farfalle … ain’t nobody got time for that

Another day of rain … good grief.  At least yesterday was BEAUTIFUL! It was a bit chilly in the morning but the afternoon warmed up nicely. The last 3 days we’ve had the windows open and AC off, I love this kind of weather! I was telling Josh the other night, San Antonio summers last longer than Vegas summers. Vegas is in a valley and when cold weather swoops in, it stays put and gets incredibly windy. We’re talking 30mph winds, trash cans flying around streets and dust storms blinding you. While it’s not super chilly, the wind is a total buzz kill; you can’t open windows or gritty sand will soon be covering your window sills and floors.   Even though I’m absolutely ready for cooler temps I’ll take crisp mornings turning into 80 degrees over 30mph dust storms any day.

So with cooler temps we usually start cooking “winter food” – think, stews, chili, soups … hearty dishes. Josh cooks up a mean chili and I can’t wait for the perfect day for him to make it. I asked him a few weeks ago and he reminded, you can’t rush perfection. Trust me though, when he makes it, he’ll have an entire blog post dedicated to him.

For today, it’s my creations 🙂  I dipped my toes into the water for a few “winter dishes” …

A hearty mushroom and spinach pasta (Wednesday) and gnocchi with chicken breasts (Thursday).

These are such easy dishes …

Saute diced onions, garlic, sliced mushrooms, and spinach while boiling the pasta in a separate pot.

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Once the pasta is al dente and the mushroom/spinach mixture is mostly cooked down, add the pasta and let everything finish cooking … be sure to stir! Educational moment: if you see a recipe call for “farfalle pasta” … it’s bow tie pasta! I wish they’d just use the names you’d see on a store shelf.  Good luck looking for a 6 oz. bag of farfalle 😉 .

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Since pasta is a “bad food” item for Josh and his diabetes, I added a side salad made up of dark greens. Now, spinach and mushrooms are “good food” items so overall, the dish balances itself out. Top the pasta with shredded parm and a garlic knot – there ya go. A hearty dish prepared, cooked, and served in maybe 20 minutes.  No sauce is needed – white or red … salt the pasta water accordingly while it’s boiling and add s/p to the spinach/mushrooms. There’s enough flavor from that for you to not miss a sauce.

Here’s another easy one, the gnocchi takes some supervision but only while they’re boiling.  Once you add them to the separate pan for the corn and onions to be added, you can relax … You should have already put the chicken in the oven … multi-task for quicker dinners!!!!

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Chicken first: butterfly 2 chicken breasts (decreases the cook time 🙂 who doesn’t like that?!)  I didn’t want just plain s/p chicken so I coated them in Stubb’s bbq sauce. Pop in the oven for 25ish minutes around 375-400 (depending how finicky your oven is, mine is a POS).

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Boil the gnocchi just like a pasta – once they float to the top, they are done.  Drain and move them to a separate pan, add corn and green onions. Salt and pepper that pan up! Gnocchi are globs of potato dough = NO FLAVOR. I used canned sweet corn and the onions are a necessary boost of flavor. Let that sit for the remaining time of the chicken, keep the stove top on low-ish. I wouldn’t cover it though, it’d probably turn the gnocchi and corn soggy from the steam.

Chicken’s done … plate it up – 35 minutes from start to finish. A filling and flavorful dish that I’m sure anyone would love.

Even with diabetes looming over our house, this isn’t a horrible dinner.  Chicken is a great source of protein which means it balances out the usage of corn and gnocchi – both of those are “bad starches”; actually not just for Josh but for humankind.   Just be sure your weekly menu isn’t filled with crap, if you eat 3 or 4 healthy meals per week, 1 or 2 “bad” meals won’t hurt you.

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Even our furbabies got some tasty treats the other night … marrow bones for the 2 big dummies and a pig’s ear for my little nugget.   QUIETEST NIGHT IN OUR HOUSE. The dogs kept to themselves for the entire evening, it was amaze-balls.  We must remember this for when we have guests over.

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