Spinach-Artichoke Rotini

This is practically a non-recipe as it is so dead easy to make. I wanted to use up some frozen veg I had and also make a decent vegetarian meal that was not a curry – we had chicken tikka last night. This is what I concocted:

1 bag of frozen, creamed spinach (Birdseye makes one)

1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, diced

Italian spices (I used one from Costco called Rustic Tuscan Spices…has garlic in it as well)

1 – 12 oz box of high fiber rotini pasta, cooked and drained

1-2 tbl butter

3/4 cup of 2% milk

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 shredded mozzarella cheese

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On medium-low heat, gently cook diced artichokes and frozen, creamed spinach in a saute pan. As the creamy chunks start to melt, slowly add the milk a drizzle at a time, mixing between drizzles. Add the spices and stir well, still gently heating.

Boil or pressure cook pasta and drain. Return the pasta to the boiling or pressure cooker pan and add butter, mixing until it all melts in.

Allow veg mix to cook through, upping the temp slightly. Add cheese and stir to mix and melt.

Toss pasta with veg mix and serve.

You might want to season with some salt & pepper as well, I let everyone season their own as I do the low sodium thing.

SpinArti

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Carrots & Greens Under Pressure

Did you know there are really no decent synonyms for pressure used in the cooking sense? I know! It’s practically scandalous. There might be a few, but none that I found in my quick 3 minute perusal of thesaurus.com, so this is the title you are stuck with. Live with it’s overused triteness!

I find myself with a plethora of greens, collard and kale to be exact, and an overabundance of carrots. I always seem to have an overabundance of carrots as my local Door to Door Organics loves to send them to me. The full-sized ones usually find their way into stews, soups or juice eventually. The baby ones are more of a hassle. I hate messing with cutting them and so almost always use them whole. They roast up well. At any rate, I found myself with 2 bags of them plus the greens and decided it was high time I tried this recipe. Naturally, I could not follow that to the letter and this is what I devised:

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil

3 slices of Ozark Sandwich Bacon, diced (this is something made by a local farm, if you cannot find anything like it, just use spiral sliced ham or canadian bacon)

1/2 of a medium sized red onion, sliced

1 small bunch of Lacinato kale, large stems removed, diced

1 small bunch of collard greens, large stems removed, diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly minced

1 bag of baby carrots (I think the typical size is a pound)

1/2 cup water (the other recipe calls for chicken broth, but since I added the salty meat to mine, I opted for a no sodium cooking liquid)

drizzle of sherry or white wine

1-2 tbl of balsamic vinegar

1-2 squirts of sriracha

1-2 healthy drops of agave syrup

1 tbl butter (whenever I use butter, please know it is ALWAYS the unsalted variety, and I did this long before I had to watch my sodium. I have a firmly held anti-salted butter conviction.)

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Prepare all the veg and meat (remembering to snap photos of everything this time.)

yeah, you don’t get a photo of the carrots as I just ripped open the bag and dumped. no prep.

Stop to charge your stupid iPhone.

Add olive oil to the pressure cooker pan and set to sauté. Sauté onion until it starts to get a little color, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic & bacon and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until you render most of the fat on the bacon. Deglaze pan with a little drizzle of white wine or sherry.

that second shot is honestly the least steamy one I could manage.

Turn off the instant pot and add greens, carrots & water. (What I did was put half my greens on top of the sautéd stuff, dumped the carrot in, then added the other half of the greens).

Cover, make sure your spew nozzle is closed, press Manual and set the timer for 8 minutes.

Mix the balsamic with the sriracha & agave and set aside. Go read a book, watch TV, play a game or peruse old Graham Norton videos on youtube.

Once the cooker beeps, vent the pressure then open the lid. Toss the veg with the spicy balsamic & butter. You can add more seasoning here if you wish (coughcoughSALTcough) I did not, but then I am on a low sodium diet. Devour at will.

Greens 011

The original recipe I riffed off of for this has it as a side dish, but for me – with the inclusion of the meat – it’s a main. Another thing…the original recipe didn’t have much pre-cooking of the onions, but I am a HUGE fan of caramelization. Get some color on that shit, yo! There be flavor in that browning.

Quick & Easy Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup

It’s cold out, it’s also Saturday and I am feeling lazy, but also cheap. Cheap and lazy is never a good combo unless one is talking a semi-healthy soup. This is what I created.

1-2 tbl coconut oil

2 tbl thai red curry paste

1/4 of a truly enormous vidalia onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 – 15 oz cans of pumpkin (NOT pie filling)

1 can of fire roasted, diced tomatoes

2 cans of vegetable broth

1/2 cup of soy or almond milk

drizzle of sherry or water

Allow coconut oil to melt in pressure cooker pan (set cooker to saute, the default of medium is fine). Once the oil is hot, add diced onion and saute until it starts to color.

PumpkinThai 001worst photo, ever. I swear the onions were starting to maillard!

Add minced garlic and saute another minute more before adding curry paste.

PumpkinThai 002this was right before I added the sherry and mixed it around

Allow the spices to become fragrant (about 1-2 minutes) then deglaze pan with a drizzle of either sherry or water. Let the mixture simmer a bit, for maybe 2-3 minutes then add the broth, tomatoes and pumpkin, whisking until smooth.

Cover, making sure that the vent release is closed. Set pressure cooker on Manual and the timer for 6 minutes. Once it beeps, vent, open and stir in the milk sub. Season with sea salt at your discretion.

PumpkinThai 003  so orange!

Serve. I served this with some small, soft baguettes that I toasted. Delicious.