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Quinoa Kale Pasta

I know pasta is not low carb but a girl needs her pasta sometimes and what I made was most certainly a better choice.  I get these cravings for macaroni and cheese and they don’t go away until I have some.  It can’t be any old mac and cheese either.  It has to be mine or at least similar to mine.  I searched the shelves at the grocery store for a blend of pasta I was happy with.  Couldn’t find anything that I found acceptable.  So I decided to make my own pasta using quinoa flour.  Here’s what happened…

I put  3/4 a cup of raw quinoa in the food processor processed it into flour. The flour turned out kind of, um, rustic.  It wasn’t a fine powder and the whole process was quite dusty.  I later tried the Vitamix and that is the way to go to make the flour. I will put some details about it at the bottom of this post.  I made this pasta in my food processor.

Here are the ingredients:

1 egg or 1/3 cup egg substitute

3/4 a cup of quinoa flour

2 tbsp arrowroot

1 cup of washed and dried kale. ( I washed it and left it to dry for a couple of hours)

Garlic powder to taste

If you purchased your quinoa flour, then put in 3/4 cup in the food processor.  If you made it, then make sure you have 3/4 a cup in there.  Pulse it a few times.

Add arrowroot and garlic powder.  Pulse it a few times.

Add the kale.  Pulse it a few times.

Add kale and pulse

Add kale and pulse

Add the egg or egg substitute and turn it on and let it mix in the egg.  It will form a ball when it is mixed.  Turn it off.  It is ready to use.

Add egg

Add egg

Now I must tell you I am terrible a rolling out dough. Terrible!  I will look for an alternative every time.  Terrible, I tell you, terrible!  This time I purchased an attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer.  It was kind of expensive, but since I will be making all our pasta from now on, it seemed like a good investment.

Purchasing one is not necessary and there are other pasta rollers or presses out there.  This was my choice and I am happy with it and for me, it beats rolling out dough!

Once the dough was made I popped it into the press and out came rigatoni pasta.  As you can see from the photos I need some more practice, but for a first time, I was thrilled!

Here's comes the rigatoni

Here’s comes the rigatoni

bowl of freshly pressed pasta! Ready to cook!

bowl of freshly pressed pasta! Ready to cook!

Once the pasta is made (rolled or pressed) you are ready to cook it.  Now be gentle with it.  It is not hard like dried pasta, it is fragile!

This is how much pasta I made

This is how much pasta I made

Put into boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes until al dente.  Your quinoa pasta is ready to eat!

This is my mac n cheese with homemade pasta

This is my mac n cheese with homemade pasta

Now for the flour making process…  I told you I used the food processor to make the flour.

quinoa in food processor

quinoa in food processor

It was a dusty mess!  I had to seal the feeder with a wet paper towel to keep the dust down.

attempt to keep the dust down

attempt to keep the dust down

I ran it for five minutes and produced a rough flour.

Quinoa flour from food processor

Quinoa flour from food processor

I made more flour a few days later and used my Vitamix.  There was hardly any dust and in less than one minute I produced a fine flour.

Quinoa in Vitamix

Quinoa in Vitamix

The Vitamix is running in the  above pic.  The flour was that fine in the few seconds it took me to turn it on and pic up my camera.  I let it run for maybe 30 more seconds for good measure.

This is what I produced.

Quinoa flour from Vitamix

Quinoa flour from Vitamix

Granted, my food processor is 20 years old, but …needless to say, I will be using the Vitamix to make flour the next time I need some.

Tomato Salad

I made this as a side dish to go with the lasagna.  It was delicious!

Ingredients:

Grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Fresh basil, finely chopped

Fresh oregano, finely chopped

Fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Smoked mozzarella, chopped

Olive oil

Lemon juice

I washed my tomatoes and cut them in half.

Grape tomatoes

Grape tomatoes

Cut tomatoes in half

Cut tomatoes in half

Chop your herbs.  A lot of basil and a little oregano and rosemary.  I roll the oregano and rosemary in the basil and chop.

Basil, oregano and rosemary

Basil, oregano and rosemary

Roll it

Roll it

Chop them up

Chop them up

Cut the mozzarella up into small pieces.

Smoked mozzarella

Smoked mozzarella

Cut up mozzarella

Cut up mozzarella

Put the tomatoes, herbs and cheese in a bowl.  Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice.  Mix it up.  And…. it is ready!

Mix it up

Mix it up

It is ready

It is ready

Lasagna with Eggplant

I know this isn’t exactly low carb.  It does have pasta in it.  I did, however, use whole wheat pasta.

Ingredients:

Whole wheat lasagna noodles

ricotta cheese

mozzarella cheese

eggplant, chopped

onion, chopped

garlic, chopped

mushrooms, chopped

fresh spinach, chopped

fresh basil, finely chopped

fresh oregano, finely chopped

fresh rosemary, finely chopped

tomato sauce ( you can use a jar sauce or make your own)

olive oil

Put on a pot of water to boil your noodles and begin boiling them as you are cooking your veggies.  The whole wheat noodles take a little longer.  I don’t cook them all the way.  I don’t like them to be mushy in the lasagna.

I started by sauteing my veggies (eggplant, mushroom, onion and garlic) in a little olive oil.  Cook them until they are almost done.  We will let them finish in the oven.  I added the tomato sauce to the veggies and mixed it up. then I added the herbs.  I don’t use salt when making this dish, because I feel like the cheese is salty enough.  If you prefer, salt it.

