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The healthier side of carbs

>> September 21, 2011

Whole Wheat Penne w. Sausage & Kale

I've been told that the day I was born, I was already 30. Which I've always found to be really amusing, because on the inside I've always felt like I wasn't a day over 9. But in truth, for the most part I've always behaved as if I were an adult. For instance, as I am writing this post it is 9:51pm and I have been in bed for at least 30 minutes. What can I say, I love my pajamas and I love my bed. So there you have it.

Whole Wheat Penne w. Sausage & Kale

I'm also a planner (read: control freak). This sometimes becomes more apparent when life becomes hectic or I'm only a participant of a project and not the leader of the project. I am such a planner that I started looking for my first job out of college 8 months before graduation. I eventually did find a job at a fantastic company and my first day was only a mere 4 days after I graduated because I was so intent on supporting myself financially. I've been told that this is extremely mature. Whatevs.

Whole Wheat Penne w. Sausage & Kale

Anywhoo, that is a long way of saying that I've been trying to be more of an "adult" and inject more vegetables into my diet and less, well...Chick-fil-a. Enter: Whole Wheat Penne with Sausage, Chard Kale, and Artichoke Hearts. The recipe didn't go according to plan because I didn't purchase some items, forgot to use some items, and in some instances used entirely different items, but amazingly was still amazingly tasty. I'm sure the mound of parm had nothing to do with this. 

Whole Wheat Penne w. Sausage & Kale

Eating whole wheat pasta is healthy right? I've completely mangled the orignal recipe, but surprisingly it was still really, really tasty! Seriously...even Josh liked it! Which is impressive, especially considering the fact that I left out one of his favorite ingredients (sun-dried tomatoes) and doubled the amount of greens that the recipe called for. Although, I will say, that the next time I make this I'll do so with pork sausage instead of chicken to impart more sausage-y flavor into the dish * oink *.  Just do me a favor and make sure you grate plenty of fresh parmesan cheese over the top and you'll be golden.

Whole Wheat Penne w. Sausage & Kale

Whole Wheat Penne w. Sausage and Kale
Adapted (very liberally) from: Martha Stewart

12 ounces Whole Wheat Penne
2 Tbs Olive Oil
3/4 Lb Sausage (mild)
3/4 Lb Kale, washed thoroughly and chopped*
1 small Onion, chopped
3 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar*
1/2 Cup Water
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/3 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, sliced*
1 Tbs Tomato Paste
3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
1/3 Cup Basil, chopped
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper

Start a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.  While the water is heating, add 1 Tbs of olive il to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook while using the back of a wooden spoon to break the sausage into pieces, cook through until browned. Once the sausage is cooked, set aside on a plate.

Start the remaining Tbs of olive oil in the skillet and cook the onion and garlic until softened (3-4 minutes). Add the kale, red wine vinegar, and water to the onion mixture. Scrape up all of the yummy bits and combine the ingredients together. Cover the kale mixture and cook, stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes until the kale is wilted and cooked through. Add the sausage back to the kale mixture, remove from heat, and set aside.

Add the pasta to the boiling water until 2 minutes short of al dente. Add sun-dried tomatoes and cook 2 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain pasta, and return to pot.

Pour half of the reserved pasta water into a small bowl and add the tomato paste, whisk to combine. Add the tomato paste mixture, sausage/kale mixture, basil, parmesan, and red pepper flakes to the pasta pot and combine. Add additional pasta water if needed, and season with salt and pepper.

*I was too lazy to find Swiss Chard at the store, so I grabbed Kale instead. My favorite way to cook kale is to steam it with a little red wine vinegar for some bite, which adds a lovely layer of flavor to the overall dish. I also left out sun-dried tomatoes from the finished dish, not intentionally but because I completely forgot. I would have loved to have seen bits of red amongst all the green and brown pasta, and I'm sure it would have tasted quite yummy...although surprisingly didn't lack in flavor without them.


Everyday Craziness & Appetizers for Dinner

>> September 18, 2011

I'm going to get right to it. You know, cut to the chase.

It's been about a zillion years since I've posted, and let's be honest...I've not been the best at staying regular (ha! I'm so funny). I mean I've never been great about sticking to a schedule. Sometimes I go two or three days without washing my hair. So it's only normal that I go several months between blog posts.

But for this, I am sorry. I promise I'm going to work on posting more frequently, but this means that some things are going to change around here. While MiniGuinea will largely remain a blog centered around my escapades with recipes I find all over the interwebs, I'm also going to start posting about my everyday craziness. This past year has been amazing and amazingly crazy...I can only imagine where our lives will go from here. So for now I'll leave you with our dinner of appetizer's and the notion that there's no telling what kind of non-sense will ensue from here.

Goat Cheese & Pancetta Salad on Sweet Potato Medallions

Anyway for an unknown reason, I find the idea of eating appetizer's for dinner really appealing. Don't you? It sounds like so much fun.

So, after a much needed weekend of nothing (is tomorrow really Monday?) Having appetizer's for dinner only seemed like the right thing to do.

These were completely delicious and and I know this, well...because I ate them and I liked them. But also because Josh ate them and loved them too. As he should because I added pancetta solely for his enjoyment...right, solely his enjoyment.

Goat Cheese & Pancetta Salad atop Sweet Potato Medallions
Adapted from: (my idol) Smitten Kitchen

Serves 2

1 Sweet Potato (very large) peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch medallions
4 Tbs Olive Oil
1/4 cup of Cashews
1/4 Lb Pancetta, diced
1 Shallot, minced
2 Stalks of Celery
2 Tbs Flat-Leaf Parsley
3 Oz Goat Cheese
1 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard (the good stuff)

Preheat the oven to a screaming 450 degrees.

Coat a baking sheet generously with olive oil, and lay the sweet potato medallions in one layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast the potatoes without interruption for 15 minutes (possibly 20). Flip each piece over (the bottoms of the potatoes should be dark and blistered) and roast a remaining 10 minutes so that the tops match the bottoms.

While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the salad.

Cook the pancetta over medium-high heat until crisp and the fat has rendered. Once the pancetta has cooked, set aside to cool on a paper towel lined plate. In a separate bowl, combine the minced shallot and the red wine vinegar and set aside. Chop the cashews, celery, and parsley and crumble the goat cheese, then toss together to combine.

Stir the dijon mustard into the shallot, vinegar mixture. Once the mustard is combined, Whisk in a few tablespoons of olive oil into the dressing. Add the cooked pancetta, and shallot dressing to the celery mixture and toss to combine. Eat a little bit of this salad that is totally delish to tide you over.

To serve, place the sweet potato medallions onto a platter and spoon the salad mixture over each medallion. Dust the finished medallions with a bit of freshly cracked black pepper, and snarf them down immediately.


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