Bistro Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is great served warm but is equally good served cold.  It is a really nice summer pasta salad and is perfect for a picnic lunch or summer potluck and it makes a lot to feed a crowd.

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450g box bowtie pasta

Olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

14oz jar marinated artichoke

14oz jar roasted red peppers

14oz can crushed tomatoes

2 cups baby spinach (you can use regular spinach, just chop it)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

sal and pepper to taste

a good sprinkling of grated parmesan (probably about 1/4 cup)

Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente.

mince garlic and toss with a little olive oil

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put strain pasta in bowl with the garlic and toss generously with more olive oil

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Chop the roasted peppers and artichokes, into bite size-ish pieces

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Toss that in on the pasta

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Add the tomatoes, at this stage I season with a little salt and pepper and taste to make sure it is how I want it

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Toss in the spinach and some parmesan

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Mix it all together

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Serve topped with a little sprinkle of parmesan and some baguette…and a nice glass of wine.

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Tomato Chickpea Spinach Simmer

It has been a long time since I have posted anything new.  I have tried a few times but have had computer problems and no time.

Fall is slipping away at warp speed.  Normally once September starts I am nesting for winter.  The preserving books and recipes come out and I am hitting the farmers markets and grocery stores stocking up on the harvest and canning.  This year I have done nothing, it seems so busy that I just can’t get the time or energy to do it.  I do have 8lbs of apples sitting in the kitchen that has to be made into applesauce this weekend.  I still have to get beets, yum-yum pickles (Evie’s favorite), mustard pickles canned ( I hope).  And each year I try to try something new.  Last year it was plum sauce, it was good and we used some of it, but not enough to make it again this year.  I am thinking a wine jelly of some sort to use at Christmas time.

There are pumpkins everywhere now and I LOVE pumpkins.  I need to make something pumpkin this weekend and I have a list that I want to make.

This was our vegetarian (actually, I think it is vegan) meal a couple of weeks ago, I hope I can finally post it.  This recipe it pretty easy and cheap to make.  Like most of our vegetarian recipes it includes chickpeas, Evie’s favourite, she has even eating them right out of the can for breakfast!

2Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped fine

1tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp each hot pepper flakes & salt

2tsp tomato paste

1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes

1 can (19oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1tsp paprika

1 bag (about 6 cups) spinach trimmed ( I left this out this time, Evie didn’t want it, and we did have any)

In a large saucepan heat oil and saute onion and garlic, oregano, pepper flakes and salt until onion is soft.

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Add tomato paste and fry for 1 minute.

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The paste here looks a little funny because it is frozen.  When I open a can of paste I freeze the remainder in 1Tbsp portions so it doesn’t go to waste. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and paprika.

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Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until thickened, thick enough so that a spoon dragged through leaves a space, about 25 minutes.

ImageMeanwhile, if you are using spinach, saute spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes, then stir into chickpeas.  Sometimes if I don’t want to get another pan dirty I just put the spinach right on top of the chickpeas and cover to let it wilt right in the pot.

Serve over basmati rice with naan on the side.

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Frugal Faux Pesto…aka basil pesto

I cannot really call this pesto as there are no pine nuts, or anything replacing them.  We really like pesto, but got used to making it without one of the main ingredients when Evie was in daycare, there was a child there with a severe pine nut allergy. Of course we couldn’t substitute walnuts because like most schools/daycares there is a no nut policy due to allergies.  Now we still make it this way, which we are ok with, because pine nuts are expensive.

We went to the local farmer’s market to get some nice fresh basil and we got a big bunch for the same price we would have paid for a little sprig at the grocery store.  It smelled soooo good.  We also got some local garlic braided with pretty dried flowers.  Evie can’t stop picking at it.  

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Pick off the leaves, wash and dry, need about 2-3 cups

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4 cloves minced garlic

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about half cup grated parmesan

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Blitz all of this in a food processor a few times, then blend more, while pouring in a constant stream of olive oil.  I used somewhere between half cup and a cup of olive oil.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.

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We kept some pesto for our supper sandwiches and Evie took some to school to dip her bread in for lunch.

The rest we will freeze to use later.  Probably for a dressing for pasta salad for a school lunch.  To freeze pesto I place a sheet of cling wrap over a mini muffin tin and fill the cups with the pesto.  The plastic wrap will make it easier to remove from the tins then wrap individually and place in a container or zip top bag.  That way you can pull one out at a time.

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For supper we made sandwiches on one of our favorite breads, foccacia would also be good.

grilled chicken, avocado and a tomato from our garden. You can omit the chicken for a veggie version

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