Green Bean & Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad


Another vegetable that we’re drowning in, courtesy of Stillman’s Farm CSA, is green beans. As a result, I was on a hunt to find recipes that would allow me to plow through most, if not all, of the green beans we have on hand. I came across this pasta salad in a random cookbook I’m not sure I’ve ever otherwise opened. It sounded to me like the perfect summer salad. I made a large batch of it and we brought it along to Shakespeare on the Common (King Lear) last Sunday. It was perfect paired with the tasty sangria I made– both totally refreshing and great for enjoying outdoors. Recipe on the sangria to come later.

Sadly because I wasn’t in my normal cooking/eating element, I failed to take any photos of the dish. But take my word for it– it is as colorful as you think when you read through the ingredients.

Adapted from One United Harvest cookbook, as Snap Bean and Cherry Tomato Pasta Salad (by Evan & jodi Verbanic)
Serves 8 as a Main (can also be used as a side dish)
Active Time: 20 minutes

3/4 lb bow tie pasta
3/4 lb green beans
2/3 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 c grape tomatoes (half cut in half, half kept whole)
3 Tb chopped basil leaves
2 Tb chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1.) Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, rinse with cold water and drain.
2.) Steam beans until just tender, then dunk in cold water with ice.
3.) In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper to make the dressing.
4.) Add the tomatoes, herbs, pasta, and beans to the dressing and toss to coat.
5.) Shortly before serving (1 hour or less), add in the shredded mozzarella and toss again to combine.

Weight Watchers Points: 10


Spaghetti with Spicy Summer Squash and White Beans


I’m not a huge fan of Mario Batali, but my husband and I received a “bonus” wedding present from a friend of ours, who bought us some things on our registry related to bread dipping and slightly fine dining, along with some dipping oils and a cookbook. The oils and cookbook are the bonuses I speak of (which, by the way, if you’re buying a wedding present in the future, I totally think this is a great way to approach giving a gift people want, and coupling it with some individuality and creativity on your part). So, anyhow, the cookbook is Mario Batali’s Simple Family Meals, and it’s kind of wonderfully divided up by month, so you’re also theoretically cooking in season. The recipe I just made yesterday was part of the July section, but I think it’s close enough. The recipe was supposed to be Bucatini with Spicy Summer Squash and White Beans. Us not being hugely into pasta and also not being Italian, we didn’t have bucatini laying around, so I went with our thin spaghetti. It worked like a dream. And I have to say, I think this was way more delicious than I expected. Here, I was just looking for recipes to help us use up some of the multitudes of summer squash we have in the crisper drawer, and I ended up with a delicious meal. Not bad.

Adapted from Molto Batali, by Mario Batali
Serves: 5 as a Main Course

1/8 c plus 1/8 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tb hot red pepper flakes
3/4 lb yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch thick coins
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 oz cannellini or white navy beans, drained and rinsed (half a can)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb thin spaghetti pasta
1/2 cup fresh seasoned breadcrumbs, toasted
1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1 tsp oil

1.) Boil water in a pasta pot.
2.) Add whole grape tomatoes to a baking dish. Spray lightly with about 1 teaspoon of oil and move tomatoes around to ensure they are lightly coated. Pop dish into a 400 degree oven and cook for the duration of the pasta dish.
2.) While water is heating, heat 1/8 cup oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and just enough squash coins to cover the bottom of the pain in one layer. Cook, without moving squash, until golden brown on the bottom, about 8-10 minutes. To aid with cooking all the way through, cover pan about half way through cooking. Transfer squash to a plate. Repeat until all squash is cooked. (I used a big pan and mine only took 1 round.)
3.) Add remaining oil and garlic to the saute pan and cook over medium heat until garlic is light brown, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for 5 minutes, until warmed through. Add the cooked squash, season with salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat and set aside.
4.) Add salt to the boiling water. Drop pasta into the water and cook for 1 minute less than package instructions indicate. Just before done, ladle 1 ladle full of the pasta water into the squash mixture.
6.) In a small skillet, toast breadcrumbs over medium heat for about 2 minutes, moving the breadcrumbs to keep from burning.
5.) Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss over medium heat for about 30 seconds, until the pasta is nicely coated.
6.) Pull tomatoes out of the oven and add to a small serving dish. Serve pasta immediately, with breadcrumbs and roasted tomatoes on the side.

