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Scrumptious Veggie Linguine in Cream Sauce

Trying something new today, folks!

I made this last night on a midnight whim (I get off work quite late), and I replicated it tonight at the behest of my husband, who had two bites and had to sit down yesterday evening. I was quite flattered by his reaction.

This recipe is relatively fast, definitely easy, and only has about six ingredients. Sorry the picture quality isn’t magnificent. I used my phone instead of my DSLR because I was lazy and hungry. But mostly hungry.

Behold!

1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped in 1.5 inch pieces (about 10-15 thin spears)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
extra virgin olive oil (We keep some in a cruet with a bunch of herbs and pepper in it — easy and delicious!)
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup light cream
1 package whole wheat linguine (I like Barilla.)
Salt and pepper (preferably sea salt and hand-ground pepper)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Ready? Here we go!

Heat water in a large pot for the pasta. You can salt it if you want. While that’s heating, chop your asparagus and halve your cherry tomatoes.

Festive colors, no?

Heat a large pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. The temperature should be medium-high to high. Once the oil is hot, toss in the asparagus.

Look at that deliciousness.

Cook the asparagus until it is bright green and crispy with a little char to the edges. Your pan should be sizzling and popping throughout this little endeavor, and you want the flavor of the char for the sauce. Trust me. Once the asparagus has been successfully crisped, plop it onto a plate for a while and return your pan to the stove.

Add the tomato halves, cut side down. And do be careful with this step. Your pan should still be very hot, and if there’s a lot of remaining oil, it will pop and burn you.

They look like little red bubbles. Or pods. Or blisters.

By this time, your pasta water should be about ready. Go ahead and toss in your linguine.

While that gets cooking, chop up your garlic if you haven’t already. Make it nice and fine. I use four cloves, because I have a love affair with the stuff. Add more or less to your taste. When the tomatoes have a nice char on the pan side, throw in your butter and reduce the heat to medium-low. When the pan cools and the butter stops hissing (it should be nice and caramelized), add the garlic.

Is there anything better than garlic and butter together?

Go ahead and swirl the contents of the pan around until the tomatoes are unstuck and everything is coated in delicious butter. When the garlic is nice and soft, toss the asparagus back into the pan.

All together now.

Allow those flavors to cook together for a couple minutes at a low simmer. Check on your pasta to see what it’s doing at this point.

Carbs....more carbs...

It’s probably not quite ready yet, so go ahead and add the light cream to your pan of veggies.

If your mouth isn't watering yet, I shall think you inhuman.

Swirl or stir the sauce until the veggies are coated in the cream. Keep at a low simmer, barely bubbling until the pasta has finished cooking. I prefer my pasta a nice al dente, but if you like yours more cooked, feel free to leave it in a bit longer.

Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain it, then add it to the large pan with the sauce.

You're almost to dinner. Which is one of the best finish lines.

With a pasta fork, gently turn the pasta in the pan to mix the vegetables. Be careful of the tomatoes, which will burst easily if they get squished. You can preserve their shape nicely if you use an easy hand to toss the linguine in the sauce.

This probably serves about four to five, but I won't tell if you make it for two.

Using your trusty pasta fork, go ahead and dish up! You can serve this with a salad, or an interesting chilled soup, or if you’re like me, some buttered toast or garlic bread. Who doesn’t like carbs with their carbs?

It's mine...it's all mine...

Yes. I did eat all that.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Whew.

Five more school days, my friends.  Just five.  And the chances that there will actually be any children there are getting slimmer every day.  I had six for the final (!!!) today.  No joke.  Ugh.

Speaking of getting slimmer…I am too!  I’ve lost five pounds.  I’m ever so proud of myself right now.  Amazing what working out and eating well really does.  Tonight I ate like a queen and logged in my food on my new bestest site, SparkPeople, and lo and behold — I hadn’t even hit the bottom end of my goals for calories, fat, protein, or carbs.  That was a “wtf” moment if I’ve ever had one.  So I ate another half cup of cottage cheese and six more of the most delectable strawberries I’ve ever tasted.  For real; I have no idea  where these bad boys came from.  I suspect somewhere on Mount Olympus.  They are nectar for the very gods.  They taste like they’ve been injected with sugar.  But they are just strawberries. Just delicious, fresh, and beautiful strawberries.  Swoon.  The kiwis are just as good.  Thank you, friendly neighborhood Asian market.  Not only are your strawberries cheaper than Giant (by $2 for two pounds!!!), but…well.  See above, re: god nectar.

