One Pot Vegetable Penne Pasta

One Pot Vegetable Penne Pasta

Our dishwasher recently broke, which has made me realize just how many dishes we (mostly I) use in a day.

For example, I start with a big glass of water first thing in the morning before I make a smoothie. Next comes iced cold brew coffee. When it’s time to make lunch, I’m usually too lazy to go upstairs to get my previously used water glass so I’ll grab another. In case you aren’t keeping track, I’m up to 4 glasses by about noon. There’s also one by my bed, two in the bathroom, and by the end of the day there will be a larger collection at my desk. I know – first world problems. But now that I’m washing dishes by hand, I’m trying to change my ways. I’ve learned that it’s far easier to rinse and reuse the same glass than it is to have a sink full of glassware (and of course other dishes) at the end of the day when I’m trying to start dinner.

All of this extra dishwashing led me to try the infamous one pot pasta. It was apparently invented by a french chef and later made internet-famous by Martha. I never considered trying it before because it’s a little too trendy and I’ve never found it to be a big deal to wash the pasta pot. But by now I was tired of washing dishes and this recipe seemed incredibly easy. And it was (is).

One Pot Vegetable Penne Pasta

It’s delicious too. Because the starches from the pasta stay with your pasta, this method creates a creamy sort of sauce that wouldn’t be there if you cooked and drained your pasta.

It starts like this, just add water:

One Pot Vegetable Penne Pasta

I felt like Martha’s recipe lacked a bit of flavor so for my version I’ve amped up the herbs & seasonings. I also added lemon juice, lemon zest and my market-haul of summer veggies. In lieu of freshly grated parmesan cheese I made a “cheese-like” hempseed topping. This pasta is nicely flavorful on it’s own so feel free to use cheese or “cheese”, or skip both. I do recommend adding toasted pine nuts (I forgot to add them before we took the photo), because they add a necessary bit of texture to this otherwise soft pasta.

I had a little trouble deciding on the serving size for this recipe. The final pot looked “family size,” but then we ate the whole thing, with Jack going back for multiple helpings. So I’m going to say this serves 2 hungry people, and maybe a few more if you have smaller eaters or if you serve this with a protein on the side.

One Pot Vegetable Penne Pasta

Skinny Caipirinhas

Skinny Caipirinhas

With the Rio Olympics coming to a close, it’s time to celebrate with Brazil’s national drink – Caipirinhas! Jack and I have some fond Caipirinha memories – we actually spent our honeymoon in South America and our first stop was Rio. On our first night we had dinner at a great restaurant in Ipanema, the name of which I can’t remember (before the blog I was terrible at taking travel notes). The waiter insisted that we have the “national drink of Brazil.” He explained to us what Cachaça was and we felt like we were experiencing a truly special exotic drink. That is, until we got back home to the US to realize that Caipirinhas are on every cocktail menu everywhere. Oh well. Common or not, we still like ’em.

This is a lightened up version – I cut back on the amount of liquor (and sugar) and topped off our cocktails with Topo Chico, my sparkling water of choice.

And now for a little trip down memory lane:

The epic view from Christ the Redeemer, or as Jack liked to call him: Concrete Jesus. A cloud had just moved and everyone put their cameras up to capture the view.

Rio Rio

You can’t tell from the size of this photo, but this was Jack’s favorite t-shirt that says “Save a cow, eat a vegetarian.”

Rio

We took our trip just after Rio had been selected for the Olympics and this sandcastle monument on Copacabana beach was the only sign of it at the time:

Rio

No-Bake Sweet Pea Enchiladas

No-Bake Sweet Pea Enchiladas from Modern Potluck

I know you love cookbooks as much as I do, so I’m excited to share this recipe from Kristen Donnely’s new book, Modern Potluck. I met Kristin about a year ago while she was an editor at Food & Wine Magazine. When she told me about the concept of her book, I knew I’d want to share it with you

I love this… In her intro, she talks about the perfect dinner parties (with perfect hosts) that they would featured in the magazine, and how she’d always felt embarrassed that she didn’t grow up knowing how to throw a “proper” dinner party. Until one day she realized that these magazine features were always parties of 8 to 12 people, and that, growing up her mom could host 50 to 100 without panic because her secret was the pot luck.