Note: I also had some parmesan ready to grate if need be, but it was totally unnecessary.

Weight Watchers Points: 10


Summer Vegetable Pasta with Kielbasa


This one I’m really proud of. It was incredibly delicious, made use of tons of random stuff we had on hand, and was a 100% original creation of my mind. I hope you love it as much as we did! Also, it made excellent leftovers for lunch at work the next day!

Note: You can totally get creative with this, and even leave out the kielbasa, but it really gives the sauce an incredible flavor. If you can get your hands on the Costco kielbasa links (they were recently sampling them at our Costco, and they were *so good* we had to get them), that’s what I used and it was amazing.

Summer Vegetable Pasta with Kielbasa

Summer Vegetable Pasta with Kielbasa

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

Serves 4

4 cups whole wheat pasta (I used linguini)
1 clove garlic
1 Tb avocado oil
1 medium zucchini
1 medium summer squash
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
1 link kielbasa (ours is like large hot dog size, from Costco)
2 cups bottled pasta sauce
2 Tb heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, shredded

1.) Cook pasta according to instructions.
2.) Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add whole grape tomatoes and cover, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
3.) Add zucchini and summer squash to skillet. Cover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Add kielbasa to skillet after a few minutes.
4.) Pour bottled pasta sauce over veggies and meat, stirring uncovered and continuing to cook to heat the sauce through. Add heavy whipping cream and stir to combine.
5.) Dish up pasta and sauce, then sprinkle with desired amount of cheese.

Nutrition: Unfortunately, since this was all in my head and I didn’t do the math, I don’t have the full nutrition facts.

Weight Watchers Points: 14 (Totally worth it!)

Pea & Chicken Greek Salad


This is one we had tonight. As always, I had to make some modifications based on what we had on hand. It turned out pretty delicious, though, especially the last few bites that got to soak in the dressing a bit longer. We had some leftovers too, and I hope to eat them asap tomorrow to see if they’re even more delicious than our dinner tonight.

So, substitutions– The original recipe includes edamame, but I don’t typically have that on hand, so I used shell peas instead. They were great. The original recipe also calls for romaine lettuce. Our CSA gave us leaf lettuce, so that’s what I went with. I’m also not a big lover of feta cheese, and find that when we buy it, we don’t use it quickly. So instead I went with our delicious Pecorino Romano that we have on hand in the fridge. And the original recipe calls only for kalamata olives, but I had a lot of other olives on hand, so I used a mixture. And… even after I had Steve run to the grocery store to get me red onion, I forgot to slice it up and add it. Oh, and I almost forgot… I added wine to the water the chicken cooked in, which gave it an amazing aroma and a nice taste.

Pea & Chicken Greek Salad

Pea & Chicken Greek Salad

(Adapted from Eating Well, July/August 2015 Issue)

Active: 30 Mins
Serves: 4 (2 1/4 cup each)

1 8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
8 oz shell peas, shelled
8 cups lettuce
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil
1/4 cup sliced olives (all kinds)
1/4 cup slivered red onion [I forgot it, but I think it would be good to keep in]

1.) Place chicken in a medium sauce pan and add water and white wine to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until a thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165 degrees, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

2.) Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add peas, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, basil, olives, onion, and the chicken. Toss to coat.

Nutrition (original recipe): 336 Cal; 22 g Fat (sat 5g); 48 mg Chol; 14 g Carb; 22 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 550 mg Sodium

Weight Watcher’s Points (adapted recipe): 7*

* This ended up being less points due to the swap in peas for edamame.