Hard to believe I ate so well today.  Protein shake, nectarine, then I made pasta.  It is a multicolored Abetini pasta, which I tossed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauteed garlic, some oregano, parsley, and basil (dried) and tomatoes, both sun dried and one fresh plum tomato.  I topped it with some fresh basil (also thank you, Asian market) and a sprinkle of feta.  Amazing.  While I ate that, I also had some ratatouille in the oven, which may be my new favorite veggie dish.  Just layer thin slices of eggplant, yellow squash, red or orange pepper, and zucchini over tomato sauce, sprinkle with your favorite herbs, brush with olive oil, and bake for an hour on 350.  So awesome.  And less than 100 calories per serving.  I am loving eating healthy, dudes and dudettes.  I don’t feel bloated and blah after a big meal, and I am losing weight.  Love it.   I never realized just how many calories are in the average restaurant meal.  No joke, it’s at least 1000.  Probably more.  Definitely more if you get bottomless soda with it.  Yeesh.

Okay, enough about my foodscapades.  It is sleepy time!  (I’ve been sleeping better too!!!)  Happy.

Summer’s Almost Here; I Can Feel It

Summer breeeeeze…

It brings some glorious good news.  For one, cheaper phone bills.  Also, a trip to Bethany Beach this weekend with some awesome people, Splice comes out next week, there are only four weeks left of school, and perhaps best of all:

The Room is coming to Silver Spring, and Tommy Wiseau himself will be there.  “You’re tearin’ me apart, Lisa!”  This will be epic.  I can see the awesomeness hurtling toward me like a football thrown from four feet away.  Public drunkenness and sanctioned spoon-throwing, here we come.

If you haven’t seen this film (and if you have any appreciation for things so bad they actually turn around on the spectrum and end up in “awesome”), you must.  You won’t regret it.  Or you might, but don’t blame me for that.  I’m just the messenger.

You know what else is awesome?  I’m going to Montana in four short weeks.  And I finally get to show John my home.  After knowing him for two years and knowing his family for just as long, as well as all his friends in three states, it’s high time he got to see my world.  So I’m pumped.  Also?  MacKenzie River Pizza Co. is in Montana, and I could pee my pants jump for joy with excitement about that little adventure.  The Athenian, with spinach, fresh basil, tomatoes, olive oil, feta, and mozzarella?  Yes, please.  The Thai Pie with its peanut sauce base, grilled chicken, mandarin orange slices, and more peanuts?  Heaven.  Lodgepole bread sticks so wonderful they once made my mom burst into tears?  (Okay, she’d just had a hysterectomy and wasn’t on hormone replacement…but it makes it sound awesome.) Glorious.  Add to that Montana microbrews and you have yourself one solid, savory meal that could make the gods weep into their ambrosia.

I’m making myself drool, but I can’t stop.  So…much…food…in my future.

Nap’s Grill has one pound burgers.  My friends and I used to use our free periods once a week to send someone to Nap’s to order us all lunch using these “buy one, get one free” that they printed in the Ravalli Republic every day for a while — we raided everyone’s newspapers.  Pretty sure the restaurant hated us, but we couldn’t say no to those juicy, juicy burgers.  Medium rare with pepper jack cheese and a veritable bucket of shoestring fries?  To be honest, it puts Five Guys to shame, and I usually would never speak such a heresy.

In addition to food, there is also the glory of the Bitteroot Mountains, with the Sapphire range to the east.  Lake Como and Trapper Peak, Lost Trail Hot Springs, the Sula wilderness, Painted Rocks.  Not to mention that we’re taking a trip to Glacier National Park — last time I went there, I met a bear.  Well, that’s an exaggeration.  He was busy digging for pikas in the side of the hill, but I did see him.

This summer is going to rule.

I’ll leave you with these quotes from today:

Ms. English to me:  “You walk like a tiger.”

Dr. Phil (my chiro) to John: “You know, you really remind me of someone.”
John:  “God?”

WIN.