But even pot lucks have changed over the years, which is why she was inspired to write this book. These days there are things like dietary restrictions and “Instagram worthiness” to consider. Also, people have become more food savvy and there’s always pressure to bring a standout dish. She wrote Modern Potluck to give people updated, foolproof, crowd-pleasing recipes that will hold up on the buffet table… and to bring people together around food in a way that’s as easy and fun as possible.

No-Bake Sweet Pea Enchiladas from Modern Potluck

I made these no-bake enchiladas that I think are pretty darn Instagram worthy, don’t you? :). The recipe starts with a delicious carrot-cumin sofrito that I could not stop eating by the spoonful as it was cooking on my stove. The enchiladas are filled with a cheese, cilantro and pea filling, while the sofrito, avocado, and seeds get piled on top.

IMG_2016_08_14_08192

We really enjoyed this fresh take on enchiladas – especially since it’s a little too hot to turn the oven on!

No-Bake Sweet Pea Enchiladas from Modern Potluck

I was also eyeing this gorgeous Many Bean Salad:

Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnely

And these Samosa-Filling Stuffed Poblanos (yum!):

Modern Potluck by Kristin Donnely

One of my favorite parts of the book is that every recipe has a “Potluck Prep” tip that tells you how to prepare the recpie in advance, how long the recipe will sit out for, etc, etc.

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Peach Tostadas & a Saveur Nomination(!)

Green Chile Peach Tostadas

First off, I wanted to say a big THANK YOU for nominating us in this year’s Saveur Blog Awards! I’m so flattered and thrilled that you find our little corner of the internet to be an inspiring place. It’s times like these that I really don’t know what else to say besides thank you, thank you, thank you!

If you have a second, it would mean the world to me if you could click here and go vote. Scroll down a tad to the “Most Inspired Weeknight Dinners” category. You can vote every day until August 31st. I owe you big :)

Green Chile Peach Tostadas Green Chile Peach Tostadas

Speaking of weeknight dinners, here’s a fresh and flavorful one you should try before peach season is over. I piled crispy corn tortillas with refried black beans, tomatoes, sliced peaches and dollops of this awesome creamy green chile sauce that’s made from the fresh hatch green chiles that seem to be everywhere (or at least at my local Central Market) right now. I just love the sweet, spicy combo and I hope you do too!

Green Chile Peach Tostadas

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

When my sister and I were younger, our goal in life was to catch the ice cream truck. We’d play outside in the yard with our neighbor friends all day until one of us yelled “sshhhhhhhh!!!!” and then we’d all run to opposite ends of the yard to figure out which direction that whimsical sound of The Entertainer was coming from. When we would close in on the truck’s direction, one of us would run I would make my sister run into the house to get money from mom while the rest of us kept a watchful ear to make sure that the winds didn’t carry our ice cream treats into another direction.

We’d get to the truck sweating and out of breath and would always order the same things – I’d get the red, white and blue rocket pop, my sister Karen would get the bar with the crushed nuts. Our neighbor friends would get that teenage mutant ninja turtled ice cream bar with the bubble gum eyes (gross, but to each their own).

More often than not, we’d miss the truck altogether and would have to resort to sub-par house ice cream or, on a GOOD day – pudding pops(!) that were in the freezer all along.

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

I hadn’t had a pudding pop in years until I started making these this summer, and boy did they bring back the memories. In my childhood, frozen things on sticks = life. Except, I promise, these taste SO much better than any pre-packaged pop.

The recipe is a blend of avocados (which will get hidden), almond milk, chocolate, cacao powder, and the ingredient that really makes them rich & decadent – a few tablespoons of almond butter.

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops

And if you’re trying to relive your 80’s childhood like I am, drizzle these with melted chocolate and sprinkle some crushed almonds or pistachios on top.

Rainbow rocket pops: another post??

Chocolate Avocado Almond Pudding Pops