.

This meal was so delicious and surprisingly hearty for being healthy. I made my own additions of carrots, an extra potato, and red pepper flakes. You’ll get just enough spice from the cumin and red pepper flakes, but feel free to add more if you want it spicier.

Expect to see more one-pot dinners very shortly; I’m not going to pass up any more opportunities for easy and tasty cooking adventures.

Ground Turkey with Carrots and Potatoes

Adapted from Gina’s Skinny Recipes
Makes 5 Servings


1 lb. ground turkey, 93% lean
1 tsp. cumin, divided
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 c. green peas (I used frozen and thawed)
½ c. onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, diced
8 oz. tomato sauce
¾ c. water
Bay leaf

In a large pan over medium heat, add turkey breast. Season to taste with salt, ½ tsp. cumin, and red pepper flakes.

Once turkey is fully cooked, add bay leaf, water, tomato sauce, garlic, onion, peas, carrots, potatoes, and remaining ½ tsp. cumin. Season to taste with salt.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Serve (recommended over rice).