I'm trying to eat healthier. I know that means something a little different for everyone, but for me that mostly means more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.
One of my coworkers mentioned that they like the site Pick up Limes, which has lots of vegan recipes, and that's gotta be healthy, right? I saw a recipe for hummus pasta, and people had such good things to say about it, so I had to try it out.
This was really easy to make. It had very few ingredients, and even though I always make hummus from scratch, I decided I didn't want to make hummus and pasta, so I just bought some from Aldi. The recipe also includes vegan "parmesan" and I just bought real parmesan from the store.
When I was mixing up the hummus and the coconut milk, I was worried it would be a little bland, so I added some salt and pepper which I think was a good decision. In fact, I think I should have added even more salt and pepper.
It wasn't bad though! I think I'd want to try making this again. I didn't want to halve the recipe because I didn't want to have half a can of coconut milk left, but I think I could just make the same amount of sauce and halve the pasta. Also, I gotta stop buying penne from Aldi. I haven't had my pasta fall apart quite as bad as that one time, but it always ends up falling apart a little bit. And I should probably get better quality coconut milk too.
Oh, I also had to see how the leftovers would taste, and they weren't terrible, but they weren't good either. Very few pasta dishes make good leftovers though, so it's alright. I'll just make a smaller batch next time.
I actually bought pita bread to eat with my store bought hummus, and I'm not sure why I did, because I basically used all of the hummus for the pasta. I needed to eat something with the pita, so I went and made my own hummus later! A while back I had tried this caramelized onion and balsamic hummus, and I thought it was really good, so I wanted to try making some of my own. And what do you know, Pick up Limes, has a recipe for this too.
It took a bit of time, and my eyes were dying from the onions, but it was very tasty! I'll definitely make it again.
I really like making baked ziti. It's kind of time consuming, but it's so relaxing, and it's such good comfort food. But the problem I run into with baked ziti is that it makes so much food, and it would take me at least ten meals to get through all of it by myself. And I don't want to cut the recipe in half either, because then I'd just be left over with a bunch of baked ziti ingredients.
Last time I mentioned baked ziti, I said it would be good to cook for my family. So I figured that it would be the perfect dish for me to make for Christmas! Every year, my family likes to do something special for Christmas. One year it was "dip-mas", where everyone had to bring a dip. This past year was "app-mas", and everyone had to bring an appetizer that starts with the first letter of their name.
Well, my name doesn't start with a B or a Z, but I still wanted to make baked ziti! I decided to look up various pasta shapes to see if any started with an M or a K. Macaroni didn't quite feel right. But I found something that would work!
Mostaccioli. It's penne with no ridges.
My cousin even made a silly tiktok video, and I was very awkward in it.
And it turned out great! Mostaccioli is a great substitute for ziti. But I learned that not all pasta shapes work quite that well. A few weeks ago, we had a friend over, and I decided to make baked ziti again. This time I did halve the recipe (because it's still plenty for three people), and I didn't want to buy a box of ziti just to have half of it left over. I decided to use what was already in the pantry, which happened to be half a box of radiatore.
This definitely felt different. The dish wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as the baked ziti I normally make. Something about the extra surface area and lack of tubular-ness.
And somehow, I still haven't gotten sick of variations on baked ziti, so this past weekend, I decided to make baked ravioli.
I actually was going to suggest baked ziti, but I switched it up, and used ravioli instead so I wouldn't have to buy ricotta cheese. This probably resembles lasagna more than ziti, but lasagna is just ziti with lasagna noodles anyway.
This was even easier to make than baked ziti, and it was really tasty too! My friend really enjoyed it.
That salad was also delicious. The chopped caesar salad kit from Aldi is 👌
Yup, my brain is super focused on the Teochew site, and even though I'm not working, I still don't have enough time to do everything that I want to do! But, I've got time for some easy meals. I made Tomato Basil Pasta because I wanted to use up the rest of my ricotta.
