Meatless Monday – Green eggs and pasta

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while.  If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you’ll see that I gave a preview last week of today’s Meatless Monday, which is a two recipes in one!

I wanted some pasta and arugula (arugula for recipe one and spinach for recipe two) for lunch, so I whipped the first recipe up.  I had leftover orzo from the first recipe and had spinach laying around and decided to make a frittata for the second recipe, using almost the same ingredients.  Both equally delicious.

GREEN EGG ORZO VEGGIE SALAD 

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
1/2 cup arugula
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes, optional
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, uncooked

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta according to directions.  (Note:  You could make 1/2 cup of orzo and use half of it for this recipe and the other half for the next day like I did.)  While the pasta is cooking, cook the egg to your liking.  Sunnyside up, over easy, scrambled, etc.   After the orzo is done cooking, drain the orzo and place in a bowl along with the arugula to slightly wilt the greens.  Add the remaining ingredients minus the egg and toss to incorporate together.  When done, top with egg and enjoy!

GREEN EGGS ORZO VEGGIE FRITTATA

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup orzo, uncooked
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
2 eggs (more if you’d like the frittata to be thicker)
1/8 cup milk
1 tbsp grated parmesan
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
red pepper flakes, optional
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook orzo according to directions.  When ready, drain and put aside.

In a bowl, whisk the two eggs and milk and set aside.

Heat an ovenproof pan over medium heat.  Melt butter.  When melted, add shallots.  When translucent, add garlic.  The garlic will become fragrant within 30 seconds, at that time add the red bell peppers.  Cook for a minute, then add the spinach.  When the spinach is wilted, add the cherry tomatoes.  Cook for a minute, then add cooked orzo.  Saute and add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.    Add the whisked egg to pan.  Ensure that it’s in all the crevasses of the pan.  Sprinkle the cheeses over the frittata and place the pan into the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the egg settles.

Enjoy!  Hope your Monday is going well!

Easy “Carbonara”

A month ago, I shared with you a fake out Fish Tacos recipe.  I said it before and I’ll say it again, there are just days that taking shortcuts in the kitchen is necessary so that you can enjoy the night with your family.  This is my take on Carbonara.  Italians, cooks, and foodie purists are probably baffled that I call this recipe Carbonara, but like I said it’s a shortcut.  It’s Carbonara-esq.  Hope you enjoy it.

Little Black Apron’s Easy “Carbonara”

INGREDIENTS

1 pound linguine
1 bottle of alfredo sauce
3 slices of bacon, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta according to directions.  Place bacon in a medium sized sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat.  Allow the the fat of the bacon to render.  Cook until the bacon is crispy, but not burnt.  With a slotted spoon, take the bacon out of the pan and place onto a dish lined with a paper towel.  Leave a tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.  Carefully discard the rest.  Sweat the onions in the bacon fat.  When translucent, add the garlic for 30 seconds and then the peas for additional 30 seconds.  Add the alfredo sauce into the sauce pan and heat through.  Add the bacon to the pan before serving over pasta.  

Note:  A couple variations to this dish that I’ve done before is adding mushrooms after I’ve sweat the onions.  Also, I’ve added grilled chicken on top of the dish for more protein.

I do prefer authentic carbonara over this; however, when time isn’t on my side, this recipe is my quick fix.  And while carbonara isn’t difficult to make, it can be tricky sometimes since you’re cooking with so many eggs and you don’t want to scramble them.

Enjoy!

Italian Sausage and Peppers Ragu

YUMMMM!  I actually used breakfast sausage instead of Italian sausage.  This recipe was conjured (lol… what is this Harry Potter?) because 1)  I didn’t have Italian sausage on hand 2) I wanted sausage and pepper, BUT I didn’t want my usual Italian sausage and peppers pasta recipe.  (Where I grill the sausage and cut it up; sautee with peppers, garlic and onions; toss with pasta and olive oil.)  I transformed a breakfast sausage into Italian sausage and made it a saucy ragu.  It turned out fantastic!  The hubs was a huge fan!  Love it when I please my man.  Remember what they say “A way to a man’s heart is through is stomach.”  🙂

ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS RAGU
by littleblackapron.com 

INGREDIENTS

Italian Sausage

1 package of breakfast sausage (preferably the country style sausage, so it won’t compete with the flavors we add below)
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon red flakes (more if you like it spicier)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Ragu

Sausage mix
1/2 medium onion, sliced or chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced or chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced or chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 14 oz can crushed tomatoes

DIRECTIONS

Mix the sausage ingredients together until well incorporate.  Take a frying pan and a small piece of the mixture to cook.  Taste to ensure that the flavors are there.  If needed, add more ingredients as necessary to ensure that Italian sausage taste.  NOTE:  DO NOT COOK ALL THE SAUSAGE.  You are performing a taste test.

On medium-high heat, heat your sauce pan and olive oil.  Saute onions until translucent.  Add garlic to the pot.  When fragrant (about 30 seconds), add bell peppers.  Sautee for 5 minutes.  Then add the crushed tomatoes.  When vegetables are coated, add sausage mixture.  Ensure that the sausage is coated with the crushed tomatoes as well.  (Note:  If you want more depth to this recipe you can add a splash of red or white wine at this point.)  Lower the heat to a medium low and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes or until meat is cooked and to incorporate the flavors.

Cook your favorite pasta (spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, etc.) and top with ragu.  Add parmesan cheese if desired.  Open a bottle of wine and enjoy!