Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Clean out the kitchen" veggie pasta

One of the most difficult things about being on such a strict elimination diet is that if I don't plan out my meals or I'm too busy/tired to cook, I don't have the option to go out and grab something. Usually I try to plan out a basic meal plan and do some cooking for the week on Sundays, but this week I slacked.

This past weekend was so much fun, but exhausting. We hosted a mini fundraiser at our house for my friend Zara who is going to be competing in Iron Canada with Team in Training. We did a "Redneck" themed BBQ, with lots of cheap beer, hot dogs, and deep fried Twinkies to go around. It was so hard to avoid those things, but I stayed strong. It was so much easier for me to eat right because I had a buddy! Zara is in full on race training mode and is eating a very clean Paleo diet right now. We ate our own "taco salad" while everyone was eating "tacos in a bag" and we had our own organic grass fed all beef uncured hot dogs while the others were eating mac n cheese chili dogs.

By Monday night after work, I was exhausted. I hadn't planned out my meals for the week, but I had done my grocery shopping and had a fridge full of yummy fresh veggies waiting to be eaten. I wanted so bad to get take out, but that's not an option right now. I could have snacked on a Lara Bar or some nuts, but that didn't sound appetizing.

I'm a cooking show junkie (man do I miss cable), and one thing that I've learned from Rachel Ray is that the quickest homemade meals out there are burgers or pastas. Since I had so many veggies on hand, I decided to make a veggie pasta. I have many of her cookbooks and love to gather ideas for my own takes on her quick meals. One of my favorite things she does in many of her pasta dishes is to melt a tin of anchovies in with the garlic and onions when starting the base of some of her sauces. I based this "recipe" off all the veggies I had in my house and what I can currently eat at the moment. The best part about this is that it made a ton of food, so I can eat it throughout the week and not have to worry about cooking for a few days! You could totally adjust this recipe to use up whatever veggies you currently have at home. Spinach, kale, frozen peas, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers...all of these are fabulous additions to pasta.

"Clean out the kitchen" veggie pasta

1 package brown rice pasta
2tbl coconut oil or olive oil
1 small tin of anchovies in olive oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
2 carrots, diced
2 zucchini, diced
1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped

Prepare 1 package of brown rice pasta (I like Trader Joe's brand) according to package directions. Drain and rinse, reserving 1c of cooking water.

In a large deep skillet, melt oil over medium high heat. Add anchovies and allow to melt. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Add garlic and stir, cooking about 2 minutes. Do not allow garlic to burn! Add asparagus, zucchini, and carrots and cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Stir often so veggies don't stick or burn. Toss veggies with pasta, using a little bit of the pasta water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
(While I was eating this, I decided that it would have been fabulous with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese, basil, and some grilled shrimp on top...)

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