Thursday, March 24, 2011

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

My title refers to the fickle weather we have been experiencing here in town.  We had a few wonderful days of warm weather that left us with a severe case of spring fever.  Mr. PT and I finally got the chance to open up the windows, air out the apartment, and test drive our new porch.  I must say, after a long day at work, you can't beat sitting on a porch with warm dish and a cold beer, just watching the neighborhood come alive.  For this occasion, I boiled some whole wheat pasta and topped it with cooked asparagus, broccoli, and mushrooms along with cold tomatoes, chunky mozzarella, and a scattering of lemon zest.  It was the perfect mix of carbs and veggies, and the lemon zest gave it a neat springy touch.

Pasta with Fresh Veggies

You will need:
-2 servings of whole wheat pasta (I recommend penne, but use whatever you want)
-one stalk of broccoli, cut into small pieces
-1/2 lb asparagus, chopped into bite size pieces
-cup mushrooms
-1/2 tomato, cut into chunks
-2 tbs lemon zest
-olive oil and spices

Prepare water to boil.  While you are waiting, cut veggies and saute mushrooms in a separate skillet.  When the water is boiling, throw the asparagus and broccoli and cook 3-4 minutes until tender.  Spoon veggies out of water and throw pasta in, cook pasta according to box.  While the pasta is cooking, throw cooked veggies in with mushrooms and season with pepper and other Italian spices (garlic if you love it like I do!).  Strain pasta, top with veggies, fresh tomatoes, cheese, lemon zest, and olive oil.  Mix it all up and enjoy!

If you could not tell, I'm going through a vegetable craze right now...I really cannot get enough of them when dinner time comes around!  This week has been asparagus themed, so tonight, I made a similar dish.  Unfortunately, the weather has dipped down into the 30's again, so the porch is temporarily closed.  But this was a nice warm dish that Mr. PT and I still enjoyed.

 Brown rice with Vegetables and Manchego Cheese

This is basically the same as the previous recipe, except we sauteed all the veggies together in the Wok (asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, onion) with olive oil and lots of good spices (basil, oregano, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper, anise).  We spooned in our favorite manchego cheese before serving and ate with a nice slice of French Bread and a dark porter beer (the beer to help mourn the lost warm weather).

I had to include this picture of the veggies...aren't they beautiful?  And the best part, this dish has NO SALT.  All of the spices I use are salt free, and the rice is very basic as well.  Just goes to show you really do not need the extra salt to make a dish taste good.

Here's to hoping for more posts from the porch!

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