So I buy some pasta, two pints of tomatoes, and some incredibly overpriced basil. My boyfriend noticed that there were 3(!!) boxes of pasta in my "pantry" (it's a container that sits on my counter) and he wondered why I needed so much pasta.
Well, we were very low on rotini, and we had a full box of ditalini, but ditalini is so tiny! I wanted bigger pasta pieces! So I bought a box of penne.
Cooking this was pretty easy. Just cut up the tomatoes, basil, and garlic and throw it all in the pan. But as I was boiling the pasta, I noticed that it was...weird looking. Kind of grainy. The rotini was fine, but the penne was not looking good. It was completely falling apart. I didn't even cook it for that long! It was probably around 8 minutes total, and the box says to cook it for 11-13 minutes. If I did that, it would be mush!
I must have gotten a really bad batch of pasta. It was from Aldi, so it's not the highest quality stuff, but I've bought penne from Aldi plenty of times in the past and I've never had pasta fall apart like that.
But, I guess it tasted good enough. I also still had half a box of it leftover, and I barely made a dent in my container of ricotta so I made the dish again. This time I decided to grocery shop at Trader Joe's, which was a good idea in theory, but it was a Sunday afternoon and it was packed, and as I stood in the store I wondered why I had done this because this is exactly what I've been trying to avoid during my sabbatical.
Never, never, NEVER, go to Trader Joe's on a Sunday. Same goes for Whole Foods.
On the bright side, basil from Trader Joe's was both a larger amount AND cheaper! So I should absolutely go to Trader Joe's for Italian basil in the future. (in the middle of the workday)
Aaaand, they had pumpkin mini cones! I had been so excited to try these last fall, and I never saw them, so this was a pleasant surprise.
Yeah, my pasta fell apart again. That's okay. I expected it. I'll still give Aldi penne another chance.
What? Three pasta entries in a row? Is this all I eat now?
No. I swear I eat other things. I was totally going to make some fajitas tonight, but it's been three really busy days at work and I wanted some easy comfort food, so I switched things up last minute.
I mentioned two entries ago that I wanted to try the alfredo recipe from Sip and Taste. I tend to like white sauce more than red sauce for pasta, and I appreciate that the video uses my favorite type of pasta, pappardelle. I just really like wide noodles.
I know I complained about youtube recipes in general, but this video doesn't even have a text recipe in the description! I actually watched the video and furiously wrote down notes at the same time.
But my notes must have been good enough because this was really easy to make and I was very happy with it! The original recipe calls for chicken, but when I was at the grocery store last night I saw shrimp on sale for $5.99/lb and I had to get it.
Shrimp is probably my favorite seafood, but I find that if it's not cooked right it tastes really bad. So I kept this simple. I sprinkled a little bit of cajun seasoning on the shrimp and cooked it on the pan for a few minutes and it was perfect. High quality shrimp already has such good flavor that I like eating it even without anything added to it.
My cooking experiences aren't complete without some sort of flailing, and I may have dropped some pasta on the stove while I was taking it out of the boiling water and into the sauce. I liked not having to use a colander, but once I had gotten all the long noodles out, I knew there were still short pieces of pasta still left in the water and I was kind of struggling to fish it all out.
But other than that, it was smooth sailing. I think I'd make this again! Not anytime soon though. I think I should take a break from pasta.
I don't think of my mom as a pasta person, but the one pasta dish she would always come back to is baked ziti. It's kind of heavy, which is probably why she never makes it anymore, so I need to make it myself if I ever want to have some.
I've made this just a few times before, but it's not really a dish I come back to because I've found it to be a lot of work. I use the baked ziti recipe from Budget Bytes. In the past, I would halve the recipe, but this time I cooked the whole pound of pasta, and I actually found it to be a lot easier this way.
While it does taste best right after it's been cooked and taken out of the oven, leftover baked ziti isn't half bad. And we had a lot of leftovers. This might even be something I could cook for my family! (if they weren't all on a diet)
I really don't have much to say about the recipe. It does have a lot of steps, but it's pretty easy, and the end result is very satisfying and tasty.