Summer Veggie Pasta

25 06 2009


(all photos are courtesy of Wynk)

This is the perfect time of year to start eating seasonally.  All of the best stuff is in season and this dish is great for blending all of those summer flavors. Its simple and still very flavorful.

Here’s the rundown.

Get a nice assortment of in season veggies. These represent a combination of what’s in season (and on sale!) and in the stores right now and what was available in my own garden.


Then just chop them up. This is the only really time consuming step of the entire process. Don’t be too stressed about making the sizes perfect. I just hack away and tell myself I’m aiming for the “rustic” chop.

Then just dump all the veggies in a roasting pan and drizzle with EVOO (yes, I’m a Rachel Ray fan) and sprinkle a healthy amount of seasoning (I used McCormick’s Garlic and Onion seasoning).


Roast in the oven under the broiler at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until everything is soft and cooked and the cherry tomatoes burst.

Drop the pasta.

Make the pesto. Everyone’s pesto is a little different (and mine is always dependent on what I have on hand.) Dump the basil, mint, sauteed garlic cloves, and toasted nuts in the food processor. Stream in EVOO while pulsing until it gets to the desired consistency. Then add in a generous handful of your cheese. (I usually use parmesean, but I happened to have Romano on hand today.) If you have a lemon, this is good time to add in some zest and a good squeeze of lemon juice, too.


Reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking water from the pasta and drain the rest once its al dente. Put the pesto in the bottom of a large serving bowl and stir in the reserved water. (It will look thin.) Add in your pasta and roasted veggies. Stir until the pesto is evenly distributed and top with more cheese. Enjoy!



All Cooked Out

23 06 2009

I love to cook, but I definitely overdid it for Father’s Day. I promised my mom that I would bake some oatmeal raisin cookies for my PawPaw who was going to be passing through that day.  Since I was cooking Oatmeal Cookies anyway, I thought I would surpise my hubby with some Oatmeal Creme Pies for Father’s Day.  Then I realized when I was cooking him breakfast that we didn’t not have anything breadish to put jam on. (We live on jam at our house. We didn’t used to, but then a friend showed me how to can and I made jam like crazy and then she shared her jam and now jam is all The Thing here. ) Anyway, we didn’t have any bread, so I decided that since I was baking I could just whip up a batch of biscuits, too. I’m sure for some people this isn’t a big deal, but I had never actually made biscuits before. (Except Cocoa and Biscuits, but that’s another story.) So I tried a new recipe that was ok, but the temperature was way too high and the I rolled the biscuits to thin, so I made another batch so I could get it right. Sometimes its hard being a perfectionist.

Are you tired yet?  I was pretty tired by this point.   Here’s where I took a break and threw the kids in the car to try and see my grandfather and my Uncle Dominic and Uncle Larry who were supposed to be at my Mom’s at 12:45.  They never showed. At 2:15, they were still a half hour away and I couldn’t wait anymore.  My kids were already up way past their nap time, and I didn’t want to risk the certain meltdowns if we tried to wait longer. So that was generally a waste of time, but it did give me a break from cooking.

I should have stopped here. I didn’t.

I’d already told my hubby and my brother in law that I would cook Chicken and Sausage Gumbo for them and I’d already taken all the meat out for it. And, since I was cooking gumbo anyway, my Mom wanted to know if I would go ahead and make some Egg and Potato Fricasee. So I started that. Now, if you haven’t cooked gumbo before, let me explain something. Cooking gumbo is not that difficult. Its actually pretty easy. The exhausting and laborious part of gumbo is cooking the roux. You get to stand over a skillet (or in my case, since I was cooking so much, 2 skillets) for a couple of hours, slowly stirring flour and oil and until it browns and starts to look like this.


This flavor filled paste of goo. Then you chop up a bunch of veggies and throw them in the roux after you’ve taken it off the heat. (The roux stays very hot for quite awhile)


After all the Cajun Trinity (celery, onion and bell pepper) has cooked, just throw the roux in a pot, throw in whatever else you are cooking and add water until you get to the desired consistency. Gumbo is more of a soup and Fricasee is more of a thick gravy. I wish I had pictures of the rest of the progress, but I didn’t take these myself. My friend, Wynk took the pictures and she had to go back home to mow her lawn before I could finish.

Oh, I almost forgot- while I was cooking the roux, I thought it would be a fun treat to cook some stuffed jalepenos, as well. (just for kicks)

So, to sum up, I cooked

  • 2 batches of biscuits a
  • batch of Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
  • a batch of  Oatmeal Creme Pies
  • a breakfast of sausage, bacon and eggs
  • Stuffed Jalepenos
  • Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
  • Egg and Potato Fricasee

All in one day. Because I’m an idiot. Oh, and I love my husband. I spent 2 hours cleaning the kitchen that night and it still wasn’t completely clean. So what did my kids get for breakfast this morning? Pops cereal. And what did they have for lunch? Sonic. And what did they have for dinner? leftover gumbo.  I was so cooked out that by the time I made it home to eat, we were out of rice and I just ate my fricasee plain. (my 1 cajun reader is shuddering at the thought right now). Because I was too tired to cook rice! Maybe this won’t turn into a cooking blog, afterall. 🙂

Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies

23 06 2009


Don’t you just love those Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies?  I do too, but last time I indulged and bought a box, they had shrunk!  I also hated the ingredient list. That’s why I love this version made with all natural ingredients.   I made these as a treat for my dear husband for Father’s Day, but I’ve snuck a couple myself and it goes without saying that the kiddos went crazy over them.   I found the recipe here, and I honestly don’t think I would change a thing. Usually after running through a recipe once, I try and start figuring out how to improve it. Not this one, though. The only tip I have is to find a consistent measuring device to drop the cookies out with so that they are each the same size. I used the 1 1/2 tablespoons from Williams and Sonoma and packed the dough in each time and leveled it out. It was kind of pain to the get all the cookies on the pan that way, but it was worth it. They all cooked at the exact same time and they all came out the exact same size.  Make some today and your family will love you for it. Or at least they’ll eat all the cookies and make yummy sounds.


(Btw- the lovely pictures are courtesy of my photography savy friend, Melissa. Thanks, Wynk! )