Pasta with Butternut Squash, Capers and Raisins

This recipe comes from my mom – she’s been making it for years.  I’ve just changed a few things – I bake the squash instead of boiling it, which makes it sweeter (I think), I use less oil to cook the onions, and for meat-eaters I serve a bit of fried chorizo on top.  Oh, and a splash of wine, red or white, in the sauce, if I’ve got some on hand.

This is comfort food at its best – it tastes great, and it’s good for you.  I serve it on brown rice pasta, which is better for you and tastes so good, and works better for all the people who need to have gluten-free recipes.  I prefer the texture of it to whole wheat pasta, which seems grainier to me.  Just make sure you don’t overcook it – I always check it a few minutes before the recommended cooking time is up.

What you need:

1 medium-sized butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 finely diced onion

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 dried chili pepper, crumbled

1 – 796mL can plum tomatoes, chopped and undrained

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon capers

salt and pepper

pasta, 3-4 cups cooked, keeping in mind that 1/2 cup or cooked pasta is one serving

chorizo sausage, optional (if you’re in Vancouver, Windsor meats on Main street makes their own amazing chorizo)

parmesan to grate on top, optional (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre)

What you do:

1.  Cut squash in half, remove seeds and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30-ish minutes at 350F, or until a knife pierces it very easily.  Let it rest until it is cool enough to handle.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then add the onion, cooking for a few minutes.  Add the garlic and chili peppers and cook for another minute.

3.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, along with the raisins, capers, salt and pepper and optional wine.  Let this cook for 20-30 minutes, or until much of the liquid has evaporated.  During this time you can boil the water and cook the pasta when the sauce is almost ready.

4.  Cut the squash into cubes.  I make cuts in it while it’s still in the peel, then scoop the squares out.  Carefully stir the squash into the tomato sauce, then combine with the pasta.

Top with a few slices of chorizo and some freshly grated parmesan.  So good, and fabulous as a leftover for my lunch today!

 

 

Broccoli Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Broccoli is packed with Vitamins C, K & A, as well as folic acid, fibre and a whole bunch of other nutrients.  So the challenge is to find new ways to serve it up, and preferably raw, as that’s the best way to keep all the valuable nutrients intact, or so they say.  I’ve adapted this recipe from one I found on everybodylikessandwiches.com.  I prefer to add the nuts and dried cherries on top – the nuts stay crisper, and the fruit looks prettier.  If you’re serving it all right away and plan to have no leftovers, you can get away with tossing it all together.

This one can be whipped up in no time at all!

What you need:

1 head broccoli, broken into small pieces

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

3 tablespoons plain yogurt (I don’t use low-fat yogurt ever!)

juice of 1/2 lemon

a few dashes of hot sauce

1-2 teaspoons honey

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

1/4 cup dried cherries, cut in half (or raisins or cranberries)

What you do:

1.  Toast the almonds – I do this is a dry frying pan on my stove top.  I just heat it to medium-low, then give it a stir every once in a while, keeping an eye on it do it doesn’t burn.

2.  Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, hot sauce, honey, salt and pepper.

3.  Put the broccoli and onions in a bowl and toss them with the dressing.

4.  Top with dried cherries and almonds just before serving.

Lemon Tahini Chickpea Salad

This salad is so easy to make, tastes amazing, and has lots of nutrients tp keep you healthy!  Chickpeas have plenty of dietary fibre, vitamin B6, folate and manganese.  One third of a cup of sweet red peppers contains your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, as well as lots of vitamins A and E, B6, folate and many other nutrients!

What you need:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 sweet red pepper, sliced into bite-size pieces

1 tablespoon red onion, chopped finely

1/4 cup loosely packed chopped basil

2 teaspoons olive or flax oil

1 tablespoon tahini

1/4 teaspoon cumin

juice of 1/2 a lemon

optional: fresh mint

What you do:

1.  Mix the oil, tahini, cumin and lemon juice.

2.  Put the chickpeas, onions, pepper and basil in a bowl.  Mix in the dressing.  Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

3.  Before serving, chop up some mint and place on top of the salad.