More Fake Pasta

September 25, 2010

Really…I don’t eat fake pasta all that often. It just worked out this way and so my first two recipe posts are “pasta”. With the door closed on summer, I figured I shouldn’t sit on this meal for too long. Very soon it will be soup, soup, and more soup around here with very little focus on loads of fresh veggies. Better get ’em while you can.

Tonight’s dinner was comprised of two sets of leftovers combined into one meal. Love when things come together like that. I also love when I just wing it and something turns out. That was the case with both of these dishes. Does that mean I’m a “real” cook since I’m getting better at improvisation? It definitely makes things more fun. When I’m winging it I don’t really measure; these are approximate. Use your judgement, taste as you go, and adjust as needed.

Just look at this deliciousness:

Leftover #1: Zucchini “Pasta” Primavera

I made this with the veggies I happened to have on hand. Use what you like or whatever’s lying around the kitchen. As long as you use the sun-dried tomatoes as described, it will taste just as good.

1 medium zucchini, “noodled” and chopped (see below)
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed or diced
1/2 c broccoli florets (mine were from a bag in the freezer)
1/3 c carrots, sliced or chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
italian seasoning to taste
1/2 c oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

“Noodle” the zucchini by slicing off noodles with a vegetable peeler. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a spiralizer use that. I just start “peeling” (including the skin) and turn the zucchini as I go. When you get to the core or you have enough noodles, chop up the remaining zucchini to use in the primavera. Set noodles aside and chop the rest of your veggies.

In a large skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add onions and saute until soft. Add remaining veggies to the pan EXCEPT the sun-dried tomatoes. Add italian seasoning. Cook until all veggies are soft. Place the veggies into a bowl and toss with the sun-dried tomatoes. Add a bit of oil or vegetable broth to the same pan. Add the noodles and heat just until warm (about 2-3 minutes). Alternatively, you can steam the noodles or heat in the microwave. Toss noodles with veggies. Season and serve.

Leftover #2: Tomato Encrusted Tilapia

This may be the first time I’ve ever made tilapia “from scratch”. I’ve purchased the pre-seasoned packets and baked those up before, but that doesn’t count. I got a giant bag of tilapia on my last Costco trip and had to come up with something. This is really phenomenal. I can’t imagine making tilapia any other way. Made this when my “normal food” brother was in town and he liked it too (even had seconds!).

2 – 3 tilapia fillets
3 T tomato paste
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (I LOVE garlic)
1 t Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, seasoning, salt, and pepper together. Stir well so the oil becomes emulsified. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Place tilapia in baking dish. Smother tops with tomato mixture. Bake @ 400 degrees for 30 minutes (or as directed).

So easy and yummy. The tomato paste gets a nice crunchy crust on it while the tilapia stays flaky and moist.

“Okay, this is great Kim, but what do I do with the leftover tomato paste?” You’re asking yourself this right now, aren’t you? Admit it. Dig it out of the can and place in a glass jar. (You DO keep a stockpile of empty glass jars, don’t you? You should. They’re free since they came with some food you already ate and they’re very handy.)

Place the glass jar in the fridge up front where you won’t forget about it. Usage ideas: a dollop on the side of a mexican themed salad is yummy; blended with some hummus for a tangy dip; mixed in with some scrambled eggs. There are lots of options. Just think about it the next time you’re hungry; it’s easy.

I promise that’s the end of the pasta for quite some time if you promise to come back. See you soon.

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