Veggies and tomato sauce

Veggies and tomato sauce

Once your noodles are ready put them in a ice bath to stop the cooking and make them easy to handle.  Do not despair if they break.  It isn’t the end of the world.  No one but you will even know it happened anyway.

I put a little sauce on the bottom of my pan then lined it with noodles.

The next layer is ricotta cheese.  Dollop it on a spoonful at a time and spread it out.  I find it easiest to spread it with my fingertips.  Once spread, sprinkle some herbs on it.

Ricotta and herbs

Ricotta and herbs

Next I put a layer of spinach on it.

A layer of spinach

A layer of spinach

Now add a layer of veggies and sauce

Veggie & sauce layer

Veggie & sauce layer

Veggies & sauce layer wide shot

Veggies & sauce layer

Next add another layer of noodles.  I like to lay these noodles in the other direction from the first layer.  Then add ricotta and herbs.

Second Layers

Second Layers

More Veggies and sauce.

More veggies and sauce

More veggies and sauce

If you are worried about it being dry… sometimes I will add a little of the water from the boiled noodles  (maybe a tablespoon or two) over the last layer of veggies and sauce.

Now top it with mozzarella cheese!

Mozzarella cheese on top

Mozzarella cheese on top

Bake it for about 45 minutes to an hour in a 350 degree oven.  Or bake it until the cheese is sufficiently browned.

350 Degrees

350 Degrees

Browned Lasagna

Browned Lasagna

Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes so it wont run all over your plate.

Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes

Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes

We had company over so this meal wasn’t just for me.  I made some garlic bread to go with it and a tomato salad as well.

For dessert I made a carrot cake.  Recipes for the bread, tomato salad and cake will follow this post.

Ginger, Orange Pork Roast

This produces a tender delicious pork roast.

Ingredients:

Pork Sirloin Tip Roast

Peppers sweet and spicy

Onion

1 tsp Orange Extract or orange juice and a bit of rind

1 cup Chicken stock (or water and bullion)

2 tsp Ground Ginger (if you don’t have fresh)

Fresh Sprig of Rosemary & Thyme

2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Open your pork and wash it.  I always wash my pork and chicken before cooking.

Sear all sides of your pork in a little oil.

a little oil

a little oil

Sear Pork

Sear Pork

Sear all sides

Sear all sides

Add the peppers and onion

Peppers and onion

Peppers and onion

Add a  rosemary, orange extract and ginger.

Orange Extract

Orange Extract

Ground Ginger

Ground Ginger

Rosemary & Thyme

Rosemary & Thyme

Add chicken stock or bullion and water.

Bullion

Bullion

Put a lid on it and cook it for about an hour or until the pork is fully cooked.

Rantings of an Amateur Chef Featuring Me!

Today is the day!  I am a guest blogger on Rantings of an Amateur Chef!

Please go and see my post today and please take some time to read his posts.

He has a fabulous blog!  I’m sure he has inspired many an amateur chef or cook with his posts.

Hurry, go, see, enjoy!

http://rantingchef.com/2013/01/09/guest-blog-post-multitaskers-meal/

What do you do with left over Black Eyed Peas?

What do you do with your left over black eyed peas from New Years Day?  We ate most of ours until we got down to the last cup of peas.  Then I decided to make a dip out of it.

I tossed it all into the food processor (liquid included) and ran it until it was smooth. I added a few drops of sesame oil for flavor.  Since I included all the liquid, it was a little runny.  I mixed in some flax seed meal (maybe a teaspoon) to thicken it up.  I knew I was going to make some more flax seed crackers to eat with the dip so I wasn’t worried about the flavor of the flax in the dip.  I popped it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours then served it with some snap peas and crackers  (rosemary, thyme and garlic) along with some homemade chicken soup.  Yummy!

Black Eyed Pea Dip

BEP Dip

Cracker in BEP Dip

Cracker in BEP Dip

Snap pea in BEP Dip

Snap pea in BEP Dip

The crackers were made using my Homemade cracker recipe only this time I used rosemary, thyme and garlic.

Cracker mix

Cracker mix

Rosemary, Thyme and Garlic Crackers

Rosemary, Thyme and Garlic Crackers

The soup was made with left over chicken (from a chicken I baked), peppers, onion, garlic and tomato sauce.  The I used in the soup were rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage.  The rosemary, thyme and sage were fresh (out of my garden).

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup

Tuna Patties for a Quick Lunch

I was sewing and let time get away from me (again).  John got home and I didn’t have lunch ready.  I planned to sew for only a few minutes and then get lunch ready.  Two hours later in walks John and I am still sewing.  Don’t get me wrong.  He does not expect me to have meals ready when he gets home.  I like to have them ready for him.  He went on a 50 mile bike ride so I expected him to be hungry when he got home and wanted to have his lunch ready.  Now back to our meal…

I sautéed some mushrooms then set them aside.  I literally pushed them to the side of the pan so they’d stay warm.

I opened two packages of bagged tuna and put it in a mixing bowl.

I added 2/3 a cup of egg substitute (or two whole eggs)

Some chives (to taste)

Tuna mixture

Tuna mixture

Mix together and cook in a pan with a little olive oil. The left over oil from sauteing the mushrooms.

Cook in a little oil

Cook in a little oil

Flip when golden brown

Flip when golden brown

I sprinkled some cheese on it after i flipped it.

Sprinkle cheese

Sprinkle cheese

Serve over the mushrooms with a side of salad.

Serve warm

Serve warm