Monthly Mystery Munchies #31: Pasta Primavera

Credit: NordWood Themes

Haaaaapy New Year! May 2018 be delicious! In the spirit of New Year, Ann from Grubbs n Critters, who is my dedicated, loyal Best Blogging Friend, chose “new beginnings” as this month’s recipe challenge, and challenge is quite apt. I was initially stumped, as it’s not as easy as it sounds, but then I did some research and learned that Chinese dumplings are a traditional dish served for the Chinese New Year. Fantastic, I thought, let’s do that. I mean, how hard can it be? Quite, as it turned out. I Googled and YouTubed and realised that dumplings were, in fact, tricky, but that did not deter. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on pork mince, bamboo shoots, and the rest of the ingredients. However, when it came time to make said dumplings, well, it was a comedy of errors. The Husband informed me that rice wine vinegar is not the same as Chinese rice wine. Oops. Also, I left spring onions off the list, and my dumpling dough was horrendous and inedible. It was so hard, it could have been used as a weapon. Blunt force trauma for dinner, anyone? No? We bailed on the idea and went out for burgers instead. It was good for a laugh. The Sister from Another Mister was lured here with the promise of pork dumplings, but instead she was tasked with the idea of finding another recipe. I felt it only right that she contribute, as I stared into my chicken burger and uttered some choice words. She decided that I should make pasta primavera, or spring pasta, and I jumped on the opportunity.

Now, it’s not spring in South Africa. It is summer. Sweltering, blazing summer, but all of these veggies are available here and I do love spring, and the idea of using these veggies that represent a new season. Plan B worked out well. Hallelujah! I really loved the idea of roasting a wide array of delicious, colourful vegetables, mixing them with butter and cream, topping with parmesan. It’s a creamy dish, but because it also uses a variety of vegetables, it’s bursting with flavour too. Yes!! I am so keen to see Ann’s dish this month, and I mean wow, she really picked a fun one this month. So without further ado, here’s my pasta primavera recipe, and please take a gander at Ann’s recipe. I have no doubt it’s a delicious treat!

Pasta Primavera

Supplies:

500g bowtie pasta (or any other kind)
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 baby marrows/zucchini, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
Freshly cracked black pepper
Pink salt (you can use normal salt, but Himalayan salt is my fave for health reasons)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce:

4 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 sliced garlic cloves
½ cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
½ cup parmesan

Making it Happen:

Boil the pasta per package instructions until al dente.
Meanwhile, lay your vegetable in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the dried herbs over the veggies and roast in a preheated oven at 200°C for 10 – 15 minutes.

For the sauce:
Heat the butter in a pan on medium, and add the onion and garlic. Fry until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and fry for another minute. Pour in the stock and cream, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, along with the cherry tomatoes, then add the roasted veggies and toss well. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve!

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Words Crush Wednesday – Alfred Tennyson Edition

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I believe one should not have to wait until the New Year to start something, and, hopefully, see it through. However, this year there is a lot that seems to coincidentally coincide with January. I’ve started doing power yoga again, after having to give it up for many months due to issues with arthritis. I can barely move, people. Like, typing this is expending every molecule of energy I have left. My body is a temple? My hope is to be able to continue to practice yoga (hello, aching hamstrings!), create new recipes, and embrace the knowledge this year brings.

Hope is something that lives within all of us. It is universal, it knows no language, and it’s alive, pulsing, and growing with each achievement. But don’t make it a New Year thing, make it an every year thing.. an every day thing. Where there is hope, there is possibility. My hope is for you to have a very sweet ’16, and every year thereafter.

Alfred Tennyson 1

For more Words Crush Wednesday quotes and awesome writing treats, pop over to Rebirth of Lisa.

Monthly Mystery Munchies # 9: Butternut Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

Haaaaaapy New Year! Ann and I ‘met’ last year, and we’ve been doing our Monthly Mystery Munchies since May. It’s been a wonderfully rich and valuable experience – I have learnt so much about food – from ingredients to cooking methods, and it’s one of my favourite parts of blogging. I can honestly say I fervently look forward to it every month, and I avidly check Ann’s blog to see what she’s created. One thing I do know, before seeing her recipes, is that her food is always fun, definitely interesting, and incredibly tasty!

Butternut salad 2So about the New Year. The Christmas holidays were wonderful, albeit very busy, but packed with overindulgence. My hips, tummy and butt are testament – don’t make me show you the evidence. Let me give you a glimpse into the severity: Christmas lunch is always a big deal. Although relaxed, we went all out. I mean it’s the one time when I have a real excuse, so why not? Well, hips. That’s why not. Anyways, there were seven of us this year, and this the meat we collectively made: turkey stuffed with pork and onion stuffing (moi), glazed gammon (my very talented mom-in-law), and, because that wasn’t enough for six adults and one little dude, my brother-in-law did a turducken. That was just the meat! Yeah, uh, time to detox, which leads me to this month’s theme – salad.

Butternut salad 4Before you start yawning from boredom, we decided that it would be a good idea to do something healthy, but not the traditional lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber. Because that would bore that crap out of me. This salad is so tasty. The sweetness of the butternut and peppers is balanced by the baby spinach leaves, and the feta cheese finishes it off perfectly. Natch, I made a vinaigrette. I do love mustard, so I did healthy salad dressing version, no cream or butter, just mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. All super healthy. I feel thinner already. I decided not to add meat to this salad, but you can throw in some shredded chicken or cubed beef – totally up to you. It’s easy and tasty, and in 40C heat, it’s refreshing to eat a cool meal instead of something steaming hot. Ann made an impressive 5-layer salad! Be sure to check it out! And again, happy 2016!

Butternut Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

Supplies:

1kg butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubed and steamed
250g baby spinach leaves
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 disc feta cheese

Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch paprika
Salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Making it happen:

Steam the cubed butternut, let cool and transfer to a salad bowl/dish. Add the chopped peppers and baby spinach leaves, and crumble the feta over the salad. Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix all of the vinaigrette ingredients and pour over the salad.

Butternut salad