Tag Archives: tomatoes

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


tuna and asparagus stir fry

A lot has happened this week. Many times I say a lot has happened when I’ve only done one or two things. That might be the case this week, but it sure doesn’t feel like it! Ready for the recap? Friday night I went to the Blink-182 concert with my best friend that I never get to see anymore, Keely. I then rediscovered my infatuation with slushies from Quik Trip (For those of you who don’t know what Quik Trip is, it’s a gas station mostly in the Midwest that has an awesome array of slushies and amazingly delicious doughnuts).

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to move into my new apartment right next to campus. I have to tell you how much I love this apartment, and the view of the city is amazing. Perhaps there will be pictures on a new post. This all means that school starts soon, next Monday to be exact. I don’t know if the start of a new school year will mean more or fewer posts on Drag it Through the Garden, but I guess we’ll find out shortly!

But, enough about that. The other night, Lauren graced us with her cooking skills and whipped together this tuna and asparagus stir fry. Not only is it super easy, it’s quick and fresh, too.

Feel free to switch up the fish, the veggies, or anything else you’d like. But, most importantly, enjoy!

Tuna and Asparagus Stir Fry

From Betty Crocker
Makes 4 Servings


1 lb. tuna fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated ginger (substitute dried ground ginger if you want)
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped into large pieces
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Heat a wok or large skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray (or drizzled with oil) over medium-high heat. Add tuna, onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Add asparagus, mushrooms, tomato, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Cook for about 3 more minutes, until fish is cooked and mixture is thoroughly heated (the tuna should still be a little pink inside).

Serve over brown rice with additional soy sauce, if desired.

spaghetti all’amatriciana

There have been exactly three times my entire life when I have ordered an entrée at an Italian restaurant that was not pasta. Seriously. The first time was chicken spiedini. Then, it was veal saltimbocca. The last time was pork osso bucco. While all three meals were very good, I found myself wishing I had ordered some type of pasta instead.

It used to be that pasta was a staple around my house. And then, my family turned into carb-conscious health nuts. Well, my entire family besides me. But, as I’m known to do, I started having pasta withdrawals. So, here’s my fix: spaghetti all’amatriciana. Sounds kind of fancy, right? And fancy foods are usually difficult to make, right? Wrong. This dish is super easy to pull together on a busy weeknight, but it’s nice enough to make your weekend meal, too!

(This whole fancy name dilemma got me thinking. Have you ever noticed how restaurants can charge so much more money when the name sounds more gourmet… or is in a different language all together? Would you spend more money on French toast or Pain Perdu? How about Spaghetti All’Amatriciana or Spaghetti with Pancetta, Tomatoes, and Onions?)

Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 6 Servings


6 oz. pancetta or bacon, sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes in juice
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. spaghetti or bucatini
½ c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (2 oz.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Bring a large skillet to medium heat. Add pancetta (or bacon) and cook until crisp, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towels to drain. Do not remove grease from skillet. (There should be about 2 tbsp. grease remaining. If there is not, add olive oil until there is a total of 2 tbsp. fat in the pan).

Add onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent and garlic is golden brown.

At this point, you can add your pasta into the boiling water. Drain after about 9 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, add canned tomatoes and red pepper flakes to skillet. Break tomatoes up a bit in the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce begins to thicken.. Add pasta to the skillet and toss. If needed, add reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta up a bit and allow the sauce to adhere better.

Top pasta with reserved pancetta (or bacon) and grated cheese.

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).

southwestern quinoa

I’m always looking for healthy side dish options for dinners. But, I usually get stuck in ruts and can’t really think of anything to make. There’s the usual steamed veggies, maybe a sweet potato, or rice.

So, when I realized I had a bunch of quinoa in the pantry and a delicious recipe printed, I jumped at the opportunity to switch things up a bit.

The lime vinaigrette in this dish brightens things up a bit while the black beans keeps it hearty enough to not feel like cardboard health food.

This is definitely a recipe that I’ll go back and make again.

Southwestern Quinoa

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Adapted from Gourmet
Makes 5 Servings

1 c. uncooked quinoa
1 tomato, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. lime zest
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar

In a large bowl, combine lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a sieve, rinse quinoa well. Add to a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain in a sieve. Return saucepan to heat with 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer. Place sieve over water (the sieve should not be touching the water). Cover with a kitchen towel, then with a lid. Keep simmering for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Remove lid, but keep towel over quinoa for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add quinoa to bowl with dressing and combine. Mix in tomatoes, scallions, and black beans. Serve.

mom’s seven layer salad

A majority of this past weekend was spent cooking in the kitchen with my mom. As much as I love being in the kitchen, I will be the first to admit that I’ve had enough for a while. But, although my legs are weak and my back tired, I love that I spent all that time with my mom.

Sometimes I can be a little mean when I am in the kitchen. I prefer to be left alone; and, if someone interferes with my alone time, beware. This past weekend was the exception to the rule. Saturday morning, my mom and I worked separately on breakfast; I made my apple and brown butter jalousie and Mom worked on a beautiful fruit platter.

But, yesterday, Father’s Day, Mom and I labored away together in the kitchen for five hours, preparing a beautiful dinner and dessert. And I’ll admit, that was a whole heck of a lot better than the day before, partly because Mom does the dishes, and partly because I had the opportunity to learn recipes that I feel like I’ve been eating since the day I was born.

Mom’s Seven-Layer Salad is one of these dishes. My sister and I absolutely love this salad. But, we both know that no one will ever be able to make it as well as Mom can.

Mom’s Seven Layer Salad

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Makes 8 Servings

4 cups torn Iceberg lettuce
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 small red onion, sliced
2 c. chopped tomatoes
1 10-oz. package frozen green peas, cooked
¾ c. mayonnaise
¾ c. sour cream
2 tbsp. chopped basil
8 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled

In a large bowl, layer lettuce, 1 cup cheese, mushrooms, red onion, tomatoes, and peas.

In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer over the green pea layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

After four hours, top with remaining ½ cup cheese and crumbled bacon, and serve.

okra succotash

I feel like a five-year old saying this but, to tell the truth, I don’t really like that many vegetables. And most of the vegetables I do eat slightly resemble mushy baby food (we’re talking canned and overcooked). Obviously, no one else in my family wants to eat mushy baby-food resembling vegetables, so I typically don’t eat hardly as much as I should in any given day.

But, then succotash came along and hurled my poor view on vegetables out the door. I absolutely love this as a summer side dish; and I always make sure I make more than enough just for the leftovers.

I know, I know; okra can get slimy and unappealing in a heartbeat, but I promise it does not do anything but get delicious in this method. Feel free to substitute out the cranberry beans (a.k.a. shell beans) for the more traditional lima beans, but I love the slightly nutty flavor the cranberry bean adds.

Okra Succotash

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Makes 8 Servings


kernels from 3 ears of fresh corn
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
about 20 okra spears, sliced
1 c. dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Boil soaked cranberry beans for about 45 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot or dutch oven, add butter over medium heat. Add half of the tomatoes and all the okra. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes, until tender and tomatoes have turned into a thick sauce, stirring frequently. Stir in vinegar.

Gently mix in corn, cranberry beans, and remaining tomatoes. Cook for 10 more minutes. Serve.