Archives for category: basil

Homemade Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

slow-cooker-homemade-marinara-sauce-recipe

I’m all about Whole30 recipes lately. They are healthy and delicious, full of clean eating foods, and fresh ingredients. Here’s an easy way to make a big batch of marinara sauce, perfect for spiralized zucchini noodles AKA zoodles, or baked spaghetti squash. The best part is you can freeze the leftovers in individual portions for later. Yay!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1  1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1  1/2 c. finely diced carrots
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, carrots and garlic. Sauté veggies until carrots soften, approximately 5 minutes or so.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. (I use crock pot liners so there’s less mess to clean later)
  • Add remaining marinara sauce ingredients to slow cooker then whisk to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.

This makes a thick, somewhat chunky sauce, which I love. If you prefer a thinner sauce however, you can use an immersion blender to thin it out.

Freezing Instructions: Prepare as instructed above. Cool sauce to room temperature, then ladle into freezer-safe containers or ziplock freezer bags (in 1 or 2 cup portions, depending on how much you will need at a time). Before serving, thaw sauce in refrigerator overnight. Or, empty frozen sauce in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sauce comes to a simmer.

Slow Cooker

recipe adapted from Whole30.com
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Italian Zucchini UNpasta Salad

The zucchinis in our garden are growing like, well, zucchinis in August, ha. I love using my spiral cutter to turn them into noodles AKA zoodles. This recipe is simple, delicious, and is a great make-ahead option since the more it marinates in the dressing the more intense the flavors become. It has all the usual ingredients of an Italian pasta salad — red onions, black olives, oregano, basil, salami, olive oil, red wine vinegar, cheese — minus the pasta! It’s a great recipe to keep on hand for summer potlucks because it is sure to be a crowdpleaser.

Italian Pasta Salad without the pasta - Spiralized Zucchini noodles
This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci, and she uses a fancy big ol’ spiral cutter called “The Inspiralizer.” However I just use a basic GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer. No matter how you slice it (pun intended) spiral cut zucchinis are an awesome low-carb alternative to pasta.

Alrighty then. Here’s the recipe…

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, spiral cut into “noodles”
  • 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved (I used a combination of red and orange)
  • 5 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 3/4 c. sliced salami
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. sliced black olives
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • fresh basil, minced, to taste (I used 4 large leaves)
  • Parsley, chopped, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

In a large bowl combine zucchini, artichokes, tomatoes, mozzarella, salami, onion, and olives.

In a separate bowl, whisk these together to make the dressing: vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

Pour the dressing on top of the salad ingredients and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until the dressing starts to soften the zucchini. Serve chilled.

 

 

spiral slicer

ZUCCHINI NOODLE CAPRESE SALAD

Ahhhh the spiralizer. I love this kitchen gadget. You can turn veggies like zucchinis, cucumbers, and carrots into awesome healthy low-carb dishes. Turn zucchinis into noodles = Zoodles!

Here’s an easy no-cook salad that’s perfect for summer veggies from the Farmer’s Market or your garden. It has the delicious flavor of a traditional Italian caprese pasta salad, but without the pasta.

ZUCCHINI NOODLE CAPRESE SALAD

Zucchini Caprese Salad

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, cut into spiral “noodles”
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes (I used a combination of orange and red)
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/3 c. thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • salt & pepper, to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

Place zucchini and tomatoes in a mixing bowl.

Make the marinade in a separate bowl by combining the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, and garlic.

Pour marinade over the zucchini and tomatoes and stir gently to combine. Place in fridge to marinade for 10-20 minutes (the longer the zucchini marinates the more flavorful it will become).

Remove from fridge, add the cheese and basil to the bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, and serve.

recipe adapted from Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci

Two-Ingredient Homemade Egg Pasta Recipe

Two Ingredient Homemade Pasta Recipe - Just eggs and flour - I will never buy the boxed stuff again.

Here’s a fun and easy recipe: homemade egg pasta. It’s just two basic ingredients: flour and eggs. You can use this to roll out in flat sheets for cutting into fettuccine noodles or tagliatelle. It’s also perfect for filled pastas such as ravioli or tortellini.

The fun part is you don’t even need a mixing bowl – just make a “bowl” out of flour right on your work surface and place the eggs in the middle.

We used a hand-crank pasta machine to roll out the dough. Our kids thought this was great. It was like a PlayDoh Fun Factory – except we got to eat our work.

I cut some of the pasta dough into fettuccine and spaghetti noodles, and used a hand stamper tool to make ravioli another time.

Of course there are tons of flavors and liquids you can add to this basic pasta dough: try 6-10 oz. of spinach, or a teaspoon of grated lemon zest and 6 oz. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or even ½ cup dry white wine to your dough while mixing. Herbs and spices (basil, parsley, etc) or even vegetable purees can be great additions.

And if you’re making ravioli or tortellini, there are so many delicious options for the filling besides the usual ricotta: for example butternut squash, mushrooms, blue cheese, etc.

I made the batch in the photos with just plain old, boring, flour, since we have a bunch of it. I do want to try switching up the flour, though, and experiment with cornmeal, rice, semolina, whole wheat, and/or buckwheat.

Anyway, here’s the basic recipe. It makes approximately the same amount as 1 pound of store-bought dried boxed pasta.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 ½ cups (14 oz.) all-purpose flour

WHAT YOU DO:

MIX: Mound the flour in the center of your work surface. Using your hands, make a well in the middle that will be wide enough and deep enough to hold the eggs. Add eggs, and any optional liquids or flavoring. Using a fork, beat the eggs (and any liquids/flavors). Gradually incorporate small amounts of flour from the sides of the well as you go, until all the flour is mixed in. This will be a lumpy mess, but do not worry. The next step will take care of that.

KNEAD: Knead for 3 minutes or so. If the dough is really sticky, add a little more flour. The dough should be slightly springy and just a tiny bit sticky. Knead for 10 additional minutes until the dough becomes smooth. Wrap ball-shaped dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, for 30 to 60 minutes.

ROLL OUT (<– said in my best Transformers voice): Using a rolling pin (and extra flour for dusting) or pasta machine to turn the dough into sheets. Cut into desired shapes, or add filling if you’re making stuffed pasta.

Tip: I sprinkled a tiny bit of cornmeal on the dough before I put it through the roller the first time to keep it from sticking, and I put a tiny amount of cornmeal on the plate for the finished pasta and tossed the noodles around to keep them from sticking. To keep noodles from drying out, cover with a damp towel as you go.

COOK: Bring 6 to 8 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil. Add pasta, and boil until firm but not mushy (depending on the thickness of your pasta, anywhere from 30 seconds-2 minutes or so). Drain and serve.

adapted from The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Two Ingredient Homemade Pasta - just flour and eggs - I will never buy the boxed stuff again

 

I tried a pasta and cream sauce recipe from The Pioneer Woman, and added a few goodies: red wine, red pepper flakes, and oregano. It was easy and delicious! Here’s how it turned out:

Pasta with Red Wine Cream Sauce - so delicious - ditch the jars of boring spaghetti sauce! This recipe is THE one to use.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. red wine
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sprinkle of dried oregano
  • dash of dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 2/3 c. heavy cream
  • freshly grated pecorino-romano cheese, to taste
  • 2-3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 1-1/2 lb. dry pasta

WHAT YOU DO:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain, reserving 1 c. of pasta water, and set both aside.

In the empty pan used to cook the pasta, heat butter and EVOO over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.

Pour in tomatoes, red wine, and add sugar and spices.

Stir and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add cheese to taste, then check seasonings, adjusting if needed.

Stir in pasta, thin with some of the pasta water (if needed). Add chopped basil and serve.

One of my favorite summer recipes is a mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and olive oil salad. We recently had some leftover crusty garlic bread (I don’t know why, but I hate the word “crusty”) so I made a crostini with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, and the bread. It was basically the mozzarella and tomato salad on top of garlic-y toasted goodness. Here’s how it turned out:

Fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil crostini. Delicious healthy ingredients on top of thinly sliced toasted bread.

 

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Crostini

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • French bread, cut into thin slices (however many slices you need)
  • A few Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 10-20 cherry tomatoes (depending on how many slices of bread you have), chopped
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese (I used one slice per crostini)

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Brush bread slices with EVOO and sprinkle with garlic. Place on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven for 3-5 mins until toasted.
  • In a bowl, mix tomatoes, a drizzle of EVOO, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • After bread is toasted, place slices on a serving platter. Top with a slice of mozzarella, then tomato mixture. Garnish with fresh basil.

Delicious and simple crostini - just a few ingredients but tons of flavor.

 

Also check out these meatless options:

Stuffed Baby Bellas

Fresh Pesto

Homemade Ranch Hummus

Wasabi Sesame Soy Cucumber Salad

Feta, Avocado & Tomato Pita “Nachos”

Mango Salsa

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Whole Wheat Noodles with Fresh Veggies

Lemony Smashed Dill Mustard Potatoes

Skinny Creamy Tomato Basil Soup (no cream – Greek yogurt!)

Our basil plants are still growing like crazy. I have used them in pesto, tomato salads, and now in this creamy tomato basil soup. It is lightened up by switching out cream, and using nonfat plain Greek yogurt. There are only 125 calories and 7 grams of fat! Creamy Tomato Basil Soup - Greek nonfat yogurt instead of cream! Fresh ingredients and only 125 calories for a big bowl. Perfect for eating light - Meatless option.

recipe adapted from fannetasticfood.com

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1 C. chicken (or vegetable) broth – try homemade!
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped + extra for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 C. plain nonfat Greek yogurt

WHAT YOU DO: In a medium sized pot add olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes and saute on medium heat for a few minutes. Add broth, basil, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to med-low, and let simmer about 15 mins. Remove from heat and let cool 10-15 mins. Use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender in small batches) to puree. Then reheat it, add yogurt and serve. Garnish with fresh basil.

recipebookandmore.wordpress.com

ESTIMATED NUTRITION INFO:

125 cal.

7 g fat

9 g carbs

o.5 g fiber

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup - Greek nonfat yogurt instead of cream! Fresh ingredients and only 125 calories for a giant bowl. Perfect for eating light, and Meatless Monday option.

Here’s a batch of pesto I made with some basil from the garden. I used pine nuts, which are pretty expensive, but I’ve since learned you can use walnuts, pecans, or even almonds instead. It keeps in the fridge for 1 week, or you can freeze in freezer-safe containers or ice cube trays for up to 6 months. Also you can adjust the olive oil so the pesto is as thick or thin as you like. It’s great for pasta, or even as spreads on flatbread crackers, or on sandwiches as a spread.

Fresh pesto - just basil, garlic, parm cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts. Soooo easy I can't believe I used to buy it instead of making it myself.WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbs. pine nuts
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil (+ more if you want to thin it out)

WHAT YOU DO:

In a food processor: combine basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheese. Add olive oil as it’s running until emulsified. To make it thinner, add olive oil until it reaches desired consistency. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 week. Or place in freezer-safe containers (or ice cube trays) to store for up to 6 months in the freezer.

5 ingredient homemade PESTO. Keeps for 1 wk in the fridge, or freeze for up to 6 mos.